Return to Headlines

Back to School Information

Below is a letter from Smoketown Principal Ms. Katie Hernandez. The letter can also be accessed by clicking here.

August 15, 2022 
Dear Smoketown Families,                                                                            

I am so excited to join the Smoketown family as your principal!  This letter will have several “get to know your new principal” items along with important information about the start of the 2022-2023 school year.    

I come to the district with 16 years in education. I taught 2nd, 3rd, and 5th grades before spending time as an instructional coach, assistant principal, and principal. I am passionate about providing high quality educational opportunities for all students. For our students to achieve their maximum capabilities, I believe it is crucial that caregivers, teachers, and community members work together using a team approach. You are your child’s first teacher and hold important information to support the education they are receiving here at Smoketown. I also believe that at the core of what we do, positive relationships hold it all together. There will be a variety of opportunities for us to get to know one another, and I look forward to meeting you all very soon!  

Some fun facts about me: 

  • Married with two sons:  Bryson, 2 years old, and Justus, 3 months old
  • Favorite food:  Ice cream 
  • Dream Vacation:  Backpacking through Europe
  • Eagles or Steelers:  Go Giants!

Important upcoming dates to remember: 

  • August 24th: First Day of School 
  • September 2nd-5th: No School, Labor Day Weekend 
  • September 16th: Early Dismissal - 1:15 
  • September 19th: No School, Teacher In-Service Day 

Back to School Nights are in process of being scheduled. Please check the Smoketown calendar for your child’s specific time. 

Throughout the year, we try to keep you updated with regular communication. The district pulls all contact information from Saphhire’s Community Portal. Please check your contact information to ensure we have correct phone numbers, email addresses, emergency contacts, etc. You can update your information when you are logged in; however, if you have any trouble, please contact Kim Beiswenger at kim_beiswenger@conestogavalley.org.  

The following pages have a lot of important information regarding procedures and routines. Please take some time to review before the first day! 

Respectfully,  

Katie Hernandez, Principal 
Smoketown Elementary  

 

Smoketown School Procedures 2022-2023 

Student Handbook - The Conestoga Valley School District Student Handbook  details the policies and procedures across the CV School District. Please read over it carefully to ensure understanding. The handbook represents the district’s policies and applies to grades K-12. Below is a summary of information as it applies to Smoketown Elementary.  

Arrival 

  • It is highly recommended that caregivers attach a nametag to your child’s backpack.  Be sure to include the child’s and teacher’s name for students in grades K-2. This will provide a quick check for staff helping at drop off to ensure students get to the correct classroom the first few weeks of school.
  • Bus Loop/Front Entrance: Every day from 8:40-9:10 and 3:15-3:50, the sidewalk and drive area in front and on the EAST/Playground side of the parking lot is for bus traffic only. Please do not park anywhere along the sidewalk.   
  • Please be patient the first few weeks of school as everyone gets into a routine!

Bus Riders 

  • Allow for a 10-minute window (5 minutes before and 5 minutes after) for your assigned pick up and drop off times for variations due to traffic, routes, etc. 
  • Students are not permitted to change buses or bus stops–even with a parent note. All changes must occur through completing the 2022-23  Child Care Provider/Custody Transportation Request Form.  Please try to limit these changes as much as possible in order to avoid continued interruptions.  
  • Bus Safety - It is important that caregivers work with their children to encourage bus safety. Students should stay in their assigned seats, remain seated, and be safe.
  • Bus referrals will be made when students do not follow the safety guidelines. Students with multiple referrals may be removed from the bus for a period of time. 
  • Please remind your students of bus riding expectations:
  • Stay seated and face forward.
  • Your bus badge must be used to sign on and off the bus each day (these will be handed out the first day of school).
  • Seating charts will be created within the first few weeks of school.  Students must remain in their assigned seats.  

Caregiver Drop-Off 

  • Please remember to drive slowly and safely through the parking lot. This can take time each day, especially the first week or two as everyone settles into a routine.  Our number one priority is student safety!
  • Student drop-off occurs in the upper lot.  Enter the school at the main entrance and turn right to go up the hill to the West (by D.J.’s restaurant). School staff do their best to keep the line moving; however, traffic does back up. If you cannot turn right, please turn left and circle around the parking lot by the playground and line up behind the parked cars/spaces so you can pull forward as the traffic moves. Please do not block the front entrance or pull along the sidewalk in front of the school. This area must be kept open for buses.   
  • Doors open at 8:40
  • Students should be ready to exit cars quickly
  • Caregivers are to remain in their cars – you may not park and walk children up to the door
  • Extra staff are available to ensure students get to their classroom
  • Doors close at 9:00.  If you arrive and the doors are closed, please pull around to the front of the school (non-bus lane) and you will need to walk your child to the main office

Caregiver Pick-Up  

  • Pick-up occurs in the same location as morning drop-off – the upper lot to the West
  • Student dismissal for pick-up begins at 3:25. This time may be adjusted during the school year based on traffic.  
  • Please have your Caregiver Pick-Up Card (provided by the school) with your student(s) names on it in your window to hold up. If you do not have this card, you will be required to park and come to the main office.  
  • Caregivers must remain in the car; do not park/walk up to the door for students.  This is to keep the area safe and traffic moving. Students will be dismissed along the sidewalk only.  
  • Please do not block the front entrance or pull along the sidewalk in front of the school. This area must be kept open for buses. 
  • Please be patient, especially at the beginning of the year. We will do our best to keep traffic moving as quickly as possible and get students out safely.  
  • It is not recommended putting the Pick-Up Card in your window; it may fall down into the panel of your door. If you need a new or additional card, please contact Mrs. Beiswenger at kim_beiswenger@conestogavalley.org.  

