Dragon Blast

Mary C. Howse Elementary School

From the Principal

Dear MCH Parents:

As we continue with having all in person students here 5 days per week, I want to thank everyone (again) for your patience, flexibility and understanding. Our students will benefit from this - we may not see it now, but I promise that if we stay the course, we will all come out better as a result!

I have been able to get into more classrooms lately, interact with students and hop on some zooms! I feel like things are getting back to normal (whatever that is going to be!). As adults, it can be hard to shield our children from our true emotions - they are so perceptive! However, the feel of the building continues to provide me such hope and confidence that our children are continuing to grow and learn not only academically, but also socially, behaviorally, mentally and emotionally.

While the spring is not typical - rest assured that our teachers here are trying to make it very meaningful for our students - for example - instead of staying in classrooms in desks/rows, they are taking them outside for learning (and it has been beautiful lately!). We also have seen virtual field trips for our students - something that could not have occurred even a few years ago!

Remember, we are all in this together - with that said, continue to keep us informed of anything you feel we need to know - it is not our place to judge, rather we will work WITH you because our ultimate goal is to help our children grow because of us, not in spite of us.

Dr. Cat


COVID-Related Student Absence

If your child has to isolate or quarantine due to COVID symptoms and/or testing in your household, s/he may be eligible to learn remotely for that time. Please contact the principal or nurse, if your child is absent for this reason. If your child is unable to attend school due to other illness or is absent for other reasons, please contact your child's teacher to arrange for make-up of missed work. Please always contact attendance when your child is absent from school.

MCH Motophoto link


Big picture

Mary C. Howse Equity Team - UPDATE

Update - our team is reading "A Guide to Gender". Please never hesitate to reach out with questions, comments, feeling, stories or just wanting to chat!

With everything going on in society nowadays, our equity team has been continuing to work on addressing a multitude of issues to assist staff, students and parents. However, there is one thing that I, as the principal, have overlooked for years. Letting our MCH community know what is going on, or even what is the equity team and who is a part of it? So, here you go - first, we follow our district mantra -

WCASD Equity Mission:

Eradicate institutional racism and inequities through social justice, promoting the emotional development of staff and students, and embracing diverse perspectives.

WCASD Equity Goals:

  • Teach an inclusive curriculum that teaches anti-racism, celebrates differences, promotes understanding, and seeks multiple perspectives.
  • Promote a positive school climate in which students feel safe, respected, and appreciated.
  • Provide on-going professional development to all staff in all aspects of equity.
  • Engage staff, students, parents, and community members in our work.
  • Provide equitable access to district programming.

At Mary C. Howse - we meet at least monthly and our members include - Rebecca McAllister, Jason Benfield, Jackie Pascale, Terrence Wright, Mike Murray, Shabree White, Danielle Donoghue, Kim Fallon, Rosemary McGeehin, Chelsey Hurd, Mary Tanue, Anne Noone, Yolanda Stanton, Steve Catrambone, Alyssa Cotellese and Tara Jackson.

Events such as our Black History Museum and Hearts for Heritage Night have evolved from this group. We have formed smaller subcommittees for parent outreach, beautification, professional development and our School Wide behavior program.

We will use these sections to keep everyone abreast of what is going on - we want to branch out for more parent involvement but this pandemic has slowed that down a bit so stay tuned! Of course, NEVER hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns - you can contact ANYONE from the above list - just use their "first initial" "last name" @wcasd.net - for example - rmcallister@wcasd.net

Health Care Workers cards

Many children created hand crafted notes of thanks with messages of kindness and gratitude for health care workers in our community. The notes were attached to baskets to our 5 Chester County emergency departments to acknowledge and thank them for their sacrifice and dedication in our community. These Care Baskets were full of healthy snacks, Hugs, Kisses, Lifesavers, cookies, and other treats. They were greatly appreciated by the people who received them. They sent this statement:

“I wish to extend my great appreciation for your efforts to get the cards made for the front line workers. My committee members LOVED them and delivered a few baskets yesterday and will do the rest today. The ones delivered yesterday were received with such joy! The touch of handmade notes by kids was a wonderful way to lift their spirits! Please let MCH know how much their work was enjoyed.”


Positive Praise

Ms. Forbes,

My daughter asked if she could just go back to school physically right now – and I answered that us parents are just not ready for that yet given the # of vaccinations in the area but that she would most certainly go back in September for the next school year.

She then whimpered and said – “but I will not get a chance to be in person with Ms. Forbes then… ☹”.

I told her that although that is true – that she will most definitely get to visit Ms. Forbes and tell her that she holds a special place in your heart.

She said “yeah – I want to tell her that she is the best teacher I have had at MCH!” ❤

At any rate – I just wanted to share the love and appreciation that she feels for you – and also thank you again myself – you are a tremendous teacher and you are making in world of difference in our daughter’s life!

Good Morning Dr. Alba,

Today is our daughter's last day of school. It's been a great experience with you this year. You are the best teacher a student could get. You have played a major role in shaping her into a responsible kid. I have stopped worrying about her.

You are an awesome teacher. I always admire you for the follow-ups and the commitment you have given. Thank you for all the hard work you put in during this remote learning process.

This email is not only for her last day of school I really mean it, Our respect and admiration for you cannot be expressed in words.

