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Building Sign
Brian Maus

New sign for all district schools

Wilkins Elementary STEAM Academy Assistant Principal Jack Howell named State of Black Learning Excellence in Education Honoree
Andrew Chiappazzi

Wilkins Elementary STEAM Academy Assistant Principal Jack Howell has been named an Excellence in Education Honoree by the State of Black Learning.

NORTH BRADDOCK – August 8, 2022 – Wilkins Elementary STEAM Academy Assistant Principal Jack Howell has been named an Excellence in Education Honoree by the State of Black Learning. Wilkins Elementary STEAM Academy serves kindergarten through fifth grade students in the Woodland Hills School District and Mr. Howell is entering his second full year as an assistant principal with the school. 

 

Mr. Howell was one of ten educators named as an Excellence in Education Honoree as part of the State of Black Learning’s fifth annual conference, which will be held August 10-12. The State of Black Learning Conference is a program established at the Urban Academy of Greater Pittsburgh in 2018 in pursuit of transformational moments for educators, in service to black students and their families.

 

“I’m thrilled, and it is such a deep honor to be recognized alongside so many other amazing Black educators for doing the work that is so necessary to improve outcomes for our students,” Mr. Howell said.

 

Mr. Howell and the other honorees were selected from more than 60 nominees by a review committee that evaluated several criteria, including the nominee’s impact on developing replicable and scalable instructional practices to influence the quality of education of Black students, the nominee’s innovation to address particular challenges Black students face, and the nominee’s ability to impact their community beyond the classroom. 

 

“What it means for me, personally, is that taking the time to build and sustain strong school and community relationships has borne fruit,” Mr. Howell said. “These efforts have successfully created a more equitable educational environment that promotes high standards for teaching and learning and embraces the needs of our Black students specifically and of all students in general. I hope that, in this type of environment, positivity and the joy of learning will thrive. I came to this profession because of my love for learning. I continue to strive daily in this profession because of my passion for working to provide equitable access to positive educational experiences for students.”

 

The 2022-23 school year will be Mr. Howell’s 14th year in the Woodland Hills School District. In his role as the assistant principal, Mr. Howell leads Wilkins’ Student Assistance Program, analyzes student data as a member of the school’s multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) program, and works to improve the school climate by collaborating with the restorative justice coordinator and the behavior interventionist. He began his tenure in the Woodland Hills School District as an elementary school teacher and later taught fifth-and sixth-grade language arts and sixth-grade math before becoming an assistant principal.

 

Centered around the theme “Black is the New Black: The Evolution of Excellence,” this year’s State of Black Learning Conference will provide a platform for educational thought leaders to participate in more than forty sessions ranging from poverty to the death of marginalized cultures in educational curricula. The conference will be capped by the Black Excellence in Education Awards & Gala at PPG Paints Arena.

 

A headshot of Wilkins Elementary STEAM Academy assistant principal Jack Howell

 

 

 

Welcome Back Letter For Woodland Hills Online Academy Students
Andrew Chiappazzi

Dr. Pamela White would like to welcome both returning students and newly enrolled students to the Woodland Hills Online Academy. Her letter provides information about orientation meetings and enrollment deadlines for the program.

Greetings Woodland Hills Online Academy Families,

On behalf of the Woodland Hills Online Academy (WHOA) Staff, I am happy to welcome you to the 2022-2023 school year. Last school year brought many challenges. As a result, many changes have been made to our staffing and learning platforms. This year the Woodland Hills Online Academy school year is scheduled to begin August 31, 2022. We have been working to make changes to the program over the summer so that your child continues to feel a part of the school community and experience success on the online learning platform. We are excited to let you in on some of the changes made at our upcoming mandatory orientation meetings.

The WHOA will be offering two orientation meetings at the Woodland Hills High School auditorium.

Returning Students enrolled in WHOA 21/22: August 22, 2022 at 6:30 PM

Students new to WHOA: August 24, 2022 at 6:30 PM

If you are a returning student and did not indicate that you are returning at the end of last school year and if you are a new interest in the WHOA program, please submit the enrollment form that can be found under the links section at https://www.whsd.net/our-schools/woodland-hills-online-academy. This form must be submitted by August 19th, 2022 in order to be considered for the August 31, 2022 start date.  If these orientation dates do not work for you, please email Mr. Meredith, WHOA program facilitator K-12, at mereer@whsd.us or Dr. Pamela White at whitpam@whsd.u so that we can set up a time to conduct your orientation meeting.

Enjoy the last few weeks of summer vacation!  I look forward to working with your family during the 22-23 school year.

