Neshaminy School District / November, 2020
IMPORTANT NOTE: Information in this newsletter is current as of Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020.
Please check the District website or school emails for updates.
Maple Point celebrates 20 years of honoring veterans
Shortly after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, a group of teachers at Maple Point MS got together to discuss an idea. With Veterans Day approaching, they thought that holding a ceremony to honor America’s military would be a good way to teach their students about the vital role of the men and women who chose, and continue to choose to serve their country in the armed forces.
Every year since, the 8th grade at Maple Point participated in a ceremony that has become a school and community tradition. Over 100 veterans and active military typically attend the ceremony, held just before Veterans Day itself. There, they hear speeches by students, teachers, community leaders and special guests. A roll call of attending veterans is read, and students sing and perform patriotic songs. A large American flag is painted on a sloping field next to the school, and a portrait photo of the students and veterans is the finale to the ceremony.
In 2020, of course, this tradition had to change. 8th grade social studies teacher Anne Schmidt, one of the original organizers of the event, brainstormed with her colleagues on how to continue the ceremony while protecting students and veterans from the Covid-19 virus.
What they did was to turn the event inside-out, literally. On Monday, November, 10, veterans and their guests were invited to drive through the parking lot of the school, through a path lined by students and staff holding hand-made signs of appreciation and flags. The Langhorne-Middletown Fire Company sent a tower truck which held a large American flag. Each veteran was greeted and given a gift bag. Several television stations covered the parade and shared it on the evening news.
Students posed with the painted flag over two days, since only half of the students attend classes each day in the current hybrid learning schedule. A portable generator and floodlight was obtained to illuminate the flag at night.
A virtual video ceremony (viewer below) was produced and shared with the community on the 11th hour of Veterans Day, Tuesday, November 11. The video included all the speeches (taped during the previous week), tributes, musical performances, the roll call, and footage of the parade from the previous day. Community speakers included U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, PA Rep. Frank Farry, former U.S. Under Secretary of the Army Patrick J. Murphy. The finale of the video included a tribute to Ms. Schmidt for her hard work organizing this amazing event for 20 years.
Board Update: Reopening Schedule changes on the agenda
The next scheduled Board meeting is Tuesday, November 24, 7pm in the auditorium at Maple Point Middle School. The meeting will also be livecast on the District website at www.neshaminy.org/meetings.
One of the main topics of the evening will be the plan to return students in grades K-4 to daily in-person classes Monday-Thursday starting Monday, November 30. At the November 10 School Board Public Work Session, the Board unanimously approved the plan, but also noted that they would have the opportunity to reconsider at future meetings in response to changing pandemic conditions.
HS Library Media Center Proposal
Also on the agenda is a plan to significantly update the Library Media Center at Neshaminy High School. The approximately $222,000 project would replace much of the furniture with modern units that reflect the changing role of school libraries. Under this plan, the center circulation desk will be removed to open up the space. Comfortable, flexible, cafe-style seating for casual reading, tutoring and small-group meetings will be added. Tall book shelves will be replaced with shorter units, improving site lines. Class and lab spaces will also feature modern, flexible furniture and layouts with accommodations for electronic presentations.
HVAC air cleaner installation begins
The project to add bipolar ionization units to the HVAC systems in each District school building is underway, and should be completed by December 31, according to Operations Director Tim Trzaska. In a report delivered to the Facilities and Planning Committee on November 18, Mr. Trzaska said the procurement period for the hardware is wrapping up, and the installation will begin on November 30. The work will be completed around school schedules, and should not interfere with any classes or school activities.
This project will make the environment in our buildings healthier. When air passes through the bipolar ionization units installed in each room, they emit charged particles that surround and deactivate harmful substances like airborne mold, bacteria, allergens, and viruses as they pass through the system. Not only is this method effective against the Covid-19 virus, but will reduce many other harmful airborne substances as well.
Re-opening information resources
- Neshaminy District Re-Opening Website
- Dr. McGee's Email Communications
- Neshaminy Covid-19 Dashboard
- Technology device distribution requests, repairs
- Frequently Asked Questions / Ask Trish
- "Ask Trish" reopening question hotline: 215-809-7777
- Neshaminy Canvas Help Line: 215-809-6390
2-1-1 Service: If you are looking for non-educational community resources such as food pantries, housing assistance, help with utility bills, unemployment information or crisis resources, the United Way of Bucks County offers a centralized information service which can be accessed by calling 211, texting your area code to 898-211, or visiting www.pa211.org. This service is available 24/7 and is available in 42 languages.
