August 20, 2021
Dear YES Families, On behalf of our entire staff, we would like to welcome all of our new and returning students to Yarmouth Elementary School. It is with great honor and enthusiasm that we send out this opening of school letter for the 2021-2022 school year.
WELCOME BACK TO SCHOOL We look forward to meeting new faces, revisiting with familiar ones, as well as hearing all about everyone’s summer adventures! For those of you who have not met us yet here is a little background:
Ryan Gleason, YES Principal: I have been a teacher and school administrator in Maine for the past twenty-nine years. This will be my fifth year as the principal of YES. It has been and continues to be, an honor to lead such a wonderful school. I am excited about our work together as we make this another fabulous school year.
Molly Kilpatrick, YES Assistant Principal: I have been an educator in Maine for the last fifteen years, and this will be my ninth year in Yarmouth. I am thrilled to join the students, staff, and school community at YES. We are going to have a great year together!
We are both grateful to be part of this school community. We are looking forward to a new school year and working together to see that your child’s learning experience at YES is a successful one. In addition to this newsletter, please make sure that you review our YES Student/Parent Handbook 2021-22.
We apologize in advance for such a lengthy newsletter, but there is a great deal of important information to share! We also appreciate your patience and understanding as the circumstances of Covid and a school renovation have resulted in us having to hold off on opening information until several final determinations were made.
RENOVATION UPDATE To say that this has been a hectic summer on the construction/renovation project would be an understatement! A tremendous amount of work has been done and here is an update on where the project is at:
- The new two-story wing, renovated grade four wing, new offices, library, conference rooms, and lobby/vestibule areas are all just about completed and should be ready for the start of school.
- Music and Band will not be in their new spaces to begin the year. Those classes will be held in the modular classrooms.
- The renovated cafeteria and music/band rooms are scheduled for completion in January 2022. We will move into those spaces once they are ready.
- Until the cafeteria is completed we will use half of the gym for breakfast and lunch. There is a chance the gym floor will not be finished for the start of school. If that is the case we will temporarily have breakfast and lunch in the classrooms. If this is necessary, it should only be for a few days and no more than a couple of weeks.
- The grade two and three wings will remain under construction until the scheduled March 2022 completion date. We will not be moving classrooms until next school year when grade 5 joins YES in 2022-2023.
- The new drop-off/pick-up loop will be finished and ready for the start of school.
- Buses will continue to drop off and pick up on McCartney Street until the construction project is completed.
- All classrooms will begin the year in brand new spaces!
SCHOOL COVID EXPECTATIONS UPDATE As Dr. Dolloff shared with you, the school committee has recently approved a plan for our re-entry to school this fall. We are excited to be back in school five days a week and experiencing as “normal” a schedule as we possibly can. Here are some highlights from that communication:
- Remember that all students, staff, and adults in the building must have a face mask on when indoors. That includes the bus.
- Face masks can be taken off once outside.
- Masks may be removed when actively eating or drinking (if eating indoors, individuals are required to put their masks back on when not actually eating or drinking).
- We will have students maintain 3 feet of social distancing throughout the day to the greatest extent possible.
For a more detailed overview of reopening plans please review the district COVID-19 Information and Updates Page
NEW STAFF In addition to Mrs. Kilpatrick we also welcome the following new staff members to YES:
- Mrs. Karen Jagolinzer will be the new Math Talents teacher working with grade four students.
- Mr. Tom Snow will be leading the grade 5-8 Band program in Yarmouth.
- Ms. Kelsey Kramer will be taking on the role of Ed. Tech Substitute Teacher/Library Assistant
- Mr. Greg Murray, the District Powerschool Coordinator, will now have his office at YES.
- Mr. Mark Noack, the District Network Administrator, will also be based out of YES.
- Ms. Donjulie Aranha, our new School Psychologist, will have her office here as well.
- Also, Mrs. Laura Frost will be out on paternity leave in the fall. While she is out Mrs. Julie McDonald will be the guest teacher for her students. Mrs. McDonald has filled several long-term sub-roles for us in recent years.
DAILY SCHEDULE Children should not arrive before 8:25 AM as there is no supervision before then. School begins promptly at 8:40 AM. Please remind your bike riders/walkers of this! Students being dropped off by parents should be dropped off in the new drop off/pick up loop in front of the new main entrance. In the afternoon, please try and plan your pick up time for your child’s dismissal, use PikMyKid procedures (outlined below), and stay in your vehicle as your child will be directed to your car. Please have car tags displayed prominently.
We will begin a staggered dismissal process just after 3:25 PM. All students will be dismissed by 3:30 PM . Any parents picking up should be at school and waiting in the pick up line by 3:30 PM and no later than 3:45 PM. We are limited in our ability to provide “dry spaces” for students transitioning to the bus in wet weather. Please keep an eye on the weather report and send your children in with rain gear if needed. Once again, these are new procedures for this year so we greatly appreciate your patience, help, and cooperation as we work out any kinks in the system the first few days.
