Neshaminy Update

Neshaminy School District / January 2020

Hour of Code spans the grades

Poquessing MS / Ferderbar ES Hour of Code partnership

Business, Computers and Information Technology (BCIT) classrooms participated in Hour of Code across the District in December. Hour of Code is an international online educational event that builds computer programming skills with age-appropriate activities for every grade.

At the high school, students explored career opportunity statistics based on occupations and number of graduates both in Pennsylvania and across the country. Students tried various coding activities that included game design and completed challenging activities involving problem solving. Others worked on coding applications for productivity and compression of data. They had to compress a digital song file and code in blockchain (an advanced data management method) as it relates to crypto currency and bitcoin.

Eighth grade BCIT students invited Ferderbar ES kindergarten students to join them for an Hour of Code activity. The middle school students planned the activity and used the computer science skills they have learned in class to teach coding to their new friends. This was not only an exciting day of coding but also one for building relationships between the middle school and elementary school students. The kindergarten students used block-based programming to create games that they were actually able to play.

Fifth graders learned to use block-based programming as well. Examples included programming popular dance moves and songs for a sprite (a digital character that can be manipulated). Some students coded a Minecraft game. Their programs responded to timed events and user input in order to create dance animations, solve puzzles and create virtual worlds.

Participating in the Hour of Code is a natural extension of the many opportunities Neshaminy students have to learn computer programming skills and challenge themselves to design the apps and utilities that we will all be using one day.

Report outlines curriculum highlights

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WICOR - Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration, Organization and Reading are skills that students need to become life-long learners. The list of strategies under each categoroy help build a common instructional language across the District.

The Curriculum & Instruction Department presented their semi-annual report to the Neshaminy Board of School Directors at their January Work Session. The 19-page summary offers an overview of educational initiatives currently in progress across the District.

Among the highlights of curriculum changes currently underway are:

  • Expansion of the 1:1Technology program
  • Expansion of a common instructional language / WICOR strategies
  • Expansion of AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination)
  • Progress in a District-wide curriculum audit
  • Embedded morning lead teacher professional development
  • Elementary math series curriculum pilot programs
  • Project-based Defined STEM performance tasks in the elementary schools
  • Multi-tiered system of student support through continuous improvement
  • Expansion of the Nearpod software platform to the secondary schools
  • Expansion of Text Dependent Analysis in elementary and secondary schools
  • Renewal of Textbook Series / Software
  • Elimination of class rank at Neshaminy HS

The report also outlines planning and budgeting for initiatives to begin in the 2020/2021 school year. Among these are new art courses at Neshaminy HS, review of the middle school reading program, new state graduation requirements, expansion of the NHS / Bucks County Community College Senior Year Experience and more.

Neshaminy adds Pre-K Counts classrooms

Thanks to additional grant awards, Neshaminy School District is pleased to announce the addition of two new Pre-K Counts (PKC) preschool classrooms for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. PKC is a state-funded program that offers a quality preschool program to families that meet income qualification guidelines, which can be as high as $77,250 for a family of four.

Currently the District has PKC classes meeting at Albert Schweitzer ES, Joseph Ferderbar ES and the former Lower Southampton ES (currently leased to the Bucks County Intermediate Unit). The new classes will meet at Walter Miller ES in Levittown.

For more information or to apply, please visit

Kindergarten registration is open

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New kid-friendly waiting area at the Central Registration office at Maple Point

Do you have or know a pre-schooler ready for kindergarten next year? Kindergarten registration is now open, and Neshaminy School District encourages all families to register before March 1, 2020, to ensure placement at their neighborhood school. The process begins online at Once that is complete, registrants will then be contacted to schedule an appointment at our brand-new, kid-friendly Central Registration office at Maple Point.

Save the date! Sunset Challenge returns

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The second annual #StandUp Neshaminy Sunset Challenge 2K and 5K running race at Maple Point MS will be held Friday, May 1, 2020, starting at 6 pm (6:45 pm course start). Registration can be completed at, and discounts are offered for those that sign up early.

At the inaugural race in 2019, nearly 500 runners competed. The course will expand this year with the addition of a new paved path at the edge of the Maple Point MS property connecting the driveway across from Core Creek Park with the existing path leading to Middletown Community Park. The race will coincide with the annual Sports Block Party at the park that involve teams from Neshaminy HS and other activities.

January is School Director Recognition Month

January is School Director Recognition Month – an opportunity for us to celebrate and recognize the challenging and vital work that our elected officials do on behalf of the students and our community.

Access to high-quality public education is not only essential for individual success, but also for the success and strength of our communities, nation and the entire world. It takes a team of education professionals, parent volunteers and community members to make this happen, and our School Board members are a key part of that effort.

