Simmons Weekly Newsletter

January 15, 2020

At Simmons Elementary School, We're Better Together

Distinguished Principal Credential

I'm pleased to share with the school community that I earned the Distinguished Principal credential from the National Institute for School Leadership (NISL). I have been working towards this recognition since October 2016 when I was selected to participate in a grant through NISL. The two-year project included working with a principal coach from another school district and developing an action learning project focused on deeper learning in the intermediate grades.

After successfully completing that two-year project, I was accepted into a final, portfolio phase in the 2018-19 school year. For the distinguished principal portfolio, I partnered with Amber Molloy from the MCIU and a team of Simmons literacy specialists as well as the fourth grade and fifth grade ELA teachers to form a professional learning community (PLC) focused on strengthening ELA instruction and assessment in the intermediate grades. During the year, we met monthly and learned together using a “teacher as researcher” model in which teachers implemented new strategies to improve learning and documented the results.

An expert panel from the National Institute for School Leadership in Washington, D.C. reviewed the portfolio and assessment data from our school community. Three representatives from the panel came to Simmons on December 18th for a site visit which included visiting classrooms and interviewing teachers from the PLC. On December 20th, the panel reconvened in D.C. and voted to award the Distinguished Principal credential to me. Moving forward, I will be working with other Distinguished Principals in Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Department of Education to support new and aspiring principals, as well as to develop high-quality, ongoing professional learning for principals.

I am honored to work with such a talented, dedicated faculty to serve our students and their families. As I told the visiting representatives in December, I love coming to work each day and leading this school community!

Friendly Recess Assistants Needed

Do you enjoy being outdoors and working with children? We are currently recruiting applicants for open recess assistants at Simmons Elementary School. The hours are 11 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. on school days. You can learn more and apply on the district human resources page:

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service - January 17th

Simmons Elementary School will work with the Giving Tree organization for the third year as part of our Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service on Friday, January 17th. We will create sock rolls to accompany Gifts of Hope packages which will be distributed to displaced individuals in Philadelphia. The Gifts of Hope packages our students will assemble will include a pair of socks, a granola bar, a packet of crackers, a toothbrush, and toothpaste. These packages will be distributed by the Giving Tree organization to shelters in Philadelphia including the Hub of Hope located in Suburban Street Station which functions as a day center for individuals who made need a place to shower and get further assistance.

Thanks to all the families who have sent in items for the sock rolls!

Toy Donations - Last Call!

Students in Mrs. Hrabyk and Mrs. Rappaport’s group at Simmons Elementary are asking for your support. They have been working hard to create a new play room experience for all children here at school. With the holidays quickly approaching, what better way to make room for the new than to donate your gently used toys to this great cause? From 12-5-19 to 1-24-19 you can drop off any new or gently used toy, board game, or indoor sports equipment that is appropriate for preschool through 5th grade, in the front lobby. Look for a box labeled TOY DONATIONS. If you have any questions, please contact Andrea Hrabyk ( or Ashley Rappaport (

Thank you for all the donations we have received so far! Your generosity is truly appreciated.

News from the Simmons Home and School Association

*** HSA General Meeting ***

Please join us tonight January 15th at 7pm for the HSA General meeting. We will meet in the CROC, which is in the back half of the cafeteria.

*** Simmons Annual Family Dance ***

Come dance the cold weather away during the Simmons Family Dance – Space Galaxy style! Wear your favorite Star Wars shirt or outer space gear on Friday, January 24th from 7 – 9pm.

If you are able to volunteer your time to help make this evening a success, please visit the Sign Up Genius link

For any questions or additional information, please contact Shira Schulman at

Please note this is not a drop-off event. Thank you – looking forward to a fun evening for the kids with a DJ, dancing and more!

*** 1st and 2nd Grade Talent Show ***

1st and 2nd Grade Talent Show is scheduled for Thursday, January 30th. Thank you for all of you who signed up; we will email you with more details soon. We are still looking for a Co-chair and volunteers for rehearsals and the day of the show. If you can help, please contact Jamelfrey Pacheco at or Gretchen Kaufmann at

***Kindergarten Night Out***

Please join us Friday, February 7th, for the Magic Show for all Kindergarten students, beginning at 7pm in the Forum. Please note this is not a drop-off event. We look forward to seeing you there!

Upcoming Events


15 – HSA Meeting & Discovery Time In-person Sign-up

24 – Family Dance - Star Wars Theme

30 –1st & 2nd Grade Talent Show

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Volunteer Information

Any adult who will be in the classrooms (for any reason) or for field trips are required to have a volunteer photo i.d. badge issued by the Hatboro-Horsham School District. The required clearances are free and any adult (including parents, grandparents and other family members) can complete the process. The volunteer credentials are good for five years. We appreciate the time and commitment that our volunteers offer to enhance our school! Here's the link to the district website which includes all the information about volunteer clearances: