Symmes Elementary School


March 12, 2021

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Mark your Calendar

  • March 15 to March 19: NO SCHOOL - Spring Break

Dear Symmes Students and Families,

It is with great excitement that I write this letter of introduction to you as the new Principal of Symmes Elementary School. I am honored to have the opportunity to continue to lead our school. As all of our students, families, and staff know, Symmes is a special place. We have the best students, excellent teachers, and very supportive families and school community. I feel so fortunate to be part of this school. The support from all of you this week, just confirms that Symmes is my home. It is where I am meant to be.

I have been dedicated to the field of education for more than twenty years. I have worked with students ranging in age from Kindergarten through 5th grade in a variety of roles. I have been a special education teacher and intervention teacher and have served as the Assistant Principal at Symmes Elementary for the past 6 years. I have been fortunate to have been mentored by our late principal, Anne Van Kirk. She has taught me to lead with my heart and to always do what is right for kids. It is my mission to continue the great traditions at Symmes Elementary while moving forward to make Symmes even greater!

On a personal note, my husband and I have lived in the Symmes attendance area for the last 8 years. We have three children. Alex is a junior at Sycamore High School. Anna is a freshman at Sycamore High School. Alivia is a fourth-grader at Symmes Elementary. We are active members of the Sycamore community and engage in SAC basketball, GSSA soccer, school theater, high school sports, and volunteer at OGB. We are so proud to be part of the Sycamore School District, one that values high standards by providing rich learning experiences for all students.

I view education as a life-long process and expect that I will continue to learn in this role and in the years to come. Most importantly, I bring a belief that students are at the center of all school-related decisions. I am excited to unite my experience, my openness to learn, and my child-centered approach to support our students. Because the relationships between families and the school are vital to the success of our students, I encourage you to become involved in every way possible. I look forward to being your principal!

Jessica Ralston

Symmes Elementary Principal

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Each Friday, we record and share the morning announcements in this newsletter. During these announcements, we:

  • Highlight and give a Shout out to a Virtual Classroom Grade Level
  • Share highlights and or events for the upcoming week
  • Share birthdays of face to face and virtual students
  • Announce Bee Buck Winners for virtual and face to face

We hope that you can tune in each Friday!

Letter to Parents about AIR Testing Parent

March 3, 2021

Dear Sycamore Families,

After spring break, our 3rd-10th grade students will be presented with the opportunity to demonstrate their progress on grade level standards via the Ohio Computer Based Assessments. This will occur during two 15-day windows. English Language Arts will be assessed March 29-April 19 and Math, Science, and Social Studies will be assessed April 12-April 30. These assessments will be administered on a district-owned computer and may be taken in separate parts, sometimes on separate days. The Ohio Department of Education mandates that these tests be taken in person and monitored by district personnel.

All students in our face-to-face model will take the test in their buildings at some point in time between the aforementioned windows. All virtual students will take the tests on separate days within their grade level buildings or the Virtual Commons (grades 3 and 4) during the same aforementioned window. The district is not able to provide transportation for virtual students in grades 3-8 due to capacity restrictions as a result of current distancing requirements. Information regarding specific dates and times of assessments will be generated by each building test coordinator and/or the Virtual Learning administrator and will be communicated via their newsletters very soon.

While the 2021 state tests will not hold the same level of accountability for districts as they have in the past, the state’s annual assessments provide a snapshot of your child’s progress in their understanding and application of curriculum standards. From a district perspective, these results allow us to benchmark ourselves against similar districts and to identify trends in data that will guide our work with teachers and students. Our teachers have worked diligently to fully prepare your child to be successful on these assessments and in other aspects of their growth and development.

We are so appreciative of the support you provide your children in our partnership together toward academic excellence. If, for some reason, your child will not be able to take these assessments, or if you have any questions regarding district testing logistics, please contact your building administrator. For information regarding the Ohio Assessments, go to


Karen B. Naber

Assistant Superintendent

Symmes Steppers is Back for the Spring with a 1,000 Mile Challenge!!

Symmes Steppers is returning this Spring and will be trying something new – a schoolwide 1,000 Mile Challenge! We are challenging all the Symmes Students, virtual & face-to-face, to Step Together Toward 1,000 Miles!

