Sara Collins Elementary Newsletter

Back to School Updates and Important Information

Welcome to the 2020-2021 School Year!

Dear Families at Sara Collins Elementary,

How exciting that we will be celebrating our 56th year of Sara Collins Elementary during this school year! “Learning is Our Superpower!” is our school theme for the 2020-21 school year given the unusual circumstances we are facing to begin this year. After serving in education for twenty-seven years, I have never experienced the way we are needing to adjust our guidelines, processes and procedures for students to learn and especially to keep everyone safe. We will continue to do our best during these uncertain times working collaboratively through our partnership with our students, staff, families, and school community.

Our focus continues to be on learning and teaching at our International Baccalaureate (IB) school for Primary Years Program. Our school was first authorized in 2004 and every five years it has been reauthorized as an IB school for another five years. Please refer to to learn more about IB and how we teach the South Carolina state standards which can be found at this site Our school will continue the tradition of high student achievement and growth through strong relationships among our families, students, staff members and support from our school community.

We continue to have a Personalized Learning focus. Our students and teachers will continue learning techniques and tools to utilize technology to enhance learning. All k – 5th grade students will receive Chromebook devices. Students will be taught to use them safely for instruction and to manage and care for the device.

Our school provides a safe, loving, and nurturing environment where all students continue to grow and become successful in learning- academically, socially, and emotionally. Our students’ successes are reflected in the strong partnerships that have been established between school and home. This is demonstrated through the remarkable collaboration, teamwork, and support provided by our Parent Teacher Association (PTA). By setting high expectations and continued collaboration we will continue to meet the needs of all our children.


Dr. Melissa Burns


Mark Your Calendars

August 10 - LEAP Registration Deadline. Please complete registration here for your household for students in grades K5-5 during the school year 2020-21.

August 11 - Teachers will contact students' families by calling to introduce themselves

August 12 – Meet the Teacher via Google Meets

Grades K - 2nd, Campbell & Gabriel at 10:00 AM & Grades 3rd - 5th, Gregory at 5:00 PM

August 13 – Meet the Teacher via Google Meets

Grades K - 2nd, Campbell & Gabriel at 5:00 PM & Grades 3rd - 5th, Gregory at 10:00 AM

August 17 - 21 - LEAP Week (See Information below)

August 24 - Students' First Day of School for ALL GCS students!

*Due to current circumstances, parents will not be permitted to walk students in the building on the first days of school this year. School Counselors, teachers, assistants, support staff, and administrators will provide assistance to our younger students who may need this support.

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LEAP (Learn, Evaluate, Analyze, Prepare) Week August 17-21

Dear Sara Collins Families,

The South Carolina General Assembly has approved funding for additional days before the start of the new school year for students. These additional days are identified as LEAP (Learn, Evaluate, Analyze, and Prepare) Days. The LEAP Days for Greenville County Elementary Schools will be August 17-21, 2020. Schools are required to offer the LEAP days, but students are not required to attend, although it is encouraged.

We will use this time to assess the needs of our students to prepare for their learning in the coming year. We also want to help your child become familiar with our new learning environment. Chromebooks will also be provided to students 3rd-5th grade and for K4-2nd grade students as they become available.

There will be two sessions on each day of our LEAP week. Session 1 (7:45-10:15) will be for GCS non-Virtual Academy Students. Session 2 (12:00-2:30) will be for GCS Virtual Academy Students. Students are asked to attend one day that week according to their assigned color track with make-ups scheduled for Friday.

All appropriate safety measures will be followed to maintain social distancing, to the extent possible, and all safety precautions will be followed to help protect our students, faculty, staff, and community. Bus transportation will ONLY be provided on Monday-Thursday, for Session 1 students, if needed. Bus transportation requests must have been turned in by July 15th in order to receive service.

Please complete one survey here for your household for students in grades K5-5 during the school year 2020-21. The deadline for the LEAP Survey is Monday, August 10th.

All students will receive their Chromebooks when they attend LEAP week. If students do not attend LEAP week, Chromebooks can be picked up on Wednesday, August 19th between 2 - 6 p.m. or Thursday, August 20th between 9 - noon.

Important Safety and Security Procedures

Dear Parents at Sara Collins Elementary,

Please review these important safety and security procedures. We would like to review and emphasize the importance of safety and security as a top priority of our students, staff, and visitors at our school. You can help these ways:

  1. ALL visitors are expected to sign in at the front office before going to any classroom. ALL visitors are required to wear a yellow visitor badge when visiting anywhere on campus during the school day. Even though we have 24-hour video camera surveillance at our school, it is absolutely necessary to report to the office before proceeding anywhere in the school building.

