September 4, 2020
Dear YES Families,
On behalf of the entire Yarmouth Elementary School staff, we are excited to welcome your children back to school! It is with great enthusiasm that I send out this official opening school letter for the 2020-2021 school year. I look forward to meeting new faces and revisiting with familiar ones next week.
For those of you that I have not had the opportunity to meet yet, I have been a teacher and school administrator in Maine for the past twenty seven years . This will be my fourth year as the principal of YES. It has been, and continues to be, an honor to lead such a wonderful school. Thank you again to the entire school community for your flexibility, adaptability and resilience as we prepare for the start of the year in this “new normal”.
Despite all of the challenges we are facing, I look forward to our work together as we make this another fabulous school year. Our faculty and staff have put in many hours over the summer to plan and prepare for the different learning paths that may be ahead of us. No matter what school structure your child is in- hybrid, remote or in-person- our goal is to make their learning experience at YES a healthy, happy and successful one.
I apologize that I am starting this year with such a lengthy newsletter but there is a lot of new and important information that we want to make sure you are aware of.
YES NEW STAFF UPDATE
We welcome some new faces to the YES team as well as team members in new roles. They include:
- Mrs. Monica Parker, Grade 2 Teacher
- Ms, MaryKate Elward, Grade 3 Teacher
- Mrs. Laura Wetmore, Gr. 3 & 4 Remote Learning Teacher
- Ms. Aimee Davis, Gr. 2 & 3 Remote Learning Teacher
- Mr. Steve Abeles, Instructional Support Ed. Tech
- Mrs. Kathleen Ingalls, Instructional Support Ed. Tech
- Mrs. Heather Miller, Building Teacher Substitute
- Ms. Margot Margarones, Instructional Support Ed. Tech
- Mr. Nathan Blum, Instructional Support Ed. Tech
- Ms. Jennifer Machi, Instructional Support Ed. Tech
- Mr. Andrew White, Daytime Custodian
RENOVATION UPDATE Renovation work continues to move forward! When students return they will see some big changes from when they left in March. Most of the building has been framed with only the new gym left to finish up. Walls are starting to be constructed and it is beginning to take shape. Everything is on schedule and our plans are to begin renovating the grade four wing in January. Please check out the updated pictures at Construction Pictures.
OUTDOOR CLASSROOMS AT YES A HUGE THANK YOU to the Yarmouth Education Foundation for supporting outdoor classroom spaces throughout the district! When you approach school this fall you will see tents and stump seats spread out across the campus. While the weather is mild our hope is to utilize the outdoors as much as possible. When using an outdoor learning space students will always be accompanied by their teacher. We have mapped out six spaces that include: the bus loop area, next to the tennis courts, the side entrance to school and the courtyard.
BIKE & WALKING PATH IS REOPENED!
The bicycle and walking path from West Elm Street to YES will be reopened for school. There is a temporary path that will direct bikers/walkers by the central office and onto the sidewalk on McCartney Street.
If your child plans to ride a bike to school, please remind him/her that the bike racks are now located off of McCartney Street right before the pick up loop. Students are responsible for securing their bicycle to the bicycle rack and open spaces in that area. There is a lot of traffic in that area so we will be reviewing arrival and dismissal procedures with students on these first days of school.
A student is permitted to ride a bicycle or walk to school with written permission from his/her parents or guardians. Please send a note to your child’s teacher giving this permission. Please remember that helmets are required in Maine for all children under age 15.
NEW ARRIVAL/DISMISSAL INFORMATION
In an effort to spread students out we have changed many of the arrival/dismissal procedures. When arriving or leaving school students will enter one of three doors:
Grade 2: Playground Door (the right of the playground)
Grade 3: Third Grade Wing Door (far left of playground)
Grade 4: Main Entrance (by the main office)
Arrival of students can be no earlier than 8:40 am. as there is no supervision before then. Please pull up the curb and have your student exit through the door on the right side of your vehicle. Students will report directly to their classrooms. Classes will begin at 9:00 am. All students arriving after that time should report to the main office door. At the end of the day there will be a staggered dismissal:
3:05 pm: Grade 4 walkers, bikers and pick-ups (if their ride is here) dismissed.
