Neshaminy School District / June 2022
A Year of "back to normal" ends with celebration
The 2021-2022 school year started with the hope that some, if not all of the pandemic-related modifications, cancellations and remote learning would become nothing more than a memory. With the approval of vaccinations for adults and children, the Covid infection numbers steadily fell during the fall in Bucks County. Mask mandates became an option, and Neshaminy celebrated the return of in-person concerts, sports (with fans), Homecoming, class trips, Gym Night, live theater, dances and proms, and dozens of classroom and co-curricular activities. Many of these had record attendance and participation this year. Never again will our students and staff take for granted the simple pleasures of greeting each other every morning in-person, sharing a smile or a hug, sitting together in a noisy cafeteria, running with friends on a playground or in gym class, or working side-by-side on a classroom project.
It is important to remember those that we lost during the pandemic. Many of our students and staff know at least one family member, friend, colleague or neighbor who did not make it through these challenging two years. And we know that the pandemic took an emotional toll on many of us which will linger for years to come.
But it is also important to remember the resolve, hard work and resourcefulness shown by our teachers, counselors, support staff, parents and families, students, and community members that got us through the past two years and that we are now able to once again come together in-person as a Neshaminy family and enjoy all the traditions that make our District so special and unique. We have a strong community, and together we can face whatever challenges that are sure to present themselves in the future.
Graduation ceremony adds 680 new Neshaminy alumni
Under sunny skies with a light breeze, 649 Neshaminy High School seniors marched on to Harry E. Franks Stadium on Wednesday, June 15 for the 127th Annual Commencement Ceremony. The total number of graduates in the Class of 2022 was 680 (not all marched in the ceremony). Wearing the traditional red and blue caps and gowns, the students processed on to the field in front of over 5,000 family members and friends that filled both stands with some overflow chairs on the track. The ceremony was video livestreamed, drawing approximately 3,500 views.
Greetings were provided by Class Secretary Samay Patel and Class Historian Brendan Raven; the Welcome was delivered by Class Vice-President Matthew Lamb and Class Treasurer Jessica Mimm. Dr. McGee delivered opening remarks, the Salutatorian Address was delivered by Jennifer Okwara, and the Valedictorian Address by Aaron V. Lewis.
The Student Council Recollections were provided by President Kylie Marozsan, Vice-President Olivia Jacobson; Secretary Hannah Murray; Treasurer Morgan Drass and Historian Julia Barth. Principal Ryan Staub presented the class, and Neshaminy School Board President John Allen confirmed the diplomas. The roll call of graduates was provided by NHS teachers Siri Sammartino and Paul Tosti. Class President Sophia Grace Capecci closed the ceremony with some remarks before dismissing the Class of 2022 with the traditional tossing of the caps.
On June 9, graduating students in the Neshaminy Autistic / Life Skills and Neshaminy Employability Transition Skills programs were also honored with a ceremony in Theodore Kloos Auditorium. Their teachers spoke about each of their students, then presented with them with their Neshaminy diplomas. Dr. McGee was the featured speaker and NHS Special Education Teacher Sandy Spong delivered the opening remarks.
Keep the learning going all summer long!
Summer is here, and our Neshaminy Reading and Math Specialists have prepared some awesome lists and activities to keep our students engaged as they enjoy their break. The District Reading Specialists has posted suggested reading lists for every grade, with an emphasis on choice giving students the opportunity to find enjoyable reading material that matches their interests and reading style.
The summer math units are designed to build grade-level proficiency and remediate learning gaps. Students in grades K-6 can complete weekly lessons online using iReady My Path, while secondary students can access optional online tutorials through Apex Learning, and also complete optional math packets designed to introduce them to concepts they will be learning in each grade level and in advanced math courses at the high school.
In addition, our elementary reading and math specialists have prepared the following resources for parents to help them navigate the Summer Learning Program:
Neshaminy HS welcomes a new principal
On June 7, Stephen Garstka was named the new Principal of Neshaminy High School. He was approved unanimously by the School Board at their meeting June 7 and will begin in July. Mr. Garstka is currently an Assistant Principal at Bensalem HS, and before that taught physics for 12 years. He is a Bensalem HS graduate, and earned his undergraduate and masters degrees at Drexel University.
