Buzzin' in the Hive

Graden Parent and Family Newsletter, August 2022

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 and our staff can't wait to have an amazing 2022-23 school year!

Our Hornet staff and community have done an outstanding job the past 87 years creating a sense of belonging, providing a safe, respectful and caring environment and most importantly helping students learn. We cannot wait to continue this tradition of excellence this year.

I look forward to seeing our Hornets on Thursday, August 18th at our Back to School Night from 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm. This is an evening dedicated to meeting your teacher, asking questions, and dropping off school supplies. Families are welcome to visit Graden on the 18th anytime between 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm.

Important Dates:

  • Tuesday, August 16th: PTA Meeting - 6:00 pm - Library
  • Thursday, August 18th: Back to School Night - 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
  • Monday, August 22rd: First Day of School!
  • Wednesday, August 31st: Fall Pictures (More info. to come)
  • Monday, September 5th: No School - Labor Day
  • Wednesday, September 7th: Early Release - Dismissal begins at 2:00 pm
  • Thursday, September 8th: Parent Orientation - 5:30 pm- 7:00 pm (More info. to come)
  • Monday, September 19th - Friday, September 23rd: Start With Hello Week (More Info. to come)

It's A Great Day to Be a Hornet!

Dr. Easley

Principal, Graden Elementary - Home of the Hornets


School Hours: 9:10 am - 4:00 pm

Doors open at 8:55 am for breakfast

Principal: Vanna Easley


Assistant Principal: Morgan Taylor


Executive Administrative Assistant: Nikki Suchanick


Graden Registrar: Angy Bullin



If your family has completed the annual residency verification process, you will receive class placement information on August 15.

All Park Hill families are required to complete the online residency verification process before student enrollment is finalized and class placement is made. We are unable to send classroom placement information to households who have not verified residency.

If you have questions about this process please call the school office at 816-359-4340.

***All Park Hill families must provide a copy of your lease or mortgage statement and one utility bill. Additionally, please ensure your child's immunizations are up to date with our school nurse. Students will not be permitted to begin the 2022-2023 school year without having this verification of residency and updated immunizations.

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The following staff members will join Graden in new positions and/or new name changes for the 2022-2023 school year:

  • Mrs. Morgan Taylor will join Graden as our assistant principal
  • Hannah Huffaker will move from 2nd grade to 1st grade
  • Destinee Robinson will join our 2nd grade team
  • Rachel Kahmann will move from 2nd grade to 4th grade
  • Hunter Whitt will move from 4th grade to 5th grade
  • Melinda Witherby will join Graden as our recovery room interventionist
  • Janet Culver will join our special education department as a resource teacher
  • Allison Dawson will join our support services team as our school social worker
  • Cheryl Hogan will move to our building teacher assistant position
  • Sara Chen will join our recess supervisor team
  • Beth Kasper will join Graden as our English Language Development teacher
  • Tara Dupras will join Graden as our school nurse
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We are working diligently to place all students in classes. Class assignments will be emailed to families on Monday, August 15th. 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!

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Thursday, August 18th

5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Families, please join us for a much-anticipated evening with the opportunity to meet our Graden staff. There will be opportunities to sign-up for PTA, purchase shirts, take photographs, meet your teacher and drop-off school supplies.


School Supplies

If you did not pre-order school supplies, please use the 2022-23 Park Hill school supply list attached below to purchase the correct supplies for the school year.

Breakfast and Lunch

Due to funding from a federal program, we were able to supply free meals to all children ages 18 and under for the past two years. That has ended and all students will need to pay for breakfast or lunch for the 2022-23 school year.

Meal pricing is provided below:





Families who think they might qualify for free and reduced meals should apply for these benefits. You can apply for these benefits by filling out the paperwork on your student's desk during back to school night or online.

SchoolCafe Meal Account:

All enrolled students have a meal account in Park Hill.

Parents are encouraged to register for a SchoolCafe account and attach your children to this account so you may monitor their account balance, set low balance email notifications, set ala carte (snack) restrictions, apply for free or reduced meal benefits, order daily hot meals for students working online, or make payments to your student’s meal account(s).

