Latest News

Spring athletes find success

5/27/2015. Filed under Press Releases.

Moon Area High School’s spring athletic teams have demonstrated success on the field, on the court, around the track and on the pitch. Girls’ lacrosse and boys’ track and field earned Section Championships and the boys’ and girls’ lacrosse teams, numerous track and field athletes, the boys’ rugby team and the boys’ tennis team advanced to post-season play. Congratulations to our Moon athletes and their coaches!!! 

Boys’ Lacrosse (updated May 27)
The Moon Area High School boys’ lacrosse team fell to Quaker Valley 4-8 in the first round of the WPIAL Division II playoffs on May 13, 2015. The Tigers finished the season with a 16-2 overall record – the team’s only losses were to section champion Canon-McMillan and Quaker Valley.

The following players were named to the Division II All-WPIAL Team: Ajay Hamer, Noah Moser, Salvatore Pollastro and Calvin Sargent. In addition, the following earned Division II Section 3 All-Section honors: Ajay Hamer, Max Huffman, Ryan Lee, Noah Moser, Salvatore Pollastro and Calvin Sargent.


s’ Lacrosse (updated May 20)
The Moon Area High School girls’ lacrosse team fell to Shaler, 11-20, in the Division II WPIAL semifinals on May 19, 2015, at North Allegheny.

The Tigers finished their season as 2015 Section Champions with a 15-4 overall record. The team’s only losses were to Shaler, Quaker Valley and Blackhawk.



Track & Field (updated May 27)
Based on their performance at the WPIAL Championships, three members of the Moon Area High School boys' track team qualified to compete in the PIAA Championship. Jared Baggett earned a silver medal in the 110 meter hurdles – breaking his current school record. Bronze medals were earned by Jared in the 300 meter hurdles; Jamar Sherrill in the 200 meter dash; and Ryan Vargo in the long jump.

The boys traveled to Shippensburg University May 22-23 for the PIAA Championships.

In addition, the following athletes also earned medals at the WPIAL Championships:  Dante Petrealla, sixth place in the shot put; Aaron Belsky, seventh place in the discus; and Jared Baggett, seventh place in the triple jump.

The top four finishers in each event automatically qualify for the PIAA Championships. Those who finish in fifth through eighth place must meet qualifying standards to advance.

Twenty-one Moon Area athletes from the boys' and girls' track and field teams competed at the WPIAL Championships that were held May 14, at Baldwin High School. The boys’ team is finishing one of the most successful seasons in school history. Back-to-back section champs, the Tigers earned a 27-2 overall record for the last two seasons. In addition, the team is the 2015 MAC Conference Champs, 2015 Baldwin Invitational Champs and the 2015 Butler Invitational Runner Up.    

Boys’ Rugby
In just its second season of existence, the Moon Area High School boys’ rugby team qualified for the state playoffs. The team, ranked #8 in the commonwealth, was defeated by St. Joseph’s Preparatory School in the first round on Sunday, May 10, 2015, in Philadelphia. St. Joe’s Prep is ranked #1 in Pennsylvania.

Boys’ Tennis
The Moon Area High School boys’ tennis team qualified for the WPIAL playoffs. The Tigers fell to Peters Township High School in the first round of the playoffs on April 29, 2015.

Members of the Moon Area High School girls’ softball team earned individual honors including the following:

  • Second Team All Section:  Marissa McGuinness,
  • Honorable Mention:  Morgan Toal, Emily Vith, Carly Weiss

Several members of the Moon Area High School baseball team earned all-section honors including the foll

  • First Team All Section: Rocco Maue, Colton Hower, Austin Hoffman
  • Second Team All Section:  Kyle Bondi and Brian Casper
  • Honorable Mention: Nick Rozzo

Two members of the boys' volleyball team earned individual honors. Josh Nuttall and Tyler Trimbath were named to the Third Team All Section squad.

MAMS collaborative painting on display at Pittsburgh Botanic Garden

5/26/2015. Filed under Press Releases.

Artwork created by Moon Area Middle School eighth graders will be on display at the Pittsburgh Botanic Gardens. Visitors can view the art – a 48 inches by 54 inches painting of flowers – in the lower level of the Barn Visitor Center through at least the end of the summer. 

Students in Elizabeth Blair’s third quarter eighth-grade Paint, Draw and Design class created the collaborative painting. The original artwork, created by student Rebecca Gibson, complements the class-chosen theme of ‘Everyone is Different,’ embracing the beauty of diversity, and was enlarged as a painting by the class.

