Welcome Back, GVES!

August 23, 2019

Welcome Back!

We are getting closer to the start of the year! Our staff returns on Tuesday followed by the Open house on Wednesday. We are getting so excited for a new year!

Please note that our homeroom start time each day has moved back to 8:40AM. The school day is now from 8:40-3:15. Students must be in the homerooms by 8:55 or they will be marked absent. Car line for morning drop off will start at 8:25. After 8:50, please park in front of the school and walk the children in. Dismissal at the end of the day will begin at 3:05. We recommend using the school bus whenever possible.

We look forward to seeing you at the Open House on Wednesday, August 28th!

HSA Information - Be sure to complete by September 13th!

It's as easy as ABC to be a part of our HSA this year! A - Complete your back to school forms, order a field trip t-shirt, and volunteer. B - Express interest in being a homeroom parent. C - Opt-in to support the HSA this year. We are looking forward to a great year!

A. GVES HSA Forms - http://bit.ly/GVEHSAForm2019 - contact info, HSA membership, t-shirts orders, and volunteer preferences

B. Concord/GVE Homeroom Parent Interest Form - http://bit.ly/ConcordGVEHRPForm2019

C. Opt-In Campaign - http://www.myschoolbucks.com

Principal Information

Dr. Kotch has accepted a new role in the Avon Grove School District. Mrs. Jones will become the GVES principal. Dr. Kotch and Mrs. Jones will start the year together. Once the year has settled in, Dr. Kotch will move to his new position.

Summer Mailing Information

All of our Back to School information is electronic this year and contained within this newsletter. Below you will find:

  • HSA Information
  • Upcoming events
  • Link to Alma for class assignment
  • Transportation & Bus Information
  • Emergency medical card information
  • Link to Elementary Handbook & Procedural Manual
  • Open House invitation
  • Drop off & Pick up map
  • Letter from our nurse
  • Link to cafeteria menus and accounts
  • Back to School Night dates and times
  • Communication procedures
  • GVES Calendar
  • School Supply lists
  • Summer Reading
  • Band, Orchestra, & Chorus
  • Voluntary Foreign Language

We are excited to welcome everyone to a new school year and hope to see you at our Open House!


Dr. Jason Kotch, Outgoing Principal

Mrs. Caitlin Jones, Incoming Principal

Upcoming Events

8/18: Back to School Information Released on Alma

8/28: Elementary Open House (Grades 1-5) 12:30PM-2:30PM

8/31: Foreign Language Early Registration Deadline

9/3: First Day of School

Class Assignments - ALMA

Class assignments will be available through our student information system, Alma. The address is https://gves.getalma.com/home and it can also be accessed through the Parent Portal on any of the GVSD websites. Special area schedules will be added soon. Alma access information will be emailed to new families in the upcoming days. Everyone else has the same access information as last year. Please call our office if you have trouble accessing Alma.

There are many factors that go into our placement including any information that we received from you through our requests in the spring. Our placement team has worked diligently through the summer to find the best class for each student while balancing our classes. Each year is a new and valuable experience for your child and we have high expectations for the class in which s/he has been assigned.

Parent Summer Checklist

We know our parents are extremely busy over the summer and want to focus on family, fun, and enjoying the best of what summer has to offer. We also know that many of our parents want to be ready for the next school year well in advance of Labor Day. The goal of the site below is to make getting ready for next school year a bit easier for our parents by providing a detailed timeline and checklist of items that need to be completed before the start of the school.

Link to Parent Summer Checklist

NEW Parent Health Portal

Last school year the district used the FamilyID system for all emergency cards and forms to help streamline the summer process for our parent community. While the feedback from our parents was positive, FamilyID did not meet the needs of our school nurses. Starting this coming school year (2019-2020), Garnet Valley will give our parents and guardians direct access to our district’s health portal (SNAP) which will provide the most secure, convenient, and real-time view of your child’s school health record.

(The FamilyID system is not going away entirely as it will still be used by our athletic department to collect sports physicals.)

Benefits of the SNAP Parent Health Portal

With a secure login and encrypted data transfer, parents can safely access their child’s health information from any computer or mobile device to:

  • Update Critical Health Information

  • Electronically Sign & Submit Forms

  • Review Screening Results

  • Upload Medical Forms

  • Authorize OTC Orders

  • Monitor Health Clinic Visits

Additionally, automatic email notifications immediately alert parents when new information is available, medication refills are needed, immunization status becomes non-compliant, or forms need to be signed. Through a built-in messaging system, parents can communicate directly with the school nursing staff.

