Dear UPSD Community -
It’s been a wonderful fall in the Upper Perkiomen School District. As we head into winter, and slow down for a bit to enjoy the holiday season, I wanted to say thank you for all that you do to make this community, and this district, a special place.
We have a lot of festive fun to share with you in this month’s district newsletter. Please enjoy reading about some of the holiday festivities that have been held in the district over the last few weeks, as well as some other updates.
I hope you get a chance to enjoy this holiday season with family, friends, food and fun. Have a safe and memorable winter break, and on behalf of the administration, no matter how you choose to celebrate this festive season, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. We look forward to seeing you in 2019.
Dr. Alexis McGloin
Superintendent of Schools
Administrative Changes for the 2019-2020 School Year
With the new middle school scheduled to open, and the current UPMS being remodeled for use as a building for grades 4 & 5, there will be several administrative changes for the coming school year. These changes were approved by the Board at their December meeting.
Art Vigilante was promoted from assistant principal at Upper Perkiomen High School to 4/5 building principal. Art has been in the district for 16 years as an administrator, beginning his tenure at Upper Perkiomen Middle School and then transitioning to Upper Perkiomen High School. He brings a vast amount of experience to the position, which will be valuable as we open our first intermediate school.
Shannon Trexler, assistant principal at Hereford Elementary, will become assistant principal at Upper Perkiomen High School. Shannon’s administrative experience runs K-8, and will certainly add value and a new view to the high school level.
Maureen Zavadel will be the K-3 Hereford Elementary principal. Lesley Motruk will be the K-3 Marlborough Elementary principal. Christine Siegfried and Brian Callan will remain in their positions at the new Upper Perkiomen Middle School.
As you may be aware, the Upper Perkiomen Board of School Directors has launched a search for the next superintendent for the UPSD. Input from the staff and community is a valuable part of this search. Please tell the Board what kind of leader you would like to see in this position. A link to a brief survey and more information on the superintendent search is available on our website.
4/5 Building Naming Update
There’s still time to cast your final vote for the name of the new school for grades 4 & 5. While we asked that all votes be in by December 21, if you visit the 4/5 naming page under the community section of our website, before the end of 2018, we’ll add your vote to the tally that the Board will consider in early 2019 when making the final decision to name the building. Students are also voting, and the Board will consider those results as well.
Act 339 Advisory Committee
The Act 339 Advisory Committee, which includes members of the administration, teachers, staff, parents, students and community members, held its first meeting at the Education Center on December 5 (photo below). The purpose of the committee is to provide input on the district’s Act 339 plan and the implementation of that plan, which relates to college and career readiness at Upper Perk. The committee will review the input provided at the initial meeting and discuss the feedback at subsequent meetings to be held this year. More information can be found on the district school counseling page.
Harlem Wizards are Back!
The Harlem Wizards basketball team will once again be visiting Upper Perk. There will be two community shows on February 23rd (2 p.m. and 7 p.m.). The Wizards will present assemblies for the middle and elementary schools around the same time period as well. Online tickets for the public shows will be available in early 2019. For more on the Harlem Wizards, visit their website.
Ed Center Gets in on the Holiday Fun
While the schools may have *most* of the holiday fun, staff at the Education Center had a few opportunities for festive enjoyment, including an Ugly Sweater Potluck lunch on the Thursday before winter break.
Parent & Community Training: Communities for Consent
On January 29, in coordination with Victim Services Center of Montgomery County, Inc., UPSD will present “Communities for Consent,” an event on strategies for preventing sexual abuse, harassment and assault for schools K-12. The presentation will be held from 6-8 p.m. at the Ed Center. To RSVP, or for more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 610-277-0932 x232.
Community Resources This Holiday Season
We know that the holiday season can be a tough time, especially for individuals who are struggling to put food on the table. Unfortunately the Upper Perk community is no exception. If you or someone you know is struggling with food insecuity, there are resources available to help. One of those resources is Foodfinder. Foodfinder.us is a nonprofit website and app that offers the location and contact information of more than 40,000 food pantries and similar food programs across the country. The FoodFinder website and app can be utilized to pinpoint local free food providers within the community.
