Thursday, August 29, 2013

Teachers Excited to Welcome Students September 3

There is a buzz in every school building as final preparations are made to welcome children to the 2013-14 school year on Tuesday, September 3, 2013.

Above is word art created with teacher words used to describe French Creek Elementary School. The art was featured on the cover of the employee newsletter. French Creek also created an Animoto story which may be viewed by clicking here.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Buildings, Classrooms, and Teachers Ready for Students

It was quite a process over the summer, but our facilities are gleaming and ready to welcome students on September 3.
Last week new teachers were welcomed to the district for a week of orientation and learning.
For the past two days, teachers have collaborated on exciting ways to reach all types of learners.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Back-to-School Toolbox

Important Back-to-School Resources at your Fingertips

September 3, 2013--First Day of School

New this Year! Please enjoy the printer-friendly District Artwork Calendar, which was developed to honor requests for a traditional, printable district-wide calendar. The calendar features artwork by students from each of our schools and may serve as a quick reference, whether printed or utilized online. Keep in mind that the website calendars and school pages will always feature the most current information—we invite you to check the website often.

Back to School Readiness: Two important Links to Visit

Skyward Family Access: Log in as soon as possible and update emergency contact and medical information.  The system will take you step-by-step verification process to make sure your school has all necessary critical information.

Back-to-School Resource Page: All parents and guardians should visit the resource page which contains the Opening Day Letter, Student Handbooks, and other important forms and notices. Be sure to print and sign the acknowledgement form and send to school with each student. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Don't Miss the Consignment Sale!

The OJR Education Foundation is sponsoring a Children’s Consignment Sale to be held on Saturday, Sepetember 14, 2013 from 8:00am to 12:30 pm in the OJR Middle School gymnasium.  

This huge sale is an excellent opportunity to earn money for gently used items and to raise funds that will be directed back into OJR classrooms through the Education Foundation. Join our consigners who will bring quality clothing, books, toys and treasures, along with gift-quality donated items, and sell at bargain prices. Or, mark your calendar to shop and get great bargains!

To volunteer, consign, or receive additional information, please contact Dr. Kathleen Hocker at

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Kronum Club Started

Watch out for a new club sport which was started on the High School and Middle School campus thanks to the generosity of volunteer coach Matt Charleston and grant funding from the Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation via the Owen J. Roberts Wellness Committee.

According to their website, "Kronum is a new game for the modern era of athletics, media and entertainment. Did you know it has been over a century since the majority of well-known team sports were invented? Games such as soccer, rugby, football baseball, basketball, hockey and lacrosse were all conceived long ago, for athletes and fans very different than the athletes and fans of today. Since then, athletes have evolved, fans expect more and the internet is where we all connect globally. In light of this, Kronum was conceived and developed with a new type of athlete and an improved fan experience in mind. It is a new game for the new era.

The game is designed for the practice and display of the full range of human athleticism. Kronum is fast-moving, free-flowing, non-stop action, involving incredible shots, saves, scores, passes, and ball handling. The game offers a wide array of strategies and tactics to employ to win. Kronum offers a new measure of great well-rounded athleticism."

See Matt Charleston for more information about Kronum.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Building a Teaching Force for Student Success

At Owen J. Roberts School District, teachers are supported with systems that focus on student learning and teacher effectiveness.  This week, new teachers are participating in teacher induction, which will help new hires transition into a new work environment and provide them with knowledge to increase effectiveness. The teacher induction program progresses throughout the school year and is systemically combined with mentoring, ongoing professional development, professional learning communities, engaged principals, and supportive school environments. The systemic approach offers the critical support new teachers need to enhance student achievement.

Veteran teachers also have ongoing and regular opportunities for enrichment. Professional development at Owen J. Roberts School District is highly experiential with opportunities to learn from best practices. All teachers will begin a new year of professional development on Tuesday, August 27, 2013. Ongoing professional development keeps teachers up-to-date on new research, emerging technology tools, curriculum resources and more.

 New teachers are welcomed into the district.
 A bus tour of the district is part of orientation.
 Chief of Security Larry Mauger talks about the strategic approach to keeping our schools safe.

Many of the staff involved with pupil services including Directors of Special Education
and psychologists help new teachers understand the services available.

Teachers are quick studies on how District Departments may impact student achievement.

