Elementary School Newsletter


September 14, 2018

Dearest PCS families,

Specials classes play a large role in the lives of our students at PCS!  This year we have a new and improved “Specials” line up that really allow our students to be exposed to many different aspects of the world around them as well as help prepare them for their future!  Our K-2 students will be spending time in Music, Art, PE, Language & Culture, and Coding.  Our 3-5 students will experience Music, Art, PE, Makerspace, Coding, and Explorations Academy.  The students spend either 30-60 minutes in each of these specials classes.  Each week in the newsletter I will highlight a few specialists so you can get to know them better as well as what they are assisting on helping your children explore in their classrooms!  This week, I am happy to announce that Mr. Peter Plank has joined our team as our K-4 Elementary Music teacher. Read below to learn a little more about him and be sure to stop in and welcome him if you are in the Elementary Building.  He is located in Room 206 and is anxious to get to know the families at PCS!

Be sure to check out the marquee outside of the Middle School for important dates, reminders, and other fun information!  We plan to update this frequently to serve as another form of communication to families in an entertaining way.  For example, keep an eye out for staff birthday announcements!

 Enjoy the last bit of summer this weekend!

Dana Leesman, Elementary Principal 

p: 314.645.9600 x608             e: dleesman@premiercharterschool.org


A Note from Mr. Peter Plank, our new Elementary Music Teacher...

Hi parents! I look forward to spending the year with your kiddos at PCS as the K-4 music teacher! I know many of you have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of a new music teacher, and I couldn’t be happier to accept this position at PCS. In the past, I have had the privilege of teaching many private music students and leading workshops in a variety of settings that focus on helping a diverse group of learners achieve their musical goals. As a classically trained vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, I have been fortunate enough to work with a wide range of incredible students, artists, and studios here in the St. Louis area and beyond. I am passionate about providing your children with a fun and comprehensive music education because some of the most fulfilling and inspiring moments of my life have taken place in a music classroom. I believe music has something special to offer to every one of my students, and I hope to create and foster a classroom environment where the joy, beauty, and healing nature of music can be seen and experienced by everyone. 

When I am not teaching at PCS, there is a very good chance that you can find me on the local STL music scene. I perform with many artists and bands that span a variety of different genres. Aside from music, I am a big fan of NBA basketball, reading a good book, and watching indie films. I’m lucky enough to have most of my immediate and extended family here in St. Louis, and I absolutely love spending time with them. 

I look forward to meeting you all! Here’s to a great year! 

-Mr. Plank

Lunch Time Clarification...

It has been brought to our attention that there may be some misunderstandings regarding lunch time length and what happens during our lunch times for elementary students.  Lunch time information was included in my first newsletter but wanted to include it again this week to clarify.  Lunch is a busy time around here as we have over 600 mouths to feed! All grade levels have their own lunch time with their grade level classmates in either the Elementary or Middle School Building cafeteria. For the elementary grades, lunches begin at 10:45 and run through 12:30.  Students have 30 minutes in the cafeteria.  There may be some time outside during this time but that occurs only after individuals have finished eating.  Students are given the full 30 minutes to eat if they need it. For those students who have the earlier or later lunch, many teachers provide opportunities for students to have a snack or two in the classroom in the morning or afternoon.  No students in the elementary grades have 15 minute lunches.  Helping to supervise many of the lunches, I can assure you that 30 minutes is enough time for elementary students to eat.  We do have to encourage students on the daily, usually multiple times, to focus on eating and not solely on talking with their friends at tables.  One way you can help at home, especially for the younger students, is to practice opening various packaging, such as milk cartons, fruit cups, chip/cookie bags, etc as well as practicing knowing their pin number and how to clean up their space when finished.  We do have many hands in the cafeteria to assist but there are many students to help. Our lunch procedures have not changed in recent years other than moving up the lunch block start time by 15 minutes to 10:45. This was done to accommodate the 4th and 5th graders being able to split their grade levels into both cafeterias in order to give these “bigger” kids some more space.  These two grade levels have 2 classes in one cafeteria and the other three classes of the grade level in the other cafeteria.  Their lunch time is shortened by just a few minutes due to the fact that there is less of them in each café. If you have any other questions regarding lunch, please feel free to reach out.  We are happy to answer them in order to clear up anything. 


BAC Update regarding 1/2 Day This Friday…

BAC reminder for families...There is a half day on 9/21. School dismisses at noon and aftercare will end at 4:00 pm. If you are not signed up for aftercare but need to use aftercare that day, it will be a $25 drop in per child. If you would like to utilize aftercare on this day please email Mr. Lydon at jlydon@premiercharterschool.org or call 314.645.9600.