Hereford’s Ugly Sweater Day
Hereford was the home of some good-natured holiday competition on Friday, December 14th when the school hosted an ugly sweater day. Both students and staff got in on the fun!
Hereford’s Holiday Singalong
As a final bit of holiday fun just before winter break, Hereford held its annual holiday singalong on the afternoon of December 21 (pictured below). All classes performed a song to share with the entire school. Check out a clip of one of the songs here.
Earlier this month, Hereford students shared their musical talents with dedicated volunteers at the annual Volunteer Breakfast. Over 100 volunteers were treated to singing, dancing, creative poems and even instrumental music performances as a “thank you” for all their efforts. All of the student performances from the Volunteer Breakfast are later shared with the entire school at the Holiday Singalong (held on December 21). Check out a picture below of first graders performing the “Reindeer Pokey” at the Volunteer Breakfast.
Beth Bianco is a National Board Certified Teacher
Earlier this month, Mrs. Beth Bianco, who teaches 5th grade at Hereford, was named a National Board Certified Teacher. Becoming nationally board certified takes a lot of work and dedication to teaching. Certified teachers represent five propositions: teachers are committed to students and their learning; teachers know the subjects they teach and how to teach those subjects to students; teachers are responsible for managing and monitoring student learning; teachers think systematically about their practice and learn from experience; and teachers are members of learning communities. Congratulations, Mrs. Bianco on this wonderful accomplishment!
Holiday Spirit at Marlborough
Marlborough hosted a number of spirit days during the week before break, including PJ Day, Twin Day, Backward Day, Ugly Sweater Day and Holiday Colors Day. Jingles the Elf (pictured below) has also been causing mischief all over the school...that is until he was MIA the day before holiday break. Luckily He showed up in style at the holiday singalong (more on that event below)!
Marlborough Holiday Singalong
Marlborough hosted the annual holiday singalong on the morning of December 21 (pictured below). The room was filled with holiday cheer. Students and staff sang holiday favorites, principal Mrs. Motruk read a book, and there were special appearances by Santa, the Elf on the Shelf, and Jingles the Elf (who dropped from the ceiling of the stage at the end of the singalong). Watch a video of the students singing "I want a Hippopotamus For Christmas" here.
Christmas Author Visit
On December 6, local author Paula Stoneback visited Marlborough to read parts of her new Christmas book, “North Pole East: Santa's New Town” to students (pictured below). The book is available for sale on Amazon, with part of the proceeds benefiting St. Luke's Hospital Pediatric Unit and the Literacy Initiative.
If you liked Marlborough’s giant Thanksgiving turkey, hopefully you had the chance to check out head custodian Anne Benfield’s latest creation: a December gingerbread house (pictured below). Displayed in Marlborough’s entrance hall, the gingerbread house display features “wish candles” on which students wrote a wish for someone or something they love and care about. Said Benfield of the candles, “They are tear-jerkers!”
Miss Peart’s Writing Celebration and Cookie Bake-Off
As we began the festive holiday season, Miss Nicole Peart’s class held a writing celebration and cookie bake-off on Friday, November 30. What a SWEET way to celebrate!
Upper Perkiomen Middle School
The middle school hosted the TRIBE Breakfast on December 6. The breakfast is held to honor exceptional students who embody the TRIBE values of Tolerance, Responsibility, Integrity, Bravery and Excellence.
Winter Holiday Concert
The UPMS Winter Holiday Concert was held on December 11. The ever-popular event featured the chorus, orchestra and band, and was held in the high school auditorium. Many winter and holiday classics were performed. The increasing popularity of music at the middle school was evident, with 130 chorus students, 81 orchestra students and 132 band students participating. We even had a chance to get a sneak peek during dress rehearsals!
Life Skills & Autistic Support Ornament Sale
The students of the UPMS life skills and autistic support classes worked hard getting ready for the holiday season. As usual, their annual ornament sale was quite popular! Each year, students makes a unique ornament to take home to their families, and the extras are sold as part of the classes’ fundraising efforts. This year’s ornaments are reminiscent of a snow globe blizzard. The classes also made honey loofah soaps, seasonal potpourri and homemade dog treats to sell as stocking stuffers. For fun, student volunteers also dress up in their favorite festive holiday-wear to deliver “Secret Santa” gifts to those individuals participating in the middle school’s holiday festivities. The classes would like to wish everyone a wonderful holiday season!
