News From Fort Zeller Elementary

February 2023

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Principal's Message

With the second half of the year well under way, I want to thank everyone for your continued support of our students, teachers, and school as we collectively strive to provide optimal opportunities for learning each and every day. In addition, I want to also thank our PTO for working hard to make the first half of the year such a success with so many amazing events for our students.

Everyone at Fort Zeller values the important contributions families make towards a student's success in school. There is no question about it—success at school starts at home. Families are the most significant influence in a student's schooling. Families model both spoken and silent language in front of their children. One of the most important elements of a great school is the partnership between the school and families who work together for the best interest of all students.

February is often when the winter cold gets to the kids and they have an early case of “spring fever.” With that, this is also an important time of year for us to continue encouraging, motivating, and stressing the importance of working hard. We have nearly a full semester yet of learning, and we are excited to keep that positive growth going up to the final day of this school year. We appreciate your help as well so that our students can continue their learning and conversations when they get home.

As we are well into the 2022-2023 school year, I encourage you to reach out to your child’s teacher anytime you have concerns, questions, or are curious about what they are experiencing at school. I am super proud of the work that occurs between 9 AM and 3:30 PM, but also know what an impact it can have when all adults are “in the know” about how a child is doing. Thank you for being amazing parents who care about Fort Zeller. We could not have a better school community! Thank you for your continued support of our amazing school. As always, my door is open and I welcome you to email or call anytime that you have questions, comments, or concerns. Take care and thanks again for your continued support!

Important Information

1. Parent Request for Classroom Form - When making class assignments, the building principal must take many factors into consideration. Examples of these factors include the following (but are not limited to):

• The total number of students in each class.
• The balance of boys and girls, both within a class and between classes.
• The balance of students with special needs.
• Academic recommendations from IEP and/or Data Team.
• Teacher/Team recommendations to separate some students from others.
• Teacher/Team recommendations to keep some students in the same class.
• Recommendation(s) from previous year’s teacher(s).

Parent requests will only be considered for educational reasons. If the form below is received between March 1st and March 31, 2023, provides educational reasons for the request, and does not conflict with other factors described above, the principal will make a reasonable effort to accommodate a parental request. ONLY non-preferred teacher request forms will be reviewed and considered.

***Completion of this form does not guarantee the request will be granted.

2. Drop Off - With the weather getting cooler and for student safety, please remember that parents SHOULD NOT drop students off prior to 8:30 unless you see a staff member outside greeting students and the doors are opened. Students dropped off prior to staff being available are out in cold weather and unsupervised which is not safe.

3. Power School Forms - We are still looking for a number of families to complete the required forms on Power School. These forms provide us with up-to-date important information. Please see below for more information. If you need help, please make sure to contact our office.

Parent Request for Classroom Form

Please click this button to access the classroom request form.


Feb. 1 (Day 1)

  • Raider Readers Day

Feb. 2 (Day 2)

  • Groundhog Day

Feb. 6: (Day 4)

  • School Board Meeting @ 6:00 pm (First Grade Students of the Month honored)

Feb. 7: (Day 3)

  • Picture Day

Feb. 8: (Day 2)

  • PTO Meeting @ 6:30 pm

Feb. 15: (Day 3)

  • PTO Sub Orders Due

Feb. 16: (Day 4)

  • Early Dismissal @ 11:30 am
  • Conferences (by invitation only) 12:30-4:00 pm

Feb. 17: (Day 1)

  • Snow Make-Up Day - We DO HAVE SCHOOL.
  • NED Yo-Yo Assembly @ 2:00 pm

Feb. 20: No School

  • President's Day

Feb. 21: (Day 2)

  • School Board Meeting @ 6:00 pm

Feb. 24: (Day 1)

  • PBIS Assembly @ 2:50 pm

NED Assembly

We have an exciting upcoming school-wide event. It’s called NED’s Mindset Mission on February 17, 2023.

To see a sneak peek preview video and gain access to free online resources, click link below:
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Rising Raiders Workshop

On January 10, we held our second Rising Raiders Workshop for our incoming kindergarteners at both Fort Zeller and Jackson Elementary. The focus of the evening was on helping our children develop their fine motor skills to help them transition smoothly into kindergarten. It was a wonderful evening where the children had the opportunity to meet some of our kindergarten teachers and do some fun activities, while their parents were given information and ideas for activities to do at home with their children.

