February 2018
Neshaminy Update newsletter banner February 2018
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Technology offers customized curriculum

Hoover students work with an iPad
First grade students at Hoover Elementary School use an iPad to record a reading project

If you visit any Neshaminy elementary school at any given time during the school day, you are likely to find students in every grade using their technology in a number of unique, collaborative ways for a variety of projects. Their use crosses every aspect of the curriculum including math, science, reading, social studies, and even physical education.

At the School Board Work Session February 13, Neshaminy Instructional Technology Coach Kathryn Maguire delivered a presentation on how the 1:1 technology program is advancing a project-based learning model in our elementary schools. The use of Chromebooks and iPads allows Neshaminy students to research, create and share their projects with their classmates and families. They also offer teachers unparalleled assessment tools to measure individual progress and identify specific areas of need with every project.

Student project on a Chromebook
A fourth grade student records a social studies presentation
“The students are excited to have these new devices in their classrooms, and the devices are very useful tools in all areas of their learning,” said Ms. Maguire. “They have been encouraging excitement, engagement and participation for our 21st Century learners.”

Students in grades K-1 are using iPads, and students in grades 2-4 are using Chromebooks, which allow them to more easily add text to their projects.

The video below was part of the presentation and shows students in two classes at Herbert Hoover Elementary School working on individual projects using these technological tools.

Administrative changes announced

At the February 27 School Board Public Meeting, the School Board of Directors appointed Neshaminy High School Principal Dr. Rob McGee to the new position of Director of Secondary Education for the district, effective July 1, 2018. Dr. McGee is a graduate of Maple Point High School and has extensive experience as a teacher, academic coach and administrator at both the middle and high school levels throughout the district.

In a letter sent to Neshaminy High School staff, Superintendent Jones praised Dr. McGee by noting that “he
Dr. Rob McGee
Dr. Rob McGee
brings to this position a wealth of Neshaminy experience and a strong understanding of the complexity of today’s world of education.”

“I look forward to working with him in his new role as we all work to accomplish our district mission — to empower each child in our Neshaminy Schools,” he added.

A search for a replacement principal at the high school will begin shortly.

The new Director position is part of a shift in the focus of the Department of Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment at Neshaminy next year. Following the planned retirement of Dr. Gloria Hancock as Assistant Superintendent K-12 for Curriculum, Instruction & Assessment on June 30, 2018, the department will be led by a Director of Elementary Education and the Director of Secondary Education. This will allow a more streamlined approach targeting attention to the different levels of academic instruction.

Two supervisors — one for Humanities and one for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) will continue to focus on those subject areas across the grades from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade. Those positions will replace other, current curriculum leadership roles for a net reduction in the number of administrators, providing a cost savings to the District.

Alumni meeting rescheduled

The Neshaminy Education Foundation is forming an Alumni Committee. Any local Neshaminy/Maple Point graduate who can attend occasional meetings and participate in this effort is welcome and encouraged to attend. The first meeting will be held Tuesday March 6, at 6:30 pm in the District Administration Board Room at Maple Point Middle School. This meeting was rescheduled from February due to inclement weather.

School security takes center stage

The recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida focused national attention on issues of school security. Neshaminy, like most school districts, has implemented a number of new protective measures and procedures over the past several years to increase security throughout the district and prepare our staff, students and area emergency responders for a variety of safety-related incidents. These measures include an increase in security staff, the installation of protective doors and interlock systems, many new security cameras, staff training, regular emergency drills, and the a strong relationship with local police.
Police officer at Walter Miller ES
A Middletown Township police officer visits Walter Miller Elementary School while on patrol in February.
This also includes a full-time resource officer at the high school and regular visits by officers throughout the district.

Superintendent Joseph Jones III outlined the security changes in a letter sent to all parents and staff on February 16. You can read the text of this letter on the district website at the link below.

Elementary school lunch menus change

Chicken leg
Several changes to the elementary school lunch program at Neshaminy were announced recently. These changes reflect an ongoing review and adjustment of the menu to meet government guidelines for nutritional analysis and student eating habits. The goal of the Food Services Department at Neshaminy is to provide delicious, healthy choices for students that meet or exceed USDA standards.
Hamburgers and hot dogs have been deleted as a daily choice for students K-4. Hamburgers and hot dogs will still be available in the daily special rotation several times per month.

Student have four entrées to choose from on a daily basis. Students are given a choice of chicken nuggets, salad, deli sandwich, a rotational hot special, or sun butter and jelly as main entrée on a daily basis. 
As the school year progresses, the Food Services Department will observe the results of nutritional analysis and make adjustments as necessary to maintain compliance. If the opportunity exists to bring hot dogs and hamburgers back to Neshaminy’s K-4 students on a daily basis, that will be considered.


