Neshaminy School District / September, 2021
School year starts, then starts again
The 2021-2022 school year got off to an unusual start after some severe weather delayed the opening of school by a day on Thursday, September 2. On Wednesday, students in grades K, 5 and 9 arrived for their first day of classes. By late afternoon, a prediction of storms featuring heavy rain, flooding and possible tornado activity led Neshaminy and most other surrounding districts to cancel classes for Thursday. While nearby areas did suffer major wind damage and flooding, Neshaminy was fortunate to be spared any major damage to school buildings and grounds.
On Friday, students in all grades arrived at school for their first day. That afternoon, they returned home for the three-day Labor Day weekend, immediately followed by two days off for Rosh Hashanah. Classes started once again on Thursday, September 9, and the first full week of school on the following Monday.
LINK: "First" first day of school family photos gallery
Field and stadium project proposed for Neshaminy HS
Since the 1950's, the fields outside of Neshaminy High School have been home to some of the best high school athletic programs in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Generations of Neshaminy families have practiced, played, coached, cheered, celebrated, consoled, learned and matured on the athletic fields in and around Heartbreak Ridge.
While few would argue with the unique beauty of the setting, the heavy use of the Neshaminy athletic fields has taken a toll on their condition over the years. Hundreds of games and practices every season stress the grass fields, and extreme weather from droughts or extended periods of rain increases the damage. As the dirt becomes compacted and shifts with each use and change of weather, the grass gets thinner and the ground underneath develops bumps and ridges, which can adversely affect play and raise safety issues.
Leveling and replanting grass fields is costly and time-consuming. The current solution is to simply limit use of grass fields to allow time for healing, which results in curtailed practices and game schedules. Most varsity athletes and fans in non-football sports do not get to experience playing and enjoying games "under the lights" at The Ridge very often due to field usage limitations. The stadium has enjoyed some upgrades since the concrete bleachers were built in 1963 including the Hall of Fame pavilion, a synthetic track, new scoreboards, energy-efficient lighting and, most recently, a new sound system. But much remains the same including the field, limited concession area and restroom facilities that require the addition of portable restrooms for large crowds.
A proposal to solve this problem and open The Ridge to athletes of multiple sports is currently under study and consideration by the District and the Neshaminy School Board. In 2019, the Board commissioned a study by ELA Sport Athletic Facilities Design & Consulting from Lititz, PA to examine the condition of the Neshaminy fields and offer recommendations. This report was presented to the Board in May, 2021.
The first part of the proposal calls for a new artificial turf field in the stadium and another lighted multi-purpse field outside the stadium on the site of the current practice field. The second field can be used for practice, junior varsity or varsity games in multiple sports. Other upgrades include a new synthetic track, a new entry plaza that includes concession stands, restrooms and team rooms, a new press box and a storage area under the home bleachers. The new restrooms will meet current codes that require more stalls based on stadium capacity, and an even higher percentage for females. The total estimated cost of these projects is $7.9 million.
The second part of the proposal includes new artificial turf fields for the baseball field and for the softball infield. The baseball outfield will include an "overlay" that allows it to be also used as a multi-purpose field for other sports practices and games when not in use for baseball. The tennis courts behind the stadium will be renovated with a new surface and and the addition of one more court. The total estimated cost of this phase is $5.2 million.
While the initial investment in these projects is not insignificant, it can be mitigated not only by a reduction in maintenance expenses such as grass mowing, pest control and field lining over the lifespan of the fields, but also opens up the possibility of generating income by renting out the fields for regional playoff games and use by local sports leagues. Neshaminy's location along Route 1, the Pennsylvania Turnpike and other major highways with easy access to densely populated areas makes it a good candidate for such use.
The next step in this project will be consideration of these proposals by the School Board, input from the community, and possible adjustments based on those discussions and feedback. All community members are encouraged to review the plans, and attend upcoming Facilities & Planning Committee and School Board meetings.
