Dear UPSD Community -
We’ve said it time and time again, but it is so true: it is a time of incredible change in the district. The upcoming 2019-2020 school year will feature a number of huge changes—new buildings, administrators and schedules to name a few—and much of the groundwork for those transitions has been laid this year and the years prior.
While we excitedly anticipate the year to come, I’d be remiss if I didn’t take time to reflect on what a stellar school year we’re about to wrap up. The district can lay claim to successes in academics, the arts, athletics, service, career exploration and so much more. In this end-of-year newsletter, you will find just a handful of the highlights from the 2018-2019 school year—I hope you enjoy re-living some of our triumphs, accomplishments and significant events.
There is so much to look forward to in the months ahead. In the meantime, however, I’d like to say “thank you” for yet another stellar year in the Upper Perkiomen District, and I hope you find some time to rest and relax with family and friends this summer—we look forward to hitting the ground running in August and September!
Dr. Andrea Farina
Assistant Superintendent of Schools
District News Highlights by Month:
Welcome Back: The Start of the 2018-2019 School Year
The start of the year is always busy. Before we were ready to open the doors to students, UPSD teachers spent several days preparing for their arrival. This included the August 21 Opening Day, with a keynote by Dr. Tracey Severns, food trucks available for lunch and much more. On August 27, the halls of our four schools were once again filled with countless smiling faces as we welcomed back students for the start of the 2018-2019 school year. Each building hosted back-to-school events, including Marlborough’s Popsicles on the Playground, Hereford’s Kindergarten & New Student Orientation, MS 6th Grade Orientation and HS Freshmen Orientation.
Community Day 2018
On September 8, UPSD administration had a table on Main Street as part of East Greenville’s Community Day. The UPSD table, which was right next to the free-book-filled table of UPEA, included a Plinko board at which kids could win prizes and several gift basket raffles. Look out for us at the 2019 Community Day in Pennsburg on September 7, 2019!
Hereford Hike & Marlborough Nature Walk
On September 28, despite the misty weather, both Hereford and Marlborough continued the PTFS tradition of the Hereford Hike and Marlborough Nature Walk to raise funds. Individuals and businesses can make pledges to individual students or the school to support things like field trips, assemblies, family nights, books for book bingo and more. Top earning classes had the chance to earn prizes.
Middle School March
On October 5 UPMS and PTFS held the Middle School March around the track and athletic fields. The money raised helps provide “extras” offered for students and staff that may not otherwise be covered financially. A pizza or ice cream party was at stake for the top homerooms in each grade level that collected over $300.
Girls Water Polo Team wins Small School State Championship
The girls water polo team won the Small School State Championship on Oct. 27, defeating Fairview 8-4 at Muhlenberg High School. The team bus was led through town by State Police and eight fire trucks after capturing the championship. The boys team came in 2nd at the same competition. The girls also won some postseason honors, including Bailey McCausland earning 2nd Team Eastern All-Conference and Cailtlyn McKelvy earning 3rd Team Eastern All-Conference. The team was later honored for their championship on March 18 at the state capitol in Harrisburg.
The homecoming football game was held on Oct. 19. The UP Indians were victorious, beating Pottstown 21-20. The game was followed by the homecoming dance on Oct. 20. This year’s homecoming representatives were freshman Allie Deeble, sophomore Caitlyn Mckelvy, junior Dana Lutz and seniors Julianna Krier, Sam Durkin, Alexa Banner, Courtney Bauer and Aubrey Leamer. Elected as homecoming queen was Samantha Durkin and homecoming king was Jackson Gray.
National Honor Society Induction at UPHS
On Oct. 18, 34 new members were inducted into the prestigious National Honor Society (NHS). In order to be accepted into NHS, a student must have a 3.5 GPA or higher. Students must apply for membership, illustrating the ways they demonstrate NHS’ core values: leadership, scholarship, service and character.
Remembering Andie Clutter, UPHS Student
The UPSD community unexpectedly lost a member of our district family in November. On November 18, UPHS junior Andrea Marie Clutter, known as Andie, sadly lost her battle with epilepsy. Services were held on Nov. 25 and 26, at which her family encouraged those in attendance to wear purple in support of epilepsy awareness. Read Andie’s obituary.
UPSD honors five for Distinguished Service
At the November 8 School Board meeting, five exemplary individuals were honored for their distinguished service to the Upper Perkiomen School District. Distinguished Service honorees included Ellen Long, Dianne Hobson, Julie Weller, David McCaig and Beth Williams. Find out more about the honorees and the students who created original artwork for them on our website.
