Dear Parents, Guardians and Students,
Welcome to Stephenson Elementary School, Home of the Lions!
Welcome to 2016-2017 school year. I am very proud to be the principal of Stephenson Elementary. I look forward to continue building a professional relationship with staff, parents and students. We will strive towards excellence and make every effort to raise Achievement Scores for all students. We will continue to work on reading and math instruction at all grade levels and provide staff with the professional development to gain strategies to teach our children. Our school 2015 report card will be out soon and each family will receive a copy of our school performance as well as their individual student report. A huge part of this success is our teachers and their efforts to work hard and provide the very best education to our students.
We have a few staff changes for 2016-2017 and you will have the opportunity to meet those new staff members as well as our current staff during both Back to School events which are: Back to School Picnic on September 9th and Back to School Night on September 22nd. More details to follow on these events. Most recently Stu Fessant has transferred to a school that has a 1.0 position versus two .5 positions which can be very difficult for a teacher. The process has begun to find a replacement. This is going to be a huge challenge due to the lack of .5 certified music teachers in Portland. I will keep you posted as we fill the position.
Most students were informed of their classroom placement during the week of August 8th. However, a few changes have occurred over the past few days in order to balance classrooms. Unless I’ve contacted you directly assume there is no change for your child’s teacher. Updated class lists will be posted in the main hall near the office on Thursday, August 25, 2016.
To assist you with the day-to-day goings-on, we will again be producing a 2016-2017 Parent/Student Handbook. This handbook contains the calendar for the entire school year and important information about the school. Please feel free to contact us regarding anything that is not explained in the handbook or if an item needs further clarification. Look for the Parent/Student Handbook in the Opening Day Packet sent home on the first day of school. In the meantime I’ve attached a one page at a glance 2016-2017 master school calendar for those of you who plan ahead and need the dates.
The first day of school for 1st through 5th grades is Monday, August 29th and for Kindergarten is Thursday, September 1st. The morning bell will ring at 7:55am, tardy bell will ring at 8:00am and the student day ends at 2:15pm. The cafeteria will be open at 7:45am for grades K-3. NEW THIS YEAR: 4th 5th grade students will be allowed to walk directly to class at 7:45am versus waiting in the cafeteria. This will help with the large group in the cafeteria each morning.
ALL K-3 students will report to the cafeteria in the AM. They will line up and be escorted to classrooms by their teacher. PLEASE make sure you sign in at the main office and wear a VISITOR badge if you plan to stay in the building. Otherwise you can pick up a visitor lanyard from Mr. Galindo or staff member each morning if you are simply walking your child to class and leaving.
The dismissal procedure is the same as years past. All K-3 students who ride the bus will be picked up by Ms. Hazel and escorted directly outside to busses. K students will exit from the deer doors as staff will wait for parents/guardians to pick up the students. 1st-3rd students will be escorted by teacher to cafeteria and parents will be able to pick up from the cafeteria. Finally 4th-5th grade students will be escorted by staff directly outside to the front of the school. If special arrangements need to take place please speak to your child’s teacher directly.
We will have three lunch periods in 2016-2017 due to the increase from 13 homerooms to 15. The space is small and we are not able to add additional cafeteria tables. This will also help reduce the number of students during each lunch period and allow for shorter lines and less students eating lunch at one time. The three lunch periods are K-1: 11:10am-11:35am, 2-3: 11:45am-12:10pm and 4-5: 12:25pm-12:45pm. Lunch recess takes place before or after lunch depending on grade level. A K-5th 15-minute morning recess will also be part of the instructional day which is now required by the PPS school board for all K-5 students. This is also the time teachers allow students to eat a snack during the mid-morning.
Stephenson will be provided one cold dispenser for every hallway water fountain, one in the cafeteria/gym, staff lounge, and nurse’s office. No dispensers will be placed in individual classrooms. All dispensers will be in place by end of day on August 26th. Once placed, dispensers should not be moved. Several five gallon, BPA free bottles will be placed at or near each dispenser. Bottles should be left in place to be used with the dispenser. Students will not be permitted to lift or place bottles on the dispensers. PPS provides for cup dispensers and cone cups at each water dispenser. Students and staff are encouraged to bring a reusable water bottle to school if possible.
