Message from the Superintendent
Happy New Year! I hope everyone had an opportunity to find time to relax and recharge over the winter break. LMTSD is looking forward to an exciting and rewarding 2021 and we wish our community the same.
As optimism grows centering on the COVID-19 vaccine and its possibilities of someday returning our society to most “normal” aspects of life, I am encouraging our school community to remain positive and hopeful. However, I also want to remind everyone that this is the time to remain steadfast and vigilant in limiting transmission of the virus. To date, our school community’s efforts have allowed the district to operate in both hybrid and virtual learning platforms since August. While most agree that these are not optimal platforms to host forever for best learning practices, they are, however, needed inside a pandemic to balance and manage the need for in-person instruction, safety and to meet the requirements set by the PA Department of Education.
If you recall, LMTSD conducted extensive district-wide facility feasibility and enrollment studies beginning two years ago. At the outset of this effort, the District and Board of School Directors, identified a number of primary factors that drove the pursuits of these studies. These included:
Continued increases in student enrollment and the District’s ability to accommodate continued growth related to its buildings’ capacities
Existing buildings’ aging infrastructures and long-term planning toward repairs and/or upgrades
Safety of students and families in and around our three campuses
Visioning for updated educational spaces
After evaluation of these studies and their application to the district’s goals over a year ago, multiple criteria were then used to determine the district’s solutions and planning options. As a result, planning and design of a new high school is nearly complete and entering its final stages. A recording of a more recent Act 34 Hearing related to this newly proposed project can be found here. Literature related to the same project that includes planning and drawings can be found here.
Scott Davidheiser, Ed.D.
A robot built as a 1st Grade STEM project.
LMHS students Hayley Warnalis and Jaymie Roddy painted a mural in the Pine Road library that was presented to Sharon Franciosa in honor of her time as assistant principal.
Virtual Kindergarten students following along with a lesson.
Business Office (Mark McGuinn, Business Manager)
In accordance with Pennsylvania School Code, a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or CPA firm must annually audit the district. The district pays for this audit. The audit is an examination of the districts’ financial statements by an independent, external person(s) to ascertain whether or not the district-prepared financial statements fairly represent in material (significant) respects its financial position and operations. The auditor offers an opinion on this matter.
The audit for the 2019/20 school year was completed by the audit firm, Maillie LLP., which specializes in school district auditing. The 2019/20 audit was presented at the December 2020 Work Session Meeting for the Board of School Directors to review and then the Board voted upon to accept the report at its’ Regular December 2020 Board meeting. The current audit, as well as many previous audits, can be found at https://www.lmtsd.org/Page/13642 and are located in the middle of the page.
Curriculum and Instruction (Julien Drennan, Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Prof. Dev.)
Change of Learning Location, Marking Period Three
The District will be offering two learning locations for instruction during the third marking period, hybrid and virtual. If parents wish to change the learning location for their student during the third marking period, please complete this form. If your child will remain in their current learning location, nothing needs to be done. Families with multiple students should complete one form per child. Students who move from virtual to hybrid for the third marking period will be assigned to an attendance cohort, which will be communicated to families by the building administration. In order to select a new learning location, the form must be completed by Monday, January 11, 2021.
Human Resources/Public Relations (Cheryl Galdo, Esq., Dir. of HR/PR)
On December 18, the Montco Office of Public Health adopted new quarantine guidelines for individuals who are considered close contacts of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
The guidelines allow for the 14-day quarantine to be shortened. The new guidelines apply to Lower Moreland students and staff who are identified as "close contacts" (defined as being in contact of 6 ft. or less for 15 mins. or more).
The new quarantine guidelines are as follows:
Quarantine can end after Day 10 without testing and if no symptoms have been reported during daily monitoring. Individuals completing a quarantine after day 10 should continue monitoring for symptoms until day 14.
Quarantine can end after Day 7 if a negative COVID-19 test result is presented and if no symptoms were reported during daily monitoring.
The test must be administered on or after Day 5 of the quarantine period, but quarantine cannot be discontinued earlier than after Day 7.
The quarantine period for a "household contact" of a person with a COVID-19 case requires further facts to determine the quarantine period.
Updated Travel Guidance
The PA Department of Health has also updated its guidance for out of state travelers. Any PA resident who is returning home from a location outside the state must produce evidence of a negative COVID-19 test (taken within 72 hours of return) or place themselves in quarantine. (This order does not apply to people who commute to and from another state for work or for medical reasons or if the travel is for less than 24 hours).
If a traveler chooses to get tested upon entering the Commonwealth, or is waiting for test results, the traveler must quarantine for 10 days, or until receipt of a negative test result, whichever comes first.
Technology (Jason Hilt, Ed.D., Director of Technology)
The Technology Department supports information technology systems and instructional technology programs and practices in the district. Each month, we highlight how our students and teachers have been engaged in 21st Century learning activities focused on the 4Cs: Critical Thinking, Creativity, Collaboration, and Communication.
Critical Thinking: Mr. Christian Hoffman oversees World Affairs Council which affords students the opportunity to analyze, debate, and find solutions to issues in the international community. The Philadelphia chapter of the World Affairs Council holds two major events per school year. Last year, Lower Moreland students participated in a Model US Senate simulation and worked on solutions to human trafficking issues in Latin America. This December, students participated in the International Student Summit. This year's topic concerns restarting the global economy following the COVID pandemic in an equitable, human rights-oriented way. Students have been assigned various countries, including the US, Japan, India, and the United Kingdom. They will meet virtually to discuss possible solutions that address their individual country's needs while trying to ensure equitable economic practices for the rest of the world. Student Juliet Yavas said, “I loved being able to attend the International Student Summit. It was fascinating listening to others' ideas as well as sharing my own views on how to restart the global economy post-pandemic. Furthermore, this opportunity of being able to speak and collaborate with so many students my age, genuinely makes me believe that our generation, Gen Z, is powerful and will leave a positive impact on the world.”
Creativity: Students in Mrs.Colleen Quinn-Maxwell’s course used the 4 Quadrant Week Plan to evaluate their time management. This activity provided students with an artifact for their Career 339 portfolio. Students identified parts of their week as urgent, important, not important, and not urgent. Placing parts of their week on the quadrant, students are able to determine what they need to manage, avoid, limit, or focus their attention.
Collaboration: In support of students’ social-emotional learning, students in Mrs. Deborah Lawlor’s class completed an empowerment journal. Students were asked to consider the why, when, what, and how of trust in their lives. They also explored their current goals that they are putting maximum effort toward achieving and reflect upon why they put effort into achieving those goals. To collaborate, students created videos on Flipgrid.
Communication: During Health & Phys Ed at Pine Road, Ms. Julia Gatto uses Google Forms to check on students’ emotional health. Ms. Gatto said, “I love using Google Forms at the beginning of class to understand where my students are and how they are doing. I want to emphasize the importance of focusing on our mental health during this time. I always emphasize that being in those other zones is healthy; however, we can try to do things to focus on those feelings and getting ourselves back into the green zone soon.” Students select what zone of regulation they are in which they learn about with support from school counselors, Ms. Christina Harris and Mrs. Shannon Dallahan and Health & PE teacher, Kelsey Dunning. Students are encouraged to do activities they enjoy and help them feel happy and calm. Ms. Gatto uses the Google Form at the beginning and end of class so she can understand if students are feeling better within the time that they are in health class. Using the Health Virtual Classroom students are able to practice being mindful and working towards the green zone. They can draw, color, listen to music, or write. By emphasizing the importance of our Zones of Regulation and our emotional and mental health, Ms. Gatto said that students are able to be in an overall better headspace.