The Big Cat Courier

Your Source for Big Cat News, Right Meow

May 13, 2022

Good Afternoon Barnard Families,

As another week comes to a close we can reflect on what a wild couple of weeks it's been here at HBS. I'd like to thank our staff, staff from other schools around EPS, our Central Office staff, and all of you for your flexibility, understanding, and concern over the spike in COVID-19 cases. With everyone working together, we were able to keep kids learning and our doors open for eight of the last ten school days. With the number of positive cases reported among staff and students alike, I don't anticipate another tidal wave headed our way this school year.

The important news and updates from this week at Henry Barnard School are as follows:

-Staff is masking and while masking is still optional for students, it is highly recommended that families choose to mask their Big Cats. The safety of our students, their families, our staff, and the community at large is of paramount importance.

-Many of the Teacher Appreciation activities scheduled for the week of May 2nd were postponed until the end of this week. Everyone at HBS would like to thank the PTO, our students, and all of our Big Cat families for the outpouring of support.

-Our monthly virtual Big Cat PBIS assembly was postponed due to COVID-19 related staffing and student attendance. Stay tuned for an update in the coming weeks.

-The May PTO meeting has been postponed until next Thursday evening (5/19).

-Keep an eye out for details about the outdoor First Readers Ceremony on May 23rd, the Barnard-Crandall joint end of the year picnic on the 26th, and the triumphant return of Field Day the first week of June!

Have another wonderful weekend with the kids!

The Difficulty in Honoring a Request for Next Year's Classroom Teacher

Every year families make inquiries on how to request a specific teacher for their child's upcoming school year. While on the surface a single request may seem simple to accommodate however, the way classes are constructed makes it extremely difficult to honor a request for a specific classroom teacher. The process of creating class lists is a long and intensive one for the staff. We begin this work as early as April and focus on constructing lists that reflect balanced, positive working groups. The lists go through several revisions throughout the spring. It is also important to note that class lists are not constructed with specific teachers in mind and in fact, teachers are assigned to each group as the last step in the process. Luckily, we have a very strong teaching staff at all three grade levels with several past Teacher of the Year candidates and nominees.

Looking for Quality Summer Camp? Try the ERfC!

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Upcoming Dates to Keep An Eye On

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PTO Meeting has moved to Thursday, 5/19

First Readers Ceremony at Asnuntuck on Monday, 5/23

Early Release on Wednesday, 5/25

Joint Barnard-Crandall Family Picnic outdoors at EHS on Thursday, 5/26

No School on Memorial Day, 5/30

Field Day on Friday, 6/3 (rain date 6/6)

Last Day to check out books at the HBS library is Monday, 6/6

Technology Tips and Reminders for Families

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Important Items from Previous Newsletters -

PM Campus Safety Reminders

Parking at Pickup Time:

If a student is being picked up at dismissal, it is important that your vehicle be parked in a designated parking place in the front or side parking lot. The blacktop area in front of the library and gymnasium near the back playscape is not a designated parking area. Due to safety, private vehicles may not use that area during student dismissal. With families walking their children from their classrooms, families and students using the playground at pickup, and the ERfC afterschool program based in that section of the building, the only vehicles that should be in that area of the building are the preapproved commercial transportation providers.


For families who pick up at the end of the day, please remember to bring your picture identification and your orange pick up card. If there is a substitute teacher or other staff member covering in your child's classroom and you arrive without these identifying items, you will be directed to visit the main office where we can sort things out.

Student safety is of paramount importance at Henry Barnard School so thank you in advance for your patience and understanding as we navigate the end of each school day.

The Barnard Nursing Office

HBS is lucky enough to have two nurses on staff. Even with two nurses, a school as big as Barnard always keeps the nursing office busy. With the uptick in everyday childhood illnesses since masking became optional, there has been an even higher volume of children being seen.

In order to ensure that families are notified when their child is seen by a nurse, we are moving to a note system for non-emergency, non-illness situations. Families will still receive a phone call for anything concerning or needing a timely communication however, if there is a lost tooth, a Band-Aid on a new shoe blister, etc. a note will be set home with the student.

Are You Looking for Work?

If you are looking for fulfilling work that makes a difference in children's lives, has compatible hours with your child's school day, and matches your child's school year schedule, please consider applying for one of the many positions still available here at Enfield Public Schools. Like many industries across the country, schools are still struggling with staffing. Take a look at our open positions at

If you're looking for a position with more flexibility but you'd still like to work with children in a school setting, consider taking on a position as a substitute teacher. Enfield Public Schools partners with Kelly Education Services for our substitute teacher staffing needs. Becoming a substitute teacher through Kelly Services allows you to pick which days to work and which teaching assignments to sign up for. It's really a win - win situation where flexibility, on your terms, helps you to tailor your work week to your specific needs and you still have the chance to make a difference in kids lives. If you think you might be interested, take a look at

A full size version of the COVID-19 Flow Chart and additional information about the most current Health and Safety Guidelines can be found on the EPS homepage.

Has Your Contact Information Changed Recently?

I have to say, from experience, that there's nothing sadder than having a sick student in the nursing office all day because we weren't able to reach their family. Never mind the fright caused when the student isn't on the bus home or we can't reach a family during an emergency.

Please, please check that your information is up to date in our system. It is important to update your information any time there is a phone number change or change of address. You can check your current information and update it if necessary, in the PowerSchool Parent Portal and through School Messenger. Both can be found halfway down the District's homepage:

Clothes Donation Request

The HBS nursing office strives to keep extra clothing on hand for students who need a change of clothes due to an accident, rip, mud, etc... and don't have an emergency set of their own to change into. The loaner clothing that we have on hand is all donated by Barnard families. At this time, we are running out of loaner outfits. With that in mind, if you happen to have any outgrown clothes sizes 4-12 at home, we would love to have them! Thank you so much for considering us the next time your child grows out of their current size. We are also always in need of new underwear and socks if you are able to make a donation of new items.

If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times, Big Cats are the best cats! Thank you for all you do for our students.

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Our Community Partners -

The Barnard-Crandall PTO

The joint Barnard/Crandall PTO meets monthly to plan events, share ideas, vote on new business, and connect with students' families. Attending meetings is a great way to connect with other families, stay informed about school business, and to have a seat at the table with decisions are made. If you have an hour a month, we'd love to see you at the next meeting!

For PTO updates, resources, schedules, and news, click on the link to their official website:

The Family Resource Center (FRC)

Henry Barnard School is proud to be one of the two Family Resource Center locations in Enfield. The FRC is available to help families who find themselves in need connect with services across town. From finding winter clothing for students to helping families through parenting and support groups, the FRC has been a wonderful support for families here in Enfield.

For more information, please follow this link:

Enfield Resources for Children (ERfC)

The ERfC, or Enfield Resources for Children, not to be confused with the FRC above, offers quality before and after care for students at Henry Barnard School. If you have any questions about before and after care for your child, reach out to this longstanding partner organization.

Follow this link for more information:

The KITE Collaborative

KITE, or Key Initiatives to Early Education, is a collaborative of community partners dedicated to enhancing health, family engagement & support, and early care & education to Enfield's youngest residents.

Please check out their website for more information about this amazing group.