Centennial School District Newsletter September 2017
In This Edition
District Updates & Happenings
Spotlight on Future Ready
Inside Schools & Programs
Letters from Students
Dear Friends and Colleagues:
On behalf of Centennial School District Board of School Directors and Administration, welcome back! We are thrilled to be going into the 2017-18 school year on a number of incredibly positive notes. We are supporting our students, teachers and administrators on such important work. Never has the role of public schools been so important and fortunately, we are ready for that work.
We want to thank the Centennial Community with entrusting your children to our care. We are striving to provide them with world class learning opportunities. We are thrilled that test scores are rising, certainly, but far more importantly, we are pleased that more and more students are taking advantage of Genius Hour opportunities, Maker Spaces and our Open Education Resources like Khan Academy, to name a few of the exciting programmatic opportunities.
You will see, in the months ahead, creative and collaborative seating arrangements in our classrooms. Follow your children and classroom teachers on Twitter and classroom Facebook pages. Students will be talking about brain breaks, moodles, and other cutting edge practices developed through our partnerships with The Franklin Institute and Character Lab, a University of Pennsylvania collaboration that is allowing us to figure out how our students learn best and most effectively.
As a school district, we are committed to several core concepts. We are moving the district forward by building our structures on three core ideas: First, academic rigor and relevance means that each youngster will have a standards based education that prepares him or her to participate in the real world. Second, a commitment to equity and excellence means the district will not settle for allowing gaps in gender or race to define our students and that we are committed to helping each youngster be excellent depending on that youngster. Lastly, innovation is vital. Innovation is incredibly powerful and exciting, and we are committed to helping our students, teachers and administrators be innovative. The challenges facing the world today will not be solved by the solutions of yesterday. Centennial is fast becoming an innovation hub. All three concepts are wrapped in the one big idea of growth mindset.
Growth mindset is the opposite of fixed mindset. All of us demonstrate both mindsets at different times. A growth mindset is incredibly powerful, and it is the idea that with work, practice and feedback we can all get better, regardless of age or skill level. Another way to think about this might be, “I’m not good at something, yet. But I will be better tomorrow than I am today.”
With these ideas, I invite you to join us on our journey to get much better. Centennial is a district on the move! Please join us as we strive to get better. Follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/csdinfo, Twitter at @Centennial_SD and we are always open to feedback through our electronic suggestion box at District Electronic Suggestion Box. Again, thank you for entrusting your children to us, we look forward to partnering with you and we wish you a great year!
Dr. David E. Baugh
Superintendent of Schools
District Updates & Happenings
Centennial School District Administration Building Settles into New Location
Introducing Robert Whartenby, Director of Facilities/Assistant Business Administrator for Operations
Mr. Robert Whartenby joined the Centennial School District in August as the Director of Facilities and the Assistant Business Administrator of Operations. Mr. Whartenby started his career in economic development, public sector real estate development to the design and construction of educational facilities (K-12); and, by way of natural progression, the operational management of educational facilities. Prior to Mr. Whartenby joining the Centennial School District team, Mr. Whartenby worked with for the Bensalem Township School District, East Penn School District, School District of Philadelphia, and the State of New Jersey.
Unique to Mr. Whartenby’s experience, is his personal background of having had the opportunity to have lived in several countries by way of the United States Air Force and the Department of Defense (Army). As a student of culture, and practiced in diversity, Mr. Whartenby is also well poised to promote the District’s initiative of equity and excellence.
Many of us have heard the quote “warm, safe, dry” from other senior administrators over the last several years. Mr. Whartenby’s charge is to reinforce this critical thought within facilities, transportation and food service to make Centennial School District a “center of excellence”, not only from the educational perspective but from an operational perspective as well.
Introducing Michelle Burkholder, Willow Dale Elementary School Principal
Ms. Michelle Burkholder joined the Centennial School District administrative team as Principal of Willow Dale Elementary School on September 5, 2017. Ms. Burkholder brings nearly twenty years of experience as a teacher and administrator. Prior to joining the Centennial School District, Ms. Burkholder was the Director of Pupil Services in the Pennridge School District. She was also an Elementary School Principal and Supervisor of Special Education in the Neshaminy School District.
