Neshaminy Update

Neshaminy School District / December 2022

Neshaminy celebrates computer science with Hour of Code

Eighth-grade BCIT students at Poquessing MS invited K, 1st and 2nd-grade students from Joseph Ferderbar into their class to work on the Hour of Code together.

Students throughout the District participated in the annual "Hour of Code" during the week of December 5-9. The Hour of Code is an international project designed to promote interest in computer science and programming among young students. The students participate by completing a variety of age-appropriate programming challenges and games on the Hour of Code website. Students program simple games in languages such as Scratch, Python, Java Script, HTML and CSS. Though the projects do take about an hour, and the Hour of Code is celebrated in early December across the globe, the free website is available all year and students are encouraged to build their skills at their own pace.

This year, Instructional Technology Coach Jim Gosser visited each of the District's elementary schools to assist with implementation of the Hour of Code. Students in the second grade at Albert Schweitzer worked with their kindergarten counterparts to complete their activities.

"The goal is to prepare our students for a future filled with 21st century career opportunities, many of which do not even exist yet," Mr. Gosser said. "By learning computer science principles and STEAM learning opportunities, students will be better prepared for an ever-growing world with technology."

At Poquessing Middle School, the students in Karen Moraes' eighth-grade Business, Computers and Information Technology (BCIT) classes invited kindergarten, first and second grade students from Joseph Ferderbar Elementary School into their classes during the week for "Coding with Friends." The middle school students prepared lessons for their younger counterparts, and worked with them on the programming activities for each grade level.

At Neshaminy HS, BCIT students in the Cyber Forensics & Digital Law class earned their Hour of Code certificates by completing the activities during the week. Students had the opportunity to explore the Hour of Code website, choose programming activities that matched their interests, then earn the certificates by finishing the projects and running them on the site.

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NHS BCIT students pose with banners and their Hour of Code certificates (on the wall behind the group)

1995 NHS grad, spacecraft engineer returns to inspire the next generation

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Ben Cichy talks to students about his career in spacecraft design and engineering, including as a lead engineer on the Mars Phoenix Rover.

Ben Cichy, Neshaminy HS Class of 1995, visited NHS on December 22 to give a talk about his career working on the very cutting edge of human space exploration. Ben is an engineer and project manager who has held software engineering positions at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and The Jet Propulsion Laboratory. He was the Mission System Engineer at Goddard for the Asteroid Redirect Robotic Mission, the Project System Engineer for the Mars 2020 mission through Mission Concept Review, the Chief Software Engineer on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission, and an Entry Descent and Landing Systems Engineer on the Phoenix Mars lander. He has been awarded two NASA Exceptional Engineering Achievement Medals, a NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal, and multiple NASA Group Achievement Awards. He is currently working with Blue Origin planning their future moon landing missions. He and his family live in Seattle, Washington.

He spoke to the students about how his own curiosity for space exploration and perseverance fueled his career path. He credited his teachers at NHS as well as participating in the NHS Marching Band for the valuable lessons learned about never giving up despite difficulties and uncertainty.

Ben is one of the winners of the 2022 Neshaminy Alumni Achievement Awards this year and was presented with his glass trophy by his music teacher, Donna Burmylo-Magrann, retired NHS social studies teacher David Heaney and Neshaminy Education Foundation President Susan Webber. The presentation and Q&A were video recorded and will be shared with other students and the community.

LINK: Ben Cichy talks about the Mars Rovers at Paris Le Web in 2012

Neshaminy online library offers at-home resources

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Students looking for a good e-book or audio book for any grade during the holidays (or any time!) should check out a great Neshaminy library resource, Sora. This app, which can be accessed through Clever on student Chromebooks or linked through school library websites, offers a variety of reading and listening material for students in grades K-12. Other library resources such as the Summer Reading Lists will also be found in this app.

School Board Update

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Front (l-r) Carlos Rodriguez. Marty Sullivan, Tina Hollenbach, Cyndie Bowman, Alicia Lafferty. Back (l-r) Paul Saraullo, Adam J. Kovitz, John Allen, Kellen Sporny.


The Neshaminy School Board held their reorganization meeting on Monday, December 5 at Maple Point. Though no new Board members were added at this meeting, the Board chose Tina Hollenbach as the new President (formerly the Board Vice President) and Board member Paul Saraullo was chosen as the new Vice President.


