Collegium Newsletter june 11, 2018

Welcome to the weekly digital Newsletter for Collegium Charter School. Just like popular social media feeds and timelines, access our Newsletter content by scrolling down to the end.

Mark Your Calendar

Monday, Jun. 11th - Day 1

  • 468/486 Building: First Grade Field Trip to Linvilla Orchards
  • 500 Building: 5th Grade Picnic @ 500 Field
  • 500 Building: 6th Grade Field Trip to Paradise Farm Camps (Brady, D'Annunzio, Nemic, Martin, and Grabowski)
  • Grades 7-12 Only: 11:30am Early Dismissal for Students (Final Exams - AM)

Tuesday, Jun. 12th - Day 2

  • 500 Building: 5th Grade Team 1 Field Trip to the Reading Public Museum
  • 500 Building: 6th Grade Field Trip to Paradise Farm Camps (Rege, Jackson, Harakal, and Maccario)
  • Grades 7-12 Only: 11:30am Early Dismissal for Students (Final Exams - AM)
  • 500 Building: National Elementary Honor Society Student Meeting 4:00pm - 5:30pm @ Room 118

Wednesday, Jun. 13th - Day 3

  • 500 Building: 5th Grade Team 2 Field Trip to the Reading Public Museum
  • Grades 7-12 Only: 11:30am Early Dismissal for Students (Final Exams - AM)
  • Grades 7-12: End of 4th Marking Period/2nd Semester
  • Grades K-6: End of 3rd Trimester
  • Grades K-6: ROAR T-Shirt Day with Uniform Bottoms
  • 500 Building: 6th Grade Picnic 9:30am - 2:30pm @ Miller Park

Thursday, Jun. 14th - Day 4

  • Early Dismissal for Students (Grades 7-12: 11:30am/Grades K-6: 12:15pm)
  • 500 Building: 6th Grade Team A Moving Up Ceremony 9:00am - 10:00am @ 515 Auditorium (Mrs. Brady, Ms. D’Annunzio, Mr. Nemic, Ms. Grabowski, and Ms. Martin)
  • 535 Building: High School Academic Awards Ceremony 9:45am - 11:30am @ 535 Gym
  • Seniors' Last Day
  • High School Graduation Ceremony (Ticketed Event) 6:00pm @ 535 Gym

Friday, Jun. 15th - Day 5

  • 535 Building: Crayola Color Cycle Ends (Used Marker Recycling Sponsored by Spanish Honor Society and UNICEF)
  • 535 Building: Field Day @ Gym, Fields, Cafeteria, Classrooms
  • Last Day of School - Early Dismissal for Students (Grades 7-11: 11:30am/Grades K-6: 12:15pm)
  • Elementary 3rd Trimester Report Cards Distributed
  • Grades K-11: Cougar Pride Day - Wear Your Cougar Gear with Uniform Bottoms or Jeans
  • 500 Building: 6th Grade Team B Moving Up Ceremony 9:00am - 10:00am @ 515 Auditorium (Mrs. Rege, Ms. Jackson, Ms. Maccario, and Mrs. Harakal)

Collegium Campus Highlights Video

Our new fun video highlights many of the exciting and varied happenings during the 2017-2018 school year at Collegium. There are student achievements and awards galore, fun building events, staff acknowledgements, community causes and fundraisers, and so much more. As you watch the video below, we hope you sense the energy, drive, excitement, fun, potential, and pursuit of excellence that is Collegium, its students, staff, and programs.

4th-6th Grade Choir Students Participate in American Young Voices 2018

On June 6th, nearly 75 adventurous 4th, 5th, and 6th Grade Choir members joined over 1,500 Philadelphia-area students in a special American Young Voices concert at Philadelphia’s Liacouras Center. The students worked hard for months to prepare for the concert with their Choir Directors, Ms. Urbas (5th and 6th Grade Choirs) and Mrs. Mulllen (4th Grade Choir), and Elementary Music teacher Mrs. Kistler.

