December 2019

Principal Points from Mrs. Hill

Are you planning a family trip for the holidays? As you think about your arrangements, we want to stress the importance of sending your child to school every day possible. Every year, absences spike in the weeks before and after the winter holiday as families squeeze in a few more vacation days. It’s time to break that cycle. We know that just a few missed days here and there, even if they’re excused absences, can add up to too much lost learning time and put your child behind in school. This is as true in kindergarten as it is in high school. Put simply, too many absences at any age can affect a student’s chances for academic success and eventually for graduation.

We recognize that holidays are an important time for reconnecting with families far away. The costs of plane tickets often influence when you want to travel. But keep in mind the costs to your children’s education if they miss too much school— and the message you will be sending about the importance of attendance. Even if you’ve got a homework packet from the teacher, it doesn’t make up for the interaction and learning that happens in the classroom. Our teachers will be teaching, and our students will be learning, right up until vacation starts and the first day back. You can help us convey that message. This holiday season, give your children the gift of an education and the habit of attendance.

Parent Survey

Your Input Is Needed

As part of our school’s accreditation, we are conducting a parent survey. Your feedback to this survey provides guidance for our school’s improvement and helps us identify our best practices. Your participation is very important for the results of this survey to be meaningful. We value your opinion and ask that you take the time to complete the survey. Please be assured that your responses to this survey are anonymous. Your honest opinion is appreciated.

Frequently asked questions about taking the survey.

  • The link below is unique to our specific school.
  • If you have students in more than one school, we ask that you take the survey for each school
  • Key words in the survey questions that commonly confuse respondents are defined below:
    • Governing Body is the school board
    • Stakeholders include staff, students, parents, community members, and anyone with a vested interest in the school

Please follow the link below to complete the survey before January 10th.

Parent Survey

Please click this button to complete the parent survey. Responses need to be submitted by January 10th.

Upcoming Dates & Events

  • 12/4 - 12/13 Holiday Gift Shoppe by Gifted Program
  • 12/4 - SAC Meeting @ East Lake Library 5-6 PM
  • 12/5 - Math Night 6:30-8:00 PM
  • 12/5 - Family Shopping Night at the Gift Shoppe 5:00-6:30 PM
  • 12/11 - 4th Grade FSA Writing Test - Closed Campus
  • 12/12 - 5th Grade FSA Writing Test - Closed Campus
  • 12/13 - Volunteer Cafe 9-11 AM
  • 12/16 - Winter Concert with Drum, Orff & Chorus
  • 12/17-12/19 Field Days (see below)
  • 12/23 - 1/6 - Winter Holidays School Closed
  • 1/7 - School Resumes for Students
  • 1/10 - Volunteer Cafe 9-11 AM

CWE Field Days - December 2019

Field Days are around the corner. Each grade in kindergarten through 5th will have a 2-hour “field day” extended PE session during the last week of December. Here is the schedule:

Tuesday 12/17:

  • AM (9:00-11:00): 3rd Grade
  • PM (12:15-2:15): 1st Grade

Wednesday 12/18:

  • AM (9:00-11:00): 2nd Grade
  • PM (12:15-2:15): 5th Grade

Thursday 12/19:

  • AM (9:00-11:00): 4th Grade
  • PM (12:15-2:15): Kindergarten

Parent Volunteer Opportunity Available

We can really use some help… especially in the younger grades. It’s fun! Thanks in advance. Please register on the following link: . There will be a short meeting in the PE Office 15 minutes before each session begins. Hope to see you all at Field Day.

**Please note: For safety reasons, non-school aged students may not attend field day.**

Notes from Our Guidance Counselor



On Saturday, November 16th sixteen 4th and 5th graders competed in the annual Mighty Mu Math competition at PHUHS. This is a student-led math competition led by the members of Mu Alpha Theta.

Our 4th graders coached by Mrs. Hardgrove were: Tony Cuomo, Aidan Patel, Danilo Jovanovic, Jenna King, Ethan Scales, Jack Seen, Katya Simachova, Benjamin Small, and Oscar Tovar.

Our 5th graders coached by Mrs. Romary were: Noah DeGarmo, Alex Eckhardt, Jackson Kaly, Ethan Sheets, Aly Smith, Andrew Stoskus, Destin Vo and Andy Wu.

Out of 120 elementary students Benjamin Small placed 7th in the individual round (4th grade), Tony Cuomo placed 2nd in the individual round (4th grade) and Destin Vo placed 5th in the individual round (5th grade).

