Congratulations Class of 2017!
After several days of hot and humid summer weather, Mother Nature delivered near-perfect conditions for the 122nd Commencement at Neshaminy High School on Wednesday, June 14. A total of 590 seniors joined the ranks of Neshaminy alumni during the ceremony at Harry E. Franks Stadium in front of a crowd of nearly 5,000 guests in the stands.
The graduates heard from Class of 2017 Vice-President Maggie Daeche, Secretary Mia Sexton, Treasurer Elena Donato and Historian Rachel Sufrin; co-valedictorians Shawn Barrett and Jonathan Vadaketh; Student Council members Taylor Benton, Adewale Toriola, Elayna Curtin, Brooke Romberger and Kyle Pennock; and closing remarks from Class President Emily Alexis.
The students and guests also heard from Superintendent Joseph Jones III, Class Advisor Laurie Johnson, School Board President Scott Congdon, Vice Principal Lynn Knotts and Principal Dr. Robert McGee who presented the Class of 2017. Teachers Siri Sammartino and Chuck Deal read the roll call of graduate names.
The class of 2017 includes 100 members of the National Honor Society, 2 National Merit Finalists and 2 National Merit Commendations. 23 students are members of the Spanish National Honor Society, and 7 are members of the French National Honor Society. 40 students received Scholastic Honors, which were announced at the Awards Assembly on June 1.
District mourns Board member
Neshaminy School District regrets to announce the passing of School Board member Robert Sanna on June 12 after a lengthy illness. Mr. Sanna had served on the board for the past two years and was lauded at the School Board meeting on June 20 for his devotion to the district, the community, his family and his responsibilities as a School Board member.
At the June 29 public meeting, the School Board appointed Bob Burnett to temporarily fill the vacancy left by Mr. Sanna. Mr. Burnett is a Levittown resident, a retired Middletown police officer, a security officer at a middle school outside the district and Deputy Fire Chief in Bristol Borough. His daughter is a special education teacher at Maple Point Middle School. He will serve until the first meeting in December at which time a candidate selected by voters in the November election will fill the seat.
Report card changes coming for K-4
Beginning in September, Neshaminy is changing the kindergarten - 4th grade report card frequency and grading system. The goal is to improve communication and understanding of progress in a way that is more student-centered and aligned with current evidence-based practices. The changes include three notable shifts from the previous report cards:
- Reporting periods will be transitioning from quarters to trimesters.
- Performance indicators will be specific to skills aligned to the Pennsylvania Core State Standards (PCSS) in each subject for each grade.
- Academic Performance Level for Standards Achievement indicators will change from the current number system to a letter-based set as follows:
Approaching the Standard/
||Not assessed this marking period
There are notable benefits to this style of standards-based report cards for students, parents, and teachers:
- Teachers are able to use ongoing assessments as a way to guide classroom instruction.
- Students are able to practice their mastery of standards without the penalty of receiving a poor grade.
- The process of re-teaching creates an opportunity for both teachers and students to continually learn.
- Standards-based reporting allows teachers the opportunity to clearly communicate with students and parents.
- Provides opportunities for students to demonstrate mastery in a variety of ways.
- Regularly gives students ‘second chance learning’ opportunities.
The district will support the new report cards with teacher training over the summer, letters and FAQ sheets will be sent to K-4 families, and plans are under way to hold a Parent University to provide further information in person and answer questions about the new system.
Teachers become the students
The quiet after the final day of classes at Neshaminy for the school year didn't last long as our teachers became the students on June 19 and 20 while attending dozens of classes and seminars held at Maple Point MS and Neshaminy HS. This end-of-school-year professional development program was called Neshaminy Ignites -- Academic Choice, a reference to the many new initiatives currently under way throughout the district to increase differentiated learning and unique opportunities for each student.
The classes covered a lot of territory including Google Classroom, engineering design process learning, new reading programs, positive behavior and bullying prevention, Responsive Classroom, diversity and inclusion, new digital learning tools, community outreach in the classroom, and new teaching tools for everything from math and science to art and physical education.
Thank you, retirees!
We would like to thank and congratulate each of our 2017 retirees, who have well over 500 years of combined experience serving the children and families of Neshaminy!
Our longest-serving retiree this year is Michelle Michaud (pictured above), a special education teacher at Carl Sandburg Middle School, was honored on her last day of teaching by her students and colleagues after 40 years with the district. She taught for 14 years at the elementary level and 26 at the middle school level. She was the Special Education Department Chair for 23 years.