Career Readiness at Upper Perk
As part of the PA Future Ready Index, Pennsylvania requires all school districts have a K-12 School Counseling Plan as part of Chapter 339. This plan addresses the importance of career planning for all students. UPSD’s plan was recognized by the state for going above and beyond what is required and expected, and the state will use Upper Perk’s plan as an example for other districts in the state and a model in future trainings on the topic. “Congratulations on your document and plan. I hope your program will be reflective of what your team has put together," said Michael Thompson, a representative of the PA Dept. of Education. “I really like the section that you added connected to the evidence collection documentation for the Future Ready Pa Index!” The inaugural meeting of the Act 339 Advisory Committee was held later in the school year on December 5.
Celebrating the 50th School Day, 1950s Style
Hereford celebrated the 50th day of school in style by paying homage to the 1950s. While several students and staff got in the spirit by wearing 50s garb, it was kindergarten classes that led the way with a number of events including hula hooping, hand jiving, sock hopping, record art crafting and math games related to the number 50!
Announcing 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, the Board approved several administrative changes at their December meeting. The highlights of these changes included Art Vigilante (right) being promoted from assistant principal at UPHS to 4 & 5 building principal. Maureen Zavadel will be the K-3 Hereford Elementary principal. Lesley Motruk would have remained the K-3 Marlborough Elementary principal, but announced her retirement in the spring (a search for her replacement is underway). Christine Siegfried and Brian Callan will remain in their positions at the new UPMS, while Todd Amsler will remain in his role at UPHS.
Marlborough & Hereford Holiday Singalongs
Marlborough hosted its annual holiday singalong on the morning of December 21. The room was filled with holiday cheer. Students and staff sang holiday favorites, Mrs. Motruk read a book, and there were special appearances by Santa and Jingles the Elf. As a final bit of holiday fun just before winter break, Hereford also held its annual holiday singalong on December 21. All classes performed a song to share with the entire school.
UPMS 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.
Naming the New Building for Grades 4 & 5
In January, the Board voted on a name for the soon-to-be-renovated 4 & 5 building on Jefferson Street in East Greenville. The Board based their decision on community member and student surveys, which helped narrow the list of possible names. Ultimately, they decided to name the building, which is currently home to UPMS, “Upper Perkiomen 4 & 5 Grade Center.”
PA Launches Safe2Say Something Anonymous Reporting System
In January 2019, Pennsylvania launched the Safe2Say Something (S2SS) anonymous reporting system. This program, which is mandated under PA state law / Act 44, encourages individuals to say something to a trusted adult OR use the S2SS anonymous reporting system if they have a concern. Upper Perk students in grades 5-12 received training from administrators on the Safe2Say Something reporting system early in 2019. More on S2SS is available on our website.
Harlem Wizards Wow at Joint-PTFS Event
The Harlem Wizards performed two shows on February 23 in the UPHS gym. The shows, which were held as a fundraiser for the joint-PTFS, pitted the UPSD All-Stars against the Harlem Wizards in a game filled with high-flying dunks, lightning fast moves and comedic interludes. Thanks to all who volunteered to make this event a success!
Celebrating the 100th Day Like a Centenarian
To celebrate the 100th day of school, on February 4, Marlborough kindergarten students dressed like they were 100 years old, and engaged in a number of fun learning activities related to the number 100. In Mrs. Puzauskas' classroom, students were collecting 100 words from around the classroom, making a wall out of 100 cups, completing an art project with 100 elements to it and much more! Students at Hereford had a similar opportunity on the 100th day.
UPMS Drama Production of “Broadway Lullaby” a Bold Look at 1920s
UPMS' drama production, Broadway Lullaby, was presented on February 27 (free senior citizen show), February 28 (previews for the middle school student body), March 1-2 (public performances) and March 4 (5th grade shows for the elementary schools). The show took place in a bleak NYC orphanage...that is, until the audience met a new orphan and her trunk full of “magic!” This production was a charmer filled with imagination and heart.
Getting to the Heart of Science
Students in the Science Explorers clubs at Hereford and Marlborough had the opportunity to dissect and examine sheep hearts this spring. Facilitated by Cathie Hill and Toni Arner, students learned valuable information about how the heart works and what it does for the body during this hands-on experience.
