Beginning of Year and New Student/Family Information Packet

Greetings Alward Families and Staff,

I am so excited to welcome all of our returning and new families and staff to Alward Elementary School for the 2018-2019 school year. Our school will continue to focus on what it means to Support, Grow, and Unite as we champion for our students everyday.  This year, as a school community, we will also be diving into what it means to “count on me” to continue our mission of championing for our students in the school and out in the community. Every member of our school community plays an integral role in caring for, educating, and guiding our children.  It is important that we understand these roles and how we can support each other for the benefit of our students and their academic, social, and emotional growth. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for your continued support and entrusting our staff to care for, educate, and support your children on their educational journey at Alward.  I’m looking forward to another great year!

“Count on Me” Mission

To help us get started on this mission, I would like to invite you to discuss with your child a goal/wish they have for this school year.   At the Open Houses next week, We will have a big bulletin board set up at the crossroads where students can fill out a leaf with their goal/wish that finishes the sentence, “You can count on me to…”  Some examples of goals/wishes include:

  • …learn my sight words by the end of first grade!
  • …set a good example for the younger students in the school!
  • …be positive!
  • …help others out in the community!

Please feel free to help your child fill out a leaf.  We will be doing this as a staff as well! We are also encouraging you to set a goal on how you can support your child, our school, and/or the community.  Please feel free to fill out a leaf, too, to show our united front as we champion for our students!

New Faces at Alward

We are excited to grow our team to help support our students this year!  Please help me welcome the following new staff to our Alward family:

  • Ms. Emily Jannenga will be joining our EI team as a paraprofessional!
  • Mrs. Kristi Mason will be job sharing with Mrs. Kathy Teall on our STEAM Team!
  • Mrs. Kara Rybicki will be job sharing with Mrs. Sarah Snider in PK!  
  • Ms. Jennee VanTatenhove will be joining our EI team as a paraprofessional!

We are so excited to work with you and your child during this school year to help them learn and grow!

Educationally yours,

Mrs. Melanie McClure, Principal

Packet Information

In order to help us get the year started with as much information as possible regarding your child’s needs and contact information, it is imperative that you complete the forms in this packet and return the information in the envelope provided.  The STUDENT PROFILE sheet is needed back as soon as possible.  This is the form we use to update all of your important information for your students, such as phone numbers, emergency contacts and email addresses.  



Included in this packet is the VOLUNTEER BACKGROUND CHECK instructions.  In an effort to expedite the process of background checks, the form is now located on the district and school websites.   The Volunteer Background Check form must be completed by every parent and relative (grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc) who plan to volunteer at the school.  This includes field trips, support with reading, or class projects, etc. The form must be completed EVERY SCHOOL YEAR.  Please complete this form online and submit it as soon as possible.  LINK:


  • Alward Blog (link): Sign up for the Alward blog to receive regular communication on what is taking place at Alward! IMPORTANT FORMS AND PROCEDURES are linked on our blog.  These include: Hudsonville Public Schools’ Elementary Guidelines, Transportation Policy, and Medication Forms.  These documents also include district-wide guidelines for dress code, absences/tardies, student conduct, and vacation procedures.
  • Follow our story by liking us on:
    • Facebook: Like us on Facebook @AESEaglePride
    • Twitter: Like us on Twitter @AlwardElem
  • School Messenger: Regular communication from school messenger will be sent out via email, phone calls, or text messages to keep you in the loop on what is taking place at Alward!


  • First Day of School-Tuesday, August 28, 2018


  • School begins at 8:45 a.m.
  • School ends at 3:45 p.m.
  • Office hours: 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.


  • We will have ten Early Release days this school year on Sept. 14, Oct. 12, Nov. 2, Dec. 14, Jan. 11, Feb. 1, March 8, April 12, May 10, and our last day of school, June 7.  On early release dates, students will be dismissed at 12:15 p.m. The purpose of early release is to provide quality collaborative time for our staff to review assessment data and discuss best practices with the goal of improving student achievement.  


  • In order for your child to take any medication (prescription and non-prescription) at school, a MEDICATION FORM is required.  If your child requires a prescription medication (asthma inhaler, EPI pen, insulin), your physician must complete a portion of the form.  The medication forms are available in the school office and will be posted to our school blog.


  • Alward has an up-to-date safe and secure entry system.  All visitors entering the school building will be buzzed into the building by the office staff.  Due to the busy nature of the office, please be aware that our secretaries, Ms. Boeve and Ms. Walcott, will only be able to buzz in visitors when they can provide them their full attention.
  • If you will be in the building, volunteering, attending parties, etc. you do need to have a background check on file.  This needs to be completed EVERY YEAR!  Please complete this form online and submit it as soon as possible.  LINK:
  • Once buzzed into the office, visitors must sign in and obtain a “visitor lanyard.”  You must wear this lanyard the entire time you are in the building or on the playground, then return it to the office when you sign out.  We will use an alternate system for party days and other high traffic times.
  • Younger Siblings: If you are planning on entering the building to volunteer in the workroom, attend a classroom party, eat lunch with your older child/ren, or volunteer in a classroom, please arrange childcare for younger siblings that are not students at Alward.  This is for safety and liability reasons.
  • Thank you in advance for your flexibility, cooperation, and patience.  


