The Morris Minute

August 2019

Welcome to The Morris Minute!

This is the monthly place to find updates for staff, parents, and families of Morris Elementary. Thank you for checking it out and utilizing it as a resource!

A Normal Morris Minute will include news from Mr. Anderson in this space.

Look to this section in a regular Morris Minute for news and updates from Mr. Anderson. (But for now, I just wanted to get some of this information out to everyone!) :) jen

Important Dates to Remember

August 1-14 - Complete Registration & Paperwork / Pay Fees

August 21 - Back to School / Meet the Teacher for 1st & 2nd Grade students - 4-6pm

August 22 - Back to School / Meet the Teacher for Preschool & Kindergarten students - 4-6pm

August 26 - First Day of School! 2pm Dismissal

August 26-29 - Preschool Home Visits

September 2 - NO SCHOOL - Labor Day

September 4 - First Day of Preschool

September 4 - Little Blue Jays Cheer Clinic (registration due by September 3) 3:30-5pm

September 5 - PTO Meeting - 6-6:30pm coffee, 6:30-8pm meeting - held in Morris Library

September 6 - Little Blue Jays Cheer after the Freshman Game ~ 6-6:30pm

September 9 - 2pm Dismissal

September 16 - 2pm Dismissal

September 23 - 2pm Dismissal

September 24 - School Picture Day

September 30 - 2pm Dissmissal

Back to School / Meet the Teacher Night

This year, we are splitting it into two groups: Wednesday, August 21 for 1st & 2nd Grade students and Thursday, August 22 for Preschool, Developmental Kindergarten, & Kindergarten students. Both afternoons will be from 4-6pm.

This is a great time to drop off all of your school supplies, find your child's classroom, and meet their teacher. Our Transportation Department will also have a bus sitting out in front of Morris so your students riding the bus will know exactly where they will be getting off the bus and you can take a staged "First Day" photo if you would like.

When Do We Find out Teacher Assignments?

Teacher Assignments will be finalized next week and the Registrar's office hopes to send out emails on the 12th letting you know your child's teacher for the year. As registration numbers change quickly near the end of July and the beginning of August, waiting til the 12th is the best way to ensure our classes are the best mix for all students. We get it, our teachers are dying to know too. If you know anyone who has NOT completed registration yet, please remind them to get it done! :)

What Do You Mean by DAY TWO?

Our schedules are broken into an eight day rotation system. Your student will have certain Specials (Art, Music, P.E., Library, Guidance) on different days.

For example, if they might have a schedule that looks like this:

Day 1 - Art

Day 2 - Music

Day 3 - P.E.

Day 4 - Library

Day 5 - Art

Day 6 - Music

Day 7 - P.E.

Day 8 - Guidance

Then they would start that rotation over again on Day 1 and keep following that throughout the year. By knowing what "Day" it is, your student is better able to dress appropriately for their planned activities that day. If you know it is a day when your student has P.E., you need to make sure they are dressed in clothes and shoes that will allow them to run freely and play (although I highly recommend this for every day, so they can get the most out of recess time as well) Also, sending them in really fancy clothes on an Art day might not be the best idea either. :)

In addition to planning ahead, knowing what Special your student had that day makes it easier for you to ask more direct and engaging questions with your child that afternoon. "What kind of things did you create in Art today?" and "What was your favorite thing you did in Music today?" are better questions than "Did you have a good day?" You will get a more detailed description of their day and it means a lot to them to have you take an interest.

Mr. Wiersma creates a P.E. schedule each month and I always include it in the Morris Minute. Even if you don't print it out, it's a good resource to have on hand.

Bus Questions and Concerns?

If you have any questions or concerns about bus related issues, please email the Transportation Department at - In the past, we have had parents email Mary Jo directly, but this email will be checked by a few more people so if Mary Jo happens to be ill or otherwise out of the office, your email will still get to someone so the messages can get to the proper driver. If you have ANY changes to your bus riders' schedule during the day, you will want to email Transportation, your child's teacher, and Ms. Jen in the office so everyone is on the same page.

Nutrition Department News

Reminder: You can apply for Free/Reduced Price Meals anytime during the school year, even if you have been turned down before & your circumstances have changed. You can find the 2019-2020 Iowa Application for Free & Reduced Price School Meals on the school website under Departments and Food Services. You can also pick up a hard copy in any building office or contact Karen Miller at and request to have one mailed to you.

Also look for last minute menu changes on the school website under the menus tab.

Drop Off & Pick Up Procedures

There are SO many changes in the works for this - it will be its own email in a few weeks - be on the look out for it!

A few notes from Ms. Jen

The summer has been a busy one, finishing up the new areas, welcoming in Bluejay Beginnings Preschool and other new teachers, checking in new materials, filing, sorting, stocking....and our custodial crews have once again made the building all sparkly and beautiful - ready to take on another year!

We welcome you to another great year at Morris Elementary and remind you of a few things:

  • When you get an email from the school, PLEASE read it - we try not to send too many and they do carry information you will need - if not at that moment - you will at some point. Our website and emails from school should hold all of the answers to any question you might have. :)
  • If your student is going to be absent for any reason, please let me and their classroom teacher know - if they are ill, it is always a good idea to get a doctor's note as well. Those can be turned in at the front office when they return to school.
  • The building opens at 7:30am for breakfast. If your student is not eating breakfast here, we ask that you do not drop them off until at least 7:50am, when we have staff available to supervise them. Classrooms do not open until 8:10am. If the weather is too cold or wet for students to wait outside, they will be brought inside to wait to be released to classrooms until 8:10am.
  • Attendance is taken and the school day starts at 8:25am. This means a student needs to be in their classroom at 8:25am, and would most likely need to be dropped off by 8:20am in order to have time to get to class and put away their backpack and other belongings in time. Any student arriving after 8:25am will need to be accompanied into the building by an adult and be signed in for the day.
  • If you would like to eat lunch with your student and want to order a school lunch, those orders need to be turned in to the office by 9am so our Kitchen staff have accurate numbers for the lunch count.
  • If you need to pick your child up prior to the end of the school day, you will need to come into the office to sign them out. It is important to communicate these changes to both the classroom teacher and to me so we are aware of your plans. If we do not know in advance, depending on the activity they are currently engaged in, it might take as long as 20 minutes to get your child ready to go.
  • If your child's pick up routine changes for any reason - you will need to let their teacher, me, and if they ride the bus - the Transportation Department - know as well. For example, if your child normally rides the bus, but you are going to pick them up in the car pick up lane that day, you can't just tell your student and have that happen. Our policy is to follow the last information we have from parents, and the student would still be put on the bus.

I know all of these things seem like they should fall under the "not a big deal" umbrella, but with nearly 700 students in our building, any unplanned changes to routine can really throw a wrench into the works. Your assistance is greatly appreciated in keeping things running smoothly for the whole year. We are a team - parents, teachers, and staff - all working to give your child the BEST school experience possible to develop a life long love of learning. With your help - your student will absolutely love the thought of walking into Morris everyday. I am looking forward to meeting all of the new faces - and personalities - to go with the new names I have been seeing in my files the last few months!

Stop by and say HI during one of our Back to School / Meet the Teacher nights - I'm the one in the front office. :) See you soon - enjoy the rest of your summer!


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