Congratulations to Elisabeth Brown, Rebekah Klieber, Dominique Ruiz, Violet Coyne and Elbachir BenBoujema for placing 1st in today’s KNEX competition at Woodland Hills.--

Thanksgiving Escape Room

To wrap up the last day before Thanksgiving break, Mrs. Mac’s fifth grade students put their ELA and Social Studies skills to the test. They participated in a Thanksgiving Escape Room that required them to solve puzzles about the holiday. If they cracked the code after 5 tasks, they earned a No Homework coupon. Gobble! Gobble! 

Percentage Applications

Mrs. Olson’s Advanced Math 7 class completed a percent project at the end of module 5.  The students worked in groups to create a store selling items of their choice. 

They applied multiple percent off coupons to their items to review markdowns, and calculated the total with tax to review markups.  The students then created a poster for their store including some sale priced items and tax items.  They did a great job!


Discussing 9/11 in Math

9/11 in the Math Classroom - photo #1

9/11 in the Math Classroom - photo #1

Students in Ms. Dunmire-Kuftic’s 7th and 8th Grade Math classes learned about September 11, 2001 through a hands on activity where they had to match math problem solutions to a statistic to learn more about the historic day after watching a brief documentary about September 11th from the History Channel. 

The students were then challenged to ask their parents and/or family if they recall where they were that September morning eighteen years ago after hearing Ms. Dunmire-Kuftic’s story. It was a great mix of both Math and History today and the students really enjoyed it! #NeverForget

Wonder Theater

Today the Reverse Inclusion Students worked alongside the Life-Skills/ Autistic Support classrooms in order to complete a project called Wonder Theatre.  This authentic community based learning experience allowed students to learn about the various phases involved in managing and working for a small business, while developing social/ emotional skills. 


The project involved a simulation of the roles of a movie theatre while also creating “Ironman Shops.” At the shops, students created & sold hand-made items for the 5th grade student body to purchase.  


In order to complete this project, the students were broken up into seven core teams: marketing team, flower shop, aviary team, jewelry shopcustodial services, technology team, and concession stand.  The students in each team played a part in simulating the duties that an employee of that job would perform during this experience, which involved creating a donation letter and making cold calls to local businesses. 


Ms. Braszo would like to thank all of the students involved, as well as our donors and support staff for making this event possible. A special thank you to Ms. Lynn, Ms. Perhac, Ms. Kaitlin, Mrs. Furrick, Ms. Vargo, Ms. Sherri, Ms. Gale, Mrs. Churilla, Ms. Hoffman and Ms. Noblet who were some key supporters during our event, along with the 5th grade team. 


We are very proud of our students today for working together and promoting acceptance, as well as combating stereotypes. 


Below is a list of donors that supported our event: 


Wonder Theatre

 Business Donations: 

Chick Fil-A - $ 25.00  

Target -  $ 25.00 

Costco - $25.00 

Jay Ruston/ Ruston Renovations and Plumbing - $100.00 of gift cards 


Personal Donations: 

 Ray & Bernadette Braszo/ high school football coach - $50.00 for poster materials 

Margaret Luvara / 6th Grade ELA teacher donated costume jewelry to create a basket

Tracy McGrew/ 7th Grade Science Teacher - $10 gift 

Amber Thomas/ School Nurse - donated makeup/ nail polish for a basket

Katie MacDonald/ 5th Grade ELA Teacher - donated makeup for a basket

Traci Churilla/ 7th Grade Social Studies Teacher - donated soap and perfume for a basket

Lana Gainer/ Special Education Math Teacher – donation of Bath & Body Works lotions for basket

Sue Large / Guidance Counselor - donated jewelry for basket

Kaitlin Craycraft/ Paraeducator - donated popcorn for event (i.e. concession stand) 

Matt Clark/ Friend of Lynn Cochrane - donated tickets for the Chinese Auction

Terry DeIuliis/ Pittsburgh Zoo/ Aunt of Lynn Cochrane - donated zoo cups with 28 zoo passes 

Amber Wedig - donated a purse for the Chinese Auction


Staff who supported Event:

Diana Borges 

Bryan Macuga

Aaron Johnson

Sherri Titmus

Gale Emery 

Andrew Vettel 

Mike Altman

Roy Mort

Donald Packer

Kim Watkins 

Natalie Czerwinski 


Direct Support Staff:

Jillian Braszo

Traci Churilla

Terrie Hoffman

Lynn Cochrane

Kaitlyn Craycraft

Jennifer Perhac


Terri Vargo 

Erin Noblet

Crissi Furrick 

Football Hall of Fame

Thanks to the Best of the Batch Foundation, our 6th grade traveled to Canton Ohio’s NFL Hall of Fame today to tour the museum, run through a few obstacles and have FUN! It’s been a great (wet) but fun day so far! Thank you Charlie and Tasha Batch for always putting our kids first!

