News From Fort Zeller Elementary

September 2022

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Principal's Message

Greetings to our Fort Zeller Families,

I hope this email finds all of you doing well, after a summer of much relaxation and rejuvenation. I can't believe our new school year is here. Our teachers and staff have worked hard in preparation for the arrival of our little ones. This first week has been amazing! We are looking forward to a fabulous year that cultivates a safe, fun, and positive learning environment for our young learners. We can't forget about our amazing and generous PTO who works with us to plan informative workshops and engaging events for our students and families.

This monthly newsletter has the essential information and dates for the month of September, so I thank you in advance for your time in reviewing it.

All the Best,

Jodi Houck

Important Information

1. Link to our lunch menu is below. Lunches are no longer provided to every student for free like the last two years, however, if you feel that your family would qualify for free or reduced lunches, please fill out the application. There is more information provided later in the newsletter about this process.

2. We will be conducting several safety drills in the next three weeks. Thank you in advance for your help in reiterating the importance of these drills to our students at home.

3. I urge you to join your child's Schoology Course so you can be in communication with his/her teacher. Please don't hesitate to call the teacher if you need help.

4. If you are dropping off or picking up our students, please follow the traffic pattern provided in this newsletter. To assure the safety of our little ones, all vehicles must yield to our school buses, in addition to following the traffic pattern when pulling out. Thank you in advance for your help and cooperation.

5. As in past practice, please complete a 'Transportation' form if you are planning to pick up your child on a daily basis. Additionally, please provide your child's teacher with a note if there are changes to your child's transportation mode at the end of the school day.

Cafeteria and Lunches

Important NOTICE!

During this unprecedented time, many families’ income situation has significantly changed. If you have been impacted by a change in income or feel that you now qualify for free and reduced meals, please submit an application.

There are three ways to complete a 2022-2023 Free and Reduced Application;

  • Apply online at (Preferred and most efficient method)
  • Paper Application Free and Reduced Application (Printable) Available
  • Apply on Compass

For, you will need to create a user ID and Password and then add your child(rens) information. You will need their 7 digit ID number for the online application. You may email Jenelle Himmelreich, Director of Food and Nutrition at for their ID numbers.

Cafeteria Cash and Check Deposits - We are asking our families to have all cash and check deposits in an envelope with the students name printed, cash amount and the student's ID Number. We are trying to eliminate the handling of cash at the registers. All cash deposits will be all placed in the student's account and no change will be given. Please send only what you want deposited at that time. We will have extra envelopes available at the registers for the students to fill out if an envelope is forgotten.

Thank you for understanding during this time.

Welcome to Our New Staff

Please help me to welcome Mrs. Gettle, Mrs. Lane and Ms. Bergman into the Fort Zeller Family!!

AS Teacher - Kristi Gettle

AS Paraeducator - Katherine Lane

Fort Zeller School Nurse: Norissa Bergman

Social Media #ELCOexcellence

ELCO School District is growing our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels. Click on the icons and follow along!

Facebook - @ELCOSD

Twitter - @elcosd

Instagram - @elcosd


  1. Celebrate our students.

  2. Keep parents, students, alumni, and the community in the loop of what is happening in our district.

  3. Promote the great things happening such as athletics, activities, and other events.

  4. Build an ongoing conversation about the positive impact our district is making in the lives of our students!

What do I need to do?

  • If you are on these social media channels – follow us!

  • Help promote these accounts to your family and friends.

  • If you aren’t on these platforms – that’s OK. The district will continue to provide communication through traditional channels.

Let's Celebrate Our Summer Readers!

If your child completed one of the Summer Reading Challenges, we would like to celebrate this accomplishment! We will have an ice cream party Friday, September 23rd. Also, your child will receive a free book.

In order to participate in this celebration, your child should turn in one of the following to their classroom teacher: Library certificate OR Summer Reading Calendars OR “Wild About Books” Mobile punch card and reading log. Please make sure your child’s first and last name is listed on their paperwork.

Please turn in paperwork by Friday, September 16th!

Our Successes

1. What a great turnout at our PTO's 'Chalk the Wallk' event on August 28, 2022. Many thanks to our students, teachers, and families who gifted their beautiful art work and messages to welcome our students and staff back to school. ❤️

2. We are grateful to our kindergarten students and their families for their attendance on Kindergarten Bus Ride Night. It was so great to meet so many new friends and we are looking forward to an amazing year!

Brightbill Transportation Portal

As part of our continued effort to provide you with accurate, timely information regarding all aspects of your child’s transportation to and from school, the ELCO School District uses a student ID card swiping system and a GPS system on all of our buses. Your child will receive a new ID card within a few days after enrollment in the ELCO School District. This card must be used to swipe on and off the buses every day including any field trips and athletic trips.

