May, 2019
Neshaminy Update May 2019
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Teacher pose with their awards

Award recognizes excellence in the classroom and in the community

To mark Teacher Appreciation Week, the Neshaminy School Board honored five teachers at their meeting Wednesday, May 22, whose classroom and community contributions exemplify outstanding commitment to their profession, the District and the community. The winners of the 6th Annual Neshaminy School District Award for Excellence are:

  • Christine Richardson, Poquessing Middle School, Leadership
  • Cynthia Ritchie, Walter Miller Elementary School, Leadership
  • Tracy Capecci, Neshaminy High School, Innovation
  • Neil French, Maple Point Middle School, Community Partnership
  • Chuck Deal, Neshaminy High School, Spirit of Neshaminy

Nominations for this award can come from any District staff member. The winners each receive a $1,500 stipend to be used for classroom materials. The guidelines for each category are as follows:

Leadership: Demonstrating collaborative culture of their classroom, improved student learning and teaching, and influence on practice among their peers.
Innovation: Advancing innovative teaching and pedagogy leading to improved student success.
Community Partnerships: Demonstrating volunteerism, service, and civic engagement by collaborating with home, school and community to reform and improve services for children and families.
Spirit of Neshaminy: Demonstrating ability to challenge students to grow and/or encourage them to achieve in the classroom and beyond. The recognized teacher has transformed the students' lives both inside and outside the classroom.

PSSA goes online in pilot program

Students at Hoover hold up their Chromebooks
Students at Herbert Hoover Elementary School hold up their Chromebooks after they finished taking their PSSA tests online.

The days of filling out little circles with a number 2 pencil to answer questions on the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment (PSSA) test might be numbered.

Two Neshaminy schools, Herbert Hoover Elementary and Maple Point Middle School, had their students in grades 3,4,5 and 6 take their PSSA tests this year using their Chromebooks and a specialized testing application called DRC INSIGHT. Currently, the Pennsylvania Department of Education allows schools to choose whether to administer the PSSA and Keystone tests using the old paper method or electronically. Schools in New Jersey, Delaware and other states have already moved to the electronic system.

To take the test (which has the same questions as the paper version), students open a special desktop on their computers that blocks out all other applications. The questions and answers are stored on external servers and are auto-updated every four seconds. Should the Chromebook, the power or the internet connection fail during the test, the student will not lose their work and can continue the test once they are able to log back in. If students need to stop for any reason, such as a visit to the nurse or to the bathroom, they can simply log out and continue where they left off once they return. Online tools that are used for certain portions of the test (such as a calculator) only appear when they are needed and allowed.

Neshaminy Staff Developer and Data Specialist Steve McAloon says that computerized testing offers several advantages over traditional paper. Students requiring special accommodations, such as audio and visual aids, can access them easily on the computer. "Read aloud" portions of the test previously required multiple adult readers for groups of up to five students who had to be physically moved into place. With the new system, the computer can be used to play recorded passages and students can use headphones to listen at their own pace without moving.

Another major advantage is preparation time savings. According to Hoover Principal Dr. David Glennon, in previous years, his staff spent many hours sorting and assembling paper packets of test materials, which then had to be collected and securely stored each night. The online version only requires a login packet, which takes a fraction of the effort to prepare and distribute. That time saved is time that can be spent educating and counseling students, he said.

The Neshaminy administration is currently reviewing the results of this roll-out and will consider expansion to all schools next year and beyond.

2019-2020 proposed budget posted

The proposed final general fund budget for the next school year has been posted on the District website. The School Board will consider this budget at their Public Meeting on Tuesday, June 25, 7 pm at Maple Point. This meeting was rescheduled from an original date of June 18.

This year, the District was challenged with a $792,218 tax assessment reduction agreement with the owners of the Oxford Valley Mall, as well as rising state-mandated payments for the PSERS retirement fund. The final proposed budget does include an Act 1 index tax rate increase of 2.3%, an unassigned fund balance appropriation of $408,645 and a $1.75 million committed fund balance for PSERS.

Summer PASS program returns

Students canoe at Tyler State Park
Students enjoy a visit to Tyler State Park during Summer Pass in 2017.

This year Neshaminy School District will re-institute the Planned Action Stimulates Success (PASS) Program to address the needs of middle school students. The target audience includes students who are at-risk for social and/or emotional issues, negative school behavior, truancy, lack of motivation, as well as students from low-income households. Middle school counselors and social workers nominate student candidates.