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.
Following our policies, please remember that birthdays are celebrated without food items and gift bags for students. Students are honored by teachers in other creative and fun ways on their special day.
RECESS, SNACK, LUNCH For the start of the 2021-22 school year we will run recess, snack, and lunch in the following manner to stay consistent with the COVID expectations at this time:
- Recess: Students will have two recesses a day. You may recall that at both Rowe and YES last year we had one classroom in a zone at each recess. We are going to expand that this year and have made some adjustments.
- There will be three different playground zones. One is on the paved playground area, the other the wood chip area and the third is across the street in the tennis court/swing set/field area. This will allow plenty of room for students to spread out.
- There are six different classrooms in each grade. Students will join another classroom at each recess within one of the zones. They will be able to “mix” and play with other students from the other classroom.
- Students will stay with that classroom grouping for three days as they rotate through the zones at the different recesses.
- At the end of three days, they will then be partnered up with a different classroom. Over the course of several days, students will have an opportunity to play with students throughout their grade.
- Students may take masks off outside. This is not a requirement, but if students can wear an item to school that has a pocket that would be helpful for them in storing masks for recess. We will work on other ways to help make that transition run smoothly for them.
- Students will eat snack in the classrooms at their desks. Their desks will be 3 feet apart, as directed by the Maine CDC/DOE. Going outside is always an option as well, weather permitting.
- As noted, the gym and eventually the cafeteria will be the lunch area for each grade. Students will be spaced 3 feet apart in each of those rooms. If the gym floor is not ready students will eat in their classrooms until that is finished.
PARENT DROP OFF/PICK UP & “PIK MY KID”
If you are dropping off your child at school, you will use the new drop-off loop by the main office. Please stay in the car and the staff on duty will assist your child in exiting out the curbside of the vehicle. This helps us to keep things running as efficiently as possible. At the end of the day, please wait in your vehicle in the traffic circle line and we will direct vehicles to the loading area by the main entryway.
We will continue to use the PikMyKid Dismissal Application for car pickups after school. For families who were at Rowe or YES last year, you will recall that 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 changes.
If you are a returning Rowe or YES family and you downloaded this app last year you are all set. If you are a new family to YES you will need to download the app.
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. At the August 31 “drop-in day” you will be bringing home three PikMyKid Car Tags. If you are unable to make this event we will send the tags home with your child on the first day of school. As you register in the App, please 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 for the start of school.
WHOEVER IS PICKING UP YOUR CHILD MUST HAVE THE CAR TAG OR A PHONE THAT DISPLAYS THE CAR TAG. That means if your child is a pickup you should:
- Pull up to the pickup 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 line, 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!
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 will be using it for car pick-up dismissals only.
BIKING/WALKING TO AND FROM SCHOOL If your child plans to ride a bike to school, they will notice brand new bike racks by the main entrance. The majority of students should park their bikes there for the school day. Additionally, please note that we will also place bike racks to the HMS side of McCartney Street for students who travel to and from that direction.
A student is permitted to ride a bicycle or walk to school with written permission from his/her parent or guardian. Please send a note with your child to give to their teacher. Students are responsible for securing their bicycle to the bicycle rack and open spaces in that area. Please remember that helmets are required in Maine for all children under age 15.
CLASSROOM SUPPLY LISTS The classroom supply lists for each grade level are posted on the school website under the “News” section:https://yes.yarmouthschools.org/o/yes/news You may bring them in for “drop-in day” on August 31 or when school begins.
COMMUNICATION Communication between home and school is an important priority at YES. Please review the YES Student and Family 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. We will also send out a monthly newsletter and encourage you to follow us on our school website news feed and the YES Twitter page as we 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.
ATTENDANCE PLANNING Please remember to call us when your child will be absent or late. For your child’s protection, if you do not telephone the office by 9:15 AM, we will call you first at home and by cell phone, and, if not successful, at work. If you have a change of address and/or telephone, it is extremely important that you inform the school office so that this information can be recorded. Should an emergency arise, it is necessary for us to know where to contact you.
When your child is tardy, he/she must sign in with the office secretary before going to the classroom. It is very important to be on time. Students arriving late miss part of the routine and academics of their morning and require special attention, which takes extra time that could be used otherwise. They may also feel social pressure from peers.
If a child will be dismissed during the day, please send a note/email to the classroom teacher with the specific information.
When arriving late, parents need to press the call box at the main entrance to speak with office staff who will let students into the building. For safety concerns, students must wait inside the school building to be signed out.
We know that the school year has not yet begun but we are going to ask for your help. The state of Maine defines “chronically absent” as a student that misses 10% or more of the school year, excused or unexcused.
