March, 2019
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Buck third grade classes are growing hydroponic gardens of knowledge

Hydroponic farmers at Buck ES
Buck ES third-grade students proudly show off their bucket hydroponic system

Snack time and science class have become one and the same for third grade classes at Pearl S. Buck Elementary School. Last year, each classroom obtained an AeroGarden Farm - a coffee-table sized unit that allows the user to grow vegetables and plants indoors without soil. This year, students in each of the five classes raised a variety of plants from seedings, including lettuce and tomatoes, basil and dill. The students used a special tool to pollinate the flowers of the plants, then fed their produce with special nutrients as the plants grew under timed artificial lights mounted inside the AeroGarden.

The result of this project-based learning experience has been several harvests of salad greens and tomatoes so far this year. They have experimented with changing the growing conditions by varying artificial vs. natural light or the amount of nutrient provided. Like all scientists, they have been documenting their studies by measuring and recording the size of the plants at various stages and taking photos. When they have enough produce to harvest, each class holds a “salad party” during snack time. The students are allowed to garnish their salads with their favorite condiments brought from home. 
Some of the students are now branching out and have constructed home-made hydroponic gardens from 5-gallon buckets. Nutrients are provided courtesy of beta fish swimming in the water underneath their growing plants, and the students are proudly finding unique ways to use recycled products to build their gardens. They are planning to grow flowers in their hydroponic systems.

In early March, the classes visited the hydroponic farm at Delaware Valley University to learn more about this futuristic farming method.
Students at Delaware Valley University
Students at Delaware Valley U.
At the March 12 School Board Public Work Session, several of the students spoke about their project and shared their class-grown salad with Board members.

Salad party at Buck ES
Salad party at Pearl S. Buck Elementary School

Neshaminy music program honored

NAMM award banner

Neshaminy School District has once again been honored with the "Best Communities for Music Education" designation by the non-profit National Association of Music Marketers Foundation for "outstanding commitment to music education."

"This award recognizes that Neshaminy School District is leading the way with learning opportunities," according to NAMM. The designation is awarded to districts that "demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students."

Neshaminy offers a comprehensive music program at all grade levels and a wide variety of performance opportunities for instrumental and vocal music at every school. This month the Poquessing Middle School Select Choir is performing at the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association conference in Pittsburgh, and Neshaminy High School band members are performing at the New Orleans Heritage Festival in late March.

Year-end schedule announced

Beach scene
Good news for summer planners -- the final day of the 2018-2019 school year for all students K-11 will not be changing due to weather and other school closures (barring any additional unforeseen circumstances). The final day of school for students will be Friday, June 14. Wednesday-Friday June 12-14 are half-days for students.
For Neshaminy HS seniors, the NHS Commencement Ceremony is scheduled for Wednesday, June 12, with rain dates of each following evening (6/13, 6/14).

Nominations sought for new award

NHS Alumni Achievement Award banner

The Neshaminy Alumni Committee is seeking nominations for the first annual Alumni Achievement Awards to be held later this spring. The purpose is to honor outstanding lifetime achievement in post-graduation personal and professional pursuits among the alumni of Neshaminy School District as an inspiration to the current students of Neshaminy and the entire Neshaminy community. Please note that this award is completely separate from the annual Neshaminy Sports Hall of Fame awards.

Please fill out the online form linked below to add a nominee for consideration by members of the Alumni Committee. A limited number of honorees will receive this award each year; nominations not resulting in an award will be kept on file for future consideration.

Board supports cyber school legislation

Neshaminy Virtual Academy logo
A growing number of school districts across Pennsylvania are responding to the increased demand for high quality, full-time online education programs by hosting their own. Neshaminy offers a tuition-free Virtual Academy, which is an option for those families desiring an online curriculum for their children. The program is managed through a partnership between the District and  Brandywine Virtual Academy, which provides the curriculum, teachers and online hosting.
Unlike external cyber charters, Neshaminy Virtual Academy offers students in grades K-12 in-person academic support, the option to participate in co-curricular activities at their designated school, and the opportunity to graduate with the same Neshaminy diploma as their brick-and-mortar counterparts. This arrangement also gives the District direct oversight of the quality of the virtual program.

Now a pair of bills is making its way through the Pennsylvania legislature that would support these efforts. Senate Bill 34 and House Bill 526 would provide substantial savings by removing the requirement that Districts pay for external cyber charter schools if they offer a full-time cyber program of their own. Neshaminy paid $1.37 million to outside cyber charters in 2017-2018, and this bill would offer substantial savings even if every one of those students signed up for the Neshaminy Virtual Academy.

At the March 26 Board Public meeting, the School Board voted 8-0 (with one absence) to pass a resolution expressing support for these bills, which was sent to area elected officials and Governor Wolf for consideration.

