Dear Dorchester Parents/Guardians,
Welcome to Dorchester Elementary School! I am thrilled to begin another exciting year with your children. It is a pleasure to be part of this school community, as I continue to build relationships with our new and returning families. Please feel free to reach out to me with your feedback, ideas, or concerns since it is only through open communication that we can continue to excel and help your children succeed.
This year, our school community will grow in powerful ways. We will continue our second year of the Choose Love program to support students’ social and emotional growth during a “Community” period in all students’ schedules. Additionally, students in K-5 will receive Spanish instruction in their weekly cycle of special area classes, and students in fourth and fifth grade will have the opportunity to explore French. Thanks to the continued support of the WCLEF, our third grade classrooms have been completely redesigned to allow for collaboration, flexibility, and twenty-first century learning. We are excited to have the students explore these learning environments. Thanks to the PFA, we also have several other upgrades to our building, such as the added security feature of ID badge readers for all of our interior doors.
New this year (based on parent feedback), Dr. Hreno, our district’s Supervisor of Curriculum, Instruction, and Staff Development, and I will be sharing a series of videos called Learning Lane through the Woodcliff Weekly emails in which we highlight various aspects of your child’s education at Dorchester.
In order for all students to get the most of their education, it is imperative that they arrive at school in a timely manner. While school officially begins at 8:10, I recommend that all students arrive between 7:45 and 8:00 so as to have the time to unpack and get started with their morning work. Students who arrive at school after 8:10 must report to the main office accompanied by a parent/guardian and will be marked as tardy. Arriving on time will help to ensure that your children receive every valuable minute of learning available to them.
As we head into the 2019-2020 school year, we are delighted to welcome a few new teaching staff members to our Dorchester family: Ms. Giana DiRico in first grade, Ms. Katelyn Mills in second grade, Mrs. Danielle Mangini and Mrs. Cristina Kouvel for K-5 Spanish instruction, and Mrs. Jessica Fox for French instruction. Lastly, Mrs. Tiffany Luciano will be coming from the middle school to join the Dorchester family as a physical education and health teacher.
We will continue to use the PikMyKid app for dismissal. Thank you for your cooperation and feedback in using PikMyKid for a safe and smooth dismissal for all Dorchester children. Detailed information about both arrival and dismissal procedures, including directions for using the PikMyKid app, are posted on our website. (Car tags for car line pickup were provided through the mail).
Please complete the Mandated Emergency Contact/Publication Release form using the link on the left of this letter and submit online by Tuesday, September 3.
Please review the following information using the additional links on the left.
Arrival and Dismissal Procedures
Letter from the School Nurse
In an effort to support your child’s overall wellness, we encourage you to provide your child with a nutritious lunch and snack each day. You have already received information regarding the PFA lunch program. Pizza service begins on Wed., Sept. 11; and No Fuss Lunch begins on Monday, September 9.
As you prepare for the first day of school, please be sure to send in your child with a picture of him/her reading over the summer. This picture will be posted on the “Read Across the Universe” summer reading bulletin board outside your child’s classroom so that we can fill the hallways with images of every Dorchester child reading.
Information for Kindergarten Parents Only:
In order to help our kindergarteners transition to eating lunch as a grade in the lunchroom, our kindergarteners will spend the first few weeks of school this year eating lunch in their classrooms under the supervision of lunch aides and other school staff. Each class will then rotate into the lunchroom for a week at a time as we help them understand how to navigate the lunchroom experience. Beginning in January, all four classes will eat together in the lunchroom. Throughout this process, students will still have the opportunity to receive hot lunch/pizza and socialize with their peers daily. (Note: Kindergarten students will not be able to purchase ice cream or milk until January.)
Information for 5th Grade Parents Only:
Our fifth grade is fortunate to take part in a departmentalized learning experience. This includes a structured homeroom time that helps to build a sense of community, an organizational skills class, a social-emotional course, and both Spanish and French classes. One of the key components in the success of the fifth grade program is parental support. In order for your child to be successful, please plan to:
- Bring your fifth grader to school by 8:00 a.m. every day so that he/she can be on time to homeroom and ready for his/her first class. While school officially begins at 8:10, I recommend that all students arrive between 7:45 and 8:00 so as to have the time to unpack and get ready for their day.
- Follow the communication guidelines outlined by the fifth grade teachers to be sure everyone is on the same page.
- Support your child in taking on increased independence by reinforcing the organizing structures in place in school and putting similar structures in place at home.
- Allow your child to take responsibility for him/herself.
- We are confident that, with the support of both parents and teachers, the fifth graders will have a challenging and rewarding school year.
I look forward to a wonderful school year with you and your children.