February, 2019
Neshaminy Update February 2019 banner
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Middle schools lead the way in Next Generation Science Standards

Poquessing students work on a science lab with their teacher.
Science teacher Sue Schneider works with students on a lab analysis at Poquessing Middle School

The pace and complexity of scientific discovery and technology has increased at an exponential rate over the past three generations. Starting at the middle school level, Neshaminy is changing the way science is taught in order to give our students an in-depth understanding of not only the concepts, but the processes and key skills demanded by the workplace they will actually face in the future.

The core of this new program revolves around the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), which have been developed by a national collaboration of science and technology industry leaders and educators. Neshaminy’s Lead Science Teacher Brian Suter has been heavily involved with this effort since 2012, attending national conferences and pioneering the adoption of the NGSS framework at the state level.

The NGSS standards, released in 2013, center on a three-dimensional approach to science learning. Croscutting Concepts helps students explore connections across four domains of science - physical science, life science, earth and space science and engineering design, instead of seeing each as a separate ‘silo’. Science and Engineering Practices describes what scientists do to investigate the natural world and what engineers do to design and build systems. The third dimension is Core Ideas, which describes key ideas in science that have importance across multiple disciplines.

The District adopted the Amplify Science Program in 2016 for the 6th grade, which incorporates the NGSS standards. This year's 8th grade class is the first to have utilized the program for all three years. The program blends hands-on investigations and analysis using digital tools to encourage students to think, read, write, argue and share information like real scientists and engineers.

Though the program started in the middle schools, the NGSS concepts are already being applied across the District at every grade level.

Link logo  Next Generation Science Standards website
Link logo  Amplify Science website
Video icon  Brian Suter talks about NGSS in the middle schools

Neshaminy boasts a multitude of multiples

Group photo of multiples at Poquessing

When Poquessing Middle School yearbook advisers Kim Hazley and Margie McCurdy realized the school had 16 sets of twins and 2 sets of triplets as students this year, they decided to gather them for a yearbook group photo. While Neshaminy doesn't hold the record for the most multiples, the District does have 175 sets of twins, 5 sets of triplets, and one set of sextuplets in the student population.

Video icon  Twins & triplets photo day at Poquessing

Seminar offers strategies for dealing with childhood anxiety

The public is invited to attend a valuable free seminar at Maple Point Middle School on Tuesday, March 19 at 6:30: pm:

Positive Parenting Strategies for Less Worrying and More Connection seminar banner
Clinical Director Katherine Dahlsgaard, PhD, ABPP, from the Anxiety Behaviors Clinic at Children's Hospital in Philadelphia, will offer coping and intervention tips for dealing with child and adolescent anxiety, worrying and depression. A Q&A will follow her presentation.

This event is free and open to the public. Parents and guardians from the entire district are encouraged to attend!

Preschool literacy event March 29

The Pre-K Counts program at Neshaminy is reaching out to the community with a free Literacy Event at the Township Library of Lower Southampton on Friday, March 29 from 1-2:15 pm. Families are encouraged to bring their young children for games, reading and other activities. Neshaminy Reading Specialist and Academic Coach Colleen Stahl and Lower Southampton Librarian Brittany Eastman will be on hand to offer reading advice and information about the Pre-K Counts program at Neshaminy. Refreshments and take-home activities will be provided.

For more information about the Pre-K Counts program at Neshaminy, please email liaison Kim Johnson at kjohnson@neshaminy.org. Registrations are being accepted now for the 2019-2020 school year.

Positive behavior programs get a boost

Today, Inc. donation
(Left-right) Neshaminy Superintendent Joseph Jones III, Today Inc. Treasurer John Howell, Neshaminy District Pupil Services Supervisor Paul Mahoney and Pupil Services Director Anthony Devlin.

On February 8, Neshaminy gratefully accepted a $10,000 donation from Today, Inc. that will be used to benefit our School-Wide Positive Behavior and Supports programs. Based in Newtown, Today, Inc. provides behavioral health services for young adults, families and communities. Their foundation is funding local non-profits that provide programs that reflect their mission.
Video icon 

2019-2020 Preliminary Budget approved

At the February 15, 2019 School Board meeting (rescheduled from Tuesday, February 12 due to inclement weather), the Preliminary Budget was approved. This is the next step in the budget process, and adjustments will be made to balance revenue with expenditures until a final budget is approved in June.

