Otter News

September 16, 2021


Theme of the Month

Hello Artondale Families,

As a school, we have transitioned to a new program that focuses on social emotional learning and characteristics that all students need to be a global citizens. Last spring, the staff selected ten different characteristics/themes that align with our state SEL standards and our school wide SEL curriculum Second Step. This new program will replace our Terrific Kids program that we have used in the past. We have appreciated the support from the Kiwanis Club over the years. Each month will be a different theme that we will focus on as a school community.

This month, we are focusing on problem solving and what it means to be a problem solver. The classrooms teachers are teaching the second step curriculum lessons that align with problem solving, having class discussions during their morning meetings, and reinforcing the concept throughout the day. All staff are recognizing students who demonstrate problem solving by adding a note to our "I am a problem solver" bulletin boards in the hallways - we will post photos of them later this month." We will highlight some examples in our newsletter as well. We are excited to launch this new program that is current with our state standards, curriculum, and our school wide expectations.

Next month's theme: Goal Setting

Dean of Students

Mr. Heistand is our Dean of Students and supports all Otters. He is our Safety COVID Coordinator, supports with technology, attendance, and anything else students need to be successful at Artondale. Mr. Heistand looks forward to partnering with you for student success.

Please feel to contact Mr. Heistand anytime!

Mr. Heistand


Counselor Corner

My name is Mimi Mathews and I am so lucky to say that I am the school counselor at Artondale. I am here to help ALL students be successful socially, emotionally and academically. I visit all classrooms where I teach social-emotional education skills. I also meet in small groups or individually with students who might need a little extra support. I love to consult with staff and parents to provide resources or educational support to help students become the best they can be, but my favorite part of my job is spending time with your kids!

Please feel free to stop by my office or contact me at any time!

Mrs. Mathews


Food Backpacks 4Kids

After a year of families picking up additional food, the Food Backpacks 4 Kids organization is looking forward to returning to school delivery this year. If you would like to know more about this program, or would like to sign up to receive a backpack for your child here at school, please follow the link below.

Student Drop off and Pick up

Thank you for using our new entrance and double line queuing. Please continue to take turns from each line when merging into one line.

A few reminders:

  • If you need to get out of the car to unbuckle or buckle your student, please pull forward before the line and then assist your child. We will then notice and meet you in front of the line. Our goal is to keep the line moving to get students in on time and get them dismissed quickly.
  • Please stay in your vehicle and do your goodbyes as you are waiting in the line so students are ready to get out quickly.
  • If you have a grandparent or someone else dropping or picking up, please let them know our procedures as well.
  • Please have your student sign in your car and visible so we can read it to call your students quickly to be ready at a cone to pick up. If you need additional signs, please let your classroom teacher know and we would be happy to print additional signs for you.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we get all students in and out of school safely.

PIcture Day!

Picture day will be October 7th. Please look for more information coming soon!!

Splash Ticket Winners!

Every day students are able to earn a splash ticket by demonstrating our school wide expectations of show respect, solve problems, make good decisions. Teachers collect the splash tickets in their classrooms and then once a week we put them in our grade level buckets. Every Tuesday we create a video recording of Mrs. Mathews, Mr. Heistand, or Mrs. Rosendahl pulling a ticket from each grade level bucket. We send the recording to classroom teachers who play the video in their classrooms for students to see during morning virtual announcements. We then add all of the grade level buckets into our fish tank as we try to fill the fish tank to earn a school wide reward. We pick one name out of the whole fish tank weekly and that classroom earns a reward as well.

Here are this week's splash ticket winners:

Kindergarten - Marshall, Mason, Eliana

1st Grade - Kyle, Jackson, Kellen

2nd Grade - Emma, Brody, LIlly

3rd Grade - Jude, Nate, JJ

4th Grade - Sophia, Joaquin, Jonny

5th Grade - Gabriel, Penelope, Jalaay

Classroom winner this week: Ms. McCoy's class - they earned a new book for their classroom library.

