Buzzin' in the Hive

Graden Parent and Family Newsletter, August 2020

Dear Graden Families,

We are eager to welcome everyone back! We hope you had a wonderful summer. As always, we are looking forward to the start of this new academic year. Each new school year brings opportunities for academic growth and growth in all areas of development. I am excited to share that all of our Graden Hornets, whether online or face-to-face will be assigned a Graden teacher and will be in class with Graden students. The start of this year will be much different than previous years, and we are truly grateful that we have a community of families that trust us to continue to provide exceptional learning opportunities for all of our students whether you have chosen our face-to-face option or our online option.

The Leader in Me process provides Graden Elementary with the vision and language to lead in a way that addresses all areas of development. As each child discovers and develops his or her unique gifts and talents, they are given opportunities to lead. As leaders, they become active and engaged partners in their own education. The children quickly understand the benefits of different gifts and talents; they learn to listen to new ideas, work together to achieve results, and motivate one another to be the best they can be.

Our Hornet staff and community have done an outstanding job the past 85 years creating a sense of belonging, providing a safe, respectful and caring environment and most importantly helping students learn. This year may look very different, but our purpose remains the same.

I look forward to seeing our hornets on Tuesday, September 8th!

Mrs. Easley

Principal, Graden Elementary - Home of the Hornets

Big picture


Principal: Vanna Easley


Assistant Principal: Courtney Bishop


Executive Administrative Assistant: Nikki Suchanick


Graden Registrar: Meghan Wheeler


Big picture
Big picture

The following staff members will join us in new positions and/or new name changes for the 2020-21 school year:

  • Courtney Bishop will join our administrative team as Assistant Principal
  • Tiffany Wilson will join the kindergarten team
  • Johna Robeson will teach our kindergarten and 1st grade online class section
  • Courtney Gibson will move from 2nd grade to 1st grade
  • Maggie Wright will teach our 1st and 2nd grade online class section
  • Beth Williams will join the 2nd grade team
  • Shelby Rushin will move from 4th grade to 3rd grade
  • Christina Hibbs will teach our 3rd and 4th grade online class section
  • Amy Schmidt will join the 5th grade team
  • Lezlee Ivy will teach our 4th and 5th grade online class section
  • Erica Roberts will join Graden as our building teaching assistant
  • Elizabeth Williams will be our English Language Development teaching assistant
  • Samantha White will student teach K-5 and will begin with Hannah Huffaker
  • Amanda Claywell will student teacher in 4th grade with Hunter Whitt
Big picture

We are working diligently to place all students in classes using the most up-to-date information regarding face-to-face and online enrollment. Class assignments will be emailed to families on Monday, August 24th. You will receive an email with your child’s teacher as long as you have proven residency. If you have questions, please call the Graden office, 359-4340. We are here to help!

Big picture

Monday, August 24th

This year, we are limiting the number of visitors that enter the building to comply with CDC guidelines which requires us to make adjustments to many of our parent and family events.

We will have a Virtual Back to School Bash after you receive class placement on Monday, August 24th.

At 5:00 pm each Hornet family will receive an email with a SMORE newsletter attached. This newsletter will include welcome videos from our Graden staff and teachers. You will have an opportunity to view your student's classroom teacher video and other staff around the building.

Big picture

Thursday, September 3rd

We would like to welcome all of our incoming kindergarten students and parents in for a brief welcome meeting and tour of Graden while complying with CDC guidelines (masks & social distancing). Each teacher will provide a 20 minute informational meeting followed by a 10 minute tour around the building facilitated by one of our specials teachers.

A link will be included in your class placement email that will be sent to all families on Monday, August 24th. Please access the link and sign up for a time to visit your child's classroom teacher on Thursday, September 3 between 12:00 pm- 6:30 pm. Each slot allows for two students per class. If a time does not work with your schedule please call (816) 359-4340 and we will work to ensure you are able to visit Graden prior to the first day of school.

**Please bring school supplies to school if you have them.

Big picture
Big picture


ALL students at Graden Elementary will receive a photo badge and lanyard which they will use each day to hold their face mask, access their lunch account, check out library books, access print jobs and to ride the bus. Students will be responsible for bringing their ID badge and lanyard to and from school each day. Students will wear badges all day. If a student loses their badge, there will be a $5.00 replacement fee. Your help with this process is very much appreciated.


Throughout the school year, the district or school might take a picture or video and release personal information about students. This could be to a local newspaper, Graden newsletter, or on Park Hill channel 18. The district or school might also post pictures on web pages. Additionally, Graden PTA publishes a school directory (BUZZ book) so that parents can reach each other. The school provides contact information for this directory, including but not limited to names, address and telephone numbers. If you DO NOT want your child’s image, or your family’s contact information released, please contact your child’s teacher or the office to fill out an Image/Contact Information OPT-OUT form.

