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SUPERINTENDENT Blog:

November 17, 2017

As we approach the upcoming holiday, I would like to wish all of our Northgate families a Happy Thanksgiving!

Beginning in January, we will host another series of coffees for our parents and community members. This series will focus on curriculum and instruction with the discussion being led by Mr. Shaun Tomaszewski, Director of Curriculum and Assessment. There are some very exciting opportunities that will soon be available to our students. We look forward to sharing this information with our families.

As was done previously, each coffee will be limited to 12 participants in order to allow ample time for questions. If the coffees fill up, we will continue to add additional dates so everyone has an opportunity to attend. Below are the dates and times. Additional information about how to sign up and location will be available next month. We hope to see you there!

Wednesday, 1/10 @ 1:00 p.m.

Tuesday, 1/16 @ 6:30 p.m.

Monday, 1/22 @ 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, 1/23 @ 1:00 p.m.

November 1, 2017

Dear Parents and Guardians,        
                                                                            
I am writing to share with you information about an educational opportunity for students that is in the process of being developed and to answer some of the questions that have come up over the past few weeks.  Last month, the School Board approved an agreement with the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) that will allow us to provide dual enrollment options for our students.  This will entail aligning many of our courses to CCAC’s requirements, which will provide our students with the opportunity to earn college credits at a significantly discounted rate.  Currently, Mr. Tomaszewski, Director of Curriculum and Assessment, and our secondary Department Chairs are working closely with CCAC faculty.  Our goal is to begin these offerings next school year.          

It was brought to our attention that several rumors have been circulating during the past few weeks so I want to ensure that our families have accurate information.  The first is that we are moving to block scheduling at the secondary building.  We are investigating this as an option if it appears that it will better support our CCAC initiative and our instructional practices.  At this time, we are very early on in these discussions.  We have had some discussion at the Board level through Student Affairs Committee and with the faculty.  Beginning in January, I will be hosting a series of informational coffees, during which we’ll have the opportunity to engage parents in these conversations. We will continue to explore this option with all stakeholders, using as much time as needed, to research and discuss the benefits and potential drawbacks as they relate specifically to our building.

The second rumor is that we are eliminating honors courses.  This is inaccurate.  We are working to align honors courses to the CCAC curriculum to allow us to offer college credit.  We will encourage students to take advantage of this opportunity, but we will continue to offer an academic track.

I hope that you will join me in January or February for one of the coffees.  These are limited to 12 people so we have ample opportunity for discussion and questions.  We’ll offer as many sessions as needed to accommodate all of our families, and they will be offered at different times of the day.  Information about the coffee meetings will be posted soon.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at cjohns@northgate.k12.pa.us or (412) 732-3300 ext. 2110.


August 17th

At the most recent board meeting, the decision was made to play the fall home football games at J.C. Stone Field in North Park.  The team will follow their regular schedule with the exception of the game originally scheduled for Oct. 20th.  This game will be played on our home field during the day on Saturday, Oct. 21st.  This will also include Senior Recognition.  Fan buses will be provided for the games at J.C. Stone field.  Information will be available closer to time about where to pick up the bus.

The Band Festival is scheduled for the evening of Saturday, Oct. 21st and will occur at J.C. Stone Field.
 
Update on football light pole removal:  The work that was originally scheduled for this week has proceeded as planned.  As of this afternoon, all poles, except one in the bleachers, were removed.  I had the opportunity to view firsthand the condition of the poles.  It further confirmed that removing them was the only safe option.  As a district, the safety of our Northgate families is and always will be the top priority.  

I have had several people ask what the next step will be for replacing the lights.  On Monday, Aug. 21st, the board will hear a presentation from HHSDR Architects and Engineers on their findings from the feasibility study that was recently completed.  This will provide the board with a comprehensive look at the capital improvement needs in the district.  This information will then be used to develop a multi-year capital improvement plan which will include any future plans for the football field.  

June 28th

A recent inspection, completed by an engineering firm, deemed the Bellevue stadium light poles unsafe. Due to age, the poles are losing their structural integrity. Being that safety is a top priority for the district, we immediately began work on a plan for removing them. We applied to the Pennsylvania Dept. of Education for an exemption to the bid process which was granted. This allows us to begin the work much sooner than would be possible otherwise. We recognize that many groups depend on the use of the field during the fall months and are actively researching options for keeping the field open. One of the options we are looking into is light rental. We are working to determine if this is an option and if it would be financially responsible. Updates will be posted on the district website as they become available.

