Dear K-1 Families, Welcome to Kindergarten! You and your kindergartner are about to begin one of the most exciting years in your child’s educational career. Kindergarten is a year filled with a tremendous amount of growth – physical, social/emotional, attitudinal, and cognitive. Together we will be an important part in this wondrous year. The information below provide you with some general information to help make the transition into kindergarten as smooth as possible.
Drop-off and Pick-up Q: Where do I drop my kindergartner off? What time? A: At 7:55am, the kindergartners begin lining up outside the maroon doors to the Kindergarten wing near the circle in front of the school. The students will be escorted into the building by their teacher for the first few weeks and then by 5th grade safety patrol students thereafter. In order to promote autonomy, please say goodbye to them outside the kindergarten doors and allow them to enter the building independently. The first bell rings at 8:00 which means that students are expected to be in their classroom ready to go by this time. If it is raining, snowing, or the temperature is less than 20 degrees, all students will meet in the cafeteria and then be escorted to their classrooms.
Q: What is the procedure for driving my student to school? A: Kindergarten students should be accompanied by a parent or a responsible adult until 8:00am. Please note: the parking in the lot is reserved for faculty and staff only. Mountain Avenue can only be accessed from Overlook at drop-off time. Parking is available on the right side of Mountain and Pheasant as well as on side streets.
Q: What do I do if I am late in the morning? A: You should always check-in at the main office when arriving late as all other doors will be locked at 8:10am. Please escort kindergarten students to the main office door.
Q: What time is pick-up? Where do I pick my kindergartner up? A: Kindergartners will be dismissed at 2:30pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and at 1:00pm on Wednesday. Kindergarten dismisses to the front circle (same as drop-off). Kindergarten teachers release students through the maroon doors in the kindergarten wing. Students are not permitted to leave without a responsible adult. Dismissal locations and procedures do not change with rain or extreme cold.
Q: What do I do if I am late in the afternoon? A: If you are running late for pick-up in the afternoon, please call the main office to let us know. If it is past 2:35pm or 1:05pm (Wednesday’s only), they will be brought to the office to wait for you.
Q: What if I need to dismiss my child from school early? If you need to dismiss your student from school early, please let your kindergartner’s teacher know in advance. When you arrive at the school to pick up, please come into the main office to sign them out, we will then call your kindergartner down to the office to be dismissed.
Snacks and Recess
Q: What is the school's policy about nuts for snacks and lunches? A: Each morning kindergarten students have a snack time. For the safety of all children, morning snacks must be nut-free. In addition, your teacher will notify you about any additional classroom restrictions based on allergies. All purchased school lunches are nut-free. Students bringing lunch to school may have nuts. There is a nut-free table (friendship table) provided for students with allergies. Students without allergies who would like to sit at the nut free table with a friend must purchase lunch from the school in order to do so.
Q: How long is recess? How many recesses do the students get? A: Kindergartners have a 10 minute morning recess and a 20 minute recess before lunch. Students must be dressed appropriately for recess. We continue to have outdoor recess during the winter months, weather/temperatures permitting, however students must be dressed in mittens/gloves, boots, hats, scarves and a heavy coat. Additional recess is at the discretion of each teacher.
Q: What are the rain/cold weather policies for school recess? What do the children do if they can’t go outside for recess? A: If it is raining, snowing, or below 20 degrees, there is no outside recess. Students have indoor recess and are provided with activities in their classrooms.
Q: What if my kindergartner forgets their lunch? A: We will never let a student go without eating. If a student has forgotten their lunch, they can either call home from the office or eat a school lunch from the cafeteria.
Tips for your kindergartner during snack, lunch, and recess:
Practice opening snack containers/wrappers, juice boxes, peeling oranges, etc.
Practice buttoning, zipping and pulling sleeves right side out of jackets/coats/sweaters.
Identifying which foods are for snack and which foods are for lunch.
Communication and Involvement Q: Who are the key people at school I should know? A: Besides your teacher, Michael Hanna is the Principal, Erin Spinney is the Assistant Principal, Kiela Lyons is the secretary in the front office, and Jennifer Saulnier is the school nurse. Feel free to stop by the office at any time to check in and set up an appointment.
