Message from the Superintendent
It is my pleasure to present the August edition of the Lower Moreland Township School District Superintendent’s Newsletter. I hope this letter finds you and your family healthy and well.
Please join me in welcoming Mr. Scott Cole, Principal - Pine Road Elementary, to Lower Moreland Township School District. Although Mr. Cole has already spent significant time transitioning throughout the summer months at the building, his first official day in Lower Moreland was today, August 5. Mr. Cole has been deeply involved with planning for the 2020-2021 school year and is eager to meet our families in Lower Moreland.
Recently, a school reopening presentation was delivered to the Board of School Directors and plans approved for the 2020-2021 school year. I would encourage our families and staff to visit the Reopening 2020-2021 webpage for additional information and resources. In addition, continued Board discussions and COVID-19 data has been shared with our Directors. The evolving nature of COVID-19 and the many factors involved in reopening planning have necessitated another Special Meeting of the Board of School Directors. This meeting will take place virtually Tuesday, August 11 beginning at 7 pm.
Lastly, please enjoy reading this year’s 2019-2020 Annual Report titled Achieving Together While Apart.
Scott Davidheiser, Ed.D.
Business Office (Mark McGuinn, Business Manager)
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a major disruption in education ever since Governor Wolf ordered schools to close on 3/12/20. At a public meeting on 7/28/20, the Lower Moreland Board of School Directors approved the Health and Safety Plan for the Lower Moreland Township School District. Included within this plan are various processes and procedures for both cleaning/sanitizing the buildings and for the potential of distance learning. In an effort to help pay for these types of items, the District applied for a grant through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency for $207,277. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and various technological needs were applied for to ready the district for the planned re-opening for the 2020/21 school year. Some examples of PPE items applied for included disposable masks, surgical caps, hand sanitizer, infrared thermometers, and plexi-glass dividers. Technology requests included iPads with cases, chromebooks, and technology infrastructure needs. The District is hopeful that with these purchases, we can effectively re-open for students to learn in a safe and secure environment.
Curriculum and Instruction (Julien Drennan, Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Prof. Dev.)
The Lower Moreland Township School District is gearing up for a successful and productive school year. While things will be quite different this year, teachers, counselors, administrators, and support staff are all committed to being ready for every learner every day. As we head into the new year, it is important that families understand some differences between the LM Learns! Plan utilized in the spring and the plan for the upcoming year.
When Governor Wolf mandated that schools close last March, PDE encouraged districts to put plans into place for the continuity of education. In doing so, the requirements for 180 school days and 900 hours of instruction for elementary students and 990 hours for secondary students were relaxed. This afforded districts flexibility to create a plan that suited the needs and resources of the community. Lower Moreland created opportunities for learning in a largely asynchronous environment in which students had access to resources, presentations, and office hours. We were proud that our students and families embraced the challenges of the spring and continued to participate.
As we transition to the upcoming school year, it is important to know that PDE has not waived or altered the 180 school day and 900/990 hours of instruction requirements. As a result, full days of instruction are being planned, regardless of whether students are learning in person or in a virtual environment. School time schedules will frame the student day and student attendance is compulsory. Lessons will be live-streamed to students learning virtually. It will be important that students log into classes on time as the teacher will be managing various groups and environments.
Daily attendance will be taken at the beginning of each school day by the classroom or first-period teacher. Students who are absent will be expected to follow the established procedures for communicating this absence with the school. The District is obligated to follow all attendance and truancy procedures and protocols.
While there may be challenges ahead, I am certain that the spirit of the Lower Moreland Community will continue to shine. We are working hard to ready ourselves for the opening of the year and look forward to welcoming students back, whether in person or virtually!
Human Resources/Public Relations (Cheryl Galdo, Esq., Dir. of HR/PR)
The district is pleased to welcome the following new teachers and long-term substitutes to the 2020-21 school year:
Lower Moreland High School
•Gianna Pinardo, Math •Colin Mayson, English •Alana Mellor, .5 Social Studies
•Luisa Mina Pena, Spanish (LTS) •Robert Dominick, English (LTS)
•Lisa Weidman, Certified School Nurse (LTS) •Andrea Needham, Science (LTS)
Pine Road Elementary School
•Shannon Ahern, Kindergarten •Courtney Kelley, 1st Grade
•Samantha Heiland, 3rd Grade •Nicole Hunn, 4th Grade
Technology (Jason Hilt, Ed.D., Director of Technology)
The Technology department is preparing for another exciting and innovative school year. During the summer months, technology staff members are busy inspecting and cleaning mobile devices, installing new equipment, preparing training materials, repairing hardware, deploying updates, and replacing obsolete projections systems. The technology department is looking forward to continuing to support information technology systems and instructional technology programs and practices in the district. Here are a few highlights for the new school year:
Part of the LM Learns continuity of education plan was providing teachers with professional development during voluntary Let's Get SET (Staff Enrichment Time) sessions. Teachers learned about topics such as G Suite tools, YouTube for Distance Learning, Adobe Creative Cloud, and Class DoJo. During the last session, teachers worked together to complete a virtual escape room: Escape to Summer. Congratulations to Murray Avenue teacher Alana Jacaruso, High School teacher Mark Rosser, and Murray Avenue librarian Reesha Grosso who earned a prize for escaping first.
At Pine Road, all teachers and students in grades 3-5 will be using brand new classroom projection systems. The new systems have a larger viewing area and incorporate interactive touch features. Now that phase 2 of the project has been completed, all classrooms and instructional spaces throughout the school have the new interactive projection systems installed. To support student learning when not in the school building, all students at Pine Road will be issued a mobile device for use at school and at home.
All Murray Avenue students will be assigned 2-in-1 touchscreen Chromebooks for use in school and at home. The convertible 2-in-1 Chromebooks allow students to use the devices as laptops or touchscreen tablets. The Murray Avenue Technology Center enters year two of service. Enhanced cleaning and sanitizing protocols have been instituted and more repairs will be completed in the tech center greatly reducing device downtime.
At the High School, each incoming ninth-grade student will be receiving a brand new 2-in-1 touchscreen Chromebook at the start of the school year. The new Chromebooks are lightweight, fast, and durable. Students in grades 10-12 will continue to use the device issued in the 20-21 school year.
Student Services (Frank Giordano, Director of Special Education and Student Services)
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed our school and community to a confusing, stressful, and potentially frightening period of events. During this time of uncertainty, it is important for parents to be knowledgeable of both typical response patterns and behavioral patterns that could be indicative of traumatic stress.
Please click on this link for more information and resources to deal with traumatic stress.