Coding the FutureStudents log into Hour of CodeStudents throughout the district logged into computers, iPads and Chromebooks during the first week of December to participate in the International Hour of Code. The Hour of Code is a worldwide effort sponsored by Computer Science Education Week and Code.org reaching tens of millions of students in over 180 countries through a one-hour introduction to computer science and computer programming.Students at our elementary schools were able to log into the Code.org website where they have the option to create code for a number of fun programs, including Minecraft, Star Wars, Moana, Angry Birds and others. The site caters to various skill levels, giving students in all grades the opportunity to challenge themselves at an skill-appropriate level. The activities were completed in computer labs, classrooms and library media centers -- digital learning happens wherever there is a device and internet access.WIN (Whatever I Need) periods in the middle schools were opened all week to reach additional students so that they could participate in the global event. Students viewed short videos showcasing the international event with celebrity endorsements and the importance of computer science then experimented with code using game applications. They also learned to create code for obstacle courses and applied sequencing with mathematical patterns through Java programming languages. Students were introduced to Alice (an animation language) through the Hour of Code site where they created a comedy skit involving at least two characters with dialogue. Sequencing and conditional logic skills were applied to solve coding puzzles. Instruction may have involved block programming or a code editor to write and define commands, functions and variables.Eighth grade students also applied their knowledge of coding and HTML programming by creating multi-page websites through a Google sites project. Poquessing Middle School students enjoyed a daylong visit from Accenture Computer Engineer Tony Reinert, who talked about the computer coding behind some of the highest-profile projects in the world, including the Space Shuttle.At the high school, one activity taught students how to compress data, specifically song lyrics. The goal was to compress at least 30% of a song’s lyrics. Every student involved met the goal and the top four programmers (all female) were able to compress 43% of the lyrics.
Video Link:Hour of Code at NeshaminyBoardDocs to increase transparency, efficiencyIn January, Neshaminy School District will launch a new electronic document management system, BoardDocs, that will not only save a few trees by reducing paperwork, but will make the work of School Board members and administrators more efficient by improving accessibility to vital information. The community will also benefit by increased access to public documents online, which will now be better organized, searchable and available in a timely manner.BoardDocs is a proprietary cloud-based system that is already used by over 2,000 government boards, agencies and organizations across the country to manage vital information. It allows the administrative staff to create and revise meeting agendas collaboratively online, access and archive documents such as budgets, correspondence, resolutions, invoices, or anything else needed for use in School Board and committee meetings, and automatically post relevant public documents on a web portal that will be accessible through the district web site.School Board members will now have easy access to information during meetings by using iPads to search and view documents instead of shuffling through stacks of papers. The public will also have pre-meeting access to relevant documents and meeting agendas through the web portal, which can be accessed on any device and is mobile-friendly. A simple, printed copy of the agendas will still be available at each meeting, and notifications of scheduled meetings will continue to be posted at the District Administration Offices at Maple Point, in legal notices and on the district web site.Training for administrators, secretaries and Board members started in November and was completed by the start of the winter break. Full implementation will begin with the January 10 School Board Public Work Session.Comprehensive Plan available for review
Neshaminy School District is required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to submit a Comprehensive Plan every three years. The current plan covers the district until the end of this school year. A committee made up of administrators, teachers, support staff, parents, students and the community has met several times since last spring to assist with the completion of a new plan.
The draft version of this plan is now done and is on public display from December 22, 2016 to January 18, 2017. It can be downloaded from the link below, and copies have been delivered to the public libraries in Langhorne and Lower Southampton for viewing.
The draft plan will be presented to the Neshaminy School Board of Directors for final approval at the January 24, 2017 Public Board meeting. Upon approval, the Neshaminy School District Comprehensive Plan will be electronically submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Education for their approval. Once approved, Implementation Teams will be created to begin working on the three strand areas of our new plan. Members of the community interested in participating in the implementation phase should contact Director of Administration Paul Meehan at 215-809-6510.
