October 20, 2023 - Fall Conferences & Book Fair
We look forward to welcoming everyone to Fall Conferences soon. Here is a short curriculum update that highlights our district's curriculum process and resources. Reach out to me anytime with questions.
Also, the Scholastic Book Fair is coming to Gray's Woods next week! The students and teachers will have an opportunity to preview the book fair on Tuesday, October 24th and Wednesday, October 25th.
- The book fair will be located in the rotunda and will be open for purchases on Thursday, October 26th from 8:00am - 7:00pm and Friday, October 27th from 8:00am - 4:00pm. Cash, check and credit cards are accepted.
- If you won't be around to shop the fair you can always shop on the Virtual Book Fair website and your purchases still earn money for our school!
- Volunteers needed! Our book fair isn't possible without YOUR help! If you are interested in signing up to volunteer at the book fair for a few hours next Thursday or Friday, sign up here.
- Please contact Jennifer Black firstname.lastname@example.org or Amy Wertz email@example.com with questions.
Enjoy the weekend and thanks for your support!
Dr. Kristen Dewitt
October 13, 2023 - Harvest Festival
It's time to celebrate this beautiful season with our annual Harvest Festival! This year's Festival will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 25th and will include class celebrations as well as an all-school parade (weather permitting) at 1:15pm.
Costumes - Costumes are always optional. If your child wishes to wear a costume, they will be given a brief amount of time to change shortly before class celebrations begin.
Costumes, make up, wigs, elaborate hats, etc. should be carried, not worn to school.
Be sure costumes are age and weather appropriate.
Inflatable costumes are permitted but will only be allowed to stay inflated during our outdoor parade. Also, please remember our district weapons policy - weapons of any kind, even replicas, are not permitted.
Class Celebrations and Volunteers - Brief celebrations will take place in classrooms before or after the parade depending on the class’ schedule.
Please watch for notification from your child’s teacher regarding times and need for volunteers.
If you plan to volunteer in the classroom during this time, please be sure you have completed the volunteer requirements found on the GW website: https://www.scasd.org/Page/
All-School Parade - Weather permitting, the parade will take place outdoors.
Classes will meet in the all purpose room, exit the building at the parent pick-up side door, follow the sidewalk up and around the track and reenter the building through the primary recess doors and return to their classrooms.
Spectators are invited to watch the parade from the field, standing inside the track.
In the case of inclement weather, the parade will be canceled. We will do our best to notify families of a cancellation by late morning that day.
Opt Out Option - As always, participation in the Harvest Festival is optional. We respect the wishes and beliefs of all of our families so if you’d prefer that your child not participate in these activities, please notify your child’s teacher by the end of the day on Monday, October 23rd. Alternative Harvest Festival activities will be offered for students during this time.
We're looking forward to our annual celebration of Autumn.
Dr. Kristen Dewitt
September 22, 2023 - Fall Reminders
Happy Friday, GW families -
Thank you for helping get our school year off to a great start! As summer winds down and we ease into Autumn, we're planning lots of exciting events this fall.
Fall PTO Meeting - Our first PTO meeting of the school year will take place this Wednesday, September 27th at 7pm in the GW library. Please join us!
Wolf Pack Challenge - We are 15% of the way towards our goal! Thank you! Please make a contribution that supports our PTO, students and staff. We invite all families to come out to the track and support the Pack on Wednesday, October 11th! Feel free to bring noise makers, signs, etc. to help encourage participants at the following times:
- Kdg & 1st Grade: 10:10-10:30am
- 2nd & 3rd Grades: 1:00-1:20pm
- 4th & 5th Grades: 1:40-2:00pm
Early and Emergency Dismissal Plans - Although the decision to dismiss students early during the school year is rare, we would like to have information of alternate child care arrangements should this occur. Please complete this Google form - one for each of your Gray's Woods children - by October 1st.
