Gardnerville Elementary School

Cougar News: December 2021 - February 2022

Greetings from Principal, Mr. William Harvey

Hello GES Families -

I would like to begin this newsletter by saying Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to every student and family. You may see a few new faces at GES. I am pleased to introduce and welcome Sonia Alvarado-Lyons, Attendance Secretary, and Zuzana Tobin, Pre-K Aide, to GES. We also want to thank Paula Donnatin for her many years of dedicated work in the GES Kitchen and wish her the best in her retirement.

Just a quick reminder about dates of our upcoming Winter Break. Students will begin break staring Monday December 20, 2021 and will return to school on Tuesday, January 4, 2022. There is no school for students on Monday (1/3/22), which is a professional development day for staff. It is hard to think that 2022 is just a few weeks away.

As DCSD and GES continues our EPIC journey this school year, students were recently introduced to Learning Walls and Unpacking Standards. Unpacking Standards allows students to better understand what they are expected to know and do within in a specific content standard. In order to build ownership of their learning, students are part of this process of breaking down standards into student-friendly “I can” statements and developing a proficiency scale for student performance. Additionally, the proficiency scales provides clear guidance for what success looks like. Learning Walls are intended to be a visual resource of information in the classroom. Both Unpacked Standards and Learning Walls create learner-centered cultures that empower students to take more ownership of their learning. These two components join several other features of EPIC learning that were started at the beginning of the year (class vision, classroom code, and Standard Operating Procedures-SOPs).

As we near the halfway mark of the school year, student attendance has become a concern. While, during this time of COVID we encourage students to remain at home when experiencing symptoms of illness, there seems to be times when students are not attending school when they should be. At the time of writing this newsletter, as a school community, we are at 8.15% absenteeism rate. There are over 100 students who meet the federal criteria of chronically absent (10% of days missed). This can be a slippery slope because we do want students who are experiencing illness to stay at home and get well; however, we are asking all families to be aware of the impact of missed days of instruction when absences can be avoided. Thank you!

In closing, again, I want to say “thank you” to all the students, staff, and families for making GES a 'great place to learn'. As witnessed by the great attendance at our recent Art Show, the GES community is strong and resilient. Thank you to all the families who came and participated. A special thank you to Mrs. Sedlock for all her work over the past year teaching art to students at GES.

I wish you a safe and joy-filled holiday season…see you in 2022!

Together In Education,

Bill Harvey, Principal

Calendar of Events

Upcoming important dates:

  • Dec. 10 — GES Staff Holiday Parade 5 - 6:30 pm
  • Dec. 15 — Book Mobile 8:20 - 9:30 am
  • Dec. 20 -Jan 3 — No School (Winter Break)
  • January 3 — No School (Professional Development Day)
  • Jan. 10 Early Release — School ends at 1:44 pm
  • Jan. 17 — No School (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day)
  • Jan. 18 — PTSO Meeting 4 pm (School Office)
  • Jan. 24 Early Release — School ends at 1:44 pm
  • February 7 Early Release — School ends at 1:44 pm
  • Feb. 15 — PTSO Meeting 4 pm (School Office)
  • Feb. 21-25 — No School (Winter Break)

What's Growing On?

The Gardnerville Elementary School GIFT Garden Update

Vegetables growing in January!? It’s true. Once again, several groups of students and classes have been tending our garden beds. We are learning about the best ways and varieties to grow in the winter. Beets, broccolini, and radishes are enduring our teen-degree nights, thanks to high quality row covers purchased with funds from the community.

Several classes harvested our potato bins. Soup was prepared and shared! Students worked hard to clean up the garden for the winter, along with a great group of high school students from Sierra Lutheran High School.

Have you noticed our chicken coop got a fresh coat of paint? Keep an eye out for possible chickens in the spring that might stop by for a visit.

GES is fortunate to have this space for these amazing learning opportunities. We are looking forward to Spring Planting and plant sales. Thanks to all who support our growing!!

Best, Lauren O'Neill, Reading Specialist

Happy Holidays from your Parent Teacher Student Organization (PTSO)!

As 2021 comes to a close, we are happy to report that the fundraisers supported by the PTSO this fall brought $18,000 to the school. We had great participation by the parents, teachers, and students! As always, a huge thank you to all that participated.

