KHS Artist Carries on Tradition of Excellence

Kennett High School senior Kelsie Baxter earned a First Place Award/Chester County Art Association Excellence Award for her work submitted to the juried exhibition at the recent Area High School Show at the Chester County Art Association in West Chester. Kelsie is a student in Tom Hironimus’ Advanced Art II class. 

The exhibition, April 11-18, included over 25 works by Kennett High School artists.  Art students from KHS also toured the exhibition.

Last year, Noelle Raezer, then a 10th grader in Tom Hironimus’ Advanced Art, won a First Place Award/The William Hirsch Award for Excellence in Black and White Drawing at the exhibit.  Noelle exhibited again this year.  This is the same award Amelia Pagliaro, a junior at the time, won in 2012.

The annual exhibition showcases the talents of area high school students.  High schools throughout the area are brought together by the Chester County Intermediate Unit.  The show encompasses everything from drawing and painting to computer generated art, to found object sculpture, ceramics, jewelry and more.

All Kennett High School artists will be exhibiting their work for the school on Friday, May 1, at the high school from 9 AM until 2 PM.  

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KHS Hosts Multicultural & Diversity Awareness Conference

On a recent Saturday morning, 200 high school and college students got up early to discuss issues that personally affect them. They attended Kennett High School’s 14th Annual Multicultural and Diversity Awareness Conference at Kennett High School.
    
Mr. Ray Fernandez, assistant principal and conference organizer, said, “Educating students about social issues, ethnicity, race relations, and cultural differences and similarities is as important as teaching academic subjects.” Students and chaperones represented high schools in York, Bethlehem, Allentown, Coatesville, Norristown, Philadelphia, Oxford, Phoenixville, and Reading.

Liberty High School Principal Mr. Harrison Bailey III from Bethlehem presented the keynote address. He began by pointing out that there many students in the audience who outwardly appear to be confident or not to care, but feel less confident on the inside. Everyone wears a mask.” The core message was that everyone in the audience is tomorrow’s future. He challenged everyone to make that Saturday the day that changes everything; the day that the mask is removed.

He continued by telling the students that the day was about building a better them so that they can contribute to a better us. He identified two critical concepts that would help each student as they worked to improve themselves: passion and purpose.

He told the students, “As an educator, I believe that the most significant factors to obtaining success are identifying your true passion and purpose.” He continued by explaining that passion is simply what you love, what speaks to the heart, and that once you have determined your true passion, you will be compelled to pursue it. Purpose, he told the students, is why you do what you do, what motivates and drives you when others have long since quit. He encouraged the students to find a way to honor their passion and purpose in order to change the world.

Kennett High School offered multiple workshops as part of the conference with topics that challenged students to consider their purpose in life, leadership skills, and experience growing up in a multicultural society. The workshop What Is Your Y? helped students to find their purpose in life. Another workshop, presented by members of the Kennett and Norristown high schools’ UNIDAD clubs explained to participants how to start clubs in their own schools.  

Reflecting on the Multicultural and Diversity Awareness Conference, Kennett High School sophomore Zanyla Mitchell stated that she liked meeting new people and that she is excited to learn how different and unique everyone is.

Dr. Barry Tomasetti, Kennett Consolidated School District superintendent, said that the greatest impact of the Multicultural and Diversity Awareness Conference was that “everyone has worth and can grow to realize their dreams.”

Conference sponsors included Exelon, PECO, ComEd, Landhope Farms, CJ Mushroom Company, DeLarosa Heating and Air Conditioning, Stinton Air Conditioning and Heating, Becker Locksmith Services, Burton’s Barbershop, El Ranchero, Rosticeria y Tortilleria, Enzo’s Italian Eatery, Taqueria Morolean, Taco Bell, KFC, Pepperidge Farms, Fulton Bank, Wawa, Plaza Azteca, Subway, Panaderia Lara, Herr’s, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Pepsi Beverages, Kennett Pizza and Pasta, Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins, El Campamento Mexicano, Hong Kong Buffet, Taqueria y Carniceria Guadalajara Express, Tapatia, Sam’s Sub Shop, Pro Musica Studio, Wegman’s, Krapf’s, Basciani Mushroom Farms, and Giant.

