Monday, November 23, 2015

District & Community News and Events
November 2015

School Board Updates
Around Our Schools
Around Our Community
Upcoming Events
Fun Facts

School Board Updates


● STEM ­ Committee Report

● Elementary School Class Sizes

● Growth and Achievement Report

● Selection of New Board Member to replace Keith Knauss

STEM Committee Report

You have probably heard the term STEM being used in the media.  It stands for Science,

Technology, Engineering, and Math.  The STEM concept for education is to provide students

with an integrated approach to teaching these topics in a real­ world, rigorous, and relevant

manner.  The committee evaluated our program and made far-­reaching recommendations for

more courses, partnerships, and activities.

Elementary School Class Sizes

This issue has been a major point of discussion over the last two months.  Hillendale parents came to each Board meeting in great numbers to express their concerns about 3rd grade class sizes.  The parents articulated well-developed arguments and provided reports and documentation to support the benefits of smaller class sizes.

The issue is that currently 3rd grade class sizes at Hillendale have reached the top of the Board’s established guidelines.  

The final decision, after much analysis, review, debate, and a final vote, was to follow the Administration’s recommendation and review the guidelines in the future. The vote was 5 to 4.

The Administration committed to evaluating the policy guidelines and presenting its findings to the Board.

Many important points came to light and will be useful for future discussions on this policy.
  • The current class size guidelines were modified several years ago (increased by 1) as part of a belt-tightening exercise during the recent economic downturn.
  • Class sizes at the top of the guideline are not unique.  About 1 in 5 (elementary) classes are at the top of the guideline and by the time a student graduates from the district, about half of them will have been in a class at the top of the guidelines.
  • There is no quantifiable data showing current guidelines have had a negative impact on student learning outcomes.
  • Decreases in class sizes would likely require more classrooms and teachers; that would need to be addressed during the budgeting process.

Watch the debate online (Note: this link will take you directly to the start of the debate among the Board members, starting with a presentation by Bob Sage).

Growth and Achievement Report

This year, each principal provided an update to the Board on the state of their school, highlighting accomplishments, recognition, results of statewide standardized tests, and next steps.

Statewide standardized test results are in a transitionary period.  Pennsylvania is phasing out PSSA (replaced by Keystone Exams) while at the same time phasing in a new school performance evaluation system (PVAAS - Pennsylvania Value Added Assessment System).

The new PVAAS data provides insights into student achievement and annual growth.  The detailed data is intended to provide school districts with valuable information to drive instructional decision making that leads to improved learning outcomes for all students.

Overall, we know that our student achievement is excellent.  The new growth data is being evaluated, supporting our ingrained continual improvement process.  Where indicated, instructional changes will be made.

It was a long presentation with a lot of data and commentary.  Two points of note:
  • Very strong results at the Middle School
  • Reflection on how 5th and 6th grade math results may have been impacted due to the transition to Singapore math.

Selection of New Board Member to replace Keith Knauss

We welcome Elise Anderson to the Board, replacing Keith Knauss, who resigned in October. She will serve the remainder of his term, which runs through November 2017. Elise grew up in the district and has children attending school here.  She is an active member of our community and has served on the Curriculum Council.

Click here to watch her interview, including her statement of qualifications and responses to Board member questions.

Around Our Schools

UHS Marching Band Championships

Congratulations to the Unionville High School Marching Band for their fantastic performance at Sunday's Cavalcade of Bands Liberty Open Championships. The band placed 3rd in a highly competitive field with their season high score of 95.15. We wish them luck at the Gator Bowl Contest of Champions in December.


Unionville Family Hits Trifecta of Educational Excellence

“The extraordinary accomplishments of these students are not an accident,” Sanville said. “Clearly, they were raised in a home where appreciation and gratitude are practiced and shared. While they have the same initials, they are great kids on their own. Scott, Sami and Sydney are selfless, sincere 

and steadfast.”



To read the entire article visit:

Daily Local News Article-The Seidenberger Children

Patton Middle School Teacher Brian Kelley is Grant Program Winner

The American Immigration Council is proud to announce Brian Kelley as one of two winners of the 2015-2016 Community Grants Program. The grant program is an initiative to provide educators and/or community organizers with the resources they need to implement a successful immigration curriculum or community-based project. Both winners have developed student-centered storytelling projects that engage students and families in writing and sharing immigration stories, past and present, while also demonstrating the important and varied contributions of immigrants to our country. Congratulations to Brian! Read all about it here.

Around Our Community
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UCFSD Community Service project      

Warm coats,hats and mittens needed

UCFSD Community Service gives away gently used warm coats, fleece jackets, hats, mittens/gloves and snow pants to local families in need. Donated items can be dropped off in the lobbies of any of the UCF district schools now until Thursday 12/17.  Items should be clean and in good condition. All styles and sizes are needed. New items are also gladly accepted! Details

Holiday Fundraisers

**The Unionville high school boys’ lacrosse team is doing a Yankee Candle fundraiser for the holidays. They also have wrapping paper, popcorn, and other gift items. If you are interested,go to and use the code 990087426​to place an order and they will give 40% of your total sales back to the team.Orders are shipped directly to you (or you can ship directly to others for gifts).

**UHS Ice Hockey Club is sponsoring a “Holiday Greens Fundraiser”. Our hope is to raise money to support ice time and league fees moving forward and also to ensure that any child within the Unionville Chadds Ford School District that desires to play the great game of hockey can afford to do so. In order to do this we need your help! This year the club has decided to keep the fundraiser simple. All sales are processed online via our personalized and secure fundraiser website. There are a number of beautiful items to choose from including holiday wreaths, centerpieces, greens and other accessories. Shipping is included in the price you see online and you can choose your ship date to ensure you receive the freshest
products delivered right to your door. The best part is the club will receive 20% of every purchase made. Just click on the link below to make your purchase!

Upcoming Events

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Fun Facts

Winter Fun Facts

Snow, rain, ice, hail… winter is almost here! Winter officially starts December 23rd, which is also the shortest day of the year!

A Few Fun Facts about Winter:
  • The world’s biggest snowflake fell on January 28, 1887, in Ft. Keogh, Montana. It was 15 inches across and 8 inches thick! The runner up was one that fell in Bratsk, Siberia, almost a century later (1971) – it measured 8 by 12 inches.
  • The heaviest snowfall on record was in Silver Lake, Colorado, on April 14-15, 1921, when the town received 67 inches of fresh snow in 24 hours!
  • The largest single snowstorm on record lasted five days in Alaska, 1955, and left more than 141-1/2 feet of snow!
  • A single snowstorm can drop 40 millions tons of snow, carrying the energy equivalent to 120 atom bombs.
  • The biggest hailstone recorded fell in South Dakota on July 23, 2010. It was the size of a softball and weighed almost 2 pounds.
  • Hailstones are built like onions – the layers count the number of times it traveled to the top of the storm before falling to the ground.

According to legend, we will have a cold winter if:
  • Animals have thicker coats of hair or fur.
  • Squirrels build their nests low in trees and gather nuts early.
  • Ants build their mounds high.
  • Larger numbers of spiders are seen in the fall.
  • Birds are seen migrating early or huddling on the ground.


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