We are planning for some fun filled family activities in the spring and we are working on purchasing GES Cougars Spirit shirts for all of the students and teachers.

Thank you to Amanda Johnson for her service as the PTSO Treasurer. We appreciate the years of dedication and hard work on behalf of the students and staff at GES.

We are always happy to welcome new members, so feel free to reach out or pop into one of our meetings- the 3rd Tuesday of the month at 4 pm in the GES school office conference room. We look forward to seeing you!

2021-2022 Board Members

Philip Ruffo, President

Maggi Vandenburg, Vice President

Andrea Holdridge, Treasurer

Whitney Everett, Secretary

School Counselor - Shaunda Vasey, M.A., NCC

Parents often ask, “What is PBIS?” PBIS stands for positive behavior intervention supports. The idea is simple. We teach our students what it means to be safe, respectful, and responsible in all areas at school. Then we catch students using expected behaviors and reinforce them with verbal praise and blue tickets. Students use blue tickets to buy school supplies and toys at the monthly student store.

The Kindness Club is new this year at GES. The goal is to increase student connection to school and improve school climate. Every 5th grade student is invited to participate for one trimester. Students create projects based on their interests and abilities.

During the first trimester, students created a “Ways to be Kind” interactive bulletin board and promoted the week of kindness. This trimester, students created a "25 days of kindness 'till Christmas" bulletin board. They are planning on painting rocks with inspirational messages, promoting another week of kindness the week before February break, and creating a plan to teach expected behaviors on the playground through videos and posters.

Big picture

Home of the Cougars!

We educate students from Pre-K, Kinder through 5th grade.

Principal, William Harvey

Vice-Principal, Molly Ravenscroft

Head Secretary, Raquel Johnson

School Secretary, Sonia Alvarado-Lyons

Health Office

Tips to Keep Kids Warm All Winter

Whether winter brings rain, snow, or just cold temperatures, it is important to keep children safe and warm during these months.

  • Children should be dressed in one more layer of clothing than an adult is wearing in the same conditions.
  • When traveling, bulky clothing and winter attire should not be worn underneath a harness of a car seat or seat belt. Fluffy padding flattens out from the force during a car crash, leaving extra space under the harness. A child can slip through the straps and be thrown from the seat.
  • Set reasonable time limits on outdoor play to prevent hypothermia and frost bite. Have children come indoors periodically to warm up.

Tips to Keep Yourself and Children Healthy

Proper hand washing is the best way to prevent the spread of germs. Properly washing the hands frequently, especially before eating, after using the restroom or blowing the nose.

To prevent the spread of illness, it’s best to cough into the elbow and cover the nose and mouth with a tissue before a sneeze.

Should I send my child to school or not?

With so many illnesses going around you might be wondering if it’s okay to send your child to school or not. Below are symptoms to watch out for in your children before sending them off to school:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Red, itchy, painful, or watery eyes

While it may not be convenient, it’s important to keep your child home when they are ill. This prevents the spread of disease to classmates, staff, and most importantly those that are immuno-compromised. If you have questions or concerns about your child’s symptoms, please reach out to the school’s health office.

Important COVID-19 Reminders

If you, your child, or a household member is pending COVID-19 results, there must be a negative result before sending your child to school. If your child has been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVD-19, they must quarantine for 7 to 10 days before returning to school. With some students receiving COVID-19 vaccinations, these guidelines can vary. Please notify the health office if you, your child, or anyone in the household is pending a COVID-19 test result or has been in contact with someone who has recently tested positive for COVID-19.

Danielle Goldstein, GES Health Aide

775-782-5117 ext 2507

Sight Word Fun

The more sight words your child knows, the stronger his or her reading and writing skills will be. Sight words, also called priority words, are words that appear frequently in print. These same words are among those used most often by children in their writing. When children build their sight word vocabulary, they become better readers and spellers. Try these easy games to make practicing sight words more fun.

Out and About

The next time you are in line at the grocery store, on a walk, or in your car, go on a sight word hunt. Have your child look for his/her sight words. Read the sight words and practice spelling them. Remember to celebrate all accomplishments.

