The 2016-2017 school year was nothing short of exceptional for the staff and students of the Montour School District. Before Montour looks to the 2017-2018 school year, let’s take a moment to reflect on just some of the many accomplishments and achievements of the school year at Forest Grove Elementary, Burkett Elementary, David E. Williams Middle School and Montour High School.
The school year kicked-off during “National Week of Making” with Montour’s Annual STEAM Summer Camp. Over 170 campers explored potential career paths through hands-on activities such as Minecraft, Robotics, Lego Education, Cooking and many more.
In the fall of 2016, Montour was accepted into the National Network of Innovative Schools. Montour was one of 19 new school districts from across the nation that was accepted into the League of Innovative Schools. The district was recognized by the League based on its partnership with Carnegie Mellon University – which has now expanded to two other districts through funding by the Grable Foundation, to provide an in-house and regional educational research center called the LearnLab. In addition, Montour has implemented a Virtual Immersion Lab, a commitment to digital citizenship, and an emphasis on high-quality professional development.
Currently, Montour hosts the Pennsylvania Google Summit, Three Rivers Educational Technology Conference, Western Pennsylvania Project Lead The Way workshop, Camp EdInsight and is home to the Allegheny Intermediate Unit’s transformED West.
One of the highest academically achieving middle schools in Western Pennsylvania, David E. Williams Middle School, is customizing learning experiences through 1:1 learning for all students. Middle school students were also recognized regionally through the arts, continued to explore entrepreneurship opportunities and taught other students through the school media department the Do’s and Don’t’s of Social Media. The district’s social media awareness has been recognized nationally as a Common Sense Education Certified District for Digital Citizenship.
Montour’s accomplishments are not only recognized regionally, but also internationally. In the spring of 2017, Forest Grove Elementary was honored to represent the United States of America, as it hosted five Japanese government representatives participating in a project entitled, “Development of Industry in the Era of Information Revolution.” Also, Colin Angevine, Maker Learning Coach from Digital Promise, based in Washington D.C. visited Montour. Mr. Angevine remarked, “Montour has a reputation for being a pioneering, innovative district.”
Mr. Todd Price was selected by the Pennsylvania Elementary and Secondary School Principals (PAESSP) as the 2017 Principal of the Year. Mr. Price will represent Pennsylvania as a national candidate for the 2018 NASSP Principal of the Year award. In addition to the staff accomplishments at the high school, Mrs. Tina Frank was named a 2018 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year Finalist. Some of the many student highlights at the high school include a grant funded by Duquesne University and Heinz Endowments to support Education Uncontained along with a grant funded by The Pittsburgh Foundation to support Social Justice change efforts within local high schools. Also, students launched a series of podcasts, Spartan Express, in collaboration with Saturday Light Brigade to express Youth Voice. Students and staff also participated in Spartan Personalized Learning Time during the middle of the school day to spark student and staff learning interest.
What’s next for Montour in 2017 – 2018? Construction is almost complete for a new, versatile, state-of-the-art elementary school scheduled to open in the fall of 2017. It is located on Montour’s high school campus and will serve K-4 students throughout the district. The school will feature a two-story library and makerspace, Chromebooks for every student, flexible music and art rooms, and an outdoor amphitheater, just to name some of its amenities. In addition, students will participate in Spartan Personalized Learning Time exploring interests such as Community Service Club, Hummingbird/Robotic Petting Zoo, Minecraft/Lego Club, American Sign Language Club, Drama Club, Poetry Corner, Digital Design & Production, Garden Club, Puppet Making & Performance and many more options for students.