Superintendent's Newsletter

January 2020

Message from the Superintendent

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had an opportunity to find time to spend with family and friends over the winter break. LMTSD is looking forward to an exciting and rewarding 2020 and we wish our community the same.

Last school year, LMTSD developed a five-year strategic plan. The goal of our educational planning was to develop, clarify, and review the education mission, vision, philosophy, curriculum, and instructional delivery within the District. Additionally, during the 2018-19 school year, long-range planning activities, such as feasibility and demographic/enrollment studies, financing options, and community partnering opportunities were all conducted in order to investigate the District’s present and future capacity capabilities, safety requirements, and responsive needs to the changing programs of educational delivery while still maintaining a watchful eye on any financial impact.

Today, more than ever, the school facility is much more than a passive container of the educational process. It is, rather, an integral component of the conditions of learning. At its most recent meeting on Dec. 17, the Board of School Directors passed a motion approving a preliminary design phase of a new high school (gr. 9-12) located on the southeast corner of the high school property nearest Red Lion Road. Included in this phase will be: months of site study, meetings with local officials, applications at the local, state and federal levels, programming workshops, schedule and budget analysis, tours of other locations, and multiple meetings with various stakeholder groups, most notably high school administration/staff/students. LMTSD will continue to update our entire school and community regarding its progress throughout this stage of planning.

The Foundation for Lower Moreland Schools is celebrating a rebranding and awareness campaign of its organization in 2020. Together, the Foundation has partnered with our Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) student-run organization at Lower Moreland High School. This partnership is expected to inspire and prepare students to become community-minded business leaders in our global society through experiences and career preparation. To that end, FBLA students will be running the day-to-day operations of the Foundation for Lower Moreland Schools, helping to foster experiential learning opportunities for themselves while also developing business plans and outcomes for their own schools. The Foundation for Lower Moreland Schools is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to improving the future of public education in the Lower Moreland Township School District. Originally established in 2009, the Foundation's mission is to raise major gift funds from the private sector to expand and enhance the district's current programs, all for the benefit of our students and faculty.

On Friday, February 28, 2020, the Foundation and FBLA will be hosting "A Night at the Boardwalk" event at Philmont Country Club. Throughout the evening, FBLA students will be highlighting business plans and goals of the newly branded Foundation. In addition, many "Boardwalk" themed games and food will be available in order to satisfy all of our mid-winter summer thoughts. The evening will also include a silent auction. Most importantly, you'll have an opportunity to hear from Lower Moreland High School students involved with the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) organization about their rebranding experiences, roles, and established goals related to reinvigorating the Foundation. Please click on the link below to view the invitation and instructions on purchasing tickets for the event.

Scott Davidheiser, Ed.D.


Business Office (Mark McGuinn, Business Manager)

Each year, school districts around the Commonwealth have an opportunity to apply for special education contingency funds for the expenditure of funds for extraordinary special education program expenses. To qualify for any reimbursement from the State, school districts must submit applications for qualified students whose expenditures exceed $75,000. The 2019-20 total state appropriation for these funds is $10,862,473 and limits the amount an entire school district can receive to $150,000. The allocations are dispersed in a highest (student cost/district) to lowest fashion until the total appropriation is exhausted. That means if more than 72 school districts (out of a total of 500 school districts) have higher cost student applications than Lower Moreland Township School District, the district will receive $0. Based on the costs for the 2018/19 school year, Lower Moreland Township School District could qualify for up to approximately $79,000 (for a combination of three students whose total eligible expenditures exceed $250,000) of this type of reimbursement if there are any funds left. The District remains hopeful but, as advised by the State, we cannot budget for these types of funds because they are not guaranteed. Based on a recommendation from the Governor’s Special Education Funding Committee, these types of funds may increase in future years in order to fund more of these applications. Any type of reimbursement would be sent to school districts in May of 2020.

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

There are many standards by which one measures the success of a school district. Assessment data is one of those measures. While student progress is reported to parents regularly through the student report card, an annual presentation of student performance on standardized assessments is shared with the Board of School Directors. While this assessment presentation does not tell the entire story of student growth and performance, it is a snapshot into a small point in time and provides the district with feedback on its curriculum, student application of standards and complies with federal and state reporting requirements. You can view the presentation on the 2018-2019 assessment results here.

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

Inclement Weather Notifications

If inclement weather causes a change in the schools' schedules, automated phone calls, emails, and text messages (if a parent/guardian opted in to receive them during the student verification process at the beginning of the school year) will be sent. An alert will also be placed on the District's website and local television stations will be notified. Messages will also be placed on the District's Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Martin Luther King Day of Service

The third Monday of every January is a federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. On January 20th, LMTSD will recognize Martin Luther King Day through service through our annual service opportunities.

Pine Road Elementary School is hosting its 3rd annual service event and is looking for volunteers from 9:00 am-12:00 pm to help assemble “breakfast bags” that will be donated to homebound seniors in and around Huntingdon Valley. An outside clean-up activity also needs volunteers. To sign up for donations for the "breakfast bags," please click here and to sign up to volunteer, please click here.

Murray Avenue School is inviting students to come together at school from 9:00 a.m.-10:30 a.m. to create care packages for a local charity, Valley Youth House, which serves children and teens experiencing emergency homelessness. A collection box is in the Murray Avenue lobby for toiletries and for no-sew fleece throw kits. Students can sign up at this link.

Lower Moreland High School is again working with Lower Moreland Township to provide a fresh coat of paint to another section of Red Lion Gym (which is located at the back of the Huntingdon Valley Library complex). The Gym serves our community as a sports facility, a special events space, and a polling place.

We look forward to giving our students opportunities to engage in service opportunities as they remember Dr. King's legacy.

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, we are highlighting how our students have been engaged in 21st Century learning activities focused on the 4Cs: Critical Thinking, Creativity, Collaboration, and Communication with the support of K-12 instructional coaches Karleigh Sugden and Julie Dunphy.

Creativity and Collaboration

  • Third-grade students in Mr. Stevenson’s class created stories using Storybird pictures for inspiration. They practiced speaking skills as they narrated their stories and posted their recordings to their online portfolios. After receiving feedback on their first draft, they were able to revise and repost their refined story.

Critical Thinking and Collaboration

  • Under the direction of Dr. Sarah Gulish, students in the High School String Orchestra program are working on a tutorial series for Orchestra students at Pine Road and Murray Avenue. The High School students learned popular songs by ear, transcribed them using cloud-based notation software, and recorded step-by-step tutorials for younger students on how to play each song. Students used WeVideo and collaborated to create a branded title sequence for the tutorial series. Here is a link to an example.


  • Fourth-grade students participated in a Breakout Box challenge after reading the book Punished! By David Lubar. They had to apply their knowledge of oxymorons, palindromes, anagrams, and puns in teams in order to solve 5 clues and unlock the boxes. Then they had to create or find their own examples around the room.

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

As any parent of a student who receives special education services is aware, the provision of those services brings with it an enormous amount of paperwork and documentation. In an effort to curtail the use of some of that paper the Office of Student Services has begun an initiative to forward special education documents, such as IEPs, to parents via email. At your child’s next IEP meeting you will be asked to provide an email address to which documentation can be forwarded, if you so choose, and complete a short document giving permission for the District to do so. We encourage all parents of students with IEPs to utilize this option as it creates a more efficient process by which to deliver documents while reducing paper usage. If you have already chosen this option, we thank you and hope that you find it to be as positive an experience as we have planned it to be. As always, if you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact our office at 215-938-7426.

Lower Moreland Township School District

Scott A. Davidheiser, Ed.D.