Principal's Address

Date: August, 16th 2017seal
RE: Back to School!


Dear Schuylkill Parents/Guardians and Students,

Welcome to Schuylkill Elementary, where EVERY child succeeds.  I hope all of our families had an enjoyable, safe, and restful summer and are ready for the 2017-2018 school year.  Schuylkill Elementary continues to offer a rich learning environment as we seek to inspire and challenge all students every day.  I feel fortunate to be the leader of such a wonderful school.  Thank you for your continued support and please know that we value the home and school connection.

A big thank you to all the families that signed up to water our Chester County Food Bank garden, and other areas over the summer.  We were fortunate to have some students that were here for ESY and Stepping UP as harvesters!  It was a bountiful take and quite the learning experience for the students.

*You may log on to Skyward using Schuylkill’s website on Friday, August 18th to see your child’s teacher assignment and check bus information starting at 4 PM.  

@PASDSchuylkill - - Follow us on Twitter!!!
We want to share the great happenings at Schuylkill as much as possible for the upcoming school year.  With the help of a crack team of 5th grade reporters and their faculty advisor, we will be Tweeting some of the great events and daily happenings here at Schuylkill.  Make sure to follow us on Twitter @PASDSchuylkill and use #schuylkillpride when posting about our awesome school.

Weekly Principal Skylert
Monday mornings during the school year, you will be receiving my weekly principal Skylert.  The email will include school news and preview upcoming events.  Please make sure to read these weekly emails so as not to miss important information.  Every other week I will also include the Schuylkill School and Home Association Scoop.  The Scoop also includes important information from our SSHA so please be sure to read.

Back to School Information
The “Back to School Information” link will be available on the SES website today, August 16th.  Please note that the student information forms that are marked to return, must be completed and returned by August 28th.  It is important that we have this information by the first day of school.  If you do not have access to a computer, please be aware that there are three computer stations for your use in the lobby of the District Administration building located at 386 City Line Avenue.  The following link will take you directly to the Back to School Information.

New Arrival Procedures **Important**
This year all students will report directly to their homeroom immediately from both the bus and car loops.  Students will no longer report to the gym or cafeteria (Except for the first day, August 28th). The following procedures should be followed:

• 2nd and 3rd grade students that ride the bus will enter through the main office entrance in the bus loop at 8:20 AM.  All 2nd and 3rd grade classrooms are located on the 1st floor.

• 4th and 5th grade students that ride the bus will enter through the entrance labeled “Gymnasium” in the bus loop and proceed to their classroom up the back stairwell closest to the cafeteria at 8:20 AM.  All 4th and 5th grade classrooms are located on the 2nd floor.

• Car riders will continue to drop off between 8:20-8:30 AM.  The students will report directly to their classrooms from the car loop.  If the student is in 4th or 5th grade they may use the stairwell closest to the car loop.  IMPORTANT-Car loop doors will close at 8:30 AM promptly.  The staff supervising the car loop start teaching at 8:30 AM.

No student should be dropped off when the doors are closed and walk around to the main office. This is a safety issue.  If the doors are closed, please bring your child around to the main office to be signed in by the parent/guardian.  The child will be marked tardy.  Per the elementary handbook, the school day begins promptly at 8:30 AM.


Welcome New Students
The following is a special word to any new parents to Schuylkill. The staff at Schuylkill Elementary School would like to extend a welcome as you transition with your child to the building.  To help make this transition easier for you and your child we will be holding a New Student Orientation on Thursday, August 24, 2017 starting at 1:00 PM in the SES cafeteria.  A brief overview of the school will be provided along with a tour of the building.  Light refreshments will be offered.  We encourage new parents to volunteer for Schuylkill’s School and Home Association (SSHA).  Information will be provided upon request.  The orientation is designed to help relieve any anxieties you or your child may have about entering a new building. Please keep in mind that this is an orientation.  All parents will have the opportunity to attend our “Back to School” night being held the evening of September 19th.

Back to School Night
This year with 1st grade moving to the PAELC we will return to holding Back to School Night for grades 2, 3, 4, and 5 on one night.  The date for Back to School Night will be Tuesday, September 19th.  We will begin at 6:00 PM in the Schuylkill gymnasium with a school overview.  There will be two teacher sessions that follow.  Session one will run from 6:15-7:00 PM, and session two will run from 7:00-7:45 PM.   Look for the flyer in your Back to School Information.

