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Spring 2007 Volume 4, Issue 2

Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander University of Pennsylvania Partnership School

PAS News!

PAS in the News!


Growing Our Music Program

We are pleased to announce that Penn Alexander has received a $5,000 music planning grant from the Presser Foundation to develop a comprehensive music program in which all students become musically literate and develop an appreciation for music both as performers and listeners. Our plan will focus on making music education an integral part of the curriculum, better articulating the program across the grades and rethinking how to create more opportunities for students to participate in the instrumental music program.

Expanding Environmental Science

A team of partners - Wawa, NBC10, and Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox ­ have awarded Penn Alexander the 2007 Environmental Community Service Award. The school received $5,000 to continue the development of the grounds as an urban arboretum. Our application described how PAS middle grade students use the schoolyard in the fall to learn mapping skills and learn how water changes the land. Other classrooms investigate how the urban environment has changed beyond the range that many "native species" can tolerate. Students did research to choose plants for a small, but growing, schoolyard habitat on Locust Street. This grant will allow us to purchase plants, provide garden infrastructure, and share students' knowledge with the larger community that use or contribute to the garden.

Beyond Test Scores: PAS Students Recognized for Accomplishments

While there is much talk about test scores, not all accomplishments can be measured by a test. At PAS, we work hard to ensure that students have a variety of ways to demonstrate their learning and to give them enriching opportunities that will take them as far as they want to go. We have included a special insert featuring students' accomplishments in art, graphic design, reading, science, spelling and much, much more. Please join us in congratulating these students for their many talents and accomplishments.

Alumni Notes

Class of `05 Laura Scateno-Romero continues to receive second honors and participated this year in the musical "Once on This Island" at Hallahan High School. She was accepted into the University of Cadiz summer intensive language program and the International Drive Tech Camp's film camp. Class of `06 Sundus Abou-Hatab (Central) was accepted into the International Baccalaureate program and looks forward to having PAS students join the Salam Club that she and her classmates created this year. Tamzid Bhuiyan (Central) made the soccer team and was placed into the advanced honors class for English. Sophia Mayne-Deluca (Central) has placed into several honors classes next year. Dakota Townsend (Franklin Institute's Science Leadership Academy) sends her best wishes to the 8th graders and strongly suggests that a way to survive 9th grade is to stay onto top of your homework. If you know of any graduates who would like to share their high school accomplishments with PAS, please have them stop by the office or email Ann Kreidle @[email protected]

Special Thanks to Our Supporters

We want to take this opportunity to thank Pizza Rustica, 3602 Chestnut Street, for the countless pizza parties they provided this year. Owners Viru Patel and Michelle Rowan ­ approached PAS after participating in last year's pre"Annie" dinner program to offer complimentary pizza parties. At least once a month, Pizza Rustica has treated our students and faculty. Stop by for a pizza this summer and let them know you are from PAS! The Annenberg School at Penn raised over $550 dollars to help send Fahmida Sarmin to the national spelling bee competition and to foster future bee participants.

Fahmida Sarmin with her yellow envelopes of support from Annenberg.

Academic Enrichment

SPARK! PAS Students Plug Into Science

Through a grant from the National Science Foundation, PAS students in grades 4-6 are on their way to becoming tomorrow's scientists. Twice a week after school, once a month on Saturday and one-three summer camp, 16 enthusiastic students are participating in hands-on activities in biotechnology, robotics and zoology. Students experiment with water­ propelled balloon rockets, observe animals in their natural habitats and devise systems, components and strategies to solve engineering design problems. SPARK! program activities are taught by Mr. Staniec and Ms. Dixon along with Penn students and professional scientists from the community. In addition, scientists and university students introduce our children to careers in science, math, technology and engineering. The SPARK! program is sponsored by Penn's Graduate School of Education, School of Engineering and Applied Science, and School of Social Policy and Practice, along with the School District of Philadelphia, iPraxis and the Philadelphia Zoo. There will be opportunities for additional students to get involved this summer and next year.

