Elementary School Newsletter


November 16, 2018

Dearest PCS families,

PCS has been evolving into a project-based learning community starting with transforming our approach to your child’s experience with science and social studies in a combined multi-disciplinary course called Inquiry. This year we are taking our project-based learning a step further through a carefully curated project called, “Our School As A Museum” showcasing students’ discovery, creativity, activism and innovation in grade level exhibits based on their inquiry learning.

Thus far this year, a few galleries have occurred. With our first, our ordinary cafeteria was transformed for an evening into a student-led gallery exhibit to become “First Grade: An Evening with Our Community Symbols”. Parents, students and teachers gathered together a few weeks ago in the evening to take in the wonderful work each first grader had created to show the spirit of our school community. Walls were lined with colorful canvases of students holding hands, peace symbols, images of kindness; caring and respect were brought to life!  Flags were hanging against stark black paper created by students out of felt and wood sticks, sculptures were displayed in dark wooden boxes on shelves brought in to give attention to the work. All of this kicked off the first of many museum and exhibit nights to come!  Take a peek at the pictures below of this awesome night!

Our next Museum Night is for 5th grade! Stay tune for an exhibit night “Planets in the Dark” in December.

Check out this link to find out more about Museums in Schools:

 School Leadership Magazine


Dana Leesman, Elementary Principal 

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

Meet our Elementary QUEST Teacher, Mrs. Handrahan...

Mrs. Handrahan is on a Quest at PCS!!! I am so excited to switch gears from classroom teacher to PCS Quest! I look forward to partnering with families on this adventure through learning, researching, examining and exploring gifted and talented children's unique academic abilities and talents. 

In Elementary Quest this year student's will have the opportunity to work within their own classroom setting during their Inquiry Period while their classroom teacher and their Quest teacher co-teach differentiated lessons. Students will gain the opportunity to challenge themselves within their regular classroom environment and learn to engage with material being taught in a new and meaningful way. Concepts, interests and ideas developed during Inquiry will be further explored in a small group setting in the Elementary Quest Classroom where long-term group and individual projects, learning goals, social and emotional targets, time management and the inquiry cycle will be explored in depth.  

1st: First grade started out with creating a game for their grade level to capitalize on their learning of National  Monuments. Since many of the students were new to Quest this quarter this group project was a good way to see how students work in a together, articulate their ideas and are motivated to push beyond the basic parameters of their learning.  

2nd: Starting out with coteaching in their classroom students were very excited to learn more about the power of  simple machines. In the Quest Lab we began reading Rube Goldberg comics, identifying simple machines, synthesizing the information to create our own Rube Goldberg machines to do work that is needed around the school.

3rd/4th: After studying various plant and animal lifecycles, students designed and created plant and animal  museum exhibits. They will be able to see how changes to plants and ecosystems affect living organisms that live there. Their final project will be reporting on a problem in the environment and how they believe it will affect the  ecosystem through PCS’ First Mobile Museum.

5th: Students described the significance of space by exploring planets, the moon, and the sun to create a  cumulative visual/multimedia project of their choice that will be presented on a planet that they created.  


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.

Literacy Ball & Book Fair Update…

Enchanted Forest Book Fair and Literacy Ball!

Book Fair dates have been extended!!

Due to the unexpected snow day, we will extend the book fair to Friday Nov. 16th from 3:30-6 and Monday Nov. 19th from 3:30-4:30. We still have many great reads for the cold winter ahead!  Enter your child's name to win a free poster if you come out on Friday or Monday and while you're there, grab a book from one of the teacher wishlists and donate to a classroom!

Check out our online book fair which runs through November 20th. You'll find everything we have at the live book fair and more!  Books ordered online will be shipped directly to PCS (free shipping!) and delivered to your child's classroom.   http://bit.ly/pcsonlinefair

With the snow day, unfortunately the PCS Literacy Ball was canceled as well.  We will be looking into rescheduling this fun night!  If and when that happens, we will communicate the details to the PCS community.

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. Classes continued this week with 4th grade participation and will continue throughout the year.

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…

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.

  • YMCA Basketball sign ups are happening now!  All forms and fees are due TODAY, November 16.  Please turn in ASAP if you have not already done so.  Sign up form attached.

  • 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...


Oct 19, 2018 through Feb 10, 2019 . Kehinde Wiley: St. Louis at the St. Louis Art Museum

Artist Kehinde Wiley gained national notoriety for his work on the official portrait of Barrack Obama.  Mr. Wiley now is exhibiting portraits of ordinary St. Louisans in his ongoing exhibit at the St. Louis Art Museum; free now through 2/10/19 in Galleries 249 & 250 in the East Building.

Note:  Due to construction directly in front of the Art Museum, Fine Arts Drive is blocked in front of the statue of St. Louis overlooking Art Hill but you may reach either one of the 2 free parking lots coming from the Zoo side or from Skinker Ave side but you currently cannot drive past the statue of St. Louis going in either direction.


Now extended through March 24, 2019 . Panoramas of the City at the the Missouri History Museum

Panoramic photos of St. Louis as large as 10 feet x 30 feet taken from 1900 to 1950 tell the history of St. Louis is the first half of the 20th century. Exhibit date has been extended through March 24, 2019.  http://mohistory.org/exhibits/panoramas-of-the-city/

Through June 2, 2019 . Muny Memories at the Missouri History Museum

The nations oldest outdoor theater celebrates its 100th birthday.  Learn about past performances, take a peek backstage, vote for your favorite star, & learn a dance step at the free ongoing exhibit now through next June. http://mohistory.org/exhibits/muny-memories/

Through December 21, 2018 . Riverbend Public Art at the Gateway Arch

The 100-foot-long artwork, made of silver, mirror-like material that references the Arch, shows the navigable Missouri River, highlighting it as the primary means of Westward Expansion and Gateway to the West for Lewis and Clark and many others. Riverbend will represent the confluence with the Mississippi on the east and extend westward. Artist Margaret Keller won the Critical Mass for the Visual Arts Public Works Project commission to create this artwork.

Upcoming Important Dates...

  • 11.21-23.18: No School - Thanksgiving Break

  • 11.27.18: Picture Retake Day

  • 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.