St Philip School provides a wide range of enrichment opportunities for all of our students. Some programs, such as STEAM encompass the whole school, while others are targeted for students who desire challenges or those who require support. A variety of areas such as Arts, Drama, Science, Language Arts, Technology, Creativity, Economics, are addressed to meet the needs of of each child's individual intelligences and interests. Help is also provided to students who have special learning callenges through programs provided by the Allegheny County Intermediate Unit and our surrounding school districts. Full time nurses are on duty to care for accidents, illnesses, and the special physical needs of students.
St Philip School has a dedicated STEAM Lab available to all classes to promote the study of STEAM -Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math education. Students focus on these areas together, not only because the skills and knowledge in each discipline are essential for student success, but also because these fields are deeply intertwined in the real world and in how students learn most effectively. STEAM is an interdisciplinary and applied approach that is coupled with hands-on, problem-based learning. A STEM-literate student is not only an innovator and critical thinker, but is able to make meaningful connections between school, community, work and global issues. Some of the materials available include:
- Happy Atoms digital and physical chemistry set
- Story Time Stem Paks
- Bee-Bot robots
- Finch Robots from Carnegie Mellon
- Hummingbird Robotics kits from Carnegie Mellon University
- K’nex and K’nex Engineering kits
- Osmos which enhance learning on iPads
- Little Bits and Makey-Makey electrical circuitry
- A wide variety of Science topic kits and materials which include engineering, fossils, simple machines, solar system, optics, and measurement
- A wide variety of materials for creating and designing projects such as cardboard, straws, paperclips, glue, etc
(Available to eligible students in Grades 3-8)
The Thinking Caps program for academic enrichment is available to students in Grades 3-8 who are recommended by their teachers, score at least three grade levels above current grade on annual Iowa Achievement Tests, and maintain a 3.5 or higher GPA. TC students attend a 40-minute classroom session on a rotating basis throughout the school year. Higher-level thinking skills are developed and encouraged through the use of various intellectual challenges.
Thinking Caps students also attend off-site activities throughout the school year including:
- Allegheny Intermediate Unit (AIU) Academic Events in support of Gifted and Talented Education (GATE). These events include the Science Bowl, America Bowl, History Bowl, Computer Fair, Reading Festival, Eco Challenge, K’NEX Challenge, and Wild Investigations.
- Battery Car Races sponsored by Duquesne University
- Design Lives Here Engineering Program sponsored by WQED
- SPS Thinking Caps Olympiad (intramural academic competition)
High School Math & Science Program
(available to qualifying 8th graders)
High-achieving eighth grade students are eligible to attend Honors Biology or Intro to Engineering and Honors Algebra I courses at nearby Bishop Canevin High School. These students go directly to Bishop Canevin High School for the first two periods of the class day and then return to St. Philip for the remainder of the school day for all other subjects. Bus transportation is coordinated by parents and the various students' school districts.
Carnegie Science Center Programs
The Carnegie Science Center yearly brings a program or activity to our school.The Fab Lab was herethis year. Carnegie Science Center’s Mobile Fab Lab is a mobile maker space using 3D printers, laser and vinyl cutters, a Shop Bot, and more to give students the opportunity to experience the STEM-based maker movement. Students take their designs from computer screens to robotic machines. From conception to fabrication, students learn how to turn “bits” into “its.”
Students work in teams to design, prototype, and test projects. These two-hour or longer challenges are designed to use basic making materials as well as digital fabrication machines so that teams are introduced to the software and hardware capabilities of the Mobile Fab Lab.
Grades 3-6 were challenged to program a ball-like robot called a sphero and then design a “chariot” on the computer which the sphero must pull. Using an iPad, the students, used block coding to move the sphero in many directions. On the computer, they then drew the “chariot” and “printed” it out from foam materials on the laser cutter.
Grades 7&8 were tasked to draw a glider on the computer and “print” it on the laser cutter out of foam. The glider was then assembled, tested, and modifications were made to improve flight.The team from the Science Center also demonstrated a 3D printer and other tech marvels. The Fab Lab was brought to SPS through the efforts of the GALA committee who sponsored and funded this fabulous learning opportunity.
At the end of last year, the Science Center hosted a hands-on Science night for the Pre-school and Grades K-2.
Phipps Eco Challenge
(Available to Grades 6-8)
Our Middle School students particpate in the Phipps Challenge and a group attend the Eco Challenge at Phipps Conservatory. They were asked to create and draw a sustainable community, identified and catalog plants on a scavenger hunt, and appreciate the importance of moths and butterflies in the ecosystem. This event was the kickoff for the larger project, The Fairchild Challenge, which is a free, multidisciplinary, standards-based environmental education outreach program designed to give high school and middle school students an opportunity to investigate the thorniest environmental issues, devise imaginative and effective responses to these issues, and take action to address them. The project was developed by the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Miami, Fl., and adopted by Phipps as a satellite partner in 2008. Our students study 5 environmental problems over the course of the year and create solutions in a contest setting. Last year, St Philip students too 3rd place in the competition.
(Available to Grades K-8)
Co-hosted by SPS, Carlynton School District and the AIU, this competition encourages individual students to create an original product or process after identifying a need.
