News and Highlights from Around SMS

  • SMS Makes an Impact at the PA Junior Academy of Science Competition

    Posted by Tracy Troutman on 2/27/2023

    On Saturday February 25th, students from both SMS and SHS traveled to Lancaster Country Day School to compete in the PA Junior Academy of Science (PJAS) Regional Meeting. Students had to give a 7 to 10 minute presentation on their science research. 

    Students who earned first place awards have been invited to compete at the PJAS State Meeting, hosted annually on the campus of The Pennsylvania State University in University Park.

    PJAS was founded in the 1930s and works to achieve the following goals, among others:  (1) To promote greater participation in science and mathematics activities among the youth of Pennsylvania, (2) to improve the quality of achievement in mathematics and science by encouraging students to participate in research and develop original ideas, and (3) to develop an understanding of the scientific community through close association with leaders in the sciences.

    SHS students Ashleigh Rogers and Deena Korlewitz both earned first place and will be moving on to the state competition in May. Alayna Kelly and Gary Godfrey both earned second place.

    SMS students Claire Finkenbinder and Kaitlynn Washington both earned first place and will be moving on to the state competition in May. Tristan Adams, Samuel LeFevre, Luke Schreffler and Zoe Snyder earned second place, and Tanner Bixler was awarded third place.

    Congrats to our SHS and SMS students!

     PJAS Students from SMS and SHS

    Comments (-1)
  • SMS Students Experience Hands-on Fun Making Pizza!

    Posted by Tracy Troutman on 2/24/2023

    Watch as Mr. Henry's class visits Zeiderelli's Pizza in Duncannon to learn about kitchen safety and pizza making.

    Mr. Henry's students also teach us how to make a pizza!

    View the video on our YouTube channel, here:

    Comments (-1)
  • SMS Unveils Book Vending Machine

    Posted by Tracy Troutman on 2/17/2023

    Vending machine serves to encourage positive behaviors and efforts among students

    Susquenita Middle School is proud to announce the addition of a book vending machine in an effort to reward students and increase a love of reading.  

    The vending machine was the idea of Mrs. Kristin Davis, middle school librarian, who saw the vending machine in other schools and wanted to bring it to Susquenita.  She applied for a grant from the Susquenita Blackhawk Foundation to fund the project.  “We’re lucky to have the Susquenita Blackhawk Foundation literally making our dreams come true,” she said.

    The vending machine operates with tokens, not money.  Tokens can be earned by students who demonstrate the Middle School’s positive behavior interventions and supports (PBIS) values, which include helping others, acting with responsibility, working with integrity, keeping a positive attitude and showing respect.  Mrs. Davis hopes to use the vending machine as a way to promote literacy and reward good behavior, especially in students who love to read.

    The vending machine was launched with a ribbon-cutting on February 2, and Mrs. Davis has already distributed 28 tokens to students, including winners of a recent bookmark design contest, the top five library patrons in each grade level, and a random drawing of Best of the Blackhawk students.  

    As a companion project, students worked with Ms. Lyndy LeVan, sixth grade teacher and innovation coach, to film, edit and publish a video announcing the launch of the vending machine.  The video can be found on the District’s YouTube page,

    Dr. John Rubisch, president of the Susquenita Blackhawk Foundation, said, “The Susquenita Blackhawk Foundation would like to thank all the donors that made the book vending machine a reality.  Hawks Soar!”

    Mrs. Davis and Spencer B. unveil the book vending machine

    Comments (-1)
  • Susquenita Middle School Honor Roll, Marking Period 2

    Posted by Tracy Troutman on 1/31/2023

    Click the link below to see a list of SMS students who achieved honor roll and distinguished honor roll for Marking Period 2.  Congrats to our amazing students.  Go Blackhawks!

    SMS Honor Roll List - Marking Period 2


    Comments (-1)
  • Expressions of Fun Encouraged Here: How One Teacher Makes Learning a Hands-On Experience

    Posted by Tracy Troutman on 11/11/2022

    Ms. Lyndy LeVan, a sixth grade pre-algebra and science teacher at Susquenita Middle School, has one firm approach to learning in her classroom:  “We have to have fun.  When students are having fun, it makes learning so much easier.”

    Fun is a major component to every hands-on learning experience her students have in her classroom.  A recent example is a pre-algebra lesson that involved Jenga.  Not only did students have to balance the wooden blocks with finesse, but they had to use their mathematical skills to solve problems printed on each block.  In another exercise, students were challenged to write and solve algebraic equations and inequalities, the answers to which gave the students clues to open locks on a lockbox.  Once all the problems were solved and the locks were opened, students could select a prize from inside the box.  

    But the fun doesn’t stop with math.  Hands-on experiments give students a tactile way to experience science outside the traditional printed text.  A yearly favorite is the egg drop challenge, in which students have to build a vessel which will allow raw eggs to be dropped safely from varying heights.  Another fun experience is using hollow, clean egg shells to “grow” geodes from soluble salts.  The salt attaches to the inside of the egg shell, creating a crystalline structure reminiscent of naturally-occurring geodes.  

    Sixth grader Madelynn S., who is a student in  Ms. LeVan’s pre-algebra class, says, “I really like how Ms. LeVan is happy every day.  It makes even the shyest students feel free.  If we’re learning something new, we do notes, then we practice it on a worksheet, then do a checkpoint to show where we are.  The next day, if we are still working on it, we practice the whole day.  I like how we can practice a little bit at a time.  If we don’t know something, we just have to ask and Ms. LeVan will show us.”

    Overall, Ms. LeVan hopes her students walk away understanding the real-world importance of math and science and how it can be applicable to real life situations.  She says nothing gives her greater joy than when her past students come back to let her know they made the connection between skills they learned in her classroom to the outside world.

    Thank you, Ms. Levan, for everything you do for the students of Susquenita Middle School!  

    Students working on math equations Students celebrating the open lock box

    Comments (-1)