SB Title


December 2018
NPSD Board Members
Symposium on Race and Ethnicity Makes an Impact 
NPSD School Calendars Approved for 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 School Years
Community Forum Addresses
NPSD Building and Renovation Needs 
Attending Action and Work Session Meetings
Meetings in Review
Upcoming Meetings

January 8, 7:30 pm, NPHS*
Worksession Meeting

January 17,  7:30 pm, ESC
Action Meeting

January 22, 6:00 pm, ESC
Safe Schools Committee Meeting

January 22, 6:30 pm, ESC
ECP Committee Meeting

January 28, 6:00 pm, ESC
Support Services Committee Meeting

January 28, 6:30 pm, ESC
Finance Committee Meeting

* Worksession meeting will be held at North Penn High School to discuss building and facility needs throughout the district

To access the list of  meeting dates scheduled for 2019, please click here.



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NPSD Board of School Directors' Letter to the Community
Dear Community,

Thank you for taking interest in the work of our North Penn educational community, especially during this busy time of year. My name is Tim MacBain, and I had the honor of being appointed to serve our community as a member of our Board of School Directors following a vacancy this past summer. Throughout my 15-year professional career in secondary education I've seen the power of a welcoming and inspiring school community to help students along their unique paths towards realizing their potential, and building their futures. I'm thankful for the opportunity to serve this thriving and inclusive North Penn community and - especially as a fellow North Penn parent - I share in the pride we all take in what we've accomplished together so far.
As any year comes to a close we often take a moment to reflect, and 2018 has certainly given us our fair share of successes here in the North Penn School District (NPSD). We had plenty of teamwork to celebrate this past season as our North Penn Marching Knights, Boys' and Girls' water polo teams, and tennis singles star Neha Velaga all brought home state titles. Our football team also pushed well into the playoffs despite having to take their talents on the road due to poor field conditions at Crawford Stadium. This fall, North Penn High School (NPHS) was also home to 13 National Merit Scholarship Program Semifinalists and 33 Commended Students.
At the same time, other district teams were working outside the limelight to gather information, hold inclusive discussions and create new paths forward. With the help of our administrative team and district architect, we took new steps to understand many pressing facility concerns with a Facilities Forum that was live-streamed and interactive. Many thanks to all who came out, watched online, and contributed comments and questions. You can find more information about this forum in a sidebar article below. We recently took further steps in the long-term process of alleviating our numerous facility needs by bringing air conditioning to Gwyn Nor and Oak Park elementary schools, moving along with plans to renovate NPHS Crawford Stadium, and evaluating numerous other important projects to ensure our students and student-athletes will have safe, welcoming, and truly "North Penn caliber" venues to succeed.
It wasn't just facility concerns that received some well-deserved attention this past year. Last month we expanded our long overdue examination of our school community's ability to meet diverse students and family needs with greater cultural proficiency with our Conversation Around Race and Ethnicity (CARE) Symposium. It was an amazing evening of honesty and cooperation that opened new doors and solidified our resolve to move forward in this important work for our students. Thank you to the hundreds of neighbors and friends who shared their experiences and perspectives with us in person and online to help make this step such a success. You can also find more information about this symposium in a sidebar article below.
Indeed, our work to build upon our progress in 2019 has already begun. Over 100 administrators, staff, educators and parents came together last summer to form a planning committee to tackle the immense work of re-evaluating our district's mission, vision and shared values, all while taking a hard look at our current areas of strength and concern. The result was an illuminating Comprehensive Three-Year Plan that sets a clear path forward for our active academic community. In our middle schools, our teams of 7th and 8th grade educators went above and beyond to develop a new, inclusive and innovative Integrated Science curriculum which was approved to go into place for the 2019-2020 academic year. We'll also be looking in the coming months at how to further expand our Property Tax Rebate Program to bring more relief to some of our retired neighbors on fixed incomes. Looking at new ways to ensure greater transparency, we also created a new policy to hold mandatory reviews of select professional services every five years, and finalized academic calendars that feature built-in snow days for the next two years so that families can better plan their time.
In the end, our successes in 2018 came when we all gathered together to work for a shared purpose. As this work continues in the new year, we again invite you all to take part.
With best wishes, 

Tim MacBain 
Member, NPSD Board of Schools
Term Expiration: 2019

NOTICE: Please note that this month's issue of the Bulletin Board Newsletter includes committee reports from October and November. Due to inclement weather, the NPSD Board of School Directors Action Meeting scheduled for November 15 was postponed and rescheduled to November 26. Due to this, October committee reports were held and presented at the December 13 Action Meeting.

