August 2023 Superintendent Update
Greetings Upper Moreland Community!
Welcome to the end of August and the start of the 2023-2024 school year! This time of year has always been an exciting time for me as an educator and an athlete. I’ve always been excited to welcome new students to my classroom as a teacher, and now to each of our schools as superintendent. As an athlete, August has always signaled the start of field hockey season–my favorite sport!
I’m sure you and your children may be feeling a mix of emotions. You may feel sad that summer is coming to an end, thrilled to start a new school year, or perhaps a bit anxious about a new school, a new classroom, a new teacher, and a new schedule. All of these feelings are understandable.
Please know that we are excited to welcome you to this new school year and to support your students. We are very happy that you are a part of our Upper Moreland community.
It’s going to be a great year!
Dr. Susan Elliott
Superintendent of Schools
2023-2024 District Goals
Our District’s Comprehensive Plan serves to guide the work we do for our kids. During this school year, we will continue to target the three goals areas of our plan: Climate and culture, student success and well-being, and community engagement.
Climate and Culture
Our ongoing focus on climate and culture will target creating a safe, respectful and productive learning environment for all with an emphasis on less structured spaces like the bus and cafeteria. We will also target climate and culture by working to increase equity and belonging for all students and staff.
Student Success and Well-Being
We will focus on student success and well-being as we concentrate on instruction, resources, and support for our students with diverse needs. Additionally, we will invest time in reviving and reviewing our District’s curriculum framework to ensure cohesive K-12 implementation of curriculum.
Because we value the role our community plays in student success, we will also continue to focus on strengthening our relationships in our community. This includes parents, local businesses, and community organizations.
To read the full plan, please visit the About Us page of our website.
On Monday, August 21, 2023 our Home Access Center (HAC) opened to families. You will find information about your child’s schedule, teacher assignments and transportation information. To access HAC please use this link.
If you have issues accessing the HAC, please contact the Help Desk at email@example.com.
If you have questions about your child’s schedule or assignments, please contact the school office.
Annual Student Information Update
As we prepare for the start of the school year, please take a minute to update important student contact information. You should have received an email from Upper Moreland Township School District (noreplyregistration@umtsd) with the subject 2023-2024 UM Student Information Update.
This email contained a link to our enrollment tool, allowing you to update important student contact information and other related start-of-the-year information. Thank you for taking the time to complete the pages on this form prior to Friday, September 8, 2023.
Safety and Security Updates
Our top priority continues to be student and staff safety. This year, we’ve made some changes to improve District safety. First, we improved the main entrance of the middle school to create a more secure entrance. Second, we have hired two safety and security monitors to support our ongoing focus on creating a safe, respectful, and productive learning environment for all. One safety and security monitor will call the middle school home; the other will call the high school home. Both will be available to help across the District as necessary.
Free Breakfast for 2023-24 School Year
Positions Available - Join Our Team!
Dates to Remember
- Monday, August 28, 2023 First Day of School for students in Grades 1-12
- Middle School Grade 6 Orientation 7:35 AM (rescheduled from 8-24)
- Middle School Grades 7 & 8 Report on a 2 hour delayed schedule 9:35 am
- Tuesday, August 29: First Day of School for Kindergarten
- Wednesday, August 30: Intermediate School Meet the Teacher Night
- Friday, September 1: No School for Students and Teachers
- Monday, September 4: District Closed - Labor Day Holiday
- Tuesday, September 5: Committee of the Whole Meeting
- Wednesday, September 6: High School Back to School Night
- Thursday, September 7: Primary School Meet the Teacher Night Grades 1 and 2
- Tuesday, September 12: Policy Committee Meeting
- Thursday, September 14: Middle School Back to School Night
- Tuesday, September 19: Legislative Meeting
- Monday, September 25: No School for Students and Teachers - Yom Kippur
Welcome to Our New Staff
We are excited to welcome almost 50 new members to our Upper Moreland community. Our new staff include classroom teachers, instructional assistants, custodians, food service workers, safety and security monitors and bus drivers. To prepare for the start of the school year, our new staff attended orientation meetings in their departments and worked with mentors and supervisors.
Welcome New District Administrators
Three new administrators have joined Upper Moreland. We are excited to welcome them to our school community.
Kevin Burke, Assistant Principal at UMMS
Mr. Kevin Burke joins the administration team as an Assistant Principal at the Upper Moreland Middle School. Mr. Burke brings over 17 years of experience to Upper Moreland MS. He has served as an administrator in both the Wissahickon and Cheltenham School Districts. As a vice principal at Cheltenham, Mr. Burke led a middle school focus group that was recognized by the National Middle School Association for “Teams that Make a Difference”. He looks forward to working with the administrative team, students, and families at Upper Moreland Middle School.
Elizabeth Dertouzos, Supervisor of Special Education
Ms. Elizabeth Dertouzos joins the administrative team as our new Supervisor of Special Education for grades 6-12. Ms. Dertouzos has served The School District of Philadelphia for the last decade as a Middle School Learning/Emotional Support Teacher, Special Education Coordinator, and High School Assistant Principal. This will be Ms. Dertouzos’s eighth year as a school leader, and she is eager to put roots down in the Upper Moreland community, working closely with teachers, students, and families to improve student outcomes.
William Hyatt, Controller
Mr. William Hyatt joins the administrative team as our new Controller in the District’s Business Office. Mr. Hyatt brought five years of public accounting experience when he came to Upper Moreland in August 2021 as our Senior Accountant. We are proud to have him move into the Controller role, leading the Business office team in our day to day operations. He is excited to continue working for the District supporting the community in this new capacity.