June 1st

First of all, thank you to everyone who has already supported our Making Spaces campaign!  We truly appreciate it.  Recognizing that this is a hectic time of the year, the Children’s Museum has decided to extend the campaign until the end of June.  So if you haven’t had an opportunity to donate and would like to, the Go Fund Me page will be active through the end of June.
 
On a different note, this past month some of our secondary students had a truly unique and amazing learning experience.  We had two groups of students travel to Soergel’s Orchardview Stables (SOS) for an equine experience.  SOS is a non-profit organization that designs programs for students using equine-assisted experiences.  Our students had the opportunity to learn and practice a multitude of skills including basic horse care, handling and safety as well as leadership skills.  The looks on our student’s faces were incredible as they learned that they could demonstrate positive leadership characteristics while working with a 1,000 pound animal.  At one point, a students exclaimed, “Best day ever!”  We look forward to growing this partnership.

April 20th
The spring concert season is upon us!  Please come out and support our students in the performing arts.  Our first concert is next week on Tuesday, April 25th.  The MS/HS band will be performing at 7:00 p.m.  All of our concert dates and times can be found in "Upcoming Events."  We hope you'll join us!
 
Please check back on May 1st  for a big announcement regarding our Children's Museum, Google and Maker Ed partnership
April 12th
As a reminder, the district will be closed for Spring Break Thursday, April 13th through Monday, April, 17th. Classes will resume on Tuesday, April, 18th. On behalf of the district, I would like to wish all of our families a wonderful holiday!


March 31st
To all of the cast and crew of James and the Giant Peach, thank you for all of your hard work during the months leading up to opening night.  Break a leg!

March 27th
We have added another date for a Community Coffee.  Please join us on Wednesday, April 5th at 1:00 p.m.  We'll be meeting at The Center of Bellevue located at 2 N. Sprague St.  Please RSVP to
 ldowd@northgate.k12.pa.us if you plan to attend.

March 13, 2017
We are excited to announce that our secondary building has been selected for the Making Spaces: Expanding Maker Education Across the Nation project. We look forward to this new partnership with the Pittsburgh Children's Museum, Google and Maker Ed. More information can be found in the press release found in the "Alert" section of the website.

February 21, 2017
Thank you to everyone who has attend one of our community coffees.  Our final one is now full, but we will be adding more dates.  We will have those posted soon.

January 26, 2017
Northgate is now on Twitter! Please follow us at CarolineJohns@NorthgateProud

Northgate Proud was created to share the many great things that are occurring in our district and community. It has the sole purpose of promoting the positive and celebrating what makes our district special. Any negative or inappropriate comments will be removed.

We hope you'll follow us!


January 17, 2017
Please Join Me for Coffee!

One of my on-going goals is to connect with Northgate community members including parents, residents, prospective parents, retirees, business owners, etc. Therefore, I am starting a new outreach initiative. These informal coffee meetings – which will be called Caroline's Pop-Up Coffee Café -- will be held throughout the months of January and February. To accommodate different schedules, the coffees will be held at different times -- with both day and evening hours. They will be held at 525 Lincoln Avenue (formerly a martial arts studio) and are limited to 10 people each.

The sessions will include some informal socialization and a roundtable discussion in which I will share my initial impressions of the district, share some recent initiatives and solicit ideas and impressions from attendees.

I would like to recognize several groups of people for their wonderful support in this project. First, thank you to the parent volunteers who are working to transform the currently empty space into a hip coffeehouse style meeting space… complete with sofas and lounge chairs. Second, thank you to the Masons who are showing their support by providing the space. I am very grateful!

Click here for dates and RSVP information
.


Dec. 21, 2016
On behalf of the Northgate School District, I would like to wish all of our families a very happy holiday!

Dec. 20th, 2016
To Parents, Students, Staff and Community Members:

Introducing the new Northgate Recognition Form: Celebrating the Positive! initiative…

Every day members of our school community go above and beyond to be a positive influence in our district. We want to recognize and celebrate these acts of kindness, both small and large, that occur on a daily basis.

We encourage everyone to join us in celebrating all of the positive things happening at Northgate School District. Click here for further information and a copy of the form. Copies are also available in the main office in each of the buildings.


Nov. 29th, 2016
Please be aware that the calendar for the 2017-18 school year was passed.