“Through collaborative artwork, students learn how individual efforts can work together toward a common goal,” Ms. Blair said. “These projects are a great way for students to learn how to communicate effectively with one another; and by taking the artwork to the public, visually communicating their shared ideas with the community.”    

The Pittsburgh Botanic Garden, located in Oakdale, is a nonprofit organization creating a world-class botanic garden, including 18 distinct gardens, five diverse woodland experiences, a visitor’s center, an amphitheater for outdoor concerts and performances, a celebration center to accommodate special events and a center for botanic research. For more information about the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden, visit:

Board of Education Meeting: Tuesday, May 26 | Agenda


Click here to view the School Board agenda for Tuesday, May 26, 2015. 

The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the Board Room located within the central administrative offices.

March 26, 2015: Please note that due to illness and other circumstances, there will NOT be a quorum for tonight's school board meeting. As a result, the Moon Area School District Board of Education will conduct a special board meeting at 5 p.m. on Friday, May 29, 2015, in the Moon Area School Board meeting room. The Board will discuss and take action on the 2015-16 Proposed Final Budget. The remainder of the May 26, 2015 Work Session Meeting agenda will be addressed at 7 p.m., Monday, June 1, 2015. All meetings are open to the public.


Complete list of 2015 meeting dates

Meeting Minutes

Seven students perform with Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

5/21/2015. Filed under Press Releases.

Seven Moon Area High School students were selected to participate in the recent 22nd annual EQT Student Side-by-Side event at Heinz Hall. The event provides young musicians the opportunity to rehearse and perform “side-by-side” their Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra counterparts.

Student musicians participating include Sarah Connor, junior – viola; Erin Copeland, senior – violin; Matthew Danner, freshman – percussion; Maxwell Doerr, junior – bass; Katie Nan, senior – violin; Benjamin Worst, junior – percussion; and Jacob Worst, freshman – viola.

“The Pittsburgh Symphony Side-by-side concert provides advanced musicians with enrichment opportunities that expand their musical experiences,” Megan Taylor, high school orchestra teacher, said. “While participating in this event, students are exposed to collegiate and professional grade orchestral repertoire.”

Students participated in five rehearsals – including a final rehearsal with their Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra counterpart. At the Side-By-Side event, students performed three, high-quality pieces with the Pittsburgh Symphony members.

“Working directly with the professional musicians of the Pittsburgh Symphony is an invaluable experience. The symphony members have the ability to constructively critique students’ performance and technique, while answering questions about the repertoire one-on-one with the students,” Ms. Taylor said. “Our students get to work with some of the best musicians in the world, while performing on a world-renowned performance venue.”

The Side-by-Side event is open to high school students from throughout western Pennsylvania. Students are selected by application and recommendation. Due to increased interest in this event, students may also be asked to audition.

Moon students excel at national tournament

5/21/2015. Filed under Press Releases.

Several Moon Area students earned recognition for their high performance in the recent 50th annual Academic Games Leagues of America National Tournament in Orlando.

AGLOA provides a series of academic competitions throughout the nation culminating in the National Tournament, which is held in late spring each year. Players from around the country gather together and compete in several academic games both individually and in teams of five. Players compete in one of four divisions, according to their grade level: Elementary, grades 4-6; Middle, grades 7-8; Junior, grades 9-10; and Senior, grades 11-12.

Participants compete in one or more of six different academic games events:

  1. Equations – mathematics ranging from the six basic operations to very sophisticated math;
  2. On-Sets – the mathematics of Set Theory;
  3. Linguishtik – applied grammar, vocabulary and writing skills;
  4. Presidents – knowledge of the cultural and political events of the U.S. Presidents;
  5. Propaganda – recognition of various techniques of persuasion taken from real-life advertisements and political approaches and normal human interactions; and
  6. World Events – current events of the most recent year, plus a theme for the year, such as “The 1980’s,” “Space Exploration,” “Women in World History.”

