First Reads

Pennridge High School Placed on the College Board’s 9th Annual AP® District Honor Roll

posted Jan 7, 2019, 8:29 AM by Joe Ferry

AP Honor Roll Logo
Pennridge High School is among only 373 schools in 
North America (U.S. and Canada) honored by the College Board with placement on its 9th Annual AP® District Honor Roll. 

To be included on the 9th Annual Honor Roll, Pennridge had to, since 2016, increase the number of students participating in Advanced Placement classes while also increasing or maintaining the percentage of students earning AP Exam scores of 3 or higher. 

“This is a wonderful tribute to the hard work of our students, our teachers, and the Curriculum Department,” said Dr. David A. Bolton, superintendent.

In Pennsylvania, only 46 high schools earned the distinction. Closer to home, Pennridge was among four Bucks County School high schools to join the Honor Roll this year.

“The Pennridge School District is committed to expanding the availability of Advanced Placement courses among prepared and motivated students of all backgrounds,” said the superintendent.

In May 2018, 355 PHS students, a 28 percent increase over the previous year, took a total of 645 AP exams in 21 subjects. 82 percent of those who took the test scored a 3 or higher. Their average score was 3.49 on a 5-point scale.

In addition to two National AP Scholars, the College Board awarded AP Scholar with Distinction status to 36 PHS students (average score of 4.16), AP Scholar with Honor status to 27 students (average score of 3.81) and AP Scholar status to 48 students (average score of 3.81).

“We are extremely proud of the hard work that our students and staff have exhibited through these scores,” said Pennridge High School Principal Gina DeBona. “The increase in testing scores are tangible proof that our teachers are on the right track and our students are working to their highest potential.”

Trevor Packard, senior vice president of AP and Instruction at the College Board, said success in Advanced Placement is a combination of students’ own motivation and the opportunities educators provide for them.

“I’m inspired by the teachers and administrators in this district who have worked to clear a path for more students of all backgrounds to earn college credit during high school,” said Packard. 

In 2018, more than 4,000 colleges and universities around the world received AP scores for college credit, advanced placement, or both, and/or consideration in the admissions process. Inclusion in the 9th Annual AP District Honor Roll is based on a review of three years of AP data, from 2016 to 2018, looking across 38 AP Exams, including world language and culture. The following criteria were used. Districts must:
 
  • Increase participation/access to AP by at least 4 percent in large districts such as Pennridge;

  • Increased or maintained the percentage of American Indian/Alaska Native, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, and Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander students taking exams and increased or maintained the percentage of American Indian/Alaska Native, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, and Native Hawaiian/Other Pacific Islander students scoring 3 or higher on at least one AP Exam; and

  • Improve or maintain performance levels when comparing the 2018 percentage of students scoring a 3 or higher to the 2016 percentage, unless the district has already attained a performance level at which more than 70 percent of its AP students earn a 3 or higher. 

 

Pennridge High School to Offer AP Capstone Diploma Program

posted Jan 4, 2019, 12:07 PM by Joe Ferry   [ updated Jan 4, 2019, 12:09 PM ]

Focus Is On College-Level Research, Collaboration and Presentation Skills Crucial for College and Career Success 

AP Capstone Logo
Starting in the fall, Pennridge High School will join approximately 1,800 schools worldwide by implementing the AP Capstone Diploma Program, a rigorous academic approach that allows students to develop the research, collaboration and communications skills that matter most for college success. 

“This innovative program prepares a broader, more diverse student population for college and beyond," said Dr. Kathy Scheid, the district's director of curriculum, instruction and assessment. "It gives our teachers more leeway with curriculum choices, so their students can access more challenging coursework and sharpen their reading and writing skills.”

In Bucks County, only one other school district -- Quakertown -- are high school students offered the AP Capstone Program, which consists of two courses taken in sequence: AP Seminar and AP Research. 

In AP Seminar, typically taken by students in tenth or eleventh grade, students choose and evaluate complex topics through multiple lenses, identify credibility and bias in sources, and develop arguments in support of a recommendation. A project-based learning course. official AP Seminar assessments include research reports, written arguments, and presentations completed during the academic year.

In the subsequent AP Research course, students design, execute, present, and defend a yearlong research-based investigation on a topic of individual interest. They build on skills developed in AP Seminar by learning how to understand research methodology, employ ethical research practices, and collect, analyze, and synthesize information to contribute to academic research.

Like AP Seminar, AP Research is a project-based course. Each student’s official AP Research score is based on their academic paper, presentation, and oral defense.

