Dear UPSD Community -
I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving spent with family and friends. During this recent time of thanksgiving, I’ve been thinking a lot about how much we have to be thankful for in this district. Whether the district is facing a triumph or a tribulation, I am always confident that the strength of this community will be there for celebration and support.
I hope you enjoy reading about some of the highlights from the end of October and November in this month’s district newsletter.
Dr. Alexis McGloin
Superintendent of Schools
Remembering Andie Clutter, UPHS Junior
The UPSD community unexpectedly lost a member of our district family recently. On Sunday, Nov. 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. We know that the strength of the Upper Perk community has helped and will continue to help Andie’s family and friends through this sad and difficult time, and may Andie’s memory bring joy to all who knew her. Read Andie’s obituary.
UPSD honors five for Distinguished Service
At the Nov. 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.
ALICE Active Shooter Drills
During the month of November, all schools in the district conducted an ALICE active shooter drill. These drills focused on the lockdown/barricade component of ALICE (example at right). Local law enforcement agencies were in attendance at all of the drills, and the officers were impressed with the focus UPSD is putting on school safety and security, as well as the students’ responses to the drills. After attending the UPHS and UPMS drills, Lt. Dan Steele of the PA State Police said, “I was in attendance along with members of my staff, and we were thoroughly impressed on the direction and actions of your staff and students during these drills. You should be proud of all of them. It is comforting to know your administration’s efforts to protect our most vulnerable during a horrific event such as a shooting incident is of top concern.” Lt. Steele added, “I have to say, my staff and I made an impromptu visit to the 7th grade lunch session at UPMS after the drill and we were greeted with a standing ovation. This had a profound positive impact, and quite frankly made our day to see that level of support from our youth.”
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!” In related news, the Future Ready Dashboard was recently released, and Upper Perk’s four schools can be viewed here.
Hosting the Ministerial Luncheon
Every year, the spiritual leaders of the Upper Perkiomen Valley gather for a visit to the school district. During the visit, they share a meal with district administration and discuss issues that are of importance to the greater Upper Perk community. This year’s ministerial luncheon was hosted by Marlborough, and included a sadly all-too-timely presentation on ALICE active shooter training just days after the deadly shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue.
New Food Service Director Paula Germinario
Paula Germinario joined UPSD as food service director on Nov. 12. Paula came to us with many years of experience in food and nutrition, with her most recent role at Spring-Ford Area School District. Paula replaced Nichole Taylor who left the district earlier this year. Please join us in welcoming Paula to Upper Perk!
Talking to Your Kids About Vaping
Earlier this year, the district, along with community partners, hosted an informational event on vaping. To further underline the seriousness of this issue facing many young people and their families, the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services Office of Drug & Alcohol has developed a Vaping Toolkit to help provide resources and information for parents, schools, educators, and health care providers. Check out the toolkit, and learn how to speak to teens and loved ones about vaping and the effects it may have on their health.
K-12 Continuum of Services & MTSS Update
UPSD offers a full continuum of services for most students identified in need of special education, and has made a number of investments in this area in recent years. The UPSD philosophy is that all students should have the opportunity to be educated with non-disabled peers to the greatest extent possible. Within the past three years, we have implemented and opened a number of new classrooms and programs to expand the continuum of services, and hired new staff positions. The UPSD has implemented Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) at all buildings. With the help of the MCIU, MTSS framework has been clearly defined and additional MTSS training has been provided to our staff. Additionally, the district continues to operate various low incidence classrooms. This includes a full continuum of supports and services for Autistic Support K-12. UPSD operates a MS and HS Life Skills and Emotional Support classrooms. UPSD recently began housing a MCIU Multiple Disabilities classroom and opened an MDS classroom at the HS level. UPSD recently opened an 18-21 program to assist in the area of transition. Transition services focus on vocational skills and functional academic training. The district also continues to work to bring back students who are currently placed in out-of-district programs. These are just a few of the recent improvements to the special education & pupil services area. For additional information or questions, feel free to attend a Special Education & Pupil Services Committee meeting, or reach out to the staff.
Winter Coat Donations
The YMCA donated a large number of brand new winter coats to the district for children in need. In all, 16 boxes of coats were distributed to Hereford, Marlborough and Upper Perkiomen Middle School.
Celebrating the 50th School Day, 1950s Style
Earlier this month, 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! We had a chance to join Mrs. Gross and Mrs. Goodwin’s classes on Wednesday morning for the fun! Check out the Upper Perkiomen School District Facebook page for more photos!
Red Ribbon Week at Hereford
This was the first year that our elementary schools participated in Red Ribbon Week. Hereford recognized the drug awareness week Oct. 22-26. Each day, the school had a different theme revolving around what Red Ribbon week is, what it means and what it stands for in promoting an awareness of the dangers of alcohol and other drugs. Themes included “Rally in Red Against Drugs” where students wore red clothing, “Sock it to Drugs” where students wore fun/crazy socks, “Put Drugs to Sleep” where students wore pajamas, “Team Up Against Drugs” where students wore school spirit wear or a team jersey and “Say Boo to Drugs” where students wore a Halloween costume (the highlight of the week for many!). There were also special activities to educate students on the importance of making positive and healthy life choices, as well as daily informational themed announcements.
Students from Hereford’s Autistic Support program had the opportunity to practice the communication skills needed for community Trick-or-Treat. Members of the staff were strategically placed throughout the school with non-edible treats to share with the students. Thank you to Mrs. Gruber and Mrs. Noska for giving students a safe place to practice this important skill!
