Symmes Elementary School


October 9, 2020

Mark your Calendar!

  • October 16: 7:30 pm- Outdoor Movie Night at Symmes (See below for details)
  • October 27: Picture Day (Face to Face AND Virtual)
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Parent/Teacher Conferences

ALL conferences will be held virtually, for both Virtual Classroom and Face-to Face students. Parents will receive details regarding the conferences as they get closer. Dates are as follows:

Nov. 19 (Thursday) Evening Conferences (K-6)

Nov. 20 (Friday) Daytime conferences (No School-K-8 only)

Nov. 23 (Monday) Evening Conferences (K-4 and 7-8)


  • Picture Day for face to face students will be held on October 27th during the school day.

  • Picture Day for Virtual Classroom students will be held at Symmes Elementary on October 27th, from 4:30-6:30.

    • No sign up required

    • No pre ordering required

    • Parents should park in the gym lot and should not enter the building.

      • Students will enter through the gym doors and be escorted to a socially distanced, safe waiting area.

      • There should be a minimal wait time. Each picture session takes approximately 1-2 minutes.

  • After picture day, families will receive an email with information about how to access and order their student's pictures.

New Sycamore Attendance Line

ALL K-6 parents are asked to call 686-1707 to report a student absence each morning before school begins. The message will prompt parents to do the following:

  • To report an absence that may be related to COVID-19 symptoms, exposure, or diagnosis, please press 1.

  • To report an absence unrelated to COVID-19, all K-6 parents of students in the Virtual Classroom should press 2.

Any K-6 parent of students in the Virtual Classroom reporting an absence after 9:00am should call the Sycamore Learning Commons at 686-1708. Any parent of a Symmes Face to Face student reporting an absence after 9:45am should call the Symmes Office at 686-1740.

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Love Our Library

Please support the Love Our Library program at Symmes Elementary by allowing your child to donate a new library book in celebration of his/her birthday. With your $15 gift, your child may select a book from our “birthday batch” of books to help build and enrich our library collection. Although we cannot check books out this year we still LOVE books! Your student(s) will be able to personalize a bookplate for their selected book and will get a photo on the wall with the book selection. If your student is in a virtual classroom, I will send you a list of options and then you could send me a picture of your child for the wall. We will include summer and early fall birthdays with our October pictures.

Our Love Our Library program is great way to celebrate and leave a literary legacy in your child’s name.

Thank you for your help in building a better library.

Lisa Gausmann, Symmes Media Center

To participate please donate $15 (cash or check payable to Symmes Elementary School). If Face to Face, you can send it to school with your child in an envelope. If Virtual Classroom, please drop it off at school or mail to Symmes Elementary, 11820 Enyart Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45140.

With your $15.00 gift, please include:

  • Student’s Name

  • Whether your student is Face to Face or Virtual

  • Your student’s teacher

  • Your student’s birthday (month and day)

  • Occasion if other than a birthday

All donations must be received by May 11, 2021.

Happy Birthday and Happy Reading!

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Symmes Steppers is Back!!

We are excited to be able to offer our Steppers program this fall! It will look a little different but will still serve to encourage fitness and fun for Symmes students!

Face to Face Students – Each teacher will be given the option to take their homeroom out to the track one day a week during one of their recess blocks. Those students will “BEe Responsible” for tracking their laps and reporting it to their teacher. Students will be rewarded for reaching their mileage milestones with a special certificate!

Virtual Students – We encourage virtual students to head outside and engage in a physical activity for 20 minutes every Wednesday. That could be a walk or run around the neighborhood, a bike ride, creating an obstacle course… the options are endless! We will be posting ideas to the Symmes PTO Facebook page every Wednesday as well as the reward certificate template for virtual families to print at home and present to your child when you feel they have gone above and beyond!

Please be sure to check the Symmes PTO Facebook page each Wednesday and post a picture of your child “Stepping”!

If you have any questions, please contact Sara O’Hara at

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Information About Outdoor Movie Night

October 16 - Outdoor Movie Night at Symmes

As you may know, late last week Hamilton County moved to the RED Covid-19 Zone. With that change, comes restrictions that prevent us from hosting our Outdoor Movie Night on October 16. We were so excited to see you all but for the safety of everyone we are postponing the event until the spring.

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Information for Parents about upcoming Fall/Halloween Celebrations

Due to COVID restrictions, we will not be able to have a Fall/Halloween parade at Symmes this year. While this is a tradition that we all look forward to and love, we need to ensure the safety of our staff and students.

