Dragon Blast

Mary C. Howse Elementary School

From the Principal

Dear MCH Parents:

I guess we can call this the home stretch...kind of. The one area of growth for me over the last year+ has been my focus on trying to be a better listener. Just taking a deep breath, focusing on the speaker and really listening to what they have to say - that goes for colleagues, parents, students and my family and friends. It truly has been enjoyable and I have felt the difference. About 6-7 years ago, I read a book titled "The One Thing" - I encourage you to research it and consider reading it - I gleaned quite a bit from it - for example, I now do NOT believe that I anyone can multi-task. Just saying that, I guarantee people are disagreeing with me right now. I am referring to trying to do two voluntary tasks at one time. It is near impossible to give 100% attention to each. Just think about someone who is on their phone and listening to you at the same time.

As we near the end of this school year, a few upcoming things to look for:

1. We will end the school year with the current restrictions on visitors/volunteers in the buildings.

2. PSSAs are the end of May and first week of June. We are waiting to see how many opt out before we can look at what those students would be doing during the test.

3. We are still working on plans to celebrate/recognize our 5th graders in spite of limitations.

4. Look for information regarding returning items back to the buildings.

5. If you have a 21-22 Kindergarten ready child, or know someone who does, please register and encourage them to do the same. We would rather "overplan" - even if a child is registered and does not ultimately attend, that is perfectly fine!

Remember, we are all in this together - with that said, continue to keep us informed of anything you feel we need to know - it is not our place to judge, rather we will work WITH you because our ultimate goal is to help our children grow because of us, not in spite of us.

Dr. Cat


To say that last year has been challenging would be an understatement! Still, WCASD teachers have risen to the occasion, instructing students on multiple platforms and finding different, creative ways to connect with them. We'd love to hear your stories and share them with our staff members as a way to recognize all they have done during the past year.

Please send us a thought or two about your teacher, administrator, or building staff member through the link below to let them know how much they mean to you, the impact they've made, or why you appreciate them. WCASD's Communications Department will deliver the messages during Teacher Appreciation Week in May.

Submissions are due Sunday, April 25, by 8 pm. https://www.wcasd.net/thankyou.


Please encourage your friends/neighbors to register ASAP, we use these #s to determine our staffing (number of teachers).

If you or someone you know has a child who is turning 5 before September 1, 2021, it is time to enroll them in kindergarten. Simply go to our district site, www.wcasd.net, and click on the enrollment icon. Please scan all necessary documents if possible: birth certificate, immunizations, health records, dental records and 2 proofs of residency. We will reach out to you to set up an appointment to complete the registration.


As you know, the PSSA is given in 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades. All grade levels will take the Math and English/Language Arts. Fourth grade also participates in the Science exam.

Testing Dates:

ELA (grades 3-5)- May 25-27

Math (grades 3-5) - June 1-2

Science (4th only) - June 3 & 4

OPT OUT: As Dr. Scanlon communicated, participation rates will not count toward the overall score on the state report card. Assessment results will not be utilized in any teacher or administration evaluations. Additionally, parents do not have to plan to review the test before opting out for religious reasons this year - if you would like to opt your child out of the PSSAs this year for any reason, please complete this PSSA Opt Out Form.

Please know that we use local assessment data to create instructional plans for students and guide our instruction. If you decide to opt your child out of the PSSA assessment, this will not be used against your child in any way.

NO ONLINE TEST VERSION: The assessment will only be offered in person, at school. There is no online version. Cyber and remote students will be able to come to school to take the assessment. More information will come soon about this process.


COVID-Related Student Absence

If your child has to isolate or quarantine due to COVID symptoms and/or testing in your household, s/he may be eligible to learn remotely for that time. Please contact the principal or nurse, if your child is absent for this reason. If your child is unable to attend school due to other illness or is absent for other reasons, please contact your child's teacher to arrange for make-up of missed work. Please always contact attendance when your child is absent from school.

Kindergarten News

Kindergarten students will be having a butterfly release ceremony with poems, music, and dancing when our caterpillars change into butterflies! Pictures to follow the ceremony!!

MCH Motophoto link


Big picture

Mary C. Howse Equity Team - UPDATE

Update - our team is reading "A Guide to Gender". Please never hesitate to reach out with questions, comments, feeling, stories or just wanting to chat!

With everything going on in society nowadays, our equity team has been continuing to work on addressing a multitude of issues to assist staff, students and parents. However, there is one thing that I, as the principal, have overlooked for years. Letting our MCH community know what is going on, or even what is the equity team and who is a part of it? So, here you go - first, we follow our district mantra -

WCASD Equity Mission:

Eradicate institutional racism and inequities through social justice, promoting the emotional development of staff and students, and embracing diverse perspectives.

