EPAMS Family Update

Most Recent Update: February 9, 2023

School Counselor Appreciation Week!

Special Calendar Dates

February 17: Snow Make-Up Day - School In Session

February 20: In-Service Day - No School for Students

March 13: In-Service Day - No School for Students

March 23: End of 3rd Marking Period

In This Issue:

Student Drop-Off, Pick-Up, and Transportation

Junior Achievement YES! Program a Huge Success!

Black History Month at EPAMS

Student Meal Accounts

Online Safety Assembly

Student Access Before and After School

January Students of the Month

Club Spotlight: Sand Painting

Flyer: Panther Prowl 5K

SMILE Pennsylvania In-School Dental Care

Veterans' Food Drive and SOUPer Bowl

2022-23 Yearbook Information

Flyer: Becoming an EPASD Substitute Teacher

School Safety Information

Breakfast and Lunch Prices 2022-23

Dress Code

Student Cell Phone Use


Student Drop-Off, Pick-Up, and Transportation

Our morning procedures have been pretty smooth this year. However, with Mr. Wright catching the flu last month and not being out front every morning (doctor's orders!) - combined with more than a few families driving their kids to school for the first time - we've noticed some drivers going against the system and unintentionally creating some unwanted situations. Please take a few minutes to review the procedures below.

These procures were new at the start of this year, so directional signs were not installed. However, now that we know the system works, we will be adding signs to make the system clearer for everyone.

Getting kids to school and back home again is obviously a key part of our operation. Students will arrive to school one of three different ways: they walk, they get a ride from a family member or friend, or they ride district transportation like a bus or a school van.

Here's a short 4-minute video* describing the procedures: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Jf9l4cb1YrHgo5mD_98DEJZYeuwkmCww/view?usp=sharing

*Please note that the image on the video has been taken from Google Earth and they have labeled us as temporarily closed due to being created during the summer. We are open as normal.

Morning Drop-Off


Students who walk to school or catch a ride in a personal vehicle will enter the building using the main entrance in the front of the building. Students who ride district transportation like a bus or a van, will enter via the cafeteria entrance in the rear of the building. Either way, the doors open at 7:45 AM.

School buses and vans will travel to the rear of the building, drop off their kids, and head back out for their next run.

Personal vehicles will do it a little differently – and it really depends on where the driver needs to go after they drop off their passengers. Drivers will have two places to drop off in the morning.

  1. If you plan to head out to Valley Road afterwards, you will drop off your students at the bottom of the ramp that connects the lower lot with the main entrance.
  2. If you plan to head out to Enola Drive afterwards, you will drop off your students at the top of that connecting ramp.

By doing this, we can drastically reduce cross traffic and get you moving on to your next destination a bit sooner – and safer.

I know it might take a couple of days for this to catch on – if you are a returning family, it is slightly different from what we established last year. But if we work together, we can accomplish a speedier and safer process and eliminate that very stressful traffic jam we sometimes experienced in our mornings.

Afternoon Pick-Up

Our afternoon departure procedures will remain the same as last year. Buses will be split into two groups based on destination, with about half the buses leaving from the rear bus loop and half leaving from the front bus loop.

Personal vehicles are to park in a space in the lower lot and wait for students. Please do not idle in the travel lanes of the parking lot, blocking cars who may be trying to back or pull out. Pull into a spot and make this process safer and more efficient for everyone.

Bus Stop Information

The transportation department will release bus stop locations and pick-up-drop-off information on Wednesday, August 3rd.

Bus Behavior

It’s important to remember that safety is the most important consideration for our bus riders. If students are behaving in a way that makes the ride unsafe for anyone including other riders, the driver, or others outside the bus, they will be referred to the administration and consequences assigned. This can include removing students from the bus for a period of time.

Bus suspensions can be very difficult for families as they try to make alternative arrangements, so it is best to prevent the need for any of this by behaving properly right from the start.

Other Questions?

If you have any questions about arrivals and departures, give us a call at the middle school office. If you have questions about bus routes, bus stops, or pick-up/drop times, please reach out to the transportation department.

Junior Achievement YES! Program A Huge Success!

On January 27th, Junior Achievement of South Central PA descended upon EPAMS with their YES! program. All students in grades 6 - 8 participated in a morning of activities related to career readiness, STEM, financial literacy, and problem solving. Volunteers from all around the area from a wide variety of professions facilitated sessions as students rotated through.