Mr. Garstka will be replacing Ryan Staub, who will be joining the staff at Pennsbury High School as an administrator at the end of this school year.
School Board Update
The School Board met on Tuesday, June 21 for a Public Meeting. Their next scheduled meeting will be a Board Public Meeting on Tuesday, July 26 at 7pm in the District Board Room at Maple Point. There is no Board Public Work Session in July. The meeting agenda and livestream video link will be posted at www.neshaminy.org/meetings.
Among the items considered at the June 21 meeting:
- Approval of the Food Services Contract with Aramark for the 2022-2023 school year. The program is self-supporting; the District is guaranteed a surplus return of at least $136,876 and will pay Aramark a management fee of $213,705.
- Approval of the Final Operating Budget for the 2022-2023 school year in the amount of $196,229,496.
- Approval of a multi-year contract renewal with ESS Support Services to provide substitute staffing (certified and support) starting in July, 2022 through June 30, 2026.
- Approval of recommitment of a $15 million PSERS Fund Balance no longer needed to meet the District's PSERS obligation. $12 million of that amount will be committed to the high school athletic fields project, and the remaining $3 million committed to pay for the addition of two classrooms at Poquessing Middle School.
- Approval of a roof repair project at Maple Point Middle School
- Approval of donations from Neshaminy Kids Club (see below)
- Approval of a contract to continue the Safe2Say Something Tip Response Services with the Bucks County Intermediate Unit. The BCIU monitors responses from the Safe2Say app, website and phone line and alerts the appropriate authorities with the information.
Additional information, documents and agenda items can be found at the meeting Board Docs website.
There are no committee meetings scheduled at this time. Committee meetings will resume in September.
All committee meetings are held in the District Board Room at Maple Point unless otherwise noted. The public is invited to attend and participate in Board and Committee meetings. All meeting times and locations are subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances; please check the District website www.neshaminy.org for any updates.
Kids Club donates funds for scoreboard, library furniture
The Neshaminy Kids Club has donated $50,000 toward the purchase of a new scoreboard for the high school athletic fields project and $25,000 toward new library furniture at Herbert Hoover Elementary School. The School Board gratefully accepted the donations at their June 21 Public Meeting. The Club partners with the District to operate the before and after-school daycare programs at Neshaminy during the school year, along with a summer camp (which is full for the current summer). The group has a long history of working with with the District to improve facilities that benefit both their programs and the District schools.
NHS athletic field projects underway
The Neshaminy HS athletic fields project is set to commence with construction beginning this summer. The first steps, starting in late June, will be the demolition of the tennis courts. That area will be used for drainage control, so completing that project is the key to the rest of the field renovations. As summer progresses, work on the new multipurpose field will also begin. The anticipated completion date for that is sometime during the fall of 2022. Simultaneously, the baseball field will also be done.
The softball field is also ready to begin, but the schedule for that is not yet definite because it is on the other side of the building and has it’s own drainage area separate from the other fields. But that field will be completed before the end of the construction season in the fall.
The last leg of the project is the field at Harry E. Franks Stadium, which includes a new track, and a new fieldhouse at the entryway to the stadium. The fieldhouse will include locker rooms, a concession stand, new bathroom facilities, and a ticket center. The fieldhouse is still in the design phase and will be put out to bid in late summer or early fall. Meanwhile, site work will commence on preparing the field and the pad for the new fieldhouse so that construction can begin shortly after students arrive back in the fall. Information about schedules for fall sports played in the stadium will be shared later this summer as the project progresses. The timing is imperative so that the entire project is complete in time for graduation to be held in the stadium in June 2023.
