June 2018
Neshaminy Update June, 2018
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Congratulations, graduates!

Neshaminy High School graduation ceremony

The Class of 2018 celebrates at the end of the commencement ceremony June 14

Class of 2018 Fast Facts

  • Number of graduates: 662
  • Percentage of college-bound graduates: 90
  • Percentage of work-bound graduates: 8
  • Percentage of graduates serving in the military: 2

Valedictorians: Rachel Hoenisch, Nicholas Meadows and Albert Shen
Student Council: Samantha Helstrom, President; Andrew Kelly, Vice-President; Lauren Kane, Class Secretary; Anna Skrot, Class Treasurer; Megan Bressler, Class Historian
Class Officers: Courtney Arcidiancono, President; Matthew Roach, Vice-President; Emma Gilbert, Secretary; Logan Donahue, Historian

When school lets out, teachers become the students

Teachers in professional development classes

The first week of summer for the students at Neshaminy was not vacation time for educators throughout the district. Besides finishing up paperwork and preparing classrooms for the summer, staff members spent several days in professional development classes learning from each other and outside presenters on a wide variety of topics.

The two-day Neshaminy Ignite program offered dozens of classes on topics ranging from new educational software and cutting-edge curriculum to student safety and child support. Curricular seminars included:

  • Project-based learning methods
  • Math in Focus
  • Using Google Classroom in Physical Education classes
  • Elementary Literacy Best Practices
  • Middle School Science and Three Dimensional Learning
  • AVID program training
  • Art and music teaching techniques
  • World Language Sharing Discoveries
  • Software training on Canvas, Naviance, Google Tools, nursing software, SeeSaw, website management and more
  • Positive Behavior program (SWPBIS) best practices
These classes were an opportunity for teachers to share their real-world experience using new techniques, materials and software to maximize effectiveness.

Student social and emotional support issues were addressed as it is an important part of the district's strategic plan. There were seminars on social work, nursing, physical education, suicide prevention, and stress management (for students and teachers).

Staff members in each building participated in ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) training to learn best practices for recognizing and responding to an active shooter situation. This training even included drills in which they put their knowledge to work with simulated alerts.

All staff members also participated in another important social / emotional student support topic -- an opioid awareness seminar. You can read about this impactful program in the article below.

#StandUp Neshaminy brings the opioid crisis out of the shadows

Recovering addicts talk about their experiences
A group of recovering addicts from the area share their personal stories with Neshaminy educators during a seminar at Carl Sandburg Middle School on June 20.

By now, almost everybody has heard about or even been personally affected by the fast-growing nationwide opioid abuse crisis. This drug epidemic is unlike any other that preceded it, claiming victims across demographic, social and racial lines. Bucks County has been especially hard-hit, with 185 opioid-related deaths recorded last year, a 50% increase from the previous year. While the highest rates of overdoses are found in those of age 25-54, teenagers have been increasingly affected with victims as young as 12 years of age reported locally.

StandUp Neshaminy logo
Last year a small group of concerned Neshaminy teachers and parents gathered at Maple Point Middle School to think about ways to respond and provide resources for schools and families to prevent opioid abuse and help those already affected by it. Organized by Jan King, Lead Teacher for Health and Physical Education at Neshaminy, this group grew during the year to include teachers, administrators, parents, counselors, rehabilitation center staff, local police departments, Bucks County officials, and outside support groups. The effort was branded #StandUp Neshaminy in recognition of the widespread nature of this problem, and the need to address it openly and provide resources and help together as a caring community.

During a half-day seminar on June 20, all Neshaminy teachers were introduced to this effort. The program featured hard-hitting statistics, methods to identify and help drug abuse victims, and information about the various forms of drug abuse ranging from alcohol and vaping to prescription drugs and heroin.

Three recovering addicts -- all Neshaminy graduates — told their personal stories of how they descended into drug abuse and the painful, uncertain journey to recovery. A powerful keynote address was delivered by Brandon Novak, a high-profile professional skateboarder and actor from Levittown. He is a recovering addict whose addiction cost him his career and nearly his life. He is now working with Banyan Treatment Center to help other addicts.

#StandUpNeshaminy will be rolling out a public education effort starting this summer.  A series of informational videos produced by the group along with list of resources can be found by visiting their website, www.standupneshaminy.org.

1:1 technology moves up to high school

The Neshaminy 1:1 technology initiative started back in October 2015 with the 5th and 6th grade students. Students who were in the original deployment were issued iPads to be used as an instructional tool all year long. Their teachers were trained to manage the digital classroom through Canvas, which is the district’s Leaning Management System.

