Highlighting Excellence

Highlighting Excellence

Excellence Newsletter - October 2, 2020

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October is National Principals Month: Thank you, principals, for your leadership! 
They greet students every day (in pre-COVID times) with high fives, fist bumps, and welcoming smiles. They enthusiastically participate in Spirit Week themed dress up days. They write song parodies and make music videos (ok, well maybe Mr. Thomas does). They happily sign up to get pied in the face or duct taped to playground equipment. They are always there - band concerts, musicals, sporting events - to show their support and pride for their students' hard work. They advocate for their building staff, embrace new and innovative ideas, and work tirelessly to ensure that students and families are supported in every way possible.

They are our building principals and, this National Principals Month, we are even more grateful for their hard work and dedication to the success of every Keystone Oaks student and teacher. 2020 has thrown educators a lot of curveballs and Keystone Oaks' five building principals have been true leaders throughout these challenging times.

Not only are they principals, but they are people too. And we thought it would be fun to get to know each of them a little better, so we asked each of them to answer a few fun trivia questions. Can you guess which principal isn't a morning person? Which one doesn't eat cake or pie? Which two principals would you find working at Walt Disney World if they won the lottery? 

Find out more fun facts about about Dr. Kattan, Mr. Linnert, Mr. Mizikar, Mr. Thomas and Mr. Werner on our website

From the Desk of Mr. Thomas: Aiken Elementary News & Updates

Dear Aiken Elementary Families,

It's hard to believe that we are at the end of October already. Even though our traditional Halloween celebrations looked a little different this year, it was great to see our Aiken students in their costumes and enjoying some Halloween fun at home. Thank you to our awesome teachers for coordinating fun virtual activities for our students this week! 

A few reminders:

  • Parent/Teacher Conferences will be held via Google Meet. Teachers reached out about scheduling. When you are scheduled, please log in as your student (using their KOSD account) and join the Google Meet nickname provided to you from your child’s teacher
  • Please make sure your child is dressed appropriately for colder temperatures. We will be going outside for recess when it is dry and above 32 degrees. 
  • Mrs. Gray is making our annual Veteran’s Day celebration a virtual one. If you have a Veteran in your student’s life, please email her at [email protected]
  • PFO Book Fair. Shop this year's Scholastic Book Fair online! Please see the attached PDF for more details - Aiken PFO Bookfair.pdf

Keep SOARing,
Mr. Thomas

From the Desk of Mr. Werner: News & Updates from Dormont Elementary

Hello there Super Awesome Dormont Families and Faculty,

It’s your friendly neighborhood principal, Mr. Werner, reaching out to let you know how things are going here at Dormont. Things are rolling along here at Dormont. We had an amazing Virtual Halloween! It was great seeing all of our students in their costumes during their Google Meets. Lots of smiles… lots of laughs. I have to give a special shout-out to Mrs. Hersan for her Principal’s Costume activity… “stolen” from Mrs. Seltzer. I am loving seeing all of our students’ creations.

Here are a few pieces of information that I thought might be of interest to you:

  • VETERAN’S DAY: We will be live streaming our upcoming Veteran’s Day assembly. If you have a special Veteran or Current Active Duty Member, Reservist, National Guardsman (Active, Retired, Discharged) in your family, we would like to thank them for their service at our annual Veterans’ Day program. Please see the attached invitation: Virtual Veterans Day Program Invitation.pdf
  • VACATION REQUEST FORM: As a follow-up to Dr. Stropkaj’s email sent on Wednesday, October 21, 2020 regarding Travel and Educational Guidelines, I wanted to share a link to our vacation request form. We ask that this form be sent to the main office two weeks prior to your departure. The request form can be found here: Sarris Candy Fundraiser
  • SARRIS CANDY: Dormont Elementary School’s PFO is having a Sarris Candy fundraiser. Proceeds from the sales go back to our school. If you are interested in participating, please feel free to click here for more information:
  • BOOK FAIR: Dormont’s Fall Book Fair is underway. This is the last weekend, as it ends November 1st. You get the comfort of shopping from home to buy some books. In turn, Dormont Library is able to get books and supplies for our students to use. FREE SHIPPING FOR BOOK-ONLY ORDERS OF $25 OR MORE. If you are interested in participating in the online Book Fair, click here: https://www.scholastic.com/bf/dormontelementaryschool
  • OUTDOOR RECESS: Just a reminder: With the weather getting a little colder… and a little more gray, we will continue to capitalize on the dry(ish) days. Please be sure to have your child wear weather-appropriate clothes, including winter coats, gloves, etc. during the winter months, as we will try to have outdoor recess as much as the weather allows. Even if it is only on the blacktop, it will be wonderful having the children outside for some fresh air and movement before lunch.

