The sixth grade is an exciting year for any student. In Kennett Consolidated School District, sixth grade marks the transition from oldest in the elementary school to the newest students in the middle school. Fortunately for the students at Kennett Middle School, Mrs. Brooke Giffi is one of the teachers to who welcomes these transitioning students into the middle school.
Mrs. Giffi received her bachelor’s degree in education from West Chester University and has been teaching in Kennett Consolidated School District from the time she was student teaching. She continued to teach in the district while studying for her master’s degree in Instructional Systems, a degree that focuses on designing and implementing different instructional styles for all types of learners, which she received from Penn State University. After spending one year teaching fifth grade students at Greenwood Elementary, she moved to sixth grade, teaching first at Greenwood then moving to the middle school when it was built.
Her students often experience her countless roles: as a leader and role model, from time to time as a counselor; and always as a friend and mentor. In addition to the roles she fills for her students, she also serves as Facilitator and Presenter for the District’s Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) team.
Mrs. Giffi and other teachers from the District received training to teach in this relatively new instructional program. According to the Center for Applied Linguistics, the SIOP model is “a research-based and validated instructional model that has proven effective in addressing the academic needs of English learners throughout the United States. Using instructional strategies connected to each of these components, teachers are able to design and deliver lessons that address the academic and linguistic needs of English learners.”
Additionally, Mrs. Giffi is on the Pennsylvania Schools to Watch team. This recognition program runs on both the state and national levels, and 17 states participate. The mission of the initiative is to “prepare students to be ready for college, career, and citizenship (and) make every middle grades school academically excellent, responsive to the developmental needs and interests of young adolescents, and socially equitable.” This initiative gives Mrs. Giffi the opportunity to observe other schools in Pennsylvania and recognize the excellence of practices in other schools in the state.
As with any career, teaching poses it’s challenges. Mrs. Giffi notes, “In general, time is always a challenge. But professionally, I find that keeping up with the changes in state standards and Common Core curriculum, having that looming over teaching practices, is challenging. Staying balanced with workload is also something that takes a lot of attention. I personally appreciate timely feedback and want to be sure I give that to my students, so grading and returning paperwork on time is something that is important to me and takes planning.”
Clearly, the challenges she faces prove themselves to be well worth the energy. Building relationships with students and seeing the creativity they display is an aspect of her job that Mrs Giffi lives for. “Connecting with students on different levels and finding new ways to pique their interests in order to help them grow and learn as individuals as well as academically is why I teach. Every day I feel a wow moment because each day my students learn something new, and that is just fantastic.” She loves
getting visits from previous students. She says, “It’s great to see them return after they’ve done some growing up, and I love to see who they’ve become as people.” Mrs. Giffi is the mother of two boys who are currently in sixth grade and tenth grade. She loves to cook and read, and she cherishes time spent with her sons, husband, and cats.
Eight incredibly talented Kennett High School musicians have been selected by audition to various Pennsylvania Music Educators Association (PMEA) District 12 Honor Festivals. District 12 includes Chester and Delaware counties and is undeniably one of the most competitive in the state.
Victoria Gonzalez (bass clarinet), Yvonna Liszewski (flute), and Evan Shinn (euphonium) will be a part of the District Band Festival, February 9 – 11 at Bayard Rustin High School. These students are directed at Kennett High School by Mr. Anton Romano.
Participating in the District Chorus, January 12 – 14 at Penn Crest High School, were Arielle Smith (soprano), Abbie Duckworth (alto), Yvonna Liszewski (alto), Mirella Petrillo (alto), Jimmy Rosser (tenor), and Zach Hrenko (bass). Ms. Katie Soukup is the choral director at Kennett High School.
District Orchestra will be held January 26 – 28 at West Chester University. Flutist Yvonna Liszewski will represent KHS. The Kennett High School Orchestra is conducted by Mrs. Jessica Williams.
Auditions for selection to the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association District Festivals were held on November 19 at Bayard Rustin High School in West Chester. Students had 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 the District Festivals. At their respective festivals, students re-audition for the opportunity to go on to Region and State levels.
