Art Department

7 years ago

Art Department Philosophy

Art Education enables students to perceive the world in which we live by interpreting their perceptions into visual form. This artistic process encourages problem solving skills coupled with innovation and imagination.  Donegal School District’s balanced and sequential art program develops basic skills, encourages visual awareness and is fundamental to intellectual growth and creative self-expression.

We are committed to assisting students in achieving the full extent of their abilities by setting the following goals for Art Education:


·         Perceive and understand relationships among the elements and principles of 

         design as they appear in natural and man-made environments, their influence on          mental images and the interpretation of works of art.

·         Develop an appreciation and interest of visual arts via the study of historical     

         periods and cultural contexts.


·         Develop and master basic and technical skills for using various art mediums as a 

          means of personal expression and communication.

·         Utilize the 8 Studio Habits of Mind – Develop Craft, Engage and Persist, Envision, 

          Express, Observe, Reflect, Stretch and Explore, Understand the Art World – to     

          encourage design-based thinking and 21st Century Skills.


·         Think and act creatively through problem solving and responding with         

          originality, flexibility, fluency and imagination.


·         Develop a working knowledge of the language of art to communicate an 

          understanding of the relationship of visual arts to other fields of knowledge.


·         Utilize critical analysis and aesthetic judgements about works of art created by 

          the student and others.

·         Interpret ideas and use self-assessments to identify successful individual 



The Donegal Art Department curriculum embraces the Elements and Principles of Design with a strong emphasis on artistic process skills and problem solving. Additionally, students are engaged in art criticism, art aesthetics, and art history to enrich the visual vocabulary and creativity in the art classroom. In all, the goal of the art department is to prepare, challenge, and foment artistic development through the creative process of art making.

In Kindergarten through grade six, students are introduced to art production, art history, criticism and reflection. Through a range of media from 2D to 3D students are encouraged to explore and experiment with new materials, while foundational concepts are being introduced.

In grades seven and eight, the art curriculum focuses on developing a greater student understanding of form, materials, techniques, and content to develop and create works of art. Student choice is greatly encouraged, as well as divergent, critical and creative thinking through the creative process of art making.

Once in the high school, students are given the freedom to select which path(s) interest them the most. After the completion of Introduction to Art, students may decide to enter:

           - Graphic Design
           - Ceramics/Sculpture I*
           - Studio Art 
           - Drawing/Painting I*

    Photography I* 

             A separate digital arts course that does not require prior HS art course 


    AP Studio Art 

            Offered to any serious 12th grade visual arts student who has completed 

            multiple art courses.

The high school is an opportunity for students to further explore the art world, begin mastering skills, further developing their critical thinking skills, and encouraging the discovery of their artistic voice.  

*These courses offer a 2nd level option– Ceramics/Sculpture II, Photography II, 
  Drawing/Painting II.


Department Chairs

3 years ago

Art K-12

Nichole Marsh

Business Education: 3-12

Justin Hill

English Language Development: K-12


English/Reading: Secondary, 7-12

Audra Brackbill

Fitness and Wellness: K-12

Douglas Nolt

School Counseling: K-12

Danielle Kuhn

Language Arts/Reading: Elem., K-6

Sara Peacher and Andrea Bachert

Library: K-12


Mathematics: Elementary,  K-6

Kathlynn Musser and Elizabeth Ramsey

Mathematics: Secondary, 7-12

Michelle Daggett

Music: K-12

Hollie Mendenhall

Science: Elementary, K-6

Nicole Shoemaker

Science: Secondary,  7-12

Seth Dougherty

Social Studies: Elementary,  K-6


Social Studies: Secondary, 7-12

Justin Neideigh

Special Education: K-12

Allyson Pruskowski

Technology Education: 7-12

Matt Deller

World Language: 9-12

Andrew Whitlock


Business Department

7 years ago

The Donegal School District’s Business Department serves students grades 7-12.  The core philosophy of the department is to engage students in authentic learning experiences that prepare our students for success at a post-secondary institution or as they enter the workforce.  The curriculum is based on Pennsylvania State Standards in Business, Computer, and Information Technology.

