Neshaminy School District teachers receive honors

The dream team: Neshaminy School District educators were presented with the Lockhart Award for Excellence in Literacy Education on Feb. 28. TIMOTHY REILLY / FOR THE TIMES

By Timothy Reilly

At the Feb. 28 meeting of the Neshaminy School Board, the Neshaminy School District was presented with the Lockhart Award for Excellence in Literacy Education. The award was bestowed by Reading Horizons.

Tyson Smith, president of Reading Horizons, was on hand for the presentation.

“The fact that I’m here means that there is some exemplary reading instruction going on in your district,” he asserted.

Smith also expressed his profound appreciation for the hard work and dedication of teachers.

“You talk about people who are committed to making a difference, it’s educators. Because the money’s never great. The hours are long. The stress is real.”

Assistant Superintendent Gloria Hancock presented certificates to the district teachers who are implementing the literacy program.

School Board President Scott Congdon congratulated the teachers and administrators during the Board comments portion of the meeting.

“A lot of hard work went into that. It was nice to be recognized as a school district.” ••

In other Neshaminy news…

Neshaminy School District Superintendent issues report

Neshaminy School District Superintendent Joseph Jones III issued his report highlighting various achievements and happenings in the district. 

He began his report commending six Neshaminy High School students from Ms. Cheryl Soltis’ drawing and painting classes. These students have been chosen for the 2017 High School Juried Imprint Competition at the Wharton Esherick Museum in Paoli. The students are: Kyle Arocho (11th grade), Michelle Zaragosa (11th), Kim Loncosky (11th), Kylee Weber (11th), Riley Turner (12th), and Matthew Palella (9th).
“I just find it exciting to see that our students continue to get opportunities to have their artwork showcased,” Jones stated.

Next, Jones noted that Neshaminy High School hosted 650 students representing student councils throughout southeastern Pennsylvania for the Pennsylvania Association of Student Councils Region F Conference. The event was held on Feb. 21.

Jones then highlighted the implementation of the Amplify science curriculum in the district’s middle schools. Representatives from the company that created the program visited the middle school for feedback in their quest to improve and expand their offerings. The Amplify team hopes to de-emphasize memorization in favor of active engagement in science exercises.

“Our teachers talk highly about it. Our students enjoy the program. It’s very interactive,” Jones asserted.

Jones applauded Maple Point Middle School for raising $2,319 for the Ronald McDonald House through the sale of red and white hats, scarves, bracelets and socks. On March 10, Maple Point Middle School’s boys basketball team will face off against Carl Sandburg in the 4th Annual Coaches vs. Cancer Night. The event is hosted by Maple Point Middle School Student Council and raises funds for the American Cancer Society.

ESPN writer and former Philadelphia Daily News scribe Dana O’Neil visited Carl Sandburg Middle School to discuss with students her career as a sportswriter. She also talked about her new book, Long Shots: Jay Wright, Villanova and College Basketball’s Most Unlikely Champion.

Jones reported that the Business Operations Committee will meet on March 7 to discuss Long Range Facilities planning. The committee will meet on April 12 to review the 2017-18 district budget.

Finally, Jones mentioned that approval for the GESA 3 projects for two of the district’s elementary schools has been postponed until March 14. The extra time is required to finalize numbers for the project. ••       

Neshaminy School Board passes new hazing policy

The Neshaminy School Board unanimously passed a new policy to address hazing incidents. The action was required to comply with Act 31, which was passed in Harrisburg in 2016.

In comments before the vote was taken, Board member Stephen Pirritano clarified the reason for the new policy. He explained that the Act 31 statute “forced all school districts to institute a separate policy of hazing. It is in line with the criteria set forth by the state.”

The new policy defines hazing as “any action or situation which recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a person or which willfully destroys or removes public or private property” as a condition of membership in a school-affiliated organization.

Principals are required to conduct an investigation if an incident is reported. If the report is substantiated, the principal can recommend disciplinary action “up to and including expulsion.”

Any coach or volunteer who is affiliated with a student activity in which hazing is practiced can be removed from his or her position if it is discovered that he or she “engaged in, condoned or ignored any violation of this policy.” ••

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