Orchard Drive Family Newsletter

September 2022

Jackson R-2 Elementary Handbook

Please click here to view the Jackson R2 Elementary Handbook

Important Dates

  • September 5- No School, Labor Day
  • September 7th- Go Green for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Awareness
  • September 9th- Stronger Together T-Shirt Order Due
  • September 14th- 4th Grade Lunch Bunch, 12:40-1:20
  • September 14th- McTeachers Night, 4:00-8:00pm at Jackson McDonald's
  • September 15th- 1st Grade Lunch Bunch, 12:15-12:55
  • September 15th- 3rd Grade Lunch Bunch, 1:05-1:45
  • September 16th- Kindergarten Lunch Bunch, 11:50-12:30
  • September 16- 2nd Grade Lunch Bunch, 1:05-1:45
  • September 27- PTO Meeting and Title 1 Information Meeting, 6:30-7:30pm
  • October 7th- School Pictures
Important Orchard Drive Events!

We updated some of the fundraiser dates. Check this out if you had an original copy.

Jackson R2 District Calendar

Please click the link to view the Jackson R-2 District Calendar.

Meet Mrs. Zirges

Orchard Families,


This is my second year as the principal at Orchard. This is my 8th year as a building administrator in the school district. I have had the pleasure to serve as an assistant principal at South and West Lane. I was also the principal of Gordonville Elementary for two years. Prior to becoming a building administrator, I taught 5th grade at South Elementary in Jackson--- yes, 5th grade was in our elementary buildings at one point!


I earned my Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education from the University of Missouri, and my Master's Degree of Elementary Administration from Southeast Missouri State University. I am currently pursuing my Educational Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from the University of Missouri. I have finished my course work. I am working on finishing my dissertation this year!


When I am not at Orchard or working on course work, I enjoy spending time with my family! My husband's name is Tyler Zirges. He works at Proctor and Gamble in Fruitland. I know several Orchard Family members who see Tyler daily at work! We have a son, Clark, who is 2. We also enjoy watching sports-- especially Mizzou Football and Basketball. We hope to bring Clark to his first football game this year.


While that is all a lot of information about me, the most important piece I would like you to take away is that I am here to serve our students, our families and our teachers. If you ever need to problem solve about anything-- please reach out to me. I am happy to talk on the phone or meet in person in order to develop plans that help your child academically or socially.


We are looking forward to another great school year!


Christine Zirges

Meet Mrs. Miller

Hello families!


I am so excited to begin my second year in administration at Orchard Drive Elementary School! Last year, I served as the assistant principal at Orchard, however I also split my time at South Elementary. I am really excited to spend everyday at Orchard this year! Prior to entering administration, I taught second grade at North Elementary School for six years.


I received my Bachelor's Degree in Elementary and Early Childhood Education and Master's Degree in Educational Administration from Southwest Baptist University (SBU). I am currently pursuing my Specialist's Degree in Educational Administration from SBU as well. I enjoy learning and hope to share that same passion with your children!


On a personal note, my husband's name is Rus Miller. He is a finance manager at Cape Girardeau Honda. We have a daughter named Palmer June, who will turn one in November! Some of my hobbies include playing volleyball, going to the river, and spending time with family.


One of my goals is to help students and teachers reach their full potential! I also strive to form positive relationships with students and families. I value the partnership between school and home, as this is a crucial component in your child's education. Please let me know how I can best support you and/or your child to help them succeed. My door is always open!


Here's to another great year with our Orchard Drive Tribe! Thanks for all that you do!


Allison Miller

A Message from the Principals

We are so happy to be in the swing of our 2nd week of school. Our teachers are already moving full speed ahead. They are continuing to work on building relationships as a class. The teachers have also begun teaching our learning targets. All elementary buildings in Jackson R2 use the same instructional resources to deliver instruction on our learning targets which are aligned with Missouri Learning Standards. We use Imagine Learning (formerly LearnZillion) resources to instruct reading, writing and word study. Eureka and Zearn are used to instruct math. For science and social studies, we use Pearson.


In order to ensure that we are meeting the needs of all of our learners, we screen all students at the beginning of the year in reading and math. For reading, each grade level will take the iReady diagnostic assessment which is on the computer. Students will complete iReady in the fall, winter and the spring. The results of iReady give us insight into student strengths in phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, high frequency words and comprehension. Students are also screened by our reading teachers to dive deeper into their understanding in these areas of reading. In math, we use the iReady diagnostic to give us a better picture of student understanding in numbers and operations, algebra, measurement, and geometry. The results of these screenings will be discussed with families during Parent-Teacher Conferences. Teachers use the information gained from these assessments to differentiate their instruction in their classroom.


The job of an educator is never done! We will continue to work as hard as we can to ensure we are providing your child with the foundation they need to continue to be successful past our walls at Orchard.


Please reach out to us if you have any questions!


Christine Zirges, Principal

Allison Miller, Assistant Principal

A Message from Nurse Emily

Nurse Emily is so happy to see everyone back at school! We hope everyone had a GREAT summer!

  1. If your child is sick PLEASE KEEP THEM HOME. This is the number one way to stop the spread of germs. If your child has fever/vomiting/and or diarrhea they need to be home for 24 hours symptom-free without medication. The child’s temperature must be less than 100.1 degrees to attend school. If a student becomes ill while at school, parents will be contacted immediately and you must promptly pick up your child. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to call me!