At the high school level, students choose from the following elective courses:

·         Accounting I

·         Accounting II

·         Entrepreneurship

·         Personal Law

·         Sports and Entertainment Marketing

·         Desktop Publishing

·         Microsoft Access

·         Microsoft Excel

·         Microsoft PowerPoint

·         Microsoft Word

Students are granted the opportunity to become a Microsoft Office Specialist in Access, Excel, PowerPoint, and Word by taking and passing certification exams. 

Our final course offering is Personal Finance.  All juniors are required to take and successfully complete Personal Finance to graduate from DHS.  This course serves to teach financial literacy skills to students and help them prepare for life as an adult. 

In addition to our course offerings, the Business Department offers students an opportunity to join Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA).  This club encourages students to engage in business competitions, community building, and civic volunteerism throughout the school year.

In the junior high computer courses, students are taught how to use various features of Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.  Students are introduced to programming in 7th grade.  Students are introduced to podcasting in 8th grade.  Internet safety concepts are covered as well throughout the elementary and secondary curriculum.


English Language Development (ELD)

4 years ago

The Donegal School District offers a K-12 English as a Second Language (ESL) Program to eligible students. The goals of the program are:

  • To provide an ESL program for English Language Learners (ELL) whose first language is not English in order to promote listening, speaking, reading, and writing in English.
  • To enable our ELLs to be present in regular classroom environments at their appropriate grade level in all areas of instruction and learning, where instruction is conducted exclusively in English.
  • To enable all of our ELLs to achieve academic proficiency in compliance with any and all applicable academic standards required of Donegal students.
  • To achieve the required level of proficiency on the annual measurement of English acquisition required by the state of Pennsylvania.

Students are identified for ESL services using a home language survey that parents complete during the enrollment process, through the administration of an English language proficiency assessment and through a review of academic records.

ESL instruction may be delivered through pullout instruction, co-teaching models, or in class support depending on student needs.  Instruction and assessment are adjusted to meet the needs of the individual student.

During the enrollment process, district staff meets with the potential ELL student and his/her parents for an orientation and to administer an English language proficiency assessment. Interpretation and translation are made available for parents/students to ensure the school program is understandable, to help with the student's adjustment and to help parents with assistance in the school if needed. 

Once an ELL student is enrolled, the Donegal School District encourages parental support and involvement in school activities. Students are encouraged to participate in activities provided by the district. Band, chorus, student government and athletics are examples of activities in which ELL students may be involved.  An underlying objective of the ESL program is to provide a source of support as the student seeks to understand and adapt to his or her new cultural and academic setting. ESL and classroom teachers work together to develop an appreciation of their students’ strengths within the school setting and to ensure full access to the range of educational opportunities available in the Donegal School District. Throughout the school year, our ESL teachers consult with other staff members who work with our ELL students.

Donegal School District is a part of the WIDA (World-class Instructional Design and Assessment) consortium. WIDA produces the annual assessments used to determine eligibility for exit from services. Exit from services is based on performance on the annual language proficiency assessment, district assessments and on the annual state achievement assessments (PSSA/Keystones). Exited students are monitored for two years by ESL staff in collaboration with content teachers.

For more information about the legal requirements of an English As A Second Language program, please visit

English Department

7 years ago

English Department Information

The English department, at both the middle school and the high school levels, endeavors to teach children the necessary skills that will make them successful readers, writers, speakers, and listeners. The department’s planned instruction reflects the Pennsylvania Core standards. While approaches to attaining these standards may vary from teacher to teacher, the goal is always student achievement in these areas.


