Welcome to GVMS!

August 28th, 2019

Garnet Valley Middle School

Achieving our best through creativity, compassion, and community.

GVMS School Community

Dear Garnet Valley Middle School Parents and Students,


Welcome to the 2019-2020 school year! We hope that you had a restful and enjoyable summer. As another school year begins, we are eager to be a part of the special milestones that define adolescence. We extend a warm welcome to our entering 6th-grade students and families as well as all of our new families to the Garnet Valley School District. Please know that we are here to support you through this exciting transition.


On Wednesday, August 21st we held our annual 6th Grade Transition Camp. We would like to thank our guidance department, GVMS HSA team, and all of the teachers, paraprofessionals, and student volunteers that came out to support our incoming students. This event provided students the chance to see some old friends as well as begin to meet some of their new classmates of the Class of 2026.

Please help us welcome the following teachers to either new positions within the middle school or new staff members joining Garnet Valley Middle School:


6th Grade

Laura Cuorato, cuoratl@garnetvalley.org English Language Arts, Thornbury Team

Dawn Papa, papad@garnetvalley.org Social Studies, Thornbury Team

Karin Hencken, henckek@garnetvalley.org Special Education, Thornbury Team

Megan Monahan, monaham@garnetvalley.org Special Education, Concord Team


7th Grade

Tyler Lonergan, lonergt@garnetvalley.org English Language Arts, Everglades Team

Caitlyn Tricome, tricomc@garnetvalley.org , Social Studies, Acadia Team

Brenna Lenton, lentonb@garnetvalley.org Mathematics, Sequoia Team

Jonathan Stroup, stroupj@garnetvalley.org Special Education, Sequoia Team


8th Grade

Siena Cantanzaro, catanzs@garnetvalley.org English Language Arts, Galapagos Team

Kim Uhrig, UhrigK@garnetvalley.org English Language Arts, Komodo Team

Stacie Chieffo-Bradley, bradles@garnetvalley.org Social Studies, Olympus Team

Rebecca Robbins robbinr@garnetvalley.org English Language Arts, Serengeti Team


Other Additions or Change in Position

Mary Williams, william@garnetvalley.org Gifted/ATP Teacher shared with GVE

Marisa Mahon, mahonm@garnetvalley.org School Counselor A-Em

Karen Vandenbraak, vandenk@garnetvalley.org School Nurse

Kris LaFave, lafavek@garnetvalley.org Reading Specialist

Jen Cisco, ciscoj@garnetvalley.org Family Consumer Science

Lara Cini, cinil@garnetvalley.org, Business Education/Computers

Chris Barnes, barnesc@garnetvalley.org Health and PE

Emily Hampson, hampsoe@garnetvalley.org, Full-time Math Support, 6-8

Connie Marchese, marchec@garnetvalley.org Full-time Spanish

Nate Richards, richarn@garnetvalley.org Music

Brittany O’Shea is now Brittany McGroarty, mcgroab@garnetvalley.org Speech

Student Course Schedules and Alma

The student information system (ALMA) was activated for the 2019-2020 school year. As a result, student schedules are now viewable in the system.


Please consider the following information when viewing schedules:


1. We have been working very hard to ensure everyone has a complete schedule, however, we are still fine tuning some courses.


2. If you notice an error (i.e. wrong level course, missing a course), e-mail your counselor. Please understand that we are unable to switch teachers or teams at this time. Perhaps this is a good opportunity to reach out and make new friends! Additionally, our guidance counselors provide critical services to help all of our students to successfully negotiate the middle school experience. Parents are encouraged to contact their child’s counselor to discuss any questions or concerns. Our guidance counselors are assigned based last names.


Last Names A-Em: Marisa Mahon

Last Names Ep-Ler: Wendy Xanthopoulos

Last Names Les-Rom: TBD

Last Names Ros-Z: Christy Francart


3. Occasionally, due to changes in enrollment, class sizes need to be balanced. This may result in class changes but should not change the courses listed on your current schedule.


4. If you are unable to log into ALMA, you can reset your password. The three most common reasons for the reset not working are: using the incorrect username, using an e-mail other than the one listed in ALMA, or the reset e-mail went into your spam folder. If you are still having difficulty, please call the main office and we will help you.


5. Please note we have not yet linked Schoology and Alma. We will be connecting both systems later this week. Students will receive more information on Schoology during the first week of school.

GVMS Grade Level Teams

Though our team names are not new, we thought it would be beneficial to list each grade level’s team names. Our team names are associated with local, national, and world parks. This approach provides us with the opportunity to build an inter-connectedness as grades and as a school.


