Spotlight on Kennett Middle School’s Mrs. Jennifer Reinheimer

For most people, middle school is filled with complex emotions and heightened expectations, where a student can oscillate between childhood innocence and adolescent responsibility. It’s a time where young people can feel lost and alone and not know who to turn to, especially when it comes to the adults in their lives. Mrs. Jennifer Reinheimer, eighth-grade guidance counselor at Kennett Middle School, has made it her life’s work to help young people discover who they are during this time in their lives

Mrs. Reinheimer, known as Jenna V. to her coworkers, has served the Kennett community for 20 years. She received her undergraduate degree from Mount Holyoke College in psychobiology and her master of science in counseling and human relations from Villanova University. Before beginning her career in education, Mrs. Reinheimer worked at the Central Intelligence Agency with children of undercover agents, performing a combination of therapeutic and educational duties. She discovered her passion for counseling children and returned to school to pursue her master’s. She began working at Kennett in 1998, starting at New Garden Elementary School and Mary D. Lang Kindergarten Center before taking her current role at the middle school. Although she didn’t begin in education, taking care of children has been a lifelong passion – as a child, Mrs. Reinheimer dreamed of being a pediatrician.

School counseling can be difficult and underappreciated, but Mrs. Reinheimer finds joy in the students she serves. “The best part of this job is watching Kennett students grow up,” she says. “I love watching them develop. It can be challenging to witness the struggle, but it is so rewarding to watch them overcome those struggles.”

Mrs. Reinheimer takes a “holistic, full-circle approach.” One of her biggest duties is transitioning students from fifth to sixth grade and then transitioning those same students from eighth to ninth grade. “A challenge with today’s generation is reconciling their identities with technology, a different struggle than previous generations. Technology is a huge part of their lives and influences everything, from identity to social bonds,” she says. Mrs. Reinheimer strives to help her students understand these life transitions and how technology can help and hinder them.

The day-to-day work of a counselor, Mrs. Reinheimer says, is “so much more than what people think.” Her focus is on what each student wants to be and how they can get there. This caring outlook echoes throughout the lives of Kennett students, even after their departure from the middle school. She has heard students for several reasons, from wanting to pursue counseling themselves to just saying hello. She adds, “Having someone reach out when you least expect it is a gift and makes me feel like I’m making a difference.”

Mrs. Reinheimer is also fulfilled by her professional collaboration with colleagues in and outside Kennett. “I think it’s very important to be connected to the field because you never stop learning. I continually strive to do better by gaining more knowledge so I can be a role model for my students.”

“Kennett is a phenomenal school district. There are fantastic opportunities and the quality of staff is incomparable. I have no hesitation in recommending Kennett to anyone.”

Mrs. Reinheimer has also performed various other duties in the school: she participated in the District’s Strategic Committee, received a grant to attend the 2002 American School Counselor Conference, served as the lead facilitator for the Middle School’s Student Assistance Program for several years, and continues to serve as the lead facilitator for the No Place for Hate Program, a subsidiary component of the Bullying Prevention Task Force. She has been instrumental in helping Kennett Middle School receive their No Place for Hate Designation. Along with her leadership in the school, Mrs. Reinheimer enjoys fostering children’s physical capabilities by acting as the Kennett Middle School cross-country coach. She has done this for 11 year and will continue to do so into the foreseeable future.

When she’s not working, she can be found shuttling her three active sons to various athletic practices.

Read More

Kennett Inspires Creativity with Art and Music Programs

Eighth grade student Eduardo Guadarrama focuses on learning the guitar.

March is a month to celebrate visual art and music in schools with Youth Art Month, sponsored by the Council for Art Education, and Music in our Schools Month, sponsored by the National Association for Music Education.

Ms. Jessica Williams reviews chords with her students.

The importance of arts in our schools has been proven time and time again. According to the advocacy website, students who study music tend to have larger vocabularies and more advanced reading skills than peers who do not; students who study art are more likely to be recognized for academic achievement

 and school attendance. In the District, arts and music thrive through unique and rigorous programs that cannot be found in other area schools. In March, we celebrate the guitar curriculum at Kennett Middle School and the ceramics and fine art programs at Kennett High School.

