Elementary School Newsletter


November 30, 2018

Dearest PCS families,

As I have written before, our theme this year is kindness. All students at all grade levels are trying to think more deeply and act more deeply in regards to kindness. This can be tricky for kids. During elementary school, children are trying to navigate a lot of things and one of the big ones is how to get along with others which obviously encapsulates being kind. But it is here where children also get tripped up thinking that if someone is not kind to them that it is bullying, which in fact it may not always be. We talk a great deal here at school about student relationships and interactions and how we can help students mature in this area and really understand what kindness, unkindness, bullying and how to differentiate in order to know how to handle appropriately. One of our counselors, Mrs. Gray, shared this with Mrs. Wright and I thought it good to share with all of you…

The word “bullying” is a buzzword these days… and for good reason.  A lot of us remember our childhoods and we either experienced or saw someone being bullied. It was just accepted then. We just excused it as “boys will be boys” or “girl drama” and adults said things to us like “sticks and stones won’t hurt you” and “oh if he’s mean to you it just means he likes you.” Well. thank goodness it’s a different time now and we know how silly these excuses are. However, it seems that in our good intentions actual situations of bullying vs. age appropriate behaviors can get confused. We are quick to label someone a bully and someone a victim when in fact there are MANY factors in each and every scenario. Each child and situation is unique from the next.  Small kids are super honest and might say something hurtful to someone but it isn’t meant to hurt feeling… that’s not bullying. A 4th grader might tell another student they can’t play with them. This might seem like bullying, but when looking into the full story the other child doesn’t play fair… they tag rough and might trip the other kids. So, in fact, that child not letting them play is actually advocating for themselves and others. Then there are other times where it’s repeated behavior and intentionally hurtful. ..those are probably bullying.  Sound confusing? It can be! The picture below does a great job at explain the differences. So much of what kids learn at school is academic, but there is also the social piece that is critical. How to get along with others, advocate for yourself appropriately and be honest without being hurtful are skills that they work on as well. When working with students we are always look through a developmental lens and consider all perspectives to every story.

So much of the work we do with our students is helping them navigate through their social experiences. As you talk with your child about their school day, I encourage you to have honest conversations about their interactions with their peers. As the adults in their lives we can help them learn and grow from their social experiences by listening, validating, and sharing our insight with them.  And as always, if a concern arises about peer relationships and interactions that you feel needs to be address, please reach out. We are here to assist!

Have a great week!

Dana Leesman, Elementary Principal 

p: 314.645.9600 x608             e: dleesman@premiercharterschool.org #ThatsPCS #DoKind


MAP Update…

We received the results from our end of year MAP and End of Course testing this week.  We are so proud of our students for all of their hard work on these tests. We will be sending home your child's test results next Friday, December 7th along with some information about how to interpret them.  If you would like your child's results before next Friday, you can contact Dr. Schrimpf, our Assistant Head of School, or your child's principal.


IMPORTANT!! Morning Drop Off Concerns…

I want to take this opportunity to again gently remind families of our drop off times. Students may be dropped off starting at 8:10 am. Anything before that is considered a Before Care drop off (please see BAC reminders towards bottom of newsletter). For students who are consistently dropped off before 8:10 am, we will begin making reminder phone calls to families. After that, a meeting with myself or other administration will take place in order to help alleviate the early drop off. While I completely understand work schedules, dropping students off early when there is no supervision is not safe for all, especially since the weather is turning colder. I have parents tell me frequently that “it is only a little bit early”. In reality, school starts at 8:25. The 8:10 opening of doors is a courtesy to our families… so extending that even by a little bit is really extending it by a lot in reference to the school day start. Teachers and staff are very busy preparing for the day before the 8:10 door opening. We always try to accommodate and that is why we have Before Care services. What we cannot accommodate is having upwards of 50 students in front of the school running around unsupervised. I appreciate your understanding of this policy and working to figure out schedules so students are not dropped off prior to the 8:10 time.

Donations Needed...

