Superintendent's Newsletter

February 2021

Message from the Superintendent

It is my pleasure to present the February edition of the Lower Moreland Township School District Superintendent’s Newsletter. I hope this letter finds you and your family healthy and well.

The District celebrates Black History Month in numerous ways - learning outcomes, literature, discussion and presenters. Please click here to see lessons and information that our students are experiencing. Additionally, the Lunar New Year is celebrated next Friday, February 12, 2021, beginning the year of the Ox. Educational resources have been shared with our teachers about this important holiday from the Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs.

The administration shared at the Board of School Director’s Work Session on February 2 initial planning related to the district’s journey toward Diversity, Equity and Inclusion transformation that is expected to shift our district’s culture and impact all stakeholders on a personal level. Please click here to view a 30 minute video of the planning presentation.

Scott Davidheiser, Ed.D.


02/02/2021 LMTSD Work Session Segment

Business Office (Mark McGuinn, Business Manager)

Have you ever wondered how a public utility property is taxed? Although those properties are not subject to local school district real estate taxes, school districts do receive compensation from the Commonwealth of PA in the form of Public Utility Realty Tax. The Public Utility Realty Tax (PURTA) is levied against certain entities furnishing utility services regulated by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission or a similar regulatory body. The commonwealth imposes this tax on public utility realty in lieu of local real estate taxes and distributes the local realty tax equivalent to local taxing authorities.

The PURTA tax base is the fair market value of utility realty, defined as the assessed value of the realty as adjusted by the common level ratio of the county in which the realty is located.

Public utilities furnishing sewage services and municipal authorities furnishing public utility service are exempt from the tax. Also exempt are easements, pipelines, railroad beds, tracks or other lines, machinery and equipment not affixed to the land. Land and improvements indispensable to the generation of electricity are excluded from the PURTA tax base and the realty tax equivalent, as are certain other property subject to local taxation.

For Lower Moreland Township School District, there are three (3) such properties and the budgeted amounts for those parcels is $34,500. The school district must complete an application for these funds each calendar year with a due date of April 1st . For other questions on this tax, you can visit the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue website.

LMTSD Celebrates MLK Day of Service

Curriculum and Instruction (Julien Drennan, Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Prof. Dev.)

The month of February typically marks the transition to planning for the upcoming school year. The high school begins the course selection process with teachers making recommendations and students selecting electives. Eighth-grade students meet with their assigned high school counselors to begin the transition from Murray Avenue to the High School and also have the opportunity to select courses. Transition events for students in grades 5 and 8 will continue through the spring and summer but will be modified to meet current distancing expectations. Despite the challenges of needing to be socially distant during this process, counselors, teachers, and administrators look forward to supporting students as they prepare for 2021-2022!

Kindergarten students in Mrs. Daries' Class drew pictures of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to celebrate his birthday

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Human Resources/Public Relations (Cheryl Galdo, Esq., Dir. of HR/PR)

News from Lower Moreland Township

Red Lion Road Detour: Starting on or about February 15 (depending on the weather), traffic on Red Lion Road over the Huntingdon Valley Creek will be detoured until approximately July 11, 2021. This detour is necessary for the replacement of the existing bridge structure over Huntingdon Valley Creek. The roads will be marked with detours as can be seen on this map.

Happening in Our Schools

Prevent Suicide PA Public Service Announcement Contest

Lower Moreland High School Student Sophia Zalipsky has been chosen as a finalist in this year's Prevent Suicide PA PSA contest for Youth Suicide Prevention. You can support Sophia by clicking on this link and voting for Video C under the 60 Second PSA category. Voting will close February 26 at 12 pm. You can view Sophia's submission here.

Students Against Melanoma Contest Winners

The Richard David Kann Foundation ran a National Sun Safety Awareness Video PSA Contest in November, and out of over eight participating schools across the country, the Students Against Melanoma Club at LMHS won 1st, 2nd and 3rd places for their messages promoting sun safety and melanoma awareness. Along with awards, students won $500 in gift cards to be used for our club.

Student winners include the following:

1st Place: Hanna Tran and Sophia Berman (11th grade)

2nd Place: Selina Lin (11th Grade)

3rd Place: Michelle Hall, Lainie Galdo, Isabella Ricciardi, Sara Frankel, and Sophia Chacko (10th Grade)

Exciting news from Murray Avenue Gifted Support

8th-grade gifted support participated in the annual Future City Competition - Greater Philadelphia Chapter on January 30th. They were tasked with designing a city of the future that resides on the Moon. The students had to research and present what life would be like on the moon, what natural elements could be sourced and used to sustain life, as well as planning additional futuristic elements that have not even been imagined yet. They planned, wrote an essay, all built separate model sections, made a video presentation, and interviewed dozens of engineers via Zoom about their city, Moon Cocoon. In the end, Murray Avenue walked away with two awards for their incredible design elements. The first award, “Future World Vision,” was presented to Murray Avenue from the American Society of Civil Engineers, Philadelphia Section, and the second “Best Civil Engineering Design” presented by Urban Engineers. Murray Avenue’s complex futuristic dome technology gained them this recognition from the Civil Engineering chapters.

7th-grade gifted support was chosen as a finalist in the Take Flight! STEAM Challenge presented by Longwood Gardens. The 7th-grade gifted support class conceptualized a bird sanctuary to be built on the LM grounds. They completed the early application by identifying possible spaces, studied local bird species, planned a garden space, itemized product needs, and made a long-term care plan. They shared this plan in essay form as well as a hand-drawn design. Murray Avenue was chosen as a finalist, and now they are tasked with building a model of their plans. If their presentation is in the top three, they will be rewarded with prize money from Longwood Gardens to bring this bird sanctuary to life.

Technology (Jason Hilt, Ed.D., Director of Technology)

The Technology Department supports information technology systems and instructional technology programs and practices in the district. This month, our instructional coaches share some useful tech tips for students and families. If you have an idea for a future tech tip, please click HERE to share!

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Student Services (Frank Giordano, Director of Special Education and Student Services)

The Lower Moreland Township High School has entered into a collaboration with Special Olympics Pennsylvania Interscholastic Unified Sports (IUS). IUS is a fully-inclusive co-ed high school sports program with a history of successfully bringing together students with and without disabilities. The students train together and compete as equal teammates and, through this experience, build social skills and develop friendships. IUS teams are regarded like every other interscholastic sports team at the high school and follow the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association schedule.

This spring we will be offering Interscholastic Unified Track & Field. A Unified Track and FIeld team can have a minimum of 12 and a maximum of 40 participants who are in 9th-12th grades. Students receiving services from the school district until age 21 also are eligible. The team is co-ed and consists of a proportional number of high school students with intellectual or developmental disabilities and without intellectual or developmental disabilities.

Events for Lower Moreland students will include:

  • Track Events: 100 meters, 400 meters, 800 meters; 4x100 and 4x400 relays

  • Field Events: Shot put, running long jump, mini javelin

The season is 10 weeks long and is set to begin in early March and end in May. Teams practice after school twice a week with schedules to be developed by the coaches and will participate in at least three competitions against other high school Unified Track and Field teams. Members will wear uniforms with their school's name and colors. For more information please contact the District’s Athletic Director, Mr. Matt Heiland at

Lower Moreland Township School District

Scott A. Davidheiser, Ed.D.