Across the Kennett Consolidated School District, students and faculty participated in holiday service projects.
This year, Kennett High School’s Humanitarian Club participated in many different fundraising activities, such as the annual food drive, collecting donations during lunchtime, and sponsoring a Fall Fest, which included a bonfire, food, activities, and entertainment. Overall, the Humanitarian Club collected more than 3,000 pounds of food and donated more than $500 to the Kennett Food Cupboard.
“This year we saw an amazing effort by our leaders, Molly Adelman and Jackie Tucker, and are so grateful for the work they do to support our students, our school, and our community,” said Ms. Lisa Teixeira, advisor for the Humanitarian Club.
Kennett High School also continued a tradition organized by social studies teacher Mr. Shawn Duffy: the Holiday Turkey Drive, which provides turkeys to families in need.
Holiday spirit filled the halls of Kennett Middle School as students and faculty participated in holiday service projects benefiting Adopt-A-Family, which helps people in need receive presents during the holidays. The eighth grade class combined fun, fitness, and service by hosting a student-teacher volleyball game to benefit the Adopt-A-Family program on December 2. Students donated $3 to attend the volleyball game, and $1 raffle tickets offered them a chance to win a spot on the student team. Students and faculty were not only serving volleyballs, they were also serving their community.
The eighth grade students also participated in their third annual Teacher Turkey-Costume Competition. Donation cups were displayed, each with a teacher’s name on it, and students placed a donation in the cup representing their teacher of choice. The teacher who secured the most donations had to wear an extravagant turkey costume during lunchtime, and the three runners-up had to dance the “Gobble Wobble” for the students. Of the $184 collected, $112 was donated in Mr. Andrew Malkasian’s name. The eighth grade history teacher donned the infamous costume while runners-up Mrs. Anderson, Mrs. Uster, and Mrs. Brady danced next to him!
Kennett Middle School seventh grade students and teachers participated in a friendly game-show-inspired competition called “Are You Smarter Than a Seventh Grade Teacher?” to raise money for Adopt-A-Family. Students donated $3 to attend the event, where both student and teacher participants were quizzed on topics ranging from pop culture to Kennett Middle School trivia. Chances to play could be obtained by purchasing raffle tickets. Approximately 30 students participated as contestants, and “Are You Smarter Than a Seventh Grade Teacher?” was a success yet again.
Meanwhile, the sixth grade students held their annual Glow Dance, which has become an exciting tradition. Students donated $3 to attend, and special items such as glow bracelets, necklaces, and glow eyeglasses were available for purchase, along with refreshments.
Together, Kennett Middle School students and faculty collected more than $1,500 to benefit the school’s Adopt-A-Family program, in addition to collecting donations for Toys for Tots in the main office. This year, 15 families were “adopted” by Kennett Middle School. Most are Kennett Middle School families and are chosen by principals and counselors based on need. “In order to give the families the option to shop for themselves, the money raised is used to buy gift cards. Although the recipients are kept confidential, the fundraisers promote community building for students,” says Ms. Brenna Levi, assistant principal at Kennett Middle School.
Each year, the lobby of New Garden Elementary School is transformed into a winter wonderland of giving. During the holiday season, the lobby becomes the home of the Mitten Tree. This 20-year-old tradition invited students and faculty to add their donations of scarves, hats, gloves, and mittens to the tree throughout the month of December. The generous donations were then distributed to students in need. Who gives and takes from the Mitten Tree varies from year to year and is always kept confidential.
This year, two friends developed a fundraiser called Crazy Holiday Day. Fourth grade students Ellie Cartersoriano and Tess Nicholas developed the idea, and fifth grade students Brandt Berger and Charlie Westphal implemented the project on December 13. Students had the opportunity to make a monetary donation in exchange for the chance to wear fun holiday attire. This student-led fundraiser brought in more than $500 to be donated to the Kennett Food Cupboard.