WCASD Equity Goals:

  • Teach an inclusive curriculum that teaches anti-racism, celebrates differences, promotes understanding, and seeks multiple perspectives.
  • Promote a positive school climate in which students feel safe, respected, and appreciated.
  • Provide on-going professional development to all staff in all aspects of equity.
  • Engage staff, students, parents, and community members in our work.
  • Provide equitable access to district programming.

At Mary C. Howse - we meet at least monthly and our members include - Rebecca McAllister, Jason Benfield, Jackie Pascale, Terrence Wright, Mike Murray, Shabree White, Danielle Donoghue, Kim Fallon, Rosemary McGeehin, Chelsey Hurd, Mary Tanue, Anne Noone, Yolanda Stanton, Steve Catrambone, Alyssa Cotellese and Tara Jackson.

Events such as our Black History Museum and Hearts for Heritage Night have evolved from this group. We have formed smaller subcommittees for parent outreach, beautification, professional development and our School Wide behavior program.

We will use these sections to keep everyone abreast of what is going on - we want to branch out for more parent involvement but this pandemic has slowed that down a bit so stay tuned! Of course, NEVER hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns - you can contact ANYONE from the above list - just use their "first initial" "last name" @wcasd.net - for example - rmcallister@wcasd.net



From the Wright household. Terrance Jr. is still working at ACAC, he has been promoted to a management position (activities & leagues). He is still studying to obtain his Master’s Degree in Public Administration and Sports Management, he has maybe two (2) classes before graduation. And yesterday he began his internship at Malvern Prep in the athletic department, he’s “shadowing” the Athletic Director, hopefully he this could turn into a paid position down the road. If not there, the experience earned will land him somewhere wonderful.


Terrance L. Wright, Sr.

Head Custodian

Mary C. Howse Elementary

Positive Praise

Dr. Ranieri,

Hello! I hope you are well! I wanted to let you know how very impressed I was with the Reevaluation of my daughter. Dr. Stanton immediately put her at ease allowing for the sessions to be both productive and enjoyable. The Aptitude and Achievement tests were administered professionally and the assessment report was very thorough. She is to be commended for her methods, friendliness and spot on assessment.

My son likes Ms. Bryer 🙂 and is so happy to be back at MCH with his friends.

On the subject of teachers, I want to express my gratitude to you for Mrs. Rebecca McAllister - she does a phenomenal job teaching and we felt very fortunate to have her as my son's teacher for the cyber program. She has such a positive, encouraging, and fun way with the kids all the while teaching them. Mrs. McAllister always responded promptly to any of my inquires - even once answering on a weekend when I was worried that my son needed reading assistance. She truly goes above and beyond for her students. I hope that she will returning to MCH in the fall!

Dear Dr. Cat,

I just wanted to share some praise for Ms. Cotellese, Mrs. Watson and Miss Bryer. We are living amongst crazy times mixed with fear and uncertainty that feels like it may never end. One rock and constant in my boys life has been their teachers and the school environment. They have taken so much time to help them not only academically but socially build them up.

They say it takes a village to raise children and sometimes the village just isn’t there in our terms. The teachers have become our village as I see my boys race out the door excited for a new day. They have supported the boys while their dad is away for some months for work as well as checking in with me. Mr. Benfield has also been a tremendous role model for our son and they have really bonded. I didn’t include him as I don’t have his email. So cheers for Mary C Howse and the wonderful staff who are helping children achieve goals every day! Praise to you to Dr. Cat for showing the teachers a great role model to follow!

Have a great weekend,

Dr. Cat,

I don't have any questions or concerns, more like a compliment. I think it is so awesome how much you care and how you reach out to us, opening the lines for dialog if needed. Super impressed with you and MCH! We look so forward to returning in the fall!! *FINGERS CROSSED!!*

Hello Ann and Linda,

We are soooo lucky to have you both here. You guys make it all look so easy, and I KNOW it has to be hectic most days. Thank you for helping to be our problem solvers, support systems, first greeting of the day person, announcers, weather forecasters, lunch organizers, jokesters, supporters, and much more. Thank you for ALL you do to help our jobs run smoothly.

You guys rock!

Tech Support for Parents and FAQs

See: https://www.wcasd.net/site/Default.aspx?PageID=13027

Technology News:

Please remember to Charge your child’s iPad every night.

Use this link if you are having technical difficultly at home, and your child’s teacher is unable to assist you.


or email: MCHtech_support@wcasd.net

Tech Tip from our very own 4th grader, Nova A. How to split your screen on an ipad.