A Successful Holiday Bazaar
Earlier this month, Hereford held its annual Holiday Bazaar. Among the vendors were a handful of Hereford students selling their homemade crafts. One table of children sold over $100 in slime! Way to go, Hereford entrepreneurs! Another highlight of the event was the opportunity to take pictures with special guest Santa.
Giving Thanks...With a Ten Foot Tall Turkey!
Thanks to a coordinating effort by Marlborough’s head custodian, Anne Benfield, Marlborough had a larger-than-life representation of the Marlborough community’s thanks just inside the school’s front door—a floor-to-ceiling turkey in which each feather represented what one student or staff member is thankful for. The turkey was featured in Town & Country prior to Thanksgiving.
Red Ribbon Week at Marlborough
This was the first year both UPSD elementary schools recognized Red Ribbon Week. Red Ribbon Week, held this year on Oct. 22-26, is designed to increase drug awareness, especially among youth. At Marlborough, spirit days included “Rally in Red Against Drugs” (wear red and make Red Ribbon Pledge), “Team Up Against Drugs” (wear spirit wear or team jersey), “Put a Cap on Drugs” (wear a hat/cap), “Sock it to Drugs” (wear fun/crazy socks) and “Say Boo to Drugs” (wear Halloween costume).
5th Grade Trip to Quiet Valley
Some 5th grade students had the opportunity to go on a field trip to Quiet Valley Living Historical Farm in Stroudsburg, PA. While there, they visited a one-room schoolhouse, met farm animals and much more.
The visit connects to the social studies curriculum as students learn about early immigrants and the German heritage in Pennsylvania, as well as the music and art curricula.
Nature Walk Prize Assembly
Earlier this month, an assembly was held to award prizes for the Marlborough Nature Walk. The assembly even included a surprise appearance by the Phillie Phanatic! The Nature Walk goal was to raise $18K, but students blew that goal out of the water and helped raise over $25K.
Prizes included an iFly experience with a friend a trip to the movie in balcony at the Grand Theater with nine friends, Eagles Football memorabilia, a party at Skyzone and a Gaga Ball Pizza Party.
Save the Date: Holiday Bazaar
The PTFS Holiday Bazaar will be held on Dec. 1 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The ever-popular event will include tons of crafters, raffles, lunch, a book fair, Santa’s workshop, pictures with Santa and more.
Upper Perkiomen Middle School
Western Center Visit for 8th Grade Students
On Nov. 15, half of the 8th grade students were given the opportunity to visit the Western Center to learn about the offerings available to them as they begin high school. Students were given a tour as they learned about the various technical programs that are offered at the Western Center. The other half of the 8th grade was scheduled to visit on the 16th, but that visit was rescheduled for Nov. 30 due to a two hour delay on the 16th.
Fall Pep Rally
The middle school held their first pep rally of the year on Nov. 16. At it, the school recognized Students of the Month for September and October and all of the fall sports teams.
A special recognition was given to the field hockey team for their outstanding undefeated season (pictured, right). The chorus sang the National Anthem, and students and staff also competed in some relay races to get everyone in the spirit!
New Middle School Construction Update
Construction on the new middle school building on Montgomery Ave. continues to progress. Crews are working to enclose the building so work can continue inside over the colder winter months.
Much of the classroom wing is closed in, and rooms are really taking shape as drywall is hung and windows are installed. The masonry work is going up throughout the building, and some of the larger spaces such as the cafeteria, gym and auditorium also continue to progress.
Swimming with the FISH Philosophy
The UPMS Staff participated in FISH Philosophy training on Nov. 6. The four principles of FISH are: Be There, Make Their Day, Choose Your Attitude and Play.
“We are hoping to create a positive culture within our school amongst staff and our students,” said Principal Christine Siegfried.
Upper Perkiomen High School
Water Polo Successes & Alumni Game
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 8 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. In other water polo news, the 13th Annual UPHS Water Polo Alumni Game was held Nov. 23 in the UPHS Natatorium, benefiting the Samantha Snyder Water Polo Scholarship Fund and UPHS Water Polo Team.
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. UPN coverage of the senior court is available here.
National Honor Society Induction
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. Congratulations to all new NHS members! UPN coverage of the induction is available here.
Students of the Quarter at the Western Center
The following students received Student of the Quarter for the 1st quarter of the 2018-19 school year at the Western Center: Charissa Baysinger, Felicity Beck, Savanna Butz, Catherine Gruber, Dalton Heacock, James Hinz, Megan Long, Anthony Manero, Weston Mensch, Briana Miller, Allanah Nelligan, Mason Sacco, Samuel Shafer and Jaden Tarantino.
A High School Halloween
High school students and staff got in the Halloween spirit this year. Those spotted roaming the halls included the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, the cast of Mean Girls, members of the Addams Family and the four seasons (spring, summer, fall and winter...not the musical group!). Visit our Facebook page for more photos.
College Recruiting Seminar Rescheduled
The Dynamite Sports college recruiting seminar originally scheduled for this fall has been rescheduled for January 21. Contact the athletic office with questions or for more details.
Attending the Mid-Atlantic Emmy Awards
On Oct. 13, five students (Sanjana Patel, Olivia Benner, Jessica Knause, Erin Rafferty and Kayman Heater) had the opportunity to volunteer at the Mid-Atlantic Emmy Awards in Philadelphia. The students walked on stage and presented multiple Mid-Atlantic reporters with their Emmys.
Indians in the District Playoffs
With fall sports coming to a close, it is the perfect time to congratulate fall athletes on their hard work over the last few months, as well as their successes. In addition to a strong water polo season, UPHS had two teams make it to district playoffs: field hockey and boys’ soccer. Congrats to all on a great fall season!