The maximum allowable tax increase for 2019-2020 under the Pennsylvania Act 1 Index is 2.3%. As in past years, the Board will apply for an exemption from the state to exceed this amount, just in case it is needed. In past years, however, the Board has not used this exemption option once the final budget was approved. Last year, taxes rose at the Act 1 Index of 2.4%.

Senior Ball seeks donations

Senior Ball 2018
2018 Neshaminy HS Senior Ball

The popular Neshaminy HS Senior Ball (a lavish prom-like dinner dance held free of charge for local Senior Citizens) will take place in Gym 3 at Neshaminy HS Saturday, March 23. This is a student-run event that depends on lots of volunteers and donations from our schools and the community. If you or your business can help with food or raffle basket donations, please check the list of needed items and sign up at the link below.

Registration open for May 5K & 2K race

Rooney Family Sunset Challenge 5K

#StandUp Neshaminy is hosting the Rooney Family Screen Printing & Embroidery Sunset Challenge 5K & 2K running race at Maple Point Middle School on Friday, May 10 starting at 6:45 pm. Runners, students and families are all encouraged to join this fun competition! The race course is certified and will be electronically timed by RunBucks, LLC. All pre-registrations include a race t-shirt.

Banners will be awarded for the highest participation rate and fastest average times for Neshaminy elementary schools in the 2K race and middle schools for the 5K race.

February 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 during in February 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.

Selected Upcoming Events

Friday, March 8: Coaches vs. Cancer, Maple Point MS, 5:30 pm
Friday, March 15: "Moana" movie night & luau for kids, Neshaminy HS, 6 pm
Tuesday, March 19: Childhood anxiety seminar, Maple Point MS, 6:30-8 pm
Saturday, March 23: Senior Citizen Ball at Neshaminy HS, 3-6 pm
Friday, March 29: Literacy event for pre-school families, Township Library of Lower
     Southampton, 1-2:15 pm
Saturday, April 6: Harlem Wizards at Neshaminy HS, 7 pm

Please check the District website, school websites and District Facebook page for more information and additional events throughout the year!

Neshaminy Education Foundation logo

The Wizards are coming!
Wizards team group cutout

The Harlem Wizards are returning to Neshaminy
Saturday, April 6, 2019 at 7pm
Tickets on sale now! Purchase online here

News From Our Schools

Pearl S. Buck Elementary School

Reading is FUNdamental at Buck

Dr. Seuss Week activities

During the final week of February, students and staff joined in on the fun of celebrating Dr. Seuss and the joy of reading. In addition to an end of day DEAR (Drop Everything and Read), students were treated to readings of Dr. Seuss stories by teachers, peers, and mystery readers. The week also included the PTO Book Fair, during which students were able to purchase books of interest to augment their leisure reading.

Science on display at fair

The annual Pearl S. Buck ES Science Fair was a great success February 28. The variety of experiments and the quality of presentations were something about which all of the young scientists should be proud.

Parents, friends and visitors had the opportunity to choose the top 6 displays, which will be displayed at the District STEAM Expo on April 30 at Neshaminy High School.
Buck Science Fair entrants

Joseph Ferderbar Elementary School

Snow Biz is show biz

Ferderbar production of 'Snow Biz'

Ferderbar fourth-grade students spent a good part of February preparing for their annual musical, Snow Biz. The show celebrates the joy of snow days with a variety of songs and dance numbers. They presented the show to the rest of the school on Tuesday, March 5 and will present to the community on Friday, March 8, 7pm at the Poquessing Middle School Auditorium.

Herbert Hoover Elementary School

Exhibit celebrates young artists and their teachers

Justin Bursk and Owen Wetzel
Herbert Hoover Art teacher Justin Bursk was accepted into the Artists as Educators exhibition at Tyler School of Art, Temple University. This exhibit pairs an art educator’s artwork with the artwork of their students. He exhibited one of his paintings alongside a collage by first grader Owen Wetzel from February 24 through March 7.

This is the third annual Art Education and Community Arts Practices Alumni Show at Tyler School of Art.

Centenarians help Hoover celebrate 100 days of school

Hoover centenarian visit

On February 8 many of the District elementary schools celebrated 100 days of school since the beginning of the school year with a variety of activities. The second grade at Herbert Hoover ES welcomed two centenarians from the Attleboro Community -- 100 and 101 years old! They visited the school and spent time with the students telling them about their lives and answering questions about everything from their favorite childhood pet to their first car.

Walter Miller Elementary School

Miller artist wins Best in Show

Art by Nikhisha Arjun

Walter Miller ES student artist Nikhisha Arjun won Best in Show for the elementary level at the Pennsylvania Art Education Show at the Department of Education in Harrisburg! The show is part of a month-long celebration of Youth Art Month.