A panel of 2013 teacher induction graduates offer gems of wisdom for new hires.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Double Take

The Class of 2013 featured students with many unique characteristics. Some students shared more characteristics than others, however. The Class of 2013 included four sets of twins! The Bliss brothers, the Johnson sisters, the Kent brothers and the Murphy brothers all share the same birthday; and now share the same graduation day. Due to birth placement, three siblings graduated from the Murphy family this year. "It has worked out fine," said mom, Kim Murphy, but she admitted the household changes would be drastic this fall as three go off to college. The Murphy's will not have the luxury of emptying a nest gradually.

No one argues that the bond between multiples is strong--some of the siblings even chose the same college.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Kinder Camp Nurtures Newcomers

Kinder Camp  gives our youngest students an opportunity to practice some independence while learning to work in a group setting. It introduces rising kindergartners to their new school environment, schedules, and even riding a bus.

This group of kindergarten students (pictured below) learned "bunny breaths" and child-friendly poses in a session of Yoga for Classrooms at East Coventry Elementary Kindercamp. Bunny breaths are 5 quick inhales with wide nostrils and a long puff of exhaling air. The breathing exercise can help minds focus.

More than 80 students participated in kindercamp at East Coventry this week. Students are introduced to academic areas and practice group social skills such as learning to raise one's hand and stand in line. The student below found a quiet corner to read after having a snack.

About half of the students in this class reported that they had practiced yoga breathing and/or poses previously. The big yellow shool bus was much more intimidating, but after a test ride, everyone felt more at ease with one more skill mastered in preparing for school! Should a student feel anxious those first days of school, another mastered skill, the "bunny breath", will be a calming asset.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Exploring Data Blender

At today’s professional development session for Owen J. Roberts School District administrators, school leaders engaged with a new student data warehousing solution called Data Blender which was created by teachers for teachers.

The Data Blender is a convenient tool for authorized school personnel to access student data quickly and easily.

Data blender makes it easy to spot trends and track student progress.

Clickable graphs show student scores on local assessments, district benchmarks and summative
achievement tests in one location. Student scores may be viewed over time and test information may
be blended to provide real time data which may then be used to guide instruction and informed decision making.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Teachers learn how exercise helps kids do better in school (video)

Teachers learn how exercise helps kids do better in school (video)

Interdisciplinary school teams from North Coventry Elementary, West Vincent Elementary and the high school attended the Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds Institute. They learned about the science behind how movement affects mood and stimulates the brain to be ready to learn and pay attention. They also attended workshops on best-practice models from around the nation. Each team developed action plans for the upcoming school year.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Accellent Donates School Supplies to Economically Disadvantaged through Ed Foundation

Principal Dr. Susan Lloyd and Mr. Todd Oswald with
Accellent, Inc. employees and a group of student helpers

 Accellent employees delivered supplies from
their company drive to help struggling families with
back to school needs

A group of students help sort backpacks
Accellent, Inc., located in Collegeville, is a supplier and strategic partner in the medical device industry making products such as heart stents. Each month, Accellent employees meet and plan a community outreach project. About a month ago, staff decided to collect back to school supplies to help offset costs for parents who may struggle with the expense of gearing students up with tools needed to learn. The company worked with the Owen J. Roberts Education Foundation to identify schools that had students with economic need. Today, August 12, 2013, a group of Accellent employees delivered stocked backpacks and classroom supplies to East Coventry Elementary School. Students helped Accellent staff load half of the supplies to be delivered to North Coventry Elementary School. Families in need will benefit from new backpacks, crayons, pencils, notebook paper, and glue. Classrooms will benefit with paper towels, tissues and snacks.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

2013 Grad Awarded Fellowship

2013 graduate, Samantha White, was one of 84 students interviewed for a spot as a freshman fellow for the summer 2013 FUTURE program at Ursinus College. In the end, she was chosen as one of eight students awarded a chance to join an elite neuroscience research team this summer. The summer position is paid which will help when Samantha starts full time as a Biology student at Ursinus College in the fall.
The FUTURE program is funded by the grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to as a part of the Center for Science and the Common Good.  Designed to involve talented students from underrepresented groups in research to encourage them to pursue a career in science, the FUTURE program supports 16 students and eight faculty members this summer. Of the 16 supported students, eight are rising juniors and seniors who served as mentors for newer students. The eight newer students include both incoming Ursinus students as well as students completing their first year.  Summer research students have the opportunity to work and socialize with college administrators and faculty. Samantha’s team is collecting data for a fetal alcohol syndrome study. Samantha credits her high school teachers for empowering her with a love of science--especially biology!

Class of 2017 FUTURE students are gathered for a cookout at a researchers home. Samantha is pictured on the far right.