Avonworth School District News

February 2020

Avonworth School District Celebrates Black History Month

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In celebration of Black History Month, our school district recognized African Americans from Pennsylvania that broke barriers and made history by featuring them on our District's website throughout the month of February. To learn more about these amazing individuals, please click on the link below.

5th Graders Research Influential African Americans

In fifth grade, students conducted research on famous African Americans. Once completing their projects, the fifth-grade students created a "Celebrating Black History Month Display" in the fifth-grade hallway to share what they learned about each of the individuals they researched.

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7th Grade Reading Class Focuses on Black History in the City of Pittsburgh

In honor of Black History Month, the 7th grade Reading class focused on the rich history that our own city holds. 7th graders were invited to explore an interactive map through the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that allowed students to see the buildings in Pittsburgh that served as stops on the Underground Railroad and the landmarks that had national significance before, during, and after the Civil Rights Movement. You can also find the birthplaces of many important African American historical figures on this interactive map. In class, we explored the lives of three important African American artists: Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson, founder of the National Negro Opera Company Mary Cardwell Dawson, and prolific photojournalist Charles "Teenie" Harris.

You can explore this interactive map on your own using the link below.

7th Graders Present Proposals to CMU's Engineers Without Borders

The CMU chapter of Engineers Without Borders visited Avonworth 7th-grade students to give feedback on their engineering proposals, projects, and models that address the United Nations Sustainable Development goals for the continent of Africa.

The students focused on South Sudan, Malawi and Zimbabwe through the reading of one of three books. Through reading and research, they tackled the question, “How can we support communities in modern Africa?”

The 7th-grade had several special guests including a former Peace Corps volunteer from Sudan and a volunteer from Malawi, all providing the groundwork for these proposals.

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8th Graders Learn about Overcoming Adversity as they Prepare for A Night at the Museum

Throughout the month of February, Mr. Smith and Mr. Warren collaborated to provide our 8th-grade ELA Civics students with a context for their upcoming project exhibition on Overcoming Adversity ~ A Night at the Museum on March 13 at the Heinz History Center. Mr. Smith and Mr. Warren co-taught a lesson about racial inequality in the 21st century so that students could better understand the different life experiences that can shape a citizen's personal and political views. Drawing on comments from 2020 Presidential Candidates, students were introduced to terms, such as gentrification, redlining, racial profiling, and institutional racism. Coming from different backgrounds, Mr. Warren and Mr. Smith shared their personal experiences with racial inequality and how these experiences may impact decisions. The lesson provided students a forum to explore perspectives that may be unfamiliar to them personally, but are an everyday reality for other citizens.

In the coming weeks, students will seek to better understand these topics, as well as additional examples of overcoming adversity as they prepare to present their research and artistic work on Friday, March 13 from 6:00-7:30 p.m. at the Heinz History Center where they will serve as expert docents for Avonworth's Night at the Museum. Admission is complimentary for all Avonworth community members.

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A Look at A Few More things Happening in our Classrooms this Month

2nd Graders Work on an Artist Inspired Self-Portrait Project

The Artist in Residence program is in full swing in 2nd-grade! Ms. Maritza has been working with all of the 2nd-grade students with the help of Avonworth Primary's art teacher, Mrs. Sara Croft. The focus of this program is a self-portrait project inspired by the artist, Roy Lichtenstein. The final products will be on display at Avonworth Primary Center's Family Literacy Night on Thursday, March 19, 2020, as well as at the APC Art Show on Thursday, April 23, 2020. We can't wait for you to see our work!

The Children's Institute - Kids on the Block Puppet Show Visits APC

The Children's Institute visited Avonworth Primary Center to present their Kids on the Block puppet show for first and second-grade students. Each Kids on the Block school assembly features three skits, each casting light on three different disabilities. These puppet shows taught students kindness, acceptance, and understanding of others. After each skit, students were invited to ask the puppets questions about their disabilities. The Children's Institute also provided teachers with supplemental activities to use with students throughout the year.

Avonworth 7th Graders Experiment with Probability by Creating a Carnival

Learning and fun go hand-in-hand at Avonworth! 7th-grade teachers had students create their own carnival games to test probability. Then, they held a carnival using the games they created. Not only were kids having a blast, but they were also collecting data to test probability. What a great way to integrate fun and learning!

