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Avonworth

The Avonworth High School theater will perform the "Phantom of the Opera" in honor of the musical's 25th anniversary April 12, 13, 19 and 20 in the high school auditorium, 304 Josephs Lane, Ohio Township.

Avonworth won best musical in Budget Level II, Best Lead Actor and Best Lead Actress at the 22nd annual Pittsburgh CLO Gene Kelly Awards for Excellence in High School Musical Theater.

Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for senior citizens and students. Ticket order forms are available: avonworthtickets@comcast.net.

The high school theater students were featured recently in the PBS documentary "Broadway or Bust," a three-part series that tracks high school performers from regional programs to national competitions.

• The district has received a $170,000 grant from the Grable Foundation to transform the high school/middle school library into a 21st century collaboration center with a videoconferencing/presentation space, a Makeshop - a space for children and families to make, play and design using materials, tools, processes and ideas - with middle/high school programming in conjunction with the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh, digital learning spaces and a brainstorming structure for large group instruction.

The staff will work with the technology department of the Allegheny Intermediate Unit 3 in creating the distance learning/presentation space; the center also will include an age-appropriate space to support curricula such as arts, mathematics, science and social studies.

Construction is scheduled to begin in the summer.

Fox Chapel

The district has been named among the 2013 Best Communities for Music Education for the second consecutive year. Fox Chapel is among 35 school systems in Pennsylvania and one of 307 school districts in the nation selected for the honor.

The selection was through a program sponsored by the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation, which recognizes schools and districts across the United States for their commitment and support for music education as part of the core curriculum.

Highlands

Kindergarten and Pre-K Counts registration packets will be distributed at the Early Childhood Fair from 5:30 to 8 p.m. today in the high school, 1500 Pacific Ave., Harrison. Information: 724-226-2400, ext. 4518, or rcaldwell@goldenrams.com.

The fair also will feature activities, giveaways and informational booths from various school and community groups.

• The district is implementing a new security procedure with waiting areas in Fairmount Primary Center, Fawn Primary Center and Grandview Upper Elementary School.

Visitors will be required to wait until office personnel can assist them, and they must have their driver's license scanned through a security system. Parents who are dropping off or picking up students will not have to enter the school.

Other security improvements involve metal detectors, audiovisual surveillance and controlled access systems. The district also partners with police departments and emergency response units to plan, improve and enhance emergency procedures.

• Donations of gently used prom, bridesmaid or formal dresses, shoes and accessories are being accepted from 3 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and next Thursday for a middle school dress drive to benefit Cinderella's Closet. The items can be delivered to the middle school.

The Prom Dress Giveaway will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 13 at the North Apollo Church of God, 507 20th St., North Apollo. Information: cinderellasclosetpa@gmail.com or 724-478-1631.

Cinderella's Closet is a ministry of North Apollo Church of God.

• Roselynn Stanzione, a retired Highlands teacher who recently died, will be honored during a book drive for the Community Library of Allegheny Valley through April 12.

High School student Kyle Sloan is hosting the book drive in the memory of Ms. Stanzione who had taught 30 years in the district before retiring.

Children's books, DVDs, music and monetary donations will be accepted for the library. Items exceeding what the library can accept will be donated to local nonprofit organizations that serve Highlands students.

Mars Area

The elementary school Stars Jump Rope Team raised $17,000 to benefit the American Heart Association through the recent Jump Rope for Heart event.

Centennial School fifth-graders Adrian Zugehar and Emma Maihle, both Mars Stars Jump Rope Team members, also collected $660 and $400, respectively. Team members brought in a total of $1,189.

As part of the fundraiser, students in second through fourth grades jumped rope during their physical education classes and were asked to collect pledges to benefit the association. Mars Stars Jump Rope Team has been the top Jump Rope for Heart fundraiser in Butler County for the more than 20 years.

• Middle school students collected $2,036.36 as part of The Olive Garden's 19th annual Pasta for Pennies fundraiser.

During the fundraiser last month, students collected spare change, which was counted in the students' mathematics classes on March 11. All proceeds benefited the Western Pennsylvania chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

• The middle school will hold a Twisted Tale Talent Show at 7 p.m. Friday in the high school auditorium.

