CASD Community eNewsletter - April 11, 2016
Word from the Superintendent

Spring has arrived and, as always, weather is unpredictable, but, we do see the tell-tale signs of spring everywhere.

What is not unpredictable is what happens in the school district in the spring.  Teachers and students are focused this month on standardized state testing.  Students in grades 3 – 8 will take the PSSA tests throughout the month of April.  Secondary students will take the Keystone exams.   It is a time to encourage students to try their best and to make sure they receive a good breakfast and a good night’s sleep.

Spring sports are underway and the athletic fields are busy.  Students can be seen practicing lacrosse, track and field events, baseball, softball, volleyball, and tennis.  As you drive around the district, visiting team buses can be seen in parking lots after school.

Faculty and staff have begun preparations for end-of-the-year events such as field day, Color Day, graduation, music concerts, and even final exams.   Several elementary schools have students and teachers focused on planting gardens that will reap benefits in the upcoming school year. 

It’s a hustle- bustle time of year for our facilities grounds crew.  Keeping all of our school building grounds mowed and trimmed is a huge job.  Of course, there is always repair work from the winter to consider and there are some large summer projects ahead to anticipate.

It’s a busy time in the district as one school year comes to an end and we look forward to planning for the next.  It’s a dynamic cycle that we welcome and that brings opportunities for all.  We live in a region of the country when the seasons specify beginnings, endings, but always the possibility of change.  Enjoy the spring, all that it signifies and all that it will eventually bring us.


Employee Spotlight: Maria Banks
Maria Banks loves serving the students and the community.

Maria, who is the Truancy and Outreach Coordinator for the district, believes that, “When a student opens up and wants to be around you and even shares his hopes and dreams with you - that, is a blessing.”

In her position, this isn’t always easy.  She works with students in grades 6 – 11 who have ongoing attendance issues.   
“These are students who are disengaged with school.  It is sad and frustrating to see a student who feels hopeless, and who doesn’t have a vision,” said Maria.  Maria tells a story about a student that she ran into on a snow day at the hair stylists.

“We were sitting there chatting about school and the student, who was a freshman at the time, said to me, ‘I’m good if I make it to 11th grade.’   She didn’t have a vision for her future.  But, I knew she was a fighter and I had to figure out how to connect with her.  This year she is going to graduate!”  exclaimed Maria.

“I have worked with Maria since I’ve come to the district and I have been able to watch her growth as an educational support staff person. Maria is a constant advocate for marginalized and at risk students. She brings a unique perspective to the world of education having worked with children and their families in the community setting prior to coming to the educational environment,” said Stanley Shilling, Maria’s supervisor.

“When we look at the concept of educating the whole student, Maria is a wealth of knowledge and a wonderful resource who understands the many factors (family, community, social, personal etc.) that impact a student’s learning experience. Maria helps maintain the vital connection between home, school and community that is so critical to student success. She works tirelessly to bring a broader understanding of the needs of our students beyond the walls of our classrooms,” Mr. Shilling added.

Maria, who has worked in the district for nine years, explains that working with a team is an important step to providing help for a student who is disengaged.  Getting in touch with parents early-on in the process is key because many times parents are unaware that an attendance problem is an issue.

“It is great when we can get a parent, a counselor, teachers, a principal, and the student all together and work to strategically develop a plan for a student’s success,” Maria said.  “I really work hard to try to get a better understanding of how to engage parents.  It is so important to give them the right feedback.”

“There has been an increase in attendance issues in the district.  I think it goes hand-in –hand with how we are growing, becoming more economically disadvantaged, and becoming more diverse,” she noted.   

Hamilton Heights First Graders Write Opinion Pieces

The first graders in Patti Slozat’s class at Hamilton Heights worked on writing opinion pieces during the third marking period and their combined writings will be featured in area business locations.

“I was impressed with the quality of work, the thought that went into the writing, and the effort the students put forth on this project,” said Mrs. Slozat.

“We worked with our literacy coach, Nicole Brookens, who came up with the idea of putting all of the students’ work into a book format.  Nicole modeled for the students how to write an opinion piece that included the use of transition words, as well as a ‘bold’ beginning, and an ‘excellent ending’,” explained Mrs. Slozat.

The students could write about their favorite pet or their favorite restaurant in Chambersburg. 

“Their attention to detail was very impressive,” Mrs. Slozat said as she discussed the students’ work.  “We’ve worked on narratives all year long, so this was a new experience for them, but they handled it beautifully.  I was very proud of their work!”

CASHS Juniors Have Opportunity to Learn About College Applications
If you are a CASHS junior, there will be an opportunity to learn about the college application process on Thursday, April 14th from 6:30 – 8:PM in the CASHS auditorium.

“Admissions representatives from HACC, Messiah College, Penn State Mont Alto, Shippensburg University, and Wilson College all of your questions about the application process. There will also be a financial aid representative from Messiah College available to discuss questions about the financial aid process,” said Crystal Fatyol, M.Ed, LPCI School Counselor.  