In The News!

7th grader, Isabella told Mrs. McGrew and Ms. V her only wish for her birthday was to meet a meteorologist and guess what? She did!! 
A Birthday Wish Come True...Because of some pretty awesome teachers, Ms. Varacalli and Mrs. McGrew, Isabella Ruston was given the opportunity to meet Meterologist Kristin Emery from KDKA this past weekend! Kristin showed Isabella so many things and taught her so much in the short time they met and made their curriculum come alive. What a great opportunity!

Mock Trials

Mrs. Kristen's 6th Grade Advanced Language ARts students are filming mock trials for a scientist accused of treason in Ancient Greece.  He had the nerve to share the science behind the seasons, debunking the story of Demeter and Persephone.  This is part of a Greek Mythology unit in which students are learning to check sources for reliability, studying modern allusions from mythology, and enoying reading ancient myths.

Academic Endeavors

Congratulations to students in Mrs. Clark's class for placing first in the Academic Endeavors competition at South Allegheny today. 

Women's History Month

Students in Mrs. McDonald's ELA classes took time to honor strong women for Women's History Month.  Student's chose an influential woman to research using QR codes for various sources, were able to read and learn about their accomplishments and impact they made on our society.

Art Competition

Congratulations to Darwin Burns who won first place for her Turtle Cubism Art Piece that she entered in the ESSPA Art competition held at Gateway High School.  Mrs. Clark's whole team also won first place over all.  They had to create art pieces in advance, learn the different artists in the Cubism style and then create an art piece while at the competition.  Great job girls!

Around the World

The Reverse Inclusion Program traveled "Around the World," in our annual project.  This year, the students learned about Europe and the Middle East regions through an exploration of a country of their choice.  Students created a virtual field trip by using the Internet to research the region and turning their research into a Pages or Keynote project.  We learned about topics such as the countries national flag,  type of government, climate, culture, conflicts people face, amongst other details. 

During the project, Ms. Braszo's students worked with Ms. Churilla's period 2/3 social studies class in a world exploration. The teachers, and support staff, were looking to help the special education and regular education students continue to make connection and friendships inside the classroom. Both groups worked extremely well together and showed kindness and compassion, along with a love for learning about this place we call our Earth. 

Pi Day

Students in Ms. Sullivan, Mr. Kendro, Ms. Varacalli, and Ms. Dunmire-Kuftic’s Math classes celebrated Pi Day today by completing Pi Day Investigations, coloring Pi Day pictures, eating yummy treats and making bracelets! Pi is celebrated on March 14th each year to honor the essential mathematical constant, whose first digits are 3.14. It is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. 


Students all did IRRATIONALLY well in class today! Happy Pi Day from SVMS! 

Grow With Root Words

Students in Mrs. Kristen's class just finished a unit on root words.  Among many projects students completed were root trees, on which students investigated words using common roots.

Black History Month Art

8th graders completed their Black History Month projects this week. They studied Chuck Close and created a half grid portrait drawing of an influential African American figure.  Then they used Kehinde Wiley’s artwork as inspiration to create a decorative background. Students carved a block and did printmaking to design their final backgrounds.


Mr. Large and Mrs. McDonald's classes took part in a Seuss day.  Students had to use their observation skills in the Mayhem M onday classroom by trying to identify what is out of place.  They had to save Horton's egg by engineering a device to keep it safe.  Mrs.. Geyer led a group who created t heir own Seuss stories using rhyming words.  Mrs. Clark helped everyone create Seuss Super Silly Socks.  Each group made a commerical using Clips to sell their sock.  A special thank you to Mrs. Takos, our resident Seuss expert.

America Runs on Kindness

Students in Mrs. McDonald's class decorated their door for February with the theme "America Runs on Kindness."  Students shared stories of how they were kind to someone else or how someone else was kind to them.  They also want classmates to "Take a Chance on Kindess"  The bulletin board in the hallway is filled with random acts of kindness. #Bethekindkid.

Local Artist

Local Artist, Ryan Clark paid a visit to Mrs. Clark's classroom today to talk about Cubism for the upcoming competition.  He worked one on one with some of the students to help lay out their ideas for their art piece. 

