June, 2019
Neshaminy Update District Newsletter June 2019
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Congratulations, Class of 2019!

Graduate at Neshaminy HS commencement ceremony

On a perfect June evening, the Neshaminy High School Class of 2019 gathered for one last time for the 124th Annual Commencement Ceremony. 662 graduates received their diplomas during the ceremony held in front of a capacity crowd at Harry E. Franks Stadium.

The senior members of the Neshaminy HS Select Choir performed the National Anthem and Alma Mater, along with the Neshaminy traditional, We Are One. The crowd was greeted by Class Treasurer Robert Buchys, Class Historian Kayla Connelly, Class Vice President Julianna Leigh Mazur and Class Secretary Dianira Lebotesis. Superintendent Joseph Jones III spoke with a message to the graduates that was also heard at several "move-up" ceremonies in the middle and elementary schools throughout the District in June -- "Be Kind."

The graduates then heard from Salutatorian Rachel Prizer, Class Advisor Cate Romano, Valedictorian Caroline Angerer, School Board President Marty Sullivan, and Student Council President Luke Sermarini, Vice-President Sophie Schardt, Secretary Ryan Maher, Treasurer Taylor Regensburger and Historian Michaela Boyd. Principal Ryan Staub presented the class, and Mr. Sullivan confirmed their diplomas. The roll call of graduates was narrated by Neshaminy HS teachers Chuck Deal and Siri Sammartino.

Class of 2019 President Joseph Nolen and Neshaminy HS Assistant Principal Colin Trickel closed out the ceremony.

The pageantry of the Neshaminy High School Commencement Ceremony was enhanced by music from undergraduate members of the Neshaminy HS Concert Band, and a towering entrance gate provided by local fire trucks and a honor guard of area emergency service responders.

Neshaminy HS graduation ceremony

New administrators welcomed

The following administrative appointments and changes have been announced for the 2019-2020 school year:

  • Andre Modica is returning as principal of Ferderbar Elementary School effective July 1. Mr. Modica is an experienced administrator who, in addition to his many years as a New Jersey educator, has served the Neshaminy community for the past twelve years. For his first eight years with Neshaminy, Mr. Modica was the principal at the Samuel Everitt Elementary School. Currently, he serves as one of the assistant principals at Maple Point Middle School.

  • Timothy Hunt was appointed as Assistant Principal at Poquessing Middle School, where he has been serving in the same position in a temporary capacity during the 2018-2019 school year.

  • Kelly Kozik joined the District as Director of Human Resources on June 17. Ms. Kozik comes to Neshaminy after serving as Corporate Director of Human Resources at Aesculap, Inc. and Director of Human Resources at HealthSouth. She is also an Adjunct Professor and Corporate Trainer  at Penn State Lehigh Valley. 

  • Donald B. Irwin, Jr. will be joining Neshaminy on July 1 as the School Business Administrator. Mr. Irwin has served as Business Manager for the Richland School District in western Pennsylvania since 2004 and Business Manager for the Johnstown School District before that.

  • Judith Kay Markoski joined Neshaminy on June 1 as the new Financial Services Manager. Since 1999, Ms. Markoski served in the Centennial School District as Accounting Specialist, Accounting Manager and most recently as Accounting Supervisor.

Board approves 2019-2020 budget

The Neshaminy School Board of Directors approved the final 2019-2020 Neshaminy School District General Budget of $185,853,953 at their meeting on Tuesday, June 25.

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.

Since 2008, Pennsylvania has increased mandated local school district contributions to PSERS from 4.76% in 2008-2009 to a current figure of 34.29% for 2019-2020. The projected increase alone, from the estimated 2018-2019 contribution (at 33.43%) to 2019-2020 will cost the District an estimated additional  $1,091,877.

New academic initiatives highlighted

Ferderbar students hold up LaSalle College flags
AVID college exploration project at Joseph Ferderbar Elementary

As part of a budget presentation at the June 25, 2019 School Board meeting, Superintendent Jones outlined a number of new and expanding academic initiatives in process for the 2019-2020 school year. Among the highlights:

  • Continued expansion of the AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) program to three grades at Neshaminy HS, and into middle and elementary schools. All teachers in grades 4-12 received training in the AVID principals of WICOR (Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration, Organization and Reading), which have been incorporated into Neshaminy's Instructional Core.
  • Continuation of the Bucks County College Senior Year Experience.
  • Increased application of classroom technology in all grades.
  • Continued preschool opportunities including possible expansion of the Neshaminy Pre-K Counts program (pending state grant approval).
  • Updating the language arts literacy program (Superkids) in kindergarten.
  • Purchase and pilot a new elementary mathematics series.
  • Increased teaching sections for the English Language Development program.
  • Additional social / emotional support through increased elementary counseling.
  • Additional teaching sections in the elementary and middle school levels.

