Message from the Superintendent



  • August 5, 2019

     

    Dear Parents and Students,

     

    I want to welcome you back to the 2019-2020 school year. As always, this has been an exciting summer in the Upper Darby School District, and I wanted to be sure to update you before the start of the new school year on August 26, 2019.  On July 1st, I officially started as the Superintendent of Schools for the Upper Darby School District. I am excited about working collaboratively with all of you as we work toward reaching the goals for this District. Our efforts as a team will be to focus on the following:

    1.     Recruit and retain the best staff.
    2.     Provide a multitude of learning opportunities for the students we serve.
    3.     Promote and celebrate a unified, diverse school community.
    4.     Refocus our attention on our elementary school programming so that our young students develop a meaningful educational foundation.
    5.     Identify student strengths and develop pathways toward graduation where those strengths can be harnessed and developed.
    6.     Improve our communication internally and externally.
    7.     Improve our facilities so that they become points of pride.
    8.     Promote excellence in and out of the classroom.
    9.     Empower our students to take pride in our schools and community. 
    10.     There are many wonderful things happening in the upcoming school year and a lot of important information that I want to share with you:

     

    Home Access Center

    As indicated in the postcard sent to all families earlier this summer, it is critical that all families familiarize themselves with Home Access Center (HAC).  Contact information, including email addresses, can be updated through HAC. Schedules and Homeroom Assignments can also be obtained through HAC, with elementary school homeroom assignments available on August 5th and secondary school schedules available on August 5th. For your convenience, your HAC credentials will be emailed to you by the end of this week, or, you may email parentportal@upperdarbysd.org to have them sent to you. Your school’s office can also provide HAC credentials for parents, if needed.  For instructions on how to use HAC, please visit the district website (https://www.upperdarbysd.org/HAC).

     

    Back to School letters from your principals will be sent to families via email on August 7th. Transportation letters with bus assignments will be sent to families via email on August 15th. Information usually obtained through emergency cards at the start of the school year will now be sent to parents via email for review before the start of the school year. If there is no change to your child’s emergency information, no response is needed. If there are changes, parents can send the changes to the school office to be updated in our student information system. 

     

    Food Service

    The school district has been approved for the Community Eligibility Provision through the PA Department of Education.  That means that ALL students in  grades K-12 are automatically eligible to receive breakfast and lunch at NO CHARGE every day, beginning the first full day of school.  Free breakfast and free lunch will be provided automatically to any student who would like it.  No application is required. 

     

    Communications

    This summer, our phone systems were upgraded to allow for voice mailboxes for all teachers, including elementary teachers. In addition to email, parents can now contact their children’s teachers through voice mail. This upgrade will improve parent-teacher communication. All voice mailbox extensions will be posted to the district website as part of the staff directory.  

     

    Student Achievement 

    In an effort to meet the goals established by our Board-approved Comprehensive Plan, the District continues to revamp and revitalize our academic programming for all students. During the 2018-2019 school year, we deployed over 2,000 computers for use in our classrooms by our students. It is our goal to bring more technology into the classroom for our students. We will continue with our new assessment procedures for our elementary students so that our teachers will have more timely student achievement data and can improve instructional classroom practices. In the 2019-2020 school year, we will be updating our elementary English and Language Arts, Reading, and Writing programs. We will also be implementing new mathematics and Social Studies programs for grades 6-8. We have hired 5 new elementary guidance counselors to help support our Title 1 elementary schools. 

     

    As a district, we will be updating the public on the Future PA Ready Index when the information is released by PDE. 

     

    School Immunization Requirements

    There are immunization requirements for the 2019-2020 school year.  The following immunizations are required for all students in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  Your child's school must have written confirmation from your physician for each immunization. State law mandates that students not up to date on their immunizations are at risk of being excluded from school.

    • Grades K through 12: DPT (Diptheria/Pertussis/Tetanus): Four (4) required, with one on or after the 4th birthday
    • Polio: Four (4) required, with one on or after age 4 and at least 6 months after previous dose.  If third dose given on or after age 4 and at least 6 months after last dose, the fourth dose is not required.
    • MMR (Measles/ Mumps/ Rubella): Two (2) required, with the first dose on or after age 1
    • Hepatitis B: Three (3) required, must be properly spaced
    • Varicella (chicken pox): Two (2) immunizations required, or evidence of immunity.   

     

    In addition to immunizations listed above:

    • Grade 7 through 12: Tdap (Tetanus/Diphtheria/ Pertussis): one dose required, if less than 5 years since last DPT
    • MCV (Menactra – meningitis): one dose required.
    • Grade 12: MCV (Menactra - meningitis): second dose required (if the first dose was given at age 16 or older, only one dose is required)

     

    The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) warns that students who have not met the immunization requirements on the first day of school risk exclusion from school on the 5th day of school, so please contact your health provider if you are unsure of whether or not your child has received the required vaccinations.  Additional information from PDE is available on the District’s website.

