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  • Welcome Letter


     William Paca Elementary School

    August 15, 2020

    Dear Parents/Guardians:

    On behalf of the William Paca Elementary School staff, I take great pride in welcoming you and your child/children to the 2021 school year!  It is my sincere desire that during this unprecedented time, everyone had an enjoyable and safe summer break.  Considering the upward-trending COVID-19 infection rates locally, across the state, and nationwide, the Prince George’s County Public Schools District will begin the year in a virtual learning model, beginning August 31, 2020, to January  29, 2021.  Please be assured that during this time, William Paca’s staff will do everything possible to meet each student’s educational and emotional needs.  On a daily basis, the teachers will engage your child/children in rigorous instruction and challenging activities.  As principal, I look forward to observing each student achieve his or her fullest potential. Additionally, the staff and I look forward to making our school a place where excellence is the norm.  

    Your child’s first day to begin his/her journey of excellence is Monday, August 31, 2020.   “Due to the uncertainties related to the spread of this virus, PGCPS will implement full distance learning for all students during the first semester. Plans will continue to be made for the preparation of in-school instruction once it is deemed safe to do so. All schools will operate during their regularly scheduled hours, in an online format. The strategy for moving the school system forward the second semester will be reassessed by December 1, 2020.”  In the meantime, should you need additional information or support, please do not hesitate to call the school at 301.925.1330.

    SCHOOL HOURS  The school hours of operation are: 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

    Orientation/Mock Day of Distance Learning

    August 28, 2020 at 9:00 - 11:00 a.m., William Paca will provide an opportunity for you and your child/children to conduct a walkthrough of their schedule on the morning of Friday, August 28, 2020, and here's some information about the structure of the distance learning program.  Specific orientation information for PreK and Kindergarten will be provided to assist you and your child with transitioning.  Information regarding the walkthrough day will be posted on PGCPS and our school’s websites.  A message will also be sent out via  robocalls. 

     

    Schoolmax Family Portal

    If you have not done so, please log into your Schoolmax (Parent Portal) and ensure your information is correct.  If the data are incorrect in the system, you will not receive the necessary updates or be able to access and track student passwords, grades, attendance and academic progress. To complete your student(s) data confirmation, as well as to make changes to your student’s demographic information throughout the year (ex: parent email address or home phone number must be accurate), we need accurate information.

    Attendance for Students during Distance Learning Instruction

     

    Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) continues to follow the state and local guidance in collection of student and teacher attendance. Teachers are required to record daily attendance in SchoolMax, at the beginning of each day. Teachers are required to record attendance after lunch to ensure students return to engage in learning.  In the event your child does not return for the afternoon lesson, he or she WILL BE recorded as attending school for a ½ day. Additionally, your child will be referred to the School intervention team (SIT) and the Pupil Personnel Worker (PPW).   To review:

    ·       Students are expected to attend class daily and be present for ALL sessions.

    ·       A special attendance code will be used for students who engage in online learning.

    ·       Students who are absent for 3 days will be required to provide an absence note from a doctor.  Otherwise, the absence will be considered an unlawful absence.

    On days when your child is unable to attend scheduled classes due to illness, your work schedule, and/or child care; you are required to communicate the reason for the absence via email to his/her classroom teacher. All work assigned during the student’s absence must be submitted upon returning to school. Live recordings and student assignments will be made available to students via Google Classroom. As parents, you will also be required to report technical issues such as broken equipment or internet outages to your child’s teacher so support can be provided as soon as possible. “ For the Pre-K - third grade students who are unable to check in during live instruction, parents must ensure that the check in is completed before the next instructional day. If parents are unable to check in that day, please contact your child’s teacher via email so assistance can be provided.” (PGCPS Opening Plan).

    We ask that you help your child to remember these safety precautions: Tell your child to:

    • Practice social distancing by remaining 6 feet away from others. 
    • Wash his/her hands often with soap and water (at least 20 seconds).  If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol).
    • Avoid touching his or her nose and month
    • Always cover his/her mouth and nose with a tissue when he/she coughs or sneezes.
    • Always wear a mask to help contain any potentially infectious droplets.

     

     

    Student attendance for Wednesday instruction will occur as follows: 

    A student will be counted as present, using code “Distance Learning” in our SchoolMax system, if he/she does one or more of the following: 

    • Submit an assignment to one of their teachers; 
    • Engage in synchronous instruction or tutoring with an PGCPS teacher; 
    • Meet online with a PGCPS teacher or service provider; or 
    • Complete work in our supplemental online education tools where applicable (i.e.  DreamBox, i-Ready and iRead)

    Students who received an I (Incomplete) grade in any course during the fourth quarter of Spring 2020 should submit the make-up work to the school (principal or designee) where the original grade was earned. A teacher or team of teachers will review the work and initiate the grade change process as applicable. To begin this process, the parent and/or student should contact the teacher of the class or Principal of the school   If a student has transitioned to another school they must contact the teacher/Principal of the school where they were enrolled in the class (PCCPS Opening Plan) 

     

    School Meals

     

    Meals will be pre-packaged and distributed two days per week between 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM at school locations.

