Dear Boght Families,
I am writing to welcome everyone and share information for the upcoming 2019-20 school year. As we shift into the 2019-20 school year, I want to extend my sincere gratitude to everyone who helped last year be a success. I appreciate your warm welcome and all of the support – I have now been a Boghtie for a full year! The initiative shown by our teachers and staff, and the involvement of our families is amazing. I want to acknowledge all of the diligent work our PTA continues to undertake, and our many parent and teacher volunteers. You all help make Boght Hills a wonderful place for everyone in our community, and our school culture would not be possible without your dedication and attention to detail.
I hope everyone has had a productive and enjoyable summer. We are busy getting the school ready for the students to return in September. We are very excited for the upcoming school year! This year you will notice some new faces at Boght Hills. Ms. Kelley Urbano joins us as a fourth grade teacher. Ms. Urbano has a wealth of experience and is currently pursuing her National Board Certification. Mr. Peter White joins us as a teacher in third grade. Mr. White has worked in a variety of settings across the country from AZ to MA. Ms. Fiona McAuley joins us as a second grade teacher. Ms. McAuley has worked in elementary settings throughout the Capital Region. She will join a second grade team that is expanding to four sections. Boght Hills will now have four sections in Kindergarten, First, and Second Grade.
We also have two new reading teachers joining our Boght Hills team. Ms. Deb Ungerer comes to us via Latham Ridge. Mr. Michael Ouimet arrives at Boght via Blue Creek. Ms. Ungerer and Mr. Ouimet have demonstrated great skill and expertise in their prior settings. We are thrilled they are joining our reading team and will be working with all of our students and teachers here at Boght. We also have a few teachers in new grade levels for the upcoming year: Ms. Conroy has moved from 4th to 2nd grade; Ms. Pugh from 3rd to 4th grade; and Ms. Goldberg from 4th to 6th grade.
Our physical school continues to change and grow. Last year saw the addition of a multi-purpose physical education room and four additional classrooms. The final touches are underway on the new spaces as I write. This summer our library and entryway also underwent renovations. I want to thank Ms. Wallace, our librarian, and Ms. Fisher, our library assistant, for all of their support and flexibility during the library project. It was a huge undertaking and would not have been possible without their contributions. The library will be finished by the start of school, and open for classes starting the week on September 16. If you had the opportunity to drive by the school during July, you saw the first stage of major renovations to our entryway. This year, contractors erected the eventual foundation for an expanded cafeteria and front office. The work will resume in the Summer of 2020; this year we will access the front door with a temporary asphalt sidewalk. In 2020-21, Boght Hills will be equipped with a new secure vestibule. We will continue to include any pertinent construction updates in our monthly Colt News or via School Messenger.
Please take a moment to review the information below:
- Our district communications team has sent multiple messages regarding Campus Parent. The Parent Portal has been revamped with a new look. There are three major changes:
- The name has changed from Parent Portal to Campus Parent (for the SJHS and HS students, it is now Campus Student).
- For those who used the Parent Portal app, it is replaced with the Campus Parent app. It is available for iOS and Android.
- The Campus Backpack is no longer on the main page. The MORE button takes the parents/guardians/students to a new screen that houses the Campus Backpack.
- All new parents/guardians received their Campus Parent/Portal letters including their activation keys in the mail.
- If you have misplaced your letter, or need to sign up for the Campus Parent portal, please reach out to Ms. Ahl in the Boght Hills main office. To sign up with Ms. Ahl you will need to come in person to the school and bring a photo ID. Please be sure to call ahead to make sure Ms. Ahl will be present.
- In order to be more efficient and environmentally friendly, NCCS will not be mailing letters home to inform you of your student’s elementary classroom placement this year.
- On Thursday, AUGUST 15, a virtual letter with your student’s classroom placement will be posted in Campus Backpack. To access your student’s information, go to the Campus Portal and select Campus Parent. Once you have logged in, select ‘More’ in the left column and then click on the ‘Campus Backpack’. Under your student’s name you will find the 2019-20 Classroom Placement Letter.
Preparing for School
- As we get closer to the start of school, it is important to help children return to a school schedule. Consider implementing a routine similar to the school year a week or two before the first day of school. Suggestions include: implementing a bedtime and wake-up time similar to the school year; spending structured time each day on independent skill practice (e.g. math skills); and engaging with books daily for at least 30 minutes.
- Working memory and flexible thinking are skills that help each of us (children and adults) succeed with our daily tasks. Check out the resource from Harvard University on enhancing executive functioning – there are some fun and easy suggestions on how to support your growing student.
- Our school will be open on Friday, Sept. 6, from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. to drop off any supplies.
- Our first day of school is Monday, Sept. 9 for ALL students in grades K-6.
- School begins daily at 8:05 a.m. Please do not drop off students prior to 8:05 as there is no supervision for students prior to 8:05, and they must wait outdoors.
