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Article: Message from Principal Liberatore

Message from Principal Liberatore

Good morning McClellan Families,

I spent all of Friday making sure the building was ready for your children, so I wanted to send out one last email to make sure the children are ready for us!  Here are a few things you might want to review with your kiddos this weekend before Monday morning…

With the retirement of Mrs. Marcheleta last year, there was some movement of positions.  We also have some teachers out on leave or in other roles this year as well.  Here’s a quick intro so you are all aware:

Mrs. Farison moved from 2nd grade Writing to 1st and 2nd grade Science.

Mrs. Matusz is now teaching 1st and 2nd grade Writing.

Mrs. Kassimer took a special assignment as our Canvas Implementation Specialist, we have Mrs. Janell Carr subbing for her.

Mrs. August is still on leave this year, so we have Ms. Sophia Frye subbing for her.

Mrs. Fazekas is on leave to start the year, so we have Mrs. Jean Simpson subbing for her.

Mrs. Yacco is on leave to start the year, so we have Ms. Sara Roberto subbing for her.

Lastly, our maintenance/custodian Mark Coulson is out on leave, so we have Jack Baumgardner subbing for him

Not only did we have a few classrooms switch locations (Mrs. Yocco and Ms. Wargo are upstairs now and Mrs. Matusz is downstairs), but we also switched up our numbering system as well.  Instead of the room numbers going down one side and up the other as they have in the past, we made our halls more like a street (even on one side and odd on the other).  Here’s a list of all of the room numbers for our homeroom teachers:

200 – Lloyd
201 – Wahl
203 – Manga
209 – Aleski
210 – DiSilvestro
212 – Morton

1st Grade
213 – Funa
214 – Hense
113 – Kaczmarek
115 – Fazekas (Simpson)
117 – Knopp
119 – Santora

2nd Grade
101 – Ross
103 – Jakubowski
105 – Recktenwald
106 – August (Frye)
211 – Yocco (Roberto)

Though I had a lot of fun with my virtual lunches last spring, I’m excited to have the kids back in person this year.  However lunchtime is going to look a lot different:

In the cafeteria we have desks spread out 6 feet apart.  About 3-4 classes will eat in there.

In the front half of the gym we have the long cafeteria tables.  Only 2 students will sit at each table, spread 6 feet apart.  We will have 2 classes eating in there.

We will only allow a limited number of students in line at at time, and we have dots on the floor to socially distance the students while purchasing lunch.

The lunch menu is very limited.  Students will only have one main lunch choice, or they can buy the Craveable of the week (it’s sort of like a Lunchable).

To limit movement, only students buying a lunch will go through the lunch line (if your child is packing a lunch, they need to bring:
 - a drink
 - any snacks
 - all utensils

The purchased lunches will more of a grab-and-go style.  All side items (fruits and veggies) will be pre-packaged and in the bag with the main lunch selection.

There will only be two options for milk – white or chocolate (no strawberry or vanilla this year).

We will not be offering snacks for a while, and when we do they will only be available for students when purchasing a lunch.

The bathroom in the cafeteria will be shut down during lunchtime.  Students will need to go before or after their 30 minute lunch block.

We have a lot of new students joining us this year, and even for those who have been here it has been a while (and we went and changed all the numbers on you since last March!).  Some things to practice before coming to school:

Review your child’s teacher and room number.  It would help with the first day arrival if you could put a sticker on your child’s coat or have them wear something that identifies their teacher and room number.  A lot of our little ones are nervous coming in and have trouble remembering who’s class they are in (and it will be even harder hearing them with masks on).

Review with your child how they will be coming home.  If they are a bus rider, talk to them about the bus number.  Maybe write it down somewhere for them to remember.  If they are a car rider, practice your car tag number with them.  Also, make sure the car rider tag is on your mirror for pick-up and on their book bag (with the number visible).

Have them wear a mask for some time around the house or outside, just to make sure they are comfortable with it.  And make sure they are wearing it correctly – covering both their mouth and nose.  All students must be wearing a face covering (mask or shield) when they exit their car or the bus.  If a child does not have a mask, we will provide them with a disposable one for the day before moving through the building.  You may even want to pack an extra mask in their book bag (you won’t believe how easily kids lose things in school – one year there was one shoe in the Lost & Found – not sure how they went home with only one on!).  Remind them we don’t share or trade masks (last thing you want is your child wearing someone else’s mask home).

Maybe take a trip out somewhere this weekend which has social distancing markings on the ground.  We placed these all around the building – outside the nurses office, outside of the bathrooms, spacing for lunch lines.  We will practice social distancing in all locations throughout the school.

If your child is riding the bus, for the first week you will want to be out at the stop about 15 minutes early as they are learning the routes.  There must be an adult for each child as they get off the bus, so please make sure you are visible to the driver.  Remind your students about bus safety:

They must stay in their assigned seats – no switching seats or moving up as students leave.

They must keep their mask/shield on at all times on the bus.

They must remain seated at all times.

They must keep their hands to themselves.

There is absolutely no eating or drinking on the bus.

They should not be using their Chromebooks on the bus.

If your child is a car rider, please do not arrive at the school for pick-up any earlier than 2:30.  If we have a line of cars waiting to get in the lot starting at 2:00, that line is going to stretch all the way down McClellan Drive (we have close to 70 car riders).  If that’s the case, our buses won’t be able to leave because the cars will be so far back they will block the one-way loop exit.  Then we will be stuck at a stand still – buses can’t get out and cars won’t be able to get in.  Arriving early won’t get your kids out to you any earlier – it might actually make it take longer.  Also, Officer Mike doesn’t let anyone into the lot until all of our buses are gone.

This new form of school is new for all of us.  We are all learning together, so please be patient with us as we try to navigate all of the ins and outs of new safety protocols and new online educational tools.  There are times things aren’t going to go right, but if nobody every made mistakes how would we ever learn from them?  That’s part of growing.  We’re not perfect, and that’s okay.  But when things don’t go as expected, take it as a learning opportunity for your child and you.  Be the example of how to react (they are watching, always watching).  Please don’t jump on social media to tear down a teacher or their lesson.  Please don’t talk poorly about our staff.  They are putting in long hours to provide your child with the best possible education in a difficult situation.  Take the time to build them up – praise them.  Practice what we preach in West Jefferson Hills – #bethekindkid

Looking forward to a fabulous first day back in the building with our Dignity kids on Monday and our Respect kids on Tuesday. We’ll see everyone else online!