Givens 21-22 Update

March Update

Welcome to Dr. Henry Givens Jr. Elementary School for the 2021-2022 School Year and Beyond

Welcome! This is an exciting year for us as we embark on becoming a neighborhood school, and we are so glad you are on this journey with us. At Givens Elementary, we believe in the power of relationships. We strive to build them with our students, our families, and our community.

Partnerships are also very important to our work, and within this newsletter, you will find various ways to join our efforts in creating a collaborative environment where all students connect, discover, and thrive! This month, we invite you to offer information about your child(ren) as a learner, vote on our new logo and get involved with building our PTO.

In preparation for next year, we will send out an update each month. These updates will include information about our work, opportunities for you to meet the team that will be working with your family next year, and information about events that will occur. Please make sure you look carefully as they will also include ways for you to offer feedback and get involved.

If you have any questions please reach out to me at

Get to know Givens Staff

Each week you will meet some of Given's Staff Members and learn more about them and their role at Givens. This week, you will learn more about the person that shares this communication, Me!

Name: Ms. Malissa Beecham

Role: Principal(starting in the 2021-2022 School Year)

Education: I attended Southeast Missouri State University where I earned my Bachelor's Degree in Elem. Education and my Master's Degree in Education Administration. I am currently attending Lindenwood University working towards my Ed.S in Leadership.

Share something no one knows about you: While I am sure that I tried many new things and faced fears as a child, I remember being between the ages of 25-28 when I faced some of my biggest fears and pushed myself to try some tremendous obstacles. At a summer camp for adults, I accomplished tubing in a lake-after seeing a snake(a big feat for a city girl) and completing about a mile-long ropes course (30 feet in the air). These actions worked to push me out of my comfort zone and I have not turned back since.

My Family: I enjoy spending time with my mom and my sister, and my very first dog, Lincoln! I have also been blessed with a host of other relatives and friends that have all shaped who I am today! In the picture below are my mother, my grandmother, and my aunt! 3 of the very important women in my village!

A quote I like: "We must believe in our souls that we are somebody, that we are significant, that we are worthful, and we must walk through the streets of life every day with a sense of dignity and this sense of somebody-ness." Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.(as summarized by the main character in Nickel Boys)

If I believe this about me, I believe this about everyone, so this quote reminds me to ensure my actions and words line up with my beliefs.

KDG Registration

As we are preparing for the 2021-2022 School Year, please make sure you have registered your child(ren) looking to start kindergarten. With more accurate numbers, we are able to plan for staffing, space, and resources to meet the needs of all of our students. Please follow this link if you have questions about the process:

If you have questions specific to Givens, please reach out to our Building Secretary, Beverly Brooks at

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PTO News

Hello to all current and new Givens families. My name is Cassie McCarthy and I’m the current PTO president for Givens Elementary. We are very excited to welcome everyone that will be apart of our Givens community next year.

If you are looking for a way to get involved, with both the school and other families, the PTO board would love to have you. I am attaching an informal summary of the different board positions and our PTO pamphlet from this year. If you feel that the PTO board could be a fit for you, and you want to learn more, please join us in a get-to-know-you zoom. (Zoom Info below)

If you decide you would like to serve on the board, please email me at by Wednesday, April 14th. We will publish the names of those running in communications from our school and our PTO. We will then hold an election during our Zoom PTO Meeting on May 3rd.

Thanks for all you do,

Cassie McCarthy

PTO President

Board Positions and Roles/Responsibilities(We run two members in each position but the president. This gives each board member a co-chair to work with sharing duties and responsibilities)


-Preside at all meetings of the organization and of the executive committee

-Be a member ex officio of all committees

-Appoint a parliamentarian when deemed necessary

-Perform all other duties pertaining to the office


-Act as an aid to the president -Perform the duties of the president in the absence of that officer

-Coordinate communication with room parents

-Assume specific responsibilities as designated by the executive committee -Prepare to become President for the following school year

-Practical application, Identify volunteers to coordinate and help with various PTO events, Arrange for childcare for PTO meetings and other events as needed, Send meeting reminders to families and room parents


-Receive and be the custodian for all monies of the organization

-Keep an accurate record of all receipts and expenditures

-Payout funds of the organization only as authorized

-Present a statement of account at each meeting

-Practical application, Bank deposits, and withdrawals Maintain the Venmo account, Maintain the ledger and budget spreadsheet, File taxes, and update insurance coverage annually


-Keep a record of all meetings

-Notify the executive committee members of meetings

-Practical application, Send out monthly agendas and meeting minutes, Write and send out weekly PTO postings, Post reminders for events to Givens social media outlets

Equity Officer:

-Ensure that the organization creates a safe, nurturing, and supportive culture and environment where everyone feels valued for they are

-Ensure that equity and justice will be consistently expressed in word and actions

-Remove social, cultural, and educational barriers that members of our school the community may experience through learning, advocacy, and community partnership

-Confront issues of bias and social injustice in order to eliminate the inequitable practices and unsafe environments these issues create for everyone

-Practical application, Yearly audit to ensure that PTO funds are being distributed in an equitable fashion, Serve as a liaison between the Givens Equity Parents group and Equity in Education Committee for the district

Interested in Learning More?

