Together. We've got this.

4 days in to the school year!

I said this last week, but we mean it even more this week:

Parents, we just want you to know, the whole Penn staff is sooooo grateful for your patience, your encouragement and your support this week. We are working hard here, but we know (and sympathize, empathize and appreciate) how hard you parents are working. We recognize that you have the hardest role in all this and we THANK YOU!

In a staff meeting today we also talked about the other critical supports we have: grandparents, DAYCARES and neighborhood support groups. We couldn't do this without all your help. We THANK YOU!

We are learning new things everyday to facilitate this virtual learning.

One thing that would help us immensely would be changing your child's screen name to be: class code last name, first name. Class code is your child's grade + the first letter of their teacher's last name.

So, if I were in Mrs. Smith's 3rd grade class my screen name would be: 3S Heffner.Kristy

I know that sounds impersonal, but it will help the teachers sooo much.

Be sure to call the Penn office if you need any help: 319-688-1150.


Mrs. Heffner

Just 3 more days to order Penn gear

Penn Panthers,

Whether you are learning from home or in school, wear your Penn panther gear proudly. Please check out the following link to purchase Penn gear from the Penn PTO. All orders are due by September 14th. To avoid any potential pickup problems orders will be shipped directly to your homes. Thank you!

Penn PTO

School Times, Arrival/Dismissal and expected ATTENDANCE

Elementary school hours are 7:55am-2:55pm, with each Wednesday dismissing an hour early at 1:55pm.

Your child's classroom teacher will share their schedule and some details about lessons for the next week each Friday. Daily assignments will be entered by 8am each morning.

Even as we are in this remote model, attendance is expected. We will be taking attendance during all synchronous times (morning meeting, small reading and math groups, intervention groups (which will start next week) and specials.


Is Sound a problem during your child's zoom meetings?

There are 2 steps to follow that may help.

1. Use this link for directions about how to test and adjust your audio and video zoom settings: zoom sound

2. You may also have to update your chrome book. Here are the directions.

Our library secretary, Julie, can help you if you have a problem. Email her at


We are obviously more dependent on technology than ever before -- which also means we are going to have more tech questions and needs. Thankfully, we have an awesome tech department. Please save the info below for easy reference.

Chromebook Initial Use

One thing we learned this week is that students need to sign in once with their user name and password before the camera is enabled in their device. This is important because they need the camera to use their clever badge.

Technology Visual Guide: this provides brief overviews with pictures of the following

processes and programs:

District Chromebook: Sign In



Clever & ClassLink Comparison





ICCSD Technology Resources - this is a one stop resource for every sort of information related to chromebooks, seesaw, zoom and clever.

If you still need technology help at the district HELP Desk by emailing or calling 688- 4357. You'll probably have to leave a message. They will get back to you.

Grab & Go Meal Program

Even though we are remote, School Lunch and Breakfast are available.

Meals are served from 11:30 am - 1:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Each meal includes breakfast and lunch. Menu information can be found at MealViewer, under the Grab & Go menu. Meals are free and available to all Iowa City Community School District students and children do not need to be present in order for a guardian to pick-up a meal for the child.

Grab & Go meal sites beginning September 8, 2020:

City High School
Hills Elementary School
Liberty High School
North Central Junior High School
Northwest Junior High School
South East Junior High School
West High School

Please check your email for more info from the district.


Dear parents of incoming 3rd-6th grade girls at Penn and Grant Elementary Schools,

What a year! We hope you and your families are safe, healthy, and excited for the start of the new (different type of) school year.

We wanted to make you aware that sign-up for the Girls on the Run program (VIRTUAL this fall) is actively enrolling on a first come, first served basis and can be accessed here:

Girls on the Run (GOTR) is an after-school program that meets for practice twice per week (virtually this year!), beginning the week of September 21 (Iowa City has delayed their original start date due to the delay in school start date) on the following days and times:

Christine Grant Elementary: Wednesdays/Fridays 4:00-4:45 (plus 20-30 minutes of running or other activity on own)

Penn Elementary: Mondays and Fridays 4:00-4:45 p.m. (plus 20-30 minutes of running of other activity on own)

During the program, girls will have fun, make friends, increase their physical activity levels and learn important life skills. Trained and caring coaches lead 3-6 grade girls through interactive lessons and encouragement of physical activity. The season ends with a noncompetitive 5K GOTR event (VIRTUAL this season). More information about the program can be found here:

You will have the option to select “Christine Grant” or “Penn” Elementary during sign up. We have a unique situation this year with 2 seasoned head GOTR coaches having girls at Christine Grant this year (Kelly Brubaker—who will continue as the coach at Grant Elementary and Valerie Hoffman—who will continue as the coach at Penn Elementary). Because the program will be delivered virtually, you are welcome to join either program!

If you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to email the Grant and Penn head coaches, Kelly Brubaker at and Valerie Hoffman at

DINE OUT or TAKE OUT for Education

The ICCSD Foundation will once again be holding our restaurant fundraising event this fall. It is scheduled for Thursday, September 24. The 40 restaurants participating in the event have all agreed to donate 10% of their sales on September 24 to the ICCSD Foundation in support of our schools.

Before & After School Program (BASP) at Penn

There is still space in this super convenient child care program.

Please email for more info

Looking Ahead

  • Sept 22: another Materials Distribution (details to be determined)
  • Sept 24: Dine Out or Take Out for Education, all day
  • Oct 6: PTO at 7pm via zoom

A few "TEACHING from HOME" pics

The Department of Equity helps the Iowa City Community School District fulfill our commitment and obligation not to discriminate on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, national origin, gender, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, disability, or socioeconomic status in our educational programs, activities, or employment practices. We help to keep students, parents, and District staff informed about their civil rights and responsibilities under the law.

Please direct any equity-related questions to the Director of Equity and Employee Relations Jeremy Tabor,, (319) 688-1000.