In The Q

August 20, 2021 Newsletter

Bucks County Health Department revises guidance to schools

Following the Board of School Directors approving the QCSD 2021-22 Health & Safety on August 12th, the district received new health and safety guidance that requires the Board to reconsider its layered mitigation strategies for reopening.

A little background: On August 15, the Bucks County Health Department (BCHD) released a guidance document and FAQs for reopening schools for the 2021-22 school year (linked below). On August 17, BCHD and the Chair of the Bucks County Commissioners met with Bucks Superintendents and issued a press release with updated guidance. On August 18, BCHD met with school-based nurses from across the county to review the practical implementation of the protocols listed in the August 15 guidance.

For the past 18 months, throughout the pandemic, the School Board has relied on the guidance of the BCHD Director. In turn, this school year’s Health & Safety Plan that was approved last week was previously reviewed and approved by BCHD prior to it going before the Board for consideration. With the subsequent updates this week, the QCSD Administration made modifications to the 2021-22 Health & Safety Plan, and resubmitted them to the BCHD for consideration and review.

What the Administration receives back from BCHD will be forwarded to the Board for consideration at the 7 p.m. Thursday, August 26 School Board meeting. Any changes to the previously approved Health & Safety Plan must be formally adopted by the Board.

Click here for QCSD Health and Safety plan as approved on August 12th.

Click here for the BCHD 8/17/21 updated recommendations.

Click here for the BCHD 8/15/21 reopening guidance.


11 QCHS students receive AP Capstone Diploma

Eleven Quakertown Community High School students earned the AP Capstone Diploma™ during the 2020-21 school year. The program helps students develop critical thinking, research, collaboration, and presentation skills that are critical to academic success.

The exceptional students are 2021 graduates Rachel X. Anderson, Jonas Moll, and Ava T. Rossini, in addition to current students Yelizaveta P. Hernandez, Madelyn I. LaBonge, Paul W. Lancos, Eliza S. Menser, Alexis N. Mowrer, Sara Nouri, Delaney M. Peckham and Lucas R. Schwartz.

“The accomplishments of these 11 students didn’t happen by accident,” QCHS Principal Mattias van't Hoenderdaal said. “They have worked very hard and this is a testament to their efforts. Our students and teachers showed extraordinary commitment while facing historic challenges. This is a meaningful college readiness program that will serve our students well after high school.”

Please click here for the story.


Academic excellence

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Panthers one of only two teams in Bucks honored by coaches association

The Quakertown Community High School baseball team is again receiving national recognition for its success in the classroom.

The Panthers received the American Baseball Coaches Association’s 2020-21 ABCA Team Academic Excellence Award, which recognizes college and high school programs from across the country that posted a GPA of 3.0 or above on a 4.0 scale for the entire 2020-21 academic year. More than 200 high school programs and 380 collegiate programs were recognized with this year’s award.

In Bucks County, only Quakertown and Central Bucks West qualified for the award.

Please click here for the story.


Students honored by School Board

Superintendent Dr. Bill Harner and the Quakertown Community School Board recognized four outstanding students during the August 12th meeting.

Madelyn LaBonge, the student representative, is the only one of the four returning to QCHS. This summer she was selected to attend and participate in Notre Dame University’s Pre-College summer program, where she studied and analyzed cancer biology. Madelyn ranks first of 413 students in the QCHS Class of 2022 with a GPA of 4.4. President of the National Honor Society, she is also captain of the soccer team.

Abby Jacobes is the Pennsylvania State SkillsUSA Welding champion - she finished third nationally - and is a member of the National Technical Honors Society, and a 2021 Elmer Gates Enterprise Award recipient. She turned her Cooperative Education student trainee position into a full-time job with Klover Contracting.

Hans Muse was a three-sport star (football, wrestling, track) as a senior and will be attending Penn State. Hans was also part of the Environthon team that won the Bucks County championship for the first time.

Elizabeth Hilton, who took 14 Advanced Placement classes at QCHS, was Vice President of National Honors Society and one of three student speakers at graduation. She has been accepted into Penn State’s Schreyer Honors College and received the 2021 McKinstry Scholarship from Penn State, which pays full tuition and half room and board.

QCSD Board Meeting 8/12/2021


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AP Boot Camp paves way for freshmen success

Though the first day of classes in Quakertown Community School District doesn’t begin until August 30th, approximately 37 incoming freshmen have been participating in the district’s first AP Boot Camp this week. The three-day session is for students interested in taking AP Human Geography. Though only freshmen, several are taking additional AP courses in 2021-22.

