James Simmons recognized on annual National Day of Writing

James Simmons, a sophomore undeclared major from Wyomissing, was recognized by York College faculty members on National Day on Writing.

Every October 20, NCTE celebrates the importance, joy, and evolution of writing through a tweetup, using the hashtag #WhyIWrite and events hosted by thousands of educators across the country. This year we’ve launched a new website. Visit WhyIWrite.us for resources, the latest hashtag conversation, and a brand new podcast series.

Last year there were more than 60,000+ tweets with a reach of millions of people. The hashtag #WhyIWrite trended on Twitter all day long and was even featured in Entertainment Weekly: “Even some people who are famous for things other than writing, including Steelers linebacker Vince Williams, among others, have been using the hashtag.”

Why a National Day on Writing? 

In light of the significance of writing in our national life, to draw attention to the remarkable variety of writing we engage in, and to help writers from all walks of life recognize how important writing is to their lives, NCTE established October 20 as The National Day on Writing.  The National Day on Writing

  • points to the importance of writing instruction and practice at every grade level, for every student and in every subject area from preschool through university (see The Genteel Unteaching of America’s Poor),
  • emphasizes the lifelong process of learning to write and composing for different audiences, purposes, and occasions, and
  • encourages Americans to write and enjoy and learn from the writing of others.


Every holiday season the Oley Valley School District facilitates an Angel Tree program.
The purpose of this program is to provide gift cards to families in need during the holiday season. Last year we helped over 75 families.
If you are interested in donating to this program please contact Mrs. Deb Bernecker via phone at 610-987-4100 ext 1191 or e-mail at dbernecker@ovsdpa.org.

If you are in need of donations and would like to be an Angel Tree recipient, please contact Deb Bernecker at the contact information listed above. All requests for donations will remain confidential.


On Monday, Oct. 2, 2017, the Oley Valley Middle School, in partnering with the Tri Valley YMCA, opened its YMCA afterschool program. This program is free for middle school students to attend. The program runs Monday through Thursday from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. The program’s home base is in a Middle School classroom.

The program will offer a wide variety of typical program activities including study time, games, art projects, etc. The program will also use school resources to offer unique opportunities for enrichment. These include regular sessions in the Middle School’s new ViewMaster Virtual Reality Lab, a monthly writers workshop given by a published novelist (and OVMS English teacher), organized sports/games/activities run by OVMS physical education teachers as well as community service opportunities both on and off-campus.

The program can also serve as a supplement to other school programs already in place. While we cannot provide transportation for students who stay after school, students can sign-in to the Y-Program when the school activity is completed. The Middle School offers afterschool tutoring from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Some students stay after for Jazz Band or Select Chorus. The program is there if they cannot be picked up until later.

While the program is brand new, we anticipate rapid growth. We greatly appreciate all of the support provided in getting this program started. Superintendent Dr. Tracy Shank and OVCEF Executive Director (and school board member) Mrs. Joanne Ewing were instrumental in ensuring that this program got off the ground. Many thanks to the Oley Valley Community Education Foundation and to the United Way for providing funding for this program. Thanks also to the Tri Valley YMCA staff for working with the Oley Valley Middle School.

This program is provided at no cost to parents. Parents must, however, complete a registration form for child to attend. Forms can be obtained from the district website, from the Middle School Facebook page or from the main office. Donations are accepted. Should you have any questions regarding the program, please contact Mr. Dan Marks, Middle School Principal at 610-987-4100, ext. 4308.



Students at OVES celebrated International Dot Day on September 15th. Thanks to our staff at OVES that participated in this fun school wide event. Together we celebrated the book The Dot by Peter H Reynolds.

According to their website http://www.thedotclub.org/dotday/, over 10 million people from 170 countries joined our celebration of creativity and decided to MAKE THEIR MARK and change the world!

Students created their own dots in each of the grade levels. Students from Mrs. Usner’s art enrichment class created 3-D dots using the app Quiver.


The Golden Acres Elementary School and Catherine Bethke Elementary School in Texas received their supplies donated by OVES staff, students, and community.

