Latest News

Two-hour delay schedule for elementary students ONLY on Monday, April 6

3/27/2015. Filed under Press Releases.

Moon Area School District elementary schools will operate on a two-hour delay on Monday, April 6, 2015. Teachers and staff will report at their regular time. This will provide teachers at Allard and Brooks elementary schools with additional time to unpack instructional materials prior to the start of the school day.

Portions of both schools are undergoing asbestos abatement during the nine-day spring break. Affected classrooms and other areas required some degree of packing.

“During our many conversations, our teachers had suggested the delay schedule for Monday in order to minimize the disruption to instruction,” Superintendent Curt Baker said. “We are grateful for their input throughout this process and appreciate their unwavering commitment to providing the highest quality educational program for our students.”

Teachers and staff at Bon Meade, Hyde and McCormick will use this time as directed by their respective building principal.

Moon students compete on KDKA's Hometown High Q playoffs

3/26/2015. Filed under Press Releases.

Tune-in to KDKA at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 28, 2015, to watch Moon Area High School students compete in the season 16 playoffs of KDKA’s Hometown High Q, an academic challenge hosted by KDKA morning anchor Rick Dayton.

The Moon Area High School team is comprised of seniors Kushi Mallikarjun, Dana Murray and Jessica Peng. Coached by gifted coordinator Steve Palumbo, the team will compete against teams from Springdale Senior High School and Montour High School.

In November 2014, Moon scored 505 points to defeat Fraiser and Connellsville Area high schools, which earned scores of 470 and 350 respectively.

Hometown High Q is a 30-minute academic quiz show where three school teams, comprised of three students each, vie against one another. Students must buzz-in to correctly answer questions from a variety of general high school curriculum subject areas. The top nine schools in the competition are awarded a total of $32,000 in educational grants.

High Q, which premiered during the 1999-2000 school year, was inspired by similar programs in other cities including the long-running “It’s Academic” in Washington, D.C.

Senior wins $11,000 art competition scholarship

3/26/2015. Filed under Press Releases.

A Moon Area High School senior recently won first place and was awarded an $11,000 scholarship in the Art+Smart Scholarship competition at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh. Katie Reina competed among a field of 75 entrants.

The competition required high school artists to submit one gallery-ready piece that tells a story. Media included fashion design, painting, sculpture, photography, culinary creation, graphic design and other works of art.

Katie's piece, a photograph titled “Dayspring Disquiet,” along with other entries, is on display until Saturday, April 25, 2015, at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh Gallery, 420 Boulevard of the Allies.

Katie will study digital photography at Art Institute of Pittsburgh beginning this fall.


Katie's award-winning photo: "Dayspring Disquiet"

2013 alumni earn ROTC honors

3/26/2015. Filed under Press Releases.

Two Moon Area High School graduates were recently honored during the annual awards ceremony for Detachment 730 Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps located at the University of Pittsburgh. Bailey McKown and Joel McCoy, 2013 Moon Area High School graduates, are sophomores at the University of Pittsburgh in Oakland.

Bailey was honored with the American Legion ROTC General Military Excellence Award, which recognizes a sophomore for military excellence and demonstrated discipline, character and citizenship.

Joel earned the Reserve Officers Association Award, which honors an outstanding sophomore cadet for his/her performance during the previous academic year as well as for possessing individual characteristics contributing to leadership.

“Joel and Bailey have been actively involved as Air Force Reserve Officer Cadets for two years now and have excelled in academics and leadership,” Michelle McCoy, Joel’s mother, said. “They have worked hard this year to excel at Pitt and in their ROTC detachment.”

Joel and Bailey both received Air Force ROTC scholarships to assist with their college education. Both cadets will attend officers’ field training at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama this summer and will continue to train during the 2015-16 school year as juniors at the University of Pittsburgh.


Coffee with Curt - April 7

3/24/2015. Filed under Press Releases.

Moon Area School District will host Coffee with Curt at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, April 7, 2015, in the central office board room.

(Please note the time change in order to prevent a conflict with National Honor Society induction in the evening.)

Throughout the school year, Superintendent of Schools Curt Baker holds monthly chat sessions with parents, students and other community members.  Attendees are welcome and encouraged to discuss any questions or concerns they may have regarding the school district.

Coffee and light refreshments will be served. To RSVP, please click here to use the online form or contact Carol Wingard at 412-264-9440 ext. 1106 or via email
The final Coffee with Curt for the 2014-15 school year is scheduled for 1 p.m., Thursday, May 7, 2015.