Pre-K program moves forward
||The Pre-K Counts program has been busy signing up families for the 2017-2018 school year, and just received its first grant approval for classes at the Lower Southampton Early Learning Center (the former Lower Southampton Elementary School). An extension grant is pending for two classes to be held at Albert Schweitzer Elementary School in Levittown. Pre-K Counts is a state-funded program which provides free preschool to qualified families.
Families are encouraged to apply for this opportunity as soon as possible to avoid being left out! Spaces are still available but are limited and going quickly.
Alumni stories wanted!
Are you a Neshaminy graduate with a great life story to share? Do you know a Neshaminy High School alumna who earned recent accolades, achieved success in his or her profession or in the community, and is willing to share how the Neshaminy experience helped them in life?
We are looking for alumni stories to share in upcoming newsletters, on the Neshaminy website and on our social media. Please send nominations via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
and be sure to include contact information for yourself and for nominees as well, if it is available.
News from our Schools
Support staff collects food donations
On June 23, members of the Neshaminy Educational Support Professional Association (NESPA), which represents the support staff of the district, delivered over 1,200 pounds of non-perishable food donated by the Neshaminy community to four area food banks - St. Stephens Food Bank, Feasterville; Family Services, Langhorne; Relief Emergency Association, Levittown; and Penndel Food Pantry in Penndel.
Middle Schools hold 8th grade move-up ceremonies
Neshaminy Summer Stock to stage Anything Goes, Peter Pan
Neshaminy Summer Stock, now in it's 53rd year, will be presenting two popular musicals as the culmination of its 2017 program.
The senior students (grades 6-12) will present Anything Goes
Wednesday – Sunday July 26, 27, 28 and 29 at 7pm, and the Sunday matinee on July 30 at 1:30pm. Tickets are $10 and will be available at Neshaminy HS starting July 14 or at the door on performance night.
The junior students (grades 2-5) will present Peter Pan, Jr.
on Friday and Saturday July 28 and 29, 11am each day. Tickets are $5. For more information please visit the Summer Stock website at www.neshaminysummerstock.com.
Summer math, reading lists posted
Summer is the time for swimming, camping, vacations or just lazy days spent in the backyard. It's also important to keep the skills our students worked so hard all year to master sharp. To help in that effort, the summer reading lists and math packets have been posted. You can find them by visiting the district web site www.neshaminy.org
or any of the school websites.
Education Foundation names raffle winners
We have winners in the Neshaminy Education Foundation gift card basket raffle! Congratulations to Barb Perugini and Tricia Tyciak; each received over $300 in gift cards to local restaurants and other prizes. And thank you to all of those who purchased tickets for the spring raffle as well as the generous local business donors. This raffle raised nearly $1,000 for the Foundation.
Pearl S. Buck ES
Class #PaysItForward with pizza donation
For the third straight year, Lauren Miller's 2nd-grade class raised money to benefit the Rosa's Fresh Pizza #PayItForward project, which provides free pizza slices for the homeless in Philadelphia. The students donated $850, which is enough to provide 100 entire pizzas! The kids organized a program where they could bring their teddy bear to school for a $1 donation.
Security door installation on tap
A new security vestibule will be installed at Pearl Buck Elementary over the summer. This project is part of Phase III of the district-wide building improvement plan. This vestibule will be similar to those installed at other district schools, requiring visitors to provide identification before entering. The school office will be open during construction, but visitors are encouraged to call ahead before visiting due to vacation schedules.
Joseph Ferderbar ES
Walking Club piles up the miles
There was one club at Ferderbar this year that encouraged students to get out and walk! The Walking Club ended the school year with an awards assembly. At the assembly, participating students were named and special recognition was given to those with the most miles. A prize drawing was held for students who earned 10 miles or more for the whole year.
The school had a total of 435 students participate in the program. The top walker for the school was Katya Tishina, who walked 50.75 miles. Second place was Michael Bouley with 41 miles. Prizes were provided by the Home & School Association and Neshaminy Kids Club. The total for the entire school was 2325 miles, equivalent to walking from Feasterville to Twin Falls, Idaho!
Jukebox Time Machine travels the decades
Scores of students sang and danced their way through the decades in June for the Ferderbar musical production, Jukebox Time Machine. The show featured a review of popular music from the 1930's to the present.
Marathon Math-A-Thon makes giving a Ferderbar tradition
The students at Ferderbar have been participating in the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Math-A-Thon for over 25 years. Their hard work has made a difference in the lives of children struggling with cancer and other life threatening illness by supporting the work of the hospital.
By completing grade level math booklets, students have fun and earn prizes while improving their math skills using the St. Jude’s Funbook, which is an educational math workbook for grades K–8. Each Funbook contains a weeklong curriculum of grade-appropriate math problems that meet Common Core State Standards.
