August 26, 2010 Dear Parents, Welcome to Saugatuck Elementary School and the start of the 2010 - 2011 school year! The SES staff and I hope that you have had a most enjoyable summer and are very pleased to welcome you back to all the excitement, challenge, and joy that the new school year offers for your children! As I write this in the last days of August, the school is on the verge of being ready for your children when school resumes on Wednesday, September 1st! Our custodians, led by head custodian Al Orozco and assistant head custodian Rafael Matos have the school in spectacular condition. Similarly, our secretaries, Carmela Cerulo, Carolyn Dominici, and Tina Granata have us well prepared for another terrific school year. Teachers have been working in their classrooms, and we’re just about ready to go! School Hours! Remember, our school day begins at 8:15 and ends at 3:00. In the morning, please do not drop students off at the building prior to 8:00 as staff will not be available to supervise them prior to the 8:15 opening. Please do all you can to avoid having students arrive late for school as they miss the important routines and teacher-to-student conversations which establish the framework for their school day. Students who arrive after 8:15 must be signed into the school in the office by a parent/guardian; they should not simply be dropped off in front of the school. Time to Update Registration Information on the Home Access Center! We would appreciate it if each family would take a moment as the year gets underway to go onto the district’s Home Access Center to make certain that your registration information is up-to-date! Often, between the end of one year and the start of the next, family contact and emergency information change. Parents may change jobs, cell phone or office phone numbers may change, those individuals listed as emergency contacts on the registration card may no longer be available as people to call on in an emergency, etc. It is very important that the information noted on the registration card always be current so that we may get in touch with you quickly and accurately while school is in session. If you’ve forgotten your user name or password, please contact the Parent Help Desk for assistance by sending an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Toys (and those Silly Bandz) at School Unless a teacher specifically asks students to bring in a toy, such as a teddy bear or stuffed animal for a special event in the classroom, we ask that students keep toys at home and not bring them to school as they can easily distract students from their learning. As last year, I ask that students not bring Silly Bandz to school, as well, to avoid having them become the significant distraction to student learning that they proved to be in the last school year before I asked that they no longer be brought to school. Saugatuck Faculty We have had only a very few changes in the faculty of Saugatuck since the end of the last school year. Ms. Denia D’Alessandro, who was out on maternity leave last year, returns to her third grade position; Ms. Candy Rice, who has frequently been a member of the World Language faculty at SES in past years, returns to teach two 5th grade Spanish sections; and Ms. Kelly Kliolz and Ms. Ginette Courtney join us as part-time occupational therapist and physical therapist, respectively. At the very end of this letter, I’ve listed a brief “Who’s Who” of Saugatuck Faculty for your reference. Town Meetings at SES Each month the entire SES student body gathers in the auditorium for a school- wide “Town Meeting.” This is typically – but not always – held on the last Friday of a month. Town Meeting is structured as a brief (often no more than half hour), low-key, and informal opportunity for the students and staff to come together to celebrate our community. At these meetings, a few classes may perform a poem or song, share something they’ve created in their regular classrooms or in their special subjects, perform a short skit, etc. We often conclude Town Meeting with a viewing of Saugatuck Seal News, our school news video program, and by singing our school song, “Mighty Oaks.” Parents are welcome to attend. If you do join us, please be aware that adult seating is very limited as our entire student population is now well over five hundred and with staff in attendance seating can become rather tight (our auditorium can seat up to 655). So, if you join us, please wait until the entire school is seated and find a place to sit or stand in the rear of the auditorium. We also ask that you do your best to refrain from taking pictures during Town Meeting. The focus of this program is for the entire school to be together and celebrate the contributions of our school community, and we want students to easily view the program and, if performing, feel relaxed about their presentations. Having parents circulating about the auditorium or moving to the fore to take pictures can interfere with the viewing of the program by students and the dynamic we are trying to achieve through this program. Thus, we ask that for this one monthly event you refrain from taking pictures. If this is not possible for you, I ask that you take the photo from the very rear of the auditorium so as not to obstruct student viewing of Town Meeting. Reminder: Drop-off Protocols If you are driving students to school, please remember to use the side parking lot and to follow the following routines (as noted in our school