In grades seven and eight, students are taught the skills necessary to read critically and to analyze and interpret literature. Selections are not limited to only fiction but include nonfiction, poetry, and drama. Students are also introduced to the five paragraph format for writing and will in turn write informative, argumentative, and narrative essays. Much attention is paid to the conventions (grammar, usage, mechanics, and sentences) element. Speaking and listening skills will be taught through the cooperative learning process and individual presentations.


In grades nine and ten, students will continue to practice the reading, writing, speaking and listening skills introduced in middle school.   Requirements will become more extensive as students will be expected to read and write more frequently outside of class.

An emphasis is placed on those skills which aid students in determining the qualities of great literature and proficient writing.


In grades eleven and twelve, students have the opportunity to choose areas of literature in which they would like to specialize their study.   Researching becomes a point of emphasis as students are taught and guided through the process. Instruction also revolves around refining the students’ skills in the aforementioned areas.


As always, student achievement is paramount for the English department. Knowing that our students can read, write, speak, and listen well as they move toward graduation is a reward in itself.

Fitness and Wellness

7 years ago

Fitness and Wellness Education Curriculum


 The Health and Physical Education curriculum is based on the Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Health, Safety, and Physical Education. In Donegal School District, it is our goal to provide students with a quality health and wellness program and to develop an appreciation of fitness and enjoyment of activities for a lifetime.  


At the elementary level, instruction in physical education and health is provided by our department. Children enjoy developmentally appropriate activities that create maximum opportunities for development of various skills and health-related fitness. Additionally, children have the opportunity to learn information about fitness components, muscle names, fitness facts, safe stretches, and social and cooperative skills.   Many academic concepts are naturally linked within the physical education program through movement concepts and skill themes. The movement concepts include space awareness (where the body moves), effort (how the body moves) and relationships (with objects and people). The skill themes include locomotor skills (hopping, walking, running etc.) and nonmanipulative skills (throwing, catching, kicking, punting, dribbling, volleying etc.) All of the skills learned will be applied to the performance of specific sport-related activities. Health instruction aligned to the standards is also incorporated into these classes.


At the secondary level, students receive instruction in Health and Physical Education. Concepts of health include: growth and development; body systems; nutrition; alcohol, tobacco, and chemical substances; disease prevention; environmental health; consumer health; and conflict resolution and violence prevention. The physical education curriculum is designed to help students engage in a regular and varied physical activity program that supports personal fitness and promotes lifelong participation. Students will learn how to monitor their fitness levels, analyze the effects of participation, and evaluate factors that influence their selection of activities throughout their lifespan. Students will have opportunities to advance their skill development through practice and application of scientific and biomechanical principles.


The purpose of our health and physical education program is to provide a foundation which is essential for developing lifestyles and habits that are conducive to health and wellness. This foundation includes providing the opportunities for life skill development.   Students will be equipped with the tools necessary to make decisions that will have a positive impact on their health as a result of this educational foundation.

English/Language Arts Department (ELA)

7 years ago

English/Language Arts Department Information


The English/Language Arts program has been established with a balanced literacy framework. Each component is essential and must be implemented on a regular basis.


Teacher Directed Reading

Read Aloud (Reading to Children)

The teacher reads aloud daily to the whole class or small groups modeling directionality and/or phrasing, expression and vocabulary. Literature to be read aloud is a part of the core reading program or is selected by the teacher because of its appeal and rich language; the collection contains a variety of genres and represents our diverse society. Children can comprehend books read aloud on a higher level than they can read for themselves. Therefore, the read aloud time sets the stage for literacy acquisition at higher levels as well as serving as a model for reading behavior. Favorite texts selected for special features may be reread many times. Interactive read aloud may also be used as the teacher responds to the text aloud as a model for children.


Shared Reading (Reading with Children)

Using an enlarged text that all children can see or multiple copies on which older children follow the print, the teacher involves children in reading together following a pointer or pointing with their eyes. The process includes: reading and/or re-reading passages, big books, retellings, alternative texts, and products of interactive writing.