“It was a really good experience. We sang great songs that touched people's hearts in many ways.”—Noah K. and Bella M. (5th Grade Choir)

Everyone involved had only good things to say about the entire effort. “Our participating students were so excited to perform with such a large group of area students in a huge venue," shared Ms. Urbas. "They were accompanied by a live band during the concert, and the lighting and sound were both professionally done.” The students performed with Molly Kate Kestner, an American Singer-Songwriter who wrote two songs on Kelly Clarkson's new album, and Lightship Beatbox, a group of beatbox champions.

“I liked seeing other talented people who really inspired me.”—Sienna M. (6th Grade Choir)

Mrs. Mullen was also very excited about the program and concert. “Music is a powerful force in the world, and can have a profound effect on children,” she shared. “We watched the students grow, learn, and transform before our eyes as they prepared for and performed in the concert. They were awed by many new aspects of music and performance, and made a lot of new friends along the way.”

“Not only was it the best experience in Philadelphia, it was the best experience I ever had!”—Malin N. (4th Grade Choir)

Most important, of course, is how the students felt about their experience. Their quotes are a representative sample of the reactions students shared with Ms. Urbas, Mrs. Mullen, and Mrs. Kistler after the event. This was many students' first exposure to the greater world of music performance, and they were thrilled to have it in front of an audience filled with their families, friends, and teachers.

“I liked the ending when Molly and the beatboxers came on together and performed with us.”—Hailey C. and Hailey R. (4th Grade Choir)

The American Young Voices (AYV) program coordinates with The National Association for Music Education (NAfME) to offer this experience to area schools. Ms. Urbas, Mrs. Mullen, and Mrs. Kistler used the program’s materials to supplement music instruction at Collegium. The program’s pieces were specifically selected to be fun for the performers and audiences, and accessible to students of different ages, backgrounds, and abilities.

CCS Students Visit Colebrookdale Railroad With Big Brothers Big Sisters

For several years, Collegium and Bentley Systems, Inc. employees have partnered in the company’s “Beyond School Walls” Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) program. Participating students, a/k/a “Littles,” usually visit their “Corporate Bigs” at Bentley Systems, where they learn about working in the corporate environment.

On Tuesday, June 5th, the Bigs and Littles had a very different experience when they visited Colebrookdale Railroad in Boyertown. This railroad was completed during the Civil War, and is full of history about railroad operations and our country at that time. Tour guides dressed in period conductor uniforms shared information about the railroad and interesting landmarks during the train’s journey between Boyertown and Pottstown.

“That was awesome! Please make sure this happens again next year!”

High School counselors Ms. Tracey and Mrs. Wolfe, along with Middle School counselor Mr. Danenhower, also attended the trip. Mr. Danenhower said the best part of the field trip was that BBBS Littles were able to spend extra time with their mentors and really connect with them. He overheard one Bentley Big saying, “That was awesome! Please make sure this happens again next year!” Another Big shared: “This was a really unique trip. Everyone really enjoyed it. This was a great way to do something different and spend some time together.”

Some of the students were not sure what to expect on the trip, but got excited when they saw the train. Eighth Grade Xavier L. said, “The cars were really decorated cool, and it was a really scenic ride. The guy narrating had interesting things to say about the history of the area. I had a great time!”

The participating High School students thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the BBBS program this year, and especially this unique field trip opportunity. Next year, Collegium’s Middle School and High School BBBS will combine for all visits. Please contact your child’s school counselor with questions or for more information about the BBBS program at Collegium.

500 Building Field Day 2018 Recap

The 500 Building’s Field Day is one of its students’ favorite Collegium events. Each year, the Building’s Physical Education teachers work hard to combine cooperative, competitive, and leisure activities that make the event enjoyable for students of all skill levels.

“Our 500 Field Day is ALL ABOUT FUN,” said PE teacher Ms. Winters. “This is a day to relax with your friends while being active and trying some new activities.” This year’s favorites included dodgeball, tug of war, two oversized moon bounce obstacle courses, and Alaskan Pipeline—a STEAM activity where students planned, coordinated, and implemented pipelines with the goal of being the first to transfer water from one area to another. Some teachers joined in the activities, which added to the fun for students.

As you will see in the video above, the weather held on Friday, June 1st, and everyone had a great time. According to 5th Grader Sean I.,“It’s cool that we get to have a whole day of fun. It’s also neat that the PE Department put all of this together for us.” Another student, Mackenzie A., said, “It’s a time to...just have fun with friends. It’s even better when you play with or against your teachers.”