Fall Sports and Marching Unit
When our fall student athletes and musicians fill the fields and courts at the high school, we know that school will soon start. Our Upper Moreland Marching Unit (UMMU) has been rehearsing music and learning formation for their 2023 show. Our football, cheerleading, soccer, tennis, field hockey, golf, and cross country teams have been honing their skills and working on game strategy to prepare for their upcoming fall seasons. If you’re interested in supporting our high school or middle school student athletes and musicians, check out the fall sports and music schedules. You can find links to the schedules here.
Preparing for Our Students
Throughout the summer months, our facilities and grounds crew have been busy cleaning and preparing our buildings and grounds for the arrival of students. Our transportation department has ensured that our fleet of buses and vans are tuned up and ready to transport students to and from school and events. Our administrative team has been busy this summer conducting interviews to hire new staff. They have also worked as a team to develop action plans for our 2023-2024 District goals.
In August, all staff returned for professional development and to prepare for the opening of school. Staff attended meetings in their buildings, curriculum workshops, sessions on safety and security, and training on trauma informed care and practices. Staff also attended a Kick Off event at the high school to reconnect and celebrate the accomplishments of their colleagues.
UMTSD Transportation Award
On behalf of the Upper Moreland School District, Kelly Rhodunda, our Director of Transportation, received the Green Bus Fleet Award (Rural Fleet under 50 Buses Category) at the School Transportation Network (STN) summit in July.
Transportation Director Kelly Rhodunda, who has over 23 years of experience in the student transportation industry, stated that collaborative efforts led to a successful procurement of the first district-owned fleet of propane school buses in Pennsylvania. “This award is very important to me,” said Rhodunda. “It highlights the importance of having a green fleet. Being recognized by others in this industry shows that this is a sustainable option for school districts. This is something that will be better for communities [and] better for our children.”
Thank you to Kelly and her Transportation team for all your hard work and dedication to our students and families of Upper Moreland!
Photo caption: The Rural District Under 50 Buses Category award was given to Kelly Rhodunda, transportation director at Upper Moreland School District (Photo by Philicia Endelman.)
Board President Recognized for 8 Years of Service
The Pennsylvania School Boards Association established an Honor Roll to recognize Board members across the state of Pennsylvania for their dedication and years of service to their respective communities and districts. Current Board President, Ms. April Stainback, earned Honor Roll recognition for her eight (8) years of service on the School Board for Upper Moreland School District.
Ms. Stainback is a highly respected and valued member of the Upper Moreland Board of School Directors. She is committed to serving all students and families of Upper Moreland to ensure our students receive an excellent education both in the classroom and through the many opportunities we provide students.
Congratulations to Ms. Stainback for being named to the PSBA Honor Roll. We are grateful for her years of service to the Upper Moreland School District and our community.
UMTSD Honors Staff for Years of Service
At the Annual Kick Off Meeting for Upper Moreland staff, employees were recognized for their years of service to the District. Thank you to the following staff members who have dedicated 10, 20, and 30 years of service to the students and families of Upper Moreland School District. And a special thank you to our Home and School Associations (HSAs) for generously donating Amazon gift cards presented to our honorees.
10 Years of Service:
UMMS Library Media Specialist Amy Auld; UMIS Instructional Assistant Renee Bozzola; UMMS Special Education Teacher Rachel Bradley; UMMS Custodian Melvin Brooks; UMIS Special Education Teacher Jacquelyn Burke; UMMS Custodian Alberto Ciaburri; UMHS Music Teacher Glenn Cowen; UMHS Custodian Richard Levette Sr.; UMHS Custodian Marjorie Martin; UMPS Instructional Paraprofessional Heather Mosko; UMIS Custodian Boodram Nandlal;
and UMMS Food Service Assistant Manager/Cook, Christine Sheets.
20 Years of Service:
UMHS Guidance Counselor Noelle Baratta; UMMS Literacy Teacher Elizabeth Bremer; Transportation Bus Driver Ernest Brown; UMPS Kindergarten Teacher Tawnya China; UMMS Science Teacher Cheryl DiSantis; UMPS Title I Reading Specialist Christine Flaherty; UMIS 4th Grade Teacher Kellyann Gallagher; UMMS Science Teacher Michelle Meeks; Transportation Secretary Margaret Pomponio; Transportation Van Driver Linda Ritz; UMMS Mathematics Teacher Melissa Schuck; and UMHS Librarian P. Heather Watson.
July and August Board Meetings
During July and August the Board of School Directors held several legislative meetings. Below are highlights of Board action taken during the meetings. To review the meeting agendas, please visit the School Board section of our website.
At the July 18, 2023 Board meeting, the Board approved the hiring of several new staff members including an Athletic Trainer, an additional counselor, and classroom teachers.
At the July 20, 2023 Special Board meeting, the Board appointed Ms. Sharia Wallace to serve on the Board of Directors until December 2023.
At the August 15, 2023 Board meeting, the Board approved the Friendship Connection German Exchange Program and a tour and performance in New York City for our Upper Moreland High School Choir.
At the August 15, 2023 Board meeting, the Board approved the replacement of two Air Conditioning units at the high school.
At the August 15, 2023 Board meeting, the Board approved the hiring of several new staff members including classroom teachers, controller, a safety and security monitor, and several instructional assistants. The Board also approved two new curriculum supervisor positions to support teaching and learning for the District.
At the August 15, 2023 Board meeting, the Board adopted Policy 137.3.