Parents will maintain access to the portal throughout their child’s entire school career. Please keep this information for future reference. If you request a change during the school year, the updated information should be viewable on the portal within two school days of being received by the transportation department.

To login into the Parent Portal

  • Go To: (also linked below)
  • Click on: Parent Portal
  • If you have not created an account please follow the instructions on how to create an account. You will need the following information in order to create an account, (a) Student ID, but you would need to enter their Lunch ID in the portal, (b) Student Birth Date (c) School, and (d) Grade
  • Transportation tab–shows your child’s transportation information to school and from school. The route # is the bus number.

If you have any questions or if any changes need to be made, please contact Brightbill at (717)866-1420 or email Elisa Schubert at or Charlene Kline at

Parent Drop-off and Pick-ups

We will continue to utilize our pick-up and drop-off circle that was implemented last year. A picture below is provided for our new students' families. The drop-off and pick-up times will be as follows:

1. Morning drop-off: We will not have staff members on the sidewalk until 8:30 am.

2. PM kindergarten students can be dropped off at the front entrance.

3. Afternoon pick-up: We will begin at 3:30 for K-2 students, please be prepared to show your driver's license and sign your children out until our staff is familiarized with you.

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It is very important for you, as the parents and guardians, to receive essential information and notification of events; therefore, I urge you to please join the courses of your child's teacher.

Online Forms in Power School

If you have not had a chance to complete these online forms (student information, over-the counter-medication form, mass notification, emergency contacts, parent/guardian contact, parent/guardian information...), we ask that you do so as soon as possible. It is helpful for us to have your updated information in order for us to have an open line of communication with you. If you need help with any of this, please don't hesitate to give our office a call.
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Nurse's News

Don’t forget to return your Over The Counter (OTC) permission form or you can complete it online by logging in to your Power School account. All medications must be brought to school and given to our nurse by a parent or guardian.


Sept. 2 - 5: Happy Labor Day - No school

Sept: 6 (Day 1):

  • Acadience Benchmark all day - at designated time for each class

Sept: 7 (Day 2):

  • Acadience Benchmark morning only - at designated time for each class
  • PTO Meeting @ 6:30 p.m.

Sept. 8 (Day 3):

  • Severe Weather Drill

Sept. 9 (Day 4):

  • Medical Emergency Drill - students will remain in classrooms

Sept. 12 (Day 1)

  • Interior Threat Drill - students remain in classrooms and follow teacher's guidance

Sept. 13 (Day 2)

  • Fire Drill

Sept. 14 (Day 3):

  • Picture Day
  • Exterior threat drill - students remain in classrooms and follow teacher's guidance

Sept. 15 (Day 4):

  • Exterior threat drill - students remain in classrooms and follow teacher's guidance
  • Grades 1 & 2 Meet the Teacher Night - drop-in visit, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Sept. 28 (Day 1):

  • Two-hour late start - modified kindergarten schedule is followed
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Kindergarten Color Days

Let's join our kindergarten classrooms to celebrate their color days on the dates below. All students and staff are encouraged to participate.
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1. On September 7th, 2022, at 6:30, our PTO will host its first meeting in our library at Fort Zeller. Most meetings will be held on the first Tuesday of every month. We hope that you will consider joining our meetings and provide your valuable input to support our students and staff at Fort Zeller.

2. Volunteering: If you have an interest in being a volunteer in your child's classroom or in our school, please use this link,, to complete the necessary paperwork on clearances. Don't hesitate to call our office at (610) 589-2575 if you need additional assistance.

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1 - Lincoln Templin

2 - Annabel Lee Cook & Ethan Grier

4 - Cole Nee

5 - Calvin Metzgar

7 - Natalie Kelchner

9 - Leland Derr

10 - Kaylena Cipriani, Logan Witmer & Lucas Witmer

12 - Jayden Dejesus

16 - Abigail Grube

19 - Jameson Johnson

22 - Anhelina Miseruk

24 - Julien Grey Torres

26 - Raylin Gerhart & Taylor Keashon

27 - Kaiden Bowers & Myles Sholley

28 - Arriah Marks


Our students will not take the iPads home this year; however, there will be times when classroom teachers will send them home with students to complete assignments. Thank you in advance for your help to ensure that the iPads are carefully handled at home in addition to being charged and getting the proper care.

Community Outreach

This past summer, our ELCO Wild about Books book mobile traveled throughout the district to provide our students and families with books, fun activities, and yummy treats. We are so appreciative of all the time and dedication our staff put in to making the bookmobile so successful!
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Contact us

Fort Zeller Elementary School

243 North Sheridan Road

Richland, PA 17087

Phone: (610) 589-2575

Fax: 610-589-5815

Twitter: @ElcoFort