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Two-Hour Transformations: Painting efforts continue at Bellevue

School leaders at Bellevue Elementary are inviting parents and other community members to grab a brush and help beautify the school building.

Bellevue will be hosting “Two-Hour Transformations” painting events beginning noon on Jan. 29 as a way to continue painting the walls and surfaces inside the school.

The efforts continue the initial “painting parties” the school hosted in the fall with parents and students.

“In general, the painting is done to change the look and feel of the school,” Principal Michael Amick said. “When I started, there was no color at all in the school - every wall was a dull gray.”

Amick said he worked with the school’s art teacher, a local artist and a few parents to develop a colorful theme for the building.

“Basically, we wanted the colors to be vibrant and reflect the diversity and positive energy of the building,” he said. “I want anybody who visits the building to know that the arts are important and that great things happen here.”

A color scheme and a community mural that will connect the school and community were developed over months of collaboration.

Amick said the effort also is intended to increase parent involvement “to get families into the building and have a role in making a positive change.”

“In doing the Two-Hour Transformations, I wanted to build off of the success of the original Painting Parties,” Amick said. “We had about 100 people participate in this event, and in a short amount of time we were able to transform the look and feel of the entryway and much of the first floor.”

The goal of the Jan. 29 session is to finish the first floor and beginning painting on the ground level. Additional “Two-Hour Transformations” sessions will be held on the final Saturday of each month to finish the building.

“With just a few people working together for a short amount of time, we can make a huge difference,” he said. “Plus it's a lot of fun.”

Ms. Winovich earns Teacher of the Year Award

A Northgate School District teacher was one of five educators in the nation selected as a “Teacher of the Year” by Rack Room Shoes.

Ms. Kelly Winovich received the honor in December, earning the Northgate Middle/High School a $10,000 technology lab grant as part of the recognition.

Ms. Winovich, a middle/high school vocal teacher, was presented the check on Dec. 20 alongside principals Nicole Smith and R.J. Long, as well as her nominator and former student, Katlyn Weiser.

Ms. Winovich is active in the Pittsburgh community, especially in the arts. Her choirs have performed across the region, including for the Woodlands Foundation, a camp for persons with disabilities, senior living facilities, community festivals, graduation celebrations, fundraisers, and on the Byham Theater stage.

While music is a love, Ms. Winovich said being an educator is in her soul.

“I have a passion for helping others achieve success,” she said. “I come from an incredible family of educators and teaching has always been something that I have known was my calling in life.”

She added she believes music has helped students during the coronavirus pandemic.

“My music classes throughout the entire experience continued singing, playing the piano, and participated in various additional classroom enrichment music activities,” Winovich said. “I was told by my students that music was the main factor that helped them get through such a challenging time in their lives.”

Light Up Hope community lights display scheduled for Dec. 15

Light Up Hope is a yearly event that unites the families of the Northgate School District with the communities of Bellevue and Avalon.  

Sponsored by the Northgate Student Council, Light Up Hope is a  drive-through light display developed by clubs, organizations, sports teams and community members. It is a FREE community event with donations benefiting a local non-profit organization. This year, we are inviting interested families to join in a fun, slightly competitive decorating contest. Any family can reserve a space on the MS/HS campus to decorate. Last year’s themes included space, hope, carnival, love, and Charlie Brown. The more creative families the better! 

Displays will be voted on at the end of the route, and the winner will get more than just bragging rights! If your family is interested in participating in this year’s Light Up Hope event, please contact Stacy Gallagher, student council advisor, at stacy.gallagher@northgatesd.net for more information.

The event is 6:15 p.m. Dec. 15 at the Middle/High School campus. 

Information regarding inclement weather and school closings

The following is Northgate’s instructional plan in the event that the district has to close due to inclement weather or other unforeseen circumstances.

The first day we have to close in any given school year, we will have a traditional “snow day.” Schools will be closed for in-person activities and instruction.

If we have to close for additional days in the same school year we will utilize Flexible Instruction Days (FID). A Flexible Instructional Day is a Pennsylvania Department of Education program that allows public schools to continue to deliver instruction as part of the 180-day school calendar, even if a circumstance arises that prevents delivery of instruction in the customary manner. A FID program may be online, offline, or a combination of the two.

Below you will find information about the process for FID in our district.