Xiexie ni - Gracious: Thank You ­ Thank You - Foreign Language for PAS Students

PAS and the University City Arts League teamed-up this year to offer foreign language instruction after school. Many students have said that knowing another language breaks down barriers with new students they meet from other countries and enables them to understand another country's perspective on current affairs. This year 14 students in grades 4-8 have been learning Spanish or Chinese language and culture through interactive games, songs, dance and art. As a culminating activity for the Chinese class, students performed a short skit in Chinese complete with props, costumes, and dancing. We look forward to more students joining the program next year.

Chinese Teacher, Lihua Xu, practicing new words with Kai Farrell.

4th Grade Persuades The Philadelphia Tribune

SPARK! Teacher Richard Staniec and Tajanique Banks preparing to launch bottle rocket.

K-3 Poetry Cafe

In June, K-3 students celebrate the conclusion of their poetry study with their annual Poetry Cafe. This culminating activity includes various stations throughout the school, where mixed age groups of students share their poems aloud. Students have been studying the many different types of poems. You may have even heard some students practicing their Haikus. Teachers launched the unit by reading their own poems or a poem that was special to them in the atrium in May.

Ms. Jones' fourth grade class recently completed a unit of study on persuasive writing. Feeling confident about their persuasive talents, the class wrote individual and class letters to The Philadelphia Tribune to persuade the newspaper to feature PAS as the "School of the Week" in the paper's special weekly insert The Learning Key. Each letter had to be 50 words or less. As you can see below, the pithy, persuasive letters were a success!

Hashim Dahir, Liam O'Doherty-Swiggard, Ayo Lindbald, & Taylor Anderson with their poetry pockets.

Nuwar Ahmad with the cover of The Learning Key, featuring her.

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To see more pictures of PAS activities, visit our photo album under News and Events on

Special Section: PAS Student Accomplishments

Record High School Acceptances

Eighth grade students have been accepted in record numbers to the City's most prestigious high schools. The 39 students received a total of 73 acceptances to 15 different schools. Among them are Central High School (16), Franklin Institute's Science Leadership Academy (14), Carver High School of Science and Engineering (7) Creative and Performing Arts High School (5), Academy at Palumbo (9), and Masterman (2), which rarely takes new students in 9th grade.

2007 Carver Science Fair Winners

PAS students garnered 23 awards ­ our most yet - at the George Washington Carver Science Fair. Most impressive was the fact that the students took on projects that cannot be completed solely during school time. Students dedicated evenings and weekends to conduct experiments, write-up their findings and display them in a professional manner. PAS displayed science fair projects in the atrium during March for students, parents and visitors to view. The quality of projects gets better and better each year. In addition to the impressive results at the city-wide competition, Noor Jemy went on to earn an Honorable Mention at the Delaware Valley Regional Science Fair where she also received the Society of Woman Engineers Special Award.

First Place in Reading Olympics

Congratulations to the Sadie's Freedom Readers for another "first" ­ not only was this the first time PAS competed in the 2nd Annual Philadelphia Reading Olympics, but the team also took first place! The Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Free Library of Philadelphia, Philadelphia Reads and the School District of Philadelphia sponsor the Reading Olympics as a way to celebrate reading. The PAS team used the middle school "choice" class to read and discuss more than 15 designated books of fiction and nonfiction genres. Along with reading some great books, 4th and 5th graders had the opportunity to work with middle school students and work with one of their future literacy teachers.

Sadie's Freedom Readers: Grade 4 Beatrix Lu, Camila Benecia and Amanda Harrison; Grade 5 Callan Powell and Claire Adams; Grade 6 Malik Hashim, Maria Montilla, Sira Sidibe, Amanda Millatt, Elijah Tatgenhorst and Cornelia Zangerl Sponsors Hillary Ehling and Jayne Downing