6th Grade

  • Brandywine, Concord, Newlin, Thornbury

7th grade

  • Acadia, Denali, Everglades, Sequoia.

8th grade

  • Galapagos, Komodo, Olympus, Serengeti

Summer Work

Our middle school students have a summer assignment for English Language Arts as well as an optional summer assignment for Math. If you would like to access the documents, please visit the GVSD Summer Assignment website. The link below will direct you to the specific page for middle school assignments:


GVMS Summer Assignment Link

Transportation Information

InfoFinder-i provides online access to assist in finding your child’s bus number, pick-up/drop-off locations and times.


InfoFinder-i allows you to:

  • Find your child’s designated bus stop;
  • Find the estimated pick-up/drop-off times for your child’s bus stop;
  • Locate which school your child would attend if you are planning to move.

Parents/guardians are encouraged to check InfoFinder-i periodically between August 15th and the start of school as pick-up and drop-off times may be slightly altered due to daily enrollment changes.


Please click here to access the site.

Morning Transportation and Drop-off Procedures

Our school buses drop off between 7:00 AM and 7:20 AM. It is important to note that the school will not be open until 7:00 AM. We want to ensure that our building remains locked and secure until our district personnel is present. Furthermore, we want our students to be safe and secure both before and during school hours. Please do not drop off students prior to 7:00 AM.


We encourage all families to utilize our transportation services for safety and efficiency purposes. However, if you need to drop your student off below are our AM Drop-off procedures:



  • Parents entering from Station Road will travel to the GVES and GVMS shared parking lot by taking a right and making a loop to the GVMS drop off location. Parents will exit back to Station Road.

  • Parents entering from Bob Mench Drive (Passed the Rachel Kohl Library) will travel to the left of GVMS and take a right and make a loop to the GVMS pool drop off location. Parents may exit to the right or left on Bob Mench Drive.

  • Parents may not park in the front parking lot and walk students across the BUS ONLY LANE into the school between 7:00 and 7:30. This poses a safety risk.

  • ALL BUSSES will be entering the campus from Station Road and enter the BUS ONLY LANE for Student Drop Off. The BUS ONLY LANE for Student Drop Off will only be for busses, so no other traffic will be allowed to go through. ALL busses will continue past GVMS and make a right onto Municipal Drive and exit onto Temple Road.

  • This traffic pattern will be in place from 7:00 to 7:30 during all school days.



During the AM Drop-off period, all 6th grade students should report to the cafeteria every morning. All 7th and 8th grade students should report to the auditorium. Any student (including 7th and 8th graders) wishing to eat breakfast should go directly to the cafeteria space and remain there to eat breakfast. It is important to note that there is no eating or drinking in the auditorium in the morning. We do not allow coffee, energy drinks, or any other beverages or food in the morning.

Attendance Overview

Regular attendance is vital for student success and results in healthy work habits, a sense of responsibility and self-discipline. There are new Pennsylvania Department of Education attendance guidelines that are more restrictive. The new PA Truancy Laws, implemented in the Fall of 2017, have created new expectations for families and schools, and we need to collectively work together to ensure that students are attending daily and all absences are being coded correctly.



  • Under the new state laws, please be advised that “truancy” is now defined as “three (3) or more school days of unexcused absence during the current school year” and “habitual truancy” as “six (6) or more school days of unexcused absence during the current school year.”


To report an absence, please go to our parent portal link and find Absence Reporting System and Safe Arrival by School Messenger:


https://sites.google.com/garnetvalley.org/safearrival/home


Please note that, similar to last year, the middle school does not have a homebase. It is critical students are here in school by 7:20. First period class begins at 7:30 and students who are not present at that time will be marked late. There will be discipline steps for students that are repeatedly late. Please refer to the Student Record Procedural Manual - Student Code of Conduct or Attendance Policy #204 for potential consequences related to excessive absences.

Health Information- SNAP (Parent Health Portal)

Last school year, the district used the FamilyID system for all emergency cards and forms to help streamline the summer process for our parent community. While the feedback from our parents was positive, FamilyID did not meet the needs of our school nurses.


Starting this coming school year (2019-2020), Garnet Valley will give our parents and guardians direct access to our district’s health portal (SNAP), which will provide the most secure, convenient, and real-time view of your child’s school health record.


The FamilyID system is not going away entirely as it will still be used by our athletic department to collect sports physicals.


The SNAP Health Portal. The email came from noreply@studentehr.com. Please check your spam folder if you do not remember seeing this notice. Once you log into the SNAP system, please update your child's health information (as needed), including the medication consent section.


What is GVCTC?

