Thursday, August 31, 2017

Focus Groups Set for Superintendent Search

On behalf of Mary Jeanne Curley, Director of Communications, CCIU:

As you are aware, the Board of School Directors of the Owen J. Roberts School District is in the process of selecting a Superintendent of Schools and is seeking input from school personnel, parents and the community by means of a series of focus groups. Focus group participants will share their experience and insight into the type of leader that the district will need to successfully educate students for the 21st century.

The input and insight of parents, guardians, and members of the community is highly valued by the School Board. As such, the Board invites you to participate in a Focus Group conducted by the Chester County Intermediate Unit. The meeting for parents/guardians is on Monday, September 18 at 7:00 p.m. in the Auditorium at OJR Middle School. A meeting for members of the community is set for Tuesday, September 19 at 7:00 p.m. in the Auditorium at OJR Middle School.

The goals of the focus groups are to:

  • Identify the qualities needed in a superior school leader;
  • Identify the strengths and skills essential for the next superintendent to demonstrate;
  • Identify key issues facing the district in the next five years that the superintendent will need to address; and,
  • Identify the obstacles to student achievement and the strategies the next superintendent will need to employ to overcome those obstacles.

The focus group will last approximately one hour, during which time a member of the CCIU search team will guide participants through the four questions.

More information may be found on the district website:

Monday, August 28, 2017

First "First Day"

On Monday, August 28, 2017, Owen J Roberts School District welcomed more than 5,400 students to its seven schools. At the new East Vincent Elementary School building, doors opened to welcome students for the first “first day” of school.
While the building first welcomed students in April of this year, today the doors opened for the first official back-to-school welcome. Phase two of the construction project has been underway since April. All paved surfaces, sidewalks and playgrounds are finished, while many landscaping projects will continue into fall. The new school is designed with learning, collaboration, and student creativity in mind. There are plenty of spaces for students to work together and innovate including a science lab, STEAM room, and innovation center.
At the welcoming ceremony for students this morning, 26 teachers and staff were introduced as either new to the building or under a new assignment. The student population grew by nearly 80 students from last year. Dr. Bell introduced Ms. Christine Seeley, the new principal to students. Ms. Seeley has been working with Dr. Bell for about two weeks getting the building ready and providing professional development to staff.
Ms. Seeley joins the School District with 3 years of experience as a school administrator. Most recently, she was Principal of Rose Tree Media Simon Youth Academy and before that Acting Principal of Indian Lane Elementary School. Prior to her career as an administrator she was both a classroom and instructional support teacher in Rose Tree Media and Downingtown Area School Districts. Ms. Seeley received her B.S. in Elementary Education from West Chester University and her M.S. in Educational Administration from University of Scranton.
Ms. Seeley and her family reside in Media, Delaware County. Ms. Seeley brings with her a strong background in community partnerships and looks forward to fostering an engaged learning community at East Vincent Elementary School. She recently shared, “I already feel like a part of the Owen J. Roberts family.  Our community of learners is kind, welcoming, and enthusiastic about education.” 

Ms. Seeley is looking forward to meeting and working with all members of the East Vincent Elementary School community.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Ms. Christine Seeley and Dr. Cheryl Bell
Students at East Vincent Elementary School students will have the privilege of being welcomed by two principals when they come to school on Monday, August 18.

At the Owen J. Roberts Board of School Directors Regular Business Meeting on Monday, July 24, 2017, the Board accepted the retirement of East Vincent Elementary School Principal Dr. Cheryl Bell effective October 1, 2017.

Ms. Christine Seeley was approved by the Board of School Directors on July 24, 2017, pending her release from Rose Tree Media School District. 

Ms. Seeley started working with Dr. Bell on Monday, August 14. They have been working together to ensure a smooth transition and reported that the new elementary building is gleaming and ready to welcome students.

The second phase of the major construction of the new school has been taking place all summer. In the last weeks, pavement and sidewalk surfaces have been finished. All playgrounds will be functioning, however, final landscaping will continue on the property into the fall.

Marching Band Record Membership

On Wednesday, August 16, Owen J. Roberts kicked off Marching Band season featuring performances by record-sized Middle and High School Bands. The High School Band has 154 participants, creating a record size for Director Todd Mengel, who has been conducting the band for 25 years.

Mr. Mengel runs the band program as a cooperative program so that students may use their high school years to pursue many interests. Many students participate in sports in addition to marching band. Mr. Mengel now structures the program to be flexible. August is intensive with practices, then when the school year actually begins, band practices drop to just one night per week. Students devote as much time as they can to practice on their own. Mr. Mengel explained that it can only be great fun if they are able to perform well and feel good about the quality of their performance. He has found that students rise to the challenge. Audiences are thrilled with the precision of the performances and the quality of the musical experience.