The challenging college-level course explains how humans have understood, used, and changed the surface of the earth. Students will use the tools and thinking processes of geographers to examine patterns of human population, migration, and land use.

“The main thing we’re trying to do is prepare students for the challenge that awaits them on August 30th,” said Sean Burke, who teaches the Advanced Placement course. “We’re explaining to them what the course is about and how to be successful.” He said it’s not simply linear history. Instead, it’s thematic, “which is very different from what they’re used to,” he said.

Please click here for the story.


St. Luke's schedules free lunch pickup

Anyone 18 and under may stop by St. Luke's Quakertown Campus for the hospital's free summer meals program.

Boxed to-go meals will be served August 23-27 from 11:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. at 1021 Park Ave. in Quakertown.

For more information, contact St. Luke's Community Health & Preventative Medicine at 484-526-6270.


Meet The District's Newest Teachers!

Madison Bender

Education: Shippensburg University, dual Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood and Special Education

In QCSD: Fourth-grade math at Trumbauersville

Previously: Third-grade math at Trumbauersville

Fun things: "Some of my hobbies are to exercise, go for hikes, color, and hang with my family and dogs."

Why did you become a teacher?: "I wanted to make a difference in a child's life. I love the moment a child learns something and their face when it finally 'clicks.' I also love the connections and relationships you build as a teacher."

Brittany Hendler Dietz

Education: Mansfield University (undergrad) music education; West Chester University (graduate), music education

In QCSD: Elementary Orchestra, Pfaff, Neidig, Richland

Previously: Lakeside Educational Network, music instructor

Fun things: Rock climbing, yoga, gardening

Why did you become a teacher?: "Provide students with the opportunity to become lifelong appreciators, consumers and performers of music."

Amanda Forlini

Education: Millersville University, undergrad; Clarion University, graduate school

In QCSD: Fourth- and fifth-grade learning support at Pfaff

Previously: Five years at Elizabethtown Area School District

Fun things: "Swimming coach, reading, playing with my dog (Ollie), spending time with my husband (Connor) and family."

Why did you become a teacher?: "I enjoy watching and helping kids learn. I had a third-grade teacher that I really loved and I wanted to be like her."

Kelly Gansarski

Education: Ursinus College; Widener University; Penn State, ABA Certificate

In QCSD: Board Certified Behavior Analyst, K-6

Previously: Easter Seals, ABA parent coaching program

Fun things: "I love to go to Barnes & Noble and shop for all kinds of books. I spend a lot of time at Target and walking my dog and watching movies with my daughters."

Why did you become a teacher?: "I am a behavior analyst and I hope to support children in the classrooms. I love working with teachers to create individual plans that help children succeed."

Amanda Izzo

Education: Bloomsburg University, dual Bachelor's degree in Special Education and Early Education

In QCSD: Second grade at Trumbauersville

Previously: Fullday kindergarten and elementary content/technology specialist at Trumbauersville

Fun things: Coaching girls soccer; wedding planning

Why did you become a teacher?: "That feeling you can't explain when you make a difference in a child's or someone's life."

MacKenzie Kramer

Education: West Chester University, health and physical education teaching degree; Indiana University of Pennsylvania, exercise science degree

In QCSD: Health and physical education teacher

Previously: substitute at Pottsgrove and Quakertown

Fun things: Peloton bike: "Spinning is my life."

Why did you become a teacher?: "To share the same passion I have for health and fitness with today's students."

Whitney Mitter

Education: Drexel University, undergrad; University of Maryland, Baltimore County, graduate

In QCSD: General science, grade 9

Previously: Anne Arundel County Public Schools, sixth and seventh grade science, 2011-2021

Fun things: "Hiking, sewing, volleyball."

Why did you become a teacher?: "Connect with students and get them to discover world and science."

Roberta "Bobbie" Sutton

Education: Temple University; University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, Masters of Science in Education

In QCSD: School counselor at Neidig

Previously: Intern at Strayer and Quakertown Elementary

Fun things: "Cooking - I recently perfected my hot sauce recipe!

Why did you become a teacher?: "I am an immigrant from Japan! My mom is Japanese and my is American. I came to the U.S. not speaking English. My schools had no support for EL students at the time. Being biracial made my identity confusing and it started to impact my mental health. I am very passionate about mental health and healthy development, which is why my dream position is my current job as elementary school counselor!"

Sarah Townsend

Education: Bachelors of Science, Early Childhood Education, Bloomsburg University

In QCSD: Second grade at Neidig

Previously: First grade at Neidig

Fun things: Running, baking

Why did you become a teacher?: "My second-grade teacher inspired me because she was the first one who got my 'shy self' to break out of my shell. I knew from then on that I wanted to shape future generations just like she did."

