Symmes Elementary School
October 2, 2020
ALL conferences will be held virtually, for both Virtual Classroom and Face-to Face students. Parents will receive details regarding the conferences as they get closer. Dates are as follows:
Nov. 19 (Thursday) Evening Conferences (K-6)
Nov. 20 (Friday) Daytime conferences (No School-K-8 only)
Nov. 23 (Monday) Evening Conferences (K-4 and 7-8)
New Sycamore Attendance Line
ALL K-6 parents are asked to call 686-1707 to report a student absence each morning before school begins. The message will prompt parents to do the following:
To report an absence that may be related to COVID-19 symptoms, exposure, or diagnosis, please press 1.
To report an absence unrelated to COVID-19, all K-6 parents of students in the Virtual Classroom should press 2.
Any K-6 parent of students in the Virtual Classroom reporting an absence after 9:00am should call the Sycamore Learning Commons at 686-1708. Any parent of a Symmes Face to Face student reporting an absence after 9:45am should call the Symmes Office at 686-1740.
Love Our Library
Please support the Love Our Library program at Symmes Elementary by allowing your child to donate a new library book in celebration of his/her birthday. With your $15 gift, your child may select a book from our “birthday batch” of books to help build and enrich our library collection. Although we cannot check books out this year we still LOVE books! Your student(s) will be able to personalize a bookplate for their selected book and will get a photo on the wall with the book selection. If your student is in a virtual classroom, I will send you a list of options and then you could send me a picture of your child for the wall. We will include summer and early fall birthdays with our October pictures.
Our Love Our Library program is great way to celebrate and leave a literary legacy in your child’s name.
Thank you for your help in building a better library.
Lisa Gausmann, Symmes Media Center
To participate please donate $15 (cash or check payable to Symmes Elementary School). If Face to Face, you can send it to school with your child in an envelope. If Virtual Classroom, please drop it off at school or mail to Symmes Elementary, 11820 Enyart Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45140.
With your $15.00 gift, please include:
Whether your student is Face to Face or Virtual
Your student’s teacher
Your student’s birthday (month and day)
Occasion if other than a birthday
All donations must be received by May 11, 2021.
Happy Birthday and Happy Reading!
Join the PTO!
Who can become a member?
Any parent or guardian of a current Symmes Elementary Student (virtual and face-to-face learners), or any current Symmes Elementary Staff Member. Please fill out one the forms below to become a registered PTO member.
How much does it cost to become a member?
There is no mandatory cost involved in membership.
How can I help?
Due to the circumstances facing the entire District during the 2020-21 school year, the Symmes PTO will not be organizing any formal fundraising activities during the first semester. The PTO will still be working hard to support all of our virtual and face to face students, staff and families. Many teachers have faced additional costs this year, so please consider supporting the PTO if you are able. All four elementary schools are contributing to the virtual teachers as well.
Symmes Elementary PTO
Sycamore High School’s speak up AVES student group invites you to join our team for the annual 1N5 Warrior Run. This year’s event is a virtual “choose your own path” event that encourages participants to complete a 5K - YOUR WAY! The challenge runs from September 26 through October 10. Registration proceeds support the work of 1N5, our community partner, committed to mental health education across the state, city and our district. Sponsorship funds raised come directly back to Sycamore Schools to support mental health programming. Additionally, if Sycamore High School can win the high school challenge, they earn additional funds and opportunities to support mental health at Sycamore High School, and most of all, bragging rights! Visit our team page for more information and register or donate today!
Hamilton County Public Health requires all close contacts to quarantine for 14 days. As a reminder, close contacts are defined as anyone who has been within 6 feet of a confirmed case for 15 minutes, with or without a mask, in a 48 hour period cumulatively.
While we have not experienced any confirmed cases yet in our building, at any time students or staff may need to quarantine based on exposure elsewhere. We know that being identified as a close contact and the effects of quarantining can elicit a range of emotions for students and their families.