5th Grade Overnight Camping/Outdoor Education Trip
I am excited to announce that our fifth graders will again be going on a 5th Grade Outdoor Education/Team Building overnight trip and the dates will be October 5th and 6th.  The 5th grade will leave for the camp in the AM on Thursday, October 5th and will return to school at 4 PM on Friday, October 6th.  You must pick your child up on the back playground.  Please park in the lot and walk over to sign out your child.  We will be releasing the children from the gym back doors on the playground, and ask parents to be patient as we sign out the students. Many surrounding districts and schools have their 5th graders participate in this type of trip.  Fond memories will be created that will last a lifetime for our 5th graders.  Children will look forward to this trip as they move up through the grades.  Teachers and children will get a chance to build rapport and learn in an outdoor setting.  There will be an informational meeting for 5th grade parents the evening of Wednesday, September 21st in the Schuylkill gymnasium.  The meeting is for 5th grade parents only and begins at 6 PM.  Staff from the Outdoor School in Horsham will be here to inform parents about this incredible experience.  Please click on the following link for more information about the Outdoor School.

Breakfast and lunch at Schuylkill!
Here at Schuylkill, we know how important it is to start each day of learning with a healthy breakfast, which is why we are excited and proud to announce the continuation of the SCHUYLKILL BREAKFAST PROGRAM!  Whitsons Culinary Group will be preparing healthy, nutritious, breakfast meals each morning for the students of Schuylkill School.  For just $1.40, your child will have the option to purchase a daily “to go” style breakfast that they will be able to eat as they begin their school day.  The students will use their school pin number to purchase breakfast, and the money will be withdrawn from their accounts just like it is done when purchasing lunch.  Lunch is of course available daily at a cost of $2.70. Please be on the lookout for the lunch and breakfast menus that are coming soon, and will be available on Schuylkill’s website!

Senior Family & Friends Day Thursday, October 12th 
Senior Family & Friends Day will be celebrated in the fall.  The date is Thursday, October 12th and you will see information coming home shortly with regard to our honored guests’ attendance for that day.  This has always been a special day at Schuylkill for the students, staff, and the grandparents/senior friends.  There is no school for students on Friday, October 13th due to a teacher in-service day.

School Procedures, Safety, and Volunteering Procedures
We take the safety of your children very seriously at Schuylkill Elementary.  All visitors must report to the main office to check in and receive an ID badge to be worn at all times in the school.  A valid driver’s license is necessary to obtain the visitors ID badge.  If you are interested in volunteering please take the time to review the district procedures and guidelines found at the following link:  Volunteer Procedures

Keep in mind that in order to volunteer in any capacity at Schuylkill all clearances must be filed electronically using the above link. All clearance copies are kept at district office.  Contact Kim Baird at extension 484-927-5028 if you have any questions.  All volunteers need to be approved by the school board.  I also recommend that you review the Elementary School Handbook found on our district home page with your child.  

First in Math Free for All Students 2017-2018

For the upcoming 2017-2018 school year all students will have FREE access to the online math site First in Math.  Login information will be sent home once received from the company.  The site is excellent for a range of mathematics review and enrichment skills.  Activities are also presented in an engaging manner for students.  Please take advantage of this opportunity, and if your child is in 4th or 5th grade they can practice the 24 Math game on this site in preparation for the building and district tournaments.

Reading Workshop in Grade 2
We are pleased to share that with 2nd grade now implementing reading workshop, all grade 2-5 classrooms will experience the Reading and Writing Workshop instructional frameworks. The goal is to foster lifelong readers and writers. Each grade level has specific units of study tailored to meet the developmental and curricular needs of the students. Teachers will facilitate this daily experience as an element of our balanced literacy approach.

Annual Student Information Update - infosnap
If your child attended our District last year and is returning for the 2017-2018 school year (New Students to the District DO NOT need to complete this process), please complete the Annual Student Info Update in infosnap starting on August 1, 2017 for the upcoming school year.  You should have received a district email/letter prior to August 3, 2017 requesting you to update your child(ren)’s information and complete the yearly sign-offs.  This information is vital to your child(ren)’s safety and well-being while at school (emergency contacts, health update, and yearly permissions). To update your information after August 1, 2017 either click the link in the email that you received, or go to the district website at www.pasd.com.  Annual Student Update can be found under Parents in the main navigation bar.  To complete the process, you will need the 15-digit snapcode that was provided by the district.   If your child attended PASD as of the last day of school (June 9, 2017) and is returning for the 2017-2018 School Year, you must complete this process. The due date is August 27, 2017.