Trophies – resembling “The Thinker” statue by Auguste Rodin – are awarded to the top three finishers in both the team and individual events. Medals are awarded to other top performers. Moon students earning trophies and medals include:

  • Chancharik Mitra: 2nd place team member, Elementary Division, Equations
  • Nikki Konley & Jessie Murray:  7th place team members, Middle Division, Propaganda
  • Nikhil Maheshwari:  9th place individual, Junior Division, Presidents
  • Nikhil Maheshwari, Rushmin Khazanchi & Austin Welsh: 4th place team members, Junior Division, Presidents
  • Kyle Buzza: 3rd place individual, Junior Division, Propaganda
  • Bella Montanaro, Sean Kennedy & Rushmin Khazanchi: 2nd place team members, Junior Division, Propaganda
  • Reetwan Bandopadhyay & Annie Bal: 5th place team members, Junior Division, Propaganda
  • Garrett Ley: 3rd place individual, Junior Division, World Events
  • Nikhil Maheshwari: 6th place individual, Junior Division, World Events
  • Austin Welsh: 7th place individual, Junior Division, World Events
  • Rushmin Khazanchi: 8th place individual, Junior Division, World Events
  • Nikhil Maheshwari, Nick Ulven, Reetwan Bandyopadhyay, Garrett Lay & Austin Welsh: 2nd place team, Junior Division, World Events
  • Jessica Peng: 2nd place individual, Senior Division, Presidents
  • Aashka Shah: 5th place individual, Senior Division, Presidents
  • Jessica Peng, Aashka Shah & Amber Wesoloski: 4th place team, Senior Division, Presidents
  • Natalie Melton: 9th place individual, Senior Division, Propaganda
  • Jared Puhalla & Allison Ulven: 3rd place team, Senior Division, World Events                             

In total, 31 Moon Area School District students competed in the Academic Games Leagues of America National Tournament. Representing the Moon Area Middle School were Reva Bajjuri, Arun Guduru, Samantha Haberman, Nikki Konley, Chancharik Mitra, Jessie Murray and Daniela Schmitz. Moon Area High School participants included Annie Bal, Reetwan Bandyopadhyay, Kyle Buzza, Beth Eberts, Amanda Gilmore, Sean Kennedy, Abby Keppel, Rushmin Khazanchi , Jimmy Knepper, Garrett Ley, Nikhil Maheshwari, Natalie Melton, Madi McBride, Bella Montanaro, Michael Montelone, Dana Murray, Jessica Peng, Jared Puhalla, Aashka Shah, Haley Sims, Austin Welsh, Amber Wesoloski , Allison Ulven and Nick Ulven.

Strategy, in addition to knowledge, is a key component in each of the six Academic Games competitions. It is not enough to know the subject matter; players must also develop courage, character, and poise in applying their knowledge while competing against opponents.

According to its website, “the Academic Games Leagues of America (AGLOA) is a non-profit organization formed in 1991 to encourage and conduct academic competitions at the local and national level. Players receive recognition and rewards in the same way that sports champions are honored. AGLOA is dedicated to developing “Thinking Kids” of character, excellence, and integrity.”

For more information about the Academic Games Leagues of America, visit

Food Service Advisory Committee set for May 27

5/19/2015. Filed under Press Releases.

The Moon Area School District will host a Food Service Advisory Committee meeting at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, May 27, 2015, in the district administration center board room. The meeting is open to all interested parents, staff and community members.

Led by Director of Food Services Christie Leininger, the meeting will include an overview of the district’s food service program and an update on the 2015-16 government guidelines. Feedback and suggestions regarding menu items are welcome.

Light refreshments will be provided. Please click here to RSVP.

For more information, contact Ms. Leininger at or via phone 412-264-9440 ext. 1129.

Seniors sign athletic commitments

5/19/2015. Filed under Press Releases.

Seven Moon Area High School student athletes recently signed Letters of Intent to compete in their respective sports at the collegiate level beginning this fall.

  • Kylie Downs  |  Slippery Rock University  |  Soccer
  • Chaz Huntsman  |  University of Arizona  |  Rugby
  • Isabelle Marsh  |  Duquesne University  |  Cross Country & Track
  • Elizabeth Michalenko  |  University of Dayton  | Track & Field
  • Dante A. Petrella, Jr.  |  Wheeling Jesuit University  |  Rugby
  • Torrin Sallis  |  Valparaiso University  |  Football
  • Ryan Vargo  |  Notre Dame College  |  Track & Field

Kylie Downs  |  Slippery Rock University  |  Soccer

Kylie Downs has signed a letter of intent to compete in women’ soccer at Slippery Rock University, where she will major in business marketing.

Kylie, who served as goalie for the Tigers, is a three-year letter winner. She earned honors as a two-time All-Section and two-time All-WPIAL player in 2013 and 2014.

The Slippery Rock women’s soccer program, coached by Jessica Griggs, competes in the NCAA Division II Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference.


Chaz Huntsman  |  University of Arizona  |  Rugby

Chaz Huntsman has committed to the University of Arizona where he will pursue a degree in international global studies while competing on the men’s rugby team.