GW Spiritwear - We are excited to announce that the new online spirit wear store is now live! Over 200 items to choose from with 12 different designs! Visit our Spiritwear Store and check it out! Shipping is a flat rate of $4.95 and items are delivered directly to your house. Orders are typically processed within 7-10 days. Every week new items will be on sale! Show your school spirit and help support Gray's Woods Elementary!
Fall events -
September 25th - No school
September 27th - PTO meeting
October 9th - Professional Development Day, No school
October 11th - Wolf Pack Challenge
October 25th - Harvest Festival & Parade
October 26th & 27th - Fall Conferences
Have a wonderful weekend!
Dr. Kristen Dewitt
September 19, 2023 - Student drop off reminders
Good morning parents/caregivers who drop off their child each morning.
As you know, morning drop off can be hectic and parking spots at GW are limited. Lately, we've noticed an increase in drivers parking in the front or side lot then walking their child to the side drop off doors to enter. This increase in parking has resulted in very few parking spots available for staff who arrive at drop off time.
If you need a few extra minutes to gather belongings and assist your child before they enter the building, parking is encouraged so please continue to do so.
However, if you are simply dropping off your child, please keep the following in mind:
- if you drop off between 7:55-8:09am, please pull up along the side of the building so your child can enter through our side doors.
- if you are drop off between 8:00-8:09am, you may also pull up along the front of the building so your child can enter through our front doors.
- if you arrive after 8:09am, please park and walk to the office with your child to sign them in.
Thanks for your cooperation - reach out with questions anytime!
Dr. Kristen Dewitt
September 11, 2023 - YMCA Backpack Program
Please see the attached documents regarding the YMCA's Backpack Program that provides backpacks filled with food to students who participate every Friday to ensure that they have plenty to eat over the weekend. We are so fortunate to have this amazing program in our community! Complete and return the registration form to one of us or the Gray's Woods office anytime to participate.
Dr. Kristen Dewitt (principal)
Mr. Mike Laskowski (school counselor)
September 5, 2023 - Bus Concerns
Dear GW Families,
The district takes the safety of our students on all buses seriously. Any time there is an issue or concern, we investigate it fully and, if necessary, address any problems that are identified. As you may know, we have cameras on the inside and outside of all buses providing footage for administrators to review as part of this process.
We've recently been made aware that some families are uncertain about how to report concerns about school buses and drivers so I wanted to remind you of the SCASD Transportation Concern Process:
- If you have a concern about a bus or bus driver, please follow these steps. (The process is the same for both SCASD buses and contracted bus companies. Please do not contact the contracted bus companies directly.)
- If you have a concern about student behavior on a bus, please contact me directly.
Reach out anytime with questions - thank you.
Dr. Kristen Dewitt
August 31, 2023 - State High Football Game Supervision
Dear Parents and Guardians,
On Friday, Sept. 1, the State High varsity football team will open its season at home against Downingtown East in what looks to be an exciting matchup.
This year, in a new protocol for home games, the District asks that adults accompany elementary and middle school students at the game. Please abide by this request and help us supervise our young fans so that they and everyone else can fully enjoy a Memorial Field “Friday Night Lights” experience.
Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.
Dr. Kristen Dewitt
August 29, 2023 - School Safety Drills
In an effort to promote and sustain a safe school environment and adhere to state law, we conduct multiple school safety drills throughout the year. The purpose of these drills is to prepare, not scare, our staff and students to respond accordingly in the event of an actual emergency at school. As such, caution and concern for student well being are exercised when conducting these drills.
Our safety drills include:
Evacuation Drill: conducted once per month - prepares us for a substance or situation (not person) that could cause harm or danger - faculty, staff, and students evacuate the building using their room or office’s exit route and report to designated outside area for attendance
Stay-Put Drill: conducted at least once per trimester - prepares us for a dangerous person/situation outside of the school, any peril inside the school that will not require evacuation, or a medical emergency requiring hallways to be clear - rooms are locked and secured and teaching continues
Severe Weather Drill: conducted two times each school year - prepares us for a severe weather event in which it would be dangerous for faculty, staff, and students to be on secondary floors, near windows, or outside
Bus Evacuation Drill: conducted two times each school year - prepares those students who ride a bus and their drivers for an emergency evacuation or situation that may occur while traveling to or from school
Lockdown Drill: not conducted on a regular basis - prepares us for anyone inside the building that presents a danger or threat to those inside the building (i.e. possesses a weapon, alcohol/drug intoxication, threatening, etc.) - would result in running, hiding, or fighting
Building safety procedures are reviewed with students prior to each drill. Although, yesterday, Aug. 28th, our fire alarm was triggered by a faulty sprinkler system sensor. Faculty and staff directed students outside to our evacuation drill areas and I'm so proud of how well everyone handled the unexpected disruption.
