Principal's Message

  • Morningside Messenger  

    September 2019

    A note from the Principal, Rita Bacque


    Dear Parents, Students and Community Members,


    Welcome back to Morningside for the 2019-2020 school year!  We have a Hot Air Balloon theme this year and we are going “Where Dreams Take Flight” with learning this year!  Everyone is ready to have a great year filled with learning, activities, events and changes to help the students reach their full academic potential at Morningside! 


    Before you begin to read, let me apologize for the length of this first Skylert email message as it contains a lot of information that I feel is vital to let everyone know as we begin the new school year.  I prefer you have more information than not enough.  I will do my very best to shorten the messages that follow!  J


    We’ve had a great first 3 weeks of school!  Thank you for all your support of our students and campus thus far.  We had a tremendous turnout for our Parent University Nights and it was fantastic to see everyone again!  There are many ways to be involved in school and I hope you had the opportunity to speak with our PTA Board Members who were present on each of our Parent University nights and find out about their mission called “TWO” (Together We’re One). We are always looking for new committee members and volunteers to help with our yearly events.  Most events are short-term commitments; some can be done at home, while others only require help with sending items to school, so please consider volunteering at least one time.  It will be appreciated more than you know!


    We said goodbye to Jennifer Cottle, who left to continue pursuing her Doctorate Degree; Katherine Ramos and Liza Keifer, who both got teaching jobs closer to home; Cristine Peerson, who was promoted within Lewisville ISD; and Erin Bardin who left to pursue Real Estate.


    We would like to welcome new staff members to our school family!  First, I’d like to mention that we added Beth Ryon to our staff about mid-year, last year.  She is our ESL instructional support teacher and she has made quite an impact with our second language learners!  You will notice changes in our front office staff as we added an additional clerk’s position to help us with our safety and security.  Our new office clerk is Adriana Corona and she will be glad to assist you with your needs when you enter our building!  We also welcome back Brandy Garrett, who is teaching Kindergarten; Michelle Keiser, who switched positions from being an Instructional Support paraprofessional to teaching 1st grade (her passion); and Leah Rich, who is teaching 5th grade language arts.  We also have 2 new SDI/Resource-Inclusion teachers, who joined us this year.  Cynthia Valverde is coming to us from Peters Colony and Matthew Telepak is joining our team from out of district.  They both come with many years of experience in special education.  Last but certainly not least, we welcome Van Tran who is serving as an Instructional support paraprofessional with our resource and inclusion students.

    We are truly blessed to have these incredible teachers, paraprofessionals and staff members join our Morningside Family!


    As we begin each new year, we continue to face many changes and challenges.  Our district will continue to offer bus service to those students who live east of Morningstar and between Memorial Drive and Baker Drive (Bus 116).  We will have additional bus service provided by bus 113 in our new development, which is just west of Raising Cane’s.  We will follow the same arrival and dismissal procedures and utilize the same drop off area (back driveway only) as last year, so as a reminder, please follow the directions of those on duty, especially these first few weeks as we help new families adjust to a new routine. 


    **We have already begun counting tardies at this time.  Students who are NOT tardy are those that are in their classrooms by 7:45 a.m.  If you are in the car line prior to the bell ringing, but you haven’t yet reached the loading zone by the gym, your child will be allowed to go straight to class.  If you arrive at school and the entry to the back driveway is blocked off by cones, that is the signal that the bell has rung and you must park in the front lot and walk your child into the office for a tardy slip.


    Please understand I have designated each of our parking lot areas for specific arrival and dismissal needs and I need all parents, drivers, etc. to adhere to our requests and follow what we have outlined.  The back driveway is for arrival/dismissal of all students.  The front (smaller) lot is only for those who need to park and enter the building for school business and/or for emergency vehicles should any be needed during arrival and/or dismissal. The larger lot is for our yellow school buses, day care vans and parents with special needs students who require extra help and time to get out of or into their vehicles.  Parents are not allowed to park in the front (smaller) lot near the office to drop off or pick up their children.  If a parent feels it necessary to get out of their car to drop off or pick up their child, then parents must park in the LARGER lot, and walk children to the front door and/or pick them up from the front and walk them to the car.  Staff will not allow children to cross parking lots without their parents.  Additionally, please don’t motion to your child to cross parking lots and meet you at the car.  This is very dangerous and our students’ safety is of utmost importance. 


