Panther Press

July 26, 2023

Panther Press Table of Contents

  • A Note From Mrs. Hansen, Principal
  • Administrative Team
  • Back-to-School Events
  • Boundary Adjustments
  • Arrival and Dismissal Procedures
  • Stock the Lounge
  • Durham Bus Services
  • Café (Cafeteria)
  • Visitors
  • Registration and Fees for 2023-2024
  • YMCA Fall Enrollment
  • Incoming Kindergarten Information
  • Communication
  • Birthday Policy
  • Nut-Safer Guidelines
  • Helpful Links (Supply Lists, District Calendar, VPE Website)

A Note From Mrs. Hansen

Dear families,

We hope the past couple of months have allowed you time to unwind and enjoy fun under the sun with those dearest to you. Our team at Valley Park Elementary is preparing to embark on an excellent year!

As we plan for the start of the school year, we will share pertinent information to help you best prepare for your child or children's learning journey at VPE. We know our students eagerly await to enter their learning home's doors. Some new members are joining VPE this school year, so we hope these fun introductions below will help fuel some of the excitement.

We eagerly welcome the following individuals to the VPE Panther Family!

Rachel Delehanty, 1st grade Chinese Immersion

Guona Sun, 1st grade Chinese Immersion

Emily Mulick, 2nd grade

Caity Wiser, 2nd grade

Melisssa Schneweis, Reading Specialist

Liz Moore, Student Support Liaison

Amy Holovach, School Psychologist

Joan Watson, 3rd grade

Kelly Klein, 4th Grade

Stacy Sales, 4th Grade

Kendyl Nicholson, sub for Brittany Cloud

Polly Shaw, sub for Katie Luschen

Bethany Shonkwiler, Special Education Resource Teacher

Jill Bergee, Instructional Design Coach

Katie Schmanke, Occupational Therapist

Samantha Bashara, Registrar

Leah Bane, Speech Language Pathologist

Hallie Dejmal, Speech Language Pathologist

Jenny Adams, Instructional Para

Michael Burton, Administrative Intern

Emily Gill, Assistant Principal

Rebekah Montgomery, Nurse

Jo Anne Reed, Instructional Para

Libby Staebell, Kindergarten Teacher

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We look forward to seeing you soon, families!


Melissa Hansen


VPE Administrative Team

Back to School Events

We are so excited to see our school community back on campus soon! Back to School events are just around the corner, and we would like to share our plans for welcoming everyone back.

Class Placement Email: Monday, August 14, 4:00 PM

Parents/guardians will receive a notification letting you know who your child has for a classroom teacher at 4 PM on August 14th.

Meet and Greet: Monday, August 14

  • 4:30 PM-5:15 PM Last names A-L
  • 5:15 PM - 6:00 PM Last names M-Z

Meet and greet is an event where you will have the opportunity to walk your child into the school, see their classroom, meet their teacher, take pictures, and see their new learning space. Meet and Greet is not required, but it will be an excellent opportunity for adults to enter the building with their children.

First Day of School (Grades 1-5): Wednesday, August 16: 8:50 AM - 3:35 PM

Kindergarten Orientation: Wednesday, August 16

Our Kindergarten staff is prepared to invite our incoming students in with their parents for a session to explore their new surroundings, meet new friends, and, hopefully, calm any fears or anxieties. The parents will have an opportunity to ask questions, take pictures, and get to know a few children in the class. Following the schedule below, families should expect to attend orientation according to their last name:

  • Last names: A-F, 9:15 - 10:15 AM
  • Last name: G-O, 10:45 - 11:45 AM
  • Last name: P-Z, 1:15- 2:15 PM

First Day of School (Kindergarten): Thursday, August 17: 8:50 AM - 3:35 PM

Back-to-School Night: Thursday, August 24, 5:30-7:00 PM

Back-to-School Night will take place on Thursday, August 24. This event is where you will have the opportunity to learn more about your child's classroom and receive pertinent information that will enable you to navigate the year easily. Additionally, you will learn how to volunteer with the Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) and contribute to your child's classroom events for the school year.

  • Session 1: 5:30-6:10pm
  • Session 2: 6:20-7:00pm

Boundary Adjustments

Board approves boundary adjustments for 2024-25 school year

At the June 12 Board of Education meeting, the board approved the 2022-23 Facility Planning Committee’s report, including boundary adjustments that address elementary school enrollment and building capacity issues. The approved boundary adjustments impact several schools to keep contiguous attendance areas.

