Avonworth School District News

January 2021

January is School Board Recognition Month

Thank You Avonworth Board of School Directors!

Each January, we pause during School Board Recognition Month to recognize our Board of Directors for the countless hours they spend volunteering to provide leadership and governance for the Avonworth School District. Every year, our Board members make critical decisions that shape the education of our students. This past year, navigating the pandemic has created an additional challenge for school boards across our state and the country. Our Board of Directors has spent more time than ever meeting, reading emails, consulting with our administration, reviewing survey responses, and listening to community members. They have faced challenging decisions and have continued to make those decisions with student and staff safety as a top priority. Thank you to each of our Board members for their ongoing dedication to the Avonworth School District!
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Top Row: John Brandt, Kristen Thompson, Kate Monti, Patrick Stewart

Bottom Row: Yu-Ling Cheng, Vicki Carlson, Beau Blaser, Danielle White, Sandra Bolain

Governor Wolf's Proclamation - School Board Director Recognition Month, January 2021

Avonworth Students Recognize our Board of Directors During the January Board Meeting

During non-pandemic times, our wonderful students and teachers usually attend one of the January Board meetings to help recognize our Board members. Since we are in the midst of a global pandemic and conducting Board meetings virtually, this recognition had to take place remotely this year. Students from our elementary, middle, and high school said thank you to our Board members by donating books to our school libraries in honor of our Board of School Directors.
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Getting Back to In-Person Instruction

Welcome Back Students!

In November, we pivoted to remote instruction due to the sharp increase in COVID cases. On January 19th, we welcomed our K-6 students back to our school buildings for in-person instruction in the hybrid model. On January 25th, we welcomed our 7-12 students back for in-person instruction on the hybrid model. It was wonderful seeing our classrooms buzzing with energy again!

Now that we are back to in-person instruction, we ask that everyone remain vigilant with monitoring their health and staying home if necessary. What we have learned about COVID is that symptoms are very similar to illnesses like the common cold. So, please monitor health closely and keep children home if they experience any of the following symptoms. We want to limit the potential for the spread of COVID and keep our buildings open for in-person instruction.

  • Has shown any COVID-19 symptoms, including:

    • Fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, muscle pain, repeated shaking with chills, achiness, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell.

  • Active vomiting or diarrhea

  • Fever (100 degrees or higher), chills, or general body aches

We also want to remind you of Governor Wolf's travel order in November and updated in December. Click HERE to find information related to this order.

For information related to the reopening of our school buildings for in-person instruction and how decisions will be made following the identification of cases of COVID in our schools, please visit our COVID-19 webpage.

Recognizing Our Amazing Students

Chintha Kathiresan Participates in the I Look Like a Cardiologist Program

We are thrilled to recognize Avonworth High School student Chintha Kathiresan who was chosen to participate in I Look Like a Cardiologist. Two UPMC cardiologists created this program to help close gender and racial gaps in medicine.

Chintha stated the following regarding her participation in I Look Like a Cardiologist.

"I am most eager to learn from my assigned mentor and other physicians about the journey it takes to become a cardiologist or any medical profession for that matter. I am excited to learn the basics of cardiology, work through case studies, and make meaningful connections with the professionals I encounter. Since I am very interested in medicine and have been since I was little, I think this program will provide me with more knowledge surrounding the healthcare field and allow me to make connections with my mentor that will help me as I pursue medicine."

Learn more about the I Look Like a Cardiologist program by clicking on the following link.

I Look Like a Cardiologist

Keyaira Cameron Recognized for Her Photography

The Scholastic Arts & Writing Awards is the longest-running and most prestigious recognition program for creative teens. Avonworth's Keyaira Cameron has many talents and she was most recently recognized for her amazing photography by the Scholastic Arts & Writing Awards. Keyaira received three honorable mentions in photography! Congratulations Keyaira!

Avonworth Middle School Writers Recognized

The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards is described as the nation’s longest-running and most prestigious recognition program for creative teens. Founded in 1923, the awards are intended to inspire bold ideas in creative teens throughout the country. The competition encourages writing in various categories, including journalism, poetry, novel writing, short story, and more. Awards are based on the core values of originality, technical skill, and the emergence of a personal voice or vision.

This year, four Avonworth Middle School students worked tirelessly to develop their own original writing pieces for consideration by the judges. After weeks of drafting, editing, revising, and editing, again and again, they were ready to submit their work. In the end, their efforts definitely paid off! More than 500 submissions were received in the Pittsburgh Regional Competition, and when the winners were announced in January, all four AMS student writers were among them.

Congratulations to these students on the awards they received: Vanessa Amayo (Gold Key, poetry and Silver Key, short story), Emma Noss (Gold Key, novel), Joanna Odebode (Honorable Mention, poetry), and Elena Zimmerman (Honorable Mention, poetry.)

Gold Key winners will now move on to the National Scholastic Award Competition.

