September 16, 2022
It’s been a great first-full-week! Swim In Gym continues to be a big hit, modified sports are in full swing, 7th and 8th graders had their retreat at Sharpe Reservation today, and we cap the week off with a great Welcome Back Party tonight that we hope to see you at!
HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH: 9/15-10/15
Hispanic Heritage Month is underway! What does this look like? In addition to the many culturally inclusive activities throughout the year, we take this time to highlight the contributions of influential people, have our own families share their skills and experiences with our students, enjoy art, culinary, and music projects, and explore Hispanic authors and themes, just to name a few.
ELEMENTARY WING CONSTRUCTION UPDATE
Yes, our 2nd and 3rd graders will be in their brand-new classrooms Monday morning! Our teachers have been working on their rooms this week and will be here this weekend putting final touches on so they’re ready to roll.
BACK TO SCHOOL NIGHTS IN-PERSON
Our Back to School Open House Nights will be IN-PERSON this year and there will be NO remote option. Each evening will begin with me in the auditorium to briefly go over logistics/schedules and school updates, before transitioning to the classroom presentations. We’ll also have our related arts and support staff in the library throughout each night to talk about their programs and answer questions. We look forward to seeing you and having you see your children’s classrooms and teachers! Parking will be available through both Gate 1 and Gate 3. Schedules for these nights are very tight, especially the middle school, so if you can make it please be on time – we'll also have staff available to make sure you find the classrooms.
Middle School – September 21, 7:00-8:30
Elementary School – September 28, 6:30-8:00
WELCOME BACK PARTY TONIGHT 5:30-7:00!
Tonight is our PTA Welcome Back Party! It’s a free pasta dinner on the green top, plus there will be the famous Bubble Bus for the kids! If you can bring a dessert, that’s even better! Parking is in Gate 1.
PICTURE DAY SEPTEMBER 20th
Picture Day is this coming Tuesday, September 20th so please have your child dressed the way you’d like them to look in their photo. If for any reason the weather prevents us from taking pictures, we’ll schedule an alternate date later in the year.
AFTER-SCHOOL ACTIVITIES & CLUBS
Once again, we’ll be offering a variety of after-school clubs, resources, and intramural activities for elementary and middle school students throughout the year – more so than ever, in fact. Below is a list of what we have right now. Fall intramurals will be coming soon, and we’ll share the details and sign-up links when they’re ready.
Homework Help, Grades 5-8
Mondays – Fridays in the library
Homework Help, Grade 4
Mondays – Thursdays in their classrooms
Homework Help, Grade 3 (not started yet)
Tuesdays and Thursdays, start date TBD
Photography Club, Grades 4-8
Wednesdays, beginning 9/21, in Room 212
Yearbook Team, Grades 7-8
Dates TBD, in Room 212
3D Printing, Grades 5-8
Tuesdays, beginning 10/4, in Room 203
Newspaper Team (not started yet)
Dates TBD, in Music Room
Intramurals, Grades 3-6
Mondays and Wednesdays, Grades 3-4
Tuesdays and Thursdays, Grades 5-6
Start Date: 10/3, with Tennis – Sign-up email will be sent next week
REMEMBERING SEPTEMBER 11th
As you know, this past Sunday marked the 21st anniversary of the attacks on September 11, 2001. At the start of the week, we took a moment to honor the memory of the victims, as well as the heroes who responded that day and those who were called upon to keep our country safe both at home and abroad.
R E M I N D E R S
Please make sure you log into the Parent Portal and update your household information – emergency contacts, emails, and phone numbers. We rely on this info being up-to-date and accurate, so thank you!
LUNCH ORDERING, ACCOUNT FUNDING, & OPTIONAL PARENTAL RESTRICTIONS
Teachers take lunch orders in their classrooms every morning and lunches are paid for in the cafeteria. If your child will be buying food this year, I suggest you set up and electronically fund a MySchoolBucks account. On the Cafeteria page (https://www.pocanticohills.org/domain/63) is a link showing how to create and fund a MySchoolBucks meal account (which you can then access to see current balances and purchasing history). It’s very important that these accounts are funded.