The Wizards are back!

Harlem Wizards team photo

The world-famous Harlem Wizards are coming back to Neshaminy and tickets are now on sale. Mark your calendars for Saturday, April 14, 7 pm in Gym 3 at Neshaminy High School when the Neshaminy Education Foundation proudly presents a benefit game between the Wizards and our own Neshaminy Dream Team made up of staff members from each of our schools. The excitement and fun last year was way over the top, and we expect even more on-court (and off-court) antics, tricks, alley-oops and pure skill on display this year. It's a great show for a great cause -- supporting classroom grants and scholarships through the non-profit Neshaminy Education Foundation. Tickets are still only $10 (plus a $0.99 / ticket online ticket purchase fee) and a limited number of Courtside Plus tickets will be available for $25 (these sold out last year!). Prices go up at the door so don't wait. For tickets, visit the website below, click on Schedule & Tickets, then navigate to Langhorne PA on April 14.

New student registration now open

Do you have a child ready to enter kindergarten next year or know somebody who does? Registration is now open, and the first portion can be completed online at the Central Registration website linked below. To be eligible for kindergarten, children must be five (5) years of age on or before September 1, 2018. To be eligible for first grade, children must be six (6) years of age on or before September 1, 2018.

Neshaminy celebrates an Eagles victory

Neshaminy HS cheerleaders at Middletown rally

The improbably successful Philadelphia Eagles football season and their Super Bowl victory in February resulted in number of communal celebrations throughout the district. Neshaminy schools used the excitement as an opportunity to build school spirit through activities such as pep rallies, mass performances of the song "Fly, Eagles Fly", and the wearing of Eagles colors and gear prior to each game. A group of Neshaminy High School cheerleaders and football team members joined a pre-Super Bowl rally outside the Middletown Township building, which drew a good crowd despite a biting cold wind.

Groups of students and staff from throughout the district can be seen in the compilation video below, singing the Eagles rally song, captured during the week before the big game.

February We Build Futures Award winners

Superintendent Jones once again honored District staff who made significant contributions to fulfilling the district's mission or advance implementation of the Neshaminy Strategic Plan.

Those honored recently include (click on their names to see nominating information):
We Build Futures award pin

  • Janet Aguilar, nurse, Walter Miller Elementary School
  • Peggy Gale, guidance counselor, Maple Point Middle School
  • Neil French, social studies teacher, Maple Point Middle School
  • Linda Hujurick, 2nd grade teacher, Walter Miller Elementary School
  • Patty Jackson, 4th grade teacher, Herbert Hoover Elementary School
  • Adam Lorence, librarian & Lead Librarian K-12, Poquessing Middle School
  • Ruth Mowatt, instructional assistant, Joseph Ferderbar Elementary School
  • Todd Perry, Data Manager, Neshaminy School District

Congratulations to all award winners! More information about the We Build Futures Awards can be found on the district website here.

Title 1 Parent University coming March 7

At 6:30 pm on Wednesday, March 7, a Title 1 Parent University will be presented at Maple Point Middle School. District Technology Instructional Coach Kathryn Maguire will share internet safety tips, and she will also review some instructional resources for elementary students. This meeting will be followed immediately by the Title 1 District Level Parent Advisory Meeting, during which will have the opportunity to review the Neshaminy School District Parent Involvement Policy. Childcare will be provided for children three years old and older. Light refreshments will be served.

News from our Schools

Pearl S. Buck Elementary School

Reading challenge goes to the wall

Buck principal, teacher duct taped to the wall

Things at Pearl S. Buck Elementary School got a little sticky on February 23. Students throughout the school who reached a goal in a reading literacy challenge were each allowed to attach one piece of duct tape to attach principal Brian Kern and teacher Randy Nesbitt to the wall. Once enough tape was applied, their support chairs were removed (over an hour later!) and the two of them got to spend a little time just hanging around. Not a bad way to spend a Friday -- all to promote reading!

Scientist / author leads experiment via Skype

Kathy Smith's 3rd-grade class at Pearl Buck Elementary was excited to have author and scientist, Erin Teagan visit February 23 via Skype. She was interacting with the students by walking them through a science experiment called "Putrid Petri Dishes." She also discussed her new book about Luciana, who is the new 2018 American Girl Doll. Luciana is a STEAM girl who goes to space camp!

Foundation funds science kits

Leanne Raab's first-grade class at Pearl S. Buck Elementary School completed some engineering endeavors thanks to science kits purchased with grant money from the Neshaminy Education Foundation. Assigned the task of 'keeping the rain out,' students were charged with designing and assembling a water-tight structure over a plastic tub. Any water that leaked through was collected in the tub. The kit included a plastic tub, foam gables, roofing panels, and vinyl strips. The designs were all student created and assembled. This learning experience fits neatly under Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM). STEAM experiences provide access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking.