Lea Helsel Selected to the All-East Honors Orchestra!

The name Helsel is synonymous with musical excellence! Lea Helsel has proven this once again with her selection to play in the NAfME All-Eastern Honors Orchestra. Lea will be playing the first horn in the group. Lea has been named All-State (twice), All-East, and All-Nationals! Congratulations Lea!
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Avonworth Students Named A.W. Beattie Students of the Month

Congratulations to Jon Pflueger and Corissa Otsot for being names December/January Students of the Month at A.W. Beattie Career Center! Jon is a student in the Automotive Collision Technology program and Corissa is a student in the SMART-EST (Sports Medicine - Rehab Therapy) program. Way to go Jon and Corissa!

Senior Showcase

Avonworth High School will be putting together a series of senior showcase slides to share and celebrate our amazing 2020-2021 seniors. Click on the link below to enjoy the first showcase in this series! We look forward to sharing additional slides in the future featuring more of our seniors.

A Look At What's Been Happening in Our Schools

Virtual Academy Kindergarten Students Explore Ramp Building

The kindergarten Virtual classroom student's built homemade ramps in response to a science lesson from our unit, Push, Pull, Go. They are learning about the concepts of force, motion, and gravity.

Click on the links below to check out some of the ramps built by our kindergarten students!

What We Can Learn from Martin Luther King Jr.

Students in fifth-grade learned about the life of Martin Luther King Jr. Through their exploration, students discovered the many inspirational things Martin Luther King Jr. said and did that changed so many lives in our country. Students read his famous quotes and chose one that had significant meaning to them. They designed the quote for others to see every time they walked past the fifth-grade classrooms. Students explained what they thought the quote meant and how it was influential to them personally.
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Library Lessons Celebrate the Life of Martin Luther King Jr.

At the Avonworth Elementary School Library, we do Choice Board lessons and activities each week, giving students the power and freedom to choose how to learn about a particular topic. To celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.'s life, students participated in a Choose Your Own Adventure lesson. Students picked the videos they watched, chose the read-aloud they listened to, and picked the follow-up activity to complete their learning. There were so many wonderful submissions from our 3rd through 6th-grade students.
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Avonworth Elementary School March Madness Book Brackets

March Madness Book Brackets are gearing up at Avonworth Elementary School! This year we have 16 books on our picture book bracket and 8 books on our chapter book bracket. We are reading as many of the picture books as we can in library class each week and reading the first chapter of the chapter books to give the students a taste for those books.

Books can also be found on the sora app https://soraapp.com/library/aiu3 to read independently at home or requested from the AES library! Voting for the books will take place each week in March. We can't wait to see which book comes out as the winner!

Use the link below for a preview of all of the books on this year's bracket!

8th Grade Students Study the Bill of Rights

During January, 8th Grade ELA Civics students have been studying the Bill of Rights. In their virtual classes, students debated topics such as student privacy and gun control. Additionally, students learned about the on-going debate surrounding student rights and freedom of speech.

As part of this unit, Officer Chris Simcoviak of the Ohio Township Police Department joined the class as a guest speaker on January 22. Before his visit, students submitted questions to Officer Chris about various topics they'd like to discuss during his visit. For nearly an hour, Officer Chris responded to students' live questions on all topics, including political protests, police reforms, the 2nd Amendment, student privacy, and many others. The students greatly appreciated the open and honest dialogue with Officer Chris.

To conclude this unit, students will exercise their First Amendment rights through a writing assignment. Students will each select a Bill of Rights topic of their choice and write a letter to one of Pennsylvania's U.S. Senators. After peer revision and editing workshops, the letter's final draft will be mailed to our senators to call for action on their desired topic.
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Avonworth Students Speak with Government Officials

On two separate occasions, Avonworth students had the opportunity to speak with both Representative Anita Kulik and Pennsylvania Senator Wayne Fontana. Students shared their views about education during the pandemic. They also asked the government officials challenging questions about diversity, equity, and inclusion in education, the Capitol events on January 6, the recent Presidential Inauguration, the distribution of the COVID vaccine, and what school may look like in the future.

Winter Athletics

Varsity Boys' Basketball Undefeated!

Under first-year head coach Mike Mancuso, the varsity boys' basketball team is having a great season. Their most recent victory came over Sewickley Academy by a score of 57-50. The 'Lopes only had a two-point lead at the half but came out strong in the third quarter, increasing that lead to 41-22 by the end of the third quarter. Senior Andrew Gannon led all scorers with 22 points. The victor increased the 'Lopes overall record to 7-0 and 3-0 in section play! Keep up the great work, boys!
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Swimmers Finally Able to Make a Splash

COVID kept our swimmers out of the pool until recently, when they were finally able to take on rival North Catholic. The evening started off celebrating this year's seniors during Senior Night. Seniors Clark Bernauer, Cooper Groll, Hugo Eadie, Graham Herzig, Danica Raich, and Carly Spahr were recognized and accompanied by their parents as their accomplishments were shared with the swimmers' audience.

