CSDF programs are officially approved for 2018-2019.
Book in a Bag Early Literacy Program
This program supports family literacy in the primary grades. In the program, kindergarten and first grade students have the opportunity to bring home a “book in a bag” periodically throughout the school year. Each bag contains a high interest picture book or easy reader for students to share with their families. Additionally, each bag contains games, puzzles, and activities specifically designed for the book as well as a journal for students and families to log their experiences with the bag. These activities support literacy development as a fun and meaningful part of the daily routine by modeling for families the many ways children can interact with text.
On Tour Project
Our annual "On Tour Project" provides unique musical performance opportunities for over 350 sixth grade students in the context of a long-term group project. Focusing on the concert promotion business, it introduces students to the fundamentals of entrepreneurship, while utilizing a multitude of academic skills, including math, reading language arts and geography. Students are in self-selected, self directed groups which provides opportunities for problem solving, as well as task and emotional management of the group. The promoter (teacher) offers the group a "paid" concert for a certain amount of money at an actual venue somewhere in the world. The Artists develop a performance while the Booking Agent and Tour Manager research costs associated with both travel and the performance. Some "gig" budgeting requires currency conversion and negotiating with the promoter. All groups must perform in front of a live audience.
For the past 25 years sixth grade students at Elkins Park have been attending the Pocono Environmental Education Center (PEEC) for three days and two nights. PEEC'S campus provides an ideal outdoor classroom for students to observe first hand nature.
The curriculum includes sessions that focus on life and earth sciences, natural history, environmental ethics and environmental sciences. The activities are hands-on, inquiry-based instruction which follow the Common Core Standards and State Science Standards. The students also participate in recreational activities, orienteering, canoeing, a campfire and even a "confidence course". The confidence course is a low rope element and builds trust, self-confidence, and team building.
There are many social skills that are gleamed from sleeping in cabins with peers, setting and cleaning the dining hall and being without electronics!
This is truly an authentic field experience that students remember for a long time after they leave Cheltenham.
Reading Across the Curriculum
This program supports cross-curricular literacy in the secondary grades by providing students with fiction and nonfiction selections related to content area subjects. For example, seventh-grade math students read Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers. This program supports the relevance of reading and literacy skills in all subjects. Additionally, Reading Across the Curriculum demonstrates the real world applications of the content subjects while providing students the opportunity to explore the content in depth.
Students in grades 7-8 participate in Robotics as an after school program. The high school team, FRC Team 423, The Simple Machines, is a FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) team that was founded in 2000. FIRST stands for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology”, and the FIRST Robotics Competition consists of a 6-week build period for a 120-lb. autonomous/tele-operated robot starting in early January every year, with a competition later in the spring. The team meets year round to practice, train, fundraise, and reach out to the local community.
As a team with a history of success, and desire to grow into one of the Mid-Atlantic Region’s preeminent teams, there is motivation to thrive.
Trout in the Classroom
Trout in the Classroom (TIC) is an environmental education program in which students in grades K-12 . . .
We the Civics Kids
We the Civics Kids is a K to 8 literacy/civic literacy program that presents complex concepts to primary, elementary, and middle school students in a way that connects the student to both his/her classroom and the real world around him/her. The program includes several key components. First, there is the K to 4 literacy /civic literacy library and lessons that are designed to build basic civic knowledge, promote engagement, and provide practice in democratic deliberation. Second, there is the Literature-Based Mock Trial component. For this aspect of the program, students gain an understanding of our judicial system by writing and arguing a Mock Trial that is connected to one of their classroom or a classic piece of student literature. For example, students have argued cases that include the following: The State vs. Goldilocks for criminal trespass; The State vs. Jonas (of The Giver) for kidnapping; Rumpelstiltskin vs. the Queen for breach of promise; or The Watsons vs. The Birmingham Alabama Police Department for racial discrimination. Third, there are on-going opportunities to participate in Citizenship Challenges, creative problem solving competitions that challenge students to research and respond to issues currently facing our country. Examples from past competitions include opinions about the requirement that an individual has to be a "natural born citizen" to run for President, and opinions on the issue of safety vs. freedoms. Fourth, there is a library of age-appropriate read-alouds with lessons to highlight and support the celebration of many of our civic holidays. Fifth, there are decks of cards (Sticky Situations) that prompt open-ended conversations around topics that range from qualities of a leader to the value of having to wear uniforms. All of the cards are designed to strengthen responsible student voice. Finally, the Rendell Center for Civics and Civic Engagement works to connect the legal community with schools to provide opportunities for students K to 12 to develop the knowledge and disposition of engaged citizens.