Student Proclamations of Excellence
At the recent action meeting, the NPSD Board of School Directors recognized students in the district for their outstanding achievements by awarding them proclamations of excellence.

Introduced by North Penn High School (NPHS) Assistant Principals Mary Scott and Dr. Marjorie Diegue, seniors from NPHS were recognized for their accomplishments in the National Merit Scholarship Program. At NPHS, 33 students were recognized as Commended Students and 13 ranked as semifinalists.

Both the NPHS Boys' and Girls' Water Polo teams and coaches Jason Grubb, Brian Faikish and Jeff Faikish were also honored for being named 2018 Pennsylvania State Water Polo Champions. This is the fifth consecutive year that the girls' team has captured the state title and the second year in a row for the boys' team

Congratulations to these remarkable students and their advisors on these outstanding achievements!
NPSD Educational Foundation Report
The NPSD Educational Foundation last met on November 7 at the Hatfield Elementary School.

The Foundation's impressive, first-ever staff giving opportunity called "U-Knight to Inspire" was discussed. From October 1 to November 1, more than $26,000 was raised by North Penn employees including teachers, administrators and support staff. Donations were received in the form of payroll deductions, one-time giving, and the donating of personal and vacation days. Many schools also held building-wide fundraisers such as coin wars and spirit days. In the  end, approximately 250 staff members contributed in one way or another. The Foundation extends a sincere thanks to those who did. The month culminated in drawings that included all those who contributed at least $75. Prizes were Philadelphia Eagles tickets, an Apple Watch, a spa day for two and season passes to Dorney Park. In  all  it was a great month for the Foundation and possibly its best fundraising effort.
Also at the meeting, the Foundation heard from two English Language Development (ELD) teachers about how the Foundation has helped them both in the classroom and beyond. The Foundation heard from English Language Learners (ELLs) who participate in  Foundation funded  field trips about the impact these educational opportunities have on them.
The window for accepting mid-year grants closed in November. More than 20 grants, totaling more than $20,000, were approved. 
The NPSD Educational Foundation's next meeting will be held on February 6. For more information about the Foundation, please contact Executive Director, Christine Liberaski at [email protected].
Safe Schools Committee Report
The Safe Schools Committee met on October 23 at 6:00 pm at the ESC.

Chris Doerr, NPSD Coordinator of Emergency Management and Safe Schools, reviewed recent grant applications. NPSD was awarded a $20,000 programs grant to supplement the behavioral threat assessment initiative. NPSD has applied for two grants with the Pennsylvania Commission for Crime and Delinquency. Part A is a "Meritorious" grant for $25,000. Part B is a "Competitive" grant for $750,000.

Dr. Curt Dietrich, NPSD Superintendent of Schools, provided an update about how superintendents across the state need to decide on the priorities for Safe Schools funding. Dr. Dietrich's reviewed his testimony to the state and his request that an Act 1 exception should include a school safety/security option.

Doerr reported that Sigma TMA is working on the behavioral threat assessment initiative. They are reviewing relevant district policies and administrative regulations. Sigma will be conducting phone interviews with district representatives to develop a broad picture of what is currently in place before making recommendations.

Doerr provided an update on the Safe2Say program. The program will involve confidential reporting through an app, hotline or website. The program is supported by Sandy Hook Promise. NPSD will need to identify a crisis response team and process for responding to tips. There will be awareness training for students and advertising of the program. The deadline for the program to begin is January 14, 2019.

Dr. Todd Bauer, NPSD Assistant Superintendent, provided an update on the school climate survey.

Scott Kennedy, NPSD Director of Facilities and Operations, reported on the progress for a new mass notification system. Site visits and reference checks have been completed for all four prospective bidders. A request for proposals has been issued to obtain project costs.

The Safe Schools Committee also met on November 27  at 6:00 pm at the ESC.

Doerr reported that district leadership and school principals met with law enforcement leaders to review recent activities and discuss best practices surrounding police involvement in school incidents.