UPMS Holiday Spirit Days
The middle school held a number of spirit days during the week before winter break. They included Monday’s Winter PJ Day, Tuesday’s Holiday Colors Day, Wednesday’s Holiday/Santa Hat Day, Thursday’s Flannel Day and Friday’s Ugly Sweater Day. On Friday, there was a competition for the staff member with the ugliest sweater, and principal Christine Siegfried and Assistant Principal Brian Callan did the judging, with a prize for the winner, Tara Muthard!
Ms. Colapietro Quoted in Article on Aftermath of Sandy Hook
Ms. Lisa Colapietro was quoted in an article on “The Story Exchange,” a website geared towards female entrepreneurs. The article, which examines the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting, says: Lisa A. Colapietro, an English teacher in East Greenville, Pennsylvania, who has introduced the Choose Love curriculum to her middle-school students at Upper Perkiomen School District, recently posted about the experience on LinkedIn. Students in the “tween” years are in dire need of social-emotional instruction, she says, as they work toward independence while grappling with puberty. It’s also a time when bullying, depression and thoughts of suicide can occur. “There is no greater gift than empowering students with the tools and realization that they can choose love over hate,” she says. Read the article in its entirety here.
Upper Perkiomen High School
Greeting Card & Craft Sale
On December 5, Life Skills, Autistic Support and UPHS Work Program students took over the Education Center’s Multi-Purpose Room for their annual Greeting Card and Craft Sale (pictured below). Throughout the year, students create greeting cards, not only for Christmas, but also for other holidays and events, and sell them to the community. The holiday sale also featured wooden snowman crafts made by the students. The creation and sale of the cards and crafts enables students in these classes to practice a variety of skills, such as money management, following directions, customer service and more.
Holiday Band & Orchestra and Choir Concerts
The holiday band & orchestra concert was held on December 12, and the choir concert on December 16. The groups performed a number of winter and holiday songs, and the concerts are an ever-popular holiday tradition at Upper Perk.
Uptones Perform at Chamber of Commerce’s Holiday Breakfast
The Uptones presented their annual performance at the UPV Chamber of Commerce’s Holiday Breakfast on December 19 (pictured below). Held at Frederick Living, the winter and holiday tunes were a highlight of the event for many attendees, including local business leaders and representatives from the school district. Check out a clip of one of their songs here.
Job Shadow Program
Also held on December 19 was the job shadow program’s student presentations and mentor appreciation luncheon (pictured below). The event gives students the opportunity to share what they learned during their job shadowing experiences and share a meal with mentors from the community who are able to attend. For anyone interested in being a mentor in the spring, please contact Dr. Rob Carpenter, Mrs. Debra Burns or Mrs. Monica Griffith.
2018 UPHS Holiday Carpool Karaoke
Students and staff created their own version of Carpool Karaoke with Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas.” Senior Jackson Gray composed the amazing holiday video for the school's annual holiday show. Check out the video on YouTube.
Indians Winter Sports
Winter sports are now in full swing. If you want to catch Indians in action over the winter break, you can see boys’ basketball at the Fleetwood Tiger Classic December 27 & 28, girls’ basketball at the Octorara Tournament December 26 & 27 and wrestling at the Governor Mifflin Tournament December 28 & 29. Up-to-date schedules at our athletic website. You can also sign-up to create a Fan Account to follow all of our sports teams and get alerts when there are changes to the schedules here. Additionally, you can sync team schedules directly with their personal calendar. Follow the steps here to link your teams’ schedule.
Boys Basketball Canned Food Drive
The boys basketball team held their Canned Food Drive Basketball Game on Friday, December 14. Entrance was free with three cans or items of non-perishable food. All told, the drive amassed 272 pounds of food! The items were donated to the Open Link to replenish their food pantry. Thanks to all who supported our team and our community!