“It shows how hard we worked all year, because Field Day is a privilege and a reward.”

Although Field Day is an annual event, students understand that the day is not just given to them. “It is a privilege for the students,” said Penelope L. “It shows how hard we worked all year, because Field Day is a privilege and a reward,” shared Delaney S. Juan Pablo C-B. seconded that emotion: “After all of our hard work this year, we got a chance to hang out with our friends and have fun.”

Ms. Winters said that “This was by far one of our favorite field days at Collegium. Planning is already in the works for 2019!”

Newspaper Chair STEAM Challenge For 5th And 6th Grade Students

Do you think you could build a chair out of newspaper that would support a teacher? Well, that was the challenge presented in April to 500 Building students. Groups of 5th and 6th Graders were charged with planning, designing, building, and "selling" the chair as part of an entrepreneurial business. Teachers guided them with information on company roles, advertising, and engineering design.

500 Building Principal Mr. Murphy was seen standing in amazement on June 7th, when the event wrapped up and the chairs were corralled into one location. One chair, in particular, caught his eye because of its coordination of color and presentation. Everyone was excited about the results including students, who complimented one another on their skill and designs.

It was amazing to see how the students worked together on a task where they could tap into their individual strengths within the scope of the overall project. The many different components of the activity allowed students to use and develop their creativity, problem solving skills, engineering skills, artistic abilities, entrepreneurship, and ability to work together as a team.

We could not have been happier with the way this STEAM Challenge turned out. Believe it or not, there were even some chairs that could hold Mr. Murphy!

Sixth Grade Moving Up Ceremony

You are cordially invited to attend our 6th Grade Moving Up Ceremony in the 515 Auditorium, from 9:00am until 10:00am on the following mornings:

Thursday, June 14th

Team A: Mrs. Brady, Ms. D’Annunzio, Mr. Nemic, Ms. Grabowski, and Ms. Martin

Friday, June 15th

Team B: Mrs. Rege, Ms. Jackson, Ms. Maccario, and Mrs. Harakal

Due to limited space, this invitation is for parents/guardians only.

Please do not arrive before 8:50am. Parking is available in the 515 parking lot. Parents/guardians are permitted to take their student(s) home after the ceremony, as long as they have sent a note to school with the student in the morning, and have signed students out in the 500 Main Office after the ceremony.

To make room for dismissal traffic and buses, all parent/guardian vehicles must clear the 515 Building’s parking lot by 10:15am.

We look forward to celebrating with you and your children!

Our Successful PB&J Drive

Thank you to all of the families who supported the 535 Building’s PB&J Drive. With your help, the High School was able to provide many boxes filled with peanut butter and jelly to the Chester County Food Bank. The contributions helped stock the Food Bank’s shelves with ingredients for this delicious and popular food, which is a good source of protein and easy for even school-aged children to make.

"I was so happy to be a part of it.”
Seniors Erika Calle (left) and Daijah Patton (right) packing and delivering Collegium’s PB&J Drive donations.

This year, seniors Daijah P., Tatie W., and Erika C. jumped in to help Ms. Whisler, High School Guidance Office Administrative Assistant, organize the Drive. Daijah, Tatie, and Erika worked hard to design flyers, create announcements, and email students and teachers about the Drive.

“When Erika and I went to pick up the collections around Collegium’s campus, I realized how valuable our work on the Drive was,” said Daijah. “It was an elating experience to fill up the back of Erika’s car with all those peanut butter and jelly jars that could feed people who really need them. I was so happy to be a part of it.”

The High School Counseling Office wants to make the PB&J Drive an annual event, and looks forward to collecting even more donations next year!

2018-2019 Physical and Dental Exams

Yes, Collegium’s Nurse Offices are going paperless for the 2018-2019 school year!

However, since our new paperless system launches this summer, we are sending home paper forms now with certain students who will need 2018-2019 school year physical or dental exams:

  • Grades 6 and 11: 2018-2019 Physical Exam
  • Grades 3 and 7: 2018-2019 Dental Exam

If you have children who will be in Grades 3, 6, 7, or 11 next year, please check with them for these reminder forms. The forms are also included below.