Summer Stock expands offerings

Logos for Crazy for You and Annie Junior

Summer Stock has been a tradition of the Neshaminy School District for over fifty years. In the span of one month, young performers from throughout the area prepare and stage two shows, which are presented to the public at Theodore Kloos Auditorium at Neshaminy HS at the end of July (see the link below for details).

The senior show (grades 6-12) is the Gershwin musical Crazy for You. The junior workshop (grades 4-6) will feature Annie, Jr. New this year is the Showcase workshop for students entering grades 2 and 3. This program includes music, dance, and the basics of musical theater, and will help build creative skills, develop self-confidence, collaboration and problem solving.

District honors retirees, service milestones

Retiree and service milestone award ceremonies

During May and June, recognition ceremonies were held at each District school and office to honor staff members retiring this year (who have collectively served the District for 1073 years) and those marking service milestones of 15, 20, 25, 30 and 35 years. Congratulations to all for their dedicated service "Building Futures" for the children of Neshaminy!

School lunch prices remain unchanged

The school lunch prices for 2019-2020 have been announced and they will remain unchanged from the 2018-2019 school year:
Students eating lunch at the cafeteria
  • Elementary Breakfast: $1.35
  • Elementary Lunch: $2.60

  • Middle School Breakfast: $1.60
  • Middle School Lunch: $3.10

  • High School Breakfast: $1.60
  • High School Lunch: $3.10

Preschool programs looking for students

Openings are still available for two pre-school programs that operate in Neshaminy School District for the 2019-2020 school year:

  • Pre-K Counts is a grant-funded program that offers free full-day preschool for qualifying families. Income guidelines are generous, and the program may expand in 2019-2020 pending approval of additional money.

  • The Preschool Laboratory at Neshaminy HS offers budget-friendly half-day classes. Space is still available in the 4-year-old class.

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.

Honored in June (click on the name to see nominating information):
We Build Futures award pin
More information about the We Build Futures Awards can be found on the District website below.

Selected Upcoming Events

Thursday, July 4: Independence Day, District closed
Tuesday, July 9: Summer School begins, Neshaminy HS
Thursday - Saturday, July 25-27: Summer Stock performances, Neshaminy HS
Tuesday, August 20: New HS student orientation, A-K, Neshaminy HS,  9-11 am
Wednesday, August 21: New HS student orientation, L-Z, Neshaminy HS, 9-11 am
Wednesday, August 28: First day for grades K, 5 and 9
Thursday, August 29: School open for all 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


NEF looks ahead to the next 25 years

The Neshaminy Education Foundation celebrated a great 25th anniversary in 2018-2019 with several successful fundraisers including raffle baskets, Bertucci's Dining for Dollar events and the 3rd Annual Harlem Wizards game. The NEF provided over $13,000 in classroom grants and two special $2,500 grants to the District art and music departments for special projects.

Next year the Foundation plans to continue these efforts, and expand alumni outreach. The goal is to build a community of alumni, honor their achievements, and share those with the current students to inspire them. The announcement of the first annual Alumni Achievement Awards is planned for the fall.

News From Our Schools

Pearl S. Buck Elementary School

Police officers pose with students

Police get in the game at recess

As part of their regular bicycle patrols, Middletown Township police officers often stop by schools in their patrol area. In June, these two officers took time to join the students during recess on a couple of warm days for a friendly game of touch football.

Joseph Ferderbar Elementary School

Second grade welcomes special guests for a patriotic concert

Large group photo of Ferderbar 2nd graders with guests

On June 12, the second grade at Joseph Ferderbar ES welcomed local veterans, police officers and other first responders for a Flag Day ceremony. The students recited poems they wrote and sang a selection of patriotic songs for their guests.

Herbert Hoover Elementary School

Rain can't wash out a love of reading

100 book challenge at hoover elementary

Rain moved the annual Hoover 100-book challenge indoors but did not dampen the students enthusiasm for sharing their chosen literary favorites. Students who participated in this challenge dressed as characters in the books they read, created signs and marched in a parade seen by their classmates.

Field trip is an outdoor learning adventure

Third grade students listen to a guide at the Churchville Nature Center

In June, third-grade students enjoyed a visit to the Churchville Nature Center on a field trip where they learned about Native American crafts and culture.

Walter Miller Elementary School

Lion King production a roaring success

Lion King at Walter Miller Elementary

In early June, fourth grade students staged a colorful production of The Lion King for their classmates and Miller ES families.

Picture-perfect display captures the joy of reading

Bulletin board with student photos

Miller families were encouraged to snap photos of their children reading at home or elsewhere and share them with the school. The result was this fun wall display that captured the joy of reading for pleasure.