We look forward to joining together with Junior Achievement in future years - and we look forward to welcoming YOU as a volunteer next time!

Black History Month at EPAMS

It all started in January. Our inexhaustible school counselors Miss Behr and Ms. Baker posted an all-call on the School Counselors' Google Classroom.

They were looking for students who wanted to share and they came through! Over the course of Black History Month, we begin each day with a guest announcer (usually a student), sharing a piece of history for the entire building. Some facts have been brought in by the students, others by the staff - but it's a building-wide effort.

At the end of each week, students will have an opportunity to answer a question based on the previous week's announcements, with prizes available to celebrate the month.

Additionally, our curriculum reflects the significance and importance of Black history as teachers deliver lessons highlighting the events, the people, and the contributions that make America and the world better.

Student Meal Accounts

We encourage all parents and guardians to monitor their student's cafeteria accounts.

Generosity is a wonderful attribute and we never want to discourage kindness. At the same time, we would like to share our observations that students are increasingly using their accounts to purchase snacks for friends.

If you notice an uptick in spending, please let your student know of your concerns and notify the cafeteria of the need to limit purchases. We can place restrictions on accounts as needed in order to limit spending.

Online Is Forever! Digital Safety Program at EPAMS

On January 12th, middle school students walked down the hill to the high school auditorium where we all got the chance to learn some of the intricacies of online safety for kids.

Social media is obviously a huge part of our society and no parent, guardian, or teacher has any hope of completely eradicating it from the lives of students. Even if we successfully keep our own kids away from it, the stuff that happens online can have real consequences in the real world.

Mr. Rich Guerry knows this and he has spoken to and met with thousands of students and educators to share the reality of what digital citizenship is all about. He knows his stuff and our kids and their families are able to benefit from his expertise.

Below you will find a set of resources, including access to a pre-recorded video of the same presentation our kids saw. Please review the materials as a family to reinforce the message.

MS Student Replay:

Student Access Before and After School

As we get deeper into the colder months, please remember that students are typically not permitted entry into the school building until 7:45 AM, in conjunction with the start of the staff work day. On particularly cold days, we will sometimes open the doors early and allow students to wait in the lobby, but this not a given and is based on adult availability.

Also, as winter sports continue, we host middle school basketball games that usually begin at 4 PM, more than an hour after dismissal. We love that students want to support their classmates at the game, but they must go home and return. We simply do not have the ability to supervise students who are waiting for the game to begin.

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January Students of the Month

Each month we announce a student of the month for each core team - for a total of six awards. Students are selected by their teachers based on work ethic, kindness, integrity, school citizenship, and simply being the best version of themselves.

Please join all of us here in congratulating these six students:

6th Grade Panthers: Katya Patitsas

6th Grade Jaguars: Lucas Scheuch

7th Grade Titans: Sophia Livingston

7th Grade Olympians: Zach Bordner

8th Grade Griffin: Kaycee Martin

8th Grade Phoenix: Caleb Stone

Club Spotlight: Sand Painting

Anyone can paint with paint. Ever tried it with...sand? Our new Sand Painting club is learning that attention to detail, planning, execution, and patience are so very necessary if we want to accomplish out goals.

Thanks to Mrs. Reist for bringing this new club to EP.

SMILE Pennsylvania In-School Dental Care

EPASD has contracted with Smiles PA to provide dental examinations and services to students of the district. All students are eligible to have services performed. Students in grade 7 are required to submit a completed dental examination form; services provided by Smile PA meet the required dental examination for those students' missing documentation of a completed examination.

Smile Pennsylvania will be at EPAMS on 2/24. To register your student(s) for services, please register online here: http://www.myschooldentist.com

Community Service Corps Conducting Food Drive

All month long, our Community Service Corps is holding a food drive at the middle school. WIN classes will compete with one another by collecting non-perishable food items to be donated to local veterans in need of food assistance.
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The SOUPer Bowl!

On Friday, February 10th, students will get to cast their votes for who they think will win this year's Super Bowl by participating in our first ever SOUPer Bowl.

All kids have to do is cast their votes by placing cans of soup on the table of the team they think is going to win. Tables are set up in the lobby, decked out for each team.

Go Eagles!

