The Big Cat Courier
Your Source for Big Cat News, Right Meow
November 22, 2023
Good Afternoon Barnard Families,
This week we held our first round of Teacher Conferences with our students' families. Thank you to everyone who was able to participate! If you haven't signed up for a conference with your child's teacher yet, there is still time to sign up for our second round of conferences scheduled for Wednesday, November 29th. Open appointments may be limited as conference spots were set out on a first come, first served basis however, I encourage any family still interested in meeting with this year's teachers to take a look at what is still available for next week! All of our elementary schools have moved to Bookings as our scheduling platform. Follow the link below to get started.
Everyone here at HBS would like to wish you and your family a happy holiday and a safe long weekend!
To sign up for conferences, follow the link to our Bookings site at:
Getting Signed Up for PowerSchool and School Messenger
Getting signed up for both PowerSchool and SchoolMessenger is vital for Henry Barnard and Enfield Public Schools to share important information with you. PowerSchool is our main student information platform and includes things like your child's Report Card, Progress Reports, Emergency Contact Information, etc. SchoolMessenger is the platform we use to send you important automated calls, emails, and texts. If you haven't updated your contact information recently or logged in to either platform to manage your contact preferences, it's likely that you are missing important updates from our school and our school district.
Families may access both platforms on the front page of the District's main website. Both can be found under the "Quick Links" section and appear as big red buttons. You can find our website at:
Planning Ahead for Early Release Days
While it can feel tricky, planning ahead for Early Release Days alleviates a tremendous amount of stress and anxiety for your child. Students who mistakenly don't get picked up at 1:50 or who are returned to school by the bus company because there was nobody at the bus stop to get them off the bus are often fearful of the situation. While I can assure you that your child will always be safe in the main office until you arrive, students often arrive shaken and scared about what happened and what might come next. Families can easily stay informed about when Early Release Days are planned throughout the year by keeping a copy of the school calendar handy and by relying on SchoolMessenger reminders that are sent out by EPS. Please see the section above about schoolMessenger and PowerSchool to make sure those channels are open to you. You can also access the school calendar at:
Please note that there are three early release days coming up soon (11/29, 12/6, and 12/22).
"PJ Day for the Kids" is Coming to Barnard on December 8th!
Join the PTO!
Join us at the next PTO meeting! Our meetings are held virtually on Zoom once each month. Most meetings typically last 30-45 minutes and they are a great way to stay informed about school happenings at both Henry Barnard and our sister school Prudence Crandall. The meetings are also a nice way to network with other Barnard-Crandall families. Our next meeting will be held on the evening of Tuesday, December 19th. for more information, please click on the following link: https://enfieldpto.com/barnard#e9596a7a-f787-4f05-81c3-625d812120b5
Hope to see you there!
Free Lunch Program During the Upcoming Winter Break
Free Lunch Program available for Enfield Public Schools students during the winter break (in December) courtesy of Enfield Food Shelf and Enfield Loaves and Fishes:
Lunch Link started as a collaboration between Enfield Food Shelf, Enfield Loaves & Fishes, and Allied Services to provide no cost lunches to K-12 students in need during summer vacation when school lunches were not available. Feedback from the Enfield community and Enfield Schools indicates there may be a need to expand Lunch Link to include any school break greater than two consecutive days.
Beginning Christmas Break, 2023, Lunch Link will provide free lunches available for pickup on December 27 and December 29 at 96 Alden Ave. Please visit our website or www.enfieldloavesandfishes.org and visit the Lunch Link tab in order to register or inquire for more information.
Upcoming Dates to Keep and Eye On
Early Release - Start of Thanksgiving Recess, 11/22
School Reopens after Thanksgiving Recess, 11/27
First Readers Ceremony (by invitation), 11/27
Early Release for Conferences, 11/29 (Sign up ASAP)
Early Release for Professional Development, 12/6
PJ Day for the Kids, 12/8
Virtual PTO Meeting, 12/19
Early Release to Start Winter Recess, 12/22
Return to School after Winter Recess, 1/2/24
Important Information from Previous Editions of The Big Cat Courier
Don't Forget About Teacher Conferences on 11/20 and 11/29! Sign up before it's too late.
