April 2018
Neshaminy Update banner May 2018
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Teachers honored for excellence in the classroom and beyond 

Lisa Boccuti and Jackie Rippert
Lisa Boccuti during a recent Poquessing concert and Jackie Rippert at the K-Hall Craft Fair at NHS

Twenty-eight Neshaminy teachers were nominated for the annual Teacher Recognition Awards this year, and five winners were honored during a special presentation at the School Board meeting on May 22. The purpose of this award is to recognize excellence and innovation in several areas. Each winner was presented with a plaque and a $1,500 allocation to be used to purchase classroom supplies.

The awards this year are:

Spirit of Neshaminy Award: Lisa Boccuti, Poquessing Middle School.

Ms. Boccuti’s delivery of instrumental music instruction with high expectations and high support are the perfect combination of excellence and sustaining a positive culture.  She is a mentor to her student in and off the stage through private and classroom instruction.  The relationships she forms with her student’s last well beyond the middle school years and high school graduation.

Leadership Award: Janice Meizinger (Ferderbar ES) and Tadd Fox (Neshaminy HS)

Ms. Meizinger acts a role model and mentor for teachers in her school; she reaches out to new members to offer her assistance. She often facilitates professional development.  Her latest venture includes supporting teachers in professional development on grit and perseverance, instructional rounds, math, and the new AVID program.

Mr. Fox is an exemplary leader at the high school.  Colleagues and administrators view him as the go to person when something needs to be done professionally and accurately.  He wears many hats and is able to lead his department both in and out of the classroom.

Outstanding Teacher Innovation Award: Maria Karidas (Ferderbar ES)

Ms. Karidas is only in her second year of teaching third graders, yet she has already set the bar high on what it means to teach in the 21st century.  She often uses game based learning platforms to engage students both mentally and physically.  Her innovative use of virtual manipulatives allows students to be an active part of the learning experience.

Community Partnership Award: Jackie Rippert (Neshaminy HS)

Her work bridges the gap between what her students know, and the life skills that they need to acquire to be successful. She does this by empowering her students to make a real difference in the community.

2018 - 2019 proposed budget posted

The Proposed Final Budget for the 2018-2019 school year was approved by the School Board at their May 22 Public Board Meeting and can be viewed on the District web site by clicking here. It is scheduled for a final vote at the June 19, 2018 Public Board Meeting held at at Maple Point at 7 pm.
The district faced challenges while crafting the $180,685,455 budget. Chief among them is the increase in local contributions to the state education pension fund (PSERS), the PSERS employer contribution rate is 33.43% for the 2018-19 budget year. This is an increase from the current year 32.57% PSERS contribution, and amounts to nearly $1 million in additional costs.
The 2018-2019 Final Proposed Budget currently calls for the allowable 2.4% Act 1 tax increase (3.7 Mills), which equates to a $102 increase for an average residential assessment. When the preliminary budget was adopted in February, it contained a $8.13 million gap between income and expenditures That gap has been eliminated by careful consideration of individual budget items, use of $2.0 million of Committed Fund Balance to cover the PSERS increase, as well as the tax increase, only the second such increase over the past nine years. An additional $169,533 Assigned Fund Balance will be used for facilities repairs at the high school.
This proposed budget was able to preserve and expand many important curricular initiatives while meeting other obligations of the district. Among the initiatives:

  • Continued expansion of the 1:1 Technology initiative, adding Chromebooks to the 9th grade, replacing iPads in 6th grade with Chromebook and repurposing those iPads to primary grades.
  • Expanded AVID to 10th grade and pilot AVID programs at Ferderbar and Poquessing for eventual expansion to all schools
  • Continued an update of the K-2 literacy instruction program
  • Creation of a NSD Virtual Academy (grades K-12)
  • Expansion of the NHS / Bucks County Community College Senior Year Experience
  • New courses at Neshaminy HS in Data Analytics

Students to help students with new Technology Help Desk

Students at the technology Help Desk at NHS
The district’s Information Technology (IT) Department is working with a group of Business, Computer & Information Technology (BCIT) students at Neshaminy HS to create a student help desk for Chromebook users at the high school. Next year, incoming ninth grade students will arrive at the high school with a school issued Chromebook. The objective is to create a place where students may go during the day to receive assistance when Chromebook devices are not operating properly.