"My goal for each student is that when they graduate, I want them to look back and feel that being a member of marching band was the single best experience of his or her high school career," offered Mr. Mengel.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

District Attorney Hogan Presents to Coaches, Faculty, and Staff

August 23, 2017--As part of ongoing professional development for faculty, coaches, and staff, Owen J. Roberts School District was pleased to host Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan to present to coaches on June 7, 2017, and to teachers on August 23, 2017, about appropriate behavior with students. The Chester County District Attorney’s Office made Chester County superintendents aware of the opportunity for educational sessions with employees in early May. Owen J. Roberts immediately scheduled the coach and faculty sessions and is planning a third session for all support staff so that every adult working with students be empowered with knowledge on everything from the basics to subtleties in relation to student/teacher boundaries. 

The presentation given to both groups was direct and powerful. District Attorney Hogan defined harassment and provided five potent rules to guide behaviors. He spoke to the consequences of blurring or crossing boundaries, really engaged the audience in peer policing, and clearly defined the issues of professional transparency and reverence. Owen J. Roberts has been involved in ongoing training for teachers in relation to communications and social media, and District Attorney Hogan reinforced potential pitfalls and reviewed distinct guidelines for best practice. Feedback from coaches and staff has been excellent.

The safety of students and staff is of paramount importance to Owen J. Roberts School District. A variety of ongoing trainings to all staff members ranging from suicide awareness to social media training is provided each year. This year, the District will be using Safe Schools to supplement in-house and guest speakers as part of our overall professional training.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017


Teachers are ready to welcome students
Schools have been polished and are ready to open doors for students
August 28, the first day of school, is quickly approaching. Our schools have been very busy places throughout the summer. Many technology upgrades have taken place and extensive cleaning projects have been accomplished in every building. During the summer, the district hosted a variety of academic and enrichment programs. Our enrollment has grown significantly and we will be ready to welcome more than 5,400 students for an exciting year of learning. Below is a brief update on the two major construction projects in the district.
Every day means a new improvement to the East Vincent Elementary property

New East Vincent Elementary School Opens for First Fall Back-to-School
While the building first welcomed students in April of this year, this fall the doors will open for the first official back-to-school welcome. Phase two of the construction project has been underway since April. All paved surfaces, sidewalks and playgrounds will be finished for the start of school. Landscaping projects on the front lawn will continue into fall. The new school is designed with learning, collaboration, and student creativity in mind. There are plenty of spaces for students to work together and innovate including a science lab, STEAM room, and innovation center.

New East Coventry Elementary School Construction
When East Coventry Elementary students last exited their building in June the construction site was in excavation, so many will be excited to see the framework under construction. The new building, like the one at East Vincent, will replace aging structures and accommodate enrollment increases. The projects had been anticipated since a feasibility study in 2004, with the district saving incrementally. The new East Coventry School, set to open in the fall of 2018, is ahead of schedule at this time. The vision for the new building is that the structure reflects a love of literacy with the media center as a focal point. Young learners cannot wait to access all the new school building’s teaching and learning amenities. 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Fall Band Preview Aug. 23

Excited for 2017-2018


Employees from 7 schools and 3 other district buildings gathered in the High School auditorium to kick off the 2017-2018 school year.

After an engaging performance from the Owen J. Roberts High School Marching Band,
introductions of about 40 new staff members were made. It is always energizing to watch our Owen J. Roberts family grow! Welcome to all who have joined Owen J. Roberts!

In the field of education, we are surrounded with those who have joined a profession out of passion for the work. Dr. Kathryn Soeder invited faculty and staff to remember what Steve Jobs said, "The only way to do great work is to love what you do". REA President, Mr. Steve Raught, reminded the group what a "safety blanket" schools can be for students. As a district family, we embrace safe environments in our schools and cannot wait to welcome each child next Monday, August 28, for the first day of school.

Acting Superintendent Anthony Costello, a 43-year resident, thanked Owen J. Roberts staff for providing a great education for his two sons. He shared that when he comes to work (out of retirement), it is to work. "We will work together. We will do the right thing," he informed. He explained that his charge to everyone for the school year was twofold:
1. Recall someone who helped you along the way and repay that.
2. Show caring in all you do and strive to always do the right thing.

"Take Owen J. Roberts to even higher heights," he added.

Welcome back, faculty and staff. When the school building doors open on August 28, the Owen J. Roberts community of care-givers will be ready, happy, and eager to care for students!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Solar Eclipse Activities

High School staff was encouraged to come out to watch the eclipse

Safe gazing

Some staff brought their children to the football field

Super duper protected look


Some families took advantage of the good vantage point on the hill in front of the High School

Family-made viewers complete with picnic on the lawn

Even the Assistant Superintendent made it out for two minutes of quick viewing at the moment of totality