Montgomery Elementary News

SEPTEMBER 25, 2020

Contact Us

Dr. Amy Debelak, Principal

Ms. Sally Ganz, Asst. Principal

Office 686-1730

Absence Line 686-1707

FAX 792-6131

School Nurse 686-1733

Cafeteria 686-1735

Transportation 686-1785

What a difference a week makes! Thank you so much for your help with arrival and dismissal. They are both going so much faster and with a lot less commotion! Our daily average for finishing car dismissal was 3:47 pm. The students know their car numbers now and come right to the gymnasium upon seeing their numbers on the classroom screen.

I have gotten some questions about toys on the playground. As you know, the State of Ohio and Hamilton County Board of Health have given us guidelines saying students can’t share materials so we can all stay healthy and at school! The teachers have been leading the students in organized play during recess but we see a need for unstructured time. Students are able to bring their own toy (singular, one toy) from home each day. It may not be an electronic device! The toy needs to be clearly labeled with your child’s name and grade level. The toy will go to recess and back in the backpack to home each evening! I recommend wiping the toy down each evening. I am sorry but teachers can’t be responsible for the toys. Remember Be Responsible is one of our 4Bs and we ask the students to Be Responsible for their own belongings.

Have a great weekend and thank you again for all of your support!

Best wishes,



29 - Picture Retake Day (Code #FE40820)


2 - PBIS Spirit Day - Wear Blue T-Shirt to School

23 - Virtual Family Fun Night (Grades K-2 is 6pm-6:45pm) (Grades 3-4 is 7pm-7:45pm) - More Detail to Follow!


6 - PBIS Spirit Day - Wear Blue Shirt to School

9 - Teacher Records Day - No School for Students

19 - Evening Conferences (4pm-8pm)

20 - Day Conferences (8:15am - 4:00pm) - No School for Students

23 - Evening Conferences (4pm - 8pm)


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:

Oct. 15 (Thursday) Evening Conferences (Gr. 9-12)

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)

Dec. 1 (Tuesday) Evening Conferences (Gr. 5-6 only)

March 4 (Thursday) Evening Conferences (Gr. 9-12)


New this year: Sycamore Community Schools has established a centralized Sycamore Attendance Line. To report an absence for both face-to-face and virtual students, please call (513) 686-1707 and listen carefully to the prompts to make the appropriate selection for your child's school. We're asking both face-to-face and virtual families to report COVID-related illnesses by calling this line.


Big picture


USDA and ODE passed a new waiver for all schools that participate in School Nutrition Programs. As of today, Sycamore Schools is now able to serve breakfast and lunch to all students for FREE until the waiver expires on December 31st (or until the allotted program funds are no longer available—whichever comes first.)

This does not change anything in the process of receiving breakfast or lunch at school for your Sycamore student other than that if a student makes a reimbursable school meal they will not be charged. A student has to take 3 components and one HAS to be ½ cup of fruit or vegetable for their meal to be considered reimbursable. Click on the links below for more information by learning model:

Virtual Learning- Free Meal Information

Face-to-Face- Free Meal Information

Change in Pre-Ordering Meals

The Child Nutrition Department has made a change to the pre-ordering deadline for Elementary students. Families now only need to order by Noon the day before, rather than a week at a time. This is to better serve our parents and students.

Please note: You can order up to 2 weeks in advance. If choosing to do this, please understand that if you ordered a meal for your student and they are present at school they need to take the meal that was ordered.

Thank you for being patient with this new program and way of providing meals to students in the safest way possible. The Child Nutrition Department is doing everything possible to fix any issues that are found in a timely manner.

Continue to send questions and concerns to or by calling the office at (513) 686-1796.

Kelsey Warren RD, LD

Child Nutrition & Wellness Director

Sycamore Community Schools

(513) 686-1796

twitter: @SycamoreCNS


UNITE FOR LITERACY provides free digital access to picture books, narrated in many languages. Bookmark this page for your children and let them explore!

Big picture
Big picture

Many thanks to our families who have provided us with feedback over the past two weeks. We have heard you and are working towards an even better experience for our learners each and every day. We truly appreciate our partnership with our parents and our virtual Learning Partners!!