Questions? Feel free to contact the School Nurse in your child’s building.

Apply Online for 2018-2019 Free and Reduced Priced School Meals

Eating a healthy breakfast and lunch is extremely important to students’ academic success! Collegium offers delicious, healthy meals to students every school day. These meals are also available free or at a reduced cost ($0.30 for breakfast and $0.40 for lunch) for students from qualifying households.

To find out if your household qualifies for free or reduced price school meals for your children, complete the online application via the link below. Under Select Your School District, choose Chester for the County and Collegium Charter School. Then hit Apply to get started!

Applying online makes the process easier from start to finish. You can even check the status of your application on your smartphone using the SchoolCafe app. CCS will mail Approval/Denial Letters to all households who apply after applications have been reviewed.

Please note that:

  • A new application must be completed each school year to determine eligibility for free or reduced price lunches.
  • Each household only needs to complete one application, even if multiple students go to Collegium.

To find out more about free and reduced price school meals at Collegium, read the attached letter to parents/guardians, visit the Food Service page of our website, or email our Food Service Department.

Questions? Email our Food Service Director, Mr. Mike Ely.

Final Arrival And Dismissal Reminders

1. Follow Early Dismissal Schedules

Please do not arrive on campus until the designated times:

  • Students in Grades 7-12 will be dismissed at 11:30am. The Early Dismissal Line for Grades 7-12 can form at 11:00am.
  • Students in Grades K-6 will be dismissed at 12:15pm. The Early Dismissal Line for Grades K-6 can form at 11:45am.

If you arrive early, do not park in CCS parking lots or the parking lots of our corporate center neighbors (like Neutronics or Sartomer). Instead, please consider visiting the adjoining Festival Shopping Center until the appropriate Early Dismissal Line opens.

2. Share Route Information

Maps and videos of our arrival and dismissal routes are on the Transportation page of our website. Please share this information, and review your route(s) ahead of time with anyone who will be driving on our campus for the first time.

3. Show Vehicle Placard(s)

During arrival and dismissal, always have your building-specific vehicle placard(s) displayed when on campus. Forgot your placard(s)? Be prepared to present photo ID to CCS staff.

4. Remain In Vehicles

To ensure the safety of our students, parents must stay in their vehicles during arrival and dismissal. Do not enter the school buildings during arrival and dismissal.

5. Pay Attention

While driving on our campus, do not use your cell phones or other devices. Instead, please remain alert, courteous, and follow the instructions of Collegium personnel.

Collegium Employee Spotlight: Allison Thomas

This Newsletter section highlights one Collegium employee each week, and allows families and students to get to know them even better. Now, when you see featured employees on campus, you will be better able to greet them by name and strike up conversations!

Education Explained

Each week, CCS Administrators highlight common terms and philosophies in education, and explain how they impact teaching and learning at Collegium. This week's contribution comes from Mr. Murphy, 500 Building Principal.

Summer Reading

If you read last week’s Education Explained column, you saw that we covered different strategies to help your children continue the learning process over the summer months. We briefly touched on reading in that article, but are highlighting Summer Reading in this segment.

Spoiler alert: Your children’s reading progression will increase when they read, read, and then read some more! It’s relatively easy to set aside time each day for some form of reading, and doing so can yield outstanding results in terms of summer learning progression. Graphic novels, comic books, chapter books, newspapers, and even magazines are great options to help students stay interested in what they are reading. Sustained summer reading will allow your children to transfer skills learned during the school year to their regular reading habits. Younger readers will also benefit from having a story read aloud by a more experienced reader. This will help develop their fluency and ability to read with expression. It will also help them learn that reading is a fun, relaxing activity.

Summer reading benefits do not stop there! Sustained reading during the long vacation also helps:

  1. Keep the school year’s “learning momentum” alive
  2. Prepare students for college-level work and other real-world experiences where reading every day is essential
  3. Give students the chance to identify genres and authors that interest them most
  4. Provide families with the opportunity to read and discuss reading together, and
  5. Contribute to a smoother transition back to school in August.