Third Annual Autism Walk Held

The third annual Autism Walk was held recently at the Trojan stadium in an effort to raise community awareness about autism.

“We want to raise awareness about autism and we want to celebrate the students in the district with autism, as well as their parents in an accepting environment,” said Lauren Zima, supervisor of autism services for the district.

“We have 172 students with autism in 18 district classrooms,” said Mrs. Zima.  “Last year we raised about $10,000 from this event which helped us purchase sensory materials for our classrooms and provided the scholarship funds necessary for many of our staff to attend the National Autistic Conference held in State College, which is a very important professional development opportunity.”

Some of those items purchased for classrooms are miniature trampolines, a sensory swing, and noise reducing head phones for those students who have a sensory processing disorder, Mrs. Zima noted.

“It can be isolating to have a child with autism.  An event like this provides such a wonderful opportunity for the students to have fun and for parents to network,” said Jennifer Morris, a member of the
Autism Parents Advisory Group. 

The money is raised as a result of corporate donors, such as JLG, which gave $2,500 this year.  Students also raise money as a result of collecting pledges.  At the time of this year’s event, students had raised $700.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental disability; signs typically appear during early childhood and affect a person’s ability to communicate, and interact with others. ASD is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a “spectrum condition” that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees (website).

Elementary STEM Club Offers Exciting Learning Opportunities

A new after school STEM Club at Falling Spring Elementary School has 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders very excited about science, technology, engineering, and math.

The club, which is the first school board approved club with a paid adviser in the elementary division, meets Mondays after school for an hour and so far, it has been a huge hit.

“This is all he talks about. He absolutely loves it,” said parent Eric Eiker.  His son, Skyler, who is in 4th grade is working with two 5th grade students to build a robotic arm.

“It’s a lot of fun, but it is complicated.  You have to understand the directions and you learn how to solve problems,” said his teammate, Treyton Servis.

The club’s adviser, Jennifer Mooney teaches 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade science and social studies at Falling Spring.  “I do a lot of inquiry-based labs and hands-on learning in class to get the students interested.  At the beginning of every science class, the students ask an ‘I wonder?”   It can be about anything, but we almost always get a great discussion going,” said Ms. Mooney.

The students are working with programmable Legos and robotic arm kits that are on loan from the Career Magnet School.  Because of the high student interest, Ms. Mooney had to split the club into two groups: The Brain Busters and the Tiny Einsteins.  Each group meets every other week. 

“I have many goals for this club.  I want the students to start thinking ‘outside of the box’, find real-world solutions to problems, and work together which includes learning how to communicate effectively,” said Ms. Mooney.

She explained that her students have been known to give up recess or even want to come to her room during lunchtime so they can work on their STEM projects. 

The robotic arms can pick up objects and even shake hands.  Once constructed, the programmable Legos, become a Ferris wheel.  During a recent club time, students became very excited to discover that they could program their Ferris wheel to move to music using the computer programming component.

“I am pleased that the school is encouraging science education. My son loves this club; he is always excited to come,” said Mrs. Shazia Hasan, whose son, Adam, is participating on a team that is building a robotic arm.

Old Hollywood Theme

Old Hollywood was the theme of the Career Magnet School’s first prom which was held at Green Grove Gardens on Saturday, April 2 from 7:00-10:00 PM.

“There were about 245 students and guests who attended along with Dr. Long and some faculty and staff.  The students had a fun night of dancing and towards the end of the evening prizes were awarded to some lucky students, guests, and staff. Prizes included an iPad donated by the PTSA, an iPad mini, a television, and various cash prizes,” said Alicia Lippert, learning support teacher.

All School Board meetings and times are available  here .

CASHS PTSA Will Have a Booth at Color Day  

The CASHS Parent Teacher Student Association will participate in the Color Day fund raising efforts this year by staffing a concessions booth.

“This is the first time the PTSA has done this.  Members didn’t realize that on Color Day, there were fund raising opportunities, so we wanted to get involved.   Also, we wanted to help to spread the word that students may need additional cash on Color Day to buy concession food,”  explained Jamie Zimmerman, CASHS teacher and PTSA representative.

This year CASHS Color Day is on April 29.  The day always begins with a Talent Show which costs students one dollar.  Then, from 10:45 – 12:45 there are outside activities such as Ultimate Frisbee and teenage Bounce Houses. 

During this time, many clubs sponsor food booths.  The Culture Club sells walking tacos and fried chicken, the Leo Club sells freckled lemonade.  Other clubs such as American Field Services, Cycling Club, and the Future Business Leaders of America also participate.  Students can buy pizza, hot dogs, and even soft pretzels.

“Of course, if a student wants to carry his/her own lunch or buy it in the cafeteria, that option also is available,” Mrs. Zimmerman said.

Source 4 Teachers Hiring Event
Tuesday, April  19, 2016 

Chambersburg and Greencastle School Districts

NOW HIRING: Substitute Teachers & Substitute Paraprofessionals