Avonworth School District News
Avonworth Elementary Honors Veterans
Mr. Will Guess Plays Taps to Honor Veterans
Children's Grief Awareness Day Recognized at Avonworth Middle School
Avonworth Elementary School Recognizes Children's Grief Awareness Day
Nothing Stops the AHS Drama Department from Performing
The fall play cast and crew take us back to the Golden Age of Radio in this staged version of Charles Dicken's eternal holiday favorite, A Christmas Carol. The show will be posted to the district website FOR FREE during the first two weeks in December. This performance was hastily recorded in rehearsal, with only a moment’s notice, the night before the district had to pivot to virtual learning. Although students scrambled to get their show shirts, many are still dressed in shorts and jeans for rehearsal—but that didn’t stop them!
Due to pandemic restrictions, the cast and technical crew rehearsed virtually and then came together using masks, gloves, and only symbolic costume items for tech week. Set in a Pittsburgh studio on Christmas Eve in 1943, the show also boasts a commercial for Kaufmann’s Department Store.
The costume staff created custom singers' masks for our performers and pleated masks for the sound effects crew. The biggest challenge was combining live sound effects on stage—like footsteps in the snow, door slams, and Marley’s chains—with many recorded tracks broadcast from the booth.
Tune in for this extraordinary special event—maybe listen to the audio-only, just like in the days of radio!! Holiday fun for everyone!!
Benji Nalevanko as Bob Cratchit and Killian Horigan as Ebenezer Scrooge
Live SFX crew in action
Kyra Carlson as The Ghost of Christmas Present, Killian Horigan as Ebenezer Scrooge, and Stella Riale as The Ghost of Christmas Past
Harris Robinson Recognized by the College Board as a 2020-2021 African American Scholar
At the November 9 School Board Meeting, Harris Robinson was recognized for her excellence in academic achievement. Superintendent, Dr. Thomas Ralston, presented Harris with a certificate from the College Board recognizing her as a 2020-2021 African American Scholar.
Harris Robinson is a 12th-grade student at Avonworth High School where she is a respected Class Officer, talented Volleyball and Basketball player, a role model for younger students, and a very successful Advanced Placement (AP) & College In High School (CHS) student. Harris has earned this distinguished award from the College Board Recognition Program based on her high performance on the PSAT and high achievement in Advanced Placement (AP) classes. In the words of the College Board, this is award showcases the potential of the student's curiosity and his or her commitment to learning. What makes this recognition even more amazing is that Harris has earned this accomplishment during a pandemic, learning in a virtual environment, and also a hybrid environment. This very special award is advised by the Jackie Robinson Foundation.
Avonworth Students Named Officers of the National Technical Honors Society
Congratulations Sean, Michael, and Makenna!
Avonworth Grad Honored by Local Firefighters
On November, 6, Patrick and his brothers were honored at the Forward Township Volunteer Fire Department. Each was presented with a plaque to acknowledge their bravery and actions.
(Photo Credit: Tom Steiner)
The History of the Avonworth Band
The Avonworth Band Boosters recently partnered with the high school Film Club to produce a film showcasing the history and growth of the Avonworth band program. This project was produced and edited by film student Keyaira Cameron. Please take a moment to admire the amazing work of Keyaira Cameron and learn about the history of our incredible band program.
December 1st is Giving Tuesday - Support the Avonworth Band Program
The Avonworth Band Program's goal is to ensure every student is able to attend this trip. Please help our band reach this goal by supporting the Avonworth Band Program on Giving Tuesday, December 1, 2020. Use the link below to make a donation!
What's Been Happening in Our Schools?
Second Grade Book Club Pivots to Virtual Book Club
A group of second graders has not let virtual learning keep them from getting together to talk about books! This month over 60 students joined Mrs. Gould for a virtual book club. Due to the wonderful response, students were divided into four groups which met once a week. The discussions really came to life as the children shared their thoughts and impressions of characters and events as they tried to solve the mystery in The Milo & Jazz Mysteries. The students were able to access the book through MackinVIA, our new ebook platform.
Same Teachers - Different Classrooms
While the month of November has brought challenges and change, our primary and elementary teachers have successfully transitioned their reading instruction to the virtual space!
In kindergarten, students completed module one by creating a book about their five senses. They began module two virtually, by listening to the informational text Farm Animals through a streaming read aloud, and then noted key details to create an animal trading card on Seesaw.
In first grade, students have had many opportunities to interact with text. They began
their final module one book, Green Eggs and Ham. Through google meet, they are
listening to modeled retells, using virtual story stones to create a story map, and creating
their own detailed summaries of the story.
As second grade finishes module one, they have transitioned their study of changes to the
virtual space. Through the informational text Why Do Leaves Change Color? students
collaboratively generated an informational paragraph during a live google meet and then
wrote their own copies at home.
Third grade capped off module one by creating a didactic wall panel about an undersea
creature accompanied by an informational paragraph. As fourth grade leaves the ocean, they are heading into outer space for module two. The students are exploring the text Starry Messenger by Peter Sis, while researching information about Galileo and his contributions to our knowledge about space.