 That’s about it from our end. Thank you for your continued support through these unprecedented times. It is TRULY appreciated. If you need anything, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

Have a wonderful Halloween!
Mr. Werner

From the Desk of Mr. Mizikar: Myrtle Elementary News & Updates

Hello Myrtle Families!

Unity TreeFirst, I wanted to thank everyone that participated in the Virtual Unity Day Dance Party. The students seemed to have a great time getting to show off their dance moves during lunch! With the help of Ms. Devine, 4th and 5th grade students are working to fill up the Unity Tree here in the building. It looks great and I can't wait to see it when it is completed. 

As a reminder, Keystone Oaks is closed on Tuesday, November 3, 2020. A few additional reminders: 

  • Parent/Teacher Conferences will be held via Google Meet. Teachers reached out about scheduling. When you are scheduled, please log in as your student (using their KOSD account) and join the Google Meet nickname provided to you from your child’s teacher

  • Please make sure your child is dressed appropriately for colder temperatures.We will be going outside for recess when it is dry and above 32 degrees. 

Thanks and have a great weekend!
Mr. Mizikar

From the Desk of Mr. Kattan: News & Updates from KOMS

Happy Friday KOMS Staff & Families, 

It's hard to believe that it is the end of October already! It was great to see some of our students dressed in their Halloween costumes throughout the week. If you are participating in Trick-or-Treat this weekend, please stay safe! 

Materials Pick-Up for Option #2 Students
For any students who are participating in Option #2, we have items for you to pick up. These may include an ELA novel, grammar packet, vocabulary book, and/or elective materials for Art, Tech Ed, STEM, Library, and a special treat from our PFO (THANK YOU KOMS PFO!). Make sure to check your schedule on PowerSchool to see what elective class you have for the second nine weeks. You can stop by the middle school from 8:00 am – 3:00 pm on Tuesday, November 3, or Wednesday, November 4. Please use the McNeilly entrance to pick up these materials. If you are not able to make one of these timeframes please contact Jeff Kattan ([email protected]; 412-571-6146) for assistance.

Parent-Teacher Conferences
Please be reminded that conferences will be held virtually through Google Meet on Monday (November 2) afternoon and Tuesday (November 3) morning. Please reach out to the following grade-level teachers to schedule an appointment:

 Thank you and enjoy your weekend, 

Dr. Jeff Kattan
Keystone Oaks Middle School

From the Desk of Mr. Linnert: News & Updates from the High School

KOHS Students, Staff & Families: 

It's hard to believe that we are at the end of the first nine weeks of the school year. I continue to be #KOProud of our students and staff for their hard work during a school year that is different is so many ways. It was great to have so many seniors on campus last Friday for an outdoor pep rally and Homecoming celebration. Congratulations to this year's King, Rutger Randall, and Queen, Dani Sakulsky, and all of the members of the 2020 Homecoming Court. We truly enjoyed celebrating with you! 

Please read below for some additional news and updates from Keystone Oaks High School. 

Thank you and enjoy the weekend,

Mr. Michael Linnert
Keystone Oaks High School

Hometown High Q
Be sure to tune in to Hometown High Q on Saturday October 31 at 11:00 am on KDKA TV to watch KO seniors Panari Patel, Molly Cicco and Jordan Geller compete against Deer Lakes and Hempfield high schools. The episode will re-air on Saturday, November 7 at 11:30 am. Good luck, girls! 

Courtyard Decoration Project
During the first nine weeks, students in High School teacher Mr. Richert's classes learned about budgeting. To practice their skills, Mr. Richert challenged the students to decorate the outdoor courtyard with a budget of $50. By asking for donations and using their money wisely, the students were able to spruce up the outdoor space with these festive decorations! Great work! 

Senior Class Officers
Congratulations to this year's Senior Class Officers: President, Ethan VonHedemann; Vice President, Scarlett Burns; Secretary, Taryn Hilty; Treasurer, Vincent Pacak. We look forward to your leadership this school year! 