According to the Pennsylvania School Boards Association, School Board members, who are unpaid, devote up to 10 or more hours per month to accomplish the complex business of running a school district. Their responsibilities include adopting policy, voting on budgets, evaluating school security issues and reviewing hiring decisions. Their informed decisions shape the direction of our schools and provide a pathway to success for every student.

If you see one of our School Board members (who are listed at the bottom of this newsletter) at a meeting or out in the community, please take a moment to thank him or her for the willingness to help Build Futures at Neshaminy

Summer Stock registration opens

It's not too early to think summer! Neshaminy Summer Stock is excited to offer two great shows and Showcase for 2020: Phantom of the Opera (for students entering grades 7-12); Lion King, Jr. (entering grades 4-6) and the Showcase program for students entering grades 2-3. The workshop meets June 29-July 26. Registration is also open for the Instrumental Music Instruction program which meets between June 29-July 27. Info and registration forms HERE.

We Build Futures Awards section banner
The We Build Futures awards will return in February!
Important Dates section banner

  • Wednesday, February 5: FAFSA financial aid workshop at NHS, 6 pm
  • Thursday, February 6: PTO Leadership Forum, 9:30 am, Maple Point District Office
  • Thursday-Sunday, February 6-9: Matilda the Musical at NHS, times vary
  • Thursday, February 13: 8th Grade Course Information Night at NHS, 6 pm
  • Wednesday-Saturday, February 19-22: Musical at Maple Point MS, times vary
  • Wednesday-Saturday, February 19-22: Musical at Poquessing MS, times vary
  • Friday, February 28: Gym Night at NHS, 6:30 pm
  • Saturday, February 29: Gym Night at NHS, 1 pm & 6:30 pm
  • Sunday, March 1: Kindergarten registration deadline to guarantee home school

Please check the District and school websites for additional events and changes.

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Pearl S. Buck Elementary School section

Morning greeters brighten up the school day

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Members of the Student Council recently started greeting students as they enter the building each day. They created the positive messages as a way to spread some positive thoughts to start the day.

In addition, fourth-grade students from Neshaminy Kids Club began assisting with the morning drop-off routine, offering a cheerful, "Good morning!"

Project is for the (flightless) birds

As part of a District-wide Defined Stem program, the first-grade students at Pearl S. Buck Elementary have become marine biologists. Their task is to research different types of Spheniscidae (penguins) and learn adaptations of the species. The end goal will be a non-fiction writing and diagram to show what they have learned. Playground Aide Mr. Jerry waddled in costume into class to build some excitement for the project.

Joseph Ferderbar Elementary School section

Ferderbar walks to North Dakota

Congratulations to all the Ferderbar students who participated in the Fall Walking Program! Those students had an opportunity to set and achieve goals, experience the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of daily physical activity, test their perseverance, take pride in the their accomplishments, apply mathematics concepts in an authentic setting, and more. Top walkers were recognized, including six that walked more than the distance of a marathon (26.2 miles) over the course of the program. The entire school walked 1357 miles - that's the distance from Ferderbar Elementary School to Bismark, North Dakota!

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Teacher & Student exhibit features Hoover, NHS artists

Art teachers Terry O’Neill (NHS) and Justin Bursk (Hoover ES) have been chosen to participate in the Exhibition Cross Pollination at Tyler School of Art and Architecture at Temple University. They will each exhibit one of their artworks alongside one of their student’s artworks. The students are Jackson Dilorio from Hoover and Maya Murry from Neshamimy HS.

Neshaminy School District Alumni Erika Walter, a student at Kutztown, will exhibit her work alongside one of her professors as well.

Cross Pollination 20/20 is a juried exhibition that explores the reciprocity of influence and inspiration between students' art-making and their teachers' studio practice. In its fourth year, this exhibition showcases work by Tyler alumni from many disciplines who teach in diverse settings alongside the work of their students.

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Students spread kindness with peanut butter and jelly

The Walter Miller Elementary School Service Club Kindness Ninjas and Mrs. Hyjurick’s second grade students worked together to make over 250 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the homeless. The students packed the sandwiches, a snack, and a holiday message card in Ziploc bags that were delivered to those less fortunate in Philadelphia.

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Schweitzer welcomes the holidays with a singalong

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The students and staff at Albert Schweitzer Elementary participated in a school-wide Sing-A-Long on Friday, December 20th. Mrs. Montalvo and Mr. Wells were the MCs of the festive event. We had students and staff sing, play instruments, and even build a real-life Olaf! The staff even joined in at the end to do a spoof on 'Let it Go' and sang 'Let Us Go!' The students also got to wear their pajamas to school for the magical day!

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Mathematician visits from across the Atlantic via teleconference

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The second grade at Tawanka ES combined their social studies landforms unit and math geometry unit to show the correlation between natural environmental landforms and 2D/3D geometrical shapes. To close the unit, they Skyped a mathematician in Trieste, Italy, and learned about dimensionality and how to discover geometrical shapes within the environment. The unit will conclude with a STEAM project where they design their own landforms with the use of only food formed into geometrical shapes.

More penguins popping up in collaborative projects

First grade students are working on a Defined STEM unit. They are learning about penguins by working in groups and using their iPads to conduct research. They then are writing about and drawing different kinds of penguins. This project is an opportunity to build collaboration, research, reading, writing and presentation skills.

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MLK Day of Service project benefits Angels in Motion

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr Day of Service at Maple Point MS

On Monday, January 20, over 150 Maple Point MS students and a small group of Neshaminy HS students gathered in the cafeteria at MPMS for the third annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service project to benefit Angels in Motion. Students throughout the school have been collecting food donations to fill "blessing bags" which are distributed by Angels in Motion to homeless addicts living on the streets of Philadelphia as a way to help them survive and lead them to resources to help fight their addiction. The students also wrote notes of encouragement, made sandwiches for some of the bags, and cut up plastic bags to be woven into "plarn" used to create sleeping mats.

Maple Point Musicians get a backstage Philly Pops tour

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On December 20, a group of Maple Point MS music students traveled to Philadelphia to enjoy the Philly Pops Christmas Spectacular concert along with some teachers and chaperones. After the show, they went backstage to meet Guest Conductor David Charles Abell, vocalist Mandy Gonzalez and musical duo The Melodica Men. There they were able to ask them questions about their music and careers.

Fifth grade holds grandparent breakfast

On December 18, the 5th grade class at Maple Point MS invited their grandparents and other seniors to the school to enjoy a holiday feast and concert for their annual Senior Soiree. The students interacted and interviewed their guests as everybody enjoyed a huge spread of holiday goodies all donated by local businesses and families, then adjourned to the auditorium to hear the 5th grade string orchestra and 5th choir perform.

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Top ELF wins a pizza lunch party

Congratulations to 5th grade student Kendall. She won the school raffle to have a pizza lunch with School Resource Officer Joseph Zaffino and seven of her friends. All of the raffle prizes offered experiences with different staff members at Poquessing, and it raised money for the ELF Holiday fund for Poquessing and Ferderbar families.

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Sandburg presents Frozen, Jr.

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Carl Sandburg MS was filled with the sounds and music of the hit Disney film Frozen in December. The school staged a production of the hit Broadway musical based on the film for classmates, their families and the community. The show featured elaborate costumes and sets, and the singing and dancing talents of the Sandburg cast.

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Thespians excel at state conference

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Thirty-six members of Neshaminy HS Thespian Troupe #8046 traveled to the PA Thespian Conference in December. Neshaminy made quite an impact at the festival. As a group, they achieved the status of Gold Honor Troupe. This distinction was only achieved by six other schools in Pennsylvania.

Three members were inducted into the Hall of Fame - Melanie Moyer for Performance, Liz Shekhterman for Technical Excellence and Erin McGinniss for Theatrical Leadership Excellence. The Roadies performed a number from "Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812" and received a standing ovation. Tommy Stacherski was selected to perform on the main stage during Closing Ceremonies and Grace McKenna was elected State Thespian Officer for Pennsylvania. Finally, Jackie Dyszel, Melanie Moyer, Casey Shoemaker, Tommy Stacherski, Grace McKenna and Devon Horton scored Superiors on their individual events and qualified for Internationals in Indiana.

Business Leaders earn accolades at regional competition

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Congratulations to 17 Neshaminy HS Future Business Leaders of America Regional Competition winners! The competition was held at Delaware Valley University on Wednesday, December 18. These students have also qualified to compete at the State FBLA competition in Hershey on April 6, 2020. The winners are:

FIRST PLACE: Neha Shirwalker --Database Design and Applications; Kieran O’Neill --Computer Applications; Jessica Manning --Spreadsheet Applications; Steven Muller --Sales Presentation; Ohenma Ofosu-Mensah —Introduction to Information Technology; Matt Schwab --Accounting 2

SECOND PLACE: Aaron Lewis & Kushal Patel --Banking & Financial Systems; Dan Gutman --Entrepreneurship; Sophia Capecci --Introduction to Business

THIRD PLACE: Michelle Wang --Agribusiness; Connor McQuibben --Business Communication; Madison Heinz & Jennifer Okawara --Business Ethics

FOURTH PLACE: James MacDonald --Accounting 2; Fred Miglo --Health Care Administration

FIFTH PLACE: Jacob Levin --Business Communication

NHS MiniTHON sets a new record

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The Neshaminy HS MiniTHON was held on Friday, January 17. This year the students raised $26,045.59 to set a new school record. MiniTHON is a local version of the wildly popular dance marathon that was started at Penn State University to benefit Four Diamonds, a non-profit that fights childhood cancer and helps young cancer patients. Students solicit donations to participate in the dance marathon.