Eastern Standard Theater (EST)
EST is Cheltenham High School’s student run theater program. Annually, EST stages alternative plays with compelling drama and contemporary humor—students select, finance, promote, act, and direct the entire performance. After a fall season of weekly, open-invite acting games, auditions for the annual spring play (chosen by the student director) are held in January. An intense focus on acting skills, storytelling nuance, and character study distinguishes EST from the high school’s district supported theater program. The responsibility of engineering a full-on production rests upon a handful of students in an environment of self-discipline and collaborative grace. "Our assets are small, but our ambitions are grand."
Cultural Awareness Club
The Cultural Awareness Club (formerly the Black History Club) at Elkins Park School is an annual after school club/activity offered to all students enrolled as a 5th or 6th grader, and runs from Fall through Spring.
The club mission is to teach factual information about African Americans and minorities in America, slavery, segregation, integration, and the Civil Rights Movement, through various venues; videos, PowerPoints, handouts, speeches and interactive lessons. The wide-range of lessons will encompass an over-arching theme to ultimately develop into a play/presentation for the Cheltenham community. These lessons will teach the importance of respecting diversity, citizenship, social skills, as well as acting etiquette, stage presence and cooperative learning/grouping styles. Community artists are annual invited to participate, dancers, singers, vendors, local businesses and artists. Teacher and student artwork is displayed in the lobby to enhance our vendors' display. The club’s culminating event is the annual Black History program, which is presented in assemblies for our elementary students, as well as in public venues for the entire community.
Over the course of an entire school year, Cedarbrook 7th and 8th grade students learn to design and perform individual experiments which they present formally at two regional competitions: PJAS (Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science) and MCSRC (Mont County Sci Research Competition). Eligible students advance to higher levels of competition, including PJAS States and Delaware Valley Science Fair. In addition, our female Cedarbrook students share their love of science with our district’s elementary students through annual “Women In Science” fairs. While maintain success within their regular education coursework, Cedarbrook students who voluntarily elect to take on this challenging endeavor are provided approximately 2 hours a week of direct instruction during the school day via a pull-out scenario. Students additionally spend significant time at home to run their experiment and complete preparations for competition. This program has a following, supporting over 25 students yearly through the scientific method and into competition season. Students continue participation at the High School level earning various scholarship and many weighing future careers in science. These middle school students gain significant experience in experimental design, presentation skills, scientific writing, digital graphing, protocol approval, organizational skills, and time management. To support student efforts, supplies for experiments and presentations as well as advanced level competition registrations are currently paid for by student families.
From March through May, 7th and 8th grade Cedarbrook students work feverishly in teams to create shoebox sized solar cars. Teams initially experience building a solar car with the assistance of a kit. After testing, adjusting, and retesting, optimized kit cars are then pulled apart. Students then create their own uniquely designed cars that also meet competition requirements. In celebration of student efforts, all teams run their cars at the Junior Solar Sprint Car Competition held at the Philadelphia Navy Yard in May. Students are provided approximately 2 hours of guidance and team work time during the school day. Additionally, students are encouraged to utilize time at home to research design options, explore related background knowledge, and gather household items for building at school. This program has a following, supporting over 100 students yearly through the engineering design process culminating at competition. Students who elect this activity do so for a variety of reasons, including an interest in an engineering career to simply seeking a fun hands-on challenge. For whatever their reason for joining, all students gain significant experience in engineering, small tool construction, metric measurement, reading/following complex instructions, troubleshooting and problem solving, attention to technical details, creative thinking, and teamwork.
From October through March, 7th and 8th grade Cedarbrook students work individually and with partners in preparation to compete for medals in one or more of 23 possible Science Olympiad events. Science Olympiad events focus on a variety of sciences through events that require substantial content knowledge, savvy science based skills and reasoning, and/or the creation of superb engineered products. This program has a following, facilitating over 30 students yearly through various preparations necessary for competition.
The Television Productions program at Cheltenham High School (CHS) consists of 3 courses for students of varying learning abilities and styles. Introduction to Television Productions teaches the fundamentals of television production. Through hands-on experience and instruction, the students will become familiar with much of the equipment available in the CHS Television Studio, including cameras, tripods, microphones, audio mixers, video mixers, character generators and VCR’s. Each student will work through the pre-production, production, and post-production phased in order to produce and direct commercials and music videos.