Dr. Pamela R. White

Assistant to the Superintendent for Administrative Services

  • Woodland Hills School District
Superintendent Letter to Dickson Parents 8-5-22
Brian Maus

New message from Superintendent Dr. Castagna to Parents/Families of Dickson Prepratory 

Parents and Families of Dickson Preparatory Steam Academy,

 

      As we prepare to enter this new academic year, we do so with a very aggressive plan to address parent concerns from the past.  We share your thoughts of some significant behavioral and academic supports that are necessary to improve the culture of Dickson Preparatory Steam Academy.  Three major changes we are quickly implementing are:

 

1. Our new VEX Robotics program for all students that will include a Competitive Robotics Team.

2. A new electronic device collection policy where students will hand in devices upon arrival on the first day of school. 

3. A new dress code policy that will go into effect on October 3, 2022.  

 

      For the last 24 hours, we have had the chance to speak directly with many families who both support and do not support these changes and many staff members of Dickson who strongly support this need.  I would like to take this opportunity to answer a few common questions to hopefully assist this transition.  

 

Why are we making these changes now?

      We received two Principal resignations in June 2022 and worked quickly to fill the openings with the best candidates we could find.  We hired these positions at the end of July at a special meeting and these new Administrators began Tuesday, August 2, 2022.  Immediately they dove into the data from the 21-22 school year and recognized an alarming number of referrals and suspensions due to cell phone use and dress code.   They recommended these changes because they felt it needed to be immediately addressed.  Their question to me was, "Knowing this, How can we wait another year to develop a policy?".  Our goal is to minimize exclusion days for students over a matter we feel a policy change can handle.  

 

Why is it different then the Elementary Dress Code?

      Those families that have been with the District for many years will remember that the Elementary dress code also started with limited options.  As we continued with the dress code requirement, we were able to allow for more flexibility.  We believe this is a fair and consistent starting point to take on such a drastic change so quickly.  We look forward to offering additional options for students throughout the year as they demonstrate their maturity and responsibility.  

 

Are they allowed to wear Black pants?

      Yes, students are allowed to wear Black dress slacks.   Black is not offered on the free website because we weren't able to offer them in a timely manner, so the offerings are limited but consistent. 

 

When can parents' questions be answered?

      All parents are invited to Dickson Preparatory Steam academy on Monday, August 8, 2002, at 6:00 pm.  This is also a great time to meet the three new Administrators.  

 

What do I do about the school shopping I've already done?

      We did take this into consideration, and this is the reason we decided to wait until October 3rd to implement the dress code.  This is usually when the weather begins to change so the warm August/September attire will begin to change with the season.    

 

What resources are there for families to support this new requirement?

      By following this link (https://dicksonprepsteamacademy.itemorder.com/shop/home/) all families can order two free uniforms.  These will be distributed at the school during the weeks of September 19th and 26th.  Also, Ms. Gloria Dixon through her organization, "You are not Forgotten" has been donating uniforms to families for many years.  She will be present at our Community Day Event on Saturday, August 20th from 10:00 am - 2:00 pm.  

 

      At the June 22nd Board Meeting, I presented a public vision with excerpts that included "students are empowered to embrace learning... with the confidence to take risks to find their passion".   This administration feels that students cannot be empowered to embrace learning in an environment that isn't orderly and structured.  The new Robotics program is here to pique students' interest while the cell phone and dress code policy work to minimize disruptions.  These are all a part of our academic goal that students will have success today and be prepared for tomorrow.  We want a climate that allows learners to perform at their highest potential.  

 

      Personally speaking, I feel strongly in the ability of our Middle School Administrative team to lead our students and staff.  They would never take on such a challenge if it simply wasn't so important.  Students first.. short steps...long vision.  Change is never easy, but it is always necessary!

 

      I look forward to seeing you on Monday at Dickson!

 

       Dr. Daniel R. Castagna 

      Superintendent

Updated uniform and electronic device policy for Dickson Preparatory STEAM Academy
Andrew Chiappazzi

Dear Parents/Guardians and Students of Dickson Prep STEAM Academy,

We are so excited to meet your children this school year! We would like to make you aware of a couple of policy changes at Dickson this year that we know will help solidify a positive school climate in our building. We recognize that these changes are unexpected and we are positive that they will help us to create a safe and welcoming environment for your child. We thank you for your patience, flexibility, and understanding as we roll out these policies.

Please see the attached letter for more information about our new uniform policy and electronic device policy at Dickson. Please note that the uniform policy does not go into place until October 3, while the electronic device policy will begin on August  24, which is the first day of school.

Dear Parents/Guardians and Students of Dickson Prep STEAM Academy,

We are so excited to meet your children this school year! We would like to make you aware of a couple of policy changes at Dickson this year that we know will help solidify a positive school climate in our building. We recognize that these changes are unexpected and we are positive that they will help us to create a safe and welcoming environment for your child. We thank you for your patience, flexibility, and understanding as we roll out these policies.

Please see the attached letter for more information about our new uniform policy and electronic device policy at Dickson. Please note that the uniform policy does not go into place until October 3, while the electronic device policy will begin on August  24, which is the first day of school.

A letter detailing changes to the Dickson uniform and electronic device policies.

A letter detailing changes to the Dickson uniform and electronic device policies.