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  • Photo Gallery: Thanksgiving 2022

    Posted by AIU on 11/23/2022 9:00:00 AM

    As we enjoy the extended weekend to gather with our families and loved ones for the most thankful time of the year, take a look at all the ways our students expressed Thanksgiving!

    Over the past week, students at Mon Valley, Sunrise and Pathfinder schools took part in fun-filled activities including the Thanksgiving Feast and Turkey Trot at Sunrise, the Harvest Hoedown and Turkey Design Competition at Pathfinder, and the 2nd annual Turkey Bowl at Mon Valley! In addition, students from Mon Valley's child development vocational program worked with young children to make stylish paper turkey hats!

    See photos of all the festivities in the gallery below! We're so thankful to our community!

    From all of us at the AIU, we wish you a wonderful, warm and joyous Thanksgiving!

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  • Photo Gallery: 2022 AIU Bocce Tournament!

    Posted by AIU on 11/17/2022 3:15:00 PM

    Students and staff from Mon Valley, Pathfinder and Sunrise Schools had a blast last week during AIU's inaugural Special Education Schools Bocce Tournament!

    The tournament, held at the Sunrise gymnasium, reflects the expansion of athletics for students with special needs in Allegheny County. AIU-operated Special Education Schools also compete in basketball.

    Matches between the schools were followed by an award ceremony, complete with a certificate and medal for participation in the tournament. Take a look at all the fun in the gallery below!

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  • Photo Gallery: Halloween 2022!

    Posted by AIU on 10/31/2022 2:20:00 PM

    It's the spookiest time of the year and our students had a blast! Check out some of the action at our AIU-operated special education schools in the photo gallery below! All week, students enjoyed seasonal activities and special events, including the pie-in-faces of our Sunrise School administrators as well as a spectacular Halloween Dance at Pathfinder School!

    Happy Halloween!

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  • Photo Gallery: Pathfinder School Field Trip to Trax Farms!

    Posted by AIU on 10/20/2022 12:00:00 PM

    Last week, a group of students from Pathfinder School went on a lovely fall adventure at Trax Farms in the South Hills!

    This is one of the first daylong trips for Pathfinder students since the COVID-19 pandemic, and plenty of fun learning ensued as students interacted with an array of colorful pumpkins, gourds and fall decorations inside the sprawling Trax Farms Market. In addition, teachers worked with students on a number of speech exercises as they made their way around.

    Take a look at all the fun in the photo gallery below!

    Special thanks to the folks at Trax Farms for having us out!

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  • Photo Gallery: Students Wear Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness!

    Posted by AIU on 10/14/2022 12:00:00 PM

    Our students are showing their brightest pink each week until the end of this month! October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The disease is often noted by survivors and allies by a pink ribbon.

    Check out a photo gallery of our stylish students below!

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  • Photo Gallery: Pumpkin Patch at Pathfinder School!

    Posted by AIU on 10/12/2022 1:00:00 PM

    While colors are changing, one crop blossomed at Pathfinder School! A large pumpkin patch is ready for picking at thePathfinder Learning Garden! Take a look at the patch and the work over the past year to make it all happen!

    The Pathfinder Learning Garden was established in 2017 when Pathfinder Principal Mr. Nick Fratto applied for and received a grant from Grow Pittsburgh and The Kitchen Community (TKC) to create a learning garden. The goal of the learning garden is to grow, cook and eat fresh food while celebrating the cultures and experiences of our students and our community. The work of Grow Pittsburgh and TKC in schools across the region is driven by the understanding that hands-on, inquiry-based learning has significant positive effects on the development of children.

    A school garden fits perfectly with Pathfinder’s initiative to promote healthy eating habits and physical activity within our school environment. Research has shown that when children actively participate in the growing of a vegetable from seed to harvest, they are more likely to eat that vegetable.

    Many of our students have limited dietary preferences and, in many cases, do not default to healthy food choices. We hope to observe students expanding their palate, with hopes it’ll transfer over to home.

    Another benefit of a school garden is that students with special needs learn best when they engage in hands-on learning activities. A school garden is a perfect environment for this kind of learning, immersing students in elements of nature. Students will be able to use their gardening experiences to reinforce concepts taught in math, science, reading and the arts!

    Finally, research has also shown that creating and maintaining a garden provides therapeutic qualities and is now being recognized as a tool to help children with special needs. Benefits include increased social skills, enhanced creativity, improved motor skills and improved self-confidence. Gardening also helps reduce stress and helps children cope with anxiety and frustration. We're so proud of our student's careful stewarding! 