3:10 pm: Grade 2 & 3 walkers, bikers and pick-ups (if their ride is here) dismissed.
3:10- 3:30 pm: Staggered Bus and Parent Pick-Up dismissals
All parent pick-ups will report to the cafeteria where the adults on duty will release them to their parents/designated pick up person as they arrive on campus in the pick up loop.
School buses will arrive in a staggered fashion beginning at 3:05 pm. The office will dismiss students directly from their classrooms to the bus pick up area. This will be the waiting area for students rain or shine- so please watch the weather and make sure your child is prepared. Our hope is that it will be a brief wait with the system we have in place. By 3:30 all students will be out of the building and most, if not all, should be en route home. At 3:30 all students in the YCS aftercare program will go to the cafeteria.
As we learn this new system and work out the bugs it may take some time to speed up our efficiency as safety continues to be the first priority. We appreciate your patience, help, and cooperation with this.
REMOTE DAILY ATTENDANCE
As was the practice in the spring, you will be sent a link to remote attendance each day. When your child is learning remotely- be it in hybrid or fully remote- you will verify their attendance in school.
In our ongoing efforts to enhance safety, we have decided to begin using the PikMyKid Dismissal Application for car pickups after school. This app allows you to be in full control of your child’s dismissal and it gives us, the school, complete information regarding dismissal and the ability to acknowledge every change and to instantly check your child’s dismissal status should you have a question. We are optimistic about this addition and we think you will be too.
Whether you have an Android phone or an iPhone, at your convenience, visit the appropriate app store and download the PikMyKid app for free. Once downloaded, the registration process is very simple. Your children will be bringing home three PikMyKid Car Tags home from their teacher appointments on September 8 or 9. As you register in the App, use this number on the tag.
You will be the Primary Parent for your child and in control of their dismissal. You can delegate alternate individuals, but they should have the App also as it will send a matching number to the phone for us to validate the correct person is picking up the proper child. If you are part of a car pool, each child’s number will be sent to the phone for validation. You will be asked for the necessary information (Child Name, Grade, Teacher, Dismissal Mode, & Car Tag Number) upon registration. Please make sure that you have downloaded the app by September 18.
Important Note! From September 10- September 18 we will use the hard card tag only (not the app) to dismiss students while we practice the system before going “live” on September 21. WHOEVER IS PICKING UP YOUR CHILD MUST HAVE THE CAR TAG. This is a highly recommended phase-in process from PikMyKid. That means if you are pickup on these days you should:
- Pull up to the pick up loop and make sure that your Car Tag is prominently displayed on the right hand side of your car. An adult on duty will need to see it in order to verify who you are picking up.
- Pull up to an open space on the bus loop next to the sidewalk.
- The supervising adults will call your child from the cafeteria, and they will load up on the right hand side. Please stay in your car. After students load- and staff will help if needed- off you go!
We will notify you when we “go live” with the app prior to September 21. To Learn a little more on your own you can view this link PikMyKid Parent FAQ and/or video: Parent Video. A note for you-this is a comprehensive video of all the possible features that PikMyKid has. Please don’t be overwhelmed by all the information and keep in mind we are starting slowly with this new app. To begin we will only be using it for car pick-up dismissals only.
SCHOOL NURSE NOTES
Welcome back for another exciting year at school! I am hoping for a healthy, balanced and fun school year. Please feel free to drop an email or give me a call to discuss anything at any time.
Here are a few housekeeping items I would like all families to be aware of:
My contact information and a few thoughts on health topics can be found on my school based webpage HERE, I update it periodically, so check back often for updates
The district based school nurse webpage can be found HERE, and includes information for all four Yarmouth schools
HERE is a link to some frequently asked questions on COVID-19 put together by the district nursing team, it was also shared by Dr. Dolloff.