Sweetheart Dance celebrates Valentines Day

Miller Sweetheart Dance

Student and their families enjoyed the annual Sweetheart Dance on February 8 at Walter Miller Elementary.

Albert Schweitzer Elementary School

Dr. Seuss birthday inspires creative fun

Lorax Wednesday at Schweitzer

What appears to be an outbreak of facial hair at Albert Schweitzer Elementary School is just part of the week-long celebration of Dr. Seuss' birthday in late February. Each day featured a different theme or Seuss character;  this photo depicts Lorax Wednesday.

Schweitzer 'adopts' an ocean research float

The third grade students at Albert Schweitzer Elementary School are engaged in a scientific project-based learning activity focusing on climate change. The activity included adopting a SOCCOM (Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations and Modeling) float, which is aptly named the Schweitzer Lion. Their float was deployed in the Southern Ocean near Antarctica, and is collecting data on pressure, temperature, and salinity.
Students look at a model of the float

The float relays this information to satellites, which is then analyzed by scientists to determine how the Southern Ocean influences climate. The Schweitzer students are able to access the data online.

They had the opportunity to Skype with University of Arizona PhD student Becki Beadling, who is a 2009 graduate of Neshaminy High School. In the summer of 2017, Becki worked on a research vessel deploying floats. She spoke to the third graders about her studies and experiences on the vessel. Several days later, Dr. Robert M. Key from the Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Program at Princeton University visited the school. Dr. Key is the SOCCOM data manager and is directly involved with scientific data analysis.

Heart fundraiser gets new name, new activities

The former Jump Rope for Heart is now called the Kids Heart Challenge, which teaches heart health and raises money for the American Heart Association. Albert Schweitzer ES physical education teacher Pete Curtin set up an American Ninja Warrior-style obstacle course in the gym and during the day students enjoyed an energetic work-out. This video is a third-grade class taking the challenge!

Tawanka Elementary School

EarlyAct performs Gotta Keep Reading video

Tawanka EarlyAct video screen shot
On March 1, students throughout Tawanka ES were treated to a classroom viewing of this reading-oriented version of a Black Eyed Peas song (which the band actually re-wrote) choreographed and performed by members of the school's EarlyAct Club for the video linked below. Each day of the week students were celebrating the birthday of Dr. Seuss with a variety of fun reading-themed activities.

Snack sampling encourages healthy eating

Tawanka students try vegetables

Students at Tawanka have been sampling a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables thanks to a partnership between physical education teacher Bob Wright and the Giant Food Store in Feasterville. Each month the students will receive a sample of a different fruit or vegetable -- starting with bell peppers (red and green) in February. Along with the sample, they are given nutritional information and discuss the benefit each can have to their total diet.

Did you know that bell peppers are very high in Vitamin C, are low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium, and are an excellent source of dietary fiber? Plus they're delicious, as these Tawanka students discovered (at least one asked his parents to buy more of them).

Maple Point Middle School

Aladdin production enchants audiences

Alladin production at Maple Point

Maple Point presenteded the 7th and 8th grade musical, Aladdin, for their classmates and visiting students from Pearl S. Buck and Herbert Hoover ES on February 15 and for the community Wednesday-Saturday, February 20-22. The elaborately-staged show was based on the Disney classic and included many of the familiar songs from that movie.

Fundraiser shows Maple Point's true stripes

Show Us Your Strips participants

February 14 was Show Us Your Stripes day at Maple Point. A few of the many students and staff who purchased red & white socks, scarves and other items to benefit the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House gathered in the gym that afternoon for pictures. This year, the school raised $964.06 for this very worthy cause.

Poquessing Middle School

Wrestling team celebrates two stellar seasons

Poquessing Wrestling Team

Congratulations to the Poquessing Wrestling Team who went 11-0 again this year with back-to-back undefeated seasons. Poquessing was victorious over another undefeated team, Pennwood Middle School, by a score of 51-42 in the final match of the season.
During the season, the Poquessing Wrestlers outscored their opponents by a margin of 730 to 237 total points.

Over the last 5 years the Poquessing Wrestling program has recorded a record of 48 wins and 4 losses. Coaches Grant Passman and Jim Pecuch have led the team to these two undefeated seasons.

Seussical musical is a ten tons of fun

Seussical at Poquessing Middle School

Poquessing presented their annual musical on February 20-23. Seussical, the Musical, draws on the familiar characters from various Dr. Seuss books for an original story and plenty of dance numbers.