Name change simplifies email, web pagesOver the holiday break, the Information Technology department at Neshaminy completed a task started earlier in the year to make our electronic communications a little easier.All district email addresses now use the domain name Neshaminy.org. The web site transitioned to this name last year. This replaces the former Neshaminy.k12.pa.us, a default domain name style commonly used for schools throughout the country.The transition process included changing every link on the district web site and email servers to the new domain name. The old domain name will also work, so contact lists or web bookmarks do not need to be changed at this time.Substitute teachers wanted!Do you have a bachelor's degree and love working with children? Would you enjoy sharing your knowledge and wisdom with the next generation right here at Neshaminy? We are looking for substitute teachers in our schools. We can even help you obtain state certification through the Bucks County Intermediate Unit 2-day Guest Teacher program, which will be held monthly January through May. The next session will be held January 17 and 18.
For more information, please contact any of our school principals or call Human Resources at 215-809-6606.News From Our SchoolsDistrictThird-graders receive Rotary dictionariesMembers of the Rotary Clubs in both Feasterville and Langhorne distributed dictionaries at the school December 7 as part of their annual program to donate the books to every third grade student in the district. Rotary has been a long-time supporter of education, sponsors service learning clubs at several schools and has made the annual dictionary distribution a tradition that our students look forward to and remember for years.
AE students experience a Robot Revolution110 Academic Enrichment students from all the district elementary schools visited the Franklin Institute on December 20 to participate in a special program that introduced them to cutting-edge robots and robotic applications. The students visited the Robot Revolution exhibit, which is supported by Google and the Boeing Company. It included a collection of 40 robots curated from some of the most innovative companies and universities, and the students were able to interact or operate about half of those directly.HolidayHonorRoll
During the months of November and December, every Neshaminy school participates in a variety of charitable activities that provide food, clothing and other assistance to families in need over the holidays both in our schools and in the community. These efforts would not be possible without a lot of generous donors and volunteers. To recognize these efforts, we have created a ‘Holiday Honor Roll’ which can be viewed here as a video and here as a web page.
Pearl S. Buck Elementary School4th graders form high-tech friendships with kindergarteners
Fourth grade students at Buck are providing a high-tech twist on the kindergarten ‘buddy’ programs found in our elementary schools. Fourth grade students commonly partner with kindergarten students to read with them, play games or help with other projects.Some fourth graders at Buck have been visiting kindergarten classes to assist the kindergartners with projects on Chromebooks. They are very knowledgeable and can help problem-solve when there is an issue.The best part might be the bonds formed between our youngest students and their ‘big kid’ buddies!
Joseph Ferderbar Elementary SchoolService Learning Club reaches out to troops overseasThe students of Ferderbar Elementary took part in a letter writing campaign to our troops this holiday season. The letter writing campaign was spearheaded by the Rotary-sponsored service learning organization at the school, Earlyact. It was exciting to see the joint partnership between the oldest and youngest students as they wrote letters and drew holiday pictures for our troops overseas. The campaign will continue after the holidays as well. The students learned that our troops need our support throughout the year, not just in December.A group of Earlyact members attended a Feasterville Rotary Club breakfast in December to learn about the club and be recognized by club members for their work. Also in attendance was Superintendent Joseph Jones III, who spoke to the group.Walter Miller Elementary SchoolMural project completedThe walls in the lobby at Miller have a bright, new, colorful look thanks to a local artist working with the entire school over the past few weeks.The school mural project is a school-wide event that celebrates diversity and community. Each student was asked to represent the school mascot, ‘Spike the Snow Leopard,’ participating in activities that they enjoy about Walter Miller. Each member of the school community - students, teachers, the custodial staff, instructional assistants, specialists, and food service - voted on which mascot would represent our school from