The next Public Board Work Session will be held in the District Board Room at Maple Point, Tuesday, January 10, 2023, 7pm. The January Public Board Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, January 24, 2023, 7pm in the District Board Room at Maple Point. The meeting agenda and livestream video link can be found at


Board committee meetings are open to the public and are a good opportunity to discuss specific programs and projects with committee members in a less formal, more conversational setting than the full Board meetings. The following committees will meet during the school year:

  • Facilities & Planning Committee
  • Educational Development Committee
  • Business Operations Committee
  • Policy Committee

The full schedule of meetings for the 2022-2023 school year can be found at the following link: 2022-2023 Committee Meeting Schedule

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 for any updates.

NHS Fields Project Update

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The turf has been completed on the baseball field. New dugouts, a backstop and stands will be installed.

Work on the athletic fields at Neshaminy High School is now proceeding in high gear! The bright new turf baseball field is now in place, while site preparation and fencing on the tennis courts, multi-purpose field and softball field (pictured at right) continues.

The most noticeable overall change is the demolition of the spectator stands at the hallowed Harry E. Franks Stadium. Despite two days of heavy rain, the work commenced on December 14 and the home stands and press box were demolished by the end of the week. Demolition of the visitor stands is under way. Both will be replaced with metal stands and a brand-new press box. The Hall of Fame pavilion and snack stand are being removed and replaced with a new facility that will provide expanded restroom and concession facilities, team meeting rooms, and a new Hall of Fame area.

The grass field in the stadium is about halfway gone. This will be replaced with a new turf field. The oval track is also being removed and will be replaced with a new eight-lane track.

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As the old home stands come down, site work on the new tennis courts and multi-purpose field can be seen in the background.

NHS newsletter offers important course, testing, career info and deadline info

The Counseling staff at Neshaminy HS has published its most recent newsletter which is full of important information for every student in grades 8-12 and their families including:

  • AP College Board / ACT / SAT testing dates and registration information
  • Naviance and career information
  • Military recruitment contacts
  • Financial Aid resources and upcoming presentation (March 9, 2023) information
  • 2023-2024 Course Selection materials and deadlines
  • Before and after-school help resources

LINK: NHS Counseling Center Newsletter

Presenters wanted: Steam Expo returns March 29

The popular Neshaminy STEAM Expo is set to return to Neshaminy High School on Wednesday, March 29, 2023. This celebration of all things Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math draws hundreds of families from elementary and middle schools across the District for an evening of demonstrations, hands-on activities, displays, games and interactive presentations from community organizations and businesses as well as many of our teachers and students.

If you or somebody you know works for and/or is involved with an organization that would like to provide demonstrations and/or activities for our kindergarten – 6th grade students during this event, we want to hear from you! Please contact David Geanette at or call 215 809-6515 for more information and to sign up.

Our past community presenters have included art and science museums, nature centers, engineering companies, authors, colleges, coding/computer science businesses, health/medical industries, first responders, private art studios, manufacturing companies, tech-oriented businesses, wide variety of scientists (including food and sports science) and musicians (science and technology in creating music) and more.

Join our awesome Neshaminy team!

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We are looking for certified and support staff for part-time and full-time positions across the District. Check out the possibilities by visiting the Neshaminy employment web page at

ESS (the District's support staff employment partner) will be holding two informational hiring sessions on Friday, January 6 and Friday, January 20 from 10am-12pm each day. This is an opportunity to learn about the opportunities for substitute teachers and paraprofessionals. These sessions will be held in the District Board Room at Maple Point.

News from the Neshaminy Education Foundation

Foundation celebrating 30th anniversary with a fund drive

The Neshaminy Education Foundation was formed as part of the District's Strategic Plan in 1993. Education foundations are uniquely poised to support school districts as independent non-profit 501(c)(3) entities able to fundraise, solicit and accept donations, endowments and memorials in support of programs and scholarships for the schools they are linked to. The NEF is managed by a volunteer Board of Directors, and provides funding for an annual classroom grant program and four scholarships for graduating Neshaminy HS seniors.


One of the first fundraisers in this campaign was a Neshaminy Staff Holiday Donation Drive. Neshaminy families were offered the opportunity to make a donation to the NEF in the name of a favorite teacher, support staff member or administrator. The drive earned over $2000 and the honored staff members received a certificate marking the donation gift.



The Harlem Wizards will once again face our Neshaminy team of teachers, support staff and administrators in a game on Saturday, March 11 in Gym 3 at Neshaminy HS. The game begins at 7pm and doors open at 6pm. Tickets will go on sale in early January. The NEF is looking for community game and program sponsors - if you would like to support the NEF and be recognized at this very popular District-wide event, please contact Chris Stanley, for further information.

