August 2023

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Welcome to the 23-24 school! We are beyond excited to welcome our students back to school and build positive relationships with them and with our families!

The first day of school is Monday, August 28 for K- 5 students. PK students will follow the schedule below for back to school dates:

  • Monday, August 28th - Porch Visits/Parent Teacher Conferences
  • Tuesday, August 29th - Staggered Start for students w/last names A-L
  • Wednesday, August 30 st - Staggered Start for students w/last names M- Z
  • Thursday, August 31st - All PK students attend
  • Friday, September 1st - All PK students attend

PLEASE take few moments to review this newsletter as it contains important and helpful information for you!

In order to ensure safety of our students and compliance with board policy, WCPS schools will not be allowing parents/guardians/others to walk children to their classrooms the first day of school or thereafter. Please be assured that staff are on duty daily (from Day 1 through Day 180) at the entrance to the school as well as in the internal hallways to provide assistance to children to their classrooms.

Further, In order to ensure safety of our students and compliance with board policy, families will not be allowed to eat lunch with students in our school cafeteria.

Like us on Facebook where newsletters and school announcements will be posted throughout the year. Search for and like us @ Potomac Heights Elementary - WE SOAR.

Paper copies of newsletters will no longer be distributed and fliers will be posted and/or emailed by the school and/or WCPS for community events/fliers.

Staff will be using REMIND to improve communication with our families. Remind is a communication platform that helps educators reach students and parents where they are. Remind is built for education, so personal information always stays private. Administrators and teachers use Remind to help strengthen relationships with students and parents. Please be sure your phone number is always up to date so that you receive notifications!

Each month, PHE will send home an electronic Family Newsletter using this S'more format. The monthly Family Newsletter will contain helpful information about the school as well as a link to a newsletter from each grade level for your review accordingly. Click on the Newsletters below to learn about any grade level or content area.

Our staff is always open to feedback and suggestions! Please reach out to any staff member if we may assist in any way.

Thank your for sharing your child/ren with us!

Mrs. Forrest

BACK TO SCHOOL - General Information

Daily Schedule

8:00-8:25 - Arrival - Doors open and free breakfast is served to all students in all classrooms

8:25 - 1st Arrival Bell will ring/Announcements

8:30 - Students Marked Tardy/ Instructional Day begins (PARENTS MUST SIGN CHILDREN IN AT FRONT OFFICE)

10:50 -12:50 Lunch Hours - **NOTE - families may not eat lunch with students for safety and security reasons**

  • 10:50-11:20 - Grade 5
  • 11:00-11:30 - PK
  • 11:20-11:50 - K
  • 11:40-12:10 - Grade 2
  • 11:50-12:20 - Grade 1
  • 12:10-12:40 - Grade 3
  • 12:20-12:50 - Grade 4

3:00 - Dismissal

Student Supply List

Please see the 23-24 PHE School Supply List. All grade level lists are on this document!

Transportation Information

Bus routes will be listed here http://wcpsmd.com/transportation/bus-routes .

If you need to change your child's pick up or drop off location then please complete a Transportation Location Change Form (TLC). The TLC form are due August 13 and requests are processed in the order they are received by the transportation department. More information is available here.

Bus information will also be available at our Open House.

Arrival Information (8:00-8:25)

  • All BUS RIDERS, and CAR RIDERS will arrive at the front loop.
  • Parents will need to remain in their cars during this process. Parents will not be permitted to walk students into school on any given school day in order to ensure school safety and more importantly, to promote and encourage student independence. Staff will gladly assist any student who may be reticent to enter the building!
  • WALKERS - please use the SIDEWALKS to the school. Please do not cut across the grassy area and cross over the loop

Dismissal Information (2:55-3:25)

Please review our PHE dismissal procedures in order to ensure the safety and security for our students; particularly students who are walkers.

For the purposes of these new procedures, please note the definitions below:

  • BUS RIDER - a student who has been assigned a bus by the transportation department to be transported to/from school daily

  • WALKER - a student who is a walker walks to and from their home and school daily. In other words, they do not get in a car at any point to get to/from school.

