Panther Press

"personalizing Education" - April 2016

A Note from the Principal

Seylar is very proud of the academic achievement of our students. While we devote great energy to academics, we strive to provide a program that addresses the needs of the whole child. The following is a list of objectives that reflect our Whole Child perspective:

  • Help each child acquire the greatest possible understanding of himself/herself and appreciation of his/her self‑worth.

  • Help each child acquire understanding and appreciation of persons belonging to all social, cultural, and ethnic groups.

  • Help each child acquire the mastery of the basic skills in the use of words and numbers.

  • Help each child acquire an active curiosity.

  • Help each child acquire the habits and attitudes of responsible citizenship.

  • Help each child acquire good health habits and an understanding of the conditions necessary for maintaining physical and emotional well‑being.

  • Give each child the opportunity and encouragement to be creative in more than one field.

  • Help each child understand the opportunities open to him or her to prepare for a productive life and help each child to take full advantage of these opportunities.

  • Help each child to understand, appreciate, and respect human achievement in the natural sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities and the arts.

  • Help each child to prepare for a world of rapid change and unforeseeable demands in which continuing education throughout adult life should be a normal expectation.

Warm regards,

Miles Roe

YouTube Alert

Over the past month, I have spoken to a number of students for behavior issues that are inappropriate for school. Many of these behaviors have centered around items that students have viewed on YouTube.

While YouTube is a great resource for information and entertainment when children are supervised, it is not appropriate for them without the guidance of an adult. YouTube offers a kid-friendly site called YouTube Kids. This site only offers content appropriate for a younger viewing age. They also provide Parental Controls that you can lock based on your child's age. It also allows you to limit screen time by placing timer on the apps use. Click here for further information.

Raptor Identification System

Message from Dr. Rattigan that was communicated in March...

The safety of our students is always a top priority for the Pennridge School District. The Pennridge School District Board of Education voted in January 2016 to implement the Raptor Security System for the school buildings. The go-live date for the Raptor system was scheduled for March 29, 2016. The information found below details the new procedures and provides an introduction to the new visitor screening system.

Raptor provides an effective way to help schools keep unwanted visitors out while keeping track of those admitted into the buildings. The new system will:

  • Electronically sign in and sign out visitors
  • Print visitor badges
  • Screen all visitors against the national sex offender database
  • Provide real-time offender alerts

By simply scanning a visitor’s driver’s license, other valid ID, or inputting valid identification information, Raptor instantly screens for registered sex offenders in all 50 states. If a potential threat is identified, the Raptor system sends instant alerts to designated officials, including administrators, law enforcement and school security via email and/or text messaging.

Please know that confidentiality is very important to us and the only information maintained in the database when you visit is the visitor name, date of birth and photo. District staff responsible for operating the system have all received training directly from Raptor.

Please note that the ID badge does not replace the Pennridge School District requirement for clearances for all volunteers. If you are interested in learning more about the Raptor system, please feel free to access their website using the following URL: If you have any questions, please contact your building Principal or the Human Resources Department. We appreciate your cooperation and dedication to keeping our students and staff safe.

Study Island and First in Math Winners

During the months of December and January, students have been busy mastering our Common Core Math and RELA Skills on Study Island. This web based program is used at school and can also be accessed at home. The winners will enjoy pretzels with the Principal. Congratulations!


Classrooms Who Earned the Most Blue Ribbons:

Third Grade: Mrs. Benstead’s Class

Fourth Grade: Mrs. Raimo’s Class

Fifth Grade: Mrs. Groff’s Class

Students Who Received the Most Blue Ribbons - Third Grade:

Mackenzie Robinson

Caitlyn Peace

Melissa Hinkson

Averi Dockery*

Students Who Received the Most Blue Ribbons - Fourth Grade

Jenna Gagliardi

Carleigh Aller

Rhiannon Ritter*

Students Who Received the Most Blue Ribbons - Fifth Grade

Zachary Lufkin

Jared Hess

Caleb Marcott


Classroom Who Earned the Most Stickers:

1st Grade: Mrs. Cotugno's Class

2nd Grade: Mrs. Holtz's Class

Students Who Received the Most Stickers - Grade 1

Colin Cox*

Brendon Brower

Anna Paillard

Students Who Received the Most Stickers - Grade 2:

Chloe Benner

Nate Fuchs

Brayden Robinson*

Dylan Nace

*Missing from photo below.

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School-Wide Service Project

During the last week in March, our classrooms collected school supplies for McKlosky Elementary School in the Philadelphia School District. This activity kicked off our theme "Be United". Thank you, Seylar families, for donating these supplies! More importantly, thank you for teaching your children about reaching out to help communities that are in need.
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A Message from Mrs. Kunakorn

I'm pleased to announce that over 100 students were recognized for "Being Optimistic" at our PROUD assembly held on March 27th. Listed below are the recipients in Kindergarten through Grade 5. During the coming months, Seylar will be focusing on Being United. Students will be receive a "Being United" PAW using the following:

  • Together is Better
  • Think Win-Win
  • Make Connections
  • Reach Out!
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Raising the Bar with Mrs. Zanine


"You cannot use up creativity. The more you use the more you have." Maya Angelou

Divergent thinking refers to the way the mind generates creative ideas. We often hear people refer to it as "thinking outside the box”. Divergent thinking is open-ended and aimed at developing fresh views and novel solutions.