Bancroft Elementary School hosted its sixth annual pajama drive this December with great success. Students and staff collected pairs of pajamas in all sizes to be donated to local shelters. To close out the drive, Bancroft Elementary School students participated in Pajama Day right before the students left for winter break. At a schoolwide Morning Meeting, students and faculty could sing songs and “cozy up.” Students guessed how many pairs of pajamas had been collected, followed by a big reveal. The pajamas collected were displayed to give the students a tangible way to acknowledge their accomplishment.
School staff at Bancroft Elementary School look forward to seeing the whole school gather on Pajama Day. “The celebration really makes our school feel like a family. The students love knowing that they are helping others in need. It pushes them to reach the goal and they are proud of themselves for doing a good job,” says Mrs. Donna Phillips, who oversees community giving at Bancroft Elementary along with Mrs. Sara Simasek.
This December, students at Greenwood Elementary School collected toys for their Holiday Toy Drive. Each classroom decorated a collection box to fill with new, unwrapped presents. This specific drive supports Toys for Tots through the Kennett Area Community Service (KACS), whose mission is to “serve people in their time of need.” Kennett Consolidated School District does a lot of work with this organization throughout the year.
“The drive is still running, but it is safe to say from my past four years of experience as the co-chair of the Community Outreach Committee that we will have several carloads of donations,” says Ms. Lauren Leighton. “It’s amazing to see everything piled in the school’s lobby as we load it into the trucks. It feels great to know that we are helping families have a happier holiday. This is an opportunity for all of us to learn to appreciate what we have and to give back to those less fortunate.”
Mary D. Lang Kindergarten Center hosted a Canned Food Drive to benefit the Ronald McDonald House of Delaware. Organized by Mrs. Kelly Hostetler, the school nurse, and Mrs. Jane Henry, administrative assistant to the principal, students were invited to bring in canned goods for those in need. Each year there is a goal of 1,000 items, but most years students donate more than 1,500 items. Faculty teach the importance of giving during the holiday season. To end the fundraiser, the school hosts a Spirit Assembly in conjunction with Pajama Day to announce the total number of cans collected and to recognize the class that made the most donations. This year, Mrs. Marchini’s and Mrs. Van Hoorebeke’s classes tied for that honor, with each bringing in 69 donations.
Additionally, the Mary D. Lang Kindergarten Center staff lounge houses the annual Giving Tree. This holiday service project allows school staff to support the Adopt-A-Family initiative. Families are interviewed about their needs for clothing sizes, toys, and school supplies. The items are then written on a gingerbread-shaped ornament and hung on a tree. The staff choose ornaments and purchase the requested items until the tree is empty.
Principal April Reynolds says, “The fundraiser is kept completely anonymous and is only for faculty, which ensures that those on the receiving end don’t feel uncomfortable. Mary D. Lang teaches that the holiday season is about giving, not just receiving, and this effort truly changes lives for those who have never had a Christmas.”
The Kennett Consolidated School District would like to thank all of the students, faculty, and families who continue to support the District’s efforts to help the community. These holiday service projects are a true testament to the Kennett Consolidated School District’s mission of fostering ongoing collaboration.
To identify the 10 safest cities in Pennsylvania, Safewise.com reviewed the most recent FBI crime report statistics, along with population data. During this review, all cities with fewer than five thousand residents, as well as any cities that failed to submit a complete crime report to the FBI, were eliminated.
The remaining cities were evaluated based on the number of reported violent crimes (aggravated assault, murder, rape, and robbery) and property crimes (burglary, arson, larceny theft, and motor-vehicle theft) in each city. To further level the playing field, the likelihood of these crimes occurring out of a thousand people in each city was calculated.
Kennett Township had no violent crimes and no property crimes during the period evaluated by Safewise.com.
“The Kennett schools and community have been a great fit for my family,” comments Dr. Barry Tomasetti, superintendent of the Kennett Consolidated School District. “Having two boys who have graduated from Kennett High School and one who is a senior this year, we have had the opportunity to become well acquainted with the many benefits this area has to offer. Great schools manned by outstanding teachers and building administrators and being one of the ‘coolest towns’ in America make the Kennett area an attractive place to raise a family.”
