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South Fayette Foundation continues to enhance learning

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By Charlotte Smith
Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The South Fayette Foundation for Excellence awarded its fourth annual “Success for the Classroom Grants” last month for innovative new programs submitted by South Fayette School District faculty.

Sixth-grade teachers Angela Pedrotti and Laura LeBlanc teamed up for their application this year. “With the new Common Core Standards being implemented, my focus in teaching literary fiction in language arts has also shifted to include more non-fiction literature with an emphasis on writing,” Pedrotti said. She also won a grant last year.

“The technology I received last year in a grant from the foundation added to this year's awarding of a Lumens document camera and an iPad with retina display. The equipment's quick processing systems, wireless Internet capabilities, and access to thousands of free educational applications enable the students to efficiently research, do meaningful analysis, and dissect texts while using the most up-to-date primary and secondary sources. This enhances the curriculum and offers more innovative projects to our students who are truly digital natives in the 21st century.”

LeBlanc agrees. “With the increase of technology playing a major role in the classroom, the document camera provides an opportunity for whole group and small group visual aids to supplement lessons in both math and science.”

Other winners in the grant process included seventh grade language arts and social studies teacher Brenna Sisinni for an iPad with retina display and an Apple TV to assist with comprehension skills; high school math teacher Bob Reasey for a Lumens DC document camera; and South Fayette's student-designed software development team's application program “Flashcards” for the purchase of Wacom Bamboo tablets. Applications for the 2014 grants will be available to the teachers in May.

The South Fayette Foundation for Excellence (SFFE), which formed in January 2009 and was approved as a nonprofit in January 2010, helps provide funding for activities and programs that enhance and enrich the academic, artistic and athletic curriculum offered in the district.

In May, four seniors from the Class of 2013 were awarded the Dr. Mary Ravita Memorial Scholarship, which is overseen by the foundation. The foundation's board also works with the South Fayette Alumni Association and assisted the South Fayette Band Alumni Association when it was formed two years ago.

Funding for the SFFE comes from donations, memberships and fundraisers such as the Golf Classic held at Southpointe Golf Club, which was attended by more than 100 golfers.

An Evening of Music with the Mansfield Five and the Four Townsmen will be held on March 8, at the SNPJ Club, Bridgeville.

As an approved non-profit organization, any donation or investment in SFFE is tax deductible. For more information or to contribute to its cause, visit and click on the tab “Foundation4Excellence” or call Maureen Pedzwater, SFFE secretary/treasurer, at 724-693-3047.

Charlotte Smith is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media and can be reached at 724-693-9441 or

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