School News

February 6, 2019 Cranberry Living

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Mars High School students Jacob Smith, Zachary Ottenweller and Jack Felice were selected by solo audition to perform at the PMEA District Jazz Festival.

3 Mars students attend jazz festival

ADAMS TWP — Three Mars High School students were selected by solo audition to perform in the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association District Jazz Festival, held Friday and Saturday at Slippery Rock University.

Students are senior Jacob Smith and juniors Jack Felice and Zachary Ottenweller.

Guest conductors include Michael Bodolosky, University of Pittsburgh (Johnstown) director of bands, music instructor and Musical Theatre Productions conductor as well as Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center executive director; David Glover, Slippery Rock University associate professor of percussion; and Matt Niess, lead trombonist with the U.S. Army Blues Jazz Ensemble in Washington, D.C.

The event concluded with a public concert Saturday at Slippery Rock University’s Swope Recital Hall.

For more information, contact Mark Rodgers, Mars High School band director, at 724-625-1581 or visit

Mars seeks host families for event

ADAMS TWP — Mars High School’s American Field Service/Mars International Student Association chapter is seeking host families for the school’s 2019 Mars International Days to be held March 20 to 23.

Any Mars families interested in hosting an exchange student during the event will be asked to complete an online application, which requires the submission of references and the completion of an AFS background check. All prospective host families must also submit to a home visit by an AFS volunteer and obtain Pennsylvania Child Abuse History (Act 151), Pennsylvania Criminal History (Act 34), and FBI Federal Criminal History Check (Act 114) clearances.

AFS/MISA is an international exchange program that welcomes high school students from around the world and offers scholarships to eligible students interested in traveling abroad. As part of International Days, the high school chapter welcomes exchange students who are enrolled at local schools to speak with their peers in grades 7 to 12 and to join in a variety of other activities with AFS/MISA chapter members.

Any families interested in hosting a student during the event are asked to contact Shawna Peters, adviser, at

Shoes collected for charitable causes

ADAMS TWP — Fourth-graders in several classrooms at Mars Elementary School, working in partnership with the Mars Centennial School Friends of Rachel Club, will sponsor a shoe drive through Feb. 15.

The schools will be accepting donations of gently worn, used or new shoes, which will be donated to those living in developing nations through Funds2Orgs. The social enterprise company will make a payment to the schools based on the weight of the shoes collected and the schools will donate all proceeds to a local charity, which is as yet to be determined.

“As our students have been engaged in ‘Rachel’s Challenge,’ they have discussed ways in which they can show acts of kindness (and) give back both locally, nationally and globally,” said Stephanie Graff and Jamie Waters, who are coordinating the fundraiser, along with their fellow fourth grade teachers Chris Petrini and Jennifer Renner. “With as many community members and students involved as possible, we know that our goal is attainable.”

The goal of the fundraiser is to collect 2,500 pairs of shoes.

For more information, contact Stephanie Graff or Jamie Waters at 724-625-3161 or visit

Mars report cards available online

ADAMS TWP — Mars School District has posted its report cards for the second nine weeks of the 2018-19 school year for students in grades K-12 to the Skyward Family Access portal.

Parents may log in to Skyward via the “Student Information System” link on the district’s website,, using the login information provided by the district.

After logging in to Skyward, each student’s individual report card may be viewed by clicking on the “Portfolio” tab in the left-hand column. The report card will be listed in the center column. In the event that a student’s report card was posted twice, click on the file with the latest time stamp.

Paper copies of report cards will not be mailed home. However, parents who do not have access to the Internet may request a copy of their student’s report card by contacting the appropriate building principal. Requested copies of report cards must be picked up at the student’s school building.

Questions and/or concerns regarding report cards should be directed to the individual student’s school building.

Planet Foundation supports district

ADAMS TWP — The Mars Planet Foundation is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit, tax-exempt corporation that serves to develop, promote and finance educational programs, activities and projects within Mars School District.

Businesses interested in contributing to the foundation may do so directly or through the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program, which promotes expanded educational opportunities for students in schools throughout the Commonwealth.

The EITC program offers a tax credit to eligible businesses that contribute cash, personal property, and/or services to an approved Educational Improvement Organization, such as Mars Planet Foundation, or to another approved scholarship organization. More information regarding the EITC program is available online at

Donations to Mars Planet Foundation, which are tax deductible, are used to enhance educational opportunities and supplement classroom learning for all Mars Area students. Contributions may apply to technology, literacy, scholarships, projects/programs, staff development and other activities.

Each school year, the foundation awards Teaching Enrichment Grants to Mars teachers/staff members to provide unique educational opportunities that are not part of the current curriculum and to maximize learning initiatives.

Most recently, the foundation awarded grants to fund a “Media Center Collaboration Space” and a “Transforming iPads into Creation Studios” project at Mars Centennial School; to purchase additional banners in support of the “Rachel’s Challenge” positive school culture program; and to purchase materials for “Welcome to Mars” gift bags that will be distributed to new students enrolling in grades 7 to 12.

For more information, visit

Registration opens for spring sports

ADAMS TWP — Online registration for all Mars High School and Mars Middle School spring sports is now open at

In addition to registering, parents/guardians must also print and submit the designated Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Physical Forms available online at FamilyID.

Mars School District charges a $100 athletic participation fee per student, per sport. Online payments are accepted via FamilyID or by check, made payable to “Mars School District.” Checks may be turned in with the completed physical forms to the nurse’s office in the student’s individual building.

All fees and completed forms must be submitted at least one week before the first practice date for the corresponding sports team. No athlete will be permitted to practice, without a completed physical and/or paid fee.

For details, visit the “Athletics” page at

AP exam payments taken until Feb. 22

ADAMS TWP— Mars High School students who are taking an advanced placement course and are planning to take the corresponding AP exam may submit their exam fee payment through 8:30 a.m. Feb. 22.

The school will offer the AP exams for biology, calculus AB, chemistry, computer science principles, computer science A, English language & composition, English literature & composition, European history, physics 1 AB, physics 2 AB, Spanish language & culture and United States history. The exams will be administered on varying dates/times in May.

Cost is $94 per AP exam or $47 for any students who are currently enrolled in an AP English, Mathematics or Science course at Mars High School and are signing up for the corresponding AP exam. The cost reduction is made possible through Mars School District’s partnership with the National Math+Science Initiative.

For an AP exam schedule, as well as more information, visit the “Mars Area High School” page at

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