1st place 7th Grade-Keaton Naff-Physics 7th Grade-Fahmida Sarmin-Psychology 5th Grade-Sujatha Changolkar-Earth Science 2nd Place 6th Grade-Doug Warnock-Physical Science 3rd Place 8th Grade-Fathema Ibrahim-Chemistry 7th Grade-Noor Jemy-Earth Science 6th Grade-Maxwell Gontarek­Life Science Honorable Mention 8th Grade-Helen Beyene, Giulia Perry, Nahida Sultana 7th Grade-Loma Perry, Farzana Rahman, Naimah Hares 6th Grade-Alyssa Foronda

Special Awards

Naval Science Award Maxwell Gontarek Math and Science Partnership Award Naimah Hares Helen Beyene Giulia Perry Clara Tolbert Award for Teamwork Loma Perry and Farzana Rahman

Students Selected for All-City Middle School Music Festival

Congratulations to the eight students: Victoria Pham, Julia Ross, Kareem Singleton, Nahida Sultana, Weijia Wang, Dylan Washington, Ashly Watson, Gabriel West, who were selected to play at the School District of Philadelphia's All-City Middle School Music Festival held at Penn's Irvine Auditorium on May 10. Students had to learn six new pieces to play while learning how to play with a large group of students. Mr. Staniec with 7th and 8th grade winners

Ms. Dixon and Mr. Staniec with 5th and 6th grade winners

Special Section: PAS Student Accomplishments

Recital Worthy of a President

While the PAS atrium can sound like Verizon Hall on Tuesdays and Fridays, in a special treat, Penn President Amy Gutmann invited a group of 11 PAS musicians to play for her and her guests on February 19 in the Amado Recital Hall at Irvine Auditorium on the Penn campus. The recital began with a short movie about the Penn Alexander instrumental music program followed by several group and solo pieces. Students and parents also enjoyed refreshments and conversations with the President. In just six years, Penn Alexander has built an outstanding instrumental music program. Over 50 students play string instruments and 35 students play wind instruments under the direction of teachers Nina Wilkinson and Roberta Goren. Ten students also play percussion with guidance from teacher Jesse Mell.

Penn President Amy Gutmann with Principal Sydnor, Vice Principal Vincent, Mrs. Wilkinson and recital performers

A Flair for Technology and Art

Congratulations to our middle school students for taking top honors at the 2007 PA Middle Grades Regional Computer Competition in desktop publishing, graphic design, digital movie and multimedia. The desktop publishing team represented the district at the state competition, where they took 2nd place. These students, along with our computer science teacher, Mrs. Matlack, spent countless hours developing and refining their projects. 1st Place - Desktop Publishing - Noor Jemy, Fahmida Sarmin, Hannah Schill 1st Place - Graphic Design - Shakira Bowman 3rd Place - Digital Movie - Max Gontarek 3rd Place ­ Multimedia - Farzana Rahman

First place winner ­ Shakira Bowman with her letterhead, business cards and notecards for her "client" Mr. Staniec. Her design included hand-drawn pictures of different aspects of science, such a micrsope. .

The Art of Safety & Much More

Please join us in congratulating Chasen Shao on being the first-place regional winner in the 9-11 year old division of GEICO's 2006 safety belt poster contest. Chasen was recognized by the judges from the National Highway Traffic Safety Adminstration, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Flesihman Hillard International Communications for his artistic talent and clear safety message. Chasen also received honorable mention in the grades 4-6 visual arts category in the 2007 Inclusion Works! Arts Contest sponsored by the City of Philadelphia. To top it off, Chasen won Scholastic's Storyworks Ray Fink Contest. Chasen wrote an exemplary paragraph describing the character of Ray Fink in No Carnations for Ray Fink by Storyworks editor. This monthly mazagine featuring award winning children authors, poetry, read-aloud plays, studentwritten book reviews, and other activities to build reading and writing skills. Chasen received a signed copy of Storyworks editor Lauren Tarshis's new novel, Emma-Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree.

Chasen Shao with his winning artwork and awards.