Doerr provided an update on building Critical Event Response Team (CERT) activities. The teams have been reviewing emergency response scenarios, practicing drills and establishing goals for the year. All required school security drills have been completed and local law enforcement participated in many of the drills.

Kennedy updated the committee on the Mass Notification system progress. Proposals have been received and will be reviewed with a recommendation coming in January.

Doerr shared that NPSD received Part A of the Act 44 grant application totaling $25,000. Funds will be used for the purchase of Stop the Bleed kits and the administration of a comprehensive school climate survey.

The committee discussed the PA Red Flag - Extreme Risk Protection Order (HB 2227) which is sponsored by Representative Todd Stephens. A meeting to discuss the bill was scheduled with Representative Stephens on 12/4/18.

Finally, the committee discussed the type of Safe Schools data they would like to see reported during future committee meetings. Doerr will put together an overview activity report for the January meeting. 
The next Safe Schools Committee meeting will be held on January 22 at 6:00 pm at the ESC.
Finance Committee Report
The Finance Committee met on October 29 at 6:30 pm at the ESC. The monthly financial reports were reviewed with additional discussion on the following items.

2017-2018 Draft Audit Report
Edward Furman, audit partner with Maillie LLP, presented the draft audit report. Furman provided an overview of the audit process and the financial statements. Furman reported that NPSD has a strong balance sheet and a strong fund balance. Furman further commented that there were no audit findings and the district maintains excellent internal controls.
Line Lexington Tax Collector
The appointed tax collector for the 80 school district parcels in Line Lexington, Bucks County, has resigned effective January 31, 2019. Line Lexington is comprised of Hilltown and New Britain Townships. There has been an appointed tax collector for the NPSD taxes for at least 20 years. The solicitor is reviewing if the district may continue to appoint a tax collector or if the elected tax collectors in Hilltown and New Britain Townships are required to collect the NPSD taxes.

2019-2020 Real Estate Tax Rebate Program
Steve Skrocki, NPSD Chief Financial Officer, reviewed the status of the current program and outlined some possible options for expanding the program next year.

Bond Sale Recap and Moody's Rating
Skrocki reviewed the details of the sale of $9.565 million of bonds during the competitive auction held on October 29. Skrocki also reported that the bond rating by Moody's was maintained at the AA1 level. NPSD is one of only 17 districts in the state with a AA1 or higher rating.

The Finance Committee also met on November 26 at 6:30 pm at the ESC. The monthly financial reports were reviewed with additional discussion on the following items.

Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance (LERTA) Request
Representatives from Philadelphia Suburban Development Corporation made a presentation regarding their LERTA request for several properties in Towamencin Township. Under a LERTA, a property is developed and the increase in assessed value is phased in over a period of several years.

Line Lexington Tax Collection
Line Lexington in Bucks County is comprised of Hilltown and New Britain Townships. The elected tax collectors will assume collection of the district real estate tax effective February 1, 2019, with compensation to be established at the same rate as the NPSD tax collectors in Montgomery County.

2019-2020 Real Estate Tax Rebate Program
Skrocki reviewed the status of the current program and outlined some possible options for expanding the program next year. The committee recommended keeping the rebate amount at 25% for homeowners, including renters at the same 25%, and changing the total possible rebate amount to the lessor of 25% of the state rebate amount or the difference between the state rebate amount and the total real estate taxes paid, not just the NPSD portion of real estate taxes.

Informational Items
Skrocki reviewed the right-to-know request report, the 2019-2020 first look health care rates, which were very favorable, and the propane school bus grants that were received. 

The next Finance Committee meeting will be held on January 28 at 6:30 pm at the ESC.
Education/Community/Policy (ECP) Committee Report
The ECP Committee met on October 23 at 6:30 pm at the ESC.

Student overnight travel requests were presented to and reviewed by the committee.

As required by Board Policy #5140, the NPSD Wellness Committee presented its annual update to the ECP Committee and to the community. The Wellness Committee's report can be found here.

Dr. Betty Santoro, NPSD Director of Elementary Education, and Marisa Neeson, NPSD Learning Coach, reported on progress that the NPSD Full-Day Kindergarten (FDK) Committee has made in preparation for the implementation of FDK in the 2019-2020 school year. Instructional minutes are being planned for the day which will begin with exploration stations. Also, attention will be directed toward the social and emotional well-being of students throughout the school day.