Joseph Ferderbar Elementary School

Jump Rope for Heart supports healthy habits

Ferderbar students enjoyed a great kick-off assembly to raise money for the American Heart Association in February. The annual event is called Jump Rope for Heart. It not only helps to support the valuable work of the AHA but also reinforces heart-healthy lifestyle choices in food and exercise.

During the kick-off assembly the students heard from a local representative from the Heart Association and enjoyed a demonstration from the Ferderbar Jump Rope Team.
Jump Rope Team demonstration

Green screen magic transports 'celebrities' home

Ferderbar students in front of a green screen
Academic Enrichment students completed a World Cultures project by choosing a country they wanted to research. Then, they chose a famous person from that country and were given a choice as to how to present what they learned, either through the TouchCast app or the ChatterPix app. The green screen allowed students to appear as if they were reporting from a location in their country or to have their country's flag in the background. The finished product was their famous person voicing their project, telling us all about their country.

Herbert Hoover Elementary School

Jump Rope for Heart raises over $6K

Physical education teacher Tara Ring recently implemented the Jump Rope for Heart Program with her students. The program combines information on healthy lifestyle choices with a fundraiser to benefit the American Heart Association. The students raised $6,305.50 for this worthy cause, and they had a lot of fun doing it.

Teacher and student artworks displayed at college exhibit

Justin Bursk with student artworks

Herbert Hoover art teacher Justin Bursk was accepted into the 'Artists as Educators' exhibition at the Tyler School of Art, Temple University. This exhibit pairs an art educator’s artwork with the artwork of his or her students. He is exhibiting two of his paintings along with paintings by Juliet Murphy (kindergarten) and Eli Werbock (first grade). Exhibition dates are February 23 - March 9th. An opening reception was held at Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia on Sunday, February 25.

Walter Miller Elementary School

Classes celebrate the Winter Olympics

Walter Miller Olympics ceremony

Have you been watching the winter Olympics? A second-grade and third-grade class at Walter Miller Elementary School have the Olympic spirit; they got together earlier in the month and held their own mini-Olympics complete with a torch relay and a (paper) medal ceremony!

Albert Schweitzer Elementary School

Kindergarten celebrates 100 days of school

Miller 100 day celebration

Students in kindergarten classes celebrated the 100th day of school. Everyone dressed as 100 year old people to commemorate this memorable day and participated in activities related to the number 100. Ms. Supowitz, Mrs. Kurley, Mrs. McMahon and Mrs. McHugh all dressed for the occasion.

Meetings celebrate Schweitzer success

Schweitzer group with mascot
Throughout the year, Albert Schweitzer has a school-wide meeting bringing together all students and staff in the school community. They begin by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance together and recognizing someone in the school community who goes above and beyond making our school a special place to grow and learn. In January, Mrs. Pulak was thanked for all her hard work with our Safety Patrol and school-wide efforts throughout her busy day. Superintendent Jones was on hand to present a 'We Build Futures' award to Mrs. Pulak for her efforts.

Tawanka Elementary School

100 Day celebration includes STEM activities

Tawanka 100 day activity

Hard to believe...but it has been over 100 days since the school year started! Tawanka celebrated with a variety of activities focused on the number 100. At Tawanka, kindergarteners got dressed in outfits as if they were 100 years old. The Tawanka first-grade classes participated in a variety of STEAM-related activities revolving around the number 100 including guessing games, math games, cup stacking, art projects and more.

First grade celebrates 100 books

Speaking of the number 100, the Tawanka first grade classes assembled in February to celebrate students that have reached a goal of reading 100 books. A few even read 200 books. This ongoing challenge proves that Readers are Leaders!

Maple Point Middle School

Community rallies to support Ronald McDonald House

Ronald McDonald House fundraiser

The students and staff at Maple Point celebrated their recent fundraiser for the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House on Wednesday, February 14 with some group photos and a visit by two therapy dogs, Baxter and Benny. The sale of red and white socks, scarves and other items brought in $1,287, which will fund 85 nights for families staying at the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House. This donation will surely warm the hearts of families with medically struggling children.

7th and 8th grade presents Guys and Dolls

Musical at Maple Point
The seventh and eighth grade musical entertained audiences with several performances of Guys and Dolls between February 21-23.

This legendary musical is a musical trip through the underworld of 1920's New York City and featured elaborate costumes and sets depicting the era.

