First Reads

PHS Soph Chosen for Bucks County Sculpture Show

posted Nov 28, 2017, 1:50 PM by Joe Ferry   [ updated Nov 29, 2017, 8:31 AM ]

Cardboard sculpture of a big rig
Ever since his parents got him involved in creating model railroading layouts at a very young age, Pennridge High School 10th grader Bobby Waite has had a keen interest in art and creating things. He also began creating extremely detailed drawings as a youngster, an interest that only deepened after he attended art classes at the Michener Art Museum one summer.

As he got older, Bobby also developed an interest in diesel trucks that began when his family toured a big rig dealership and he was given the opportunity to ride in one. From that moment, Bobby became even more interested in trucks and began to draw trucks when he got home.

Bobby's two interests came together recently when his three-dimensional, recycled cardboard sculpture of a big rig was accepted into the Bucks County Sculpture Show, a juried event sponsored by the Central Bucks Chamber of Commerce for renowned and emerging sculptors. At 16, Bobby was the youngest artist in the show.

"His end product demonstrated his advanced understanding of the subject," said Ms. Karin DePeppe, his teacher in the high school's Sculpture class. 
The Bucks County Sculpture Show is one of only a few such exhibitions in the region devoted exclusively to three-dimensional art and Bobby was honored to be the youngest artist to have his artwork displayed in the show. As he stood in front of his work of art, Bobby said he was thrilled to speak to people that admired his work and was proud to be in the show. The people who viewed it, he said, encouraged him to continue with art after graduation from high school. 

Bobby’s accomplishment definitely made his family and the PHS Art Department Pennridge Proud!

Deb Cotner-Davis Named an Outstanding Educator in Bucks County

posted Nov 13, 2017, 7:54 AM by Joe Ferry   [ updated Nov 13, 2017, 7:54 AM ]

Deb Cotner Davis with Award
Mrs. Deb Cotner-Davis, a member of the Pennridge High School science department for 31 years, has been recognized with the Outstanding Service Award by the Bucks County Intermediate Unit. She was honored on November 3 during a luncheon at the Middle Bucks Institute of Technology.

"I am humbled and honored that I was even nominated for this award," said Mrs. Cotner-Davis.

An outstanding public educator for nearly 40 years, Mrs. Cotner-Davis began her teaching career at PHS as a physics teacher and later took on the role of supervisor for the high school Science Department. Since the beginning of the 2016-2017 school year, she has also assumed the role of STEM Supervisor for the district's three middle schools. 

Dr. Kathy Brewster-Scheid, the district's Director of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, said Cotner-Davis is among the most brilliant educators she has worked with.

"I have been fortunate enough to have worked in four districts in Bucks County, and have had the opportunity to work with brilliant teachers. Without question, Deb is among them," wrote Dr. Scheid in her nomination form. 

"However, she stands apart from this prestigious group in a way that challenges us to reflect on our own lives as educators. She is a reminder that kindness still goes a long way and that to truly help someone get better at what they do requires hard work, honesty and integrity."

Dr. Scheid said students could provide testimony for her brilliance as a master teacher of science, colleagues could provide countless examples of her collegiality and leadership and her supervisors could make lists of things she has done that go well beyond the call of duty. These characteristics and examples alone would suffice to nominate Deb for the Bucks County Outstanding Educator Award, she said.

But Mrs. Cotner-Davis brings even more to the classroom, said Dr. Scheid.

"Deb is more than a talented, caring, innovative teacher, and a strong leader in our field," said Dr. Scheid. "She embodies the 'soul' of an educator who breathes the quintessential air of honesty, integrity, generosity and love."   

Dr. Scheid went on to say, "There is not a day that goes by that Deb doesn’t offer to help someone get better at what they do, and she does it in such a way that the person receiving her support feels that they are with a trusted friend. She knows no barriers to doing what is needed and what is right. She has been the bedrock of Pennridge and her legacy will be one that provides the light for all future educators in our district."

PHS Tech Ed Program Named Best in Pennsylvania

posted Nov 13, 2017, 7:51 AM by Joe Ferry   [ updated Nov 13, 2017, 7:51 AM ]

Tech Ed Teachers with Award
The Pennridge High School Technology Education program has been awarded “Program of Excellence” in Pennsylvania by the Technology Education and Engineering Association of Pennsylvania. Pennridge will now represent Pennsylvania for the International award at the ITEEA’s (International Technology Education and Engineering Association) conference this April.