Sometimes parents get surprised by what their child is buying in the cafeteria. You can avoid some of this by placing restrictions on your child’s account. To do so, complete this form for each of your children by September 30th: Purchasing Restriction Form
ARRIVAL & DISMISSAL PROCEDURES
If you’re new to Pocantico this year, please know that we try to make arrival and dismissal procedures as stress-free and friendly as possible, and when we all do our part, it’s smooth and easy – it's Poco!
Gate 2 – the car circle – will be open from 7:30 – 8:25am for all grades. Students who arrive prior to 8:10 will go to the cafeteria until they are allowed in their classrooms. Buses are unloaded at 8:10, at which point all students report to their classes. All PK-8 students are expected in school by 8:25, otherwise they are late.
Gate 1 is used for buses in the morning, as well as families of Junior Pre-K students only. Buses arrive between 8:00 and 8:10. Kids getting breakfast are allowed off the bus as soon as the bus arrives. Then, at 8:10, I temporarily close the circle and unload the buses for everyone. Our kids and staff are pros at this, so we are usually done by 8:14, at which point the buses leave and I reopen the circle for the continuation of JPK drop-off.
Early Pickup and late drop-off during the school day occurs through Gate 3 (the front of the school) and happens in the lobby only. Parents do NOT accompany their children down to the classroom, nor do they go to get them from classrooms. If there is a specific need in the nurse’s office, then exceptions will be made if cleared by the nurse and administration. We do have construction still happening in front, but you can still park in front and come in.
The School Day
There are nine 40-minute periods in our school day, with first period starting at 8:30 sharp and ninth period ending at 2:54pm. Our schedule runs on a 6-day cycle that wraps around holidays. These Day Codes are on our school calendar as well.
Dismissal announcements begin at 2:55 and I try to roll out the buses with everyone accounted for by 3:04 – we don’t mess around! This goes for cars pickups too - please be on time if not a little early!
PK-4 Car Dismissal
Elementary car dismissal occurs in Gate 2, supervised by Ms. DePaola. Please be there by 2:50 so you are ready when we start sending children to the circle. We close that gate by 3:05.
5-8 Car Dismissal
Middle school cars line up outside the Gate 1 bus circle and wait for me to send the buses out at 3:04. Then we wave in the cars as the kids file out of the school by the gym. We’re done in the bus circle before the clock hits 3:10. Please try to be here before 3:00.
We also have a 4:00 bus for those staying after school starting on Monday, as well as a 5:15 sports bus specifically for our modified sports teams (volleyball, soccer, and football in the fall).
**Dismissal Rules – No Exceptions
· We will NOT dismiss a child to any situation or person other than who/what we have on file unless we have a written note from you. If we don’t have it in writing, it’s not happening.
· PLEASE CONTACT US IN ADVANCE.
· Emails should be sent to Deb Kaplan, Ryan Beckley, AND the teacher. Handwritten notes should go directly to your child’s teacher, who will then forward it to the office.
· In the note, include your child’s first AND last name, teacher/grade, timing of the pickup (if early), and who specifically is picking up your child.
· Children MUST ride on their assigned bus at 3:00 and cannot switch buses for playdates or any other reasons. The best solution for this would be to pick kids up by car.
Our staff need to know what to do, and my office compiles all the notes each day and distributes the approved situations to the dismissal supervisors, security, and bus drivers. Again, these changes must be made in advance – we simply can’t sort it out at the last minute when we’re trying to dismiss the school on time – thank you.
Enjoy your weekend!
LOOKING AHEAD . . .
- 7th and 8th Grade Retreat
- PTA Back to School Party/Welcome to New Families: 5:30 - 7:00 PM
- Picture Day
- Middle School Back to School Night & Open House: 7:00 -8:30 PM
- Board of Education Meeting: 7:30 PM
9/26/22 - 9/27/22
- Rosh Hashanah - School Closed
- Elementary Back to School Night & Open House: 6:30 - 8:00 PM
- PTA Back to School Clothing & Supplies Fundraiser Ends