The staff and communities in those two school districts are very thankful and appreciative of the generosity and kindness shown by the Oley Valley community.

A big thank you to Elite trucking for shipping the supplies to Texas.


The 71st Annual Oley Community Fair was held from Sept. 21 through 23. As is tradition, the students and staff of the Oley Valley School District were actively involved.

The district had an informational booth in the commercial building and was visited by hundreds of alumni during the fair. High school students were involved in setting up, cleanup, music performances, FFA farmer for a day, manning the cake and cider stand and volunteering in food stands.

Students and staff of all ages were also involved in entering competitions, exhibits and contests.

Twin Valley 7th graders team up with Keystone Military Families for 17th Annual Cookie Bake Oct. 27

Pictured from left are seventh-graders Evan Gould, Sam Schillermann, Sarah Miller, Kylee Wheatley and Alexa Duke, posing with a portion of donated supplies for Oct. 27 event.

This is the 17th year that TVMS seventh-grade students have participated in the Cookie Bake project. It was started in 2001 by Mrs. Lisa Thiry, who was a seventh-grade math teacher at the time.

Over the years, TVMS seventh-graders have baked, packaged and shipped literally tens of thousands of cookies to soldiers who are stationed overseas. Last year they baked and packaged more than 9,000 cookies!

This is an interdisciplinary activity in which students take a recipe for chocolate chip cookies and calculate the quantities of ingredients necessary for every seventh-grade student to mix a batch of cookies with a partner.

An army of parent and community volunteers assist the students with mixing the batter, portioning onto sheet trays and transporting them to our kitchen where our adult volunteers handle the baking process.

Once baked and cooled, the cookies are then packed to be sent to military members who are stationed abroad. Included with each box of cookies are letters that students write in their language arts classes.

The boxes are shipped with the assistance of Keystone Military Families with funds collected from selling cookie coupons to our fifth-, sixth- and eighth-grade students. The coupons are redeemed on the day of the Cookie Bake for a fresh chocolate chip cookie.

This year’s Cookie Bake will be held Friday, Oct. 27. Students begin baking around 7 a.m. and wrap things up at 11 a.m. In that time, students rotate through a baking station, work on an art project and get an opportunity to listen and ask questions of soldiers (active and retired) who volunteer to come share their experiences.

“This activity is a great example of an interdisciplinary community service project that involves the entire seventh-grade learning community, including parents and members of the Armed Forces, many of whom live in the school district,” said Dr. Jerry Catagnus, TVMS principal. “It has truly become a yearly ‘event’ for our staff and students. It is an honor for us to serve and connect with those who serve our country.”
“This is the 17th year of our Cookie Bake project – each year it seems to get bigger and better,” said Jerry Wilczynski, seventh-grade math teacher. “This project serves as a small way that we as teachers and students can say thank you to those who protect and serve our country.  It also is a reminder that, in a time when we are surrounded by negative news, there are a lot of people who are doing good things to serve their communities.”

Kutztown University professor named 2017 Pennsylvania Higher Ed Art Educator

Dr. Amy Pfeiler-Wunder has been named the 2017 Pennsylvania Outstanding Higher Ed Art Educator by the Pa. Art Education Association (PAEA). She is a professor of art education at Kutztown University. She will receive her award at the state conference held Oct. 19 – 22 in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Prior to joining the faculty at KU in 2009, she worked as an elementary art educator with the Iowa City Community School District. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Mount Mercy College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and both a master’s and doctorate degree from the University of Iowa, Iowa City.

Prior to her move to Pennsylvania, Pfeiler-Wunder was an active member of the Iowa Art Education Association (IAEA), where she served as secretary and member of the Mentoring Committee, and Co-Chair of an IAEA annual conference. She was a 2009 Western Region Leadership participant, 2006 IAEA Outstanding Elementary Art Educator and the 2007 NAEA Western Region Outstanding Art Educator of the Year.

Pfeiler-Wunder is the coordinator of Graduate Art Education Programs at Kutztown University. She also helped write courses for the new doctoral program in the College of Education. As a graduate student advisor, she is an essential partner in students’ development and growth. She was recently elected chair of the Commission on Human Diversity-a highly significant organization at KU. This ties closely with her life-long passion for social justice issues.