Keep up the great work Otters!

Otter Learning Environments

5th Grade writers in Mrs. Davis' class editing their expert writing (they chose something they are an expert in and wrote about it to share with others) and then typing their final copy.

Covid-19 Site Safety Plan

COVID-19 Site Safety Plan

Did you know? Our school has a COVID-19 site safety plan posted to our web page. The plan features information on our COVID-19 safety protocols for staff, visitors, and students. PSD also has a web page that features information on Back To School COVID-19 Health and Safety Guidelines.

Health and Safety Reminders

We are off to a great start this school year! We want to continue with in-person learning, so please remind your child of the following health tips:

  • Do not come to school when you are sick;

  • If you start not feeling well at school, tell an adult right away;

  • Keep a safe distance from others at all times while on the bus and at school;.

  • Wear a face covering over your nose and mouth; and

  • Clean your hands often. Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use a school-approved hand sanitizer. Do not touch your face with unwashed hands.

COVID-19 Notifications - What Families Need to Know

PSD is required to notify staff and families when there is a positive case of COVID-19 in our school. Because of this, you may receive three different types of notifications throughout the school year:

  1. Close Contact Exposure Notice. If your child has been exposed to COVID-19 because they have been in close contact with a person who tests positive, you will receive a phone call and email message with a letter linked from the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.

  2. Not Close Contact Notice: If your child may have interacted with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, but not enough to be considered a close contact, you will receive an email message with a letter linked from the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.

  3. General Notification. We provide a general notification to all staff and families via email and ParentSquare when there has been an individual who tests positive for COVID-19 in our school.

Late Start Wednesday

Every Wednesday is an hour late start, except on October 27, 2021 and June 22, 2022. Classes on late start begin at 10am. Thank you!

Library Information

Hello Otters!

Get ready for our library to open at the end of September!

I cannot wait to see you all!

Mrs. Faker

Introducing ParentSquare

We are excited to announce the Peninsula School District will start using ParentSquare this school year to streamline school-to-home communications. ParentSquare is used for mass communications (school newsletters, district information, urgent alerts), classroom communication (one-to-one and group messaging, parent-teacher conferences), and school services (attendance, lunch balances, forms). You can watch this ParentSquare 3 minute overview to learn more.

Last week all families received an invitation email to activate their ParentSquare account. Once you activate your account you can set your communication frequency and language preferences. Please make sure your contact information is up to date in the parent portal. Check here.

ParentSquare FAQ's

Find your bus stop

For information about how to find your bus stop, please visit the district transportation page. Please contact our front office if you need any assistance.

Clothes Needed

Clothes! Clothes! Clothes! Kinder students and primary students should have a change of clothes in their backpacks. Sometimes it is necessary to have a change of clothes at school for a variety of reasons.

Additionally, we are in need of clothes for all ages for the same reasons...especially socks. If you would like to donate clothing items to the school, we are short on the following:

Boys pants sizes 6-12

Girls pants sizes 6-10

and new socks.

You may send them with your child and we will ensure they get to the office or drop them off during school hours to the office. Thank you for your support!


Big picture

Y Care Information

Out of concern of rising COVID-19 cases and to reduce exposure, Y-Care does not offer Wednesday morning childcare to children not registered though the YMCA before and after school care Program.

Y-care information, registration tools and contacts for questions are on the "On Site Child Care" webpage under "Learning" on the PSD website.

The Peninsula School District does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, honorably discharged veteran or military status, sexual orientation including gender expression or identity, the presence of any sensory, mental, or physical disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal by a person with a disability in its programs and activities and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. Inquiries regarding compliance and/or grievance procedures may be directed to the District’s Title IX and Compliance Officer, Dan Gregory, at (253) 530-1009, email or the Section 504 and ADA Coordinator, John Yellowlees, at (253) 530-1081, email address: 14015 62nd Ave. NW, Gig Harbor, WA 98332.