Artist sketches on pad while student watches

A Dino Day

Mrs. Clark's 4th and 5th grade classes attended a competition at The Carnegie Museum of Natural History.  Students participated in a Live reptile scavenger hunt, a dino sized interview and a geology lab.


Students in Mrs. Dunmmire-Kuftic's 8th grade math classes practiced writing and solving equations in rotating centers by either playing the math board game Equate or by solving multi-step equations with variables on both sides to solve a puzzle in small groups.

Valentine's Love

Students in Mrs. Clark's class have been busy making Valentin'es Day cards that will be distributed to numerous nursing homes around Allegheny and Butler County.  Our class partnered with Anova to send cards to patients who may need an extra smile in the month of February.  Some of the students even got creative and made Origami hearts to send this year.  This is an annual event for us and the students really enjoy sharing the love.

Bungee Barbie

Students in Ms. Dunmire-Kuftic's 8th grade math classes applied the linear regression concept in a "Bungee Barbie" lesson.  Students created tables, graphed data, calculated slope and y intercept and computed how many rubber bands could be tied together to give their Barbie a thrill of a lifetime.  After students were ready to put their hypothesis to the test, the competition began.  Ms. Dunmire-Kuftic dropped each team's Barbie from the ceiling and the team who came closest to the floor without hitting Barbie's head won.  Congratulations to Team 1: Jason Poneiwaz, Reese Becinski, Mekhi Glover and Team 2: Dara Brown, Madison Blasko, Ava Richnafsky and Richard Reed on winning the competition.


Mrs. Churilla's 7th grade Social Studies classes are assisting Ms. Braszo's ELA class (with the help of Lynn Cochrane, Kaitlyn Craycraft and Christine Furrick with Apple Classroom and Flocabulary for various Social Studies lessons.

CSI: Roanoke

5th Grade students in Mrs. McDonald's classes are on the case.  Using evidence from maps, diaries, background reports and scientific findings, students are working to find an answer to one of history's longtime mysteries: The Lost Colony.  The investigation will require the agents to develop a theory with evidence to support their claim.

Learning is Fun!

Students in Mrs. Clark's class are back into the swing of things after break.  Some 5th grade students are brushing up on their coding skills by programming video games using Puzzlets, while 6th graders are preparing for an Equations competition next month at Woodland Hills.

Going, Going, Gone!

In Mr. Owston's science class, students learned how to calculate average speed.  Students used a toy car and a ramp.  They let the car roll down the ramp three times at different heights.  Using a formula, they were then able to calculate the average speed of the car.  The class also discussed momentum and friction to finish off the unit.

Merry Slope-Mas


Mrs. Dunmire-Kuftic's 8th grade class created their own holiday photos on graph paper, selected 5 liines and calculated the lines slope and y-intercept.  From there, they wrote linear equations for each identified line in slope-intercept form.

Glass Blowing

Students in Mrs. Clark's class took their learning out of the building today to the Pittsburgh Glass Center.  Students toured the facility to learn about the different types of glass, visiting the Kiln Room, the Cold Room, the Flame Room and the Hot Shop.  Students watched as The Glass Center demonstrated how to create a vase in the Hot Shop and then a marble in the Flame Room.  Students were then tasked with creating their own piece of art by combining colors, twisting the glass and finally shaping it. 

Bubonic Plague

Mrs. Churilla's class learned about the Black Death (Bubonic Plaque) through a simulation of the experience that many Europeans faced during the Middle ages.

Hide Mo Lasses

Some fifth grade students from Mrs. MacDonald's ELA classes put their creative writing skills to the test.  They had to help the gingerbread man, Mo Lasses, disguise himself so they wouldn't find themselves on the holiday cookie plate this year.

Book Talk

Today in ELA class the students' in Ms. Braszo period 2/3 worked on their annual "Book-Talk Builder" project.  The students chose an ability level authentic literature book and created a virtual book report, using the Pages and Keynote application.  During the project, the students were accompanied by a small group of Ms. Hoffman's 7th grade ELA students. We found that working with our 7th graders enabled us to learn more about the various iPad applications.  Through reverse inclusion opportunities,  the students were able to put their heads together, and work as a team.

Propulsion and Motion

Mr. Owston's 6th grade science class students learned about propulsioin and motion.  Each group had to brainstorm and build an airplane to fly across the room on a fishing line.  After they finished their design, they were allowed 3 trial flights.  Students then had a tournament to determine which plane flew the furthest in the shortest amount of time.

Bringing Literature to Life

8th Grade Theater Trip: Students viewed Chamber Theatre’s production of the on-stage portrayals of the literature students read in class.  Students experienced the live versions of Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Monkey’s Paw” by Jacobs.