  • CAR RIDER - a student who is a car rider is driven in a vehicle to/from school using the car rider loop at the front of the school.

Please note the order of dismissal procedures w/ approximate times

2:55 - Daycare will be dismissed to cafeteria

2:56 - Bus Riders will be dismissed to buses

3:00 - Car Rider dismissal will begin (6 car rider spots w/staff members present to assist student into cars. Parents will remain in their vehicle!)

3:15 - Walkers will be dismissed from the rear gym doors after all car riders have been


Other Helpful Arrival/ Dismissal Information:

  • Pre-K and Kindergarten students will be given a bus vests to wear year round to signify a PK or K student to the bus drivers. Be sure that students wear these vests to school daily.
  • All parents picking up students will receive a Car Rider tag that may be picked up at Back to School Night. Anyone picking up a student will need to place this car rider tag on their dashboard with the student's name/s. Adults picking up students must be listed as emergency contacts in your ParentVue accounts. A staff member will call names via walkie talkie and staff will assist students to one of the 6 spots designated for pick up in the loop.
  • Please seat your child on the right passenger side of the car so that they are exiting directly onto the curb.
  • Dismissal changes will need to be communicated in writing (note or email) to the classroom teacher or front office by 8:30 a.m. Phone calls to the front office at any time during the school day requesting change in transportation will not be accepted
  • Please do your best to keep the dismissal plan consistent for students and staff.

Birthdays and Special Occasions

Student Birthdays and special holiday occasions are exciting events that occur throughout the school year and due to the large number of of birthdays and holidays on the calendar, please note the following:

  • Student Birthdays - Due to the high volume that would occur on a regular basis, student birthday parties/snacks/food will not be permitted within the school environment. Any form of food items and/or treats sent to school are prohibited on the day of their birthday. Additionally, sending invitations to birthday parties for distribution at school is prohibited as school staff cannot be held responsible for distributing party invitations along with providing individual mailing addresses and contact information.
  • Holidays - Holidays are special occasions worthy of recognition. If/when holiday celebrations occur at school (Winter Holiday and Valentine's Day), specific details and expectations will be communicated by your child's classroom teacher in a timely manner according to school guidelines.

Visitors/Volunteers - Visitor/Volunteer Application

We are excited to welcome visitors and volunteers back in to the school! If COVID-19 restrictions change and visitors/volunteers become restricted, we will notify our school community. Designated guidelines/procedures/forms for parent volunteerism and/or visitation are required before visiting/volunteering.You must complete and drop off the application linked above that is required before visiting or volunteering in the building. Visitors/Volunteers must remain in sight of a staff member at all times. The teacher lounge lounge and cafeteria are prohibited from visitors or volunteers. Please contact the school office @ 301-766-8305 for more information.

23-24 WCPS School Calendar and Student Handbook

Please use this link to view the 23-24 WCPS SCHOOL CALENDAR

This link will provide access the WCPS student handbook. Please bookmark or keep for your reference. You will also receive a hard copy from the school and you and your child will will need to sign and return the center inserts.

News from Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) - Meals at School

Great news....breakfast will continue to be served at no charge to all PHE students :-).

New this school year....PHE will also participate in the Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Program. This program provides funding to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables in identified elementary schools which are provided during non-meal service times. Twice a week the cafeteria staff will deliver a fruit or vegetable snack to each classroom as an afternoon snack. See more information here

However, lunch is no longer free for all students and it is critical that families complete a Free and Reduced Meal application in order to see if you qualify and/or will receive a free or reduced lunch. Meal Benefit Applications are only accepted online for free or reduced priced meals at www.schoollunchapp.com.

Other Helpful FNS Links:


WCPS would like to share a few tips regarding the care of your student’s Chromebook over the summer:

  • Keep it in a safe location and in the provided case, away from pets, food, drinks, and liquids.
  • Do not place foreign objects into the device's ports or openings.
  • Use care when inserting and removing cords, cables, and external devices.
  • Do not place anything on the keyboard before closing the lid, and never place heavy objects on top of the device.
  • Use a soft dry microfiber cloth to clean the screen or keyboard. Do not use liquid to clean the screen.
  • Do not add stickers or other decorative items that would alter the appearance of the Chromebook from when your student received it.
  • Do not tamper with or remove any WCPS or school tags.