Students become "Legislators for a Day"

On December 12, a group of seniors from Neshaminy HS and William Tennent HS gathered at NHS to participate in a "Legislator for a Day" event. The students first learned about the legislative process from Rep. Frank Farry and lobbyist Sean Schafer during a group session. They then broke up into committees - a Consumer Affairs Committee, Education Committee, Health Committee, Transportation Committee and Judiciary Committee to draft legislation which was then presented back to the larger group in a mock session of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. The students were guided by legislative staff members from the offices of Rep. Farry, State Senator Tommy Tomlinson and others.

Book Fair activities, performances delight mall customers

In December, Neshaminy High School held another successful book fair at the Barnes & Noble store at Neshaminy Mall. Participants from the NHS Book of the Month Club read to young children, drama "Roadies" performed during the reading of a well-loved children’s book, and the Select Choir sang beautifully. Gym night participants competed in a beverage contest (lattes, frappuccino’s, hot chocolate, etc.) tallying points (red vs. blue) for mural funding while gift wrapping and selecting new titles for the library shelves. A group of creative writing students read original works and favorites.

Neshaminy HS presents Matilda Feb. 6-9

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The Nehshaminy HS annual musical will be Matilda, a show based on the Roald Dahl book. This family-frienldly show focuses on a precocious 5-year-old girl with the gift of telekinesis. She loves reading, overcomes obstacles caused by her family and school, and helps her teacher to reclaim her life.

The show will be staged Thursday and Friday, February 6 and 7 at 7pm; Saturday February 8 at 1pm and 7pm; and Sunday, February 9 at 1pm in Theodore Kloos Auditorium at Neshaminy HS. Tickets are available at www.neshaminy,org/matilda for $10 (plus an online processing fee) or $12 cash at the door (subject to availability).

Gym Night 2020 themes, captains announced

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Preparations for Gym Night 2020 are underway! This beloved Neshaminy tradition will be held on Friday & Saturday, February 28 & 29 in Gym 3 at NHS. The overall theme this year is When Opposites Collide.

Blue sub-themes: 12th: Dreams vs. Reality; 11th: East Coast vs. West Coast; 10th: Land vs. Sea; 9th: Country vs. City.

Red sub-themes: 12th: Good vs. Evil; 11th: Past and Future; 10th: Innocent or Guilty; 9th: Fire vs. Ice.

Congratulations to the 2020 Gym Night Captains:

Freshman Blue: Waseem Jawawdeh, Jessica Cochrane, Nolan Burns & Aralyn Hackney

Freshman Red: Mike Zizzo, Aidyn Tierney, Joey Zack & Adah Wallace

Sophomore Blue: Patrick Courtney, Alyssa Cabeza, Michael DiPiazza & Isabella Costanzo

Sophomore Red: Jason Rodgers, Jessica Mimm, Brendan Raven & Kylie Marozsan

Junior Blue: Trevor Clark, Jordan Cohen, Zach Bowman & Gianna Fragoso

Junior Red: Ryan Schoenemann, Marie Nolen, Jake Schweiker & Danielle Monaco

Senior Blue: Alex Dampman, Madison Genco, Wade Angst & Emily Addis

Senior Red: Casey Shoemaker, Samantha McClave, Michael Soltys & Sophia Lieber

Color Captains: Blue, Thomas Fitch & Asia Barnard; Red, Jonathan Mimm & Mackenzie Reid

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Elizabeth Ferderbar

Condolences to the family of Elizabeth "Betty" Ferderbar, who passed away in December. She was the wife of the late Dr. Joseph Ferderbar, the former Superintendent of Neshaminy School District. Betty and her family have been active in the District, visiting Joseph Ferderbar Elementary School with her grandchildren and supporting a generous scholarship fund at Neshaminy HS. In lieu of flowers, her family is requesting donations be made to the scholarship fund to keep the family legacy at Neshaminy strong for years to come.

Barbara Dengler

Barbara Dengler, who was a classroom teacher at Poquessing, Schweitzer and Tawanka for 28 years before retirement, passed away on December 9. She is the wife of the late Harry M. Dengler Jr., who passed away in 2003. He was a District music teacher for whom the auditorium at Maple Point MS is named. Her daughter, Lisa Pennington, is an assistant principal at Neshaminy HS and her son, Mark Dengler, is a social studies teacher at NHS. A true Neshaminy family!

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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

Marty Sullivan - President

Stephen Pirritano - Vice President

John Allen

Cyndie Bowman

Irene M. Boyle

Tina Hollenbach

Adam J. Kovitz

David Marrington

Paul Saraullo

Contact Information

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Neshaminy School District

Joseph Jones III, Superintendent

2001 Old Lincoln Highway

Langhorne, PA 19047