Together. We've got this.

We're not together in person in the same physical space as we would typically be, but we are together ... as a united group, or as we would say here at Penn, as a pride. We talk a lot about having pride, but more importantly, about being a pride. Groups of large cats are called a pride. So, we Penn PANTHERS, young and older, are a pride. I love the sense of belonging and community that grows from being a pride.

This week most students were able to attend a Meet & Greet with their homeroom teacher and classmates. This was just a first step in developing relationships that will knit us together and make us stronger together. We are going to learn, and laugh and make mistakes and then really learn, and play and read and grow and ..... the list is endless. It may all look a lot different right now, but we are not going to let zooming get in the way of our pride.

Parents, we look forward to growing this pride together with you. You are the first, and most important, teacher in your child's life. We're not here to replace you, but to come along side and partner with you. Together we're going to see your child learn and grow and have fun this year.

Frankly, this is all hard this year. We're all learning new things and new ways to do things. No one can do everything on their own. Parents, we are working hard. We appreciate that you see that. However, we also want you to know that we see how hard remote school is on families. We appreciate all that you are doing and juggling. Communication is going to be more important than ever. Let's all work to keep each other informed.

Finally, the reality is we are going to have some challenges, mistakes and even failures. And that is all going to be ok. We'll learn together.

Together. We've got this.

~ Mrs. Heffner

School Times AND Arrival/Dismissal

The first day of school is Tuesday, September 8

Elementary school hours are 7:55am-2:55pm, with each Wednesday dismissing an hour early at 1:55pm.

Your child's classroom teacher will share their schedule and some details about lessons for the next week each Friday.

Even as we are in this remote model, attendance is expected. We will be taking attendance duirng

Grab & Go Meal Program

Even though we are remote, School Lunch and Breakfast are available.

Meals are served from 11:30 am - 1:00 pm, Monday through Friday. Each meal includes breakfast and lunch. Menu information can be found at MealViewer, under the Grab & Go menu. Meals are free and available to all Iowa City Community School District students and children do not need to be present in order for a guardian to pick-up a meal for the child.

Grab & Go meal sites beginning September 8, 2020:

City High School
Hills Elementary School
Liberty High School
North Central Junior High School
Northwest Junior High School
South East Junior High School
West High School

Please check your email for more info from the district.


We are obviously more dependent on technology than ever before -- which also means we are going to have more tech questions and needs. Thankfully, we have an awesome tech department. Please save the info below for easy reference.

Chromebook Initial Use

One thing we learned this week is that students need to sign in once with their user name and password before the camera is enabled in their device. This is important because they need the camera to use their clever badge.

Technology Visual Guide: this provides brief overviews with pictures of the following

processes and programs:

District Chromebook: Sign In



Clever & ClassLink Comparison





ICCSD Technology Resources - this is a one stop resource for every sort of information related to chromebooks, seesaw, zoom and clever.

If you still need technology help at the district HELP Desk by emailing or calling 688- 4357. You'll probably have to leave a message. They will get back to you.


Dear parents of incoming 3rd-6th grade girls at Penn and Grant Elementary Schools,

What a year! We hope you and your families are safe, healthy, and excited for the start of the new (different type of) school year.

We wanted to make you aware that sign-up for the Girls on the Run program (VIRTUAL this fall) is actively enrolling on a first come, first served basis and can be accessed here:

Girls on the Run (GOTR) is an after-school program that meets for practice twice per week (virtually this year!), beginning the week of September 21 (Iowa City has delayed their original start date due to the delay in school start date) on the following days and times:

Christine Grant Elementary: Wednesdays/Fridays 4:00-4:45 (plus 20-30 minutes of running or other activity on own)

Penn Elementary: Mondays and Fridays 4:00-4:45 p.m. (plus 20-30 minutes of running of other activity on own)

During the program, girls will have fun, make friends, increase their physical activity levels and learn important life skills. Trained and caring coaches lead 3-6 grade girls through interactive lessons and encouragement of physical activity. The season ends with a noncompetitive 5K GOTR event (VIRTUAL this season). More information about the program can be found here:

You will have the option to select “Christine Grant” or “Penn” Elementary during sign up. We have a unique situation this year with 2 seasoned head GOTR coaches having girls at Christine Grant this year (Kelly Brubaker—who will continue as the coach at Grant Elementary and Valerie Hoffman—who will continue as the coach at Penn Elementary). Because the program will be delivered virtually, you are welcome to join either program!

If you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to email the Grant and Penn head coaches, Kelly Brubaker at and Valerie Hoffman at

The Leaders of the Pack: PENN PTO

Penn PTO rocks -- always supporting. The PTO board has been thinking ahead and have already purchased these items for every child:

- a mask with our logo

- a lanyard to hold the mask

- a 'cup holder' for each student's desk to hold a water bottle

You can be part of this dynamic group.

Meetings are on the first Tuesday of each month at 7pm

The first virtual PTO meeting will be Tuesday, October 6th and will most likely be by zoom.

Penn Panthers,

Whether you are learning from home or in school, wear your Penn panther gear proudly. Please check out the following link to purchase Penn gear from the Penn PTO. All orders are due by September 14th. To avoid any potential pickup problems orders will be shipped directly to your homes. Thank you!

Penn PTO

Before & After School Program (BASP) at Penn

There is still space in this super convenient child care program.

Please email for more info

Looking Ahead

  • Sept 8: First day! Classes begin at 7:55 and Early dismissal at 1:55pm
  • Oct 6: PTO at 7pm via zoom