Please note that the site is free to use, however if you make payments through this portal, the web company does charge a 4.75% fee per transaction. To save this fee, you are welcome to send cash or check (made payable to PH Nutrition Services or PHNS) to school with your student. When doing so, we ask that the cash or check be placed in an envelope with the student’s name and “lunch” money marked on the outside. Each cafeteria has a “mail slot” box on the wall that payments can be deposited in or can be handed to our Nutrition Services staff as your student goes through the breakfast or lunch line.

When registering for a SchoolCafe account, you will need your student’s ID (“S”) number (5-digit number), without the “S”. This number can be found on Infinite Campus or by calling the Nutrition Services office at 816-359-4090.


ALL students at Graden Elementary will receive a photo badge and lanyard which they will use each day to access their lunch account, check out library books, access print jobs and 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.


Students may bring birthday treats into class to celebrate their birthday as long as they come from our list of treats that contain none of the major allergens.

Thank you for understanding that all classroom treats must come from this list, because we do not have the staff capacity to check for allergens that could threaten the health of some students.

Each classroom celebrates birthdays at a time that is conducive to their schedule. We do not allow parents or families to join classrooms for birthday celebrations as these are opportunities for students to celebrate with the teacher and classmates.

Approved Birthday Treats:

Please bring birthday treats ahead of time (two hours after the start of school, at the latest).

  • Stickers
  • Erasers
  • Pencils
  • Crazy straws
  • Blow Pops
  • Juice boxes
  • Popcorn
  • Smarties
  • Dum Dum lollipops
  • Jelly Belly
  • Nerds
  • Ring Pops
  • Skittles
  • Sour Patch Kids
  • Starburst
  • Swedish Fish
  • Life Saver Gummies
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  • Supervision of the students begins at 8:55 am. Please do not drop off students prior to 8:55 am
  • Only students eating breakfast should report to the cafeteria at 8:55 am
  • Students are not allowed to roam the hallways before classes begin
  • Students arriving after 9:10 am will be counted as tardy and will need to report to the office to receive an admit slip


Bus Riders

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 Angy 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.

Car Riders

Car riders will drop off and pick up in the back of the building on the upper playground (North side of Graden). All car riders will be given a car rider placard to be placed in the car window. Please have this placard visible beginning the second day of school to help expediate our dismissal process. Please read the below information regarding arrival and dismissal expectations. Your patience is much appreciated the first two weeks of school as we work on establishing smooth routines and procedures to ensure all students get home safely.

  • Arrival:
    • Form one line and drive to the back of the building
    • If you are the first car in line, stop at cone 1
    • Wait until a Graden staff member opens the door to begin arrival
    • Once the door is opened students may begin exiting cars
    • Have students ready to exit the car with bags in hand
    • PARENTS: please stay in your car. If your student needs support, a Graden staff member will help

  • Dismissal:
    • Form one line and drive around to the back gate.
    • If you are the first car in line, stop at the gate prior to entering the upper playground.
    • Place the name placard in your window
    • Follow in line as the cars move to stop at the cones in the back of the building
    • PARENTS: please stay in your car. If your student needs support getting into the car, a Graden staff member will help


All walkers will exit out the art room door (west door). A staff member will walk all students out and escort them across the crosswalk to families. Once students are across the crosswalk, they may walk to meet families or walk home.

Early Release Days

Early release days will be on Wednesdays for the 2022-23 school year. Dismissal on early release days begins at 2:00 pm.

Every early release day will be Interest Group Day at Graden. All students will engage in a cultural arts assembly and students will join interest groups to participate in an activity of high interest to them. I am thrilled to share that ALL assemblies and interest groups will be in-person this year.

2022-23 Early Release Days:

Wednesday, September 7th

Wednesday, October 5th

Wednesday, November 9th

Wednesday, December 7th

Wednesday, January 4th

Wednesday, February 1st

Wednesday, March 1st

Wednesday, April 5th

Wednesday, May 3rd

Look for more information about interest group days in our monthly newsletters.

