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Garnet Valley Middle School introduced an Advisory Course with their new schedule - Providing students with a safe environment to bond with their peers, confide in a teacher, and create relationships based on kindness, trust, loyalty, and respect. The Advisory courses take place once a month and during this time, the students are encouraged to interact without pressure or stress.

Teachers are free to create a classroom environment that they feel would best encompass all of these. 

From letters and phone calls of gratitude to blind cupcake icing with friends, students put their trust in one another and open up on a personal level to create new relationships.

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Posted by curtisj  On Dec 19, 2019 at 3:45 PM
  

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*Pictured above left to right (top) Joe Kivlen, Chiara Bouchard, Kris LaFave, Heather Milito, Susan Andrechak, Connie Marchese, Renee Tracewell, Ron Anderson, Eileen Stec, Lisa Stenz (bottom) Karen Ferrari, Jen Cisco, Kim Kievit, Erin Cleary, Kate Bienkowski

GVMS School Community,


I am so happy to share with our GVMS school community that we have been Re-designated as a Schools to Watch for 2019. As you recall from my previous communication in October, Garnet Valley Middle School was officially recognized as a "School to Watch in January 2017. Schools to Watch is a program developed by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform. We completed the re-designation process at the end of October. Once again we have achieved state recognition for our best practices and our commitment to our students. This is a huge accomplishment and a direct reflection of our dedicated parent community, students, teachers, and staff.

Some of the highlights from the Schools to Watch report include:

  • Newly fluid master schedule with 57 minutes

  • School's shared vision

  • Maximizing our use of resources

  • Student's' expanded voice and choice in our classrooms and electives

  • Students' active engagement in classrooms

  • Mutual respect and rapport between teachers and students

  • Staff’s innovation and willingness to try new things in the classroom

Lastly, the specific strength associated with our parent community was represented in the following quote..."Parents appreciate the active and ongoing communication between home and school."

As you know, our school appreciates our parent community for their support and engagement.

In terms of our next steps for us as a middle school, the Schools to Watch team recommended that we continue to reinforce, expand, and grow our current practices such as...

  • Increase our use of cross-curricular connections across content areas

  • Expand our student goal-setting and student-led conferences that are turning the learning over to students

  • Increase opportunities to appreciate others' cultures

  • We wish all of you a wonderful holiday season.

Thank you again for your support.

Lisa Stenz, Principal
Gerry Weinhardt, Assistant Principal
Rick Martin, Assistant Principal
GVMS Faculty and Staff


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Posted by curtisj  On Dec 13, 2019 at 2:36 PM
  
Garnet Valley Middle School selects one student from each team within each grade that best represents the key elements of the GVMS mission. They are proud to announce this quarter's students, that were awarded for their excellence in Creativity, Compassion, Community, and Achievement.

6TH GRADE WINNERS 

TEAMS:


BRANDYWINE
Marissa Miczek - Creativity - Exhibiting creativity through originality in writing and class contributions.
Avery Lustgarten - Compassion - Including others while demonstrating empathy, respect, and kindness.
Michael Costa - Community - Being kind, inclusive, and friendly to all his peers.
Shreya Bose - Achievement - Achieving her best through diligence, perseverance, and effort.

CONCORD
Joshua Singh - Creativity - Expressing creativity in both writing and thinking.
Ava Sharp - Compassion - Her willingness to lend a helping hand to her classmates.
Camryn Schwartz - Community - Showing an interest in charitable endeavors.
Lucas Marchese - Achievement - Always working hard and showing incredible progress.

NEWLIN 
Sara Clow - Creativity - Exhibiting creativity through originality in writing and class contributions.
Owen Kabaloff - Compassion - Including others while demonstrating empathy, respect, and kindness.
Braedon Maitland - Community - Being kind, inclusive, and friendly to all his peers.
Catherine Oakes - Achievement - Achieving her best through diligence, perseverance, and effort.

THORNBURY
Marissa Gambol - Creativity - Exhibiting creativity through originality in writing.
Gemma Hay - Compassion - Makes a point to include and help others daily.
Jamie Berger - Community - Her insight which encourages others to think about different perspectives.
Owen Parker - Achievement - Achieving his best through diligence, perseverance, and effort.

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7TH GRADE WINNERS

TEAMS:

ACADIA
Hanalea Grimmelbein - Creativity - Exhibiting creativity through originality in writing and class contributions.
Ethan Yang - Compassion - Including others while demonstrating empathy, respect, and kindness.
Lauren Ricevuto - Community - Being kind, inclusive, and friendly to all her peers.
Madison Bulley - Achievement - Achieving her best through diligence, perseverance, and effort.

DENALI
Elia Bendezu - Creativity - Exhibiting creativity through originality in writing and class contributions.
Julianna Bilson - Compassion - Including others while demonstrating empathy, respect, and kindness.
Anthony Giribaldi - Community - Being kind, inclusive, and friendly to all his peers.
Latham Hutchinson - Achievement - Achieving his best through diligence, perseverance, and effort.