Capstone logo
Students who score a 3 or higher in AP Seminar and AP Research and on four additional AP Exams of their choosing earn the AP Capstone Diploma. This signifies outstanding academic achievement and attainment of college-level academic and research skills. Students who score a 3 or higher in both AP Seminar and AP Research (but not on four additional AP Exams) earn the AP Seminar and Research Certificate.

“Pennridge High School’s plans to offer the AP Capstone courses beginning with AP Seminar in the 2019 – 2020 academic year will enhance current programming by providing opportunities for students to deeply explore real-world problems with a legitimate purpose. These courses will also enable students to generate, practice, apply, and modify their research skills and abilities while working to make connections between multiple disciplines,” Dr. Dina Dormer, the district's secondary science supervisor.

Pennridge High School was among only 373 schools in North America (U.S. and Canada) honored by the College Board with placement on its 9th Annual AP District Honor Roll. To be included, the high school had to, since 2016, increase the number of students participating in Advanced Placement classes while also increasing or maintaining the percentage of students earning AP Exam scores of 3 or higher. 

In Pennsylvania, only 46 high schools earned the distinction. Closer to home, Pennridge was among four Bucks County School high schools to join the Honor Roll this year.

In May 2018, 355 PHS students, a 28 percent increase over the previous year, took a total of 645 AP exams in 21 subjects. 82 percent of those who took the test scored a 3 or higher. Their average score was 3.49 on a 5-point scale.

In addition to two National AP Scholars, the College Board awarded AP Scholar with Distinction status to 36 PHS students (average score of 4.16), AP Scholar with Honor status to 27 students (average score of 3.81) and AP Scholar status to 48 students (average score of 3.81).

Pennridge High School offers Advanced Placement courses in Biology, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Chemistry, Computer Science A, Computer Science Principles, English Language and Composition, English Literature and Composition, Environmental Science, European History, French Language and Culture, Government and Politics, Music Theory, Physics 1, Physics 2, Physics C, Psychology, Spanish Language and Culture, Statistics, Studio Art, United States History, and World History.

Trevor Packer, senior vice president for AP and Instruction at the College Board, said the AP Capstone program provides "terrific opportunities for students to develop the ability to write and present their work effectively, individually and in groups—the very skills college professors want their students to possess.” 

In partnership with the higher education community, the College Board developed AP Capstone so students can practice skills that serve them well in college and career. Colleges and universities have voiced their support for the program. 

“We are excited more schools are offering the AP Capstone Diploma program,” said Kedra Ishop, vice provost for enrollment management at the University of Michigan. “We believe the research, collaboration, and presentation skills taught in the two courses will be valuable to students throughout their academic and professional careers.”

Media Contact: Mr. Joe Ferry, Public Relations Coordinator for the Pennridge School District, 267-772-0740; The College Board, 212-713-8052 or communications@collegeboard.org

Four Named National Merit Scholars

posted Dec 11, 2018, 6:46 AM by Joe Ferry   [ updated Dec 11, 2018, 6:47 AM ]

Three students plus board president and superintendent
For a high school student, there is perhaps no greater academic achievement or award than being named a National Merit Scholar. Penn
ridge High School is fortunate to have four students who earned Commended status based on their performance in the spring 2017 Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude test, which also serves as a qualifier for the National Merit Scholarship program. 

Nicholas Eissler, Thomas Geiger, Alanna Lee, and David Scavuzzo were among the top 3 percent from among the 1.6 million students who took the 2017 PSAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. They were recognized by the Pennridge School Board on December 3.

"We are proud of your accomplishment," Superintendent David A. Bolton told the students. "It is a testament to your hard work and your family's support that you were are able to excel at this level. We look forward to even more achievements from you in the future."



From left, School Board President Megan Banis-Clemens
students Thomas Geiger, Alana Lee and David Scavuzzo, 
and Superintendent David Bolton. 
Not pictured: Nicholas Eissler.

Perkasie Rotary Club Recognizes Students of the Month

posted Dec 4, 2018, 7:40 AM by Joe Ferry   [ updated Dec 4, 2018, 7:40 AM ]

Two students and two adult rotary club members
The Perkasie Rotary Club recently recognized Pennridge High School seniors Andrea Varkay and Ian Livengood as its Student of the Month for September and October, respectively.

Andrea is the daughter of Babu and Lali Varkay of Hilltown. She has been involved in Drama, Mini-Thon, Key Club, National Honor Society, Volleyball, Tennis and Student Government during her four years at PHS. Academically, Andrea has taken AP Calculus BC, AP Psychology and AP Statistics.