Presently, 11 BCIT students are receiving training from Kathy Christie, Director of Information Technology for the district. This includes an understanding of the IT network  and how the Acceptable Use Policies are to be followed. These students have volunteered to learn additional technology skills associated with the hardware. They are also committed to strengthening leadership skills as they become 'digital role models' in the building.

The expectation is for these student technicians to address common problematic situations that can be easily resolved. This includes simple connectivity issues, charging issues, keyboard questions, care and maintenance of the device, plus questions dealing with the software applications. The IT Help Desk students will maintain a student-run website with resources such a creating self-help videos and writing reviews on apps. The IT Help Desk will offer a 'real-world' work experience for the student volunteers with a heavy emphasis on providing customer service and becoming exceptional digital role models for their peers.

Naviance expansion promotes college and career readiness

The Pennsylvania Department of Education is requiring districts to provide evidence of student performance focused on the Academic Standards for Career Education and Work (CEW Standards) in grades 3-11. The four standards are: Career Awareness and Preparation, Career Acquisition (getting a job), Career Retention and Advancement, and Entrepreneurship.

Neshaminy is responding to this with an expansion of Naviance, the electronic student portfolio system that has been used at the high school for several years to support college and career readiness.
Naviance logo
This year the expansion focused on grades 5, 8 and 11. This expansion is continuing to meet the needs of all students in grades 3-8,  providing a seamless system of support once they move into high school.

In Naviance, students can find a number of learning and career resources. They are expected to complete assignments that highlight potential careers based on student interests, explore college and technological training options, better understand their individual learning styles, and build a ‘career portfolio’ by the end of grade 11 that helps them with the transition to life after high school.

Music program receives 2nd NAMM award

NAMM award logo
For the second year in a row, Neshaminy School District was recognized as one of the Best Communities for Music Education in the country by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation. This honor is a tribute to the teachers, support staff, students, parents and guardians, volunteers and community members who work throughout the year to keep our schools and community filled with music.

District Art Show turns 30

District Art Show committee

The 30th anniversary of the District Art Show was celebrated on May 23 with an opening ceremony featuring some special guests. PA Rep. Frank Farry and Sen. Tommy Tomlinson sponsored honorary proclamations marking the event and a number of retired District art teachers also joined the ceremony and enjoyed the artwork that filled Gym 1 at Neshaminy High School.

Pre-K Counts seeking students for free preschool program

A quality preschool program is essential to prepare students for kindergarten and beyond. The cost of these programs can be a barrier. Pre-K Counts offers an opportunity for those that might have household incomes too high to qualify for a program such as Head Start but are still struggling to afford preschool.  As an example, a family of four can earn up to $75,300 and still qualify.
Neshaminy Pre-K Counts is a grant-funded program for children who are three or four years of age by September 1. Classes will meet five days a week during the 2018-2019 school year, 6 hours-a-day, at two locations (Lower Southampton Early Learning Center in Feasterville (the former Lower Southampton Elementary School), and Albert Schweitzer Elementary School in Levittown). Additional sites may be added pending grant approval. Families are urged to sign up as soon as possible so registration can begin as soon as funding is approved.

United Way honors PKC coordinator

Dr. Christine McKee, coordinator of the Pre-K Counts program for the district and a former long-time teacher and principal at Tawanka Elementary School, was honored for her community service work and dedication to education by the United Way of Bucks County at their annual breakfast in Warminster on May 4.

NSD girls explore STEM careers

Girls STEM group

Fifty eight girls from Neshaminy middle schools and the high school participated in the Girls STEM day at Delaware Valley University for the sixth year on May 24. Women in various STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) related professions such as digital marketing, pharmacy, sports medicine, emergency medicine, veterinarians, and banking gave presentations throughout the day.

