Message from the Superintendent
It is my pleasure to present the May edition of the Lower Moreland Township School District Superintendent’s Newsletter. I hope this letter finds you and your family healthy and well. The COVID-19 crisis has affected our community in ways we never could have anticipated and disrupted our lives for much longer than we ever could have imagined. However, we are also a resilient and determined community. I’m proud of how our students, teachers and families have responded in the wake of a pandemic and allowed the continuum of learning to happen in the safest way under the circumstances.
Be reminded that all students will follow our LM Learns! - Continuity of Education Plan for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year. This plan has continued to evolve across the last seven weeks and now includes a blend of synchronous (live) and asynchronous teaching and learning aspects in order to assist and further engage all students. Additionally, LMTSD continues to follow its revised 2019-2020 academic calendar. The last school day for Class of 2020 seniors is May 22 and the last school day for all K-11 students is June 12.
Apart from adjusting to a distance learning plan and remaining isolated for much of this spring, some of the most difficult outcomes related to the COVID-19 pandemic have been the loss of many traditional year-end celebrations and recognition ceremonies for our students. Namely, both Pine Road’s “5th Grade Move-Up” ceremony and Murray Avenue’s “8th Grade Promotion” which are being moved to a virtual format. However, certainly most impacted is the Class of 2020. It goes without saying that this was not the last three months of our seniors’ last year the school district had planned. However, planning is currently underway for our Class of 2020 graduation ceremony which will include both a blend of live speeches and roll call partnered with a prerecorded walk across the stage by each of our graduates receiving their diploma in their cap and gown. LMTSD hopes to make that evening, June 10, a memorable night for the Class of 2020 as our community comes together to celebrate our seniors.
Lastly, this week we honor all teachers during National Teacher Appreciation Week. On behalf of LMTSD and the Board of School Directors, we thank all LMTSD teachers for their hard work and commitment to our students. This school year has created unprecedented circumstances for our teachers and they have responded with determination and compassion.
Scott Davidheiser, Ed.D.
The District received recognition as one of 2020's Best Community for Music Education by the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation.
National Teacher Appreciation Week is being celebrated from May 4-8.
Business Office (Mark McGuinn, Business Manager)
With an abrupt end of the 2019/20 school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lower Moreland Township School District has had to adjust its business operations to address many different things. One area the District has had to address is to seek refunds from companies/organizations to which student field trips were scheduled. This, in turn, has necessitated many quantities of refund checks being issued to parents who had already paid for the event(s). Please know that the District is currently working through all of these refunds and are processing them as quickly as possible once refund checks have been received back from the event holder(s). In addition, refunds had to be issued for canceled Enrichment courses as well as the Kinderlinks program. In both of those instances, refunds and reconciliations were done based on the length of time the programs ran. The District has tried to issue these refunds as quickly as possible as we know these are trying times for many of our students and families. As the Business Office receives these requests from building principals, we are processing as quickly as possible. We would like to thank you for your patience as we process these refunds and remind everyone to stay safe and healthy.
Curriculum and Instruction (Julien Drennan, Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Prof. Dev.)
This week is National Teacher Appreciation Week and I am happy to take a moment to applaud our teachers for their hard work and dedication to continuing instruction during recent challenges. When Governor Wolf declared that schools in Pennsylvania would be closed for the remainder of the year, his declaration was directed at school buildings, not schools, themselves. Under the guidance of our LM Learns! plan, school is open and our teachers, students, and family members who are supporting our students are doing a fantastic job!
While it is not possible to recreate every detail of what would occur in a classroom, we have worked hard to prioritize the most important elements of curriculum and are continuing to challenge ourselves to deliver instruction in the most powerful and efficient way possible, given the current constraints. Schooling during the COVID-19 crisis is unlike anything we have done before.
Dr. Heidi Hayes Jacobs, an internationally-known expert in education, refers to our current situation as "triage." Triage requires districts to identify essential components, establish priorities, and determine a course of action that will be most beneficial to students. Lower Moreland teachers and administrators have worked hard to do just that and while we are not meeting face-to-face on a daily basis, we continue to strive to empower learners and assist them in navigating the dynamic world that lies ahead.
Thank you for your ongoing support of our students and the LM Learns! plan. Your efforts highlight what makes Lower Moreland an exemplary learning community.
Human Resources/Public Relations (Cheryl Galdo, Esq., Dir. of HR/PR)
For more information about the Pennsylvania Child Labor Laws, please visit the PA Department of Labor & Industry at:
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 have been engaged in 21st Century learning activities focused on the 4Cs: Critical Thinking, Creativity, Collaboration, and Communication.
Second-grade students were tasked with designing a tower for Rapunzel as part of a STEM project. They used materials in their homes to make a plan for their tower, measured the height of their tower, and shared ways that they could improve the design of their tower.
Recognizing the needs of students during this time of distance learning, art teacher Trudi Smith asked her HS art students to create artwork expressing how they were currently feeling during the early part of the Covid-19 pandemic. They were shown examples of artists and discussed how we make statements through our work and can express our feelings and experiences. Students were able to use art medium/materials of their choice to create their pieces that were then shared with classmates through Google Slides along with their artist statements explaining their creation and how it represents their current emotions.
Murray Avenue and Pine Road Staff worked together to create video messages to students reminding them that staff were thinking of them. Pine Road staff put together a resource of teachers reading books aloud for families to enjoy so they could see and hear their Pine Road staff during the enrichment period. Here is the Quarantine Blues featuring Mr. DeGeorge from Pine Road and a special video from Murray Avenue staff.
Teachers have been engaging in virtual learning sessions offered by the Lower Moreland Technology Department through Google Meet. We had over 500 session attendees across the sessions in the last two weeks of April. These learning sessions are providing teachers with a more advanced understanding of the tech tools available to them to support distance learning.
Seventh and eighth grade students created health and public safety posters to communicate messages about staying safe during this time for art class. Students had a choice in how to create their messages. Some created hand sketches, while others created digital posters.
Google announced it is blocking on average 18 million phishing emails related to COVID-19 per day. These are the types of attacks that can lead to more serious security attacks like ransomware. This is in addition to the 240 million “harmless but annoying” spam COVID-19 messages per day.
A 2nd grade student showing off the tower he built as part of STEM class.
Artwork created by a LMHS student representing life during the pandemic.
A poster created by Murray Avenue art classes.
Student Services (Frank Giordano, Director of Special Education and Student Services)
Despite the new normal that we are all living in, the Office of Student Services is actively planning for an Extended School Year program for the summer of 2020. Due to current conditions, the program will be run as a virtual program, and services will be provided in both asynchronous and synchronous formats (similar to the way instruction is currently being provided). The program will follow the same calendar typically established for the program and will run from July 6th to August 6th. More information will be forthcoming to those families whose children have been found eligible for Extended School Year. Any questions regarding the program can be directed to the Office of Student Services at 215-938-7426.