Wissahickon High School Parent-Teacher Newsletter

Document Sample
Wissahickon High School Parent-Teacher Newsletter Powered By Docstoc
					                             Wissahickon High School
                             Parent-Teacher Newsletter
                                A Publication of the WHS Parent -Teacher Council
                              To promote the exchange of information among parents, faculty, and
                             administrators about educational and co-curricular affairs relating to the    March 2011
                              high school and to build a concerned and involved parent community.          Volume 4 Issue 2

Don’t Forget…
 PTC Mtg. on
  9th Gr. Academy                                                                                           give study
 March 9, 7 p.m.
 Audion                                                                                                     halls a
 Volleyball Tourn.
 March 9, 7-10 p.m.
                                                                                                            new tone
 Circle Gym                                                                                                 WHS students may
                                                                                                            now play iPods and
 ‘Phantom’ Musical                                                                                         other music players
 March 10, 7 p.m.
                                                                                                            during study halls
 March 11, 12, 7:30 p.m.
                                                                                                            and outdoor lunches.
                                                                                                            The Student Council
 See Calendar, Page 18                                                                                      proposal, intended to
                                                                                                            make study halls
Inside this Issue            Students step up semi-formal                                                   more productive and
                             THE WHS SEMI-FORMAL dance ―A Night Under the Stars‖                            less distractive, was
Two counselors take 2
                      15     sparkled on December 18, as juniors, parents, faculty and admin-               met with strong staff
new posts at WHS             istrators decorated the evening with flair, finger foods and spe-
Many tests scheduled         cialty cupcakes. Professional photos captured the guests of                    and student support.
for juniors in spring  3     honor, including Eric Roberson (from left), Amirah Rashid, Kara                The pilot program is
Help build up WHS!           Dwyer, Jake Fischer, Russell Roberts, Ryan Schwartz, Breyanna                  off to a positive
                             Lucas, Michael Marcantonini, Cynthia Plat, Joy Lynch, Katy
Buy engraved brick     3                                                                                    start, said Principal
                             Sachs, Catherine Campbell and Taylor Garnett (front). Parent
Alumna’s field hockey        volunteers, led by PTC Co-President Carmina Taylor, helped                     Lyn Fields.
fame celebrated        5     from start to finish, she said, and hope to assist in years to come.           See STUDY, Page 5
New panel trying
to make WHS ‘home’ 5        Riveting actor, speakers set
New piano is music
to department’s ears 6      for awareness night on April 12
College Prep. Fair          Founder ‘Boo’ Crofton remembered
helps students focus 6
                            The community is invited to a spectacular night of
Science grant adds          presentations on teen issues on the 15th anniversary of
environment to study 7      the annual WHS Parent-Teacher Council Family
Courses showcased      7    Awareness Night (FAN), Tuesday, April 12, 6:30 p.m.,
Teachers end service 8      in the WHS auditorium. Event founder Frances Anne
Winners spotlighted 8       ―Boo‖ Crofton will be remembered for her invaluable
                            contribution to the school.          Story on Page 4                          Photo by Pat Guaglianone
NHS policy discussed 9
Art success displayed 10                                                                            Team spirit builds
Students relive past 11      Enjoy the music of the night                                           Language Arts teachers AJ
New course planned 12        at ‘Phantom’ shows March 10-12                                         Juliani (left) and Steve
Japan trip reflections 13                                                                           Mogg are making everyone
                             Go behind the scenes with the cast                                     at WHS super-fans.
PTC leaders honored, 16
                                                                   Story on Page 14
senior plans unveiled 17                                                                             See FAN-tastic, Page 6
 Wissahickon High School Parent-Teacher Council Newsletter                                                       Page 2

From the                   We need your support during high-stakes testing
principal’s desk            Dear Parents/Guardians,        As we begin the second semester, I want to thank every-
                            What a winter we seem to be    one for their support and participation. I especially wish
                          having. I don’t know about       to thank our PTC, who assist, promote and encourage
                          you, but I have just about had   our students and staff. They have provided wonderful
                          it with shoveling snow. It       opportunities for involvement and spotlight those activi-
                          may be good exercise, but I      ties that enrich and embrace students’ academic, ath-
                          can think of better ways to      letic, musical and artistic talents. To all families, please
                          tone up. I have heard that we    get involved in our school community. It’s a great way
                          may have an early spring,        to help build a school community we can take pride in.
                          and I am hoping that is true.   The next few months will see our students taking part in
      Lyn Fields          When the students indicate      several high-stakes assessments. Please assist us not
   Principal, WHS         that they would rather not
                                                          only in providing student support but encouraging our
                          have a snow day, you really     students to recognize the significance and importance of
have the sense that enough is enough.                     these assessments. In some cases, the assessments may
Speaking of snow, late starts, early dismissals and days determine passing and failing grades and others the
off, we owe a bit of thanks to our superintendent, who    level of course work and/or direction regarding sched-
must have a ―strong constitution and thick skin,‖ be-     ules or remediation needed to graduate. You, as parents,
cause these are the days that you can never please eve- can provide beneficial guidance by supporting the prem-
ryone and you hear all the complaints. On behalf of the ise that all assessments are important because they all
high school, students, staff and parents, thank you for   lend themselves toward data that becomes part of each
your effort and consistent care to do the right thing for student’s personal learning profile. Encourage students
district students. Making the correct call on these days to seek assistance, ask questions, and don’t settle for
never pleases everyone.                                   less than clear and understandable explanations about
It is my pleasure to welcome the following individuals to content and the relationship to their learning. We need
                                                          you to make sure that students are prepared to take
our staff: Sam Crofton — Math, Kristen Reilly —
                                                          these assessments by making sure they get a good
French, Desiree Kennedy — English, Jeff Cappa —
Counselor, and Amanda Schreffler — Art. We are fortu- night’s sleep and a nourishing breakfast in the morning.
nate to add these staff members to the high school team. The school will provide the optimal testing environment.
Please join me in extending a warm welcome and sup-       Please mark your calendars for all our upcoming events
port to our new staff.                                    and performances. I look forward to seeing you.

 Guidance news

 WHS welcomes counselors Jeff Cappa and Chris Plentus to new roles
 Jeff Cappa is the new WHS counselor for students          The Wissahickon School Board recently approved a
 with last names beginning with Kj through Q, replacing    new college counselor position in the WHS Guidance
 Christopher Plentus, who has accepted a new position      Department. Counselor Christopher Plentus was se-
 as the WHS college counselor.                             lected to fill the position beginning in January 2011. He
 Cappa has been teaching in the                                                      had been filling in for counselor
 district for 10 years, most recently                                                Judy Giuliano in the fall.
 at WMS. He earned a master‘s                                                        Plentus pursued both his under-
 degree in school counseling from                                                    graduate and graduate degrees at
 Gwynedd-Mercy College and                                                           Villanova University. He has a
 completed his practicum at WMS.                                                     BA degree in human services
 He said he enjoys reading, sports,                                                  and an MS in school counseling.
 theater, and any Pittsburgh sports                                                  Plentus has volunteered in Cam-
 team, and that he looks forward to                                                  bodia, South Africa and Mexico.
 working with everyone at WHS.         Jeff Cappa             Chris Plentus          (see Q&A, Page 15).
  Wissahickon High School Parent-Teacher Council Newsletter                                                      Page 3

