On May 28th and 29th, Burrell seniors presented their portfolios to family, friends, and the community just as their predecessors have done for the past several years, with one very notable difference – there wasn’t a binder in the bunch.
The Class of 2013 was the first group of Burrell seniors to present a totally digital portfolio as their graduation requirement. All future portfolios in the Burrell School District will be digital as well.
Some of the greatest minds in the robotics reside only about 25 miles away from Burrell at Carnegie Mellon University. So when the opportunity arose for Huston Middle School to send a contingent of educators to CMU for a robotics technology conference, the school naturally summoned some of its best and brightest teachers. But, surprisingly, they were all from the English and History departments!
A 2011 report by the U.S. Department of Commerce indicates that only one of every seven engineers is female. Just 27 percent of jobs in the computer science industry today are held by women. Theories abound as to why females are underrepresented in STEM careers, but one thing is certain – there is both a need and opportunity for improvement. And that’s just what a new program sponsored by Penn State New Kensington aims to address.
A recent report presented to Burrell School District’s Board of Directors from the Bon Air Elementary RtII/ Title I Team reveals continued progress in reading in all K-3 grades during the 2012-13 school year.
The report tracks percentage gains made by students from the beginning of the school year to the mid-year point, as well as growth achieved by Burrell students over a four-year time period. It examines the percentage of students reading at benchmark, as well as those receiving strategic and intensive interventions as part of the district’s RtII program.
If the spiraling cost of higher education and record levels of student loan debt aren’t enough to concern today’s high school students and their parents, here are some other facts to consider: The most popular major for college freshmen is “Undeclared.” Nearly 40 percent of college freshman do not complete their FIRST year, and half of college grads take 6 years to complete a 4-year degree.
A good teacher will work to make the most of the resources he or she has. A great teacher will work to create additional resources. Burrell School District is fortunate to have great teachers like Shaun Reddick.
Working with assistant principal Ken Pruitt, Mr. Reddick recently spearheaded an online fundraising campaign on DonorsChoose.org that resulted in the purchase of 25 new Google Chromebooks for his Huston Middle School science classroom.
His grandfather, Edward “Frenchy” DesLauriers, started the wrestling program at Burrell High School in the late 1970s. Dakota’s father Shawn and uncles Ryan and Joel DesLauriers (Burrell’s first state champion) were all accomplished wrestlers, and encouraged him to begin his career at six years old.
The 20 fifth-grade girls who are part of Stewart Elementary School’s GEMS club think they’re just having fun with science and math after school. They are really preparing for their futures.
The Girls Excelling in Math and Science, or GEMS, club strives to break down the stereotype that boys are better at math and sciences by offering girls fun ways to become engaged in the subject matter – and hopefully spark an interest in STEM-related careers for girls.
One cluster of students is building electric circuits. At another table, a group reads text while others complete worksheets. Another small group is huddled around the teacher, reporting on their progress in the current lesson. The activity in the Huston Middle School science classrooms may look chaotic on the surface, but in reality, it is a well-planned teaching method designed to address the individual needs of students through differentiated instruction.
Bon Air Elementary students are getting a taste of a new character education program – through baked goods. While the program isn’t set to officially launch until February, the students are working on the positive character attribute of “Giving” by participating in Cookies for the Troops. First grade teacher Jessi Yates is spearheading the cookie project. A distant relative is serving as a U.S. Army commander in Afghanistan, and asked his family to send cookies to his soldiers.