News From Fort Zeller Elementary

October 2022

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Principal's Message

Hello to our Fort Zeller Families,

I can't believe we are already starting October. This school year is off to an amazing start. Everyone at Fort Zeller strives to create a safe, welcoming and accepting learning environment for all of our students. We want Fort Zeller to be a place where students love to learn and staff love to work! Our students are definitely doing their part to make Fort Zeller so special by always being respectful, responsible and ready to learn.

We look forward to collaborating with our families to create an amazing Fort Zeller experience. Together, as a team, we will make it a great year!

All the Best,

Jodi Houck

Important Information

1. Free Breakfast - Starting in October, all students are able to receive a free breakfast each day!

2. Socktober - For the past three years, an ELCO student who is currently in 7th grade, has completed a community service project during the month of October, called “Socktober”. During the month of October, she collects socks, blankets, canned food, hats, gloves and toiletries in boxes she will deliver to each building. All donated items will be collected and donated to the Lebanon Rescue Mission. Please considering supporting this amazing service project by sending in these items with your child(ren) throughout the month. Thank you!!

3. 50 Years at the Fort Celebration - This is Fort Zeller's 50th anniversary. We would like to commemorate this event by holding a 50 Years at The Fort Tailgate on October 14 from 5-7 pm at Fort Zeller. This will take place before the home football game against L-S. See the flyer below for more information. We would appreciate it if you could scan the QR code if you are planning to attend so that we can get a rough count for food. We hope to see you at The Fort to help us celebrate!

4. Schoology - If you have not done so already, please join your child's Schoology Course so you can be in communication with his/her teacher. Please don't hesitate to call the teacher if you need help.

5. Trip Forms - If you are planning on going on a trip, please make sure to fill out a trip request form and turn it into the office. Planned trips require the principal's approval in order to be excused. For all other absences, you can complete the excuse on Power School, or turn in an excuse to the office through email ( or paper copy.

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Oct. 3: (Day 4)

  • Wear your sunglasses/beach hat/beach shirt (Homecoming Spirit Day)
  • School Board Meeting

Oct. 4 (Day 1):

  • Wear your favorite Hawaiian or floral shirt (Homecoming Spirit Day)

Oct. 5 (Day 2):

  • Wear your favorite destination/vacation shirt (Homecoming Spirit Day)
  • PTO Meeting @ 6:30 p.m.

Oct. 6 (Day 3):

  • Be a swimmer and wear blue or be a lifeguard and wear red (Homecoming Spirit Day)

Oct. 7 (Day 4):

  • Wear blue and gold - GO ELCO! (Homecoming Spirit Day)
  • Race for Education Day!

Oct. 10 (No School)

  • Act 80 Day - no students

Oct. 12 (Day 2):

  • Fire Prevention - Fire trucks coming to Fort Zeller
  • Rising Raider's Night for incoming kindergartner's and their families @ Jackson Elementary 5:00-6:30 p.m. (information below)

Oct. 14 (Day 4)

  • 50 Years at The Fort Tailgate Celebration @ Fort Zeller 5:00-7:00 p.m.
  • Race for Education rain date

Oct. 17 (Day 1)

  • First grade field trip to Corn Cob Acres

Oct. 21 (Day 1)

  • Board Meeting @ 6:00 p.m.

Oct. 26 (Day 1):

  • Title 1 Night @ 6:00-7:30 p.m.
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Rising Raiders Family Workshops

This year, Fort Zeller Elementary and Jackson Elementary are teaming up to provide family workshops for next year's incoming kindergarten families. Flyers were given out to local childcare/preschool facilities. Please help spread the word to any families who have children entering kindergarten next year. Thank you!
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Cafeteria News

GREAT NEWS: On Friday, September 9, 2022, Governor Wolf announced that Pennsylvania will make it possible for all school students participating in the School Breakfast Program (SBP) to provide free breakfast for all students enrolled during the 2022-2023 school year, beginning with the breakfast meal served on Monday, October 3, 2022.

All students that are interested in receiving breakfast must go through the cafeteria line or breakfast cart and provide their student pin number in order to account for the meal participation.

Lunch service will remain the same as set by your eligibility status (Free or Reduced) and/or Paid meal pricing from the beginning of the school year.

We encourage everyone to apply for Free or Reduced Lunch pricing at, COMPASS website or a paper application is available at all school building offices.

The Food Service Department is excited to offer the opportunity for all students to receive free breakfast this year!

ELCO Food Pantry & Caring Closet

The ELCO Raider Food Pantry is Open!

The ELCO Raider Food Pantry is now open and available for the ELCO families. With the support of our ELCO staff, local businesses and churches, we are able to provide our ELCO families with an additional resource.

