July 20, 2018

Dear Parents,

Happy summer, FELP families, both returning and new! I hope that summer has allowed for you some peace, happy times and relaxation. For me, summer is a good time to recharge and think about new ideas. I also have been getting ready to send my second child off to college and get as much time with my grown kids as possible! The camp was a wonderful 6 weeks. I was able to see some of the great things they were doing and the happy faces. Thank you to Marcie, Lisa, Stephanie and Jeanne for staying on for 6 weeks while the rest of the staff began their summer vacations. I know they loved it and the kids seemed totally engaged.

This summer, Tacy and I have been working to complete class lists, order supplies, finalize calendar events and take care of this lovely building. Along with new sand, mulch and clean carpets and floors, we are excited to be putting in  3 new water cooler fountains which can be used not only to get a drink, but to fill water bottles, pitchers etc. We also are putting in new sinks in the upstairs children’s bathrooms as well as new dividers.

The teachers are all spending time relaxing and being with friends and family, but they are also taking the time to recharge their teaching ideas. Once again, the teachers are reading books over the summer to continue to grow their knowledge. We have been reading from Anti-Bias Education for Young Children and Ourselves, by Louise Derman-Sparks, as well as The Guide for White Women Who Teach Black Boys by Eddie Moore, Jr., Ali Michael, and Marguerite W. Penick-Parks. We continue on our journey to best understand ourselves, each other and to create an environment that represents the diverse world in which we live.

This summer we also had 6 weeks of our book club for kids. This is a tradition we began last summer in which kids come with parents to read books that represent diversity. Each week, we read a book or two and then followed up with an activity. I am thankful that for the weeks I was away, Lizzy, Amber, and Sharon enthusiastically volunteered to lead a week. I hope to make this an annual tradition.

We are thrilled that most of our staff is remaining at FELP and in their current position. Carolina Alboreaz, our Spanish teacher, has decided to go back to school to serve as a case manager for young children. We will miss her. I am in the process of hiring a new Spanish teacher.  The staff list is attached. It is always helpful to see their pictures and put names to faces and show your child who their teacher is. The list is also on the website, but those pictures are when the teachers were children.

Once again, we are ordering the blue FELP tote bags for the fall.  We are asking that every child have one again this year. Our experience has taught us that these bags are the easiest and safest to handle, and make for easy transitions. Each child, new to the school, will get their bag at orientation. The cost will be $15.  This is not a mandatory fee but strongly encouraged to recoup the cost. While it may be tempting to go out and pick out the first back pack this summer, we ask that you save that experience for elementary school and wait for the new tote bag (or use the one you have from last year)!

Class lists are attached, however there are some pending additions and so those updated lists will be sent out later. In past years, families have used these to reach out and plan a meet up at the park with new classmates and parents. So much of the FELP experience is the connections made with other families.   

Lunch Bunch forms have already been emailed out and are now on the website as well. Most days have filled up, however, reach out to Tacy in the office to ask about days that are open. There is room in Early Drop Off , as well as Aftercare. All of this information is on the website.

Each family should have received a handbook. Please let us know at orientation if you did not receive it. It is helpful to understand illness policies, weather cancellations, chapel times, pick up and drop off procedures, lateness policies and other important information. Families in all classes may also have a copy of the story themes for Pastor Sandy when she comes for monthly story time in the classrooms.  

The school calendar is available.  Check the website for additions to the calendar such as field trips, as some of these dates are pending.  The teacher letters in early August will include specific days and times for your child’s orientation. Some teachers will meet individually with kids over two days and others will meet with you in groups. Announcements will appear on the website. You may also want to follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, the Parents Association is the organization by which the parents (you!) make the wonderful events and fundraisers happen at FELP. Over the past few years, we have had some amazing parents take leadership roles, plan events and share talents and ideas. It is truly a wonderful way to help the school, to be involved and to get to know fellow parents, which creates a richer experience. I am looking for a person, or two people to help me organize our volunteers and events this year and to plan our first meeting. You might be an experienced volunteer or completely new to the school. Regardless of your experiences, if you are willing, I would love to hear from you. Please contact me at jennybarrettfelp@gmail.com. I need your help!

I am also interested in having more parents who may be interested in some other ways to get involved. We need members for our scholarship committee, diversity committee and advisory board. If you want to know more about these, please contact me at jennybarrettfelp@gmail.com.

With your contract, new students should have received health forms. Please be sure they are all completed and returned by August 1st. If you are a returning student, you will need to fill out the All About Me form each year as well as updates on the immunizations and health. Emergency cards will be available at orientations. If you do not have a health form or need to fill out a medication form, allergy form, or asthma or want to complete the emergency card early, go to https://earlychildhood.marylandpublicschools.org/child-care-providers/licensing/licensing-forms  and select forms DHMH 896 and 1215, as well as DHMH4620( in some zip codes) which are required for everyone to attend school. You may mail forms to school or bring them to orientation. Children cannot attend school without the completed medical forms. We will be giving you the new emergency forms at orientation to be filled out by the first day. However, to save time later, the same link applies and it is form 1214. The emergency card is due by the first day of school. If you know your child will need any medication at school, you will need 1216 filled out by a physician. If your child has allergies or asthma, you may also want to complete the allergy action form and/or the asthma action form.

If you have any questions, please call the school number at 410-235-5887. You can leave a message and you will receive a return call.  You can also email us at felpkids@gmail.com. While we do have limited office hours, we will check messages and get back to you. I look forward to seeing familiar faces again in the fall and getting to know new ones.  Forms and payments can be mailed to us. If you want to drop it off and we are not in the office, you can put it in the secure mailbox in front of the church office which is right near the school doors.

Warm Regards,

Jenny Barrett, Director