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Whittier Elementary School

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Principal's Message

Dear Whittier Families,


Welcome to the 2017 – 2018 school year! I am very excited to be back at Whittier Elementary School for my second year as your principal. For those families new to Whittier, this is the beginning of my 19th year in the field of public education and second year with the Hemet Unified School District. It is an honor to lead Whittier, and I would like to welcome everyone back for another exciting year.


As we start out, please mark three important events on your calendar. First, we have two Re-registration Days on Monday, July 31, 2017 and Tuesday, August 1, 2017, from 8:00-12:00 p.m. in room 18. Whittier staff will be on hand and Chromebooks will be available for parents to access the AERIES Parent Portal to re-register their student(s). However, if you have completed the re-registration at home via the AERIES Parent Portal, you are complete and no additional action is required. Second, is our Meet the Teacher day on Friday, August 4, 2017 from 1:00-2:30 p.m. Stop by and view class lists, meet your child’s teacher and say hello to friends. Finally, the first day of school is Monday, August 7, 2017.


The bell schedules for all HUSD Schools have changed. Research shows that teacher collaboration time is linked to increased student achievement. As such, teachers have been provided weekly collaboration time on WEDNESDAYs to achieve this goal. Please be advised that WEDNESDAY will now be a modified day. All students will begin the day at 7:48 a.m., Monday through Friday. Dismissal times will vary: Kindergarten will be dismissed at 11:50 (kinder a.m.) and 2:29 (kinder p.m.), and 1st-5th grade at 2:29 p.m. every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Every Wednesday will now be an Early Release Day with dismissal for kindergarten at 10:54 am and 1st-5th grade students at 12:19 p.m. Minimum day dismissal will be 11:08 for kindergarten and 12:53 for all 1st-5th grade students. More information that is detailed will be communicated as we begin the school year. Please refer to the HUSD and/or Whittier website for more information.


The first few weeks of school are always a little hectic and unpredictable due to the reestablishment of routines. I would like to remind you all about the importance of being extra cautious and patient during pick-up and drop-off times. The Whittier staff work very hard to ensure your child’s safety. Please obey all traffic laws and watch for our staff as they will be assisting students into cars, crossing streets and getting home safely. Remember, children should not be dropped off at school prior to 7:00 a.m. until supervision is provided. Also, please be prompt when picking up your children. After 2:45 p.m., children who have not been picked up will wait in the office and make phone calls home to parents. Let’s all do our part in maintaining a happy and healthy school experience. Whittier Elementary School believes that the subject of school safety is a shared concern. It is essential that the school community, parents, and students work together to develop a safe and disciplined environment where learning can take place and safety is a priority. Please do your part to ensure that this practice is successful. Developing and discussing a pick-up plan with your child daily is vital to ensuring a hassle-free experience. I thank you in advance for your time and attention to this very important matter.


The Whittier School PTO is an integral partner in our successful school program and your child would not receive the top-notch educational experience without the PTO’s support. They generously provide us with funds and volunteers to maintain our educational efforts (i.e. field trips, assemblies, festivals, etc.). Please consider joining the Whittier PTO this year and support their efforts to provide the best possible experience for our students; or better yet, join the PTO executive board and attend the monthly meetings and become part of the decision making process. Your support is so greatly appreciated!


Whittier Elementary School is dedicated to the development of the whole child, providing a solid foundation that stimulates thought, wonder, and a life-long passion for learning. Students, staff, parents, and the Whittier community share the responsibility of creating a positive environment that empowers all students to reach their fullest potential in all core areas as well as citizenship and character development. Thank you for your continued support of Whittier Elementary School, and I look forward to another successful school year!





Jeff Keeney, Principal