EVERGLADES
Ashlyn Timmons - Creativity - Exhibiting creativity through originality in writing and class contributions.
Adam McClintic - Compassion - Including others while demonstrating empathy, respect, and kindness.
Kaden Longo - Community - Being kind, inclusive, and friendly to all his peers.
Alex Bloodwell - Achievement - Achieving her best through diligence, perseverance, and effort.

SEQUOIA
Jamie Schumacher - Creativity - Exhibiting creativity through originality in writing and class contributions.
Ellie Doody - Compassion - Including others while demonstrating empathy, respect, and kindness.
Avalee McInnes - Community - Being kind, inclusive, and friendly to all her peers.
Justin Searl - Achievement - Achieving his best through diligence, perseverance, and effort.

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8TH GRADE WINNERS

TEAMS:

GALAPAGOS
Hannah Monroe - Creativity - Demonstrates creativity in artworks and stories across all contents.
Jude York - Compassion - Demonstrates a willingness to help any student who needs support.
Mason Kalman - Community - Actively participates in after-school activities and in the community.
Anh Vu - Achievement - Expands her learning in all areas and advocates well.

KOMODO
Evelyn Walls - Creativity - Exhibiting creativity in presentations.
Ava Wisham - Compassion - Including peers while demonstrating kindness and empathy.
Ava Yau - Community - Being kind, friendly, and inclusive to peers.
Emma Barrowclough - Achievement - Achieving her best through diligence, perseverance, and effort.

OLYMPUS
Alisyn Anton-Cautreels - Creativity - Exhibiting creativity through originality in class contributions and assignments.
Julianna Gambol - Compassion - Demonstrating empathy, respect, and kindness.
Mallorie Jeremiah - Community - A positive role model for others.
Evan Kaewvichien - Achievement - Achieving his best through diligence, perseverance, and effort.

SERENGETI
Anish Vakalapudi - Creativity - Provides a unique perspective to many common issues.
Suhaila Kamuloor - Compassion - Willing and eager to help a new student transition both to the school and the country.
Grace Vaughn - Community - Is a positive role model for others around her and stands up for doing the right thing.
Srilekha Mamidala - Achievement - Overall excellent achievement academically across the board.

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Posted by curtisj  On Dec 10, 2019 at 10:17 AM
  

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Written for GVSD by Susan L. Serbin

“It ticks all the boxes.” The common expression heard these days mean the matter at hand successfully satisfies all the necessary elements.

Simply put, Michael Krautzel’s Healthy Living through Horticulture and Aquaculture course at Garnet Valley Middle School ticks all the boxes. Among the specific boxes are aligning with students’ career exploration; adding to the health curriculum which complements STEM options; having district support; receiving community support; and—most of all—being wildly popular with about the most enthusiastic students imaginable.

“Mike’s course has the ‘four C’s’ we stress: collaboration, critical thinking, creativity and community,” said GVMS Principal Lisa Stenz. “They are 21st century skills needed. The career piece in a middle school course brings learning to life for either college or career.”
Although this is a new health elective in the 2019-20 school year, Stenz had no problem working it into the overall curriculum. A major change in the middle school scheduling structure enabled the addition of this class. She expressed almost as much enthusiasm as the students and Krautzel himself. “You understand what is going on when you see the kids respond and hear how they describe learning.”
In most respects Krautzel has been building a formal course through programs in the summer, spring break and after school. Student interest moved what was an extracurricular activity to full-fledged course development. The middle schoolers have filled Krautzel’s12 sections throughout the year with an average of about 25 youngsters per section. This adds to his Health and Physical Education teaching assignment.

The concept of merging horticulture and aquaculture was based on real-life experience and interest. Krautzel grew up not far from what is now the middle school location. He attended the district through graduation and “did well in sports.” He earned a bachelor’s degree in Health and Physical Education. Although he holds graduate degrees in Administration as well as School Counseling, Krautzel’s 20 years of teaching (all in Garnet Valley) have been in Health and PE. He sincerely stated he knows he’s in the right job in the right place, loving the fact that “every day is different.”

The family had a large property and a huge garden was part of his life. He now lives in the same area with the acreage to grow vegetables and fruit and keep chickens. His blended family consists of his wife, Jean, their three sons and four daughters ages four through 17. The support he receives at home is vital since, he said, “I’m in school almost every day except Christmas.”

This is not just talk. Since his “subject” involves living things in garden beds and huge fish tanks, year round attention is essential. The half-year elective respects the seasons with horticulture running in the beginning of the fall semester and end of the spring semester. Students are taught basic practices that center on rose-keeping, including weed identification and weeding; pruning, composting and its value to gardens; proper watering and all associated techniques.

Aquaculture, in the other half of the term, focuses on everything in and pertaining to 17 tanks—14 in the classroom and three elsewhere around the building. Students learn about and take responsibility for care, feeding and maintenance of the stunning collection of fish and plant life. The sophistication of the equipment is wide-ranging and can even simulate weather changes around the globe.

In talking to students, it’s clear they love the class and have great relationships with Krautzel. It also becomes apparent that his approach—call it a work ethic—has become a model.