One key to developing strong divergent thinking skills is to promote fluency of thought. Fluent thinking is the ability to generate a large number of ideas and possibilities. To improve fluency, you can practice by brainstorming many, varied, and unusual ideas that come to mind. The more you do this the more you improve your fluency. Here are some guidelines to use when encouraging fluent thought during brainstorming.

Rule 1: Withhold judgment - It is important to withhold judgment during the brainstorming process. Ideas which initially seem like they won't work can sometimes have enormous benefits when modified. Withholding judgment will reduce the inhibitions in yourself and others. Original ideas that stimulate good solutions are more likely to be shared. It also frees some brain power. All of it can be focused on generating new ideas and not wasted on evaluation.

Rule 2: Encourage wild and exaggerated ideas - There is a saying, “It's easier to a tame wild idea than it is to perk up a dull one.” Coming up with crazy, outside the box ideas during brainstorming is a great way to stimulate new thought patterns.

Rule 3: Quantity counts at this stage, not quality – Although during the brainstorming process you may generate many unusable ideas or those you think are common or boring, you will undoubtedly arrive at many good and even exceptional ideas as well. Quality comes with quantity. It's easier to pick out exciting ideas from a large list than a small list. Idea evaluation is often easier than idea generation, so give yourself lots of ideas to analyze later.

Rule 4: Build on the ideas put forward by others - In class we call this hitchhiking or piggybacking. It's often easier to adapt someone else's idea than to generate a completely original one. Think of brainstorming as a team sport. If you are working alone, some of your ideas in your brainstorming list may trigger other ideas.

Do you want to help improve your child’s divergent thinking or even your own? Practice brainstorming. Use time limits to measure growth. Anywhere from thirty seconds to three minutes is a good idea. Select a prompt such as the ones below and start brainstorming! You can keep tallies of the number of responses or write down each idea in list form.

Fluency Prompt Suggestions:

  • Name things you look through.
  • Name things that are fast.
  • Name things that open and close.
  • Name as many things as you can that can be read.
  • Name as many ways as you can to use water.
  • Name things that fly.

Can you come up with more prompts on your own? This activity can be a fun game to play on a long car ride, waiting in a physician’s waiting room, or in the grocery line. When you practice increasing your divergent thinking, don’t forget to be patient with yourself, take some risks, add some humor, and have some fun!

Reading Olympics Success

Over 50 Seylar Fourth and Fifth graders participated in the annual Reading Olympics Competition this school year. At the competition, each team participated in a three-round tournament competing against teams from other Pennridge elementary schools. Depending on the number of points earned in the competition, each student received either a yellow, green, red, or blue ribbon. This year we had one team receive a blue ribbon while the others received a green and red ribbons. We are appreciative of the following faculty members for assisting this school year; they were Mrs. Hilton, Mrs. Benstead, Mrs. Cristoforo, Mrs. Groff, Mrs. Drago, Mrs. Tambourino, Mrs. Raimo, Mrs. Donato, Mrs. Jones, Mr. Sukaly, and Mrs. Mulloy.

Student Placement for 2016-17 School Year

On Wednesday, April 6th, parents and guardians of students in Kindergarten through Fourth Grade will receive a letter regarding student placement for the 2016-2017 school year. The information will provide you with some insight relating to the process involved in a student’s classroom assignment. In addition, the letter will specify the procedure to follow in the event you would like to provide information for the school team’s consideration relating to your child’s needs. Please address your correspondence to my attention and make sure it is submitted by Thursday, April 30th.

Olympic Day Volunteers

As we begin to warm up here in spring and head towards summer I would like to remind you of the upcoming Seylar Olympic Day scheduled for Friday, June 3, 2016 (rain date Friday, June 10, 2016). I am always humbled by the amount of volunteers I get to help run this exciting event for the kids. However, because of the security measures being taken by the Pennridge School District to maintain the safest environment for our children, this year volunteers MUST have the necessary background checks and paperwork on file and completed to volunteer to help out on Olympic Day. Information for background checks can be found on the Seylar website or by clicking HERE.

In addition, all volunteers must have their Photo ID scanned suing our new Raptor System.

If you have any questions about the background checks please visit contact me via email at or call me directly at school at 215-257-6272 ext. 2600.

2016 Visiting Author

Our school has been reading the book, The Adventures of a South Pole Pig, by Chris Kurtz. Each classroom teacher, from Kindergarten through 5th Grade, will be completing this book as a read aloud to their students. Activities will range among the grades and be shared during an all school assembly on May 2, 2016.

This year, we are also fortunate to host the author, Chris Kurtz, to be included in our assembly. If you are interested in purchasing a copy of the book to be signed by the author, an order form should be returned to Mrs. Mulloy by April 11, 2016. (Late orders cannot be accepted.)

Make checks payable to Harleysville Book Store

Thank you Seylar Home and School for providing this opportunity for our students!

