Drop and Go Movie Night to Benefit Make-A-Wish

O’Hara Elementary and the O’Hara PTO are excited to announce a surprise addition to our December calendar:  A Drop and Go Movie Night to Benefit Make-A-Wish! Caregivers can enjoy a night out to themselves while their FCASD students  in grades K-5 have a pizza dinner and watch the holiday favorite – the Polar Express. Kids are encouraged to wear their PJs (no slippers) for this magic-filled evening at O’Hara.  Event proceeds will be donated to the FCASD fundraiser for Make-A-Wish.

  • When:  Friday, December 14, 6:00 – 8:30pm  (2.5 hours of child care)
  • Where: O’Hara Elementary
  • What:  Pizza dinner followed by a showing of Polar Express (G). Popcorn too!
  • Who:  FCASD Students in Grades K – 5
  • Cost:  $25/family (up to 3 siblings). Includes dinner & popcorn.
  • Advance Registration Required:  Register by 12/12!

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Nominate a Caregiver for Free Admission

Do you know a caregiver who could use a break? Nominate him or her for a complimentary family registration to the PTO’s Drop and Go Movie Night to Benefit Make-A-Wish!  One lucky winner will be selected at random and the $25 fee will be waived! Enter your nomination here by 12/10.

(Note: nominees must have students in grades K-5 enrolled in FCASD, but anyone can make a nomination!).

Volunteer to Chaperone

Volunteers are needed to help set up and chaperone the event. Volunteers must have clearances with a Volunteer Badge on file at O’Hara.  (All spots filled; email sarah@oharapto.org if interested in helping out and attending with your children)

Dollar Days for Make-A-Wish: December 10 – 14

O’Hara will also support the Make-A-Wish fundraiser through a week of “Dollar Days.”  Students are encouraged to bring a $1 donation and dress to show their support for Make-A-Wish. Here’s the schedule for the week of December 10th:

  • Monday, December 10:  School Spirit Day
  • Tuesday, December 11: Crazy Sock Day 
  • Wednesday, December 12:  Hat Day
  • Thursday, December 13:  Wacky Hair Day 
  • Friday, December 14:  Festive Sweater/Shirt Day

Dates To Note-December 2018

Hello O’Hara Families! Be sure to mark your calendars for these December events and dates of note:

  • Saturday, December 1, 2018 (9am-10pm), Barnes and Noble fundraiser at the Waterworks location.  A portion of all purchases will be donated to the O’Hara Elementary PTO, including Starbucks purchases (just make sure to tell your customer service representative that you are there to support O’Hara!). The PTO will also be manning a complimentary gift wrap table from 11am-5pm at this event, staffed by volunteers (you can sign up to participate here), who will also be collecting donations.  Can’t make it to this event? Online purchases made between 12/1 and 12/5 will also benefit the PTO. Just use the Code 12454575 when you check out.
  • Wednesday, December 5, 2018, Author and professional storyteller Christine Petrell Kallevig visit. Kallevig specializes in a technique that blends storytelling and origami, known as “Storigami.” During her visit, she will read several short origami stories and fold giant-sized paper, using the paper to demonstrate the actions of the characters. 
  • Thursday, December 6, 2018 (7pm), Districtwide Festival of Strings Orchestra Concert, FCASD High School Auditorium. Students in grades 4-12 will be performing in a strings orchestra concert. Admission is free for students and seniors, $5 for all others. 
  • December 10-14, 2018, Dollar Days for Make-A-Wish. O’Hara Elementary will support the Make-A-Wish fundraiser through a week of “Dollar Days.”  Students are encouraged to bring a $1 donation and dress to show their support for Make-A-Wish. Here’s the schedule for the week of December 10th:
    • Monday, December 10:  School Spirit Day
    • Tuesday, December 11: Crazy Sock Day 
    • Wednesday, December 12:  Hat Day
    • Thursday, December 13:  Wacky Hair Day 
    • Friday, December 14:  Festive Sweater/Shirt Day
  • Friday, December 14, 2018 (6-8:30pm), O’Hara PTO’s A Night Out to Benefit Make-A-Wish, O’Hara Cafeteria. Caregivers can enjoy a night out to themselves while their FCASD students  in grades K-5 have a pizza dinner and watch the holiday favorite – the Polar Express. Kids are encouraged to wear their PJs (no slippers) for this magic-filled evening at O’Hara.  Event proceeds will be donated to the FCASD fundraiser for Make-A-Wish. Cost:  $25/child ($15 for each additional sibling). Advance Registration Required by 12/12 here. If you want to volunteer, your child can attend for the discounted price of $5. Sign up here. 
  • Thursday, December 20, 2018 (6pm), O’Hara PTO meeting, O’Hara Auditorium. Please RSVP here if you plan on attending this month’s PTO meeting. If RSVPs are low, we may cancel due to the proximity to winter break. 
  • Friday, December 21, 2018, PTO-sponsored school wide assembly featuring the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium. 
  • Friday, December 21, 2018 (2:45pm), O’Hara Elementary Winter Class parties. Classrooms will be celebrating the upcoming break with winter-themed activities led by parent volunteers. If you are interested in participating in the winter party, please contact your homeroom representative
  • Monday, December 24, 2018-Tuesday, January 1, 2019, Winter Break. The PTO wishes your family a restful and festive winter break!