An organization that engages both community and schools in a partnership to support, educate, parent and prepares our children to grow into healthy adults.

Click here to learn more!

https://www.garnetvalleyschools.com/cms/One.aspx?portalId=151092&pageId=589727

Make a donation:

https://www.myschoolbucks.com/ver2/login/getmain.action

Technology Updates and Reminders

Garnet Valley Technology Office Updates and GVMS Technology Information

From a technology perspective, students will have frequent and regular access to chrome books in core classes and as needed in our other course. Our students will be accessing Google apps, Schoology courses, and Alma. Your child will be able to assist you in accessing these technologies from home. We will also set aside time during our Back to School Night to answer any specific questions you may have in regards to technology accessibility.


· FERPA Information

· Alma

· SNAP (Parent Health Portal)

· Safe Arrival (Absence Reporting System)

· Infofinder-i

· Directory and/or Photo/Video Opt-Out Form

· Military Families Recruitment

· District App


In order to minimize the amount of paperwork and relieve some of the pressures typically associated with the first week of school, our district has put together a "Parent Summer Checklist." This checklist includes links to set up some of the accounts mentioned above. For more information, please visit the Parent Summer Checklist by clicking the link below:


Parent Summer Checklist Link

GVMS Cell Phone Procedures and Expectations

We strongly believe in the importance of clear, consistent, and developmentally appropriate routines and expectations in regards to cell phone use at our middle school. The link below will take you to our building’s cell phone procedures and expectations document. Students, parents, and guardians will see a gradual and appropriate progression of independence and responsibility for students. The 8th grade procedures perhaps best show this progression as they are given access to their phones so that they can learn the self-reliance, self-governance, and cyber/phone etiquette that they will undoubtedly need in high school.



We want to reinforce that students do not need their cell phones during the school day. The district provides students with the necessary technology and devices to complete all assigned academic work; consequently, there is no need to have a cell phone for middle school classwork.


Cell Phone Procedures and Expectations

GV Athletic Information

All athletic information for middle school and high school sports can be found at the following link:

https://sites.google.com/garnetvalley.org/homeofthejaguars

Director: Mr. Seth L. Brunner

Athletic Secretary: Mrs. Sandy Pyle

Phone: 610 - 579 - 7490

Fax: 610 - 579 - 7473

Raptor Information

The Raptor system is used to enhance our ability to monitor who enters our buildings by screening visitors, contractors, and volunteers. Upon entering a district building, visitors will be asked to present an ID such as a Driver’s License, which can either be scanned or manually entered into the system. If a parent or guardian for any reason does not have a US government-issued ID, the school staff member can use any form of identification and manually enter the person’s name into the Raptor system.


The Raptor system will check to ensure that registered sexual offenders are not entering our school campuses without our knowledge. The Raptor system checks the visitor's name and date of birth for comparison with a national database of registered sex offenders. The registered sex offender database is the only official database checked by the Raptor system. No other data from the ID is gathered or recorded and the information is not shared with any outside agency.


Once entry is approved, Raptor will issue a badge that identifies the visitor, the date, and the purpose of his/her visit.


Please adhere to the following regulations:


1. Enter the building at the main office door.
2. Go directly to the office, sign in through Raptor and inform the school secretary of your
destination.
3. PLEASE DO NOT GO to any area of the building without receiving permission from the office.
4. Do not attempt to go to a classroom to pick up a child. Students who are being dismissed early
will be sent to the office.
5. Return the visitor badge at the conclusion of your visit to sign out.

Volunteers

GVMS and GVMS HSA welcomes and appreciates the involvement of our parent volunteers for events including dances, grade level events, family nights, etc. To ensure the safety and well-being of our students, as well as to remain compliant with PA legislation, all parent volunteers are required to obtain clearances prior to their participation within the school building and/or program.


These documents must be submitted to the GVSD Office of Human Resources located in the GV Educational Center.


https://www.garnetvalleyschools.com/district_offices/human_resources

In Closing

Our school administration and faculty are committed to providing your child with a quality education. We are confident that your child will demonstrate progress through our varied learning and social-emotional experiences. We feel that our teaming and focus on student’s individual growth lead to the greatest gains. If there are issues that are interfering with your child’s school attendance, academic achievement or emotional health, we would like to help. Together we can make sure your child is reaching his or her full potential. We welcome your input and participation in the educational process. We are confident that together we will complete another successful year at Garnet Valley Middle School.


Sincerely,


Lisa Stenz, Principal

stenzl@garnetvalley.org


Gerry Weinhardt, Assistant Principal

weinhag@garnetvalley.org

Garnet Valley Middle School

Achieving our best through creativity, compassion, and community.