Chatter S'more

December 5, 2014

Important Dates


1st-17th - Hill Top Pantry Food Drive

9th-Pizza Hut Restaurant Fundraiser 4:00-8:00 p.m.

11th-PTA Meeting @ 3:30 p.m.

19th-Downtown Caroling

19th-Last Day before break

22nd-Jan 4 - No School/Holiday Break


5th-Return from break

23rd - Movie Night at Central @ 6:00pm

Parent Survey - Your Opinion Matters!

The Valparaiso Community Schools in an effort to improve upon the quality of education has been undergoing and internal review of our system. The next step in this process is to host a group of educators without any prior knowledge of our school system in what is known as an external review. AdvancEd is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that conducts rigorous, on-site external reviews of PreK-12 schools and school systems to ensure that all learners realize their full potential. The purpose of this external review is not to certify that schools are good enough. Rather, to help schools improve. Prior to the AdvancEd visit they have asked us to survey our school’s stakeholders: students, parents, and community members to gather their thoughts and opinions on the effectiveness of the Valparaiso Community Schools. If you are a parent with children in multiple schools within VCS, you will be asked to complete a survey for each school.

Attached is a link to a survey where we are asking you to focus on Central Elementary School Please be assured that your responses to this survey will be anonymous. Your honest opinion is appreciated.

Please complete the survey any time from December 1-12. If you need access to a computer to complete the survey or have any questions, please contact the school for assistance. Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.

Food Drive

Student Council is sponsoring a food drive from December 1-17. Their goal is 1,000 items and they are well on the way. There are many families in our area that need our help! Please help us make this drive a success!


Storage space is often in short supply at food banks, so prioritization is key.

  1. Canned meats: Think beyond tuna & soup, which food banks get tons of. Instead go for canned beef, canned ham, canned chicken, canned salmon. Or hearty ready-to-go meals like beef stew and chili with meat.
  2. Canned vegetables: Everyone donates green beans. Instead, give potatoes, carrots, spinach, peas or any other veggies your family likes.
  3. Canned fruit: Not pineapple. This is the most commonly donated fruit. Any other fruit, particularly those in fruit juice without extra sugar, would be great. Dried fruit works too (raisins, etc.)
  4. Boxes of rice (bags can tear)
  5. Low-sugar cereal like plain Cheerios or Raisin Bran
  6. Peanut butter
  7. Instant oatmeal, instant grits
  8. Cans of beans
  9. Pasta, pasta sauce
  10. Biscuit mix, or any mix you only add water to
  11. Cans, cartons or boxes of powered and evaporated milk
  12. Snack items for kids to take to school: juice boxes, applesauce containers, granola bars
  13. Diapers in sizes above newborn, plus wipes
  14. Toiletries: toothbrushes, soap, toothpaste, lotion, shampoo & conditioner, Chapstick (consider someone living outside this time of year)
  15. Feminine hygiene products: unscented pads will be most universally used, not tampons
  16. Spices like cinnamon, oregano, basil, salt, pepper
  17. Sliced bread. It’s got a long shelf life but always goes immediately.
  18. Bags of apples or potatoes. Ditto.
  19. Chocolate. It’s not a necessity but just a pick-me-up that I would sure appreciate, especially when it comes time to fill stockings.
  20. Consider donating reusable shopping bags. It takes a lot of humility for people to come to a food bank and since they’ll likely be walking home or taking public transportation, it’s nice to at least blend in.


  • A lot of people have diabetes in this group. Consider low-sugar dietary restrictions.
  • Some food banks have a recording (or a live person) who will explain their top needs of the moment by phone.
  • Cans and boxes are sturdier than bags. By the time families are receiving the food, it’s been handled A LOT and packaging needs to be strong enough to hold up. One food bank said never bring anything in glass, ever.
  • Pop-top cans are ideal; particularly for those living on the streets.
  • Think about weekends and school breaks. Kids who qualify for free lunches typically receive breakfast at school too and when schools are out for holidays or summer, these families need more support.

We're Going Green!

Our StyroGenie has arrived and we are excited to begin recycling foam lunch trays.

How it works...

Students will be served on foam trays. When they are done, they empty the trays into the garbage and stack them on a "Tap 'n Stack" cart. After lunch, stacked trays are put in bags and will be picked up by our food service department.

Then the magic happens.... The StyroGenie:

  • Melts styrofoam trays into paving stones
  • Each paving stone equals 600 trays
  • Uses the same power as a hairdryer
  • Keeps trays and other foam products out of landfills
  • No chemicals or hundred of gallons of water wasted using dishwashers

We are thrilled to be a part of a wonderful 'green' environment!

'FUN'draiser Night

Pizza Hut invites you to come out and support...

  • WHO: Central Elementary PTA
  • WHEN: Tuesday, December 9th
  • TIME: 4:00-8:00 p.m.
  • WHERE: 2510 LaPorte Avenue (by Target)
  • PHONE: 465-6500 Eat In, Carry Out or Delivery

Pizza Hut will donate 20% of your purchases! All you have to do is give them the cut our portion of the flyer that was sent home this week! It is also attached is a link if you have misplaced yours! We hope to see you there!

A Look Back


That sums up the weather this time of year. Temperatures are dropping and before we know it, many white flakes will be falling from the sky. Please remember to dress your child for the frigid weather! Think of it this way, if you had to stand outside for thirty minutes in the same clothes your child is wearing to school, would you be warm enough?

It’s also a good idea to put an extra pair of socks and gloves in their backpacks in a Ziploc baggie. That way if their socks or gloves get soaked on the way to school or at recess, they can change and be comfortable during class or at recess later in the day. Also, please label all of their winter clothing. It makes things much easier at recess and dismissal. When items are labeled, the infamous “Hey, that’s mine”, can be easily remedied.

School Delay Information

SCHOOL-School normally starts at 8:45 a.m. When there is a delay, schools starts two hours later at 10:45 a.m. Students do NOT stay two hours later when there is a delay. If a delay occurs on a Wednesday, we go with a normal schedule and start at 10:45.

BUSES-Your child’s bus will come two hours after it would normally come. Example: Your child’s bus comes at 8:10 a.m. When there is a two hour delay, it would come at 10:10 a.m. If a delay occurs on a Wednesday, we go with a normal schedule so it would still come at 10:10 a.m.

WALKERS & CAR RIDERS: If your child is a walker, he or she should walk to school two hours later than they normally would. If you drive your child to school, just leave exactly two hours later than you would normally leave. When there is a delay, supervision is provided on the school porch for walkers and riders starting at 10:20 a.m.

LUNCH-Lunch is served at the normal time. The lovely lunch ladies estimate what they need and start making it before your child even arrives! Gosh, they’re good!

ACTIVITIES-All BEFORE school activities are CANCELLED for that day when there is a delay. After school activities will take place as usual.

This Is Our Story

The city wide music and art program, which will take place at Valparaiso High School in the gym, is on Tuesday, December 16. Central's choir will be participating in this uplifting event. The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. and last approximately one hour. There is also an amazing art display in the lobby which opens at 6:30 p.m. Make sure you get there early to enjoy the art and find a good seat. There will be special seating on the upper level for those who find it hard to climb the bleachers. The students have worked hard to prepare for this fantastic event. We hope you are able to attend.