Wissahickon students to face period of many exams in the spring
This spring, high school students will participate in sev-   Child Left Behind Act, schools must meet certain bench-
eral assessments, and Principal Lyn Fields reached out to    marks on the reading and math exams in all eligible
parents at the PTC meeting in February for their support     school subgroups (populations). WHS has not achieved
through the period. Juniors especially will be affected.     AYP for four consecutive years, according to a 2010
The upcoming exams include the standardized Keystone,        PSSA report. This puts WHS in the Correction Action 1
PSSA and DCI. Students will also have their regular          category, despite all schools scoring well above state av-
course exams, and some will be taking the SAT and Ad-        erages. Overall, 83.2 percent of WHS juniors scored ad-
vanced Placement course exams.                               vanced or proficient in reading, and 72.9 percent scored
Keystone exams                                               advanced or proficient in math, well above the state aver-
The Keystone exams are one component of Pennsyl-
vania‘s new system of high school graduation require-        The PDE is tentatively planning to replace the Grade 11
ments, according to Jennifer Schmidt, supervisor of Edu-     PSSA Math, Reading and Science in 2012-2013 with the
cation Programs, Assessment, and Accountability for the      Algebra 1, Literature, and Biology Keystones, respec-
district. They are end-of-course assessments designed to     tively, Schmidt said. PDE is still awaiting approval from
assess proficiency in the multiple subject areas and are     the U.S. Department of Education on this model. At the
scheduled to be introduced/available as follows: Algebra     high school level, until PDE is able to make the transition
I, Biology, Literature – Spring 2011; Algebra II, Geome-     from PSSA to Keystone exams, PSSA scores will be
try, English Composition – Winter 2011-2012; U.S. His-       used to determine AYP status.
tory – Spring 2013; Chemistry, World History, and Civ-       DCI exams
ics and Government – to be decided. Students in the          The DCI exams (Data Collection Instrument) are local
classes of 2015 and 2016 will need to demonstrate profi-     quarterly progress assessments (previously known as
ciency in Algebra I, Biology, Literature, and English        QPAs) that are recommended by the state and required
Composition.                                                 by the Wissahickon School Board. They are given prior
For the classes of 2017 and beyond, requirements under       to the end of the marking periods in each core course.
this option will be expanded to include the following:       Their purpose is to measure student progress toward es-
passing 2 English courses (Composition and Literature);      tablished standards in order to guide instruction by link-
passing 2 Mathematics courses (Algebra I, Algebra II, or     ing assessment to student learning.
Geometry); passing 1 Science course (Biology or Chem-        4Sight exams
istry); and passing 1 Social Studies course (Civics and
                                                             The 4Sight Exams are quarterly benchmark assessments
Government, U.S. History, or World History).
                                                             in reading and math. At WHS, they will only be adminis-
PSSA exams                                                   tered in select math classes, Schmidt said. 4Sight Exams
The Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA)          mirror the blueprint of the PSSA and help estimate stu-
is an annual exam given to Pennsylvania students in 3rd-     dent performance on the PSSA. They offer diagnostic
8th grade and to high school juniors to measure their aca-   information on Pennsylvania standards and specific skills
demic progress. The Pennsylvania Department of Educa-        to guide classroom instruction and professional develop-
tion (PDE) uses the information to determine whether a       ment efforts.
school district and each of the schools in it are making                                              Melissa Selverian
Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). Under the federal No                           PTC Newsletter Editorial Coordinator

Build up WHS! Buy an engraved brick                                        From the nurse
for placement outside school audion
Be on the lookout for information on a new Gift Bricks Fundraiser.        Please note there will be changes in im-
Grab the opportunity to ―buy a brick‖ to be custom-engraved for           munization rules in 2011-12. One change
you and placed outside of the audion. You will not only have the          with impact is that students must have
chance to honor someone affiliated with our WHS family, but you'll        two Varicella (Chicken Pox) shots or
be contributing to the beautification of the school. Contact Tamara       have had the disease. See the nurse or
Hayden for details at tamara_hayden@merck.com, and look for               WHS Web site for more information.
information to come on the PTC and WHS Web sites.                                         Lori Scott, School Nurse
  Wissahickon High School Parent-Teacher Council Newsletter                                                      Page 4

Actor, speakers to captivate families at awareness night April 12
Founder ‘Boo’ Crofton’s dream to build community comes true for 15 years
On Tuesday, April 12, at 6:30 p.m., the WHS Parent-
Teacher Council will present its 15th Annual Family            In tribute
Awareness Night in the auditorium. The program will be
renamed in memory of its founder, Frances Anne ―Boo‖
                                                               to ‘Boo’ Crofton
Crofton. A dedication ceremony will launch the event.          Longtime friends and fellow
Fifteen years ago, Boo Crofton, district parent and be-        WHS PTC members of Boo
loved and respected school board and community mem-            Crofton‘s reflected on her
ber, gifted WHS with an extraordinary event, encourag-         many contributions to Wissa-
ing families of Wissahickon teens to engage in dialogue        hickon School District, one of
about current and life-affecting issues.                       the greatest of which they con-
                                                               sidered the founding of Family
Past organizers and close friends of Boo said she had a
                                                               Awareness Night (FAN).
dream of helping teens and parents share an evening of
presentations on important topics that cultivate social        ―Boo was the heart and soul of FAN,‖ reflected
awareness and self-empowerment in a non-threatening            Cheryl Nagelberg, former FAN chair and longtime
environment. The event would foster open dialogue              friend of Boo‘s. ―Boo led her life helping others and
among parents and teens on sensitive, challenging issues.      this program did just that. She touched hundreds, if
                                                               not thousands, of lives through FAN.‖
Over the years, there have been more than 100 presenta-
tions, including personal accounts of surviving and thriv-     ―Boo Crofton identified that teenagers displayed dif-
ing after a suicide attempt, drug and alcohol abuse, and       ficulty in talking about sensitive issues they faced in
major life crises; forums on the ups and downs of social       their world,‖ added former FAN chair and longtime
networking, celebrity appearances, fitness sessions, and       friend of Boo‘s, Barb Fellin. ―FAN provided an open
everything in between. Guests, at times numbering nearly       forum for these discussions to happen in a safe, wel-
1,000 teens and their families, have laughed, cried, lis-      coming environment.‖
tened, learned and talked, thanks to Boo‘s vision.             One of the most memorable FAN moments is ―when I
Boo Crofton passed away in 2010, but in the spirit of the      witnessed a student approach a speaker who's daugh-
woman she was, her legacy of building community, en-           ter had died in a car accident due to reckless teenage
couraging social awareness and fostering communication         driving, and the student expressed that her life had
live on in this remarkable event. This year‘s FAN,             changed because of her story,‖ Nagelberg said. ―With
chaired by Karen Horn and Marggy Ells, will feature six-       tears in her eyes, she said she'd never take driving for
to-eight enthralling topics that shouldn‘t be missed by        granted again especially when she had her little sister
any high school student or parent/guardian. To further         in the car. The moment … made all the hard work
enhance Boo‘s mission of building community, the event         putting this program together worth it!‖
will launch an exciting fresh format on April 12. The          Since its inception , FAN has grown in leaps and
evening will begin with a dynamic opening program in           bounds with funding largely provided by WEOF as
the high school auditorium, where everyone will gather         well as PTC contributions, Fellin said. This expansion
to hear a keynote speaker. Following the inspiring pres-       has brought FAN to a much larger audience.
entation, families will have the opportunity to attend as
many as two additional smaller presentations.                ―Wissahickon Cooks,‖ visual literacy — understanding
Tolerance, self-empowerment talk planned                     how to see the world through pop culture, personal tri-
This year FAN organizers will present an impressive,         umph of living with gratitude and hope as a 19-year-old
interactive and entertaining speaker — actor Dr. Michael     paraplegic, and Zumba – the energetic and fun exercise
Fowlin. Dr. Fowlin will address the challenging issues of    craze led by WHS teacher Amy Hawe. State. Rep. Mike
tolerance, self-empowerment and acceptance in a way          Gerber will speak on the value of civic engagement.
that will speak to the heart of everyone in his newest       The event is presented by the Wissahickon High School
creation, ―I‘m Not the Enemy.‖ After the opening ses-        Parent-Teacher Council and underwritten by the Wissa-
sion, guests will choose from such topics as the dangers     hickon Educational Opportunities Foundation (WEOF).
of driving impaired, presented by Assistant District At-     Funding from Drug Free Schools also was provided.
torney Brad Richman; living with depression, a live, in-                            Lauren Weinberg, Terri Hutsell
teractive cooking demonstration and live taping of                         PTC Family Awareness Night Committee
  Wissahickon High School Parent-Teacher Council Newsletter                                                       Page 5

