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Peters Township School District Named a National School District of Character by the Character Education Partnership

The Character Education Partnership (CEP) has named Peters Township School District as a 2010 National School District of Character. The CEP panel of experts has given this honor to an elite list of 13 schools and 2 school districts nationwide. Peters Township has earned this award for character education initiatives spanning from kindergarten through high school.

The national winners are selected following an extensive application process and thorough site visit. CEP evaluators measured the District against the Eleven Principles of Effective Character Education.

Peters Township will be honored at an awards ceremony at the National Forum on Character Education on Friday, October 29 in San Francisco. In addition, the CEP will showcase the winners’ stories in its annual publication and on its website. Peters Township will be a model for effective character education for schools across Pennsylvania and the nation. To support character education programs across the District, the CEP gives each winning school or District a $3,000 grant.

Individual schools within the District have previously been awarded the National School of Character honors – McMurray Elementary (gr. 4-6) received the award in 2004, and Bower Hill Elementary (gr. K-3) earned this award in 2008. The District has also earned several Promising Practice Awards from the CEP over the past several years.

Character Education began more than 10 years ago in Peters Township through the efforts of the Peters Township Character Counts initiative – a partnership of the School District, municipality, public library, local businesses and individual community members.
May 2010

PTSD Ranks 4 th in Business Times Guide

In the May 5, 2010 “Guide to Western Pennsylvania Schools,” the Pittsburgh Business Times profiled area school districts to determine how local districts compared to other districts in the area and across the state.

Peters Township School District was ranked fifth among 105 local districts for the fourth consecutive year, and was the highest ranking district from Washington County. Among the 501 school districts in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Peters Township ranked 13th overall.

Based on Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) results from the previous three years (with the most recent year given the most weight), Peters Township High School ranked 6th out of 124 area high schools. Peters Township 8 th grade students ranked 4 th overall, and the 7 th grade ranked 3rd out of 155 area middle schools. Both the Middle and High School were the highest ranking districts in Washington County for all grade levels.
May 2010

PTHS Students Earn National Merit Scholarships

Peters Township High School seniors Claire LaRosa, Evan Komoroski and Benjamin Pritz have been selected as winners of $2500 National Merit scholarships. These outstanding students are part of a select group of 8,200 students nationwide who earned this honor.

Kevin Hough and Josh Schake have also earned special corporate scholarships through the National Merit program from CONSOL Energy and PPG Industries Foundation respectively. Every year 1,500 National Merit Program participants, who are outstanding but not named Finalists, are awarded Special Scholarships provided by corporations and business organizations.
May 2010

PTSD Named Finalist for National School District of Character

The Character Education Partnership (CEP) has named Peters Township School District as one of twenty finalists from across the United States in its National Schools of Character awards program.

“These schools are doing remarkable things to improve school climate and develop young people of good character,” CEP Executive Director Joe Mazzola said. “They demonstrate that character education is an effective way to build safe, welcoming schools where students and teachers flourish. We commend all of the applicants and are honored to recognize the National Finalists as models for schools around the nation.”

Peters Township is one of only two finalists being recognized for achievement across an entire District - kindergarten through 12 th grade. The CEP will be conducting a site visit in the District to review character education efforts and will select approximately ten winners in May.

The Peters Township School District is no stranger to the Schools of Character Award. Bower Hill Elementary (K-3) was named a National School of Character in 2008 and McMurray Elementary (4-6) earned the honor in 2004. In 2006, Pleasant Valley Elementary (K-3) was a finalist for the award, and in 2007 the District was named a finalist for its kindergarten through 8th grade programs (Bower Hill, Pleasant Valley, McMurray and Peters Township Middle School).
March 2010

PTSD Libraries Named Outstanding School Media Program

PTSD has been chosen as the winner of the 2010 Outstanding School Library Media Program Award by the Pennsylvania School Librarians Association. The five building libraries were recognized as a team for exceeding all of the association’s criteria in staffing, facilities, collection, budget and programming. According to the PSLA President Nancy Smith Latanision, “Your school libraries are truly an example of what we hold as exemplary in Pennsylvania school libraries.”