**If your child normally rides the bus but you need to pick up at dismissal, a note must be given to your child’s teacher.  Without teacher communication, your child will be sent on the bus*** 

Late Drop-Off or Early Pick-Up: 

  • There may be times that you need to drop your child off late or pick up early due to an appointment. You must come into the main office to sign your child out.  Please have a note or excuse card for all tardies or early leaves. An adult must accompany the child into the building for any late arrival.   

Attendance Reminders 

  • It is important that your child is in school, on time, every day! If your child is ill and is absent, an excuse card or note must be submitted within 3 days of the absence. 
  • Complete an excuse online through Sapphire’s Community Portal
  • Send a note in with your child to give to the teacher
  • Send a note or email to Mrs. March at sandy_march@conestogavalley.org
  • Truancy Laws:
  • Any absence without a note/excuse becomes “unexcused”
  • 3 unexcused absences trigger an attendance notice and requires a Student Attendance Improvement Meeting 
  • More than 10 absences (excused or unexcused) will require doctor’s excuses for every absence thereafter. More than 10 absences could result in a citation and hearing with a District Justice.  
  • In the event of extenuating circumstances, please contact the main office.  Supports are available to families.  

Breakfast/Lunch/Snacks 

The Conestoga Valley School District will be following the National School Lunch Program for the 2022-23 school year. Information regarding CV Food Services can be found here.  

All waivers have been discontinued and families must qualify to receive free or reduced lunch.    

All parents/guardians are encouraged to complete the Meal Benefit Free and Reduced Application on the CV Food Service website. Submissions of these forms drives our Title 1 funding for next school year, so it is very important that you complete the form (prior to September 30th).  Please read the Welcome to School Lunch letter for this year’s updates. 

  • Breakfast/Lunch
  • Menus for breakfast and lunch can be found here.
  • Students are seated by homerooms in assigned seats.
  • An allergy table is available. Please contact your child’s homeroom teacher and school nurse if your child needs to sit at the peanut-free table.
  • Send in healthy lunches and avoid sodas, candy, and other high sugary foods.
  • Make sure your child can open the packaging in packed lunches with minimal assistance.
  • Snacks for classrooms should be cleared and approved by the teacher. Students may bring in clearly labeled water bottles with their name to use throughout the day.
  • Birthday Treats -  We have many students who have various food allergies at Smoketown. It is encouraged to send non-food treats such as pencils, erasers, bookmarks, games, cards, stickers or other small tokens for each child.  If you choose to send in a birthday treat, please ensure treats are store bought and made without nuts.   

Student Health 

  • Health Forms - This year we would like to welcome Mrs. Sue Miller and Mrs. Jenn Schnapf to Smoketown as our health room nurses. All Health forms are available online Please contact Susan_Miller@conestogavalley.org with questions.
  • Student Insurance: CHIP is short for the Children's Health Insurance Program, Pennsylvania's program to provide health insurance to uninsured children and teens who are not eligible for or enrolled in Medical Assistance. There are many reasons students may not have health insurance —whatever the reason, CHIP may be able to help. Families who qualify for CHIP, can apply or renew online or via mail here. 
  • Immunizations - Students must have immunizations up to date. New students coming in have 30 days to complete their immunization series or show a date they have an appointment. ​Please send all forms/health paperwork that students bring to school to the health room. ​
  • Medications - Students/families must deliver all prescription medication to the Health Office for distribution.  Families should schedule an appointment with the school nurse to drop off meds. Students are not to be in possession of medications unless there are special conditions (ex. inhaler, EpiPen, insulin devices). Please contact the Smoketown nurse, Susan_Miller@conestogavalley.org with questions. ​
  • Illness -  Caregivers should check students for symptoms of illness BEFORE sending them to school. If your child is ill, please keep them home.  Any student with a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher (without fever reducing medicine) or the symptoms of possible COVID-19 infection should not be in school. Students should be symptom free for 24 hours after having diarrhea or vomiting before returning to school. If you are worried about increased absences, please contact the school, and we will work with the family.  We would rather have children home if they are potentially ill than expose other students and staff unnecessarily.

Technology 

Every student will be issued a student iPad. Anyone who has not already been assigned an iPad from last year will receive a device within the first week of school.   Students should only use their school issued device for school assignments and tasks and should treat devices and chargers with care.  Prior to devices going home, families will be expected to sign an agreement acknowledging this and other student expectations.   

TEMPERATURES ARE UP!!!     

As we know, the temperatures during the start of the school year are often quite warm - even hot!  With this in mind, we are asking parents to please monitor “summer clothing.”  As you do this, remember our school has air conditioning, so the children are inside in a comfortable temperature setting except for recess and physical education classes.   

We follow the dress code as defined in the Student Handbook.  The following guidelines may be helpful:             

  1. Shorts are permitted if fingertips touch the bottom of the shorts when the child is standing.
  2. Halter tops or halter dresses are not permitted.
  3. Midriffs must be covered.
  4. Shirts with sleeves are preferred; however, appropriate tank tops are permitted.  Tops with thin straps that reveal underwear are not acceptable.
  5. Sneakers, shoes or sandals with a back strap are recommended.  For safety reasons, flip flops are NOT permitted.
  6. As always, no hats, sunglasses, bandanas, etc. are permitted to be worn in the building.

If students come to school with inappropriate dress, caregivers will be contacted so that the correct clothing can be brought to school. In advance, thank you for your cooperation in helping us get started on learning during the beginning of the school year.