To see more pictures of PAS activities, visit our photo album under News and Events on

Academic Enrichment

Saving South Africa

The following article is a reprint of the Saving South Africa newsletter written by two students in Ms. Ehling's 7th grade literacy class. The students wrote a summary of a class project that came about after reading Journey to Jo'burg. We are not only proud of our students' writing but also commend them for their initiative to give back to others. The students raised over $1,300 and will be sending it to Soweto Kliptown Youth (SKY) in Johannesburg, which provides services to children in Kliptown.

About Our Project

Sometimes poverty can actually inspire ­ at least for us, Ms. Ehling's seventhgrade literacy class. It all began with one word: Apartheid. Earlier this year, we began a course to study a brutal movement in history that was just 50 years ago. Many people already have knowledge on this subject, but this was just our first time learning about the consequences that have led to what is today. And not knowing what it would lead us to, we divided ourselves into three groups ­ Nelson Mandela/ANC, AIDS, and Apartheid group ­ each group representing an important aspect of we had learned. After doing a huge amount of research and reading the small but powerful novel Journey to Jo'burg, our class was completely and utterly moved. It was then that we decided to do something about the poor South African ghettos left over from Apartheid ­ we wanted to help promote education, cure AIDS, and end poverty.

By Fahmida Sarmin and Hannah Schill

Our class finally came together and each group informed the rest of the class about their topic. We informed the class of our knowledge through small, influential speeches. We even displayed pictures and videos of what it was like in South Africa. After every group's presentation, we were completely motivated to help those children in South Africa who were in great need of education and treatments. South Africa affected our lives tremendously, which is why when Ms. Ehling brought up the point that we should try to do something to help, we consented.

"We wanted to help promote education, cure AIDS, and end poverty in South Africa."

So as a class, we came together and made our decisions. We organized meetings with Ms. Sydnor and Dr. Streim from PennGSE. Principal Sydnor agreed to host our action plans ­ which include bake sales, coloroptional days, and donation boxes. Now, we are on our way to collecting the money, sending the donations, and joining the others in the world who have assisted South Africa in healing and, in doing so, given up a part of themselves to the people.

To see more pictures of PAS activities, visit our photo album under News and Events on Page 5 of 6

Arts at PAS

Concert Flutist Mimi Stillman Shares Her Talents Student Talent Abounds

On March 26, PAS students from across the grades shared their talents at the annual talent show organized by 1st grade teacher Ms. Maryann Milewski and parents. The sold-out crowd enjoyed a bit of magic, poetry, singing, recitations and dance. Congratulations to all who participated! Yamaha Performing Artist and flutist Mimi Stillman returned to PAS this year to give two assemblies to our students and to conduct masterclasses with our wind players as part of her Dolce Suono Chamber Music Concert Series at Penn and outreach partnership with PAS. Mimi Stillman is internationally acclaimed for performances as soloist and chamber musician at major concert halls and festivals throughout the world. She has performed as soloist with The Philadelphia Orchestra. During her most recent visit at PAS, she played Paganini Caprices, Bach's Sonata in C Major, and a Telemann duet with Ms. Goren.

Mimi Stillman preparing to play with 8th grader Julia Ross. Tony Metraux, Abdur Farzan and Jorge Munoz-Sanchez preparing for their performance.

The Art of Literacy

Through a course with PennGSE's children literature professor Larry Sipe, Mrs. O'Loughlin (2nd gr) and Ms. Alba (3rd gr) are helping their students study art, element, composition and appreciation, history, biographic writing and storytelling. Mrs. Loughlin's class studied Jacob Lawrence, whose art appears on a mural in Philadelphia and who used his art style of "gouache"to tell the story of everyday African American heroes. Mrs. Loughlin started the unit by giving her class a historical perspective of slavery, civil war, migration, reconstruction, the Harlem Renaissance, segregation, and the civil rights struggle in America. Students read biographies and historical fiction and concluded their unit by creating their own storyboards to tell stories of their "everyday heroes" like Jacob Lawrence did.

One of three boards by Ellen Neilson who wrote about her father. This board highlights his work as a sailing instructor with the National Outdoor Leadership School.

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To see more pictures of PAS activities, visit our photo album under News and Events on


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