Chaz served as captain of Moon Area High School’s rugby team. He was the leading scorer and currently holds the school’s overall scoring title.

In addition to rugby, Chaz played football for the Moon Tigers and was named Second Team All-Parkway Conference Team as a punter in the fall of 2014. He earned recognition as the Offensive Player of the Week during week seven and ran for 156 yards in a single game off of five carries.

Coached by Sean Duffy, the Arizona Wildcats compete in the NCAA Division I-A in the Pacific-12 Conference.


Isabelle Marsh  |  Duquesne University  |  Cross Country & Track

Student athlete Isabelle Marsh is headed to Duquesne University where she will compete in cross country and track.

Isabelle holds the Moon Area High School record in the 4X800 meter relay and the 800 meter. A team captain during her senior year, she also was a state qualifier in the 800 meter.

Led by Coach Jim Lear, the Duquesne Dukes compete in the NCAA Division I Atlantic 10 Conference.


Elizabeth Michalenko  |  University of Dayton  | Track & Field

Elizabeth Michalenko will join the women’s track and field team at the University of Dayton in Ohio while pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering. A javelin thrower, she is a three-year varsity letter winner.

In addition to track, Elizabeth has competed in cross country and is a member of the National Honor Society.

The Dayton Flyers, led by head coach Jason Francis, compete in the NCAA Division I Atlantic 10 Conference.


Dante A. Petrella, Jr.  |  Wheeling Jesuit University  |  Rugby

Dante Petrella, a three-sport athlete, will continue his education at Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, W.Va. where he will compete in rugby at the USA Rugby’s Division I-A level.

In addition to rugby, Dante has competed in football as well as track and field – advancing to the playoffs in all three sports.

The Wheeling Jesuit Cardinals, coached by Eric Jerpe, compete in the Rugby East Conference against some of the strongest teams in the country including Penn State, The U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Kutztown University and the University of Delaware.

Torrin Sallis  |  Valparaiso University  |  Football

Torrin Sallis is headed to Valparaiso University in Indiana to continue his academic and athletic career. A linebacker, he will compete on the university’s football team while majoring in mechanical engineering.

A three-year letter winner and three-year starter, Torrin has been recognized with honors including All-Conference Honorable Mention in 2013 and 2014; Moon 1,000 lbs. Club; and inclusion on the 2015 Top Prospect List. Most recently, he received the Thomas Dish Memorial and Fred J. Cercone III awards in recognition of his work ethic and teamwork.

Torrin is an active member of the Holiness Church of Christ Deliverance Center and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

The Valparaiso Crusaders, coached by Dave Cecchini, compete in the NCAA Division I Pioneer Football League.

Ryan Vargo  |  Notre Dame College  |  Track & Field

Ryan Vargo, a standout on the track and field team, has committed to continuing his academic and athletic careers at Notre Dame College in South Euclid, Ohio.

Individually, Ryan earned a bronze medal in the long jump at the WPIAL championships and will compete in the PIAA championships May 22-23 at Shippensburg University. In addition, he was this year’s long jump champion at the Baldwin Invitational.

Back-to-back section champs, the track team earned a 27-2 overall record for the last two seasons. In addition, the team is the 2015 MAC Conference Champs, 2015 Baldwin Invitational Champs and the 2015 Butler Invitational Runner Up.    

The Notre Dame Falcons, coached by Charlie Massi, compete in the NCAA Division II Mountain East Conference.


Fifteen Moon Area athletes signed letters of intent in February. National Signing Day, held annually on the first Wednesday in February, was Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015.

Open Letter: Response to MEA Petition

5/15/2015. Filed under Press Releases.


From:    Curt Baker, Superintendent
Date:    May 15, 2015
Subject:    Response to MEA Petition

On Monday, May 11, 2015, the Moon Education Association (“MEA”) President Ryan O’Toole delivered a petition to me stating the following:

We are the professional education staff at Moon Area School District.  We care deeply about our District, our future teaching at Moon, and the education of our students.  We are proud of the tremendous accomplishments we have achieved at this District.  We urge the administration and the board of our District to work with the Moon teachers to reach a fair agreement in a cooperative and professional manner and to not negotiate via the District’s website.  We urge the District to respect our professional rights, including our right to teach courses for which we are experienced and skilled, that have long been a part of the agreement between the administration, board and teaching staff.  We urge a fair contract for the teaching staff so that we can continue the great achievements at Moon!

I believe that a response is in order.


Make no mistake, Moon Area School District has exceptional teachers who are highly committed to the craft of teaching and, most importantly, care deeply about our students and their educational progress.  The best way to ensure academic success is to recruit and retain the very best and brightest teachers.