A.W. Beattie Career Center Visits Avonworth 8th Grade Students

Avonworth School District students have the opportunity to attend the A.W. Beattie Career Center in high school. To help our students understand the different career programs they can enroll in at A.W. Beattie, students from A.W. Beattie (many of them our own Avonworth students) visited with our 8th-graders to share their experiences and the opportunities A.W. Beattie has provided them.

A.W. Beattie can provide students with an excellent path to both career and/or college. There is a lot of conversation occurring nationally about the lack of individuals available to fill high-paying trade jobs that are currently available and those that will be available in the future. These jobs often provide great pay, while also providing a different path to continuing education if desired. This article provides information on the trades versus college or university.

If you would like to learn more about A.W. Beattie Career Center, please visit their website here: A.W. Beattie Career Center Website

Also, A.W. Beattie will be hosting their spring Open House on March 5 from 5:15 to 8:15 PM. Feel free to stop in to learn more about A.W. Beattie's programs and to tour their facility.

Staff and Student Recognition

Dr. Ralston Recognized as the PMEA Outstanding Superintendent

Every year, the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) recognizes one superintendent in our state as an outstanding superintendent. The award will be presented at the annual All-State Conference this coming April. The Avonwroth School District music staff nominated Dr. Ralston for this award because of his ongoing support and dedication to the Avonworth Music Program. Mr. Will Guess, Avonworth School District Band Director stated, "We are lucky to work with such great leadership." Congratulations to Dr. Ralston on this well-deserved recognition!
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JAM Featured on Kidsburgh on KDKA

The story of JAM continues to amaze us all. Starting only a few short years ago when a couple of students approached Mrs. Frew and asked if they could make things, sell them, and use the money to help others, the club has now grown to approximately 80 students who continue to have a positive impact that stretches further than their young minds can even imagine. We are all familiar with #bethekindkid, which has resulted in JAM selling over 50,000 t-shirts with the famous #bethekindkid imprinted on each shirt. It is simply amazing how much kindness these young students have spread throughout Pittsburgh and beyond!

With all of their success and positive influence across our region, it comes as no surprise that KDKA reached out to feature JAM on Kidsburgh on KDKA. If you missed the story, click on the link below to watch the feature on Kidsburgh on KDKA. Way to go JAM!

Senior Toni Keller's Essay Earns Recognition from CMU Center for Student Diversity & Inclusion

Senior Toni Keller was selected by members of Carnegie Mellon University's Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion, Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences and English Department to represent Avonworth High School at this year's Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Writing Awards. Toni submitted her essay If I Need A Label and joined students from 23 high schools across Allegheny County for a banquet on campus held on Dr. King's national holiday, January 20th.
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Avonworth Students Compete in the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science Competition

For the first time, Avonworth had students compete in the Regional Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science (PJAS) competition. All nine students that competed earned first or second prize finishes, with eight students earning first-place awards and qualifying for the state finals. The state finals will be held at Penn State in May. Congratulations to all of these amazing students! Good luck at the state finals in May!

First Row (L to R): Jacqueline Nicolaus, Rachel Little, Maya Klatte-McAfee

Second Row (L to R): Meghan Osekowski, Hadley Holcomb, Mara Bett, Danica Raich, Roman Simkins

Not Pictured: Mya Hennigan

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Avonworth Students Nominated for the 2020 National Technical Honor Society

Congratulations to the following Avonworth students that also attend A.W. Beattie Career Center for being nominated for the 2020 National Technical Honor Society!

Pictured (L to R):

Elijah Kauer - Emergency Response Technician

Sean Boaks - Emergency Response Technician

Gillian Tokar - Cosmetology

Adelina Otstot - Cosmetology

Not Pictured:

Nancy Rattay - Dental

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Middle School Teacher Megan Campedel Named the NHL Future Goals Most Valuable Teacher

Avonworth Middle School had a pretty cool visitor this February when the Pittsburgh Penguins' mascot Iceburgh and camera crew made their way through our middle school hallways. They were headed to Mrs. Campedel's classroom to surprise her with her victory as the NHL Future Goals Most Valuable Teacher. Mrs. Campedel, an 8th-grade science teacher, was one of twelve teachers nominated when the Most Valuable Teacher program was launched at the 2020 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic Game on January 1.

