Welcome New PBES Families!
Dear Pre-K, Kindergarten and Transfer Families:
Welcome to the PBES parent community! To help make the start of the new school year as smooth and stress-free as possible, parents of past Kindergartners and Transfer students at Dora Kennedy French Immersion School ("DKFI") did some brainstorming to gather helpful info, advice, and tips to share with their families during this exciting, emotional time. DKFI PTA was kind enough to share these tips with us...and with you!
⇒VIEW 2018 PBES Student/Parent Handbook (NEW this school year!)
Pre-K & Kindergarten Orientation*: All parents of Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten students are invited to attend a systemic orientation at Paint Branch Elementary School onThursday, August 30, 2018 from 10:00 AM to 12 NOON. Parents will have an opportunity to meet their child's teacher and receive information about the early childhood program. There will be no transportation provided by Prince George's County Public Schools Department of Transportation for this event. (*If you were unable to attend, please scroll DOWN on this page to see the slideshow of the Pre-K & Kindergarten Orientation Presentation)
THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL
The first day of school is a huge moment for both parents and children--especially when starting at a new school. Please rest assured that the staff is prepared to spot children who need assistance and will make sure all of the students meet up with their class.
Many parents choose to drive their children to school on the first day. Please note that the school parking lots will be filled with cars from eager parents and students on the first day of school. Please also be aware that parking not on school property can possibly result in your car being towed, so leave yourself plenty of time and patience. Don’t forget that special first day photo either at the bus stop or outside of the school building!
Your child doesn’t need to bring all school supplies on the first day! Please check with your student's teacher; however, we suggest that you send items in their backpack as space permits or bring them with you to Back-to-School night if that makes things easier for you and your child. Please be aware that our teachers pool the classroom supplies. Your child doesn't need to label their supplies with their name, as everything will be used by all members of the class.
Dismissal on the first day usually takes longer than usual because such care is taken to ensure that students who are riding the bus end up on the correct one. Consequently, bus arrival times at the stops can vary during the first couple of weeks. Please note that the bus times as listed on the PGCPS transportation letters are also approximate, and may change. Do not be surprised if the bus is 15-25 minutes later than the time listed; conversely, the bus may also be 5 minutes early. Keep track of the arrival times for the first few weeks; by the end of that time you will probably have your correct time for the year. Keep your PGCPS transportation letter handy—it contains all the information you need should you have to contact the Transportation hotline or visit the transportation web page on the PGCPS site.
THE FIRST FEW WEEKS
Within about two weeks, most children become comfortable with the classroom routine, rules, and daily schedule and homework. They will be very tired at the end of the day as they adjust to life at their new school.
Some important things to be aware of during this time:
- Visit the PGCPS website to sign up for text/email alerts about weather-related delays and cancellations
- ⇒APPLY HERE for Free or Reduced Lunch (if applicable). Visit the PGCPS Food and Nutrition Services website for more information.
- Currently, our school uses Class Dojo as a primary communication tool between staff, teachers and parents. You will also receive notices, pictures, and reminders of school and PTA events and activities on Class Dojo. Visit the Class Dojo website to sign up or download the mobile app.
- Be on the look out for important letters and forms that will be sent home in your child’s backpack each week. They contain useful and important for you and your students! Be sure to instruct your students to NEVER destroy these forms or throw any of this information in the garbage.
- Some of our teachers use the School Max portal to post grades. You can visit SchoolMax Support for Parents and Guardians on the PGCPS website to learn more about this important online tool.
- PGCPS runs on an A/B Day schedule. While this impacts the older grades more, you will need to know what day it is so that your child is properly prepared for their specials-art, PE, music, etc.
THROUGHOUT THE YEAR
Keep in mind that classroom supplies will need replenishment -especially the pencils, crayons, erasers, and glue sticks that are so heavily used.
There are lots of ways to get involved, and it’s the best way to get to know other families and help your child feel connected to their school. Contact your student's teacher(s), or visit your student's classroom web pages, Class Dojo, or our PTA website for the monthly calendar of events including volunteer opportunities and fun after school activities. Some annual favorites are:
• Family STEM Night
• Chinese New Year
• Autism Awareness Month
• Green Team Activities
• Annual Scholastic Book Fair
• Black History Month
• 100th Day of School Celebrations & Activities
• Winter & Spring Music Concerts
• Valentine's Dances & candy-gram delivery
• Field Day
• Teacher & Staff Appreciation Week
• Ice Cream Socials & Super Sundae Contests
• Movie Nights/Family Game Nights
• Holiday & Seasonal activities
• Arts Integration & arts-related activities
If you plan to volunteer as a field trip chaperone or in the classroom at some point during the year (which your child will want you to do!), be aware that PGCPS requires a background check/fingerprinting process for parents and guardians to complete in order to be eligible. Information about this process can be found on the PGCPS Security Office website.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: How does my child buy lunch at school?