Will Your Child be Returning to Seylar Next Year

A letter asking if your child will be attending Seylar Elementary during the next school year will be sent home on Wednesday, April 6, with all students in grades K-4. We ask your cooperation in completing and returning the letter promptly because the information is needed to obtain accurate projections for the upcoming school year and will alleviate us having to send additional requests in order to hear back from everyone.

Save the Dates

Listed below are some important End of the Year activity dates that have been schedules on our website calendar. Activities that have "Parents Invited" indicate that parents are able to observe. If you have any questions, please contact the main office.

  • Monday, June 6th (Day 3) – Talent Show 1:45-2:45 (parents invited)

  • Tuesday, June 7th (Day 4) – Move-Up Day Activity 9:30-10:30
  • Wednesday, June 8th (Day 5) – Fifth Grade Farewell 9:30-10:30 (5th Grade Parents/Family only)
  • Friday, June 10th (Day 2) – Staff Kickball Tournament w/ Students
  • Monday, June 13th (Day 3) – Student Awards Assembly 9:30-10:30 (Parent Invitation Only)

2016 PSSA Testing Dates

English Language Arts PSSA, Grade 3-5 - April 12, 13, 14, 15

Math, Grade 3-5 - April 19, 20, 21

Science, Grade 4 - April 26, 27

All vacation forms will not be approved during these testing dates per Pennsylvania Department of Education.

Please CLICK HERE for the official PDE handout for parents/guardians.

For additional information on how you can support your child during these testing days, please CLICK HERE.

Report Card Distribution

The third marking period end on April 10th. Report cards will be distributed on April 27th.

Spring Picture Day

REMINDER: Spring pictures will be held on Friday, April 8th. Information has already been sent home to students.

Grandparents/Special Friend Day

Since this event is a perfect match to a First Grade unit in Social Studies, we are changing this event from an every-other-year school-wide visitation-type program to a special annual curriculum activity involving the First Grade students and their grandparents/special friends. Notices about this year’s event, which is scheduled for Friday, April 8, from 9:30 AM to 10:30 AM, were sent home with our first grade students. Please remember to bring your photo ID to be scanned with our new RAPTOR Identification System.

Book Swap


Donate books during the Month of April, 2016

Swap will take place the week of June 6.


Students can bring the books to the Seylar library.


All students and staff can donate books.

All Seylar students will receive at least one book.

What are we looking for?

Gently used books

Age appropriate books

What do we not want?

Preschool books, adult books, damaged books or books with mature themes.

Please contact Mrs. Mulloy with questions.

Yearbook on Sale

Yearbooks are now on sale! Don't miss out on your copy of our 60 page, full color yearbook, packed with all the events of this school year. We will once again be using Jostens Publishing Company, and all yearbooks will have our school name and the year printed. The price of this year’s publication is $22.50. Go online and order your yearbook now on the Seylar Elementary website...Just look for the link "Order a Yearbook" or CLICK HERE.

2016-17 Kindergarten Registration

The Pennridge School District is currently in the process of planning Kindergarten registration for the 2016-2017 school year. Information will be posted on the district website ( the first week of February for any resident with a child who will reach the age of 5 on or before August 31, 2016. If you, or someone you know, has a child that meets the age requirement, please direct them to the district website to complete the online registration process. Complete instructions will be available to you including when we will begin scheduling appointments for the March registration.

From the Nurse's Office

Just a reminder concerning field trips : Nurses are not permitted to send any medication from the health room; this is in accordance with District policy and The Pa Nurse Practice Act. All medications (Tylenol, antacids, EpiPens, inhalers, etc.) for field trips need to be sent from home with instructions and delivered to the teacher.

  • Missing immunizations are due by May 1st or your child will be excluded from school, per state regulations. Please be sure these immunizations are completed so as not to interrupt your child’s education. Immunizations are offered at the Department of Health in Doylestown (215-345-3344) or in Quakertown (215-529-7000), but you must call soon for hours and an appointment.

  • Remember to keep a change of underwear/clothing in your child’s backpack, especially with all of the mud/rain we've had. It will save you having to bring your child something dry to wear. And somehow they always manage to find the puddles and the mud!

  • Parents, please be aware that any time your child hits his/her head at school and complains of headache, dizziness, blurred vision or develops any other symptoms related to a possible concussion, he/she will need to be cleared by a physician to return to PE/recess. Concussions are a serious concern these days and we have instituted this procedure to safeguard your child.

Mrs. C. Hayes

Certified School Nurse

March's Silver Spoon Award Winner

Congratulations to Mrs. Amary's classroom for winning March's Silver Spoon Award. Pictures will be included in April's Panther Press.

February's Silver Spoon Winner - Mr. Sukaly's 4th Graders!

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NAESP: Report to Parents

CLICK HERE to access an article on CREATIVITY.

Contact Us

"Personalizing Education"

Education is a very personal thing. We at Seylar believe that every child has the right to achieve their highest potential and for them to be inspired, to dream, to be excited, and to have pride within themselves and for their school community. Our mission is to combine these beliefs with your child’s innate passions and love for learning to bring together a mind’s on approach, where students are engaged, challenged, and supported so they can achieve their personal best.