Family Code Night combines fun and learning
Families of elementary students are invited to participate in a voluntary, free Family Code Night, which will be held on different nights for each school between November 23 and December 10. This is a free live-stream family learning event for any K-5 school. This family-oriented learning experience allows children to pair up with a parent or other older partner to do their very first hour of coding together. No experience needed! Check your email or school's newsletter for details and how to log in and participate.
- Walter Miller ES, Nov. 23
- Albert Schweitzer ES & Tawanka ES, Dec. 1
- Pearl S. Buck ES & Joseph Ferderbar ES, Dec. 7
- Herbert Hoover ES, Dec. 9
The "Voice of Neshaminy" retires
Chuck Deal (left) and Fred Recupido in the press box at Harry E. Franks Stadium
Chuck Deal and Fred Recupido were honored at NHS-Pennsbury football game on October 30 for their work in the press box and sidelines at Neshaminy games. Both have been fixtures at high school games for the past 15 years. The Pennsbury game marked Chuck’s 1000th game at the mic, and Fred has worked countless games at the scoreboard.
Mr. Deal retired as a business teacher at NHS at the end of the 2019-2020 school year, and is wrapping up his announcing career for both athletic competitions and Gym Night at NHS at the end of the fall season (though he said he might make an exception for just one more Gym Night appearance!).
Kindergarten registration opens December 7
Kindergarten registration for the 2021-2022 school year will begin on Monday, December 7, 2020. The process can be started online at www.neshaminy.org/register. Register your child early to ensure that they will have a spot in your neighborhood school for the new school year!
Join us and help Build Futures!
Neshaminy School District is looking to fill a number of positions for the 2020-2021 school year including cafeteria and playground aides, food service workers, long-term substitutes and more. Visit our employment website for more information and online application links. Additional opportunities for substitute teachers, instructional assistants, paraprofessionals and more can be found at the ESS website here.
School Resource Officer joins physical education class at Buck ES
Officer Samantha Weed of Middletown Township Police visited Pearl Buck recently, and joined in on a physical education class. There she honed her "rock-paper-scissor" strategy skills while participating in the various physical exercises intertwined within the lesson. Officer Weed is a new School Resource Officer in the District's Levittown-area schools, working along side her colleague, Middletown Officer Missy Robison.
Teacher Tik-Tok goes viral
On October 28, Fox 29 visited Walter Miller Elementary School to share a great story about two kindergarten teachers - Jodi Arnold and Taylor Ramella. Though they are now co-workers, Taylor was once a student at Samuel Everitt ES and Jodi was her teacher. Both recently appeared in a TikTok video that went viral with 3 million views!
LINK: Walter Miller Elementary School teachers create a viral video
Farmer Brown takes on Duck in an election battle at Ferderbar
With most of the country heavily focused on the presidential race in October and early November, students at Joseph Ferderbar ES learned all about what an election is and why it is important to vote. They participated in their own election after reading the book, Duck for President. They then registered to vote and casted their ballots for either Farmer Brown or Duck. For the record, Duck won.
In other election news, students Megan McHugh's kindergarten class at Albert Schweitzer ES voted for their favorite decorated pumpkin, while over in 2nd grade students in Elizabeth Currid's class voted for a Classroom Reward: Extra Recess, Treat, Game or Movie. At Maple Point Middle School, students used Google Docs to cast their votes in a mock election.
Unity Day celebrates kindness
This year, Ferderbar Elementary School celebrated Unity Day in honor of October being National Bullying Prevention Month. Unity Day promotes kindness, acceptance, and inclusion. Red students celebrated on October 20th and blue students celebrated on October 21st. Students and staff were encouraged to wear orange to celebrate Unity Day.
Schweitzer ES celebrates No Shave November for a cause
The staff and students at Albert Schweitzer Elementary School are holding a "No Shave November" fundraiser to benefit St. Jude's Children's Hospital through December 4. On Friday, November 20, they found a very creative way for everybody to join the fun during their Zoom classes!
Tawanka's got game
To help Tawanka ES students meet their weekly math and reading iReady “My Path” goal of 60 minutes, a trophy will be given to the 3rd & 4th grade class and an iReady stuffed monster animal to grades K,1 & 2 with the highest overall percentage of students who have met the requirement. But wait…there is more! Each week, one lucky individual student from each grade who has the highest increase in minutes will be chosen to play a round of air hockey with Principal Donald Palmer, second-grade teacher Caryn Cozza or Counselor Courtenay Duffy.
Reading videos shared with a Hollywood flair
Students in Beth Sanchez's 8th grade reading classes at Carl Sandburg Middle School got to show their Flipgrid app book review videos Hollywood premiere-style in November. Both students in class and those watching online watched the prerecorded efforts at the same time, and offered their feedback as fellow "movie producers." They then gave each video a rating, and the top video earned bonus points for the assignment.