One frequent point of feedback has been that technology challenges appear more problematic during whole class sessions, either over Google Meet or Blackboard Collaborate. The promising news is two-fold; 1.) the new devices recently provided to our K-2 learners are helping with connectivity and 2.) all K-6 teachers are now making the natural shift from large group community building into the use of more small groups in their instruction, typical of best practice at this point of the school year in an elementary classroom. While there certainly will be opportunities for whole class meetings and sessions, the evolution towards more targeted small group learning should reduce the number of technology challenges that some virtual families have experienced. This shift will also result in less consecutive and focused screen time, including some natural breaks for our youngest students as they move between different learning experiences provided by their teacher.

Learning Partners will begin to notice more utilization of student-centered, small group instruction/activities on a regular basis. In practice, students will be grouped by the teacher to participate in differentiated activities and learning experiences designed to provide targeted instruction to meet their needs. In the face to face classroom, this often entails centers, stations, or small group activities around the classroom as well as individual meetings with the teacher. In the virtual classroom, this may include breakout room activities, individual sessions with the teacher, or other virtual grouping techniques.

Learning Partners will play a pivotal role in helping our younger students navigate the various learning activities being developed for small group instruction and will be key to helping them manage their time. This might include helping the student navigate to and from online and offline work throughout the day, completing assignments, or joining the teacher online at a specific time. The following chart provides some additional guidance using our 4 Be’s.

The 4 “Be’s of Being a Learning Partner

Big picture

Our elementary teachers are highly trained in student-centered instruction, as this is a key element of their craft. With ongoing professional development and on-site support from our instructional technology specialists, our teachers will continue to translate key learning practices into virtual learning opportunities. With your continued partnership in this endeavor, we will continue to work toward creating a high quality, engaging virtual learning experience for our youngest students.

As always, please let us know if you have any additional questions or concerns.



We are thrilled to debut a special series for our virtual students grade K-4 to connect with their home school! Starting the first week of October, the building principals will meet with one grade level team each week for a Virtual Principals’ Picnic. It will allow for virtual students in grades K-4 to join a google meet with their home school principals and other familiar faces! This is optional for students. All students will get to join (during their virtual lunch time) a google meet to have a picnic lunch, chat, hang out, and spend time during lunch with their home building principals each month! There will be a separate link and a separate Virtual Principals Picnic for each of the 4 home elementary buildings. The home building principals are SO excited to see and spend time with their virtual students and can’t wait for their first picnic with them! Below are scheduled dates and links for Montgomery Elementary.

  • Kindergarten lunch - (1st Thursday of the month) Kindergarten - 12-12:30


Virtual MAP Testing - NEXT WEEK

Virtual students grades 1-6 will be taking MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) testing next week. This assessment measures each student in both Reading and Math. For virtual students grades 1-6, they will have their Reading MAP test on Tuesday, September 29 and their Math MAP test on Thursday, October 1. Virtual students will need to take this assessment on their district issued Chromebook. Teachers will be sharing information directly with their students about the schedule for the day including how to begin the testing. It is imperative that each student - especially your youngest students - have a Learning Partner with them at the start of testing to help them access the testing and begin the assessment. Similarly, once the assessment is started, it is imperative that students complete this assessment completely on their own without any assistance from their Learning Partner or anyone else. This very useful information will help us to better understand each student’s current level of understanding and will be a data point in considering their next steps instructionally. Make ups for virtual students who miss a Map test on Tuesday or Thursday will be held on Friday, October 2 with a morning session for Reading and an afternoon session for Math. Virtual students who registered to and take the MAP assessment in person on Saturday September 26 will not need to take the assessment(s) a second time - meaning that if they took the Math MAP in person on Saturday, they would not need to take the Math MAP again remotely on Thursday.


Virtual Learning Partners

We are thrilled to be settling into the routine of our virtual classrooms! Now that we are a few weeks in, Learning Partners will notice more utilization of student-centered, small group instruction and activities within the classroom. In practice, students are grouped by the teacher to participate in differentiated activities and learning experiences designed to provide targeted instruction to meet their needs. In the face to face classroom, this often entails centers, stations, or small group activities around the classroom as well as individual meetings with the teacher. In the virtual classroom, this may include breakout room activities, individual sessions with the teacher, or other grouping techniques to provide targeted learning.

Our virtual teachers are already highly trained in student-centered instruction - as this is a key element of their craft - and we are thrilled to have the ongoing support of our instructional technology specialists to help our teachers translate these key learning opportunities into virtual learning opportunities.