Our next Rising Raiders Workshop will be held at Jackson Elementary on April 12 from 5:00-6:30 pm. Please help spread the word to any families who have children entering kindergarten next year. Thank you!

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Spring Math

Our students are doing an AMAZING job working through the Spring Math program. If you would like to know more about the program, information about SpringMath can be found at We would love for you to see for yourself the amazing data that has been collected from districts across the entire country!

Please call or email your child’s teacher if you have questions about this or anything else related to your child’s academic progress.

Yearbook Cover Contest Winner!

Congratulations to Anderson B. from Mrs. Jackson's class for winning the second grade yearbook cover contest! Anderson will receive a free yearbook along with having his submission framed. Great work to Anderson and thank you to all the students who submitted an entry. It was a tough decision, there were so many creative entries.
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Students and Class of the Month

Congratulations to our January students of the month and class of the month!

Kindergarten - Jeremiah R. (Zurick AM) & Makenna W. (Yocum AM)

First Grade - AJ M. (McDonnell) & Melissa G. (Booth)

Second Grade - Paxton S. (Frederick), Annie R. (Lucky) & Bentley B. (Gettle)

Class of the Month - Miss Kolovani's Kindergarten Class

During the month of January, we were focused on tolerance. Throughout the month of February, we are focusing on honesty. Honesty means that we are truthful in what we say and do.

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Correspondence with an Author - Jayce M.

Are you familiar with the A to Z book series? Have you ever had an author write back to you? Imagine Jayce M.'s surprise when this happened to him! After reading several Ron Roy books, Jayce chose to write and send a letter to the author directly. What is truly amazing is that Mr. Roy took time to respond to his email on the very same day!

Mrs. Kapp asks all of her students to respond to something they’ve enjoyed reading by completing a “Book Talk” of sorts and she gives them lots of options to do that. Jayce decided to write to the author and they found his contact on the author’s website. They never expected to hear back from Mr. Roy. What a cool activity and experience for Jayce!

Our school library has many Ron Roy books for you to enjoy. Go check them out!

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ELCO Food Pantry & Caring Closet

The ELCO Raider Food Pantry is Open!

The ELCO Raider Food Pantry is now open and available for the ELCO families. With the support of our ELCO staff, local businesses and churches, we are able to provide our ELCO families with an additional resource.

If you are in need of immediate assistance or you'd like to donate to the ELCO Raider Pantry, please reach out to Kelly Smith, ELCO Social Worker, at 717-306-3242 or the ELCO Food and Nutrition Department, at 717-306-3270 for a confidential appointment to the pantry.

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Link to Power School

We have several families that still need to do their yearly update on Power School. Please click this link to get started.

Camp Invention - Mr. Wright

ELCO Intermediate School is proud to partner with Camp Invention again for another fun filled STEM camp. The week of camp this school year will be June 19-22, 2023. I wanted to get this out early because if you sign up this month, Camp Invention is giving its largest discount ever of $50 off the price of registration. I am attaching a link and a flyer to this message for your convenience. If you have any questions please email me at Thanks and enjoy the school year!

Link to register:

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STEM Fun in First Grade

After learning about the different ways birds use their unique beak design to retrieve food, students were tasked with using a set of materials to create their own beak to pick up and carry a ping pong ball, then drop it into a fishbowl that was 1 foot away.

Each partner group was able to successfully make a design, and they had very creative inventions.

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Counselor's Corner With Mrs. Brosius

In January, we met a Little Spot of Anxiety and a Little Spot of Worry in Kindergarten and First Grade. We talked about ways to calm our anxiety spots down! In first grade, we made Worry Pockets to hold our "Spinning Worries" safe until we have time to talk to a trusted adult about them!

In 2nd grade, we talked about Diversity and finding our SPOT in the world! We learned more about each other and played a guessing game to figure out the mystery person!

In February, we will be meeting more Little Spots: A Little Spot of Sadness in Kindergarten, A Little Spot of Empathy in 1st grade, and a Little Spot of Honesty (to go with our character trait of the month) in 2nd grade! Check out the R.E.A.C.H. Lessons folders under "Materials" to see more details about each lesson!

Mrs. Brosius Schoology Course

If you would like to look over any R.E.A.C.H. lessons that Mrs. Brosius will be teaching, please click on this link.

Schoology Assistance

If you need help in creating a Parent Account on Schoology to access information, please click on this button.