Our 4th grade team- Tony Cuomo, Aidan Patel, Katya Simachova and Jenna King, received 1st place in the team round.

We are so proud of all of our Mathletes and their hard work!

Homework Helpline

The Homework Helpline is a free service for all PCS students. The service is available 5 to 8 p.m., Monday-Thursday. Students can get help with math, science, social studies and language arts. Students who need practice reading can also call the helpline and spend 10 minutes reading to an adult. Families can reach the Homework Helpline at 727-547-7223.

Notes from Our School Nurse

Is my child spending too much time in front of the screen?

With the kids out of school for Holiday breaks, this may be a question you ask yourself. While there are regular suggestions made by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) regarding screen time limits for children under the age of five, finding guidelines for school age children gets a bit murky.

Some past studies claim excessive screen time can lead to depression and anxiety, however more recent studies done in Europe found no link between the two. Other studies claim increased screen time contributes to obesity and decreased physical activity. Additional findings suggest those who spend a lot of time in front of the screen have lower test scores and a higher dropout rate.

YIKES! With all this negative, are there any benefit to screen time!? YES! Believe it or not, some of the best surgeons contribute their talents to being “Gamers”. With many surgeries being done robotically, a gallbladder removal becomes more like the video game version of ‘Operation”.

Of course, technology can be educational! There are plenty of apps and websites now that are designed with helping to improve academics. Many for free! The internet is an invaluable tool for research and learning!

So, what can we do to make sure our children are getting the most out of their screen time?

First, know what your child is doing. What are they looking at, what games are they playing, are they age appropriate? If you’re not sure, play the game yourself before handing it over to your child.

Set time limits. There are a number of free apps you can download to both yours and your child’s devices that will put daily limits on the time they can be on their device. You can control what apps they download, set bed times and tons of other options to suit your family’s needs. Using these apps to set limits not only assures your child doesn’t spend all day in front of the screen, but it also encourages your child to manage time better. Maybe they have a friend they like to play a certain game with after dinner, they will know they will need to save x amount of their allotted time in order to be able to play.

Another option is to have your child ‘earn’ screen time. “You can have an hour of video games if you read 2 chapters first”. “If you play outside for so long you can play on your phone for so long after”. “Get these chores done and THEN you can have your tablet”. These tactics help promote responsibility, independence, and could also help you get that dishwasher emptied!

Create “Screen Free Zones” in your home. This could mean no screens at the table, or in the bathroom. You can even make an entire room a no screen room. Encourage other activities in these areas. Conversation, reading, creativity, etc.

Finally, use your judgement. If you feel like your child is spending too much time with Minecraft, then by all means, shut the Xbox off! Go for a walk, make cookies, take a nap! We survived our childhoods without tablets and cell phones, our kids can too!


On January 13th and 14th, all Kindergarten, 1st, and 3rd Grade students, as well as new to Pinellas County school students, will participate in a free Vision and Hearing screening. If you do not want your child to participate, please send in written notice to our school nurse, Jennifer Reznick NO LATER than January 10th.

Notes From Kim Shipley, Family & Community Liaison

Season’s Greetings Volunteers!

The last day to record your volunteer hours for the first semester is Friday, December 20th. Please take a few minutes to log your volunteer hours by following the attached instructions. Every hour counts such as, classroom assistant (at school or at home), field trips, lunch pals, lunch heroes, book fair/library, PTA meetings, SAC meetings, School Activities, etc. These hours are reported twice per year to Tallahassee and display the wonderful community involvement we have at Cypress Woods and they allows us to maintain our 5 Star Award. Hours can be entered in chunks, as the dates are not as important as recording the time itself. If you are unable to log your hours for any reason, please contact me and I will be happy to help you.

We Need Lunch Pals (Mentors)!

We have several students that would greatly benefit from having a lunch pal, so please let me know if you can help! Only Thirty (30) minutes a week, can make a difference in a student's life! Listen, encourage, and be a friend to a student. Schedules are flexible, Lunch Pals meet during the student’s lunch time any day of the week. There is a free workshop that the district requires in order to participate, please see the attachment and/or follow this link to see the locations and times available and hopefully you can find one that is convenient for you: You can even sign up for a Webinar, so you don’t even need to leave the house.


