Buzzin' in the Hive

Graden Parent and Family Newsletter, September 2022

Dear Graden Families,

As we move into September, I am happy to share that we have had a great start to the year.

All students K-5 will begin taking the NWEA fall assessment this month. The NWEA assessment is taken three times a year and is used as a measure to help each teacher modify and adjust instruction. Parents and families will receive a score report after each testing window.

We will have Parent Orientation on Thursday, September 8th. This is a great night focused on learning information about your teacher and the classroom expectations for the year. There are two sessions for all families: 5:30 pm - 6:00 pm and 6:15 pm - 6:45 pm. You will find the orientation flyer below.

I would like to thank each of you for all that you do at home to support all of us at Graden. It takes a village to provide exceptional learning experiences for our Hornets and I appreciate all of your support!

Upcoming Dates:

  • Monday, September 5th - No School
  • Tuesday, September 6th - PTA Meeting 6:00 pm
  • Wednesday, September 7th - Early Release @ 2:00 pm
  • Thursday, September 8th - Parent Orientation
  • Monday, September 19th - Friday, September 23rd - Start With Hello Week

It's truly a GREAT DAY to be a HORNET!!!

Dr. Vanna Easley


It is imperative that anyone that enters Graden's doors feel safe and comfortable. In our school community, we have students, staff and family members with severe latex allergies. This means items that contain latex can evoke a reaction if they are in the building.

For the safety of our school community, we are committing to do everything we can to prevent any individuals from coming in contact with latex.

Common items containing latex include:

  • Balloons
  • Rubber household gloves
  • Medical gloves
  • Rubber balls
  • Rubber bands

Nurse Tara Dupras, Graden school nurse, has been working with our staff and teachers to inspect our supplies and resources to ensure we have latex free items. Please do not send or bring any of the above items to Graden. If you have questions, please contact Tara Dupras at 359-4344.

Thank you for helping us continue to keep Graden safe!


Thank you for your patience as we work the first few weeks of school to create smooth car rider procedures. Please be sure to follow the below guidelines:

Morning Car Riders:

  • Make ONE single line
  • Have students ready to exit the car on the right side
  • Please do not leave your car to help your student
    • If a student needs support, a Graden staff member will provide it

Afternoon Car Riders:

  • Make one single line
  • Stop behind the gate
    • The gate will be opened at 3:30 pm – Cars will not move forward until a Graden staff member signals to move
  • Have car placard in your window (If you do not have a car placard after the first day of school, call the Graden office)
  • Please do not leave your car to help your student
    • If a student needs support getting into the car, a Graden staff member will provide it
    • If you need to buckle your student, please park in a parking spot


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Graden is transitioning to become an AVID school during the 2022-23 school year. AVID stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination. As we work on introducing AVID school-wide, our focus will continue to be on college and career readiness and providing our Hornets with the foundational skills needed to be productive members of our ever-changing, global, society.

Parents and families will receive classroom and grade-level information about AVID at Parent Orientation on Thursday, September 8th. We are excited for this new adventure and cannot wait to share this information with all of our families!

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5:30 PM - 7:00 PM

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Early release days will be on Wednesdays for the 2022-23 school year. Dismissal on early release days begins at 2:00 pm.

Every early release day will be Interest Group Day at Graden. All students will engage in a cultural arts assembly and students will join interest groups to participate in an activity of high interest to them. I am thrilled to share that ALL assemblies and interest groups will be in-person this year.

Below you will find the early release schedule and the assembly theme for the first four months of school:

2022-23 Early Release Days:

Wednesday, September 7th - Super Student Assembly

Wednesday, October 5th - Star Wars LED Lightshow

Wednesday, November 9th - Stand up to Bullying

Wednesday, December 7th - Sonnet Man

Wednesday, January 4th

Wednesday, February 1st

Wednesday, March 1st

Wednesday, April 5th

Wednesday, May 3rd

Please communicate with your classroom teacher and the office if you have alternate transportation on early release days.

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At Graden, our core values are continuous growth, equity & inclusion, collaboration, leadership, authentic relationships, and learning that is student driven. We are always looking for opportunities to implement these into our students’ day. One way we do that is through Interest Groups.

On Early Release Days, students will participate in a cultural arts assembly and will also have the opportunity to join a group of K-2 or 3-5 students (depending on their age range) in a self-selected activity. Students will be surveyed at the beginning of the year, and will be placed in a group based on their top 3 choices. A staff member will lead these groups, giving students an opportunity to meet new teachers as well as other students! Some of the activities include, but are not limited to: Art, Breakout Room, Bugs, Crafts, Cooking, Fitness/Yoga/Aerobics, Games, Legos, Martial Arts, Music, Sign Language, STEM, Team Sports, and Technology. These days are always exciting for our Hornets. We can’t wait for our first one, which will be September 7th.

Interest Group Schedule:

Wednesday, October 5th

Wednesday, November 9th

Wednesday, December 7th

Wednesday, February 1st

Wednesday, March 1st

Wednesday, April 5th


A Graden Clubs packet will be sent home on Friday, September 2nd, with information about all of our clubs at Graden. Each club has a different start date and method of sign-up, so check this packet for all important information about your students getting involved this school year!