handbook). When you enter the side parking lot, please follow the flow of the directional arrows and drop students off only in the designated “Drop-Off” Zone. Children must exit their cars only from the right-hand passenger side and only when the car is next to the curb. After your child leaves the car, pull out carefully to the left and through the parking lot to the exit. Watch for children in the lot and do not exceed 5 miles per hour. Drop-off works well if all parents adhere to the above routines. If for some reason, you need to exit the car with your son or daughter, please park the car in the lot and, for the student’s safety, escort him or her to the building’s side door. If you somehow find yourself in the front parking lot during bus arrival or bus dismissal, please remember that you can never pass a school bus when it has its lights flashing and stop sign extended out. Please be patient and wait until the buses have either exited the front drop-off/pick-up area or turned off its flashing lights to indicate that it is safe to pass. Cell Phones I ask that adults refrain from using cell phones in the building. Your cooperation in this regard last year was useful in helping us to maintain the student-focused, work atmosphere of the school. The ringing of cell phones can be disturbing to the work of classroom teachers, and the school does not really have private areas for cell phone conversations to take place. Student Dress As the warm days of summer will likely continue for some time, please note the following regarding student dress: It is important that shoes are appropriate for all school activities to prevent accidents and injury. High-heeled shoes or sandals that make walking, running or other activities less safe for students are discouraged. No clothing or manner of wearing clothes that is inappropriately revealing is permitted. (This includes spaghetti strap tank tops, belly shirts, halter tops or tube tops.) Clothing and jewelry should be safe and free of writing, pictures or any other insignia which are crude, vulgar, profane, or suggestive, or which advocate violence, racial, ethnic or religious prejudice, or the use of drugs or alcohol Finally . . . The Saugatuck Staff and I look forward to working with you to create a dynamic, caring, child-centered experience for you and your family. We anticipate communicating with you often about our work in the classroom and in the school and having you volunteer in some aspect of our school life. As an educator, I have always looked forward to the opening of each new school year. Watching students of any age enter school on the first day of a new school year has always been for me one of the most buoyant, energetic and sparkling experiences of a new year. I look forward to welcoming you into the excitement of Saugatuck and the 2010 - 2011 school year – our ninth as a school! Sincerely, Robert B. Buckley Principal Who’s Who at SES With the shift of Ms. Brianne Shea to kindergarten, the 2010 - 2011 edition of the SES kindergarten team is comprised of Ms. Carol Alegi, Jennifer Byrne, Ms. Patricia Finnegan, Ms. Kathleen Magboo, and now, Ms. Shea. Our first grade team is now comprised of Ms. Diane Bader, Ms. Megan Gelder, Ms. Amy Howland, and Ms. Carolyn Santella. As last year, our second grade team this year is comprised of Ms. Katie Bloom, Ms. Wendy Montei, Ms. Kathie Moskovitz, and Ms. Davia Phillips. And this year, the third grade team of Ms. Kristin Kain, Ms. Laura Sherwood, and Ms. Carolyn Siclari welcomes back Ms. Denia D’Alessandro. With the shift of Ms. Kristen Gerner to the fifth grade team, the fourth grade team is made up of Ms. Dana Connell, Ms. Roshawn Lawrence, Ms. Erin Lee, and Ms. Joyce Mack. And thus, the fifth grade team this year is comprised of Ms. Diane Connolly, Ms. Kristen Gerner, Mr. Eric Lawrence, Ms. Nonie Price and Mr. Peter von Euler. As last year, Ms. Beth Billig, Ms. Sandra Decembre, Dr. Wendy Sobelman and Ms. Toni Veteri are our special education team, and Ms. Amanda Kay and Ms. Melissa Sakowich return as our school psychologists. Ms. Pam Tufano Mancusi returns as our speech and language teacher; and Ms. Kelly Kliolz is our occupational therapist, and Ms. Ginette Courtney is our physical therapist. In the world of special subjects, Ms.Benita Cebulski is our ESOL teacher, and, in the area of World Languages, Ms. AnnaMaria Vasquez and Ms. Jennifer Hamm return as our full-time teachers, joined by Ms. Candy Rice teaching two sections of 5th grade Spanish. In Art, Ms. Jody Egelson is rejoined by Ms. Rosalind Liljengren, and, in the area of Music, Ms. Candi Iannaco, Ms. Barbara Masonpierre, Ms. Erica Messina, Ms. Rebecca Squire, and Ms. Betsy Tucker are our music team. Mr. Andrew McLoughlin and Ms. Maureen Cadden return as our PE team; Mr. Kenneth Hine and Ms. RaeAnne Locke return as our Technology and Library/Media Specialists, respectively. In the areas of academic support, Ms. Dawn Sherriff and Ms. Christine Mennie are our Reading teachers, Ms. Jeanne Bowles (who will also teach some technology classes) and Ms. Ms. Jennifer O’Brien provide Math support, and Ms. Linda Stern, is our part-time Challenge teacher. Ms. Jane Sandri returns as our school nurse. Finally, Ms. Barbara Beaman and Ms. Deborah Fritz-Bradeen, our assistant principals, join with me in facilitating the work of the staff and the needs of our students. Our superb secretarial staff is comprised of Ms. Carmela Cerulo, Ms. Carolyn Dominici, and, this year, Ms. Tina Granata.