Sequencing Skills

Mrs. Mac's ELA classes put their sequencing skills to work today.  Classes read "The Boy Who Invented TV" about Philo Farnsworth.  Kids worked together in groups to identify the most important events in his life and record them in the correct sequence.

A Utopian Society

Ms. Hoffman's 7th grade ELA classes are designing what they think a utopian society should look like.  Student's have studied utopian societies while reading "The Giver."  Once their socieities are mapped out with physical environment, laws and traditions, they will have the opportunity to share them with their classmates.

Happy Atoms

Some students in Mrs. Clark's room explored how atoms come together to form molecular structures.  Once a molecule was created and scanned, students were able to read information about the properties of each molecule and how they are used in our every day lives.

Doodle Notes

Mrs. MacDonald's classes are in the beginning stages of learning a form of note taking called Doodle Notes.  Doodle Notes is designed to allow students to have a stronger focus, improve retention through color coding, boost memory, build long term memory, make mental connections, while still allowing students to be creative!  Today's skill was sequencing.

Words Matter Project

Students in Mrs. Churilla's 7th grade History class just completed a unit on the three major montheistic religions, while Mrs. McGrew, who teaches Science, was discussing the characteristics of rocks and minerals.  Ms. Braszo, a special education teacher works closely with both teachers.

Originally, the teachers allowed the students the opportunity to participate in a crystal lab together, making ornaments or sun catchers for themselves as a reward for their hard work and good behavior.  After a student brought up the subject of the tragic events at The Tree of Life Synagogue, this learning lab took on a more serious and important lesson.

Mrs. McGrew and Mrs. Churilla with the help of Ms. Braszo asked the students if they would be willing, rather than make a crystal for themselves, if theywould make a crystal in the shape of the Star of David for those individual and families at the Tree of Life Synagogue.  Each student agreed without hesitation.  "In all my years of teaching, it was truly one of the most memorable and heart-warming moments for me," said Mrs. Churilla.

Not only could this idea help others learn empathy and spread a message of tolerance, but it also allows our students to use the knowledge they gained in the classroom.

In addition, Dr. Fenyus's 8th grade ELA students, who are preparing to study the literature of the Holocaust survivors and resistors, volunteered to research and write quotes promoting tolerance that will be attached to the star.  "Through this simple, but meaningful gesture, we feel we are spreading the importance of 'shielding' ourselves and others against hate," added Dr. Fenyus.

Reverse Inclusion

Mrs. McGrew's 7th grade Science students came to Mrs. Noblet's Science class and taught students how to make crystals in a Mason jar.  This is an anticipatory set into the unit on rocks and minerals.

Writing Workshop

Students in Mrs. MacDonald's and Mr. Large's classes participated in the Spooktacular Reading Workshop.  Mr. Large and Mrs. Mac's team taught with the help of Mrs. Geyer and Mrs. Clark in the Creating Value Classroom.  Students learned the importance of reading through text multiple times and how to annotate/analyze text with the hopes of improving their comprehension.  It was exciting to see the students so engaged and teaching one another.

Witch's Cauldron

Ms. Dunmire-Kuftic's 8th grade math classes had to escape the Wicked Witch's Cauldron by solving various slope problems throughout class.  To make it more interactive, Ms. Dunmire-Kuftic prefaced the activity with an introduction video and students used Google Forms to input codes to move on to the next level of the virtual escape room.  Tomorrow students will create a video of how they escaped and share their successes and failures with each other.

Scary Sketches

In Ms. Czerwinski's class, 5th-8th graders are working on observational drawing skills by arranging some Halloween and Day of the Dead inspired objects into a still-life.  They are focusing on composition and form.  Tomorrow students will draw with new materials such as charcoal and ink.

Comma Clips

Students in Mrs. Kristen's class are learning about comma placement, and they took part in a SCOOT activity in which 'comma clips' were placed in sentences where they belong.  Students then took pictures of the comma placement, recorded the reason the commas were used, and shared their pictures.  What a great way to make grammar fun!

Math Crime Fighters

Students in Mrs. Sullivan's class used their knowledge of fractions and became detectives solving crimes committed by the international evil genius group the Mathmagicians!  Students solved cases that were committed in cities like Mexico City, Belize City, Tikal, Ciudaf, San Jose and Ancon.  After solving the cases, students created and recorded a news broadcast detailing the investigations.