  National field hockey star Katie O’Donnell returns to ‘her high school’
                                 In an historic moment for     Fields organized the event, which began with a press
                                 WHS, the school commu-        conference near the audion and ended with presenta-
                                 nity proudly welcomed         tions in the dome gym between the girls‘ and boys‘
                                 field hockey star and         basketball games. Jess Scannapieco, a former WHS
                                 WHS alumna Katie              field hockey player and reporter, interviewed O‘Don-
                                 O‘Donnell of the Class of     nell at the press conference. The WHS brass quartet,
                                 2007 back home on Janu-       Camarata, Cheer Squad led by captain Julie Delconte,
                                 ary 14 for a celebration in   the captains of all WHS sports teams, former WHS
                                 her honor during which        field hockey coach Lucy Gil and many former WHS
  her WHS #16 field hockey jersey was retired and Stu-         field hockey players, friends and fans cheered for
  dent Council gifted her with a Banner of Honor.              O‘Donnell and her family at the dome gym gathering.
  WSD and other public officials attended the celebra-         Activities Director Tom Meier introduced Jacqueline
  tion, at which O‘Donnell received multiple proclama-         Coupe, WHS senior and current field hockey player,
  tions and gifts in recognition of her outstanding            who is the last person to wear the #16 jersey also worn
  achievements as a national sports star.                      by O‘Donnell during her years at WHS. Coupe pre-
  O‘Donnell has never forgotten her roots, said Principal      sented O‘Donnell with a bouquet of flowers. Assistant
  Lyn Fields, frequently calling WHS her ―high school‖         principals Tom Andrzejewski and Tom Speakman then
  in interviews as she has received remarkable accolades       presented O‘Donnell with the Suburban I plaque. PTC
  including NCAA champion at the University of Mary-           Co-Presidents Toni Reed and Terri Hutsell announced
  land, Honda Award winner, Sportswoman of the Year,           the establishment of the Katie O‘Donnell Scholarship
  U.S. National Field Hockey Team Member and poten-            Fund, which will award a graduating senior who em-
  tial U.S. Olympic Team Member. During the program,           bodies a competitive spirit and academic and athletic
  O‘Donnell credited Fields for recognizing her ―gifts         leadership similar to O‘Donnell‘s.
  within‖ as a young student at Blue Bell Elementary                                                      Terri Hutsell
  School, where Fields was once principal.                                         PTC Newsletter Editorial Advisor

Study hall music a hit                                                            WHS becoming ‘home’
Continued from Page 1                                                             An initiatives committee is finding
                                                                                  ways to transform WHS ―from a
Student Council provided the admini-
                                                                                  place, to a space, to a home.‖
stration with a written proposal for the
music player plan after getting an 88%                                            Three years ago, WSD administrators
approval rating in a survey of staff and                                          and teachers discussed ideas for new
students, according to a WHS report.                                              district-wide initiatives. Encouraged,
The student proposal asserted                                                     WHS representatives created a similar
                                                       Photo by Pat Guaglianone group representing all departments to
that ―technology ... has become very
                                         BENNETT Kelberman (from left), Tyler     identify positive WHS practices and
much a part of a student‘s life.‖
                                         Leard and Jason Chung study to music.    areas for improvement.
Podcasts, including SAT preparation
tutorials and lectures, can now be made available to stu- The committee began by examining research-based best
dents, the WHS report said. Parents are asked to help        practices, interviewing teachers and administrators from
make additional appropriate free resources available.        area school districts. Members discovered empowering
                                                             ideas to foster personal excellence, intellectual curiosity
WHS is not liable for lost or stolen personal players and
                                                             and responsible citizenship. They voted to adopt the
prohibits cheating on tests, plagiarism, infringing on
                                                             phrase, ―We Believe,‖ as a guiding motto in 2010-2011.
copyright, intercepting communication, and cyber bully-
ing through use of the devices, according to the report.     Some new initiatives include technology-friendly zones,
                                                             where students can practice responsible use of technology
No phone use in school, while driving on grounds
                                                             devices (music players in study halls is an example of
Students are not permitted to use cell phones during         this). Also proposed is the creation of an honor code sys-
school hours or while driving on school grounds, ac-         tem for the educational community.
cording to a district report.            Margie Brindell
                                                                                                          Jim Shoemaker
                                  PTC Newsletter Writer                                          Social Studies Teacher
  Wissahickon High School Parent-Teacher Council Newsletter                                                            Page 6

WEOF gives WHS a grand gift —
a baby Steinway to use in concerts
AN EXUBERANT WHS Music Department Chair John Conahan ap-
plauded the Wissahickon Educational Opportunities Foundation
(WEOF) recently for a grant that made possible the purchase of a
Steinway baby grand piano. ―This act of kindness is going to posi-
tively impact so many children by providing the quality instrument that
they need during their performances as well as make a professional-
grade instrument tangible to them,‖ he said. Students gathered
around the piano are David Hooper (playing), Tom Cover (clockwise
from left), Matthew Mitlas, Kyla Sauber, Anil Chitrapu, Summer Be-
nowitz, Carolyn Becker, Chloe Rabinowitz, Monica Cole, Alex Wolfe,
Marissa Dow, Daniela Carchedi, Paige Davis and Jennifer Lawrence.

FAN-tastic new club cheers on all WHS teams, from sports to activities
Continued from Page 1                                            Mogg‘s classroom. Subsequent meetings had to be
Juliani and Mogg were drawn to school spirit in high             moved to the auditorium to accommodate the crowd.
school and believed that WHS students needed to show             In addition to traditional officers, the FANS club has
more appreciation for activities beyond football and bas-        eight heads of ―FANilies‖ who assign members to
ketball. They collaborated to develop a plan to support          ―FANdatory‖ events. FANS were in regular attendance at
school sports and non-athletic events. Principal Lyn             football games and supported soccer, field hockey and
Fields presented their proposal to the school board and          water polo. They decorated golf team lockers and partici-
won approval in record time. The newest student club,            pated in the Wing Bowl and the Katie O‘Donnell jersey
Following Activities ‘N Sports (FANS), was born.                 retirement ceremony. They will support the musical and
Juliani designed the club‘s shirt using the Superman-            spring sports.
themed logo to connote Superfans and choosing the yel-           Juliani asks parents to please be patient if they have not
low background to distinguish FANS club members                  seen FANS at their son‘s or daughter‘s school activity.
among spectators. FANS attend events to show support             ―FANS is a young, growing club that is constantly
actively. They want to be the ―sixth man,‖ Juliani said.         changing shape depending on needs,‖ he said.
The FANS club advisers were surprised at the level of                                                       Pat Guaglianone
student interest. The first meeting drew five students to                                           PTC Newsletter Writer

College Prep. Fair offers wealth of information to students, families
                                                                                                              Photos by
                                                                                                   Christopher Selverian
                                                                                                       Melissa Selverian

STUDENTS and families got a crash course on the college application process at the WHS PTC College Preparation Fair at
the school on November 16, 2010. Speaker Dan Yannuzzi of Arcadia University (top center photo, right) offered financial ad-
vice, as Amy Sauber (bottom right) guided on essay-writing, and John Christianson (top right) gave tips on SAT-taking. Many
other companies showcased tutoring, test-preparation and volunteer opportunities for teens (see College Resource Guide at
www.whsptc.org under PTC College Preparation Fair). Committee members Pallavi Chitturi (top, from left), Melissa Selverian,
Margie Brindell, chair; Linda Barth and Margarita Orticochea enjoyed support from WHS Principal Lyn Fields, Assistant Princi-
pal Tom Andrzejewski (bottom, from left) and Guidance Counselor Rachel Reavy. The fair is presented annually in the fall.
  Wissahickon High School Parent-Teacher Council Newsletter                                                            Page 7

$20,000 grant helps
add environmental
component to
science curricula
Dow Chemical has awarded the
WHS Science Department a
$20,000 grant to support watershed
education. The grant will support
an environmental education com-
ponent to the ninth-11th grade sci-
ence curricula.
Grant writers, teachers Christine
Brant and Anne McDonough, said
they were very excited to receive
the grant and will purchase equip-
ment for students to evaluate local      Students steal the show on ‗Heeere‘s Tony‘
water quality.
                                         comedic performance at Ambler playhouse
Working in partnership with the
                                         WHS DEBATE TEAM Advisor Anne French (second from left) takes the spotlight
Wissahickon Valley Watershed             with students John Matus (center, from left), Phoebe Chen and James Coulson
Association (WVWA), ninth grade          and local celebrities Tony Braithwaite (left) and Howie Brown (right) after appear-
students will do field work at the       ing to a full house in the ― Heeere‘s Tony‖ show at the Act II Playhouse in Ambler
watershed each spring. Tenth and         recently. The debate team members starred in a comedic Johnny-Carson style
11th grade students will do work         interview, in which they had to take sides on an issue. They then had to take on
                                         Braithwaite in a debate about ―generation text‖ — whether this generation‘s social
on water samples collected by the        skills are impeded by a reliance on electronic devices to communicate. ―The goal
ninth-graders.                           [was] to show off the amazing intellect of our students and laugh a lot,‖ French
This year, the department will run a     said. That‘s just what happened, she said. ―The kids were fantastic – smart and
pilot program. In following years,       funny… What a great experience! I was laughing so hard I was crying.‖
all science students in grades 9-11
will participate in the Wissahickon    Program of Studies Night showcases courses
Watershed Project.
                                       PARENTS MEET FACULTY to learn about subjects they teach at the Program of
The goal of the grant is to            Studies Night at WHS on January 13. The evening included faculty and staff
strengthen the environmental cur-      presentations in the auditorium and a new course fair-style forum in the lower
riculum to support the district‘s      cafeteria. At a later date, students were to make course selections for the 2011-12
                                       year on school computers and then to meet with their counselors to review them. Next
vision for students who are compe-
                                       year‘s Program of Studies book is to include descriptions of clubs. Two new courses
tent thinkers, effective collabora-    are planned: an AP 11th grade English class and a science forensics elective.
tors, and communicators, who con-
tribute to the health, welfare, and
prosperity of the community
through a better understanding of
watershed resources.
―We wanted to have an authentic
field experience for students that
would require them to apply the
knowledge from the classroom to a
local environmental issue. Working
in partnership with WVWA pro-
vides our students with a unique
experience, collecting and sharing
data in a meaningful and authentic                                                                 Photo by Melissa Selverian
manner,‖ McDonough said.
  Wissahickon High School Parent-Teacher Council Newsletter                                                                 Page 8