Dr. Jenna Rufo, NPSD Assistant Superintendent, and Dr. D'Ana Waters, Principal of Hatfield Elementary School, presented the Cultural Proficiency Plan for 2018-2021 which was developed by the Cultural Proficiency Executive Committee. The plan addresses the demographics throughout the district, reducing bias in curriculum, communication between home and school, professional development and hiring practices.

The ECP Committee also met on November 27 at 6:30 pm at the ESC.

The proposed NPSD 2019-2020 School Calendar has the first day of school for students as September 3, 2019 and incorporates an allowance for snow days. Also, there will be four days when school will dismiss early to allow for more effective building time and continuity in professional development.

The proposed NPSD 2020-2021 School Calendar has the first day of school for students as August 31, 2020 and incorporates an allowance for snow days. One-hour early dismissal days will be added during the 2019-2020 school year.

School districts can request that the PA Department of Education approve a day on which students are not present as a student day. In order to submit this request, days designated as potential Act 80 days must be approved by the Board of School Directors for the school district. Professional development days in 2019-2020 are being recommended as eligible Act 80 days, if needed.

Changes to the program of studies for grades seven and eight for 2019-2020 will replace Life Science and Earth and Space Science with Integrated Science. This change will address the needs of the 21st Century Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) learner by exploring interconnections between science concepts.

Two courses will be dropped from the program of studies for grades nine through 12 for 2020-2021. These courses include Principles of Technology and Literature in Early Childhood and Elementary Education, which is a dual credit course. Introduction to Education is a dual credit course with Montgomery County Community College that is being added.

The Pennsylvania School Boards Association offers a comprehensive policy review and development service for a total cost of $8,200. The district would like to engage this service.

One student overnight travel request was presented to and reviewed by the committee.

A proactive plan was presented to the committee to address the possibility of enrollment in kindergarten at Inglewood Elementary School exceeding 75 students.

Incorporated in the curriculum for full-day kindergarten at NPSD will be time designated for Purposeful Play. This is an intentionally planned instructional strategy that targets clear learning objectives. 

The next ECP Committee meeting will be held on January 22 at 6:30 pm at the ESC.
Support Services Committee Report
The Support Services Committee met on October 29 at 6:00 pm at the ESC.

Scott Kennedy presented an invoice for commissioning work that was completed over the summer at Montgomery Elementary School.

Kennedy reviewed a proposal from Bonnett Associates to complete the commissioning of the HVAC projects at Oak Park and Gwyn-Nor elementary schools.

The committee reviewed recent legislation that requires school districts to test for lead in the drinking water or to discuss lead in schools at a public meeting. The testing is required to be completed before the start of school in September 2019. The committee reviewed the sampling, testing and reporting for the required water testing along with hourly rates for plumbing modifications.

The committee reviewed change orders for the Montgomery Elementary School project.

Steve Skrocki and Scott Kennedy reviewed the North Penn High School (NPHS) Crawford Stadium variance application with the Towamencin Township Zoning Hearing Board. The hearing was held on November 1, 2018, at which time the variances were approved.

NPSD's Architect Dave Schrader introduced the preliminary Facilities Study report detailing the facility needs and estimated costs for Knapp Elementary School, NPHS, Penndale Middle School and the Educational Services Center.

The committee discussed the Community Forum for Facilities which took place on Tuesday, November 13, 2018. Click here to read more.

The Support Services Committee also met on November 26 at 6:00 pm at the ESC.

Kennedy shared the bid results for replacing the PA System and classroom IP Phones at NPHS.

Kennedy reviewed the proposal from Architerra to move forward with the design and land development process for the NPHS Crawford Stadium project.

The committee discussed the topics from the Community Forum for Facilities which included the long-range facility improvement plan, NPHS Crawford Stadium and the Architect's Facility Study. All of these documents and more information can be found here. The committee discussed the possibility of a second forum in January or February.

Kennedy reviewed the number of modular classrooms at each school along with the installation date of each modular unit. The committee suggested that a task force look into the condition of the modular classrooms and report back to the Support Services Committee. 
The next Support Services Committee meeting will be held on January 28 at 6:00 pm at the ESC.