The second course is Broadcast Journalism, where they expand on prior knowledge and take on the responsibility of producers, directors, and announcers for the tapings of various sporting events, musical productions, “9th period,” and “Eye of the Panther,” all airing on Comcast Channel 42. Students are exposed to all aspects of television production in these more demanding positions and considerable emphasis is placed on live sports productions, broadcast journalism news segments, and post-production work. An integral part of this course requires students to participate in at least two after school, evenings, or weekend taping assignments each marking period, including, but not limited to, sporting events and musical concerts which will air on Comcast Channel 42.
In the third level, Advanced Television Productions, students will be exposed to all aspects of television production in even more demanding positions and considerable emphasis will be placed on writing, producing and directing. Here, students can choose to complete an extra segment for their Senior Graduation Project, thus completing Project Based Learning full-circle.
Vocal Performing Arts Enrichment Series
This program exposes students to world-class vocal instruction and performances, utilizing on-site and off-site opportunities for learning with recognized teaching artists in the field of vocal music. Many opportunities have been offered in past years. These opportunities have included instruction from Temple University’s faculty at a daylong festival, culminating in a performance featuring male voices; classes in arranging and singing a cappella music, hosted at West Chester University, for students in the two high school a cappella groups; Opera Philadelphia performances attended by students, supplemented by educational materials about the opera genre and the specific opera being performed; attendance at Philadelphia Chamber Music Society performances in Philadelphia’s finest venues, with backstage meetings with world-renowned performers; concert attendance opportunities at The Curtis Institute in Philadelphia; and opportunities for students to sing with the professional adult choir on a Philadelphia Orchestra subscription concert in the Kimmel Center. All vocal arts students have participated in concerts presented at Christ Church in Old City, Philadelphia, a historically-rich space with particularly wonderful acoustics. Overnight tours of New York City and Puerto Rico have offered students performance opportunities as well as master classes and multi-cultural exposure. Voice instruction is offered on-site at Cheltenham High School by professional singers and teaching artists. The aforementioned are examples of the Vocal Performing Arts Enrichment Series that generally includes five experiences each year for Vocal Arts students from all eight vocal performance ensembles and the Advanced Choral Studies class. Students of all levels and grades are included. Instruction reflects best practices in vocal music pedagogy, including instruction in choral performance, vocal master classes, work with various conductors, and coaching in singing many different styles of music.
Future Problem Solving International (FPSPI)
FPSI was founded in 1974 by Dr. E. Paul Torrance to ”stimulate critical and creative thinking skills, encourage students to develop a vision for the future and prepare students for leadership roles.” In Cheltenham School District, Future Problem Solving is a challenging extracurricular activity that teaches students in grades 4 through 12 higher level thinking skills and creative problem solving. The ability to brainstorm ideas, listen to the ideas of others, and use criteria to find positive and creative solutions are key components. Future Problem Solvers are guided by their coaches to study and research challenging and futuristic topics determined by International. The students then learn how these problems might impact people in the future and how to solve these problems in humane ways. At the District Problem Solving Bowl, a competition which is held each March, the students compete by working in teams to solve a problem and then develop a skit that creatively sells the best solution. Awards are presented to the top teams for process and skits. Teams that excel in this process are then invited to compete at the state and possibly qualify to attend an international conference.
Philadelphia Young Playwrights (PYP)
PYP is an intensive arts-education program that pairs professional teaching artist with a classroom teacher. The two work together as an Artistic Team, guiding and supporting students in the process of writing a play. The Team works with student writers to inspire collaboration, perseverance, and transformation. Each student in the program writes at least a full scene, and most complete one-act plays
Students from around the region are invited to submit their plays to the Annual Playwriting Festival. Young Playwrights' Literary Committee reads each script and provides each and every student with individualized written feedback. First, second, and third place distinctions are awarded at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.
Select winners of the Annual Playwriting Festival are invited to develop and share their plays with the public in Young Playwrights' Play Development Series. Young Playwrights' commitment to student voices is realized through these public presentations that include in-school mini festivals, staged readings, workshop presentations and acclaimed professional productions. A number of Philadelphia Young Playwrights' Festival winners have gone on to win Young Playwrights, Inc.'s national competition and seen their plays professionally produced in New York.