Hawk Talk

The Monthly Newsletter for the Patricia A. Duran School

Principal's Message: Welcome Back!

We are so excited to start the 2022-2023 school year, and thank you for the opportunity to work with your amazing children! The first day of school is such a special day. The students and staff are excited for all that a new school year brings. I love meeting students and families new to our school and catching up with those I knew from last year. I love to hear the stories of student's summer adventures--the camps they went to, family vacations, and the books they have read. A huge part of the first days of school is getting everyone accustomed to the routines and procedures. I want to thank all of you for your patience around drop-off and dismissal time--this is a routine that we all have to get accustomed to as a school community. Details regarding these times are listed below.

The next few weeks will be busy as we continue to help students understand the routines in their classrooms. Staff will be working to assess students in literacy and mathematics, so we can focus our instruction on accelerating each individual child. Parents often ask how they can set their child up for success at home. Establishing after morning, after school, and nightly routines is a great way to start. Setting aside time each day to complete homework or read a book will establish a habit that will help children throughout their school years. For most students, homework will consist of reading, practicing math facts, or completing short assignments. Setting a consistent bedtime is very important as well. I was surprised to learn that the American Academic of Pediatrics recommends children in elementary school get 9-12 hours of sleep a night! Finally, morning routines are important to ensure that students arrive to school on time and ready to learn. While it may not seem like a big deal to arrive a little late each morning, it does impact a child's ability to adjust and settle in for learning. For the child, it means having to catch up to a class that has already started. For the teacher and the class, a late child disrupts learning as the teacher has to stop teaching to get the student started. We appreciate all families trying their best to make sure that students arrive on time.

Thank you all for your continued support of the Duran School. Just like my staff, I look forward to what this year brings!

Melissa Davis


Sneak-a-Peek and First Day Information

We are so excited to bring our traditional in-person Sneak-a-Peek back to the Duran School. Sneak-a-Peek is an opportunity for families to come in and see their child's classroom and drop-off supplies for the school year. This often helps students lessen some of their nerves around beginning the year. In addition to Sneak-a-Peek, we also hold an Open House night for each grade level in the fall. More information about Open House will be sent later in September.

We also wanted to make families aware that we are no longer allowing parents to walk their child to their classroom on the first day of school. While we know this was typically done prior to COVID-19, we do have some concerns regarding safety, and would rather establish drop-off routines and exceptions the very first day of school. We appreciate your understanding around this matter.

Please rest assured that we take an "all hands on deck" approach to making sure that all students get to the appropriate classroom, and that they feel comfortable and supported on the first day of school.

We look forward to seeing our students and families at Sneak-a-Peek!


We encourage parents to pack an extra set of clean clothes in their child's backpacks daily. This ensures that if students get wet or messy, we're able to keep them comfortable. Water bottles are also super helpful for students to bring daily. We have water bottle fill stations in the school where students can get refills when necessary.

Drop-Off Reminders

Just a friendly reminder about drop-offs. Our biggest priority is ensuring that all students are safe during drop-off, and that we are efficient. Addressing the following would be very helpful for us:

Bus Loop: Please do not park in the bus loop at any time. This ensure student safety and the ability for buses to enter and exit safely and efficiently.

Canopy: We understand that many parents want to drop their children off directly in front of the canopy, but this is not possible. By doing this, we are backing up traffic (sometimes out of the school and onto the road). There are staff available to ensure your child's safety along the sidewalk up to the canopy. We ask that you drop your child(ren) along the walk way and not wait for canopy access.

Parking: If your child need assistance exiting your vehicle, please park in the parking lot near the entrance of the school and walk them across. This ensures safety and efficiency for all drop-off parents.

Student Dismissal

We want to thank everyone for their patience and understanding as we refine the dismissal process this year. We have approximately 480 students exiting classrooms and heading to their after school destinations. It can be a very intense and busy time! Our top priority is ensuring that students arrive safely at the correct destination. We respectfully ask that transportation changes are make prior to 2:00. This allows office staff to ensure that students are heading to the right destinations.

The following information pertains to the different transportation locations:

Buses: The buses are called by grade level. Teachers will walk their class to the bus area and place their students on the appropriate bus.

Rec. Care: Students going to the Hermon Recreation Department’s After School Care are called between 3:06-3:08 as two groups to go to the Cafeteria.

Lobby Dismissal: Parents providing private transportation on a daily basis may fill out a form for Daily Lobby Dismissal. By signing this form, parents take responsibility for meeting their child in the Lobby area on-time every day. These students are called as one group at 3:10 to the lobby. We encourage PreK and Kindergarten parents to be near the front of the pick-up line- -this makes it easier for our littlest learners to see their parents. Parents should make eye contact or wave to the dismissing teacher before taking their child.

Pick-Up: Parents picking up a child on an occasional basis must send in a note for the teacher and the office. The child will receive a pick up pass to show the lobby duty staff.

Emergency Pick-Up: In the event you are picking up but your child does not have daily lobby or a note, you need to sign your child out at the office and they will be called down to the office individually.

School Picture Day

School picture day is scheduled for the following dates:

PK-1: September 22

2-4: September 23

Information regarding pictures and picture packages will be coming home soon.

Substitutes Needed

If you enjoy working with children, we need you! We are looking for caring adults to join our substitute list. If you are interested, please contact Jodi White at the Hermon School Department's Superintendent’s Office for information on how to become a substitute teacher at the Patricia A. Duran School.

Reading is Key!

Reading is one of the most important skills your child will learn in school. Like all skills, improvement comes with practice, and our school library provides a wide variety of books for students to borrow for reading pleasure, information, and practice. Your child’s class will come to the library on their assigned letter day to select a book. You can help your child by reading to, or with, her/him and asking questions about the story. Encourage your child to spend time reading at home every day.

  • Students are responsible for their library book(s). They are taught to handle their books with care since they are for everyone to share.
  • Please keep books away from pets, food, and all liquids. Any item that is damaged should be reported to the librarian, Mrs. Goodrich, as soon as possible so repairs, if possible, can be made.
  • Library items may be kept for three weeks, then must be returned. A book can be renewed (checked out again) if your child is not done reading it. An overdue, or late, book means the student cannot borrow another book.
  • Please help your child bring their library book back on time.
  • If an item is lost, payment toward a replacement, or another copy of the book, will be requested from you.
  • If your family plans to move to a new school district, please return all library items before moving.

We hope your child will read and enjoy many books and grow in reading skills during his/her school year.

NWEA Testing Information

As part of state assessment law, we are required to administer universal screeners to all of our students to assess each child's individual needs and strengths. In addition the state requires that we report the scores of 3rd and 4th grade students to them after testing. Our universal screener (of state assessment) is the Northwest Educational Assessment (NWEA). We test students in reading, math and language (3rd and 4th grade only). The test gives us valuable data that we use to make decisions about instruction.

The best way to help your child prepare for testing is to ensure they get enough sleep prior to the day of testing, and that they eat a good breakfast. If you are curious about the NWEA assessment, or the district's policies related to assessment, please visit the district's assessment page here.

The guide below also provides useful information to parents. If you have additional questions, please feel free to reach out to Mrs. Davis.

Parent's Guide to Testing

Breakfast and Lunch Menus

Please click on the links below to access the breakfast and lunch menus for the month of September.

Upcoming Events

August 30 & 31: Kindergarten Screening Days

August 30: First Student Day (PK & 1-4)

September 1: First Student Day (Kindergarten)

September 5: No School

September 22: Picture Day Grades PK-1

September 23: Picture Day Grades 2-4

September 19-October 14: Fall NWEA Testing