Welcome, new Bobcats!
Congratulations on your enrollment at Don Benito Elementary. We are thrilled to welcome you to the Bobcat family. Here is a brief guide to help you navigate the “ins and outs” of your new school.
At the Welcome Back Fair (August 9th, 5pm to 7pm) you will get the chance to connect with or meet new families, receive your child’s classroom assignment, and meet some of the teachers. You’ll also have the opportunity to take a tour campus if you’ve yet to walk around Don Benito. Other booths that will be at the fair include Scouts, before and after school care, volunteering (room parents and docents), after-school enrichment, and much more. You can sign up at each booth or take the information and sign up later. We will also have a performance from School of Rock and the Cono Loco ice cream truck will be on hand with sweet treats for purchase.
Walk In/Drop Off/Pick Up
TK and Kindergarten students should be dropped off for school at the TK/K playground gate located on Hastings Ranch Drive just north of the main carline for the school. Staff and teachers will greet students at the gate starting at 8:30am, and they will then go to their classrooms to put their backpacks down before playing a bit before school starts. Pick-up is at this same gate.
For grades 1-5, children may be dropped off/picked up at carline (along Hastings Ranch Dr.). From here, they walk to the upper playground where they will line up with their class and wait for their teacher to walk them to their classroom. Parents can also walk their children onto campus by entering off of Valley View down the walkway by the auditorium.
If you need to pick your child up early, go to the office first and sign your child out in the binder located on the front counter or table outside the main office. The classroom will then be called by office staff to alert the teacher and your child will be brought to the office. That being said, it is a welcome courtesy to give your teacher a heads up a day or two before the early sign-out just so that interruptions of early departure are minimized.
If your child is sick or will not be in class, you must call the school @ 626.396.5870 and then press 2 to leave an attendance message. You can also notify your teacher, but you must call the phone system and leave a message (the system is available 24/7). Remember, if your child is more than 30 minutes late for school, they must sign-in at the office before entering the classroom.
Don Benito does not have a uniform policy but has a dress code policy.. School dress code encourages plain tops/shirts or Don Benito spirit shirts, as well as solid colored pants, skirts or jumpers. Denim is okay. Pop culture images and logos are not allowed. Hats are allowed outdoors for shade purposes. Students must wear closed toe shoes- no sandals or slip ons. Make sure you label everything!
Spirit days with themes will be announced via Blue Folders (more on those below. Bobcat Wear (our school t-shirts, sweatshirts, and more) are available for purchase at Welcome Back and online via https://donbenitopta.com/shop
The children should bring them. Always. These act as the kids’ cubbies. Their backpacks should be normal school size so that they can fit folders and small books. Please no purse-type backpacks.
The only items you will need to purchase for your children are a backpack, lunchbox (if you plan on packing lunch from home), and water bottle. You could also buy one or two pocket folders, if you’d like. The teachers at Don Benito will provide everything else for them at school, including notebooks and art supplies. On the first day of school, they will receive a toolbox that has pencils, crayons, glue stick, scissors, and other items for school work. Your teacher will give you a list during the first week of school with any items they suggest you purchase for homework as well as a “wish list” of items for the classroom like paper towels or baby wipes. These items are minimal.
At the beginning of the school year, all families are asked to complete a free and reduced lunch application. Although all students will receive breakfast and lunch without a fee for 2022-23, the form determines the school’s eligibility for other programs, such as Title 1 funding so please complete it.
Breakfast is available daily starting at 8:20am. For lunch, students can eat a lunch from home or a cafeteria lunch, which offers many dietary options like vegetarian and gluten-free. Menus are released on a bi-monthly basis. A paper copy will be placed in your child’s blue folder or you can access it online.
Don Benito is a peanut free school.
Please plan on sending your child to school with a snack and an individual water bottle or thermos that is labeled with their name.
Lost & Found:
Label everything! Backpacks, sweaters, jackets, lunch boxes, water bottles, or anything that your child brings to school that is loose should be labeled. They will invariably forget their lunch under the pergola or their sweatshirt on the playground. If your child should lose anything, have them check the Lost and Found which is located outside the north bank of classrooms facing Valley View.