The District librarians – Terry Morriston, High School; Janet Johns, Middle School; Meg Owens, McMurray Elementary; Myra Oleynik, Bower Hill Elementary; and Nancy Barley, Pleasant Valley Elementary – will be honored at the PSLA annual conference in State College in April.
Feb. 2010

Clarification on the School Calendar and the State of Emergency

Pennsylvania Law 24 P.S. §25-2523 allows provisions for school districts to apply for a waiver of up to 3 school days when the district i s compelled to close any school(s) because of contagious disease, natural disaster or other emergencies.  Issuance of a “state of emergency”  does not trigger an exemption or guaranteed waiver for days of school missed for that reason. Impassable roads do not necessarily lead to a waiver.

In our case, knowing the possibilities that western Pennsylvania weather holds, we provide for several make-up days built in to our calendar every year. In addition, we have the option to add additional days on to the end of our school year, if necessary.

Peters Township values its educational system.  As a result, the District will make every effort to continue to provide the full 180 days of the highest quality education possible for our students.
Feb. 2010

Dr. Merante Announced as New Assistant Superintendent

Effective, February 1, 2010, Dr. Anthony Merante will assume the role of Assistant Superintendent for the Peters Township School District, a position that has been vacant since Dr. Nina Zetty became Superintendent of Schools in August, 2008. Since 1993, Dr. Merante has been Principal of Peters Township Middle School and brings extensive experience as a special education teacher, counselor and administrator to the central office position. Dr. Mary Monsour will serve as Acting Principal at the Middle School until the position is filled permanently.

Dr. Merante holds his Bachelor’s degree in Special Education from Duquesne University, a Master’s degree in Counseling from California University of Pennsylvania, and his Doctorate in Administration and Policy Studies from the University of Pittsburgh.
Feb. 2010

Bits of Lit Earns Publication Honors

The “Bits of Lit” student literary magazine from Peters Township Middle School has been recognized by the American Scholastic Press. The annual collection of student art, essays and poetry has been included in an elite group of schools from across the nation earning “First Place with Special Merit” – a classification above the first place honorees for publications with “special and outstanding design and content.”

Under the guidance of teachers Renee Brown and Carla McCue, the publication is created each year from work done by 7 th and 8 th grade students. A group of 17 student editors were responsible for choosing the student work, typing, editing, formatting, and organizing the literature and art work in the magazine. The mission of the publication is to showcase and celebrate excellent student work in art and literature. In the 2008-2009 issue, more than 200 student-created works of art and literature were included in the publication.

PT Students Named National Merit Semifinalists

Five students from Peters Township High School have been named semifinalists by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation in the 55th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. These students are among an elite group of 16,000 students from across the nation to earn this honor.

Seniors Benjamin Gauthier, Evan Komoroski, Claire LaRosa, Benjamin Pritz and John Wawrose will now have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 8,200 National Merit Scholarships, worth more than $36 million, that will be offered next spring. Merit Scholar designees are selected on the basis of their skills, accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies.

In addition Andrea Briggs, John Flaherty, Lindsey Golden, Melissa Jarrett, Taylor Maher, Joshua Schake and Benjamin West were named Commended Students by the National Merit Corporation for placing in the top 5 percent of the more than 1.5 million students who took the PSAT nationwide.

PTSD Approves New Teacher Contract for 2010-2015

At their regular meeting on September 21, 2009, the Peters Township School District Board of School Directors approved a new agreement with the Peters Township Federation of Teachers (PTFT). The new five-year contract will go into effect on September 1, 2010 and expires on August 31, 2015.

Under the terms of the new contract, the average salary increase over the five-year period is 3.2% with a minimum starting salary of $41,100 the first year. Among the changes are an average 2.0-2.5% increase in extra-duty compensation, increased healthcare contributions and six hours of additional staff development time throughout the school year.

The negotiations began early at the request of the PTFT, who met with District administrators throughout the summer to come to the agreement.

Presidential Address: Sept. 8, 2009

Our District, along with schools across the country, has been overwhelmed with calls from parents regarding President Obama's speech to the students of America on Tuesday, September 8, 2009. In a message sent to parents on September 3, 2009, the Peters Township School District stated that our students would not be viewing the presentation on September 8.

Please know that this decision is not about political debate or personal opinions or comments, but about why we are not showing the speech "live" on Tuesday.

The District supports the President's message "urging students to take personal responsibility for their own education, to set goals, and to not only stay in school but make the most of it." However, given the late notification of the event and the overwhelming response from our community, we feel it necessary to allow our parents time to view the speech and, for those parents who choose, to have the opportunity to opt their children out of viewing the presentation.