Carl Sandburg Middle School

Tower of Power supports future engineers

Tower of Power at Carl Sandburg MS

On February 6, Carl Sandburg Middle School’s Science Department hosted their annual school-wide STEM competition Tower of Power Going Green.  Approximately 320 students from 5th through 8th grade accepted the challenge this year.  Student teams (with 3 or 4 students per team) built towers out of Fettuccine noodles and masking tape that were able to support a tennis ball somewhere within its structure.  Many teams built successful towers but only the three highest, free standing  towers could win. Teams are also encouraged to dress up in creative outfits for the competition. Overall, this was an extremely successful event with lots of high-energy engineering and science fun. Tower of Power competitors with their entry

Glow Dance at Sandburg

Glow Dance lights up the night

The cafeteria at Carl Sandburg Middle School was turned into an energetic whirl of color for the annual Glow Dance on Friday, February 1. The walls were decorated with neon-colored decorations lit by black lights, and the students wore everything from glow-in-the-dark t-shirts to glow necklaces and bracelets.

Neshaminy High School

Neshaminy Nominates another Gym Night success

Gym Night 2019 banner

The Neshaminy community and students packed Gym 3 on Friday, March 1 and Saturday, March 2 to witness the spectacle that is Gym Night. The theme this year was “Neshaminy Nominates” and included everything from a boulder-costumed dancer chasing another dressed as Indiana Jones across the floor and dozens of jungle animals emerging from a game of Jumanji, to a recreation of the infamous Titanic deck scene and a sword fight on a fully-masted pirate ship.

Gym Night, now in its 66th year, defies description as something that can only be understood by experiencing it in person and absorbing the excess of energy, light, sound and motion. Preparation for this year’s shows began in November, and included over half the student body, scores of volunteers and staff members, and strong support from the entire Neshaminy community through donations and materials. By Saturday night, the competition between the colors was tied at 23 points, but by the end of the night Red edged out Blue 39-35.

NHS runner Savion Hebron is a state champion

Great news from the PTFCA Indoor State Track Championships in State College -- Neshaminy HS runner Savion Hebron was the First Place State Champion in the 200 meter competition and also placed fourth in the 400 meter run. Dan Dean placed fourth in the pole vault with a 15' school record, while Logan Williamson took fifth place in the triple jump. Congratulations to all athletes and coach Syd White on a stellar performance!

Jazz Band hits the road

NHS Jazz Band at Temple University
Photo by Richard Saxton
On February 16, the Neshaminy HS Jazz Band, under the direction of Ian Brown, attended The William Tennent Cavalcade Clinic. There they received performance instruction from professional jazz musicians, special instruction from The Philly Pops! Plus, and performances from Philly Pops and musicians from The University of The Arts. The band also performed for the public at Neshaminy Mall in February and at Temple University Student Center in Philadelphia on March 5.

Club collects books to share a love of reading

Neshaminy High School's Interact Club, Reading Olympics, Book Club, and Service Learning Club collected gently used or new books to donate to Tree House Books and Cradles to Crayons. Books are  for any age group and of any genre, including fiction or nonfiction.

LifeSmarts team excels at state competition

Neshaminy HS LifeSmarts team

Congratulations to the Neshaminy HS LifeSmarts Team, which placed third in the state of Pennsylvania for the National Consumers League Competition held recently. The competition assesses student knowledge in five areas -- consumer rights and responsibilities, the environment, health and safety, personal finance, and technology. 75 teams participated across the state. Neshaminy’s third place finish was only four percentage points behind the first place team, Dallas High School. Neshaminy’s team is comprised of five Business, Computer and Information Technology students: Alejandro Colon, Andrew Schmitz, Tyler Shafer, Jackson Joiner and Rachel Prizer.

Choir members perform at District Festival

Neshaminy HS Choir members

Congratulations to these Neshaminy HS Choir members who performed in the District 11 Chorus Festival held at Wissahickon High School February 9. Twelve of them will be moving on to the regionals to be held in Havertown in March.

Seniors nominated for military academies

Two Neshaminy HS students -- Eda Hopkins and Logan Williamson -- have been nominated for acceptance to military academies by Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick. While nomination doesn't guarantee acceptance, this is an important first step and an honor in its own right.

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
Stephen Pirritano - Vice President
John Allen
Cyndie Bowman
Irene M. Boyle
Bob Feather
Tina Hollenbach
Adam J. Kovitz
David Marrington

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