Dragon Blast

Mary C. Howse Elementary School

From the Principal

Dear MCH Families:

Last Friday's Fun Run is still with me - seeing everyone having fun - OUTSIDE and socializing was incredible. Please look for more information from our PTO about our Fall Fest - October 30th.

Being a principal for this long has provided me with experience to notice trends - let me share one that occurs this time during a typical school year. The start of a school year brings excitement, energy and hope. We call this the "honeymoon" period. About 6 weeks in, we start to settle into more reality - and that is a good thing as well! We start to see a bit more stress (parents/teachers driving their kids all over trying to manage households outside of their work) , students getting cranky or feeling sad if they cannot grasp a concept at school. All of these things are normal and we have to model more than ever how to handle it.

Are you feeling stressed? Reach out to us - we are all in this together. Your child(ren) starting to "hit a wall"? Having academic struggles? Problems with a peer? Do not worry - it is normal - reach out to their teacher for help! It is perfectly fine to be vulnerable!

Dr. Cat

2021-2022 SCHOOL HOURS

Mary C Howse school hours this year are:

9:10 - 3:40

Carline starts at 8:30 and runs until 8:55. If you arrive after that time you must park and walk your child up to the front door and sign them in. DO NOT use the bus loop unless you arrive AFTER 9:10

Afternoon carline is called at 3:35. It lasts until 3:50.


Dear WCASD Families & Community,

The West Chester Area School District is leading a series of Community Conversations inspired by the title of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s final book Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?

As a community member, your voice and your perspectives are important to us. If you’re new or returning to the discussion, we hope you can join us for Part 2 of Community Conversations held on Thursday, October 21, at Bayard Rustin High School (1100 Shiloh Road), beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Please register to attend the event by Thursday, October 14. Due to the format of the event, registration is required to attend. This event is not open to the media or anyone living outside the WCASD attendance boundaries.

We look forward to continuing the work from Part 1 as we build to strengthen our community.


Dawn Mader, Director of Equity & Assessment

Where Do We Go From Here Part 2 on October 21.


Please return your school issued iPad charger from last year as soon as possible.
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4th and 5th grade after school sports will be starting September 28. This after school program is available for all 4th and 5th grade students, from 3:50-5:00. Boys will meet on Tuesdays and Girls will meet on Thursdays. If interested, have your child stop in the gym to pick up an information packet. All participants must have a completed permission form to participate.

Becki Monte

Health and Physical Education

Mary C. Howse Elementary School

Equity work here at MCH

At Mary C. Howse our Equity Team is focused on providing a safe, inclusive, and just environment for all our students and families. We meet as a whole group monthly and our subcommittees meet on an as needed basis. Our members include - Rebecca McAllister, Tara Jackson, Jackie Pascale, Kim Fallon, Rosemary McGeehin, Yolanda Stanton, Steve Catrambone, Kristen Cheney, Alyssa Cotellese and Michael McMonagle.

Last year our team read Unpack Your Impact by Lanesha Tabb and Naomi O’Brian. This text has prompted us to look more closely at how we incorporate our students’ cultures into our curriculum and daily activities. You may have noticed a large emphasis on culture with the first whole-school project – the rocks! This is, in part, due to the efforts of last year’s Equity Team working closely with the School Wide Positive Behavior Support Team. (SWPBS)

We hope to continue incorporating initiatives like this into the school culture of Mary C. Howse so that our students can learn to embrace each other’s differences with love, dignity and immeasurable worth.

If you are interest in becoming involved, please reach out to any of our team members. You can contact ANYONE from the above list - just use their "first initial" "last name" @wcasd.net - for example - rmcallister@wcasd.net. The one exception to this is Tara Jackson: tjackson1@wcasd.net.

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


Mary C. Howse is blessed with a diverse community of learners who enrich the school with their different cultural backgrounds and experiences. This year at MCH, we will highlight some of those traditions and special days with students, families, and faculty through bulletin boards, activities and events.