We recognize that there are days when students cannot be in school due to sickness, medical appointments, etc. However, if possible, we urge you to schedule extended family trips during school vacations. Please keep in mind that when a student misses school, they miss instruction and that learning experience cannot be replicated through makeup work.
Additionally, it is not a reasonable expectation for teachers to provide all missed work before a student leaves on a family vacation. It is also important that parents and students understand that it is the student’s responsibility to make up for missed work.
We appreciate your support in helping your child maintain strong attendance this school year.
POWERSCHOOL LOG IN TO UPDATE INFORMATION We ask parents to update information each year through Powerschool. You will be contacted soon with a separate communication that will include directions on how to complete this process. Please make sure to complete this as soon as possible so we have accurate contact information for your child.
UPDATE FROM SCHOOL NUTRITION Our kitchen staff does an extraordinary job preparing healthy meals for students each school day. Please read the note below from Blair Currier, our Director of School Nutrition, and Susan Stowell, the YES Cafeteria Manager:
As always, the Yarmouth School Nutrition Program is committed to providing the students and staff of Yarmouth Elementary School with fun, great-tasting, and healthy breakfasts and lunches every day. YSNP participates in a national program and our menus follow the latest scientific research in nutrition published every five years as the “Dietary Guidelines for Americans.” In the age of COVID-19, we follow the latest guidance from CDC and the Maine Department of Education. We strive to go above and beyond by connecting the cafeteria to the classroom and community. We also source as much as we can from nearby Maine farms. Details can be found on our monthly menus located in the News section of the school web page.
We offer a delicious breakfast every morning at the start of school featuring whole grain muffins, banana bread and bagels. Fresh fruit such as strawberries, orange wedges and apples. Orange juice and low fat or skim milk is optional. Students select their breakfast and eat it in the cafeteria before school. Breakfast meals are complimentary, free of charge for all students.
To start the year our lunch menu will offer two meal choices every day and we always have at least one vegetarian option. Later in the school year we will return to three meal choices each day. We have a rotation of bento-type meals with turkey, cheddar cheese, tuna, yogurt, hummus and even guacamole, all served with a whole grain item. Every day we have our popular sunbutter & jelly sandwich with string cheese. Sunbutter is a peanut-free spread, very similar to peanut butter and made from sunflower seeds.
A school lunch is considered a “Meal Deal” in that five components are offered every day; either meat or vegetarian protein, whole grain item, fruit, vegetables and milk. However, students may prefer not to select all of them. Either a fruit or vegetable must be selected or they can choose both. Students are not required to take the milk option. Like breakfast, all lunch meals are complimentary, free of charge for all students. If your child is bringing lunch from home and would like milk from school, the cost is 50 cents.
We accept multiple forms of payment for 50 cent milks. We prefer the use of credit cards online at PayPams.com. There is a fee of $1.95 per online payment, but to reduce these charges you can put as much money as you would like on your student’s meal account. We still accept checks made out to “Yarmouth School Nutrition Program” and these should be mailed to Yarmouth Elementary School, Attn: Yarmouth School Nutrition Program, 121 McCartney Street, Yarmouth, ME 04096. We are not responsible for money sent into school with your child. We strongly suggest that all parents activate their PayPams.com account even if you do not plan to make credit card payments. This will allow you to monitor all deposits, charges and get low balance email reminders. There is no fee for use of this service.
Even though all students are eligible to participate in our school meal programs at no cost, if your family qualifies for federal assistance, such as SNAP or TANF benefits, your household will receive a letter from us letting you know that your students qualify for meal benefits. This letter can be used for other important family services. If you do not receive SNAP or TANF benefits, but your household income qualifies you for school meal benefits then we welcome your application. Should your household income or family size change at any time throughout the school year please consider if you have become eligible. Applications can be filled out online or picked up at the school office. For more information please visit: www.yarmouthschools.org/page/school-nutrition-program
Over the course of the school year it is extremely important that your child’s meal account balance does not go below zero. If your family qualifies for meal benefits, milk alone still costs 50 cents. If your child will be purchasing milk at school to have with home lunch please make sure their account has funds by signing up for account monitoring on PayPams.com or contact us if you are unsure about your balance. The school department is not staffed to send out payment reminders to parents. We continually strive to improve our service of providing fun, healthy and affordable meals. Please contact us with any questions and/or feedback that you may have about our program. Research continues to support that students who eat nutritious meals perform better academically. We take our job very seriously so that students are prepared for the high level of learning that happens in the classroom. Thank you for trusting us with your child’s nutrition!
Susan Stowell Blair Currier, SNS Manager, YES Cafeteria Director of School Nutrition 846-3391 846-2323
P.S. We are currently hiring for part-time positions. No experience necessary. We are looking for friendly and positive individuals with a willingness to learn. Work entails a variety of kitchen related jobs in a fast paced environment on school calendar days. That means weekends, school vacation, holidays and snow days off. Convenient lunch-time hours, 3.25 and 3.5 hours/day. $16.70 per hour, $17.14 after 6 months. Contact us for more information.
