Pittsburgh Parenting Blog by Sewickley Academy

Sewickley Academy's Private School Blog

My Fight Against The “Anti-Technology” Moms

My son got a tablet whenever he turned 4, which is old news for many NYC families who basically hand them to their infants as they are coming out of the womb.

We also take said tablet  with us to places like on the train and (gasp!) out to dinner whenever we don’t want him to be loud in a restaurant. You know what? I’m totally alright with that! But, I know there are many “anti-technology moms” out there who would disagree with me.

I’m NOT an Anti-Technology Mom, and Here’s Why

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Topics: Parenting

15 Book Recommendations for High School Children



“No book is really worth reading at the age of 10 which is not equally – and often far more – worth reading at the age of 50 and beyond.”

~C.S. Lewis


With the holiday season quickly approaching, we know parents are on the lookout for great educational gifts for their children.

To aid in your search for the perfect gift, Sewickley Academy high school teachers have weighed in with their favorite book recommendations for high school age readers.

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Topics: Book Review, Parenting

Asking Hard Questions about White Privilege

On Thursday, December 4, the Sewickley Series presented a documentary film American Promise that traces the educational journey of two black boys, from Kindergarten through their matriculation to college.  In exploring the sometimes wrenching path these boys followed at an independent school in New York City, the filmmakers (whose eldest son is one of the two boys who are the subject of the film) open their home and their lives to the scrutiny of the outside world and by doing so raise a series of important questions, questions that are important not just for independent schools like Sewickley Academy but questions that are important for us as a nation.  In the aftermath of Ferguson, MO, the Eric Garner case in New York City, and the recent conclusions of a federal investigation into the wrongful death of a 12-year-old child at the hands of police in Cleveland, OH, there is an urgency to our thinking about race and how our various points of view inform the way we see and experience the world.

During the post-film question-and-answer session, an audience member commented that she had on occasion received communications from her sons’ school about boisterous and inappropriate behavior of the kind the boys in the film were also accused of engaging in.  The mom asked, “…wasn’t it possible that, instead of the determining factor being race, it could be that the report of behavior issues was really a function of gender?”  The filmmaker, Michele Stephenson, replied that the research is very clear:  black boys are much more likely to be singled out for behavioral issues than other children and, in fact, that black boys are far more likely to be suspended from Kindergarten than other children.  These comments were affirmed by another panelist, Dr. Todd Allen, professor of communication studies and visual arts at Grove City College, who also serves on his local public school district board.

The parent in the audience, who was white, continued to press her point, to which Stephenson answered, “[sic] you have the privilege of being white, of not having to wonder whether your children are being singled out for their race.”

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Topics: Sewickley Series

17 Book Recommendations for Middle School Children


“I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.”

~Groucho Marx 

As you roam the stores searching for gifts for the "tweens" and teens in your life, this list of book recommendations (compiled by Sewickley Academy middle school teachers) may be helpful!

  1. Uprising by Margaret Peterson Haddix (Michael Cesario - Grade 8 History)

  2. The Maze of Bones (The 39 Clues, Book 1) by Rick Riordan (Wendy Berns - Admission Associate)

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Topics: Book Review, Parenting

19 Book Recommendations for Elementary School Children

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.”

~Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut! 

Searching for a great educational gift for a child in your life? What could be better than a book?

In order to save you some time, our elementary school teachers have provided a few of their favorite book recommendations for young readers.

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Topics: Book Review, Parenting

2014 Christmas in Pittsburgh Family Guide

This post originally appeared on The Pittsburgh Mommy Blog

Although it’s hard to believe, the Christmas season is just about to begin in Pittsburgh. Starting the second week in November, many local communities, museums and performance venues will begin hosting special holiday-themed events and concerts. In addition, many favorite Christmas attractions will reopen by the end of this month. I have created this 2014 Christmas in Pittsburgh Family Guide to help your family navigate through one of the most exciting times of the year to be in this city!

I have included events and special attractions both within the city and in the surrounding suburbs. At the end, I have also included a special section on Christmas-themed concerts and dance performances.

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Topics: Local, Parenting

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from the students, staff, and faculty at Sewickley Academy.
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Topics: General

Using Technology to Teach Math in the Elementary Classroom

"If a child does not learn the way I teach, I must teach the way he/she learns."


This is a quote that is reflected in my classroom. Students have many different learning styles and I must embrace all these styles to be the most effective teacher I can be. By utilizing technology in the classroom, I can employ many resources and methods within a lesson, rather than teaching the information in one manner to all students. 


Understanding Bloom's Taxonomy, as children move through the hierarchy of learning, students' studies should progressively move towards developing higher level thinking skills, which leads to positive outcomes in student achievement. Technology can facilitate this process when integrated within an existing math curriculum.

In my classroom, the children arrive and have to complete a math activity first thing in the morning. Using the interactive 100 chart, the SMART Board, and/or the Number SPLAT computer game, the children can solve a number pattern activity, complete greater than and less than problems, and complete addition/subtraction facts using these hands-on, attention-grabbing tools. My students can’t wait to solve the morning math activity of the day!

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Topics: Education

How to Create a Grateful Project

Anyone who really knows me knows that Thanksgiving is the holiday I like the least.

Okay, I've been known to actually say, "I hate Thanksgiving."

I realize, it sounds horrible, but the fact of the matter is that I am grateful every.....single....day.

I might also dislike Thanksgiving because something ridiculous always seems to occur on that day. Kind of like the curse of Thanksgivings past.

Having said all that I do cook a full Thanksgiving dinner for friends and family and partake in the traditions of the Holiday.

A couple of years ago, I decided to embark on a Fall project with my immediate family. It was probably done during the month of November and I have to say it is one of my most treasured posessions. For the sake of a name we will call it the "Grateful Project". I originally saw this concept on another blog and thought what a great idea. I asked my family to write something on a piece of paper that they were "grateful" for. We did this every night after dinner or before heading off to bed.

I simply purchased a 16 x 20 picture frame and poster board. Cut the poster board down to size and placed it in the frame with the glass in the back. This allowed me to hang the frame while the project was going on and have access to write on the poster board. When the project was complete we flipped the glass to the front.

Every evening, we would take a black marker and simply write in our own words and handwriting what we were grateful for. After about 10 days of doing this it began to get tricky. What were we really thankful for that no one had said yet, besides the obvious, what could we come up with to top another family member.

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Topics: Parenting

Happy Veterans Day

Happy Veterans Day. Thank you for your service!
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Topics: General

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