Andrea has been a member of Girl Scouts since second grade and has been volunteering at The Community at Rockhill since eighth grade. She plans to pursue a career as a pediatrician.

Ian is the son of Joseph Livingood of Perkasie. He has been involved in Water Polo and Swimming, Executive Council, National Honor Society and Students against Destructive Decisions during his four years at PHS. Academically, he has taken AP Spanish, AP Calc BC, AP Environmental Science, AP Psychology and Advanced Art.

Ian has been a coach with the Pennridge Aquatic Club since his sophomore year. He plans to attend college and "ultimately find happiness in life" pursuing his passion for coaching. 








From left, Rotary Club Area 6 Assistant District 
Governor Phil Janke, student Andrea Varkay, 
student Ian Livingood, and Perkasie 
Rotary Club President Paul Lorenz.

Scholar-Athletes Announced

posted Dec 4, 2018, 7:33 AM by Joe Ferry   [ updated Dec 4, 2018, 7:33 AM ]

Group photo of Scholar-Athletes in the high school library
Congratulations to these Scholar-Athletes from our 2018 Pennridge High School Fall Sports teams:

Front row, left to right: Caroline McFadden, Coed Golf; Reese Trauger, Women’s Water Polo; Alison Yurchak, Women’s Volleyball; Monica Kerins, Field Hockey; Annabelle Huckerby, Women’s Cross Country; Katherine Estep, Women’s Soccer; and Alanna Lee, Women’s Tennis.

Back row, left to right: Christian Hangey, Men’s Cross Country; James Sandt, Men’s Water Polo; Stephen Yencha, Football; Gunnar Orth, Men’s Cross Country; and Thomas Geiger, Men’s Cross Country.

Not pictured: Nicholas Alvarez, Men’s Cross Country, and Patrick Coughlin, Men’s Soccer.

Senior Student-Athletes Announce College Choices

posted Dec 4, 2018, 7:30 AM by Joe Ferry

Group shot of 19 student-athletes
Nineteen Pennridge High School student-athletes announced their post-high school plans during a national Letter-of-Intent ceremony in the Library recently.

Caitlyn Amsden – Temple University (Field Hockey)

Mackenzie Bross – Susquehanna University (Field Hockey)

Sydney Borneman – Temple University (Field Hockey)

Matt Eissler – University of Pennsylvania (Track)

Ashley Groeber – St. Joseph’s University (Soccer)

Abigail Groff – Bloomsburg University (Soccer)

Molly Groff – Bloomsburg University (Soccer)


Nicolette Harrison – West Chester University (Soccer)

Logan Lazasz – High Point University (Lacrosse)

Mary Kate Levush – Longwood University (Soccer)

Jenna Lund – Indiana University of Pennsylvania (Lacrosse)

Hayden Maltby – Point Park University (Baseball)

Makenna Patterson – Holy Family University (Softball)

Kouri Peace – University of Florida (Soccer)


James Petrik – Millersville University (Baseball)

Logan Sudholz – University of Miami (Crew)

Kiley Watson – West Chester University (Softball)

Sarah Williams – Dickenson College (Soccer)

Sean Yoder – United States Naval Academy (Basketball)

Chance Game-Show Meeting Leads to Possible Partnership

posted Nov 18, 2018, 1:33 PM by Joe Ferry   [ updated Nov 18, 2018, 1:33 PM ]

Group shot of techers and students who appeared on Fox 29 Game Show
For Penn North Principal Matt Cole, the decision a "no-brainer."

His team of teachers had just won a $500 prize for appearing on The ClassH-Room, a TV game show that pits students against teachers in a trivia contest. They planned to use the money to buy patio furniture for the front of the school.

Next up was a group from John Barry Elementary School in West Philadelphia. If they won their prize money would go toward much-needed classroom supplies.

It took Cole about a half-second to approach teachers Lauren Caprioli, Marquiss Stokes and Deann Rankin with a proposal to donate their winnings to the Philly school.

It took the teachers another half-second to respond with a rousing "yes."

"It was the easy, right thing to do," said Cole.


The donation, however, is just the beginning of what Cole and John Barry Principal Derrick Hardy is a mutually beneficial educational partnership. Over the next few months, they will develop a plan for how the two schools can enhance each other's learning.

Caprioli said her students will benefit by seeing how truly fortunate they are while at the same time realizing how much they might have in common with kids in a completely different situation. 

"I am looking forward to seeing what lies ahead for the two groups," said Caprioli.

Stokes said it's important for youngsters to understand that doing the right thing does not always have to include a prize or reward. Like Caprioli, he's looking forward to seeing how the two schools can collaborate.