The Future Goals Program partners with Everfi, a critical skills education program, to teach skills with a STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) sports curriculum to help prepare students for success in life. Mrs. Campedel has successfully integrated this program to reinforce physics and chemistry content in her curriculum.

Congratulations Mrs. Campedel!

Baillie Holmberg Recognized at the February School Board Meeting

At the February Board of Directors meeting, Baillie Holmberg was recognized for her participation in a program this past summer for future medical leaders. Baillie received a certificate recognizing her for her outstanding academic performance, leadership potential, and dedication to serving humanity through the profession of medicine. The certificate Baillie received from The Medical Advisory Board of The National Academy of Future Physicians and Medical Scientists was presented by high school principal, Mrs. Keera Dwulit and superintendent, Dr. Thomas Ralston. Congratulations Baillie!
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Avonworth is Home to Two of the Top Ninja Athletes in the World

The National Ninja League is an elite series of ninja competitions held nationwide that culminates annually with a World Finals event. This year, 110 competitions were held where athletes around the country competed to qualify for Worlds. 1853 athletes from the USA and other countries ages 6-masters (40+) level qualified for and attended the National Ninja League World Championships this year.

Avonworth's Aria Burgoyne (8) was one of 113 girls worldwide in the kids' division that qualified for and attended the World Finals in Greensboro, NC February 21-23. She went through an extensive 3-course elimination competition over 3 days and came out as 1st place World Champion!

Aria's sister, Adalyn Burgoyne (10) was one of 149 girls in the mature kids' division that managed to qualify and attend the World Finals. She won the 2nd place title of World's Strongest Ninja. This is a new award given in addition to World Champion. It includes the scores of all 3 top-level ninja courses and 4 skills events.

Aria and Adalyn train at Steel City Ninga and are the first 2 Pittsburghers to bring home a podium finish in any national or world ninja competition! Congratulations Aria and Adalyn!

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Congratulations to our Athletes Competing in Winter Sports

Varsity Girls' Basketball Team is Heading to States

After splitting their meetings in regular season play, the Lady Lopes (18-7) met the top-seeded Beaver Bobcats in the semifinal of the WPIAL playoffs. The contest remained close for most of the game with the Bobcats pulling away in the fourth quarter to take the win with a score of 46-37 to advance to the WPIAL Championship game where they will take on their section rival Mohawk. Avonworth's top scorer in the contest with Beaver was Kathryn Goetz who posted 18 points.

The next stop for the Lady Lopes will be the PIAA Playoffs which will begin on Friday, March 6 when the girls will take on Tyrone High School at Altoona High School at 6:00 PM.

Congratulations to the team and best of luck in the state playoffs!

Photo credit: EFB Photography

Avonworth/Northgate Swimmers Compete at the WPIAL Championship

The Avonworth/Northgate Boys' and Girls' Swim Team headed to the University of Pittsburgh's Trees Pool last week to compete in the WPIAL Swim Championships. We couldn't be prouder of their accomplishments. The boys' team finished in 2nd place and the girls' team finished in 5th place! In addition to the team accomplishments, there were many individual accomplishments. Congratulations to the following swimmers on their individual and relay team accomplishments.

  • Angie, Taryn, Katrina, Anna: Set a record taking 3rd in the 200 Medley Relay
  • Cooper, Clark, Luke, Matthew: 2nd in the 400 Free Relay & Medley Relay
  • Graham, Luke, Luke, Clark: 2nd in the 200 Free Relay
  • Angie, Taryn, Kaylee, Anna: 6th in the 200 Free Relay
  • Luke: 3rd in the 200 IM
  • Matt: 5th in the 200 IM
  • Cooper: 2nd in the 100 Fly
  • Grahm: 7th in the 100 Fly
  • Anna: 4th in the 50 Free and 5th in the 100 Free
  • Matt: 2nd in the 100 Breast
  • Cooper: 3rd in the 100 Free

Congratulations to all of the Northgate/Avonworth swimmers on a great season and awesome performance at the WPIAL Championships!