Poquessing celebrates Halloween with a drive-thru pumpkin show
Maple Point lends a hand to Shop-with-a-cop
Maple Point MS is working to support School Resource Officer Missy Robison and the Middletown Township Police "Shop with a Cop" program by gathering donations for "wish lists" to benefit local families during the holidays. Student Council members assisted Officer Robison with making blankets for local children as part of this fantastic program.
MP students win Patriot's Pen Essay Contest
Congratulations to Maple Point MS 8th grade students Julia French and Maggie Gottschalk for participating and placing in the 2020 Patriot's Pen Essay Contest sponsored by VFW Post 6393. Conducted nationwide, this VFW-sponsored youth essay competition gives students an opportunity to write essays expressing their views on an annual patriotic theme. This year's theme was "What is Patriotism to Me?" Special thanks to 8th Grade English teacher Carol Foley for her support of the students throughout the contest. Julia and Maggie will be honored by at a ceremony later this spring.
VIDEO: Patriots Pen essay contest winners read their entries
Boys Soccer takes District 1 championship, second in state
The Neshaminy High School Boys Varsity Soccer Team ended their 2020 season with a 13-2-2 record, a District One championship trophy, and made it all the way to the PIAA state competition where they were narrowly edged out by Seneca Valley HS in western PA 2-1 in a double-overtime shootout. In a year marked by multiple challenges and schedule changes, Neshaminy played tough on both offense and defense against highly-ranked teams both in the regular season and in playoffs. They defeated Pennridge high School in the District AAAA championship game at The Ridge after two overtimes and a shootout. In the state semifinals, they hosted Emmaus HS and once again prevailed after another double-overtime victory 2-1. The state championship was held at Hersheypark Stadium on Saturday, November 21.
We had some chances against a very good team,” said Coach Tom Foley after the final game. "It says a lot about our kids and how hard they worked. They walk out of here with their heads held high.”
Congratulations are also in order for additional Neshaminy HS fall sports athletes and teams who achieved success in District playoffs this year:
- The Varsity Girls Soccer team won the Suburban One Patriot Division
- The Varsity Girls Field Hockey team also won the Suburban One Patriot Division
- Ryan Tarapchak was the 2020 Suburban One Patriot Division Cross-Country Champion
Winter sports season delayed two weeks
The Suburban One League has voted to delay the start of the winter athletic season. Try-outs and practices for winter sports at Neshaminy HS will begin on Monday, December 7. The first scheduled games are set to begin on Monday, December 22.
NHS National Honor Society inducts new members
Congratulations to the Neshaminy High School National Honor Society 2020 inductees! The ceremony was livestreamed to the National Honor Society members and their families from Theodore Kloos Auditorium on November 5. An archived copy of the livestream video can be viewed above.
"12 Incompetent jurors" makes a case for comedy
Neshaminy High School Drama Troupe #8046 premiered another "Stay-At-Home" production on November 18-20 with "12 Incompetent Jurors," a parody of the classic courtroom drama "12 Angry Men." This hilarious show was presented on the Neshaminy Drama YouTube channel. Each night viewers were invited to watch the production at the same time as the cast and crew, and join in an online chat to share the fun.
Challenger football and cheer wraps another season
The Bucks County Challenger Flag Football program concluded their 2020 season on Saturday, November 15. Since September, football players, cheerleaders and coaches from area high schools including Neshaminy and Pennsbury worked with special needs children to offer them the opportunity to build skills and enjoy playing and cheering at Harry E. Franks Stadium on Sunday afternoons. The program was created and is managed by Bob and Joan Wargo. Bob is a retired football coach, and Joan is a retired special education teacher. This is the 14th year for the program.
NHS choir slips into a time warp
From The NHS Select Choir: "The NHS Choir's motto this year is, 'Finding New Ways to Sing.' With that in mind, we are excited to release our first ever music video! Featuring the Select Choir and soloists Kate Bilenko, Grace McKenna, Cody Lewandowski and Tommy Stacherski. We look forward to finding more creative ways to keep the singing and music alive at NHS through these times!" The Choir Director is Kristin Nichols and the video was produced by music teacher / music technology specialist Paul Tosti.
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
Stephen Pirritano - President
John Allen - Vice President
Irene M. Boyle
Adam J. Kovitz
Neshaminy School District
Rob McGee, Ph.D.
Assistant to the Superintendent / Director of Elementary Education
Assistant to the Superintendent / Director of Pupil Services
Donald B. Irwin, Jr.
Director of Human Resources
Assistant to the Superintendent / Director of Educational Operations
Neshaminy School District
2001 Old Lincoln Highway
Langhorne, PA 19047