Morning Mingle offers support for families with preschoolers

The next Morning Mingle get-together for parents of pre-school children will be held at the Family Services Association of Bucks County office in Langhorne on Wednesday, January 11, 2023 from 9:30-10:45 am. This gathering is co-sponsored by the Association and Neshaminy School District Pre-K Counts program. Upcoming sessions will either be held at that location or the District Board Room at Maple Point MS.

This series is designed to provide families with a comfortable space to share parenting strategies through discussion and hands-on activities. It is led by Rachel Minton, Family Strengthening Programs Coordinator, and her team at the Family Service Association of Bucks County. Children are welcome, and light refreshments will be served. Sign up for one, or all!

LINK: Morning Mingle Registration

Wondering about lunch choices? New gallery has the info

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If you are wondering about the everyday lunch options available in Neshaminy cafeterias, the Food Services Department has posted a new photo gallery that should satisfy your curiosity. While the monthly menus provide information about rotating breakfast and lunch entrees, parents often ask about the other options such as daily entrees, sandwiches, salads, side dishes, fruit and snacks that students can choose any day. The galleries are displayed in three levels (elementary, middle school and high school) and contain photos taken in Neshaminy cafeterias. Visit the gallery at

Blood Drive at NHS January 21

The American Red Cross will hold a Blood Drive in Gym 1 at Neshaminy HS on Saturday, January 21 from 10am-3pm. This drive is sponsored by the Neshaminy Education Support Professionals Association. Sign up and schedule a time at or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.

News from our Schools banner

District third-graders fly Balloons over Broadway

Balloons over Broadway

Third grade students throughout the District enjoyed working on a fun Thanksgiving-themed STEAM project during the week before the holiday: Balloons over Broadway. The students learned about the history of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, about the science of how the parade works, how balloons are created, and how they fly (without escaping!). The students then designed, constructed and decorated their own balloons and parade floats which were paraded around the schools and recorded on video using green screens to make them appear over historical photos of the actual parade.

pre-holiday fun across the district

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Ugly Sweater Day at Walter Miller ES

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A Grinchy visitor greets students at Herbert Hoover ES

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Maple Point staff all dressed for the holidays!

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The Maple Point MS fifth-grade Choir and Orchestra performed a holiday concert for residents at the Oxford Senior Community in Langhorne.

Maple Point Music students took a trip to the Philly Pops December 16th, to watch the Philly Pops and have a meet and greet with the Director and Principal Conductor David Charles Abell, Lead Vocalist and Broadway star and TV star Jordan Donica and Santa after the concert. With special Guest appearance from retired teacher Maple Point teacher and Philly Pops Choir singer Joan Schenkel and Philly Pops orchestra performer and Maple Point graduate Jon Clark. It was a wonderful night for all.

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NHS "Holiday Band" at Middletown Township Open House Dec. 15

Neshaminy High School Choral Concert

Neshaminy High School Choral Concert

Neshaminy HS Orchestra Holiday Concert 2022

Neshaminy HS Orchestra Holiday Concert.

The NHS Winter Band Concert will be held on January 11.

schweitzer helps stocking donation drive

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On November 28 the Ambassadors and Student Council Officers from Albert Schweitzer ES filled 69 stockings with donated items. On Friday they will deliver these stockings plus 31 more to the Salvation Army.

Class celebrates reading with poetry and pie

First graders in Stacey Flynn’s first-grade class at Albert Schweitzer ES demonstrated their reading fluency skills at their Poetry Feast on November 22nd. Their performances highlighted all of the work that they have been doing to develop fluency and expression skills. After performing a several poems for their families, the class celebrated by sharing Thanksgiving desserts that the class baked the day before.

Schweitzer mismatch day helps shop with a cop program

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The families of Albert Schweitzer ES helped with the annual Shop with a Cop program by contributing $312 during the Schweitzer "Mis-Match" day. District School Resource Officer Missy Robison, one of the organizers of the local Shop with a Cop program in Neshaminy and surrounding communities, accepted the donation. Shop with a Cop was held at the Target store on Old Lincoln Highway on Saturday, December 10. Over 75 police officers from 18 area departments and 100 volunteers helped 350 Bucks County children enjoy a brighter holiday season thanks to generous donations from throughout the area.

