Dear Community,

It's hard to believe that we have already begun the second month of 2019. As superintendent, I am looking forward to a year of continued growth for the North Penn School District (NPSD) in terms of achievement, engagement and efficient operations of this already outstanding school system.

At the district level, there are many important issues at hand. We continue to discuss the building and facility needs that we outlined at the fall community forum with further examination of needs and costs that took place at the January worksession meeting of the NPSD Board of School Directors, as mentioned in my letter last month.

I also look forward to continued growth in the areas discussed at the Conversation Around Race and Ethnicity (CARE) Symposium. Last month, interested stakeholders met to begin planning the next steps in meeting our cultural proficiency plans.

Of course, the next several months will be busy as we build the budget for the 2019-2020 school year. As you know, next school year also marks the beginning of full-day kindergarten (FDK) in North Penn elementary schools which consequently has a big impact on next year's budget, but more importantly student success and achievement. I am so proud of the work North Penn has done thus far on implementing FDK and I know it is going to be a great success.

As we progress as a school district it is extremely important that all stakeholders are part of the process. I appreciate the commitment of our families and community members and firmly believe that we can only succeed as a school community if everyone is engaged. To this end, by the end of February, North Penn community, parents and students will have the opportunity to complete a school culture climate and climate survey.  Questions will address a wide range of topics related to school climate, including the building, academic, and social environments, stakeholder engagement, and community inclusiveness. Your feedback will help North Penn School District to understand the extent to which it is creating a school culture that meets the unique needs of our stakeholders. You will learn more regarding how to participate in the survey in the coming weeks.

Throughout the year I also have informal meetings with community members, parents, staff and students to hear any concerns they may have and solicit their ideas and suggestions. In December, I held a "Conversation with Curt" meeting with NPSD staff members on the topic of Work/Life Balance. Although the room was not packed, the small group setting did allow for meaningful dialogue. One thing I am hearing from coworkers is that the obligation of getting back to parent/community/coworker emails weighs heavily upon many of us not only during the work day but on nights, weekends and over breaks. With the access to technology and in turn people, the stress of responding to and addressing non-emergency work issues after hours is increasing. I am sure many of you reading this can relate.

Over the next couple of months as I meet with the different groups already outlined, I plan to discuss this important topic and examine how we can create and communicate clear guidelines regarding staff availability and a timeline as to when to expect a response. I also want to talk about how the school district can better support families at home by offering community forums and parent workshops on topics important to them.

As a community member and/or parent, please remember you are invited to monthly Community Conversations. Click here for information on this program and to register for an upcoming session. The next session is scheduled for Wednesday, February 13 from 12:00 to 1:00 pm the Lansdale Public Library, located at 301 Vine Street, Lansdale. 
 
 
Sincerely,
       
Curtis R. Dietrich, Ed.D.  
Superintendent, NPSD
dietricr@npenn.org  

Table of Contents

   
NPSD Board of School Directors Meetings
 
January 8 Worksession Meeting Agenda
 
To view agenda attachments and minutes from past meetings, please click here.  


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Unified Bocce Team Rolls into New Season
with Help from EPICS Club

C ontinuing inclusivity and improving the human condition. North Penn helping North Penn.

Last winter, NPHS Physical Education teacher Kristen Panaski applied for a grant from the NPSD Education Foundation to start a bocce team, get a bocce court, and transport the team to games. After getting this grant, the bocce team went on to win the State Championships in the first year of its existence.

With more people joining the bocce program, Panaski went back to the foundation for another grant to build a second court.

On top of needing a construction team to build the newest court to prepare for a bigger season, Panaski needed to get past a roadblock from last season. The cart that Panaski used last season to hall the bocce court was unstable. The trash can filled with 28 pvc pipes, each over five feet tall, was extremely top-heavy. There were 40-45 pounds of pipes falling over that could hurt someone and crack. On top of being cumbersome and dangerous, the cart couldn't fit into the closet after games and was always in the way.

Panaski took these problems to North Penn High School's Engineering Department. Technology Education teacher Michael Boyer and the EPICS (Engineering Projects and Community Service) Club were more than happy to help.

Click here to read more.
Article courtesy of Jurni Jackson, The Knight Crier
Seven NPSD Students Place in Top 5 at PA Farm Show Agricultural Education Horticulture Competition 
Despite frigid temperatures in the northeast, award-winning floral arrangements were in full bloom for seven NPSD students who recently competed at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Agricultural Education Horticulture Competition in Harrisburg, PA.

Each year, students throughout the state travel to Harrisburg to attend the PA Farm Show and compete against fellow agricultural education students in the Agricultural Education Horticulture Competition. On January 5, NPSD students made the trip along with several of their classmates studying Horticulture under the direction of Patty Miller at the North Montco Technical Career Center (NMTCC). These students spent months independently planning, designing and producing spectacular arrangements to be judged at the competition which offers a variety of 32 categories for students to compete in.

Click here to read more.
NPHS Football Players Read to Students in 15th Annual Reading Super Bowl
More than 70 NPHS football players participated in the 15th Annual North Penn Reading Super Bowl Event held throughout each of the 13 elementary schools in the NPSD on Friday, February 1.

Funded in part by the NPSD Educational Foundation, this event was held in conjunction with the date of the NFL Super Bowl LIII 2019. Members of the NPHS Football Team volunteered to visit all 13 NPSD elementary schools and read to more than 5,900 children in 259 classrooms across the district as part of the reading incentive program.

