The Panda Post

February 2021

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"Think First and Stay Safe"

Dear Parents and/or Guardians,

We all share a common goal for our children to be safe and protected from all things harmful. Related to that goal, school counselors are required to present annual personal safety lessons designed to prevent sexual abuse. The Think First & Stay Safe™ program is a research-based program that teaches specific personal safety education by way of interactive classroom lessons, classroom posters, role playing and corresponding activities. Think First & Stay Safe™ enables students to take an active and necessary role in protecting themselves from abuse and exploitation. A committee of professional school counselors reviewed the program and selected components that were developmentally appropriate for elementary students and developed lessons around those concepts.

Due to the importance of this topic, I want you to know when and how you may preview the materials and when the counselors will be presenting this information to your child's class. Please contact your child's counselor, Shawn Gooding (1st, 3rd, and 5th grades) at 678-245-3927 or Ginny Wages (Kindergarten, 2nd, and 4th grades) at 678-245-3926 to schedule a preview or if you have any questions or concerns. During the months of February and March, our school counselors will offer the sexual abuse prevention and safety lessons to all K-5 students.

You can also learn more about the detailed lesson plans and research behind this program at Please be aware that more information is provided on the website than is actually used in Gwinnett County. The plan for Gwinnett includes: the key concepts taught at all grade levels; each grade reviews what was learned in the previous grade(s) and then learns additional lures or tricks. Specifics are provided below:

Key Concepts You can use your built-in computer and make safe choices. People are like the weather. Most are safe, but they can change. Lures are tricks used to get children away from safe adults and safe place. Laws help protect children and there are adults who can help you. Your instincts help keep you safe. A stranger is someone you don’t know. Someone may even use threats to trick you. No one can take away your dignity.

School counselors provide both in-person and virtual services that support students' academic success, career development, and social-emotional needs. Though confidentiality is important, virtual learning presents limitations that are outside of the school counselor's control. Virtual school counseling sessions may include unintended viewers or recipients, as there may be a parent/guardian, siblings, or extended family close by during the virtual session.

If you prefer that your child not participate in the sexual abuse and safety prevention lessons, please write and sign a note indicating your preferences and send it to your child’s teacher or school counselor. As always, counselors are available to discuss any concerns you might have. Unless written documentation is received, your child will participate in the sexual abuse prevention and safety lessons.


Ms. Young

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Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is a special day in the life of an elementary school student. In an effort to maintain a little normalcy and support our students' social/emotional wellbeing, here is our school's plan to recognize this special day.

In-Person Classrooms-Students may bring in cards only. No candy or other outside food. They should bring their cards to school by February 8th so that they have time to sit before being handed out to their friends on February 11th.

Digital Classrooms- Teachers will create a virtual celebration and announce to the class.

Whole School- The school is having a Candy Grams fundraiser that we invite all families to participate in. See the advertisement above.

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Pictures needed for our school yearbook

Hello Arcado Elementary families!

We are very excited to be able to create and tell the story of this unique year in the 2021 Arcado Elementary yearbook. We want to include as many pictures of our amazing students as possible!

Send us your photos of your kids doing the following things (SEE PHOTO-ROUND UP BELOW).

Click here to share your photos with us:
User ID: 415464600 Please be sure to include your child’s name, grade and teacher name (in the description field) when you upload.

Deadline to share your photos is Monday, February 8th, 2021! The classroom with the most pictures win’s a special prize!

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