LINK: Proposed plan details and estimated costs
LINK: Proposed field plan (stadium, practice field, baseball, softball, tennis)
Help wanted! Drivers, aides, and more
It is no secret that school districts and transit systems across the nation are facing a severe shortage of drivers. Neshaminy is no exception, and has a number of part-time positions open for bus and van drivers as well as bus aides (along with other positions in Food Services and instructional aides). If you or somebody you know has been thinking about a part-time employment opportunity, NOW is the time. Bus drivers need a CDL license, and the District will provide free training. All applicants must have a clean driving record, and pass Pennsylvania and FBI record checks.
To apply please visit www.neshaminy.org.
bus tracking app pulling into Neshaminy
Neshaminy School District is preparing to roll out access to a free new app, called Here Comes the Bus, to help families manage their student's transportation to and from school and monitor the location of their school bus or van in real time. This app, which is available for both Android and iPhone, will be rolled on a school-by-school basis this fall. The app is part of a comprehensive GPS-enabled fleet management system from Synovia currently used in over 1200 communities large and small across the country to manage and track school buses and other government / municipal vehicles.
Neshaminy tested a similar app in 2019 on a limited basis, but chose the Synovia system for its robust support and comprehensive management tools.
The roll-out will start with Carl Sandburg Middle School and Albert Schweitzer Elementary School. The goal is to have all Neshaminy schools live by the end of November, if not sooner. Parents at each school will be notified when their school goes live.
School Board Update
The Neshaminy School Board met on Tuesday, September 28. Some of the highlights include:
- The District renewed an agreement to operate the grant-funded Pre-K Counts program in partnership with the Bucks County Intermediate Unit #22, which provide staff. This program offers free preschool to qualified families in several locations throughout the District.
- Continuing the process of securing architectural, financial, site management and other services for the proposed new elementary school adjacent to Maple Point Middle School.
- Approval of Neshaminy's share of a bond issue for facilitiy improvements at the Bucks County Technical High School. The BCIT is undertaking bond financing to address the school’s needs related to replacement, upgrade and improvement of the roof, HVAC system and various safety systems. The Neshaminy share (27.17%) of the $25.5 million bond issue is $6.93 million, with the rest coming from other sending districts.
- Approval of an increase for non-grandfathered school bus drivers from $19.83 to $22 per hour as an adjustment to account for current market conditions.
The next School Board Public Work Session will be held on Tuesday, October 12 at 7pm and the next School Board Public Meeting will be held Tuesday, October 26 at 7pm. Both are scheduled for the District Board meeting room at Maple Point MS. Meeting agendas and livestream video links can be found at www.neshaminy.org/meetings.
The Board Facilities and Business Operations Committee will meet on Wednesday, October 13 at 6:30pm and the Policy Committee will meet on Tuesday, October 19 at 6:30pm in the District Board Room at Maple Point. The public is invited to attend and participate.
Pupil Services hosting special needs financial planning workshop Oct. 13
Neshaminy School District Pupil Services is hosting a valuable financial planning workshop for families of special needs children or other dependents on Wednesday, October 13 at 6pm in the auditorium at Maple Point MS. The meeting can be joined in person or via Zoom. The featured speaker will be Certified Financial Planner Pat Bergmaier, CFP, ChSNC, RICP.
Neshaminy STEAM Expo is back!
Neshaminy's celebration of all things technology is back on the schedule for 2022! Mark your calendars for Tuesday evening, March 29 when Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math activities, demonstrations and presentations will inspire and excite our younger students in these future-ready fields at Neshaminy High School.
Mentors wanted!! If you are employed or retired from a technology-related business, professional group or academic institution and want to share your enthusiasm for STEAM with the next generation with a presentation or demonstration at the 2022 STEAM Expo, please contact David Geanette at 215-809-6515.
Student Accident Supplemental Insurance
Neshaminy offers the opportunity for families of students to sign up for a low-cost group supplemental student accident insurance plan that can help pay for expenses not covered by their own medical insurance. For information and an application form, click here. Families can sign up for this plan any time during the school year.
Pre-K Counts: A Smart Start at Neshaminy!