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  • Photo Gallery: Chickens at Sunrise!

    Posted by AIU on 9/28/2022 11:00:00 AM

    Last week was one for the books at Sunrise School! For weeks, students and staff eagerly awaited the arrival of the chicks, which have sat in home economics teacher Miss Jillian’s classroom in an incubator for several days. The hatchings were streamed live on YouTube across two days. In addition, they enjoyed the company of two resident hens in the Sunrise courtyard.

    Students brainstormed names and, after a school-wide vote, named the outdoor chickens Princess Lay-a and Cheese Puff! 

    The chickens, from Rent The Chicken, will be on campus for a considerable portion of the 2022-23 school year. Their physical presence will play an important component of the home economics curriculum, including farm-to-table concepts, development and learning where chickens come from. In addition, students learn about responsibility by caring for and maintaining the chickens’ living quarters. 

    The hens are let out of their coop daily to roam freely around the courtyard. Throughout the day, students step out and interact with the hens, including feeding delivered by hand. 

    Check out some photos of students interacting with the chickens below!

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  • Ensuring School Safety Through Preparedness and Resources

    Posted by AIU on 9/1/2022


    Teacher Crisis Training at Mon Valley School

    With the 2022-23 school year already underway, local school districts, charter schools as well as the Allegheny Intermediate Unit (AIU) are making final preparations for the arrival of students. One of the many areas of focus locally and across the country is school safety. With the tragedy at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas still fresh in our minds, many schools have continued to teach their students and staff appropriate protocols during an active shooter event.

    Schools have looked to programs such as ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) or the FBI’s Run, Hide, Fight as part of their Emergency Preparedness Plan to prepare staff and students with the hope of increasing the likelihood of survival for each and every member of the school. These programs were implemented across schools nationwide in reaction to the increased school violence such as active shooter events, but they are only part of the measures the AIU is taking to keep our school communities safe. 
    In addition to the local and national programs above, the AIU Preschool Early Intervention and School Age Programs provide ongoing staff training in the areas of Comprehensive Crisis Management (CCM)Ukeru, and Nonviolent Crisis Intervention (NCI). These prevention and intervention programs focus on prevention and de-escalation strategies to support individuals who have often experienced trauma, stress and anxiety that could escalate to violence. These programs are developed by local and national experts and have been part of AIU student support services for many years. 

    Teacher development crisis training.

    In addition, as an educational community that advocates and advances equitable opportunities for every learner, the AIU continues to focus on providing training programs which implement supportive and preventative strategies with the hope of reaching all our stakeholders, but especially our students and staff before violence occurs. State and national programs such as Pennsylvania’s Safe2Say Something program, the Pennsylvania Department of Education Suicide Prevention resources and School Wide Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports (PBIS) have long been implemented as part of the AIU’s focus on school safety. This summer, a group of AIU educators furthered their focus on identifying and supporting our at-risk students by participating in one of the first PREPaRE Trainings in Western Pennsylvania. PREPaRE, which is a program developed by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), was developed by NASP “for schools committed to improving and strengthening their school safety and crisis management plans and emergency response,” and is now part of the vast number of tools the AIU has implemented to support our students and staff. 

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  • Photo Gallery: First Day of School at AIU-operated Special Education Schools!

    Posted by AIU on 8/30/2022 2:20:00 PM

    Photo Gallery: First Day of School at AIU-operated Special Education Schools!

    We were ECSTATIC to welcome students back into classrooms at Mon Valley, Pathfinder and Sunrise schools this morning, Aug. 30, for the first day of school!

    Students and staff alike asked about each other's summer and radiated positivity over this new year of learning! Following breakfast, students got right to work with new lessons and activities -- see for yourself in the gallery below!

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  • Photo Gallery: AIU Staff Train for an Exciting New School Year!

    Posted by AIU on 8/19/2022 3:00:00 PM

    Photo Gallery: AIU Staff Train for an Exciting New School Year!

    AIU Special Education staff have been gearing up to be at their best game for the new academic year!

    A plethora of in-service programs were held at the AIU Central Office in Homestead this week for Vision and Hearing, Speech-Language and Occupational and Physical Therapy staff, as well as training for administrators and related staff at our AIU-operated Special Education Schools. These trainings ensure our professionals are up-to-date on the latest research-based approaches in their respective fields.

    Take a look at some of the sessions below!

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