To sign up for conferences, follow the link to our Bookings site at:
The EPS IT department has put together resources to help families sign up for conferences. You can follow the link if you get stuck somewhere along the way:
At this link, you will find our staff list to assist you with names, grade levels, specialties, etc.:
You can also take a picture of this QR Code to sign up for Conferences. Give it a try!
Check Out November's Lunch Menu
Information for Families about our new easyCBM Student Assessment
Student Attendance Updates and Student Attendance Letters are Coming Soon
As noted in the EPS BOE attendance policy, letters outlining current student attendance are sent home to alert families of their child's absences. The letters are sent to families when their child has reached absence number 5, again at 9, followed by one at 10, and then every few absences after that.
The letters report overall absences from school rather than just unexcused absences. The State collects student attendance data yearly and looks only at overall absences, which mirrors the letters sent home to families.
If you have any questions regarding what an excused vs unexcused absence is, or when the State deems a child to be Truant and when they are assigned a designation of Chronically Absent, please take a look at the policy. If you still have questions, please don't hesitate to reach out to us here at the school so we can help.
The PTO's School Spirit Store is Open for a Bit Longer
All money that the PTO raises through their fundraisers goes directly towards enriching our students' school experience. From supporting fieldtrips and brining in educational presentations to throwing ice cream socials and making our Field Days shine, the money that the PTO makes is passed directly on to the kids.
One of the PTO's fundraisers is the School Spirit Store. Please see the flyer below for details:
A Reminder from the Nurses' Office
Not all emergency student medications have been delivered to school by families yet.
If your child requires any emergency medication (such as for asthma, severe allergies, seizure etc.), please submit a doctor’s order for the current school year and if you haven't already done so, supplying the medication to the nurse as soon as possible. If a child’s physical form states, by the Doctor, that they require emergency medication (e.g., Epi-Pen and rescue inhaler), then it is required for them to have the medication in school.
Please note that any child that does not have the required medication will be unable to participate in any out of school activities/ field trips. Grades 1 & 2 are planning a field trip in just a couple of weeks so please make sure that any emergency medications are dropped off to the nurses as soon as possible.
The health and safety of our students is our main priority. Thank you for your help.
Some Thoughts on Social Media
Having said that, please make us your first stop rather than Facebook, Nextdoor, The Enfield Forum, etc... Social media platforms are a great way to share photos and cute pet videos with your friends and family but not an effective way to solve an issue that you feel needs to be addressed. Unfortunately , what Social Media is terrible at is solving problems. If something school related ever comes up that you are unhappy with, don't understand, or otherwise need help with, please contact the school directly so we can help. Whether you reach out to your child's teacher, a specialist, an interventionist, our nursing staff, the front office, or any of the other people who work in the building, we are all here to help.
Please know that as a school, we cannot respond to concerns expressed on Social Media platforms. While every school would love to, we cannot due to student confidentiality. As is typically the case in any Social Media post, there is more to the situation that we, unfortunately, cannot address in a public forum.
We ask that if you find an individual expressing some kind of question or concern regarding our school on Social Media, please refer them back to the school so that we can assist them in bringing the issue to a positive resolution. We are always here for our students and their families.
Student Arrival and Student Drop Off
If a child is being dropped off, we will be using the doors in the back parking lot in between the library and gymnasium. Please remain in your car as you loop around the back lot to drop your child off at the doors. If you are the family of a walker, please look for the orange traffic cones at the drop off doors to guide you safely into that space.
Please note that during arrival times, the front doors to the school are being reserved to receive bus students only. All other students, will use the doors in the back parking lot between the library and gymnasium. If you need to speak with somebody from the main office in person, please plan to do so before or after student drop off to alleviate congestion at the front doors.
Please remember that when a school bus, of any size, is stopped with it's lights on and it's "Stop" sign extended, other vehicles must stop as well. Vehicles may only pass by a bus if their lights are off and their "Stop" sign is not extended. It can feel frustrating to have to wait while a bus is unloading but it's the law.
To better support orderly traffic flow on campus and on Shaker Road, please stick to the right lane of the entry driveway. This will allow buses to line up and use the left lane leading down to the loop in the front of the building. It is also helpful in keeping the drop off line moving efficiently if students have their backpacks ready and have said their goodbyes before the vehicle pulls up to the arrival doors.