Each building's leadership team will view the speech and determine a meaningful and manageable time to make it available to our students. (The "live" presentation poses logistical issues throughout the District given that this is lunch time in several buildings.) Parents will be informed of the time and manner in which the speech will be shown and given the option of having their child take part in an alternative activity.

Thank you for understanding the weight of this decision and its impact on the students and parents of this community.

PTHS Among America's Best High Schools

U.S. News and World Report has listed PTHS among the best high schools in the nation in its 2009 America’s Best High Schools ranking. Peters Township was among 20 schools in the commonwealth to earn a silver rating from the magazine, putting the District in the top 3% of high schools in the nation. See more at

Barry Wood Wins Outstanding Public Educator Award

Barry N. Wood, PTHS Theatre and English Teacher/ Director, is the first teacher to win the Dr. Howard Jack Outstanding Public Educator Award being presented by The Washington County Community Foundation.  The Award was presented to Mr. Wood at the Foundation's Legacy Gala on Wednesday, June 3, at the Holiday Inn Meadowlands.

Jefferson Litany Video Celebrates PTMS Tradition

Four 8th grade students from the video production class at Peters Township Middle School, known as The Works, decided to create a movie about a middle school teacher and the unique teaching aid he created to help 7th grade students learn about the 3rd President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson. The instructional or teaching aid has grown into a major PTMS tradition and has been a part of student life at the middle school for over 12 years. The teaching aid is well known in the school district as The Jefferson Litany.

The four student producers decided to ask a fifth 8th grade student, known for her writing skills, to write the story about the teacher, the school, the community and the teaching aid. The student author also became the narrator of the movie. The student producers then decided to ask a 7th grade student, and her ASL interpreter, to become the ASL signer for the completed video. The student signer, and her professional interpreter, worked very hard to perfect the complicated ASL signing which was added to the video using the school's TV studio.

The four original video production students, along with the student writer, the student ASL signer, and the professional ASL interpreter worked very hard, over the time span of about three weeks, to produce the inspirational video. Click here to view the video.

PT Thespians Recognized at State Conference

In December 2008, juniors and seniors from Peters Township High School's Thespian Troupe #185 attended the annual Pennsylvania State Thespian Conference. During the conference, students watched performances by other students from around the state, performed on stage, participated in various theater-related workshops, and met with colleges to learn more about their theater programs.

A Peters Township cast performed the one act play 13 Reasons Why Not to be in a Play and a Fiddler on the Roof medley, and several students walked away with awards from the event. Junior Ben West was chosen from several applicants after a rigorous interviewing process to serve as a State Board member for 2009-2010. (Senior Drew Caliguiri served as a board member in 2007-2008). Caliguiri also received the Thespian Hall of Fame award for his performances on stage and his dedication to the thespian troupe. Senior J.C. Barzil received the Tech Hall of Fame award for his participation in the technical crews and his dedication to the troupe. Finally, Dan DeLuca received the All-Star Cast Award for his performance in 13 Reasons Why Not to be in a Play.

High School FBLA Students Qualify for State Competition

Peters Township High School students have qualified for the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) State Leadership Competition based on their outstanding performance in the Regional Competition on January 13, 2009. Ten students earned first place awards in categories ranging from public speaking to business ethics. The first place students are: Ed Courtney, Christine Dee, Nick DeNardo, Adam Ferraco, Lizzie Fitzgerald, Daniel Ketyer, Jeff Lioon, Lara Moore, Nicole Provident, and Eric Yeckley. Overall 18 students qualified for the state competition based on their first, second and third place awards at the conference.

The State Leadership Conference also provides the students with an opportunity to become involved in workshops that focus on personal and career development; compete in open event competitions, as well as network with other FBLA members from across the state who have similar goals and interests.

Students Earn Recognition on National Financial Literacy Challenge

Sixteen students from Peters Township High School earned recognition for their performance in the National Financial Literacy Challenge sponsored by the U.S. Department of Treasury. The students, who are part of the Personal Finance class, took the online exams and scored in the top 25 th percentile and earned certificates for their achievement. The students are: Rebecca Burns, Josh Diesing, Karissa Jones, Ryan Kotar, Blaine Krivacek, Julie McCracken, A.J. Metz, Steve Miller, Jared Nicholson, Taylor Relich, Mike Raune, Tom Shields, Lindsay Terrell, Bryan Tomayko, Hannah Weyrick and Steve Wickline.

Middle School Magazine Earns National Honors

The literary magazine, "Bits of Lit," produced by students at Peters Township Middle School has received First Place with Special Merit honors from the American Scholastic Press Association for 2008.

This is the second consecutive year that this publication has earned the first place ranking among the top publications in the nation. The magazine features student poetry and short stories. A team of student volunteers selects the best submissions for the magazine and then formats them for publication. Student artwork is also used in conjunction with the written works. The theme of the publication this year was "Building."

US News and World Report Ranks PTHS Among Top Schools in State

U.S. News and World Report has listed Peters Township High School among the best high schools in the nation in its recent America’s Best High Schools ranking.

Peters Township was among 20 schools in the commonwealth to earn a silver rating from the magazine, putting the District in the top 3% of high schools in Pennsylvania.

The ranking is done each year based on academic and enrollment data from more than 21,000 public high schools to find the very best across the country. The methodology is based on the key principles that a great high school must serve all its students well, not just those who are bound for college. They examined state proficiency standards and benchmark testing, and also assessed the degree to which schools prepare students for college-level work.

Complete listings are available on

McMurray Students Earn Calsu-Solve Honors  

McMurray Elementary 6 th grader Nicholas Roberts won the individual Calcu-Solve competition sponsored by Upper St. Clair School District at Duquesne University on November 21, 2008. There were nearly 240 students from the area who participated in the competition.

In the team competition, Roberts and classmates Elizabeth Mamros, Roy Wang, and Andrew Parker finished third out of 60 teams.  A second McMurray team of Lane Mitchell, Matthew Graham, Samantha Chaudhari and Matthew Dekman finished eleventh overall.

McMurray Students Welcome "Artist in Residence"

Students at McMurray Elementary are making their mark on the District. Beginning this month, the fourth, fifth and sixth grade students are working with local ceramic artist Laura Jean McLaughlin to produce a ceramic tile mosaic that will permanently hang in the art room hallway in the building.

As part of the Artist in Residence program, funded in part with a grant from the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, McLaughlin will work with the art teachers to provide a hands-on experience with the art.

McLaughlin is a ceramic artist who studied at the Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts, ME, Penland School of Crafts, NC, West Virginia University College of Creative Arts and Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Her work is in the collection of PNC Park, Kohler Art Center, Kohler Company and HBO in New York.

Grants Support Pleasant Valley Art Program

Pleasant Valley Elementary has been awarded two grants that will support the school’s “Morning Masterpieces” - a project that introduces K-3 students to distinguished works of composers, artists and authors.

Through grants written by school librarian Nancy Barley and music teacher Barbara Viola, the project will receive $2000 from Target and a portfolio of prints from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Target funds will be used to purchase new books, technology and other equipment to support the project.

A daily project, Morning Masterpieces is designed to provide enrichment, awareness, and a deeper understanding and appreciation of music, art and literature. Listening, observation and exploration are components of the project that help lay the foundation for the student’s critical thinking skills and appreciation of these artistic mediums.

“Morning Masterpieces” is presented to the entire school via the morning announcements television broadcast. As the introduction to the announcements, Morning Masterpieces presents connected works that represent a weekly theme, such as the solar system. The works (in this example - Moonlight Sonata by Ludwig van Beethoven, "Starry Night" by Vincent Van Gogh, and the book Draw Me a Star by Eric Carle) are displayed visually on the main bulletin board at the entrance to the school so that parents, students and visitors view the Morning Masterpiece display as they enter the building.

PTHS Juniors Selected for Westinghouse Science Honors Institute  

Four juniors from Peters Township High School have been selected to participate in the Westinghouse Science Honors Institute - Ben Gauthier, Julia Girouard, Claire LaRosa, and Erica Schwotzer. Selected through a competitive application process, the students will participate in ten Saturday morning lectures during the months of October through February. These lectures include a broad range of science and engineering topics from Stem Cell Research to Space Exploration. In addition students are given an opportunity to participate in a field trip to the nuclear reactor at Penn State.

WSHI is a free program for high school juniors from Western Pennsylvania who demonstrate a strong interest in science and who are of high scholastic standing. Students attend WSHI to gain insight into careers in engineering and science. They network with professionals and interact with students from different schools who also have the same abilities and interests.

Sue Smith Sworn in as New PTSD School Board Member  

On Tuesday, September 23, 2008, Mrs. Sue Smith was sworn in as a new member of the Board of School Directors for the Peters Township School District by District Justice James Ellis.

A Peters Township resident since 2000, Smith has a history of volunteerism in our schools and has served as an officer in the District's various Parent Teacher Associations (PTA) since 2002. Smith holds a bachelor's degree in Education from the University of Massachusetts and taught at the elementary level for six years. She also holds a master's degree in Business Administration, Marketing from the University of Illinois and spent four years working for General Mills in Product Management.

Following the Board's September regular meeting, where the Board was unable to come to a consensus regarding the vacant Board post, residents interested in the Board position could petition the Washington County Court of Common Pleas in accordance with the Pennsylvania School Code. Smith sought the judicial appointment and was appointed by Judge Debbie O'Dell Seneca. Smith will complete the term of Mrs. Sandy Gregg who resigned her position in August. The term will end on December 1, 2009.

Smith and her husband Robert are McMurray residents and have three children.

Dr. Nina Zetty Named New Superintendent of Schools

On August 4, 2008, the Peters Township School Board voted to appoint Dr. Nina Zetty as the new Superintendent of Schools for the Peters Township School District.

Dr. Zetty has been with the District since November, 2006 as the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum Instruction and Assessment. Dr. Zetty began her career in public schools as a teacher in the Jefferson-Morgan School District where she spent 8 years in the classroom before becoming an administrator in the Keystone Oaks School District as an Administrative Principal and an Instructional Principal at the High School. In 1998, Dr. Zetty became the Principal at Bentworth High School, and after four years was promoted to the position of Assistant to the Superintendent in Bentworth before coming to Peters Township.

A graduate of California University of Pennsylvania with both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in secondary education-mathematics and computer science, Dr. Zetty received her doctorate from West Virginia University in Curriculum and Instruction. She also completed the Administrative Program for Principals at the California University of Pennsylvania and the Superintendent’s Letter of Eligibility Program at Duquesne University.

Among her many professional affiliations, Dr. Zetty is the president of Southwestern Pennsylvania Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (PASCD), and a member of ASCD, Pennsylvania School Boards Association, Pennsylvania Association of Federal Program Coordinators, the National Association of Secondary School Principals and the National Staff Development Council.

Dr. Zetty, 49, and her husband John are residents of Brownsville. They have two grown children and three grandchildren.

Plans are underway for a community reception in the coming weeks to provide an opportunity for parents and community members, who have not already done so, to meet Dr. Zetty. Additional details will be provided at a later date.

McMurray Students: Paying it Forward

Mrs. Kathleen Zuccarini and the students in her fourth grade classroom are taking on some extra work this spring. As winners of The Almanac’s Pay It Forward Contest, they will receive $5,000 to put together Buddy Boxes for children of all ages at the Washington County Women’s Shelter.

The boxes will be for boys and girls of all ages with things such as books, CDs, make-up, socks, crayons and other items that will make a difference in the lives of children at the shelter.

When they learned of The Almanac’s contest, the students brainstormed ideas and came up with the Buddy Boxes. The “Pay it Forward” idea fit right in with this class of 27 students – all year there has been a Pay it Forward box on Mrs. Zuccarini’s desk. Students would write down a good deed that has been done for them or some way they helped someone at school or at home and drop it in the box. The class would then talk about it through the year.

“The Character Counts program is a big part of McMurray Elementary,” said Mrs. Zuccarini. “Many classrooms in the building focus on building character in a variety of ways. The contest was just another way for the kids to do something kind for someone else.”

In the coming weeks, the students will help purchase the items for the boxes, assemble them and help deliver the gifts to the Women’s Shelter.

Bower Hill Named a National School of Character

Bower Hill Elementary School has been named a National School of Character by The Character Education Partnership (CEP). The school is among ten schools nationwide to receive this distinguished award.

Along with the well-deserved recognition, the school received a $20,000 grant at the 15th National Forum on Character Education, Character Is Destiny, held October 17-19, 2008, in Arlington, Virginia. Having demonstrated the success of their initiatives through the rigorous application and screening process, Bower Hill will use the grant to serve as a national leader and model for other schools and districts seeking to improve their character education efforts.

