Neshaminy School District / June, 2020
IMPORTANT NOTE: Information in this newsletter is current as of Tuesday, June 30, 2020. Please check the District website or other official sources for updates.
Superintendent Jones at Albert Schweitzer Elementary School
District marks a change in leadership
With the finale of this very unusual school year, Neshaminy School district is also embarking on a new era in leadership as Dr. Rob McGee steps into the Superintendent position following the departure of Joseph Jones III on June 30. Mr. Jones joined the District in August, 2016 and will be returning to his roots as a classroom teacher in the Philadelphia School District.
Dr. McGee, who is a graduate of Neshaminy schools and has spent his entire educational career as a teacher and administrator with the District, shared a letter with the Neshaminy community on July 1 introducing himself as Superintendent and outlining his thoughts and plans on a variety of issues.
At the June 23 School Board meeting, Mr. Jones was lauded by District administrators and School Board members, presented with an engraved glass plaque, and awarded a "We Build Futures" pin. Mr. Jones started the "We Build Futures" awards early in his tenure to mark the everyday and extraordinary accomplishments of staff, administrators and community members to support the District's mission and goals.
Board President Stephen Pirritano mentioned a number of District initiatives and accomplishments over the past four years under the tenure of Mr. Jones. Among these is the expansion of the Pre-K Counts program at Neshaminy from 36 seats to 150 thanks to a 1.3 million grant, increasing opportunities for all students with the introduction of the Neshaminy Virtual Academy, expanding the Senior Year Experience program with Bucks County Community College; introduction and expansion of the Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID) program that provides students with tools and strategies for academic success, and steered a major financial reinvestment program that provided funding for many new programs and projects.
Dr. Rob McGee assumed the position of Superintendent effective July 1. He has been working with Mr. Jones and the cabinet members for several weeks to assure a smooth transition through what has been and will continue to be a challenging environment.
School year ends with celebration, online and in-person
The end of the school year throughout the District is an exciting time full of activities, ceremony and emotional good-byes. Though the Covid-19 pandemic put the brakes on a return to school for the year, Neshaminy teachers and support staff put their creativity to work to reach out and recreate these experiences online.
During the final week of May, the Neshaminy physical education teachers held a Virtual Field Day for elementary and middle school students. They spent weeks preparing activities that could be completed at home, including physical challenges, building projects, singing competitions, and a live online trivia contest. Students submitted photos and videos of the completed projects to earn points for either the red or blue team.
The art teachers held a week-long virtual art show, and hundreds of students created and submitted artworks to share across the District. The teachers are planning to showcase artworks created earlier in the year with another District Virtual Art Show over the summer.
The three middle schools held tandem video move-up ceremonies on the evening of June 7, including individual student recognitions, teacher messages, slideshows, and even a live red-carpet Zoom webcast. Fourth-graders were honored at each elementary school, and individual grades and classes held a variety of online events to recognize student achievement.
Seniors at Neshaminy High School finally got to enjoy some time together during a Salute to Seniors car procession and picnic on Saturday, June 27 (see the article in this newsletter).
District announces retirements, service awards
Congratulations to all our retiring Neshaminy staff members! This school year, they have a combined 729 years of service to the District, and individually attained 14 to 34 years of service. Neshaminy wants to thank each of them for their dedication to the students and Neshaminy community, and wish them well on the next chapter of their lives.
In addition, the District also honors those staff members that have attained 15 or more years of service at five year intervals. We thank each and every one of them, including Neshaminy High School secretary Ellen Belke (pictured at right), who has been on the job with Neshaminy for 50 years!
FAQ: Neshaminy School Closure
.What is the status of summer activities in Neshaminy schools?
At this time all in-person summer activities canceled, including the Summer Stock theater program and Summer PASS. The Intensive Language Lab and Neshaminy Summer School will be held online.
Neshaminy Kids Club is holding their summer camp. Currently, registration is full. Please visit their website for more information: www.neshaminykidsclub.org.
What are the summer office hours?
Starting July 7, District and school offices will be operating from 7:30 am - 3:30 pm daily during the summer. On some days, office staff members might be working remotely, so please call before visiting. Special Covid-19 procedures will be in place in all District buildings; we encourage our community to conduct business over the phone or email whenever possible. All visitors must follow Covid-19 guidelines including the wearing of masks indoors and in public areas, and staying home if any symptoms are present.
Can we use the playgrounds and athletic fields outside of school buildings?
Playgrounds are open but subject to usage rules and Covid-19 health safety guidelines. Athletic fields will be available for organized practices by prior arrangement with the District.
What are the plans for an in-person graduation ceremony at Neshaminy High school?
Our graduating seniors participated in a procession and picnic on Saturday, June 27 (see article below). A video salute of graduation speeches and a roll call of graduates was presented online that evening. Our hope is to still hold an in-person commencement ceremony on Saturday, August 1 to honor the Class of 2020 with a traditional ceremony. The District is in constant contact with the Bucks County Department of Health and will do everything possible to hold this celebration.