each grade level. The results were amazing and each quite different.An artist from the Bucks Artist in Residence (AIR) program directed the project along with Miller art teacher Stacy Potter. The students then helped paint the murals, which cover two walls in front of the main office by the front doors, providing a welcoming presentation to all students and visitors.Second grade goes on a ‘giving spree’The entire second grade from Miller descended on the Langhorne Target store on December 14 for a shopping trip to give other kids a brighter holiday this year. The students have been performing ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ for weeks to earn donations from their families, which were used to purchase gifts for children in need through Family Services of Langhorne. The students then visited the store along with their teachers and a number of PTO volunteers, split into small groups, and decided what to purchase based on needs lists provided by the service organization. The donations included toys, clothing and other holiday needs. The students raised about $900 for their purchases this year.Another related holiday project conducted by first and third-graders was a collection of items for Mary’s Cupboard and the homeless. With the help from the entire school, they were able to fill 26 boxes of much needed supplies that were picked up by Mary’s Cupboard volunteers. This year the donations weighed in at almost 700 pounds. In the past 3 years, Miller has donated a total of 1,965 pounds of food, toiletries, and winter accessories.Herbert Hoover Elementary SchoolHoover honored as Title 1 Distinguished SchoolHerbert Hoover Elementary School has once again been named a Title 1 Distinguished School for the 2016-2017 school year. This honor is based on aggregate math and reading PSSA scores and other objectives, putting Hoover in the top 5% of Title 1 schools in Pennsylvania. The school will be honored at an award ceremony sponsored by the Pennsylvania Association of Federal Program Coordinators at their Title 1 Conference January 30 in Pittsburgh.Congratulations to the staff, students and families of Hoover on this remarkable achievement!Albert Schweitzer Elementary SchoolMini-robots teach problem-solving skillsThanks to a mini-grant from the Neshaminy Education Foundation last year, Albert Schweitzer Elementary School is home to some of the most adorable mini-robots you’ve ever seen, and they’re teaching students there computer programming, teamwork and problem-solving skills. Under the direction of Library Media Specialist Yazmine Adamson, students in the Academic Enrichment program are participating in a worldwide online competition to write code for Dash and Dot robots in iPads. The motorized mini-bots respond to programs created by the students, who must have the robots complete various tasks.Video link: Dash and Dot robots at SchweitzerClub delivers holiday cheerMembers of the Service Learning Club visited the Attleboro Community in Langhorne on December 13 to sing some songs and deliver hand-made Christmas cards to the residents.Tawanka Elementary SchoolK-4 buddies write letters to veteransA group of kindergarten students and their buddies from the 4th grade came together this month to write letters to the troops for the holidays. Barbara Epting from Service for Veterans took all the cards that the kids made to the Delaware Valley Veterans Home. They were overjoyed to receive them!
Kindergarten wing transforms into Gingerbread LaneThe kindergarten wing at Tawanka Elementary School was transformed into a Gingerbread House wonderland for the holidays, and on December 22 the students spent some time giving their artistic all to decorating gingerbread men cookies.Maple Point Middle SchoolSenior Soiree builds generational bondsNearly 400 senior citizens showed up for the first-ever ‘Senior Soiree,’ a holiday festival sponsored by the Maple Point fifth-grade on December 20.The guests were treated to mini-concerts from the Maple Point fifth-grade orchestra, choir and band. They were then invited to enjoy tables full of holiday food and refreshments provided by the fifth-grade families and staff of Maple Point. As they ate, each student interviewed at least three seniors, only one of whom could be a relative. The guests were asked for their names, where they live, their profession, and most importantly, what is their recipe for a happy, healthy and successful life. The answers ranged from staying in school to being kind to others and appreciating family.In addition to the concerts and interviews, the seniors enjoyed hand-decorated holiday cards from the students.Senior Soiree was the brainchild of Maple Point music teacher Wendy Robson, and was organized as a collaboration of staff members that included Pam O'Boyle, Bonnie Anderson, Belinda Rice, and Carol Mahoney, the entire fifth-grade staff and the music department.VIDEO LINK: Senior Soiree 2016VIDEO LINK: Senior Soiree on Action NewsInclusive Schools Week celebrated in Super styleThe hallways were full of superheroes on Friday December 9 as the school celebrated Inclusive Schools Week, an annual event held the first week in December each year to promote acceptance and tolerance. This year the theme was being a hero, and students were invited to dress in their favorite superhero t-shirt to celebrate. Each student also helped fill a wall in the cafeteria with hand-written positive messages.Poquessing Middle School
