Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Alumnus Filmed Papal Visit

Over the weekend Owen J. Roberts Alumnus and recent Temple grad, Melissa Dabback, received a chance of a lifetime when she was hired by History Making Productions to work on one of several film crews to cover the Papal visit to Philadelphia. 

Melissa worked as a camera PA for one of the crews gathering footage for the World Meeting of Families documentary that will be sold on DVD through the official web site and will premiere on 6abc December 1. Congratulations to Melissa.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Bioswale Hands-on Learning

South Coventry Township had a problem area at Connie Batdorf Park. A 2500 square-foot, low-lying area was not draining water.

On Wednesday, September 23, 24 horticulture students filled the area with 3,000 plants including iris, sedge, bee balm and asters to create a bioswale. A bioswale is a more eye appealing and natural answer to concrete gutters to allow flood control. The project helped the township and community, but also allowed students to learn about bioswale through direct experience.

South Coventry Township won a mini grant from the Pottstown Area Health and Wellness Foundation in a park contest this summer which funded the plants. Mrs. Millie Donnell, South Coventry Township Supervisor and staffer and OJR alumnus, Mr. Kevin Wright, reached out to horticulture teacher, Mrs. Peg Tinder for help with the project. "Getting help with the labor was key to the success of the project," offered Mrs. Donnell.

The bioswale will offer flood protection for the park and a solution to standing water. The students were excited that their work will not only add beauty, but help make the park safer and and more visually appealing. Bioswales reduce sediment load and other possible pollutants from natural water sources.


National Merit Scholarship Program Recognitions



Navdeep Handa, Madeline Sager and Jason Wierzbicki have been named as National Merit Scholarship Finalists in the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Program.  “To become a finalist, the semifinalist and his/her high school must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the semifinalists academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. A Semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT® scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.”  Finalists are chosen in the spring and 2,500 National Merit Scholarships will be awarded.


Maya Amy, Dallas Fleck, Walter Nelson, Kathryn Proffitt, and Audrey Schwartz have been named as Commended Students in the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Program.  A Letter of Commendation from the school and National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), which conducts the program, will be presented to these scholastically talented seniors.

About 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise.  Although they will not continue in the 2016 competition for National Merit Scholarship awards, Commended Students placed among the top five percent of more than 1.5 million students who entered the 2016 competition by taking the 2014 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®).

“The young men and women being named Commended Students have demonstrated outstanding potential for academic success,” commented a spokesperson for NMSC.  “These students represent a valuable national resource, recognizing their accomplishments, as well as they key role their schools play in their academic development, is vital to the advancement of educational excellence in our nation.  We hope that this recognition will help broaden their educational opportunities and encourage them as they continue their pursuit of academic success.”

All of these students were recognized by the Owen J. Roberts Board of School Directors regular business meeting on Monday, September 28, 2015.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Don't Miss Fall Events!

Back to School and we have hit the ground running! Some events you will want to make sure you have on your calendar for September and October include:
  • Pink Out Football Game, October 2
  • Cavalcade, October 3
  • Make a Difference Food Drive, October 12-23
  • Homecoming, October 16
  • Ed Foundation Community Event, October 24
  • REA Safe Trick or Treat Event, October 29
  • Best Buddies/Ed Foundation Run 101 at Wildcat Stadium, November 7

Details for these events may be found on the High School or the District Calendar

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

District Receives Meritorious Budget Award

The Pottstown Mercury posted the following article on 9/17/15:

OJR School District earns Meritorious Budget Award

DOWNINGTOWN >> Three Chester County school districts were among the recipients of the Association of School Business Officials International’s Meritorious Budget Award, the Chester County Intermediate Unit announced.

Each year school districts throughout the United States and Canada are eligible to receive this award. Six Pennsylvania school districts were selected for the 2014-15 school year. Among them are the Owen J. Roberts School District, Downingtown Area School District and Great Valley School District.

“There are approximately 100 recipients across the United States and Canada and three of them are in the room today,” Jeff Ammerman, the director of technical assistance for the Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials said during an event last week. “This speaks of the excellence present in Chester County. Congratulations to everyone.”
ASBO’s Meritorious Budget Award is designed to recognize school districts that use best practices in budgeting to improve accuracy, transparency, sound fiscal management and communication to build district stakeholder confidence in each district’s finance office.

The application consists of four sections, which require eight years worth of data. This process breaks down the budgeting process for taxpayers and clearly shows how district resources were spent.
The Meritorious Budget Award process also helps districts align their mission statements, strategic plans and operations together within the budget.

“It is a much more comprehensive process than a normal budget would be,” said Richard Fazio, chief financial officer of Downingtown Area School District. “You look at financial information, statistical data and performance data on the school district as well as academic performance. It is very comprehensive and a good communication tool.”

The districts who received the Meritorious Budget Award agreed that it is worth the effort, especially in the confidence it instills in district financial reporting.
Regina Speaker Palubinksy, superintendent of the Great Valley School District, stressed the importance of using this tool as an external metric.

“It instills confidence,” Palubinksy said. “When others look at it, it shows that the district has aligned everything to the mission and thought about the financial implications of those decisions.”
Jackie Krumrine, chief financial officer for Owen J. Roberts added that it makes the budget transparent.

“It makes the numbers more transparent to the public as a whole,” Krumrine said. “We actually use the budget throughout the district as a communication and management tool because it contains a wealth of information.”

All three of the Chester County districts selected have been long time participants in the program. Great Valley and Owen J. Roberts have both received the award for the past 20 years and Downingtown for the past ten.

West Chester Area School District also received the award for six years, but now participates in the equally demanding Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. Great Valley participates in both the Meritorious Budget Award and CAFR programs.

“This award shows that we go a step beyond,” said Suzanne Moore, director of business affairs for West Chester Area School District. “We follow some pretty strict and disciplined criteria that we use to prepare the budgets and financial statements.”

Large and small districts in Chester County participate in the MBA program. Participation in the MBA provides these Chester County school districts a way to communicate with their community members.

“It’s clearly another measure to demonstrate to taxpayers that you are being good stewards of local, state and federal dollars,” said Michael Christian, superintendent of Owen J. Roberts. “We have one gentleman who comes to our board meeting every year who stands up and says ‘congratulations on your clean budget and open process.’ To have that on the record is invaluable.”