A Note from Mrs. Gray regarding KITM...

As some of you may know, we've been fortunate to have Kids in the Middle come into our school for the past 2 school years. Their primary focus is to work with kids and families going through a divorce or separation but they did all kinds of groups based on family need. While this was a great resource for us we were notified today that that have lost 100% of their school based funding. So, we will NOT be hosting them this year. They do offer an in house scholarship program for kids/families who are specifically needing support from Divorce and separation. Please feel free to reach out to them if you are interested in attending one of their groups. They can be reached at:

Kids in the Middle: 2650 S Hanley Rd #150, St. Louis, MO 63144 Phone(314) 909-9922


Drop off and Pick up...

Just a few continued reminders regarding drop off and pick up:

  • Please pay attention to all requests by school staff outside both before and after school... we are here to help make the routine run as smooth as possible.

  • The EC building has spots marked for drop off in the circle. Please pull up to the first empty spot (#1-5) and fill in from there.  There is NO parking in the EC building circle in the morning.  If walking students inside you must park in a parking spot in lot.

  • It would help us greatly if all cars entering and exiting the campus would signal well ahead of the entrance/exit. This allows us to wave cars in/out or stop traffic accordingly.

  • IMPORTANT: We have seen an uptick in students being dropped off early with no supervision. PLEASE NOTE!!! Doors to the buildings open at 8:10.  This is 15 minutes prior to our official start time of 8:25.  The only children who may be dropped off prior to 8:10 are those who are signed up for Before care.  If you come earlier than 8:10, you must stay with your child outside the front of their respective building to supervise them or wait with them in your car.  There is not enough supervision in or out of the buildings prior to 8:10 to allow students to enter any earlier.

  • Please be respectful of our neighborhood and its residents.  Do not block drives or park on lawns.  

Free/Reduced Meal Status 2018-2019…

Free/Reduced meal forms are available in every buildings' front office.  These forms can also be completed and submitted within the Parent Portal.

 Please be sure to complete your Free/Reduced meal application as we ask all families to have one on file.  Even if you do not believe you will qualify we ask all families to have one on file as this does affect meal pricing, BAC pricing, and has positive funding implications for PCS as a whole.  

 If you have any questions feel free to contact Ben Huebner at bhuebner@premiercharterschool.org

Fall Peace Rally Writing Contest...

On September 21st we'll be celebrating our annual Fall Peace Rally in the courtyard from 9-10am. I'm excited to announce that Fredbird® will be joining us at the end of this year's Fall Peace Rally!

 As a connection to this year's theme, #Allin4PCS, we're challenging our students to write about how they are all in for PCS. This can be done in a variety of ways: write a poem, a song, a letter, an essay, etc.

 Pre-K - 2nd grade students can write with a parent or as a whole class. 3rd-8th grade students can write on their own or with a friend!

Please use the form below and be sure all submissions are turned in by the end of the school day on September 18th. A winner from each building will be chosen and will get their picture taken with Fredbird® after the rally!

Makerspace Supply Drive...

Thank you to everyone who has donated items to our new makerspace!  We will update our donation wish list each week and post it here!  Please see the updated list below for items we are still looking to add to our makerspace!  

*What is a makerspace? A makerspace is a place for students to imagine, explore, tinker, invent, design, and create.  3rd-5th graders will come to the makerspace once a week. During this special, they will learn how to use the new space and materials through a variety of design and building challenges.

After School Clubs...

  • Let Me Run:  Let Me Run is much more than a running program for boys.

Let Me Run is a running program for 4th – 8th grade boys, but it’s more about the boy than the run. Counteracting the negative pressures society places on boys, the program uses running as the vehicle to inspire, teach, and reach them. Combining exercise with fun activities and lessons, our trained coaches inspire boys to be courageous enough to be themselves, build healthy relationships, and live an active lifestyle.

Registration at PCS is now open! Fall season starts on September 24th and meets Mondays and Wednesdays after school for an hour and fifteen minutes, and ends with a 5k race on November 10th . Learn more and register at www.letmerun.org. Questions? Email Ms. Mijatovic at kmijatovic@premiercharterschool.org or Ms. McAdams at cmcadams@premiercharterschool.org.

  •  Be on the lookout for information on how to sign up for additional clubs coming home throughout the next month or so.

School Calendar Updates...

The following events weren't on the master calendar, so we want to make sure they're on your radar and in your plans now. Times to be announced, but each will last about an hour. The Multicultural Fair is an all day event, more info to come! If you're interested in helping with the planning of any or all of these events, please reach out to Christy Wohlgemuth, cwohlgemuth@premiercharterschool.org.