Elementary Art is looking for donations of fabric, yarn, and thread as students will be learning how to weave and sew when they return from Thanksgiving break! If you have any expertise in these areas and would like to visit our art classroom as a guest teacher, please reach out to Mrs. Nilsen at dnilsen@premiercharterschool.org.

Please also feel free to continue donating smaller recyclable items - especially plastic bottle caps, paper towel tubes, and corks! We really appreciate it!


A Note from our PCS Counselors...

Please see the attached newsletter from the counselors.  They provide a wealth of services to our student body as you will see in the newsletter.  We are very lucky to have such a caring and hardworking group at PCS!


A Message from Nurse Gerwitz…

The Center for Hearing & Speech will be screening PCS students during the weeks of December 3 and December 10 this year.  All students are eligible for free hearing and vision screenings with the goal of identifying any hearing or vision problems that may improve with early intervention.  There is no charge for this service.  After the screening is performed, a report will be sent home to all parents for your review.

A parent/guardian form is attached in this newsletter.  This form is an opt-out form, which means you only need to sign and return the form if you do NOT want your child to participate in the screenings.  If you want your child to participate in the screenings, you do not need to do anything; your child will automatically be included in the screenings. 

If you have any questions concerning the screenings, feel free to call the nurses at the following numbers.

Bonita Mitchell in the Early Childhood Building           314-645-9600 ext. 108

Annette Gerwitz in the Elementary Building                  314-645-9600 ext. 244


Food Service Updates…

SFE Cooking Classes are back! Grades 3-8th will be participating in a healthy cooking class courtesy of our food provider, SFE. A chef and/or dietician will be teaching groups of 15 students (3 per class) how to cook something healthy as well as discussing other nutritional information. This takes place in our elementary cafe for about an hour during the school day. Students will be chosen at random, and offered the opportunity to participate. Students who have not participated in the past will be chosen first.

At PCS, our goal is to provide our students with a fulfilling experience throughout every day that they are in attendance.  Part of our students' daily routine is eating usually at least one meal while at school.  We'd like to get your feedback on how you and your student feel about the food offered by Southwest Foodservice Excellence (SFE), our provider for school served breakfast and lunch.  Please consider taking this short survey to give us your point of view: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/J5WBFJD


Safety Awareness…

As it starts getting dark earlier and we are reminded of situations as we watch the news, please have a conversation with your child about being aware of what is going on around them as they walk home from school. If your child has permission to walk to the park, YMCA or QT etc. please remind them not to accept a ride or engage with any strangers. While we are sure you have already had these conversations with your child we want to reiterate the importance so that your child can continue to make smart decision for themselves.

We want to remind you that PCS has safety structures in place if we were ever to be in a lockdown situation because of an outside threat.  Please rest assured that we understand communication in these situations are of utmost importance. Parents will be notified through the automated school system; calls texts and emails.  We have a very good relationship with the police department down the street and if we hear of or are made aware of a situation where lockdown might be a possibility, we will be in contact with district 2. They will be able to provide accurate details of the situation and from there we can receive their recommendation on our course of action.  At all times, student safety is on our minds and we will always communicate with what you need to know. As always please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.

Free/Reduced Meal Status 2018-2019…

As a reminder, Free/Reduced lunch statuses from the previous school year have expired!  If you have not filled out an application for this current school year, or are interested in turning one in for the first time, make sure that you do so and turn it into any of the offices ASAP!   We ask that all families have one on file as our Free/Reduced Meal numbers have positive funding implications.  If you have any questions feel free to contact Ben Huebner at bhuebner@premiercharterschool.org.


Needing to contact a staff member at PCS??…

Reminder that if you need to contact a teacher and you don’t remember or have easy access to their email address, you can fill out the contact us on the home page of the website and it will be forwarded to the correct person. Staff bio pages will also be coming to the website by the end of the month.

After School Clubs...

  • More coming soon! 


BAC Reminders…

Just a reminder our next half day is December 21st, school will dismiss at noon. Please make sure your students have a way home. If they attend aftercare, it will end at 4:00 pm. If your student(s) are not enrolled in aftercare but need the program please let us know ahead of time, half day drop ins are $25 per child. Just remember that students are only allowed 5 aftercare drop ins per year. 