The Pre-K Counts program at Neshaminy is enrolling students for the 2021-2022 school year. This state-funded program operates in several Neshaminy school buildings, and offers a quality, free preschool program to families that meet age and financial eligibility guidelines. For the upcoming school year, the income guidelines based on household size are as follows (based on 2020 Federal tax returns):
- 2 family members: $52,260
- 3 family members: $65,880
- 4 family members: $79,500
- 5 family members: $93,120
- 6 family members: $106,740
- 7 family members: $120,360
Students must turn 3 or 4 years old by September 1, 2021 to qualify. To learn more about Pre-K Counts at Neshaminy or to apply for enrollment, please visit the Neshaminy PKC website www.neshaminy.org/pkc.
Neshaminy Education Foundation fall raffle
The Neshaminy Education Foundation is kicking off the 2021-2022 school year with a great raffle for Eagles fans! The NEF has two tickets to give away, lower level seats in Section 105 Row 8 for the Eagles-Saints home game on Sunday, November 21 at 1 pm. Tickets are $5 each and can be purchased online at the NEF website, www.neshaminy.org/nef. The drawing will be held Friday, October 22 and the winner notified by phone.
The NEF is looking to a great year of fundraising for Neshaminy schools, and will once again be holding the classroom grant program this fall. This is an opportunity for teachers and support staff to apply for grants of up to $3,000 to support new, innovative materials and programs in their classrooms. Last year, instead of the grant program, the NEF donated $18,000 toward the purchase of bluetooth headsets for teachers to facilitate online learning during the pandemic.
Trevose company donates backpacks, school supplies
Neshaminy students will be better equipped this year thanks to a donation from a local company. AmRes (American Residential Lending) is a national home mortgage company with executive headquarters in Trevose. The staff purchased and donated over fifty backpacks and enough school supplies to fill them such as notebooks, pens, pencils, crayons, scissors, pencil cases and more. These backpacks will be distributed to students throughout the District based on need recommendations from Neshaminy social workers, school nurses and counselors.
Volunteers from the Neshaminy Education Foundation packed the supplies into the backpacks during their monthly meeting in September.
Neshaminy is also grateful for the many donors who stepped up to help School Resource Officer Missy Robison with a backpack drive that she organized over the summer.
Music teachers inspire potential students with their own band
On the heels of Instrumental Music Discovery Night on September 6, a group of Neshaminy instrumental music teachers gathered a few days later to record this fun video. They played it during in-person visits to classrooms in grades 3-6 to introduce themselves and encourage students to study an instrument and join the award-winning Neshaminy music program.
Buck morning show is back on the air
Fourth grade students at Pearl S. Buck ES began live presentations of the school's morning announcements during the second week of school. Assisted by Mr. Crozier, Mr. Gosser and Mr. Cleale, the first team of anchors greeted students and staff, presented the weather, and shared a joke to begin their day. Video announcements will be a daily occurrence involving all of the fourth grade students during the course of the year.
first lesson: Getting to know you!
In Mrs. Chakler and Mrs. Zlupko's second grade classes at Joseph Ferderbar ES, the students spent the first couple of weeks in school getting to know each other. One project was creating All About Me bags filled with information that was shared with their classmates.
The writing is on the wall at Tawanka back to school night
Tawanka ES third grade parents had a chance to “graffiti” the third grade pod at Back to School Night this year. They drew pictures and wrote notes for their children to find the next morning when they returned to school.
Dot day fun promotes growth mindset
Bet you didn't know...September 15 was National Dot Day! Dianna McDonough's fifth-grade class at Maple Point MS celebrated by reading the growth mindset book, The Dot, then enjoyed several dot-themed activities including: creating a dot painting, playing a "The Floor is Lava" game with round mats, building with round STEM pieces, hula hoops, domino math and more. It was an activity that really hit the spot for these students.
Fifth-grade cancer survivor leads awareness campaign
Poquessing MS fifth-grader Sara Harvey is a cancer survivor celebrating seven years cancer-free. She has seen first-hand the toll that cancer takes on a family. Her own story led her to approach Principal Timothy Hunt in late August to ask if he would help spread the message behind Septembers Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. He agreed, and the Poquessing staff was delighted to take part!