The goals of Summer PASS are to improve students’ academic and social skills through academics, college and career exploration, and social and recreational activities. Students participate in adventure challenge courses and team-building activities and receive classroom instruction to strengthen math, reading and writing skills. Educational field trips enhance the learning experience as well as provide
prosocial experiences.

Summer PASS operates at no cost to the District. In addition to the $10,000 donated by the Bucks County Children and Youth Social Services Agency, we have received donations and or commitments for donations from the following organizations: Middletown Community Foundation donated $5,500, Lower Southampton Township donated $5,000, The Bucks County Board of Commissioners donated $1,800, and Giant Food Stores has donated $1,000 in gift cards for student meals.

500 runners take the Sunset Challenge

Sunset Challenge race start

Almost 500 runners participated in the first annual #StandUp Neshaminy Sunset Challenge 2K / 5K race at Maple Point on May 10. The 2K race stayed on school property while the 5K race wound through the surrounding neighborhood to Middletown Community Park. The race is part of the #StandUp Neshaminy opioid abuse prevention efforts in the district.

May 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 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.

Selected Upcoming Events

Wednesday - Friday, June 5-7: Alice in Wonderland at Maple Point MS
Wednesday - Thursday, June 5-6: Lion King at Walter Miller ES
Thursday, June 6: 8th grade Instrumental orientation, Neshaminy HS, 7 pm
Friday, June 7: 8th grade mixer, Neshaminy HS, 7 pm
Tuesday, June 11: Middle school 8th grade move-up ceremonies, various times
Wednesday, June 12: Neshaminy HS Commencement, 6:30 pm
Friday, June 14: Last day of school for students

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

Neshaminy Education Foundation logo


$5K donation celebrates NEF 25th Anniversary

NEF donation at the District Art Show

Stephen Z. Cohen, President of the Neshaminy Education Foundation, presented two ceremonial checks at the District Art Show on May 22 to the Neshaminy Art and Music Departments. Each will receive a $2,500 donation to honor the 25th anniversary of the Foundation this school year. The money will be used for projects that benefit students across the district.

Accepting the donations for the District was lead teachers Dr. Stacy Potter (Art Department) and Wendy Robson (Music Department) along with art teacher Justin Bursk from Hoover Elementary.

News From Our Schools

Pearl S. Buck Elementary School

PTO transforms faculty lounge into a restaurant

PTO volunteers in their decorated faculty lounge

In mid-May, many District families showed their gratitude for our teaching staff in a variety of ways for Teacher Appreciation Week. On May 24, the PTO at Pearl S. Buck ES turned the faculty lounge at the school into an elaborate Farmers Market restaurant where they served lunch to the entire staff. They thoroughly transformed the space by decorating every possible surface from floor to ceiling.

Super Kid Cass visits elementary schools

Cass and students at Pearl S. Buck Elementary School

Cass from the K-2 Super Kids reading program visited kindergarten students in the District elementary schools during May (these photos are from Pearl S. Buck ES). During her visit, students were able ask Cass about her other Super Kids friends, and find out more about Cass herself. Many students dressed as their favorite Super Kids character for the occasion.

Joseph Ferderbar Elementary School

Reading Challengers gets a sweet reward

Students turn their teachers into human ice cream sundaes

Things got pretty messy at Joseph Ferderbar ES on the afternoon of May 24 To celebrate the school completing their Million Minute Reading Challenge, the entire school helped turn the Ferderbar Reading Leadership Team into 'human ice cream sundaes' with help from selected students from each class in each grade. That includes ice cream, of course...and chocolate syrup...and whipped cream...and cherries on top. Congratulations to the students for reaching this great reading milestone!

Cross-District pen-pals meet for lunch

Ferderbar and Miller students eat lunch together

On May 24, the second grade from Walter Miller ES visited the second grade at Joseph Ferderbar Elementary School, joining them for lunch, recess and some fun after-lunch activities. The two schools' second graders have been trading pen pal letters all this school year, and this was an opportunity for them to meet for the first time in person.

Rover Run helps homeless hounds

Three fourth-grade students wanted to raise money for an animal shelter to help them keep animals longer while waiting for adoptions (and hopefully lower the euthanization rate). So, they organized an in-school race called the Rover Run and made nearly $200 for their cause.