If your student needs to take medication at school, all medicines are administered in accordance with the Yarmouth School Department’s Medication Policy, and it can be read:HERE
Any prescription medication given on school grounds must have a permission form signed by parents and the physician, and that form can be accessed: HERE
5. For specific medical plans, please reach out to me at any time.
6. For any other question send me an email or give me a call. I am happy to discuss any concerns you may have.
Again, welcome to YES! It is going to be a wonderful school year! Students must be healthy to be educated and educated to be healthy. Thank you for your flexibility as we navigate this year.
SCHOOL COUNSELOR NOTES
As we embark on the start of a new school year like no other it is important to remind ourselves to be kind to ourselves. As I have written before we may express our feelings in bigger ways than normal, we may suppress our feelings, our feelings may be expressed how you typically show them, or a combination of all the above. That is ok.
On August 27th we had the opportunity to have a professional development experience via Zoom with Dr. Joelle Hood from Thriving YOUniversity. I would like to leave you with two salient points that I believe may help you as an adult manage your feelings which in turn will help your child.
SAME STORM, DIFFERENT BOATS We may all be in the same storm, but we aren’t all in the same boat. Tap into empathy. Give grace.
SHARED HUMANITY •You are SEEN •Your response is valid •You are not alone We’re all in this together… six feet apart
I wish your family the most wonderful start to the school year. I am here for any question, concern, or wonder you may have. Please reach out via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 846-3391.
Laura Spellman, School Counselor
POWERSCHOOL LOG IN TO UPDATE INFORMATION
In the past we have sent home a great deal of paperwork on the first day of school for you to complete. That has included updating your contact information. This year will be doing that all online through Powerschool. You will be contacted soon with a separate communication that will include directions on how to complete this process.
COMMUNICATION & OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION
Communication between home and school is an important priority at YES. Please review the YES 2020-21 Handbook that is posted on our website. This will provide you with detailed information on our policies and procedures. After that, most of our correspondence will be through email.
Throughout the year, Dani Carter and Lisa Bianchini, our administrative assistants, will send informational emails from the office. I will also send out a monthly newsletter and encourage you to follow me on our school website news feed and the YES Twitter page as I share all the learning, information and fun that occurs throughout the school year. Please make sure that you check your child’s teacher page, website or blog as this is the best way to stay informed.
Please make every effort to confirm plans for after school before your children leave in the morning. If plans should change during the day, please call us and we will notify your child of new plans at the end of the day. Teachers do not always have time to check email during the day; therefore, calling the office is the safest way to notify us of a change.
BREAKFAST & LUNCH INFORMATION
This information is shared in our Student Handbook but please be aware that students will be eating in their classrooms or outside at times. The School Nutrition Opening Letter highlights our plans for the year. If students are interested in purchasing a breakfast from the cafeteria they can pick one up there upon entering the school and bring it to their classroom. All purchased cafeteria lunches will be delivered to the classrooms. PAYPAMS is used to pay for meals. We also post the lunch menu for each month on our school website.
PARENT TEACHER ORGANIZATION (PTO) NEWS
Despite these upside down times, the Yarmouth K-8 PTO is excited to start the school year with you. We’ve cancelled events that don’t meet safety requirements but will continue to provide many enrichments for the schools. We’ve all been impacted by the pandemic, but for those who have been significantly affected, please know that we happily and warmly support all our families – particularly those facing hardships. For all other families, we invite you to work with us as you’re able. Thank you for all the ways you support our school community through the PTO.
- The Hannaford Gift Card program is a free-to-you fundraiser. You buy a Hannaford gift card; receive the full amount; the PTO receives 5% of your gift card amount. Forms will be sent home soon.
- If you want to just simply give to the PTO to support this year’s funding, you can write a check to Yarmouth K-8 PTO and send it to PO Box 262 in Yarmouth, or visit our website and click on the blue “Donate Now” button.
- If you’d like some spirit wear to support your favorite Yarmouth student/team, you can order from Sept 14-Oct 5 at https://www.pandpscreenprinting.com/yarmouth.This is not a fundraiser but a service we provide to our school families.