PARENT TEACHER ORGANIZATION (PTO) NEWS Welcome back! The Yarmouth K-8 PTO is looking forward to another year of educational enrichment for our students, appreciation for our wonderful Yarmouth school staff, and opportunities for community building.
This year may look different than usual as we brainstorm ways to adapt our events to be safe and in line with district guidance, but we are grateful for all of the support our school community has shown us over the past year. Thank you! We couldn’t do what we do without you. To see a list of some of the things we have been able to accomplish through your generous donations, click HERE.
Below are some resources and dates to get the year started:
- ONLINE WELCOME PACKET: This amazing, comprehensive, live DOCUMENT compiled by our Welcome Committee has info about local and state events, attractions, resources, and much more!
- PTO ONLINE: Stay in the loop by checking out our INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK pages well as our WEBSITE
- VOLUNTEER SURVEY: Want to get involved? Fill out this SURVEY and join us!
- Sep 15 - HANNAFORD GIFT CARDS: FORMS will be sent home before each load date. Click the link to learn more about this fabulous FREE to you fundraiser!
- Sep 17 @7pm - FIRST PTO MEETING: A zoom link will be posted to our website and social media pages closer to the date. Anyone can attend, so we hope to see you there!
- QUESTIONS: Please reach out to Kim Tyau and Trisha Merrill at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to get back to you.
SCHOOL NURSE NOTES Welcome back for another exciting year at school! I am hoping for a healthy, balanced and fun school year. I have an open door policy, 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.
- Please continue to health screen your children prior to sending them to school and let the school know if they are not feeling well.
- There will be an in school based flu clinic on October 1, 2021. Be on the lookout for more information on how to sign up.
- 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.
- For specific medical plans, please reach out to me at any time.
- For any other questions send me an email or give me a call. I am happy to discuss any concerns you may have.
Again, welcome to YES! Thank you for your flexibility as we navigate this year.
SCHOOL COUNSELOR CORNER I hope everyone had a moment or two to take a breath this summer and find a bit of peace. I had an exciting summer as I was married and am now Mrs. Laura Murray. I also tried to slow myself down to find the aforementioned peace.
School is approaching and with that comes many feelings on the part of yourself and your child. Feelings can be amplified as well as pushed down. Whatever feelings you, your child, or your collective family has each and all are okay. When the school year starts, we as a staff, know that social/emotional health is paramount and will do everything possible to assist in having a successful school year.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if your child is having any challenges about returning to school or there are other social/emotional concerns I can help your child navigate. At this point my email is still email@example.com but will soon be changing to firstname.lastname@example.org I look forward to another incredible year at YES.
Laura Murray, School Counselor
MEET & GREET DROP IN Our opening day is just around the corner. We look forward to seeing you at our informal drop-in “Meet and Greet” on Tuesday, August 31. Times for this year are staggered to help with parking and spacing within the school. Grade 2: 9:45- 10:30 am Grade 3: 10:00- 10:45 am Grade 4: 10:15- 11:00 am
Please note that all students and adults will need to wear a facemask for this event. THIS IS DESIGNED TO BE VERY BRIEF. ALL PARENTS AND STUDENTS SHOULD ONLY BE STAYING IN THEIR CLASSROOM FOR FIVE MINUTES. This is an opportunity for you and your children to meet their teacher, visit their classroom and get a peek at the new addition and renovated spaces for the first time.
IMPORTANT DATES IN SEPTEMBER Please keep the following early fall dates and events in mind as you plan:
September 1, Wednesday First Day of School!
September 20, Monday Grade 2 Open House 6:00 PM
September 23, Thursday School Picture Day
September 24, Thursday Grade 3 & 4 Open House 6:00 PM
The decision has been made that all of our Open Houses in Yarmouth schools will be virtual again this year. Your classroom teacher will send out a meeting link prior to the open house date. The SHARE Unified Arts Team will also provide a video introduction on their programming that week as well. More details to come!
In closing, as pleased as we are to offer a monthly newsletter it is the personal interaction that we value most. Please feel free to contact us and discuss any questions or concerns you might have throughout the school year. We look forward to our continued collaboration in providing a safe and nurturing environment as well as a challenging and diverse curriculum for all our learners. We are very much looking forward to watching the students stream off of the buses, cars and bicycles to fill the new hallways with the hustle and bustle that has been absent for quite some time. With all students and staff moving into brand new spaces this start of the school year is a time for celebration. It will be another FANTASTIC year of learning, growth and fun! Warm Regards, Ryan Gleason, Principal & Molly Kilpatrick, Assistant Principal