In an effort to address the impact to mental health, our school counselors will begin educating students about what it means to be in quarantine using our PBIS expectations. Additionally, students will receive instruction on how to be a good friend and how to support close contact classmates during any required time away from school. It is our belief that by starting this conversation with students we can destigmatize this critical safety requirement for our students and their families.
If you have any questions or concerns about mental health services and supports in the district, please reach out to Lisa Zelvy, Pupil Services Supervisor, at 686-1700 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Mealtime Procedures Grades K-6
Beginning October 12, Sycamore Child Nutrition will no longer be using a pre-order system for Grades K-6 breakfast and lunch. We received a great deal of negative feedback from families about the functionality of the pre-ordering system put in place at the beginning of the school year. In addition, pre-ordering and meal delivery (for Grades K-4) was placing an undue burden on staff. In an effort to be responsive, we are doing away with the pre-ordering system and shifting towards our traditional meal ordering process with safety protocols in place. These protocols include social distancing while in line, contactless checkout, and extra sanitation measures.
How will students order meals and be served?
Students will select what they want to eat while going through the lunch line as in a typical school year.
Students will be served most of their meals by the kitchen staff. If necessary, students will grab limited pre-packaged fruits and veggies and milk to finish their meal.
How will students checkout safely?
As a reminder, all meals are free for ALL students until December 31 (or until the allotted program funds are no longer available-whichever comes first).
Students will use a lanyard with a lunch badge and scan it at our new scanners for a contactless checkout. They will not enter their numbers into pin pads as in past years.
What other safety protocols will be in place?
Physical distancing using marks on the floors will be put in place. Students will still be separated by class when coming through the lunch line.
The kitchen staff will be wearing proper PPE and face shields for added safety.
There will be extra sanitation procedures between groups going through the line.
When does pre-ordering end?
The last day you need to pre-order for your child will be Friday, October 9th. The first day for traditional meal ordering will be Monday, October 12.
How do I find out what’s for lunch at my child’s school?
Menus for October 12 and beyond can be found on the Sycamore website or by clicking here
Does this also impact students in Grades 7-12?
No, only for Grades K-6. There are no changes for meal ordering at Grades 7-12.
This year, we will be implementing a building-wide policy regarding birthday celebrations. Due to COVID-19, we CANNOT allow ANY treats/items to be brought in at this time.
If unauthorized treats or trinkets are sent in, unfortunately we will have to send them back home unopened. We have determined this to be necessary for the safety of all our students.
We enjoy many Symmes traditions that go along with acknowledging birthdays or half birthdays (if students have a summer birthday). We announce the birthday child’s name on the morning announcements along with their favorite dessert, classes sing the “Happy Birthday” song, and students receive a special birthday sticker to wear for the day.
Please know that we are not trying to take the fun out of birthdays. Classroom teachers will continue to recognize children on their special day in special ways. We trust that you understand how deeply important it is to respect and adhere to these guidelines. The safety of all our students is our utmost priority and we appreciate your cooperation and understanding.
Thank you for your continued partnership!
Do you walk your student home from school?
Please note that this option is ONLY AVAILABLE to families who are walking home from school. Students are not allowed to walk home without a parent or guardian
Starting in October, your child will have the option to join a "Google Meet" to hang out with Mrs. Ralston....and other guests! Lunches will be held on the following schedule:
Kdg - 1st Thursday of every month
1st Grade - 1st Tuesday of every month
2nd Grade - 2nd Tuesday of every month
3rd Grade - 3rd Tuesday of every month
4th Grade - 4th Tuesday of every month
*Links to the meetings will be shared by your classroom teachers. Please only have your child attend their grade level meet so we can more easily manage our numbers.
This is optional for students, and is an additional time for us to stay connected.
We know that there will be some months that we will not be able to get together, but we look forward to seeing you all as often as possible!
Virtual Learning Partners
Many thanks to our families who have provided us with feedback over the past two weeks. We have heard you and are working towards an even better experience for our learners each and every day. We truly appreciate our partnership with our parents and our virtual Learning Partners!!