WHS teachers High, Hunter and Sabia retire after years of service
BIDDING FAREWELL to WHS after many years of dedicated service,
early-learning teacher Candy High (left), art teacher Steve Hunter (top)
and math teacher Warren Sabia retired this school year. In a show of
appreciation at a recent reception, Child Development student Rebecca
Walter presented Candy High with a prayer blanket, which Walter is
making as part of her senior project. Students taking child development
and parenting courses have the opportunity to get hands on experience
with 3-to-5-year-old students in the Wissahickon Early Learning Lab
preschool program at WHS. Many WHS students and alumni who had
their start in High‘s classes wished her well. Also retired after many years
at WHS is art teacher Steve Hunter, who worked in WSD for 35 years.
Since 1985, he taught Ceramics and 3D Expressions. Hunter served for
many years as assistant drama/musical director and junior class advisor.
He mentored students interested in pursuing college art degrees. In his
retirement, he will continue to produce his own pottery pieces for show
and sale and participate in the Kutztown (PA) Folk Festival. Retired from
teaching in the district after 44 years is math teacher Warren Sabia.
Sabia was active in the teachers‘ union at both the local and state levels.
He plans to spend his free time with his family, including his identical
twin, who also taught math at Wissahickon, and a new grandchild. The                      Photo by Kim Yavorski
PTC thanks the teachers and wishes them well.

Wissahickon Winners grows stronger with ‘We Believe’ statements
Wissahickon Winners, the PTC-               also send a digital photo of the win-        Honored students will join families,
launched student-recognition pro-           ner to Liz Cammarota at liz-                 faculty and staff at a festive reception
gram, is building Trojan Pride              camm@verizon.net.                            on June 2 ―to celebrate their unique
stronger than ever this year through        Photos/stories will be presented on          contributions that make WHS an out-
the joint support of the parents, stu-      WHS and WSD TV broadcasts and                standing community,‖ Sauber said.
dents, administration and faculty.          Web sites, on slideshows and bulletin                                   Amy Sauber
Sharing the goal of applauding the          boards, and in printed journals.                     Wissahickon Winners Chair
many achievements at WHS, Princi-
pal Lyn Fields has infused energy in
the program with her weekly ―We
Believe‖ statements honoring stu-
dents, faculty and staff, Wissahickon
Winners Chair Amy Sauber said.
Sauber asked parents, students, fac-
ulty, staff, coaches, club leaders, and
guidance counselors to submit stories
and photos so that every Winner is
recognized. Multiple submissions are
welcome, she said. Accomplishments
may be large or small and related to
everything from academics, clubs and                                                                   Photo by Melissa Selverian
sports to community service, hobbies,
talents and overcoming obstacles in
or out of WHS.
                                              Students‘ newsletter work is a labor of love
                                               PUBLICATION OF THE WHS PTC NEWSLETTER would not be possible with-
To submit a Wissahickon Winners                out the invaluable, generous and talented assistance of the students of the
nomination, go to www.whsptc.org               Montgomery County Intermediate Unit Life Skills Support class. Students and
and click on the Wissahickon Win-              staff who graciously seal and label 1,500 issues three-to-four times a year in-
ners tab. The online submission for-           clude Jackie (seated, from left), Jasmine, Vio, Nick (first row, from left), Dylan,
                                               Bethany, Kyle, Mickala, Abraham, Bum Seok, teacher Kathy Deegan (back,
mat is a simple Google Docs form. A            from left), student helper Matalia Bundy, teaching assistant Yvonne McDaniel,
paper copy of the form is also avail-          teacher Pam Preston, and teaching assistant Joanne Buchanan.
able in the Guidance Office. Please
  Wissahickon High School Parent-Teacher Council Newsletter                                                         Page 9

National Honor Society admission criteria discussed at PTC meeting
Admission requirements and proce-        There was some discussion over the        leadership, all teachers vote sepa-
dures of the WHS National Honor          rationale behind using an unweighted      rately for each student, according to
Society (NHS) were addressed at a        GPA rather than a weighted GPA as         the NHS document on the Web. The
Parent-Teacher Council meeting at        an admission criterion, which the         votes are tabulated, and an NHS com-
WHS on February 17. NHS advisors         teachers agreed to investigate further.   mittee made up of five teachers meets
Christine Brandt and Anne                Wissahickon‘s 3.5 unweighted stan-        to interpret the vote. To meet the
McDonough offered an overview of         dard is above the national standard,      character/leadership requirements,
the process and indicated that a com-    the teachers said. WHS may assign         students may not have received a no
mittee is reviewing it and may pro-      any GPA standard at or above the          vote; juniors must have had yes votes
pose some changes.                       national criterion.                       from at least 10 teachers and seniors
                                         A suggestion was made to communi-         from 14 teachers; students must have
The WHS NHS is an organization
                                         cate the NHS admission criteria to        at least 90 percent of the teachers vot-
that rewards juniors and seniors who
                                         students in freshman year so that they    ing yes for him/her; and students
meet the qualifications of scholar-
                                         know what is expected of them in          must not be flagged with serious dis-
ship, service, leadership and charac-
                                         advance of NHS consideration.             cipline/attendance issues.
ter. WHS students must have an un-
weighted 3.5 GPA at the end of           Another proposal was for a student to     A letter is mailed home informing
sophomore or junior year to be con-      select a teacher to advocate for him/     students whether or not they have
sidered. Other tabulations are made      her in the nomination process.            been elected to NHS, the document
for service, leadership and character                                              said. While the document said that
                                         There was some discussion over how        students who are not elected may
(see NHS under Activities on the         calculations are made in areas of ser-
WHS Web site for details).                                                         meet with the principal to review ar-
                                         vice, leadership and character. The       eas of possible improvement, it also
Parents asked several questions at the   teachers indicated that points are as-    said that there is no appeal process
meeting, namely revolving around         signed in faculty reviews (see NHS
                                                                                   and that decisions are final.
the WHS GPA assignment, the means        under Activities on WHS Web site).
                                         Service outside of WHS can appar-         There is a formal WHS NHS induc-
of identifying students for considera-
tion, the method of calculating crite-   ently count as points, but the faculty    tion ceremony each year in the fall.
ria, and the communication of criteria   would need to be aware of it.                                 Melissa Selverian
to students before nominations.          In considerations of character and        PTC Newsletter Editorial Coordinator

  NHS students reach out with warm meals, tutoring, environmental help
  While we break our backs shoveling our driveways this winter, springtime may be the last thing on our minds.
  Not so with the Wissahickon Chapter of National Honor Society! As Jack Frost chomps at our noses, National
  Honor Society (NHS) members are starting their spring service activities.
  On those cold days we all know too well, there’s nothing better than a warm meal and a good book. For the less
  fortunate in our area, NHS has both covered. Working with the hunger-fighting organizations Meals on Wheels
  and Manna on Main Street, NHS members are cooking and delivering meals to those in need. Members also
  head to the Wissahickon Valley Library in Blue Bell to keep reading alive and book-lending smooth and painless.
  NHS members keep things smooth and painless at school too. The ongoing STARS tutor program pairs student-
  tutors with their classmates, curing all sorts of homework woes. When not tutoring, these honorable teenagers
  work with Wiss’s Horticulture Club to promote trashless lunches. The trashless initiative is in place throughout
  the district and with help from NHS, Wiss’s blue and gold will become a great new shade of green.
  Outside of Wissahickon, NHS is heading outdoors for its next service activity. This March, society members will
  suit up in their track gear for the second Annual Philadelphia Walk for Water. The walk will raise money to build
  a pipeline for clean water to a village in Kenya. From helping out in the school community to overseas, the NHS’
  philanthropy is international!                                                                     Michael Chen
                                                                                 National Honor Society President
  Wissahickon High School Parent-Teacher Council Newsletter                                                       Page 10