The department has undergone a radical change over the last few years. With support from the School Board and administration, teachers have incorporated STEM tools and concepts into their traditional woodworking and metalworking classes without sacrificing hands-on craftsmanship. They still have plenty of table saws, planers and routers in the shop but have supplemented them with 3D printers, plasma cutters, CNC routers, laser engravers and other hi-tech tools.

The result is stunning creations such as tables, cabinets and chairs, as wells as guitars and ukuleles in a new program that has generated massive student interest.

The other interesting angle is that all five teachers in the Technology Education Department are graduates of Millersville University’s Technology and Engineering Education Program. Department Coordinator Allen Androkites (1979 and 1981), Hank Ward (1985), Jim Rutkowski (1985), Bob Miller (1988) and Matt Peitzman (2002) have formed a tight-knit group dedicated to providing students with a positive experience while emphasizing quality projects and safe, productive work habits. They have high expectations for their students and willingly provide extra time for students during the day, after school and on weekends to hone their skills.

Since Androkites joined the Pennridge staff in 1981, some 27 PHS graduates, including Peitzman, have gone on to attend Millersville. The connection also extends to PSD’s Middle School Technology Education - STEM Program, where all four teachers are Millersville grads.

Harvey on Stage at Pennridge High School

posted Nov 12, 2017, 2:09 PM by Joe Ferry   [ updated Nov 15, 2017, 7:02 AM ]

Harvey Poster
Pennridge High School and STARS present Harvey at 7 p.m. on Friday, November 17 and Saturday, November 18 at 7:00pm in the school's auditorium.

C. Jameson Bradley directs this comedy by Mary Chase. The story begins when Elwood P. Dowd insists on including his friend, Harvey, in an imaginary six-and-a-half foot tall rabbit. To avoid future embarrassment for her family, Veta decides to have Elwood committed to a sanitarium. At the sanitarium, a frantic Veta explains to the staff that her years of living with Elwood’s hallucination have caused her to see Harvey also, and so the doctors mistakenly commit her instead of her mild-mannered brother. The truth comes out, however, Veta is freed, and the search is on for Elwood, who eventually arrives at the sanitarium of his own volition, looking for Harvey. Only at the end does Veta realize that maybe Harvey isn’t so bad after all. 

General admission tickets ($8) will be available at the door 30 minutes prior to curtain. For more information please call 215-603-4246.

Cast of Harvey

Take Our Comprehensive Plan Survey

posted Oct 25, 2017, 8:46 AM by Joe Ferry   [ updated Oct 30, 2017, 7:51 AM ]

Survey Sign
The Pennridge School District is beginning its new three-year Comprehensive Planning process. This plan is required by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

To that extent, we are interested in hearing from stakeholders regarding the strengths, challenges and priorities that will guide our planning and implementation of our Comprehensive Plan for the next three years. We would appreciate if you would take a few minutes to complete this survey. Your feedback is valued and will be used by our District Steering Committee and Community Summit to guide discussions, goal-setting sessions and action plans.

All responses are anonymous. The survey will be available from October 24, 2017 until November 10, 2017 at 11:45 p.m.

Thank you for taking the time to help the Pennridge School District with this important task.

A Message from the Superintendent About Bullying Prevention

posted Oct 25, 2017, 8:42 AM by Joe Ferry   [ updated Nov 2, 2017, 2:03 PM ]

Dear parents and guardians, 

Bullying Prevention Logo
Bullying is a serious problem that affects schools and workplaces throughout the nation. Here at Pennridge, even with our students coming from small towns with strong community values, we are not immune to the issue. While the vast majority of our students are kind and caring, the fact is bullying does occur.

For some children, bullying can become a round-the-clock reality with no escape. An incident that takes place in a school hallway can carry over and be amplified on social media. A study by the National Center for Education Statistics in 2015 found that one in five middle and high school students is a victim of bullying.

The key question is what we do to prevent bullying and what happens when an accusation of bullying is brought to the attention of one of our faculty members or the administration. As a District, we agree that parents and guardians have every right to expect that their children will be safe from physical or emotional harm while they are under our supervision.

Every October, schools and organizations across the country observe National Bullying Prevention Month. The goal is to encourage communities to work together to stop bullying and cyberbullying by increasing awareness of the prevalence and impact of bullying on children of all ages.

During National Bullying Prevention Month, I urge you to talk to your children about the harm bullying can cause and ways that they can protect themselves and others. Here are some warning signs from

For children who are being bullied, look for:
  • Unexplainable injuries;
  • Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics or jewelry;
  • Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness;
  • Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating;
  • Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares;
  • Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork or not wanting to go to school;
  • Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations;
  • Feelings of helplessness or decreased self-esteem;
  • Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves or talking about suicide.
You child may be a bully if he or she:  
  • Gets into physical or verbal fights;
  • Has friends who bully others;
  • Shows increasing aggressiveness;
  • Gets sent to the principal’s office or to detention frequently;
  • Has unexplained extra money or new belongings;
  • Blames others for their problems;
  • Doesn’t accept responsibility for their actions;
  • Worries about their reputation or popularity.
With October being National Bullying Prevention Month, I thought it would be a good idea to share with you some information about bullying. It also dovetails nicely with our T.A.K.E.S. P.R.I.D.E. theme of "Acceptance" this month. After all, if there was more "acceptance" of others, bullying would not be such a serious problem.

Please take a few minutes to read these FAQs about bullying. As always, if you have a question or suggestion, please send me an email.


Jacqueline A. Rattigan, Ed.D.

Grand View Health Acquires Naming Rights to Pennridge High School Stadium

posted Oct 25, 2017, 8:37 AM by Joe Ferry   [ updated Oct 25, 2017, 8:42 AM ]

Man hanging sign on fence.
In a first among public high schools in Bucks and Montgomery counties, the Pennridge School District has sold the naming rights for its high school stadium to a local health care system.

The multi-sport facility, which seats 4,500 and is used hundreds of times a year for football, soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, track, band performances and physical education classes, will be known as "Grand View Health Stadium."

On behalf of the School Board, Superintendent Dr. Jacqueline A. Rattigan thanked the Grand View Health leadership for its support.

"It is a wonderful partnership for our two community-minded institutions," said the superintendent.

A private, non-profit hospital that has served Upper Bucks residents for more than 100 years, Grand View Health features a 200-bed main campus in West Rockhill Township and outpatient centers in Harleysville, Quakertown, Pennsburg and Sellersville.

“Grand View is delighted to align with the Pennridge School District on this exciting community initiative,”  said Jean Keeler, Grand View’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Pennridge High School Stadium is at the heart of our community and we are proud to support a place where our youth can build on their athletic capabilities and academic strengths.”
The deal was negotiated by Market Street Sports Group, a Lancaster firm that specializes in developing relationships between public school districts and local businesses. Pennridge hired MSSG earlier this year in an effort to develop a sustainable alternative source of revenue.

MSSG assumed the role of the “Rams on the Ridge” capital campaign that was launched in 2014 with a goal of raising $2 million over 10 years. With the stadium rights under control by Grand View Health for the next three years, MSSG will continue to seek multi-year corporate sponsorships for locations such as gymnasiums, the natatorium, wellness center, cafeteria and tennis courts.

Sponsorships range from $6,000 to $20,000 annually and include a variety of signage options. Packages can also be tailored to fit a company’s specific needs.

In addition to signage, sponsors also receive a number of perks including onsite marketing opportunities, in-game announcements, social media mentions, and a presence on the District website.

Dr. Troy Price, Director of Administration for PSD, said MSSG has the expertise and experience to market the District’s assets to local and regional businesses that are trying to reach certain demographics.
“Their track record is impressive,” Price said of MSSG.
MSSG started in 2006 working for the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, which was looking to generate additional revenue through corporate sponsorships. A year later, the company partnered with the Hempfield School District in Lancaster County and has since added school districts in Lancaster, York and Berks counties to its list of clients.
Pennridge is MSSG’s first foray into Bucks County.
“We are excited to help generate alternative revenue for the Pennridge School District,” said MSSG President Jeff Bertoni. “Our collective goal is to provide companies and organizations the opportunity to become involved in a dynamic marketplace within the district through corporate partnerships. Additionally, by providing corporations the opportunity to name venues, the community may become more involved in the education of our students.” 

The Pennridge School Board has final approval over all corporate sponsorships to ensure that they are appropriate for school-aged children. 

“Sponsors that promote the sale or use of alcohol or tobacco products, lotteries and games of chance, for example, will not be permitted,” said Price.

1-7 of 7