  1. It is absolutely necessary for parents to abide by the carpool procedures and buses for transportation of children for arrival and dismissal. Here are some tips to ensure good choices during carpool:

A. Sara Collins Carpool Safety

a. Arrival - All children need to enter the building by 7:40 a.m. to enable them to get to class on time. Safety Patrols and staff members on supervision duty will help open car doors for children to get out of your car. (All drivers must remain in cars.) Students are tardy if they are not in their classroom by 7:45 a.m. Parents must park their car and walk their student into the office if they are tardy. They will need to sign in their child and the student will take a tardy pass to the teacher.

b. Make sure your children are ready to get out of the car with their shoes on and backpack in hand when you pull up to the curb. The adults and safety patrol members will be ready to assist them as needed.

c. Clear the path from the car seat to the door closest to the curb, so children can get out of the car without knocking toys or other objects outside the vehicle.

d. Front and Back Carlines- Students in grades Kindergarten - 1st and older siblings will use the back carpool line (Windmont Drive). Back carpool line is open from 7:15 – 7:40 AM only. This is a quick drop-off area only. If you need to come into the building, please park at the front entrance and enter through the front office. Students in grades 2nd – 5th will use the front carpool line. (Carpools that include kindergarteners and 1st graders must be picked up in back carpool line.) Please be patient during the first few weeks of school as it takes time for the children and drivers to learn systems that make carpool lines and bus routes run quickly and smoothly.

e. Crossing Guards will be stationed at the corner of Betty Spencer Drive, across Parkins Mill to Ponderosa, and at Windmont Drive. Greenville County Sherriff’s Office provides crossing guards.

f. NO early DISMISSALS after 1:45 p.m. Any student, who must be signed out due to an emergency, must be signed out prior to this time. This enables the teacher to summarize and prepare for the students’ dismissal in an orderly manner.

g. NO STUDENTS should ever be dropped off on any side roads including on Betty Spencer Drive or in the parking lots.

h. There is NO LEFT TURN from the front or back carpool lines. Police will be monitoring and enforcing this traffic rule throughout the year.

i. A white tag issued to parents by the school is required for all students on their book bags. If you have misplaced a bus or carpool tag, please contact our office.

j. All parents are to remain in their cars and pull up to the cones to allow the children to be picked up in the afternoon. It can cause confusion for students and staff if adults are surrounding the doors at the front of the school to pick up students.

k. If you need to secure your child(ren) in their seats, please pull forward out of the direct carpool line to enable it to flow smoothly without holding up traffic.

B. Walkers and bikers, who have special permission, must cross at one of these locations at Ponderosa Road, Betty Spencer Drive, or Windmont Drive. Kindergarten and 1st grade students must have an adult or designated older sibling to meet them at the crosswalk with a numbered tag that matches the student’s number on their book bag. If there is not a person with a matching number to the student’s tag, they will be brought by the staff member back to dismiss from the office by the parent. For the safety of your children, we strongly encourage parents to drop-off/pick up in the car line. Only children who walk home may be walkers. Parents must sign the Walker Permission Form before students will be allowed to walk home. Please do not park on side streets to pick up students. Please be sure to pick up students in the carpool lane for our students’ safety.

C. The bus loop is to be used only by buses, daycare van riders, Extended Day Program, and specially assigned students.

Be sure you have received and read the Sara Collins Student Handbook. Keep it as a reference for important information, policies, and procedures during the school year. Please visit our school’s web site at for additional information throughout the school year. I look forward to a continued successful school year working in collaboration with your child, your child’s teacher, and you!


Dr. Melissa Burns, Principal

Destination: Return to School Parent Resource Guide

REVISED Flexible Attendance Plan For In-Person Class

No matter what challenges COVID-19 presents in the fall, Greenville County Schools will be able to adapt. After receiving feedback from parents (thank you so much!), GCS has revised its Destination: Return to In-Person School plan for more consistency between one-day and two-day attendance plans. Recently, GCS unveiled a new & improved version of its Roadmap plan for in-person attendance. Click on the video below to learn more.

Greenville County Schools REVISED flexible attendance plan for in-person classes

Every student should know his/her color group and the days of in-person attendance when Attendance Plans 1 or 2 from the Roadmap are in effect. Color groups were assigned based on the first letter of students’ last name (hyphenated last names were alphabetized by the first of the hyphenated names: ex. Jones-Smith would be alphabetized under J)

Under Attendance Plans 1 and 2, students are in-person the stated number of days and attending school virtually the other four or three, respectively. Students will be expected to sign in and complete assignments on eLearning days. Otherwise, they will be counted absent.