Ms. Burkholder is excited to be a part of the Centennial community. As the principal at Willow Dale, she is looking forward to supporting the culture of the school to create an environment which is conducive to learning. In addition, Ms. Burkholder will make data driven decisions with staff to increase student engagement and overall achievement.
Staying in Touch with Centennial School District and Your School
It is important for parents and guardians to update their contact information (telephone number, cell phone number, and e-mail address) in Skyward Family Access to ensure that eAlert e-mails, text message alerts, and voice recorded messages reach them.
EAlert e-mail is the main method of communicating pertinent information to students and their families. Text message alerts and voice recorded messages are used for emergency notifications as well as for school absence notifications. Parents and guardians can opt into receiving text message alerts. For more information about Skyward Family Access, follow this link: http://www.centennialsd.org/Page/8401
To stay up-to-date with various events and news about the schools and the District, the community can follow the District on these social media sites:
To watch School Board meetings, student-developed videos, and other events, tune into the District's cable channel: CSD-TV on Channel 36 (Verizon) and Channel 28 (Comcast).
School Board meetings are live-streamed and can be accessed via the District website the evening of the meetings. Board Meetings live-streaming
Centennial School District Updates the Student Attendance Policy
After a fourth unexcused absence, the school will initiate a student attendance improvement conference with the parent or guardian. The process and consequences for any absences at that point will be discussed with the parent or guardian.
The updated attendance policy reflects Pennsylvania's new regulations regarding student attendance and truancy. The District stresses the importance of school attendance and submitting absence notes in a timely fashion.
Absence Notes Made Easy- Email Your Child's Absence Notes
Parents and guardians are now able to email student absence excuse notes to the school's attendance office. Emailing an excuse note is a convenient way to ensure that a student's absence can be reconciled as a legal and excused absence. If a parent or guardian has a note from a medical professional, it can also be emailed to the attendance office along with the student's name, grade, student ID number, or homeroom teacher. All schools will continue to accept written absence excuse notes.
Emailed absence excuse notes should include the following information:
· The student's name
· The student's grade
· The student's ID number or homeroom teacher
· The date(s) of the absence
· A reason for the absence
· A contact telephone or cellphone number of parent or guardian submitting the excuse note
Parents and guardians will receive an email from the attendance office secretary confirming that the student's absence note was received by the school.
Each school has a unique email address for accepting student absence excuse notes.
Davis Elementary School
McDonald Elementary School
Willow Dale Elementary School
Klinger Middle School
Log College Middle School
William Tennent High School
MealViewer as Easy as One, Two, Three
The MealViewer free mobile app is now ready for download. This mobile app has the capacity to display menus, nutritional data, and allergen information for items served at breakfast and lunch. This new feature will also act as a communication piece to display special announcements and events in your school cafeterias.
Here’s how to take advantage of this great feature:
- Go to your mobile app store, search for MealViewer, and download the free application.
- Once the download is complete, you will be prompted to search for your child’s school.
- Once you indicate the school, you can set that as your favorite so it automatically appears every time (you can add as many schools to your favorites as you need).
Once you are in the application you will see all the unique features MealViewer offers: marking favorite items so you are alerted the next time they are offered for breakfast or lunch, a rating system for meals, and a place to provide direct feedback so we can better service your needs.
The MealViewer app is convenient for parents but it is also a great tool for the students. If your child has a smartphone, please encourage him or her to download the app and stay on top of what is cooking in their school’s cafeteria.
Keeping the Middle Schools Warm, Safe, and Dry
During the 2016-17 school year, the Centennial School District began to plan out the projects to upgrade the two middle schools, Klinger and Log College. The District focused on improvements centered on energy savings enhancements. The scope of the projects was guided by a facilities assessment as it pertains to energy.
Klinger Middle School underwent the first round of improvements in the late spring of 2017. These enhancements included replacing the brick facade, windows, interior doors, and roof along with upgrading the HVAC and electrical systems. The scope of this project also included some minor enhancements to the flooring, toilet rooms, and paint. The construction project encompassed nearly ten and a half months of work over the two and a half months of summer when school was not in session. Throughout the fall, the final phases of the project will be completed.
“The amount of work that the Board approved is breathtaking,” said Mr. Christopher Berdnik, Chief Financial Officer, in reference to the expedited time between the final approval of the project in late spring of 2017 to the start of construction in early summer of 2017. The School Board began reviewing the facilities assessment in the fall of 2016.