We are planning some fun activities for your students:

  • Fall Classroom Celebrations

    • Will feature a book read by Mr. Forsthoefel.

    • Prepackaged snacks and treats to enjoy outside or to be taken home provided by PTO.

    • Classroom Games and crafts provided by PTO.

    • Volunteers and guests are not permitted in the building at this time.

    • Details will come from your child's teacher.

  • School Wide Orange and Black Day

    • On October 30, dress in your orange and black.

    • No costumes will be permitted at school.

    • Non Scary Halloween shirts are permitted.

  • Virtual Halloween Parade

    • Send us pictures of your children in costume

      • Pictures will be used to create a fun iMovie that will be shown at classroom celebrations

Join the PTO!

Who can become a member?

Any parent or guardian of a current Symmes Elementary Student (virtual and face-to-face learners), or any current Symmes Elementary Staff Member. Please fill out one the forms below to become a registered PTO member.

How much does it cost to become a member?

There is no mandatory cost involved in membership.

How can I help?

Due to the circumstances facing the entire District during the 2020-21 school year, the Symmes PTO will not be organizing any formal fundraising activities during the first semester. The PTO will still be working hard to support all of our virtual and face to face students, staff and families. Many teachers have faced additional costs this year, so please consider supporting the PTO if you are able. All four elementary schools are contributing to the virtual teachers as well.

Online membership form
Paper membership form (print and mail)


Thank you.

Symmes Elementary PTO

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Dear Families,

Hamilton County Public Health requires all close contacts to quarantine for 14 days. As a reminder, close contacts are defined as anyone who has been within 6 feet of a confirmed case for 15 minutes, with or without a mask, in a 48 hour period cumulatively.

While we have not experienced any confirmed cases yet in our building, at any time students or staff may need to quarantine based on exposure elsewhere. We know that being identified as a close contact and the effects of quarantining can elicit a range of emotions for students and their families.

In an effort to address the impact to mental health, our school counselors will begin educating students about what it means to be in quarantine using our PBIS expectations. Additionally, students will receive instruction on how to be a good friend and how to support close contact classmates during any required time away from school. It is our belief that by starting this conversation with students we can destigmatize this critical safety requirement for our students and their families.

If you have any questions or concerns about mental health services and supports in the district, please reach out to Lisa Zelvy, Pupil Services Supervisor, at 686-1700 or

For your information:

Symmes Elementary continues to make adjustments to our practices to ensure that our students and staff stay healthy. We are asking families to refrain from picking up and returning students in the middle of the day. If you need to schedule doctor or dentist appointments, we encourage you make appointments for the beginning or the end of the day whenever possible. We know that this may be a challenge at times but we request your understanding as we try to decrease classroom interruptions and prevent the spread of germs.

New Mealtime Procedures Grades K-6

Beginning October 12, Sycamore Child Nutrition will no longer be using a pre-order system for Grades K-6 breakfast and lunch. We received a great deal of negative feedback from families about the functionality of the pre-ordering system put in place at the beginning of the school year. In addition, pre-ordering and meal delivery (for Grades K-4) was placing an undue burden on staff. In an effort to be responsive, we are doing away with the pre-ordering system and shifting towards our traditional meal ordering process with safety protocols in place. These protocols include social distancing while in line, contactless checkout, and extra sanitation measures.

How will students order meals and be served?

  • Students will select what they want to eat while going through the lunch line as in a typical school year.

  • Students will be served most of their meals by the kitchen staff. If necessary, students will grab limited pre-packaged fruits and veggies and milk to finish their meal.

How will students checkout safely?

  • As a reminder, all meals are free for ALL students until December 31 (or until the allotted program funds are no longer available-whichever comes first).

  • Students will use a lanyard with a lunch badge and scan it at our new scanners for a contactless checkout. They will not enter their numbers into pin pads as in past years.

What other safety protocols will be in place?

  • Physical distancing using marks on the floors will be put in place. Students will still be separated by class when coming through the lunch line.

  • The kitchen staff will be wearing proper PPE and face shields for added safety.

  • There will be extra sanitation procedures between groups going through the line.

When does pre-ordering end?

  • The last day you need to pre-order for your child will be Friday, October 9th. The first day for traditional meal ordering will be Monday, October 12.

How do I find out what’s for lunch at my child’s school?