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Atia DiGioia Presented Shawn Neville Character Award

IMG_4893O’Hara Elementary 5th grader, Atia DiGioia, was recently presented the PTO’s Shawn Neville Character Award. Atia is the sixth recipient of the award, which honors students who encompass the spirit and character of former O’Hara teacher Shawn Neville.  

Mr. Neville taught 4th grade at O’Hara for nine years and was much loved by students and teachers. When Mr. Neville passed away unexpectedly in September of 2013, the O’Hara PTO collected donations and helped to establish the Shawn Neville Character Award. Each year, the 4th grade teaching team meets to select a student who encompasses the spirit and character of Mr. Neville.

There are three criteria for selection:

  • Respectful – The student is polite and courteous of peers, teachers and adults.
  • Compassion – The student is a good friend, showing loyalty and kindness toward others.
  • Accountability – The student is responsible for his/her actions with respect to school work, individual responsibilities and behavior.

The 4th Grade Team felt Atia DiGioia exhibits each of these qualities/characteristics throughout each and every school day. Teachers say she is respectful, driven, full of integrity and compassionate. 5th Grade Teacher Tracey Planz, who was a close friend of Mr. Neville’s,  presented this year’s award at the 5th Grade Music Program.

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Past recipients include Cooper Danforth (2017-2018), CJ Smith (2016-2017), Jack Stevens (2015-2014), Clay Sauereisen (2014-2013), and Kent Baldauf (2012-2013). Recipients receive $100 and an award certificate commemorating their achievement.  

Please join the PTO in congratulating Atia. We look forward to honoring Mr. Neville’s spirit and the characteristics he championed through the Shawn Neville Character Award for many years to come.

 

November Meeting Recap

The O’Hara PTO welcomed about 40 people to our second morning meeting of the year on November 15th. For those who were unable to attend, a recap is below. The full meeting minutes are located here.

Ms. Frick and her 3rd grade class were also kind enough to give tours of the SMALLLab (Student Multimedia Accelerated Learning Lab) both before and after the meeting. Participants observed students playing a memory matching game with fossils and spinner game using math facts.

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Upcoming Barnes and Noble Fundraiser

O’Hara PTO will be holding its first Barnes and Noble fundraiser at the Waterworks location on 12/1.  A portion of all purchases will be donated to the PTO, including Starbucks purchases (just make sure to tell your customer service representative that you are there to support O’Hara!). The PTO will also be manning a complimentary gift wrap table from 11am-5pm at this event, staffed by volunteers (you can sign up to participate here), who will also be collecting donations.  Can’t make it to this event? Online purchases made between 12/1 and 12/5 will also benefit the PTO. Just use the Code 12454575 when you check out.