This year Ferderbar students raised over $5000. Over the course of 25 years, the school has collected and donated over $250,000 to the hospital through this program!
Thanks to second-grade teacher Pam Conklin who has run the fundraising program during those 25 years. Her commitment and dedication the children of St. Jude’s and Ferderbar demonstrates that doing math does indeed equate to saving lives.
Herbert Hoover ES
100 Book Challenge promotes a love of reading
Hoover students once again rose to the challenge of reading 100 books and celebrated their success with a parade in June. First and second graders were given a list of books to choose from each week to read with their families or by themselves. For the parade, which was held indoors this year due to inclement weather, students highlighted their favorite book by creating posters and costumes which they displayed for their classmates.
Choir sings at Trenton Thunder game
On June 10 a group of Hoover students enjoyed a Trenton Thunder game, and choir members performed for the crowd by singing Take Me Out to the Ball Game on the field.
Published student author presents an assembly
Herbert Hoover Elementary School fourth-grade student Makayla Cseh was the subject of an assembly for her classmates and the entire kindergarten in June as she read her book, 'Cupcake and Pan' for them. Makayla authored the book starting in second grade, then with help from her grandmother published online where it can be purchased at this site:
Walter Miller ES
Aladdin production charms audiences
The annual Walter Miller Elementary School musical featured a prince, princess, a sultan, a genie and a parrot with an attitude and dozens of other colorful characters from the Disney classic Aladdin presented for students and parents in June. The elaborate production included a parade through the gymnasium, multiple musical numbers, and Aladdin-themed decorations throughout the school.
Summer building improvements under way
Returning Walter Miller students and staff will enjoy some improvements to enhance safety and comfort when they come back for the new school year. As part of Phase III of the district-wide building improvement plan, a new double-door security vestibule will be added along with a visitor identification system similar to that used in other district schools. HVAC upgrades will also be added, including air conditioning units in each classroom and upgrades to existing units.
Albert Schweitzer ES
Red Nose Day fights poverty
The look may have been silly but the reason for Schweitzer students wearing red noses in June was very serious. Red Nose Day was an fundraiser to benefit End Child Poverty, and the students raised $227 for the cause with their colorful schnozzes.
EarlyAct Club turns daisies into donations
Members of the Tawanka EarlyAct Club raised $426 by selling paper daisies to benefit St. Mary Medical Center Foundation. Representatives from the hospital visited the school to thank the students for their efforts, along with members of the Feasterville and Langhorne Rotary Clubs, which sponsors EarlyAct. The daisies were displayed in the school.
EarlyAct is an elementary school version of the Rotary Interact Club, a community service organization that operates in middle and high schools. Participating students seek opportunities for volunteer projects both within and outside the school, locally and throughout the world.
Patriotic Performance celebrates Flag Day
|| First grade students celebrated Flag Day by singing in a pair of choral concerts on June 13 and 14. Pennsylvania was the first state to recognize the holiday, and the students honored the day with such standards as Yankee Doodle, God Bless America, This Land is Your Land, My Country 'tis of Thee and many more in two shows, one at night for parents and one during the day for their classmates.
Building plaques dedicated
Two new building plaques marking the completion of Tawanka Elementary School were dedicated during an evening ceremony on Wednesday, June 7. The event was attended by School Board members, administrators, representatives of the building architect and contractors, community members, elected officials and a group of students from the EarlyAct Club who read a history of the school.
Playground aide honored for saving a student
||The Neshaniny School Board honored Tawanka Elementary School Recess Aide Casey Tutwiler at a meeting in June, after she successfully applied the Heimlich maneuver to a student who was choking on a piece of food at Tawanka in late May. She also received a proclamation from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from the office of Rep. Frank Farry for her quick actions to help the student.
Maple Point Middle School
Young authors win book contest
Four 6th-grade students won awards in the the 2017 Book Writing Contest sponsored by the Southampton Free Library in May. They received their awards at an author celebration, which was held at the library on Street Road in Southampton. The contest was open to all Bucks County students in grades 1-12. Winners have the opportunity to have their books professionally bound, and some books will be added to the library's permanent collection.
The four are all students in Theresa Johnson's 6th grade English class: Rebecca Miatselitsa and Jayden Williams won 1st place for their book, The Endless Dream. Julia Ponticiello and Kaitlyn Balko won 3rd place for their book, The Not So Friendly Friendship.
8th graders host writing portfolio party
Team F at Maple Point Middle School invited family members and friends to an unusual party in June. The students have been collecting their essays, poems, photo collages and more during the year, and invited their guests into the cafeteria to read and review them. Each student had to find five reviewers, present their portfolios and answer any question.
