South St. Marys Street Elementary School

370 South St. Marys St., St. Marys, PA 15857 Phone: 814.834.3021
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From the Desk of Christine Kuhar…

St. Marys Area School District

Principal, South St. Marys Street Elementary School

(814) 834-3021 -


PARENT NEWSLETTER UPDATES - Tuesday, March 19, 2019


Well, we did it everyone!  We have just about made it to spring!  Spring officially arrives tomorrow! The sunshine and blue skies the last few days was amazing to see.  Old Man Winter might not be done just yet, but we won’t worry about now.  Even with this, signs of spring are all around, so keep looking!  Here’s the latest goings-on for the week!  Thanks for staying up to date!


Attention 5th Grade Families – Important Information regarding spring field trips, including the Pirates Trip…

Information on the trips is coming home today, along with a permission slip.  For the Pittsburgh trip, all families will receive a notice of how much money is due.   Please remember that all money must be paid by Friday, March 29th, as final bills for the trip will need to be paid.


Those students and families that sold hoagies – please be reminded that hoagie delivery and pick up is Tuesday, March 26th from 3:30-5pm.  Any parent who would be able to assist with either delivery or pick up is welcomed to come help.  Delivery, unloading the trucks, and organizing the hoagies for pick up is from 1-3pm.  Help is also needed for pick up and distribution of hoagies from 3-5.  Lots of hands make for light work!  If you can help, please call or text Missy Nicklas at 594-3455!  Thanks!


Dress Code Changes – With the turning of the April calendar, our Dress Code changes and allows the wearing of shorts of proper length to be worn on April 1.  Just a reminder that this means that the bottom of student shorts should be equal to or longer than the student’s finger tips when arms are held to the sides.  Reminders, too, that any tank tops should have shoulder straps of at least three adult fingers’ width.  Many of the girls’ tanks have thinner straps.  This would only be permitted if there is another shirt, sweater, or other layer of clothes to cover and be worn through the day.  Just a word of caution – April weather can still be unpredictable.  The wearing of shorts, although allowed, should still be done with care to what the weather forecast is.  Layering of clothes is suggested, as students can be warmer through the morning hours and then adjusted as the afternoons warm up!  HOWEVER, please know that when layering happens, our lost and found fills up quickly as outer layers are taken off and then forgotten about.  Please be sure to have your children routinely check lost and found.


Also, please be careful of spring shoes!  Shoes should stay connected to the heel of the foot.  Additionally, shoes with high heels or flip flops are not permitted.  Please also be careful of sandals that may be fastened to the foot, but show open toes.  These can expose the skin and toes for potential scrapes, bumps, and injuries if hit into or stepped upon during activities.   As the weather warms, we will take advantage of the opportunity to go outside and sensible shoes will help promote safety when playing.  Thanks for your support with this!


One more thought – Cool Spring colors like greens, blues, pinks, purples, oranges, etc. are great for clothes, not for hair.  Spring time brings new clothes and also brings new spring colors in permanent and temporary hair dyes.  Please remember, though, these hair colors are not for school.  Please note that according to our school handbook, hair should be of natural color.  Save those fun and funky shades for summertime!  Use caution though, if you decide to allow your child to use a permanent dye this summer.  Some colors will take a very long time to fade out or wear away and we would still expect that they return to school with natural hair color. We appreciate your help and understanding with this!


School Safety Information – In light of the tragedies that happen in our world regarding safety, I wanted to share a few initiatives that our school district is taking with regards to keeping our most valuable resources – your children – safe.  This is always a hard topic to discuss, especially with our children.  As you talk about these world events with your children, here’s some thoughts on what we are doing at school to promote school safety. 


Please know that this district is fully committed to providing a good, strong education within a comfortable, caring and safe environment.  Our faculty and staff LOVE your kids and will do all we can to make their school experience a happy one!  Our district has continually reviewed our protocols and make decisions to continue to improve school safety.  Here are some of our common practices, that might better help you understand what we do as you talk with your children.


  • Practicing for Safety – Each year we conduct numerous drills to practice and promote safe responses.  We have monthly fire drills, as well as annual lockdown drills, earthquake drills, and severe weather drills.  We also have bus evacuation drills twice per year.  Students learn about the important procedures in practicing all of these tasks with the number one goal of keeping safe.  As you read about these topics in the newsletters, or as your children tell you about them at home, continue to provide those reassurances that these are tasks we do to keep everyone safe.
  • Secure Perimeters – Following morning arrival, doors are locked and all visitors are required to enter the front doors and report to the main office.  The Raptor system is used to check the identity of any visitor.  To further analyze any other campus vulnerabilities, the School Board of Directors has hired a security consultant to analyze each school building and provide recommendations to improve school security.  The Board analyzes these requests and continues to make decisions that help improve our schools.
  • Armed School Resource Officers – We currently have two full time and three part time School Resource Officers.   We also have a school police vehicle. This helps increase police presence and visibility across all five of our district schools. 


Another Parent Favor, please – in considering school safety – A couple of weeks ago, I shared my thoughts asking for family assistance in monitoring games and activities on electronic devices.  I shared that there are times we hear kids discussing games of battle, war and fighting in which characters are engaged in killing and death.  Sometimes they even play and pretend to shoot each other or make shooting sounds.  When students talk about these things at school, it can be interpreted as threatening language.  Please continue to talk about this and be aware and informed.  Right now, in schools and in our society, there is HIGH emphasis on reacting when students discuss these things.  We are responding, we are notifying parents, and we are talking to kids. 


Additionally, I would like to also ask that families talk with students about the phrases and words can be used when frustrated.  We’ve all done it…understandably…but we need to pay attention to our words and what they might now sound like, given what is happening in our country.  Consider this…


I’m so mad, I could just ______________.  (Fill in the blank…kill ‘em, ring ‘em up, choke ‘em)


We don’t mean it literally…but it is an emphasis of the depth of what we are emotionally feeling at the time…likely anger and frustration.  We need to be very careful what we say and how we say it, as adults, and as we help our children shape how they feel and how they express their feelings.  We do have students who when angry, frustrated, or upset with another may say something like this.  We cannot and will not take statements like this lightly.  We will talk with students, reach out to parents, and do all we can to figure out what is going on and what we can do to help.  Just like we would respond with support if a child said they would want to harm or hurt themselves, we will also respond similarly if a child expresses a thought to harm another.  With all that is going on…we will take no chances.  We need to lean on parents and families to help with this, by talking with your children about how they can best handle their emotions and cope when upset. 


Parents truly are a child’s first and best teacher.  Let’s continue to work together to help support our children!  Thanks so much!


Manner of the Week – Complimenting others – If you happen to notice a friend or classmate doing something kind or doing a good job on something – tell them.  Whether you let them know they did a good job on their school work or a project, or that you noticed they did something nice or kind for another person, a kind word or a high 5 can go a long way!  You noticing something great about someone else might just make their day! 


I think that’s it for now everyone!    As always…thanks for reading!