Cub Connection August 2021

Gerner Family Early Education Center News

Welcome to all of our Gerner Cubs!

What a joy it is to have your children attending Gerner Family Early Education Center with us this year! This is THE right place for your child/children to grow academically and socially. I am pleased to be a part of a wonderful team of educators that are well prepared to foster the development of each child that enters our doors, no matter what circumstances we are dealing with in society.

You will quickly learn that Gerner is a fabulous community. Our teachers and staff are fully focused on developing successful skills for all learners as we prepare them for Kindergarten. We strive to make a positive influence on the success of each of our early learners participating in our unique programs.

Each month you will receive at least a monthly newsletter from the Gerner office summarizing upcoming building events and items that are essential for the month, but also anticipate updates during the month as necessary. Teachers will communicate more regularly regarding specific events for their particular learning opportunities, which you will learn about as the year progresses.

I am glad that you have chosen to be a part of the Gerner community and am looking forward to a fantastic school year together!


Dr. Rachel Ward
Coordinator of Early Education Programs

Important School Information

Back to School Event

It is VERY important that we are able to connect to our Super Cub students and families before the school year begins. We are excited to offer an in-person Back-to-School event on Thursday, August 19th where families and children can come to the classroom, meet the teaching staff, and bring supplies - with a twist. We will have specific timeslots for different families to limit the number of families in the building at one time. PLEASE adhere to the schedule and the visitor expectations during this time in order to maximize the health and safety for all individuals.

Date of the Back to School event:

  • Thursday, August 19th

Assigned Times for Families:

The following is the schedule for the event based on last names:

  • 4:00 - 4:20 PM: A and B
  • 4:30 - 4:50 PM: C, D, E, F, and G
  • 5:00 - 5:20 PM: H, I, J, K, and L
  • 5:30 - 5:50 PM: M, N, O, P, Q, and R
  • 6:00 - 6:20 PM: S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, and Z

Health and Safety Expectations:
  • Masks: Everyone that is 5 years old or older must wear a mask inside the building based on the KC Mask Mandate. It is strongly recommended for all other children to wear a mask.
  • Entry and Exit: Please enter through the front doors and exit out the closest door to the back of the building to ease the flow of visitors.
  • Limited number of visitors: We are trying to limit the number of visitors in the building at one time. We are asking families to limit the number of visitors to one parent/guardian per child


We are asking all families to partner with us in screening and taking temperatures at home before joining the event. A family member or child with a temperature higher than 100.3 °F should stay home. If you answer yes to any of these questions, please stay home:

Do you:

  • Have a fever?
  • Have a cough?
  • Have a sore throat?
  • Have shortness of breath?
  • Have nausea/vomiting?
  • Have diarrhea?
  • Have a headache or fatigue?
  • Had close contact or cared for someone with COVID-19?

COVID Exposure:

If a family member learns of a report of COVID, they should immediately report this to Dr. Ward or the office staff. The administrator will follow the district provided “COVID Report” flow chart which will include contacting the school nurse, if they are present, or contacting Tammy Saylor. Immediate contact tracing will occur and communication to necessary parties will follow.

Park Hill School District's Pandemic Plan

Gerner Family Early Education Center follows guidance from the Park Hill School District regarding processes and practices to make learning at Gerner as safe as possible.

Please see the detailed information provided by the Park Hill School District regarding our Pandemic Plan that is also followed at Gerner.

MASKS: Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas issued an order this week mandating masks indoors for everyone five and older in public places. The mask mandate goes from 12:01 a.m. Monday, August 2 through at least 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, August 28.

This means everyone five and older in our Park Hill School District facilities, whether or not they are fully vaccinated, must wear masks while this mandate is in effect.

The following is a list of phone numbers that are important to keep handy:

Front Office: 816-359-4601
Lacy Northweather (Parents as Teachers): 816-359-6566

April Setser (Tuition Preschool): 816-359-6376

Kourtney Vaughan (Buses and ECSE/Horizons): 816-359-5717

Andrea Richardson (ECSE Programming): 816-359-6111

Kellie Galley (School Social Worker):816-359-6929

Melissa Dixon (Health room): 816-359-5505

The Health Room and Medications

We are thankful to have an amazing RN to support our Cubs throughout the year. Mrs. Melissa Dixon serves in the health room if your child becomes ill or injured while at school.