Current Classroom Teachers

Kindergarten - Mrs. Baer, Mrs. Jackson and Mrs. Giampalmi

1st grade - Mrs. Kane (Ms. Breyer), Mrs. Conner and Mrs. Skalski

2nd grade - Ms. Forbes, Ms. Dougherty, Mrs. Seese and Mr. Jacobus

3rd grade - Ms. Cotellese, Mrs. Ross, and Dr. Alba

4th grade - Mrs. Pohlig, Ms. Verrichia, and Ms. Flynn

5th grade - Mrs. Powers, Mrs. Keefe and Mr. Raws

Cyber Kindergarten - Mrs. Hower, Mrs. Greaves

Cyber 1st grade - Mrs. McAllister

Cyber 2nd grade - Mrs. Sochacki, Mrs. Hoban (Ms. Rothemich)

Cyber 3rd grade - Mrs. Cheney

Cyber 5th grade - Mr. Fabian

Cyber Reading Specialist - Mrs. Donoghue

What is Working at Home? Feel free to email Dr. Cat and share!!!

> Trying to limit screen time outside of school stuff such as games on IPADS/Phones and television.

> Take the time to research your Internet Providers parental controls!!! It is worth it!!!!

> Back to the old board games! My kids love them!!!

> Let them be more responsible and accountable - we met with our child's teacher and it was suggested to us to help/remind them to get on their zooms, but that was it! It was up to them to follow the directions and complete the assignments - just like as if they were in school!


Reminders from the office - please note as we get questions about the information listed:

SUPPLY PICKUP - If a teacher has requested that you pick up supplies at school, please stop by and get it as soon as you can. The supplies are in bins and boxes outside the building with the teachers names on each one. The office staff does not have anything to do with what is placed in the bins and if you have questions on what you received please email the teacher.

ABSENTEE HOTLINE - Please call 484-266-1310 and leave a message when you know your child will be absent from school or late. You can call the number at any time.

To all parents, guardians, and guests: You must come into the office to be checked in via the RAPTOR system with your driver’s license and receive a Visitor’s Badge prior to going anywhere in the building. Your license will be scanned in September and again in January. We appreciate your cooperation and assistance in helping to make and keep our school safe. Thank you for your cooperation.

ACTIVITY FEE - Just a reminder, there are no activity fees this year if your student will be participating in Chorus, Band, Orchestra (Honors as well), and After School Sports.

LUNCHES/LUNCH ACCOUNTS - Just a reminder that all students are entitled to a free lunch. If a student forgets a lunch, it is not necessary to bring lunch to school if you are not able to.

VACATION REQUESTS - When needing family vacation time, email Dr. Catrambone: Scatrambone@wcasd.net and cc: lpolito@wcasd.net with your request. Five days are allowed as excused absences for family vacation.

STUDENT CAR LINE - Drop off and pick up begins behind the school building. Please do not drop students off in the morning before 8:30 as supervision is not available. We ask that you do not exit your car during drop off or pick up. Also, please do not drive around the line unless directed to do so. Remember to be patient and courteous to one another in the car line. Please DO NOT ENTER the bus lane.

EARLY PICK UP - When needing an early dismissal, for any reason, please email Mrs. Duffy (Aduffy@wcasd.net), Mrs. Polito (Lpolito@wcasd.net) and your student's teacher. If someone other than yourself is picking up your student, include that in your email (name, relationship). They will be asked to show identification. Any afternoon pick-ups must be before 2:45.

Parent Resources

How to Help Kids Deal with School Closings and Cancelled Plans


Community Bulletin Board:

For activities offered around West Chester, see:


Keeping in Touch

· Please bookmark our school website. This is where we post many updates, school newsletter, supply list, pictures and our parent/student handbook. It can be found at: https://www.wcasd.net/Domain/661


· Mary C. Howse Webpage - https://www.wcasd.net/Domain/661

o See MCH School Tour link in upper right hand corner

· Twitter – Follow - @MCH_Elem - you’ll receive updates once you are a follower.

· Youtube – Mary C. Howse – found here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCveR39XTwn8AgmiOVqA6GZA

· MCH PTO Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/mchpto/ - be sure to become a follower to receive updates when changes occur.

Our Mary C. Howse School Pledge

I pledge

To be the best that I can be

Respect myself and others

Make safe choices

And take responsibility

For my learning and behavior

Parent Portal

Use the link below to access the parent portal page:


On the page, there is written documentation (English and Spanish,) as well as videos (English only) that walk parents through how to set up your parent portal account, how to access grades and set alerts, how to view the online report card, how to check attendance, etc. There is even an app for your phone if you prefer.

Please call the office for your child’s user name and password if you do not have the information that was provided to you at the beginning of the school year.