Dear Schaeffer Parents and Guardians,
Welcome to the 2017 – 2018 school year!
My name is Chris Zander, and I am the building principal here at Schaeffer Elementary School. I am humbled to be able to serve the Schaeffer community and look forward to beginning the school year. Together, we travel this educational journey as partners supporting the children that enter through our doors each day.
During the past few months, our staff has been busy getting ready for our first day of school on August 28. I am excited to share that our school, along with two other elementary schools in our district, received a generous grant provided by the Dart Foundation in partnership with the Manheim Township Education Foundation to provide a STEAM lab here at Schaeffer. With that said, we are in the process of converting our computer lab into the STEAM lab. This lab will provide our students with an amazing space to grow their skills in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics.
As you have heard, our district has invested in technology for our students. At our elementary schools this year, all third grade students will have access to an iPad in their classroom. This is part of the district one to one initiative. The entire professional staff has also received an iPad, along with numerous training sessions this summer on integrating and using technology as part of their instruction. While the technology does not replace our outstanding teachers, it can be used as a tool to help students increase their learning and go to deeper levels of understanding. This is an exciting time for our students and staff. I am sure you will hear about many fun learning experiences using technology throughout the year.
We will continue to challenge and guide our students to meet our four expectations that will help them succeed. Our Schaeffer Gators will:
We are confident that our students will learn these expectations, helping us to create a positive, successful learning environment. Our school year will open up with an assembly focused on these expectations. Throughout the first month of the school year, all teachers and staff will work with our students to learn these expectations. We will also spend time this year working with our students on developing a growth mindset and being able to change the way we view challenging situations. If we look at mistakes as learning opportunities instead of missed chances, we can all become stronger and more resilient.
I am excited to announce new staff members who will be joining our Schaeffer team. Mrs. Bisking will be joining our kindergarten team. She comes to us from Reidenbaugh Elementary where she taught first grade for many years. Ms. Vanessa Martin will be teaching art one day each week. She joins us from the School District of Lancaster where she taught numerous levels of art during the past several years. Each of these new staff members brings unique talents and an enthusiasm to work with our students and families here at Schaeffer.
Our goal as a school is to create an environment where each student is able to reach his or her potential. We will do that by providing support, as needed, and working hard to get to know each child individually. No two children are exactly the same. Our staff is dedicated to making sure all our children grow. If you have any questions or concerns at any time during the school year, please be sure to contact your child’s teacher. This communication is vital.
We did want to provide a few reminders as we move closer to August 28. On the first day of school, you will receive a packet of materials to review and quite a few to sign. Thank you in advance for reading all of that paperwork and your diligence in returning all the necessary forms at the beginning of the school year. One document that will be included is the Elementary Handbook. As a district, we have compiled important information into this valuable resource. Please be sure to review the information specifically related to attendance. There are many questions related to attendance and this document will help to answer those for you. However, if you have a specific question or cannot find the answer to your question as it relates to attendance, please call our school so we can provide you with accurate information. Please note that vacation is NOT a legal excuse and that educational trips MUST be approved one week prior the educational trip. We know there is a direct connection between students’ attendance and their achievement.
One last important piece of information related to dismissal the first day of school. Please make sure you send in a note with your child on the first day of school if his or her dismissal is going to be different from what is assigned by the school district. It is imperative that we know the correct dismissal procedure for each child starting with the first day. Thank you for your help with this request.
It is important to share that this year your child will receive a welcome letter from his or her teacher. This welcome letter will be the official assignment, as “placement postcards” will not be sent as they have in the past.
Please note the important dates listed below. With school just a few short weeks away, we want to make sure you have these important dates.
Mark Your Calendar:
August 8 – Kindergarten Bus Orientation – 10:00 am
August 11 – Teacher Welcome Letters mailed
August 16 – New Student Open House, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm
August 22 – PTO Ice Cream Social – 5:30 pm – 7:00 pm (on the playground)
August 28 – First Day of School and Kindergarten Orientation and Visits
August 29 – First day of School for Kindergarten
September 5 – Back to School Night (for parents only)
September 11 – PTO Meeting – 7:00 pm in the Schaeffer library
As always, please feel free to contact me if I can do anything to help you or your child. I am looking forward to a great school year. Go Gators!
Christopher M. Zander