PARKING LOT SUPERVISION NEEDED
I’ve spoken to a few parents over the summer to help me begin to strategize ideas/solutions to improve student drop off in the upper parking lot in the mornings. At times students are at risk due to cars not slowing down, parking in unauthorized spaces and students being dropped off in front of running cars. We’ve had parents argue, honk and simply not be careful when dropping off students. At the end of last year we started to place orange cones as well as having Mr. Seavey present to support the situation. This seemed to work for the most part. For now as we continue the discussion through site council I am asking for daily volunteers each morning to help supervise the upper parking lot as we begin a new school year. This would be a 15 minute morning volunteer situation. It would involve picking up the cones, standing in the parking lot with an orange vest and supporting morning drop off. If interested please contact Mr. Galindo and your community service would be greatly appreciated.
On occasion flyers/information will come home. This information is critical and time-sensitive communications from the principal, PTA, teachers, and community organizations. Please remind your child daily for any flyers/information that should be given directly to you. Every week the Friday Principal Newsletter will be emailed to families through the Stephenson/Parent List Serve. If for some reason you are not on the parent list serve, please send an email to Carlos Galindo at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will have a hardcopy newsletters posted near the main office. Our website will be updated weekly with information regarding the school events and information at www.pps.k12.or.us/schools/stephenson/.
Parents are welcome to visit our school! Whenever you come into the school, you are to check in at the main office. It is important that you make prior arrangements with your child’s teachers to observe in the classroom. Conferences are not convenient during this type of visit, but teachers are available before and after school with an appointment. Please call or email your teacher directly to arrange an appointment.
The children of Stephenson truly benefit from parent and community volunteers. All volunteers should sign in and out in the office. For your protection and that of the children, we require all volunteers to complete an online Criminal History Background check. The link for the online application is apps.pps.net/volunteermanagement/. When applying to volunteer, you must read and agree to the Volunteer Code of Conduct before you apply to volunteer. Please print a copy, sign it, and turn it into the school at which you will be primarily volunteering. Once approved, your background check will be valid for three years. Saturday, August 27th is the annual Stephenson Community Care Day. Please join us in helping to clean up school grounds. The time is 9:00am-1:00pm or so. Please bring gloves, rakes, and gardening tools. Your help is greatly needed and appreciated.
In closing, THANK YOU for the opportunity to work as the principal of Stephenson Elementary. I am very excited for year #2 and look forward to continue building a positive relationship with each and every one of you. Stephenson’s OPEN HOUSE/Back to School Night is Thursday, September 22 from 6:00pm-7:30pm. I hope to see you there!
Carlos Galindo, Principal
Stephenson Elementary School Calendar
Saturday, August 27: Community Clean Up Day – 9:00am-1:00pm or so.
Please come join us and help clean up Stephenson Elementary School grounds.
Monday, August 29: First day of school for 1st-5th grade students.
Thursday, September 1: First day of school for Kindergarten students.
As previously communicated, PPS recently hired an independent third party to test lead paint levels in two of the classrooms at Hayhurst, #14 and #15. A copy of their final report, dated September 15, 2016, may be accessed here. The report’s Executive Summary on page 1 includes the following recommendations:
8:00 AM School Picture Day
3:15 PM - 4:15 PM Site Council Mtg.
8:00 AM - 11:00 AM Run for the Arts Day
7:00 PM PTA Mtg.
12:45 PM - 2:15 PM Grandparents and Special Friends' Day
3:15 PM - 4:15 PM Site Council Mtg.
7:00 PM PTA Mtg.
8:00 AM - 9:00 AM Veterans Day (No School)
8:00 AM - 9:00 AM Thanksgiving Day (No School)