Pfeiler-Wunder has been published numerous times and has designed several new courses at the university including Integrated Curriculum in the Art Class and Discover! Science and Art Integration for the K-12 Educator.

Pfeiler-Wunder is an actively involved scholar and presents extensively at the National Art Education Association (NAEA) regional, and international conferences. She served on the Editorial Board of NAEA’s Art Education Journal, serves on the NAEA Research Commission and is the Higher Education Director-Elect for the NAEA Board.

PAEA actively supports and promotes visual art education through professional development, leadership, and service.

Kutztown University orchestra concert slated for Oct. 21

Dr. Peter Isaacson directs the Kutztown University Orchestra.

The Kutztown University Orchestra will present their first performance of fall semester Saturday, Oct. 21, at 7:30 p.m. in Schaeffer Auditorium. The concert is free and open to the public.

The concert is dedicated entirely to American music and will feature Libby Larsen’s “Overture for the End of a Century,” Alan Hovhanness’s “And God Created Great Whales,” Michael Daugherty’s “Route 66” and Samuel Barber’s “First Essay for Orchestra Op. 12.”

The concert will also include excerpts from Leonard Bernstein’s Westside Story.

Lead by Dr. Peter Isaacson, the Kutztown University Orchestra has a reputation for musical excellence and sold out performances. Performing standard and contemporary repertoire, the KUO has featured soloists such as Philadelphia Orchestra Concertmaster David Kim and Tchaikovsky Competition Gold Medal winner Sandra Rivers. KUO members also train with notable instrumentalists from Philadelphia, New York and the Lehigh Valley.

The orchestra holds an annual concerto competition with a college and high school division.

Tyler Readinger-Angstadt awarded conducting fellowship with Allentown Symphony Orchestra

Tyler Readinger conducts the Chamber Players at Kutztown University.

Tyler Readinger-Angstadt, a senior music major from Birdsboro, Pa., has been awarded a conducting fellowship with the Allentown Symphony Orchestra.

The Conducting Fellows Program supports the opportunity for promising conductors to hone their craft and enrich their musical experience through mentorship and participation in the Allentown Symphony Association’s orchestral and community programs.

The Conducting Fellows travel to the Lehigh Valley to work side by side with Allentown Symphony Music Director and Conductor Diane Wittry, in advance of and during the production of a Classical Series Concert. Along the way, they learn intricacies involved in assembling and leading a regional symphony.

Fellows also meet with Association staff in order to learn the range of activities necessary to operate a symphony orchestra. Their visit includes a stop at the exemplary community-based program, El Sistema Lehigh Valley.

Readinger is the assistant conductor of the Reading Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor of the Kutztown University Chamber Players. He began conducting in high school and has since been invited to conduct throughout the community, regionally and nationally.

Currently a student of Dr. Peter Isaacson at Kutztown University, he has also studied with Christian Capocaccia, Georgios Vranos, Gavriel Heine, Willis Rapp and others. He has been invited to guest conduct groups such as the Reading Pops Orchestra and the Stamford Young Artists Philharmonic.

Readinger was a fellow of the Conductors Institute of South Carolina, where he worked with conductors Donald Portoy, Jorge Mester, Peter Jaffe, and Victoria Bond. He was also a participant in Diane Wittry’s Beyond the Baton conducting seminar, and has been invited to numerous other conducting institutions. He has collaborated with world class artists such as NYC Ballet concertmaster Kurt Nikkanen, pianist Maria Asteriadou, flautist Susanna Loewy, as well as students from The Curtis Institute, The Manhattan School of Music and Kutztown University.

As a clarinetist, he performs regularly as an ensemble, chamber and solo musician regionally, nationally, and internationally. He has appeared with the Reading Pops Orchestra, Penn Symphony Orchestra, Northern Lights Festival Orchestra, and in festivals across the country. A current student of Dr. Soo Goh, he has performed in master classes for Mark Nuccio, Kevin Schempf, and Michele Gingras to name a few, and studied briefly with Miltos Mumulides, Rie Suzuki and Julie Beth Drey.