Inside the classroom

Art Department chair paints dazzling picture of student, faculty success
The Art Department has enjoyed an
eventful year, beginning with the ex-
citing addition of Lyn Fields and
Tom Andrzejeski to the administra-
tive team, Art Department Chair
David Miller reflected. Their support
and recognition of the Art Depart-
ment‘s contribution to WHS culture
is much appreciated, he said, adding:
―The first day brought an experience
that fired up the student body, and we
haven‘t looked back since.‖
In October, teachers Ian Williams and
David Miller were guest bloggers for
the prestigious New York City blog,
―From Studio to Classroom: Teach-
ing with themes, practices and con-
cerns of contemporary art/design.‖        STUDENTS work on a new art cart, which is intended to help spread a culture of
Miller also congratulated Williams        creativity throughout WHS. The cart was funded by a mini-grant from the WHS PTC.
for finishing his thesis research and
                                         ―Artimus Prime‖ (an art cart), he         WSD. Hunter taught ―a daunting
earning a master‘s degree in Art Edu-
                                         said, adding: ― ‗Artimus Prime‘ is so     number of students in our commu-
cation in August, Miller said: ―Our
                                         much more than an art cart. It is a       nity,‖ according to Miller, many of
students are the direct beneficiaries.‖
                                         creativity infusion device poised and     whom are parents of current students
Fall always brings the National Port- ready to inculcate any school lesson         and faculty members themselves.
folio Day to Philadelphia, and the       with limitless excitement and lasting     ―Words cannot express Hunter‘s con-
WHS Art Department continues to          memories.‖ Teachers may check it          tribution or the feeling of gratitude
benefit from a reputation that attracts out for use, and Art Department            and appreciation the WSD family
numerous college of art admissions       members will assist them in planning      feels for him. WHS wishes him the
representatives eager to add WHS‘        ―cool stuff to augment lessons,‖ he       very best as he enters a relaxing
promising young artists to their stu- said. So far, it has assisted teacher        chapter of his life,‖ Miller reflected.
dent bodies, Miller said.                Kara Johnston‘s gifted students and
                                                                                   The Art Department also welcomed
He said that WHS is fortunate to be      teacher Pam Preston‘s Life Skills stu-    teachers Lisa Tinneny and Amanda
in the position to host a number of      dents. The Art Department would like      Schreffler this school year. Tinneny
college recruitment presentations so to express ―its boundless gratitude to        teaches photography and, this spring,
students can make informed choices the PTC for its support,‖ Miller said.          computer graphics. Schreffler re-
regarding their selections for higher Miller said he is proud to announce          cently joined WHS for the spring se-
education: ―When colleges compete that ―The Photographers Forum                    mester and is teaching photography.
for our students, it can often result in Magazine‖ selected portfolio student      ―Welcome aboard!‖ Miller said.
greater financial opportunities for our Scott Dickinson as a finalist out of       In 2011, the Art Department is re-
deserving college applicants.‖           nearly 14,000 entries. His photo will     minded of the appreciation and pride
The Art Department goals this year       be published in the magazine and in a     felt for ―its wonderful students, dedi-
include efforts to share the culture of separate publication of top college        cated faculty, supportive parents and
creativity at WHS beyond the annual photographers of 2011. ―You make               outstanding administration,‖ Miller
WSD Art Show, Miller said. This          WHS very proud!‖ Miller said.             said. He encouraged the community
goal generated an idea that was          The fall semester also brought about      to attend the 24th annual WSD Art
―generously supported by a wonder- a very significant teacher retirement,          Show on May 25 and 26 in the WHS
ful PTC grant,‖ he said. This newslet- Miller said. Teacher Steve Hunter           Circle Gym.               David Miller
ter marks the official unveiling of      retired after 35 years of service to                     Art Department Chair
  Wissahickon High School Parent-Teacher Council Newsletter                                                           Page 11

Costumes, videos, debates bring history to life in the classroom

SOCIAL STUDIES STUDENTS wear AP American History on their sleeves, as they examine both British and American uni-
forms from the American Revolution up close and personal. Dressed in period attire are Dan Center (clockwise from left),
David Kim, Alexandra Knowles, Chan Jeon, Shelleah Jackson, James Decker, Peter Walters, Josh Lee, Brennan Weiss, Ja-
son Lee, Randy Schaible and Aidan Welsh. Students explored the role military attire had on the battlefield and how 18 th Cen-
tury weapon technology influenced the military strategy of the day.

Social Studies ‗detectives‘ uncover clues to past through authentic learning
The Wissahickon Social Studies Department strives to            they are studying the impact the war had on people‘s eve-
bring history to life by encouraging students to take on        ryday lives.
the role of historians and interact with content in authen-     Meanwhile, teacher Charles Etter‘s 12th grade Current
tic, meaningful ways, Social Studies Department Chair           Issues classes created their own political parties, selected
Tim Smyth said.                                                 presidential candidates, and made their own promotional
Students are drawing closer to past events by dressing in       videos to post on YouTube. Candidates announced their
historic garb, re-enacting issues, creating videos, giving      party platforms and made speeches. Debates were fol-
speeches, and engaging in debates and elections.                lowed by elections. One Current Issues class engaged in
                                                                a videoconference with a resident of Ireland to discuss
Teachers of Social Studies have eternally struggled to          Ireland‘s recent economic problems and political turmoil.
best help students wade through an inexhaustible amount
of historical information, Smyth said. It is true that the      Students in Anne Bongiovanni‘s ninth grade history
study of history requires an in-depth understanding of          classes are also collecting data in meaningful ways, con-
events, their causes, and later effects, he added, however,     ducting research for their final papers and debating is-
historical inquiry (and historiography) is rooted in engag-     sues.
ing research, analysis, and debate. Just as detectives ex-      The students have the liberty to choose any topic that in-
amine all the clues of a case, historians examine much          terests them but pertains to European History, Smyth
qualitative and quantitative information to develop the         said. They are investigating unique topics that range from
clearest interpretation of historical happenings, he said.      the leadership of Napoleon to the policies of the Cold
                                                                War. Students are working hard to find reliable sources
Students in Modern American History are getting closer
to the clues of the past as they study World War II. Not        and also to organize their thoughts.
only are they paying particular attention to military de-                                                     Tim Smyth
velopments in both the Pacific and European theaters, but                                Social Studies Department Chair
  Wissahickon High School Parent-Teacher Council Newsletter                                                       Page 12

Inside the classroom

New 11th grade AP language, composition course set for 2011-12
English class to focus on art of expository, analytical, argumentative writing
The WHS English Department is pleased to offer for the        Starting with the 9th grade core courses, the English De-
2011-2012 school year a new Advanced Placement (AP)           partment has mapped out a four-year scope and sequence
course, English Department Chair Ryan Perlman said.           of skills that provides for a gradual introduction of new
The 11th grade AP English Language and Composition            concepts while reinforcing those previously learned.
course is designed to teach students the art of expository,   Depending on the amount of time and emphasis given to
analytical, and argumentative writing.                        a particular area, FCAs are weighted differently for a stu-
The goal of the class is to teach students to recognize the   dent‘s final writing grade.
rhetorical strategies employed in a variety of prose and to   ―The Collins Writing Program has become a critical
use these strategies to become more skilled writers.          component of University of Pennsylvania‘s Penn Liter-
Students will learn to read from a writer‘s perspective       acy Program, and the WHS English Department has
and will learn to write from a reader‘s perspective.          worked hard to make this program meet the needs of our
                                                              students and curriculum,‖ Perlman said, adding:
Reading selections, most of which will be non-fiction,
will span many historical periods from a variety of disci-    ―We are proud to say that this program has yielded excel-
plines, Perlman said.                                         lent results and continues to cultivate good teaching from
                                                              our teachers and good writing from our students.‖
English Language and Composition will help students
develop the skills necessary to synthesize and evaluate                                                    Ryan Perlman
information from a variety of sources and to communi-                                         English Department Chair
cate their knowledge ―with fluid and engaging writing
techniques, steering students away from formulaic writ-
ing such as the five-paragraph essay,‖ Perlman said
As with all of the AP courses at the high school, students
will be required to take the AP exam, according to
Perlman. The 11thgrade English requirement will be met
by this course.
New writing program
For the last few years, teachers across the high school
English Department have used a common approach to
teaching writing, Perlman said.
This approach is based on The Collins Writing Program,
a research-based model that believes good writing stems
from experience and practice and from the ability to gen-
erate new ideas while evaluating existing ones.
The Collins Program considers different types of writing
for different purposes — from writing to capture ideas to
writing for publication. An integral part of this approach
to teaching writing is the use of Focus Correction Areas       WHS PTC mini-grants program
(FCA), according to Perlman.
These FCAs systematically allow students and teachers
                                                               funds nanotechnology science lab
to pinpoint key writing skills within a given assignment,      STUDENTS in teacher Chris Brandt‘s chemistry class con-
thus honing a particular aspect of the writing craft, he       duct lab with common products that contain nano-particles.
                                                               Janki Patel (from left), Kangsan Kim, and Kim Ho compare
said. By focusing on only a few areas of writing at a          Kinetic Go Green storage containers containing nano-silver
time, teachers can introduce new concepts in a more se-        with Tupperware to see if the nano-surface keeps vegetables
lective manner while holding students more accountable         fresher longer. This lab was made possible by a PTC mini-
for their mastery of these concepts.                           grant awarded for the 2010-11 school year.
  Wissahickon High School Parent-Teacher Council Newsletter                                                      Page 13