The next phase of this project will include enhancements to Log College Middle School with the intent of construction beginning in the early summer of 2018. These enhancements will include similar features to the Klinger Middle School project based on the needs identified in the facilities assessment report.
Spotlight on Future Ready
The Centennial School District made the Future Ready School pledge in 2016. Since that point, the Future Ready Committee has developed a three-year plan to prepare students for the 21st century.
Future Ready is a network of innovative schools committed to reshaping education.
Future Ready schools value personalized learning, the dynamic use of technology, and collaborative leadership. Educators in Future Ready schools are encouraged to challenge the many assumptions behind the current structure of schooling and to reshape learning for our children who born to an ever-changing and increasingly connected global community. Click here for even more information.
Digital Equity is the First Step to Being Future Ready
Over the past three years, teachers in the high school and middle school have been using digital tools such as Canvas and the Google Suite. Canvas is a learning management system that sets up each course's learning materials, activities, and assessments online. The Google Suite allows teachers and students to create documents, spreadsheets, and powerpoints online that can be shared for collaboration or as part of an assignment. These digital tools are the foundation for a one-to-one learning environment where each course's curriculum can be delivered and accessed anywhere and anytime.
During the 2016-17 school year, William Tennent High School went to a bring-your-own-device model where students could bring any computer device they had to school and access the internet. What became quickly apparent to teachers and students was that not every device interacted with the digital tools in the same way. Worse yet, some students did not have a computer to bring to school. Many students used their smartphones as their computing devices, however distracting they could be.
The Centennial School District made the investment in the one-to-one initiative by reallocating the existing technology budget for the 2017-18 school year. The Chromebooks are conservatively priced and easy to maintain since they run off of web based programs. Most importantly, every student has the same device. Teachers can better plan for instruction without troubleshooting the performance of varying devices. Students who do not have access to a computer, for whatever reason, have the same ability to maximize their learning and engagement. It's an even playing field for every student, so that a student's academic success can depend on his/her desire to learn instead of the impediments of any particular circumstance.
Being Future Ready does not solely depend on access to devices and a student's desire to learn. An integral part of this equation is the instruction provided by the teachers. Each edition of Spotlight on Future Ready will highlight the new and transformative ways in which teachers are teaching and students are learning.
Inside Schools & Programs
Welcoming Full-day Kindergarten Students
The elementary schools welcomed the new members of the class of 2030 as Full-day Kindergarten students. Three hundred seventy-two Kindergarten students began their first day of school on Thursday, September 7. Their first couple days of school included getting to know the school and their classmates, but not long after, the students were well on their way into learning.
Kindergarten teachers begin each school year with building a classroom community where students learn the basics of sharing with peers, working together, and routines of school. Teachers have activities that the entire class does together, in small groups, and independently. For some students, this is their first experience in a classroom setting, as well as being away from their caregivers for the day. After a few weeks, even the Kindergarten teachers have a hard time distinguishing between the students who never had a school-like experience from those who did.
Within the first month of school, Kindergarten students are learning how to identify the letters of the alphabet and their sounds. Students begin to write their names and simple words with pictures, and how to represent a thought in a drawing. Teachers help the students explore books and the parts of a story as well as sing songs and rhymes, all of which are fundamental to developing literacy skills. In math, students are beginning to recognize patterns and shapes, identify numbers, and count using hand-on activities. The students even logged into ST Math, a web-based math program that teaches mathematical thinking and concepts in a game-like format.
Along with the academic learning, the students' day includes time for creativity and exploration, both within the classroom and in the specials, such as music, art, and physical education.
Davis Elementary School Kindergartners Take a Class Picture
McDonald Elementary School Kindergarten Team
Willow Dale Elementary School Kindergarten Students Make Friends
Yes, You Khan - Khan Academy Launches Across Elementary Schools
Every learner is different and has different learning needs. This is a belief that we hold true. We want to provide equitable, educational opportunities for all students in Centennial School District. In an attempt to do this we have implemented an educational resource known as Khan Academy. This is a not-for-profit organization on a global mission to provide a “Free world-class education for anyone, anywhere”. Over the past 10 years, Khan Academy has become the largest open educational resource in the world. As of 2016, Khanacademy.org is being used by over 100K educators across 190 countries with an estimated 2.5 million users. This revolution in educational access is backed by Google, and partnered with The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, NASA, MIT, Comcast, Disney, Bank of America, and many others in order to ensure that it will always be free to use without licenses, ads, or spam.