2019-2020 budget process moves ahead

At the February 15, 2019 School Board meeting (rescheduled from Tuesday, February 12 due to inclement weather), the Neshaminy Preliminary Budget was approved. Over the next several weeks, adjustments will be made in order to balance expenditures with expected revenue. This budget will be the main topic at a Business Operations Committee meeting scheduled to be held in the District Board Room at Maple Point Tuesday, April 2 starting at 6:30 pm.

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%.

PKC logo

Registration open for free preschool program

Neshaminy is pleased to once again offer Pre-K Counts within the district for the 2019-2020 school year. Pre-K Counts offers an opportunity for families that might have household incomes too high to qualify for a program such as Head Start but are still struggling to afford a quality preschool.  As an example, a family of four can earn up to $77,250 and still qualify for Pre-K Counts!

Students writing 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 2019-2020 school year, 6 hours-a-day, at three locations -- Joseph Ferderbar Elementary School (Feasterville), the Lower Southampton Early Learning Center also in Feasterville (the former Lower Southampton Elementary School), and Albert Schweitzer Elementary School in Levittown.

Sunset Challenge is building momentum!

Sunset Challenge banner

Hundreds of runners have already signed up for the #StandUp Neshaminy / Rooney Family Screen Printing & Embroidery Sunset Challenge! This 5K & 2K running race will be held 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.

Editors Note: The We Build Futures Awards, normally found in this location, will return in the April newsletter!

Selected Upcoming Events

Wednesday, April 3: Violence Prevention Workshop, Maple Point MS, 7 pm
Friday, April 5: NHS All-Sports Hall of Fame ceremony, Neshaminy HS, 7 pm
Saturday, April 6: Harlem Wizards at Neshaminy HS, 7 pm
Wednesday, April 10: District Secondary Jazz Festival, Neshaminy HS, 7 pm
Thursday, April 11: PTO Forum with Superintendent Jones, Maple Point, 6:30 pm
Friday, April 12: ESS Substitute / Support Hiring Event, Maple Point, 10am-12pm
Monday-Friday, April 15-19: Spring Break, no school for students
Monday, April 22: PSSA tests begin (see school websites for schedules)
Thursday, April 25: District Secondary String Orchestra Fest, Neshaminy HS, 7 pm
Friday, April 26: ESS Substitute / Support Hiring Event, Maple Point, 10 am-12 pm
Tuesday, April 30: STEAM Expo, Neshaminy HS, 6:30 - 8:30 pm
Friday, May 10: Sunset Challenge 2K/5K, Maple Point MS, 6 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!

Harlem Wizards visit to Maple Point MS
A Harlem Wizard player visited elementary and middle schools in March, including this visit to Maple Point MS with Coach Skip Mason.

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

Sock drive delivers the gift of warmth

Bucks socks fundraider bulletin board

The third graders at Buck sponsored a sock drive for the homeless recently. The students were very active in their pursuit of collecting socks for the less fortunate. They created signs that were hung around the school to remind others to bring in socks. They made commercials that were sent to the classrooms for viewing. They also composed and performed songs during the morning announcements to remind the school about the sock drive. Third graders also created a pictograph displaying the colorful paper socks that kind-hearted students created when they donated a pair of socks.

Because of the large number of socks that were collected – 1,550 pairs – several organizations throughout the area will receive bundles for distribution. A huge thank you goes out to the entire Pearl Buck community.

Joseph Ferderbar Elementary School

March is more than college hoops

Basketball teams at Ferderbar ES
They might not make any brackets, but these intramural teams played great games during a March Madness tournament in held in March at Ferderbar.

Reading count climbs past 750K

Speaking of great competitions, the entire school has been counting their time reading, and so far has reached to 750,000 minutes across grades K-4. How far will they go? Stay tuned!

Herbert Hoover Elementary School

Kindergarteners pen School Day Diary

Kindergarten book authors with their creation

Two kindergarten students created a book diary describing an average school day, which is now available for students to check out at the Hoover library.

Talent show lights up the stage

Hoover teachers dance

The talent at Hoover shined during the annual Hoover Talent Show held at Maple Point Middle School March 8. Families were treated to everything from instrumental performances and singing to martial arts demonstrations and gymnastics. Just before intermission, the Hoover staff performed a unique glow-stick dance on a darkened stage.

Walter Miller Elementary School

NHS graduate / Army specialist surprises kindergarten class

Karen Loftus' kindergarten class was surprised by a special visit from specialist Macey Smith. Macey is a 2017 Neshaminy graduate who has been deployed to Afghanistan for the past 9 months.