May 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 in May include (click on their names to see nominating information):
We Build Futures award pin

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

Link iconWe Build Futures award winners

News from our Schools

Pearl S. Buck Elementary School

Field trips explore Native American life, nature

Buck students at nature center
On Tuesday, May 8, the third grade visited the Lenape Village at Churchville Nature Center. The living history exhibit gave students the opportunity to experience first-hand what it was like to live in our area as a Native American. Seven interactive stations aided in the children exploring the daily life of the Lenape. Some of things they were seen doing were making cordage, creating pinch-pots with clay, starting a fire, and stalking a deer. This highly active class was totally captivated by the Churchville Nature Center educators.
Also in May, the second grade visited the Insectarium in Philadelphia to learn all about the important role played by arthropods.

Second grade projects focus on honeybees

Second grade studied honeybees and the important role they play in our ecosystem in May. They chose from a variety of product ideas including creating honeybee houses, making informational posters, writing plays, and writing songs. For the finale, the students had the privilege of learning about honey bees from Walter Miller Elementary School physical education teacher Robert Krayer. In addition to teaching, Mr. Krayer has been a beekeeper for 20 years. He enjoyed the opportunity to share his knowledge and experience with the students.

Joseph Ferderbar Elementary School

Flower garden powers helpful insects

The second grade participated in a project based learning activity that looked at how insects can help the environment and community. Here a group of students, along with teachers Pam Conklin and Tracy Athey plant flowers that will attract helpful insects. The garden will soon have a beautiful bench and book box added to it for summer reading enjoyment.
Ferderbar flower garden

Pirates capture the stage

Pirates musical at Ferderbar

It was a pirate's life as Ferderbar Elementary presented Pirates: The Musical in May.

Herbert Hoover Elementary School

Tourniquet donation, training helps increase safety

Hoover parent Gabe Fox recently donated 100 tourniquets to the school. School nurse Sharon White will be sharing her knowledge of how to properly use them with selected Hoover staff members in June and September.

100 Book Challenge Parade celebrates reading

100 book challenge parade

The annual 100 book challenge was held in May. The highlight of this annual event is the parade, at which students dress up as their favorite book characters and display posters they made for their favorite books.

Walter Miller Elementary School

Second grade welcomes Ferderbar ES pen pals

2nd grade students from Joseph Ferderbar Elementary School visited their cross-district pen pals at Walter Miller Elementary June 4. They have been conversing through emails, videos, and even old-fashioned hand-written letters for months and were finally able to meet in person, enjoying a Reading Olympics competition, lunch and recess together.

Video icon Miller 2nd grade welcome Ferderbar Pen Pals

It's a Seussical world both on stage and off

Seussical at Walter Miller ES

In early June students at Walter Miller Elementary presented a colorful, energetic production of "Seussical" to their classmates and families. The entire school was decorated in Dr. Seuss-related artwork to celebrate their annual musical production.

Video icon Seussical at Walter Miller ES

Wax Museum goes high-tech

Third grade students are taking 'Wax Museum' concept high-tech. They used QR codes on posters to trigger the Flip Grid app on iPads, linking to video presentations they created for their chosen historical figures. The driving question for this project was, “How do people’s accomplishments of the past still help us today, and how do we tell their stories?”

Albert Schweitzer Elementary School

Police speak to Schweitzer students

Second grade learns about local government

The second grade welcomed police officers from the Middletown Township Police who visited their classrooms to talk about their work in the local government. They shared information about their duties and responsibilities as well as how they help keep the community safe. Students also had time to ask them questions about their line of work and what it's like to be a police officer.

Science in the Garden State

Schweitzer kindergarten trip

In May, kindergarten students from Schweitzer enjoyed a trip to the Garden State Discovery Museum in Cherry Hill.

Tawanka Elementary School

Red Nose Day raises awareness, donations

Red Nose Day at Tawanka

The second grade collected $180 to help end childhood poverty through the Red Nose Day charity event. They celebrated their success with a Red Nose Day rally; dressed in red “from nose to toes," and played a few fun games in their pod. Superkid friend, Cass, even got in on the fun and took some pictures with them since she was visiting that day.

'Superkid' Cass visits Tawanka

Superkid Cass

'Superkid' Cass once again visited the elementary schools including Tawanka in May. Cass is one of the popular characters in the Superkid series, the foundation of the K-2 literacy program in Neshaminy. Each Superkid has unique interests and abilities; Cass likes to cook.

