Family News: August 5, 2022
In This Issue:
- Superintendent's Welcome Back Message
- Back to School Information and Resources
- Introducing ParentSquare
- School Meals Update
- Free and Reduced-Priced Meal Application
- School Bus Notifications
- Community Resource Fair Aug. 30
- Free Mental Health Services
- New Online Payment System
- Laptop Protection Plan Offered
- Kessler Center Student Art Dedication and Open House on Aug. 15
- School Board Highlights
Superintendent's Welcome Back Message
I am excited to welcome you to the 2022-2023 school year! Our staff has been hard at work throughout the summer preparing to support the learning needs and success of every student who will soon walk through our doors.
Our mission continues to be to partner with our diverse communities to educate and inspire our students to reach their full potential. In September, we will begin holding community and staff engagement meetings to gather input on our priorities and strategic direction. As part of this process, we hope to gain a detailed understanding of our areas of strength and those needing improvement to help provide a clear path forward to support higher levels of success for all students.
In November, we will ask voters to consider a capital levy to provide needed infrastructure improvements to address safety, security, and technology access throughout our schools and facilities. A previous capital levy request was narrowly rejected by voters in February. Since then, community feedback was gathered, and adjustments were made to fund additional safety, security, and technology improvements.
I look forward to all of the successes and milestones our students, staff and families will experience this school year. We will support this by creating learning opportunities that are rigorous, engaging, relevant, and connected to our community. These opportunities will set the stage and help prepare students for success in college, career, and life.
Dr. John Polm
Back to School Information and Resources
New for fall, the ParentSquare platform will replace the SchoolMessenger broadcast system for school and district communications. ParentSquare will be used to primarily send email, text, and app notifications in your preferred language. Emails sent through the ParentSquare platform will come from firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s a good idea to add this email address to your email address book to ensure emails from your school/s and district don’t go to spam.
On August 18, parents/guardians and staff will receive an email from ParentSquare to activate their accounts. Accounts are automatically generated for each parent/guardian using their email address and/or phone number on file in Home Access Center. Staff accounts are generated using their work email address and phone number on file in Employee Plus. While you’ll still be able to receive emails, text messages, and automated phone calls without activating your account, you’ll need to activate to access the ParentSquare portal and mobile app to see your feed of past messages and alerts, receive app notifications, and update message preferences.
School Meals Update
The USDA waiver that allowed school districts to provide free meals expired at the end of the 2021-22 school year. This means that in the fall we will be transitioning back to regular meal prices at most schools*, with free or reduced-priced meals for families who qualify. Free or reduced meal benefits expire and must be renewed annually. To apply and/or reapply, visit www.EZMealAPP.com.
To pay for school meals, set up low balance notifications, or monitor student meal account purchases, visit www.EZschoolpay.com.
* Firgrove, Spinning, Stewart, Sunrise, Walker, Waller Rd, and Wildwood qualify for free meals for all students under the Community Eligibility Provision for schools.
Free and Reduced-Price Meal Applications
All currently eligible families will need to reapply for meal benefits in Sept. Additional benefits and reduced fees are available for families who qualify through this application. Qualified students may also obtain reduced fees for ASB cards, student device coverage protection, athletic fees and more. Those who believe they may qualify, should also apply for benefits when school starts to receive available fee reductions.
Required for Grades 9-12: If your child qualifies for free and reduced-price meals, families are required to submit a Consent to Share survey to receive athletic and participation fee waivers.
School Bus Notifications
Bus schedules including bus stop locations will be available beginning August 15. Bus Bulletins, the current bus notification system, will change to the Traversa Ride 360 notification system.
The new bus notification system offers a website and mobile phone app that allows families to look up bus route information and receive real-time alerts and notifications. Sign up today!
Community Resource Fair on Aug. 30
Families are invited to the second annual Community Resource Fair scheduled for August 30 from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Pioneer Park Pavilion in Puyallup. Learn about free services available from a variety of school partners and community organizations on such topics as:
- Emergency Financial Assistance for Rent, Utilities, and Transportation
- Mental Health Resources (Individual and Family)
- Free school supplies
- And more!