“What sets us apart is people,” said Principal Kelly Gustafson. “We have the programs – but they didn’t come about out of a package we purchased. Our team sees a need and they develop a way to meet that need. It is our partnership of administrators, teachers, parents and students that makes Bower Hill unique.”

While Bower Hill can point to impressive academic statistics, it was the results of the recent Character Counts survey that had people taking note: 96% of the student body reported talking and hearing about honesty, respect, caring and responsibility in their classes; 98% of students were praised by their teachers, parents and classmates for giving their best effort; and 88% of the students reported participating in a service project in their school or community.

Assistant Principal Mike Henaghan points to Bower Hill’s family atmosphere as a key factor in the success of their programs. “Families of our students are welcome to visit and eat lunch with their children during their lunch periods – we have grandparents and parents here an average of 9 times a day.”

The Bower Hill PTA has also played an integral role in providing quality programs both during the school day and after school hours. Recently the Bower Hill Bee-Stro served more than 550 dinners to students and their families and raised over $1,100 for the Peters Township Public Library. Other events sponsored by the PTA include Family Game Night, Family Fun and Fitness Night and the Read-A-Thon.

Bower Hill provides many opportunities for collaboration and involvement for families and the community. Volunteers are frequently in the building as mystery readers, indoor recess activity leaders, orientation tour guides, and at numerous special events throughout the year. The Grandfriends program also teaches students to respect others through dedicated seniors who share their time and talents with the youngest generation.

Student volunteers range from third grade job applicants (office aides, kindergarten helpers, door holders, etc.), to study buddies (listening and helping young struggling readers or practicing math facts), to high school volunteers returning to assist the younger students.

The Peters Township School District is no stranger to the Schools of Character Award. McMurray Elementary (4-6) was named a National School of Character in 2004. In 2006, Pleasant Valley Elementary (k-3) was a finalist for the award, and in 2007 the District was named a finalist for its kindergarten through 8th grade programs (Bower Hill, Pleasant Valley, McMurray and Peters Township Middle School).

The organization also gives Promising Practices Awards for implementing unique and specific strategies in character education that others may learn from and even replicate. Each of Peters Township’s five buildings have received this award: Bower Hill in 2003 and 2005; McMurray in 2002 and 2006, Peters Township Middle School in 2004 and 2005; Peters Township High School in 2005; and Pleasant Valley Elementary in 2004.

Pittsburgh Business Time Ranks Peters Township Among Top Schools in the State

In May, 2008, “Guide to Western Pennsylvania Schools,” the Pittsburgh Business Times profiled more than 800 local schools to determine how local districts compared to other districts in the area and across the state.

Peters Township School District was ranked fifth among 105 local districts for the second consecutive year, and was the highest ranking district from Washington County. Among the 501 school districts in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Peters Township ranked ninth overall.

Based on Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) results from the previous three years (with the most recent year given the most weight), Peters Township High School ranked third out of 123 area high schools. For 2007, Peters Township eleventh graders had a higher percentage of students scoring advanced or proficient than the two schools ranked above them in math and matched their scores on the writing portion of the exam. Peters Township Middle School also ranked sixth overall out of 140 area middle schools. Both the Middle and High School were the highest ranking districts in Washington County for both grade levels.

McMurray Elementary Students Place 5th Nationally in WordMasters Challenge

Fifth graders at McMurray Elementary once again placed among the top students in the nation in the WordMasters Challenge, finishing 5th in the nation among 725 competing schools.

This was the third and final challenge of the year – the students placed 7th in February and 11th in November.

In all, more than 38,000 5th graders competed in the third challenge. Among the 96 students who earned perfect scores were three McMurray students – Samantha Chaudhari, Nick Kirsch, and Natalie Rihmland. 

Other students who excelled in the final meet included Mandi Bertocci, Sarah Chaudhari, Anthony Lijweski, Jennifer Pardini, Nicholas Roberts, Delaney When, Alex Franco, Sean Harrision and Ally Ruggieri.

The Challenge is an exercise in critical thinking that first encourages students to become familiar with a set of interesting new words that are considerably harder than grade level and then challenges them to use the words to complete analogies expressing various kids of relationships.

Coached by teacher Elizabeth Clark, the students received a trophy to display at the school.

Congratulations to the students and staff at PTMS for earning a first place award for the "Bits O' Lit" Literary Magazine!