Eighth-grader Katie Olsen and seventh-grader Braeden Rawa will serve as emcees for the show, which will feature acts including dance routines, student bands and vocal performances.

Information: 724-625-3145.

North Allegheny

Reservations are being accepted for the annual senior citizens' prom from 7 to 10 p.m. April 19 in the senior high, 10375 Perry Highway, McCandless. The prom is hosted by the senior and junior classes and offers free admission for all district seniors and their guests.

Information or reservations: 412-369-5445.

• Ingomar Elementary School has received a $5,000 grant from the H.J. Heinz Co. Foundation to support its Fuel Up to Play 60 program, a student-led initiative created by the National Dairy Council and the National Football League.

The program encourages students to eat healthy and engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Funds provide support for activities and tools, such as food service materials and equipment, nutrition and physical education materials, student and staff incentives and staff development.

• The Marshall Middle School National Academic League team made it to the "Elite 8" round of the Terrel H. Bell National Tournament of Academic Excellence.

Student teams play a four-quarter academic game with questions spanning 22 subjects in the basic curriculum areas of math, English/language arts, science and social studies. The national matches are played via videoconferencing.

• The National Association of Music Merchants has honored the district with a Best Communities for Music Education designation for the sixth year in a row.

North Hills

McIntyre Elementary School students raised $5,841 through the Pasta for Pennies Program to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. This amount topped the school's goal of $3,200. Due to the high amount raised, the building will receive gift cards to purchase supplies for the school.

• High school students recently teamed up with North Hills Community Outreach to help feed those in need with a planting day to begin growing seedlings for the organization's Rosalinda Sauro Sirianni Garden in Bellevue.

The class planted nearly 250 seeds that will be transplanted into the garden in May. The organization's organic garden grows fresh produce for North Hills Community Outreach's two food pantries.

Pine-Richland

The National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform's "Schools to Watch" team is re-designating Pine-Richland Middle School as an exemplary middle school in the Pennsylvania Don Eichhorn 2013 program.

The school will celebrate the achievement from 3 to 4:30 p.m. April 30 in the high school stadium spirit room, 704 Warrendale Road.

The school earned national recognition by being designated a School to Watch in 2007 and 2010. In addition, the middle school earned the Don Eichorn Award for Outstanding Middle School in 2004.

Quaker Valley

The district has been named among the nation's Best Communities for Music Education by the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation for the ninth year - one of only 307 school districts to earn the distinction this year.

The National Association of Music Merchants recognizes schools that have "demonstrated exceptional efforts toward maintaining music education as part of the schools' core curriculum."

Thirty-five Pennsylvania school districts received the recognition this year.

• The school board has approved a four-year technology plan to continue its one-to-one laptop initiative for students in grades 6-12.

Dell laptops will be ordered for high school students, and Chromebooks will be ordered for the middle school. Elementary students will continue to use Apple computers. Students in the class of 2014 will continue to use the Mac laptops that were issued under the existing contract, which will expire at the end of the 2014 school year.

In 2013-14, the technology plan is estimated to cost $559,500, which includes the first year of a four-year lease, the one-time purchase of middle school laptops and the final year of the lease with Apple.

In the following three years, the annual cost is estimated to decrease to $331,000. Annual technology costs peaked in 2007-08 at more than $885,000. The cost has gradually decreased each year. The current year's cost is $592,000.

• Heidi Ondek, assistant superintendent, has been named 2013 Distinguished Female Educator by the Tri-State Area School Study Council. She will receive the award April 18 during the 11th Jean Winsand International Institute for Women in School Leadership.

The award recognizes honorees for their leadership within their school districts and communities as well as their mentorship and assistance extended to others.

She was promoted to assistant superintendent in July 2006 after serving as Quaker Valley High School principal from 2004 to 2006. Prior to joining the Quaker Valley staff, she served as an elementary principal in the Northgate School District and as director of special education, curriculum and staff development in the Fort Cherry School District. She began her educational career as a special education teacher.

Seneca Valley

The middle school will host its annual talent show at 4 p.m. Saturday in the middle school multipurpose room. Tickets are $5 and will be sold to students during all lunches, as well as at the door. More than 50 students will compete, with acts including singers, dancers, instrumentalists and comedians. Food and refreshments also will be available.

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