They advertised the month on the school's electronic billboard, and recognized Sara, along with fellow 5th grader Kayden, both cancer survivors. On Tuesday, September 21, Poquessing "went gold" (the color associated with cancer awareness month) to support children all over the world afflicted with this terrible disease. In addition, Sara provided students and staff honorary gold ribbons, and spoke to members of her 5th grade class about her battle.
Sara and her family attended the September Board Public Meeting and spoke about her journey and the awareness campaign. Following her comments, the Board resolved to recognize Childhood Cancer Awareness Month this year and into the future, and to support her efforts and others such as Coaches vs. Cancer and Pink Out throughout the District.
Sandburg honors 9/11 anniversary
Students at Carl Sandburg Middle School participated in a 9/11 Memorial Ceremony on Friday, September 10. The program included a Posting of the Colors, the Pledge of Allegiance, a moment of silence, a video tribute, and several speakers. The focus was on reflection and volunteerism. Speakers included Karly Brown, from the office of U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, PA Rep. Frank Farry, United Way of Bucks County Resource Director Shari Ratner, Superintendent Dr. Rob McGee, Principal Dawn Kelly and Assistant Principal Derek Albarran. Social Studies teacher and department chair Steve Simons organized the event and also spoke.
Teachers vs. students game tests constitutional knowledge
September 17 is Constitution Day. Every year, Neshaminy schools celebrate this important educational opportunity with a variety of in-class and school-wide activities. This morning students at Carl Sandburg MS enjoyed a Constitution trivia game, "Are You Smarter than your Teacher?" A team of students in each grade was matched against a team of their teachers, and each had to answer questions related to the U.S. Constitution in a fun, energetic gameshow-style competition.
College Fair scheduled for September 30
The National Honor Society at Neshaminy High School will be holding a College Fair on Thursday, September 30 from 6-8 pm in Gym 1 at Neshaminy HS. Representatives from over 60 colleges, universities and trade schools will be on hand to talk with students and their families. Juniors and seniors are encouraged to come to this valuable event.
NHS Gym 3 gets a makeover
Over the summer, the floor of Gym 3 at Neshaminy HS was completely stripped, sanded, and given a colorful new look before being refinished. The work was completed in early September, just in time for the start of the girls volleyball season.
The floor was not the only recipient of a makeover - the walls were also painted. The public area outside the gym will also be upgraded with new logo carpets, cafe tables and chairs by the snack stand, and video monitors to display information and game action for those grabbing a snack during games.
Homecoming 2021: More games under the sun
Video highlights of Homecoming 2021 activities
Neshaminy sports fans had a full slate of varsity and JV games to enjoy on a picture-perfect morning before the Homecoming Carnival and varsity football game on Saturday, September 25. Starting at 9am, the Field Hockey, Girls Volleyball, Girls Tennis and Boys Soccer teams all hosted home games. At noon the Homecoming Carnival opened up in Harry E. Franks Stadium, and the varsity football game against Central Bucks South HS kicked off at 1pm. Holding the games during the day allowed the additional teams to participate, and was also an opportunity for Neshaminy alumni and fans that might not be able to make a game on a Friday night to attend.
The 2021 Homecoming Court included Cole Castagna, Megan Hollenbaugh, Josh Thomas, Amaya Deshield, Pat Courtney, Alyssa Cabeza, JAdden Kane, Hannah Kupst, Jess Urwiler and Jon Rose. Jess and Jon were named Homecoming Queen & King during the halftime ceremomy.
Neshaminy Update is published monthly during the school year and distributed to the Neshaminy community via email and web. To submit comments, suggestions or news items for consideration, please email Chris Stanley, Community Relations Coordinator.
Neshaminy School Board of Directors
Stephen Pirritano - President
John Allen - Vice President
Irene M. Boyle
Adam J. Kovitz
Neshaminy School District
Rob McGee, Ph.D.
Assistant to the Superintendent / Director of Elementary Education
Assistant to the Superintendent / Director of Secondary Education
Assistant to the Superintendent / Director of Pupil Services
Donald B. Irwin, Jr.
Director of Human Resources
Assistant to the Superintendent / Director of Educational Operations
Neshaminy School District
2001 Old Lincoln Highway
Langhorne, PA 19047