Collegium Newsletter March 25, 2019

Welcome to Collegium Charter School's weekly multimedia Newsletter. Access our Newsletter content by scrolling through to the end, just like you would for popular social media feeds and timelines.

CCS Family Calendar

Mon., Mar. 25th - Day 1

  • 515 Building: Principals' Coffee Chat | Conference Room 7:45am
  • Boys Varsity Baseball vs. Pottsgrove 3:45pm @ Pottsgrove High School
  • 468/486 Building: 2nd-4th Grade Running Intramural Program | Parking Lot 4:00pm - 5:30pm
  • Grades 5-6: Student Council Meeting | Room 126 4:25pm - 5:25pm @ 500 Building
  • Girls Junior Varsity Lacrosse vs. Coatesville Area High School 5:30pm @ Coatesville High School
  • Girls Varsity Lacrosse vs. Coatesville Area High School 7:00pm @ Coatesville High School

Tue., Mar. 26th - Day 2

  • Grades 9-12: Detention 3:00pm - 4:30pm @ 535 Building
  • Grades 9-12: Movie Tavern Student Filming Project | 600 Hallway and Bathrooms, Library 3:00pm - 6:30pm @ 535 Building
  • Girls Varsity Lacrosse vs Chichester High School 3:30pm @ United Sports Training Center
  • 150 Building: 2nd-4th Grade Running Intramural Program | Parking Lots 4:00pm - 5:30pm
  • 486 Building: Little Artists Club (Session 3) | Room 515 4:00pm - 5:00pm
  • CCS Chipotle Night (Sponsored By Spanish Honor Society) 4:00pm - 8:00pm @ Chipotle Mexican Grill (Exton)
  • Girls Junior Varsity Lacrosse vs. Chichester High School 5:15pm @ United Sports Training Center

Wed., Mar. 27th - Day 3

  • Grades K-6: ROAR T-Shirt Day (With Uniform Bottoms)
  • 468/486 Building: 2nd-4th Grade Running Intramural Program | Parking Lot 4:00pm - 5:30pm
  • 468/486 Building: Grades 2-4 Lego STEM/Coding Club (3rd Session) | 486 Building Art Room (#515) 4:00pm - 5:00pm
  • High School Pops Concert (Fundraiser Concert) | Gym, Lobby, Music Classrooms 7:00pm - 9:00pm @ 500 Building

Thu., Mar. 28th - Day 4

  • Grades 9-12: Detention 3:00pm - 4:30pm @ 535 Building
  • 150 Building: 2nd-4th Grade Running Intramural Program | Parking Lots 4:00pm - 5:30pm
  • CougarTek Club Meeting | Room 352 4:30pm - 5:30pm @ 515 Building
  • CougarTek Team Meeting 4:30pm - 6:30pm @ Level13 eSports Gaming Center

Fri., Mar. 29th - Day 5

  • Grades 7-12: End of 3rd Marking Period
  • Grades K-6: Spirit Day - Twin Day (Sponsored by Elementary Student Council) (See Article)
  • 486 Building: Grades 2-4 Career Day 2019 8:30am - 11:30am
  • Grades 9-12: Movie Tavern Student Filming Project | 600 Hallway and Bathrooms, Library 3:00pm - 6:30pm @ 535 Building
  • Grades 9-12: "Music In Our Schools" Karaoke Competition Sponsored by Tri-M | Library 7:00pm - 9:00pm @ 535 Building

Welcome SSD Meribel

We have exciting news! Mrs. Eileen Kahl, our 500 Building Technology Teacher, is sharing a little yellow lab with her building. Mrs. Kahl and her family have volunteered to raise and train the eight-week-old pup, who is from Susquehanna Service Dogs (SSD). Her name is “SSD Meribel,” or “Meribel,” for short.

“It’s exciting to have her here because it sets us apart from other schools.” - Josue H., 6th Grade
Meribel in her service dog vest and meeting 500 Building students for the first time.