Currently in Centennial School District, we are using Khan Academy as an additional resource to help parents understand what their children are learning and to act as partners by assisting them at home. Over the past decade, high-stakes testing has tied the hands of so many dedicated, passionate teachers, and placed unrealistic pacing guidelines on them to cover material many of our students are not ready for. This has caused significant gaps in the foundation of our children’s learning. At Centennial, we choose to follow a higher path.
Last year’s pilot of this program was unbelievably successful at Willow Dale Elementary. We focused on teaching students at their instructional levels rather than where the state pacing guideline said their level should be. Support from the parents and teachers was overwhelming, which resulted in students succeeding and believing in a growth mindset philosophy about who they are and what they can accomplish. Parental reactions were extremely positive as they were given the tools to once again, play a significant role in their child’s education. Here in Centennial School District, we hope to continue this success and expand the educational opportunities for both our students and parents across the district as we move forward through the 2017-18 school year.
Take Your Seat at Davis Elementary School
What is flexible seating? It involves redesigning the classroom to give students a choice of where and how to sit, whether it be on floor mats, yoga balls, couches, high top chairs, stools or in standing areas. The students in Ms. McCloud's room have been adapting to this type of classroom setup since the first day of school. This is based on the idea that not all students learn in the same way, and that sometimes they learn best where they are most comfortable. Some students learn better at a desk while others learn standing up. Sitting up straight may work for one group of students while bouncing on a ball benefits others. It has taken us time to practice and become accustomed to this style of classroom, but we love the way it opens up the space and promotes collaborative learning.
William Tennent High School Readers Host Author
William Tennent High School students and teachers celebrated summer reading on Tuesday, September 26, with a special luncheon for the Big Summer Read. Faculty and teens read We Were Liars by E. Lockhart and The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard over the summer. Because of a generous grant from Centennial Education Foundation, students left school in June with new copies of the books to read.
A special feature for this year’s luncheon, the author of We Were Liars, E. Lockhart, joined the group and talked about what inspired her to write the novel. Ms. Lockhart shared that a fairy tale and the allusion to Shakespeare’s King Lear inspired her to write her story. She also explained how her childhood influences her work. Ninth-grader Anastasia Grytsay liked hearing about Lockhart’s childhood because “as a person, she felt very relatable.”
Senior Brianna Spellman commented “It was great to hear the author talk about how she created the plot twists for this novel. I liked how she said that teenagers fascinate her and that’s why she creates such interesting teen characters.”
Lockhart’s discussion of her writing process, plot twists, and teen audiences gave readers of all ages more insight into the novel. New to Tennent, freshman Iris Ortega-Rodriguez enjoyed hearing the author talk about her writing process as work. “What surprised me was that the author was very honest about how she actually had to force herself to sit down and write.” Students learned that even authors need brainstorming sessions, conferencing, and focused time to write.
Ms. Lockhart signed books for students, and she discussed her most recent publication, Genuine Fraud. Newtown Bookstore and the Southampton Library were on site to promote other up-coming literacy events with authors for young adults. This unique experience granted students the ability to meet the person behind the words, and learn more about what it is like to be a writer and see how they perceive their work. Students and teachers look forward to reading Lockhart’s new book, as well as other titles to continue talking about books all year long.
Random House Publishing gave the William Tennent High School library this cover art for Lockhart’s most recent novel, published September 5, 2017.
E. Lockhart, author of We Were Liars, talks to students and teachers during the Big Summer Read luncheon.
Letters from Students
At Klinger Middle School, there are plenty of fun ways to get involved! Klinger has sports programs, clubs, music programs, and activities for all students to join in!
There are a variety of sports that students in 7th or 8th grade can join. Starting with fall sports, we have field hockey, volleyball, football, cheer, boys´ soccer, and tennis. In the winter, you can sign up for boys´ and girls´ basketball, cheerleading, and wrestling. Lastly, we have the spring sports such as baseball, softball, track and field, and girls´ soccer. Many sports hold try-outs and you need a physical to join.