You may find it helpful to discuss these safety drills at home with your student and reinforce that the purpose of the drills is to practice being safe. If you have any questions, please contact me.
Dr. Kristen Dewitt
August 22, 2023 - Bug Spray and Sunscreen
Good afternoon -
We had a fabulous first day! Thanks for your support and encouragement!
I'm passing the important points below to keep in mind as we start the new school year.
Bug Spray & Sunscreen Reminder from the Nurse's Office
We realize that mosquitos visit our playgrounds each Fall fall, so, if you wish to use bug spray on your child, we encourage you to apply it at home before school. In order for nurses to apply it, the container must be non-aerosol and we'd need an order from a physician. The same rules apply to sunscreen. Thanks for your cooperation.
SCASD K-12 Student/Family Handbook
Please take a few moments to review the SCASD K-12 student/family handbook, paying particular attention to the table of contents and familiarizing yourself with what it contains so you can quickly find the information you need later. Please note the "Elementary Code of Conduct" section which explains our restorative approach to reinforcing expectations and discipline.
***Once you have reviewed the handbook, log into Parent Vue and acknowledge that you've reviewed it.***
We love our volunteers! Below are a few important reminders to keep in mind:
Adults who plan visit classrooms to read, speak or present to the whole class as a guest, and will not be left alone with students do not need clearances or proof of vaccination.
Adults who plan to volunteer regularly in the building are required to submit proof of vaccination via the form linked on the volunteer website. Proof of vaccination is required in addition to the clearances and forms detailed on the website.
Unfortunately, due to limited space we are unable to invite visitors in the building for lunch. Parents or guardians may join students for lunch outdoors and should sign their child in and out at the office.
All visitors to the building should bring their IDs so that we can scan and print visitor badges using our district's new visitor management system.
Please reach out anytime with questions or for assistance.
Dr. Kristen Dewitt
August 11, 2023 - Back to School Information
Good afternoon, GW Families -
We are just over a week away from the start of an amazing school year and we couldn’t be more excited to begin! Please take a moment to review the important information below.
1. Open House - Save the date for our annual back to school event on Wednesday, September 6th at the times below:
5:30-6:15pm: 3rd, 4th, 5th grade families
6:30-7:15pm: Kdg, 1st, 2nd grade families
2. SCASD Student Handbook & Code of Conduct - Please take a moment in the next week or so to review our K-12 student handbook and Elementary Code of Conduct with your child. Both outline important policies, procedures and reminders
Please note: the use of electronic devices such as phones and smart watches, which must remain in backpacks throughout the school day unless permission is given by the teacher.
3. School Supplies - Our generous PTO purchases school supplies each year. Students may bring favorite folders, markers, etc… if they wish. Once the school year begins, teachers will reach out if additional supplies are needed.
4. Teacher Placements - Teacher placements will be available in Parent Vue on Tuesday, August 15th. Class lists will be posted outside our front doors each day on Aug. 15-18 from 8am-3pm.
5. Transportation To and From School - Whether children ride buses, bike, walk or are driven to school, please know that safety is our number one priority. Please respect speed limits and use caution when approaching the crosswalk on Gray’s Woods Blvd.
During arrival and dismissal every day of the school year, extra staff are located on all sidewalks, at doors and in hallways to ensure everyone’s safety. Extra time may be needed to dismiss safely so please be patient as we do our best. Our tardy bell rings at 8:09am. If you drop off your child after 8:09am or pick your child up before 2:55pm, parents/guardians should park and come to the office to sign them in or out.