- If you are interested in volunteering, we would love to work with you. Please fill out our 2-minute volunteer survey to indicate your interests.
- Amazon Smile could make a big impact, given the increase of online purchases. Go to smile.amazon.com (or save link: https://smile.amazon.com/ch/01-0493661) and select Yarmouth K-8 PTO as your charitable organization.The PTO receives 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases.
- Box Tops is almost fully digital. We’ll hold one more collection of physical Box Tops and will let you know later where and when you can turn them in. For digital Box Tops, set up is easy. Download the free app, select a Yarmouth school (funds for all schools go into one pot), and scan your receipt. The PTO receives $.10 per Box Top, which adds up! You can download the apps here:
Google Play Link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.generalmills.btfe
Apple App Store Link: https://apps.apple.com/app/apple-store/id1150038564
- Examples of what your funding provided last year.
- Please join us virtually at our first PTO meeting on Thursday, Sept, 17 at 7 pm. We will vote on whether to approve the PTO budget. A link to attend will be on the PTO Facebook page and the PTO newsletter, News to Use, close to the meeting date.
Thank you again for all your support! Please contact Christy Hayashida and Jessica Raimy at email@example.com with any comments or questions.
STUDENT/TEACHER APPOINTMENT MEET & GREET - SEPT. 8 OR 9
We look forward to seeing students back at school for their teacher appointments on either Sept. 8 or 9. Your child’s teacher has reached out to you with a sign up time by this point.This is an opportunity for them to meet their teacher, see the classroom and get materials for the start of school. iPads will go home on that day or at some point that first week. There will be signage up to help show you where to go, along with staff at each door. For the meeting:
- Please meet with the YES staff escorts at their grade level door.
- The YES staff members will bring students down to their classroom for a 10-15 min. visit. Feel free to go for a walk or relax outside on school grounds.
- At the end of the meeting the YES classroom teacher will bring your child outside to their grade level door to meet you and say hello.
ALL REMOTE LEARNERS UPDATE
For “all remote” learners most of you have had your meetings with Mrs. Wetmore and Ms. Davis. We recognize that not all iPads were able to be distributed that day. We will be in touch with information about picking up your iPad on Tuesday, September 8 or Wednesday, September 9. Students will begin connecting with teachers on Thursday, September 10, as that is the date we begin in-person. We have a more detailed communication going out to you later today.
Please keep these fall dates and events in mind as you plan:
September 10, Thursday First In-Person School Day - Cohort 1 *First Remote School Day- Cohort 2
September 11, Friday First In-Person School Day - Cohort 1 *First Remote School Day- Cohort 2
*Please note that classroom teachers will begin synchronous check-ins with remote students on Monday, September 14. This will allow them to review those procedures in-person with each cohort before beginning the live support on those remote days.
September 15, Tuesday Grade 2 Virtual Open House 6:00 PM
September 16, Wednesday Grade 3 & 4 Virtual Open House 6:00 PM
To follow COVID practices, we will need to make our annual parent open houses “virtual” this year. Classroom teachers will reach out to you and send an invitation to participate in a remote meeting. At the meeting teachers will provide a look into the classroom and share information about the grade level and how you can support your children this year.
September 21, Monday PikMyKid App Goes Live
October 22 & 23 School Picture Days (More Info. Later)
I know that we all- parents, students and educators- enter this year with many different emotions. Please know that we will spend significant time the first days of school helping students learn all of the new protocols and procedures to stay safe while keeping their social-emotional needs as our top priority. This can feel overwhelming so I have prepared and attached a short summary document YES Covid Safety Protocols that may be helpful for you and your child to review together as you talk about the start of this school year.
In closing, as pleased as I am to offer a monthly newsletter please feel free to contact me and discuss any questions or concerns you might have throughout the school year. I look forward to our continued collaboration in providing a safe and nurturing environment as well as a strong curriculum for all our learners. Have a great Labor Day weekend!
Ryan Gleason, Principal