In October, we will explore the deeply moving and beautiful Mexican tradition known as Dia de Muertos or Day of the Dead. It is a day dedicated to remembering and celebrating the lives of deceased family and friends. It is celebrated on November 1st and 2nd each year. We will create a table of remembrance, also known as an ofrenda, in the MCH vestibule. Students and staff are invited to bring in a framed picture of a deceased loved one to place on the table or share a digital photo using the link below. The ofrenda will go up on October 18th and stay up through November 2, 2021. Be sure to write your student’s name on any frames you send to school. Check out these videos to learn more about this special tradition.

What is the Day of the Dead?

The Meaning of the Ofrenda

MCH Day of the Dead 2021- Add your photos for the ofrenda here

In November we will celebrate another holiday, which many MCH students celebrate, called Diwali. This holiday is one of the biggest celebrations in India. Diwali has ties to multiple religious stories across several faiths, so the meanings that people associate with Diwali may vary. In broad terms, it often represents the triumph of light over darkness.We would love to have some families share their own traditions with MCH and create a Rangoli, a beautiful symbol of welcome, in front of MCH. If you would like to do this please sign up using the link below. More information will be sent out closer to Diwali. Check out these videos to learn more about this beautiful festival of lights.

Diwali - Festival of Lights

Diwali Activities for Kids

MCH Diwali 2021 - Sign up here if you would like to create a rangoli at school


It is time for the Mary C. Howse Chorus rehearsals to start. Chorus is for students in 4th and 5th Grade only.

Below is the rehearsal schedule. If your child has not signed up for chorus yet and wishes to join,

please contact Mrs. Litzenberg for a permission slip and bring your child to the first rehearsal.

*All rehearsals begin at 8:20 am in the music room.


October 11, 2021

October 18, 2021

November 3, 2021. *This is a Wednesday.

November 8, 2021

November 15, 2021

November 22, 2021


October 13, 2021

October 20, 2021

October 27, 2021

November 3, 2021

November 10, 2021

November 17, 2021

November 22, 2021 *This is a Monday.



School Wide Positive Behavioral Program

Schoolwide Positive Behavior & Supports (SWPBS) at Mary C. Howse

October 2021 Update

In last month’s update we focused on our schoolwide expectations of respect, responsibility, and safety. These expectations continue to be taught and reinforced by all staff at MCH on a daily basis. As our students demonstrate these expectations in the classroom and common areas of our school they can be acknowledged by a staff member. Behavioral research clearly shows that acknowledging appropriate/positive behaviors significantly increases the likelihood of that behavior being repeated. A typical acknowledgement exchange between a student & staff member might look/sound something like this,

“Thank you, (student’s name), for using a quiet greeting in the hallway.

Because you demonstrated respect in the hallway, which is one of our

expectations, you have earned a digital dragon point.”

In past years at Mary C. Howse students would receive a paper dragon dollar when they were acknowledged for following an expectation. Beginning this school year our paper dragon dollar system has been converted into Digital Dragon Points. Click here to view the video that introduced our students to Digital Dragon Points. Similar to prior years students can redeem their Digital Dragon Points for classroom privileges, purchase items from a class store, and/or enter a schoolwide raffle for a chance to participate in an event such as a Dance Party, an Extra Recess Period, a Craft Project, or Puppy Playtime. Be sure to ask your child about their Digital Dragon Point Account. Challenge them to remember why they received their points, and how being acknowledged makes them feel!

Volunteer Opportunity!

Are you interested in leading one of our SWPBS Reward Activities with small groups of student raffle winners? Some ideas for Reward Activities include Playing Outdoor Games such as Cornhole, Capture the Flag, etc.; Leading a Multicultural Craft Project or Activity; Teaching a Beginning Yoga, Dance, or Art Lesson, etc. Click here & complete the form if you have an interest in leading a Student Reward lesson. If you have any questions please email Rosemary McGeehin, rmcgeehin@wcasd.net. All volunteers must be up to date with clearances.