Chromebooks at Neshaminy High School
Fast-forward to the 2017-2018 school year -- Chromebooks were issued to students in grades 5 and 8 while grades 6 and 7 were issued iPads. In addition, over 5,300 devices were deployed to students in varying degrees in grades 2 through 8.

That first 6th grade group from 2015-2016 will be moving up to 9th grade next year, which now starts the 1:1 rollout for at Neshaminy High School. As they move up, the classes behind them will also be added to the high school program with the ultimate goal of all grades enjoying the benefits of the program by the 2021-2022 school year.

These devices have found purposes in virtually every subject area, from collaborative science projects and individualized math applications to literacy, writing and even physical education utilization. At the high school, Chromebooks will not only find similar applications but will also provide both students and parents a variety of online tools to set common format and style conventions, provide daily updates on classroom activity, and act as a one-stop assignment due date calendar.

Summer Stock presents two classic musicals

Summer Stock production logos

The Neshaminy Summer Stock program is pleased to present two popular classics this year as the finale to the month-long program held at Neshaminy High School. All performances will take place in the Theodore Kloos Auditorium at the high school.

The junior workshop (grades 2-5) is presenting The Wizard of Oz (Young Performers Edition) on Thursday, Friday and Saturday July 26, 27 and 28 at 11 am each day. Reserved tickets are $8.00 and general admission tickets are $7.00.

The senior workshop (grades 6-12) will present The Hunchback of Notre Dame  Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, July 25, 26 and 27 at 7 pm; Saturday July 28 at 2:30 pm and 8 pm. All tickets are $12.

Tickets can be purchased during workshop mornings at the high school auditorium starting Monday, July 16 or at the door subject to availability. Please visit www.neshaminysummerstock.com for more information.

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.
PKC classroom at Albert Schweitzer Elementary School
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.

Free summer meals offered

Beginning in June, the Bensalem and Levittown public library branches will offer free lunches to children 18 years and younger. They will serve lunch three times a week on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays from 12 to 1 p.m. The program ends on August 1. Children can visit the library and enjoy a delicious and nutritious meal as part of the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), a federally funded program run by the USDA. SFSP ensures that children from low-income areas continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session.

Children do not have to apply or register to receive these meals.

2018 - 2019 budget adopted

On June 19, the Neshaminy School Board of Directors voted 8-0 (with one absence) to approve a  final budget of $183.9 million for the 2018-2019 school year. As reported in the May Neshaminy Update newsletter, this budget does include the Act 1 maximum allowed tax increase of 2.4%, or 3.7 mills. The major factor in that increase is state-mandated increases in district contributions to the Pennsylvania State Employees Retirement System (PSERS), which rose over $1 million this year.

The budget funds various projects including, but not limited to, installation of an elevator and roof repairs at Neshaminy High School, roof work at Carl Sandburg Middle School and Albert Schweitzer Elementary School, wall repairs at Poquessing Middle School, bleacher repairs at Harry E. Franks Stadium, and various security system upgrades and replacements.

Join us to help Build Futures!

Do you love working with kids and want to jump-start a career in education right here at Neshaminy? For those interested in learning about jobs as substitute teachers, paraprofessionals, personal care assistants, clerical personnel and support staff, a regional Substitute Hiring Event will be held Thursday, July 26, 2018 at the Bucks County Intermediate Unit in Doylestown. Click the link below for more information about this opportunity.

A number of additional opportunities throughout the district for certified and support staff can be found at the district employment site below (updated frequently). All applicants must obtain required Pennsylvania clearances.

June We Build Futures Award winners

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

Those honored in June 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.

News from our Schools

Pearl S. Buck Elementary School

Move-Up Day celebrates superheroes

Buck fourth-grade celebrates move-up day

Fourth grade students wrapped up their elementary experience with a celebration event and their  Move-Up ceremony. The theme for this class was Superheroes, and their Super Power is kindness. They were reminded to always use their Super Power as they move to middle school!

Joseph Ferderbar Elementary School

Walking Club celebrates miles of achievement

Ferderbar Walking Club

On June 13, an assembly was held to recognize students in grades 1-4 who participated in the walking program at recess this year.

Students were recognized for their distance achievements, and the class totals were announced. There was also a prize drawing and a popcorn party for the top classes.

The school totals were: 3748 miles overall (like walking from Feasterville to Managua, Nicaragua!). First grade walked 1097 miles, second grade 1983 miles, third grade 404 miles and fourth grade 263 miles.

