August 16, 2012
Dear Parents and Students:
Welcome back to school and “Happy New Year”! We hope you have enjoyed your summer, and are ready for an amazing year of learning together. As the new principal, I am truly looking forward to getting to know each one of you and working with you in continuing to create a supportive, positive, high-yield learning community. Our first day of school is Tuesday, September 4th, but we hope to see you at our second annual “Drop In/Drop Off” (4:30-5:30) and PTO Bar-B-Que on Aug. 30. Classroom assignments are available on Family Access accounts, and postcards will be mailed home the last week of August.
Supervision for students begins at 8:00 a.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and students head to class at 8:20 a.m. On Wednesdays, supervision will begin at 9:00 a.m., and students will be heading to class at 9:20 a.m. If you need to drop off your student earlier, Latchkey services will be available for students who have registered for the program. Students are released to go home at 3:00 p.m.
If your child needs to be at school before 8:00 a.m. or after 3:00 p.m., you will need to register him or her in advance for Latchkey childcare due to tightened security measures. Families who have not registered and paid the $25 registration fee will not be able to send their child to Latchkey. Registration forms are available in the office. The fee has been raised to $3.50 per hour for each child. Billings will be sent twice a month. Latchkey fees must be paid in order to continue the service.
You are welcome to walk your child to class on the first day, but keep in mind the traffic is always an issue. Please be careful when coming into or leaving the parking areas of our school. When dropping off or picking up students, please park in front of the building. You may park at the stadium to walk students to the portables. The back parking lot is for buses only from 8:00 to 8:30 a.m. (9:00 to 9:30 a.m. on Wednesdays) and 2:45 to 3:15 p.m. When picking up students during the day, we require you check them out through the office where we will call them from class, or have them ready if pre-arranged.
Our weekly schedule will continue to include a one hour late start every Wednesday. This schedule allows our staff consistent time for professional development and data review, and it helps to offset some state cutbacks in teacher training. Buses will pick up your student one hour later every Wednesday.
A newsletter, calendar and additional information are attached to let you know what to schedule for in the coming month. It’s going to be a busy year!
Lunch money should be given to the clerk in the cafeteria to be entered into your child’s account. Cafeteria prices for 2012-13 have changed; $1.10 for breakfast, $2.40 for lunch and $.30 for milk only. If you think you qualify for free or reduced meals, you will need to fill out the paperwork and be approved prior to receiving any meals. Parents will be responsible for any meals purchased prior to approval. If you qualify for reduced meals, breakfast is free, lunch is free grades K-3, and there is a $.40 charge for students in grades 4-5. Please periodically check the account balance throughout the month so there will be funds available when needed. When funds are not available, students will be given a cheese sandwich for lunch.
Situations may arise that present financial hardship on families. If you need assistance with school supplies, please contact our office. We have received donations from compassionate community members who want to make sure no student will go without what they need to be successful at school.
Kalama Elementary is dedicated to building a safe, compassionate community of lifelong learners who are inspired to become respectful, responsible, cooperative, innovative and productive citizens. We envision a structured community of learners who are caring and respectful, hardworking and responsible, collaborative and cooperative, and actively participating in their education. Our building and district share a common focus for the quality education we provide for every student, and will be continuing our work with the Common Core Standards as the framework for this focus. Kalama Elementary has high expectations for all students and will provide quality instruction while assisting every student in reaching their full potential.
We want to assure you that every staff member meets Highly Qualified requirements as identified by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. When schools receive federal funding, we are required to notify parents if and when there are any teachers that do not meet the “highly qualified” requirements. The requirements elementary teachers must meet are: Full state certification, hold at least a Bachelor’s degree and possess an endorsement in content areas they are teaching. We are committed to providing all of our students with the academic knowledge and critical thinking skills needed to succeed in school and beyond, and are proud that our staff is highly qualified. All parents have the right to request the qualifications of all teachers working with their children. You may pick up a request form in the office.
We are looking forward to seeing you on Aug. 30th and Sept. 4th!
Mary Ann Whittaker