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KCSD Appoints New Assistant Superintendent

At its April meeting, the Kennett Consolidated School Board approved an employment contract that will make Kennett High School principal, Dr. Michael Barber, assistant superintendent effective July 1 through June 30, 2020.

Dr. Barber will be leaving his current post as Kennett High School’s principal to assume his new role, which will initially place a core focus on managing Human Resources for the District. Nancy Tischer, the highly regarded director of human resources for the District, plans to retire at the end of the current school year. When Dr. Barber transitions to the central office, one of his duties will be to oversee human resources.

Dr. Barry Tomasetti, District superintendent, emphasizes that the assistant superintendent position is not a new one and that there is still one less administrative position than when he came to the District.

“Dr. Barber has earned the trust of all those who come in contact with him,” Dr. Tomasetti commented. “He is a student-focused educator who has the work ethic and communication skills that will serve him well in his new position. His work with our High School staff has resulted in our Kennett High School consistently being named to Newsweek magazine’s list of America’s best High Schools.”

The District will conduct a full search for Dr. Barber’s replacement and plans to name a new high school principal in early June.

After 37 years of service, Kennett Middle School principal, Dr. John Carr, has announced his retirement from public school education. Kennett Middle School assistant principal, Mr. Lorenzo DeAngelis, has taken on the position of acting principal. The District will conduct a full search for Dr. Carr’s replacement and plans to announce a new middle school principal in early July.

“Dr. Carr has laid a successful foundation for our students’ academic success at the Kennett Middle School,” Dr. Tomasetti said. “Over the years he was able to effectively collaborate with our Middle School staff to create a student centered environment where our students’ learning was, and will still remain, the focus. Our Middle School has been recognized by the Department of Education as a “Highly Effective School” and nationally by the Schools to Watch organization.”

Dr. Carr will continue to affect the field of education as he will be working with West Chester University in their Teacher Education program.

The Kennett Consolidated School District has demonstrated excellence over the years due to a learning focused Board of Education and the many dedicated teachers, administrators and support staff that are dedicated to our students’ successes.
 

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KHS Teacher Named Citadel Heart of Learning Finalist

Mr. Michael Kelly is the finalist for the Kennett Consolidated School District in Citadel’s Heart of Learning Program. He was given his award at the Kennett High School faculty meeting in early April by representatives from the Oxford Branch of the Citadel Federal Credit Union. Citadel, in conjunction with the Chester County Intermediate Unit, sponsors the award program that seeks to honor the area’s most outstanding teachers.Sample Image

Mr. Kelly is in his 44th year of teaching. He is the mathematics department chairperson at the high school. Before coming to the high school on a permanent basis,Mr. Kelly taught at Kennett Middle School. In addition to his duties in the classroom, Mr. Kelly is the senior class adviser, the chairperson for the Graduation Committee, a member of the Professional Development Committee, and the president of the Kennett Education Association.

Mr. Kelly was among the teachers nominated for the award by students, parents, colleagues, or community members. One finalist was then chosen from each of Chester County’s school districts. These 15 finalists will attend a dinner and award ceremony later this year where one winner from each level will be announced.
Comments made by the person nominating Mr. Kelly included an analogy to a good sports coach who does not try to make a player change a successful routine but helps that player to improve that routine and add more skills. Mr. Kelly works with students in class and as individuals to help them reach their highest potential.

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Kennett High School’s Lisa Teixeira: Teacher as Hero

Ms. Lisa Teixeira, library media specialist at Kennett High School, has won the National Liberty Museum’s Teacher as Hero Award. Ms. Teixeira will receive her award at a reception at the museum in Philadelphia on April 30.

The National Liberty Museum’s Teacher as Hero Award, a program sponsored in conjunction with the museum by State Farm, each year recognizes dedicated teachers in the Delaware Valley who “inspire, motivate and educate young people.” Teachers who have been recognized in prior years have “stood up for students’ rights; … advocated on behalf of a troubled student; … provided incredible enrichment opportunities for Sample Imagetheir students.” According to the museum’s website, “The National Liberty Museum is dedicated to preserving America’s heritage of freedom by encouraging people to find their own place in the story of liberty. Our core themes for young people and adults include leadership and good character; diversity and inclusion; peaceful conflict resolution; and civic engagement. Our primary art form is glass art, as it makes the point that freedom is as fragile as glass.”

