Principal's Post: Parent Edition

Vanderlyn Elementary 2022-23: Vol.3

A MESSAGE FROM THE PRINCIPAL

Dear Vikings,

The first week of school was a HUGE success! Emotions ran high with a combination of smiles, laughter, and unfortunately, even some tears. The official countdown to a new school year is on, and the clock is ticking! I look forward to the 2022-23 journey and continuing our collaboration to provide our students with an effective and engaging educational experience. I look to our parents to be positive partners in this year’s journey. I understand the daily complexities and challenges our parent community continues to face at this time. I understand because I am you!


My advice to parents as you send your children back to school:

Talk to your children before they go to bed so that they sleep well. Talk to your children in the morning right after they wake up and before school so that they have a good day. As parents, you set the tone for your children. Your voice is the one that they will always remember in their heads...you are that inner voice..so SPEAK LIFE..SPEAK LOVE..SPEAK BRAVERY, KINDNESS, WISDOM, TRUTH & HOPE. But above all...Listen to your children..they deserve to be heard.


The VES school community has made a priority of working together as a caring and compassionate learning community, tackling the challenges that we will face with professionalism, teamwork, compassion, and by always putting the students’ best interests at the center of our purpose. I extend my hands out to you in partnership, friendship, and goodwill. I hope you all experienced a smooth first week of school! Stay healthy, stay positive, and stay connected. We’ve got this!


Your Partner in Growth,

Tracey Crenshaw

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Welcome Back to School Highlights

Updated Welcome Back 2022

Morning Safety

Reminder: Per our Safe School Plan, Parents can no longer walk their child into the building or to class. Please plan to use carpool if you bring your child in a vehicle to school. Carpool opens at 7:15am. If your child is a walker, you may drop your child off at the front doors of the school or at any of the side doors near carpool before 7:45. Our staff will be stationed throughout the building to assist students in getting to class safely. If you are late, please escort your child into the front office and sign them in. Please DO NOT drop late students off after 7:45 after our staff has left the carpool area. This is extremely dangerous and violates our Safe School Plan. Thank you in advance for your support and partnership in keeping our students safe.

Mark the Date: In-Person Curriculum Night September 8th

Picture Day is August 24th!

Fall school Picture Day is less than 2 weeks away. Mark your calendar for Wednesday, August 24, 2022! These are the photos that will appear in the yearbook. Each student will have a unique QR code sent home with them about two weeks after pictures are taken. You will be able to view and order your child’s photo online using this QR code. If you have any questions or would like to volunteer to help on picture day, please contact Emily Lane and Jennifer Benator at vanderlynvikingyearbook@gmail.com.
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Masks are not required, but strongly encouraged by the DCSD. Regardless of choice, teachers and staff will model tolerance, respect, and individual voice and choice of others. Please keep this in mind as parents visit our school in large volumes during morning arrival on Monday and Tuesday. Thank you in advance for considering the possible impact that a sudden influx of people could have on our school environment.

Updated COVID Guidelines

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Counseling Services Available

The start of the year is always exciting, but we're confident this one will be extra special. It's great to see you all again and welcome to our new families who have joined our Vanderlyn community. With students coming from a wide range of home environments - no matter how stable or insecure they may feel- it’s important for the counselors to work closely with every student on their journey towards academic excellence, as well as emotional stability, so that each child can find success this school year.


We want to take time to briefly explain what our role looks like as well as how we will support the overall foundation of your child’s social, emotional, and academic development.


How will we help your student G.R. O. W.

Elementary School Counselors are "support staff" who are concerned with the academic, career, and life-skill development of every student. We work closely with parents, teachers, and administration, so that as a team, we can help to provide the best education possible for every student.


The School Counselor's role is one of advocacy, consulting, coordinating, and counseling. We teach classroom guidance lessons for each grade level. These lessons include topics such as the importance of following classroom rules and directions, taking responsibility for our actions, learning about various careers, personal safety skills, and respecting the similarities and differences of others.


The Vanderlyn School Counselors also aim to educate students through school-wide programs/initiatives including, but not limited to, Student Government Association, Red Ribbon Week, Character Education, community service, and career programs.


We are looking forward to growing with you!

Your G. R. O. W. School Counselors,


Dr. Norris-Brown

Grades Pre-K thru 2nd


Ms. Lee

Grades 3 thru 5

Enrollment and Placement Changes

Please be reminded that all student and teacher placements are to be considered tentative during the first ten days of school due to unforeseen changes in enrollment. Should we encounter unexpected fluctuations in enrollment, teacher or class assignments may change. We have been closely monitoring classes and programs that are currently at risk of not meeting or exceeding state guidelines for minimum/maximum class size. We will examine all options to ensure that VES is in compliance with local and state regulations and will make adjustments to ensure that we are meeting the state requirements. In the event that this occurs, we will communicate with parents and move quickly to make necessary adjustments to minimize the transitional impact on students and staff. Please be mindful that it is never our intention to create unnecessary aberrations for our students and staff. However, in order to address imbalances and inequities, avoid a loss in staff, serve all students appropriately, and ensure that all students are provided with the appropriate services they are entitled to, such changes are unavoidable. Thank you in advance for your understanding and support as we take decisive steps to protect the overall interest our staff and students.