Alumni Day at Kennett High School will be Thursday, December 22 from 8am to 1pm. Entrance to the school will be at the main lobby; the south-wing entrance will be locked. All visitors must sign in and receive a visitor pass sticker to be worn visibly on shirt or jacket.
Refreshments for alumni will be available in the library from 8am to 1pm. The Holiday Concert begins at 8:45am in the auditorium. (No food or drink should be taken into the auditorium).
Please remember – The day is an instructional day. Signs will be placed on classroom doors indicating whether or not a teacher is available to visit.
Thank you for your cooperation. The Administrators, Faculty & Staff of Kennett High School look forward to seeing you!
Kindergarten is an enormous step for all children.Kindergarten teachers leave lasting impressions on the children that they welcome into their classrooms. Kindergarten is also some children’s first experience in a traditional classroom, making this year of schooling especially important.
Ashley McKeown, a kindergarten teacher at the Mary D. Lang Kindergarten Center and our Spotlight for December,rises to this occasion year after year. She has this quote displayed in her home, “While we teach our children about life, our children teach us what life’s all about.” This perfectly describes Mrs. McKeown’s passion and excitement for her career and for her students.
Mrs. McKeown began her career at Kennett Consolidated School District 11 years ago, when she began teaching half-day kindergarten at the New Garden Kindergarten Center. She also spent a year teaching the LEAP program for at-risk learners. She spent two years teaching first grade students at New Garden Elementary School; since then, she has taught full-day kindergarten at Mary D. Lang Kindergarten Center.
Mrs. McKeown earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education, with a minor in human development and family studies, from Penn State. As a student teacher, she spent a full year in a first and second grade multi-age classroom. She then earned her master’s degree in early childhood education from West Chester University. Her education has allowed her to keep students’ developmental levels in mind as she plans engaging lessons and manages behavior. She says, “Since my focus is on child development, educating the ‘whole child’is at the forefront of my thinking – cognitive, social, emotional, and physical.”
In addition to being a kindergarten teacher, Mrs. McKeown is a representative on the Math Standing Committee and a Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) facilitator for Mary D. Lang Kindergarten Center, but perhaps her most important position is as a positive role model for her students. Mrs. McKeown says, “I model respect and manners when speaking with my students. I remind them that making mistakes is okay and that we can work to correct them. Kindness is essential to creating a warm and loving atmosphere in my classroom.”
Although the work can be challenging, Mrs. McKeown describes it as rewarding and exciting. Differentiating between the needs of her students is a constant reminder that there is always room to grow and change. She says, “Looking at previous lesson plans and realizing I need to make adjustments each year helps me grow as a teacher. No year is the same. Different students have different needs and that requires new and fresh ideas.”
But for Mrs. McKeown, it’s all about the kindergartners’ zest for life and learning:
“The light in my students’ eyes when they’ve made a connection or have an “a-ha” moment is amazing. It’s the only job where at least 10 people a day give you a hug and say “I love you.”Witnessing the growth of kindergarten students in a year – students who begin the year knowing no letters, sounds, or how to recognize/write their name, to reading on-grade-level books and writing multiple sentence stories by the end is worth it.”
Outside the classroom, Mrs. McKeown participates in Responsive Classroom courses and pursues independent education, such as reading about Word Study and the Daily 5 model for organizing productive, independent work time. This allows her to make the most of her small-group time.
Mrs. McKeown lives in Kennett Square Borough with her three children – four-year-old twin boys Henry and Bryce and two-year-old daughter Riley—and her husband of six years, Jim.She enjoys photography and visiting museums, fire stations, and playgrounds with her children. Kennett Consolidated School District is lucky to have such a genuine, observant, and caring teacher to usher all those fresh faces into kindergarten.
In early October, Kennett Middle School science teacher Mrs. Joy Rosser traveled to Austin, Texas, to present at the 43rd Annual Conference for Middle Level Education.