Photo credit: Mrs. Jen Neiss

Avonworth Bowling is Rolling their Way to a Successful Season

Toward the beginning of February, the Avonworth Bowling Team was excited to announce that the varsity boys were in 2nd place for WPIBL West and the varsity girls were in third place. The team is being guided by the leadership of their new coach, Dan Simkins.

This year's team consists of 4 seniors: Romeo Werner, Park Penrod, Sarah McAdams, and Meghan Katenwein.

Congrats to Max Fisher (Junior) Warren T. Lillie III ( Freshman) and Tyler Homol (Freshman) for all getting into the top 10 for varsity. Sarah McAdams is in the 10th position for girls with Meghan Katenwein right behind.

Congratulations to all Avonworth Bowlers!

Boys' Basketball Finishes Season at 11-12

The varsity boys' basketball team finished their season with a record of 11-12 overall and 11-11 in conference play. Their season closed out with a tough WPIAL playoff loss to #3 South Allegheny with a score of 48-46. Avonworth's high scorer in the contest was Jordan Kolenda with 22 points to lead all scorers in the game.

Photo credit: EFB Photography

Avonworth's School Design Action Team Works on Facility Planning with IKM Architecture

The Avonworth School District Board of Directors hired IKM Architecture to guide the District through a process that will culminate in a Facility Master Plan. A School Design Action Team consisting of community members, students, parents, board members, teachers, and administrators will meet over the course of four months to work through activities with IKM Architecture that will inform them with critical information from all stakeholders regarding our District's needs and how these needs may influence decisions related to the development of a Facility Master Plan.

As part of this process, there will be two community forums. All members of the Avonworth School Community are welcome to attend the community forums. During the forums, an update will be provided regarding the work conducted by the School Design Action Team and those in attendance will have an opportunity to ask questions and contribute their thoughts.

The first community forum will be held on March 19, 2020, at 6:30 PM at Avonworth High School.

A page on the District website has also been created to provide the Avonworth School Community with information and updates regarding the entire facility planning process. This website can be accessed HERE.


Parents' Corner - Tech Information for Parents

Kids have gravitated to YouTube as a source of information, learning, and entertainment. With YouTube being so popular, google has created YouTube Kids. Please use the link below to access an article from Common Sense Media on everything parents need to know about the YouTube Kids app.


Information on the 2020 Census

Did you know the next census will take place in 2020? Responding to the Census is our civic duty and affects the allocation of funding for Allegheny County’s public resources, how we plan for the future and our voice in government.

What matters to you? Schools? Transportation? Hospitals? Data from the Census will help inform planning efforts for Pittsburgh and the region. To learn how census data impacts you and your community, visit becounted2020.org #BeCountedPGH

For additional information on the 2020 Census, please use the link below to access a frequently asked questions document regarding the census.

Spring Musical Young Frankenstein to Begin March 27

Chase The Antelopes 5 K is Coming April 25, 2020

Summer Camps at A.W. Beattie Career Center

Cultivating Acceptance & Hope Event to be held April 23, 2020

Upcoming Dates

  • March 2: Read Across America Day
  • March 2: First Practice Day for Spring Sports
  • March 2: Athletic Committee Meeting, 6:30 PM
  • March 2: School Board Work Session, 7:30 PM
  • March 4-5: High School Parent/Teacher Conferences, 3:30 - 6:30 PM
  • March 5: Kindergarten Round-Up at APC, 6:30 PM
  • March 6: Schools Closed for Students, Parent/Teacher Conferences
  • March 8: Daylight Savings Time Begins, 2:00 AM
  • March 9: School Board Regular Meeting, 7:30 PM
  • March 10: PTA Meeting at AES, 7:00 PM
  • March 11: 2-Hour Delay for Students
  • March 11: Parent Network Meeting, 7:00 PM in the Collaboration Center
  • March 12-13: PMEA Region Chorus
  • March 18: End of Third Marking Period for Grades 3-12
  • March 18-25: Spring Musical Tech Week
  • March 19: Music In Our Schools
  • March 19: Family Literacy Night at APC
  • March 23: School Is In Session for Snow Make-Up Day
  • March 26-27: PMEA Region Band
  • March 26: Spring Musical Dress Rehearsal, 4:30 PM
  • March 27: Spring Musical, 7:30 PM
  • March 28: Spring Musical, 7:30 PM