The Bits Of Lit Magazine won the 2007 American Scholastic Award for a Middle School Literary Magazine. After being scored, our magazine earned 940 out of a possible 1000 points. The magazine earned perfect scores for Content and Organization. Nicole Mitchell and Renee Brown, the literary sponsors for the magazine, are very proud of the hard work and dedication that went in to this year's publication. Contributing to this win was a hard working group of students, including: Brittany Ball, Natalie Hauck, Nic Nee, Joey Sypula, Mark Seraly, Brooke Tenison, and Victoria Zeffiro. We look forward to another fantastic publication for 2008!

PTHS National Honor Society Announces Results of Annual Charitable Dodge Ball Tournament

The National Honor Society's Fourth Annual Dodge Ball event raised five thousand dollars for the" Make a Wish Scholarship Fund" this year!!! Wow !!! Once again the PTHS NHS cannot thank you enough for all of your support. The time and commitment put into this event every year by staff and students is very much appreciated. The parents, students, staff and community members that pay to attend this event have contributed to this event's huge success. The lives of the young adults that receive this scholarship money are changed forever (by your generosity) and they are extremely grateful.

PTSD Recognized for High Student Achievement

The Pennsylvania State Department of Education recently released news that Peters Township is one of 29 (out of 501) school districts to have done better on state achievement tests than would be expected for the 4th year in a row. PTSD had a significantly higher percentage of students scoring proficient or above compared with other districts with similar portions of economically disadvantaged students The list was released by Standard and Poor's School Evaluation Services. More information is available at

Congratulations to members of the PTHS FBLA Team for earning awards!

Several students earned first place awards. The top students were Patricia Belan, Kathleen Brown, Kameron Burk, Janel Carey, Ed Courtney, Andrew Hanlon, Jonathan Krak, Greg Kuzy, Allison Moore, Rob Percival, Thomas Rauch, Jes Stockhausen and Brett VanDyke ! The team is sponsored by Mrs. Kathie Sekely and Mrs. Vivian Lane.

Expansion Magazine Names PTSD a "Gold Medal" School District

McMurray, PA ~ The Peters Township School District announces that it has been designated as a Gold Medal school district by Expansion Management Magazine in its 14th annual Education Quotient (EQ) issue.

"Each year, Expansion Magazine compares more than 2,800 school districts across the nation on how well the district is preparing its students to be part of the work force after graduation," said Cara A. Zanella, District spokesperson. "To be ranked as a Gold Medal winner, the district must rank in the top 16 percent of all school districts nationally."

The special report from Expansion Magazine is mailed to over 45,000 CEOs, Vice Presidents, Directors an other officers of companies that have indicated they are considering expanding into new geographic areas. This year's EQ looked at all secondary school districts in the United States with an enrollment of at least 3,300 students.

The EQ is calculated on a weighted scale that measures results in three major categories: Graduate Outcome (how well students learn and how many stay to graduation), Resource Index (which measures a community's financial commitment to education), and the Community Index (which measures the community's adult education and income levels). All three indices, as well as the EQ score, are calculated on a scale of 1 to 99, with 50 being the midpoint. Gold Medal schools rank in the top 16 percent of those districts evaluated.

PTSD receives state recognition for academic achievement!

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) honored the Peters Township School District with its second Keystone Award for meeting the Adequate Yearly Progress standards for two consecutive years.

The keystone-shaped award was given to schools across the state where students have exceeded the math and reading standards required by the state's accountability system and the feral No Child Left Behind Act. to meet AYP in the 2003-04 school year, at least 35 percent of students needed to reach proficiency in math and 45 percent proficiency in reading. For the 2004-05 and current school year, proficiency standards were raised to 45 percent proficiency in math and 54 percent in reading.

All five district schools -- Bower Hill, Pleasant Valley and McMurray Elementary Schools and Peters Township Middle and High Schools -- received the Keystone Achievement Award for their high achieving students. The teachers, school staff, parents, community, and students have worked hard to achieve at this level. PDE has added the Pennsylvania Value-Added Assessment System to its ever-growing slate of tools that helps our schools achieve at this sustained level of achievement.

This is the second year the PDE and the Pennsylvania Association of Federal Program Coordinators have partnered to create the Keystone Achievement Award. Statewide, 2,234 schools will be receiving this award and 1,567 will receive this award for the second time.