November, 18, 2016
It's hard to believe five months have past since I first joined the Northgate School District. Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and I have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season. I am most especially thankful for the following:

     -One of the most child-centered faculty and staff I have ever had the privilege to work with
     -A student body that is beautifully diverse and incredibly supportive of each other
     -The many family members who have made me feel so welcomed
     -A community that is genuinely invested in their schools
     -School board members who are focused on doing what is best for our students
     -A talented administrative team who is a pleasure to work with
     And finally........A football team that does not quit!!!!!


     GO FLAMES!!!!

November, 1, 2016
1.) The Pennsylvania Department of Education has released the SPP scores for the 2015-2016 school year. The SPP is an academic score for each building based on a multitude of factors including standardized test scores, attendance, promotion rate, graduation rate, etc. More detailed information and building scores can be found at: http://www.paschoolperformance.org/

Northgate SPP scores (out of 100 points)
   Avalon Elementary 68.0
   Bellevue Elementary 68.7
   Middle/High School 64.5

2.) Please be aware that our procedures for visitors to our buildings has changed. Anyone entering the schools will be asked for a driver's license or photo ID. Visitors also must sign in indicating time/date and purpose of visit. Thank you for your cooperation in this matter and for helping us maintain a safe environment.
October 21, 2016
Last week, the School Performance Profile (SPP) scores were released to the public. On Wednesday, the Department of Education was made aware that some of the data used to determine the scores was inaccurate. As a result, the department is in the process of reviewing the scores and making sure all of the data is correct. During this time, the scores are not available to the districts or the public. As soon as the scores are available, we will post them on our website.

October 13
, 2016
Earlier this year, the Allegheny Intermediate Unit conducted a communications audit for the district. This audit is complete and the consultants will be at the October 17th board meeting to present results. Anyone interested in hearing the results and recommendations is encouraged to attend. The meeting will begin at 7:30 in the central administration area.

October 4, 2016
Thank you to all of the Avalon parents who attended the Meet the New Superintendent event last evening. I enjoyed meeting everyone and look forward to working with you in the future. We have several more events coming up that provide an opportunity for parents to learn about what is going on in the district and provide feedback. The first is District Review which is next Wednesday, Oct. 6th at Avalon Elementary. People interested in attending should RSVP to Laureen Dowd at ldowd@nothgate.k12.pa.us. The second event is the next Meet the New Superintendent event at Bellevue Elementary. This is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 13th at 6:30 p.m. No RSVP needed!

I realize this is a very busy time of the year for families. If you aren't able to attend these events, there will be more opportunities in the coming months. I look forward to getting to know all of our families!


September 28, 2016
Happy Homecoming Week! We hope all Northgate families, both past and present, will join us Friday night for the Homecoming festivities. The parade will travel from Avalon Elementary to Bellevue Elementary beginning at 6:15 p.m. The football game begins at 7:00 p.m. Come cheer on our undefeated Flames to another victory. We are NORTHGATE PROUD!

September 19, 2016
It was brought to my attention that there is some confusion about the new parking signs in front of the secondary building. All of the signs now say "Reserved." The reserved spaces are available to visitors to the building. We apologize for any confusion this might have caused

September 16, 2016

Thank you to all of our secondary students, teachers, families and administration for a successful Open House! We appreciate everyone's efforts in making it a great evening.
September 14, 2016
Please be aware that the Northgate Band Festival, originally scheduled for Oct. 8th, has been rescheduled to Oct 15th. We hope to see everyone there!

September 12, 2016
I would like to thank all of our parents, students and staff for a successful elementary Open House!  We had a great turnout, and it was wonderful to see the many positive things that are happening in our elementary schools.  As a reminder, Open House for middle and high school is this Thursday, Sept.15th at 6:00 p.m.  We hope to see everyone there!

September 8, 2016

Welcome to the new Superintendent’s Blog! I’ll be using the blog to provide short updates on events happening in the district, share positive news and provide general education updates.

