Tiger Talk Back 2 School Edition #8

08/12/21

Today's Edition: Helpful Tips from our Receptionist

Please watch for our daily editions, weekdays 8/3 - 8/16!

We are SOOOO excited to start the new school year!!! And, we suspect that you might be, too!

To prepare us all for August 18, we are publishing Special Edition Tiger Talks each weekday leading up to Meet the Teacher Day and the First Day of School. In each Special Edition, we will cover a topic that we hope you will find reassuring and helpful.


And, certainly, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us. It is a pleasure and a privilege to be of assistance to our Tiger Families.


We look forward to seeing you soon!

A Welcome From our Principal

It is with great pleasure that I extend a warm welcome to all of our new and returning families to West Cypress Hills Elementary School! There are so many reasons to celebrate our school, and it starts with your being a part of this magnificent community. West Cypress Hills Elementary is a learning community where every learner is nurtured, respected, and challenged. Here at WCHE we believe learning should be a social, inspiring journey full of dynamic experiences that build the love of life-long learning in all of our students. This year we will continue to explore all of the ways West Cypress teachers build personal, inspiring and authentic educational experiences for our learners.


I am thrilled that you have chosen West Cypress Hills Elementary as your child’s school. Our staff is highly-qualified, hard-working, and dedicated to growing strong learners and leaders here on our campus. We deeply appreciate your sharing your wonderful children with us here at WCHE. We treasure the opportunity to learn and grow together with our WCHE families.


If convenient for you to do so, please stop by our school Library, Wednesday, August 18, around 7:42 am, so that I can visit with you in person over a cup of coffee. Our fabulous PTO is sponsoring a Principal's Coffee the morning that our Tigers start their new school year. I look forward to meeting you there.


With warmest regards,

Melanie Beninga, Principal

Our Friendly WCHE Receptionist is Michelle Harper

Hi! I am Michelle Harper, the Receptionist at WCHE!


I am so excited about this upcoming school year and seeing all your little Tigers! As your Receptionist, and with the start of a new year, I want to provide support to parents and students as much as possible!


Here are some helpful hints to get the year started off great.

The #1 Tip from Michelle - Trust SMARTTag!

We utilize SMARTTag's dismissal management system to provide you and us with your instructions concerning how your Tiger(s) will go home at the end of the school day. When you provide instructions through SMARTTag, the classroom teacher will automatically receive your instructions.


Be sure to register in SMARTTag's Parent Portal and make certain that our default (usual way home) setting as of August 17 is correct for your Tiger(s.) If the default dismissal type is already present, and it is correct, no change is necessary. If it is not correct, or it is blank, please update it by 6 pm August 17. Parents can update the default information temporarily until the end of the day on the first day of school. After the first day of school, please contact me so that I can update the default information for you. In the event that you want to deviate from the usual way home on a particular day, however, you can ADD A DISMISSAL CHANGE for that day or for a series of days. For example, if your Tiger usually rides the school bus home, the default dismissal type should be bus. And, if you want to walk your Tiger home on the first day of school, you can add a dismissal change for August 18 to show your Tiger is an escorted walker for that particular day.


The default dismissal is how your student will be going home unless you make changes in SMARTTag to update the dismissal setting for that day. SMARTTag is the go-to tool for Parents/Guardians to update the following:


  • absences
  • early departures
  • late arrivals to school
  • after school activities(enrichment classes, scouting, gymnastics)
  • transportations changes(changes can be made up until 2pm


Make sure to register in SMARTTag's Parent Portal!

Big picture

Tip #2 - Signing Students Out Early

Dismissal is at 3:00pm. If you need to sign your student out early on a particular day, please make certain that the student's departure time from school will be prior to 2:30 pm. Here are some important points to remember:


  • SMARTTag- There is an option in SMARTTag that you can select which will notify us that your student will be leaving early. Notifying us of an early departure via SMARTTag is helpful in that your student can have their items (lunchbox and backpack) ready to go when you arrive. To select this option, you will log into your Parent Portal, select 'View Profile,' select 'Add Attendance Change,' and then select 'Early Dismissal.' You may even add a note to indicate the time that you plan to pick up the student.


