Elementary School Newsletter
September 7, 2018
Dearest PCS families,
As I visited classrooms and popped in on learning this week, it is incredible to see so much work and fun happening all around. Many of the times when I stepped in, the students were engaged in their inquiry learning. Inquiry is the time that the students are engaged in science or social studies explorations through problem based learning (PBL) method. With PBL, students work on a project over an extended period of time – from a week up to a few months – that engages them in solving a real-world problem or answering a complex question. They demonstrate their knowledge and skills by developing a product or presentation. As a result, students develop deep content knowledge as well as critical thinking, creativity, and communication skills in the context of doing an authentic, meaningful project. We continue to work each day and year to strengthen our projects so that our students continue to feel empowered in their learning as they work to understand the standards in a way that is realistic and interesting. If you would like to learn more about PBL, visit the Buck Institute for Education website at www.bie.org.
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!
Hope everyone enjoys the weekend… even with the rain!
Dana Leesman, Elementary Principal
p: 314.645.9600 x608 e: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you haven’t had a chance to explore our new website please take a moment to get yourself acquainted with the new features. We will do our best to keep the monthly calendar updated, but please make sure to check my newsletter for important upcoming dates too. Teacher pages will be available soon. Once they are active you will be able to directly contact your child’s teacher through their individual page. You will also have easy access to their social media accounts. In the meantime, if you need to contact a teacher please do so via email or give them a call. There is also a “contact us” button on the website if you are not entirely sure who you need to contact with a question, we will pass it on to the right individual. If you would like to go back and read previous newsletters please just click on the month button as we will archive all the newsletters.
Lunch Time Clarification...
It has been brought to our attention that there may be some questions and wonderings 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, 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, lunchables, 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!
Music Class Update...
A few questions have been asked about music this year so wanted to make sure everyone is in the know. We are currently looking for a music teacher for the elementary grades. Ms. Boone notified us right before the start of school that she would be unable to stay in this role as she felt she was needed to assist with some health/personal happenings occurring in her family. With that news, we began looking for a music teacher and have interviewed and watched many candidate lessons. We are hoping to wrap up this process in the next week or so. We have been very intentional with the hiring process as, like always, we want to make sure we have the perfect fit of a teacher for our students as well as to continue to grow the music program at PCS. While not ideal to have to start the year without a teacher in music, we are working diligently to get just the right person. As soon as someone is hired, we will let everyone know.
Drop off and Pick up...
Thanks for your patience as we settle into the routine for getting kids to and from school safely. Drop off and pick up continue to get smoother each day! Just some UPDATED reminders...
- 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.
- Dropping off either in the circle of the Early Childhood Building or in the drop off lane in front of the Elementary Building is the easiest form of drop off and we encourage families to do this instead of parking. The EC building now has spots marked for drop off in the circle. Please pull up to the first empty spot (#1-5) and fill in from there.
- 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.
- NEW INFO: In the afternoon, if you are exiting the Early Childhood Building lot, you are able to turn right in the parking lot and exit by going around the drive by the Elementary Building to the Sublette exit. Congestion is at a minimum up there and may actually be a quicker way out in the afternoon as Fyler Ave. can get fairly backed up.
- Please be cognizant of crosswalks and use them when crossing in the parking lot and on city streets. Staff members are stationed at each of these to help with crossing safely. Please remind your older students who are walking home or walking to meet rides of this as well. Many students have been cutting through lots, between cars, etc which is very unsafe.
- Directional arrows throughout the parking lot as well as additional crosswalks have now been painted.
- Please remember that when dropping off at the Elementary Building in the morning, the drive splits into two lanes at the curve. Please pick a lane and remain in that lane until after middle crosswalk - right lane for drop off, left lane for passing through.
- 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 wait outside or enter any earlier.
- If picking your child up early from the main offices, you will be asked to show your ID. This is for the safety of your children. With so many faces passing by the office it is hard for Ms. Anderson or Ms. Zamudio to know everyone. We thank you in advance for your assistance with this. Please advise other family members of this as well if they are coming to pick up... helps quicken the process so they don't leave their ID in their car and have to go back out to retrieve.
- Please be respectful of our neighborhood and its residents. Do not block drives or park on lawns.
Again, thank you for your patience and help with all these matters!
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 email@example.com
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 sign ups are coming to a close. If you have a 4-8th grade boy interested in the running team, please go to letmerun.org and complete the registration. Scholarships are available if needed. Please reach out to Ms. Mijatovic (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Ms. McAdams (email@example.com) with any questions.
- 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, firstname.lastname@example.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 fundraiser packets has been sent home with students so now is the time to sell! All order and payments are due back by Wednesday, September 12.
- 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.
- Save the date for the annual Fall Festival and Trunk or Treat. They will be held at the school on October 20.
- 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/Sun Sept 7-9
St. Louis Art Fair In the Heart of Clayton: St. Louis Art Fair is an annual art extravaganza that has become one of the top 3 art fairs in the nation. This is a juried exhibit of artists from the entire nation. Beautiful pieces are for sale--whether you like drawings, paintings, prints, photos, jewelry, fiber arts, pottery, furniture--it's all here. For times this weekend go to: http://www.saintlouisartfair.com/
- Sat Sept 8 10:30 a.m. Activities begin; 11:00 a.m. One Hour Musical begins
Three Little Pigs Musical at Andrews Academy 888 North Mason Rd Creve Coeur, MO Target ages 2- 10 Treat your kids to a free one hour musical performance and come early to participate in activities that are thematically related to the play. https://saintlouis.kidsoutandabout.com/content/3-little-pigs-family-musical
- September is Archaeology Month at Mastodon State Historic Site, Imperial,MO
Every Saturday in September, Mastodon State Historic Site will celebrate with different topics and events from hiking to flint knapping to tanning hides and atlatl throwing--it's all happening in Imperial, MO each Saturday in September. For a complete list of events go to: https://mostateparks.com/event/75731/archaeology-month-2018
- Sun Sept 9 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Purina Farms Trucks & Tails in Gray Summit, MO See how trucks and dogs (think fire trucks & dalmations) work together in this colossal pairing of trucks and their companion dogs. Admission is free but there is a $5 charge for parking. This is a dog friendly event so your well trained and vaccinated dogs are welcome to attend with you. https://www.purina.com/about-purina/purina-farms/events
- Sun Sept 9 1-4 p.m.
Family Sundays at the Art Museum in Forest Park. Next Stop, The Future: Use your imagination to create a fantastic work of art using your ideas of the future. Free 30 minute family tour starts at 2:30 p.m. https://saintlouis.kidsoutandabout.com/content/family-sundays-art-musuem-september
Upcoming Important Dates...
- 8.29.18-9.12.18: 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
- 10.20.18: 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.