WHS HIROSHIMA GROUP members Robin Harvey (left photo, front row, from left), Krista Harvey, Jocelyn Bowman, Abbie
Bower, Max Banninger (second row, from left), Jessica Powell-Cohen, Katie Chubbuck, Brandon Grant (back row, from left),
Jake Schultz, Ryan Flamberg, John Burton and Amie Valencia gather with host families. Meanwhile, WHS Tokyo group mem-
bers Lian Lenihan (right photo, from left), Mary Chen, Andrew Schwartz, Bennett Kelberman, Jess Chernak, Shannon Henry,
James Harley enjoy a walk in their newly adopted city.

Wissahickon students bridge east and west in summer trip to Japan
 On July 9, 2010, 19 Japanese lan-        eled around Tokyo with the group.        with a student from Funairi High
guage students traveled to Japan, ac-     The younger students stayed in To-       School.
companied by teacher (sensei) Robin       kyo with Holly Vergara. They were        The first one and a half days of
Harvey, Krista Harvey and Holly           hosted by a junior high school in        school was canceled due to torrential
Vergara, a former student teacher.        eastern Tokyo. Each Wissahickon          rain. When school resumed, the entire
The group spent the first few days in     student stayed in the home of a junior   student body participated in a volley-
the Tokyo Olympic Village and             high school student. The group vis-      ball tournament. The Wissahickon
toured sites in Tokyo that the students   ited the junior high and an elementary   students toured the Peace Park and
had chosen ahead of time.                 school and participated in various       the Peace Memorial Museum.
While in Tokyo, they were reunited        community activities.                    After the home stay, both groups
with Ayami Nakatani, a former Wis-        Everywhere they went, they were          boarded the bullet train and met up
sahickon student, and Kana Muto, a        treated like celebrities and asked for   with each other in Kyoto where they
former exchange student to Wissa-         their autographs, Robin Harvey said.     stayed in a hotel for a few days and
hickon. They also met Yuka Kato,          The upperclassmen took the bullet        toured many temples in the historic
who is an exchange student at the         train to Hiroshima with Robin and        city.                   Robin Harvey
high school. The three of them trav-      Krista Harvey. Each student stayed                           Japanese Teacher

Volleyball tournament March 9 to benefit senior project charity
The Physical Education Department is hosting a volley-       donation is $30 per team, Hawe said. It is a double elimi-
ball tournament on Wednesday, March 9, from 7-10 p.m.        nation tournament along with prizes, food, and physical
in the Circle Gym. The tournament is in collaboration        education class extra credit. A $2 donation is collected at
with a senior project organized by Hope Daniel, Holly        the door in exchange for a Make a Wish wrist bracelet.
Moffet, Gabby Fischetti and Ashley Griffith. Proceeds
                                                             ―Students can sign up to play or come watch and support
will be go to the girls‘ project Make A Wish Foundation.
                                                             their friends for a very good cause,‖ Hawe said. ―Please
The Physical Education Department Volleyball Tourna-         support the Make A Wish Foundation.‖
ment has raised money for causes such as Greg Smith‘s
Ibot chair, The American Cancer Foundation and Drunk         The Make-A-Wish Foundation helps children with life-
Driving Student Prevention Program ―Save a Life Tour,‖       threatening medical conditions through its wish-granting
Physical Education Chair Amy Hawe said.                      work that extends to families, referral sources, donors,
                                                             sponsors and communities.                     Amy Hawe
To participate in the volleyball tournament, co-ed teams
                                                                             Physical Education Department Chair
of eight sign up with a physical education teacher. The
  Wissahickon High School Parent-Teacher Council Newsletter                                                       Page 14

‘Phantom of Opera‘ premiere will be bold from movement to props, cast says
WHS among first high schools to perform world-renowned musical March 10, 11, 12
WHS is about to offer its students, parents and commu-
nity a truly unique theatre experience. At 7 p.m., March
10, the auditorium doors will open for the school’s pre-
mier production of ―The Phantom of the Opera.‖ This is
the first year this world-renowned musical became avail-
able for production by anyone except professional thea-
tre companies.
 ―We were thrilled to take on this challenge,‖ said WHS
Director of Choral and Musical Theatre John Conahan.
―My directing team and I are very committed to produc-
ing contemporary theatre pieces – especially works that
are newly available to the public for performance.‖
Working on the directing team with Conahan are two
other WSD teachers: Ian Williams, WHS art teacher; and
Jill Moyer, WMS music teacher. There are three other
instructors on the team: Steven Hunter, recently retired
from the Art Department; Joe Cicala, choreographer;
and retired WHS teacher Charlie McClelland.
―It’s a running joke with each cast that the directors will
always pick the most challenging, out-of-the-box show
each year,‖ said WHS senior Daniela Carchedi, who has             ‘The musical calls upon students from
been acting for seven years and is student head of the            many departments to come together...
dance corps. ―When I ... found out we were going to per-          toward a common goal.’ John Conahan
form ―The Phantom of the Opera,‖ I was honestly
scared. I really did not think it was doable for a high         experience. The musical calls upon students from many
school cast. The music is incredibly difficult, the props       departments to come together... toward a common goal.‖
are over the top, and the dancing needs to be profes-           As an example of the school coming together to help with
sional. Though, as we began rehearsals I was surprised          this grand production, Conahan pointed out that the
how quickly things fell into place and how amazing the          WHS Robotics team provided assistance with some of the
show became.‖                                                   stage spectacles. He wouldn’t be more specific for fear of
Some 90 students are involved in the company – 35 cast,         ruining some of the surprise of the show. Additionally,
25 crew and 30 pit orchestra instrumentalists. And as           the school board and school district invested in a new
Daniela indicated, the production is no simple feat.            sound system for the high school auditorium, and the mu-
                                                                sical will showcase that investment. Some 20 parents
The musical reflects ―the Grand Opera tradition,‖
                                                                also volunteered their time and talent, helping with meals
Conahan said. ―Everything is big – the singing is more
complicated... costuming demands are enormous, and the          and providing transportation to and from practices.
dances incorporate more physical demands than usual.‖           ―If I had one word to describe this experience it would
                                                                be bold,‖ said Marissa Dow, a WHS senior who is part
Under the tutelage of Conahan, the students are certainly
                                                                of the musical’s dance corps. ―Everything we do from
in expert hands. He received both undergraduate and
                                                                movements to attitudes on stage and with each other has
graduate training in vocal performance and directed and
                                                                to be bold. We learn to be bold … strong people, and the
accompanied musicals at professional theatres, colleges
                                                                challenges and tasks we take on are certainly bold and
and high schools for a number of years locally, in Phila-
                                                                new. Boldness as a whole is at the core of what we do.‖
delphia and in New York. His passion about producing
―The Phantom of the Opera‖ is contagious.                       The production sounds like something to behold. Go see
―This show is one that I was personally very attached to        for yourself. Shows are in the WHS auditorium at 7 p.m.
when I was younger and have grown up singing and                Thursday, March 10; and 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 11;
playing,‖ he said. ―To have the opportunity to produce          and Saturday, March 12.                Gwendolyn Fisher
this show in its entirety is a deeply exciting and fulfilling                            PTC Newsletter Features Writer
  Wissahickon High School Parent-Teacher Council Newsletter                                                        Page 15

Question and Answer

New college counselor dedicates self to students‘ post-secondary path
When the School Board approved a college counselor
position for WHS, the school joined the ranks of pre-
eminent secondary schools. Guidance Counselor Chris
Plentus was selected to fill the position in January 2011.
We met with Chris in just his third week on the job to
ask about his goals, objectives and responsibilities.
How would you describe the role of college counselor?
CP: We are excited to have this position to address more
in-depth topics such as how to look for a college and how
to apply for financial aid. We want to give parents and
students confidence about the college process. I am here
to reassure parents and students, to alleviate qualms, and                                         Photo by Pat Guaglianone
to provide as many resources as possible.                       COLLEGE Counselor Chris Plentus (second from left) stands by
Have you developed goals/objectives for this position?          seniors Sam Lee (from left), John Matus and Kimberley Musey.