Her session, titled “Igniting the Middle Level: The Power of Educators,” targeted administrators, counselors, media specialists/librarians, parents, principals, teachers, and team leaders. Mrs. Rosser had previously presented this material locally through the Chester County Intermediate Unit and the Kennett Consolidated School District.
The Association for Middle Level Education is the leading international organization advancing the education of all students ages ten to fifteen, helping them succeed as learners and make positive contributions to their communities and to the world.
“Personally, I was thrilled to learn that my proposal had been accepted for this year’s conference,” Mrs. Rosser states. “Professionally, presenting at the conference was a wonderful opportunity for me to showcase the positive culture of Kennett Middle School.”
The goal of Mrs. Rosser’s presentation was to engage attendees in conversations about how who they are and what they say enhances their students’ learning experiences.
“Educators are the catalysts for their classroom and school,” Mrs. Rosser explains. “I wanted attendees to leave my session with the motivational and optimistic wisdom to ignite the spark that will help them to make a positive difference in their students and their schools. I want to empower educators with a greater sense of purpose and confidence for their students’ benefit.”
Mrs. Rosser’s session engaged attendees in discussions around juggling and balancing multiple roles, counseling parents, inspiring colleagues, and motivating students. Together, they explored obstacles in daily teaching and strategized through challenges in order to improve retention so that teachers bring their best energy every day for their students.
“We were so proud to have Joy represent Kennett Middle School and the state of Pennsylvania at the national convention,” Mr. Lorenzo DeAngelis, Kennett Middle School’s principal, comments. “Joy is truly a dedicated and hardworking individual with tons of passion to ‘ignite’ our students and staff.”
Mrs. Rosser serves as a member of the southeast regional board and the state board of the Pennsylvania Association for Middle Level Education. In addition, she is the secretary of the Pennsylvania Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development’s board of directors and is a member of the Pennsylvania Don Eichhorn Schools to Watch State Team.
The Chester County Health Department has confirmed 30 cases of Pertussis (Whooping Cough) between 9/1/16 – 11/10/16. Chester County had a total of 12 cases last year, so this is a significant increase in Pertussis. Most cases are children ages eight to 12 with a small number of students aged 15-17.
The disease progresses from cold-like symptoms for one to two weeks, followed by intense coughing that lasts for two to three months (this cough can linger even after treatment). In infants, the symptoms are more severe and you are most likely to hear the “whoop”.
The Pertussis (Tdap) vaccines are decreasing the length of illness and severity of the cough. There have been no hospitalizations. The current recommended treatment is a regimen of antibiotics (typically Zithromax for five days). The CCHD is recommending that students remain at home for five days while taking the antibiotics. They are also advising doctors to exclude students from school forfive days with symptoms of Pertussis, even if there is no confirmation of disease.
School Nurses must report all cases of confirmed or suspected Pertussis to the CCHD.
November 1st, 2016 – 2:30PM to 6:30PM
Stopping the Flu Starts with You!
The school year is underway, and you’re feeling like you have your family’s routine down pat. You’re making sure the kids are on top of their homework. You’re getting them to and from after-school activities. Have you also made plans to get you and your family vaccinated against the flu?
School season means flu season—the flu virus is most active from October to May. While the flu causes mild illness in most people (think fever, sore throat, body aches, among other symptoms), it can lead to serious health complications and even death in others. Young children, older adults, pregnant women, and people with certain chronic health conditions are at a greater risk for serious complications.
Getting vaccinated is the #1 way to prevent the flu. In fact, everyone 6 months or older should get vaccinated each year, as early as possible. We are partnering with the Chester County Health Department to offer a flu vaccine clinic to community members.
When: November 1st, 2016 – 2:30PM to 6:30PM
Where: Kennett High School
Registration: Same day, on site registration only
Please print out and bring the forms below:
For more information, visit www.chesco.org/health/flu. Same day, onsite registration only. If you have health insurance, bring your cards. All insurance types, including medical assistance, are welcome.