Once in the pool, the Avonworth/Northgate swimmers did what they do best - swim fast! At the end of the night, the girls registered a victory with a score of 106-64, and the boys also came out victorious with a score of 103-63.

Contributing to those scores were wins in the girls 200 medley relay (Kendall McKelvey, Danica Raich, Elise Nardozzi, and Anna Neiss), 50 free and 100 free (Anna Neiss), 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke (Elise Nardozzi), 500 free (Kendall McKelvey), 200 free relay (Carly Spahr, Anna Kohler, Danica Raich, and Catrina Raich), 100 breaststroke (Danica Raich) and the 400 free relay (Anna Neiss, Amelia Hardiman, Kendall McKelvey, and Elise Nardozzi).

Records were also broken, with swimmers Cooper Groll, Matthew Purcell, and Elise Nardozzi setting team records. Groll broke his own record in the 50 free, Purcell broke Luke Tomczak’s record in 500 free, and Nardozzi broke Karen Siddoway’s 100 fly record.

For the boys, it also started with a win in the 200 medley relay (Matthew Purcell, Zach Schuster, Cooper Groll, and Clark Bernauer) followed by 200 free and 500 free (Matthew Purcell), 50 free, and 100 butterfly (Cooper Groll), 100 free (Clark Bernauer), 200 free relay (Graham Herzig, Hugo Eadie, Andrew Baldauff, and Clark Bernauer), 100 breaststroke (Jack Blaser), and the 400 free relay (Zach Schuster, Matthew Purcell, Clark Bernauer, and Cooper Groll).

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Girls' Varsity Basketball Off to Great Start

The Lady 'Lopes Varsity Basketball Team is off to a great start this season with an overall record of 5-1. The girls took an undefeated record into a non-conference contest this weekend against Sewickley Academy. The girls suffered their first loss of the season by a score of 36-23. Leading the way for the 'Lopes in this game was Rebecca Goetz with 9 points. Rebecca has been one of the leading scorers in 5 of the 'Lopes 6 games this season. Also leading the scoring for the Lady 'Lopes this season has been Grace O'Brien and Maggie Goetz. Keep up the great work, girls!
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Varsity Wrestling Having Strong Season

COVID kept the boys off the mat for the first part of the season, but once things got underway, the boys began the season with four straight victories. Their most recent victory came over Carlynton by a score of 33-24. This was a conference win, with two other conference wins coming over South Side Beaver and Hopewell. Their only conference loss came to Quaker Valley. Their overall record is 4-2, and their conference record is 3-1. Keep up the great work, boys!
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Spring Musical Information

The musical director is pleased to announce that this year’s production will be the 2017 Broadway stunner War Paint! Starring Broadway giants Patti Lupone and Christine Ebersole as cosmetic giants Helena Rubenstein and Elizabeth Arden, respectively, War Paint traces these colossal female entrepreneurs' careers, the men who lived and worked for them, and the impact of both on women, history, and business. The title indicates their decades-long rivalry in an industry they virtually created.

Auditions will be held on Wednesday, Feb. 3, for actors in grades 7 – 10; and on Thursday, Feb. 4, for actors in grades 11-12. Music and a piano recording are available through the War Paint Google Classroom site.

Through a mixture of virtual and in-person preparations, we will be filming an onstage production streamed at the end of April.

Calling all performers!!! Fame awaits!!!

Musical auditions for actors will be held next week, in person, in the auditorium. Each student must sign up for an audition time on Sign up Genius:

Wed., Feb. 3—grades 11 & 12 @ 5:00 PM

Click here to schedule a time slot:


Thurs., Feb. 4—grades 7 – 10 @ 5:00 PM

Click here to schedule a time slot:


All students will be required to learn brief cuts from the showNO other music preparations! Use code ada7f56 for the Musical Auditions Google Classroom to access music cuts and piano tracks for auditions and information.

Announcements and meets for parents and students interested in tech crew and orchestra will be announced in the coming week! Break a leg!!

Virtual Valentine Bingo

Looking for some family fun this Valentine's Day? Please join the junior class in participating in their Virtual Valentine Bingo on February 14th at 6 pm.

Click here to register: Valentine Bingo Registration

Click on the link below to view the flyer for this event.

Kindergarten Registration for the 2021-2022 School Year is Open!

Kindergarten registration is now open. Please visit the Kindergarten Team Page for all of the information needed for kindergarten registration.

Kindergarten Team Page - Registration Information

Mark Your Calendar

2/1: First Day of Black History Month

2/8: Athletic Committee Meeting, 6:30 PM

2/8: School Board Work Session, 7:30 PM

2/15: President's Day, No School

2/15: School Board Meeting, 7:30 PM

2/16: K-3 Students Begin Full-Time In-Person Instruction