CP: One goal is to forge relationships with colleges and        conclusion. As parents may already know, guidance les-
universities. A relationship with me as a single point of       sons are delivered in all grades through the classroom
contact for WHS will open lines of communication. For           setting. My plan is to get to groups of students with col-
example, if an admissions counselor has a question about        lege search/planning information through this same de-
a WHS applicant, I would want him/her to feel comfort-          livery method, perhaps starting with juniors this spring.
able calling me. Such relationships will enable me to ad-       Will you be traveling to colleges and universities in your
vocate for students seeking admission. We also plan to          effort to develop relationships with Wissahickon?
continue WHS programs offered to parents and students           CP: Yes, I will be visiting campuses in order to forge re-
but to provide more in-depth resources. For example, I          lationships and to get to know a school’s personality and
have revamped the upcoming College Planning Night               nuances in a way that you can’t from a Web site.
presentation so that parents new to the process and ex-
perienced parents have the same baseline. We are excited        Do you have any specific schools you will be targeting?
                                                                CP: My initial visits will be based on volume -- the col-
to introduce, hopefully by late spring, a software pro-
                                                                leges and universities to which the majority of Wissa-
gram called Naviance, an in-depth college search Inter-
                                                                hickon students apply. That list includes state schools,
net-based program (like Sapphire) that provides objec-
tive data about colleges but also allows student data in-       schools in the Philadelphia region and the Lehigh Valley.
put such as SAT/ACT scores, GPA and activities. This            By what grade will you introduce yourself to students?
will better help customize the college search by providing      CP: I am open to meeting with students and parents of
anonymous data from past WHS seniors to see how WHS             any grade. Some students are accelerated and are inter-
students have fared at different schools. We are inputting      ested in the college process at a younger age. College
data from WHS students.                                         planning information will be available to those who want
How will you help students find the right matches?              it. Evening sessions such as the recent ―Introduction to
                                                                the College Process‖ target 10th and 11th grade students
CP: A student’s alphabetical counselor will continue to
                                                                and parents, but they are open to 9th-graders as well.
be the first point of contact for all post-high-school mat-
ters. We will continue to encourage parents and students        Will you write the Guidance letters of recommendation?
to come up with a list of potential schools themselves. We      CP: No. A student’s alphabetical counselor will continue
have found that a student is more invested in his/her deci-     to write the Guidance letter of recommendation. That
sion on where to apply and, ultimately, where to go, if he/     counselor will have worked with the student for longer
she leads the process. The Naviance software will sup-          than I have and will know the student better.
port the college search process. Parents and students will      How much will you help with applications?
be able to see a ―closer to home‖ aspect of where a stu-        CP: I will provide general information on the college
dent fits into a college profile. If a student’s expectations   process from selection to application. I will provide more
are unrealistic, that student’s alphabetical counselor can      in-depth support for topics as interview skills and, in con-
direct the student to the Naviance data that support this       junction with Language Arts teachers, the college essay.
  Wissahickon High School Parent-Teacher Council Newsletter                                                        Page 16

In the parent community

Terri Hutsell praised for service, new co-president Carmina Taylor welcomed
The WHS PTC presented meetings in November, Janu-
ary and February. Minutes are at www.whsptc.org.
Notably, Terri Hutsell stepped down from her two-year
term as co-president in January. PTC Co-President Toni
Reed presented her with flowers, a gift and a special ac-
knowledgement for her longtime service and leadership
to WHS and the district. Hutsell worked tirelessly on
many initiatives, including the Faculty Luncheon, Family
Awareness Night, newsletter, Web site, College Prepara-
tion Fair, Staff Spirit and senior activities. Hutsell said                                     Photo by Melissa Selverian
that, though her role as co-president has ended, she will
stay actively involved on several committees. The PTC          PTC Co-President Toni Reed (left) and Principal Lyn Fields
                                                               (second from right) congratulate new co-president Carmina
then welcomed Carmina Taylor as new co-president.              Taylor (right) and outgoing president Terri Hutsell.
The PTC welcomed teachers Erin Curtis and Julie Cus-
                                                              Apprentice Program, which gives classroom field experi-
ter as new PTC-faculty liaisons, who will attend meet-
                                                              ence to future teachers. Gwynedd Mercy students are in a
ings, give faculty updates and take updates to the faculty.
                                                              13-week pilot program at the WSD elementary schools.
Budget amendments were approved to fund new projects.         Marchese presented information about the new Keystone
An additional $1,000 was allotted to the student recogni-     Exams, a statewide initiative based on the Regents model
tion program. Funds were also set aside to support a 9th      from New York State (see Page 3).
Grade Academy social event (e.g., a movie or game
                                                              Assistant Principal Jim Cairnes and 9th Grade Academy
night) later in the year. The PTC purchased several digi-
                                                              faculty will give an update on the academy‘s first year at
tal cameras for the TV studio and front office so photos
                                                              a PTC meeting March 9 at 7 p.m. Eighth grade parents
can be taken and downloaded to the new TVs to promote
                                                              are invited to the meeting, which will include a question/
student events and achievements. In February, the Family
                                                              answer panel to address their questions.    Terri Hutsell
Awareness Night Committee requested $2,000 for a key-
                                                                                    PTC Newsletter Editorial Advisor
note speaker for the April 12 event (see Page 4).
The November meeting featured a presentation from             Students to support Relay for Life May 21
Amy Hawe, Physical Education Department chair and
junior class faculty advisor. She detailed new plans and      By participating in the Relay For Life American Cancer
policies for the semi-formal dance. Parents were asked to     Society fundraiser on May 21 at WHS, students and fami-
staff the coat check room and provide food. New PTC Co        lies in the district are working to change the statistic that
-President Carmina Taylor organized the endeavor.             one in every three people will be diagnosed with cancer.
                                                              The event, though serious in cause, is one of food and fun
WSD Superintendent Judith Clark, Assistant Superin-
                                                              that celebrates cancer survivors and remembers those lost.
tendent Christopher Marchese, Director of Personnel
                                                              Admission is free and open to the public.
Cathy Rossi and Business Manager Wade Coleman at-
tended the November meeting. Clark described two stud-        Relay For Life is an all-night celebration in which sup-
ies commissioned by the school board: 1) an enrollment        porters in communities nationwide walk around a track to
study, about which a preliminary report was presented to      raise money to fight cancer. This year‘s area goal is to
the board in December; 2) a facilities study to bring         raise awareness and $180,000, organizer Lori Freed said.
schools into the 21st Century. Coleman described a new        Last year, nearly $169,000 was raised, with WHS student-
―Green‖ Committee to evaluate and promote good prac-          led teams raising a ―staggering $33,000!‖ she said.
tices across the schools. He also reported on morning         There are 17 WHS student teams registered for the 2011
traffic circulation issues at the high school and middle      event. Students raise funds in different ways before the
school and efforts to improve them, perhaps with help         relay. Last year, Kirsten Beyer organized a swim-a-thon.
from a traffic consultant. Coleman invited suggestions at     This year, Casey Bill, Jackie Carradorini, Ava Esposito
wcoleman@wsdweb.org. He also noted facilities pro-            and Jordan Freed ran a basketball tournament. Others so-
jects, including the track to be redone next summer, pur-     licit donations, sell raffle tickets and food. Lori Freed‘s
chasing a new scoreboard, renovating the library, and         team is hosting a Trivia Night on April 9. For more infor-
replacing the round gym floor. Rossi described a Teacher      mation, e-mail Lori Freed at lorifreed@comcast.net.
  Wissahickon High School Parent-Teacher Council Newsletter                                                       Page 17