The students had been writing her and sending her pictures throughout the year. The class was just getting ready to write her again when she surprised them with a visit. She talked to the children about her time in Afghanistan, and the children used the opportunity to ask her many questions about her service and life in the military.
Soldier visits a class at Miller ES

Albert Schweitzer Elementary School

Education Foundation grant funds K'nex team

K'nex team from Albert Schweitzer ES
On March 8, the Bucks County Intermediate Unit hosted 65 teams competing in an annual K'nex design competition called the STEM Design Challenge. Teams were challenged to create a environmentally-friendly machine that could operate as a crane to move objects across a table. Thanks to a grant from the Neshaminy Education Foundation, a team of fourth grade AE students from Schweitzer were able to participate.

Schweitzer artist honored at Bucks County gallery

Schweitzer ES artist with her teacher and family
Andie Chavez, a student at Albert Schweitzer ES, was recently honored for representing Neshaminy School District at a county-wide event celebrating the arts at the Bucks County Intermediate Unit (BCIU) Student Gallery in Doylestown. The gallery consists of one piece of student artwork from each of the thirteen Bucks County school districts. Each work was professionally framed and is currently on display at the BCIU for one full year beginning this month.

Andie’s collage was selected by a committee of Neshaminy Art Teachers during last year’s District Art Show. The tradition will continue with a new selection of student artwork during our 31st Annual District Art Show event held at Neshaminy HS Gym 1, May 22 & 23 from 7-9 pm each day.

Principal, counselor stick around to promote reading

On March 11, things got a little sticky at Albert Schweitzer ES as the Principal Dr. Amy Orlando and School Counselor Kelly Moyer agreed to let some students attach them to the wall - literally - with rolls of duct tape. It was all for the love of reading -- the students in two classes earned their way into the fun activity by winning a book-themed door decorating contest at the school.

Tawanka Elementary School

Tawanka team takes on the K'nex Challenge

Eight Tawanka students attended the K’nex Challenge hosted by the Bucks County Intermediate Unit in Doylestown 22 on March 8, 2019. The challenge preparation began in January as they had to create a machine that could move 3 objects at least 6 inches across a table. A “crane” had to pick up the object, move it 6 inches and set it back down. The machine was encouraged to be environmentally friendly.

This was the first time Tawanka has attended the K’nex Challenge and we competed against 64 teams. They utilized every weekly minute during K’nex Club, class and recess to build the best machine to meet the challenge requirements.

Project matches class buddies across the grades

Tawanka buddies work on Chromebooks

A group of fourth grade students  met with their buddies in the second grade to work on a fun spring project with their 1:1 technology. Using all the words to describe spring, they created a word art picture. They really enjoyed learning how to use this neat website. The two classes will meet again to complete their project and print their pictures.

K-2 Family Engagement Night a success

On March 14 over 350 students in grades K-2 turned out for the annual Family Engagement Night at Tawanka. The students and their families rotated through a wide variety of craft and activity stations and enjoyed snacks provided by the Tawanka PTO.
Tawanka students enjoy Family Engagement Night

Maple Point Middle School

8th-grade student aces chemistry challenge

Congratulations to Maple Point MS 8th-grade student Peter Furrow, who placed 3rd out of 60 competitors from area school districts in the Chemical Education Foundation Bucks County "You Be the Chemist Challenge" sponsored by Dow Chemical Company. The competition was held in Collegeville and tested knowledge of chemistry principles through a several rounds of multiple choice questions.

Peter Furrow
Peter will be one of four students who will move on to the state round at Penn State University on April 27. The top student there will compete at the National Championship to be held in Washington, DC in June.

Coaches vs. Cancer raises over $20K

Coaches vs. Cancer crowd

The 6th annual Coaches vs. Cancer basketball games between Maple Point and Carl Sandburg MS teams at Maple Point raised $20,645 for the American Cancer Society this year. With help from title sponsor Chuck's BBQ, t-shirt sales and dozens of raffle prize donors, this fundraiser has continued to grow every year.The honored guest at this year's game was former Maple Point Principal Ray Kelly.

Poquessing Middle School

TV game show pits Poquessing students against their teachers

On March 23, a team of 8th-grade students and four teachers from Poquessing MS visited the Fox 29 studio in Philadelphia to compete in their new game show, the ClassH-Room. The quiz show pits students against teachers, and the winning team gets a cash prize that can be used for a selected school activity or project of their choice. The show airs at 6:30 pm on weekdays and the Poquessing episode will be appearing within a few weeks on a date TBD. The students that competed are National Junior Honor Society members Brittany Mattoi, Skye Garber, Connor McClurkin and their back-ups are Garriella Ciallella and Allison Dern. The teachers are Beth Muska, Jennifer Mann, Rebecca Douglass and Nicole Pahulick.

Select Choir featured at US eastern regional music conference

Poquessing Middle School Choir

The Poquessing MS Select Choir is preparing for a trip to Pittsburgh where they will perform for music teachers gathered from around the state at the annual Pennsylvania Music Educators Association / National Association of Music Educators Eastern Division Annual Conference on April 5. The group was chosen by recorded audition from over 200 submissions to be featured performers in front of musiceducators from 12 eastern states.