Guided Reading

Guided Reading (Reading by Children)

The teacher works with a small group of children with the same instructional need. The core reading program provides leveled readers. The teacher may also select additional books at the children’s instructional reading level. Support is provided for reading the whole text orally or silently, making teaching points during and after the reading based upon the reading behaviors observed. The children’s level of concern is increased as they accept more responsibility for getting meaning from print. The teacher serves as a guide or coach making suggestions to help each child in the group toward independence.


Independent Reading

Independent Reading (Reading by Children)

Children read on their own or with partners from a wide range of materials. Choices are made by the children at their independent reading levels. Children may choose to read for themselves books that the teacher or the whole group has read previously.


Word Study

Working with sounds, letters, and words is addressed systematically and explicitly within the balanced literacy framework. Phonics, phonemic awareness, and word study include strategies for developing a sight vocabulary and an understanding of how words work. The study begins with letters and sounds, rhyming and alliteration, word parts (onsets and rimes), phoneme position, phoneme counting, blending, segmenting, syllabication, sound separation, and sound manipulation. Vocabulary development is also included.



Shared Writing (Writing to/for Children)

Teacher and children work together to compose messages and stories. The teacher may support the process as a scribe using Peterson Handwriting for vertical print and cursive.


Interactive Writing (Writing with Children)

As in shared writing, teachers and children compose messages and stories which are written using a “shared pen” technique that involves children in their own writing. Teacher scaffolds the writing process for the children as they accept responsibility for parts they are able to write themselves. This is an appropriate technique K-2. During interactive writing, the teacher continually edits so that the model is correct. Students begin to learn cursive letters during the second half of grade 2. Cursive instruction continues through grade 5 as needed.


Guided Writing (Writing by Children)

Children engage in writing a variety of texts. The teacher guides the process and provides instruction through mini-lessons for the whole class or small groups of students with the same instructional need. Mini-lesson content is guided by the core program and the planned instruction documents. Teachers provide instruction and experience with narrative, informative and persuasive writing.


Independent Writing (Writing by Children)

Children write, on their own, a variety of forms of writing.


Readers as Learners in the Elementary Setting

Primary Classrooms – Grades K-2

A primary classroom focuses on letters and numbers. Children are learning to read and do limited mathematical reasoning. To prepare for the information rich society in which these children will live as adults, they should be reading non-fiction books as well as fiction books. Leveled fiction and non-fiction books are available to readers at their level of instruction. The model for the primary classroom is the balanced literacy framework.


Grade 3

According to the Pennsylvania Standards, the end of grade three is noted as the appropriate time to learn to read developmentally. Learning to read is still a major focus for third graders. For much of the year the teaching focus should be based upon using texts at each learner’s instructional level. 


Intermediate Classrooms – Grades 4-6

The Pennsylvania Standards expect children in grades four through six to continue to learn comprehension strategies and more sophisticated skills to get meaning from increasingly difficult texts in varied genre and subject areas. Teachers need to be aware of students’ instructional and independent reading levels, as well as the readability of the texts used with whole groups. The model for the intermediate classroom is the balanced literacy framework. Guided reading continues to be necessary for teaching students to expand their comprehension of text.


Research has determined that children need books they can read. If understanding of content is the goal, the text must be at the child’s independent reading level, often a grade below the grade placement, or the text must be handled as guided reading where students work with teacher direction. When students are frequently asked to read texts they do not understand, reading becomes a meaningless task that carries little value for the student.


Library/Information Literacy Department

7 years ago

Library/Information Literacy Information

The Donegal library curriculum addresses most of the standards in Pennsylvania’s Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, with a stronger focus on reading and literature in primary and intermediate grades, and shifting to an emphasis on research as students complete elementary school and move on to middle school and high school.


The department also supports the district literacy incentive by providing large collections of both fiction and non-fiction reading materials in print and electronic format, with a wide range of reading levels, that will appeal to students for self-selected reading.   Elementary school libraries support the Accelerated Reader program, utilized in grades one through eight, by providing tests and labeling for AR books.   Input for book purchases is solicited from teachers and students.