Students share career research with families

It's never too early to think about careers, and third-grade students at Miller did just that during a unique Career Fair in June. Each of them researched a career of interest and completed a ‘Bloom Ball’ that required them to use the Bloom’s Taxonomy of higher level thinking to complete various new learning about their career.  They also completed a Flipgrid presentation on their Chromebooks that summarized their findings.  On June 12, families were invited to visit the school and view the presentations.

Albert Schweitzer Elementary School

Reading event promotes summer literacy

Summer reading group

In June, Schweitzer ES Reading Specialists, Kim Maurizi and Monique d'Entremont, led a summer-themed Title I reading event to highlight ways to encourage children in reading, writing and critical thinking over the summer months. All student participants received a bag of summer literacy swag.

Staff members were also on hand to highlight resources in the Parent Resource Center (PRC) for families. School Resource Officer Melissa Robison from the Middletown Township Police Department provided fingerprinting and IDs for the children, and the Levittown Branch of the Bucks County Library provided information on their summer programs. All participants enjoyed Kona Ice on the way out, compliments of the Albert Schweitzer PTO.

Students with American flag pallette

Service Club paints pallet flags

The Service Learning Club at Schweitzer painted 11 American flag pallets as a fundraising project. They were displayed at the school's Field Day and raffled off on May 31. The money raised will help fund future projects for the club.

Tawanka Elementary School

The entire school is the medium in Art for the Sky project

On June 4, hundreds of students and staff members at Tawanka Elementary School created  a large image of an eagle outside the school -- using their own bodies and coordinated t-shirts as the medium.

Art for the Sky project was commissioned by the Tawanka Elementary School PTO and took place earlier this week when Daniel Dancer, a conceptual artist known for large “living paintings” and educator from Oregon, came to the area. The Tawanka community had been gathering hundreds of pairs of donated blue jeans, orange fabric, and garden mulch in advance of Dancer’s visit.
Giant eagle made up of the entire student and staff body at Tawanka Elementary School
On Monday, June 3, Dancer arraigned the materials on the grass field outside of the school and and provided instructions to the students and staff, who also made up the artwork that was best seen from overhead.

The big day came on Tuesday when volunteers from the PTO, school staff, and more than 800 students from every grade quickly got into place while a drone photo and video was caputured. The display was of an eagle, the school’s mascot. It took just 23 minutes to arrange the hundreds of people and capture images of the artwork.

First grade honors Flag Day with patriotic concerts

Tawanka students on stage singing

The entire first grade at Tawanka wore their favorite red, white and blue clothes and sang several patriotic songs they had memorized to honor Flag Day. They performed twice - once for classmates and once for their families at an evening concert.

Maple Point Middle School

Fifth and sixth grade stages Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland cast on stage

Fifth and sixth grade students at Maple Point presented a lavishly-costumed production of Alice in Wonderland in early June for their classmates, fourth-grade visitors from feeder schools, and their families.

Fifth grade shares writing projects at a community breakfast

Maple Point students read their biographies to parents

On June 10, fifth grade students on Team G at Maple Point MS shared their biography projects with their family members during the annual Autobiography Tea / Reading Awards Breakfast. The students used writing strategies they learned in class this year to write about their favorite childhood memories. These strategies included adding larger vocabulary words, figures of speech, precise language, hooks, adjectives, and the show-not-tell technique. The final projects contained both written text and Google slides presentations.

MP Coaches vs. Cancer leads the way in Philadelphia

On May 31, the organizers of the Coaches vs. Cancer fundraiser at Maple Point Middle School held a recognition ceremony. This year the school raised an astounding $23,530 for the American Cancer Society, making Maple Point the #1 fundraising team out of 43 in the entire Philadelphia region for CvC donations. Coach Fred Gross was named the Volunteer of the Year at the ceremony. Congratulations to advisors Jason Pienta and Neil French, and all the Coaches vs. Cancer volunteers, players and contributors for this remarkable achievement!

Poquessing Middle School

Rotary breakfast celebrates school-club partnerships

Rotary Club President speaks to students in the Poquessing library

On June 4, the Feasterville Rotary Club held a breakfast at Poquessing Middle School to honor the Interact and EarlyAct service learning clubs that they sponsor. Representatives from the clubs at Poquessing, Ferderbar, Tawanka and Neshaminy High School attended and some of the students made short presentations on some of the service activities their clubs participated in this school year. Several Poquessing students were also honored by Lower Southampton Township at the breakfast for creating opioid abuse prevention videos as part of an awareness contest sponsored by the Township's Youth Advisory Council.

Select Choir earns another prestigious performance date 

The Poquessing MS Select Choir is back in the news! They will be performing at the American Choir Directors Association Eastern Region Conference in Rochester, NY in March 2020. Poquessing was the only middle school chosen by audition for this honor, and will be performing among some high-level high school and college choirs including those from Syracuse University, Rowan University, Rutgers University and regional groups from Delaware, New York City and Boston. Though the current 8th-grade choir members will be moving on the high school and won't be able to attend, this honor reflects their talent and hard work. It is also a great learning opportunity for the returning Select Choir members and the next wave of choral musicians at Poquessing directed by Jason Leigh.