At Kennett Middle School, eighth-grade students have the opportunity to learn one of the world’s most popular instruments: the guitar. Between the two of them, music teachers Mrs. Patricia Mancuso and Ms. Jessica Williams have eight sections of guitar classes. The middle school has been offering the class since the 2004–05 school year.

Ms. Williams likes to keep the class contemporary by learning well-known songs like Bill Withers’s “Lean on Me,” While picking up a new instrument is difficult for anyone, with hard work, practice, and a few broken strings, the middle-school students learn to love their new skill. “This class is a lot of fun. I’ve learned a lot and I didn’t know anything when I started, but now I can switch chords pretty well,” says eighth-grade student Eduardo Guadarrama, whose favorite song to play is Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me.”

A performance ensemble like chorus and band or the guitar class can be tough, but there are those who see the advantages. Eighth-grade student Melanie Alvarado says, “It’s nice to have new learning experiences for free.”

The guitars were purchased through funds raised by the Kennett Consolidated School District Friends of Music, a parent-driven nonprofit that supports all music programs in the District, along with startup money from the District.

The students’ enthusiasm for the guitar is a snapshot of the role music education plays in their studies. “It’s really exciting to see students be musically creative, even if they don’t think they’re ‘musically inclined,” adds Ms. Williams. “They’re learning that they can be a part of music, too.”

Over at Kennett High School, students are offered exceptional artistic training in both ceramics and classic artistic mediums. in Mr. Thomas Hironimus’s fine-arts classroom, students study media and techniques like graphite, acrylic, and charcoal.

Eleventh grade student Alexandra Cresci with her oil pastel piece.

“My main goal is to prepare students for later in life, either in a higher education setting or to have the skills to pursue art on their own,” said Mr. Hironimus. He described his own art education and the skills gap he had when pursuing an art degree, which inspired him to go into education. His students are passionate and dedicated to their work; they have achieved high marks at the Chester County High School Art Festival in past years, held at the Chester County Art Association. Kennett High School enters 24 pieces of art every year, out of the nearly 500 pieces from around Chester County, and has placed first in several categories over the past eight years. Mr. Hironimus has even seen parents’ art displayed at local galleries. “We’re lucky to have a community that supports the art program at the high school.”

Students have also found success studying art in higher education, like at the Tyler School of Art, Kutztown University, and Millersville University. Next year, twelfth-grade student Maddie Conlin-Day plans to study textile design at the Savannah College of Art and Design, one of the most prestigious art institutions in the country. “Every day in the art room is a great day,” says Maddie. “I learned everything I know about art here.”

Students looking for something a little more “hands-on” can pursue the ceramics course, a yearlong class that is offered all four years (Most schools only offer an elective like this for part of the year.) “It really allows students to dive deep and hone their skills,” says high-school pottery teacher Mrs. Jodi Davidson.

“It’s a huge confidence builder for a student to take a piece of clay and create things they never thought they could,” adds Mrs. Davidson. “I still fall in love with the craft as a teacher and artist watching my students create.”

Students in the ceramics program begin with foundational skills, hand-building sculptures with clay and creating basic ceramics. 

Tenth grade student Ronan Gorman’s Advanced Level 2 hand thrown mugs.

As they move up, they learn to throw pieces on the wheel and make bigger projects, including sculptural pieces. Projects range from utilitarian tools, like mugs and bowls, to artistic projects, like masks inspired by world cultures.

Mrs. Davidson has been an artist since she was young—in high school, she created her own jewelry and clothing. She pursued her love of art at West Chester University, earning a degree in fine arts. After graduation, Mrs. Davidson fell in love with teaching art and eventually went back to school for her master’s in art education from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. “Going to school for art is doable, and I love seeing students pursue their passion for art after high school,” added Mrs. Davidson.

Twelfth grade student Katie Schuetz’s First Year Ceramics lattice cup and teapot pieces.