  • Security of our students is a priority, so when signing a student out from school you will need to fill out a sign out request form located at the Receptionist's Desk. If you have not already had your photo ID scanned into our Raptor System as a designated guardian for that child, I will have to confirm that you are a designated guardian or that you are listed on the student's emergency contact list. Once confirmed, I will need one of the following to scan into the Raptor security system:

    • Valid Driver’s License (any state)
    • Passport
    • State-Issued Identification Card
    • Work Visa Green Card


  • We want to make sure your student does not miss any of their important classroom curriculum or school activities; so when picking up a student early (before 2:30,) I will call for your student when you arrive in the front office.


  • When picking up a student early, students might be in their Specials Class, Lunch or Recess so it's best to arrive a few minutes early to give them time to grab their backpacks and lunch boxes from their classrooms.

Tip #3 - RSVP for Events!

Throughout the year, we are likely to have several special events that you will learn about through communications from your Tiger's teacher and/or from our Tiger Talk newsletters. For events to which parents/guardians/families are invited to attend, we will also provide an opportunity for you to RSVP.


Trust me, ALWAYS utilize an RSVP when it's provided!


Whenever invited to visit our campus, you will, of course, need to obtain a visitor's badge through our Raptor system. On your fist visit to the campus, you will need to bring your photo ID so that we can create your Raptor profile. Once you have a profile in the Raptor system, you can obtain your own visitor's badge from our Raptor kiosks.


However, if your ID has already been scanned into the Raptor system and you are invited to RSVP for an event, take advantage of the RSVP! When I receive your email RSVP'ing for an event, I will prepare your visitor's badge in advance of your arrival. Thus, instead of waiting in a (sometimes long) line to obtain a badge, yours will be ready to go!


Please note, if your ID has not been previously scanned into our Raptor System, you will need to provide me with your valid ID so that I can set you up in the system.

Tip #4 - Dining with your Tiger(s)

Our Tigers love it when their family members come to have lunch with them! Lunch visitors will be able to have lunch with their students as of August 30.


Just a reminder, If your photo ID has not previously been set up in our Raptor System for this school year, I will ask you to present one of the following forms of identification upon your arrival:



  • Valid Driver’s License (any state)
  • Passport
  • State-Issued Identification Card
  • Work Visa Green Card


Licenses or identification cards will be scanned and returned. Once cleared, visitors will be issued a visitor's badge, which must be worn at all times while on campus. Upon departure, the visitor's badge must be returned to the Receptionist.


Once your photo ID has been added to our Raptor system, you will be able to sign in on your own when you visit your student for lunch.


Below is our lunch schedule. Please note, lunch visitors should arrive at the time of their student's schedule and should plan to stay no longer than the duration of the student's lunch period. There are designated places for parents and their child(ren) to sit together.


Kindergarten.......11:40 to 12:10

1st Grade............10:30 to 11:00

2nd Grade...........11:15 to 11:45

3rd Grade............12:05 to 12:35

4th Grade............12:35 to 1:05

5th Grade..............1:05 to 1:35

Tip #5 - Dropping Off Items for Delivery to your Tiger(s)

If your student forgets to bring something, a lunch, or jacket, or any other item that might be needed for the school day, there is a designated Drop Box (It's the big brown box) located in our front foyer at the main entrance to the school. Items that need to be delivered to your student should be labeled with the student's first and last name, grade, and teacher's name and the placed in the drop box. We will deliver the item(s) to the student.

Tip #6 - Feel Free to Phone Me

Please remember that you are welcome to phone me any time that you have questions. I am happy to be of assistance.


Have a great school year!

Upcoming Events

All Summer.............Tales & Tails WCHE Summer Reading Camp

07/01/21................LT Extended Care 21-22 Registration Opens Learn More

08/09 - 08/17/21....WCHE Office Open Weekdays 7:30 am to 4:00 pm

08/15/21.................LTEF Kinder Car Parade @ LTHS, 3322 RR 620 South, 3 - 5 pm.

08/17/21.................Meet the Teacher Day

08/17/21.................Parents Log into SMARTTag to Check Default Dismissal Settings!

08/18/21.................1st Day of School 7:40 am - 3:00 pm

08/18/21.................Coffee with the Principal 7:42 am WCHE Library

08/23/21.................1st Day of School for Online Learning

08/26/21.................PTO General Assembly - Tiger's Den - 9:30 am RSVP

08/27/21...............Student Only Assembly in the Gym @ 7:45 am

09/02/21...............Curriculum Night, KG-2nd 5:30 - 6:15 pm & 3rd -5th 6:30 - 7:15 pm

09/06/21...............No School - Happy Labor Day!