Big picture

We are preparing to reopen our doors for fall, but understand that it will look much different than a "regular" return to school after summer break. The district created a Reopening Task Force that used input from families, students, and staff to create a plan called the Five Pillars of Prevention. These pillars are considered the five most important actions we can take to mitigate the spread of any virus:

  1. Hand Washing
  2. Social Distancing
  3. Cloth Face Coverings
  4. Cleaning and Disinfection
  5. Maintain Stable Cohort Groups

At Graden we have specific plans and procedures in place to ensure that our students are safe every time they enter the building.

  1. All students must wear a face mask on the bus and when the enter and exit the building.
  2. Face masks are required in ALL areas of the building EXCEPT for when students are eating, in PE or at Recess.
  3. Students will wash hands frequently and desks and tables will be sanitized multiple times throughout the day.
  4. Students will social distance while at lunch: two classrooms in each grade level will eat in the cafeteria while the other two eat in their individual classrooms. This rotation will switch weekly so that we are able to clean and sanitize accordingly.
  5. Students will stay with their stable classes at recess. Each class will be assigned a location on the playground to play and students will play in this location for the entire period. This will be a daily rotation so that students will have opportunities to play on all areas of the playground throughout the week.
  6. All classrooms will be cleaned and disinfected throughout the day.
  7. Plexiglass dividers will be provided for student tables to offer an additional layer of protection.

Our school staff is continuously preparing for the safety of the Graden community. There are guidelines set by the Park Hill School District to ensure that all schools have emergency plans in place. It is our goal at Graden Elementary that all students, parents, and staff feel safe. This school year we will conduct ten fire drills, one earthquake drill, two tornado drills, two intruder drills, and a secondary rally point evacuation drill. Our staff has been trained and will be discussing emergency procedures for all drills in the classrooms. We want you to know that each teacher will approach their class discussions with care and consideration of the students present.

To ensure the safety of your children and to comply with CDC guidelines, classroom visitors will not be allowed for the 2020-2021 school year or until safety precautions are lifted.

To access your child or to enter the school building, you will need to scan your state issued ID (driver’s license, military ID, government ID, state ID cards….). If students arrive late to school, they WILL need to be signed in by an adult with their school ID number NOT by name. Therefore, it is imperative that an adult park and escort the child into the office and assists with the check in procedure should they arrive late.

If you are bringing a forgotten lunch or homework, please bring it to the office instead of walking to your child’s class. We will be happy to call your child to the office to pick up the items. Staff members have been instructed to stop visitors who do not have an ID badge.

We have phones in all classrooms so that you can call the classroom directly. Please note that during the instructional day the phones will be set to go directly to voicemail. You can leave the teacher a message and they will return your call during one of their break times.

Big picture


  • Supervision of the students begins at 8:50 am. Please do not drop off students prior to 8:50 am
  • All students must wear a face mask to enter the building
  • Only students eating breakfast should report to the cafeteria at 8:50 am
  • Students are not allowed to roam the hallways before classes begin
  • Everyday car riders should be dropped off on the west side of the building
  • Students arriving from 8:50 am – 8:55 am should enter the west doors and remain seated in the back hall until they are dismissed by the supervising adult
  • Students arriving after 9:10 am will be counted as tardy and will need to report to the office to receive an admit slip


In an effort to decrease the number of students riding on the bus, we encourage you to explore alternative transportation for the semester. While we understand that this is not possible for all students/families, for those who are able, we appreciate your partnership to ensure that there are as few students riding the bus as possible.

With that said, all Graden students are provided with bus transportation at no cost. At times, students may need to ride a bus different than the one they are normally scheduled to ride or get off at a different stop from their regular bus. In that case, you must request an alternate bus transportation form and meet with Nikki or Meghan in the office prior to the change in transportation. These requests are not intended for students going over to play at a friend’s house. Bus changes are designed for changes in daycare or for the safety of the student.

Any time your child will be going home a different way than usual, please send a note or an email to the teacher or give us a call. We would appreciate a phone call no later than 3:00 pm for transportation changes.

Bus riders will be dropped off and dismissed through the doors at the center of the building. Bus riders will be loaded and unloaded one bus at a time to ensure students are able to social distance as the enter and exit the building.


Everyday car riders will be dismissed to the west parking lot at 3:55 pm. Staff members will help the children into their cars. Parents will be given a placard that needs to be displayed in the front window of their vehicle so our staff can identify you. Please note that all car riders will use the same entrance and exit, on the west side of the building. In order to keep the flow of traffic moving, please pull up as far as you can before unloading. Our goal is to release your children safely and as quickly as possible.