Parent Volunteer Screening Information

We are looking forward to having parent volunteers support our classrooms this year. If you would like to volunteer in your child's classroom or on field trips, you will need to complete the volunteer screening process below.

Volunteer Screening Information:

  • Any volunteer who will be alone with students must have a full screening, which includes a criminal background check, a check of the child abuse and neglect registry, and a check of the sexual offender registry. Volunteers must complete the paperwork (attached below) and return to the Park Hill Communications department or to the Graden office.
  • Any volunteer that plans to attend a field trip with students must have a full screening completed which includes the above information.
  • If you completed a background check with Park Hill before March 2020, you must do it again, because the earlier screening process did not include the criminal background check.
  • If you completed the full screening in the spring of 2022, you will NOT need to do it again.
  • All volunteers must read and agree to the rules in our policy and procedure, and each volunteer will sign in and reaffirm the rules each time they arrive at a school to volunteer.
  • The district will receive updates if a volunteer’s screening status changes. Someone’s volunteer status can change at any time.
  • The district must pay a fee of $42.75 for each background check, as required by the state. If you would like to donate to help defray this expense, please enclose a check made out to the Park Hill School District for this amount with your screening form. This donation is not required.

The screening process can take up to two weeks or longer, depending on the time of year. Please be aware of this when submitting your application in anticipation of volunteering for specific events.

Lunch Visitors

Lunch visitors are welcome each day at Graden. If you would like to join your Hornet for lunch, please bring your license upon check-in at the Graden office. If you plan to purchase a school lunch, please have funds in your student's account or bring payment with you.

Visitors may also join recess after lunch. Please head immediately to the Graden office after recess to check-out.

Graden Lunch Schedule:

Kindergarten: 11:00 am -11:20 am

1st Grade: 11:20 am - 11:40 am

2nd Grade: 11:40 am - 12:00 pm

3rd Grade: 12:20 pm - 12:40 pm

4th Grade: 12:00 pm - 12:20 pm

5th Grade: 12:45 pm - 1:05 pm

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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.

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Graden PTA Board Members:

Hayley Cooper, President

Emily Miller, Vice President

Lindsay Ramon, Secretary

Maggie Wright, Treasurer

Jessica Freels, Parliamentarian

News from Graden PTA

Welcome back, Hornets! The PTA has plans for an exciting year for our Graden students and staff—and we want YOU to be a part of it!

· Sign up for PTA online today or stop by and see us during Back to School Night on Aug. 18.

· Join us for our first PTA meeting, Aug. 16 at 6 p.m. Graden students will be there to give you a sneak peek of what's new inside the building, and one lucky parent will win an exciting raffle prize!

· Connect with us on Facebook to see our upcoming events and learn how you can get involved.

Back to School Auction, Aug. 29 to Sept. 8

Help support Graden and get ready for a wonderful year when you take part in the Back to School Auction, hosted by Graden PTA. Beginning Aug. 29, you can bid online for fun opportunities, like movie night for your student's class, front row seats at musicals, bonus art classes and so much more. Funds raised during the Back to School Auction help support the students, staff and school! Stay tuned for more details and the auction link coming soon.

2022-23 PTA Meeting Dates

Tuesday, August 16th, 2022

Tuesday, September 6th, 2022

Tuesday, October 4th, 2022

Tuesday, November 1st, 2022

Tuesday, December 6th, 2022- Dr. Kimbrel, Superintendent visit

Tuesday, January 10th, 2023

Tuesday, February 7th, 2023

Tuesday, March 7th, 2023

Tuesday, April 4th, 2023

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2023

Additional Insurance Protection

Parents can purchase additional insurance protection for accidents that occur during school classes, while students are away from school, at home, during the weekends, and vacation periods, including summer months. The cost of this insurance is a one-time payment of $40.00. For information regarding this optional coverage, contact KidGuard Insurance at 1-800-432-6915 or email a request for information to


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