Cunniff Welcome Guide

Cunniff Elementary School - 2023-2024

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Welcome to Cunniff! We are excited to have you in our community. We hope the information provided in this guide will support your family in making a smooth transition to the Cunniff. If you have questions about anything in this guide or other questions that aren’t answered here, please contact your student’s teacher, the principal’s office, or your classroom PTO representative.

School Schedule


A copy of the school calendar can be found on the main Watertown Public School webpage:

The last day of school is not announced at the start of the year. State law requires 180 days of instruction, and also requires that any snow days be made-up before June 30th. The exact last day of school is determined by how many snow days are used during the year and is usually announced in the spring.

Snow Closings and Delayed Openings

Snow days and delayed openings are listed on the website, and broadcast on all major Boston local news outlets. You’ll also receive email and phone notifications from the school district.

Spring Kindergarten Screening

Each June the next year’s class of incoming Kindergarten students is invited to participate in kindergarten screening. On this day, there is no school for Kindergarten students since teachers are meeting the next cohort of Kindergarteners. The exact date of this day is usually determined in late spring by the town administration and we will publish it as soon as we have it on the calendar.

School Arrival and Dismissal Procedures

School Hours

School hours are 8:15 a.m - 2:30 p.m.


Arrival at school begins at 8:05 a.m. and class begins at 8:15 a.m. Students enter the building without their parents/caregivers through their grade’s designated entrance/exit (see below). If you arrive after the doors close at 8:15, your child must enter through the Main Entrance door and get a tardy slip in the main office.


Dismissal times are staggered by grade at the designated location:

Grade K is dismissed at 2:25 from the Cougar Door (spider playground door)

Grades 1 and 2 are dismissed at 2:27 from the Cougar Door (grade 1) and Cove door (Grade 2).

Grades 3, 4, and 5 are dismissed at 2:30 from the Cove door (Grade 3) and the Main Entrance door (grades 4 and 5).

See attached diagram to find your door

Teachers will ensure that each child is picked up by a parent, guardian, or authorized adult. If someone else will be picking up your child, please send a note or email to the teacher to let them know in advance.

If you need to pick up your child before dismissal, please let your child’s teacher know in advance. If someone other than a parent or legal guardian will be picking up, please contact the office in advance. When you or an authorized adult arrive, please ring the office doorbell at the main entrance door and staff will call your student for dismissal.

Early Release Days

Early release days (“half days”) are held throughout the year and are listed on the school calendar. On these days, students are dismissed early and teachers participate in professional development or conferences. Early release day dismissal times are 12:10 for Kindergarten, 12:12 for grades 1 and 2, and 12:15 for grades 3,4, and 5.

Students do not eat lunch at school on early release days, but free “grab-and-go” lunches are available to take home at dismissal. Students do eat a snack at school on early release days.

Parking on Warren Street

The lane in front of the school is for rolling pick-up and drop-off only. If you are planning to walk your child to school, you may park on Warren Street in front of the cemetery, on the opposite side of Warren Street, or on one of the side streets. Please do not block any driveways. The parking lot is for school staff only and should not be used for student drop-off or pick up.

School Absence and Illness


If your child is not at school, you will receive an automated phone call letting you know that your child is absent.

Parents/caregivers will need to report a student's absence by submitting a Google online form. This form will be used in the main office to confirm and monitor absences. The form is linked here: Cunniff 2023-2024 Absence Reporting Form

Please review the Covid-19 policy for guidelines, and contact school nurse Debbie Nolan with any questions.


If your child becomes ill during the day, they will be sent to the school nurse who will determine next steps. If your child needs to go home, the nurse will call you.

If your child has allergies or other medical needs, contact the nurse Ms. Debbie Nolan at 617-926-9748 or

Before School and Extended Day Programs

Cunniff Extended Day Program (CEDP) has both before school and after school programs. For more information visit:

Or contact Laureen Raftes at

School Lunch and Snack


Each student brings a nut-free snack from home. Students should also bring a filled water bottle daily.


Students can either bring a lunch from home or receive a free lunch in the cafeteria. Packed lunches may contain peanuts and/or tree nuts (only snack is “nut free”). The school menu can be found at Lunch and snack times are scheduled by grade.


The cafeteria opens at 7:45 a.m. for free breakfast. Students can enter through the main entrance door, and go to the cafeteria from 7:45 -8:15 for the purpose of getting a full breakfast. Parents/caretakers will need to accompany and supervise students while they eat their breakfast.


If your child has an allergy, please notify Nurse Debbie Nolan at For questions about school lunches, please contact the Director of School Nutrition Brandon Rabbit at or visit the food services website:


All school supplies will be provided by the school, so there is no need to purchase any.


Students go outside for recess every day (with the exception of extreme temperatures or inclement weather). Students should dress in appropriate outerwear for the weather each day. In the winter months, students will need snow-pants, boots, hats, and gloves each day. In the case of inclement weather, classes will have “indoor recess” in the classroom. During indoor recess, students engage in both movement and self-directed play.


Teachers will tell you your class’s specials schedule. Specials are:

  • Physical Education (twice per week) – please wear or bring sneakers

  • Art

  • Music

  • Library & Technology – please remember to return your library books

  • Spanish (A and B Day - alternate day schedule)

Report Cards

Report cards are sent home mid-year and again in June. Report cards are standards-based. See the Standards-Based Report Card FAQ for more information.

Ways to Get Involved

The Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) is a parent-led group that works directly with the principal and teachers to enrich the experiences of students and families. The PTO raises money for classroom supplies, enrichment programs, and community events. Everyone is welcome at PTO meetings. Visit for information.

The Diversity & Belonging Council’s mission is to empower and engage students and families from our diverse community in school activities. We welcome people from all cultures and backgrounds, people of color, LGBTQ+ communities, and people with disabilities. Email with any questions, to request an interpreter for a meeting, or if you want to be involved but can’t join a meeting.

The Cunniff School Site Council guides and supports the building principal to assess the educational needs of students and professional needs of faculty. They review the successes and opportunities against school and district improvement goals and review budgetary/planning issues impacting the building principal and advocate for solutions at the parental, school and district level. For more information on the Site Council, contact

The Cunniff Garden provides students with opportunities for environmental education, academic and food service connections, and additional outdoor physical activity during the school day. Parent volunteers are needed to help maintain the garden and ensure a successful harvest. Contact garden coordinator Judy Fallows at for more information on how you can get involved.

If you’re interested in volunteering at school, please contact the office or your child’s teacher.


If you have questions about your child’s class, contact their teacher. If you have general questions about the school, contact the office by phone (617-926-7726) or email AnneMarie Dangler at