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School Safety is our top priority. As a part of our comprehensive and ongoing Safe School training, our staff has reviewed and refined our procedures to ensure we are ready if an emergency arises. Every precaution will be taken to ensure the safety of our students and staff during school hours. One safety measure practiced are safety drills (fire, tornado, intruder), which are conducted throughout the school year. Fire drills are held once every month. Tornado drills are held twice a semester. Intruder (Lockdown) drills are held three times a semester. Schedules, exits, and procedures are a part of these important drills to keep our students and staff safe in the event of an emergency. The administrative team and staff will be in position to execute a safe and quick evacuation. Routes of exit are posted in each room of the building. Our number one priority continues to be the safety and security of our students and staff.


During the school day, we ensure the following safety measures are taken:


  • All classroom doors remain closed and locked at all times.
  • Exterior doors remain locked at all times and are not propped open for any reason.
  • Exterior doors will not be opened for visitors.
  • All visitors must come to the front of the school to receive assistance.
  • All visitors must press the entry button outside the front door and show photo identification. The front office staff will assist all visitors from this point.
  • If a visitor does not have an appointment with staff, is not checking out a student, or is not receiving assistance from the front office, they will not be allowed inside the school.
  • Students are monitored by staff members in all areas of the building and on the playgrounds.
  • Outside of traveling with their class to other parts of the building, students will travel in pairs when leaving their class independently to go to the restroom, clinic, or front office.
  • Every classroom is equipped with a telephone, two-way radio, and panic button in the event of an emergency.
  • For afternoon dismissal, students are only dismissed from class when their name appears on the dismissal spreadsheets and/or their bus is called.
  • Staff are strategically stationed all around our building and campus to ensure students arrive and depart safely from school.
  • Our administrative team, custodial staff, and school resource officers make periodic rounds throughout the school day and walk the campus to conduct safety checks.


In the event of an emergency, we will communicate with all parents via School Messenger and Viking Views. Please ensure you are connected and signed up for both on your mobile phone. It is important that parents read all text messages from the school thoroughly and follow next steps as outlined.


Safety will always remain our top priority. We appreciate your partnership and collaboration as we work together to maintain a safe learning environment for all students and staff.

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OPT-IN TO SCHOOL MESSENGER


School-Home communication is very important. Please stay connected to the school by ensuring you have signed up for School Messenger. To receive timely emails and text messages from the school and district, please opt-in to school messenger!

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Traffic Pattern for 2022-2023 at Vanderlyn Elementary

There are two morning carpool lanes at Vanderlyn Elementary School. Carpool Lane #1 is on the Dunwoody High School side of the building and Carpool Lane #2 is located at the bus turn-around on the modular side of the building.


● No left turns into Carpool Lane #1 from Vanderlyn Drive. This is a major problem that causes congestion entering and exiting the carpool lane. Therefore, when traveling west on Vanderlyn Drive (travelling from Meadowlake), do not bypass Carpool Lane # 2 in order to use Carpool Lane #1.
● No right turns into Carpool Lane #2 from Vanderlyn Drive (traveling from DHS). Again, do not bypass one carpool lane to get to the next.
● Single file out of each of the carpool lanes when possible.
● Parents are asked to stay in the car and allow our staff to assist your students as they exit the vehicle. Do not allow your child to exit the car without a carpool assistant.
● PLEASE refrain from cell phone use in the carpool lanes.
● Do NOT drop students in front of the school on Vanderlyn Drive or side streets. This is a very dangerous practice.
● Do NOT park across from the school on Vanderlyn Drive as this is ILLEGAL and subject to traffic tickets. Please respect our neighbors.
● At any time of the day, you MAY park on Vanderlyn Drive using the designated spaces on the Vanderlyn side of the street to visit the school.
● NO PARKING on Trumbull Dr. from Meadowlake Dr. to Vanderlyn Dr. – Please keep this a safe walk zone. You are subject to ticketing in “no parking” zones.
● No parking in the “Reserved Parking” spaces. These are designated for staff members.

A few reminders to help with efficiency:

● Be kind to the carpool volunteers who are charged with keeping all children safe. Follow all traffic laws and other directives by our staff in an effort to keep our students safe.

● Be patient. You may arrive for drop-off as early as 7:15 a.m. We will have teachers on duty at 7:15 a.m. to unload cars.
● Be prepared to have your child to exit the car quickly. Backpacks and school items should be in the car with your child. It takes a bit of time to get these items out of the trunk or rear hatch.
● Be safe. Please watch for pedestrians, especially our staff on duty! We are moving people and cars in “chunks” so there are fewer interruptions in the flow of cars and the flow of walkers.
● Ride the bus. We have staff available to receive bus riders at 7:00 a.m., so please have your child ride the bus. We start school at 7:45 a.m. and this is a good way to ensure they are on time.
● Due to safety of our staff, teachers are not authorized to direct street or carpool traffic. They are available to assist with sidewalk/pedestrian traffic only.