  • Menus for October 12 and beyond can be found on the Sycamore website or by clicking here

Does this also impact students in Grades 7-12?

  • No, only for Grades K-6. There are no changes for meal ordering at Grades 7-12.

Please note:

If your student(s) are quarantined at home and you would like access to school meals, you can sign up for the virtual meal curbside pick up by registering here and get meals this way until you are back at school. All meals are free to ALL students until December 31st. Find out more information about pick-up times, locations, and FAQs by clicking here.
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Virtual Picnic

Mrs. Ralston misses seeing our virtual classroom students around the school. We problem solved this by working with Mrs. Teszlewicz to set up "Principal Picnics" so we can visit with our virtual classroom students each month!

Starting in October, your child will have the option to join a "Google Meet" to hang out with Mrs. Ralston....and other guests! Lunches will be held on the following schedule:

Kdg - 1st Thursday of every month

1st Grade - 1st Tuesday of every month

2nd Grade - 2nd Tuesday of every month

3rd Grade - 3rd Tuesday of every month

4th Grade - 4th Tuesday of every month

*Links to the meetings will be shared by your classroom teachers. Please only have your child attend their grade level meet so we can more easily manage our numbers.

This is optional for students, and is an additional time for us to stay connected.

We know that there will be some months that we will not be able to get together, but we look forward to seeing you all as often as possible!

Hello K-4 virtual families!

We are thrilled to pass along information about our October Pilot Kits pick up! For all virtual students K-4, student-specific boxes called Virtual Pilot Kits have been created with materials for their classes.

We will be hosting pick up at the Virtual Learning Commons (11120 Kenwood Road, Cincinnati, OH 45242) next week at the following days and times:

Monday, October 12 from 12pm-6pm
Tuesday, October 13 from 7:30am-1:30pm
Wednesday, October 14 from 8am-12pm

How do I sign up for pick up? Please use the link HERE to reserve your pick up time. While we anticipate the pick up process to be very quick, we want to limit the number of people coming at once for safety and social distancing.

1. Can someone else pick up my student’s box? Yes, Virtual Pilot kits may be picked up by a friend, family member, or neighbor if the parent or guardian wishes.

2. What is the procedure for pick up? The entrance to our building is at the front of the building by the road. Please come to that door. As you enter, you will have your temperature quickly taken. We have a large room - right next to the main door - where student Virtual Pilot kits will be spread out by grade and by teacher, and alphabetized by student. Student names are clearly labeled on each box. Please grab your student(s) Virtual Pilot Kit(s) and then you will exit. We will have staff available to help. All persons picking up boxes will need to be masked and practice social distancing the entire time.

3. What if none of the pick up times work for me or I am unable to pick up the Virtual Pilot Kits? Please call 513-686-1708 so that we can make arrangements with you.

We are so excited to get these Virtual Pilot Kits in the hands of our virtual learners!


Virtual Meal Curbside Pick Up

The pick-up location for all families for virtual meals is no longer at the High School. You instead will pick up at your student’s assigned school location. IF you have multiple students that attend different buildings, meals for all of your children will be available for pick up at the OLDEST child’s school. You do not need to visit multiple schools.

Pickup time for Symmes will be Wednesdays from 10:00 am to 11:00 am.

If you have not already signed up and would like to do so, please sign up here. Please note, the cutoff each week to sign up is Sunday at Midnight.

Would you like to be your child’s Room Parent?

Volunteers needed!

The PTO is looking for one volunteer for each K-4 virtual classroom to serve as the room parent throughout the 2020-2021 school year.

Room parents will work directly with their teacher to determine how to best support their classroom and teacher.

Some possible examples (that may or may not be applicable to your classroom) include:

  • planning and facilitating virtual celebrations for Halloween, winter, etc.
  • sending emails to other parents in the classroom as requested by your teacher
  • compiling classmates names/contact info to create a classroom directory, if classmates are interested in participating
  • assist with virtual material pick up days, if possible

If you are interested in being a room parent for your K-4 virtual student, please complete the online form below by next Thursday, October 15th. Questions? Contact Elizabeth Miller at Thank you!

Fill out form here


We know that Virtual Classroom students will experience technology issues. If you have a problem, contact Sycamore Schools Technology Support at or call 686-1793. The technology phone number is dedicated to supporting Virtual teachers and families.

Need help?

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Virtual Learning - Printing From A Chromebook