“I can use my free period to help mulch or prune in the outdoor season, or clean tanks and help with the living cultures inside,” said eighth grader Dylan Bledsoe, who is very much a mainstay around the classroom. Dylan is one of many youngsters who appear also to have found a “home” with the course. While not getting too deep into the characteristics of middle school-aged students, several mentioned the appeal of music being played in the room, the hands-on work, and the ability to stay active and not static throughout class. With tanks needing essentially constant attention, Krautzel said “there’s a job for everyone and no one is left out.”

Krautzel and his students handle what are literally the day-to-day responsibilities of his course. However, to create learning and excitement, the “materials,” are far from standard and include tanks and operating equipment, fish, coral and anemone species, outdoor plants, soil, mulch, books, software. The school community, meaning taxpayers, should understand most of the expense is not in the school district budget.

Stenz noted Mike has “made connections across the area.” By connections it might be finding a new fish or coral species at Aquarium World in Boothwyn which is a favorite of adults and kids in the area. Owner Jeff Saylor recognizes the relationship works both ways and has offered “in kind” support when possible. Krautzel looks for opportunities large and small and recently had interest from Subaru as part of the company’s environmental efforts.

“There are tons of people who want to help,” Stenz said.

Krautzel concurred. “We have a very supportive school community which puts a high value on education. I’m fortunate to live in this community which asks what they can do to help.” Over the last several years, the program has received donations of over $140,000 as of December 2019. Although the school board sees and must approve these “gifts,” the money is designated for the program.
“In an era where public schools are under constant scrutiny and criticism for escalating expenses, Mike’s passion to fund his program far surpassed simply asking for district funds,” said School Board President Rosemary Fiumara. “I think this demonstrates the kind of innovation and persistence that deserves recognition.”

Among other outreach initiatives is the Frag Swap event. Organized by Krautzel and held in GVMS cafeteria, the gathering is of coral reef collectors who trade fragments from their tanks, as well as some vendors who come to sell other items that may be of interest to coral reef keepers. In addition to expanding knowledge, the event shows students an entrepreneurial opportunity directly related to their studies. Students also were on hand in the classroom to further demonstrate knowledge about the course, duties and (not the least of which is) the environmental importance of the ocean.

Stephanie and Steven Kolesar provided some adult supervisor in the classroom that day.

“Our son, Hunter, was in the pilot program of this course last year. The program taught him a lot of discipline for what has to be done,” said Steve, noting their 250-gallon tank at home. He also recognized the ancillary learning such as math using the metric system for measurement. “They are applying real world skills, and I see students like my son taking more responsibility.”

Due to timing of the interview, one had to imagine the splendor of some 1,000 roses in bloom (and plan a return visit.)

“Most of our roses are from the David Austin collection which comes from England. We also collect roses from France and Germany, and select those that are mainly disease resistant,” Krautzel said on and earlier tour. Also Krautzel has built benches and a pergola which have frequent use in season.

Student Paxton Hunt was pleased to conduct a quick outdoor tour of the composting and locations where planting and growing are done during the correct season. Throughout the course students continue horticulture indoor work tending to plants and creating pot gardens.

“I’m a huge supporter of this class. I’ve seen such a positive influence on my son,” said Michelle Hunt.

Krautzel is unquestionably noteworthy due to his warm personality, vague resemblance to a teddy bear, sartorial skills at matching Crocs to tee shirt and shorts, uplifting gusto and optimism. Even beyond that, students, parents, school board and the wider community recognize and appreciate Krautzel for his dedication, innovation, tireless work and inspiration.

Stevel Kolesar said (with no prompting required), “Mike’s the kind of teacher that changes lives.”


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Posted by curtisj  On Dec 06, 2019 at 10:01 AM
  
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[GLEN MILLS, PA - October 14, 2019] Today, Garnet Valley Middle School principal, Lisa Stenz, surprised her teaching staff with coffee and cake to celebrate the progress of an initiative introduced just three years ago. Stenz proposed an idea that would offer teachers and staff the opportunity to seize their dreams and aspirations. She hoped to give them an opportunity to speak up about their unsung passions. Garnet Valley Middle School “Hopes and Dreams” was born.

“Hopes and Dreams” program offers teachers a chance to take a step out of their current position and explore an area of interest that they may not have initially chosen. Started in March of 2016, the Hopes and Dreams program was a suggestion brought up during a scheduling committee - three years later, more than a third of the staff has made a change in their professional committee.

“Everyone felt comfortable enough to talk about their passions and Lisa made that possible. Everything doesn’t have to stay the same because it has always been that way.” Eileen Stec, previous ELA teacher, now 6th grade Social Studies

“People will have time to figure out their professional passions and we have a team and the time to support their transitions.” - Lisa Stenz, Garnet Valley Middle School Principal

Garnet Valley School District is a public school district based in Glen Mills, PA, within the Greater Philadelphia area. GVSD serves the town of Chester Heights, Bethel Township and Concord Township. Founded in 1959, it is one of the youngest school districts in Pennsylvania.


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Posted by curtisj  On Oct 14, 2019 at 3:39 PM
  
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