If you are in need of immediate assistance or you'd like to donate to the ELCO Raider Pantry, please reach out to Kelly Smith, ELCO Social Worker, at 717-306-3242 or Jenelle Himmelreich, Director of Food and Nutrition, at 717-306-3270 for a confidential appointment to the pantry.

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Link to Power School

We have several families that still need to do their yearly update on Power School. Please click this link to get started.

Welcome to Our New Staff

Please help me to welcome our new staff into the Fort Zeller Family!!

Paraeducator - Brittany Wenrich

Camp Invention - Mr. Wright

ELCO Intermediate School is proud to partner with Camp Invention again for another fun filled STEM camp. The week of camp this school year will be June 19-22, 2023. I wanted to get this out early because if you sign up this month, Camp Invention is giving its largest discount ever of $50 off the price of registration. I am attaching a link and a flyer to this message for your convenience. If you have any questions please email me at Thanks and enjoy the school year!

Link to register:

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Counselor's Corner With Mrs. Brosius

I can’t believe our first month of school is over already! Here is what we’ve been up to in R.E.A.C.H. Lessons with Mrs. Brosius! If you want more details about what we did in each class, please check out my Schoology Page!


Kindergarten – I introduced myself to the kindergarten students and Mrs. Potato head helped us figure out what my job is here at school!

1st grade – We read, The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld and talked about how I am like the Rabbit in the story! Just like the Rabbit, Mrs. Brosius listens, loves, and stays by your side!

2nd grade – We had a little friendly competition and played the “Meet your School Counselor” Game Show! This was a fun way for students to work together and refresh their memories about the things the School Counselor does at school!


I will be using the Little Spot books by Diane Alber throughout this year to introduce different emotions, feelings, and to learn more about our monthly character traits! In October, I will be introducing students to their first Little Spot!

Kindergarten – A Little Scribble Spot

First – A Little Spot of Feelings: Emotions Detective

Second – A Little Spot of Frustration: A Story about Self-Control (Our character trait for October!)


Students are doing a wonderful job filling their bee cards by being Respectful, Responsible, and Ready to Learn. I will have the first month’s count for you in the next Smore update!


Teachers recently sent home small group request forms. If you think your child would benefit from one of the small groups offered, please complete the form and return it to school with your child! For more questions, please call or email me! Groups will be starting in mid-October.

Library News

Students enjoy self-selecting and checking out library books. All students began the year with a cup building STEM challenge with a partner to build teamwork with our new classmates. 2nd grade students are enjoying visiting public libraries around Pennsylvania virtually as part of the Library Explorers program as we strive to become lifelong learners. Look for their library passports to come home so they can share what they learned. 1st grade students are learning about the different areas of the library. Kindergarten students are learning about book care. We read stories in library about the PBIS trait of respect. We also learned about the iPads and how to treat them respectfully. If you have any interest in helping in the library, please feel free to reach out to me via phone or email.

What's New in Music Class?

Students are practicing and learning rhythm syllables. Students are discovering what sound is by creating those sounds by hitting, shaking, and scratching different musical objects.

In kindergarten, we learned a new song called Apple tree and danced to action songs.

First grade and second grade students are reviewing previously learned notes and note names.

A Note From ART - Mrs. Panza

This month in Mrs. Panza’s art classroom, ELCO artists were focused on learning our classroom routines and have started creating artwork. Second grade artists created artwork focused on using watercolor techniques like wax resist and their creative skills to create a monster drawing. These drawings are a collaboration project with 7th grade artists at ELCO Middle School. First grade artists focused on the art element of texture. With a texture plate, they experimented with color and texture as well as overlapping. Kindergarten artists started to explore what art is, materials artists use, how artists think and use our imaginations. Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See? By Bill Martin Jr, The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds and Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson are stories that we listened to and fit nicely with developing these skills.

Get Moving in Phys. Ed. - Mr. Babiarz

Physical Education classes kicked off the year with a unit on Locomotor Movements. Students became experts at running, galloping, hopping, skipping, jumping and sliding. They also learned about the role of levels, pathways and tempos during physical activities. Everyone loved being active during creative tag games and movement activities that featured all of the different locomotor skills. Students were also introduced to the concept of healthy physical activity and learned how exercise makes one’s heart “happy”!

What's Happening in Kindergarten

Kindergarten has been working hard on the Three Bee Rules. We have been previewing letters and numbers. We have been talking about position words and sorting. We have been getting to know each other and working together.

What's Going on in 1st Grade

September: This month, first graders formed words using short vowel a, short vowel i and short vowel o word families. During math time, students used counters to model addition stories, added two parts to make a whole and practiced printing addition number sentences. We practiced being respectful since it was the school wide September character trait. Plus the kids all worked very hard learning the 3 bee first grade rules.