Our 500 Building students and staff will play a big part in helping Meribel to become an adaptable, confident, and energetic service dog for someone who needs her most. In turn, Meribel and Mrs. Kahl will teach students and staff all about the:

  • Benefits of therapy dogs in schools
  • Importance of respecting the needs of animals and other people;
  • Ways discipline and a plan of action will help Meribel reach her service dog goals;
  • Rules for greeting and interacting with service dogs;
  • Authority of the trainer/owner (e.g., Mrs. Kahl), who always knows what’s best for their service dog;
  • Different kinds of assistance service dogs provide to individuals with various disabilities and challenges;
  • Training Meribel will go through and how Mrs. Kahl will teach her the different skills she must learn to succeed as a service dog;
  • And much more.
Pictured above is Mrs. Kahl with Meribel (top left), Becca Kahl with Meribel and Queso, Becca's hearing service dog (right), and both service dogs bonding together (bottom left).
“It was great to see my class so calm and sitting with her. It can be a real struggle sometimes to focus like that.” - Ms. Angelica Maccario, 6th Grade Teacher

Mrs. Kahl enjoyed the different reactions students and employees had when meeting Meribel last week. Mrs. Dunleavy, a CCS Instructional Assistant for Autistic Support, observed that “Just looking into a dog’s eyes has a calming effect because it stimulates your oxytocin levels.” Sixth Grader Tyler B. said, “It’s cool because some students might not know how to behave around service dogs and we are learning first hand, through experience.” Other students loved petting Meribel’s soft puppy coat and said she was the cutest puppy in the world, even if they liked cats better!

“She makes me feel safer. It’s nice to know that there is a dog in school.” - Leander R., 6th Grade

Raising and training Meribel is how Mrs. Kahl and her family are giving back to Susquehanna Service Dogs, an organization that changed their lives. “My daughter, Becca, who is deaf, received a hearing service dog in 2017 from SSD,” Mrs. Kahl shared. “Queso and Becca are always together now, and Becca feels so much more independent and confident when she’s alone. She’ll even be taking Queso to college with her next fall!”

Mrs. Kahl has a crate in her room for Meribel which serves as the pup’s “safe place,” where she can take a break from everything going on around her. The crate also secures Meribel from students who have allergies or anxiety/fear about interacting with dogs.

To find out more about Meribel and her service dog training journey, follow her on Facebook (see the link below). You can access SSD’s website using the link provided to learn about the organization and volunteering. There’s also an article accessible below that talks about the benefits of therapy dogs in schools.

New Instagram Account For 500 Building Library

Have you been wondering what's going on in the 500 Building's Library? What books the students are reading? Where you can find information about the Book Fair? Now, your questions will all be answered with the Library's newly established Instagram account.

Watch the video below to see Mrs. Wallace unveil the new Instagram account!

To enjoy the pictures, videos, and fun, you can either access the link below or search for the Instagram profile ccs5_8library.

Questions? Email Mrs. Wallace.

CCS Board Approves 2019-2020 School Year Calendar

During their March 21st Regular Public Meeting, the CCS Board of Trustees approved Collegium’s 2019-2020 School Year Calendar.

The Calendar* can be accessed using the link below, the posting on the News & Notes section of the CCS homepage, and/or on the Calendars page of our website.

*Collegium shares digital resources using Google Drive links via G Suite (formerly Google Apps for Education). Some businesses and private networks may block access to Google Drive links. If you're unable to connect to our digital resources at work or on a company network, please access them on personal devices and/or home networks.

K-6 Talent Show Tryouts Deadline

Attention all CCS Kindergarten through 6th Grade Families:

Do your children sing, dance, act, play an instrument, do magic, or another performing art? Do they love the limelight, or would they rather perform in smaller settings? The CCS K-6 Talent Show has it all. It’s the perfect opportunity for students to share and develop their talents in a friendly, supportive environment.

“I decide to try out every year because I really like to sing and want to share my talent with other people. I want people to feel happy when I sing. The best part of the talent show is when you're up there performing, singing your heart out and showing other people your talent, not just your family. I look forward to it every year!"—Sophia S., 4th Grader, 150 Building

Tryouts for the K-6 Talent Show will be scheduled soon. Please encourage your students to participate! The deadline for Permission Slips and music (if it will be used) is Friday, March 29th. Permissions Slips are attached for students in the 468/486 Building and for those in our 150/500 Buildings.

​Ms. Mary Grandizio, who teaches 3rd Grade in our 150 Building, is the K-6 Talent Show organizer again this year. “There’s nothing like watching a student’s talent, ability, and confidence grow as they prepare for the Talent Show. ​We offer them structure and support, which helps students ​be more comfortable and ​own their talents, especially those who are more timid about their abilities at the start.”

We can’t wait to see what acts your children prepare.* The Talent Show, scheduled for Wednesday, June 5th, is sure to be a real showstopper!

Questions? Ms. Grandizio will be happy to assist you.