Transportation plans should remain consistent throughout the year. If you have an unexpected change in pick up plans for your child, please call the office (814-235-6100) by 2:00pm so that there is time to alert students and teachers. Emailing teachers or the office staff is not an option as they may not have the opportunity to check email during the school day. We respectfully request that play dates that take place after school do not include district transportation.
* Alternate transportation plans - If your child will not walk/bike or ride their assigned bus, please make sure you’ve completed this End of Day Dismissal Plan form by August 18th. This pertains to children who will attend CEEL, ABC, other after school daycare programs, and those who will be picked up regularly.
* Bus riders - Please refer to the bus regulations section of the elementary student handbook for additional information. Bus stop locations, pick up and drop off times will be in Parent Vue and may be adjusted as late as the day before school begins. Be sure to check often.
Morning bus drop off - Students will be dropped off in front of the building and greeted by adults on the sidewalk, in the rotunda and in hallways.
Afternoon bus pick up - Students will be walked out to buses by adults. Buses will pull out once all students have boarded safely.
* Students dropped off and picked up by parents/guardians - As students are dropped off and picked up each day, we expect that all drivers will:
Come to a complete stop at all stop signs and obey all speed limits.
Wait to see a staff member supervising the parent drop off or front entrance doors before leaving a child alone; children should not be dropped off to wait outside the door unsupervised at any time. Doors will open at 7:55am.
Wait to pull up to the sidewalk before dropping off a child; children should exit from the passenger side of the vehicle only and should not be dropped off near the playground or grassy areas.
Park in the side lot if extra time is needed to say goodbye, pack up, etc... and walk their child to the drop off door. Please do not park or delay drop off at the door - this can cause large back ups that impact bus arrival and ABC Child Center traffic.
Follow traffic ahead of them and not pull around other cars.
Morning student drop off - Arrival time is 7:55-8:09am. Pull up along the side drop off/pick up sidewalk or the front entrance sidewalk once buses have pulled out (usually by 8:00am). Families who wish to drop off between 7:30-7:55am may register for our before-school CEEL program.
Afternoon student pick up - This year, our dismissal process begins at 3:00pm when students will be dismissed one grade level at a time. Pull up along the side drop off/pick up sidewalk or the front entrance sidewalk once buses have pulled out (usually by 3:10pm). Students being picked up will walk to an area in the APR and wait to be called to the side or front doors.
So that we can ensure children’s safety, please place a sign in the window with your child's name written in large, clear lettering so our staff can quickly identify your car.
Drivers should pull in to the side lot and pull up - a supervisor will ask for the names of students being picked up. Please exit the lot carefully and obey all traffic signs.
Students must be picked up by 3:20pm. There will not be supervision after this time. If you wish to have your child stay after 3:20, you may register for our after-school CEEL program.
* Walkers/bike riders - Students must be accompanied at all times by an adult and bike helmets must be worn by cyclists to and from school.
Morning walkers/bikers - Parents or guardians will walk (or walk your bike) with your child along the bus lane sidewalk and stop when you reach the walker/biker door sidewalk that leads to the building. Children will park bikes then walk along the sidewalk to the adult at the door. The walker/biker doors will open at 7:55am.
Afternoon walkers/bikers - Walkers will be dismissed after buses have pulled out to ensure everyone’s safety (typically by 3:10pm). Supervisors will supervise as they exit the building at that time. Please be sure to arrive to pick up your child by 3:05pm, remain on the bus lane sidewalk and your child will walk to you.
6. Upcoming dates
August 22: First day of school and Kindergarten orientation (9-10:30)
August 23: First day for K students
August 25: NO SCHOOL
September 4: NO SCHOOL
September 6: Open House
September 15: Kindergarten Night at the State High Football game
October 11: Wolf Pack Challenge Fun Run
Thank you for your cooperation and support. Please reach out with questions anytime!
Dr. Kristen Dewitt