Early Release Days

Fall early release days have been canceled to optimize student instruction time. The district will reconvene prior to December to make a decision about spring early release days. We will communicate this information as soon as we receive it.

Big picture

The Park Hill School District will offer before and after school child care at Graden Elementary. Arrangements can be made by calling the Adventure Club office at 359-4064. Students who attend Adventure Club should drive around to the back of the building and enter through the cafeteria doors.

Big picture

Things in the health room look quite different than they did a year ago. As we move forward to the start of the school year at Graden Elementary, I want to communicate the ever-changing guidelines for the health and safety of our Hornets. Specifically, what does it look like to visit the school nurse during a pandemic?

  • If your child should need medical care, a staff member will assess if it can be handled within the classroom. First aid kits will be available to every teacher for simple things like a lost tooth, small cut, dry skin, or old injuries. This will help decrease traffic in the health room and continue to keep kids in stable groups.
  • If your child needs further care, a staff member will attempt to contact the nurse for direction and guidance on sending a student to the health room.
  • All students will wait outside the health room until a temperature check is completed and it is safe to enter.
  • All students will be required to wear a mask in the building (except for while eating, in PE or at recess) This includes wearing masks in our classrooms, hallways, restrooms, and the health room.
  • As always, significant attention for injuries, asthma, bee stings, severe nose bleeds should be sent immediately.
  • In the case of a severe illness or fever, an isolation room is available until that student is picked up by a parent.
  • When a student presents with a mild symptom(s) at home, please do not send them to school. This year all precautions to prevent the spread of illnesses will be taken extremely seriously and unfortunately, will result in the child needing to be sent home.
  • Please be proactive in having a “Sick Child Plan” in place. This could simply be a designated family member to care for a sick child, when a parent is working.
  • All students and staff returning to school after an illness will need to meet the current criteria to come back. This may include some or all the following criteria: being symptom free, a negative COVID test, a quarantine period for at least 10 school days, or a physician’s clearance to return to school or work.
  • For acute or chronic conditions that require medication at school, please contact the nurse to drop off your child’s prescription or over the counter medications. Students should not carry medication to and from school, including cough drops.
  • If your child has a medical condition such as asthma, diabetes, seizures, or any other condition which may affect their day at school, please contact me.

For the most up-to-date detailed information on health and safety, please visit:

After six years at Graden Elementary, I am ready more than ever to start the school year and be the school nurse. I am looking forward to caring for all your children. As always, I am here to answer any of your questions.

Wishing You A Healthy &

Successful School Year,

Nurse Kris

Big picture

Meet our Board Members:

Jolayne Gorman, President

Jamie Fender, Vice President

Erica Scott, Secretary

Mary Carrier, Treasurer

Jessica Freels, Parliamentarian

What is a PTA?

A PTA is a local, self-governing unit. It promotes the Purposes and Mission of the Missouri and the National PTA as it plans its programs and activities to meet the needs of children and youth in the community. It is linked through its all-inclusive membership and by its acceptance of the Purposes and Mission of the National PTA and the Missouri PTA. It shares in the resources of the entire organization, such as national and state conventions, workshops, conferences, publicity and special leadership development conferences.

All of us have a great responsibility to our children. As a PTA, your group is part of a larger community working on behalf of children advocating for health, welfare, safety, education, and the protection of children at every level of government. PTA is recognized throughout many communities as the organization that continues to make a difference for children’s issues.

For more information visit: National PTA at or Missouri PTA at

Why Should I Join PTA?

PTA's mission is to make every child’s potential a reality by engaging and empowering families and communities to advocate for all children. When you join Graden PTA you also become a member of Missouri PTA and National PTA - one of the largest child advocacy groups in the country. According to , “Over the past 120 years, PTA has helped solve some of the biggest issues facing America’s children. Many of the structures all children benefit from today—child labor laws, universal kindergarten, the National School Lunch Program and the juvenile justice system—were accomplished as a result of PTA

members’ advocacy.”

Missouri PTA is very active in advocating for children in the Missouri House and

Senate and when you join Graden PTA you join the more than 40,000 members

statewide to give strength and power to the voice of Missouri PTA.

Yes! We also love for you to volunteer your time, energy and dollars - and there will

be plenty of opportunity for all of those - but even if you feel you have nothing to give

you can still be part of this organization that supports every child.

PTA Meetings Meetings will be held on the second Monday of each month at 6:30pm via Zoom.

Watch your email for a link to participate in meetings!

20/21 Meeting Dates:

September 14th

October 12th

November 9th

December 14th

January 11th

February 8th

March 8th

April 12th



School Office (816) 359-4340

School Fax (816) 359-4349

Attendance Line (816) 359-4341

First Student Bus Company (816) 359-4560

Adventure Club (816) 359-5015