September 21st, Fall Peace Rally
November 9th, Veterans' Day Assembly
May 3rd, Multicultural Fair & Spring Peace Rally

PCG News & Happenings...

  • PCG will again be heading up the Tom Evan's fundraiser.  All order and payments have been extended and are due back by Monday, September 17.

  • Attached you will find the date for upcoming Family Nights... a fun way to hang out with other PCS families and support the school at the same time.

  • PCG sells school spirit wear.  Again, you will find an order form attached for this apparel. 

  • Mark your calendars!! October 20th is Fall Festival & Trunk or Treat. These are two events you don’t want to miss. Both events will take place at PCS. Bracelet order forms will be sent out in a couple weeks. If you are able to volunteer for an hour or two we would really appreciate the help. Please email Terry Brogan (tbrogan@lashlybaer.com) to sign up.

  • 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...

If it's fun, free, and family friendly, it's listed below!

  •  Fri/Sat Sept 14-15:

Forest Park Balloon Glow (Friday evening) and Balloon Race (Saturday beginning at noon). The Oldest & Most Well Attended Balloon Race in the World celebrates it's 46th year. Balloon Glow activities for kids open as early as 5 p.m. on Friday evening and Saturday's festivities start at noon with the Launch of the Hare Balloon at 4:30 p.m. and the Hounds Balloons at 4:45 p.m. https://greatforestparkballoonrace.com/schedule/

  •  Fri/Sat/Sun Sept 14-16

Greentree Festival in Kirkwood Park  111  S.Geyer Road A family friendly festival all weekend long. Food, Music and the ever popular Folk Life Festival showcasing craftsmen of the America's past-- think blacksmith, silversmith, coppersmith, soap maker, and my favorite--the 18th century surgeon! http://www.kirkwoodmo.org/content/City-Departments/2025/greentree-festival.aspx

  •  Sat Sept 15  10:30 a.m.

Free Pajama Party with Book Illustrator, Daniel Wiseman at Left Bank Books 399 North Euclid in the Central West End. Illustrator Daniel Wiseman reads from his new book, "When Your Monkeys Won't Go to Bed."  Wear your PJ's and you'll be entered into a drawing for a free book.

  •  Sat Sept 15  Noon to 11 p.m.

Old Webster Jazz Fest. Free & Family Friendly Non stop Jazz and Blues Fest from 2 stages in Old Webster. Bring the kids, strollers, and lawn chairs http://oldwebsterjazzfest.com/

  •  Wed/Thurs/Fri  Sept 19, 20, 21 all  programs start at 6:30  p.m. and last 1 hour

Ulysses S Grant Historic Site  7400 Grant Road in Affton presents Civil War to Civil Rights: A Family Friendly Living History Series featuring 3 Historic Interpreters. One hour dramatic portrayal with  first person historic interpreters exploring themes of slavery, Reconstruction, and African American efforts to secure Civil Rights.  This very special free program is held outdoors under a tent with chairs provided.

Wednesday, September 19 meet Frederick Douglas as portrayed by Charles Pace

Thursday, September 20 meet Martin Luther King, Jr. as portrayed by Stephon Ferguson

Friday, September 21 meet Harriet Tubman as portrayed by Kathryn Harris


 What do Historic Interpreters do?  Historic Interpreters are actors who dress in historically accurate costumes and have extensively studied the lives, writings, and occupations of the character they portray.  They essentially become the person they portray, striving to give the public an accurate view of the person and their place in history.  Historic interpreters bring the past to the present!

  •  Sun Sept 16  5:30-7:30 p.m.

Great Music of Many Faiths Join Soprano Christine Brewer & the 442s for this Free Interfaith Concert at the acoustically perfect Sheldon Concert Hall behind the Fox on Washington Avenue.  In addition both adult and children will perform with members of the St. Louis Symphony in a concert which promotes harmony among people of diverse faiths and backgrounds. https://racstl.org/event/eighth-annual-arts-faith-st-louis-interfaith-concert-great-music-of-many-faiths/

Upcoming Important Dates...

  • 8.29.18-9.17.18: Tom Evans' Fundraiser

  • 9.17.18: Girl Scout Meetings begin

  • 9.20.18: PCS Board Meeting - 4:30 pm

  • 9.21.18: Fall Peace Rally & 1/2 Day (Noon dismissal) - Staff PD 

  • 9.25.18: PCG Family Night @ JJ Twig's on Hampton

  • 10.3.18-10.5.18: 5th Grade Camp

  • 10.20.18: Fall Festival & Trunk or Treat

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.