Register for kindergarten / new students
Registration for the 2022-2023 school year is now open. Families are encouraged to register their new students as early as possible to ensure that they are able to attend their neighborhood school. The registration process can be started online by visiting www.neshaminy.org/register. A member of the Central Registration staff will contact you to make an appointment to complete the process in-person
neshaminy Pre-K Counts registration open
Registration for the Pre-K Counts program at Neshaminy is now open. If you have a child who will be 3 or 4 by September 1, 2022, and meet the income eligibility requirements, you can enroll in this FREE quality program hosted in two of our Neshaminy schools and the Lower Southampton Learning Center. Pre-K Counts is a Pennsylvania grant-funded program with generous eligibility guidelines (household income as high as $83,250 for a family of four based on 2021 tax returns).
Visit www.neshaminy.org/pkc to find out more and register.
Summer Stock is back with three shows
For over 55 years, the Summer Stock program at Neshaminy High School has provided a high-quality theater experience for students from the entire region. This year they will be hosting three productions simultaneously. Students entering 7th through 12th grade will be staging the international and Broadway legend, Phantom of the Opera. Students entering grades 4 through 6 will be performing the musical version of the Disney Classic, The Lion King, Jr. The youngest performers entering grades 2-3 will be hosting a variety showcase of music and dance around the theme, Under the Sea.
Preparation for the 2022 Summer Stock shows begins June 27, and the performances will be held the week of July 20-24. Each level is designed to give the students a well-rounded introduction to live musical theater production, building on their skills as they learn all aspects of staging a show. Music educator and Neshaminy HS graduate Josh Tull is returning as Director (his fifth year); Neshaminy HS Instrumental Music Director Danny O'Neill is the Music Director for the Main Stage show; Neshaminy teacher Rebecca Douglass joins as Theatrical Director for the Theater Workshop show (Lion King); Professional actor Sean Devonshire, a graduate of Neshamiy HS, Summer Stock and Marymount College will be hosting the Showcase. Professional Choreographer and Performing Arts Instructor Trina Shumsonk is the Choreography Director for Phantom. Allie Devonshire, another Neshaminy graduate and a graduate of the Rider University Musical Theater Program is the assistant choreographer.
The community is welcome and encouraged to attend these highly-entertaining shows. Tickets will be available the week before the performances and at the door. The casts will be marching in the Middletown Township Independence Day parade. For ticket information, please visit www.neshaminysummerstock.com.
Fab lab offers summer camp, saturday classes
Did you visit the Bucks County Intermediate Unit Fab Lab at the STEAM Expo? This mobile STEAM education resource offers classes and technology-related programs throughout the county for students and educators. They also have a new Fab Lab Center in Warminster, where they host after-school clubs, Saturday STEAM-related programs and are hosting a summer camp program for up to 8 weeks! Find out more about this valuable resource and summer camp by visiting their website at https://www.bucksiu.org/fablab/summer-camp
District Calendar for 2022-2023 posted
important back-to-school dates
While summer has just started, and we hope that it will be a long one full of great memories, we also know that nothing lasts forever. With that in mind, here are a few important dates to keep in mind as you plan your summer fun:
- MONDAY, AUG. 15: First day of fall sports at NHS
- TUESDAY, AUG 23: Neshaminy HS New Student Orientation, last names A-K
- WEDNESDAY, AUG 24: Neshaminy HS New Student Orientation, last names L-Z
- THURSDAY, AUG 25: Middle Schools Orientation
- TUESDAY, AUG 30: Elementary Schools Orientation
- MONDAY & TUESDAY, AUG. 29 & 30: First day for teachers (Act 80)
- WEDNESDAY, AUG. 31: First day of school for K, 5 and 9th grades
- THURSDAY, SEPT. 1: First day of school for all other grades
- MONDAY, SEPT. 5: No school, Labor Day holiday
- MONDAY & TUESDAY, SEPT 26 & 27: No school, Rosh Hashanah
- THURSDAY, SEPT 22: Elementary schools
- THURSDAY, SEPT 29: Middle schools
- THURSDAY, OCT 6: Neshaminy HS
Dates are subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances. Please see emails coming from the individual schools and websites for times and details for orientations and Back-to-School Nights.
Chromebook need help? We're here for you!
A reminder from the Neshaminy Information Technology Department: Chromebooks may be kept over the summer for any supplemental or enrichment activities that may be provided by the District. If your device is in need of repair over the summer you may have it repaired or replaced with a loaner by appointment only.