Visit wcpstech.org, a resource for WCPS families seeking information on various technology topics, ranging from Chromebook care to online safety.
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ParentVue and StudentVue Accounts

Parent Vue/Student Vue accounts are available to all families so that you may monitor your child's attendance record, view grades and access your child's report card at the end of each marking period.

Communications and instructions were sent out to all families during the second week of July from WCPS Central Office to remind parents/students that an update is required to access ParentVue /StudentVue mobile applications. Please review the newsletter for instructions. More information is forthcoming from WCPS.

Don't have a Parent Vue/Student Vue account? No worries! We encourage families to set up an account during our Open House/Meet Our Staff times on August 25 or you may call the school office at 301-766-8305.


Introducing the PHE 23-24 Staff

PK Teacher/Para- Mrs. Jennifer White/TBA and Ms. Savannah Renn/Mrs. Nancy Fox

K/Para - Mrs. Lura Norris and Mrs. Karen Eagle Shaffer

1 - Mrs. Heather Puziss, Mrs. Jennifer Sealing and Ms. Sarah Shaikh

2 - Ms. Megan Jaye and Ms. Amanda Maraventano

3 - Ms. Rebecca Burkett, Ms. Catherine Brumfield and Mr. Will Hardie

4 - Ms. Amanda Hayes and Mrs. Chelsea Madron

5 - Mr. James Barnhart (Math/Science) and Mrs. Stephanie Pursel (ELA/SS)

Art - Mrs. Cassandra Urban

Media - Mrs. Colleen Watson

Music - Mrs. Colleen Glenn

PE - Mr. Chris Grove

GATE - Mrs. Lisa Myles

EL - Mrs. Julie Schultz

Case Manager - Mrs. Ari Humelsine

Special Education Paraprofessionals - Mrs.Danielle Sprecher (K-5), Mrs. Stephanie Griffith (Kindergraten) and Ms. Kendra Mumma (Kindergerten)

Speech Therapist - TBD

Counselor - Mrs. Monica Stine

School Psychologist - Ms. Angela Inghram

District Reading Tutor - Mrs. Carol Tomlinson

Resident Substitute - Kyle Jacobus

Secretary - Mrs. Lauren Boerstler

Custodial Staff - Kirk Faulders, Kenny Phillips, Lucas Young

Cafeteria - Ruth Tinney and Cecelia Renner

Lunch Assistants - Iris Almandarez, Nellie Winck and TBA

School Heath Office - Mrs. Celena Richards, CNA/CMT and Erin Caroleo, R.N.

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School Attendance!

The easiest way to ensure your child an opportunity for academic progress is to be here each and every day.

Daily attendance is critical for our students to grow academically. Over the last few years, PHE held a very high percentage of chronically absent students. While there were many factors that contributed to this statistic, our students experienced a significant loss in instruction as a result. We must work to reduce the number of significantly absent students this school year. Now that we have lifted covid 19 restrictions and are making our way back to school as 'normal' as we remember it to be, we have the opportunity to make major advances in academic achievement and this starts with STRONG ATTENDANCE PATTERNS! We will be monitoring attendance closely so that we may assist students in getting to school each and every day.

Please make every effort to build strong attendance patterns with your child! Thank you for you support!

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School Health Office News

Our school health office is staffed by CNA/CMT Celena Richards and RN Angie Felton.

You may call the health office by calling the school 301-766-8305 or email richacel@wcps.k12.md.us for more information or questions you may have! Helpful/Required forms for a student needing medication at school and/or with special dietary needs:

Medical Form for Students with Special Dietary Needs

Physician Medication Order Form

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Before and After School Child Care

The YMCA will be providing before and after school day care for students this year. Please give the YMCA a call at 301-739-3990 extension 4204 for more information or registration.