From within the SNAP Health Center, our school nurses are immediately notified when any changes are made by parents. New information is flagged to make sure it doesn’t go unnoticed and critical changes must be acknowledged. Nurses also can view a log of recent parent activity.

All parents and legal guardians that have an email address in Alma should have received their secured login credentials. The email will come from noreply@studentehr.com. Emails for students moving into new schools will be out next week.

Transportation Information & Bus Assignments - InfoFinder

InfoFinder-i provides online access to assist in finding your child’s bus number, pick-up/drop-off locations and times. An email with the InfoFinder link will be sent directly to you.

InfoFinder-i allows you to:

  • Find your child’s designated bus stop;
  • Find the estimated pick-up/drop-off times for your child’s bus stop;
  • Locate which school your child would attend if you are planning to move.

Parents/guardians are encouraged to check InfoFinder-i periodically between August 19th and the start of school as pick-up and drop-off times may be slightly altered due to daily enrollment changes.

Students are only be able to ride their assigned buses. Daily changes will be permitted through the Transportation Department for emergencies only.

Please click here to access the transportation site or use this link to submit a daycare change request.

Elementary Open House Invitation

All three GVSD elementary schools will host an Open House for students entering grades 1-5 on Wednesday, August 28, from 12:30PM-2:30PM. Students and their families are invited to tour the school and meet our teachers and staff. We look forward to seeing everyone at this first event of the new school year! Pre-ordered school supplies will be in homerooms.

Click here for the Open House Family Guide

School Day Times for 2019-2020

Arrival Times

8:25AM - Car line drop off begins, breakfast begins

8:40AM - Students report to homerooms (was 8:45 last year)

8:50AM - Car line ends

8:55AM - Students not in homeroom will be marked absent

Dismissal Times

2:50 - Office pick up ends

3:05 - Announcements start, students dismissed to car line, buses begin being called

3:15 - Dismissal ends

Car Line Map

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School Lunch Information

Children need healthy meals to learn. Garnet Valley SD offers healthy meals every school day. Costs are as follows: Breakfast at all schools is $1.70; lunch is $2.75 in the Elementary Schools, $2.95 at the Middle School and $3.10 at the HS. Your child(ren) may qualify for free meals or for reduced price meals. Reduced price is .30 for breakfast and .40 for lunch. You are encouraged to complete an online application instead of a paper application if you are able. The online application has the same requirements and will ask you for the same information as the paper application.

Visit www.schoolcafe.com for an online free and reduced application or use the link below.

Link to paper application (If you do not have a printer and need a paper application, please call our office.)

Link to breakfast and lunch menus

Link to MySchoolBucks for account information

Link to GV Food Service's website with pricing and MySchoolBucks directions

Free & Reduced Lunch Application

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Letter from Our Nurse

Dear Parents/Guardians,

The school nurse’s office maintains a file of emergency and other pertinent health information on each student. It is very important that this information be updated each year to better implement health care services for your child.

Please complete the online EMERGENCY CARD. I cannot stress enough how crucial this information may be during the course of the school year, so please be very thorough in completing this card. EMERGENCY CARDS SHOULD BE COMPLETED BEFORE THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL.

PHYSICAL EXAMINATIONS: Required by law prior to admission to school. If your child has had any recent immunizations, please submit written documentation from your physician’ office to the nurse’s office so we may update your child’s health records.

DENTAL EXAMINATIONS: Required by law on all THIRD grade students (and students recently registered). Dental forms were enclosed with the report cards sent home in June. If you did not receive a form, they are available on our website or you may pick one up in the main office. Please return the completed form to the nurse’s office by the end of September. If this form is not received by the deadline, your child will be scheduled to see the school dentist.

MEDICATIONS ARE NOT TO BE CARRIED BY STUDENTS!!! This includes all prescription and over the counter medications as well as vitamins. Metered dose inhalers for the treatment of asthma OR epi-pens for use with severe allergies, are the only exceptions to this rule and ONLY after written parent consent has been secured and is on file in the nurse’s office.

If it is necessary for a student to take medication during the school day, it must be kept and dispensed in the nurse’s office. All medications must be clearly labeled with the student’s name, medication name and dosage instructions. Prescription medication MUST be in its original pharmacy container. Your pharmacy can provide you with a duplicate container for school use upon request. WRITTEN PARENTAL PERMISSION MUST ACCOMPANY ALL MEDICATIONS!

If your child is on a long-term daily medication, please contact the nurse’s office to make these arrangements. Please be reminded that a current physician’s order and a parental consent form will be needed to dispense these medications. Please feel free to call the nurse’s office at 610-579-4146 with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your child’s health. My best to you and your family for a safe and healthy school year.

Lin Wesolowski, RN, CSN
School Nurse

Summer Reading

Please click the link below to the district webpage that details summer reading expectations for elementary school students in Garnet Valley (students entering grades 1-5 in September):


Turn in your "50 Days of Summer Reading" form and you will be entered into the drawing for the prize basket shown in the picture below. The basket contains:

  • A Kindle Fire 10 with headphones
  • a $50 Amazon gift card
  • Big Boggle
  • Chess and Checkers Travel Set
  • Kanoodle
  • Rubik's Cube

All summer reading entries must be returned by September 12th. The raffle will be held on September 13th.

VEFLS Registration

See the attached flyer for registration for VEFLS classes this fall or use the link below.


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Back to School Nights

Save these dates for our Back to School Nights. The schedule and times have been adjusted to better accommodate parents/guardians based on the survey feedback we received last year. We look forward to connecting with you!

Wednesday, September 11

  • 3rd Grade, 6PM
  • 5th Grade, 7:15PM

Thursday, September 12
  • 4th Grade, 7PM

School Supply Lists for 2019-2020

Doing your own shopping for school supplies? You can find the supply list for each grade level here.

Elementary Handbook & GVSD Procedural Manual

The Elementary Handbook which includes all Progress Report information is available on our website under Resources. The GVSD Procedural Manual is also in this same location. Students and families are responsible for knowing and following the policies and procedures of the school district. Please contact the school office with any questions regarding the policies or procedures. Thank you.

Band & Orchestra for the 2019-2020 School Year

Band and Orchestra sign ups for the 2019-2020 school year have begun! 3rd graders are completing the instrument interview process and will come home with a form reflecting their instrument recommendations. To sign up for band or orchestra for next year, please click this link:


Sign Up for Chorus

Every student is invited to join chorus. Singing in chorus gives your child a wonderful opportunity to perform in an ensemble while building upon concepts generated in the general music classroom. We perform two concerts a year, one in the winter and one in the spring.

At the beginning of the school year, parents may go to the online sign up form which will need to be filled out with contact information, student home room and grade level. The information provided will help me communicate with parents regarding rehearsal attendance, performances and other announcements. Students may join in January if they did not join in September.

Morning chorus rehearsal begins after the buses arrive and runs from 8:30 to 8:55 a.m.; students are then dismissed to their homerooms. Chorus rehearsals will not conflict with morning language classes. Students who participate in language class will be dismissed from their class to attend chorus at 8:30 a.m.

PLEASE NOTE: There is absolutely no conflict with orchestra/band lessons and chorus. Instrumental lessons run during the day with ensemble rehearsals after school. More than half of our chorus students also perform in an instrumental ensemble.

Use this link to sign up for chorus.


Communication Procedures

District App - Having a district app will allow our parent community to easily stay connected to district news and events. Key features of the app include push notifications, a calendar of events sections, and district news. Please note the app is new and not all features are active. We also anticipate improvements being made throughout the course of the school year. Please click here for directions on how to download the new app.

Early Dismissals - Early dismissals due to weather or unforeseen circumstances will be announced through the phone number you provide in Alma, email, district-level social media, and websites. Please keep your Alma contact information current. You can update this information in your account.

Absence Reporting - Launched at the end of the last school year, the new School Messenger (Safe Arrival) Absence Reporting System makes it easy for parents/guardians to report their child's absence, reduces the time it takes to verify student attendance and will allow our staff to respond to unexplained student absences more efficiently. Please click here for directions on how to use your phone, app, or computer to report an absence.

Social Media - GVES is on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram! Our handle is @GarnetValleyES on all three platforms. We also podcast on iTunes. Just search iTunes for "Jaguarmax."

GVES Calendar

The GVSD Instructional Calendar and upcoming events are on our website.

The view the full calendar on our website, click here or go to https://gves.garnetvalleyschools.com/calendar.