Each year the museum asks for nominations and encourages people to look for qualities that include an appreciation for diversity, an ability to teach students how to resolve conflicts respectfully, and a commitment to giving students a deeper understanding of the relationship between rights and responsibilities. Teachers who honor the student voice, who take a risk to remove obstacles to a student’s liberty, and who incorporate all of these qualities into their daily relationships qualify for this award.

Ms. Teixeira was nominated for this award by Guidance Counselor Mr. Fran Ryan, who stated in his letter of nomination, “Ms. Lisa Teixeira is one of those rare individuals whose energy and humanitarian efforts far exceed that of even the most dedicated educators and community service leaders. Lisa is a fierce proponent of human rights, whether she is working in our small town of Kennett Square or whether she is serving halfway around the world. Lisa demonstrates all of the characteristics of a Teacher as Hero Award winner. Because she is our school’s librarian, she has the opportunity to interact with all of our students in grades 9-12. She is active in teaching literacy and research skills to our entire student body. She teaches lessons on a daily basis and uses her teaching as a platform to promote human rights, citizenship, and literacy skills. She also uses her sponsorship of our school’s Humanitarian Club, our Literature Club, Better Than Oprah, and for many previous years, our Student Council, to greatly enrich the education of our students in many ways.”

Mr. Ryan went on in his four-page nomination letter to enumerate the ways in which Ms. Teixeira personifies each of the qualities the award honors.

“Lisa is particularly sensitive to the cultural and educational needs of our Latino population which makes up approximately 37% of our student body. Lisa is a tremendous advocate and supporter of these wonderful students. Fifteen years ago I had the opportunity to travel with Lisa and two other colleagues to the region of Mexico from which many of our Latino students and their families migrate.  Representatives from the Department of Education in Mexico escorted our group to various public schools in the Guanajuato area. This program also included the study of the history and culture of Mexico. This experience helped all of us to see the plight of our students from Mexico with a new perspective. When we returned from our trip our group prepared and presented a workshop on Mexican culture and education to the faculties and administrators in our school district. Lisa’s tremendous research skills proved to be a great asset in helping us to put together this workshop. I believe that this workshop benefited our entire school district. It led to a better-informed and more compassionate approach to educating the Latino students throughout the district. This program could not have come close to reaching the level of excellence it did without the untiring efforts of Ms. Teixeira.”

Ms. Teixeira has traveled extensively throughout Mexico and South America on her own and is particularly interested in Mayan and Incan history and culture. She is a frequent guest speaker in the school’s social studies classes when students study these topics. The school’s Latino students are particularly appreciative of Ms. Teixeira’s knowledge of their history and cultures of origin.

Another way that Ms. Teixeira supports the school’s minority students is by serving as a mentor in the Walk in Knowledge program (WIN) that meets twice a week after school. Not only does she offer herself as a personal mentor, but she also offers the resources of the Library/Media Center to the other mentors and tutors that work in this program.

Ms. Teixeira has recently become active as a mentor in a local community program, Chester County Futures. Chester County Futures focuses on removing barriers to college attendance for minority and disadvantaged students. Her wisdom and optimism provide her mentees with great hope that they can one day attend college, despite the significant barriers they face.
    
An appreciation of diversity in the classroom can also be seen in the diversity of literature selections that are read and discussed in Ms. Teixeira’s Better Than Oprah book club. She and her club members select, read, and discuss books from a diverse group of authors and genres. The fact that the club members themselves come from diverse backgrounds is proof that Ms. Teixeira promotes diversity in this club.

Ms. Teixeira’s appreciation of diversity has not been limited to her work in Kennett High School and in Mexico. Her work has also reached around the world to China, where she taught English in China during the summers of 2012 and 2013 as part of an educator exchange program sponsored by the Chinese Department of Education. Her experiences in China helped her to develop a better understanding of Chinese culture and the Chinese education system. She shared much of what she learned in an amazing presentation that she made to teachers and students.