Tawanka team ties blankets of love

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First-graders in Mrs. Phillips' and Ms. Wells' class at Tawanka teamed up and made six "no-sew" fleece blankets. These blankets will be donated to an organization called Project Linus that gives handmade blankets to children in need. Most of the children didn’t know how to tie prior to this project, but they worked hard to learn and helped complete the blanket. They are now part of the 9 million blankets that have been donated to this worthy cause!

Kindergarten pod transforms into a gingerbread wonderland

The kindergarten classes at Tawanka ES have a tradition this time of year of filling their pod with gingerbread men and women - LOTS of gingerbread men and women. The students have been busy creating gingerbread-themed crafts, writing stories, drawing pictures, and on December 21, they had the opportunity to decorate their own gingerbread people with some help from parent volunteers that joined in the fun.

Middle School "Mini MiniTHON" nets $3755 #FTK

The Neshaminy middle school version of the Neshaminy HS Minithon (itself a high school version of the Penn State THON), raised $3755 to support Four Diamonds, a foundation devoted to helping pediatric cancer victims. Students from all three middle schools participated in the festivities in Gym 1 at Neshaminy HS on Saturday, December 3. The finale was the traditional THON "reveal" when the total donation amount was announced.

Sandburg Tug of War teaches a history lesson

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On December 8, eighth grade social studies students at Carl Sandburg MS recently participated in a tug of war activity to review what they learned about the American Revolution. Blue (the Colonies) and Red (the British) faced off in some intense battles...and then the Purple Team (the French) came to Blue's aid, leading to an American victory! What a creative, fun way to learn about U.S. History.

Middle school teams support athletes helping athletes

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The girls' basketball teams from all three District middle schools participated in a first annual basketball fundraiser on November 17 to benefit Athletes Helping Athletes, a Bucks County non-profit that sponsors programs connecting special needs athletes with mainstream student athletes. The tournament, sponsored by the Neshaminy Academy of Basketball, featured three games between the Neshaminy teams and other area teams, and raised over $2000 for the non-profit.

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sandburg spirit squad gathers holiday cheer

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The amazing students of the Sandburg SPIRIT SQUAD filled stockings which were donated to the Salvation Army and distributed to local families. Each year the students collect toys, books, and other stocking stuffers to create awesome stockings. With the generosity of their school, together with our community, they were confident of reaching their goal of 100 stockings.

Door contest builds Sandburg spirit

Carl Sandburg Student Council held a door decorating contest. W.I.N classes were encouraged to use teamwork to give their classroom door a makeover displaying kindness and/or S.P.I.R.I.T., their schoolwide positive behavior program. All of the creative doors are certainly warming the halls of Sandburg!

sandburg honors students with a ceremony

On Friday, December 16, Carl Sandburg MS held their first-ever Student of the Month recognition award ceremony. 18 students were honored by the teachers that nominated them. Their families were invited to attend the ceremony which was held just before the start of the school day.

Fifth-graders collect extra Halloween candy for the troops

Every year, students in Ray Weldie’s class at Maple Point MS participates in a program called Food4Troops. It starts by collecting extra Halloween candy and shipping it out to deployed soldiers around the world. In January, it continues with a collection of goods (Chef Boyardee Beefaroni, Spaghetti, etc., tuna fish, granola bars, unscented baby wipes, black crew socks, and some financial donations for postage/shipping), and they ship those boxes to our troops. On December 1, they finished and packaged four (4) boxes of candy that will be shipped to our soldiers in Poland, Africa, and South Korea.

Maple Point food drive provides family meals, fills food bank

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The annual Maple Point MS Food Drive provided full Thanksgiving meals for 40 families plus 5,000 pounds of food donations for the ERA Food Pantry in Levittown.

NHS distributes 150 holiday meals

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Neshaminy HS students, staff, families and generous local business donors have been working hard to make the holidays a little brighter for families that could use a little extra help. 75 boxes were packed with food items for holiday meals. This is in addition to another 75 boxes that were similarly distributed before the Thanksgiving holiday. The Christmas boxes included chickens, stuffing, cranberries, carrots, green beans, peanut butter, jelly, bread, cookies, pies, mashed potatoes, gravy, granola bars. Turkeys were distributed in the Thanksgiving drive. The Neshaminy HS Interact Club baked and packaged the home-made cookies for the boxes.

These are distributed during the week before the holiday break along with donated gift cards for the recipients that can be used to purchase necessities during the holidays. Neshaminy High School would like to thank all their donors and give a special thanks to Giant Supermarket for supplying many of the food items.