Science Smores

Mr. Owston's 6th grade Science class made smores to learn about thermal conduction.  They learned that heat will pass through the metal on the marshmellow sticks from the flame of the Bunsen Burners, and that they should always hold on to the wooden handle.  What a yummy day!

iBook Author with a Virtual Tour!

Mrs. Clark's middle school students have been working on independent projects.  Today, students started putting their information into iBook Author to create their own books.  One student used the VR headset to visit to explore her topic more indepth.

Too Much Candy?

Students in Mrs. MacDonald's ELA classes were practicing various reading skills using an article called "How Sugar Affects the Brain."  They had to solve four tasks in order to escape the room.  This lesson brought science and reading skills together in a fun way!  We also learned why we shouldn't eat too mich candy this Halloween.

Water Experiment

Students in Mr. Owston's class continued their water unit with an experiment in convection currents.  They researched (using Google and Youtube) and brainstormed with their groups to find an experiment they wanted to try.  They were given materials and a lab report to conduct the experiment they found.  They discovered that the cold, denser water sank to the bottom of the basin and forced the hot, less dense water to rise to the top.

Spooky Math


In Mrs. Dunmire-Kuftic's 8th grade Math class, students graphed a witch using coordinates and then calculated the slope of lines within their drawings.  It was a great way to get into the Halloween spirit and practice their math skills!


Heinz History Center

Students in Mrs. Clark's class competed in a History Competition at the Heinz History Center.  Activties ranged from a scavenger hunt to bringing a historical article to life through a story.

Out of This World

After reading "All Summer in a Day," Ms. Luvara's class explored the different planets to see which would make the perfect new home.

Writing in Math?

Students in Mrs. Dunmire-Kuftic's class practiced writing after picking an independent and dependent variable out of a hat.  After they picked their variables, they rolled a die to create coordintaes and plotted the points on a coordinate grid.  Then they had to calculate the slope of the lines.  Students then had to create a story line to mimic their line plots.

In The News

Students in Mr. Tozzi's History class utilized their iPads to research some of history's infamous natural disasters and then created a news report of their findings.  Students were able to choose from creating a newspaper article in Pages, a radio broadcast on Garageband or a TV news report on iMovie.

Build, Prorgram, Teach

Students in Mrs. Clark's class are building Lego Robots, programming them to move and then teaching the elementary students to do the same.  What better way to get kids excited about computer science!

Math in History?

History meets Math today in Ms. Hammell's classes.  Students examined two English passenger manifests to the New World from the year 1635, and compared age distribution and gender ratios on the two ships.  Students then created two double bar graphs to illustrate the data they collected.

Symbolism in Art

Mrs. Czerwinski's 5th grade art students learned about Romero Britto and symbolism.  They used warm and cool color schemes to paint their abstract artwork.  They are having fun mixing new colors to use and will add oil pastels to finish up.

Discovering Density

Mr. Owston's 6th grade Science class discovered density today.  Students conducted an experiment layering fluids that all contained different densities.  The objective was to learn that density of a substance is the ratio of its mass (weight) to its volume.

U-Know (Cause and Effect)

Students in Mrs. Mac's ELA classes have been practicing cause and effect.  On Friday, October 5, they matched causes with effects and on Tuesday, October 9 they played an educational form of "Uno" called, "U-Know."

History CSI

Ms. Hammell's 8th graders are investigating several conflicting theories surrounding the mysterious disappearance of the Roanoke Colony CSI style!  After making a decision and discussing with peers what they believed happened to the colonists, students will write an essay supporting their argument with details and evidence from the case files that they read.

Eco Challenge

Students in Mrs. Clark's class participated in Phipps Conservatory's annual Eco Challenge.  Students spent time learning about Lepidoptera, exploring the plants with a scavenger hunt and designing plans for a sustainable community.

Reading "Crash"

Pastor Keith reading the novel "Crash" to Ms. Braszo's ELA students.  Pastor Keith is modeling reading with fluency (pace, tone, accuracy) and using stop points to reveiw comprehension, while also talking about difficult concepts.

Roman Aqueduct

Today in Mrs. Churilla & Ms. Braszo's World History class, students worked together to build a Roman Aqueduct, using hands-on STEAM approaches.  The class was split up into two teams, with each team having a technology component.   While the teams were reviewing the assignment and organizing their approaches, the students assigned to the "technology team" were taking images and short video clips in preparation to build a virtual report. This virtual report will allow the students to display the activity in an electronic presentation in order to document the teams' findings and broadcast their finished product. Students were engaged and working through the entire class period, finding out answers to their questions through hands-on approaches. Stay tuned for the finished product!