Superintendent’s Welcome Back Message

Dear families,

With our summer school programs now wrapped up, our maintenance crews are busily painting hallways, cleaning classrooms and waxing floors to prepare for the opening of school and welcoming students on Thursday, Sept. 7.

This year, our district is hosting two conference days for teacher and staff professional development on Tuesday, Sept. 5 and Wednesday, Sept. 6. On these two days, we also will host orientations for our youngest learners, school supply drop-off and locker set-up times at the elementary school. The dates and times are listed below.

Tuesday, Sept. 5:

  • Kindergarten Orientation, 1-2:30 p.m.
  • Grade 5 Locker Set Up, 2:15-3:15 p.m.

Wednesday, Sept 6:

  • Pre-Kindergarten Orientation, 1-3 p.m.
  • Grades 1-4 School Supply Drop Off, 1-2 p.m.
  • Optional Parent Info Sessions, 1:30-2:30 p.m.
  • Grade 6 and new student orientation at WJSHS, 1-2 p.m.

With the start of the new school year just a few short weeks from now, I want to remind students and families of some important changes that are being implemented.

2023-24 School Day Extended

We are extending our school day for kindergarten through grade 12 students, arrival and dismissal times are noted below. You may be aware that the extension of the school day was approved last spring as part of the 2023-24 school budget. The additional time is an investment in teaching and learning  for all students and educators. I ask that students, families and staff be patient during the first several days of school as we all acclimate to the increase in instructional time.

Arrival and dismissal times for Watervliet Elementary School and Watervliet Jr.-Sr. High School are as follows:

  • Grades K-5: 8:30 a.m., with staggered dismissal from 2:55-3:15 p.m.
  • Grades 6-7: 7:40 a.m.-2:21 p.m.
  • Grade 8: 7:40 a.m.-2:41 p.m
  • Grades 9-12: 8 a.m.-2:41 p.m.

During the first week of school, we also ask for your patience with transportation as students get familiar with the daily routine and our school bus drivers become reacquainted with their routes. Transportation notices will be mailed in the coming week with times and stop locations for families whose children ride buses to school.

Phone-Free Learning Environment

An important change to our district’s Code of Conduct was adopted over the summer. That is the implementation of a phone-free learning environment during school hours. Cell phones are ubiquitous in today’s society; and while we recognize the value that phones and other electronic devices offer when used appropriately, our experience is that these devices have more often than not become a disruption to teaching and distraction from learning across all grades levels. View the Code of Conduct

With that in mind, we are introducing the Yondr system this year to reinforce the phone-free policy for students in grades 6-12. Yondr is a simple, secure pouch for storing electronics. Each student will secure all their personal devices – cell phones, smartwatches and airpods – in their assigned Yondr pouch when they arrive at school. Students will maintain possession of their devices and will not use them until their pouches are opened at the end of the school day.

Research has shown that learning and social behavior improve significantly when students are fully engaged with their teachers and their classmates.

More about YondrYondr – Frequently Asked Questions

School supply lists available

For your back-to-school shopping, we have posted school supply lists for the elementary and junior high school grade levels on our website. Please review the lists and take advantage of the back-to-school sales that are currently underway.

View K-5 supplies

View Grades 6-12 supplies

Welcome Back Celebration flyer School Events Calendar

Please check our district’s online calendar for events, including open houses, meet the teacher nights, school board meetings and more!

Also, I encourage you to mark your calendars for our Welcome Back Celebration on Saturday, Sept. 9 from 1 to 4 p.m. on the athletic field at Watervliet Jr.-Sr. High School. I hope you can join us for fun, food, games, and free giveaways!

In the meantime, have fun, be safe, and enjoy the remaining weeks of summer vacation! As the song goes — See you in September … ♫

With appreciation,

Dr. Donald Stevens
Superintendent of Schools

(This message was shared with Watervliet families via ParentSquare on August 25.)