Back at school, Ms. Teixeira participates in the high school’s annual Multicultural and Diversity Awareness Conference. This conference brings students from across the Delaware Valley to participate in a day of workshops designed to promote cultural awareness, understanding, and tolerance. In preparation for this yearly event, Ms. Teixeira actively promotes literature and readings designed to support cultural awareness and tolerance.

Ms. Teixeira frequently encourages students to “take a stand” and “use their voices.” She promotes these ideals in her teaching and in her work with the school’s Humanitarian Club, and she has done so previously as the sponsor of the Student Council. She teaches students that they have a responsibility as American citizens to make a difference in the world. She encourages students to work to make changes if they see something that is unjust and to take part in the political process.

In discussing Ms. Teixeira’s willingness to take risks, Mr. Ryan pointed to her stand against the banning of books from the District’s libraries and the use of cameras to record students’ activities on the Internet. Ms. Teixeira has always been a proponent of individual rights as well as a strong voice to emphasize to students their personal responsibilities.

Mr. Ryan noted that Ms. Teixeira regularly seeks funding for important initiatives that benefit all students with a special focus on those that help students overcome obstacles. Recently she reached out to the Kennett Education Foundation and secured a grant to purchase Kindle e-readers to provide access to the latest technology to those disadvantaged students that otherwise would not have that opportunity. Lisa also secured a $45,000 Library Services and Technology grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Education that provided federal monies to purchase laptops for disadvantaged students, thus helping to level the playing field for students that lack access to technology in their homes. A grant she obtained from Swarthmore College provided money for books, tape recorders, cameras, and opportunities for college visits. In this program, students created anthologies about their own lives and were given assistance forming plans to attend college. The program also provided valuable mentoring from Swarthmore College students.

Ms. Teixeira has been the librarian at Kennett High School since 1997 and serves as chairperson. She is the senior librarian in the Kennett Consolidated School District. Ms. Teixeira holds a Master of Science in information studies from Drexel University. Prior to coming to Kennett High School, she was the children’s librarian at the Bayard Taylor Library in Kennett Square, she worked at Widener University in informational studies, and she did grant work at Drexel University, where she was also a teaching assistant.

In addition to advising clubs at the high school, Ms. Teixeira serves on numerous committees at the high school and in the District. She has two grown daughters and lives in Kennett Square, where she enjoys the life in the community. She is an active participant in the Kennett Amateur Theatrical Society and has played many roles in local performances.

Responding to her notification of the Teacher as Hero Award, Ms. Teixeira humbly said, “I am very grateful for the recognition, but we know it takes a village, and I’m just one member of the school community!”

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KMS Presents Shrek, Jr.

Kennett Middle School is excited to present Shrek, Jr.

  • Friday, May 8 at 7:00 PM
  • Saturday, May 9 at 1:00 and 7:00 PM

Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for students & seniors.

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KHS Creates Second Lip Dub Video

The students, faculty, administration, and staff lined the halls and filled the gymnasium of Kennett High School on Friday, March 27.  Their goal was to create a spirit filled video to be posted on YouTube.

Organized by senior videographers Kiersten Anderson, Lucas Ransick, Heather McDonald, and Tyler Mousley under the guidance of award winning video production teacher Frank Vanderslice, the students lip dubbed to Smash Mouth’s hit “All Star.”

Clubs, sports teams, band members, cheerleaders, and costumed characters danced and made noise as the cameras toured through hallways lined with students and festooned with signs and streamers.  The rainy day did not dampen the enthusiasm of the participants, especially the seniors who ended the video with the chant “WE ARE – KENNETT.” 

In the photo above, Robotics Club members show club pride by displaying their competition number in the Lip Dub. 

This is the second time that Kennett High School has produced a lip dub video.  The last, in 2010, got a modest number of views. The goal this time is to get at least 50,000 views.  The true purpose of the event was to encourage students to display their spirit and school pride as they closed out the third marking period and headed into Spring Break.