Even for students who do not pursue art in higher education, participating in the ceramics course cultivates a love for art that

gram is undertaking a mosaic project to decorate the hallways of the art classrooms. The students mold and glaze the tiles in the school and help construct the mosaic, which is projected for completion at the end of the school year. embodies why art education is important. “Having a creative outlet is really important for all people,” added Mrs. Davidson.

Currently, the ceramics program is undertaking a mosaic project to decorate the hallways of the art classrooms. The students mold and glaze the tiles in the school and help construct the mosaic, which is projected for completion at the end of the school year.

Read More

April Parent Conference Schedule Changes

Our Kindergarten Center and Elementary School parent conferences that have been postponed will be rescheduled to Tuesday, April 24, Wednesday, April 25 and Thursday, April 26 and will operate on half-day schedules on these dates as follows:

  • Kindergarten Center- 9:00 A.M. – 12:00 P.M.
  • Elementary Schools– 8:45 A.M. – 12:30 P.M.

Our Middle School parent conferences will be held on Wednesday, April 25 and Thursday, April 26 and will operate on half-day schedules on these dates that begin at 7:40 A.M. and end at 11:30 A.M.

You will receive specific information from your home school in regard to your child’s scheduled parent conference soon after next week’s scheduled Spring Break has concluded.

Please note that all other school days will operate on the regular full day schedule as follows:

  • Kindergarten Center- 9:00 A.M. – 3:00 P.M.
  • Elementary Schools- 8:45 A.M. – 3:35 P.M.
  • Middle School – 7:40 A.M. – 2:35 P.M.

Nuestras conferencias de padres de la Mary D. Lang Kindergarten Center y las escuelas primarias (Bancroft, Greenwood, y New Garden) que han sido pospuestos se reprogramarán para el martes, el 24 de abril, el miércoles, el 25 de abril, y jueves, el 26 de abril y operarán en horarios de medio día en estas fechas de la siguiente manera:

  • Kindergarten Center- 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 PM.
  • Escuelas primarias- 8:45 a.m. – 12:30 PM.

Nuestras conferencias para padres de la Kennett Middle School se llevarán a cabo el miércoles, el 25 de abril, y el jueves, el 26 de abril y operarán en horarios de medio día en estas fechas. Vamos a empezar los días escolares a las 7:40 A.M. y vamos a terminar a las 11:30 a.m.

Usted va a recibir información específica de su escuela con respecto a la conferencia programada para padres de su hijo unos días después de las vacaciones de la primavera la próxima semana.

Tenga en cuenta que todos los demás días escolares operarán en el horario regular de día completo de la siguiente manera:

  • Kindergarten Center- 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 PM.
  • Escuelas primarias- 8:45 a.m. – 3:35 p.m.
  • Escuela Secundaria – 7:40 a.m. – 2:35 p.m.
Read More

Three High School Musicians Selected for Regional Festivals

Bass clarinetist Victoria Gonzalez

Three incredibly talented Kennett High School musicians have been selected to Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) Region VI Festivals. These students advanced to Regions based on their auditions at the District level in January. Region VI includes schools in Chester, Delaware, Bucks, and Montgomery counties, as well as the city of Philadelphia.

Victoria Gonzalez (bass clarinet) will be a part of the Region Band Festival, February 22 through 24 at Valley Forge Military Academy.

Participating in the Region Chorus, March 1 through 3 at Central Bucks South High School, will be Abbie Duckworth (alto) and Mirella Petrillo (alto).

Students were required to demonstrate excellence in major and chromatic scales, as well as solo performance, or choral selections, in order to earn the right to participate at Region Festivals. Hopefully, the next step for these students will be the State Festivals. They will audition again at Regions to secure a spot there.

“Region VI is the largest and most competitive region in the state. Congratulations to our students who are representing themselves and Kennett so well,” said Ms. Katie Soukup, Kennett High School Choral Director

“We have sent students to PMEA Regions for the last eight years. Kennett’s high standards of musicianship have ensured that accomplishment,” added Mr. Anton Romano, Director of Bands at Kennett.

Alto singers Abbie Duckworth (L) and Mirella Petrillo (R)

Both Region Band and Region Chorus Festivals culminate in concerts that are open to the public.

Read More