As the weather starts to turn colder we want to take a minute to remind everyone of our morning drop off and Before Care procedures.  All students must be walked into the building and signed in at the office if they are dropped off prior to 8:00 am. If any student is at PCS prior to 8:00 am, we will bring them to before care and will charge the regular $5 drop in fee. In order to maintain a safe student/adult ratio and ensure we have adequate staffing in our BAC program, students are only allowed 5 drop ins over the course of the school year. The safety of our children is our highest priority and we thank you for your adherence to these procedures.  

Students are only allowed 5 drop-ins for Before care and 5 drop-ins for Aftercare per year. The Before care drop-in fee is $5 and Aftercare drop-in fee is $15 per student. For any questions regarding our Before care or Aftercare program please contact Mr. Lydon at jlydon@premiercharterschool.org.

PCG News & Happenings...

  • The PCG is a support group for the students, teachers, and parents of Premier Charter School. Parent volunteers promote social and extracurricular activities, which will lead to successful and positive experiences for the students. We want to welcome you and encourage all parents to become involved in PCS. The best way to become involved is to volunteer or help out in any way you can and you can do this through PCG. Please take a look at the attached letter and PCG events for the year.

  • The PCG Holiday Breakfast is right around the corner on December 15!  See the attached flyer for more details and to reserve your spot.

  • If you would like to be on the PCG parent email group, send your email address to Terry Brogan (tbrogan@lashlybaer.com). You will receive updates on upcoming events, etc.  Please take a moment to like the PCG parent Facebook page if you are on FB.

  • If you have Box Tops at home, be sure to collect and sent them in for additional fundraising opportunities for the school.  There is a collection box located in the Elementary Building.

Fun in the StL...

Sat December 1 and every Saturday in December 6:30-9:30 p.m.

Free Carriage Rides at Westport Plaza in front of the Panera Bread Co.


Sat Dec 1  9-11:30 a.m.

Winter Wonderland at Rossman School 12660 Conway Road

Winter Activities for kids all morning plus the Mad Science crew will perform in the Performing Arts Center at 9:45 a.m. with winter themed science projects featuring freezing temperatures, snow, dry ice and the power of chemistry!


Sat Dec 1  10 a.m.-4 p.m.

A Spirited Holiday Past: 26 Historic Homes, Historic Sites, and Museums in St. Louis and  the surrounding area will be open this Saturday to celebrate the holiday season. Some are free including the Old Courthouse, Bellefontaine Cemetery, Sutter Meyer Farmhouse, The Tapmeyer Homestead, Twillman House, & White Haven; others have an entrance fee.  For a list of all participating sites go to:



Sat Dec 1   2-3 p.m.

Mario Manzini: A Tribute to Houdini  At Grant's View Branch Library

With audience participation, Manzini recreates all of the thrilling escapes of the legendary Harry Houdini. All ages 


Free STEM Events presented by the Junior Academy of Science St. Louis 

The Junior Academy of Science sponsors events that encourage Middle & High School Students to consider careers in science fields. 

Target Audience Middle School & High School Students and their parents

Free for all students & parents & Free parking at both the Zoo & the Library Headquarters

Wed Dec 5    7 - 8:30 p.m. Medicines from Plants at the St. Louis Zoo

Thur Dec 6    7-8:30 p.m.   Good & Bad Genes for Your Heart at St. Louis County Library Headquarters


Upcoming Important Dates...

  • 12.7.18: MAP results sent home with all 4th-8th grade students

  • 12.15.18: Pancake Breakfast with your Grandparents or Special Friend

  • 12.21.18: 1/2 Day - Noon Dismissal

  • 12.22.18-1.2.19: No School - Winter Break

  • 1.3.19:  School resumes


Be sure to check us out on social media... Twitter, Facebook, Instagram!  All teachers & classrooms have accounts where you can check out pictures and happenings.