  • As a staff, we take food allergies very seriously and do all that we can to create a safe environment at school.  If your child requires an EPI pen for this, please fill out the required PRESCRIPTION MED FORM which will be located on the Alward Blog or the main office. There will be nut free lunch room tables in the cafeteria as well as nut free classrooms based on students with peanut and nut allergies.  
  • The following classrooms are nut and peanut free:

    • Burmeister-Pre-K
    • Lein-Pre-K
    • Snider/Rybicki-Pre-K
    • LaLonde-KDG
    • LePard-KDG
    • Wert-KDG
    • Pingel-1st
    • Terpstra-2nd
    • Hawks-4th
    • Lynema-4th
    • Bouwens-5th
    • Karel-5th
    • All specials’ classrooms
  • Thank you for your support as we work to be proactive in protecting and keeping our students safe!


  • This is a very busy time in the school driveway and hallways.  To make it more efficient and secure, we have this policy in place:

Car Line Drop-Off Procedures

8:30 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.

1 Use the car loop on the west side (office side) of the building.
2 Stay in the right lane and drop off your child in the drop-off zone (south of the school’s speed bump)-Zone will be marked with cones.  
3 Students will exit the cars on the passenger side of the car.  

(Do not allow students to exit the car

on the driver’s side for safety reasons!)

4 Do not pass cars in the car line.  

Stay in a single file line until the cars move in front of you.  

5 *If you need to get out of your car to help your child unbuckle from a car seat or help him/her unload projects, park your car in the parking lot and walk your child across the driveway to the main sidewalk.
To Keep Our Line Moving Tips:
  1. Follow the procedures noted above.
  2. Say your goodbyes and give kisses prior to dropping off in the car line.  🙂
  3. Have backpacks/supplies ready to exit car with students.
  4. Parents need to remain in their vehicles.
  5. Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding with our system and procedures.  Safety is our number 1 concern for our students and their families.

Car Line Pick-up Procedures

PK-Fifth Grade Students

3:45 p.m.

1. Use the car loop on the west-side (office side) of the building.
2. Stay in the right lane and pull-up to the orange cone on the far side of the parking lot or behind the cars in front of you.
3. Put your car tag in the passenger side window.  Staff will take your students’ names. You will receive car tags at open house or contact the main office to get a car tag or additional tags.
4. Students will be walked out in groups to the car line and must enter cars on the passenger side of the vehicles.
5. If you need to help your child buckle his/her car seat, please pull forward with the flow of traffic, park in a parking spot, and help your child buckle his/her car seat.  
To Keep Our Line Moving Tips:
  1. Follow the procedures noted above.
  2. Parents need to remain in their vehicles.
  3. Please be patient with this system for the first few weeks of school.  Once students, staff, and families get used to the process, the line moves efficiently and is safe for all of our students!  
  4. Based on last year’s car line data, the car line takes 4-5 minutes to load 60 cars!


  • In your packet, you will receive a car tag for the dismissal car line.  Please write your child’s/children’s names on the car tag.
  • If you need additional car tags, you can get them from our office staff.


  • Walkers will be dismissed from door T after the car line has exited our parking lot.  If you will be walking your child home, you can meet them at door T. (See map.)


  • Transportation (bus) information will be accessible via PowerSchool.  You should have received an email from the tech department with directions on how to set up your PowerSchool account.  The parent portal in PowerSchool will be open on Thursday August 23rd, for you to view your child’s bus information.
  • Please contact transportation with any changes (669-7757).
  • Please contact the Alward office for any questions regarding the Parent Portal account (669-6700).


  • If your child is going to have a change in transportation home, please contact the main office to let them know of the change prior to 3:00 p.m.  We want to ensure that the classroom teachers are notified in a timely fashion prior to end of day dismissal procedures. Thank you!


  • Car riders
  • The doors open at 8:30 a.m. Please do not drop your students off before this time for safety and security reasons.  We do not have supervision available before 8:30 a.m. Thank you for your understanding!
  • Pre-K students will line up outside of door W.  KDG students will line up outside of Door A, the main door.
  • At 8:30, students in grades 1-5 will enter the building through door A and head out door H to line up on the playground side of the building.   
  • Students in grade 1 will line up at door K.  Students in grades 2 & 3 will line up at door M.  Finally, students in grades 4 & 5 will line up at door L.  
    • Bus riders
  • Pre-K and K students will enter door H, walk straight to door A, and line up outside of door A (KDG) and door W (Pre-K).
  • Students in grade 1 will line up at door K.  Students in grades 2 & 3 will line up at door M.  Finally, students in grades 4 & 5 will line up at door L.  


  • We love that our students like to be active and healthy by riding their bikes to school.  However, we also want our students to be safe. Please discuss with your child that he/she will need to walk their bike to the bike rack which will be located in the front of the building once they get onto the school’s sidewalks.  Please also help us to remind them not to ride their bikes through the parking lot. This will help keep everyone safe! Thank you!


  • Breakfast is served from 8:30 – 8:45 a.m. in our cafeteria daily.
  • Breakfast consists of cereal, milk, juice, fresh fruit, and a cookie/cracker bar.
  • Breakfast costs $1.25.  If someone qualifies for reduced lunch, the cost is $0.30 and free for those that qualify for free lunch.

Link to PK-KDG Open House Presentation