Herbert Hoover Elementary School

Hoover celebrates Leadership Day

Hoover students sing during Leadership Day

A group of visitors from the community and several District administrators were welcomed to Herbert Hoover Elementary School on May 17 by members of the school's Leadership Club for the first-ever Hoover Elementary Leadership Day. The event was conceived by fourth-grade teachers Stacy Skale and Patty Jackson but was planned, organized and conducted by the students themselves. The visitors were treated to student-led classroom tours around the building to see education in action, viewed a living "wax museum," heard about the guiding principles of "Seven Habits of Happy Kids" from the kids themselves, enjoyed a student-led musical performance, and even left feedback on student Chromebooks with some assistance from the Hoover Technology Helpers.

Hoover students with nurse and poster

Hoover celebrates their school nurse

Students created and signed a poster honoring their school nurse, Sharon White. This marked National Nurses week, which was celebrated across the country on May 6-12.

Walter Miller Elementary School

Reading fun carries on

Students hold up reading cards

Following up on the Phanatic about Reading event last month, students at Walter Miller Elementary are continuing a variety of activities to encourage reading every day. The projects included a used book collection for Mary's Cupboard in Levittown, a "caught reading" collection of photos submitted by students' families showing their children reading at home and elsewhere, bookmark designing, and voting for favorite books in an online Children's Book Council poll.

Board presentation highlights Makerspace activities

Students show their projects to Board members
On Tuesday, May 7, students from Kathy Alford’s 4th grade class presented "an activity that makes Walter Miller Elementary School unique" at the Neshaminy School Board Public Work Session at Maple Point Middle School. Students shared some of their favorite Library Makerspace activities, including KEVA Planks, Straw Constructors, Ocean Bottles, Message Bracelets, and Squishy Circuits.  
This Board presentation was the final one of a series this year which included all the District elementary schools. Next school year the middle schools and high school will be invited to make similar presentations to share their points of pride with the Board and the community.

Albert Schweitzer Elementary School

Kindergarten builds futures - and boats

Students holding model boats

The kindergarteners of Albert Schweitzer ES took over Home Depot during a field trip on May 15. This was part of a wood and paper unit in their science program. Each kindergartener made their own wooden boat, got a tour of the paint mixing station and learned how keys are made.

Twin Day has school seeing double

If you were visiting Albert Schweitzer Elementary School on May 17, and something seemed a little different, that's probably because it was Twin Day. Matching outfits could be found throughout the school (and no need to be actual twins to join the fun!).
Twin Day photos

Tawanka Elementary School

K-9 dogs and officers

Temple K-9 officers visit

On Tuesday, May 14, members of the Temple University Police K-9 unit visited Tawanka. During their visit the K-9 officers showed the students the basics of dog obedience, apprehension and detection techniques. The students really enjoyed the presentation and the chance to interact with the law enforcement community who keep us safe.

Palates expand with healthy food samples

Tawanka wrapped up the fruit and vegetable sampling program with grapes in May. This was a fun way for the students to try new fruits and vegetables this year to encourage healthy eating habits for life.

Tawanka would like to thank Giant Food Stores for adding food donations to this program, especially  store manager Tim Feoli, store manager and assistant manager Karen Pomykacz. The program was started and managed by physical education teacher Bob Wright.
Students eating grapes

Maple Point Middle School

6th grade visit public library open house

Over 115 Maple Point students (mostly 6th grade) attended an open house at the Langhorne branch of the Bucks County Free Library on May 14. This fun event was hosted by 6th grade English teachers Beth Kane and Theresa Johnson. Students completed a fun scavenger hunt, entered into a raffle for a chance to win a gift card prize to Mom’s Ice Cream in Langhorne, and had fun checking out the library resources with their friends. Earlier in the year, every 6th grade student secured their own public library card. Maple Point students at the library

Philly sports legends join Mother's Day Walkathon

Phillie Phanatic at Maple Point Middle School walkathon

On May 9, Maple Point MS enjoyed a visit from a special guest during their annual Mother's Day Walkathon. This two-day in-school fundraiser and included nearly 1,000 students who donated $5,400 to the Barkann Family Healing Hearts Foundation. Founded by Philadelphia sports announcer Michael Barkann and his wife Ellen Barkann, the foundation provides financial aid to families in the Philadelphia region who are in need due to recent adversity or tragedy. Students contributed $5 to participate, and a select group of participants were invited to a luncheon on May 17 at Capital Grill in Philadelphia, where they met Eagles Super Bowl champion Zach Ertz.