What do I do with my Chromebook over the summer?
District-issued Chromebooks for students in grades 5-10 will remain with the students. A plan to return Chromebooks for students in grades K-4 will be announced at a future date. Graduating seniors who have a District Chromebook will be contacted with instructions on how to return them.
Chromebooks can be used for optional summer online enrichment activities that are District-approved only. Otherwise they should be stored in a safe location with the charger. Over the summer, the District Technology Office repair service will continue by appointment only.
How do I register a new student?
The Central Registration Office is accepting new student registrations online at www.neshaminy.org/register. Families can fill out the online form there and will be contacted with instructions to complete the registration process.
How can we get working papers for my teenage student?
Working paper applications can be found here or under the "Support" menu of the high school and each middle school website home page.
Pre-K Counts registration now open
The Neshaminy Pre-K Counts program is accepting applications online for the 2020-2021 school year. Once again this program will provide a free, quality pre-kindergarten curriculum in Neshaminy school buildings for the upcoming school year. Income eligibility guidelines are generous - a family of four can earn up to $78,600 (based on 2019 income tax returns) and still qualify for the program. Pre-K Counts is entirely funded through a competitive state grant. The District is scheduled to receive $1.3 million dollars to fund the 2020-2021 program.
For information on Pre-K Counts at Neshaminy and to apply online please visit www.neshaminy.org/pkc.
Summer Reading Lists, library resource newsletter posted
The summer reading lists for grades K-12 have been posted in Canvas and on the District website. While suggestions for each grade are provided, students also have the option of choosing their own books. A number of the titles are available electronically through the school library media centers for convenience. Students entering grades 9-12 are also responsible for completing assignments related to their summer reading.
The Neshaminy Library Media Center specialists also have produced a newsletter highlighting a number of resources available to students in the online learning environment. The newsletter can be found at the link below.
School Board Update
The Neshaminy School Board met on Tuesday, June 23 in a virtual meeting that was accessible to the public. A video of the meeting can be viewed here. The meeting agenda and related documents can be viewed here. Among the items on the agenda:
- The Board voted 5-4 to approve a $183,616,556 budget for the 2020-2021 school year. A summary can be found below.
- The Board approved continuation of a transportation service contract with STA for select bus routes; continuation of the food service contract with Aramark and other contract items.
- The Board approved the Farmstead and Homestead Exclusion Resolution for the 2020-2021 school year that allows tax reduction from gambling tax revenue
The next scheduled Board meeting is Tuesday, July 28 at 7 pm. A notice as to whether the meeting will be held in-person or online will be posted before the meeting. If the meetings are held virtually, connection information can be found at www.neshaminy.org/meetings.
Board approves 2020-2021 budget
The School Board of Directors approved a budget of $183,616,556 for the 2020-2021 school year at their meeting on June 23. Given the uncertainty of economic circumstances surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, the Board cut several million dollars off the preliminary proposed budget during the spring by deferring several maintenance and improvement projects and finding other savings. No educational programs were cut. Approximately $1.3 million of the District's $14 million unassigned fund balance was used to fill in a gap between revenue and expenditures in this budget.
A proposed tax increase to the Act 1 maximum of 2.6% was reduced to 1.5% in the final version of the budget, which equates to a $69 yearly increase for the average homeowner. The Board chose to compromise on this amount both in recognition of the tough economic conditions facing the community, but also the likelihood of increased costs related to reopening schools in the fall due to the pandemic.
Implementing social distancing and health safety measures could potentially cost the District between three and five million dollars, including increased transportation needs, cleaning and sanitizing supplies, protective upgrades and new technology hardware and software to support a hybrid or full online learning environment. The District is preparing multiple scenarios to meet the safety needs of students and staff as the pandemic plays out during the upcoming school year, each of which brings additional budget and staffing challenges.
Free meal program continues for the summer
The Neshaminy free meal distribution program will continue through the summer. Any family with children under the age of 18 can pick up meals at Tawanka Elementary School, Poquessing Middle School, Herbert Hoover Elementary School, and Carl Sandburg Middle School. The grab-and-go meals are distributed three times a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) from 11am to 1pm and are available to any family with children under the age of 18 regardless of household income. The program will not distribute meals on Friday, July 3 for the Independence Day holiday.
Information and announcements about the program can be found at the District Covid-19 information center, www.neshaminy.org/covid-19.
- Main District COVID-19 Information Center: www.neshaminy.org/covid-19
- Elementary School Learning Opportunities
- Middle School Learning Opportunities
- High School Learning Opportunities
- Fun & Games: Staying Connected Online
- Chromebook Request Form
- Chromebook Repair requests
- Meal distribution information
- School Board virtual meetings
- CRISIS RESOURCES for IMMEDIATE HELP
- Community Resources for Parents and Students
- Bucks County COVID-19 Information Center
Hoover teacher ends the year with a poem
District art shows celebrate creativity
The District's elementary schools held an online art show during the final weeks of school. Students were encouraged to create art and display it on Flipgrid, an online presentation tool that allowed them to share with their art with fellow students across the District. The show received over 300 submissions, which were viewed a total of over 10,000 times.