DHS Library Page -

DJHS Library Page - 

DIS Library Page - 

DPS Library Page -


Math Department

7 years ago

Mathematics Department Information
Donegal School District Mathematics Department

Mission Statement

The department’s mission is to provide the opportunity for all students to learn and understand important mathematical concepts and procedures, to expose them to current technology in order to facilitate the learning experience and insight into the practical application of these concepts, and to develop students as flexible, resourceful problem solvers.


The Mathematics Department’s commitment to mathematics education is centered in the recognition that a solid base of mathematical skills and the reasoning and problem solving abilities that come from actively developing these skills is necessary for all individuals in our rapidly changing, technologically oriented world. Throughout history the progress of civilization has paralleled the development of each society’s mathematical skills.

Furthermore, it is imperative that a positive instructional environment be created in which all students maximize their mathematical potential. Our program should embody and exemplify the creed All students can learn mathematics.

In order to achieve this statement of belief the curriculum must:

  • Provide a comprehensive, sequential mathematics curriculum derived from the NCTM and PA Core Standards for all students K-12.
  • Provide specific course content for all grade levels that will develop mathematical understanding and skills, reasoning and problem solving abilities, the capability to communicate effectively, and identify connections between mathematical thought and the world around us.
  • Provide positive mathematical learning experiences for all students K-12.
  • Provide the opportunity for all grade levels to use appropriate calculators and computers to enable them to facilitate the learning experience and develop the ability to adapt to change, a necessary life skill for a productive member of today’s society.


Science Department

7 years ago

Science Department Information

As a whole, the science department is dedicated to developing a scientific mind in each of the students who pass through the Donegal School District.   This goal, however, manifests itself differently at the various levels of education.


The focus in kindergarten through sixth grade is to make use of a hands-on, student inquiry approach to discovering science. Through this process, the students will develop their skills as scientists as they begin to understand the nature of science and to develop a solid base of content background knowledge. This universal set of skills and knowledge will provide a firm base to build their higher order skills as they continue their education. To accomplish this task, the FOSS curricular program ( will be implemented in these grades.


In grades seven and eight, the skills and content developed in the primary grades will be revisited and expanded to develop students’ higher order thinking skills. In addition, new content and skills will be presented to create a larger science foundation. These years will act as a bridge between the basic ideas of elementary and more advanced ideas of high school.


In ninth through twelfth grades, students will begin to build on the foundation that was laid in the previous years. The students will be exposed to a wide range of information in the four major content areas; environmental – earth and space, biology, chemistry, and physics. This will provide the students with an overview in all of the sciences. In addition, students will have the opportunity to take part in courses that will allow for a more in-depth study of specific topics that may be related to their career aspirations.


In all, it is the goal of the science department that all students become scientifically literate. Not only will they have the appropriate content knowledge, they will also have developed an understanding of how they can scientifically approach both information and challenges that they may meet in their future endeavors.

Social Studies Department

7 years ago

Social Studies Department Information

Social Studies instruction in Donegal School District aligns with PA Standards and the district’s mission of “developing each learner as a productive citizen who thoughtfully meets personal, community, and global challenges.” Instruction in civics and government, economics, geography, and history helps to prepare our students for their roles as future citizens.

From kindergarten through grade three, basic concepts are developed in the standards that fall under the social studies umbrella. As students move through higher grades, these concepts are developed more fully. For example, kindergarten students learn why rules and consequences are necessary in the classroom, while third graders learn why good citizens follow community, state, and national laws.

Planned social studies instruction in grades four through six addresses similar content in the same standards, but the knowledge and skills become more complex. Upon entering fourth grade, a student should be able to “identify how nations work together to solve problems," while a student exiting grade six should be able to “explain how nations work together on common environmental problems, natural disasters, and trade."