Attendance Incentive
We are pleased to announce that we will continue our bike give away as an incentive for students to attend school every day. We will have two bicycles to give away at the end of the school year.  Each marking period, the names of students with perfect attendance will be entered into a drawing for the bikes (students with perfect attendance during all four marking periods will have up to four chances to win the bikes). While we do not want students to come to school if they are sick, we do want to communicate to students that coming to school every day is important and we want to encourage them to attend if they are not sick. Perfect attendance means that a student attends school every day in a marking period. Students will be afforded no more than one excused late arrival and no more than one excused early dismissal each marking period.  If it is necessary for your daughter-son to be absent due to illness, we require a note from you or preferably a physician. Students who miss a day of school due to a religious holiday will not be penalized.

School Wide Positive Behavior System
Schuylkill Elementary School Wide Positive Behavior System will continue to be implemented this year.  Our mission is to create a unified kid friendly environment where students strive to be their best and can feel respected and safe.  Students will be asked to model the Phantom Way through being kind, being safe, being respectful, being responsible, and being their best!  We will recognize students who demonstrate these characteristics through our Gotcha Program. I am also excited to announce the return of the Golden Apple which will be awarded to a class each day for exemplary behavior in the lunch room.  Golden Apples result in lunches with the principal or extra recess rewards.

Peer Mediation
At Schuylkill, we have recently rolled out a new program- peer mediation!  This is a national program that teaches students how to develop “win/win” solutions.  Last year the fifth grade was introduced to the program and what a peer mediation looks like.  This year the program will be utilized across all grade levels.  A mediation involves two people that are having a disagreement, two trained peer mediators to help them resolve their conflict, and an adult overseer.

We are going to use peer mediation as a strategy in school when two people are experiencing a conflict that is not physical.  A time when peer mediation may be used is when two friends have a disagreement or a person is doing something hurtful.  Students may request a mediation or teachers may request for a mediation to happen.  Peer mediation is a great way to empower students and give them practice in their problem solving skills.  We are excited to see the program grow at Schuylkill School!

Holiday Parties 
Holiday parties are held three times during the school year. These parties do involve treats. All parent/party volunteers are encouraged to include healthy food offerings and are reminded to be sure to check with teachers regarding restrictions due to allergies before planning any holiday party treats.

Due to the many students with allergies and food reactions, food items to celebrate student birthdays are not permitted. No birthday food treats should be sent to school. Parents who wish to send in birthday recognition, are asked to send in non-food items such as pencils, stickers or a donation of a book to the school or classroom library.

Math 24
All students in 4th and 5th grade will also have the opportunity to volunteer and compete in building level 24 Math Game qualifying tournaments in February.  Each elementary building will send the top eight 4th and top eight 5th grade point earners from the qualifiers on to a district wide tournament being held in the middle school gymnasium the evening of March 14th.  This past year we had 2 students place in the top 12 overall in the Chester County Math 24 tournament, and we will send our top 2 students this year to again compete at the county level.  While mental math is required to do well, hard work and practice will go a long way.  We will also be offering grade level appropriate 24 Math tournaments for our students in first, second, and third grade.  I hope many of our students will participate in the qualifying tournaments, and don’t forget that the First in Math online program has a 24 game component that will allow students to practice.

Additional Staffing Updates (Original update sent in July):
• Emily Kerins will be moving from Schuylkill Gifted Support to Manavon Gifted Support.
• Welcome Jennifer O’Neill 5th grade teacher. 
• Welcome Julia Romich, Long Term Substitute for Jennifer MacGregor 2nd grade.
• Welcome to Jessica Koschmeder-World Language Teacher. 
• Amanda Pallotta-Occupational Therapy Support 
• We will be hosting a Chester County Intermediate Unit classroom in room 110 and Lindsay Garwood is the teacher for the class.  We welcome the CCIU to our school along with Mrs. Garwood.

I again want to welcome you to the new school year.  The Back to School Information (Which includes all the beginning of the year forms) will be available on Schuylkill’s home web page today, August 16th.  You may also log on to Skyward using Schuylkill’s website to see your child’s teacher assignment and check bus information starting at 4 PM on Friday, August 18th.  If you do not have access to the internet please contact the main office at 484-927-5400, and we will make sure you receive paper copies of all the back to school documentation and your child’s teacher assignment for the 2017-2018 school year. Enjoy the rest of your summer and we all look forward to greeting the children on Monday, August 28th.

Dr. Kelley Harmer 
Principal
Schuylkill Elementary School

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