Student remembered with fundraisers, tributes
Students and staff members at three schools (Maple Point, Buck and Tawanka) remembered Patrick Ryan Gannon, a 13-year-old Maple Point MS student who died in an accident last summer. June 16 was Patrick's birthday, and they wore t-shirts with Patrick's hockey number 16 from the recent Pucks for Patrick fundraiser for the last day of school today in his memory.
Junior Achievement pilot program teaches financial expertise
8th grade business classes at Maple Point Middle School successfully piloted a Junior Achievement program this year that brought financial experts from the community into the school to teach elements of personal finance including credit scores, loans, insurance, investment, and other valuable topics. In this video students play a game of Risk Bingo - learning about different types of insurance.
The animals talked - and sang - in Doctor Doolittle
Maple Point Middle School 5th and 6th grade students presented a delightful musical version of Doctor Doolittle in June for their classmates and the community.
Baseball team finishes a perfect season as champions
Congratulations to the Maple Point Maple Point varsity baseball team under coach Neil French who finished their season 11-0 and won the BCL South Championship.
Poquessing Middle School
Choir goes viral with Radiohead song
The Poquessing Middle School Select Choir under the direction of Jason Leigh had an unexpected field trip in June after a video of the group singing a beautiful but haunting radio-friendly version of the Radiohead song Creep
was posted on YouTube
and immediately went viral across the region.
The choir was invited by Good Day Philadelphia to appear on the morning show on June 5. They started their day at the WMMR studios and sang the song for the Preston & Steve Show, then moved over to the FOX 29 studio near Independence Mall and repeated their performance on live television.
Autism Walk raises over $4,000
Poquessing Middle School completed their 10th Annual Walk for Autism during the school day in late May to benefit the Sean-Me Foundation and Easter Seals of Southeastern Pennsylvania. The students raised over $4,000 by collecting pledges prior to the event.
Carl Sandburg MS
Walkathon honors a Sandburg student
Several hundred Carl Sandburg Middle School students participated in a walkathon outside the school in June to support the Mason Chandler Allen Memorial Foundation, created to honor Mason, a 13-year-old Sandburg student who lost his life to cancer in March. Through the walkathon, t-shirt sales, a raffle and other fundraisers the total raised to benefit pediatric cancer research though the foundation was $9,480 with some more donations yet to be tallied. Mason's parents attended the walkathon, and heard tributes from his friends before accepting the donation. More information about the foundation can be found here: http://www.mcamf.org/
Surprise dance caps off a great year
Students at Carl Sandburg Middle School are treated to an elaborate three-screen photo review of their year at the end of the final day of school each year. The Sandburg staff had one more little surprise prepared before they left for the summer this year -- they had rehearsed an energetic dance mashup which they performed at the very end of the show just before the building emptied out.
Neshaminy High School
Yearbook receives design honors
|The 2017 Neshaminy HS yearbook staff under advisor Terry O'Neill received an honor from the company that printed the book, Herff Jones, with inclusion in their annual Ideas that Fly showcase of the best yearbook designs. According to a company representative the Neshaminy book was chosen from thousands across the nation for inclusion in this annual printed showcase which will be published in the near future.
Business students earn certification, college credits
|| Business students at Neshaminy HS have been busy earning credits and certifications that will benefit them long after they graduate. 47 students will be receiving college transcripts from Gwynedd-Mercy University in June for credits received from dual-enrollment classes in subject areas such as accounting, microeconomics and information technology. Besides the credits, this partnership with GMU gives our students access college-level course material, and prepares them to succeed in the fast-paced college classroom environment.
Also, students enrolled in the Information Technology 2 course took and passed the Microsoft Office Specialist Certification Test for Excel. That is an industry certification administered by Microsoft and is recognized worldwide. NHS has maintained a 100% passing rate. These students have completed two years of curriculum instruction aimed to develop advanced Excel skills involving formulas, validation, charting, database filtering, integration, pivot tables and financial functions.
NHS performs at college festival
Neshaminy Drama Club members were asked in May to present a segment of their recent production of Godspell at Rider University in The Best of the Fest. Out of 50 shows entered, the NHS drama musical was 1 of 6 asked to participate in this prestigious event.
| Neshaminy Update is published monthly during the school year and distributed to the Neshaminy community via email and web. To submit comments, suggestions or news items for consideration, please email Chris Stanley, Community Relations Coordinator.
Neshaminy School District
2250 Langhorne-Yardley Road
Langhorne, PA 19047
Joseph Jones III
Neshaminy School Board
Scott E. Congdon - President
Irene M. Boyle - Vice President
The Neshaminy community builds futures by empowering each child to become a productive citizen and a lifelong learner.