Poquessing Middle School

ClassH-Room episode featuring Poquessing airs

ClassH-Room contestants hold up contribution check from Fox 29

The new Fox 29 show that pits Philadelphia area students against their teachers in a game of knowledge featured Poquessing Middle School on May 24. If you haven't seen it yet - no spoilers here (the link to view it online is below). But we can tell you that the appearance netted a $500 contribution to the school and a great time was enjoyed by all involved.

Hope of Walk honors Kaylin Pahulick

Sandburg students at the walkathon

The Student Council at Poquessing MS held its 13th Annual Hope Walk on May 10. This year, the school raised $4,200 to benefit The Gift of Life Foundation and Easter Seals of Southeastern Pennsylvania. Gift of Life was chosen in honor of Kaylin Pahulick, daughter of Poquessing teacher Nichole Pahulick. Kaylin passed away about two years ago. Kaylin’s favorite color was red, so Poquessing goes #redforkaylin each year for the Hope Walk.

Delaware Valley University hosts middle school career festival

Fifty-eight students from Neshaminy’s three Middle Schools participated in the iSTEAMM Day at Delaware Valley University on May 23. Career explorations included  manufacturing, science, technology, engineering and math. Professionals presented workshops in numerous STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math and Manufacturing) professions. They added an additional M for manufacturing.
Students in a greenhouse at the STEAMM Day
Sessions were led by volunteers from various companies. Students preselected sessions that were of personal interest to them. They enjoyed the hands-on interactive workshops and hearing information about various careers from accomplished mentors in technology and science-related fields. Some of the Neshaminy students made their own shampoo, learned about seed harvesting, and explored the world of veterinary medicine.

Carl Sandburg Middle School

SPIRIT team delivers a donation in person

Representatives from Carl Sandburg's SPIRIT team stopped by the Ronald McDonald House in Hershey, PA in May. They donated gallons drink can tabs (which can be recycled for monetary donations) collected by the students and blankets made by the student SPIRIT squad for the patients who stay at the facility. The yearly contributions made by Sandburg are always greatly appreciated.

Pictured from left to right are Diane Rose, Kori Backhaus and Donna Jackson.
Ronald McDonald House donation

Club photo Carl Sandburg MS

Pasta for Pennies fights cancer

On April 10th students from Jen Wilmot's homeroom traveled to the Olive Garden restaurant in Langhorne in May to enjoy a spaghetti lunch courtesy of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Their homeroom raised the most -- $477 -- for the Pasta for Pennies program. The total contribution to the organization from Carl Sandburg was over $2000.

Class fundraiser helps benefits animal shelter

On May 15, students in Kelly Alberts and Dawn Toth's classes at Carl Sandburg Middle School enjoyed a visit by Kayla Gross from the Women's Animal Center in Bensalem. Since November, the students have been raising money for the shelter by creating and selling dog treats, as well as producing posters and note cards to raise awareness about the Center in the Sandburg community. They set out to raise $100 for this project, but ended up making $240 to donate.

Neshaminy High School

NHS honors top achievers

On May 2, Neshaminy HS held their annual Top 5% Recognition Ceremony, celebrating academic achievement for the Class of 2019, juniors and sophomores. Visit the link below to see the video of each award senior recipient talking about their post-graduation plans and their favorite memories of their years at NHS plus all the names of those honored.

Military ceremony includes a special presentation

Military Commitment Ceremony at Neshaminy HS

On May 23, five Neshaminy High School seniors were honored for their decision to enter military service following graduation: Kobe Wilcox (US Air Force);  Anthony Mamie (US Army); Zachery Kuehmstedt (US Army Reserves); Sean Jackson (US Army); Eda Hopkins (West Point Military Academy).

Neshaminy High School has been holding this ceremony in the Hub during the school day each year for the past ten years. Families, local representatives and recruitment officials are included in the ceremony. This year the ceremony included a special presentation by Steve Spong, a 1987 NHS graduate currently serving as a Master Sergeant in the Air National Guard. Mr. Spong presented a flag that was flown over Iraq and Syria during his deployment last year. His wife, Sandy Spong, is the advisor for the NHS Change It Up Club, which assembled and sent care packages to him and his troops while they were deployed.