Geoff Whitcomb

Education: B.A., English Literature, Kutztown University; M.S., Experiential Education, Mankato University; M.A., World Mission & Evangelism, Asbury Theological Seminary

In QCSD: Teaching K-5 vocal and general music at Neidig. Rocking it!

Previously: Odyssey Charter School, Wilmington, DE, grades 3-5 general music and choir

Fun things: Reading, paddling, playing chess

Why did you become a teacher?: "It's my calling, and it's what I've done in all aspects and phases of my life."


District hires Transportation Coordinator

Brooke Ott, formerly of the Brandywine Heights Area School District in Berks County, has been hired to be Transportation Coordinator for the Quakertown Community School District.

She was approved unanimously by the School Board on August 12.

Ms. Ott will oversee all aspects of the administration and operation of QCSD’s transportation department and serve as the liaison between the district and Levy School Bus Co. Her work will include overseeing the development of bus routes in addition to improvements in the accuracy of transportation cost reporting to the Department of Education for subsidy reimbursement. She will also provide an important internal control as recommended by Pennsylvania Association of School Business Officials and the Auditor General.

Please click here for the story.


High school set to host vaccine clinic on Aug. 27

Quakertown Community High School is hosting a COVID vaccination clinic for students ages 12 and over and any QCSD staff interested and not yet vaccinated. Rite Aid pharmacy is providing the Pfizer vaccinations.

Getting a vaccine is not a requirement for students, but the Bucks County Health Department, in its reopening guidance and frequently asked questions memo to schools “unequivocally recommends that everyone eligible get vaccinated.”

The clinic for the first shot will be held on Friday, August 27 from 11 a.m. to 12 noon in the high school cafeteria, 600 Park Ave. in Quakertown. If you are interested in having your child vaccinated or are a district employee who would like to receive the vaccine, you must fill out this form no later than Sunday, August 22 so Rite Aid knows how many vaccines are needed.

Please click here for the story.


Elementary, middle school band & orchestra sign-ups

There is still time to sign-up to learn to play a musical instrument this school year!

On the music department website you'll find everything you need to know such as musical instrument demonstrations, family testimonials, supply list, music store contact information, and more.

If you were in the band or orchestra last year, there's no need to register or sign up again. If this is your first year learning a musical instrument at QCSD, you'll need to sign-up to begin the process. Students in grades 3-8 can sign up for orchestra, and students in grades 4-8 can sign up for band.

Visit and click the yellow banner at the top of the website to get started today. Click the Contact page to email the band or orchestra teacher in your child's building if you have any questions.


QCSD's ESSER funding plan

Approximately $4.5 million of funding through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) federal grant program has been allocated to the Quakertown Community School District.

School districts are required to meet several specifications to receive this funding. The first is that they follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance with their Health And Safety Plan. Another is to receive public input and feedback from stakeholders.

The essence of QCSD's ESSER Funding Plan is focused on the myriad of academic, social-emotional, and mental health issues that resulted from the COVID-19 Pandemic. The federal dollars are one-time money and must be targeted at those needs.

Please take the time to review the Plan here and provide your feedback to Superintendent Dr. Bill Harner and the School Board at


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Football tickets on sale

Purchase at the High School main office from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tickets may also be purchased at the gate of the first few outdoor evening sporting events.

General Admission ------ $5
Family All Sports Pass ------ $50
Student All Sports Pass ------ $25
Season Football Pass (Reserved Seat) ------ $30
Season Football Pass ------ $20


Wrestling program golf tournament

The Quakertown Community High School wrestling program is holding a golf tournament at Fox Hollow Golf Club, Friday, August 27 at 11 a.m.

To register, click here.

To sponsor a hole, click here.


VFW scholarships for middle school and high school students

The VFW has two scholarships, one for students in grades 6-8 and one for students in grades 9-12.

The Voice of Democracy audio-essay program provides high school students with the unique opportunity to express themselves in regards to a democratic and patriotic-themed recorded essay. The national first-place winner receives a $30,000 scholarship paid directly to the recipient’s American university, college or vocational/technical school.

The VFW’s Patriot’s Pen youth essay contest gives middle school students a chance to win their share of more than $1.4 million in state and national awards. Each first-place state winner receives a minimum of $500 at the national level, and the national first-place winner wins $5,000.

Click here for more information.


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Here's how to access school board meeting videos

Please click here for videos of past School Board meetings.

Looking for past "In The Q" issues?

Quakertown Community School District

Gary Weckselblatt, QCSD Director of Communications, writes about the people and the programs that impact the Quakertown Community School District.