Attendance Information

State law establishes conditions under which any child may be excused from attendance at school. In keeping with these statues and recommendations of the State Department of Education, pupils in the Garnet Valley Schools may be excused temporarily from school attendance for the following reasons:

  • Sickness

  • Quarantine

  • Death in the immediate family

  • Weather so inclement so as to endanger the health of the child or make roads impassable

  • For observance of a major religious holiday

  • College visits, pre-approved educational trips

In order for an absence to be excused, a parent/guardian must respond to the Safe Arrival phone call, use the Safe Arrival app to report the absence ahead of time, or submit a written note to the office within three days after return from an absence. The absence of any student failing to comply with this time period will automatically become unexcused and illegal, and the school laws of Pennsylvania shall be applied accordingly.

Raptor Information

The Raptor system is used to enhance our ability to monitor who enters our buildings by screening visitors, contractors, and volunteers. Upon entering a district building, visitors will be asked to present an ID such as a Driver’s License, which can either be scanned or manually entered into the system. If a parent or guardian for any reason does not have a US government-issued ID, the school staff member can use any form of identification and manually enter the person’s name into the Raptor system. The Raptor system will check to ensure that registered sexual offenders are not entering our school campuses without our knowledge. The Raptor system checks the visitor's name and date of birth for comparison with a national database of registered sex offenders. The registered sex offender database is the only official database checked by the Raptor system. No other data from the ID is gathered or recorded and the information is not shared with any outside agency. Once entry is approved, Raptor will issue a badge that identifies the visitor, the date, and the purpose of his/her visit.

Please adhere to the following regulations:

1. Enter the building at the main office door.
2. Go directly to the office, sign in through Raptor and inform the school secretary of your
3. PLEASE DO NOT GO to any area of the building without receiving permission from the office.
4. Do not attempt to go to a classroom to pick up a child. Students who are being dismissed early
will be sent to the office.
5. Return the visitor badge at the conclusion of your visit to sign out.

Volunteer Clearance Information

Legislation in Pennsylvania requires community members and parents to obtain clearances in order to volunteer in our schools. If you have previously submitted your clearances to the Human Resources office, they are good for five (5) years from the date of the clearance.

Governor Wolf has waived the fees associated with the Pennsylvania State Police—Criminal Background Check and the Child Abuse History Clearance. Since the FBI clearance is a federal program, those costs still remain; however, the district has decided to permit individuals who have resided in Pennsylvania continuously for ten years or more to sign a certification form that saves the volunteer the expense of the fee, ensures compliance with the law, and allows the district to maximize student safety.

Understanding that many community members will want to begin the process of securing clearances so that they are prepared for the start of the school year, we have provided several links and directions to assist you. Once you have obtained the requisite clearances, please bring them to the Human Resources office in the Garnet Valley Education Center at 80 Station Road. Please be prepared to present a valid driver’s license or other photo identification. Our Human Resources Department will then add your name to the district list so that our educators can readily ensure that volunteers have the proper clearances.

Please use this link for directions and more information.

Jaguarmax Radio Podcast

Jaguarmax Radio is changing formats! We will be a student-run podcast created through the after school club program starting in the fall. Check us out on iTunes!

Jaguarmax Radio Podcast on iTunes

Jaguarmax Radio Podcast Website

Important Links

After School Activity Dismissal Procedures - Dismissal Locations

VEFLS - Foreign Language Contact Person, kgardler@yahoo.com or 610-717-2755

Cafeteria Information - Menus and Payments

GVES Yearly Calendar - Important Dates

Safe Arrival - Attendance Reporting App

GVSD App - Download app here

MySchoolBucks - Online Payments

District Text Messaging Opt-In - Registration Info

Handbooks & Manuals - GVSD Resources

Parent Right to Know Information

Parent Right to Know Information as Required by The Elementary and Secondary Education Assistance (ESEA) [Section 1112(e)(1)(A)] and the Every Student Succeeds Act [Section 1112(e)(1)(A)] is located here.

Connect with GVES!

Please connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram! If you would like to receive text alerts, please sign up here or text @jaguarmax to 81010. Also, check out our Jaguarmax Radio Podcast on iTunes!

Garnet Valley Elementary School

"A Caring Community of Learners"

Est. 1997

The mission of our learning community is to maximize the potential of all students by empowering them to do their personal best.