Monday, November 30, 2009


Menallen teachers and their families spent a recent Saturday volunteering to help construct the Menallen Outdoor Learning Environment (MOLE). Teachers donated hundreds of hours during the summer of 2009 to help pour concrete and to haul gravel and topsoil. Teachers are leading the project and working with parents and community members to convert Menallen's courtyard into an outdoor classroom.

Leslie Defino, fifth and sixth grade science teacher at Menallen, helps to spread recycled rubber mulch in the Menallen Outdoor Learning Environment on a recent Saturday.

Julie Capuzzi, learning support teacher at Menallen, pushes a heavy load of topsoil during a summer day spent volunteering at the MOLE project.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Uniontown Teachers Recieve National Board Certification

Michelle Komacek at National Board Certification Ceremony.

Carla Lowden at National Board Certification Ceremony.

From the Uniontown Herald Standard: "Uniontown Area School District teachers Michelle Komacek and Carla Lowden recently earned National Board Certification, recognized as a symbol of teaching excellence.
Nearly 74,000 teachers have earned the certification, offered by the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, by meeting rigorous standards through intensive study, expert evaluation, self-assessment, and peer review, according to the national board's Web site.

Dr. Charles Machesky, superintendent of the Uniontown Area School District, said less than 37 percent of the nation's teachers have achieved the certification. There are 496 NBCT's in Pennsylvania . Currently, Komacek and Lowden are the only NBCT's in Fayette county.

Komacek teaches third grade at Menallen School. Lowden teaches biology and physical science at the high school."

The mission of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards is to advance the quality of teaching and learning by

NBPTS Mission Statement:

  • Maintaining high and rigorous standards for what accomplished teachers should know and be able to do
  • Providing a national voluntary system certifying teachers who meet these standards
  • Advocating related education reforms to integrate National Board Certification in American education and to capitalize on the expertise of National Board Certified Teachers
Learn more at

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Uniontown Area High School students observe open-heart surgery

By Marilyn Forbes
Sunday, October 25, 2009

A group of students from Uniontown Area High School took a field trip to Pittsburgh to observe open-heart surgery.

Fifteen students in Jodie Wells' gifted student program made the journey to Allegheny General Hospital to observe a four-hour double-bypass surgery.

Sitting just above the operation in the observation room, the students were able to witness the entire procedure.

"It was a great experience," student Caileigh Carei said, "we got to see what it was really like."

Wells said she heard of the surgery trip opportunities from a fellow teacher and thought that the prospect of taking the students to observe an actual procedure would be an exciting opportunity to offer them.

"It was a wonderful experience for them," Wells said. "I had heard about this last year and I called in May to see if we could set something up."

The double bypass surgery was preformed by Stephen Bailey, who was assisted by a team of about 12 people.

The surgeon and his team removed a section of a vein from the patient's leg that was then used in the procedure.

"It was really interesting and it was way worth it," said student Joe Gentilcore, who hopes to one day become a surgeon. "I think that the experience added even more interest for me."

"I had heard about other schools that did this and I was excited that we were able to go," student Erik Klatt said, "it was pretty cool to see a surgery. It was very detailed and it was interesting to watch."

For some students, the experience hit closer to home, giving them a glimpse into what some of their loved ones have endured.

"I really wanted to go because I have family members who have had the surgery," said Cody Maust. "It was really interesting to experience."

Wells said that she was thrilled with the experience and hopes to make the trip an annual event for her students.

"I really thought that it would be a great opportunity," student Daniella Risha said. "Not many people get the chance to see something like that. We could see the heart pumping the entire time. It was really interesting to be able to see something like that firsthand and I think that it is amazing to see how far we have come in technology."

The trip was made possible by the Allegheny-Singer Research Institute.

Uniontown Area High School Donates to American Cancer Society.

On Friday, October 30, Uniontown Area High School Teachers, as part of their Casual Friday Fundraiser, sent a donation of $203 to the American Cancer Society.

To learn more about the American Cancer Society, or to make a donation, please visit

Uniontown Area School District Teachers Recieve Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Grant

Please give a well-deserved round of applause to Becky Gartley and Danielle Lancaster, teachers at Ben Franklin Middle School, who applied for and received a grant for the Ben Franklin Drama Club. The grant was awarded to, "...groups or individuals committed to bringing the arts to Fayette, Washington and Greene counties..."

The Ben Franklin Drama club is in its third year. Last year the club, which consists of students from grades 4 through 8, staged a performance of The Jungle Book. This year the club will perform School House Rocks.

Please follow the links below for more information: