Monday, April 15, 2019

All Good Things...

...must come to an end.

Our president has decided it's (past) time for her to step down. Join us April 16 in the HS LGI at 7 pm for an organizational meeting.

- decide on meeting dates and times for next year
- discuss topics for said meetings
- Q&A (if needed) concerning what the executive board does
- choose a new slate of leaders (please volunteer!)

Come for the cookies, stay for the kids!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

December 4 Meeting Summary

Thanks to all who attended last night's meeting! It was a great discussion of many topics, and an excellent way for parents to share their experiences, advice, concerns, and suggestions.

Here were some of the topics and questions that arose:
  • How does accelerated and enriched/differentiated math work in elementary (grades 3-5)?
  • What to do about kids who are gifted but not into working hard or interested in activities?
  • Do 5th graders who participate in the virtual/DMS math class lose "homeroom time"?
  • How can we encourage more transparent and proactive communication? For example: When does Quest start during the year? When are tests and GIEPs are conducted? What are expectations for Quest at elementary level? Welcome packet for new (and even returning) parents would be nice. 
  • Who conducts GIEP exams -- a District psychologist or someone contracted? How are the tests administered? 
  • How do Quest and acceleration/honors classes work at DMS? Will the new schedule change things?
  • How will the district handle Quest/EELA/Math for kids enrolled in Spanish immersion?
  • How can we advocate for our kids?
  • How can we spread the word to more parents in our district?
If you have questions you'd like answered, here are some options:
  • We've started a new Gifted Foxes Facebook group — it's private, but we welcome all parents who would like to share questions and suggestions for academic and extracurricular support. 
  • If you're not on Facebook, you can always email us. 
  • And of course join us at future meetings!
Hope to see you on February 5!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

2018-19 Meetings and More

FCAPAGE has three meetings on the schedule in 2018-19; all of them will be on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. in the High School LGI:
  • December 4
  • February 5
  • April 16
Our December meeting will focus on building a coalition of parents who are interested in learning how to advocate for their child(ren) at school and beyond. We will share information about extracurricular and summer activities, too.

Recognizing the requirements of being a member in good standing of PAGE, we will also be looking for parents interested in joining our board and/or representing FCAPAGE at elementary and DMS PTO meetings.

We will also plan topics for February and April. Hope to see you there!

Monday, March 19, 2018

April Meeting Moved to Wednesday, 4/11

As you may have seen from the email that went out this morning, we have moved the April meeting to Wednesday the 11th, in the FCAHS Library. We hope you can join us!

Timothy Mahoney, the Director of Special Education and Pupil Services, will be our guest. (Lisa Gibson spoke about HS opps at our last meeting). Topics will include types of acceleration (including whole-grade) and Tim's vision for gifted education for the district.

Also, here's a plea for greater involvement! We need to renew our PAGE membership and thus need to update our Board. It's really not a lot of work (unless you want it to be!). If you want to be a school rep or a member of our executive committee, please email and let me know! With all the terrific parent activism I've seen in the last few months, I hope some of that will spill over to FCAPAGE too!


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

FCAPAGE Meetings Planned for 2017-18

This year we'll have four meetings — we hope you can join us for all of them!

  • September 26: Focus on EELA and Elementary QUEST/Math, featuring Ashley Nestor, FCASD Executive Director of Elementary Education and Instruction, and Sari Brecosky, FCASD Director of Literacy
  • November 28: Language Arts/Reading and QUEST at DMS, featuring Matt Harris, Executive Director of Secondary Education and Instruction
  • February 6: Pros and Cons of Whole-Grade Acceleration, featuring Timothy Mahoney (TBC)
  • April 10: Gifted Opportunities at the High School, featuring Lisa Gibson, QUEST teacher

Friday, September 23, 2016

Monday Night: Megan Cicconi on STEM and Technology in Education

At our first meeting of 2016-17, we're excited to welcome Megan Cicconi, Director of Instructional and Innovative Leadership, who will talk with us about the state of STE(A)M in Fox Chapel, and the future of technology in our kids' education.

Join us in the High School LGI room at 7 pm on September 26.

FCAPAGE meetings are open to anyone in the community who is interested in ensuring that "no child goes unchallenged." We hope to see you there!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Summary of 4/18/16 FCAPAGE Presentation

Thank you to everyone who attended our last meeting!

For those of you who were unable to attend, Dr. Matt Harris and Ms. Ashley Nestor have provided us with the following pdf of their presentation.

FCAPAGE Presentation, 4/18/16

In addition, Amy Meyer (Fairview Elementary Liason) took down the following notes from the meeting:

Literacy 6 at DMS 

  • New 2 period course, fully implemented this year
  • Aligned to the PA Core
  • Combined reading & writing standards - students no longer take a separate Language Arts course
  • Literary Scholarship - text complexity/more advanced texts
  • The challenge was to find resources that aligned to the new standards.  Houghton-Mifflin Collections series was chosen for its rich digital interface and combination of novels and articles
Literacy 6 Advanced Placement Criterion
  • Students must show a need for enrichment in both reading and writing
  • Star testing in the top quartile in at least one of 3 assessments (STAR, CDT) from school year, or score in upper quartile of STAR assessment in May
  • Top rubric score on an above-grade-level writing prompt
  • Review of writing portfolio will be performed for students who are close
  • Advanced score on PSSA to confirm placement

7th grade will be piloting Collections Series program in the upcoming school year, but will retain a separate English Language Arts class

Several parents attending the meeting expressed concern regarding the emotional weight of some of the 6th grade novels in Literacy 6 Advanced.

Another parent expressed concern over the lack of time spent discussing/processing certain novels vs. the new "Collection Series"

Elementary Enrichment - English Language Arts (E-ELA) Program
  •  FCASD now has a cohesive ELA curriculum across all elementary grades & schools
  • This is the first year of full implementation
  • Grandfathering vs flexible model - students are now assessed mid-year for appropriate placement
  • enrichment programs run parallel to grade level classes
  • There is a 50/50 balance between novel studies and informational text 
  • Program has been successful - we have picked up new students 1/2 way through the year
  • Program will be refined to update existing novel studies & create additional options, modules will be adjusted to semester units so there will be 2 per year, and culminating tasks (projects) will be designed to complement the novel studies

Note: Ms. Nestor shared that there will be an Elementary Quest Focus Group 
This meeting will take place in May.  Lisa Lakkis and Monica Hertzman will represent FCAPAGE at this meeting.  One parent asked Ms. Nestor to consider past models for Quest.  There may be value in looking at the history as many parents have good memories of project-based learning that was incorporated before the current curriculum was implemented.