 Project reaches out to military service members overseas

A group of students at Neshaminy HS have been running a fundraiser for the last two months to raise money for Operation Gratitude. Operation Gratitude is a program that sends care packages to service men and women stationed abroad. Often, these individuals are in need of very basic supplies such as socks, sun screen, lip balm, and undershirts. Operation Gratitude also tries to include some "fun" items like gum, playing cards, and crossword puzzles to cheer them up when they are so far from home. Project Gratitude team

NHS junior Delaney Young discovered this program, did some research, then came to Assistant Principal Tom Magdelinskas and Counselor Christina Savage to see if she could do something to help this effort. Once approved, she and about 20 other students sold Gertrude Hawk candy bars to raise money for the care packages. With help from students in the NHS AVID program, they made about 80 cards to send with the packages.

FBLA competitors excel at state competition

FBLA members group photo

Thirty-two Neshaminy High School Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) members attended the State Leadership Competition on April 8-10, 2019, in Hershey. Freshman Ohenmaa Ofosu-Mensah placed first in Introduction to Financial Math. The NHS Entrepreneurship Team of Joey Nolan & Dan Gutman placed fourth, and Aaron Lewis took home fifth place in Banking & Financial Systems. These four students will be heading to the National FBLA Leadership Conference and Competition in San Antonio, TX in June where they will compete against the top finishers in the United States, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam.

The Emerging Business Issues team of Andrew Schmitz and Steven Muller placed tenth. The NHS chapter also earned a "Gold Seal" and "Outstanding Chapter" award for their activities this year.

Business students receive summer scholarships

This summer, twenty Business, Computer and Information Technology students will attend the Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week (PFEW) Program. PFEW is a unique educational experience designed for high school sophomores and juniors to learn about career opportunities while taking an active role in operating a simulated business. PFEW is open to students from all across Pennsylvania and offers a college campus experience for one week at Lycoming College and Penn College.

The student operated businesses are judged in the areas of management, return on new assets, a marketing and advertising campaign and a stockholders’ presentation.

Each student received a scholarship valued at $1,500 through the PFEW organization. The Lower Bucks County Chamber of Commerce takes a very active role in supporting PFEW. The winners include: Nicole Berman, Kristina Carsley, Thomas DeMarco, Joseph DeMatteo, Daniel Gutman, Madison Heintz, Laurel Jung, Jared Keyes, Connor Kitzmiller, Kyle Miles, Jacqueline Regensburger, Nick Ropars, Regina Schroeder, Matthew Schwab, Victor Sloan, Isaiah Taylor, Jack Toy, Jordan Turner, Samuel Usherenko and Julie Whitaker.

Armour family supports new baseball scoreboard

Armour family at Neshaminy baseball game

On May 9 the NHS baseball team started their game against Souderton HS with a ceremony to acknowledge the generous donation by the Armour family toward the cost of a new scoreboard at the baseball field. The family has a long history with Neshaminy baseball; three of the Armours played on the team during the 1970s and 1980s.

Envirothon team excels at state competition

On May 23 and 24, Neshaminy's Envirothon team of Caroline Angerer, Ashly Alexander, Jasmine Henne, Bill Angerer and Gael Olguin-Ayala represented Bucks County in the 2019 Pennsylvania Envirothon held at the University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown. The team scored a 92.5% and placed 8th overall in the Oral Component, a team challenge to develop a solution to a scenario and present their idea to a panel of judges. This score represents the highest score AND the highest placement for Neshaminy at the state event. The team also excelled in the Wildlife component (a written and field test in wildlife knowledge) with a score of 82% and a 12th place finish. This score was also the highest in Neshaminy's 15 trips to the state competition.

Boys 4x400 relay team takes state championship

Neshaminy boys 4x400 relay team

Congratulations to Neshaminy HS runners Savaughn Hebron, Emmanuel Ampofo, Ethan Nolan and Savion Hebron who won the state 4x400 meter relay championship at Shippensburg University on Saturday, May 25. This is the second state title for Savion, who took first place in the boys 200 meter dash at the indoor championship in March.

Challenger baseball & softball recognized

Challenger baseball group photo

The Change It Up Club at Neshaminy HS accepted a donation from McHales Plumbing, Heating and Cooling May 19 during the final day of Bucks County Challenger softball / baseball at NHS. This program, which is sponsored by the club, has met every Sunday during the spring to offer kids with special needs a chance to learn and play with help from NHS coaches and players from the baseball and softball teams. The award is the first McHales Cares community grant and will go toward future expenses for continuing the program next year.

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.