Volunteers are Needed for the Library

O’Hara’s new library is now ready for volunteers!  There are two different volunteer opportunities available at this time: 1) shelving books and 2) preparing instructional materials and bulletin boards. Ms. Fornari may also offer an opportunity for volunteers during instructional periods in the future.

Principal’s Update

Mrs. Batis discussed O’Hara Elementary’s student growth and achievement by highlighting our most recent PSSA results.  Our PSSA ELA average show a 3.79 point increase since 2016.  Our PSSA Math average increased 8 points since 2016, and approximately 10 points for both the 4th and 5th grades. 4th grade PSSA in science went up 1.5 points since 2016.

Mrs. Batis also discussed instructional response plans–emphasizing that teachers/administration regularly review several data inputs for each child, including PSSA data, STAR assessments, teacher observations, and teacher feedback. When specific needs are identified, a rigorous and collaborative RTII process is initiated that includes familial involvement. If families have any concerns regarding their child’s school performance–either high or low performance–they are always welcome to reach out for a meeting. Also, parents are always welcome to look through their child’s quarterly STAR assessment results. Just email the teacher for a copy of the parent report.

District Update

FCASD’s new School Safety and Security Coordinator, Officer Joe Kozarian, introduced himself at the meeting. Officer Kozarian lives in the South Hills and is the father of five grown children. He has been with school districts for almost 17 years and is very passionate about school safety.  He notes that the Fox Chapel School District is far ahead of many other districts in terms of school safety. 

Officer Kozarian informed us that there is now a School Resource Officer in each school in the district. He sees these officers as serving several roles: 1) being a law enforcement officer to protect kids and staff against threats, 2) being a guest speaker, who can talk to kids about bus safety, being home alone, bullying, calling 911, internet safety, etc, and 3) being a mentor for kids that need them. These officers are not involved in routine discipline of kids.  Officer Kozarian noted that each officer wears a “dress-down” police uniform (khaki pants and a polo shirt) and wears a belt with a sidearm, handcuffs, flashlight, and an extra magazine. Each school resource officer is a certified police officer, who also undergoes an additional 40-hour training to work in schools.  If you have questions or concerns for Officer Joe Kozarian, his email is joseph_kozarian@fcasd.edu.

Finally, Officer Dennis Lynch introduced himself as O’Hara’s School Resource Officer. For the past four years, he has been a school police officer at the Freeport School District. Before that, he worked for the Penn Hills Police Department. He began volunteering in the Penn Hills School District the day after the Columbine shooting and has been involved in school safety initiatives since then.  He introduced himself to the kids at the beginning of the school year and is now affectionately known as Officer “Fist Bump.”

He described his typical day, noting that he’s regularly walking throughout the building and grounds, checking security cameras, and closely monitoring times when kids are outside, such as pickup, dropoff, and recess. He also spends a fair amount of time building a positive rapport with the kids, especially at lunchtime when he appreciates leftover cookie donations :).  Want to get in touch with Officer Fist Bump? His email is dennis_lynch@fcasd.edu.

Thank you to all those who attended this month’s meeting! Our next meeting is scheduled for December 20th at 6pm. Because we know December evenings can be busy during the holiday season, we are asking that you please RSVP by 12/10 if you plan to attend. If expected attendance is low, we may reschedule or cancel. 

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October Meeting Recap and Square 1 Art

Thank you to everyone who came out for our first evening meeting of the year on October 18.  Future evening meetings are scheduled for December 20th and February 21st from 6 – 7pm.  All other meetings will be held in the morning.  For those who couldn’t attend, here’s your handy recap:

Help Needed

The PTO is still in need of someone to chair the O’Hara Foxes Club.  All of the logistics for the after school enrichment program are already in place.  Now we need an organized individual who would like to help us expand the offerings and grow this program! For the most part this is a “behind the scenes” opportunity.  If you are interested in learning more or signing up, please email nadine@oharapto.org.

