Dogwood Dispatch

February 2022

Dear Dogwood Parent and Guardian,

Dear Dogwood Families,

All of us at Dogwood recognize the important contributions parents make toward a child’s success in school. There is no question about it - success at school begins at home. Parents are the single most important variable in a child’s schooling. Parents model both a silent and spoken language in front of their children daily.

One of the most important components of a good school is the partnership between the school and parents who work together for the best interest of children. The close partnership between home and school is one that we value and continue to strive to enhance each day.

Dogwood Elementary School has a strong tradition of supportive, hard-working parents. We ask that you continue to work as a team with our Dogwood faculty and staff as we all share the goal of creating a safe, nurturing environment where our shared children can grow both socially and academically.

Working collaboratively with your child's teachers and other school personnel helps your child maintain a positive attitude and approach to all things related to school. In addition it helps to foster your child's best efforts. Thank you for working as part of the team in educating your child, our students.

As we begin a new school year, we find teachers reviewing and re-establishing school standards, routines and expectations. In the most successful classrooms, teachers have established specific routines for the children to follow. This means giving children a specific place to find and keep materials, a familiar daily routine, a set schedule for classroom instruction, etc. These routines, blended with the teacher’s consistent standards, form a smooth running classroom where the children have the security of understanding their environment and are reinforced positively for their contributions.

At home, it is also important to provide routines. Many families build a daily “quiet time” when the television is turned off. This quiet time provides students the opportunity for completing schoolwork or for recreational reading. During this quiet time a suitable place, somewhat free of other distractions, should be available. The routine of a daily quiet time provides an opportunity to develop self-discipline, stimulate imagination, and enhance reading skills.

Routines can also make completing chores easier for both children and parents. If children are consistently expected to complete routine household duties at the same time on the same day in the same place, they soon begin to develop a responsibility for their commitment and contribution to the family.

As families establish routines for the new school year, it is helpful to keep in mind that childhood is a special time of learning, exploration and growth. Children need to be provided free time to explore their world and experience the joy of discovery. Hopefully we can provide time for our children to be children and to enjoy the journey into adulthood.

As children grow and learn, they find joy and satisfaction in working closely with their families toward a common goal. At Dogwood we are committed to working with you to provide a well-rounded comprehensive program for our students, reinforce values and develop a strong sense of self-worth. I look forward to our continued partnership. On behalf of the Dogwood faculty and staff, I wish you and your family a healthy and happy New Year.


Renee Carpenter

Dogwood Principal

Health Office

If your child is absent for any reason, please contact the Health Office at 382-4260 and leave a message on the voice mail, which is available 24 hours a day. To help ensure the safety of our students, we will have to call you regarding an absence if you do not contact us. An absence note must be sent in with your child with the date(s) and reason for absence when he/she returns to school. You may also call this number if there are any changes to your child's dismissal routine.

Emergency Closings or Delays

In the event of a school closing or early dismissal during the school year the District will be contacting you via the School Messenger system. In the event of an early dismissal, the system will send a message to each of your listed contacts. For a school closing your primary contact will be receiving the message. It is extremely important for the Parent Portal to reflect your up-to-date phone numbers (home, work, & cell) for both parents in the event that we have to reach you in an emergency.

If we need to close the school or a class due to a Covid case, visit your child's Google Classroom for directions and your child's remote learning schedule.

Delayed School Openings: In the event we have a two hour delayed opening, the school day will begin at 11:30. Students will begin to be allowed into the building at 11:20am.

If there is a one hour delayed opening, the school day for students will begin at 10:30. Students would be allowed into the building at 10:20am.

When we have delayed openings, our schedule is very tight. It would be helpful if you packed your child's lunch on days that we have a delayed opening.

There is no Before Care through the Town of Smithtown when there is a "delayed opening" or school closure.

Dress Warmly for Outdoor Recess

With the winter weather upon us, it is necessary for students to dress appropriately for the outdoors. Layering clothing will enable them to endure cooler temperatures and enjoy fresh air. Weather conditions, above 32 degrees determine our outdoor schedule. Windy conditions may restrict outdoor recess. Whenever possible, children are brought outside if only for a few minutes. PLEASE REMEMBER TO LABEL ALL PERSONAL BELONGINGS. The “Lost and Found” is located in the Health Office. Feel free to check for lost items whenever you visit the building.

Winter Concert

On February 1st our Dogwood fourth grade students attended an assembly featuring our very own band, orchestra and 5th grade chorus. Mr. Weinstein led the chorus and orchestra while Mr. Facciponte led our band. Our performers did an excellent job of entertaining us with the sweet sounds of music! An evening performance is scheduled for our DEL parents to view their child in band, orchestra or chorus at HSW @ 7pm.


PARP, Parents as Reading Partners, begins on March 7th and will run through March 18th. The fun-filled month will include guest readers and a Book Fair during the week of March 21-24. More information about PARP will be sent home shortly.