All repairs will be at the Neshaminy High School starting June 20. Please follow the signs when entering the High School drive, and proceed to door 37 (next to the bus line parking lot) This is the only location that will be available for any device issue during the summer. Please scroll down to Chromebook Help on the District website to make an appointment for any repairs. A loaner will be provided during the repair.
PLEASE make sure that any repairs that are needed are addressed over the summer so that your device will be ready for the start of the new school year.
Help Wanted for the new school year!
Summer time is hiring time for the upcoming school year at Neshaminy. We are looking for certified and support staff for part-time and full-time positions across the District to join our awesome team! Check out the possibilities by visiting the Neshaminy employment web page at www.neshaminy.org/employment.
Ferderbar holds a flag day ceremony
On June 14, the second-grade at Joseph Ferderbar ES presented a Flag Day program to their classmates and family members. The event included songs, poems, and artwork honoring the flag and those serving our country in the military or as first responders.
Tawanka Patriotic Concert returns
After a two-year pandemic hiatus, the first-grade students at Tawanka Elementary School Patriotic Concert returned on Flag Day, June 14. With selections that included, "Yankee Doodle," "America the Beautiful," "Proud to be an American" and "This Land is Your Land," the students delighted a packed audience of family members with their songs and descriptions of the history and meaning of each.
Ferderbar completes 100 book challenge
This year, second graders at Ferderbar Elementary School took on the 100 Book Challenge! The students practiced their reading skills by reading books at their level throughout the school year. To celebrate all of the great books that they read they chose to share their favorites with their kindergarten buddies.
Prolific third-grade author / illustrator speaks to kindergartners
Drew Hoffman, a third grader at Tawanka Elementary School spoke to all 7 kindergarten classes about how he writes and illustrates his own Superhero Comic Books recently. He talked about how he got started reading Mo Willems Books with his grandmother. Then he continued reading more Mo Willems Books in kindergarten which led to him creating his own characters. Eventually, Drew started writing stories and then creating the comic books. He now has 11 comic books! The kindergarteners asked lots of questions about how he draws the lettering and comes up with the ideas for the characters and stories. His big message for the kindergarteners was, “you just keep practicing and you don’t give up, even when you get frustrated.” Drew admitted that he doesn’t really love writing but he does not just want to be an illustrator. He said, “If you are an illustrator, you are just drawing about someone else’s story. I want to draw about my own stories.”
Miller ES holds a superkids parade
The kindergarten students at Walter Miller Elementary School paraded through the school dressed as their favorite Superkids character. Superkids is the reading program used in grades K-2 at Neshaminy, and features a diverse group of characters each with their own personalities and interests.
Color Run was some messy fun
On Saturday, June 4 the Walter Miller PTO held the school's first-ever fundraising Color Run. Inspired by the Festival of Holi, a color run is a short race that features participants releasing a lot of brightly colored (but harmless) powder creating a spectacular (and delightfully messy) finish.
schools celebrate pedal power with group rides
Students at several schools including Herbert Hoover Elementary, Albert Schweitzer Elementary and Carl Sandburg Middle School celebrated Bike to School Day on different days recently by organizing group rides on their morning trip. With support from TMA Bucks and the Middletown Township Police, the riders were escorted by police vehicles along with some of their teachers and school administrators.
hoover butterflies fly free
Mrs. Daeche's fourth-grade students at Herbert Hoover Elementary School released their butterflies in late May. As part of a class project, they received a batch of caterpillars, watched them grow into chrysalises, then hatch into butterflies, and finally released them into the wild outside the school.
PTO turns Buck faculty room into a circus
Field days generate some high-energy fun
Almost nothing ends a school year or is as highly-anticipated as the annual Field Days at the elementary and middle schools. With everything from Olympic and Gym Night-style games to synchronized group dances and a faculty-student kickball game, each school has unique Field Day traditions. Thanks to the parent volunteers at each school, the Physical Education Majors and National Honor Society students from Neshaminy High School for helping to organize and run the games and providing lots of cold drinks and treats to keep things moving.