*Please note that we’re not able to include gymnastics or martial arts demonstrations in the K-6 Talent Show due to safety concerns and limited space. Lip-syncing entries also cannot be considered.

Elementary Student Council Presents: K-6 Twin Day

On Friday, March 29th, the Elementary Student Council is hosting Twin Day! Students can wear the same school-appropriate outfit as another student in their homeroom. This is a Spirit Day, which means it's a free Dress Down Day for our K-6th Grade students.

If you have questions, please email the Elementary Student Council Chair in your child's building.

Education Explained: Social Emotional Learning, Executive Function Skills, and Future Success

Each week, CCS employees highlight common terms and philosophies in education and explain how they impact teaching and learning at Collegium. This week's contribution comes from Dr. Pat O’Brien, Collegium High School Principal, and Miss Peg O’Neill, 9th Grade English/Language Arts Teacher.

You may be surprised to learn that the top skills determining a child’s chance of future success are not, in fact, academic skills like reading competence, writing, or mathematical problem-solving. According to a 19-year study out of Penn State and Duke Universities, the skills most linked to future success were:

  • Social and Emotional Skills such as listening, sharing, getting along with peers, and conflict resolution.
  • Executive Functions Skills: Planning, prioritization, time management, emotional control, and others.

Educators today focus a great deal on Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and Executive Function (EF) skills because of the profound impact they have on children inside and outside of the classroom. Research has linked strong SEL and EF skills to critically important success factors like gainful employment and the likelihood of earning a college degree. Weak SEL and EF skills have been linked to legal problems, risky behavior, and substance abuse issues.

There’s great news for families and educators, however. Like any other skill, SEL and EF skills can be taught and learned at any time, in any class, and/or at home. This isn’t a case of “If you don’t have SEL and EF skills by age X, you’ll never learn them.” Quite the opposite is true. At Collegium, we’ve begun to integrate EF curricula across many grade levels. In 9th Grade, for instance, our World Literature and Composition students take time to step back and reflect on their learning, give teachers feedback, practice mindfulness, and sometimes meditate. To help students function at their best academically, the teachers also set aside time for them to create to-do lists, make personal calendars, and organize their binders and lockers.

As always, it’s best to start working with children on SEL and EF as early as possible, but it’s never too late! We are all works in progress and can gain something from developing our Social Emotional health and Executive Functions. The links below provide more information and suggested activities to strengthen SEL and EF skills.

Collegium Employee Spotlight: Ruby Johnson

This Newsletter section highlights one Collegium employee each week, and allows families and students to get to know them better. Now, when you see featured employees on campus, you can greet them by name and strike up conversations! Watch this video to learn more about Ruby Johnson, 150 Building Emotional Support Instructional Assistant at Collegium Charter School.

4th Annual 5K Cougar Classic Registration

Save the date! On Saturday, June 1st, our 4th Annual 5K Cougar Classic will take place right here on the CCS campus. Activities include a competitive 5K, 1-Mile Fun Run/Walk, and a Kids' Dash.

Proceeds from this terrific event go directly back to our students through the purchase of Chromebooks, iPads, ROAR and PRIDE incentives, and more.

Registration is open now! Visit the 5K Cougar Classic website (accessible at the button below) to find out more about the event, to register, or to learn how to become a sponsor.

Questions? Email our event organizers using the link below.

Background Image Caption: Participants from our 2018 5K Cougar Classic.

High School Pops Concert Scheduled

On Wednesday, March 27th, our High School Music Ensembles will present an evening of fun and familiar music. This fundraiser concert will feature our High School Concert Band, Jazz Band, Choir, and Orchestra students as they perform a variety of music, including songs made famous by Elvis Presley, Elton John, Lady Gaga, and more! The program will also share music from movies and shows like "The Greatest Showman" and "Wicked."

Students in Mrs. Gabel's High School Concert Choir practicing one of their pieces.
"My favorite song in the Pops Concert is 'This is Me' from 'The Greatest Showman'. It's a song that people from all walks of life can sing and find themselves in and that's amazing because it's rare!" -Aliyah G., 11th Grade

The High School Pops Concert will begin at 7:00pm in the 500 Building Gym. Tickets cost $10.00 and can be purchased online ahead of time or at the door the night of the event. Tickets at the door can be paid in cash, or by check made payable to "CCS."