Athletes, Teams Advance to Post-Season
Congratulations to the following fall sport athletes and teams who advanced to the post-season: 

  • Tonight, the Varsity Football Team will play South Park in the first round of the WPIAL Playoffs. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. at Dormont Memorial Stadium. 
  • The Varsity Boys Soccer team advanced to the WPIAL Playoffs. The boys faced Ambridge on Monday night, falling to a score of 2-1. It was a great game! 
  • The Varsity Girls Soccer team advanced to the WPIAL Playoffs. They faced Shady Side Academy on Wednesday night, falling to a score of 5-0. Great season, girls! 
  • Cassidy Angle was named to the 2nd Team and Helena Piccolino was name to the 3rd Team for Girls Volleyball 2A Section 2 All Section.
  • Congratulations to Cross County athletes Grant Clarke, Sean Dobos, Ethan Palmer, Cameron Grabowski, Leah Harmel, Ivy Hostutler, and Sydney Taylor who competed at the PIAA Championships this week! 

Keystone Oaks High School’s Computer Science Program grows five-fold in four years

Computer Science CoursesKeystone Oaks senior Alish Chhetri has been fascinated with computer science ever since he was a nine year old boy who loved playing Minecraft, Pokemon and Mario Brothers on his video game console.

“My love of video games led to me taking free online courses to learn scratch coding to create games, such as Tic-Tac-Toe and Connect Four,” Alish said. “I also couldn’t learn enough about operating systems, such as IOS for iPhone devices and Microsoft’s windows operating system.”

Students like Alish have helped drive a dramatic increase in participation in computer science courses at Keystone Oaks High School since 2017, when the first computer science class was added to the schedule. In the first year of the program, 24 students signed up for a computer science course. Today, 135 students are enrolled in various computer science classes. 

Click here to read the rest of the story about the growth of Keystone Oaks High School's computer science program

Looking Ahead: Schedule for the week of November 2

Monday, November 2

  • Cohort Golden (Last Names A-L): In-Person Learning
  • Cohort Eagle (Last Names M-Z): Online Synchronous Learning
  • Parkway West CTC: In-Person Learning
  • Elementary Rotation Day #4
  • Middle & High School Day B: B1(B), B2(B), B3(B), B4(B)

 Tuesday, November 3

  • Keystone Oaks Closed

Wednesday, November 4

  • Cohort Golden (Last Names A-L): In-Person Learning
  • Cohort Eagle (Last Names M-Z): Online Synchronous Learning
  • Parkway West CTC: In-Person Learning
  • Elementary Rotation Day #5
  • Middle & High School Day A: B1(A), B2(A), B3(A), B4(A)

 Thursday, November 5

  • Cohort Golden (Last Names A-L): Online Synchronous Learning
  •  Cohort Eagle (Last Names M-Z): In-Person Learning
  •  Elementary Rotation Day #6
  •  Middle & High School Day B: B1(B), B2(B), B3(B), B4(B)

 Friday, November 6

  • Cohort Golden (Last Names A-L): Online Synchronous Learning
  • Cohort Eagle (Last Names M-Z): In-Person Learning
  •  Elementary Rotation Day #1
  •  Middle & High School Day A: B1(A), B2(A), B3(A), B4(A)
Now Available: November Cohort, Elementary Specials, and Secondary Block Schedule Calendars

The Keystone Oaks School District's color-coded calendars that includes the Cohort Golden & Cohort Eagle Days, the Elementary Specials Rotation, and the Secondary Block Schedule for the months of November, December and January are now available to download on the District's website. 

Winter-Weather Delays & Cancelations for the 2020-2021 School Year

Since the Keystone Oaks School District is currently offering an online learning program that allows both teachers and students to participate in classes synchronously, at this time, the District will not be delaying or canceling school due to inclement weather or poor road conditions. Instead of delaying or canceling school, Keystone Oaks will implement an Online Synchronous Learning day, where students and teachers will follow their daily schedule and participate in classes online.

The District will continue to send phone, email, and text messages, update social media and the website, and submit changes to KDKA, WTAE, and WPXI. 

Please also continue to remind students that they should bring their devices and any essential materials home each evening so that they are prepared in case an Online Synchronous Learning day needs to be implemented for any reason.

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