The hallways are filled with the sounds of happy hornets learning and all feels right again at Graden Elementary! I am overjoyed to get to support your students’ academic, social, emotional, and behavioral development this year and cannot wait to get to know all of you on a deeper level. I am looking forward to a year filled with growth, learning, memories, and lots of happiness. This month, 3rd-5th grade students will complete the Panorama Social/Emotional Learning Survey with me. If you have specific questions about this, please feel free to reach out. Visit the Graden Counseling Website for monthly counseling newsletters, community resources, and parent referral forms, as well as several other fun resources to cultivate social and emotional development. I have also attached a direct link to the September Counseling Newsletter below. Additionally, please reference the below flyer for information regarding our first ever Parent Education Night! Thank you to those who expressed interest last Spring! As always, I am available to chat via email, phone, or in person (YAY!) You can reach me by email at or via phone at 816-359-5647. Wishing everyone a healthy and happy September!

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In the Park Hill School District, we are blessed to have a number of resources available to help our families. If your family can benefit from any of the resources listed in the link below, please check the service(s) you feel will be beneficial. All information received, and any service provided, is kept strictly confidential. We look forward to providing support to your family and cannot wait to get the school year started!

Upon return of this completed form, the School Social Worker and/or School Counselor will either send you information or applications based on the needs indicated, or contact you directly for further information. By submitting this form, you give the School Social Worker/School Counselor permission to contact you and to provide referrals to community resources. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Graden Elementary School Social Worker, Allison Dawson, at or (816) 359-5765 or the Graden Elementary School Counselor, Cari Cetola, at or (816) 359-5647.
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PTA was thrilled to help welcome back students on the first day of school! We have lots of exciting events throughout September and would love your support and involvement. Please sign up for PTA today and help us make a difference for Graden.

Important Dates:

· Aug. 29 to Sept. 8 – Back to School Auction, bid online now!

· Sept. 6 – PTA meeting at 6 p.m. in the Graden library, we'd love to see you there!

· Sept. 7 – Papa John's Night! Who doesn't love pizza? Every pizza purchase gives back to Graden.

· Sept. 8 – Parent Orientation Night. PTA provides dinner for teachers and staff who stay late.

· Sept. 21 – "Pop-up" snack cart for Graden staff. Donate now to help us make this fun appreciation event possible.

· Sept. 29 and 30 – MOVIE NIGHTS at Graden for the Silent Auction winners.

Connect with us on Facebook to see our upcoming events and learn how you can get involved with PTA.

Graden PTA Board Members:

Hayley Cooper, President

Emily Miller, Vice President

Lindsay Ramon, Secretary

Maggie Wright, Treasurer

Jessica Freels, Parliamentarian

2022-23 PTA Meeting Dates

Tuesday, September 6th, 2022

Tuesday, October 4th, 2022

Tuesday, November 1st, 2022

Tuesday, December 6th, 2022- Dr. Kimbrel, Superintendent visit

Tuesday, January 10th, 2023

Tuesday, February 7th, 2023

Tuesday, March 7th, 2023

Tuesday, April 4th, 2023

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2023


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Graden's annual silent auction, sponsored by the PTA, is live online now. You can bid on unique opportunities, like a popcorn or pizza party for your child's class, front row seats at your student's recital, or a happy birthday message on the school marquee! The auction includes dozens of fun experiences for students and families—and all proceeds go back to Graden. Your donations help the PTA fund assemblies, teacher grants, and more programs for Graden students and staff. The silent auction closes at 9 p.m. on Sept. 8, so don't miss your chance to bid!

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Join us for the 2nd annual
Park Hill Education Foundation Fun Run
Saturday, September 24th, 8:00 a.m.
English Landing Park in Parkville.


Students may bring birthday treats into class to celebrate their birthday as long as they come from our list of treats that contain none of the major allergens.

Thank you for understanding that all classroom treats must come from this list, because we do not have the staff capacity to check for allergens that could threaten the health of some students.

Each classroom celebrates birthdays at a time that is conducive to their schedule. We do not allow parents or families to join classrooms for birthday celebrations as these are opportunities for students to celebrate with the teacher and classmates.

Approved Birthday Treats:

Please bring birthday treats ahead of time (two hours after the start of school, at the latest).

  • Stickers
  • Erasers
  • Pencils
  • Crazy straws
  • Blow Pops
  • Juice boxes
  • Popcorn
  • Smarties
  • Dum Dum lollipops
  • Jelly Belly
  • Nerds
  • Ring Pops
  • Skittles
  • Sour Patch Kids
  • Starburst
  • Swedish Fish
  • Life Saver Gummies
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If you would like to order Graden spirit wear, you can access the link below to place online orders.


School Office (816) 359-4340

School Fax (816) 359-4349

Attendance Line (816) 359-4341

First Student Bus Company (816) 359-4560

Adventure Club (816) 359-5015

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