Klinger has many clubs that students of all grades can join. From September to April we have Reading Olympics. In Reading Olympics, you will get a list of certain books to read. Once you have read the books, you and your team will compete against other Bucks County schools in the spring. The next activity we have is Student Council. Student Council is when students will vote for their peers to help address issues within the school and to organize activities. If you are an artistic student, Creative Hearts is for you. The Creative Hearts club is a club designed for students to make different art projects. It is available for anybody who is interested in art from November to May.
Builders Club is a rewarding club. In Builders Club, you get to be involved in community service and help with different fundraisers from car washes to helping out with the mini THON. All money raised by Builders Club is donated to different charities. There is also a 6th grade field hockey club from April to May for any student who would be interested in playing in 7th and 8th grade. If you are into technology and gaming, you should join Games, Tech, and So Much More Club run by Mr. Quintangeli from December to June. This club is open to all grades. If you're interested in baking and cooking, then Klinger´s Kitchen is perfect for you. In this club you make a variety of baked goods and yummy things to eat. This club runs January to June and is open to all grades. Lastly, there is a Ski and Snowboard Club you can participate in at Bear Creek. You can rent skis or bring your own. This club is during the months of January and February and is open to all grades. Keep in mind you may need to pay a fee for some of these clubs!
There are also many musical groups to join including chorus, band, orchestra, and jazz band. Students can also try out for the musical, which is going to be the Lion King this year. If you don't have any musical talents, you can join the stage crew.
There are so many ways to get involved at Klinger during school and after school. Watch the morning announcements or go to the school's website to find out more information!
Jamie Maier and Hailey Balascsak
Klinger Middle School
Centennial School District Supporting Local Businesses
There is a saying that is common in some circles: Think globally, act locally. As part of the Centennial Community we would like to recognize excellence at the local level. This is the first part of a monthly series that recognizes an outstanding local business.
We would like to encourage people to shop locally and support Centennial businesses.
Each month, we will recognize a local business, talk about what makes them outstanding in our humble opinion, and we will encourage you to submit nominations for future articles. To be considered for review in our monthly electronic newsletter the business must be within the boundaries of the Centennial School District, provide superior business services, and be accessible to all citizens in the region. Please submit your recommendations through our District Electronic Suggestion Box!
Our first recipient is Hugh Frank Jr. Automotive Services. Hugh is a local business man and his three-bay automotive repair shop is often home to a classic automobile. Offering fair prices and outstanding work and craftsmanship to his customers, Hugh is an old-world craftsman that brings both piece of mind and superior knowledge of your vehicle to bare in his care of your car or truck.
Located across the street from the 7-Eleven on the corner of Maple Avenue and Street Road in Southampton, the doors are open and the lights are on for you whether you need an oil change, vehicle inspection or something considerably more complex. We encourage our readers to give Hugh Frank, Jr.’s a try—for an appointment call Hugh at 215-355-0300.
Internet Essentials from Comcast
Your family may qualify for affordable Internet access and a low-cost computer. Please see the brochure below for details. To learn more or to apply, call 1-855-846-8376 or visit InternetEssentials.com.
Current employment opportunities are posted regularly on the Centennial School District website. Follow this link to learn more about current administrative, teaching, and support staff positions: www.centennialsd.org/jobs
Centennial School District
Dr. David Baugh, Superintendent
Dr. Jennifer Polinchock, Assistant Superintendent
Mr. Christopher Berdnik, Chief Financial Officer
Ms. Judith Hengst, Director of Special Education (Retiring September 30, 2017)
Mr. AJ Juliani, Director of Technology and Innovation
Ms. Hannah Messner, Director of Human Resources
Ms. Catherine Perkins, Director of Teaching and Learning
Mr. Robert Whartenby, Director ofFacilities/Assistant Business Administrator for Operations
Board of School Directors
Ms. Kati Driban, President
Mr. Michael Hartline, Vice President
Mr. Mark B. Miller, Assistant Secretary
Mr. Steven Adams
Mr. Charles Kleinschmidt
Ms. Jane Schrader Lynch
Ms. Dana Morgan
Dr. Andrew Pollock
Mr. David Shafter
Dr. Dennis Best, William Tennent High School
Mr. Travis Bloom, Klinger Middle School
Mr. Andrew Doster, Log College Middle School
Ms. Shawanna Coles, Davis Elementary School
Mr. Michael VanBuren, McDonald Elementary School (Acting)
Ms. Michelle Burkholder, Willow Dale Elementary School