Moon recognized as Best Community for Music Education

3/24/2015. Filed under Press Releases.

Moon Area School District was recently named among the nation’s Best Communities for Music Education by the NAMM Foundation – one of only eight in Allegheny County, 54 in Pennsylvania, and 388 in the nation to earn this distinction in 2015.

“Being recognized as one of the Best Communities in Music Education in the nation validates Moon Area School District’s commitment to music and the solid music education afforded to every student within the district,” Nick Barthen, K-12 music coordinator and band director, said.

The NAMM Foundation recognizes schools that have demonstrated exceptional efforts toward maintaining music education as part of the schools’ core curriculum. This is Moon’s second consecutive year earning this honor.

“Continuing Moon’s tradition of a premiere music and performing arts program is essential to achieving our strategic intent, which is for Moon to be among the top one percent of school districts in Pennsylvania,” Superintendent Curt Baker said. “Success depends on the depth and breadth of our course offerings. It goes to the strength of our co- and extra-curricular activities, including athletics, drama, music, and the arts.”

Mr. Barthen attributes much of the music program’s success to the high level of training and musical exposure Moon students receive in the elementary schools as well as the support it receives from the community. 

“With elementary, K-4 students receiving 50 minutes of instruction each week and with the level of instruction students receive from our outstanding elementary music staff, students at a very young age are primed with a solid foundation of musical elements,” he said. “In addition, the commitment and support the music program receives from the community and parents, from the school district, and, most importantly, from the students are major keys to the success of music program.”

The Best Communities for Music Education designation is based upon a variety of factors, including budgetary commitment to music; opportunities to learn music; the presence of highly qualified, certified music teachers; adherence to state and national standards; types of musical experiences offered; and opportunities for performance and competition, among others. More than 2,000 schools and districts from throughout the country applied for this designation.

Moon Area School District has 12 faculty members on its music staff including Janice Barthen, middle school choir; Nicholas Barthen, high school band and department chair; Lori Cole, high school choir; Alan Fear, high school percussion and theory, middle school band; Lisa Jaworowski, Bon Meade Elementary vocal music; D.J. Kobaly, middle school choir; Mick Minamyer, middle school band; Amanda Neville, middle school orchestra; Jaime Rea, Hyde and Allard Elementary vocal music; William Redd, elementary band; Lara Seifarth, McCormick and Brooks Elementary vocal music; and Megan Taylor, elementary and high school orchestra.

“The district’s music staff members are all very highly qualified and motivated educators, always going above and beyond of what is expected for students,” Mr. Barthen said. “Whether it is after school rehearsals, concerts, special field trips or performances to expose students to different styles of music and performances or helping students individually to grasp and explore their potential in music, our faculty is on target with putting students’ musical endeavors in the forefront.”

All Moon Area School District students in kindergarten through grade 8 and nearly 25 percent of Moon high school students participate in the music program. Throughout the district, there are more than 50 ensembles.

Annually, several students from band, orchestra and chorus audition and qualify to participate in the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association’s All-State competitions. The district also participates in and hosts numerous performances and competitions throughout the year that draw in a large portion of the Moon area community including the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Marching Band Association Championships.

“Ensuring that every child has access to music in schools requires commitment by students, teachers, and those who determine school budgets,” Mary Luehrsen, executive director of the NAMM Foundation, said. “We commend the districts and schools that have earned the Best Community designation this year.  They join with so many that believe as we do that there is a vital link between do-rei-me and the ABCs.”

In its 16th year, the BCME designation is an important part of the NAMM Foundation’s efforts to advocate for school-based music education. Numerous studies have demonstrated that learning to play music can boost other academic and social skills, such as math and learning to cooperate in a group.

“Research supports a strong correlation between music education and student achievement,” Caroline Johns, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning, said. “In addition, a quality music program helps to develop 21st century skills including creativity, collaboration, teamwork, discipline and perseverance.”

According to a press release issued by NAMM, the Best Community for Music Education “designations take on added significance this year with new research showing strong ties between music education and overall student success. A new body of evidence, released at the start of the school year by Northwestern University brain researcher Dr. Nina Kraus, shows that participation in music education programs helps improve brain function and sparks language development.”

The other Allegheny County districts receiving this honor include Clairton City, Fox Chapel, McKeesport Area, Mt. Lebanon, North Allegheny, North Hills and Quaker Valley. In addition, nearby Blackhawk and Central Valley school districts were recognized.

Full-day preschool services coming this fall

3/24/2015. Filed under Press Releases.