With the season of giving approaching, please consider adopting one or more of our teachers who have not yet been adopted (see form attached). This money is used in the classroom to directly benefit the educational opportunities for students. A full adoption is $100, but we will accept any amount. The following teachers have not yet been fully adopted:

Pre-K: Maguire ($85 away), Buoniello, Eagan

1st Grade: Harlan ($50 away), Lau, Robinson

2nd Grade: Woodham ($25 away)

3rd Grade: Hodges ($50 away), Kontodiakos ($50 away), Williams ($50 away)

5th Grade: Pearson, Preston ($70 away), Slater

Important Dates & Opportunities:

  • Ongoing until 12/13/18 The Giving Tree – Please contact for more information on how you can help.
  • Wednesday, December 4th SAC Meeting @ East Lake Library 5PM
  • Friday, December 6th – Math Night by Mathnasium 6:30 – 8:30 PM Join us for a fun evening!
  • Friday, December 13th Volunteer Café from 9 AM – 11 AM in the Media Center- Join us and help complete various projects for our teachers. Coffee and snacks provided and sponsored by GradePower Learning. RSVP to or just show up. Any amount of time you have to offer is welcomed!
  • Field Days, volunteers are needed 30 minutes before sessions listed above in the Field Day article. Please sign up here

  • Winter Break begins 12/23/19, School resumes 1/6/20

Wishing you all a merry and bright holiday and may you be blessed with health and happiness in the New Year. Thank you for all you do to support Cypress Woods Elementary. Our staff and students are truly blessed to have your support!

Kim Shipley
Family & Community Liaison

Cypress Woods Elementary

4900 Cypress Woods Blvd

Palm Harbor, FL 34685


Holiday Shoppe for CWE Students

Please see the attachment below for details about our Holiday Shoppe. This shop is intended for the students to shop on their own during school hours. Parents will not able to accompany their child to the shop during the day. We will however have one night, on December 5th, that the shop will be open for any parents who wish to go shopping with their children. The shop will be open from 5:00-6:30 PM (right before our Math Night begins).

Safety Reminders

The safety of our staff and students is a top priority. Here are a few safety reminders for all families.

· Our car circles are running efficiently at this point in the school year so we highly encourage parents to use the car circle during arrival and dismissal times to drop off and pick up your child. However, if it is essential for you to walk up during these times, please park in a parking spot and avoid parking along Cypress Woods Blvd. The sheriff’s office will be monitoring this area and enforcing no parking zones.

· NO students are to be dropped off in the parking lots or along the road. The only drop off and pick up locations are in our car circles.

· Please remember the inside lane (curb side) in the front car line always has the right of way when exiting the car line. This expedites movement of cars in the car circle.

· We understand the traffic light at Cypress Woods Blvd and East Lake sometimes does not stay green long enough to accommodate the volume of traffic during peak times of arrival and dismissal, but; we are asking parents to please adhere to speed limits when exiting the campus and on to East Lake Road. We have had reports of cars speeding down Cypress Woods Blvd just to make the light. We have many bikers and walkers each day and it’s important for everyone to be alert, avoid texting and being on your cell phone, and maintain the speed limit.

Thank you for your help in keeping our students and staff safe!


Spreading Holiday Cheer!

Want to help a local school celebrate the Holiday Season? December 18th the CWE PTA will be heading to Ponce De Leon Elementary to spread Holiday cheer to both students and staff. Please print out the above attached form for your child to bring down to the tree and someone will help them choose a gift tag from the tree. Giving Tree gifts will be delivered, and a Holiday Treat table will be set up. Want to contribute? Drop off a store-bought sweet treat or baked good, labelled CWE PTA, to the front office by 12/17.

The CWE Giving Tree

The CWE PTA Giving Tree is in full swing. Ornaments with Holiday wishes are available through 12/9. Gifts must be returned to school by 12/13 and students must have a permission slip to choose an ornament.

Thank you for supporting Eaglethon!

We are thrilled to report this year’s CWE PTA Eaglethon has raised $45,000. This would not be possible without the involvement of many dedicated volunteers and the support of our CWE Families. These funds will be used to grow and enhance our school’s Science Labs. Funds will expand CWE’s STEM, coding, robotics, and science resources to keep things fun and hands-on for our mini scientists. Additionally, funds will be used to sustain and enhance current PTA programs, such as providing teachers with classroom partnerships, literacy support, and kindness programming. Please note: final Eaglethon prizes will be distributed the Tuesday after Thanksgiving Break (12/3.)


PTA Clubs will begin again after winter break. We will offer 6-week sessions of Running, Garden, and Spanish Club. We have limited space and students will be chosen via lottery. Please look for a flyer in your child’s backpack when we return from Thanksgiving Break.

Please contact the PTA at with any questions or concerns. Check out our newly designed website:

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