The student must first complete patent and other research to prove the product is original or an improvement to an existing product and not previously invented. To advance to the regional competition, students must then present their completed invention to a panel of judges during Catholic Schools Week in late January. Students selected to advance compete against their peers from several area school districts at Carlynton High School. Each student must be prepared to discuss and answer questions about his or her invention, inventor’s log, and advertising materials during three rounds of judging. First, Second, Third and Honorable Mention awards are presented at each grade level. SPS students are consistently among top finishers.
Junior Achievement Program
(Available to Grades K-8)
Under the auspices of the Junior Achievement program, students from Bishop Canevin High School spend the day at St. Philip School teaching the children about Economics in its various forms. Lessons are presented at all grade levels and included topics such as money use in Kindergarten, business strategies in 5th grade, communications and transportation in 6th grade. The children enjoyed being taught by students just a little older than themselves and related well to this style of learning. JA Worldwide is a partnership between the business community, educators and volunteers — all working together to inspire young people to dream big and reach their potential. JA’s hands-on, experiential programs teach the key concepts of work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy to young people all over the world. The Bishop Canevin students train and present this event yearly and seemed to really enjoy being teachers for the day. The students love to see SPS graduates come back as instructors. The local JA program and Bishop Canevin offer scholarships to 8th graders who have attended Catholic School and participated in the JA program.
(Available to Grades K-8)
St Philip teachers and students participate in the Pittcon Scince programs that are held in Pittsburgh every other year. Teachers attended workshops to learn new programs an techniques and earn grants to purchase Scientific Equipment. Students may also attend hands-on workshops to learn new Science concepts and procedures. This year grades 1 and 2 had the opportunity to take a GREAT trip to Science Week at the David Lawrence Convention Center. The student and teacher workshops (which some of our teachers attended over the weekend) are part of the The Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy, referred to as Pittcon. Pittcon is a non-profit educational organization based in Pennsylvania that organizes an annual Conference and Exposition on laboratory science. The teachers won the trips in a lottery and admission was free, including t-shirts and materials! Students participated in 6 workshops: Building Liquid Density Tubes, Frog Adaptations, Magnet & Circuit Exploration, Bird Beak Differences, Polymer Play, Sky Lab Planetarium Show. All sessions were conducted by professionals in their respective fields of science from various parts of the country. Students received free shirts, bracelets, and chemistry booklets.
Because of their participation in the weekend workshops, 6 of our teachers earned $1750 in grants to purchase Science equipment for our school and earned the privilege of having the Pittcon Sky Lab come to our school. SPS students took a trip around the night sky in our own gymnasium! The program illustrates the night sky and allows students learn about stars, the life of stars and constellations. Students were taught the difference between stars and planets, how to recognize easily visible constellations, how to locate them in the night sky and how to use key constellations as guides to locate others. They also learned about their historical significance and some of the mythical stories associated with them. Students in each grade level enjoyed a presentation inside an inflatable dome in the gym.
The PTG yearly sponsore the Civic Light Opera's Gallery of Heroes .Through dramatic sketches and musical vignettes, Pittsburgh CLO’s Gallery of Heroes program takes its 50-minute mini-musicals to area schools to educate and enlighten students about great historical figures such as Galileo Galilei, George Washington, Roberto Clemente, the Wright Brothers and Harriet Tubman. Highlighting the lives and accomplishments of significant historical figures, Gallery of Heroes offers an entertaining alternative to traditional lectures and books. BEYOND THE MOON, a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s moonwalk, features a 16-year-old student with “astronaut-ical” dreams of being the first person to set foot on Mars.
St. Philip 3rd graders become the proud recipients of their very own dictionaries as part of a special project sponsored by the Crafton-Ingram Rotary. Through the Dictionary Project, over 31 million children have received a dictionary thanks to the generosity of sponsors who have participated in the Dictionary Project. The goal of this program is to assist all students in completing the school year as good writers, active readers and creative thinkers by providing students with their own personal dictionary. The dictionaries are a gift to each student to use at school and at home for years to come. The Crafton – Ingram Rotary, an organization of business and community leaders in our area, is the local sponsor of the Dictionary Project and members personally came to St. Philip School to present the dictionaries and encourage the children to develop good reading and writing habits.Educators see third grade as the dividing line between learning to read and reading to learn, so the dictionary project encourages its sponsors to give dictionaries each year to children in the third grade.
As they become available, special programs such as the visit from WTAE Weather, Think First Bicycle Safety and Learn Not to Burn programs from Children's Hospital are welcomed.
Services for Students
St. Philip school works with local public and Intermediate units in providing intervention and services in the following areas.
Elementary Guidance Counseling
Elementary counselors work with students (K-8) who are referred for emotional or social concerns which may be interfering with their academic progress. Written parental permission is required before a student can be seen by a counselor.
Remedial Reading and Remedial Math
Multiple criteria which include standardized test scores, classroom performance, and teacher/principal recommendation are used for this service. However teacher/principal recommendation takes precedence in grades K through 3.
Speech and Language, Hearing-Vision
For these services a referral is made from the principal, classroom teacher, school nurse, parent, psychologist or counselor. Services are prioritized based on student need.
For the health and protection of our students, St Philip School, in conjunction with the health services of the Carlynton School District, has a registered nurse on duty during the entire school day. The Certified School Nurse employed by the Carlynton school district is present at the St Philip Campus two half-days a week. She supervises a staff of three part - time registered nurses, employed by the school, who care for the children during the time periods she is not available.