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Kennett High School Announces National Merit Finalists

Kennett High School is proud to announce that five Kennett High School students have been recognized as National Merit Finalists in the annual National Merit Scholarship Program.

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The National Merit Finalists are (from left) seniors PJ O’Sullivan, Nichol Brown, Jonathan Baumel, Katherine Gallivan, and Richard Doty.

Nichol will attend Arizona State University, where she will major in English/linguistics. Katherine will study to be a physician assistant at Philadelphia University. At this point, PJ, Jonathan, and Richard are waiting to hear from their top-choice schools.
 
The 2014-2015 school year is the 60th year of the prestigious National Merit Scholarship Program, which honors academically talented high school seniors and lets them compete for 8,000 National Merit Scholarship awards worth more than $35 million. The awards will be announced this spring.

To become a National Merit Finalist, a student must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by the school principal, and earn SAT scores that confirm the student’s earlier qualifying performance.
 
More than 1.5 million high school juniors in over 22,000 high schools nationwide entered the 2014-2015 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2013 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

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Child Protective Services Law Update

The Pennsylvania General Assembly once again amended the Child Protective Services Law (Act 153) in July of 2015 through what is known as Act 15 of 2015.  Significant changes to the background check requirements have been made, and the highlights to the law are summarized in this document below.

Act 15 defines direct volunteer contact as the care, supervision, guidance, or control of children and routine interaction with children.  Routine interaction is defined as regular and repeated contact that is integral to a person’s employment or volunteer responsibilities.  

  • Effective July 1, 2016 or by adoption of a new School Board policy, volunteers must have clearances in order to be approved to offer their services in the schools.  
  • All fees associated with background checks have been waived.  Although Act 15 does provide a few exemptions within the law, effective August 31, 2015, the Kennett Consolidated School District will be requiring background clearances from all volunteers who are supervising children in an effort to ensure the health, welfare, and safety of all students. 
  • All Pennsylvania background checks are now valid for a five (5) year period. 
  • If a volunteer has continuously resided in Pennsylvania for 10 years AND swears in writing that he or she has never been convicted of a disqualifying crime in Pennsylvania or the corresponding offenses under the laws of any other jurisdiction, they only need to secure the Department of Public Welfare Child Abuse Clearance (Act 151) and the Pennsylvania Criminal History Check (Act 34); the Federal Clearance (Act 114) is not needed.

Volunteers may obtain these clearances by applying online at the following websites:

Once obtained the clearances must be  submitted to the school principal.

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    Kennett High School Senior Athlete Commits to the United States Military Academy at West Point

     

    Kennett High School celebrated senior Hannah Shiflet signing her letter of intent to play lacrosse for the United States Military Academy at West Point during a ceremony on March 9, 2015. Sample Image

    Hannah (seated, middle) was surrounded by her parents, Bob Shiflet (seated, left) and Sharon Shiflet (seated, right), as well as (standing, from left) her coach, Dale Watkins, her sister, Kate, her guidance counselor, Mr. Fran Ryan, and Kennett High School Athletic Director Mr. Jeff Thomas.

    Hannah began playing lacrosse for Kennett High School on the junior varsity team as a freshman. She has played defense and midfield for the varsity team for three years. She has also played for a club team for the past four years. In 2014 she earned the Blue Demon Award and was named an U.S. Lacrosse Academic All American. As a senior, Hannah will serve as the varsity team captain

    “Hannah is a tremendous athlete who will be missed,” Coach Watkins said. “She is a tenacious defender … a well-rounded student athlete who makes everyone around her better.”

    In addition to lacrosse, Hannah also plays goalie for the high school’s varsity soccer team. In 2011 and in 2012 she was named to the All-Conference Second Team. In 2013 and 2014 she was named to the All-Conference First Team. In 2014 she was also awarded the Kennett High School Award of Excellence and the Best Defensive Player Award. During her senior year, Hannah served as team captain.

    In 2014 Hannah won the Congressional Scholar Athlete Award.

    Hannah will be following in her parents’ footsteps by attending the United States Military Academy. “Attending West Point has always been my dream,” Hannah said. “Receiving a lacrosse scholarship makes my acceptance even more amazing.”

    Hannah intends to major in engineering.

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