Free Mental Health Services
Free teletherapy mental health services are available for all PSD students. Provided in partnership with Hazel Health, services are available at NO COST to families and allow for quick and early intervention.
A licensed therapist from Hazel can work with your child to address anxiety, bullying, depression, peer relationships, and more. Sessions take place either at school or home, virtually over video. Students can be referred for services by school staff, or families can request services directly.
Hazel and our schools work closely with parents/guardians on their child’s care. Click here to learn more.
New Online Payment System
Puyallup School District is moving to a new, more convenient online payment system called InTouch! In addition to paying for school items and fees easily online, the system will also allow us to accept credit/debit card, Apple Pay, and Google Pay payments at schools.*
On the InTouch website, create a new user login using your HAC (Home Access Center) account email address. This will link your children currently in HAC to the new InTouch account. New to the PSD? After registering your student/s, you will receive an invitation to HAC. Simply set up your parent HAC account and 24 hours later you will have access to the InTouch website.
Save time and avoid long lines by paying for student ASB cards, yearbooks, athletic fees, and more by creating your account now. A parent portal showing fees, fines, items and more will become available in accounts on August 11.
Please note that student meal accounts will still use EZschoolpay to add and manage funds on meal accounts.
*Online or in-person payments using debit/credit cards, Apple Pay, and Google Pay include a $1.25 transaction fee. There is no fee for payments made with cash or check.
Laptop Protection Plan Offered
Like textbooks and other school property, students are responsible for the appropriate care of their device. The Puyallup Protection Plan (P3) is an optional way for students and parents to avoid a fine if a laptop is accidentally damaged. Visit www.puyallup.k12.wa.us/P3 to accept or decline coverage. Families must decline or accept this coverage annually.
Students and families can get technology support by phone, email, or in-person. For extended hours of operations or to schedule an in-person appointment visit www.puyallup.k12.wa.us/helpdesk. In addition, eligible households may be able to receive a discount on broadband services through the Affordable Connectivity Program. More info can be found at www.fcc.gov/affordable-connectivity-program.
Kessler Center Student Art Dedication and Open House on Aug. 15
Community members are invited to tour the new Kessler Center and attend the dedication of student artwork titled ‘We Are One’ on August 15 at 5 p.m. The dedication and open house will be held just prior to the School Board meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. that evening. The Kessler Center is located at 1501 39th Ave. SW.
The three-dimensional interactive student artwork ‘We Are One’ is an art project by Puyallup High School graduate Lauren Anderson. Six separate pieces of this artwork are displayed throughout the community and illustrate the connection between persons of different genders, races, ethnicities, and ages. The Kessler Center is one of six locations throughout the community displaying the art. The collection can also be seen at the Puyallup City Hall, the Puyallup Library, Pierce College, and the Mel Korum YMCA.
The central location of the Kessler Center will be used for all School Board meetings beginning August 15. The 38,000 square foot multipurpose student services center houses programs such as Highly Capable, Puyallup Digital Learning, and Special Services. It will also be used for staff professional development trainings. The facility was funded through State Match funds made possible by the voter-approved 2015 School Construction and Facility Improvements bond.
Learn more about the new Kessler Center at https://www.puyallup.k12.wa.us/kessler.
School Board Highlights: August 1, 2022
First Reading of Policies:
- Policy 2151-Interscholastic Athletics & Activities Eligibility
- Policy 2161-Special Education and Related Services for Eligible Students
- Policy 3122-Excused and Unexcused Absences
- Policy 3246-Restraint, Isolation, and Other Uses of Reasonable Force
- Policy 6225-Use of Electronic Signature
- Monday, August 15 at 6:00 p.m. – (agenda/meeting access information posted 24 hours before meeting).
Puyallup School District does not discriminate in any programs or activities on the basis of sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups.