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Hawk News from The Principal 8/8

Dear HCES Family,

It's officially week 2 and we're off to an amazing start!!

  • Some parents are asking about the Elementary and Middle line consolidation during pick-up. I understand your concern and am brainstorming a solution. Thank you for your patience.
  • Traffic for drop-off is continuous between 7:00 a.m. and 7:30 a.m.. If you arrive between 7:00 a.m. and 7:30 a.m., please allow your student to exit the car and enter the building. We cannot have anyone parking and waiting in car line.
  • Please share with your friends who are parents of middle school students, that they cannot park in the elementary line. This will cause more traffic problems than getting in the middle school line and waiting. (Thank you.)

The Mental Health Opt-In form came home with your child last week and is also attached below. Some parents have asked why parents did not have the option to opt in/out last year. The option is new due to the state legislature House Bill 123, which requires parents of students under the age of 14 to opt their students into mental health and guidance services. This also includes large group guidance. Guidance is a 30-minute class, conducted by guidance counselors, and presented to the entire class. Anytime the school has concerns regarding specific students and additional services, such as small group, conflict resolution, mentoring, or mental health services, parents are contacted and required to give permission for their students to receive services. This has been the procedure for several years and has not changed.

In accordance with a new Alabama law, parents and guardians must opt-in to receive the typical services offered by a school counselor by completing, signing, and returning the form below to your child's homeroom teacher (a paper copy was sent home last Wednesday as well). This includes every other week whole group "guidance" lessons, small group counseling, crisis intervention, individual support, and mentoring. These are the same services students have always received from the counselor. This course provides students with a foundation for character development, social development, emotional development, and career development. These skills build a foundation that is necessary for students to learn to navigate in a challenging world.

Some parents have asked about services and imminent danger/crisis. If a student is stating they want to or have a plan to physically hurt themselves or others, the school will intervene immediately and then contact the parent to determine how the child will go home. This has been the procedure for several years and has not changed. If you have any questions, please contact your school counselor, Ms. Lettrice Ward,  or administration with specific questions. If your child does not have a form on file, the counselor will not be able to provide any support to them if they are in need. If you decide that you do not want your student to participate in guidance lessons, please write at the top of the form, "I decline services" and sign under this statement. This will help us determine how many parents have actually seen the notice and whether students will/will not receive services. Thank you for your support as we support your students.

  • Please continue to notify us if your student or someone in your household has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • Please remember that this week, students will walk to their classrooms independently. We will still have staff on hand to help them get to class (although I will share that I tried to walk a K student to class and they told me they did need me and knew where they were going!)
  • Pick-up and drop-off are steadily improving. I am not sure what happened Thursday or Friday morning. There was a period of about 4 minutes where elementary traffic was not moving and there was no traffic under the breezeway. If you know what happened, please share it with me so we can prevent this in the future.
  • In the afternoons, pre-k student pick-up is the priority. Please allow those parents to drive to the front of the line to pick up their students. Pre-k dismissal begins around 2:15. K-5 dismissal will run much more efficiently if pre-k parents are able to pick up their students on time.
  • Thank you for honoring teacher requests to wait until after Labor Day to visit for lunch. Some parents expressed concern wondering if their student was doing okay. If your student is having a difficult time transitioning, we will contact you to offer/request assistance as needed. Thank you for your support in this matter.
  • Please use the EZSchool Lunch link to place money in your student's breakfast/lunch account.
  • If you need to apply for the free/reduced lunch program, please apply. 
  • Many of you know that I take student and family privacy very seriously. The school, cannot and will not answer questions pertaining to any student, family or situation. We all have a right to privacy and I/we will not violate that. The school has to be a safe haven for all students. Thank you for understanding.
  • Please continue to discuss with your student, how they will go home each day, especially in grades K-2. It is always helpful to email your teacher with this information along with any changes.

Arrival: During carline drop-off, your students may exit the vehicle (on the passenger side only) where the sidewalk begins. Once traffic has stopped, if your vehicle is adjacent to the sidewalk, please allow students to exit the vehicle. If your student is in kindergarten or first grade, we understand your desire to drop them off closer to the building, in that case, please let your student out as soon as a staff member or safety patrol is close enough to help them. Remember, we must work as a team to make carline efficient.

Dismissal: Bus riders and walkers will exit the building in the back. Vehicular traffic, other than buses, is prohibited in that area. Kindergarten students are allowed to walk as long as, a parent is waiting to meet them at the track or an older sibling walks with them.

  • Please refrain from walking to the school side of the track to pick up your students. The teachers will meet you with your student(s) at the track.
  • AlphaBest has assured me that they are working on increasing personnel. Once they have secured employees, they will begin accepting students who are on the waitlist.

Check-out Procedures
Students cannot be checked-out after 2:00 p.m. Thank you for having your required I.D. ready in order to check students out.

Concerns
If you have a concern, please reach out to the school prior to the central office. Often times concerns can be handled at the school level.

Lunchroom Accounts
Please know that if you have placed a block on your child's EZPay account to NOT purchase snacks, they will be unable to provide ice cream for your child, so make sure you didn't set blocks on your child's account.

If your child has a birthday, you can purchase ice cream for the class to celebrate and it does not have to be on a Friday, however, Ms. LaTonya (our cafeteria manager) does need to know this in advance so she can place her ice cream order. I would contact your child's teacher and/or Ms. LaTonya a few days before the ice cream is needed. I have added her contact below as well as the EZ Pay website that can be found on the HCS website or below.

To find the EZ pay website, visit the HCS website, click on the parent tab and then click on Breakfast and lunch. Scroll down and you will see the EZ pay link.

Personal Electronic Devices

  • Please remember that Personal Electronic Devices (PEDs) must remain in backpacks. We know that you value instructional time and PEDs create distractions from learning. This includes cell phones, smart watches, and any other electronic device not provided by HCS. Medical devices prescribed by a doctor are not PEDs.
  • If you need to contact your student, please email your teacher or call the front office.

School Contacts
If you need to contact Dr. Perkins or any school staff, please do so by email. This way we can schedule a meeting (if required) and you can have our undivided attention. Please do not attempt to hold discussions during carline or other times when student safety is a top priority. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

Volunteers
Thank you again to everyone who has volunteered their time to make HCES a success. If you are interested in volunteering, most of our opportunities are organized through our fantastic PTA. Please be on the lookout for future opportunities to volunteer.

Water Bottles
Please continue to send your child with a water bottle. Our water fountains are not equipped for individual drinking. They are bottle fillers only.

Please check our website, Facebook page, and the PTA Facebook page for updates.

Thank you so much for your support,

Dr. Perkins