Message from the Superintendent
It is my pleasure to present the December edition of the Lower Moreland Township School District Superintendent’s Newsletter. I hope this letter finds you and your family healthy and well.
The official start to winter begins very soon bringing with it the threat of snow, ice and hazardous road conditions. Please be reminded that the school district has built in two “traditional” snow days into this year’s school calendar. These “traditional” snow days are expected to be utilized during larger snow events when the days can be enjoyed in traditional ways. During those two days, there will be no school and the entire district will be closed to students, staff and visitors. Additionally, the district has been approved by the PA Department of Education to utilize five flexible instruction days. These days will operate virtually either synchronously or asynchronously allowing the district to maintain instructional school days for students without the need to add additional days to the end of the school year. Whenever possible, the district will always attempt to communicate any changes to the normal school day as early as possible. Late starts and/or early dismissals are also utilized when necessary.
The Eastern Center for Arts and Technology (ECAT) responds to the needs of our high school students by merging business and industry environments where students can make career decisions, acquire competitive skills, and prepare for success in postsecondary education. Take a look at what’s happening at ECAT. Additionally, please enjoy reading Eastern’s 2021-2022 Annual Report.
Lastly, the ability to respond in any natural or man-made emergencies or disasters is an essential component of an Emergency Operations Plan. For school districts, the process begins with comprehensive planning and collaboration between district employees and emergency responders. Every quarter, administrative and counseling personnel from Lower Moreland Township School District and Bryn Athyn College/Academy of the New Church, along with police, fire, and Township personnel assemble as a Safe Schools Meeting Group to review plans and engage in discussions centering on school safety and security concerns, initiatives, and training requirements. At its most recent quarterly meeting, the Safe Schools Meeting Group reviewed the recently updated PA Model Threat Assessment Guidelines (2022). These guidelines are used by each of our building’s/district’s threat assessment teams in planning and preparing our own threat assessment processes. These multidisciplinary teams and processes assist our district as safety concerns arise. Please click here to review the recently updated Model K-12 Threat Assessment Procedures and Guidelines.
I wish everyone a safe and healthy holiday season!
Scott Davidheiser, Ed.D.
Business Office (Mark McGuinn, Business Manager)
As we progress into December, I wanted to share a transportation update from the Business Office. To date, Lower Moreland Township School District has not had to cancel any runs nor has had to cancel any field trips or sporting trips due to the continued nationwide shortage of bus drivers. As denoted by the following quotes from districts, the bus driver shortage has remained and, in some respects, gotten worse.
“Last month, the analysis found, the average school bus delay was 41 minutes” – New York City Schools
"The district started the 22/23 school year 24 drivers short-they’re missing 14 drivers for designated runs and 10 standby drivers to cover absences. We have averaged 13 driver absences per day – the district is in need of approximately 27 positions that need to be filled everyday”– East Stroudsburg SD
In contrast, Lower Moreland, through its contracted provider First Student, has been working hard all year to ensure that every student who needs a ride gets one. Since the start of the school year through a diverse and enthusiastic marketing effort, First Student has hired 7 bus drivers who are actively driving buses. In addition, there are 5 additional drivers going through the extensive training (coursework and road work) that will hopefully yield more drivers. As of this update, there are 4 stand-by drivers that are available when other drivers are out. I compliment First Student on their hiring efforts and hope it will continue.'
As I stated earlier, we endeavor to continue to provide comprehensive transportation services for all of our students. This includes our 3 public schools, the Eastern Center for Arts and Technology, as well as the 32 nonpublic/private schools that we are currently providing transportation to by law. The District continues to explore all options and modes of transportation while being cognizant of the economic factors that are affecting the workplace for these types of services.
Mrs. Quinn-Maxwell, HS Health/PE teacher, presents Nicole's Place at Laurel House, with a donation from LMHS for support of those impacted by domestic violence.
Murray Avenue's LionVoice took 3rd Place in the B101 Christmas Carol Competition and won $1,000 for the school's music program.
Curriculum and Instruction (Julien Drennan, Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Prof. Dev.)
At the December work session of the Board of School Directors, the 2022 achievement data was presented for PSSA, Keystone, AP, ACT, and SAT tests. The presentation can be found on the District website. In addition to these results, benchmark data and curriculum-based assessments point to continued growth and achievement for our students, illustrating that the rebound following the interrupted learning that occurred during COVID is ongoing. Administrators and teachers continue to seek ways to meet the needs of students. Adjustments have been made to the delivery model for English Language Development and Title I, in order to better serve our students. Federal (ESSER) and State Covid-19 Relief Funding, which will expire in the coming year, continue to benefit students through the provision of additional mental health counselors and an instructional support teacher for the middle and high schools. If you should have any questions about your child's progress or supports that may be available to assist them, please reach out to their teacher or counselor.
The Music Department Visited Other School Districts to Get Inspiration for the Performing Arts Spaces at the New High School
Human Resources/Public Relations (Cheryl Galdo, Esq., Dir. of HR/PR)
Please be reminded that in order to receive timely and current information from the school district through various forms of communication systems (phone, email, home address, etc.), the district must have the most updated information on file. As changing school schedules could be impacted by weather and/or other emergencies, this updated information is crucial for the school district to have in order to reach our families.
Please click here to access the district Home Access Center section of the LMTSD website. The section includes Home Access Center information, a help page, and instructions for updating contact information. Families who previously opted out of receiving district communications can opt back in by contacting the main office in their child’s school.
Technology (Jason Hilt, Ed.D., Director of Technology)
The Technology Department supports information technology systems and instructional technology programs and practices in the district. Each month, we highlight how our students and teachers engage in 21st Century learning activities. We also share updates on new initiatives and tips and tricks related to devices and technology tools used in the district.
Chromebooks in Second Grade
Second-grade students in Ms. Pitkow’s class use their Chromebooks with the website 99math.com during 90-second math lesson warm-ups. Students try to answer as many basic math facts as possible in the given amount of time. Ms. Pitkow says, “It is the perfect way to get students excited and engaged while practicing their math facts. We are able to see individual improvement and accuracy levels within the class. To say that they love it is an understatement! It's the perfect way to have some friendly competition within the classroom.”
Computer Science Education Week
Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek) is here! From December 5th-11th, educators around the world will participate in CSEdWeek to inspire K-12 students to learn about computer science. This year, Google created lessons in their Applied Digital Skills platform to encourage participants to explore computer science topics. The lessons teach students things like how to write a program in Apps Script or learn about artificial intelligence concepts, all while learning digital skills that can be used in everyday life. The collection can be found HERE.
Student Services (Frank Giordano, Director of Special Education and Student Services)
With December comes a very festive time of year with many reasons to celebrate. However, during these celebrations, both in and out of school, many opportunities arise for students to become distracted and lose focus on their academics. Maintaining consistent focus on school work is vital for all of our students with special needs. In order to assist students with IEPs in remaining focused on school work, and to avoid regression in skills, the Office of Student Services urges all parents of students with IEPs to remain in communication with your child’s case manager. Open communication can go a long way toward providing the consistency between home and school that is necessary to help students remain current in their skills. Your child’s case manager can provide practice activities to assist with the retention of skills during the extended winter break. Additionally, since many of the District’s intervention programs are web-based there is a component to each that typically can be completed at home which allows for continuity and consistency. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s case manager. If you do not know who your child’s case manager is please contact the Office of Student Services at 215-938-7426.
Lower Moreland Township School District