This natural shift that happens in every classroom will highlight the key role of the Learning Partner in virtual learning, especially for our youngest learners. Learning Partners play a pivotal role in helping younger students navigate the various learning activities and managing their time. This might include helping the students log on, navigate to and from online and offline work throughout the day, completing assignments, or joining the teacher online at a specific time. Please see the chart below for a list of Learning Partner roles that were communicated in our Healthy Back to School Guide.


Parents/Caregivers serving in the role of “Learning Partner”:

  • Elementary students will need a parent or other responsible adult for daily support throughout the learning experience.

  • Provide a stable internet connection for students.

  • Provide daily and ongoing guidance, supervision, and motivation for their student.

  • Guide the student through the lessons, tools, and games as needed.

  • Oversee assignments and help facilitate hands-on learning.

  • Check for understanding and discuss concepts being taught.

  • Keep the student on schedule and on pace.

  • Ensure all components are done completely with fidelity (workbook activities, assessments, independent reading, novel studies, practice activities, etc.)

  • Communicate questions and concerns immediately to Sycamore assigned the teacher.

  • Parents/Caregivers will, at times, need to be very hands-on through the process (readtext, submit assignments, choose answers, help with technical aspects, etc.).

While there will certainly still be opportunities for whole class meetings and sessions, the natural shift towards more targeted small group learning should reduce the number of technology challenges that all virtual students and Learning Partners have experienced, as there will be more time in small groups and less overall time spent in whole group settings. This will result in less screen time and some natural breaks for our youngest students as they move between different learning experiences provided by their teacher.


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:

Oct. 15 (Thursday) Evening Conferences (Gr. 9-12)

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)

Dec. 1 (Tuesday) Evening Conferences (Gr. 5-6 only)

March 4 (Thursday) Evening Conferences (Gr. 9-12)


Virtual Meals

Thank you to everyone who ordered and picked up meals for the virtual curbside pickup service this past week. We served 368 students for a total of 3680 meals! Also, thank you for patiently waiting in the line at the high school, as we know the line was very long.

To avoid such long lines and traffic concerns we have decided to make each Sycamore School a pick up location EFFECTIVE WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 30TH. Please see location and times below:

Blue Ash- 10:00-11:00 am at the front entrance of the school

Maple Dale- 1:30-2:30pm at the front entrance of the school

Montgomery- 10:00-11:00 am at the front entrance of the school

Symmes- 10:00-11:00 am at the front entrance of the school

EH Greene Intermediate- 9:30-10:30 am at cafeteria doors

Junior High- 10:00-11:00 am in the back parking lot

High School- 11:00-12:00 am at the athletic entrance doors (has not changed)

We ask that you 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.

If you have not already signed up and would like to do so, please sign up here. You can also find all the virtual meal information you should need by clicking here.

Kelsey Warren RD, LD

Child Nutrition & Wellness Director

Sycamore Community Schools

(513) 686-1796

twitter: @SycamoreCNS


Free and Reduced Forms for Virtual Families and P-EBT

All families that qualify for free and reduced-price meals or feel like they might qualify this year need to fill out their application ASAP. Ohio Department of Education in conjunction with the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services is running another round of Pandemic-EBT cards, but ONLY for families who have children learning virtually 5 days a week.

The P-EBT program provides families eligible for free or reduced-price meals with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, formerly known as food stamps, in the amount of $5.86 (the federal reimbursement rate for breakfast and lunch) for each day a school has remote learning provided for the month of September. All children eligible for free and reduced-price meals are eligible for these benefits, including children who were approved through Direct Certification and children approved based on a free or reduced-price student meal application, as long as the student has remote learning periods lasting at least five consecutive days.

IF you want to be included on this list that will be sent to ODJFS early next week, you need to have your free and reduced applications for the 2020-21 school year turned in by 8:00 am on Monday morning either online OR o the Child Nutrition Office - 5959 Hagewa Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45242. We encourage whoever is able to do their application online to do so by visiting Online applications will have an automatic response. Find more information on filling out a free and reduced meal form by visiting


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 9:00 should call the Sycamore Learning Commons at 686-1708.