Student-faculty kickball game at Pearl S. Buck ES
Joseph Ferderbar ES
Herbert Hoover ES
Walter Miller ES
Albert Schweitzer ES
Maple Point MS
Carl Sandburg MS
Move-Up Ceremonies celebrate a year of achievement
Move-Up ceremonies in the District's elementary and middle schools were held to celebrate the completion of fourth and eighth-grade as students move up to new schools and new experiences. Family members were able to attend in person this year as the ceremonies were held to recall the highlights of their time at each school, recognize their accomplishments and wish them well as they move up to the next level in their education. Some of the ceremonies featured parades and "clap-outs," where students in other grades (or even in adjoining elementary schools) joined in the festivities by lining the hallways and clapping for the honorees as they paraded by.
Maple Point fifth and sixth grade stages the disney musical "Moana"
On May 27, fourth-grade students that will be attending Maple Point MS next year visited the school to meet Principal Andy Sokol and watch a preview of the 5th & 6th-grade musical, Moana, Jr. The musical was staged for the community the following Wednesday through Friday each night at Maple Point.
During rehearsal, the cast was treated to a special visitor: Justin Guarini from season one of American Idol stopped by Maple Point to give the cast a few words of wisdom.
AE students complete math challenge
Academic Enrichment teacher Keri Phelan ran a Math Challenge for her students at Tawanka, Hoover, and Buck ES this year. They had to complete a certain number of math challenge problems based on grade level and submit their packets by a designated date. After each challenge, the packets were reviewed and a random winner was selected and rewarded a small prize at each school. Over the course of the year, there were 15 challenges and 502 different student participants. Of those 502, 99 completed 10 or more challenges during the year. Those 99 students were awarded certificates and I LOVE MATH pencils to celebrate their hard work!
Poquessing celebrates 60 years with a veterans mural dedication
On Thursday, June 2, Poquessing Middle School celebrated it's 60th anniversary in a spectacular style with two events. The first, shown in the video above, was the unveiling of a new mural behind the school dedicated to veterans, past and present and future. A ceremony was held to dedicate the new mural to Navy Lt. Sarah Mitchell, a Poquessing graduate who was killed during a training exercise while serving in the Gulf in 2018. Her family attended the ceremony, along with guest speaker Patrick Murphy, former U.S. Representative, Under Secretary of the U.S. Army, and an Iraq war veteran himself. The project was organized by Poquessing MS teachers Amy Heilig and Christine Richardson. Contributions to the project involved the entire school.
The ceremony was attended by local veterans and first responders, and featured videos of students and teachers interviewing veterans and the Mitchells. Those interviews have been added to a website (designed by Laura Squicciarini) that will continue to grow as students add more content honoring veterans in upcoming years. The hallways of the school were lined with pictures of veterans and information about them and their service that students researched and created. Sarah's parents, Jack and Betsy Mitchell, cut the ribbon on the mural, which was painted by Evan Lovett from VURT Creative in Philadelphia.
Maple Point AE stages a mock trial
On June 10 the Academic Enrichment classes at Maple Point Middle School held a mock trial. The eighth-grade students have been preparing for weeks, using case material from the South Carolina Bar Association in their High School Mock Trial Competitions. Twenty-seven students took on the roles of prosecutors, the defendant, defense attorneys, witnesses and expert witnesses, jurors (including some seventh-grade students), the judge, court reporters, court sketch artists, and even the bailiff. The students argued the facts of "South Carolina vs. CJ Lannister," a murder case. Over the course of four hours, the jury heard the evidence, them returned their verdict.
World Language classes take a salsa break
In late May, the Maple Point World Language students studying Spanish enjoyed a cultural trip / Salsa dance lessons at Falls Manor. Seventy-six students participated with two teachers and two volunteer chaperones. It was a cultural enrichment program called EVERYBODY SALSA! The group enjoyed a dance performance by professional Salsa dancers and had a 2-hour instruction with Latin dance , music and authentic Spanish food.