Firefighters get a sweet receptionMembers of the Lower Southampton Fire Department stopped by Poquessing Middle School to pick up a delivery of home-made cookies and inspirational notes from students in the school's Interact Club early in December. The Interact Club is a Rotary-sponsored school organization that performs service activities in the community, and the students wanted to let our firefighters know they are appreciated with this project. In return they got a special tour of the fire truck!Carl Sandburg Middle SchoolCards, stockings spread holiday cheer to the communityTwo service organizations from Sandburg, SPIRIT Service Club and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) joined together to fill out and decorate over 100 Christmas cards for several area nursing homes in December. The 29 students worked hard to decorate and offer words of cheer in the cards. The greeting cards were delivered to four nursing homes which included a local veterans home and they brought many smiles to the residents.The SPIRIT club also partnered with the Sandburg PTO and filled 98 stockings that were donated to the Salvation Army to help brighten other student’s holidays.
Neshaminy High SchoolFood collections, Ugly Sweater Run helps holiday effortsThis year the holiday food drive at Neshaminy High School provided boxes of food and gift cards for 70 families under the direction of Assistant Principal Lisa Pennington. The Student Council, Environmental Action Club and Interact Club all worked for weeks to raise money, collect food donations and sort the donations so each family received two decorated boxes full of holiday staples. Students from those clubs as well as from social studies and business classes, plus many individual volunteers, turned a conference room in the Guidance Department into a sorting station in an ongoing effort to keep up with the donations. The Student Council held an 'Ugly Sweater Run' fundraiser in December and raised approximately $2000 for the effort. Staff members at the high school also donated about $1500.By the time school let out for the holidays, the donations were in the hands of those that needed them the most, but the effort to provide assistance to the community is an ongoing need and will continue throughout the year.VIDEO LINK: Holiday food drive at Neshaminy HSNHS soccer coach, player honoredVarsity girls soccer coach Chelsea Lovelace was named the Coach of the Year by the Southeast Pennsylvania Soccer Coaches Association in December. Her team was the PIAA District 1 champion this year and finished their season with a tremendous 20-2-1 record, including 14 shutouts.Also honored in December was senior Maggie Daeche, named the Girls Soccer Player of the Year for southeastern Pennsylvania by the Philadelphia Inquirer. She was a captain on the team this year, and played as a freshman on the team that won the 2013 state championship. Maggie has been recruited to play for Drexel University next year.Artworks help brighten cancer centerNeshaminy HS students Megan McCoach, Delaney Campana, and Rebecca Scheinert, students of art teacher Terry O’Neill, will have their works on display for one year at the Bee Well Boutique in St. Mary's Cancer Center. They created works they felt would inspire the boutique's visitors. Bee Well, which opened this fall, offers wigs, clothing, and other products to help cancer patients.
Thespians shine at state conferenceCongratulations to the Neshaminy HS Drama 'Roadies' on their impressive performances at the Pennsylvania State Thespian Conference, which was held in early December in York, PA. They performed ‘We Beseech Thee’ from the musical Godspell on the main stage in front of 1100 people, Emma Saloky was inducted into the Performance Hall of Fame, Dan Booda, Megan Walsh, Rick Moyer, and Billy Kraft all earned overall Superiors in their Individual Events, qualifying them for Nationals, and Dan was one of only four people selected to perform on the main stage in front of the entire conference.
Neshaminy Update is published monthly during the school year and distributed to Neshaminy families via email. To submit comments, suggestions or news items for consideration, please email Chris Stanley, Community Relations Coordinator.
Neshaminy School District2250 Langhorne-Yardley RoadLanghorne, PA 19446Joseph Jones IIISuperintendent(215) 809-6000