Beautification Committee

The Beautification Committee has been taking advantage of the warm weather by sprucing up the outside of MCH. When the weather turns colder, our focus will switch inside as we continue to support and showcase our theme of One School, One Family, One World!

Members: Cheryl Chaborek, Ann Duffy, Danielle Flynn, Carolyn Gorrie, Jeanne Latimer, Jackie Pascale, Alison Sweeney, Yolanda Stanton, and Heidi Watson

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When students are ill, resting at home can shorten the length of their illness and speed their return to school and friends. Keeping sick students home also decreases the risk of spreading any illness to other school students and staff. Here are some tips for when to keep your child home.

When to Keep Your Child Home from School: https://sites.google.com/wcasd.net/nursing-office-news/when-to-stay-home


About one of our 5th graders:

At Puppy Playtime Nova (our current school puppy) ventured up the K slide steps but quickly retreated and refused to slide down the slide. (Unlike our previous puppy, Buster who couldn’t get enough of the slide!) This 5th grader says to the group, “that’s okay everyone, we all go through things in life. Nova may try again another day.” Even more sweet was that no one ridiculed this student for expressing themselves, the group just continued on playing with the puppy and enjoying themselves. The positive interactions/experiences these pups bring to our school community are immeasurable!

Hi, Mrs. Monte.

I just wanted to say thank you for this program. Our daughter has struggled to really find “her group” over the years. She has autism and while she is very outgoing and bright she sometimes has some struggles with social stuff. The one friend who she seemed to have a bond with since kindergarten, moved to Greystone this year. After being Cyber all last year, it’s been a tough start to 4th grade in some ways. She often makes comments that sound like she views herself as an outsider when it comes to her peers.

She was smiling from ear to ear when I picked her up today and already trying to figure out how she can make next Wednesday work since she also has gymnastics on Wednesdays.

It just made my heart happy that she enjoyed herself so much. I am so grateful that she goes to MCH and has teachers like you who work so hard to create enriching and inclusive experiences for our kids.

Thanks for all you do.


Teachers for 21-22

Kindergarten - Mrs. Baer, Mrs. Jackson, Mrs. Greaves and Ms. Brisgone

1st grade - Mrs. Kane, Mrs. Conner and Mrs. Seese

2nd grade - Ms. Forbes, Ms. Dougherty, Mrs. Sochacki and Mrs. McAllister

3rd grade - Ms. Cotellese, Mrs. Ross, Mr. Jacobus and Mrs. Cheney

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

5th grade - Mrs. Powers, Mrs. Grecco, Mr. Fabian and Mr. Raws

Guidance - Mr. Mike McGonagle (LTS until December) - Jessica Salley (new) is scheduled to return from leave.

Gifted Resource Teacher/Math Intervention - Amanda Hoban

Psychologist - Dr. Yolanda Stanton

LS Teachers - Heidi Watson, Kim Fallon

Reading Specialists - Carolyn Gorrie and Alison Sweeney

ELL Teacher - Jackie Pascale

Special Area - Mary Litzenberg, Cheryl Chaborek, Becki Monte, Sarah Clum

Band & Orchestra - Lauren Letherland, Mary Belczyk.

Instructional Coach - Rosemary McGeehin

SP/L - Mandy McClure

Tech Support - Betsy McDonald

OT - Tina Karpinski

Custodians - Terrence Wright, Mike Murray - LTS William Fowlkes, Frank Correa

Paraprofessionals - Linda DiMatteo, Kimberly Wood

Cafe Staff - Tracy Dwyer, Norma Rivera


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

ABSENTEE HOTLINE - Please call 484-266-1310 and leave a message or go into PUP (Pickup Patrol) to report it when you know your child will be late or absent from school. You can call the phone 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 - There is an activity fee if your student will be participating in Chorus, Band, Orchestra (Honors as well), and After School Sports. It is $25 per student. https://www.wcasd.net/Domain/1012

LUNCHES/LUNCH ACCOUNTS - Just a reminder that all students are entitled to a free breakfast and 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 or go into PUP (Pickup Patrol). 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

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.