In fact, Moon Area School District’s Strategic Plan emphasizes that:

“When all is said and done, the success or failure of a public school system comes down to the quality, creativity, skill and commitment of its employees.  It therefore follows that if Moon is going to lift its performance to the top one percent of Pennsylvania school districts, then it must attract, develop, and retain exceptional employees.”

There is no lack of appreciation or respect for our Moon Area teachers or the work that takes place in our schools and classrooms.  Our disagreement is at the negotiating table.

It is our strategic intent to be an employer of choice for teachers and others in the field of public education.  To realize this goal, we must offer our employees fair pay, perks, and work rules – and we are willing to do so.  It would be irresponsible, however, to enter into an unaffordable contract with terms that far exceed the market rate. 

Read the full letter

Two seniors honored by American Legion

5/15/2015. Filed under Press Releases.

Two Moon Area High School seniors were recently honored at the American Legion's 18th Annual Youth Achievement Dinner held at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall. Austin Jepsky and Isabelle Marsh were recognized for their participation in Keystone State, a weeklong civic leadership program.

Austin attended Keystone Boys State and Isabelle attended Keystone Girls State in June 2014 at Shippensburg University. Each student was sponsored by a local American Legion post.

The American Legion Auxiliary Keystone Girls State and the Pennsylvania American Legion Keystone Boys State are weeklong summertime educational programs that focus on participation and personal experience in a model state, complete with governing bodies and elected public officials. Both programs are designed to mirror the structure and operation of Pennsylvania’s state government.

Moon among the BEST high schools in the nation

5/14/2015. Filed under Press Releases.

Moon Area High School ranks among the top high schools in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report. The newspaper released its list of 2015 Best High Schools on May 12, 2015.

Ranked 59th in Pennsylvania, Moon Area is one of only 216 of the commonwealth’s 673 high schools to make the list. Moon Area ranks 13th among the 42 suburban high schools in Allegheny County. Nationally, Moon Area ranks 2,053 out of 29,070 high schools in the nation – among the top seven percent.

“We are extremely proud of our students and their teachers and are pleased to see their efforts recognized,” Curt Baker, superintendent of schools, said. “We have made remarkable progress in our strategic intent of moving Moon Area School District to the top one percent of Pennsylvania schools.”

As stated in the district’s strategic plan, Moon Area’s instructional strategy is built around three core principles – all
of which are research-based and follow best educational practices:

  1. Deliver a good solid lesson in every classroom, every day.
  2. Follow a common, content-rich curriculum that is informed by data.
  3. Develop authentic literacy through purposeful reading, writing and classroom discussion in every discipline.

The U.S. News rankings include data on more than 29,000 public high schools in 50 states and the District of Columbia. Schools were awarded gold, silver or bronze medals based on their performance on state assessments and how well they prepare students for college. Moon earned a Silver medal.

“It’s always an honor to be ranked among the best locally, regionally and nationally,” Barry Balaski, Moon Area High School principal, said. “The comparative data are important as we continue to work to improve the quality of our educational program and, ultimately, our students’ level of achievement.”

According to its website, U.S. News & World Report used a “comprehensive rankings methodology, which is based on these key principles: that a great high school must serve all of its students well, not just those who are college bound, and that it must be able to produce measurable academic outcomes to show it is successfully educating its student body across a range of performance indicators.”

Schools were evaluated on overall student performance on state-mandated assessments, as well as how effectively schools educated their African American, Hispanic and economically disadvantaged students. Performance on Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exams was then used to determine the degree to which schools prepare students for college-level work.

“The Best High Schools project identifies the country's top-performing public high schools,” Robert Morse, education reporter for U.S. News & World Report, said. “The goal is to provide a clear, unbiased picture of how well public schools serve all of their students – from the highest achieving to the lowest achieving – in preparing them to demonstrate proficiency in basic skills as well as readiness for college-level work.”

The first-ever list of the U.S. News Best High Schools was posted online on Nov. 30, 2007.

“Since U.S. News & World Report's editors believe high schools are among America's most important institutions, adding the Best High Schools to its series was a natural progression,” Mr. Morse said. “Education drives our country's future. Recognizing schools that are performing well and providing them as models to other schools will inspire educators and communities to do better.”

U.S. News & World Report Best High School Rankings 2015
How U.S. News Calculated the 2015 Best High Schools Rankings
National Rankings
State Rankings: Pennsylvania High Schools
Frequently Asked Questions: Best High Schools Rankings

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