TK/Kinder Playground and Pergola
The TK and Kinders mostly hang out on the Kinder playground, which is the separate playground near the TK/Kinder classrooms. They eat lunch at the upper playground pergola (covered outdoor lunch table area near the cafeteria). When they eat and play at lunchtime, they will have a designated area by themselves.
The Blue Folder
Every Wednesday your child will come home with their Blue Folder. In it will be information from your teacher and the school that you need to look at immediately. There will most likely be things to sign and return. This is where you will find field trip permission slips, flyers detailing upcoming social events, Scholastic book order forms, notifications about fundraising efforts, etc. Even if it is empty, it comes home, so look for it. The Blue Folder returns to school the next day, Thursday, when it is checked in by your child’s teacher or aide. This is the only Blue Folder your kids get for the year, so please encourage them to be gentle with it (and invest in some scotch tape for repairs).
Back To School Night
August 24th (5:30-7:15pm) is Back To School Night. This is an opportunity for you to learn about the academic program for the year, meet parents in your child’s class, and learn about in-classroom volunteer opportunities from your teacher. You will also be able to sign up as a classroom parent if you haven’t already done so. The evening will start with a welcome from Dr. Bugarin and follow with host identical sessions to allow you to visit two classrooms should you have more than one student at Don Benito.
There are typically countless volunteer opportunities at Don Benito- from helping run the Autumn Carnival, being a classroom art docent, chaperoning on field trips, or being a classroom aide. Each teacher has their own preferences on volunteers in their classrooms so they will communicate with you personally. Once we receive final guidance from the District and Health Department as to on-campus access, we will distribute a survey about opportunities. Sign-ups and more information will also be available at the Welcome Back Fair and during the first weeks of school. Even if your schedule only allows you to volunteer once in a while, we encourage 100% parent participation throughout the year. It is a cornerstone of Don Benito’s foundation and what truly sets us apart from other schools!
Everyone is encouraged to join the PTA. Membership dues, valid for the school year, are $11 per person. Just signing up helps our school, as many grant applications include PTA membership numbers. Members are welcome at our bi-monthly PTA Association meeting and also will be included in our overall mailing list which receives a weekly Things to Know e-newsletter detailing important campus news and events. Without your membership dues, PTA can not host our community social events (like movie nights and carnival), nor can we support our teachers by reimbursing them for classroom supplies. Membership is a great (and easy) way to support Don Benito! Sign up today!
You will hear of many fundraising opportunities throughout the year from both PTA and our Annual Fund. Each entity raises money for different aspects of Don Benito. Our main fundraisers throughout the year are Read-A-Thon, Jog-A-Thon, Autumn Carnival, Christmas tree sales, and Bobcat Bash. We will also run smaller fundraisers such as Mrs. Fields, gift wrapping supplies, concessions at outdoor movie nights, and more.
The school collects Boxtops for Education, digitally. These are the pink/blue stamp size labels you see on many grocery items like Cheerios and Ziploc bags. All you do is sign up for an account and then scan your grocery receipts. Easy. Don Benito also earns money from purchases made through Amazon Smile so please signify us as your beneficiary on your Prime account. Also, if you have a Ralphs or Vons card, you can go to their websites and link your card to our school. Every time you use the card, the store contributes to the school. Boom!
We also host monthly Restaurant Nights which take place at a variety of local restaurants. A percentage of your bill on a specific evening is ear-marked for Don Benito so all you have to do is order.
There are online tools available for teachers and room parents to communicate with student families such as Shutterfly, Remind, and more. These tools will enable your teacher to communicate with you about of-the-moment items in addition to providing a place to post photos of field trips and daily activities, share class calendars and pass along any other important information. More information will be provided at our Room Parent orientation meeting early in September.
We hope this has been helpful. If you have any additional questions or concerns about what to expect, feel free to email any time this summer or fall. We would be happy to talk with you.
Our email is: [email protected].