The 2018-2019 school year got off to a great start and it is hard to believe that we are more than halfway through the year.
I have been extremely pleased to see many examples of our teachers embracing our “Innovative Mindset” theme in their classrooms. I encourage you to read about several examples of how our students are preparing for their futures by embracing and developing an Innovative Mindset in this issue of Chronicles.
One of the things that makes me proud to be the Superintendent of this great school district is our willingness to look beyond our schools to establish meaningful partnerships with outside organizations, which can provide valuable resources and programming to enhance our rich curriculum.
One example of a great partnership is the one the District has established with WQED/PBS and our elementary schools. Lincoln was the first school to partner with WQED to bring in afterschool and evening programs that not only benefit our students, but also actively involve their parents in their learning. We are extremely proud that Lincoln has been one of the first schools in the country to offer PBS programming to our students. This spring Lincoln will offer Ready Jet Go!, the newest program in the Family Learning Series. It will be an evening family program centered around astronomy, technology, the scientific method and earth science. I know our teachers and families will enjoy experiencing this program.
William Penn was the second school to get on-board with WQED, offering both the afterschool and evening programs. This year Penn families will participate in the Ruff Ruffman Family Learning Series, a science based program using the popular PBS character Ruff Ruffman.
We are pleased to announce that the remaining three elementary schools will also offer evening programming through WQED/PBS that will bring parents and students to Franklin, Memorial and Washington for a light dinner, followed by hands-on, exciting activities that parents and students can complete together. This year, parents and students will work together on iPads to create projects using PBS’s Scratch Jr. program.
All of these programs provide families the opportunity to bond during a meal, explore the weekly theme, make things together and share ideas and projects with one another.
In April we will be bringing the popular Camp Invention concept to our K-4 classrooms with the STEM Maker Lab Program, in which each grade level will participate in one project that will encompass six 30-minute sessions. We know how much our students enjoy participating in the Camp Invention activities over the summer, and we are pleased to be able to bring a smaller scaled version of this into our classrooms, which is designed to enhance students’ maker space experiences and empower them to problem solve realistic challenges, design prototypes of their ideas and bring their inventions to life.
Planning for the 2019-2020 school year is underway. Current students in grades 8-11 are already scheduling for the 2019-2020 school year, and when they look at the Course Selection Guide, they will have the opportunity to consider enrolling in expanded course offerings that we are working on with CCAC. We know how expensive college can be, and we are pleased to be able to offer these college-level courses in high school to enable students to get a jump start on their futures.
With winter hopefully on its way out, I am already looking forward to the spring, which means the arrival of outstanding musical offerings at Bethel Park High School and Independence Middle School in March and our free spring music concerts at many of our schools beginning in April. If you have never been to a Bethel Park musical or concert, you are missing out on wonderful evenings of entertainment. Our students never cease to amaze me with their level of talent. Please look at the District’s calendar and plan to add some of these events to your personal calendar. You will be glad that you did.
I hope you share my enthusiasm for all of the positive things that are happening in the Bethel Park School District. We are continually evaluating all of our programming, to make adjustments and bring in new or additional programs that will benefit all of our students.
It is an honor to serve this community and your children.
This message appeared in the February 2019 issue of the Bethel Park Chronicles