South Fayette Elementary provides a unique and inviting place to learn for students in grades K-4. Our staff provides a creative and exciting environment that makes high-level learning fun for all of our students. Parents can obtain updates of activities in our school throughout the school year by visiting our website at www.south- fayette.org/elem — you’ll find photos of recent events, class lists, program updates and much more! Each school year begins with the Meet the Teacher event. The children have the opportunity to meet their new teacher for the coming year, visit with old friends and perhaps meet a few new friends. Parents are welcomed into our school and given a glimpse of what the year has in store. Our transportation department provides a school bus for the students to tour to help alleviate the anxiety of riding a bus for the first time. The Little Lions’ Academy takes place every summer at South Fayette, giving children one week of interest- ing classes and unique opportunities to learn. Over 300 students took part in the Academy last summer in such classes as photography, cooking for kids, introduction to soccer and scrapbooking. Each year the popularity of this program continues to grow as more children hear of the fun they can have learning at South Fayette. An important component for many of the programs in our school is the involvement of our parents. The Parent Teacher Association (PTA) is an important partner in many of the activities we do each year. Each year, the PTA sponsors many exciting activities for our families and students including Family Reading Night that features a book swap, staff members reading books to the children and a puppet show. Last year, the children also took part in the new “Artist in Residence” program provided through funding from the PTA. The purpose of the program is to “place a knowledgeable, practicing, professional artist who is enthusiastic and motivated into a setting where they can share their joy and benefits of the creative process for an extended period of time.” The first visit was from Mrs. Tina Brewer, a fiber artist. She worked with 36 talented fourth grade students to create fabric quilts around the theme of Pennsylvania. Mrs. Brewer also presented a teacher/parent workshop in April and provided mini presentations to each class to share her love and talents of quilting. The finished products will be on display in the school foyer at the completion of construction. South Fayette Elementary also began the year with a new program called Arts Alive!, a new interdisciplinary perform- ing arts course for students in grades K-4. Arts Alive! combines curricula in music, creative movement and theater arts in a fun and exciting course that addresses the Pennsylvania Academic Standards for the Arts and Humanities. To achieve levels of excellence in the arts, it is imperative that students make connections and establish relationships across disciplines. The new Arts Alive! course is designed to enhance and inte- Elementary School grate presentation skills, performance skills, cultural awareness and appropriate body movements for presentation. This course ties together the humanities and creates an interdisciplinary program for all students at the elementary level. Students attend Arts Alive! once a week throughout the school year. Activities being explored include creative movement, theater pantomime and improvisation games, folk dancing, musical theater, stage directions, building a character and storytelling. Last school year also marked the start of a new reading initiative at South Fayette Elementary School. Our Reading Specialists received intensive reading training from the Allegheny Intermediate Unit Reading Achievement Center and the District focused staff development time on reading. Throughout the year, the Reading Specialists provided forty minutes of intense reading instruction for Title I students on a daily basis. Students were instructed in word building activities to help them develop decoding skills. Students practiced their decoding skills by reading decod- able text to help them become fluent readers. Kindergarten and first grade teachers also incorporated word building and phonemic awareness activities into their daily lessons. Students were assessed at both the beginning and end of the school year and tremendous reading growth was achieved as a result of this initiative. Because of this great suc- cess, the Reading Specialists will train the entire elementary building on these reading strategies to ensure that all of our students become successful readers. In June, the 4th grade held its First Annual Spelling Bee in which 33 students competed in the final phase of the competition after weeks of preparation. Retired South Fayette Elementary teacher Mrs. Mary Lou Davis returned to serve as moderator for the event. The winners were: Nick Chepkevich, 1st place; Max DiNicola, 2nd Place; and Rachel Sherbondy, 3rd place. The finalists made it through over 12 rounds of spelling words. Interested 4th grade students took a test to qualify for the Bee, with the top scoring students earning a place on stage for the final contest. The students worked after school for several weeks studying and practicing oral spelling to prepare for the event. South Fayette alumna Dr. Cindy Iannarelli and her Bizzmobile made a stop at South Fayette Elementary School on May 18, 2005. The black and yellow Bizzmobile is a 35-foot mobile classroom designed to provide children with a hands-on experience in three busi- ness ventures. The concepts of the Bizzmobile have been developed by Iannarelli, an award winning scholar, educator and public speaker. The Bizzmobile introduced our 4th graders to the concepts of money management, economics, and careers through various activities that day including running a retail store, a snack bar, and a computer-simulated lemonade stand. The Elementary PTA provided funding for each child to have one dollar to spend at the student-run stores.