Looking for something else? Check out our open volunteer opportunities here.

District Presentation on Curriculum

The October meeting included an overview of Elementary Curriculum from Dr. Ashley Constantine, Executive Director of Elementary Education and Instruction.  Sari Brecosky, Director of Literacy, provided information on Journeys and Fundations and Megan Collett,Director of Instructional and Innovative Leadership, shared information on the district’s STEAM curriculum. School Board Vice President Nancy Foster also joined the group.  We appreciate the District directors sharing their passion and insight into the elementary curriculum with us.  A copy of the presentation from the evening is available here: Overview of FCASD Elementary Curriculum

Principal’s Update

Mrs. Batis shared that there will be some safety changes to the Halloween parade.  Details were shared via PowerSchool after the meeting. The District’s new Safety and Security Coordinator, Officer Joe Kozarian, and O’Hara’s new School Resource Officer, Dennis Lynch will join us at the November 15 PTO Meeting.

For additional details from the October 18 meeting, you can read the full minutes here: 10-18-2018 Meeting Minutes

Square 1 Art Fundraiser

Each student received a personalized catalog featuring their own unique artwork from Square 1 Art. Square 1 is an annual PTO fundraiser that provides the opportunity to purchase your student’s unique artwork on a variety of items. From aprons to journals and coffee mugs, Square 1 has something for everyone, and the items make great gifts for family members or keepsakes for your child.  The PTO receives at least 33% of all purchases (we earn more the more families who participate, so even small purchases can have a big impact!).  Orders are due by Friday, November 2.  Use the unique access code on your student’s Square 1 Art catalog to order online at https://shop.square1art.com/shop

November 15 PTO

Mark your calendars for our next PTO Meeting! On Thursday, November 15th, we will be joined by the District’s new Safety and Security Coordinator, Officer Joe Kozarian, and O’Hara’s new School Resource Officer, Dennis Lynch. We will also be hosting tours of the SMALLab before and after the meeting (pre-registration and clearances required, details and sign up to follow).

10/18 Evening Meeting Agenda

Last month we welcomed over 50 members of the O’Hara Elementary community to our first morning meeting of the year.  Our next meeting will be the first evening meeting of the year, and we’re looking forward to seeing everyone who can attend. We will meet in the O’Hara auditorium from 6pm – 7pm this Thursday, October 18th.  Children are welcome to attend if needed.

10/18 PTO Meeting Agenda

  • PTO Committee and Activity Updates  – learn about upcoming projects and opportunities to help out.  We’ll also provide a status on some ongoing and completed projects.
  • Discussion on Elementary Curriculum with Dr. Ashley Nestor
  • Principal Update – School Safety and Parent Teacher Conferences

Reminders

  • Box Tops are due to homeroom classes by 10/19.  Each Box Top earn $.10 for O’Hara. Those dimes add up quickly – last year we raised $1,400!  If every student at O’Hara turned in just 25 Box Tops, we’d quickly surpass that goal.  At 50 Box Tops/student we’d more than double our earnings from last year, providing an opportunity to invest even more in our school. There will be another collection in Spring, so we encourage you to keep on clipping (and get your neighbors and family to clip with you!)
  • We need volunteers!  There are several open and ongoing volunteer opportunities, including:

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Dates to Note

  • 10/19 Last day to turn in Box Tops for Fall Collection
  • 10/24 PALS Meeting Roots of Faith 800 Main St. Sharpsburg 9:15 am
  • 10/26 Early Dismissal
  • 10/31 Halloween Parade (2:10) and Classroom Parties (2:45)
  • 11/5 Early Dismissal – Parent/Teacher Conferences
  • 11/6 No School – Parent/Teacher Conferences
  • 11/13 District Forum Meeting, High School LGI Room, 7pm – 8pm
  • 11/15 Next PTO Meeting 9:15 am O’Hara Auditorium