Stay safe and Healthy.

Thank you so much

Mrs. Keefe,

God bless your heart for teaching these sweet little souls. I thank you for all of your help. I would be lost without great teachers like you.


Tech Support for Parents and FAQs

See: https://www.wcasd.net/site/Default.aspx?PageID=13027

Technology News:

Please remember to Charge your child’s iPad every night.

Use this link if you are having technical difficultly at home, and your child’s teacher is unable to assist you.


or email: MCHtech_support@wcasd.net

Tech Tip from our very own 4th grader, Nova A. How to split your screen on an ipad.



Current Classroom Teachers

Kindergarten - Mrs. Baer, Mrs. Jackson and Mrs. Giampalmi

1st grade - Mrs. Kane (Ms. Breyer), Mrs. Conner and Mrs. Skalski

2nd grade - Ms. Forbes, Ms. Dougherty, Mrs. Seese and Mr. Jacobus

3rd grade - Ms. Cotellese, Mrs. Ross, and Dr. Alba

4th grade - Mrs. Pohlig, Ms. Verrichia, and Ms. Flynn

5th grade - Mrs. Powers, Mrs. Keefe and Mr. Raws

Cyber Kindergarten - Mrs. Hower, Mrs. Greaves

Cyber 1st grade - Mrs. McAllister

Cyber 2nd grade - Mrs. Sochacki, Mrs. Hoban (Ms. Rothemich)

Cyber 3rd grade - Mrs. Cheney

Cyber 5th grade - Mr. Fabian

Cyber Reading Specialist - Mrs. Donoghue

What is Working at Home? Feel free to email Dr. Cat and share!!!

> Trying to limit screen time outside of school stuff such as games on IPADS/Phones and television.

> Take the time to research your Internet Providers parental controls!!! It is worth it!!!!

> Back to the old board games! My kids love them!!!

> Let them be more responsible and accountable - we met with our child's teacher and it was suggested to us to help/remind them to get on their zooms, but that was it! It was up to them to follow the directions and complete the assignments - just like as if they were in school!


Reminders from the office - please note as we get questions about the information listed:

SUPPLY PICKUP - If a teacher has requested that you pick up supplies at school, please stop by and get it as soon as you can. The supplies are in bins and boxes outside the building with the teachers names on each one. The office staff does not have anything to do with what is placed in the bins and if you have questions on what you received please email the teacher.

ABSENTEE HOTLINE - Please call 484-266-1310 and leave a message when you know your child will be absent from school or late. You can call the number at any time.

To all parents, guardians, and guests: You must come into the office to be checked in via the RAPTOR system with your driver’s license and receive a Visitor’s Badge prior to going anywhere in the building. Your license will be scanned in September and again in January. We appreciate your cooperation and assistance in helping to make and keep our school safe. Thank you for your cooperation.

ACTIVITY FEE - Just a reminder, there are no activity fees this year if your student will be participating in Chorus, Band, Orchestra (Honors as well), and After School Sports.

LUNCHES/LUNCH ACCOUNTS - Just a reminder that all students are entitled to a free lunch. If a student forgets a lunch, it is not necessary to bring lunch to school if you are not able to.

VACATION REQUESTS - When needing family vacation time, email Dr. Catrambone: Scatrambone@wcasd.net and cc: lpolito@wcasd.net with your request. Five days are allowed as excused absences for family vacation.

STUDENT CAR LINE - Drop off and pick up begins behind the school building. Please do not drop students off in the morning before 8:30 as supervision is not available. We ask that you do not exit your car during drop off or pick up. Also, please do not drive around the line unless directed to do so. Remember to be patient and courteous to one another in the car line. Please DO NOT ENTER the bus lane.

EARLY PICK UP - When needing an early dismissal, for any reason, please email Mrs. Duffy (Aduffy@wcasd.net), Mrs. Polito (Lpolito@wcasd.net) and your student's teacher. If someone other than yourself is picking up your student, include that in your email (name, relationship). They will be asked to show identification. Any afternoon pick-ups must be before 2:45.

Parent Resources

How to Help Kids Deal with School Closings and Cancelled Plans


Community Bulletin Board:

For activities offered around West Chester, see:


Keeping in Touch

· Please bookmark our school website. This is where we post many updates, school newsletter, supply list, pictures and our parent/student handbook. It can be found at: https://www.wcasd.net/Domain/661


· Mary C. Howse Webpage - https://www.wcasd.net/Domain/661

o See MCH School Tour link in upper right hand corner

· Twitter – Follow - @MCH_Elem - you’ll receive updates once you are a follower.

· Youtube – Mary C. Howse – found here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCveR39XTwn8AgmiOVqA6GZA

· MCH PTO Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/mchpto/ - be sure to become a follower to receive updates when changes occur.

Our Mary C. Howse School Pledge

I pledge

To be the best that I can be

Respect myself and others

Make safe choices

And take responsibility

For my learning and behavior

Parent Portal

Use the link below to access the parent portal page:


On the page, there is written documentation (English and Spanish,) as well as videos (English only) that walk parents through how to set up your parent portal account, how to access grades and set alerts, how to view the online report card, how to check attendance, etc. There is even an app for your phone if you prefer.

Please call the office for your child’s user name and password if you do not have the information that was provided to you at the beginning of the school year.