PGCPS uses an online tool for meal payments and aftercare fees called MySchoolBucks. Students will receive a PIN from their teacher that is associated with their account to enter when they buy lunch. More information, as well as monthly lunch menus, can be found on the PGCPS website.
Q: Can my child bring a snack to school?
Yes! The Kindergartners and other students eat lunch early in the day, so they have a brief snack time near the end of the day. Please check with your student's teacher to ask if you may send an individual snack with your student each day.
Q: If my child doesn’t ride the bus, where should I meet them for pick-up at the end of the day?
Students who are picked-up will be dismissed from their classes about 5 - 10 minutes early to go to the cafeteria, where they will sit at tables assigned by grade level to wait for pick-up by a parent or other authorized adult. Pre-K, Kindergarten and all grade-level Autism students will be escorted to the cafeteria by their teachers. Please check with your student's teacher(s) for additional information or instructions specific to their classrooms.
Q: What should I do if my child is absent?
It is necessary to send a note to your child’s teacher when the student returns to school in order for the absence to be marked excused.
Q: How can I get involved in the school?
Support your school’s PTA! The PTA offers many chances for you to get involved, whether you can be at school during the day, or if you have a skill that you can use from home at night or on the weekends. PTA appreciates your skills and your ability to share them with the school community. You can volunteer, donate, or join our PTA online on our PTA website!
JOIN PBES PTA: Download the 2018-19 PBES PTA Membership Application In English or Spanish Here:
PBES PTA welcomes you as a Member! Please complete this form and return it to school with your Annual Membership Dues, or give them directly to Ms. Mayra Cerna (Community Outreach Assistant) or Ms. Melissa Cunningham (Professional School Counselor).
Also, never forget to check in with the teacher. They may have projects that are needed for just their class. Teachers always appreciate hearing, “How can I help?”
Q: How can I communicate with other parents?
We are preparing a new communications platform. Please check back for updates.
- Visit the school grounds with your child so they can get familiar with the building prior to the first day of school.
- Talk with your child about what they may experience, for example, not understanding the language. Assure them that they will start to understand, possibly using their process of learning the English, Spanish or their native language, as an example.
- Help your child develop ways to communicate verbally and non-verbally about their needs. For example, how to ask permission to use the bathroom and get water.
- Prepare your child for the school routine and if possible create a mock school schedule at home from breakfast to dismissal.
- Give your child positive reinforcement for successfully completing independent tasks.
First Month of School
• Prepare for your child to be exhausted after a full day.
• Be aware of how your child handles stressful situations.
• Write your child’s name and your contact information on all clothing items.
• Send in extra set of clothes in a gallon sized Ziplock bag.
• Be sure to send in a snack everyday with your child.
• Go to Pre-K, Kindergarten, & Autism Orientation(s), and Back to School Night.
• Sign up for your student's classroom web pages & Class Dojo.
• Give your child a quiet period before starting homework.
• Establish a routine homework time and setting.
• Ask open-ended questions about your child’s day.
During the First Year
- Complete all homework assignments.
- Check your child’s book bag and lunch box every day for uneaten food and paperwork from the school.
- Attend monthly PTA Meetings to stay informed. Meetings typically take place on the 1st Tuesday of the month at 6:30 pm - however, please check our meeting schedule.
- Check communication folder for notices from school.
- Volunteer at least twice a year, preferably more.
- Have your child look at online Chinese resources used in class on the weekends. Many age-appropriate Chinese videos that review alphabet, numbers and basic words are used in class and can be found on You Tube.
- Don’t hesitate to contact the teacher if you have any concerns.
- Check out Chinese picture books from your local library.
- Have your child read Chinese and English books at home.
- Attend the scheduled Parent-Teacher Conference in November.
- Ask the teacher about your child’s social interaction with others.
- Celebrate each report card.
- Attend birthday parties of other classmates to get to know other classmates.
- Attend PTA events. Family Game Nights and Movie Nights are great ways for your child to have fun with their classmates outside of school.