  Attention senior parents: PTC plans special send-offs
  Sweet Senior Breakfast on table                               Graduation Tent in the making
  The Senior Breakfast Committee is getting set for this        The PTC is gearing up to present its annual Gradua-
  year‘s celebratory breakfast on Graduation Day morn-          tion Tent for graduating students and their families at
  ing, Thursday, June 9. The breakfast, a long-standing         this year‘s ceremony on Thursday evening, June 9.
  WHS tradition, will be served in the lower cafeteria.
                                                                The hospitality tent will be located just inside the
  Seniors will enjoy a buffet including French toast,
                                                                main entrance to the high school stadium and will fea-
  scrambled eggs, bacon, bagels, muffins, fresh fruit,
                                                                ture beverages and snacks, complimentary to guests
  juices, milk and coffee, all prepared and served by
                                                                and generously donated by parents.
  their parents. It is memorable as it is their last oppor-
  tunity to eat together as a class.                            The Graduation Tent Committee needs help and con-
                                                                tributions from underclassmen parents. Please contact
  The committee extends thanks to those signed up to
                                                                Sharon Fox (snareyfox@yahoo.com) or Georgann
  help and invites others to help with set up, decorating
                                                                McKenna (mckenna519@verizon.net) to be part of
  the cafeteria, shopping for drinks, preparing food and
                                                                the effort and contribute. All families and guests of
  helping serve by contacting the chairs below.
                                                                graduating seniors are invited to stop by for a refresh-
                          Susan Fisher (sfishe@aol.com)         ment before, during and after the program.
                  Laurie Marx ( marxgl@comcast.net )
                                                                                    Sharon Fox, Georgann McKenna
                     Julie Scheier (Jmscheier@aol.com)
                                                                                    PTC Graduation Tent Co-Chairs

  Submit senior achievements for publication at graduation
  The WHS PTC, in conjunction with       high school years, within and out-       her parent(s)/guardian(s). Please
  the school, is compiling senior        side the school halls. The goal is to    complete and submit the two-
  achievements again this year for       include something about every sen-       question form at the WHS PTC
  publication and distribution at        ior, because The PTC and WHS are         Web site at www.whsptc.org under
  graduation on Thursday, June 9.        ―proud of each of them, as are their     Senior Connection by April 15.
  All seniors or their parent(s)/        families and friends,‖ said booklet      Contact Melissa Selverian at
  guardian(s) should submit a sum-       coordinator Melissa Selverian.           melissaselverian@comcast.net or
  mary of what students are most         All submissions must come from           Julie Custer at jcuster@wsdweb.org
  proud of accomplishing during their    the student him/herself or from his/     for more information.

Go team! Luncheon to cheer on faculty and staff on March 30
On Wednesday, March 30, the PTC will host the annual games.‖
Faculty and Staff Appreciation Luncheon for all high           Last year, more than 100 parent volunteers were involved
school and district office staff.                              in the effort, Hutsell said, adding that she expects this
This years‘ Philly sports tailgater theme promises great       year to be no different, as all food and service is solely
fun, entertainment and all types of tailgater food associ-     prepared and provided by ―our wonderful parents.‖
ated with local sports teams, co-chair Terri Hutsell said.     To help or donate to the effort, contact co-chairs Terri
―Whether you‘re an Eagles or a Sixers fan, addicted to         Hutsell (jhutsell@comcast.net) or Deb Pogorzelski
the Flyers or the Phillies, enjoy the emerging talent of the   (debandjj@yahoo.com). Volunteers are needed to pre-
Union or just plain enjoy a tailgating atmosphere, this is     pare dishes and to assist in advance preparations or with
the event not to miss!‖ Hutsell said.                          set up and service on March 30.
The committee has been at work planning the details            ―Come out and help cheer on the wonderful team that is
from theme-inspired decorations and place settings to          our faculty and staff by supporting this event,‖ Hutsell
favors and food, she said. ―Indeed, the lower cafeteria        said.
will become a ‗tailgate zone,‘ welcoming guests to a                                                          Terri Hutsell
team spirited menu of tailgater fare, prizes, music and                                          PTC Luncheon Co-Chair
  Wissahickon High School Parent-Teacher Council Newsletter                                                                     Page 18

                    Wissahickon High School Calendar of Events
Continued from Page 1                        10 WSD PSSA Test Make-ups (through 4/15)        23 WSD Board Mtg.: 7:30 p.m., Adm. Bldg.
March                                        12 Family Awareness Night: 6:30 p.m., Audit.    24 Jazz Band Spring Concert 7:30 p.m.
                                             14, 15 Early Dismissal: 11 a.m.                 25 WSD District Art Show (through 5/26)
7 Spring Sports Begin                        14, 15 Parent Teacher Conferences               26 WHS Spirit Day
14 WSD PSSA Testing (through 4/8)            15 Report Card Distribution                     27 Junior/Senior Prom: 7:30-11 p.m.
14 WSD Board Mtg.: 7:30 p.m., Adm. Bldg.     18-22 Spring Break                              30 Memorial Day: All Schools Closed
20 WSD Strings Concert: 7 p.m. Auditorium    25 WSD Board Mtg.: 7:30 p.m., Adm. Bldg.        31 World Language Awards: 6 p.m.
24 SEPAC Meeting: 7 p.m., Adm. Bldg.         27 Spring Voice Recital: 7 p.m. Audion
25 WHS Jazz Festival: 6 p.m. Auditorium.                                                     June
                                             30 A.P. Calculus Mock Exam: 7:45 a.m.           2 PTC Student Winners Reception: 6 p.m.
28 WSD Board Mtg.: 7:30 p.m., Adm. Bldg.
30 Early Diismissal: 11 a.m.                 May                                             2 Senior Awards Night: 7 p.m.
30 PTC Staff Appreciation Luncheon           2 A.P. Testing (through 5/13)                   9 PTC Senior Breakfast.
30 End of Third Marking Period               3 Chorus Spring Concert: 7:30 p.m. Audit.       9 Graduation: 6 p.m.
                                             6 Mid-Marking Period Progress Reports           10, 13 Early Dismissal:-Final Exams: 11 a.m.
April                                        9 WSD Board Mtg.: 7:30 p.m., Adm. Bldg.         13 WSD Board Mtg.: 7:30 p.m., Adm. Bldg.
4 FBLA Leadership Conference (through 4/6)   15 WHS PJAS State Competition (thru 5/17).      14 Last Day for Students: 9:45 a.m. Dismissal
6 PTC Mtg.: 9:15 a.m., Upper Caf.            17 No School: WSD In-Service Day                14 End of 4th Marking Period
7 Spring Sports Picture Day                  17 Strings, Band, Orchestra Concert 7:30 p.m.   24 Report Cards Mailed
8 WSD PSSA Testing: Last Day                 18 PTC Year-End Luncheon: 12 noon               27 WSD Board Mtg.: 7:30 p.m., Adm. Bldg.

                     WHS Parent-Teacher Council Newsletter Editorial Board
  Editorial Coordinator: Melissa Selverian –                      Proofreader, Calendar: Alyson Amsterdam
  melissaselverian@comcast.net                                    Mailing Coordinator: Christina Kulick – cmk55@verizon.net
  Faculty News Editor: Carol Christ – carol1@knowthis.com
  Writer: Margie Brindell — margiebrindell@comcast.net            Other Contributors: Christine Brandt, Michael Chen, Lyn Fields,
  Writer/Webmaster: Pat Guaglianone – patguag@msn.com             Susan Fisher, Sharon Fox, Lori Freed, Anne French, Robin Harvey,
  Writer: Tom Lenihan – ambler2lens@yahoo.com                     Amy Hawe, Terri Hutsell, Laurie Marx, Anne McDonough, Georgann
  Writer-Features: Gwendolyn Fisher – zahbri@aol.com              McKenna, David Miller, Ryan Perlman, Toni Reed, Amy Sauber,
  Supplement: Deb Pogorzelski – debandjj@comcast.net              Julie Scheier, Lori Scott, Christopher Selverian, Jim Shoemaker,
  Editorial Advisor: Terri Hutsell – jhutsell@comcast.net         Tim Smyth, Carmina Taylor, Lauren Weinberg, Kim Yavorski

   Wissahickon High School
   Parent-Teacher Council
   521 Houston Road
   Ambler, PA 19002
                                    S P ar!
                                WH       e
                       in  the 0-11 y ntial
                     Jo e 201 esse ls.
                         h         s        a
                     in t help i ur go org
                          r         o        c.
                     You realize whspt oard
                       to           .        B
                                ww      tive
                            it w t Execuidents
                       Vis ntac -Pres ed t.net                                        ADDRESS LABEL
                            Co    Co oni Re omcas
                                       T        c       r
                                           18@ aylo com
                                  git on8 ina T ahoo. rin
                              brin Carm ela@y di Sho et
                                            d      An on.n k
                                   rmi tary — veriz Blan
                                ca re           n@       rri    et
                                  Sec ishori — Te cast.n               lls
                                    an sure      r
                                                     com           Ski
                                          a        @         L ife ealing
                                    Tre riblank           the o r s       !
                                        ter        k s to ers f letters
                                               han teach ews
                                             lt d
                                         cia     n        en
                                  Spe ents a ling th
                                       d         e
                                  stu nd lab

Shared By: