• Superintendent's Corner

    Congratulations are in order!

    During the course of this week, we received information about three students placing in very prestigious writing contests!

    Letters About Literature is a reading and writing contest for students in grades 4-12. Students are asked to read a book, poem or speech and write to the author (living or dead) about how the book affected them personally. Letters are judged on state and national levels. Hailey Cross (9th grade) was selected as the first place winner for the state of Pennsylvania, out of hundreds of entries, and is now one of the finalists in the national competition. Hailey will be recognized at a ceremony at Penn State University in State College, PA. Maegan Shetterly (10th grade) was also recognized, as one of two students, at the state level as a High Distinction Honors recipient.

    Established in 1947, the Voice of Democracy audio-essay program provides high school students with the unique opportunity to express themselves in regards to a democratic and patriotic-themed recorded essay. Each year, nearly 40,000 9-12 grade students from across the country enter this competition. This year, Olivia Price (10th grade) was selected as the local winner, and she also placed 3rd at the district level. A representative from the VFW will be presenting Olivia with her award on Tuesday.

    Southmoreland Middle School Named 2017 National Breakthrough School

    Congratulations to Southmoreland Middle School! We were informed that Southmoreland Middle School has earned recognition as a 2017 National Association of Secondary School Principals' Association Breakthrough School for the second time in 4 years. This honor is based on Southmoreland Middle School’s continued commitment to student excellence demonstrated in so many tangible ways. The letter from NASSP stated, in part, “Southmoreland Middle School clearly stands out as a model for others to emulate; all involved with the project from NASSP commend both you and your staff for your accomplishments.”


    Southmoreland High School to present "Under the Big Top"

    Be sure to come out and enjoy this year's Southmoreland High School Theatrical Production "Under the Big Top." Show times are Thursday April 6 at 7:00, Friday, April 7 at 7:00, Saturday, April 8 at 7:00 and Sunday, April 9 at 2:00.

    Time is running out for the Marlow Little Big Top Circus. If they can’t pull off the greatest of feats, delivering the most awe-inspiring performance—of their entire careers—to a sold-out audience, the bank will foreclose on their loan. Mr. Marlow (played by Ian Zimmerman) and his phobic-plagued company have only three days to muster up enough courage to redeem their dignity and make enough money to save the only home they’ve ever known.

    The bank secretary, Ms. Robwell (played by Jami Fisher), has others plans and orders her henchmen, Max and Corky, to steal whatever remaining money the circus has saved. These two crooks nearly succeed, until they forget where they hid the dough. Could it be in one of the animals’ water or food buckets? Or, worse, did the money wind up in the poop scooper’s bucket? Crooks and clowns, tightrope walkers and townies must join the hunt to find that bucket, even if it means turning each one upside-down.

    It’s up to the unlikeliest of heroes—the banker’s son—to save the circus. Bryce Hawkins (played by Cole Leasher) wishes for an escape from his life of interest rates, loans, and foreclosures. Fate deals him a peculiar hand when his world collides with the doomed Marlow circus. Soon, Bryce feels compelled to turn his back on his responsibilities and, worse of all, his father’s expectations. While disguised as a clown, Bryce learns the ways of the circus and develops a love for its lifestyle, the people, and Mr. Marlow’s daughter (played by Caroline Bailey). But, can he help his new friends find the money before the circus closes?


    Southmoreland to be Represented at Roundball Classic All-Star Game

    Congratulations to Olivia Porter and Tommy Pisula who will represent Southmoreland at the Roundball Classic All-Star Game to be held on April 28 and 29, 2017 at Geneva College.  They will be playing back to back so remember to  come out and support them.  Below is the link to the article about the event.




    Southmoreland Represented on All-Section Basketball Teams

    The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette recently announced their All-Section teams, and Southmoreland was well represented this year.  Congratulations to Olivia Porter, Tommy Pisula, and Brandon Stone for being named All-Section players for this past season.  This is a great honor and accomplishment, and we are proud of them.  This accomplishment doesn't happen without team success,  and this was a very good year for Southmoreland Basketball!  Although neither team's season ended the way we would have liked,  we can all look back and be proud of what our athletes and their coaches accomplished.  Here are the links to the Post-Gazette All-Section articles.




    Southmoreland is Now on Facebook

    Southmoreland has a new Facebook page.  Check us out by clicking the Facebook icon on the left side of our homepage.


    Southmoreland Wrestler is State Runner-up

    Congratulations to Southmoreland Junior Tyler Griffiths.  Tyler reached the PIAA state wrestling finals recently in Hershey. He was able to advance through the competition and earned the title of state runner-up.  


    Southmoreland High School Student Receives National Recognition

    Congratulations to Southmoreland High School Student Alex Busato who recently received national recognition for his poem about the Holocaust.  The writing contest is sponsored by Chapman University Holocaust Center in Orange, CA.  More than 600 local winners from 30 states and 8 countries were entered into the competition.  Alex’s poem, which documented the testimony of a Holocaust survivor, was written in Polish, German and English placed among the top 5.  Congratulations, Alex! 


    Southmoreland Boys' Basketball Team Advances

    Congratulations to the Southmoreland Boys' Varsity Basketball Team who advanced to the playoff quarterfinals by defeating  Avonworth by a score of 64-55.  Good luck to the Scotties as they face Shadyside Academy at 8:00 P.M. on Thursday, February 23 at Gateway High School.


    Southmoreland Middle School Student Receives Award

    Congratulations to Sarah Domasky who recently received a 2017 Regional Scholastic Art &Writing Award.  Sarah received an honorable mention for her sculpture entitled "Kaneki Ken." The award is presented by teh Alliance for Young Artists & Writers.  Way to go, Sarah!


    Southmoreland Athletes score 1,000 Career Points

    Congratulations to Olivia Porter, Brandon Stone and Tommy Pisula.   These three athletes each scored their 1,000th career point during the 2016-2017 basketball season.  This accomplishment represents a great deal of hard work and dedication on the part of these students, their parents and their coaches.


    Visiting Music Clinician to Arrive at Southmoreland

    Dr. Peter Boonshaft, a renowned performer, conductor, author, speaker and educator will visit Southmoreland on March 29 and 30, 2017. Joining our students will be students from Greater Latrobe, Connellsville, Laurel Highlands, Bethel Park, Greensburg Salem and Belle Vernon Area High Schools.  For more information about Dr. Boonshaft, please visit 

    http://www.hofstra.edu/faculty/fac_profiles.cfm?id=137.  Special thanks to the members of the music faculty who arranged this amazing experience for our students!


    Tri-M Music Honor Society

    On the evening of January 25, 2017, Shelby Bryan, Melanie Gillott, Abigail Kropp, Alayna Perbonish, Abigail Springer and Kimberly Weinman were inducted into Southmoreland Chapter 6186 of the Tri-M Music Honor Society.  They join returning members Caroline Bailey, Gretchan Baker, Jami Fisher, Lillian Fullem, Kaitlyn Keefer and Kacee McKnight.  After the induction ceremony, members of the society presented a recital for those in attendance, with each member performing a solo piece, with the exception of Kaitlyn Keefer. Kaitlyn performed a piano solo as a prelude to the induction ceremony.  Congratulations to each of these fine young musicians!


    Southmoreland Primary Center to Receive Building Upgrades

    At its meeting on January 19, 2017, the Southmoreland Board of Education voted to make some upgrades to Southmoreland Primary Center (SPC).  The district will be working with Johnson Controls, Inc. to replace the SPC boiler, upgrade the inefficient domestic hot water system, upgrade the fire alarm system, make energy saving improvements to the building envelope, retrofit the lighting to energy saving LED bulbs and apply window film to the south side of the building.  To help to offset some of the costs of this project, the district will also retrofit and to gymnasium and exterior lighting to LED bulbs at Southmoreland High School, Southmoreland Stadium, and the exterior of the SES/SMS complex.  Lighting occupancy sensors will also be installed in selected areas.  The chiller at Southmoreland High School, which is at the end of its useful life, will also be replaced with an energy efficient unit.  It is estimated that the energy savings over a 20-year period will more than offset the cost of the project.  


    Southmoreland Faculty to Present at Statewide Conference

    Staff from Southmoreland Primary Center have been invited to present at the annual Improving School Performance Conference in Pittsburgh hosted by the Pennsylvania Association of Federal Program Coordinators and the Pennsylvania Department of Education. The theme of this year's conference is "Teach to Each--Maximizing Learning for Every Student.  Presenters will include Mr. Dan Clara, Mrs. Patty DeBiasio,  Mrs. Amy Pushkis, Mrs. Wendy Sowinski and Mrs. Kaely Connors.  They will present information about the reading program at Southmoreland Primary Center.  
    In 2014, Southmoreland School District’s K-12 reading scores were significantly lower than the math scores. The team at Southmoreland Primary Center (grades K and 1) went to work, reviewing our model and our data. Together, the team researched and identified Guided Reading and the Daily 5 as a successful and data driven model that incorporated formative data and student choice. A year of study, planning, and preparation led to the full implementation in 2015. By 2016, our data told us conclusively that the model was truly improving reading scores, and student attitudes about reading. It had also affected adult attitudes about reading--our school began to transform into a place where every adult was focused on ways to grow readers and to use our data to make our school the best launchpad for reading we can be.


    Our implementation of the Daily 5 and Guided Reading has resulted in a decrease of nearly half of our intensive reading intervention students, from 58 in 2015 to 30 in 2016. In addition, almost 80% of first grade students in our school were on level for reading by May of 2016 using the Richardson model and NSGRA assessment. Kindergarten students were 82% on level using the Next Steps in Guided Reading Assessment.

    Our transformation began in 2014 as we collectively worked together to find a system to improve our reading proficiency. Our research showed that implementing the Daily 5 and Guided Reading could dramatically impact reading proficiency and would also develop for our students a sense of ownership and choice in their reading. We read the Richardson book “The Next Step in Guided Reading” in our team meetings, visited model schools who had begun the process ahead of us, worked with experts on the model in professional development meetings, and planned, developed and executed our program during our weekly curriculum meetings.

    Using limited funds and resources we were able to create independent reading libraries for students to “book shop” and with the Next Steps in Guided Reading Assessment tools, we could assess students throughout the year to determine baseline, growth areas and areas of need. Classroom teachers and Title I Reading Specialists worked together to build a system that ensures that the data we collected was used to inform instruction and to gauge program efficacy.


    School Board Online

    The Southmoreland School Board now has an online presence.  Members of the Southmoreland Community are able to access School Board meeting information by visiting the Southmoreland homepage, www.southmoreland.net, and clicking on the "BoardDocs--Public" link on the lower right side of the page.  Community members are able to view Board agendas for past and current Board meetings by clicking on a meeting date, and then clicking on the "View Agenda" tab.  In addition to streamlining preparation for Board meetings and saving on paper, copying and delivery costs, the BoardDocs application is able to share valuable information with members of the public. Attendees at Board meetings may use their smart phones to scan the QR code that is available at each meeting and thus access the up-to-date agenda on their devices. A limited number of paper copies of the agenda will also be available at each Board meeting. Board Meetings may be viewed on the Scottie Channel or by clicking on the YouTube link on Southmoreland's homepage.


    Policy Manual Updates

    The Southmoreland School District is in the process of working with the Pennsylvania School Boards Association to update its Policy Manual and to make it more accessible to members of the Southmoreland Community.  Community members may access updated sections of the policy manual, including approved policies and policies that are under consideration, by visiting the Southmoreland homepage, www.southmoreland.net, and clicking on the "BoardDocs--Public" link on the lower right side of the page.  Community members are able to view district policies by clicking on the "policy" tab.  Individuals are then able to view policies that are approved or under consideration by clicking on the appropriate link.   


    Southmoreland High School Receives Grant to Construct Greenhouse

    Southmoreland High School’s Greenhouse Classroom STEAM initiative is a hands-on multidisciplinary classroom environment that will engage students through interaction with their environment and technology.  Students will have the opportunity to address global environmental concerns and realize the connection that science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics have in a real-world setting by applying them to a growing career field.

    Multimedia students will document our project through video production, live web streaming and share through social media the construction of the greenhouse; planting, growth and  harvesting of plants; and marketing of the end product.Engineering classes will focus on the designing, building, testing and modifying of the greenhouse systems.  Students will also integrate alternative energy systems such as solar, wind and hydropower to help achieve a zero-footprint goal for any automated systems. Students will be charged with the collection and distribution of rainwater and compost tea our greenhouse.  Students will study the structural loads and effects of the seasonal environment on the greenhouse.  Art students at Southmoreland High School will design eye-catching packaging, artwork, logos, and literature to help with our aesthetics initiative to promote the project within the public realm.  Southmoreland art students will also design the overall integration of the project into the surroundings of the academic environment. This will promote a visual fluency and recognition of the project for students, staff, as well as community members who enter the school grounds. In addition to the commercial art aspects, art students will also have the opportunity to visit the greenhouse for inspiration for a variety of art processes with an emphasis on organic form, color, and shape.  
    Math teachers will utilize our STEAM hands-on learning environment to chart and analyze the data while conducting research through measurement, graphing and statistical data logging activities.  Students will perform a cost analysis to help measure the success of the greenhouse endeavors.  Lesson plans of the math curriculum will incorporate calculations of area, volume, flow rates and the effects of incremental adjustments to the predetermined variables involved in the operation of our greenhouse and measure how these types of changes affect the ecosystem and growth of our plants.

    Students of biology, chemistry, physics and agriculture will benefit from this plan by investigating real world phenomena.  Initially, our project will provide a hands-on teaching environment for Southmoreland Science Teachers, but will be available for use by the entire faculty and student body.  Biology students will investigate plant light and temperature mediated responses, photosynthesis assays, plant genetics , and other biological phenomena. Chemistry students will assess soil and water quality of resource used in the greenhouse. Physics classes will design and test solar energy systems.  Environmental Science will evaluate plants for soil remediation, model soil formation, compare GMO seed with heirloom seeds, and evaluate various pest management practices. Technology Education students from the Robotics classes will work with programmable systems, such as Mindstorm NXT, to automate the regulation of environmental systems and monitor and record soil pH, temperature and moisture levels. Students will use the data to understand how plant growth is affected by the changes in soil and other environmental conditions.  The Green Technology classes will design the aquaculture and hydroponic systems.  They will also provide compost bins, worm farms and develop recycling activities.  Southmoreland’s Programming students will design an app to keep real-time tabs on the environment and performance of the project. 

Last Modified on May 4, 2017