Boundary adjustments approved for the 2024-25 school year include:

  • Deer Creek boundaries will be adjusted to attend Overland Trail Elementary.
  • Sandstone Creek, Savoy, and Plaza Gardens boundaries will be adjusted to attend Harmony Elementary. This adjustment will also include a change in feeder pattern to Harmony Middle and Blue Valley Northwest.
  • Glen Abbey & Villas of Chapel Green and Highland Villas and Highlands Creek boundaries will be adjusted to attend Prairie Star Elementary. This adjustment will also include a change in feeder pattern to Prairie Star Middle and Blue Valley High.

The committee's work, including documents, maps, and presentations, can be found on the district’s website.

Arrival and Dismissal Procedures

Arrival Procedures:

  1. Our school doors open at 8:35 AM. Children should not arrive before 8:35 AM.

  2. School begins at 8:50 AM. After 8:50 AM, students are considered tardy. A parent or guardian must come to the school's front entrance with their photo id to have their child signed in if they arrive at school later than 8:50 AM.

  3. Students should remain buckled in their seats until the vehicle stops in the traffic loop.

Dismissal Procedures:

  1. Dismissal begins at 3:35 PM. Car riders need to be picked up no later than 4 PM.

  2. Students who walk home will exit the building through the recess exit doors on the South side of the building.

  3. Students who walk home cannot stay on the VPE campus. Y-Care utilizes the building and playground after school, Monday-Friday.

VPE Traffic Flow Map

Big picture

Stock the Lounge!

Click here if you are interested in helping "stock the lounge" for the VPE staff.

Durham Bus Services

If you wish for your child to be a bus rider, please visit the bus website to sign them up:

Durham Bus Services. You can also sign up for text message alerts for your student's bus.

Café (Cafeteria)

The breakfast and lunch menus can be found online here. You can also download the Nutrislice app to access daily/weekly menus.

We will be excited to welcome parents/guardians to our lunchroom to eat with their student, starting after Labor Day, Wednesday, September 7. We will practice cafè routines and procedures for the first couple of weeks. As a reminder, we ask that you and your child enjoy your lunch at the table designated for students and their visitor(s).

General Reminder for Visitors During the School Day

Parents and Caregivers,

Our office staff wants to share a general reminder that all elementary schools in the district utilize the buzz-in entry system for visitors during the school day. Visitors will need to come to the front of the school. At the front entrance, visitors will press the buzzer, show government-issued photo identification, and state the purpose of their visit each time they visit the school. If you arrive without identification, the office will seek the administration's approval for entry.

We ask that guests not hold the door open for another visitor once they have been buzzed in. Instead, allow the door to close for visitors to go through the above-mentioned procedures. We appreciate the support of our safety procedures.

Registration and Fees | 2023-2024

Parents and Caregivers,

Elementary school registration for the 2023-24 school year is open and online now for all students. Registration is required annually and is the time to update your child’s information and pay fees. Completing registration confirms that your child will attend school for the 2023-2024 school year. Thank you for providing important information as part of the registration process. For more registration information, visit

Thank you,

Samantha Bashara



YMCA Fall Enrollment Open

For parents unfamiliar with Y-Club, the YMCA operates within district elementary schools during the school year. The program opens at 7:00 AM daily for early drop-off and stays open until 6:00 PM. Please click here to find out where to learn more or register for the 2023-24 school year. Registration opened on May 10th.

Incoming Kindergarten Information

Please click on the Kindergarten Newsletter to register your incoming Kindergarten student and gain the most recent information shared with incoming Kindergarten families.


The "Panther Press", the parent/caregiver newsletter, will be sent once per week. These newsletters tend to be packed with information to keep you updated and included in our school's events and activities. This newsletter will also include Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) communication. Please read each newsletter and let us know if you have any questions.


School Office:

  • Phone: (913) 239-7600


Due to the growing number of food allergies and medical needs, student treats brought in for celebrations must be from the Nut Safer List found here.

Students may opt to to bring non-edible birthday treats (e.g., pencils, stickers, etc.) . Remember that a birthday celebration should not take away from instructional time.

Birthday Invitations: We ask that students not distribute invitations to private birthday parties at school unless every class member receives an invitation.

Nut-Safer Guidelines

Blue Valley (BV) School's Nut Safer Guidelines for daily snacks will be implemented throughout the school year.

· Classroom snacks must be from the Nut Safer list.

· Nut Safer seating is available in the café during lunch.

We appreciate your support as we work to be preventative with food safety measures to ensure student and staff safety.

The complete Nut Safer Foods and BV Guidelines can be found here.

Dr. Burton - Administrative Intern

Office Staff

  • Julie Bachert: Administration Assistant/Bookkeeper
  • Samantha Bashara: Administration Assistant/Registrar/Attendance