Poquessing Middle School

Musical brings the tropics to Poquessing

Poquessing musical

Poquessing students presented a delightful production of Once On This Island between February 21-24. This Broadway  musical is set in the  Carribean and features  story elements reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet and The Little Mermaid.

Wrestling program grows, completes undefeated season

Poquessing wrestling team
The 2017-2018 Poquessing Wrestling Team just completed their regular season with a perfect 11-0 record. This year the team outscored their opponents by a total of 564 points to 291 points. The Poquessing Wrestling Program’s combined record over the last four seasons is 37 wins against just 4 losses.

The program’s greatest source of pride comes not from the hard-earned accomplishment of an undefeated season this year, but rather that the number of students wrestling for Poquessing has grown each year over the last four years, reaching an all-time high this year of 43 students.

Carl Sandburg Middle School

Tower of Power combines physics, creativity and teamwork

Tower of Power event at Sandburg

The Tech Ed and Science departments at Sandburg held the annual Tower of Power event in the gymnasium on February 13. This year 224 students from all four grades participated in this energetic challenge.

Students work in teams of four to build a tower out of various elements such as Popsicle sticks, tape and paper clips. The towers must be able to stand on their own and support the weight of a tennis ball once completed. Winners are those who construct the tallest tower using knowledge of materials, basic physics and teamwork. Many teams also dressed in themed costumes and donated door prizes celebrated their creativity.

Neshaminy High School

The Demon Barber of Fleet Street visits Neshaminy

Sweeney Todd at Neshaminy HS

Neshaminy High School presented the Stephen Sondheim musical Sweeney Todd February 1 through February 4 in the Theodore Kloos Auditorium. This musical thriller based on a Victorian-era serial first opened on Broadway in 1979 and has remained popular ever since. The show featured an elaborate two-story set depicting the barbershop and home of the Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

Neshaminy Drama is preparing for a spring production of James and the Giant Peach, to be presented in May at the Black Box Theater.

Cinderella's Closet opens for prom season

Neshaminy’s Cinderella’s Closet is back and still turning dresses into dreams. Each year students in Family & Consumer Science classes have been collecting, cleaning and repairing previously worn prom dresses and selling them at a deep discount for their fellow students. These dresses are in top condition and can be purchased in C117 for only $20.

Winter athletes excel

NHS Cheerleaders at competition

Neshaminy athletes and teams continue to have a great year, and as this newsletter goes to publication several winter teams and individuals are in the playoffs or have already won championships. Among the highlights:

Cheer leading: Girls qualified for the PIAA State Championships in January. They were crowned champions at The Reach the Beach National Championships in Ocean City, Maryland.

Wrestling: Team finished second in the strong Suburban One League (SOL) National Conference. 12 of 14 wrestlers qualified for the PIAA District One Wrestling Championships, Jackson Erb was crowned champion (top four in each weight class advance to Southeast Regionals).

Girls Basketball: SOL National Champions for the 3rd time in 5 years. Team has qualified for the PIAA State tournament which begins in early March.

Boys Basketball: Team qualified for the District One tournament for the 2nd consecutive year. Won first play-off game since 2011. They are still alive for a state play-off berth.

Indoor Track: Rusty Kujdych once again earned the title of Pennsylvania State Champion with a win in the 3,000 meter run.

Boys Bowling: SOL National Team Champions

Girls Bowling: Bree Binkowski SOL National Individual Champion

Swimming: AJ McClurkin is the SOL 100 meter breast stroke champion

Gym Night 2018 draws record participation

Gym Night logo
Neshaminy High School's biggest event of the year will be even bigger this year, with over 1,300 students participating in Gym Night for three shows on March 2-3. The theme this year is InterNESHional and is sure to feature a lot of elaborate sets and costumes from around the world.

With the increased student interest in Gym Night over the past few years limiting the number of tickets available beyond student participants, NHS will now offer a Live Simulcast of Gym Night in the Theodore Kloos Auditorium.

For those unable to obtain tickets for Gym 3 (or those who prefer more comfortable seats, less noise, people and heat), Auditorium Simulcast Tickets were on sale in the NHS Main Office for $5.00 beginning Wednesday, February 21.

The Auditorium doors will open at 6:00 PM for the Saturday evening show and 11:30 AM for the Saturday afternoon show. The Friday evening show will not be simulcast. Please note that movement between Gym 3 and the Auditorium will not be possible.

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
(215) 809-6000
Neshaminy School Board
of Directors
Marty Sullivan - President
Bob Feather - Vice President
John Allen
Cyndie Bowman
Irene M. Boyle
Tina Hollenbach
Adam J. Kovitz
David Marrington
Stephen Pirritano

Mission Statement
The Neshaminy community builds futures by empowering each child to become a productive citizen and a lifelong learner.