NHS artists create mural for bucks county youth center

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The students from the PASS program, the Art Club, and Painting and Drawing class worked with Mr. Bursk to create murals for the Bucks County Children and Youth center. They worked with images of sea creatures and the sea floor to make small paintings that we combined to create the Mural. The Art Department will be offering a Mural class next year with hopes to create many more Murals both for the school as well as other community organizations.

Roadies clean up at thespian conference

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In early December, fifty Neshaminy HS students attended the PA State Thespian Conference held at North Penn HS. This event included other high school students who study theater from all over the state. Students participated in workshops, watched other high school productions and got to meet others who share the same passion for theater.

It was a big weekend for Neshaminy at the Conference! For the past year senior, Maddie McKenna, has served as a Student Thespian Officer and helped both plan and act as one of the hosts for the conference. Olivia Garland won a $1000 Scholarship for Musical Theater. Maddie McKenna and Ryan Dott took 2nd place in the state for Improv. Christopher Simcox and Nick Fallon won 1st place in the state for Improv. Savannah Acker was awarded All Star Cast for our production of "Tracks" in which the entire cast was praised for their incredible performance. Maddie, Olivia and Nick were elected into the Hall of Fame and Cameron Krauss was elected a Student Thespian Officer for the State for the upcoming year.

Congratulations to all of our talented Thespians and their proud teacher / advisor, Gina Chiolan!

NHS book fair held at Barnes & Noble

The sixth annual Neshaminy HS Celebration of Reading was held at the Oxford Valley Barnes & Noble shop on December 9. The evening featured performances by NHS musicians, book reading by the NHS 2023 Gym Night Captains, a gift wrapping fundraiser for the Neshaminy HS MiniTHON, and a blue/red Frappuccino contest.

Interact Club supports Dream Drive

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Neshaminy HS Interact Club members painted faces for the Children’s Christmas Breakfast through Dream Drive - a nonprofit organization on a mission to provide necessities and comfort to children experiencing foster care and other hardships. Additionally, the club provided home-baked cookies to accompany the holiday baskets for Neshaminy families.

In another Interact project, to help the school reduce the amount of single-use plastic thrown out every day, the Neshaminy Community, with the help of the Interact Club, is working to repurpose it into eco bricks to build flower gardens. Students are asked to consider throwing single use plastic like wrappers, chip bags, and water bottles into the blue bin located in the main hall across from the main staircase instead of into the trash. Extra bottles that are not used for the project will be recycled.

NHS craft fair features student-made gifts

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The Handcrafts in the Hub Craft Fair was held at Neshaminy HS on December 21. This has become a tradition for NHS students and staff looking to purchase some terrific gift items hand-made and sold by a group of students as a class project. The fair gives the students experience in several aspects of running a small manufacturing and retail business.

NHS supports toys for tots drive

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The SLS and AS programs at Neshaminy HS thanked the NHS staff and students for their generous donations to the Marines Toys for Tots program. The students were able to buy a large quantity of toys to be donated to families in need with the donations.

November NHS Students of the Month Ceremony

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On December 2, Neshaminy HS held their Student of the Month ceremony in the Black Box Theater. This month the focus was on Business, Computers and Information Technology and Tech Ed departments. Pictured above, left to right – Senator-Elect Frank Farry, Demacio Cooper, Alannah Tiedemann, Christopher Lewis, Anishah Rajeshkumar, Benjamin Peysakhov, Rachel Stilwell, Logan Robinson, Samantha Lugo, Maxamillion DiFrancesco, and Principal Mr. Stephen Garstka

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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

Tina Hollenbach - President

Paul Saraullo - Vice President

John Allen

Cyndie Bowman

Adam J. Kovitz

Alicia Lafferty

Carlos Rodriguez

Kellen Sporny

Marty Sullivan

Contact Information

View Upcoming Meetings

Meeting Videos

District Calendar

Neshaminy School District


Rob McGee, Ph.D.

Assistant to the Superintendent / Director of Elementary Education

Michelle Burkholder

Assistant to the Superintendent / Director of Secondary Education

Jason Bowman

Assistant to the Superintendent / Director of Pupil Services

Dr. Kevin Kane

Business Administrator

Donald B. Irwin, Jr.

Director of Human Resources

Kelly Kozik

Assistant to the Superintendent / Director of Educational Operations

Paul Meehan

Neshaminy School District

2001 Old Lincoln Highway

Langhorne, PA 19047