The fourth graders have wrapped up their investigation of the essential question “What makes a great heart?” As they transition to virtual learning, students have been tasked with writing an essay that summarizes their learning about literal and figurative language. Drawing on evidence from the non-fiction text Circulatory Story and the novel Love That Dog, students will compose an informative piece of writing that answers this module's essential question.
As the fifth-grade students finished, the novel Thunder Rolling in the Mountains, they connected the content to real-life events as they read the Lincoln Hall Speech by Chief Joseph. When participating in a virtual Socratic seminar, students expressed sadness and disbelief about the challenges that the Nez Perce Native Americans faced as they were
forced to move to a reservation.
Sixth grade is continuing to focus on resilience in the Great Depression, demonstrated by
characters in the novels Bud, Not Buddy, and Out of the Dust. Now that the students have
transitioned to virtual learning, they are working together through google meet and other
collaborative measures to compose a cause-and-effect essay about a character transformation.
Gifted Support Academic Investigations
AES Students use Morning Meeting to Grow Executive Functioning Skills while Learning at Home
Students Use Choice Boards in Elementary Library
Discover SORA ebooks at the AES Library
Middle School Environmental Club Virtual Field Trip
The virtual field trip was a great alternative for members to learn more about biodiversity and the activities that are available at Phipps. They were able to watch the plants in action as they caught their prey. Also, members were able to examine the remains of prey that were found in the pitcher plants. With the help of the staff, the students were able to infer the types of insects that got trapped by the plant. The educator at Phipps was very engaging and the club members learned a lot from the trip.
The environmental club meets monthly. We have been utilizing Google Meet to get together at-a-distance. The next club meeting is scheduled for December 8 at 4:30 PM. We will be discussing projects and the Fairchild Challenge. To join the club, we use Remind text messaging. Middle school students and their families can text @amsenviron to the number 81010 to join the club and get updates and project information. There is also plenty of additional information on the club website https://bit.ly/3kbh5oA.
Math Explodes in Eighth Grade
8th Grade Personalized Science Investigations
Students planned & conducted a variety of investigations asking questions such as:
- Do dogs have a paw preference?
- Do teens who participate in extracurriculars report higher stress levels?
- What are the common traits among birds that eat the same type of seed?
- How does age impact an athlete's heart rate recovery time?
- How does the cost of a golf club affect the distance a ball travels?
- Which sports drink contains the highest concentration of electrolytes?
- How do the code statements in a website affect a person's ability to perform a SQL Injection Attack?
After collecting data at home, students analyzed patterns in their graphs to draw meaningful conclusions about the natural world. Great work, eighth-grade students!!
Alumna Elizabeth Grambo (AHS, 2011) Leads Junior Pathway Mock Interview Seminar
Avonworth Cinematics Members Come to the Rescue for OTVFD
So, what happens when normal is flipped upside down and you can no longer provide safety tips and tricks like you used to? Well, that is the exact question that the Ohio Township Volunteer Fire Department asked themselves when they realized that Covid-19 restrictions hindered their ability to provide their annual fire safety tips to the children of the Avonworth Community. Thousands of people in the U.S. die every year due to fires that could have been prevented had they been given the tools to know how to deal with certain stressful situations that can arise if a fire starts in your home. It became clear that these safety lessons needed to happen, whether it was in person or not because it could truly be a matter of life or death.
Luckily, we live in an age of technology that allows us to reach people across the world. The Ohio Township Volunteer Fire Department noted this fact and reached out to Mr. Michael Lincoln, a teacher at Avonworth High School and the sponsor of Avonworth Cinematics (film club). Mr. Lincoln and Bill Thomas, a volunteer firefighter, came up with a plan to create a Fire Prevention and Safety video for the children at Avonworth School District. Mr. Lincoln saw the importance of this video and reached out to Avonworth Cinematics members, Sean Boaks, Keyaira Cameron, and Liana Simmons to help bring this video to life in a professional, fun, and educational manner.
Avonworth student Keyaira Cameron is the president and founder of Avonworth Cinematics. The club works to make videos that help the community, bring awareness to a variety of subject matter, and create captivating work that shows the talents of our club members. Once the club learned about this project, they jumped into action immediately by defining what roles and responsibilities each member would claim in order to produce, film, and edit this video. Club members attended a multitude of Google Meets to discuss and create the storyboard, which allowed them to map out each shot of the video. It also helped them visualize where the students would be, the B-roll footage needed, and the angles for the cameras to be positioned.
A week later, on a Monday afternoon, the club members went to the station to film the video. Sean Boaks took over as Cameraman 1, Liana Simmons as the audio operator, and Keyaira Cameran acted as the director and Cameraman 2. The shooting that day presented the team with various challenges and hurdles that they had to overcome. At one point, their main camera died three times during the shoot. Their audio device also had trouble, and they started to become extremely worried. Sometimes what you think is going wrong turns out to be a blessing in disguise. The team talked about the issues they were having and ways to overcome them.
Keyaira commented that "It was the first time in months that we were on our own, as student filmmakers, and I am proud to say that we persevered and problem-solved. The filming lasted about three hours, which includes the set up at the beginning of the day."