Q: What is the best way to communicate with my kindergartners’ teacher? What is the ‘Home-School’ folder? A: All students will have a purple “Home-School'' folder. This folder is used to send work and school notices, and can also be used for you to send in notes to your teacher, etc. Folders should be checked each day and returned to school each morning. Teachers can also be contacted via phone, email or messages left at the office.
If your kindergartner has forgotten their folder, your teacher will make sure that necessary communications still come home.
Q: When are parent-teacher conferences? A: Kindergarten teachers hold two parent-teacher conferences with families. The first conference is held in December/January and the second is held in March/April.
Q: When are Kindergarten Progress Reports (report cards)? A: Kindergarten students receive two (2) progress reports, the first in the Fall and the second on the last day of school. This differs from grades 1-5, which receive three report cards.
Q: Is there a school newsletter? A: The principal, Mr. Hanna, sends out frequent emails so please be sure to read it as it includes relevant school information. The Stratton PTO sends out bi-weekly email updates that contain information on what is happening in each grade, in specialist classes such as Art, Music, and Gym, and activities with the PTO. Kindergarten teachers communicate with parents via weekly newsletters, daily Instagram posts, blog/website, and emails as needed.
Q: How do I get added to the school email distribution list? A: Go to https://www.arlington.k12.ma.us/ptodirectory/ Once you’ve created a login you may enter your family’s information. There are tabs at the top of the page for “Email Lists Parent”.
It is imperative that you sign up for the school email list which is used for official school communication as most school announcements have gone paperless and this is the only way you will receive notices. Due to the desire to reduce the amount of paper sent home, this list is used frequently to communicate upcoming school programs and other school related news and business.
Q: How do I get involved with Stratton? A: Student achievement increases, schools improve, and parent and community involvement thrives when you get involved in your students' education. Parent/guardian involvement is key to a successful school year and there are many ways for you to be involved. Below are lists of groups that would love to hear from you.
Room Parents and Classroom Volunteers Contact your teacher to volunteer in your student’s classroom. A form will be sent out the first week of school for those who are interested in being a Room Parent.
Room Parents act as a liaison between classroom teachers and the parents/guardians in the class. Each class typically has two individuals who work with teachers to find volunteers for classroom celebrations, field trips, etc.
If you are not able to volunteer during the school day, but still want to help, contact your teacher for possible “at home” projects.
Library The Library is a great place to volunteer, either when your student’s class visits or at any other time. We can always use help checking books in or out, and re-shelving them, but there are other ways to help out too. Our beautiful new books need to be covered with protective plastic before we can put them into circulation. The younger grades especially love extra help in selecting books or being read to. Please contact Doreen Cameron firstname.lastname@example.org or Chrissie Collins email@example.com
Lunch Room and Recess Monitor Stratton is always in need of lunch and recess volunteers to help monitor the playground and in the lunchroom. If you are free to help during the hours of 10:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m., please contact the school at (781) 316-3753. This can be a daily, weekly, monthly or occasional commitment.
Stratton Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) The PTO runs various community, social, enrichment, and fundraising events each year. The PTO also supplements the resources available to the school and our teachers. Enrichment is fully funded through the PTO. The PTO meets in the evening every month and all are welcome to attend.
Q: If I’m going to be helping in the school do I need to sign anything? A: The school office has the paperwork for the CORI background checks required for volunteering at the school. You must submit the CORI in person to a school staff member and provide a photo ID. Thereafter, each time you come in to volunteer, you will ring the bell at the front door and be buzzed in. On the desk in the office there is a visitor sign in and there are large red stickers for you to wear while you are in the building.
APS Covid 19 regulations state that all parties entering the building will need to show proof of vaccination or have an exemption through APS Human Resources. Please submit your proof of vaccination to Kiela Lyons (school secretary).
In addition, due to recent new legislation regarding conflict of interest in schools, all volunteers must sign a form acknowledging that you have received a summary copy of the law. Forms and summaries of the law are available in the office.
Q: I’d like to budget my support. How often are fundraisers held? A: The PTO holds a few fundraisers including the Annual Drive. Be sure to look for PTO emails for ways to support Stratton School.
