GRE Family Gazette

August 23, 2020

Don't forget to join our GRE Family Schoology Group! Access Code: N5VZ-VWQC-W7VVZ

Dear GRE Families,

It's here! The first week of school is finally here! We worked so hard last week preparing for this school year as a GRE Staff. We are so excited to have our students join us this week. As a reminder, busses are running their routes each day of staggered start. Please plan to be at your stop 10 minutes before your scheduled pick up time. Once students arrive, we will be releasing one bus at a time and staff will be spread out to welcome students and help them find their classrooms. Our Kindergartners will remain on the bus and a staff member will personally escort them to their Kindergarten teacher who will be waiting outside. In case you need a refresher, here is the staggered start schedule for the week:

August 24-VLP Students

Scheduled in-person appointments to pick up materials and complete assessments. We are looking forward to seeing your children on Monday! In order to promote health and safety, we are asking that only one adult attend with the child. Children will be taken to a classroom and parents will be asked to wait in the cafeteria while their children are assessed. You will be picking up go-bags and Chromebooks as well.

August 25- Last Name A-F

All preschool-12th grade students with last names starting with A-F only attend

August 26-Last Name G-L

All preschool-12th grade students with last names starting with G-L only attend

August 27-Last Name M-R

All preschool-12th grade students with last names starting with M-R only attend

August 28- Last Name S-Z

All preschool-12th grade students with last names starting with S-Z only attend

Be sure to send your child to school with at least one mask (we recommended sending a second one to change to around lunch), a water bottle that can be filled at our bottle filler water fountains (all other drinking fountains have been shut off). We will be getting students outside as much as possible so having a water bottle will help them stay hydrated and happy:) Be sure that your child's teacher knows their dismissal plan prior to their staggered start day. If you haven't seen your child's teachers Meet and Greet video, it is posted in their Homeroom Schoology Course. New this year! From you parent Schoology account, you will have to select your child, then courses at the top, then select their homeroom course to find the teacher's video and any other info. There will be no parent groups this year other than the GRE Family Schoology Group. For all things Schoology, I recommend you check out the district's Schoology page found here. This website has helpful tutorials and instructions for things like viewing your child's course and leaving a group you may have been a part of last school year (along with other resources to help).

As a reminder, you can stay connected to all things GRE through our Schoology Family Group. The access code to join that group is N5VZ-VWQC-W7VVZ. I will post weekly updates in that group every Sunday. You can also find the updates on our school webpage at:

As we get started on this journey together, please reach out with any questions or concerns. Our GRE staff is ready to welcome back students this week!

Ms. Thoma

News to Share

1. Our school supply list is online at our school website but you can also find it by clicking here. If your family needs any support with school supplies, please reach out to our office 740-965-8900. We are here to help!

2. Big Walnut will continue to provide gifted services in grades 3-4 for the 2020-2021 school year. However, our format for providing services to third and fourth graders has changed. All third and fourth grade students identified as gifted will receive gifted services from their regular classroom teacher. Our gifted coordinator, Katie Yeager, will be providing professional development to any teacher providing gifted services, per Ohio Department of Education guidelines. While this format for providing services has changed from last year, we will continue our focus of a personalized, engaging experience for our gifted students, as well as all learners who are part of our in-person learning and virtual learning program. Students identified as gifted and receiving gifted services will continue to receive an annual Written Education Plan to outline their goals and services for this school year. If you have any questions about addressing your student’s gifted needs, please contact Katie Yeager at

3. Due to budget constraints, our elementary specials will unfortunately not include STEM this year. The specials classes will be art, music, and physical education. With the necessary addition of our Virtual Learning Program, we were forced to make the difficult decision to eliminate STEM for this year and use those teachers in our VLP. It is our hope that as our financial situation improves, we will be able to bring this valued program back.

4. If you plan to pick up or drop off your child, please review the following map so you know where you are headed. Click here to access the map. We start opening car doors at 8:30am for drop off in our parent loop and will start loading kids up at 3:35pm each day. Please have your child put their mask on before they get out of the car so they are ready to go.

5. Make sure that you have read through the district update that came out on Friday with updates about State Mask Order Changes which includes students wearing a mask during unstructured recess times. You can click here to find it.

6. A HUGE thank you to the GRE PTO who has purchased student and staff mask lanyards as well as staff t-shirts. They also helped with purchasing a button maker, photo printer and tools to make buttons for our staff to wear to show their un-masked faces daily to our students. They also treated our staff to Little Ladies ice cream this week to thank them for the hard work they've done preparing the school to welcome our students.

A Special Note to Our Kindergarten Families

Starting Kindergarten is a right of passage! We know how special this day is and it's hard for us that we can't do the entry that we always have. As a reminder, this year parents will not be able to walk their children to the main entrance of the building. In order to keep your children safe, please take all school pictures at home prior to coming to school that day. We will meet your children at the front of the school as they get dropped off each staggered start day and August 31st. There will be additional staff members to ensure all our students will get to their classroom safely each day!

Our Kindergarten team plan to tie a name tag on each student's backpack with their end of the day transportation on it. This way, any staff member will be able to assist your kiddo at any time during arrival and dismissal. Please leave this tag on their back pack.

Getting Ready for the 1st Day!

We would love to have your support in helping to prep our students for their return to the school. In this newsletter I'll highlight two topics to begin planning for and discussing with your child.

1. Wearing a mask all day long is tricky! It would be a good idea to start having your child practice wearing their mask for longer lengths of time to help them get used to it. Students will be given masks breaks at designated times throughout their day. We also recommend packing at least two masks. Consider putting a clean, second mask, in their lunch box to remind them to change their mask.

2. During lunch, students will be seated with up to three other students at their table in assigned seats. To help reduce the need for adult support with lunch items, take a look at the graphic below for some tips on how to pack an independent lunch. Staff will be using hand sanitizer if they are asked to help open a lunch item but this is an easy area where you can help!
Big picture

A Note From the GRE PTO

We will hold our first PTO Meeting Thursday, September 10th. This meeting will be held virtually and a link to join will be shared in the GRE Family Gazette. Information will be coming home soon about our annual Fall Mumkin sale that will start in September. The GRE PTO is still looking to fill the Treasurer rolls for the upcoming school year. If you are interested in this position, please contact our PTO President Heather Setmire at
Elementary Lunch Menu

Hot Lunch this week is Pepperoni Pizza, PBJ pocket, Eagle Munchable, or Gluten Free Chicken Tenders