The longest part of the process was post-production editing that Liana Simmons and Keyaira Cameron did the following week. They showed up after school at 3:00 pm and some days did not leave until 8:00 pm. This schedule lasted over a six-day period, with only a weekend in between. They sat together and looked at the storyboard, the scripts, and geared their vision to what would be most enjoyable for the desired audience (young kids & families) to watch. On the fifth day of editing, they were scared when the video appeared to be corrupted. Once again, they problem-solved and found a way to save their long hours of work. On the sixth day, they finished the video with the final time adding up to 21.5 hours of editing. It goes without saying that they put a lot of work into creating the video believing in the message and the importance of the project.
Keyaira and Liana stated that "Creating this video was their pleasure because we helped the community and also gained film crew and editing experience. Thank you to the Ohio Township Volunteer Fire Company and Mr. Lincoln for allowing us to be a part of this project that will save lives through education. We hope to do more projects in the future that will help change lives in the community for the better."
Students Study Drought Effects on Leaf Litter Ecosystems
This semester, the class examined the long-term effects of the drought on the small organisms that recycle forest nutrients. Students completed several different surveys of “bugs” that make up the detritivores. Typically, students should have observed these soil community organisms in abundance throughout the wooded lot near the middle/high school parking lot. The lack of insects and worms suggested that the drought was having an impact on the number of these creatures. Students completed a comprehensive look at the microbial life within the woods as well. Using leaf litter samples, students cultured single-celled protists and bacteria to observe the lifeforms that were aestivating (or dormant) in the leaf litter. Students found a variety of microscopic lifeforms that were inactive in the soil but were revived in the laboratory with the addition of watery environments.
As a capstone research project, students placed screened bags of leaf litter throughout the school property. Students measured the changes in mass of the detritus as the small organisms began to break down leaves, pieces of wood, and other dead plants. Students investigated the factors that promote decomposition by the various creatures. The screened bags were placed in a variety of habitats on the school grounds.
Learning about nutrient recycling is an important part of environmental science. This topic led students to consider the waste they produce. The concepts of composting, recycling, and reducing our use of single-use plastics were linked to the natural processes of breaking down waste. The decomposition and waste management provided by the creatures in the soil is free and environmentally friendly.
Fall Sports Roundup
Avonworth Girls' Soccer Team Plays for 2A WPIAL Championship
Earlier in the season, the teams finished in a 0-0 tie in their first matchup. In their second meeting, North Catholic handed Avonworth its only loss of the season. Early on in the championship game, Avonworth had an incredible scoring chance but was denied by the crossbar. Off a free kick a bit later, Ava Wert had an excellent opportunity to score but the ball sailed just over the crossbar.
In the 35th minute of the match, North Catholic's Sharpless scored on a free kick to take a 1-0 lead. The remainder of the contest did not see any more goals and North Catholic took the WPIAL Championship.
Congratulations to Lady Lopes on an incredible season!
Avonworth Girls' Volleyball Season Ends in WPIAL Semifinals
The Lady Lopes’ Volleyball season came to an end last week falling to Number 2 seed Ellwood City. Avonworth finished tied for 3rd in the WPIAL Class 2A Volleyball Championship.
In the semifinal matchup with Ellwood City, Junior Outside Hitter Maggie Colenbrander led the Lady Lopes in kills with 13. Senior Right Side Sasha Kosko added 12 kills, Freshman Outside Hitter Nora Kate Gavin contributed 7, and Sophomore Middle Hitter Sophie Culley had 6. This Avonworth offense was led by Junior Setter Abbi Holjes with 35 assists in the match. Colenbrander also led the Lady Lopes in digs with 24, while Senior Libero Sarah Neal followed with 11. Sophomore Defensive Specialist Sam Blose and Holjes trailed right behind with 10 digs each. Finally, Senior Middle Hitter Erin Farrah and Culley each finished the match with 4 blocks, and Kosko had 3.
Avonworth Athletes Named All-Section and All-WPIAL
Congratulations to these outstanding Lopes on their All-Section and All-WPIAL awards!
Drew Harper – Linebacker
Trevor Faulkner – Defensive Line
Ian Syam – Defensive Back
Kevin Felter – Defensive Line
Erik Studebaker – Defensive Line
Avonworth School Board Meetings
As mentioned above, with the shortened month of December, the first meeting of December, the Board Work Session, is held at the end of November. Therefore, there is only one meeting in December. The next meeting is our Board's Regular Meeting and will occur at 7:30 on December 7.
If you have an interest in attending a meeting, please visit our website using the following link.
AES Events Planned for Computer Science Week December 7th-11th
Resources to Help Students and Families
- December 1 - School In Session (virtually)
- December 1 - Giving Tuesday (Support the Avonworth Band Program)
- December 1 - End of the First Trimester (K-2)
- December 7- 11 - Computer Science Week
- December 7 - Curriculum Committee Meeting, 6:30 PM
- December 7 - School Board Work Session, 7:30 PM
- December 24 - January 1 - Winter Break (Schools Closed)
- January 4 - School In Session