"I love the idea of keeping the lines of communication open with this school and working with them in the future.," he said. "The show was a great experience but this could lead into something none of us could have ever imagined." 

For Rankin, the decision is consistent with the school's tradition of helping others int he community who might be struggling to meet basic needs.

"We are fortunate to have funding for most of the supplies we need," said Rankin. "So I think we felt the need to pass it on…we didn’t “need” picnic tables…. however, the John Barry school needs basic school supplies." 

PHS Students Experience What It's Like to Run a Business

posted Oct 11, 2018, 10:42 AM by Joe Ferry   [ updated Oct 11, 2018, 10:59 AM ]

If Pennsylvania businesses are to remain competitive in the world marketplace, it is crucial that our workforce have an understanding and appreciation of the challenges that face the business community.

That is the goal of Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week, an annual opportunity for incoming high school juniors to see for themselves what it takes to run their own business.

This summer, 21 PHS students participated in Pennsylvania Free Enterprise Week. It was our largest contingent in recent years and earned the school membership in Platinum Club.

During PFEW, participants create a management team whose task is turning their failing company into a financial success, said business teacher Chris Dyer.

"They develop their own marketing strategies, design a website and in essence, make all of the decisions that are demanded of real-life company executives," he said.

PFEW helps to dispel myths about business as students and business owner work together, said Dyer. Participants are challenged with a wide variety of economic concepts, terms, facts, figures, and projections for the future, he said, while Inspirational speakers creatively address subjects concerning marketing, business and government cooperation, supply and demand, and the role of business in our economy.



Six students who participated in PFEW recently shared observations about their experiences at a breakfast sponsored by the Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce. Emma Foster spoke on behalf of her PHS classmates.

Students gain fresh insights into the intricacies of the free market system," said Dyer.
While all students performed well during the week, Daniella Marinacci and Evan Carey did a great job serving as Chief Executive Officers for their teams, said Dyer.





Jordan Betts              Phoebe Mang        
James Boyle               Daniella Marinacci
Cole Cannistraci         Paige McHugh
Evan Carey                 Kevin Moyer
Walter Elliott             Angelica Reader
Emma Foster              Shane Sparling
Steven George            Katherine Trivino
Elizabeth Keddie        Gillian Wenhold
India Kettle                Courtney Wood
Quinn Landherr          Alison Yourchak
Ann Lanzi

Egg Day at Pennridge High School

posted Oct 8, 2018, 12:00 PM by Joe Ferry   [ updated Oct 8, 2018, 12:01 PM ]

Student sitting at a table sorting eggs
Every Monday is Egg Day in the Life Skills Program at Pennridge High School. 
As part of their curriculum, students weigh, clean and sort eggs for a local farmer. 

Egg Day is one of many jobs our Life Skills students hold both inside and outside the classroom, including operating a coffee shop/market (with delivery service), folding towels for the Athletic Department and bedding for the Nurse's Office and working in community businesses such as Landis Market, Doylestown Hospital and the Ivy Hill Equestrian Center. 

How One PHS Student Spent His Summer Vacation

posted Sep 27, 2018, 10:00 AM by Joe Ferry   [ updated Sep 27, 2018, 10:00 AM ]

Henry Leopold on a camel in the desert
While many of his classmates spent their summer working or passing time at the shore, junior Junior Henry Leopold was halfway around the world studying the Arabic language and immersing himself in the culture of Morocco.

As far as anyone can tell, Henry is the first Pennridge student ever to participate in the National Security Language Initiative for Youth, a U.S. State Department program. Only 200 students were chosen from among 3,300 applicants for the program and only 24 went to Morocco.

The aim of the program is to encourage students to learn the language that our country needs for security and diplomacy. Ultimately, these students will be able to act as citizen ambassadors on behalf of the U.S. government.

During his six weeks in Morocco, Henry spent up to six hours a day studying Arabic and participating in civic and cultural projects, including a refugee camp. As part of a group of just 24 students in Morocco, he traveled to Tangier, Marrakesh, Casablanca and other cities. The group also traveled to a small town near the Sahara, where they rode camels for more than hour into the desert to sleep in the Sahara for a night. 

At the conclusion of his classes, Henry made a five-minute presentation completely in Arabic and in full native dress. 

One of the lessons Henry learned firsthand was the power of language to create bonds of friendship, respect and understanding across cultures.

The experience fueled Henry’s interest in language and history and he hopes he can apply some of what he experienced to his AP World History class this year. It also made him reaffirm his commitment to continue learning Spanish, and he is currently reading a book on Lawrence of Arabia in Spanish.

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