Elementary Flexible Instruction:
● All students will have two days of instructional materials kept at home in the event that technology is unavailable. Teachers will provide students with packets that should remain either at home or in backpacks.
● When possible, students will be sent home with technology, iPads or Chromebooks, in anticipation of a FID day.
● All students will have access and directions to one of our online learning platforms, SeeSaw or Google Classroom, depending upon the grade level.
● A Google Meet link for live instruction will be available on the online platform in the event of a FID day announcement. Students should check their online learning platform by 8:15 for information about live and asynchronous assignments.
● Four hours of live instruction will be provided by the classroom teachers during a FID day. Even if we are unable to send technology home with all students, it is important that this instruction be provided to students who are able to use a device at home. Students who are not able to access the live instruction will still have access to pencil and paper assignments that will meet the learning standards and count equally toward the class grade.
● Attendance will be taken by the homeroom teacher when students log in at 8:15. In the event that a student is not able to log on due to lack of technology or internet access, attendance will be taken through completion of the assigned work packets along with a note from the parent that the student did not have access to technology.

Secondary Flexible Instruction:
● Students should always take their school issued laptops home with them at the end of each school day, so that they have access to a laptop at home.
● Attendance will be taken by the homeroom teacher when students log in at 8:25. In the event that a student is not able to log on due to lack of technology or internet access, attendance will be taken through completion of the assigned work along with a note from the parent that the student did not have access to technology.
● Students should check their Northgate email and Google Classroom for directions and assignments from their teachers.
● Students should follow their daily schedule and attend any meetings and complete any work assigned by their teachers through email or Google Classroom.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to your student’s teacher or principal.

Northgate to host COVID-19 vaccine clinic

The Northgate School District is partnering with UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh to vaccinate students and community members against COVID-19.

We will be hosting a vaccination clinic at the middle/high school 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Nov. 22.  There will be a supply of the Pediatric Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, as well as the Pfizer vaccine for children and adults above the age of 12. 

Booster doses will be available for those that meet the eligibility criteria. Eligibility criteria can be found here.

To schedule an appointment please visit: https://forms.office.com/r/WqnxCjBmPb and select “Northgate."

Click here to download a parental consent form. 

These websites help answer some frequently asked questions that parents or guardians might
have prior to their child receiving the COVID-19 vaccine:

COVID-19 Vaccine Frequently Asked Questions

The Science Behind COVID-19 Vaccines: Parent FAQs

Click here for an informational flyer for the clinic. 

Northgate commemorates Veterans Day

In honor of Veterans Day, the Northgate School District would like to express its gratitude to all the men and women who have served our country.

While we are unable to host our community’s veterans in our school buildings this year, our appreciation for their service and sacrifice is as strong as ever. Our teachers have led student activities to recognize our veterans throughout this week, and we hope all will take time today to reflect on their service.

FAFSA Workshop scheduled for Nov. 15

The Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) and the Community College of Allegheny (CCAC) are partnering to offer a virtual FAFSA Completion Workshop 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 15, for our senior students. 

The FAFSA Overview Presentation via WebEx will guide students and families through a step-by-step process of filing the FAFSA and state grant application. To register for the FAFSA Overview Presentation, click here.
 
Following the presentation from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., financial aid counselors and PHEAA staff will be available to assist families one-on-one in completing the FAFSA and state grant form, via Zoom. Limited space is available so advance registration is required. To register for the One-on-One FAFSA Assistance, click here. Two time blocks are available from 6 to 7 p.m. or 7 to 8 p.m. A zoom link will be sent to registrants prior to the event.
 
For one-on-one assistance be sure to have the following information available. If you are considered a dependent student, you will need your parent’s information, too. For more information on who counts as your parent when you file the FAFSA, click here.

- Your Federal Student Aid account username and password (FSA ID). To create an FSA ID go to: https://studentaid.gov/fsa-id/sign-in/landing. *For more information on how to create an FSA ID, click here.
- Social Security Number
- Driver’s license number, if you have one (optional)
- Alien registration number, if you are not a US citizen
- 2020 W-2 forms
- Records of untaxed income
- Your 2020 federal income tax return 1040 and accompanying schedules
- Your current bank statements and records of stocks, bonds, 529 plans, and other investments

Click here for a full resolution version of the workshop flyer. 

Community Halloween parade scheduled for Oct. 30

The annual Bellevue and Avalon Halloween Parade will be 10 a.m. Oct. 30!