Tawanka welcomes the Class of 2031

Fifty-five incoming kindergarteners participated in 'Tawanka Gets Ready for Kindergarten' on May 15. It was a successful day of making new friends, completing a scavenger hunt around the school building, and meeting Tawanka staff. All students left with a goodie bag full of activities to get ready to start school.

Maple Point Middle School

Choir brings classes together

For the past several months, a group of sixth-grade choral students at Maple Point MS have been spending time with a group of students in the autism support classes to learn several multi-cultural songs together. Recently they performed their selections for a group of classmates, teachers and administrators with help from music teacher Aimee O'Neill. MP Choir

Fifth grade authors share their writing portfolios

Maple Point 5th grade Team 'G' held their annual Writing Portfolio Autobiography Tea. The students have been working on their writing portfolios for months, and this event was a chance to share their work with their families who were invited to breakfast. The portfolios included many different writing styles, and new this year the students also integrated Google Slides into their presentations using their Chromebooks and shared those as well.

Students honored by VFW

Several Maple Point Middle School 8th-grade students were honored by local American Legion posts for their efforts to honor veterans. Honored at Memorial Day services in May by the Jesse W. Soby Post #148 of the American Legion were: Julia Fischer, Maria Sooby and Zephan Joseph.
Also honored this year by the Penndel American Legion Auxiliary Unit #436 were students Colleen Duffy and Connor Vecchiolli.

Dodgeball tournament raises over $11k

The 6th annual Maple Point Curing Cancer with Carl Dodgeball Tournament was a huge success this year! The participants raised $11,000 for Dr. Carl June and The Penn Medicine Center for Cellular Immunotherapies. They had 65 teams of 6 people each participate in grades 5-8.

Mary Poppins drops in for a week of performances

Mary Poppins at Maple Point

The fifth and sixth grade presented an elaborate production of the beloved musical, Mary Poppins in early June for classmates, visitors from district elementary schools and the public.

No Place for Hate Club earns a banner

Students and advisers for the No Place for Hate (NPFH) Club at Maple Point MS celebrated after they received another banner marking their completion of program elements this school year. NPFH, sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League, involves over 1,600 schools across the nation to help eliminate bullying and bias to promote a positive school climate. The award ceremony was held at the Philadelphia Convention Center and was attended by advisers and club officers. The rest of the club followed with an additional celebration after school in the cafeteria.

Poquessing Middle School

Audubon Society powers girls STEAM Club

Thanks to a grant-funded initiative from the Bucks County Audubon Society, a group of fifth grade girls at Poquessing Middle School have been spending some of their afternoons exploring science, nature and physics during STEAM Club meetings. This pilot concept activity is in its first year and may expand to the other district middle schools and grades next year.

Video icon Fifth grade STEAM Club at Poquessing

Wells Fargo employees present financial seminars

Financial seminar at Poquessing
Volunteers from Wells Fargo Bank have been presenting weekly seminars on personal finance to business classes at the middle schools as part of a program sponsored by Junior Achievement. On May 9, representatives from Wells Fargo visited Poquessing Middle School to present a $25,000 check from the bank to Junior Achievement to help continue this valuable program, which was piloted at Maple Point Middle School last year.

Hope Walk benefits Easter Seals

Hope Walk at Poquessing

Students at Poquessing Middle School spent time outside May 4 on a fundraising Hope Walk supporting the Gift of Life Foundation and Easter Seals. The Gift of Life charity was chosen to honor Kaylin Pahulick, who passed away last year. She is the daughter of teacher Nicole Pahulick.

Carl Sandburg Middle School

What's Up Sandburg? Boating program,  review and more

Middle School boating program
Annual middle school boating trip to Core Creek Park May 9

Check out the latest entries on the student-produced What's Up Sandburg website. Currently featured is a video about the middle school boating program, the Homework Help Club and the Al Durante Award.

Link iconhttps://whatsupsandburg.com

Author visits Sandburg

On June 1, 5th and 6th graders at Sandburg MS enjoyed a visit from author Lauren Magaziner. Lauren spoke about the writing process, and it was eye opening for the students to hear all the hard work that goes into writing a book. She wrote books titled: Wizardmatch, Pilfer Academy, and The Only Thing Worse than Witches.