A District online art show of works created in school before schools closed in March will be displayed on the District social media and website during the month of July. Art teachers have gathered the artworks from their classrooms and will be sharing images of some of the best from their collection.
Poquessing team joins a Kahoot celebration
Poquessing Middle School's "QuaranTEAM A" gathered for a final farewell on Zoom. During this virtual party, the students engaged in a friendly Kahoot (an online educational multimedia tool) competition which featured fun facts, special talents, and unique experiences of the Team A students and staff. The laughter, energy, and friendly banter lifted spirits and made it the perfect way to celebrate this year's accomplishments and send students into summer on a positive note!
It's a storybook ending for one class at Miller
Elementary counselors send a message of strength
The elementary school counselors ended their school year by sending this inspiring video message to their students.
Miller ES cafeteria staff creates an inspirational garden
First Lady of Pennsylvania visits Tawanka classes online
Mrs. Cozza and Mrs. Eckelmeyer’s class at Tawanka Elementary School, were lucky enough to meet the First Lady of Pennsylvania Frances Wolf during a Zoom session held with their students. Mrs. Wolf reinforced the Neshaminy Mission Statement by giving them examples on how to be a productive citizen.
Sandburg staff delivers two Al Durante awards to students
Two Carl Sandburg MS students, Sarah Kramer and Vivienne Evans, received their Al Durante Service awards by special delivery from Carl Sandburg teachers. The award is given each year to two students who demonstrate the ideals of kindness, a positive outlook on life, an unselfish attitude, and caring for themselves and others.
MS, HS orchestra students perform "Over the Rainbow"
Ferderbar choir sings "A Million Dreams"
Salute to Seniors celebrates the Class of 2020
The car procession begins at Maple Point Middle School
A parade of cars wound through Langhorne Borough on Saturday, June 27 on its way toNeshaminy High school as members of the NHS Class of 2020 were finally able to gather for a celebration -- at least in a limited way -- since the Covid-19 pandemic closed schools in March.
Led by a contingent of fire trucks and police vehicles, the procession started at Maple Point Middle School. Families gathered along the procession with signs, banners and flags along the route to cheer for their graduates. The procession ended at the high school with students splitting up into simultaneous, but separate red and blue picnics on the front lawn of the school. It was arranged this way in order to stay within state and Bucks County Health Department guidelines to limit group gatherings. Students were allowed to choose which picnic they wanted to attend so they could be with their friends.
The yearbooks, which had been delayed due to a closure at the printer, were delivered in a special shipment and handed out along with diplomas. Students enjoyed a picnic lunch, music from a DJ, and the chance to enjoy the company of their classmates for the first time in months. Custom red and blue face masks were donated and distributed to all picnic attendees.
On Saturday evening a Salute to Seniors video presentation made its debut as a YouTube Premiere. Included were messages from teachers, graduation speeches, celebrity greetings, a roll call of graduates, and a slideshow of the procession and picnic from earlier in the day.
VIDEO LINK: Salute to Seniors 2020
Summer Stock hosts a virtual gala
With the pandemic shutting down the Neshaminy Summer Stock program this year, the organizers decided to celebrate their 55th anniversary with an online gala. On Friday, June 26, they presented a video tribute on their Facebook page. This event included performances from Summer Stock participants past and present, interviews, tributes, and special guest appearances.
Howard Lindner of Langhorne passed away on June 17. Mr. Lindner was a teacher, coach and administrator at Neshaminy School District. He taught physical education and then social studies. As a coach he blazed a trail with boys and girls track, and coached gymnastics, wrestling and basketball. His goal was to challenge students to reach their full potential, pushing them as far as they can go.
He was active in the community, and regularly invited guest speakers to his classes such as governors, members of Congress and World War II veterans. He was passionate about Neshaminy politics and local political campaigns, and was a regular contributor at Neshaminy School Board meetings.
Mr. Lindner was a graduate of Long Branch High School in New Jersey, where he competed in multiple sports including as captain of the football team. He was an All-State in football. He attended Murray State University in Kentucky on a football scholarship, majoring in education.
He was married to the late Martha (Block) Lindner for 57 years. He is survived by an extensive family including children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren and their families. His daughter, Wendy Robson, is a music teacher at Maple Point Middle School.
Memorial donations can be made to the Howard Lindner Memorial Track Scholarship Fund, c/o Esther Diller, 811 Henry Avenue in Langhorne, 19047.
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
Dr. Rob McGee, Superintendent
2001 Old Lincoln Highway
Langhorne, PA 19047