Library - Reading Rocks!

Kindergarten students were introduced to coding. They used the Scratch Jr. app to practice sequencing events. First grade students worked with the Bee-bot programmable robots as they coded their way through fairy tales. Second graders used the Ozobot coding robots to practice coding and reinforce their learning of fiction and non-fiction. They also read fractured fairy tales.

What's Happening in Music

All students will be playing instruments this month! Students will be listening to stories and discovering new instruments through our listening activities.

Kindergarten will be learning about drum circles and practicing new rhythm patterns on Tubanos.

First and Second grade are playing xylophones and discovering how the Orff instruments make sound. They will be listening to musical stories and exploring new music genres.

A Note From ART - Mrs. Panza

This month in art class we reviewed the elements of art in all grade levels and…

1st grade: focused on creating art while experimenting with tools! First grade artists used washable markers and drew a snowperson shape and horizon line on wet watercolor paper. The colors will spread creating a fuzzy, washy effect. Some of the colors were very light or faint. We worked back into the artwork and created additional details with drawing tools to finalize our winter work. We will plan to focus on artwork for Art to Remember as a fundraiser with FZ PTO. Stay tuned for more details in the upcoming months!

2nd grade: focus on creating art while experimenting with creating tints & shades. Second grade artists will create monochromatic artwork. Each artist will chose a “base” color from the color wheel and will work on mixing the base color with white paint, and black paint. We will also plan to discuss abstract artwork and symmetry and create an abstract piece of work.

Kindergarten: This month in art class we reviewed the elements of art and then focused on continuing to add onto the penguin collage that was started in December. Artists practiced how to create a design and choose one they would like to create for the design on the penguin’s scarf and earmuffs! Next artists cut out shapes that “fit” for the scarf and earmuffs. Finally we will prepare the artwork for display!

Also, artists will plan to focus on artwork for Art to Remember as a fundraiser with FZ PTO. Stay tuned for more details in the upcoming months!

Get Moving in Physical Education - Mr. Babiarz

During the month of January, physical education classes learned how to rock climb on the traverse climbing wall. In addition to learning rock climbing skills, students played climbing games that required strength, balance and concentration.

In February, we will begin a new unit that includes some more exciting gross motor skills. Students will be working on perfecting their rolling, throwing and catching skills in a variety of fun challenges and games from bowling to bocce!

What's Happening in Kindergarten

Kindergarten has been working on blending and segmenting words. The students are enjoying showing each other and practicing the character trait of the month, “Tolerance,” in the month of January. They wrote a letter to a friend telling them what they liked about them! In math, students have finished up a unit on two and three dimensional shapes. They continue to practice recognizing and writing numbers up to 20. The children are working hard! As always, the kindergarten students are excited for all they have learned!

What's Going on in 1st Grade

January: In January, first graders started exploring CVCe words with the long vowel a , i, o, and u sounds. They were taught what the soft c and g sounds make like in words cent, page and fudge. The digraphs kn, wr, gn, and mb, were introduced, with a very sneaky silent letter like in words knock, wrist, gnat and lamb. Plus suffixes -y and -ful were touched on. The focus in math has been place value, with students reading and writing numbers to 120. They also are learning many interesting facts about Penguins and talking about winter fun.

2nd Grade Updates

The second graders rang in the new year by setting goals and writing about their New Year’s resolutions. During our spring math intervention, the students have met their target goal for addition to 20 and have moved onto subtraction! We love hearing the math talk between partners every day!

Reading Corner

What is reading fluency?

Reading fluency is the ability to “read accurately, at an appropriate pace, and with expression.” When a reader is fluent, they are more likely to process the meaning of the text. In other words, if a child is making too many errors, or reading slowly because of having to decode unfamiliar words, they are using too much mental energy to read the text, which will then impact their ability to understand the story. For our young readers, they are learning how to read and “crack the code”. So developmentally, we expect them to be sounding out unknown words, which will therefore impact their ability to read quick and correct. However, that does not mean that they should not be working on fluency skills.