Big picture

Dear Montgomery Families,

We are off to another great school year at Montgomery Elementary and whether your child is attending school face to face or virtually the PTO continues to strive to make sure you are kept up to date with information. Thank you for your patience and please see all the new information below in the S'more and also on the PTO website and Facebook!

The Montgomery PTO is an organization that consists of parents, teachers, and school staff that works together to enhance the education of every child. We support the school and teachers with volunteers, provide a forum for two-way communication, happily fund many school items/teaching tools, and host a variety of events. This year, obviously, looks much different than any other school year, but we want to let you know that the PTO is working hard to provide the same support as we always have.

Please make sure that you fill out the Membership Google Form (link below) as soon as possible! There will be no membership fees this year in the hopes that all families and staff will join and stay connected (whether your family is face-to-face or virtual). We do ask however that the Membership Goggle Form is completed by each family! The DirectorySpot App will be available again this year to all members but once again we ask for patience updating this as it requires data from the district (that may be delayed).

We also ask that you consider (if you are able to do so) making a donation to the PTO for this school year. Our typical membership fees usually only cover about the cost of our yearly DirectorySpot membership! In the past few years the PTO has been fortunate enough to donate a new sound system for the gym/cafeteria, a new kindergarten playground, technology like chromebooks/iPads, and countless activities/programs for our students, such as the Author Visits this past school year. A link for PayPal is available after completing the Google Form and can also be found on the PTO Website if you wish to make a donation. This school year will not have the traditional fundraisers (Boosterthon and Carnival) so we ask that you please take this into consideration as we are not able to do what we do without the generosity of our families. We are brainstorming ideas for additional Hassle-Free donations, in addition to Kroger, Box Tops for Education, and Pipkins (see below for more information) and considering adding a spring fundraiser if possible, but nothing has been finalized.

As always please make sure that you are following updates from the PTO via these three ways:

1) Montgomery Elementary Facebook Group

2) Sycamore District Montgomery Elementary PTO Page (

3) Montgomery Elementary Weekly Newsletter (S’more)

Building a strong Montgomery Elementary Community for ALL is a goal for the PTO. We are working hard on ways to increase student/teacher support this school year and thinking of ways to still have fun (and some FUN-Draising) activities throughout the year.

I, and the rest of the executive board, look forward to working with you this year as we do our best to make a positive difference for our children, the staff, and our school. Please contact me anytime with questions.


Kristy Felss

Montgomery Elementary PTO President

We thank everyone for their patience and would like to send a special thank you to Renee Ly for all her hard work and numerous hours spent on our yearbooks! The time has finally arrived and the 2019-2020 Yearbooks are READY to go home to students!

Friday, October 2nd all Face-to-Face students will be receiving their yearbooks and should be bringing them home in their backpacks. This is also the day we will be distributing Yearbooks to our Virtual Students and NOW 5th graders who Graduated from Montgomery Elementary School in 2020! We ask that Virtual families and Families who no longer have students at Montgomery Elementary come to the front entrance between 1-2pm on Friday, October 2nd to pick up your yearbooks and don't forget any Bottle Caps you've been saving!

If your Current 5th grader has a younger Face-to-Face sibling at Montgomery, you are unable to attend during this time slot, or have any questions please email Kristy Felss at as soon as possible.

If you are part of the Montgomery Elementary family, we encourage you to join us in making our school a great place for all of our kids! PTO membership offers you many opportunities to learn about what is going on at the school, to be involved and make some friends along the way. PTO members can vote on the PTO budget and receive access to our directory via the DirectorySpot app (More info coming soon!) Joining the PTO does not obligate you to volunteer; it's just a great way to show your support of Montgomery Elementary!

Joining the PTO is a simple process! Please just fill out the Membership Form!

Also, to be included in our private Montgomery Elementary PTO Facebook Group, please contact Kristy Felss at to be added.

  • 2. Consider making a "Hassle-Free" donation...
    The PTO is not charging Membership Fees this year and we will be unable to hold our traditional fundraisers such as Boosterthon and Carnival (though we are considering other FUN-draising options potentially this school year nothing is set in stone due to Covid). If you are able, please consider making a donation to the PTO so we can continue to support our Students, Teachers and Staff at Montgomery Elementary!