Students Participate in Peace Poster Contest
On the evening of March 13 at The Valley Cafe in Pennsburg, three sixth grade students were honored for their artistic achievements and success with the Lion’s Club International Peace Poster Contest. This year, all three Upper Perk student entries placed at the District level: Kaitlyn Bastone-1st Place, Marianne Uber-2nd Place and Abby Packard-3rd Place. Kaitlyn proceeded to win First Place Honorable Mention at the State level, and she was honored with a special plaque for her achievements.
Thomas Uber wins Geography Bee for Third Straight Year
Thomas Uber won the UPMS Geography Bee for the third straight year. He was then notified by the National Geographic Society that he is one of the semifinalists eligible to compete in the 2019 National Geographic GeoBee Pennsylvania State Competition. The state competition was held in Harrisburg on March 29.
Spring Production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was a Hit!
Public performances of UPHS’ production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang ran March 14-17. On March 13, the cast and crew put on a show in front of a packed house for the annual free performance for senior citizens. The show was full of lots of laughs, detailed costumes, gorgeous sets and soaring musical numbers.
Sophomores Attend Annual Business Tours
As part of UPHS’ career-readiness efforts, sophomores again had the opportunity to participate in tours of area businesses. This school year’s tours took place on March 26 and 27. The business tours are made possible through UPHS’ partnership with the Upper Perkiomen Chamber of Commerce and the Perk Up initiative. This year, four new companies joined the group of local businesses that welcome our students and teach them a bit more about various career options. Because of the large, varied pool of participating businesses, over 250 sophomores were able to visit either their first of second choice of business. Participating businesses included St. Luke’s Quakertown, Knoll, Perkiomen Animal Hospital, Wal-Mart, Bracalente Manufacturing Group and more.
Dr. Allyn Roche Named Superintendent
At their April 11 meeting, the UPSD School Board voted unanimously to approve Dr. Allyn Roche as the new Superintendent of Schools. Dr. Roche will replace Dr. Alexis McGloin, who announced earlier in 2019 that she would not seek a renewal to her contract after nearly five years with the district. Dr. Roche begins his role as UPSD Superintendent on July 1, 2019 with a five year contract and a first year salary of $195,000. “The real draw for me to Upper Perk was the people—the sense of family and the commitment to education,” said Dr. Roche during brief remarks at last night’s Board meeting. “I’m confident that this will be a great fit. I’m proud to join the Upper Perk family, and bring my own family into that Upper Perk family. This is going to be a journey for us all over a long period of time, and I’m excited to get started.” Read more on our website.
Overview of Transition Plans for 2019-2020 School Year
Early in April, UPSD sent an email to the district community with an overview of the expected changes for the 2019-2020 school year's building transitions. The high-level information on the transition for next school year is available on our website.
Postseason Honors for Swimmers
Upper Perk swimmers made a splash when it comes to postseason honors! In April, Mercury All-Area selections were announced, and it’s no surprise that the UP Indians were well-represented. Junior Noel Fresa earned 2018-19 Mercury All-Area Girls Swimmer of the Year honors, in addition to being named to the All-Area First Team. Senior Bailey McCausland was named to the Girls Second Team, while Devin Romankowski and Madison Modugno received Honorable Mention. For the boys, senior Kyle Kovalekno earned First Team honors, with Trevor Cairns and Sean Lyman receiving Honorable Mention. Coach Brien Kalnoski was also named All-Area Girls Swim Coach of the Year. These accolades came after a great season, including competition at the state championship level. Congrats to all our swimmers and coaches, including those earning All-Area honors, for a successful season! Read more on the All-Area Girls Team and Boys Team.
FBLA State Conference Competition
In April, nine FBLA members competed in Hershey at the FBLA State Conference. Two teams qualified to attend the FBLA National Conference in San Antonio, TX this summer. The team of Ethan Markwalter and Ethan Trzaska finished 2nd in the state in Website Design, while the team of Adam Dockery, Bobby Lynch and Jon Trzaska placed 7th in Sports & Entertainment Marketing. They are the first Upper Perk teams to qualify for the FBLA National Conference in over 10 years!
New Middle School Construction Update
Over the course of the year, the new UPMS building on Montgomery Avenue in Pennsburg has continued to take shape. The classroom wing is nearing completion, and the remainder of the building also continues to progress on-schedule. Check out some construction photos from this spring, and read the coverage from Town & Country’s most recent visit to the site.