Virtual & Face-to-Face Students will take part in completing as many “laps” as they can each week. Virtual families will send their distance each week to the Symmes Steppers Coordinators while the face-to-face students will be tracked by their homeroom teacher. All miles completed by virtual & face-to-face students will be colored on a 1,000 mile Shoe Poster to be displayed at Symmes! Our goal is to fill multiple posters by the end of the school year! Updates will be shared each week via announcements and the Symmes PTO Facebook page. We will also have a fun weekly grade level competition!

Virtual Families – Please send an email to Sara & Jaime ( each week beginning March 22nd with the name of your student, grade level & total distance completed. We will track their progress and make sure their total is added to the Symmes Shoe Poster and counted toward their individual grade level’s total miles. Please be on the lookout for more information, including ideas for tracking your child’s distance, on the Symmes PTO Facebook page!

If you have any questions, please contact Sara O’Hara & Jaime Magee at

Nature Trail Update for Community Members

The construction crews will be starting work on the new stage and retention area to the west of the current gymnasium. Beginning March 13, 2021, the Nature Trail at Symmes Elementary will only be accessible from the walking track entrance. We invite you to continue to use our beautiful nature trail but please be mindful that construction fencing denotes areas that are off-limits to the public for safety. Thank you for being patient with us as we navigate these exciting changes.

Time to Order your 2020-2021 Yearbook!

Cost is $16 for a standard cover and $18.75 for a personalized cover. Enter the school code and register as a "New User" to purchase. Deadline to purchase is April 8th. Yearbooks will be delivered in May and limited copies will be available to purchase in person so order online today!


School Code: 201541

Contact Brittany Haines at with any questions.

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Free Meals Extended

For all of the families that have been taking advantage of the free breakfast and lunches for ALL Sycamore schools and students this opportunity had been EXTENDED until the end of the 2020-21 school year!

All Sycamore families can enjoy free breakfast and free lunch all school year long.

Click here for more details for face to face families.

Click here for more details for virtual families.

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Transition to Greene School

We are excited to welcome your child to the Greene School. This is a special time in the district as the four neighborhood elementary schools come together for the first time. In fifth grade, we have 16 homerooms. The homerooms are grouped into four teams that consist of one teacher from each core subject (Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies). While the Greene School may seem large with all four elementary schools coming together, the teaming model will help your child feel like part of a smaller community.

When we place students into homerooms, it is important to us that students have a familiar face in their class. On March 22nd, I will email you a Student Information Form. This is an opportunity for you to provide us with the names of at least six preferred peers as well as other important information about your child. We will place your child in the same homeroom as one of the preferred peers you provide. This means your child will be in homeroom, lunch, and recess with the preferred peer. They may also have some classes with them. You will learn your child’s homeroom teacher and team this summer. We will email the primary contact placement information. Unfortunately, we are unable to accept requests for teachers or teams.

We will continue to provide updates on important topics. Below are the dates and topics. If you have questions about the Greene School please reach out to me (

March 25: Information about our Music Program

April 1: Information about Advanced Art

April 8: Information about Greene101

April 15: Information about Building Tours

April 22: Information about Get Connected Day

April 29: Information about Rising 5th Grade Parent Orientation Night

May 6: Information about Summer Tours

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Drop up/Pick up Reminders

If you drop off or pick up your student please remember the following:

  • Use care when entering and exiting our driveway. Please don't block the driveway intersection at Enyart.
  • Stay in your car.
  • Pull your car up to the car in front of you.
  • Turn off your car while you are waiting.
  • At pick up, flip your car tag to the white side once all your students are in the car. This is an easy way for the adults helping to know that you are ready to go!
  • At pick up, students will enter your car from the CENTER aisle and find their appropriate seat once in the car. Please DO NOT encourage your child to walk around the front (or back) of your car in order to get into your car.

Thank you!
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Virtual Picnics

Here are the dates for upcoming lunches:

*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. Your child's teacher will share the link to your grade level meeting with you.

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!


4th Grade from 11:50 am - 12:15 pm with Mr. Phou


1st Grade from 11:50 am - 12:10 pm with Mrs. Matula

UPDATED Virtual Meal Pick Up Location for Symmes Families

March 10th, 2021 was the LAST day Symmes Elementary will be a pickup location for virtual curbside meal pick up. Due to construction at Symmes Elementary, all families that currently pick up their virtual meals at Symmes Elementary will need to pick them up at a different location. You will be required to fill out THIS FORM to choose where you prefer to pick up from March 24th, 2021 until the end of the school year. You only need to fill out this form once, and the location you choose will be where you pick up until the end of the school year.

Reminders will be going out weekly to families that have registered for virtual meals at Symmes during this school year.

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