Friday, September 28, 2018

Learning to be Inclusive #StartWithHello

WV students learn respect, cooperation, and inclusion using Thom Stecher toolkits for social emotional learning
All seven schools in the Owen J. Roberts School District joined other schools across the United States in Start with Hello Week September 24-28, 2018. The week is celebrated in partnership with Sandy Hook Promise, a national, nonprofit organization. Understanding that skills such as cooperation, kindness and resiliency may be learned, all OJR schools planned extensive activities and lessons to promote strong communities.
Acting cooperatively is so much fun!

It was BRIGHT PERSONALITY day at West Vincent on Tuesday 9/25

Many schools had themed days that were established by a team. At West Vincent Elementary School, they kicked off their Mentor Groups on Monday, had a Social Emotional Day on Tuesday and a 7:00 a,m. Community Social Emotional Breakfast on Friday. 
Nurse Becky engages a student in what he believes the essentials of a safe environment include

Guest speaker, Mr. Thom Stecher, invites a student response to what her group believes is needed for a safe school community

Mr. Stecher leads participants to brainstorm hopes and dreams for each child when they go on to leave WVE

Start with Hello teaches students in grades K-12, the skills they need to reach out to and include those who may be dealing with social isolation and create a culture of inclusion and connectedness within their school. Social isolation is the overwhelming feeling of being left out, lonely, or treated like you are invisible. According to some reports, it is a growing epidemic in the United States. Excessive feelings of isolation can be associated with violent
and suicidal behavior.
Students love the activities and "unpack" the skills they needed as a team afterwards

Guidance Counselor Mrs. Sarah Weber uses Stecher toolkits to teach social emotional skills
*Some of the activities at West Vincent Elementary this week were funded by the Pottstown Area Health & Wellness Foundation and West Vincent's award(s) in the Healthy School Checklist.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Chromebooks add "Volume"

Students were engaged in a digital activity which allowed the manipulation of items to measure volume and mass in High School Earth Science with Ms. Bridget Gross. The digital classroom lesson followed up on an earlier density study lab where students physically dropped items into a beaker to measure water displacement.

Chromebooks allowed students to use the PhET Interactive Simulations (link:  As a class, each student was involved in manipulating volume/mass/materials to understand and calculate density. With a background knowledge of displacement from the previous lab (used for calculating volume), students could test the different objects in the simulation to further understand density. The lesson was a perfect example of using technology to gain deeper understanding of the real world.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Start with Hello Activities Continue

Students wrote compliments to one another

At East Vincent Elementary School today, students started by greeting each other in Spanish, Hola!

During morning meeting, the less was: Give a Compliment Day
Classes discussed the definition of a compliment. Teachers explained how saying, “I like
your shirt” is different than “It made me feel good when you helped me in math.”
Students were asked, "What do you notice that stands out about the people around you?

Students in all grades then practiced giving compliments to one another in various age-appropriate ways. There were plenty of smiles in the rooms! Then classes talked about how it makes us feel to receive and to give compliments.

Start with Hello teaches students in grades K-12, the skills they need to reach out to and include those who may be dealing with chronic social isolation and create a culture of inclusion and connectedness within their school. Social isolation is the overwhelming feeling of being left out, lonely, or treated like you are invisible. It is a growing epidemic in the United States. Excessive feelings of isolation can be associated with violent and suicidal behavior. In fact, one study reports that chronic loneliness
increases the risk of an early death by 14%. Furthermore, young people who are isolated can become victims of bullying, violence and/or depression. As a result, many further pull away from society, struggle with learning and social development and/or choose to hurt themselves or others.

Mercury Ribbon-cutting Article

Below is the article published in the Pottstown Mercury online on 926/2018...

Ribbon-cutting set for new East Coventry Elementary School
Laura Catalano For Digital First Media
SOUTH COVENTRY — Owen J. Roberts School District officials will cut the ribbon on the new East Coventry Elementary School on Friday, Oct. 5, at 9:30 a.m., in a ceremony that will involve students carrying their school supplies into their new classrooms.
Classes will begin in the new school on Oct. 9, following a Columbus Day holiday for district students and an in-service day for teachers. East Coventry teachers will dedicate their in-service day to setting up their new classrooms.
The new facility is located on the same lot as the old building, so students will be permitted to visit their new classrooms and move in their personal supplies on Oct. 5.
“This will be the day that the students breathe life into this school,” said board President Melissa Booth at a regular school board meeting Monday. “We’re very proud about this, and very excited about this opportunity for our students.”
The board also approved an address change for the East Coventry Elementary School from 932 Sanatoga Road to 2461 East Cedarville Road. While both buildings are located on the same property, the old school was accessed off Sanatoga Road, and the entrance to the new facility is off East Cedarville Road.
When officials finally snip the ribbon in front of the new building, they will put an end to a $28 million construction project that has spanned half a decade and been beset by delays almost from the start.
The building was approved in November 2014, one of two elementary schools that the board had voted to rebuild on their existing lots. At that time, plans called for East Vincent and East Coventry elementary school projects to be constructed simultaneously. Both projects were expected to be completed by 2017.
While the East Vincent school remained on schedule, the East Coventry building quickly hit its first roadblock when the property failed a percolation test in 2015 and the board was forced to revamp a proposed stormwater management plan.
In addition to that, the school board also faced a number of unforeseen land development requirements from East Coventry Township, including a mandate to build trails and widen a section of East Cedarville Road. As a result, the project did not go out to bid until August 2016, and construction didn’t get underway until February 2017.
Once construction began, the board gave contractors an aggressive timeline, in order to have the school finished by opening day of the 2018-19 school year. However, in August, Superintendent Susan Lloyd announced that a number of items in the new building had not been completed and would not be ready for the start of school.
Those items included installation of fire and burglar alarms, completion of the media classroom and library, and the installation of the gym floors.
Booth said those issues have now all been addressed. But she noted that the site will continue to need work.
“It’s a rough site. The grass hasn’t grown, and the punch list items will be ongoing, but I’m excited to see little children moving into the building,” Booth said.
Among the items still to be completed are two all-purpose fields outside the building. The fields were taken out of the original plan as a cost saving measure, but they have since been added back in and will be constructed this year.
Coventry Little League Board Member Robert Brobst asked the board to consider building a baseball field instead of an all-purpose field on the site. Brobst told the board that up to 450 Owen J. Roberts students play on Little League teams each year, and the league is often short of fields.
However, district Chief Financial Officer Jaclin Krumrine said the multi-purpose fields would be built as planned. The district is conducting a feasibility study that will look at all district facilities, including fields, and help determine what is needed.
That study, being conducted by Marotta Main Architects, who designed East Coventry and East Vincent Elementary Schools, will also determine what will be done with the old East Coventry building.
“It won’t be torn down,” Booth said.
The new elementary school was constructed to alleviate overcrowding and create equity among all district elementary buildings. It has air conditioning and a capacity for 650 students, about 100 more than the old facility.
Despite delays that have created headaches for the board throughout construction, the new East Coventry Elementary School has remained under budget, Krumrine said. And, because the district paid for the $28 million project with money saved in its capital projects fund, construction costs have not significantly impacted taxpayers, she said.