Full-day preschool services will be offered at the Richard J. Hyde Educational Resource Center beginning this fall. The program will be fully aligned with Pennsylvania’s Learning Standards for Early Childhood in preparation for a successful transition to kindergarten.

The program is in partnership with Robert Morris University and the Sewickley Valley YMCA. In addition to a full-day preschool program, aftercare will be available until 6 p.m. to better meet the needs of working families.

More information - including tuition costs - will be available within the next few weeks. Click here to complete an online form to be contacted directly as soon as this information is released.

Board of Education Meeting: Monday, March 23 | Agenda


Click here to view the School Board agenda for Monday, March 23, 2015. 

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the Board Room located within the central administrative offices.

Complete list of 2015 meeting dates

Board meeting minutes

Four seniors named National Merit Finalists

3/19/2015. Filed under Press Releases.

Four Moon Area High School students were recently named Finalists in the 60th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. John Bal, Rocco Maue, Kushi Mallikarjun and Jessica Peng were selected on the basis of their SAT scores, grades, essays and letters of recommendation.

“The National Merit Competition is a very prestigious scholarship competition,” Amanda Spirnak, high school guidance counselor, said. “In September, they were announced as Semifinalists – having scored among the highest PSAT scores in Pennsylvania.”  

High school students enter the National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the PSAT – the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test – during the fall of their junior year. Of the 1.4 million entrants, the top one third (approximately 16,000 students) qualified as Semifinalists.

As Finalists, John, Rocco, Kushi and Jessica are now competing for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth approximately $33 million that will be offered this spring. The National Merit Scholarship Program awards three types of scholarships:

  • National Merit $2,500 Scholarships, which provide $2,500 toward the student’s freshman year of college.
  • Corporate-Sponsored Merit Scholarships, which provide four year renewable awards ranging from $500-$10,000 per year payment.
  • College-Sponsored Merit Scholarships, which provide four year renewable awards ranging $500-$2,000 per year. 

John Bal plans to pursue a degree in aerospace or chemical engineering. He has been accepted to the honors colleges at Texas A&M University, Arizona State University, University of Central Florida and Rice University. 

Rocco Maue has received an appointment to The United States Military Academy at West Point. In addition, he has been accepted to Case Western Reserve University, Penn State University, The Ohio State University, and the University of Pittsburgh. He is awaiting decisions from Lehigh University, John Hopkins University and Cornell University. He plans to major in engineering.

Kushi Mallikarjun has been accepted to Harvard University and Carnegie Mellon University.  He plans to study neurobiology and eventually become a doctor.

Jessica Peng plans to pursue a major in Digital Media Design at the University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering and Applied Science.  She has also been accepted to the University of Pittsburgh. She will also hear decisions from Boston College, Carnegie Mellon University, McGill University, New York University, University of Toronto, Vanderbilt University, University of Waterloo, and the College of William & Mary.

According to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, "The National Merit Scholarship Program honors individual students who show exceptional academic ability and potential for success in rigorous college studies."


Two seniors selected for All-State Chorus

3/19/2015. Filed under Press Releases.

Two Moon Area High School vocalists were selected through competitive audition to participate in the 2015 Pennsylvania Music Educators Association All-State Chorus. Seniors Ekeni Abakah and Dana Murray will travel to Hershey March 25-28, 2015, for this opportunity.

Ekeni and Dana auditioned for the All-State Chorus during the PMEA Region I Choral Festival in February. Both students have auditioned successfully for every PMEA sponsored choral event in 2014-15.

Students will work under the direction of guest conductor Major Daniel Toven, former commander and conductor of the 55-member Army Ground Forces Band. A native of Union City, Penn., he completed his undergraduate studies in trombone performance at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and earned a master of music in conducting from the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester. Major Toven has worked with Grammy Award-winning choral conductor Robert Page and has prepared choruses for the Boston Pops Holiday Pops under the direction of Keith Lockhart. He continues to be in high demand as a clinician and a guest conductor.

Students will rehearse intensively for two days in preparation for a public concert that’s set for 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 28, in the Hershey Theatre.  The All-State Chorus is held in conjunction with the 2015 PMEA Annual In-service Conference for music teachers throughout the commonwealth.

PMEA is a statewide nonprofit organization of more than 4,500 members, dedicated to promoting the musical development of all Pennsylvanians. The organization promotes and supports quality music education, learning and performance as well as promoting and supporting music education in schools and communities. PMEA is affiliated with The National Association for Music Education.


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