The first update I would like to share is regarding our implementation of the Wilson Fundations program in all of our K-2 classrooms. This research based program provides direct, systematic instruction in basic reading skills. Our teachers will receive initial training the week of September 12th and additional coaching days will occur later in the year. We are very excited about this new program and the benefits our students will experience in the development of their early reading skills. If you would like to read more about the program, you can visit the website: http://www.wilsonlanguage.com/p
rogr
ams/fundations/

ENTRY PLAN
July 25, 2016

Dear Faculty and Staff,

It is an honor to begin my service as your new superintendent. Enclosed you will find a copy of my
100-day entry plan which will guide my activities as I transition into the district. The framework of the plan is focused on three areas: listening, learning and leading. As I begin my work in the district, my first priority will be getting to know the members of our school community. It is my goal to meet each of you, develop an understanding of your work and hear from you how I can best support your efforts. The second component is focused on learning. I look forward to spending time in the buildings and central office learning about the educational program we provide and the many district functions that support our schools. I will also focus on developing an understanding of the community we serve and the expectations of our parents and residents. As my first 100 days conclude, we will have already begun, as a team, to define a common vision for moving the district into the future.

Throughout my career in education, I have maintained a steadfast focus on doing what is best for children. I believe that in order to do this, I must serve as a support for the faculty and staff who deal directly with our children on a daily basis. Therefore, I will maintain an open door policy for all of our employees. I welcome your input, so please do not hesitate to request a time to meet with me or
to stop me in the hallway when I am in your building. I look forward to working with each and every one of you.


Sincerely Yours,
Caroline Johns

Click Here to Read the Entry Plan

Posted May 26, 2016
Dear Northgate School District Community Members,

It is an honor to have been selected as your new superintendent. I recognize that the arrival of a new superintendent can be a time of excitement and anticipation, but it can also be a time of anxiety about the unknown. Prior to my official start date and during my first few months in the district, my goal is to devote the majority of my time meeting with various stakeholders. This will provide all of you an opportunity to share with me your past experiences and hopes for the future. As we begin to build relationships, my hope is the initial anxiety will quickly turn into excitement about the future.

In June, I will be submitting a Transition Plan, which will guide my first 90 days in the district. The purpose of this plan is to set a tone of transparency, inclusiveness and positivity. I believe that in order for a district to achieve greatness, a foundation of strong relationships and an inclusive environment where all stakeholder voices are heard must be in place. We have much work ahead of us. I look forward to beginning this journey with you.

Sincerely Yours,
Caroline Johns

PRE-ENTRY PLAN
May 26, 2016

Pre-Entry Focus Areas:
• School Community
• Board Relations
• Student Achievement
• Organizational Structure
• Community & Public Relations

Pre-Entry Activities:
• Meet with central office administration
• Meet individually with building principals
• Engage in building visits with principals prior to end of the school year
• Attend school board meetings
• Meet individually with school board directors
• Finalize entry plan with school board
• Review most recent student achievement data
• Review teachers observations and evaluations
• Develop schedule for meeting with faculty, staff, parents, students and community leaders

Superintendent Named
May 9, 2016
On Monday, May 9 the Northgate Board of School Directors voted unanimously to name Mrs. Caroline Johns as the district’s next superintendent.

“I am extremely honored and excited to join the Northgate district. It was very apparent throughout the interview process how much people in the district genuinely care about their children and the community they serve.”

Mrs. Johns received a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and Master of Education from Ohio University, an Educational Specialist in Administration degree from Cleveland State University and is currently completing her doctorate in Administrative and Policy Studies at the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Werlinich did an outstanding job working with the Board, and we want to thank him for guiding us through the process. Most importantly, we would like to thank the community for their participation in this process. Whether you attended a stakeholder meeting or shared your thoughts directly with the Board, your voice was heard and the input you provided helped us find the best candidate for the district.

The search for a new Superintendent has been a challenging undertaking, but we are extremely pleased with the result and look forward to working with Mrs. Johns. We strongly believe that Mrs. Johns is the candidate to successfully unite our district in building upon our strengths and help us overcome the challenges that we face. Her anticipated start date is July 1, 2016.

About Mrs. Caroline Johns

Caroline Johns has worked in the field of education for the past 21 years. She began her career as a teacher in a residential facility for children with severe emotional disturbance. She left there to serve as a secondary special and regular education teacher in the Bay Village School District located in the western suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio. Mrs. Johns made the transition into administration when she and her family relocated back to her hometown of Pittsburgh. Since then she has served as a middle school assistant principal in the Quaker Valley School district, elementary principal, director of instruction and most recently Assistant Superintendent for Teaching and Learning in the Moon Area School District.

She has a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and Master of Education from Ohio University, an Educational Specialist in Administration degree from Cleveland State University and is currently completing her doctorate in Administrative and Policy Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. Mrs. Johns states that throughout her time in education, she has maintained one basic philosophy: always stay focused on doing what is best for kids. She resides in Moon Township with her husband and son.



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