Shady Side Academy: Delivering an Exceptional Education, In Person or Remotely

This year, in the face of a global pandemic, schools faced an unprecedented challenge – and a profound opportunity – to reimagine the way they deliver an education to students.

Shady Side Academy was one of a few area schools that opened this fall with in-person instruction five days a week, welcoming 1,108 PK-12 students across four campuses. The administration worked tirelessly over the summer to craft a comprehensive reopening plan grounded in safety, flexibility and academic excellence.

“When it is safe to do so, we believe children are at their best academically and socially when they attend school in person and form close relationships with their teachers and peers,” said SSA President Bart Griffith Jr. “However, in these uncertain times, we recognize that a successful return-to-school plan must be flexible enough to adapt. Our plan not only provides a safe, in-person learning environment, but also an effective distance learning environment.”

SSA’s reopening plan fully aligns with federal, state and county public health guidelines, and was designed in consultation with infection prevention experts at UPMC. Extensive health and safety measures minimize the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Each morning, parents complete a COVID-19 screening via mobile app, which generates a “green pass” for the child. Students and employees undergo temperature checks upon arrival and wear masks throughout the day. Classrooms were renovated to meet CDC social distancing guidelines, and outdoor learning spaces abound. Hallways and stairwells are one-way, with hand sanitizer stations everywhere. Revamped academic schedules keep students in small, consistent cohorts, and lunches are delivered to classrooms or served grab-and-go.

A live remote attendance option is available to students who are unable to learn on campus. Classrooms are equipped with Meeting Owl Pro 360-degree smart cameras that integrate with Zoom, enabling remote learners to attend classes live alongside their peers.

Throughout the fall, Shady Side’s students and teachers found creative new ways to learn, play and engage on campus safely – from a socially distant, restaurant-themed second grade “book tasting,” to a herpetologist visiting a sixth grade outdoor science class, to seniors enjoying lunch in Adirondack chairs on the quad. Fall sports teams successfully competed within new safety protocols, and music and drama classes found safe ways to rehearse and perform.

When it is not deemed safe to learn on campus, Shady Side’s plan provides for flexible toggling to distance learning. Every K-12 student has their own device, with a 1:1 iPad program in K-8 and laptops available for 9-12 students who do not have their own. During distance learning, an age-appropriate mix of synchronous Zoom classes and asynchronous lessons are presented every day in every grade, and teachers and support staff host virtual office hours. Community time is preserved through virtual assemblies and gatherings.

Whether classes are on campus or online, Shady Side Academy continues to deliver the challenging, engaging curriculum for which it is nationally renowned. 

Hemp Synergistics Making Life Better for You

Perhaps you have a nagging ache, or maybe you’re not sleeping as well as you’d like. Or maybe you’re just feeling stressed or anxious. Each of those may seem like a little thing—a part of life, just something you have to endure. But those little things can play a big part in reducing your quality and enjoyment of your life.

CLICK HERE to read the entire article on Hemp Synergistics and how they can help you!

Medical Marijuana Provides Relief for Autism

Jennifer Evashavik and her son Luke
Like any loving mother Jennifer Evashavik or Aspinwall would do anything to help her son, Luke, 17, who has cerebral palsy and autism, but sometimes it’s not doing something it’s finding what works.
 
“Luke is non-verbal and two years ago, he started to suffer seizures. They were pretty frequent, and I wanted to help him,” said Jen, who is married to husband, Nick, and has another son, Ben.
 

Together Again

Casual conversation and an old photo have led to a remarkable discovery for two UPMC Senior Communities residents.  

Bob Adams and Wes Piros have a few things in common. They live down the hall from one another at Beatty Pointe Village, the UPMC Senior Communities independent living campus in Monroeville. They both celebrated their 96th birthdays in October, only three days apart. Both are full of vigor. Both served in the United States Army Air Forces during World War II.  

What they didn’t know until recently was that they were “neighbors” in different quarters 75 years ago as Air Force cadets. Shortly after each man enlisted, Bob and Wes spent time in Texas to qualify to be a pilot, bombardier or navigator in the military’s nascent branch, the Army Air Forces, which eventually became the U.S. Air Force. After Texas, each headed to Indiana for flight training at Butler University 

Bob has a photo of his fellow cadets at Hoosier Air FieldAt the time, Bob recalls, he simply handed his camera to someone close by, the cadets lined up in two rows and smiled, and the image was captured.  

Most of those 20 cadets of the Army Air Forces went their separate ways that day. Some fought and died in the war. Others stayed stateside in reserve, including Wes, who served until the end of the war on the West Coast working on bomber planes. Bob went on to serve on the European front as a radio operator in the infantry. The year was 1944 

One morning Bob brought that framed black and white photo down to breakfast at Beatty Pointe Village. Neither knew when Bob shared the photo with Wes the incredible coincidence would reveal itself.  

In the photo, Bob and Wes are pictured toward the center, with Bob in the top row looking down at Wes in the bottom row. “I didn’t recognize myself in the picture at first,” said Wes, “mostly because I couldn’t believe it!” 

 Both men agree that the service taught them organization, promptness, discipline, “and the ability to pull yourself up by your bootstraps” in the words of Bob’s grandfather.  

The gentlemen do not remember one another specifically from their earlier days together, but they do share recollections of their time in Indiana.  

“We slept in the field house in triple bunks,” Bob recalled. “Some nights we laid awake, unable to sleep, wondering what tomorrow would hold.” 

 Wes remembers how the women and students in the town would sew and press their uniforms so that they were form-fitting. “They made us look like officers,” he said with a smile. Bob added, “The little decisions and actions taken by strangers had such an impact on the course of our service and our lives.” This proved true countless times, whether it be a commanding officer or civilians encountered at home or overseas 

“We are all connected to one another, dependent on one another, and our actions have consequences for others,” said Bob. “This was an important thing to learn as a young man and to remember now that I am older.” 

 UPMC Senior Communities is home to hundreds of veterans across its many campuses. It is a privilege to share their stories, to honor them, and to express gratitude for their invaluable service.  

To learn more about UPMC Senior Communities, visit our website at UPMCSeniorCommunities.com or call 1-800-324-5523. 

Military Events in October 

                   There are some noteworthy military events taking place during October.  There are times when a service person returns home and has difficulty finding a job.  For veterans who are looking for employment, DAV Recruit Military is sponsoring a Veterans Job Fair, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 3, at Heinz Field, 100 Art Rooney Avenue For more information, visit https://success.recruitmilitary.com/events/pittsburgh-veterans-job-fair-october-3-2019.  [Read more…]