Staff and Student Spotlights

  • Photo Gallery: The Duke Showcase

    Posted by Jeremy Tepper on 5/30/2023

    On Tuesday, May 30, the Duquesne City School District held its inaugural Duke Showcase. The event consisted of a career and resource fair, student-led showcase tables, fun, games and a performance by the district's band to cap it off.

    Each grade level had its own table to show off some of the things happening in their classrooms. Among the subjects showcased were Esports, Lego League and World of Work. For pictures of the Duke Showcase, check out the photo gallery above.

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  • Personalized Learning Working Group visits Duquesne

    Posted by Jeremy Tepper on 5/24/2023

    On Wednesday, we had the pleasure of hosting the Personalized Learning Working Group at the Duquesne City School District.

    The Personalized Learning Working Group — which consists of various school district administrators and leaders in education — was taken on student-led tours before engaging with a student and teacher panel.

    For video of the student and teacher panel, check out the video below. For pictures of the tour, check out the photo gallery above.



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  • Ms. Condi's class publishes a book

    Posted by Jeremy Tepper on 5/23/2023

    Ms. Condi's class worked hard, and now they get to see the fruits of their labor in a published form.

    Over the course of a one-month long period, Ms. Condi's 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students were tasked with researching and writing about a state or country that they'd like to visit. They then wrote down their research in their best handwriting and drew the outline of the location. Those materials were sent to Studentreasures, who published the book.

    Ms. Condi's class will be sharing their book at the upcoming Duke Showcase. For a peak into the book, check out the photo gallery above.

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  • Marcie Yunkun voted as April's Staff Member of the Month

    Posted by Jeremy Tepper on 5/22/2023 8:00:00 AM

    Staff Member of the Month: Marcie Sunken

    Years back, Marcie Yunkun never thought she'd become a teacher. Fast forward, and her students and coworkers are sure happy she chose to become an educator.

    Yunkun was voted as April's Staff Member of the Month. Her coworkers laud her for her genuine care for education and her students.

    "Marcie is a true team player and is at the Duke for the kids," said one coworker.

    "She truly is at the school to try and impact the students' lives," said another coworker.

    Twenty-eight years ago, Yunkun joined the Duquesne City School District.  Over that time period, she's worn a number of different hats, having taught every grade level except kindergarten and 1st grade. Currently, she's teaching 7th and 8th science.

    Yunkun tries to take an outside of the box approach with her instruction, constantly thinking of new ways to engage her students. It's that zest for creativity that gives her joy on a day-to-day basis.

    "The hands-on activities and seeing the kids engaged, that's what keeps me going," Yunkun said. "I get to see them think creatively and out of the box."

    Yunkun's creative thinking took a new turn this year when she suggested that a horticulture class might be useful for the students.

    The Duquesne administration gave her the go-ahead, and now she's teaching horticulture to 7th and 8th graders, too. 

    Beyond giving Duquesne students a new subject to learn, horticulture class has given Yunkun — an avid gardener — an outlet to pass on her hobby to her students.

    “I figured horticulture would be a great thing for the 7th and 8th graders," Yunkun said. 

    “It gives them more of a hands-on experience and more of a problem-based learning experience.”

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  • Photo Gallery: Washington DC trip

    Posted by Jeremy Tepper on 5/17/2023

    On Monday, some of our 8th grade students had the opportunity to visit Washington D.C., as well as tour Howard University. Check out the photo gallery above for some scenes of the visit.

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  • Photo Gallery: Remake Learning checks out Duquesne's Lego League

    Posted by Jeremy Tepper on 5/17/2023

    On Wednesday, Tyler Samstag, the director of Remake Learning, came to the district to learn about our participation in Lego League, a unique competition that integrates coding, robotics and teamwork.

    During this year's Lego League season, our team took 1st place for core values in one competition.

    For pictures of Samstag's visit, check out the photo gallery above.

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  • The inaugural Duke Showcase to be held on May 30

    Posted by Jeremy Tepper on 5/11/2023

    The Duquesne City School District invites you to join our local community for the Duke Showcase

    The Duquesne City School District will hold its inaugural Duke Showcase on May 30 from 11:00 a.m.-2 p.m. The free community event will feature a career fair, student-led presentations, Kindergarten registration, food, music, games, activites and much more.

    Come join us as we showcase a number of the great things that are happening in the district. If you plan on coming, please register at the eventbrite link here.

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  • Kamryn Murray's poem selected for published anthology

    Posted by Jeremy Tepper on 5/9/2023

    Kamryn Murray holds up a certificate for her poem being selected for high merit

    Kamryn Murray is quite deferential when talking about her poetry. For Murray, a 7th grader in the district, writing and poetry are outlets for her to express herself.  

    “I kept writing and writing and I liked it,” Murray said. “I started showing people my poems, and I guess everybody liked them, too.”  