Sports clinics build skills
Poquessing recently held an intramural wrestling clinic. Led by Coach Grant Passman, the clinic teaches the basics, and builds interest in the middle school wrestling program which runs from late November through January.
Neshaminy HS sports teams and coaches will be hosting several sports clinics and camps this summer for students in grades 3-9. Scroll down to the bottom of this newsletter for a list of these opportunities and links to information and registration forms.
Seniors honored at Military Commitment Ceremony
Neshaminy High School held it's 14th Annual Military Commitment Ceremony on May 26. Five NHS seniors were honored for their decision to join the U.S. military after graduation. Each was presented with a certificate and an American flag. The seniors honored were Aodhan Brolly, Navy; Dominik Modaffare, Air Force; Justin Keyes, Marines; Owen Steiner, Army and Ethan Landry, Marines.
NHS senior serves on Governor's Council
Neshaminy HS senior Evan Tiemann was appointed to the Governor's Youth Council for Hunting, Fishing and Conservation last year as a junior but due to Covid their meetings and events were limited to online participation only. Last month they spent two days in Harrisburg and had the opportunity to meet with Governor Wolf, the Speaker of the House Bryan Cutler, the Executive Director of the PA Game Commission, the Executive Director of the PA Fish and Boat Commission and the DCNR Secretary. Evan also stopped by Representative Frank Farry's office at the statehouse. During the meeting, the Youth Council had the opportunity to discuss bills currently in the House that they support and toured the capital.
NHS Business students earn Microsoft certificates
Students enrolled in the high school’s BCIT Information Technology 2 course have taken and passed the Microsoft Office Specialist Certification Test for Excel. This is an industry certification administered by Microsoft and recognized worldwide. Neshaminy High School has maintained a 95% passing rate. Information Technology 2 students have completed two years of curriculum instruction aimed to develop advanced Excel skills involving formulas, validation, charting, database filtering, integration, pivot tables and financial functions. The BCIT Department is pleased to see the students succeed and benefit from this industry credential. The Microsoft computer assessment is also a validation of curriculum and instruction.
2022 MOS Certified Students: Abdul Ahmed, Owen Dransfield, Michael Griffin, Nicholas Hauenstein, Ashley Roller and Ryan Tarapchak. We are proud of our students’ accomplishments. Congratulations!
Band marches in Middletown Parade
After a very busy and successful year, the Neshaminy HS Marching Band closed out with one last performance at the Langhorne Memorial Day Parade on Monday, May 30.
The final party for the Class of 2022
The Neshaminy High School Class of 2022 enjoyed food, games and yearbook signing during the Senior Picnic outside the school on Friday, June 10.
NHS sports page
Congratulations to the Neshaminy HS Boys Volleyball Team, 2022 District One Champions! They had a regular season record of 18-0 and were ranked #1 in the District going into the final playoff game against #2 Pennridge HS. They ended the season at the quarterfinals of the PIAA state championship with a 22-1 record.
The 2022 Pennsylvania State Champion Neshaminy HS Girls Bowling Team competed in Nationals held in Louisville, Kentucky in June. The team made it into the "Sweet 16" level of the tournament, and four (Shelby Wolstenholme, Dakota Banach, Riley Ratcliffe, Liza Rosenwald) made it into the "Survivor's Round" and beyond during individual competition. Congratulations to the entire team and Head Coach Tom Ratcliffe on a spectacular season!
Neshaminy sports teams offer summer camps, clinics
- Neshaminy Redskins Football Youth Camp / Grades 3-9 / July 11-15
- Elementary Summer Cheerleading Clinic, August 2-5
- Neshaminy Volleyball Camp / Boys & Girls Grades 6-9 / July 25-29
- Lady Skins Soccer Camp / Girls Grades 7-12 / August 9-11
- NHS Boys Basketball Camp / Boys Grades 4-9 / August 1-5
- Neshaminy Girls Basketball Camp / Girls Grades 3-9 / August 1-4
- Neshaminy Academy of Basketball (multiple summer programs)
- Neshaminy CORE Swimming and Diving (multiple programs and training)
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
John Allen - President
Tina Hollenbach - Vice President
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