Penn Pride Newsletter


Upcoming Dates

  • November 22nd- 2nd grade walking field trip to the fire and police station
  • November 23rd-25th- No School
  • November 28th- 5th and 6th grade U of I Climate Survey Opens

Important Information

December Lunchroom Helpers

We are a few days away from December and are enjoying having parents in to volunteer in the cafeteria. If you are interested in helping click here to sign up for a time(s) that work in your schedule. Thank you to all of the past volunteers! This has been a huge help for our cafeteria staff this year.

Holiday Gift Assistance

Do you need assistance over the holidays or know someone in need? The NLPD has creating a giving tree. The due day is November 28th. f you know of any families who could use a little help purchasing gifts complete the application below. It can be sent back to the NLPD via email at (

Winter Gear Assistance

We have a collection of new snow pants and boots recently purchased through a donor and matching PTO funds. If you need assistance getting these items for your student please email our student family advocate, Jill Winders at

A Note From The Health Office

The Iowa City Community School District has a protocol in place for sending and keeping children home from school when they are ill. We follow this protocol to make sure that children are given an adequate amount of time and rest to get well before returning to school and to prevent the spread of germs to other children and school staff. Please help to keep the schools in the Iowa City Community School District healthy environments by following these simple rules:

  • Keep your child home from school when he/she has a fever of 100.4 (F) or greater and for 24 hours after the fever has gone away, without taking Tylenol or ibuprofen.
  • Keep your child home from school when he/she has diarrhea and/or vomiting and for 24 hours after these symptoms have occurred.
  • When your child returns to school after an illness he/she should be able to participate in the total school program including outdoor recess and physical education. Your child will be excused from outside recess and physical education after an illness only by a written recommendation from your family doctor or primary health care provider.
  • Please be sure the school has a telephone number where you can be reached in case your child becomes ill at school. Call the school if your child will not be attending school because of illness.
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New Mission Statement

During the first trimester we engaged in a collaborative process to define our mission as a school. We have adopt a new mission statement, "Penn Elementary sees, inspires and empowers all learners while nurturing the whole child." We look forward to engaging with our community to find ways to live this on a daily basis.

Winter Weather Guidelines

We have experienced our first snow fall of the winter and wanted to remind parents of our recess guidelines. Students need snow pants AND boots to play on the snow. If students don't have one of those items or are just in their classroom shoes they will stay on the blacktop. We also don't have extra clothes for students to change into if they get wet. If you'd like for your child to have extra clothes place a set in their backpack.

Car Line Reminders

Now that we have experienced a trimester of drop-off and the snow is here we wanted to follow up with a few reminders to help the process smooth out and ensure safety for all.

Each morning we are unloading approximately 210 cars over a 25 minute period. Between 7:30 and 7:40 we are unloading approximately 40 cars and there is little to no waiting. Between 7:40-7:45 we are unloading another 40 to 50 cars. After that we unload the remainder of the cars. If you are frustrated with the waiting process we wanted to remind families you can start dropping off as early as 7:30. Students should be in the school by 7:55 to be considered on time.

If you have a student with an instrument you need to help unload, bags in the trunk, kids you need to unbuckle or other items causing extended parked periods please find a parking spot. We have more spots available now that the construction is done.

We appreciate everyone helping us ensure you can drop off in a timely and safe manner. If we spread out our car flow and people find parking spots as needed I'm confident we can greatly improve our backup of cars between 7:50-7:55.

Tik Tok and Snap Chat Information

As we are near the time of year where we start to see conflicts occurring outside of school caring over into school from social media we wanted to share some information with families. The purpose of this is not to tell you what you should allow access to, but to provide you with information as you carefully consider if you should allow your child access to social media sites. Much of the information in this blurb comes from the website, which has a wealth of information for parents.

The two most popular social media sites that we see some of our students have access to are Snapchat and TikTok. As you may already know, both of these platforms have the same age restrictions of 13 years and older. This is due to a law called COPPA, which makes it illegal to collect and store the personal information of children under the age of 13. According to their terms of service, no one under the age of 13 is allowed to create accounts. Children typically turn age 13 during their 7th grade school year.