UPSD Earns Grant for New Secure Entrance at Marlborough
On May 1, it was announced that the district was selected as a recipient of a $58,320 School Safety and Security Grant from the PA Commission on Crime and Delinquency to complete a new secure main entrance at Marlborough Elementary. The grant process was competitive, with a total of 638 applications requesting $177.6 million. 234 awards were made totaling $40 million. The completion of a new secure entrance at Marlborough is an important component to the district’s ongoing safety and security efforts. The complete list of grant recipients can be found here.
UPHS & UPMS Students Compete at Special Olympics
Student-athletes from UPHS and UPMS special education classes competed in the Special Olympics at Souderton High School on May 20. The high school held a send-off pep rally for the students on the morning of the 20th. Congrats to all who competed, and check out some photos from the day! UPTV coverage of Special Olympics can be viewed here, starting at the 2:07 mark.
UPTV Students Honored at Mid-Atlantic Emmys
On May 14, Upper Perk students went head-to-head with many of the biggest and best high schools in PA, NJ, NY and DE at the Mid-Atlantic Emmys. Our students came home with two Emmy nominations, and one Emmy award. “WTF- What the Fry?!” won an Emmy Award for Best Serious News Story (Producer/Director: Sanjana Patel; Assistant Producer: Brendan Davis) and “Nothing To Do” was nominated for Best Light News Story (Producer/Director/Editor: Andrew Niziolek; Assistant Producers: Naomi Brooks, Stacey May, Morgan Chowns, Ashley Schwab, Jackson Gray, Devon Stephens, Jordan Walker).
Arts Week 2019
UPSD hosted its annual district-wide arts festival May 7-10 at UPHS. On May 7, the Elementary and Middle School Choir Concert took place at 7 p.m. in the auditorium. The Art Show, held in the gym, opened on May 8 from 6-8:30 p.m., with the Art Awards beginning at 7 p.m. The Elementary and Middle School Band Concert was held that evening at 7 p.m. in the auditorium. The Art Show remained open on May 9 from 6-8:30 p.m., and on that evening at 7 p.m., the Elementary and Middle School Orchestra Concert was held in the auditorium. Arts Week concluded on May 10, with a final night of the Art Show from 6-8 p.m. At 5:30, the High School Instrumental and Vocal Recital took place in the audion, and at 7 p.m., the High School Band and Orchestra Concert was held in the auditorium.
Congratulations to Newly-Inducted UPMS National Junior Honor Society Students!
This year, 49 seventh grade students were recognized for their accomplishments, and pledged to further develop the five pillars of scholarship, service, leadership, character and citizenship as members of NJHS. Thank you to Kaya Rogers, a senior at UPHS and NHS president who shared her experiences, and spoke many encouraging words at the ceremony. Current NJHS members and officers and Mrs. Siegfried also helped make the ceremony a success.
Annual Volunteer & Public Servant Appreciation Breakfast
On May 22, Hereford Elementary hosted the district’s Volunteer & Public Servant Appreciation Breakfast. The event included a delicious breakfast and a short program including entertainment from Hereford students. Those in attendance included local firefighters, 911 call center representatives, state and local police officers, crossing guards, elected officials, school volunteers and members of the district administration and School Board.
Great Outdoors Day at UPHS
On May 24, students at UPHS had a breezy, beautiful morning to enjoy Great Outdoors Day. Activities included a number of active pursuits (such as volleyball, ultimate frisbee and cornhole), as well as end-of-year and other fun activities (such as yearbook pickup and food stands).
UPHS Job Shadowing Mentor Appreciation Celebration
A new experiential learning component of the College and Career Preparation course includes a job shadowing requirement. Through a partnership with the Upper Perkiomen Valley Chamber of Commerce, enrolled students integrate classroom knowledge with valuable first-hand, real-world experience in local businesses. At a celebration on June 5, students shared their capstone projects to showcase their learning experience, and business mentors were recognized for their investment in making our students more qualified for the challenges of the 21st century. A similar event was held earlier in the school year, on December 19.
First-Ever UPHS Senior Video
Head on over to UPN’s YouTube page where you can check out the first-ever UPHS Senior Video, created by Class President and UPN Crew Member Jackson Gray as his final senior project. Congratulations to the Class of 2019...may they enjoy this keepsake, preserved on the UPN YouTube page, so they may re-live senior year at Upper Perk over and over again.