THANK YOU FOR HELPING US TO KEEP OUR SCHOOL AND CHILDREN SAFE!


Bus Transportation

Please be advised of potential bus delays and route adjustments during the first few weeks of school. The VES staff will make every effort to minimize issues related to transportation and will do our best to ensure the safe ridership of our students. Should there be a need to request additional buses, we will move quickly to do so. In the event that a bus is overcrowded on the first day, we will request that a second route be made, which will result in a delay in the time your child may arrive home. In this case, please wait for your child at your designated stop rather than calling the school. Any changes, other than the above mentioned, will be communicated to parents quickly via School Messenger. Our priority is to get students home safely rather than quickly, so please be aware of this potential issue and remain flexible as we work through it.


Dismissal

We have a very comprehensive Dismissal Plan designed for student safety. Each student has a dismissal card with the mode of dismissal listed daily. Please make sure that you have communicated your child’s dismissal plan to the teacher. Any unexpected changes in dismissal must be communicated in writing and should be confirmed by the teacher. If you have not received a confirmation by noon, please contact the front office at (678) 874-9002 to make sure the school is aware of the change. Waiting until the last minute to communicate an unexpected change in dismissal increases the likelihood of failed communication and could result in a student being sent home the wrong way.


DO YOU HAVE YOUR FAMILY ID HANGTAG?

Walkers

All walkers are dismissed through the front doors (near the clinic) of the building. Parents are required to wait outside as students are dismissed. All walkers should have received an ID number on Registration Day. If you did not receive a number, we will issue one to you when you come to pick up your child on the first day of school. If you had a number from last year, you will continue to use the same number. If your child will be an independent walker (they will walk home without adult supervision), you must send a signed written note to the homeroom teacher. This is to protect the integrity of our Safe School Dismissal Plan.


Afternoon Carpool

If you are picking up your child in the afternoon carpool, you must have a carpool number and official carpool tag with the Vanderlyn logo properly displayed on the rearview mirror of your car. Failure to adhere to this safety guideline will result in a staff member asking to verify your identity. This measure keeps children safe and ensures that the person picking your child up is authorized to do so. Therefore, it is imperative that you list all authorized individuals on your emergency card in the front office. New family carpool tags were issued during registration, so if you do not receive a 2022-23 carpool tag, we will be happy to issue one to you during carpool during the first week of school. If you had a number from last year, you will continue to use the same number. This safety measure is in place to protect students; therefore, we will not release students to unauthorized individuals under any circumstances without written consent from the parent or legal guardian.

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Bus Rules / Reminders / Routes

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  • Students riding DCSD busses will be assigned specific seats in order to minimize the potential for any spread of COVID and overcrowding on the buses.
  • Students will only be allowed to ride the bus and be dropped off at his/her designed address.
  • Students are not permitted to change bus routes for "play dates".
  • All changes to bus stops must be approved by the Transportation Department, not the local school.
  • Please be patient during the first few days of school as our bus drivers will still be solidifying the students on each route. In the event that a bus is going to be unusually late, we will notify parents via School Messenger . (Please make sure that you are signed up for the School Messenger).
  • Students should be told that if they do not see their parent/guardian at the bus stop, they should not get off the bus. The student should tell the driver that they do not see their parent / guardian and the driver will bring the student back to the school.
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SCHOOL MEALS

Breakfast and lunch are served each day of school. Please review the flyer below for more information.


Meals at no cost are no longer in effect for school year 2022-2023. Students who do not qualify for free and reduced meal benefits will be required to pay for breakfast and lunch meals this year. Parents are encouraged to complete a Free & Reduced Meal application (SchoolCafe.com).

Students in a paying status for meals will be allowed to charge meals through Wednesday, August 17, 2022. Parents will be responsible for the payment of the meals charged. Please click here for meal prices: SY 22-23 Meal Prices.

For additional information regarding the Free & Reduced application process, please contact the School Nutrition Asst. Manager Juliana _Phipps@dekalbschoolsga.org or at 678-874-9002.


Information about meal applications and meal payments can be found at the link below.


Breakfast and lunch menus can always be found on this website: https://www.dekalbschoolsga.org/school-nutrition/menus/

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Please review and save the list below so you are aware who to contact when questions arise.


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FALL 2022 PRINCIPAL'S ADVISORY COUNCIL (PAC) ELECTIONS

Principal Advisory Councils bring parents, school employees, students, and the community together to share ideas regarding school climate, facilities, increasing student achievement, and community partnerships. If you are interested in being a part of our school's Principal Advisory Council, the candidate declaration window will be open through Friday, September 2, 2022. For more information: https://www.dekalbschoolsga.org/principal-advisory-councils/#tab-ce10102dfa2e65e77c1

2022-2023 School Calendar

The school calendar is set by the Dekalb County School District. Please click the link below to view the 2022-2023 school calendar.