Neshaminy High School

Problem Solving Team leads international competition

FBLA team

Neshaminy High School’s Future Problem Solving Team, comprised of Seniors, Catelyn Ballard, Jessa Raab, Rachel Hoenisch, and Justin Harnishfeger, coached by Joe Pimble, bested 54 state and international champions to place fourth in the entire world  at the Future Problem Solvers World Championship on June 9 in La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Community welcomes American Idol finalist Catie Turner home

Neshaminy HS senior Catie Turner was warmly welcomed home after competing in the hit ABC-TV show American Idol this spring. The Neshaminy HS Interact Club hosted her at Langhorne Rotary’s Pet Fair and Family Day May 14, where she greeted fans, signed autographs and posed for pictures.

Catie was one of the seven top finalists in the show, and will be appearing summer concert tour with her fellow finalists throughout the country. During the fair, the Interact Club painted faces, manned the bouncy houses and helped kids create doggy bandannas.
Catie Turner in Langhorne

Senior earns a scholarship during Financial Jeopardy contest

Neshaminy HS senior Ryan Mace won a $2,000 scholarship sponsored through TruMark Financial Credit Union by placing third in the TruMark Financial Jeopardy Contest on May 9th at the company headquarters in Fort Washington. Ryan represented Neshaminy to compete against high schools in the Bucks and Montgomery counties in a Jeopardy-style event testing the students’ financial knowledge.

Football team honors veterans for Memorial Day

Redskins decorate veterans graves

In what has become an annual tradition, members of the Redskins football team decorated veterans graves with fresh American flags during the Memorial Day holiday at Our Lady of Grace Cemetery with help from Jesse Soby American legion Post 148.

College partnerships grow

This school year, seventy-six Neshaminy High School students will be receiving college transcripts from Gwynedd Mercy University. The student transcripts will show three college credits for each Dual Enrollment course taken at Neshaminy High School through the Business, Computers and Information Technology (BCIT) Department. This amounts to 300 college credits, which are transferable to other universities. Students taking Accounting 2, Honors Accounting 3, Honors Microeconomics, Honors Macroeconomics or Information Technology 2 are eligible to participate in this partnership with Gwynedd Mercy University. The BCIT curriculum was approved by the university as aligning with their complementary course syllabi and textbooks.

This is one of the Dual Enrollment options offered for Neshaminy HS students. A group of seniors have also been taking classes at Bucks County Community College this year, and that program is growing next year.

New band uniforms debut at parade

Marching Band in Langhorne Parade

The Neshaminy High School Marching Band performed at the Langhorne Memorial Day Parade on May 28. On display was their new uniforms, purchased earlier this year.

Military Commitment Ceremony honors new recruits

Military Committment Ceremomy at NHS

The annual Military Commitment Ceremony was held in the Hub at Neshaminy High School May 24. Ten seniors who have signed up to join the United States military after graduation were honored for their choice including Matthew Leonhauser, Kristen Kuehmstedt, Batuhan Gurgen, Felicity Wright, Michael Crescenzo, Tyler Giberson, Kailynn Scully, Cole Smith, Colton Wilson and Ryan Egan.

Video icon Military Commitment Ceremony

NHS team takes a stock market challenge

Schools across the state were competing in a stock market simulation from StockTrak called “How The Market Works." Teams of students manage a hypothetical investment of $100,000 in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds and make buying and trading decisions based on the stock market. The students whose investments make the most money win.

For the spring 2018 game, beginning February 5 and ending April 13, Neshaminy High School students participated in the high school division and students worked under the guidance of Neshaminy High School BCIT teacher Anita Moore. The Neshaminy High School team ranked 5th in the state out of 41 participating high school teams.

Science project reaches across the grades

NHS science project presentation at Tawanka

A group of AP Environmental Science students from Neshaminy HS visited the first grade at Tawanka ES in early June to deliver a prevention program about lead poisoning. As part of a research project, they found out that lead levels in some parts of our area are high. As a response, they developed the presentation to educate young children about some basic precautions they can take to minimize lead exposure, including eating certain healthy foods, washing hands after playing outside, and leaving dirty shoes and sneakers at the door after returning inside.


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.