Carl Sandburg Middle School

Walkathon raises over $6,000 for memorial foundation

Check presentation for walkathon

Students at Carl Sandburg and their families came through with a donation over $6,000 for the Mason Chandler Allen Walkathon in June. Mason was a student at the school who passed away from osteosarcoma (bone cancer) in 2017. Each year since, the school has held a fundraiser to benefit the Mason Chandler Allen Memorial Foundation, which supports osteosarcoma research, patients and their families. Eighty-one percent of the school participated in this year's walkathon. Students solicited donations from family, friends and neighbors to support their walk.

Neshaminy support staff donates autographed books

The Neshaminy Education Support Professionals Association (NESPA) donated four autographed books to the Neshaminy middle school libraries in June. Each was a copy of The End of the World and Beyond by multi-Newbery Award-winning children’s author Avi. This is the latest book in a series featuring the journey of a 12-year old hero, Oliver Cromwell Pitts.

Neshaminy High School

Clubs support Bucks County suicide prevention efforts

Check presentation for suicide prevention programs

In June, members of the Neshaminy HS Spectrum and Friends Helping Friends Clubs presented a $1,000 check to the Bucks County Drug and Alcohol Commission. The students raised the money through the school year and it will be used to help fund suicide awareness and prevention efforts among students throughout the county. Spectrum is the LGTBQ+ awareness club at the school and Friends Helping Friends is an anti-bullying club. Both support this outreach to youth that might feel like there is no way out when facing depression, bullying and other issues.

Year-long Interact Club project fulfills a dream

Interact Club members pose with Matthew during the Sunshine Foundation reveal

Members of the Neshaminy HS Interact Club made dreams come true for Matthew, their Sunshine Foundation child in June. Thanks to a year of multiple fundraisers along with help from community partners -- Innovative Implant and Oral Surgery, Feasterville Rotary Club, Horsham Rotary and Langhorne Rotary -- Matthew and his family will be visiting the Sunshine Foundation Dream Village in Orlando, Florida about this time next year. Matthew was especially excited to color pirate-themed magnets and to wear his pirate hook during a "reveal" presentation held at Neshaminy High School on June 14.

 Grant provides free professional certification

Students enrolled in the high school’s Business, Computers and Information Technology (BCIT) Information Technology 2 course all passed the Microsoft Office Specialist Certification Test for Excel this year. This is an industry certification administered by Microsoft and recognized worldwide. Over the past four years (including our current school year), 96% of Neshaminy students taking this exam passed.

Thanks to a grant from the Buxmont Chapter of the Pennsylvania Society for Tax and Accounting Professionals (PSTAP), the students were able to take the exam without paying the $90 fee. The students and BCIT Department are most appreciative of the PSTAP’s generosity. This certification can open doors of opportunity and contribute to more self-confidence as students work towards their career goals.

54 Business students earn college credits

Gwynedd Mercy University logo
In June, fifty-four Neshaminy High School students received college transcripts from Gwynedd Mercy University. The student transcripts show three college credits for each Dual Enrollment course taken at Neshaminy High School through the BCIT Department for a total of 189 credits for the school year. These credits are transferable to other universities should the students choose to not attend Gwynedd-Mercy.
Students taking Honors Accounting 2, Honors Accounting 3, Honors Microeconomics, Honors Macroeconomics or Honors Information Technology 2 are eligible to participate in this partnership with Gwynedd Mercy University. Dual Enrollment is an educational partnership that can be very advantageous for students when planning for undergraduate study. It prepares the student for a fast paced college classroom in the first semester and helps situate students to succeed.

Boys 4x400 relay team honored for state championship

Neshaminy HS track team relay members hold up certificates at a Board meeting

At the June 25 School Board meeting, NHS students Savion Hebron, Savaughn Hebron, Ethan Nolan and Emmanuel Ampofo were honored for winning the PIAA 3A boys state 4x400 relay championship recently. Joining them was coach Syd White, Board President Marty Sullivan and Superintendent Joseph Jones III.

The relay team was not alone representing Neshaminy on the winners podium at the meet -- Dan Dean placed third in the Boys AAA pole vault, while Logan Williamson placed sixth in the Boys AAA triple jump. Savion Hebron took fifth place in the Boys AAA 200-meter dash.

In Memoriam

Phil Oseredzuk
Condolences to the family and friends of Phil Oseredzuk, 16, a student at Neshaminy High School, who passed away after an accident on May 29. Phil was an avid outdoor enthusiast, an ice hockey player for several teams, and operated his own landscaping business.

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.