  2. FLU Shot Clinic (through the Cape County Health Dept) will be on October 14th. The permission form will be sent out to all students and ONLY those that return the form and payment will receive the FLU Vaccine. Watch for the permission form to be sent home the first week of October.

  3. Dental Screenings/Varnish will be on September 9. A permission form will be sent home. All students will have a dental screening. Those who mark “yes” to dental varnish will receive a fluoride varnish application.

  4. Vision Screenings will be starting in October for Kindergarten, 1st, and 3rd Grades. Once vision screenings are completed hearing screenings will begin. If a student doesn’t pass a screening they will be re-screened and the parent will be notified if a referral is sent home.

  5. COVID: There is no longer a “covid coordinator”. Each school nurse is in charge of their building and right now we are only tracking positive cases. If your child would test positive by home test or through a dr’s office/clinic we ask that they stay home 5 days from when their symptoms started. (Day one is the first day of their symptoms). They can return to school on their day 6 if they have been 24 hours free of vomiting/diarrhea/fever (*without using medication for 24 hours to reduce fever). Also, their symptoms should be improving and no new symptoms developing when they return to school (loss of taste/smell can still be present).


Let’s have a great year!!! We appreciate all of your help keeping our school safe and healthy!!!

Nurse Emily

Counselor Corner

Hello all! My name is Rachel Lasher, and I am the school counselor at Orchard Drive Elementary. I can’t wait to get to know you all and your kiddos. As a school counselor, I’m here for you and your children to help promote student success through academic and character development. Each class will come to counseling every other week. Over this month, all classes will come to their first two counseling lessons. We will focus on getting to know one another better and kindness to help promote great classroom climates. I’m excited for a great first year at Orchard Drive!


Rachel Lasher, NCC

Food Service Information

School Cafe Enrollment

We encourage all Jackson R2 Families to complete the online School Cafe Enrollment. The enrollment takes less than 5 minutes and it is a tremendous help to our district.

Fruit and Veggie Grant

The MIssouri Department of Secondary and Elementary Education has awarded our school a fruit and veggie grant again this year! With this grant, we are able to give each student a different fruit and veggie two times a week that is in addition to their breakfast or lunch times. We pass out the fruit and vegtatbles at 2:45 on Wednesdays and Fridays. Teachers recieve a sheet of information about the food as well. Students can choose to eat the food then, take the food home or choose not to have the food.


Last year, we were able to pass out different fruits and vegetables each time! Additionally, we will have fruit and veggie stands at our Fall Party and our Play Day for families to take food home with them.


We are excited for this opportunity again this year!

Important Dates

Go Green on September 7th!

September 7th is World Duchenne Awareness Day. At Orchard, we will "Go Green" by wearing the color green on September 7th to bring awareness to Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. All students and staff are encouraged to wear green!

Go Gold on September 27th!

The month of September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. On September 27th, we will "Go Gold" by wearing the color gold to bring awareness to Childhood Cancer. All students and staff are encouraged to wear gold!

School Picture Day!

October 7th is our school picture day! We will have picture retakes on November 16th. We will follow the same procedure we did last year with ordering pictures from Cheekwood.


  • All students will have their picture taken on picture day.
  • Students will not bring money or picture orders on picture day.
  • Approximately a week after picture day, families will get an email with their child's picture.
  • All package selections and background colors will be placed online.

Grade Level Lunch Bunches

We invite families to eat with their student(s) and play on the playground during their lunch bunch time! Families can eat with their student(s) in the cafeteria, in the outdoor classroom or under the pavilion. Seats tend to fill up fast in these locations. With that being said, please bring a blanket/folding chairs so you could also spread out in the grass on the playground.


While this is a fun time for families to eat and play with their student(s), we ask that students return to the classroom after lunch bunch. Students will still have either a math or reading block of time in the afternoon. For this reason, it is important that our students return to class after lunch and recess ends.


We look forward to seeing you at lunch bunch!

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Parent-Teacher Conferences

We will have Parent-Teacher Conferences on October 20th and October 25th from 4:30-7:00 PM. Your child's classroom teacher will send out a sign-up for your to select a time slot to meet. Please be on the lookout for emails from the classroom teacher in the next few weeks!

Parent-Teacher Organization

Orchard Drive PTO and Title 1 Meeting

Tuesday, Sep. 27th, 6:30pm

1402 Orchard Drive

Jackson, MO

We will meet in the library for our PTO Meeting. During our PTO meeting we will also have our Title 1 Meeting. We will hear a presentation from our reading teachers, Mrs. Kate Dunaway and Mrs. Nicole Dunaway, regarding the goals for our reading program at Orchard.


We would love to have as many family members as possible attend the meeting. We will have sign-ups for different parent committees to help support teachers and events at the school like BINGO Night and Play Day at this meeting!

Luna's Moonsicle Fundraiser

Our PTO is holding a fundraiser to sell Moonsicles (aka big popsicles)! Students can take orders from family and friends! The orders will come in groups of 24. You can pick up to 4 varieties per 24 pack. Each 24 pack is $24. The popsicles will not come in frozen. These popsicles are the same popsicles we had for sale at Open House! We had a lot of rave reviews!


The class with the most packs of popsicles sold will get a Luna's Popsicle Party!


The PTO will use the proceeds to help pay for Play Day and other expenses to help our students and teachers. For example, our PTO helped us pay for a projector in our gym this school year!

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