Using your local library system is a great place to start your summer reading. Try scheduling weekly visits to your library so your children get a sense of how important reading is within their community. Collegium's wonderful librarians have developed also recommended summer readings lists, which are referenced below, along with some other terrific Summer Reading resources you and your children can explore.

Here’s hoping your summer is a real page-turner!

CCS Curriculum Department Volunteer Sessions

This summer, the CCS Curriculum Department will be hard at work ensuring that all books and other essential curriculum materials are distributed to teachers so they, in turn, are ready to teach your children on the first day of school.

We need and appreciate help from the Collegium Community to accomplish this enormous task. Several Curriculum volunteer sessions are scheduled in July and August from 6:00pm to 8:00pm, as follows:

  • Monday, July 23rd;
  • Thursday, July 26th;
  • Tuesday, August 7th; and
  • Thursday, August 9th.

High School Students: Curriculum volunteering is a great way to achieve your required volunteer hours for graduation. (Hint, hint!)

Please complete the Google Form below if you are interested and able to volunteer to help with Curriculum projects this summer. Questions? Email Mrs. Kim Christman.

End of School Year Information

1. High School Graduation Ceremony

Our 2018 High School Graduation Ceremony is Thursday, June 14th at 6:00pm in the 535 William D. Winters Gymnasium. Tickets are required for admittance.

A few proud members of the Collegium Charter School Class of 2018.

2. Obligations

To receive your child’s report card, all obligations must be met or paid in full.

3. Report Cards

Elementary School report cards will be provided to students on the final day of school. Middle and High School families will receive their children's report cards in the mail during the week of Monday, June 25th.

4. Home Address Updates

If you move during the summer, email Mrs. Novak so bussing adjustments can be made for your children!

5. Summer Information Packet

Packets will be mailed to families in late July. Included in the packet will be important papers for your completion for the start of the 2018-2019 school year. Your child's teacher(s) and room assignment(s) will also be included in the mailing.

6. Food Service Account Balances

Food Service account balances will carry over from 2017-2018 to the 2018-2019 school year. Families do not need to do anything for this to occur. If you would like a refund from your child's account, please email our Director of Food Service, Mr. Ely. Include your child's first and last names, grade level, and Food Service PIN in your email request. Also include the name and address to whom the refund check should be sent. Refund requests will take two to three weeks to process. Questions? Email Mr. Ely.

7. Summer Meals Program

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 requires all School Food Authorities (SFAs) to inform families about the availability and location of free student Summer Food Service Program meals during the summer months. This is required even if the SFA is not participating in the Summer Meals Program. Collegium is an SFA, but we are not providing summer meals on-site. Families can use any of the following methods to locate sites that serve free meals to children during the summer:

  • Call 1-866-3Hungry
  • Call 1-877-8Hambre
  • Text FOOD to 877877
  • Text COMIDA to 877877

8. Summer Hours

Beginning Monday, June 18th, the 435 Building will be open from 8:00am until 4:00pm, Monday-Thursday. All other buildings and offices will be closed during the summer. Collegium will be closed Wednesday, July 4th; Thursday, July 5th; and Friday, July 6th. Collegium will reopen on Monday, July 9th.

9. 2018-2019 Student Enrollment

A few proud members of the Collegium Charter School Class of 2030.

If your 2018-2019 school year plans change and your child will not be attending CCS, please let Mrs. Novak know as soon as possible. Please do not rely upon your new school to advise CCS, as they often do not reach out for records until after the school year has begun. As you can imagine, late notice of student withdrawals can be very disruptive to Collegium's planning and budget, and to prospective families.

CCS Nurse Offices Going Paperless

This summer, parents/guardians will be introduced to Collegium's new medical records database, Magnus Health SMR (Student Medical Record). Yes, the Nurse Offices are going paperless. Gone are the yellow paper emergency information cards! As you can tell from the picture below, our School Nurses are really excited.

Magnus Health SMR will make it much easier for families to submit important information to Collegium about students. When those records are also needed by appropriate Collegium employees, they will be quickly and easily accessible.

With Magnus Health SMR, parents/guardians will enter contact, health, and other information online for Collegium. In addition, the new system will make it easier for parents/guardians to submit dental and physical exam forms, update immunization records, view information on their students, and perform other tasks.