2022-23 Yearbook Information

Make sure you check out the link to order the 2023 MIDDLE SCHOOL YEARBOOK. Yearbooks are on sale now until March 15th.


Attention 8th Grade Parents:

If you are interested in sending in a baby picture of your 8th grader, please use the link provided and include the 8th graders name.

Baby Picture Link: https://studio.balfour.com/ezpix/?studentId=26373356&campaignId=19316&grade=Other&projectId=174433&lastName=Community&type=images

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School Safety

Bus Evacuation Drills

Each semester we run through a bus evacuation drill, just to make sure the kids and the adults around them know how to safely exit the bus using the emergency exit. We ran those drills on Friday, August 25th, and they went perfectly. Our Spring date is tentatively set for March 2nd.

For most bus riders, this isn't a new idea. Those who are new to the school bus were able to pick it up quickly and blended right in.

Fire Drills

Fire drills happen once per month, without warning our students.

Locks on Lockers

This year we gave every student a combination lock to be used at all times on their lockers. In order to be as safe as we can, we want to keep student belongings secure. However, we also want to make sure lockers aren't being used to hide anything that has no business being in a school.

This has made a number of students a little nervous about being late to class or forgetting their combination. We've been reassuring the students all week that they can do this!

Safe2Say Something

The state has partnered with Sandy Hook Promise to create an anonymous reporting system for students to notify school and law enforcement officials of any possible activity that puts our school community at risk of harm.

During WIN on Friday, August 26th, our students viewed a training video on how to use this system. This system has been in place for almost three years and the tips we have received over that time were invaluable when it comes to helping kids.

If you have questions about Safe2Say, please reach out to Mr. Wright or Mr. Atkinson at 717-732-0771.

Breakfast and Lunch Prices for 2022-23

As we begin the new year, the federal government has confirmed that the COVID-era program that provided free breakfast and lunch to all students in our area will not continue.

Applications for Free and Reduced Meals are available on our district’s website: www.epasd.org. Applications must be completed annually for eligibility.

To add funds to your student’s meal account, please visit: www.MySchoolBucks.com.

Here are lunch prices for the 2022-23 school year:


Elementary $2.70

Secondary $3.10




MILK $0.65

Middle School Dress Code

School has obviously started, but the summer weather continues to hang on. Pease keep in mind the middle school dress code. Enforcement of the dress code will be a point of emphasis this year.

An easy-reference guide has been attached below, and here's a quick 2-minute video version with the highlights: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Wg8n3TuMYjZtQ0Z3ZQvYWWa7_yFV9u7i/view?usp=sharing

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Students and Cell Phone Use

They are a huge part of our lives - both adults and students. But they can get in the way of the primary reason we're all here: learning. As a parent/guardian, you can probably relate. Most of us who have or live with kids can recall a time or two when we were trying to talk to them only to be half-listened to while most of their attention went to their screen.

The temptation has proven too great for many kids, and at school, they have been using phones when they simply shouldn't be in just about every school I've ever heard of. Last spring, we adjusted and shared updated expectations with the students.

Things got better, and so we'll continue operating the same way as the new year begins:

  1. In an effort to reduce the temptation to check their phones during class, students will be offered the chance to put their phone in a caddy, storage bin, or on the teacher desk at the start of class. They don’t have to, but:
  2. Students using a phone during instruction will be directed to put the phone either in the storage caddy or on the teacher’s desk.
    1. Students may have the phone at the end of the period.
    2. No additional consequence will be assigned for first-timers.
  3. Repeat offenders will be directed to put the phone either in the storage caddy, storage bin, or on the teacher’s desk.
    1. Student may pick up the phone at the end of the day in the main office.
    2. An after-school detention will be assigned.
  4. Students refusing to give up their phone will be referred for insubordination and assigned a Saturday detention, with stronger consequences assigned as needed.

If the student continues to use the phone, we will hold the phone in the safe in the main office for parent/guardian pick-up.

I know many of our parents/guardians are often in touch with their students during the school day. If you need to reach your student, you are always welcome to call the main office and we will deliver the message or have your student call you. Texts from home won't be allowed as an excuse to break this rule. But parents/guardians are not the reason we need this set of expectations. Kid-to-kid texting and social media have become too much of a temptation and we need to help the kids stay focused on the reason they are here.