     

    • Monday – meals for Monday and Tuesday
    • Wednesday – meals for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday
    • Meals will be distributed between 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM 

    In order to receive meals, students and parents will need to present a student ID, student number or student name and grade  provided by the Prince George’s County Public Schools District. Currently, a transportation plan for students to and from schools to pick up meals is still under review.

     

    Chromebook, Instructional Materials and Textbook Distribution:  

    A Chromebook, school supplies, and textbook pick-up date (s) is forthcoming.  Please be on the lookout for the designated times and dates prior to school opening.  Students who previously received a Chromebook WILL NOT receive another one.  To maximize safety for all, this event will use the “drive-through & pick-up” model like the current food distribution.  This means that no one will be able to exit a vehicle.  

    Recently, we learned that nationally, there has been a high demand for the procurement of electronic devices, which has resulted in delay of receiving them for PGCPS. We have placed an order for our students and are awaiting delivery. If your child is currently utilizing a personal device in the home, we ask that they continue to do so until our order is received. We anticipate that additional devices will be available by September 21, 2020. Once received, you will be notified and a date and time will be scheduled for you to pick up a device. Your understanding is appreciated. AGAIN, NO ONE WILL BE ALLOWED TO EXIT THE  VEHICLE ON THE DAY OF THE DISTRIBUTION.

    Dress Code and Uniform Expectations

    During instruction (August 31 - January 29), students will not be expected to wear a school uniform.   However, they must adhere to the system-wide dress code, which requires them to dress appropriately as outlined in the Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook. When and if school resumes after January 29, 2021, students will be required to return to the uniform policy.  As in past years, William Paca’s business partners will assist any families needing support with securing uniforms. Lastly, I wish to share with you that, all parents are expected to be fully dressed during distance learning.

     Parent Conferences and Meeting

    Due to Covid-19, all parent conferences and meetings will be held virtually.  All questions or concerns should be communicated via email.  You may also call the school and leave a message on the answering service. The message will be delivered to the appropriate staff. Please allow a 24-hour turnaround. Finally, anyone needing to meet with the administration, must schedule an appointment.

     Distance Learning Hours

    Like in brick-and-mortar, all students are required to participate in distance learning the full day, from 7:45 am-1:55 pm, on Monday through Friday.  Students who do not sign on by 7:50 a.m. will be marked tardy. Additionally, during distance learning, schools are required to follow the attendance policy; therefore, students MUST report to class with their computers fully charged. Parents will be needed  to support and monitor this process.

     

    Back to School Night – September 9, 2020, at 6:30 p.m.

    Additional information regarding our Virtual Learning experience will be available at our Back To School Night program.  You will be able to access the information via our website. With great anticipation, we are looking forward to a school year that will be filled with successes beyond our dreams. 

    Please assist us by guiding and supporting your child’s learning by ensuring that he/she:

     1) Log on daily and be prepared for the day’s learning experience

    2) Completes all homework assignments by the specified due date given by teachers

    3) Log on to the interventions at least 20-30 minutes daily to develop a love of reading        and improve literacy skills

    4) Shares school experiences with you so that you are aware of his/her school life

    5) Informs you if he/she needs additional support in any area or subject

    6) Knows that you expect him/her to succeed in school and be college and career ready

    7) Shares information with the administration when there are concerns that impact teaching and learning.

                I consider it a great privilege to be returning to William Paca as principal, and eagerly look forward to seeing you soon. As in brick & mortar, I'm asking you to please consider joining our school Parent/Teacher Organization.  Your child will  benefit greatly from your involvement and contributions to the school’s program and its operations. Please be reminded that the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) membership dues remain $10.00 per family.   

         In closing, it is my sincere desire that all students acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in school.  Consequently, the staff and I are committed to ensuring all students get the best education possible. We ask that you help us by ensuring that your child logs on to his/her classroom by 7:45 a.m. daily.  If you have questions or need technical assistance, please call the school at  (301) 925.1330, on Mondays & Wednesdays, from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Calls received on other days will be answered within 24 hours.

    Sincerely,

    Dorothy Clowers, Principal

    Chief Operating Officer (COO)