- Students arriving after 8:25 a.m. will be marked tardy. Valuable preparation and instructional time is missed when students arrive late, making the students feel behind before their day begins. Attendance is an adult responsibility; try to be sure that your student arrives by 8:20 a.m. so they have ample time to complete their morning routine.
- The Colonie Youth Center (CYC) offers a before school program. You may call them at 518-438-9596 to inquire about space and cost for childcare.
- We encourage children to ride the bus to help them acclimate quickly and safely to a morning routine (this also helps alleviate vehicle congestion).
- Open House dates and times are listed below. A more detailed schedule will come home the first week of school. Please note we will continue splitting grade levels over two evenings to help reduce congestion:
Monday, Sept. 16
- K: 5-5:55 p.m.
- Grade 1: 6-6:25 p.m.
- Grade 3: 7-7:25 p.m.
- Grade 5: 7-8 p.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 18
- Grade 2: 5:30-5:55 p.m.
- Grade 4: 6:30-7:30 p.m.
- Grade 6: 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Open House events are for adults only. Please make plans for childcare. During Open House you will hear from your student’s teacher about what will be expected of them and how you can help at home. There will not be time for individual conferences about your child, but teachers are happy to schedule another time to meet with you.
- This year for grades 4 through 6, orchestra and band meet on Thursdays. Lessons may also occur on other days of the week or cycle. Your child will receive a specific calendar to further help you plan for the transportation of instruments.
- We continue this year with our numbered six-day cycle. The day numbers (1-6) for the entire year have been planned. Days when students are not in attendance have been built in so that the subsequent day picks up with the rotation. For example, October 8 is Day 4B. There is no school on October 9 (Yom Kippur) therefore, October 10 is Day 5B. In the event school is closed for an unplanned reason (e.g. snow day), the day number is skipped. For example, IF May 4, Day 5A becomes a snow day, May 5 would stay as a planned Day 6A and we would miss Day 5 that cycle. The next day’s number and cycle will be announced each afternoon (we also suggest students write it in their planners) to preset the staff and students so that they can be prepared with sneakers, library books, musical instruments, etc. This has worked well in the past. The students catch on quickly and help the adults stay on track.
- ALL of our classrooms are nut-free.
- Students will need a low maintenance, nut-free snack each day for the classroom. Fruits and vegetables are great choices as they do not require a spoon and are virtually allergy-free. Water is the only drink allowed in the classroom.
- Students are welcome to bring juice and treats containing nuts to eat at lunchtime in the cafeteria where we can provide a safe environment for all students.
- Families should refrain from sending sugary snacks to school.
- Birthdays should be coordinated with teacher.
o We will continue our BIG3 and 1-1-1 policy. (More information and sign-ups will be available at Open House.)
Arrival & Dismissal
- Our goal is to keep our students safe. You can help by committing to the following expectations in our parking lot:
- Follow all directions on the prominently displayed signage at all times (including during and after school).
- Refrain from using the large circle closest to building as a drop-off, pick-up, or parking location. The large circle is solely for buses and emergency traffic.
- Do not park in designated travelling staff parking. This will result in your vehicle being blocked by school buses and an extended wait.
- Morning drop-off (even though we encourage students to ride the bus) should be done in the small circle, on the other side of the flagpole. Students should be ready for a prompt departure from your vehicle. There is ample room for two to three cars to pull up and unload simultaneously.
- If your student needs additional transition time (e.g. large projects, instruments, if you are required to exit vehicle, etc.), please park and walk them to the entrance.
- A bus assignment sheet with pick-up times will be sent from the Transportation Department at the end of August. Please carefully review this information with your student. Students should be at their designated spot at least five minutes prior to the approximate pick-up time. If you have any questions or concerns, please call the Transportation Department directly at (518) 785-9486.
- Students in kindergarten and 1st grade are called first for buses each afternoon. During the first days of school we will attach a color-coded bus tag to backpacks of K/1 students to help us double check everyone is headed to the correct bus.
- We will also continue to talk to all students about being sure to Speak-Up & Stay-Put if they mistakenly get on the wrong bus; if a student gets on the wrong bus or does not see the adult scheduled to meet them at the bus drop-off, they should tell the driver (speak-up) and not disembark the bus (stay-put). Our message to students is that it is better to be safe and return to school then to get off at the wrong stop. We are lucky to have alert and caring drivers, but also want students to know they can use their voices.
- Dismissal is busy, so please be sure your student knows their plan. If they are going home with a friend or being picked up, please call and send a note to alert teacher and office. If no notice is received from home, students will be directed to follow their normal routine.
- The Colt News is published monthly and contains important updates, reminders, and a monthly calendar. The Colt News, will be sent via School Messenger and posted online here.
- This year we will continue to use to School Messenger. Please look out for important messages.
We are all looking forward to seeing everyone soon! I hope to meet our newest families during the Newcomers’ picnic on August 29 or our Newcomers’ Orientation on September 3. I will see everyone else when school begins!
Mr. Marcus Puccioni
Principal, Boght Hills Elementary School
Phone: (518) 785-0222