Pittsburgh Private School Blog - Sewickley Academy

Sewickley Academy's Private School Blog

5 Tips for Meaningful Mobile Learning

4/24/14 8:00 AM

SUBTITLEMobile devices are playing an increasing role in what we learn, how we learn, and the ways in which we share our learning. However, with all the apps, devices, and platforms out there, how can we begin to determine what helps foster MEANINGFUL mobile learning?

As a student, parent, or educator, how do you identify useful aspects of mobile devices while refraining from time-wasting technology?  As I continue to use and experiment with mobile learning in the classroom, I have found these five tips to be tremendously helpful when encouraging meaningful mobile learning.


Topics: Technology

iPads for Teachers? What's Next?

4/22/14 9:07 AM

ipads-for-teachersJust before spring break, members of the Sewickley Academy faculty were each issued a brand new iPad Air thanks to an incredibly generous grant from the Home & School Association.  The iPad itself was selected for this program because the machines are light and portable, and most importantly, provide access to the largest array of educational tools of any mobile device currently on the market.  While the iPads, themselves, are cool (there is no denying that), the major thrust of this initiative is to create a “mobile mindset” among our teachers. 

Over our history as a school, we have always been mindful of the needs of our graduates, and teachers have consistently looked for ways to extend the reach of their classroom practice.  We know that one of the key skills our graduates will need in the future is a “native fluency” with digital tools.  By providing faculty with the 21st century tools they need to engage with our 21st century learners, we empower them to free themselves from their desks and reimagine how they might interact with their students.  Students, in turn, will be challenged to connect and create in a world increasingly designed for personal, mobile computing.  The ipads for teachers initiative is, therefore, just the latest step forward in our continuing evolution towards providing an increasingly student-centered, hands-on learning experience for our students.


Topics: Technology

Let's Set the Record Straight for Sewickley Academy

4/14/14 3:04 PM

On Friday, April 4, a reporter posted "My Take on the Charter School Debate" on the Observer Reporter's blog covering high school sports, The Varsity Letter. The blog is about high schools, particularly charter schools, recruiting athletes. Sewickley Academy's Head of School Kolia John O'Connor wrote the following response to the blog, setting the record straight for SA.


Love (and Sports) Have No Gender

4/10/14 1:18 PM

dos1This is 13th year that Sewickley Academy will participate in the annual Day of Silence, a student-led demonstration against LGBTQIA harassment in schools. The event is organized nationally by GLSEN — the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network — a non-profit organization based in New York that has chapters across the country, inlcuding Pittsburgh.

The 2014 Day of Silence, organized by Sewickley Academy’s Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), will take place on campus this Friday, April 11, 2014. Participation in this day (which is voluntary) raises awareness about how LGBTQIA (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, ally) individuals feel silenced in everyday life about their sexual orientation, and therefore cannot truly be themselves.


Sewickley Academy's Day of Service

4/4/14 2:59 PM

On Friday, April 4, Sewickley Academy had its third annual Day of Service, a full school day committed to service projects both on and off campus throughout the Pittsburgh region. All members of the Academy community – students, faculty, staff, and administration – volunteered to make a positive impact on issues regarding the environment, social justice, hunger, and poverty.

Check out some of the day’s projects:



Masterminds and Wingmen - Book Review

4/1/14 8:00 AM


I decided to read Masterminds and Wingmen: Helping Our Boys Cope with Schoolyard Power, Locker-Room Tests, Girlfriends, and the New Rules of Boy World, by Rosalind Wiseman, for a variety of reasons. While the school employee in me should probably say that the first reason was because approximately half of the students at SA are boys, that may be a bit disingenuous, as I am also the father of a boy. Regardless, I saw the book as important to read, for insight into the world of boys and young men.


Topics: Book Review

Alumni Spotlight - Elsa Heffernan ’04

3/18/14 10:06 AM


For Class of 2004 alumna Elsa Heffernan, the heart of Sewickley Academy’s mission to inspire its students to pursue their full potential in the service of a greater good continues to play an important role in the way she lives her life and supports her community. 

elsaOn April 21, Elsa will run in the 118th Boston Marathon as a member of the HealthWorks Community Fitness team. In doing so, she aims to raise awareness and funds for its community fitness centers that cater to women and children in under-served communities throughout the Boston area. We are confident that Elsa’s passion for fitness and health and desire to make an impact in her community will carry her across the finish line – Go, Elsa!

How did you first get involved with Healthworks Community Fitness (HCF)?

A friend informed me that I could get involved in HCF through its marathon fundraiser.  I was itching for a chance to run, and because it would be for a cause that means so much to me, I applied and was accepted to be a member on the four-person team. 


Topics: Alumni

Advice for Seniors and Parents as They Approach the Final Stage of the College Admission Process

3/14/14 4:17 PM


Over the next two weeks, most of the remaining admission decisions will be mailed home or posted on-line. This is almost always a time of celebration and sadness. For some students, it may be the first time they have experienced disappointment (which can be hard for both students and parents). Collectively, we have worked in college admission and college guidance for over thirty years. Therefore, we wanted to share a few pieces of advice that we have learned from our own personal experiences as well as from our colleagues in both admission and guidance. We also wanted to share a link to an interesting article that was written last year, by Malcolm Gauld, an award-winning author and president of the Hyde Schools.


Recipe for Understanding the Connected World

3/12/14 8:41 AM


How can international organizations, removed from sites of conflict by thousands of miles, negotiate with groups that they see as threatening the people of a nation? Communication necessitates more than translation of languages; understanding a region comprises knowledge of religions, of geography, of historical events, of folktales and intrinsic beliefs of the peoples of that region. Culture, so complex that it requires intricate categorization for people to even begin to understand how it fits together, determines the way that two governments communicate.

To understand a region, one must follow the following recipe:


Reading Readiness - Is Your Child Ready To Read Checklist

3/4/14 7:00 AM


In our latest blog post Sally Weir, Sewickley Academy's Reading Specialist, shares a checklist from All About Learning Press to help you determine the reading readiness of your child. She also shares recommended books for beginning readers.



Sewickley Academy

A private school located 12 miles northwest of the city of Pittsburgh which enrolls 720 students in grades PK-12. Our elementary school, middle school, and high school are all located on a single 16 acre campus with our athletic fields located on an additional 14 acres.