2nd Grade Updates

Our second graders are excited to be back at Fort Zeller and are working hard to exemplify our “Bee” rules. They are showing responsibility, are being respectful, and are showing that they are ready to learn this year! So far this year in phonics we have reviewed the short vowels, discussed CVC syllable patterns, and learned about subjects and predicates. We wrote a friendly letter to a family member and have been working on addition and subtraction concepts in math. In science, we discussed solids, liquids and gas and even did a STEM project with Mr. Wright! We are having so much fun in 2nd grade!

Fun with STEM!

Second grade has been learning about the three stages of matter; solid, liquid, and gas. Mr. Wright worked with students on an experiment that focused on solids and liquids. This experiment involved having students collaborate on designing a cooler that would keep an ice cube cold enough to stay a solid. The students loved designing coolers! Will the ice cubes last 24 hours? What a "cool" STEM activity!

Reading Corner

What should you do when your child comes to an unknown word?

For years, when young readers came to a “tricky word”, they were encouraged to do one or more of the following strategies:

· look at the picture

· say the first sound

· skip the word, read the rest of the sentence, and then re-read the sentence

· think about what looks right, sounds right, and makes sense.

However, these strategies never helped children to decode unfamiliar words and children continued to guess. Most importantly, these words never became a part of their sight word vocabulary (words that are automatically recognized). The following explains how you can help your child when they are reading a story and come to a word they do not know.

1. Tell your child to “tap” the word. When they “tap” the sounds, this is called decoding. The image above demonstrates this process. If the word has more than three sounds (i.e. /f/ /r/ / Ŏ/ /g/), they “tap” their pinky to the thumb, or repeat the process with the index finger. They should end the decoding process by blending the sounds together.

2. If step one does not work and they still are unable to solve the word, help them “tap” and blend the sounds together.

3. If they are saying a sound incorrectly as they “tap", point out what the letter or letter combination says and model how to say and blend the sounds correctly.

4. If these three steps do not work, it is OK to tell them the word. Then, encourage your child to read the sentence correctly. We do not want this experience to be a struggle for you and your child!

Reading Fun!

Fort Zeller students who participated and completed the summer reading activities were treated with some ice cream, story time with Daisy, the therapy dog, and a new book they got to keep. It was a fun time!!

Social Media #ELCOexcellence

ELCO School District is growing our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels. Click on the icons and follow along!

Facebook - @ELCOSD

Twitter - @elcosd

Instagram - @elcosd


  1. Celebrate our students.

  2. Keep parents, students, alumni, and the community in the loop of what is happening in our district.

  3. Promote the great things happening such as athletics, activities, and other events.

  4. Build an ongoing conversation about the positive impact our district is making in the lives of our students!

What do I need to do?

  • If you are on these social media channels – follow us!

  • Help promote these accounts to your family and friends.

  • If you aren’t on these platforms – that’s OK. The district will continue to provide communication through traditional channels.

Our Successes

We are grateful to our first and second grade students and their families for their attendance on our Meet the Teacher Night on September 15. It was so great to meet so many new friends and we are looking forward to an amazing year!

Nurse's News

1. If you received a letter from Mrs. Bergman about a dental exam or physical exam for your child, please work on getting those completed and turned in as soon as you are able.

2. If you plan to send in any type of medication for your child (inhalers, allergy, etc), please make sure to fill out a medication form to send in to the nurse. The link to the form is below.


1. On October 5th, 2022, at 6:30, our PTO will host its second meeting in our library at Fort Zeller. Most meetings will be held on the first Tuesday of every month. We hope that you will consider joining our meetings and provide your valuable input to support our students and staff at Fort Zeller.

2. Volunteering: If you have an interest in being a volunteer in your child's classroom or in our school, please use this link,, to complete the necessary paperwork on clearances. Don't hesitate to call our office at (610) 589-2575 if you need additional assistance.

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Join Us for the Upcoming Community Fall Fest

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1 - Nate Kleymush, Gabriel Vincent & Kody Whitman

5 - Jude Emerich & William Metzgar

6 - Adam Boyer & Nicole Shaak

7 - Addison Bowman, Caleb Sarabok & Olivia Whitman

8 - Donovan Butler

9 - Blake Neiswender

10 - Anderson Bord & Paxton Shepler

11 - Laykin Wolters

12 - Amelia Smith

14 - Carter Horst

16 - Peyton Schies

19 - Adalyn Klick

22 - Finn Frederick

23 - Maria Byelichenko & Isabele Shcherbakova

26 - Cooper Hoover & Brantley Kilhefner

28 - Piper Sics

31 - Samuel Walter

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Contact us

Fort Zeller Elementary School

243 North Sheridan Road

Richland, PA 17087

Phone: (610) 589-2575

Fax: 610-589-5815

Twitter: @ElcoFort