While we understand that both Snapchat and TikTok are both very popular with younger children, we urge parents and families to carefully consider their child’s maturity level before allowing them access to these social media platforms. A child needs to have the social and emotional skills to cope with the demands of social media. At Penn, our past experience has been that many of our elementary aged students are simply not mature enough yet and therefore it has the potential to cause problems between students or groups of students. At Penn, we do not allow students access to cell phones or social media sites while at school. Students are accessing the sites outside of school, which limits our ability to monitor or provide interventions should a conflict occur between peers.

Before allowing your under-age child to open a social media account, please consider the questions below:

  • Is your child resilient enough to handle negative online experiences like cyberbullying, drama, and abuse?

  • Do they understand the importance of privacy and how to protect it online?

  • Do they understand how to share safely?

  • Do they know how to report abuse behavior online?

  • Have you talked to them about online pornography?

  • Have you talked to them about racism and other forms of hate speech online?

If you find that your child has been involved in conflicts or has had other negative experiences because of being allowed to be on social media sites, group chats, or gaming apps, we encourage you to reconsider the social media access you have granted your child.

Hy Vee: Cash 4 Students

Total Update:

In the last two weeks we have made $27.75 for our students through Hy-Vee receipts. Keep collecting those receipts to send to school.

Hy Vee Receipts:

Cash 4 Students is a simple program based on the collection of Hy-Vee grocery receipts starting

September 1, 2022. Customers save their Hy-Vee receipts and turn them into the school. This will be a PTO fundraiser for Penn.

At the end of the school year, on March 31, 2023, collected receipts will be delivered to the school’s neighborhood Hy-Vee along with a Cash 4 Students Receipt Redemption form.

Based on the receipt total, a donation from Hy-Vee will be made to each participating school. The amount donated will be $1 for every $200 in receipts submitted. Schools can use the donated money for any need the school has.

Click here for more information

November Lunchroom Volunteers

We received great feedback about the volunteers in the lunchroom from the students, staff and volunteers this month. We are looking to extend this opportunity through the month of November. Sign up by clicking here.

During your timeslot you will get the opportunity to interact with kids, provide assistance opening packages and any other needs that might come up during the lunch shift.

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Volunteers Needed

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Penn PTO Corner

Upcoming Dates:

PTO Meeting - 12/6 at 7pm in Penn Library

PTO Meeting - 1/10 at 7pm Penn Library

Family Movie Night - 1/27

PTO Meeting 2/7 at 7pm in Penn Library

Science Night – Feb 2/9

Conferences - 2/22, 3/2, 3/3

PTO Meeting - 3/7 at 7pm Penn Library

PTO Meeting - 4/4 at 7pm in Penn Library

Foam party – 4/28 (rainout date 5/20)

PTO Meeting - 5/9 at 7pm in Penn Library

Penn Cake Day 5/12

Penn Pride Rock- Penn's Pride Rock is a way to celebrate your child. For $15 a day (proceeds to the Penn PTO) you are able to paint a message on the rock to celebrate your child's special day. Click here to reserve a time to celebrate your child.

Funding assistance is available for any family. If you are needing assistance email Mr. Brandon at

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Shine Award Nomination Form

Do you want to nominate a teacher for going above and beyond for your student? The Iowa City Community School District Shine Award honors employees who go above and beyond for the students and schools in our community.

It is the policy of the Iowa City Community School District not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, religion, creed, age (for employment), marital status (for programs), sexual orientation, gender identity and socioeconomic status (for programs) in its educational programs and its employment practices. There is a grievance procedure for processing complaints of discrimination. If you have questions or a grievance related to this policy, please contact Laura Gray, Director of Diversity and Cultural Responsiveness (programs), or Eric Howard, Director of Equity and Employee Relations (employment),, 1725 N. Dodge Street, Iowa City, Iowa 52245, (319) 688-1000. If you are unsure how to proceed or would like assistance in discussing your options, you may also contact Janet Abejo-Parker, Ombuds, or (319) 688-1312.