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Winchester Thurston School: North News

North Hill Campus News

Dear Parents,

At the North Hills Campus, we partake in our traditional Thanksgiving feast where the children join together in a festive meal, a turkey trot, and an all school recess. As your families join together for this great holiday, I would like to take a moment to thank all of you for your support and partnership. Have a beautiful Thanksgiving break!

On Tuesday, Grandparents and Special Friends Day will be a great time for family and friends to share some special moments with their loved ones. I am excited for this special day and I know that each person will walk away with some great memories of WT. The schedule is as follows:

9:00 a.m. Meet students in their classrooms
9:30 a.m. Share in a student showcase
11:20 a.m. Dine with students for lunch
12:00 p.m. Tour the campus (weather permitting)

Parking will be available in the Hartwood Acres lot, located on Middle Road near the school. A security guard will be on hand to assist, and a shuttle will be available to transport grandparents and special friends to and from campus. 

We value your feedback and want to hear your impressions and ideas about the report cards that you will be receiving soon. Please join me for coffee and discussion regarding the report cards on Thursday, December 5 from 8:15 – 9:15 a.m. in the Library.

Thank you,
Laurie Vennes

Upcoming Events Important Reminders

November 22 - 24
Middle School Musical:
Seussical the Musical

November 23

November 25
Thanksgiving Feast

November 26
Grandparents and Special Friends Day

November 27 - 29
Thanksgiving Break

December 2
In Service Day -- No Classes
for Students

Extended Day offered at the City Campus

December 3
Classes Resume

Introduction to Middle School

December 5
Coffee and Conversation with Laurie Vennes

Fifth Grade Medieval Festival

December 6
Spirit Day and Morning Meeting

Parents Association Holiday Brunch



Middle School Musical: Seussical the Musical, November 22 and 23 at 7:30 p.m. and November 24 at 2:00 p.m., Falk Auditorium (City Campus)
Jill Machen,

Here's an announcement coming your way
With so much excitement we're happy to say
At WT our performers will shine
In Seussical the Musical a show all in rhyme!

November 22, 23, 24
Those are the dates when we open the door
7:30 on Friday and Saturday night
At 2 on Sunday - a matinee, that's right

This is a show that you really must see
Falk Auditorium is the place you should be
Remember now … this ain't mother goose
No it’s not … it's all about Seuss!

BEARATHON 2013: Community Run, Walk, or Stroll, November 23, 9:00 a.m., Garland Field (City Campus) -- RAIN OR SHINE
Elizabeth Patterson,

The entire WT community is invited to gather on Garland Field for the start of our walk and fun run! There will be races for children 4 and under on the field and one, two, and three mile distances around campus for children (ages 5 and up) and adults. Following the BEARATHON, we will enjoy warm apple cider, hot chocolate, and race day prizes in the Mellon Gymnasium.

Bring your family and friends for a morning full of health and fun! Canned goods are encouraged as a donation for those in need over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Extended Day – Full Day Programming for Pre-K – Grade 5, December 2, 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., City Campus
Contact: Dionne Brelsford,
412-578-7533 or  

Join us for an amazing day of enrichment and fun at WT! Please have your child dressed appropriately for outside play (no uniform required). A morning and afternoon snack will be provided, but children must bring a bag lunch and a drink. There will be no regular bus and van transportation on full day program days. The price per day is $65. Families must register for these programs in advance by emailing Dionne.

Introduction to Middle School, December 3, 9:00 – 11:00 a.m., Finkel Library (City Campus)
Brooks Follansbee, 412-578-7518 or

Join us for a presentation by our Middle School Director, Dan Sadowski, followed by a student panel and a chance to visit classes.

Coffee and Conversation with Laurie Vennes, December 5, 8:15 - 9:15 a.m., Library
Laurie Vennes, 412-486-8341 or

Your feedback is important to us! Now that you have received a copy of our new report cards, we want to hear your impressions and ideas for improvement. Please join Laurie Vennes for coffee to discuss the new report cards and assessments at WT.

Fifth Grade Medieval Festival, December 5, 6:00 – 8:30 p.m.
Brock Perkins,

The fifth grade Medieval Festival includes a medieval feast, dance, and other merry-making.

Spirit Day and Morning Meeting, December 6, 8:30 a.m., Multipurpose Room
 Laurie Vennes, 412-486-8341 ext. 11 or

Students should show their WT pride by wearing their WT t-shirts accompanied by uniform bottoms on Spirit Day.

Parents Association Holiday Brunches
December 6, 8:30 – 10:30 a.m., at the home of Amy and Larry Zana, 3284 Windstream Drive, Gibsonia, PA 15044
December 13, 8:30 – 10:30 a.m., at the home of Marina and Kenneth Lehn, 5061 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15232
Stacie Schmidt, 412-578-7512 or      

To celebrate the season, all WT families are invited to brunch at the home of City and North Hills families. Please stop in for a quick coffee and pastry on your way to work, or stay for the morning!

North Hills Campus at WT Town Meetings – What Parents Are Saying, December 11, 8:15 a.m., Library 
Laurie Vennes, 412-486-8341 ext. 11 or

We thank the approximately 45 parents and faculty members who attended two open forums about the future of the North Hills Campus, held on November 6 and 8. In dialogue with Gary Niels, Laurie Vennes, and other members of the administration, participants learned about and gave input to strategic directions for the campus. To give more parents the opportunity to participate in these important dialogues, a third session has been scheduled.

Here’s what some parents said after attending the sessions:

“…The meeting offered me great insight into the level of commitment that Winchester Thurston School has toward the North Hills Campus. The interactive nature of the meeting between Gary, the faculty, and the parents (all of the involved stakeholders) impresses me that my concerns, ideas, and feedback are both appreciated and will be taken into consideration as the school moves forward with its strategic plans. Ultimately, it is supportive of the notion that I have my child in the right place.”

“In particular it was great to see a combination of parents and teachers and administrators there trying to generate ideas to strengthen the North Hills Campus…I would encourage other current parents to attend so that they could hear more about the direction of the school and voice their input so that they might help guide the future at WT.”

“The parents of the North Hills Campus have a passion for their children's learning and for the environment at North...They value the open, fresh air concept that North provides with all of the ‘outdoor classrooms’ that each teacher uses to excite their students into exploring and using their mind in many other ways, not just ‘book’ learning. Not only are the parents involved with their children in the learning process at home, they are involved almost daily with the teachers and administrators. They are consistently and actively engaged with the school itself by sharing their thoughts and giving their time and making suggestions that are met with an open mind. Thank you for that!!”
Light bulb moment: Seeing the breakdown of the costs associated per student for North vs City and what having a full enrollment means to North and how much the tuition actually covers. I had never seen this before and it gave me a much better understanding of the fiscal responsibility the school has and how it still manages to keep the excellent teachers we have at North.”
Topics for the discussion include:

1. How can we shape the educational and extra-curricular program to better differentiate WT’s North Hills Campus from other educational options in the area? 

2. How can we more effectively engage the North Hills community to strengthen enrollment at North? 

3. How will the Celebrate WT campaign impact North?

A supportive and engaged community is so important to the success of our school, and we thank you for your involvement and dedication. Please plan to attend this important session.

Lunch Menu and Order Form
Reminder: all lunch orders are due by 8:00 a.m. on Monday.


© 2011 Winchester Thurston School

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