All non-prescription, over-the-counter medication must be sent in the original container with written instructions by the parent or physician. Before any prescription medication can be administered, it must be in a prescription labeled bottle accompanied by a doctor's note, and the Medication Authorization Form must be completed and signed by the parent or guardian. Parents must bring all medication to the health room; please do not send it in a backpack. All necessary forms can be obtained from the office.

If you have questions about immunizations, medications or other health concerns, please contact Mrs. Dixon by email at or by phone at 816-359-5505.

Safety Drills

Student safety is a top priority at Gerner and safety drills are practiced every month. There are specific procedures followed to ensure the safety of students and staff in the event of an emergency. All schools in the Park Hill School District have emergency plans in place.

Each school year we will conduct the following safety drills with our students:

  • Fire Drills - one each month
  • Earthquake Drill - one in the fall
  • Tornado Drills - one each semester
  • Intruder Drills - one each semester

Our staff have been trained on these drills, and will delicately discuss the emergency procedures for all drills in the classroom. Please know that each teacher will approach their class discussions with care and consideration of all students.

Meet the Social Worker

We have an amazing Social Worker that serves the Gerner community in a number of ways. She coordinates all developmental screenings, works with families interested in our Bright Futures, Horizons, and Parents as Teachers programs, organizes Back Snacks and other community resources for families, supports social-emotional learning, collaborates with families regarding behavioral or emotional needs of children, and supports the whole learning community with social-emotional lessons in the classrooms.

Please use the following link to get a better understanding of how Mrs. Kellie Galley supports our Super Cub families.

Meet the Social Worker

If you are in need of resources for your family, please fill out a Confidential Resource Request.

You will be contacted by Mrs. Galley when this is submitted.

Important Family Information

Join the PTA!

The Gerner PTA is a vital part of the school community, providing support to the classrooms with fundraisers taking place throughout the year. Our first fundraiser for the year will kick off September 7th. This fundraiser is through Believe Kids and provides a lot of options for families during the holidays. More information will be shared with families as we get closer to the kick-off date.

Here are ways that PTA has helped our Super Cub community over the past few years:

  • Tablets purchased for to teachers to support gathering evidence for learning progress
  • Awning on the playground to provide a shaded area on the blacktop
  • Budget for classrooms to purchase learning materials
  • Recess supplies and materials to enhance
  • Playground equipment in conjunction with a Platte County Parks Grant

How can you help and be a part of the PTA work? Be a member and participate in meetings!

  • Membership forms will be shared with families by teachers on the evening of our meet and greet.
  • PTA meetings will be virtual for this school year. A Zoom meeting link will be publicized to families closer to the scheduled meetings

If you have questions about PTA activities this year, please contact April Setser at

Park Hill PTA Clothing Center

In order for social distancing to be enforced, please use this link to sign up for an appointment for the PTA clothing closet. Please use the link below to sign up.

Park Hill PTA Clothing Center Sign-Up

Parents as Teachers

Let's be honest, parenting is hard work! There are days we feel like rock starts and other days where we don't know what to do. Our Parents as Teachers program is available to all Park Hill School District families with children ages 0-5 to support families. Our Parent Educators work with families to support growth and development of children during this critical stage in life.

Parent Educators support families in four critical areas:

  • Home Visits (virtual as we start the year)
  • Developmental Screening
  • Connection Events (virtual as we start the year)
  • Community Resource Connections

This is a wonderful program available to support the whole family. If you are interested in learning more about the Parents as Teachers program and how to enroll, please visit our school website and/or contact the school today!

Parent Corner

Our school website has a great section titled "Parent Corner". Over the course of the year, articles and resources will be posted to support the parenting process.

Getting into a good routine for the school year can be a challenge for some children. An article in KC Parent Magazine caught my eye as a great reminder of the power of sleep and how to help our children build healthy sleep routines at a young age. Check out the article "Seeking Sleep: A Parent's Guide to the Importance of a Child's Consistent Slumber" for some ideas and reminders of sleep as you are building your school year routines.

Kids get anxious about leaving their parents, whether we are in a pandemic or just a regular time of the year. Please take time to read an interesting article from Massachusetts General Hospital regarding Preparing Children for Separation from Parents. There is great information about natural developmental stages and children's behavioral responses.

August Menu

Each month's menu for our Tuition Program will be uploaded to the Park Hill School District's Food Service website. A copy of the September menu will be provided at Back to School Night, with future month's menus provided electronically. Please see September's menu below:
Big picture

Gerner Family Early Education Center

Caring Staff ~ Quality Instruction ~ Purposeful Learning