Creating a Parent Backpack Account

Parents are strongly encouraged to create a Backpack account for their children. Greenville County Schools uses Backpack to provide parents with the most recent news and information about our schools. The Backpack for Parents account also provides parents, guardians, or contacts with a central place to sign in to:

  • View their student's information including demographics, attendance, classes, grades, lunch balances, and test scores
  • Apply or register their student to Special Focus schools and programs (Fine Arts Center, Career Centers, etc.)
  • Receive alerts and notifications regarding their students
  • View their student's school and contact information
  • Manage parent and contact information for their students

Creating a Backpack Account Para Crear una Cuenta de Mochila Para Padres

New Hours for Elementary Schools in Greenville County Schools

7:45 a.m. – 2:15 p.m.

Greenville County Schools has made a 15-minute shift in the elementary school start time beginning in August to ensure on-time drop off for high school students. By shifting elementary bus rider drop off to 7 a.m. and start the school day at 7:45 a.m. instead of 8 a.m., we are able to add 15 minutes to the window of time buses have to complete secondary routes, without extending the workday for elementary teachers.

"Mask Up" Greenville County Schools There have been many questions about mask/face coverings as part of our health and safety protocols. Here are the district's guidelines. Please take a minute to view.

Mask Up GCS

Meet The Teacher

As we begin the new school year, we want to develop and maintain supportive relationships among our school community. Given our current circumstances, we will conduct our traditional "Meet the Teacher" event virtually. Expect a phone call from your child's teacher starting Tuesday, August 11th to share plans for a live Google Meet.

Wednesday, August 12th - Meet the Teacher via Google Meet

Grades K - 2nd, Campbell & Gabriel at 10:00 AM & Grades 3rd - 5th, Gregory at 5:00 PM

Thursday, August 13 – Meet the Teacher via Google Meet

Grades K - 2nd, Campbell & Gabriel at 5:00 PM & Grades 3rd - 5th, Gregory at 10:00 AM

Picking Up Information Packets

ALL Parents ~ please drive through the car line on Wednesday, August 12th between 2 - 6 p.m. or Thursday, August 13th between 9 - noon to pick information packets including important documents such as Student Handbook, transportation tags, Emergency Contact forms, PTA information, Free & Reduced lunch forms, etc. Please remain in your car at all times.

*Students will receive their Chrome books when they attend LEAP week.

Sara Collins Extended Day Program!

Starting this school year, we will provide our own Extended Day Program for students on campus at our school. Previously, the Caine Halter YMCA leased our building and provided a program. However, we are planning our own now and will be starting registrations soon! EDP will be provided to students on the day they attend school from dismissal until 6:00 p.m.


This year, parents are encouraged to make online payments into their children’s meal account using their debit or credit card. In a time of social distancing, utilizing this service will minimize hand-to-hand contact and ensure a safer, more convenient transfer of funds.

To sign up to make online payments through mySchoolBucks, parents establish a user ID and password. They select their child’s school from a drop-down list and enter the student birth date or student identification number (available from the student’s school), and provide the debit or credit card information. Payment into an account is usually credited within one hour. Parents can check their child’s account balance and transaction history on the mySchoolBucks website, which is updated every night.

Parents can make one payment for multiple children, designating the amount per child. A single processing fee of $2 is charged for each payment, regardless of the number of student accounts included in the payment. Parents can also choose to make recurring payments on a regular basis.

To Sign Up for Online Payments Into a Student’s Meal Account

  • Go to the Online Payment Website.
  • Create your user ID and password by following the step-by-step instructions. Online payments can only be made for meals. The service is not provided for any other payments to schools.

Questions: Call Food and Nutrition Services at 355-1249.

Information about mySchoolBucks: CLICK HERE to visit their website.

Free and Reduced Lunch Forms for 2020-21

Free/Reduced Lunch Application

Online Free and Reduced Price Meal Applications are now available for the 2020-2021 school year. CLICK HERE! The online Free and Reduced Price Meal Application process is the quickest and most accurate method to apply for Free and Reduced Price Meals. Please note: interested families must reapply each school year.

If you have any questions about the Free and Reduced Price Meal Application process please contact Bonnie Hogue, Free and Reduced Project Manager at 864-355-1251 or by email at