Valentine's Day Festivities

In order to maintain the health and safety of all students, we have some guidelines that we are asking you to follow for the upcoming Valentine’s Day festivities.

Classroom teachers will be working with class parents to arrange a small activity for the sharing of valentines for Valentine’s Day on Monday, February 14, 2022 or on another date that the teacher is able to schedule. Please note, not all grade levels have a party for this holiday.

We know that part of the fun of Valentine’s Day is to send and receive Valentine's Day cards. If your child has Valentine’s Day cards for his/her classmates to distribute, please send them in without the envelopes or if they are in envelopes, please use tape or a glue stick to seal them (or do not seal at all) to avoid spreading germs. Valentines should be dropped off ahead of time and no later than Friday, February 11th.

Please do not send in food or other items for students to distribute to classmates; this includes “goodie bags” of any sort. We are accepting just cards this year in an effort to reduce the potential for the spread of germs.

As a reminder, students are not permitted to eat while riding the school bus. Thank you for your cooperation in following these guidelines and working with us to create a positive and safe experience for your child and others.

Literacy Fair

We are excited to share that we will be having our annual Literacy Fair this year at Dogwood. In our continued effort to foster reading for all grades, we are working in conjunction with PARP to celebrate our love of reading. The Literacy Fair will take place the week of March 21st. Projects will be on display for classes to visit during school. Projects will be shared virtually with parents to enjoy.

The Literacy Fair is voluntary. It is simple to participate. First, your son or daughter needs to choose a book of interest and either read it, or you may read it to or with him/her. Then your child will need to present the book in a creative manner. Suggestions for their fun book report project are listed on the back along with some basic criteria; however, there are countless project ideas that can be obtained online through sources like Pinterest and Google images. In addition, a slideshow with more examples is posted on the Dogwood website. All projects must be completed and returned to school on Monday, March 21st. Please do not send in projects early. The most important thing to remember about this is to enjoy reading and have fun doing this project so your child can share this book with others to inspire reading through peers.

If your son or daughter has an interest in participating, which we encourage, please return the slip below to their classroom teacher by March 4th. We are looking forward to the fair!

Happy Reading,

The Dogwood Teachers


Literacy Fair participants please return to your classroom teacher by March 4th


My son/daughter would like to participate in the Literacy Fair and will be bringing in a project on Monday, March 21st.


Parent Signature

Literacy Fair Slide Show for students and parents seeking more information.

Love on a Leash Program at Dogwood

The Love on the Leash Program started up at Dogwood! This program is committed to bringing comfort, happiness, and healing to people nationwide. It is a volunteer organization that provides effective pet-provided therapy services within our community. Our school psychologist Ms. Thau arranged for this opportunity for our DEL students. Fifth graders already visited with the dogs and trainers and in the upcoming months remaining classes will sign up for a visit. Visits will be in our library. Students will interact on a voluntary basis and absolutely can "hang back" if not interested in getting close. The dogs visit with their trainer and go through a very rigorous screening process by Veterinarians. Click here for a slide show on the program.

Dogwood Elementary Fifth Graders Learn Sign Language with Assist from HS West Students

Jessica Massa’s fifth grade class at Dogwood Elementary received help from older students in learning sign language on Monday morning.

High School West’s American Sign Language 2 class joined the elementary school students via Google Meet to share their knowledge.

First, the elementary school students individually signed their names to the high school class. Then, the high school students shared their names with the Dogwood class.

Before the Google Meet session began, the ASL 2 students each had drawn an animal. During the interaction with Massa’s class, each High School West student then displayed the picture they had drawn and taught the elementary students how to sign the animals.

Students then signed back their favorite animals, including an elephant, shark and turtle.

The ASL 2 class at High School West, taught by Brynjar Leifsson, is a total immersion in sign language, with no words spoken. (Source: Smithtown Central School website)

Morning Arrival Reminder:

A friendly reminder…Our school day begins at 9:30 and we open doors to students at 9:20am. Please try to arrive on time so that students are not late for their first period class. Late arrivals disrupt the morning routine of our students and teachers. This is the time teachers take attendance, take the lunch count, go through bus notes, collect homework and some are off to first period specials as early as 9:35. Your child should be in class by 9:30 am ready to start their school day. Thank you for your help with getting our students off to a smooth start of the school day.

DEL on Twitter

Join Dogwood on Twitter to check out the "inside scoop" on teaching and learning! @SCSD_DEL

Dogwood Celebrates the New Year !

Important Dates

February 1: 5th Grade Concert @10:00 am for students and at HSW @ 7:00pm for parents

February 9 SCPD Presentation – Grades 3,4,5

February 11 Love on a Leash – Therapy Dogs visit 3rd Grade in the Library @ 10:30

February 14 Grade 1 Valentine’s Day Party (class parents only)

February 17 Popcorn Thursday and Family Connect Night

February 18 Author of the month @ 10:30

February 19-27 Mid-Winter Recess, No School
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