The parade will begin at Avalon Elementary and proceed to Bayne Park. There will be same-day registration beginning 9 a.m. at the elementary school. You can also pre-register online at https://form.jotform.com/212804079698164. If you have any questions or concerns, contact Tamra at cakeiteasy25@gmail.com or call her at 412-609-8718.

First page of the PDF file: kidsburghnorthgate

What is the purpose of a child’s K-12 journey? We want to hear your thoughts!

The Northgate School District is partnering with Kidsburgh to co-host a Great Learning Conversations event 6 to 8 p.m. Nov. 16 at the Northgate Middle/High School.

We want to hear from parents and caregivers on what the future of education should look like, and how we can best work with families to make our district succeed.

This is a free event. To RSVP, email Laureen Dowd at laureen.dowd@northgatesd.net by Nov. 3.

This is your space to talk about the future and what’s possible. 

Kidsburgh is partnering with 11 school districts in the Pittsburgh region to host Great Learning Conversations. The series of conversations is part of the #RemakeTomorrow campaign powered by Remake Learning and is generously supported by The Grable Foundation. 

Join us in this conversation as we remake learning together for our students!

Click here for a full resolution version of the flyer.

Diversity, equity and inclusion workshop planned for Oct. 25

Northgate parents and caregivers are invited to join us for an interactive workshop discussing diversity, equity and inclusion within the school community.

The event will be 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 25 at the middle/high school cafeteria.

We would like to develop a deeper understanding of the community perspectives related to the topics of diversity, equity and inclusion. Together we will document these perspectives and use the input from the community and other Northgate stakeholder groups to set goals within our strategic plan.

We hope you can join us for an exciting evening together!

Participants can enter the school through the administrative entrance located on the driveway side of the building. If you are a parent or guardian in need of childcare, student council representatives will be providing childcare for school-age children.

Northgate announces new partnership focused on diversity, equity and inclusion

The Northgate School District is partnering with Pittsburgh-based education consultant Michelle King to create more equitable and empathetic learning opportunities within its school community.

The initiative was fostered through Dr. Jeffrey Evancho, director of partnerships and equity for Northgate. King, who describes her role as a “Learning Instigator,” works throughout the region to improve diversity, equity and inclusion practices.  

“I call myself the learning instigator because I see myself as a learner first and foremost,” King said. “As a teacher and a facilitator, my job is to create opportunities for participants to learn, discover, be challenged and to express their thoughts, dreams and desires.” 

King will be working with district teachers, administrators and students to help create dynamic learning experiences and opportunities that inspire wonder and discovery for all students.  

By analyzing curriculum and classroom practices, King aims to cultivate an atmosphere that embraces conversations about diversity and inclusion. She said many school districts struggle with promoting discussion about these topics, which results in a failure to examine how young people relate to themselves and to each other around their identity. 

“My aspiration is to take away the shame and embarrassment and help people develop the practice of being in discourse when we have challenging topics, and still stay in relationship with each other,” she said.  

King has more than two decades of experience in education and has worked as part of nationwide initiatives. Locally, she works in conjunction with various agencies, including the Western Pennsylvania Writing Project, Hear Me and the Remake Learning Network.  

“I think my work is about working with communities to create spaces of thriving for everybody,” King said. “That’s the purpose of my work — to help folks align their aspirations and practices together.” 

The partnership continues Northgate’s ongoing efforts to create a welcoming environment for all students. The middle/high school recently launched its No Place for Hate campaign through the Anti-Defamation League. Other initiatives, including the district’s College in High School program, strive to offer more equitable education opportunities to all students.  

This past summer, two murals were completed in the middle/high school to celebrate and reflect the diversity and cultural history within the district, as well as show school pride. 

A diversity, equity and inclusion workshop for the Northgate parents and caregivers also has been scheduled for 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 25 at the middle/high school.    

Forensics club signups for grades 5 through 8

Do you like acting, reading or public speaking? If so, you would be great on the Forensics team at Northgate!

Our first meetings will be this week at the following times:

Avalon Elementary
3:15 to 3:45 p.m. Monday,  Oct. 4

Middle School
3:15 to 3:45 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 7

Bellevue Elementary
3:15 to 3:45 p.m. Friday, Oct. 8

You will be provided with more information at these meetings.  Please email Mrs. Gretchen Monahan at gretchen.monahan@northgatesd.net if you are interested in participating.

Click here for a signup sheet.