Join a short informational on Monday, April 12th at 6 pm

Meeting ID: 912 5634 1580

Passcode: 122323

Virtual Trivia Night

Givens PTO Virtual Trivia Night

After taking a break in 2020, our annual Trivia Night is BACK and we have gone virtual! Join us on Saturday, April 17th for a fun evening with six rounds of Trivia and a chance to gather with the Givens community. We will utilize Zoom for our live event and team answers will be submitted through Google Classroom. Teams can have up to 8 players. You can organize your own team or just sign-up and let us put together a team for you. Teams will have the chance to discuss answers in breakout rooms before 1 person submits the answers. The cost is $15 per player. To sign-up, simply fill out this form: and submit your payment through Venmo (@GivensPTO), Cash, or Check (c/o Givens PTO dropped off or mailed to the school office). Specific details including the Zoom link, Google Classroom invite, and a tutorial video on how to use them will be sent prior to the event. If Trivia isn't your thing, but you want to show support for Givens, check out the online Auction. The auction will open at 6 pm on April 17th and run through 8 pm on April 19th. Watch the Givens PTO Facebook Page & Group for the Auction link. For more information, please contact

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Class Placement

Transitioning to a neighborhood school introduces the new classroom placement process that we will use at Givens. This process will allow us to create a balanced learning environment for all students. Our process includes steps that allow us to balance the learning environment with a variety of student abilities and learning styles, match student needs with teacher strengths, and creating a positive learning community where students learn and play together.

Many staff members will be involved in this process (grade-level teams, specialists, counselors, and the administrator). As we create this balanced environment, we would like to offer families the opportunity to share information about their child's learning or social needs that would inform our placement decisions. Please know that we consider many variables to complete this complex procedure. For this reason, we cannot accept any requests for specific teachers. Please complete this form by April 16th, 2021.

We appreciate this partnership and thank you for being a valued member of our team.

Parent Input Survey

Communication with our Community

As we open up as a neighborhood school for the 2021-2022 school year, we are taking intentional steps to build community and ensure a place of belonging for all members of our school community. Here are some of the ways we are and planning to continue to do this:

School Visits:

Hello! As your child transitions from one WGSD to another, I would like the opportunity to meet with them. This time will be spent getting to know them and hearing some of the reasons why they may be excited or nervous about this transition. They will also have the opportunity to ask me questions about their new school. I will use these questions to guide our conversation (of course, students will have the freedom to share or ask questions):

Share something you would like for us to know about you?

What do you enjoy the most about school?

As you prepare to move to Givens, what are some things you are excited about? Nervous About?

If I could tell your new teachers some things about you, what would they be?

What is something you would like to spend more time learning about?

Please ONLY complete the form if:

-you would like to opt-out of my meeting with your child

-If your child is virtual and you would like for me to set up a Zoom Meeting with them

If you select option 1, I will not meet with your child(ren)

If you select option 2, I will email you some times to select a Zoom time with your child.

School Visit Form

New and Current Student Meet and Greet

We are currently working to plan an event prior to the end of this school year. This will include an opportunity for families to meet each other and for families to meet the Givens Team. We are in the planning phases and ensuring that we will be able to safely host an event like this. Please be on the lookout for more information in our next update.

Grade Level Building Visits/School Tours

We know that transitioning to a new school can come with excitement and many wonderings. We are planning to provide this opportunity for you and your family prior to the start of next year. With the movement that is going on, our plans are to host a Meet the Teacher Night that includes a chance for school tours and meeting staff members that your family will be working with throughout the school year. We will share more details and dates soon.

Givens Transition Committee Informational:

At the end of this current school year, the Re-Imagining Committee will update the community on the work we have been doing all year. We will also share ways in which families can continue this work and take part in the Strategic Planning for our school.

We Are Building Our Team

Based on Preliminary Information, we are planning to have the following at Givens:

KDG: 3 Classes

1st Grade: 2 Classes

2nd Grade: 2 Classes

3rd Grade: 2 Classes

4th Grade: 2 Classes

5th Grade: 2 Classes

During the first week of March, the District Held an Internal Hiring Fair. Through that process, we are welcoming the following members to the Givens Team:

Mrs. Kathryn Howard will be teaching students in KDG

Mrs. Angela Richards will be teaching students in 2nd Grade

Mrs. Teressa Kindle will be teaching students in 4th Grade

We are excited to have them join our team!

We are in the process of hiring 3 more candidates through an external process. These interviews will take place throughout the month of March and candidates will be approved by the board in April. We will share that information in our April Update.


Inside of each update, we will share some did you know facts about our school.

This week we wanted to share a little bit about the person our school is named after. Dr. Henry Givens Jr. first served as a teacher at WGSD's Douglass Elementary and then opened up Douglass Elementary Demonstration School that offered innovative programs such as multiage classrooms, foreign language instruction, team teaching, and independent study opportunities for students.

After serving in the WGSD, he went on to serve as the Assistant Commissioner for the Missouri Department of Education. He then served as the president of Harris Stowe State University. He retired after serving in this role for 32 years.