One frequent point of feedback has been that technology challenges appear more problematic during whole class sessions, either over Google Meet or Blackboard Collaborate. The promising news is two-fold; 1.) the new devices recently provided to our K-2 learners are helping with connectivity and 2.) all K-6 teachers are now making the natural shift from large group community building into the use of more small groups in their instruction, typical of best practice at this point of the school year in an elementary classroom. While there certainly will be opportunities for whole class meetings and sessions, the evolution towards more targeted small group learning should reduce the number of technology challenges that some virtual families have experienced. This shift will also result in less consecutive and focused screen time, including some natural breaks for our youngest students as they move between different learning experiences provided by their teacher.
Learning Partners will begin to notice more utilization of student-centered, small group instruction/activities on a regular basis. In practice, students will be grouped by the teacher to participate in differentiated activities and learning experiences designed to provide targeted instruction to meet their needs. In the face to face classroom, this often entails centers, stations, or small group activities around the classroom as well as individual meetings with the teacher. In the virtual classroom, this may include breakout room activities, individual sessions with the teacher, or other virtual grouping techniques.
Learning Partners will play a pivotal role in helping our younger students navigate the various learning activities being developed for small group instruction and will be key to helping them manage their time. This might include helping the student navigate to and from online and offline work throughout the day, completing assignments, or joining the teacher online at a specific time. The following chart provides some additional guidance using our 4 Be’s
Our elementary teachers are highly trained in student-centered instruction, as this is a key element of their craft. With ongoing professional development and on-site support from our instructional technology specialists, our teachers will continue to translate key learning practices into virtual learning opportunities. With your continued partnership in this endeavor, we will continue to work toward creating a high quality, engaging virtual learning experience for our youngest students.
As always, please let us know if you have any additional questions or concerns.
Virtual Classroom Administrator
Virtual Meal Curbside Pick Up
Thank you to everyone who ordered and picked up meals for the virtual curbside pickup service this past week. We served 368 students for a total of 3680 meals! Also, thank you for patiently waiting in the line at the high school, as we know the line was very long.
Effective Wednesday, September 30th the pick-up location for all families for virtual meals is no longer at the High School. You instead will pick up at your student’s assigned school location. IF you have multiple students that attend different buildings, meals for all of your children will be available for pick up at the OLDEST child’s school. You do not need to visit multiple schools.
Pickup time below for Symmes will be Wednesday from 10:00 am to 11:00 am.
Maps for pick up locations at each school are located here. If you have not already signed up and would like to do so, please sign up here. Please note, the cutoff each week to sign up is Sunday at Midnight.
Also please note:
If your student(s) are quarantined at home and you would like access to school meals, you can sign up for the virtual meal curbside pick up by registering here and get meals this way until you are back at school. All meals are free to ALL students until December 31st. Find out more information about pick-up times, locations, and FAQs by clicking here.
Free and Reduced Forms for Virtual Families and P-EBT
All families that qualify for free and reduced-price meals or feel like they might qualify this year need to fill out their application ASAP. Ohio Department of Education in conjunction with the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services is running another round of Pandemic-EBT cards, but ONLY for families who have children learning virtually 5 days a week.
The P-EBT program provides families eligible for free or reduced-price meals with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, formerly known as food stamps, in the amount of $5.86 (the federal reimbursement rate for breakfast and lunch) for each day a school has remote learning provided for the month of September. All children eligible for free and reduced-price meals are eligible for these benefits, including children who were approved through Direct Certification and children approved based on a free or reduced-price student meal application, as long as the student has remote learning periods lasting at least five consecutive days.
IF you want to be included on this list that will be sent to ODJFS early next week, you need to have your free and reduced applications for the 2020-21 school year turned in by 8:00 am on Monday morning either online OR o the Child Nutrition Office - 5959 Hagewa Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45242. We encourage whoever is able to do their application online to do so by visiting www.payschoolscentral.com. Online applications will have an automatic response. Find more information on filling out a free and reduced meal form by visiting https://www.sycamoreschools.org/Page/2292.