    Last week, Murray learned that her poem, entitled “My Happiest Years,” was selected as high merit and chosen to be featured in a published anthology. Murray and her Creative Writing teacher, Ms. Stover, submitted the poem to a national contest through Creative Communication.  

    “It’s pretty cool,” Murray said of her poem being selected.  

    Murray found a love for poetry through tragedy. When her uncle died this year, Murray discovered poetry shortly after. Oftentimes, she finds herself writing about her uncle, like with “My Happiest Years.” For Murray, putting feelings to paper has helped her process her emotions.  

    “I keep writing poems about it to express my feelings,” Murray said. “When I wrote that poem, it made me feel a bit better about the situation.”

    Although she’s still new to poetry, Murray thinks she’ll always stay writing well into the future. Over time, she’s learned that she has skill for it. But more importantly, it just makes her happy.  

    “I like that about poetry,” she said.     

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  • Photo Gallery: The Pennsylvania Department of Education visits Duquesne

    Posted by Jeremy Tepper on 5/8/2023

    On Monday, May 8th, the Duquesne City School District had the pleasure of hosting the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Special thanks to Dr. David Volkman, the Executive Deputy Secretary of the PDE and Debora Carrera, the Special Advisor to the Secretary of Education, for stopping by.

    Check out the photo gallery above for scenes of their visit.

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  • Duquesne to expand Pressley Ridge services through Project SEEKS SES

    Posted by Jeremy Tepper on 5/8/2023

    Pressley Ridge


    The Duquesne City School District makes equity a priority. On a day-to-day basis, the district is constantly looking for new ways to properly access and educate each and every student equally.


    Lucy McDonough, the district’s special education consultant, has furthered those efforts since joining the district this school year. 


    “That’s been a goal of mine, to build the resources and the capacity within Duquesne to be able to educate all of their students in the district,” McDonough said. “That’s what we’re working toward and we’re going to keep building on that.”


    McDonough has helped connect the district with Pressley Ridge, who provides districts with specialized education services, among other things. This school year, Duquesne City and Pressley Ridge have partnered to have two behavioral support staff. The support staff has been so successful that Duquesne City has planned an expansion. 


    Currently, the district has Pressley Ridge behavioral support staff in one classroom. The plan is to expand that support staff to three classrooms. 


    “Pressley Ridge has been instrumental in supporting our teacher and the K-2 students as they display mental and behavioral issues. They have helped the students be able to self-advocate, as well as create a schedule that helps the students gain an understanding of their day and what the expectations are,” said Duquesne City superintendent Dr. Sue Mariani. 


    “The students and the teacher have been able to establish a structure within the classroom where the students are starting to feel successful inside the classroom. We are thrilled with our partnership and look forward to expanding in the future.”


    Such an expansion is possible through Project SEEKS SES, an AIU and ACHD grant-funded collaboration to address social and emotional health issues exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Duquesne City was picked by the ACHD as one of ten districts to receive funding from the grant.


    “We partnered with Pressley Ridge to provide a higher level of service within our emotional support classrooms, so that we could keep kids in the district, and hopefully make it a quicker return to their regular education classrooms,” McDonough said.


    “They have a model they use with two behavioral support staff in one classroom that work alongside the teacher to address the social skills and the emotional needs of the kids, behavioral interventions, and provide a level of support that we don’t typically have here.”


    Currently, the support staff is just in a K-2 classroom, which generally affects 8-12 students. With next school year’s expansion, the district will be able to impact roughly 24 or 25 students. Michele Woodward oversees all of Pressley Ridge’s satellite programs. She said her staff’s training makes them particularly qualified to handle the support that Duquesne City needs.


    “All of our staff in satellite programs are trained in CPI (Crisis Prevention Intervention). They get training on trauma-informed practices and we also train them on restorative practices,” Woodward said. “We try to take on a more restorative approach with all of the students.”  


    Woodward said there has been a greater need for emotional and behavioral support staff in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. 


    “I think it has come to the forefront since COVID. The students spent their time learning and socializing through electronic devices,” Woodward said. 


    “Now that they’re back in the classroom for in person learning, it has been a challenge. We’re really seeing it with some of the younger students who started school during the pandemic. They’re adjusting to what it is like to be in school. For some of the older students, I just think it’s something they have got used to. It’s taking some time to transition back.”


    Pressley Ridge’s staff and Duquesne City’s staff collaborate as a team by identifying the needs of each student in the targeted classroom and making a plan for them. Pressley Ridge then keeps track of behavioral data and meets as a team with Duquesne on a weekly basis. 


    Beyond providing staff, Pressley Ridge has also provided some of Duquesne City’s staff with some of the same trauma-informed training that they have, and Woodward said they were very receptive to it. McDonough is hopeful that this collaborative spirit will help raise the skill level of the district’s staff.


    “The goal is that we get immersed in hands-on behavioral interventions and we see it in action,” McDonough said.


    “Always the goal of doing anything like this is that we’re able to sustain this and build the capacity in the district to do this.”

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