Mr. Motter working with his Band students during a recent rehearsal.
"I'm looking forward to performing 'Seven Nation Army' by 'The White Stripes' because the piece is fun to play and has a lot of energy to it!" -Maddie K., 11th Grade

After the concert, sweet treats will be available from Rita's Fundraising Truck in the 500 Building's parking lot. Rita's sales will be by cash, only. Rita's will donate a portion of the Fundraising Truck's sales to the Department! All proceeds from the High School Pops Concert itself will benefit our High School Music Department.

High School Orchestra and Ms. Stell working together during their rehearsal of Elvis Presley's "Can't Help Falling In Love."
"The High School Music Department is always astounded by the strong support of the Collegium Community. I'm looking forward to our Pops Concert, and I'm also looking forward to seeing so many familiar faces during this fun and informal event." -Ms. Stell, K-12 Music Department Head

Questions? Email Ms. Stell.

Upcoming Spring PSSA Testing

The Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) for Grades 3-8 begins Wednesday, April 24th and will follow the schedule outlined below. It is important that students are well-rested, eat a healthy breakfast, and arrive to school on time for their assessments.

English/Language Arts

Wed., April 24th to Fri., April 26th

  • Grades 3-6: 8:40am-10:40am
  • Grades 7-8: 7:48am-10:47am


Mon., April 29th to Tues., April 30th for Grades 3, 4, 7, and 8

Tues., April 30th to Wed., May 1st for Grades 5 and 6

  • Grades 3-6: 8:40am-10:40am
  • Grades 7-8: 7:48am-10:47am


Wed., May 1st and Thurs., May 2nd

  • Grade 4: 8:40am-10:40am
  • Grade 8: 7:48am-10:47am

Please take a moment to also review the PSSA parent/guardian information linked below outlining frequently asked questions, the policy related to electronic devices, the policy concerning calculator use on the assessment, and the PSSA Student Code of Conduct.

Email Mrs. Jenni Burton with questions about 3rd and 4th Graders taking the PSSAs.

Email Mrs. Amber Ammon with questions about 5th-8th Graders taking the PSSAs.

Events & Updates From The CCS HSA

Serving in a capacity similar to a Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) or Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO), our Home & School Association (HSA) owes its success to the efforts of our many parent, teacher, and staff volunteers! Proceeds from HSA fundraisers and activities help fund CCS education and operations.

Teacher Appreciation Week

Teacher Appreciation Week, Monday, May 6th through Friday, May 10th, is a great opportunity for CCS families to come together in a show of support for our school’s hardworking teachers and staff. The HSA organizes the week’s activities and will reach out soon for volunteers and donation sign-ups.

School Store Volunteers Needed

Volunteers are needed to open the School Stores in our 150, 468, 486, and 500 Buildings before school and during lunch. The School Stores are a real treat for CCS’s students, and volunteering is very rewarding! Please sign up for a few hours (or more!) using the SignUpGenius link below. We appreciate your support! Note that clearances are required for School Store volunteers.

Uniform Resale Shop Volunteers Needed

Volunteers are needed to spend some time each week organizing our Uniform Resale Shop. The Resale Shop is a great fundraiser for CCS and is also a valuable resource for our families. Volunteers help keep donations organized and available for sale. Please use the SignUpGenius link below to donate time to the Resale Shop! Thank you.

WWPD Tip Resources

Collegium is committed to maintaining a strong and trusting partnership with the West Whiteland Police Department (WWPD). Together, we encourage all Collegium students, staff, and parents/guardians to contact the WWPD with any information they feel should be investigated.

The WWPD has a dedicated email address and phone number for the public to use to provide information quickly and directly to them.

The email address and phone line above are monitored by the WWPD Criminal Investigation Unit. We encourage anyone with information about suspected criminal activity to contact the WWPD using the email address, or by leaving a voicemail message on the WWPD Tip Line. Everyone utilizing the phone number or email address can remain anonymous, if they wish.

If your concerns are specific to the Collegium campus, we ask that you also contact your Building Principal(s):

Important Collegium Telephone Numbers

Collegium's Main Number


Building Main Office Extensions

  • 150 Building: Ext. 6811
  • 435 Building: Ext. 6002
  • 468 Building: Ext. 6401
  • 486 Building: Ext. 6501
  • 500 Building: Ext. 6106
  • 515 Building: Ext. 6336
  • 535 Building: Ext. 6602

Collegium reserves the right to edit submissions and to deny material for submission if it is deemed to be inappropriate or of little or no interest to CCS families.

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