In grades seven through nine, standards are divided into course specific instruction. A geographic focus in grade seven helps students explain physical and human characteristics of places and regions. Economic principles of geography are also explored. Students in grade eight learn Pennsylvania and United States history from 1787 to 1914, and they analyze principles and documents of government.   Ninth graders are instructed in world history before 1500 as they investigate impacts of continuity and change as well as conflict and cooperation.

Sophomores continue their study of world history by focusing on the modern world (since 1450), while juniors return to Pennsylvania and United States history from 1890 to the present. Since the department recognizes that an understanding of geography is crucial to an understanding of history, geographic content is integrated in history classes.   Finally, to help seniors “thoughtfully” meet “personal, community, and global challenges”, instruction in political and economic systems is required. Electives in human geography, sociology, psychology, and advanced placement United States history complete the high school planned instruction.

Emphasis on historical analysis and skills development is an integral part of the department’s mission, and we are very enthusiastic about the role of the Shared Inquiry Method to increase literacy at the secondary level. Preparing graduates to be active, productive citizens in our free society is the ultimate goal of the social studies department.

Special Education Department

The Special Education Department of the Donegal School District is committed to helping all children succeed to the best of their abilities. Each eligible learner is assigned to a case manager who will make sure that all necessary services are being provided. Through the IEP process, we provide a continuum of services and instruction including Itinerant Supports, Supplemental Supports, Life Skills Support, Autistic Supports, as well as Speech and Language Supports and Job Training Supports at the High School level. If necessary, Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Supports will be contracted to meet the needs of a student.

Technology and Engineering Education Department

7 years ago

Technology and Engineering Education

(Department Description)


At Donegal, the Technology and Engineering Education Department serves students in grades 7 through 12.  The curriculum articulates from the junior high school to the senior high school.  All students in grades 7 and 8 take part in specialized courses called Design and Modeling and Automation and Robotics.  When students move to grade 9, they have the opportunity to select from courses like Woodworking,  Introduction to Technology Education and F1 in Schools.  They may also choose to begin an engineering education path by selecting one of the Pathway to Technology course offerings.  These include: Introduction to Engineering Design, Principles of Engineering, Digital Electronics and Civil Engineering.  Each of these courses have been developed from curriculum materials derived from Project Lead the Way. 

Project Lead the Way (PLTW) is a hands-on, project-based engineering curriculum for high school and middle school students.  It provides students of all ages with opportunities to develop a greater understanding of scientific and mathematical principles through applications based activities and project work.  Each year we see a greater number of students taking part in our high school level courses because of the stress being placed on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, STEM, education and the ability of the Technology and Engineering Education department to show the relationship between the four areas of STEM. 

Global and local challenges surround us. To address these challenges and move forward, we need people who know problem-solving strategies, think critically and creatively, communicate and collaborate with others, and persevere when something does not work the first time. Through Technology and Engineering Education and Project Lead the Way we have been able to empower students with these skills – relevant to many careers or roles they take on in the future.

Whether designing and producing wooden benches in a Woodworking class or solving problems related to water filtration in developing nations in a Project Lead the Way course, students are empowered to make a difference in their classrooms, in their communities, and around the world.

World Language

As our world becomes more diverse in the 21st century, the ability to communicate in a second language becomes more essential than ever. Students who become proficient in a second language enjoy travel, social, and career opportunities, as well as benefiting from a broader, richer perspective on the international community that will serve them no matter where life takes them.

The World Language Department teaches students the language skills to become proficient in Spanish and German, with a balance of reading, writing, speaking, and listening in the target language, based on the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Language, ACTFL standards. Courses offered include Spanish 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and AP Spanish Language and Culture and German 1, 2, 3, and 4. Language is taught in the context of culture, as students explore the dialects, gestures, history, literature, art, music, food that help them connect with Spanish and German speakers. As a result, many of our Donegal World Language students travel extensively and even live abroad for long-term study, military, or volunteer experiences.