The following are research based activities that families can implement at home to help their child become a fluent reader. These activities were described in Reading Rockets: “Growing Readers” newsletter:

  1. Paired or “buddy” reading-The easiest and best way to help your child develop fluency is to sit with your child and read! Read together every day, which is often called paired or buddy reading. To use paired reading, simply take turns reading aloud. You go first, as your reading provides a model of what good fluent reading sounds like. Then, ask your child to re-read the same page you just read. You’ll notice that your child’s reading will start to sound more and more like yours. Do this for several pages. Once your child is comfortable enough, and familiar enough with the book, take turns reading page for page.
  2. Reread favorite books-Another way parents can help develop fluency is to build a tall stack of books that your child can read quickly and easily. Encourage your child to reread favorite books over and over again. With each reading, you may notice your child reading a bit easier, a bit faster, and with a bit more confidence and expression.
  3. Record it-Another fun way to practice reading and build fluency is to have your child create her own audio books. This can be done simply with a tape recorder or audio recording feature or app (like Audioboo) on your phone. Or, use something more sophisticated like StoryKit, where a user can create an electronic storybook and record audio to accompany it. Regardless of the method you choose, your child will be practicing what they want to record and that reading practice is critical. Sharing your audio recordings with family and friends is a great motivator too!

To learn more about fluency, check-out the following resources:

Social Media #ELCOexcellence

ELCO School District is growing our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels. Click on the icons and follow along!

Facebook - @ELCOSD

Twitter - @elcosd

Instagram - @elcosd


  1. Celebrate our students.

  2. Keep parents, students, alumni, and the community in the loop of what is happening in our district.

  3. Promote the great things happening such as athletics, activities, and other events.

  4. Build an ongoing conversation about the positive impact our district is making in the lives of our students!

What do I need to do?

  • If you are on these social media channels – follow us!

  • Help promote these accounts to your family and friends.

  • If you aren’t on these platforms – that’s OK. The district will continue to provide communication through traditional channels.

Nurse's News

Parents of 2nd graders: Please look for the dental exam sheet sent home with your child. If your child is being seen by their private dental provider, please have the form completed and returned to the school upon completion for the 2023 school year. Thank you and stay healthy!

Thank You! ☺️


1. On Wednesday, February 8, 2023, at 6:30, our PTO will host its next meeting at Fort Zeller in the library. We hope that you will consider joining our meetings and provide your valuable input to support our students and staff at Fort Zeller.

2. Volunteering: If you have an interest in being a volunteer in your child's classroom or in our school, please use this link,, to complete the necessary paperwork on clearances. Don't hesitate to call our office at (610) 589-2575 if you need additional assistance.

News from Fort Zeller's PTO

Hello Fort Zeller Families!!!

PTO Roller Skating Party

We had a wonderful turnout to our Roller Skating Party at the Mount Gretna Roller Skating Rink on Saturday, January 28th. There were 217 skaters and that doesn't include all of the parents and friends that didn't rent skates. Thank you to everyone who joined in the fun! (Pictures below)

2022/2023 - Yearbooks

Congratulations to Anderson Bord, winner of the yearbook cover contest! There were many great designs submitted by our talented students. Thank you to all who entered.

Yearbooks may be ordered using Yearbook ID # 10866223 at the following link:

📷📷📷 Spring Pictures/Class Pictures 📷📷📷

Tuesday February 7, 2023

Volunteers needed to assist teachers and photographers.

Please sign up -

Save the date - February PTO Meeting

Wednesday, February 8 - 630PM - Ft. Zeller Library

Volunteer Clearances

If you are interested in volunteering this Spring, start obtaining your volunteer clearances today!

If you have any questions about the process, please let us know!

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1 - Giovanni Cintron, Reece Kerschner, Axel Garcia & Ezra Hoffman

2 - Landon Galarz & McKenna Gill

3 - Melissa Gorenbuh

4 - Riley Umbenhauer

6 - Mya Fortna

7 - Isabelle Hess-Weiant

11 - Austin Arndt

13 - Delilah Keener

14 - Dexter Sholley

16 - Gabriel Myer & Rickey Batz

17 - Madilyn Foore

18 - Emersyn Burkholder

19 - Isabella Matarazzi

20 - Mason Wise

21 - Elizabeth Strunk

22 - Dante Cook, Lucas Derolf & Rosealyn Morris

23 - Athena Santana Ruiz & Mae Snyder

24 - Jeremiah Wenrich

25 - Jackson Liskey

26 - Charlotte Lincoln & Rosalie McMullen

28 - Laura Long

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Contact us

Fort Zeller Elementary School

243 North Sheridan Road

Richland, PA 17087

Phone: (610) 589-2575

Fax: 610-589-5815

Twitter: @ElcoFort