During the first two weeks of school, all non-classroom teachers will be strung through the halls of our building to help students to their classrooms. It will be helpful if you label your child's backpack with their name and room number/teacher.
If you are dropping your child to school tardy, please park in the front lot and walk your child to the front door. Ring the doorbell and we will assist you right away.
Monthly Safety Drills
School Lunch Reminder
I encourage every family to fill out the free/reduced lunch application form provided through Nutrition Services. The income thresholds for eligibility to receive free/reduced lunch are surprisingly high and with inflation being what it is, every bit helps!
The application can be found at: https://www.enfieldschools.org/district_depts/nutrition_services/free_and_reduced_price_meal_application
SBHC Is Available to Support Students at Henry Barnard School:
Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Support Groups are Available. You Don't Need to Go It Alone! Come and Find Out More:
Circle of Security Classes for Families with Children Ages 4 Months to 6 Years Old:
Enfield Family Resource Center Play Groups for Younger Siblings
Our PTO is AMAZING! Don't Believe Me? You Should Come See for Yourself!
The Remind App
Students being picked up at the end of the day will be dismissed directly from the back door of your child's classroom. Please remember to bring a picture ID on the first day as well as your child's dismissal card on subsequent days (they will be sent home with your child on their first day of classes).
Students taking the bus will continue to be dismissed through the front doors. Because buses are dismissed one at a time, the front doors are being reserved for bus students only. If a family has business with the main office during dismissal, we appreciate your patience as we complete the dismissal process. We will assist you as soon as possible.
Daycare vans and small buses are located in the back lot and side lot, respectively. Building staff are assigned to those locations to ensure students safely board the correct vehicle.
If you are dismissing your child during the school day, please park in the main lot and ring the doorbell at the front of the building for assistance.
Breakfast and Lunch
The State and Federal pandemic emergency funding that provided free breakfast and lunch for all students in Enfield ended with the last school year. As of now, there is CT State funding to provide students with free lunch each day but lunch has reverted back to a pay system. Families are encouraged to apply for income-based free or reduced lunch to either help moderate or eliminate school lunch prices for their child. The application for income-based free or reduced lunch is available through our Nutrition Services Department, at
Below is some information regarding school breakfast and lunch for the coming school year:
•Breakfast will remain free for all students due to CT State funding
•Hot lunch costs $1.75 per day
•Milk costs $0.50 per day at lunchtime
Please note that every class has a scheduled snack time, however, there is no option to purchase snack at school and we cannot provide snack to our students. Please plan to send a healthy, easy to open snack and drink/water bottle to school with your child each day.
Paying for School Lunch (and iPad Insurance)
Information for mySchoolBucks is available is available at the following link:
As seen above, iPad insurance may be purchased through mySchoolBucks. The insurance is optional however, if an iPad malfunctions or is damaged, the student's family will be billed the full amount for the repair or replacement if insurance wasn't purchased. If insurance was purchased by the family, the $25 cost of the insurance is the only charge. If a new iPad is issued to a student, a new insurance policy must be purchased as the insurance only covers the one device.
The Student Handbook is packed with information for families about dates, policies, procedures, and more. Please take some time to take a look through the document. It can be found at the following link:
Up to Date Contact Information is VITAL
I have to say, from experience, that there's nothing sadder than having a sick student in the nursing office all day because we weren't able to reach their family. Never mind the fright caused when the student isn't on the bus home.
Please, please check that your information is up to date. You can check it out and update it in the PowerSchool Parent Portal and through School Messenger. Both can be found on the left side menu on the Parent Support page of the EPS website.
Our Community Partners -
Consider Joining the PTO
Having said that, all the good work that the PTO puts into our schools translates directly to a richer educational experience for our students. They help fund fieldtrips and educational experiences that we would otherwise not have available to our students.
The PTO meets once each month. Meetings usually run for less than an hour and are dedicated to school updates and planning for upcoming events. Please consider being a part of the PTO. Many hands make light work!
For more information, please follow the link: https://enfieldpto.com/henrybarnard
The Family Resource Center (FRC)
For more information, please follow this link: https://www.enfield-ct.gov/375/Family-Resource-Center
Enfield Resources for Children (ERfC)
Follow this link for more information: https://erfcinc.org/