Watch for an email later this school year about Magnus Health SMR. Families will also receive a mailing in late June with more information and account access instructions.

Collegium 5th Grade Picnic Planned

On Monday, June 11th, students and teachers from Collegium’s 5th Grade Team will celebrate the end of the school year with a 5th Grade Picnic on our 500 Building Field. Pizza, juice boxes, and dessert will be provided. Students can bring a bagged lunch from home, if they prefer. We will eat lunch together, and then the students will participate in various games and activities.

It is suggested that students apply sunscreen before coming to school. They may bring a hat or sunglasses to school, as needed, and can also bring a beach towel or small blanket to sit on for the picnic. Note: Students are responsible for maintaining all personal items brought to school.

Our 5th Grade students have worked very hard all year. We are looking forward to having a fun afternoon as a team on June 11th! Thank you for your continued support and involvement in your child’s education.

2018-2019 Child Care and Bus Transportation Information

Will your child need transportation next school year to and/or from a day care center or babysitter within the Downingtown, West Chester, or Coatesville school districts? If so, new forms must be completed each year. Alternate bus arrangements—like those for day care centers and babysitters—do not carry over for new school years.

The Child Care Forms for the Downingtown, West Chester, and Coatesville Area School Districts are available now (see the links below).

By June 15th, please complete your form and forward it to Mrs. Novak, 435 Building. The forms are also available on the CCS Transportation webpage. If you do not have an alternate transportation request, there is nothing you need to do.

Note that details about your child's 2018-2019 home bus stop will be mailed to you by your local district's transportation office about one week before school starts. Collegium receives student bus information at that same time.

Questions? Email our Transportation Liaison, Mrs. Novak.

West Whiteland Police Department Tip Resources

Collegium is committed to maintaining a strong and trusting partnership with the West Whiteland Police Department (WWPD). Together, we encourage all Collegium students, staff, and parents/guardians to contact the WWPD with any information they feel should be investigated.

The WWPD has a dedicated email address and phone number for the public to provide information quickly and directly to the WWPD.

The email address and phone line are monitored by the WWPD Criminal Investigation Unit. We encourage anyone with information concerning suspected criminal activity to contact the WWPD using the email address, or by leaving a voicemail message on the WWPD phone line. Everyone utilizing the phone number or email address can remain anonymous, if they wish.

If your concerns are specific to the Collegium campus, we ask that you also contact our Building Principals:

From the CCS Home and School Association (HSA)

The CCS HSA serves in a capacity similiar to a Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) or Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO). We owe our success to the enthusiasm and dedication of our many parent, teacher, and staff volunteers!

HSA Co-President Needed for 2018-2019

Interested in joining the HSA, collaborating with HSA Officers, and helping to move the organization and its goals forward? The position of HSA Co-President will be available at the end of the 2017-2018 school year. For more information, please email the HSA Officers directly.

HSA School Store Coordinator Wanted

The Elementary Building School Stores are a real highlight for Collegium students and a great fundraiser for the school. The HSA is looking for someone willing to be responsible for the overall management of the School Stores. This includes ordering products and refilling store merchandise. For more information, please email the HSA Officers directly.

HSA Social Media Chair Wanted

Facebook is one way the HSA communicates with the Collegium Community. We need your help to develop, organize, and post photos and content to the HSA's Facebook page. Interested? Please email the HSA Officers directly.

Ongoing Fundraisers


Simply shop at AmazonSmile and choose Collegium Charter School as your charity to raise money for CCS. A percentage of your purchase will be donated back to the school!

Ongoing Fundraisers


Download the free app, shop as you normally do, and then snap a picture of your receipt to earn money for Collegium.

Collegium Main Number


Campus Main Office Extensions

  • 150 Building: Ext. 6811
  • 435 Building: Ext. 6002
  • 468 Building: Ext. 6401
  • 486 Building: Ext. 6501
  • 500 Building: Ext. 6106
  • 515 Building: Ext. 6336
  • 535 Building: Ext. 6602

Collegium reserves the right to edit submissions and deny material for submission if deemed to be inappropriate or of little or no interest to CCS families.

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