Shake and Spell

Use magnetic letters or make letter cards for this activity. Choose five sight words to work with. Put the letters needed to spell all five words into a container. Shake the container and spill out the letters. Ask your child to build and read the first word. Continue until all words are spelled. Try again with different words.

Guess My Word

Use you child’s list of sight words for this activity. One player starts by giving a clue about one of the sight words. A clue might be, “I’m thinking of a word that starts like top and has two letters.” The other player looks at the list and tries to identify the word.

Enjoy this productive time together! Lauren O'Neill, Reading Specialist

Infinite Campus - Parent Portal: Annual Update and Review

It seems this is often the time of year that families move. Please make sure ALL of your demographic (address, phone numbers, and emergency contact) information is up-to-date. In the event your child is ill or in the case of an emergency, it will enable the Health Office or Office to reach you quickly.

In order to make corrections, log into Infinite Campus (for Douglas County School District and select Parent Portal). Follow the steps below in order to update this valuable information:

1. Select your student

2. Select 'More' on the sidebar to your left and select existing online registration.

3. Follow the the steps as indicated.

Note: It is important that you click on Send Update after each entry or amendment. You may repeat this as often as necessary.

Infinite Campus is a valuable resource for parents and will help to expedite requests that you might have. Please call the Office for further assistance.

Reporting Student Absences

Call our attendance line before 8:30 am at 775-782-5117 to excuse your child's absence. Unverified absences will be updated to a truancy after 3 days. Thank you for ongoing communication with the school.


We are going into the new year with possibilities galore! Students can now enjoy ebooks--as well hardcover selections--for fun, enjoyment, and research. We have new and fascinating books in all genres and well loved ones to enjoy again and again.

There is something for everyone at our school library. Come on in and check some out.

Please consider using the Box Tops for Education App to earn money for Library books at GES. There are 2 ways to earn cash for our Library! BOXTOPS = BOOKS.

Thank you for all of your help and support!

Mrs. Petite, Librarian/Media Specialist

Morning Routine

Please remember there is no supervision on the playgrounds until 8:40 am. Drop off or allow your child to come to school after 8:40. Exception - students eating breakfast may enter the Multi-Purpose Room at 8:30 am.

Help us make our drop off and pick up procedures safe and efficient. Remember to leave the drive through area clear for flowing traffic. Cars may not be left unattended and drivers are to pull forward to empty spots along the curb, allowing other cars to get into the parking lot. Thank you to all of you who have made arrangements to meet your walkers at a designated 'outside' meeting place.

Cell Phone Use at School

Many of our children carry cell phones today and for good reasons. Students at GES may have their cell phones for use before and after school, yet cannot be used during the school day. Student cell phones must be turned off upon arrival at school, after 8:40 a.m. Phones must remain turned off until school is dismissed at 3:14. We also encourage safe storage of cell phones during the school day. To contact your child between 8:40-3:10, please call the school office at 782-5117 to relay important messages to your child. Cell phones may be confiscated for improper use and kept at the Office for parent pick up.

Volunteer/ Visitor Sign In

It's important for all parents, approved volunteers, and visitors to sign in at the Office and wear a visitor’s sticker or badge whenever they are in the classroom, hallways, lunchroom, or on the playground. This is critical for the protection of your children and also important for us to account for all individuals on campus in case of an emergency. Before school, you are welcome to drop your students off at the front sidewalk, or even walk them to the edge of the playground, without signing in.

School Nutrition


There are a couple different ways to add lunch money to your students lunch account. You can pay with your credit card online through Nutrition Services using your Infinite Campus. You can also send your student to the office with cash or a check which will be applied to the student account the same day. 2nd-5th grade students may add funds for snacks.


GES is working hard to help provide students with a healthy school environment and to follow the School District’s Wellness Policy; therefore, we are encouraging parents to provide individually wrapped, healthy snacks (or non-edible treats) for birthdays, achievements, and other celebrations, instead of sugary snacks, such as cupcakes. Please communicate with your student’s teacher if you would like to suggest another idea to celebrate your students special day. Thank you!

Gardnerville Elementary School is a great place to learn because every member of the GES family matters. We provide meaningful, intentional, and purposeful learning experiences that honor what is best for students. With high expectations, we prepare students to be lifelong learners and contributing members of society.