  • 3. Looking for a way to Volunteer this school year? There is no obligation to volunteer for the PTO, but we would love to have your help! It's a great way to meet other parents and to stay more directly involved with your child's experience at Montgomery Elementary. Due to the unique school year please contact Kristy Felss, PTO President, directly for more information about volunteering at

Big picture

General PTO Virtual Meetings:

Wednesday, October 21st 9:30-11am

Wednesday, January 13th 7-8:30pm

Wednesday, March 10th 9:30-11am

Wednesday, May 12th 9:30-11am

Virtual Family Fun NIghts:

October 23rd (6-6:45 K-2nd and 7-7:45 3-4)

January 29th (6-6:45 K-2nd and 7-7:45 3-4)

April 23rd (6-6:45 K-2nd and 7-7:45 3-4)

More information to follow! Links for these meetings/events will be posted in advance.

Bottle Caps piling up at your house?!? Can't wait to get rid of them finally?!? The wait is OVER!!! Please bring your bottle caps and lids to the front entrance of Montgomery Elementary NEXT WEEK (Monday, September 28th - Friday, October 2nd) between the hours of 10:30am-2pm. Trash receptacles will be placed outside the main entrance for a "contactless" drop off. Please dump any bottle caps and lids out of the plastic/paper bag(s) you have been storing them in to help ease the collection and weighing process. Face-to-Face families please consider coming earlier in the week to allow our Virtual Families time to drop off bottle caps during their yearbook pickup time (Friday afternoon between 1-2pm). DO NOT drop off caps during Morning Drop Off OR Afternoon Pickup as this will cause serious issues to the flow of traffic and present safety concerns for our students and staff!

Thank you again for continuing to collect all of the caps and lids for our Buddy Bench project and as soon as we are able to weigh them all we will update everyone with how many benches we are able to have made for our school.



You can earn money for Montgomery Elementary PTO just by using your Kroger Plus card at Kroger. But first, you must log onto your Kroger account and designate Montgomery Elementary as the organization you want to receive Community Rewards. Here is how…

1. Log onto your account

2. Click “My Account”

3. Click “Community Rewards”

4. Choose Montgomery Elementary PTO (Organization # VP832)

5. You can verify if you are already set-up by looking at the bottom of your most recent Kroger receipt. It will indicate that you have designated Montgomery Elementary PTO as the organization you chose to receive your rewards.


GOT CLIPS? Drop off all your unexpired Box Tops at school in the Healthy Drop Box (outside the front doors) between 10am-2pm Monday-Friday! Please make sure they are in plastic ziplock bags and at the school before October 19th!

GOT LABELS? Use the Box Tops app to scan your store receipt within 14 days of purchase. The app will automatically find the products and instantly add Box Tops to your school’s earnings online. No clipping required! NO MORE CLIPPING! SCAN YOUR RECEIPT! SEE HOW AT BTFE.

Click here for a video demonstrating how to scan your receipts and receive credit via the App.


Anytime you shop at Pipkins Market they will donate a percentage of your spending to Montgomery Elementary PTO. All you have to do is bring your receipt(s) to school just like the box tops!

Bring Box Tops and Pipkins Receipts to school between 10am-2pm in a plastic bag and drop them outside the front doors in the Healthy Drop Box! Please do not send them to school with your child at this time or drop them off during Morning Drop Off or Afternoon Pick Up!

Questions about any of the Hassle Free programs or alternative ways to turn in your Box Tops and/or Pipkin’s Receipts before October 19th please contact Molly Duffey at

Big picture


SHS Homecoming looks quite a bit different this year, with no fans at the game and no parade. But that doesn't mean we can't celebrate, Sycamore! Join us next week for Homecoming Spirit Week, both at home and in all of our schools! Share your spirited photos on social media using the hashtag #AvesHomecoming

Big picture

Sycamore High School’s speak up AVES student group invites you to join our team for the annual 1N5 Warrior Run. This year’s event is a virtual “choose your own path” event that encourages participants to complete a 5K - YOUR WAY! The challenge runs from September 26 through October 10. Registration proceeds support the work of 1N5, our community partner, committed to mental health education across the state, city and our district. Sponsorship funds raised come directly back to Sycamore Schools to support mental health programming. Additionally, if Sycamore High School can win the high school challenge, they earn additional funds and opportunities to support mental health at Sycamore High School, and most of all, bragging rights! Visit our team page for more information and register or donate today!

Big picture