Herbert Hoover Elementary School

Graduate students interning at Hoover over the summer

Michelle Taylor, Lauren Woodson, and Shannon Seratch are graduate students at Holy Family University, enrolled in the Principal Preparation program. This summer, they will help Dr. Glennon prepare for the start of the 2018-2019 school year, and are also designing a workshop to provide additional information to parents about how they can help their children to experience success during math instruction.

  • Lauren Woodson is a Math Teacher at Pennsbury High School East
  • Michelle Taylor is a Math Specialist at Pennwood Middle School
  • Shannon Seratch is a Special Education Teacher at BCTHS

Hawk's Nest Team pens a new mission pledge

Students returning in the fall will have a brand new pledge created by the 'Hawk's Nest' leadership team as part of the PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports) program:

I am a Hoover Hawk.
I fly with pride!
I am a leader.
I am a productive citizen and a lifelong learner.
I am respectful, responsible, and safe at all times.
I know how to use the Seven Habits to build my future.
I work hard to make everyone feel welcome at our school.
I am thankful that my teacher knows how to make learning fun for everyone!

Walter Miller Elementary School

Buddy Bench fosters friendships

First grade with their new Buddy Bench

The first grade at Walter Miller Elementary School made it a class project to install a 'Buddy Bench' in the playground and instruct the rest of their school, class by class, on how it should be used. Buddy Benches are a great way to allow children to find new friends and help those that could use a friend.

Albert Schweitzer Elementary School

Move-Up Ceremony celebrates a busy year

Fourth grade move-up ceremony

Outgoing fourth-grade students celebrated their final days at Schweitzer during their Move-Up ceremony in June, highlighted by a slideshow of a busy school year!

Tawanka Elementary School

Patriotic Concert celebrates America

Patriotic Concert at Tawanka

The first grade at Tawanka sang a collection of patriotic songs during two concerts in June, one for their families in the evening and one for classmates the next day. Among the selections were Yankee Doodle, America the Beautiful, Proud to be an American, and This Land is Your Land.

Maple Point Middle School

Eighth grade celebrates their years at Maple Point

Maple Point Move-Up Ceremony

On Tuesday, June 12, the 8th grade at Maple Point was joined by their families for a move-up ceremony as they get ready for Neshaminy High School! An awards ceremony was also held to celebrate academic, co-curricular and athletic success.

Poquessing Middle School

Move-Up Ceremony honors eighth-graders

Poquessing Choir at the Move-Up Ceremony

Poquessing Middle School honored their eighth-grade class during a Move-Up Ceremony on June 12.

Carl Sandburg Middle School

Class of 2022 ready for high school

Sandburg Move-Up Ceremony

On June 12 the Carl Sandburg 8th grade celebrated their final days of middle school during the Move-Up ceremony shared by their families.

Neshaminy High School

Rise inspiration visits NHS Roadies

Lou Volpe at Neshaminy HS

Drama students at Neshaminy HS welcomed Lou Volpe for a series of talks on June 7. Lou is the retired Truman HS drama teacher whose career inspired the NBC-TV series, RISE. He answered questions from the students and talked about how the drama program at his school took off with help from a student wrestler who joined a production of Godspell back in the 1970's -- a time when 'jocks' did not participate in theater. Later his program was instrumental in getting the Broadway hits Les Miserables and Rent opened up for high school productions.

Roadies break a leg in Nebraska

Drama team at Nebraska competition

Congratulations to five Neshaminy Drama State Superior Qualifiers representing their school at the first International Thespian Festival held at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Nebraska June 28-30. They achieved two 'Excellent' scores, three 'Superior' scores, and Brielle Lewandowski was one of 10 performances out of 870 selected to perform in the International Performance Showcase.

Envirothon team excels at state competition

Envirothon team

On May 23, Neshaminy’s Envirothon Team of Kiara Marable, Jason Faccenda, Ashly Alexander, Caroline Angerer, and Bill Angerer placed 13th out of 65 county teams at the 35th annual Pennsylvania Envirothon. This is the fourth highest place recorded at the State competition in school history.
Led by Senior Jason Faccenda, the team placed third overall in Forestry. The team also placed 14th overall on the Oral Component of the competition. The Envirothon team is coached by Lead Science Teacher Brian Suter. Congratulations to all!

 In Memorium

US Flag
U.S. Navy Ensign Sarah Mitchell, a 2013 graduate of Neshaminy High School who also attended Poquessing Middle School and Lower Southampton Elementary School, passed away during a training mission in the Red Sea off the coast of Jordan on July 8.

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.