Superintendent's Newsletter

January 2022

Message from the Superintendent

Happy New Year! I hope everyone had an opportunity to find time to relax and recharge over the winter break. LMTSD is looking forward to an exciting and rewarding 2022 and we wish our school community the same.

Given what we know about the impact of the COVID-19 virus, available vaccines/boosters and our approved Test-to-Stay program, our health and safety planning efforts are focused on keeping our schools open and minimizing the spread of COVID-19 wherever possible. While cases around the world are on the rise, I am encouraging our school community to remain positive and hopeful. I also want to remind everyone that this is the time to remain steadfast and vigilant in limiting the transmission of the virus. To date, our school community’s efforts have allowed the district to operate in-person since the start of the academic year and we expect that to continue.

The Lower Moreland High School Project continues at a steady pace. The project has entered stage 1.B - meaning that much of the underground utility and earthwork has been completed, and soon, you will begin to see masonry walls rise up. Most of the Red Lion road-side retaining walls have been erected and footers are in place. Please click here to investigate more videos, pictures and related stories about the project from our Student Documentary Team.

Lastly, beginning Monday, January 10, Aqua America is expected to close Buck Road between Byberry Road and Huntingdon Pike during the hours of 9:00 am - 3:00 pm. The daily road closure is expected to last into June 2022. The project involves the replacement of a 20-inch water main originally installed in 1909. The impact of this project will close off the High School’s Buck Road entrance/exit forcing all vehicular traffic to exit onto Red Lion Road at the conclusion of the high school day. Needless to say, parents/guardians, students and staff can expect some delays and slower travel times throughout the Township in the afternoon beginning next week. Not only is this expected to be an impact during our high school departure time, but it will also affect dismissals at both Murray Avenue and Pine Road Elementary.

Scott Davidheiser, Ed.D.


New High School Construction Photos

Business Office (Mark McGuinn, Business Manager)

In accordance with Pennsylvania School Code, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or CPA firm must annually audit the district. The district pays for this audit. The audit is an examination of the districts’ financial statements by an independent, external person(s) to ascertain whether or not the district-prepared financial statements fairly represent in material (significant) respects its financial position and operations. The auditor offers an opinion on this matter.

The audit for the 2020/21 school year was completed by the audit firm, Maillie LLP., which specializes in school district auditing. The 2020/21 audit was presented at the December 2021 Work Session Meeting for the Board of School Directors to review and then the Board voted upon to accept the report at its’ Regular December 2021 Board meeting. Because the District collected in excess of $750,000, another audit review called a single audit was triggered and was also included with the regular audit report for the 2020/21 school year. The current audit, as well as many previous audits, can be found here and are located in the middle of the page.

Basketball Season is Underway

Curriculum and Instruction (Julien Drennan, Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Prof. Dev.)

Have you ever wondered how curricular decisions are made in the Lower Moreland Township School District? Here is some information about the process that is followed:

  • Each curricular area goes through a needs assessment and materials review every six years. Teachers, Administrators, Parent Representatives and Board Members assist in reviewing student achievement data, materials, best practices and other local schools' programs in order to make recommendations for future planning and adoption.
  • If it is determined that new resources are needed, examination copies of materials are reviewed and identified for further exploration. Select materials are then utilized by teachers for a pilot experience in classrooms, providing additional information to the team that will recommend materials to the Board of School Directors for adoption.
  • All curriculum is written by classroom teachers who align classroom instruction and assessment to academic standards provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. These standards do not change frequently so this curriculum remains in place for the duration of the cycle. Refinement of curriculum can occur, however, if changes are desired. PA Academic standards can be found on the SAS website.
  • Classroom teachers, department leaders and administrators work together to review student performance data and curricular alignment when new materials are implemented to monitor the success of programmatic decisions.

Human Resources/Public Relations (Cheryl Galdo, Esq., Dir. of HR/PR)

School Communication Systems

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.

Good News Alerts

With support from the Huntingdon Valley-Churchville Rotary Club and LMHS teachers and staff, the LMHS Interact Club collected donations for the Philabundance Food Drive. The Interact Club gathered over 300 pounds of food that will be dispersed to local social service agencies and food banks.

For families in the Lower Moreland community needing extra help this past holiday season, First Student (the district's transportation provider) donated holiday cards including a gift certificate to Weiss Market, a coupon for a holiday ham or turkey, and an Amazon gift card. Donations were arranged through our school counselors. Jason Kelly, the Location Manager for First Student, said, "First Student is very happy to help and support our district’s families and our community."

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.

High school student, Daniel Porotov, created vortex-blocking surfaces on smokestacks that use less material and are more economical to submit to the Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Science (PJAS) and Montgomery County regional science competition. Daniel said, “There exists a physical phenomenon known as vortex shedding which occurs when the air hits a cylindrical structure, such as a smokestack. Vortices are alternatingly formed around the downwind side of the structure, which leads to vibrations, which can amplify and lead to structural damage and collapse. Nowadays, metal fins called helical strakes are wrapped around smokestacks to prevent vortex-induced vibrations. However, the use of helical strakes is often not done due to the high cost of their manufacturing and installation, at the expense of the structural stability of the smokestack. Using the 3D printer and Tinkercad, I created and printed three different smokestack designs which use less material in their vortex-blocking structure than traditional helical strakes. I will test these designs in an air stream and measure their vibration to see whether they are successful at mitigating the effects of vortex-induced vibration.” Check out a time-lapse of the printing process here.

Fifth-grade students in Mr. Warren’s class are creating tutorial videos using WeVideo and other technology of their choice. Fifth-grade student, Pat, described his project like this, "For my tutorial, I used my Chromebook with the WeVideo website to create a video tutorial on unlocking a feature in a video game. I also used my home XBox with the Minecraft app for a visual demonstration to accompany the audio." Check out this month’s tech tidbit video for a look at another example of a student project.

Sixth-grade students in Ms. Shields’ class learned about artwork incorporating pattern, rhythm, and movement. Students practiced creating their own “drippy” art pieces using Chrome Canvas. After practicing creating the dripping lines on their Chromebooks, they applied the technique to create winter pictures.

"Drippy" Art Made Using Chrome Canvas

Student Services (Frank Giordano, Director of Special Education and Student Services)

In order to assist families with obtaining much-needed, and often hard-to-find, resources for mental and behavioral health needs outside of the school environment, the Office of Student Services and Special Education maintains a list of local resources that can be shared with parents upon request. The list is shared with our School Counselors, School Psychologists, and Building Principals and is ever-changing. It is updated as the resources in our community change, as new resources become available, and as our office is made aware of them. If you feel your child is in need of outside resources and don’t know where to turn, you can contact his/her School Counselor who can provide you with contact information for an appropriate resource based upon your child’s needs.

Lower Moreland Township School District

Scott A. Davidheiser, Ed.D.