     

    Policies and Annual Notifications

    All policies and administrative regulations can be found in their entirety on BoardDocs (https://www.upperdarbysd.org/boarddocs). You can also access BoardDocs through the District website. Administrative regulations are detailed descriptions of how a policy is to be applied. They are located at the bottom of each policy. All policies requiring annual notification and other required notifications are also listed in the Upper Darby School District Family Handbook available on our website (https://www.upperdarbysd.org/udsdfamilyhandbook).

     

    Please read and familiarize yourself with the policies that govern our school district, including the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Protection Act (COPPA) (https://www.upperdarbysd.org/coppa) and the Acceptable Use of Internet, Computers, and Network Resources (https://www.upperdarbysd.org/acceptableuse).

     

    If you are a volunteer or want to be a volunteer, please visit our website to review a full description of the requirements for a volunteer (https://www.upperdarbysd.org/volunteering). Policy 916 gives a full description of the definition of a volunteer and examples as to who is required to obtain the clearances and who is not.  All parents interested in becoming volunteers must contact their building principal to apply by completing a volunteer application that can be found on BoardDocs. Our District’s website also provides instructions on how to obtain the three mandatory clearances under the Human Resources department.  All previously approved volunteers may receive a volunteer identification badge for the upcoming school year by visiting the high school gymnasium, locat 601 N. Lansdowne Ave., Drexel Hill, on Monday, August 27th from 9 AM to 4 PM. No appointment is necessary. ID badges are not mandatory for volunteers, but it is an alternative to having to go through the Raptor system with each school visit.

     

    In accordance with the Pennsylvania Public School Code provisions on “School Access to Emergency Epinephrine” and Board Policy 210, the Upper Darby School District maintains a stock supply of epinephrine auto-injectors in each school building (stock epinephrine auto-injectors). An auto-injector prefilled with epinephrine is the drug of choice used for the emergency treatment of severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) to insect stings or bites, foods, drugs, and other allergens. If your child has been diagnosed with an allergy or health condition that requires use of epinephrine, it is still your responsibility to provide your child’s prescribed medication to the school nurse. The law and Board Policy 210 give trained school employees the authority to administer epinephrine to any student whom they believe in good faith is experiencing anaphylaxis. In the event that a student who does not have epinephrine is experiencing an anaphylactic reaction, a trained school employee may use the stock epinephrine auto-injector in accordance with the standing order issued by the school physician or provide the student with a stock epinephrine auto-injector for self-administration. By law, the Upper Darby School District is required to notify parents/guardians of their ability to exempt their children from emergency administration of stock epinephrine auto-injectors. If you wish to opt your child out of being provided stock epinephrine auto-injectors in the event of an emergency, please contact your child’s school nurse to obtain the appropriate form.

     

    Voluntary Student Insurance

    Voluntary Student Accident Insurance can be purchased at any time by parents/guardians for their students.  Information regarding Voluntary Student Accident Insurance, including the types of coverage options, description of benefits, policy exclusions and enrollment forms can be found on the District website at https://www.upperdarbysd.org/studentinsurance.



    Re-registration and Kindergarten Registration

    It is important to mention a reminder for parents who must re-register students in the Upper Darby School District. All students registered using a multiple occupancy or support affidavit must re-register with the District before the start of the 2019-20 school year.  In addition, students turning 5 years of age before August 31st wishing to attend kindergarten must register before the start of the school year. Students must register or re-register through our Central Registration Office (601 N. Lansdowne Avenue, Drexel Hill - adjacent to Upper Darby High School).  If your student is in one of the above categories, please contact the Central Registration Office (610-352-2400) immediately to re-register. No appointment is necessary. For the convenience of our parents, there will be Saturday hours held on August 11th and August 18th from 8AM to 11AM. Families must arrive by 11AM to be registered on either Saturday.  Regular office hours are from 7AM to 2:30PM, and families must arrive by 2:30 to assure that the registration process can be completed. Please consider registering your child early in August, as there are considerably longer wait times as the summer progresses.

     

    I want to wish you, your children, and our staff the best for the upcoming school year. While the Upper Darby School District has its challenges, we also have a wonderful opportunity to positively influence the lives of the children we serve. Working together, we will continue to push towards our goal of making the Upper Darby School District a place where all children have the Opportunity to reach Excellence in a Unified school community. 

     

    Sincerely,




    Daniel P. McGarry, Ed.D. 

    Superintendent