Q: Who do I call if my kindergartner is sick? A: You call the "Safe Arrival Line" at 781-316-3767 before 8:30 am. You must call every time your student is going to miss school. This number is on the school website as well. A note explaining their absence should be emailed to the nurse when they return to school. Please email your teacher to let them know as well.
Q: What happens if my student does not feel well or is injured while at school? A: If they get hurt or do not feel well during school, they will be sent to our school nurse, Mrs. Saulnier. In the event of a serious injury or illness, she will notify you with the contact information you’ve provided to her. If Mrs. Saulnier notifies you that your kindergartner must be picked up early from school, families are responsible for doing so in a timely manner.
Q: What supplies will my kindergartner need for school? A: School supplies are purchased and paid for in advance by the PTO. The PTO will contact families directly regarding pricing and payment methods. Additionally, you will be responsible for providing your kindergartner with a backpack, lunchbox, and an extra change of clothing to keep at school.
Q: What happens if my kindergartner loses their sweatshirt, gloves, lunchbox, etc. at school? A: Please clearly label all clothing and lunch boxes. In the event they misplace their belongings, they will be placed in the “Lost and Found” area of the school by the cafeteria.
Q: How can I connect with other families? A: Attending PTO meetings, volunteering at PTO sponsored events, volunteering in the school, attending monthly coffees or becoming a room parent are excellent ways to meet other families. Additionally, the school hosts a number of school functions throughout the year to help families connect with one another.
Q: How do I find out about school delays/closings? A: School closings and delays are reported on the Arlington Public School website at http://www.arlington.k12.ma.us/home/ and are also on all area TV and radio stations. You will also receive a phone call through the automated phone system.
Q: Do all classrooms have teacher assistants? A: All Kindergarten classrooms have a teaching assistant. Assistants in other grades are there for student-specific needs and general education classroom assistance.
Q: Can I go to the classroom on the first day of school? Should I let my kindergartner go into school with the class or just bring them in myself? A: Families are asked to not enter the building. Teachers will be there to help students into the building for the first few weeks of school. Then, kindergarten students will be escorted by our 5th grade safety patrol. This makes for an easier transition for all involved and helps promote student independence. This does not mean that you are never welcome in the school, however. There are many opportunities to volunteer in the classroom and throughout the school.
Q: Should I pack an extra set of clothes for my child? A: Yes. Kindergarten teachers request that each student have an extra set of clothes to have on hand in case of any accidents or spills. Please send clothes to school in a labeled Ziploc bag.
Q: Do Kindergarteners get help in the bathroom? A: No. Kindergarteners are required to be self-sufficient in the bathroom. Please discuss any concerns you have with your teacher and with the school nurse prior to the start of school.
Additional tips for a smooth transition into kindergarten: Have your future kindergartner:
Pack their own backpack including their lunchbox, water bottle, sweaters, rain boots, etc.
Greet new people by shaking hands and making eye contact.
Practice book handling skills. This includes holding a book, turning pages, talking about what is happening in the pictures of a story, etc.
Attend read alouds at the library where they sit quietly with the group and independent of family members.
Hold a pencil, using scissors, opening/twisting/closing glue sticks. If it appears as though your kindergartener is having trouble with any of this, feel free to reach out to their teacher.
Identify and write their first name (not just nicknames!).
Organize and track objects while counting.
Recognize shapes in the world (a rug is a rectangle, a plate is a circle, etc.)
Fall School Events____________________________________________
Q: Is there a Welcome event in the fall? A: There is typically some sort of social in the fall either right before school starts or shortly thereafter. The date of the social will be publicized by the PTO.
Q: What is Curriculum Night? A: In late September/October, Curriculum Night is scheduled for parents, guardians and teachers. During the evening, your kindergartners’ teacher will review the goals and curriculum for the coming school year. Parents/guardians are highly encouraged to attend and ask questions. These sessions are an excellent way for you to get to know the teachers in your grade, and to understand the curriculum vocabulary they use at school (and you can use at home). This is an adult only event and students are not invited to attend. Thank you for your understanding.
Q: School Picture Day A: Individual school pictures and class pictures and are taken in the fall. Information and prices will be sent home during the first few weeks of school. If your student is sick, we always schedule a picture retake day approximately one month after the original day for just such occasions.