Carl Sandburg Middle School

Jazz Band store performance nets $850 donation

Sandburg Jazz Band check donation

The Carl Sandburg Middle School Jazz Band performed at the Langhorne Raymour & Flanigan Furniture & Mattress Outlet March 27 and picked up an $850 donation to their program from the store.

Neshaminy High School

World Language Department hosts International Dinner 

International Dinner at Neshaminy HS

The World Language Department held their annual International Dinner March 27 in the cafeteria at NHS. All the participating students contributed an entree or dessert representing their heritage, and shared them with their classmates, their families and their teachers.

NHS band visits The Big Easy

NHS Band performs in New Orleans
Neshaminy HS musicians were busy in March making final preparations for their trip to New Orleans March 28 - April 2. Band and Orchestra members are not only performing at the New Orleans Heritage Festival, they are also taking in a variety of cultural sites including a visit to the WWII Museum and a private concert at Preservation Hall.

On Sunday, March 31, the Marching Band performed in Washington Artillery Park, across the street from historic Jackson Square.

Five NHS musicians selected for All-State Festival

All-state musicians from Neshaminy HS

The NHS Music Department would like to recognize and congratulate five students on their selection to the Pennsylvania Music Educators Association All-State Music Festival.  Connor Menzel was selected to the All-State Concert Band, Vinny Angeline and Liz McGonagle were selected for the All-State Orchestra and Adrianna Fisher and Madison Galvelis were selected for the All-State Chorus.

Senior Ball brings students, retirees together

Senior Ball at Neshaminy HS

The annual Senior Ball was held on Saturday, March 23. Organized by the Neshaminy HS Student Council, this popular event offered our area senior citizens the opportunity to enjoy an afternoon of great food, good company and lots of dancing (of course). The food and beverages were donated by local businesses and community members so the seniors could enjoy the afternoon free of charge.

NHS artist, teacher featured in Temple show

Neshaminy HS Art Teacher Terry O'Neill and NHS senior Jessica Giacomelli both had their artworks on display at this show, which pairs students and their teachers to celebrate the task of balancing a working studio practice with educating the next generation of artists. Mrs. O’Neill displayed one of her linoleum prints next to a pinhole camera photograph by Jessica.

Herbert Hoover ES Art Teacher Justin Bursk and one of his students were also featured in this unique show (as reported in the February, 2019 Neshaminy Update newsletter).
NHS artist with her photograph

Cheerleaders excel at national competition

Neshaminy HS Cheerleaders

The Neshaminy HS Varsity Cheerleaders not only won their division at the Grand National Championship held in Virginia Beach, VA on March 10, but also earned the best score of the entire competition. The JV team also excelled with a second-place finish.

Interact Club collects books, produces a safety video

Interact Club team
The Neshaminy HS Interact Club students under the supervision of Suzi Drake proudly wore their Bucks County High School Seatbelt Safety Challenge t-shirts provided by TMA Bucks (@tmabucks) in March.

The students have been working on a public service announcement safety video for submission to the TMA Teen Driver Safety Video PSA Challenge.
In other Interact Club news, their recent Book Drive held in partnership with the Reading Olympics and the Service Learning Club netted hundreds of donations from the school and community. The books collected will be donated to the Cradles to Crayons Philadelphia and Tree House Books for eventual distribution to children throughout the city.

Family donation supports a new baseball scoreboard

The Neshaminy School Board accepted a generous donation from the Armour family in the amount of $6,300 at the February 26 meeting toward the purchase of a new electronic scoreboard for the baseball field outside Neshaminy High School. Three Armour boys played baseball at Neshaminy, and they own Armour & Sons Electric Inc. in Langhorne. The donation will cover half the cost of the scoreboard, and the rest will come from the NHS Athletic Department budget.

All-Sports Hall of Fame nominees announced

The Neshaminy All-Sports Hall of Fame has announced the Class of 2019. The induction ceremony will be held April 5 at 7 pm in the Black Box Theater at Neshaminy High School. Admission is free and the public is invited to attend.

Inductees include:
James Kelly (baseball)
Grant Sporny (boys basketball)
Donna Kimmel (girls basketball)
B.J. Kohn (boys bowling)
Megan Jonigkeit (girls bowling)
Russell Horrocks (coach)
Melanie Mancini (field hockey)
Chris Kross (football)
Tim Malloy (boys indoor track)
Laura Henzy (girls indoor track)
Ryan Harbison (boys lacrosse)
Jamie Janzer (softball)
Chad Sargeant (boys track)
Kristin Malloy (girls track)
Charlie Kirk (boys volleyball)
Brett Schwartz (boys cross country)
Christine Esposito (girls cross country)
Lyndsay Pierson (girls soccer).

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.