Click here to read more.
NPSD Honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Students and staff in the NPSD recently honored Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through service projects and classroom activities. See how our young learners and their leaders worked together to celebrate Dr. King through kindness and generosity. 
Walton Farm Students Compete in First Round of National Geographic GeoBee
Seven students from Walton Farm Elementary School participated in the school-level competition of the National Geographic GeoBee on Jan 17, 2019. Fourth grade student Cameron Jones took first place with fellow fourth-grader Mehul Manoharan coming in second.

The school-level competition is the first round in the annual National Geographic GeoBee, a geography competition designed to inspire and reward students' curiosity about the world. Questions cover not only geography, but also cultures, physical features, history and earth science.
Click here to read more.
NPHS Thespians Invited to Perform on Main Stage at International Thespian Festival in Nebraska

NPHS, home of International Thespian Troupe 5464 has been invited to present their production of 
A Midsummer Night's Dream  directed by Andrea Roney and Debra Buckner at the nation's leading high school theatre festival in Nebraska this summer.

North Penn Theatre's distinguished legacy continues as their production of  A Midsummer Night's Dream  has been chosen to be one of 11 schools from United States and Canada, that have been or are being adjudicated this fall and will be adjudicated in the spring, to be a main stage production at the International Thespian Festival in 2019 at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.
Click here to read more.
NPHS Swimming Coach Named PA Coach of the Year
by National Organization
The NPSD is proud to announce that NPHS Swimming Coach Jeff Faikish has recently been named the 2017-2018 Pennsylvania Coach of the Year for Girls Swimming and Diving by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Coaches Association.

Faikish was specifically nominated by the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association as the most deserving recipient for this honor. "We rely on our member state organizations to help us recognize those who are leading their sport, shaping their athletes and contributing in a positive way to their community," said Dr. Karrisa L. Niehoff, Executive Director of NFHS. "It is our pleasure to recognize leaders and role models at the interscholastic level."

A North Penn graduate and former NPHS swimmer himself, Jeff Faikish has been involved in the NPHS Aquatics program for 26 years and served as head coach of the NPHS Girls Swim team for three seasons. Under his direction, the team has competed in seven state championship meets and earned the PA State Title this past fall. Faikish also serves as head coach for the NPHS Boys Swim Team who boast a record and reputation of equal prestige. 
NPHS State Champion Unified Bocce Team Takes on NPSD Staff in Friendly Preseason Match 

To kick off the season, the North Penn High School (NPHS) UKnighted Unified Bocce Team challenged teachers and administration to a friendly tournament last month.

The 2018 State Champion NPHS UKnighted Unified Bocce Team took on six teams made up of various NPHS staff members and NPSD administrators including NPHS Principal Pete Nicholson and NPSD Assistant Superintendent Dr. Jenna Rufo. The stands gym was filled devoted supporters of the famed NPHS UKnighted Team.

The NPHS UKnighted Unified Bocce Team captured the state title last spring and has nearly tripled its roster since last season. Bocce as a PIAA sponsored Special Olympics sport provides people with special needs the opportunity to have social contact, develop physically and to gain self-confidence. Beginning the 2017-2018 school year and proudly supported by the NPSD Educational Foundation, NPHS created a unified bocce team led by NPHS teacher Kristen Panaski consisting of both students with special needs and without.

Click here to see more photos. 
Montgomery Elementary Sponsors 6th Annual Mini-THON for Four Diamonds Fund

Students, families and staff at Montgomery Elementary School participated in a big event for a great cause on Saturday, February 2 as Montgomery put on its 6th Annual Mini-THON, raising more than $20,000.

The event was held at the Montgomery Township Community and Rec Center from 8:30 am until 8:00 pm to benefit The Four Diamonds Fund.
During the mini-THON, students were expected to stand for the entire length of their event. There was a DJ for dancing as well as other activities including "minute to win it" games, obstacle courses, Zumba instruction, blanket making and an assortment of games. 
 
Click here to read more.
NPSD Educational Foundation Receives $46,500 in Educational Improvement Tax Credits
The NPSD Educational Foundation is fortunate to have received $56,500 from local businesses through the Pennsylvania Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) program. The program is a way for businesses to enrich educational opportunities for students and earn tax credits by donating to an educational improvement organization.

The foundation will use these funds for state-approved programs in the areas of science and engineering, course advancement, television, marine science, community outreach and the North Penn High School planetarium.

Thank you to the following supporters who donated through the EITC program: Univest Bank and Trust Company, Waste Management, Covenant Bank, Meridian Bank, First Resource Bank, Weis Markets Inc. and BB&T Banking and Trust Co.

Click here for more information on the EITC program.
Celebrating the Theatre Arts at NPHS:
North Penn Theatre Update

NPHS Theatre and Thespians is off to an exciting spring after an eventful fall.

In October, NPHS Thespian Troupe 5464 collected non-perishable food from the high school community for the annual Trick or Treat So Tots Can Eat campaign sponsored by the International Thespian Society.  In time for Thanksgiving, the Thespians delivered 1,634,652.5 pounds of food to Manna on Main Street.

In November, the fall production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, with a spunky steam punk theme and enchanting glowing trees, played to over 1,300 patrons and hosted the first Gold Card Matinee for a fall production.

In December, NPHS Theatre and Thespians hosted over 1,000 students, chaperones, professional teaching artists and college recruiters to the 2018 Pennsylvania State Thespian Festival.

Click here to read more.
North Penn News Update from NPTV 
North Penn Television (NPTV) students produce updates on what was happening around the NPSD during the month of January.

School Climate Sets the Tone
School Climate Sets the Tone

NPHS Winter Ball
NPHS Winter Ball

The Harlem Wizards Return to North Penn
The Harlem Wizards Return to North Penn