    It is imperative that parents make certain their children know exactly how they are getting home each day prior to dropping off their children at school in the morning.  If there is a need to change your child’s mode of transportation, we will continue to require written documentation regarding this change before we send your child home a different way.  If we don’t receive something in writing, your child will be sent home as he/she is usually sent home each day.  We cannot rely on the word of the children as they are not always clear on their information, therefore we will expect written notification from parents.  If you choose to email the teacher, that is fine.  However, depending on the time you send the email, it is NOT a guarantee that the teacher will have time to check their email and get the information needed as they are typically involved in team meetings, special education meetings or planning and gathering materials for their lessons with other teachers in the building during the day.  This is why getting the information in your child’s folder first thing in the morning is so important because the teachers check the students’ folders each morning as part of their daily routine.


    With changes there must be flexibility and patience for all those involved in getting our students to and from school in a safe and orderly manner.  I urge parents to review our bell schedule below, and help us continue to ensure our plan runs smoothly.


    A.M. Schedule

    P.M. Schedule

    7:15 a.m.

    Doors open, teachers on duty, breakfast begins

    2:50 p.m.

    1) Yellow school bus riders are dismissed and go directly to the buses, which will be parked in the north (larger) lot.

    2) Day Care Van riders will also be dismissed to wait in the cafeteria for their day care van, which will also arrive in the north lot.

    7:15 a.m.

    Buses and Day Care Vans begin arriving in north (larger) lot

    3:00 p.m.

    Buses and Day Care Vans depart

    7:15 a.m.

    Cars may begin dropping off students using the driveway in the back of our school. Drop off point is the marked loading zone by the gym

    2:45 p.m.

    Cars may begin entering our south (smaller) lot and then use the back driveway to get to the loading zone by the gym.  Please do not arrive any earlier than 2:45.

    7:35 a.m.

    1st bell rings for all students to go to class

    3:00 p.m.

    1) Car riders are dismissed to the gym; walkers and bike riders are dismissed.

    2) ESD dismisses to the cafeteria

    7:45 a.m.

    Final bell rings, students are tardy if they are not in their classroom by 7:45 a.m.

    3:15 p.m.

    Students who are not picked up by 3:15 p.m. will wait in the office for parents to come and sign them out for the day.  Teachers will not bring students to their cars after 3:15 p.m. - parents must come inside.


    We will continue to have many teachers monitoring the hallways and helping students move throughout the building.  Students will quickly become more familiar with the routines of our school and be more able to get to class in the morning on their own.  Parents, thank you for dropping off your children from your cars and allowing them to find their own way. This is so important to their self-esteem and their ability to see themselves as “big kids” going to class all by themselves.  It’s fabulous to see how quickly they adjust to school life, especially our new little Kindergarteners! 


    A few things to keep in mind when dropping off or picking up your children in the car line.

    1. Pull up in the loading/unloading area all the way to the white line (if you are first).  We try to fit 4 cars within the loading/unloading area and have those students get out or get in their cars all at once.  Then we move those 4 cars along and get ready for the next 4 and so on and so forth.
    2. It is extremely helpful if the students have their items in hand and are ready to exit the car right after it stops. Parents or students should not have to go to the trunk to get items, etc.  If you have a special circumstance where there is a large project that needs to be brought inside, please utilize our front lot for that purpose.
    3. Please teach your children to buckle/unbuckle seat belts and open/close the car doors on their own.  This teaches them independence and helps us keep the car line moving.  Also, we ask that parents remain in their cars so as not to slow down the arrival/dismissal process as well.
    4. If there is a situation (usually in the afternoon) where one car is still waiting on a student passenger, all cars that are loaded behind that car may carefully pull to the right and exit around the waiting car.
    5. Finally, please make it a habit to have all students exit the vehicles on the left side closest to the arrival and dismissal area so students are not walking in between cars.
    6. Crosswalk-if your child uses the crosswalk at any time, please remind them to wait for a teacher so the teacher can stop the cars and help them cross.


    Six years ago, we discontinued the practice of celebrating student birthdays with treats brought from parents.  This is due to an increase in the number of children with allergies, gluten intolerances, diabetes, etc.  Therefore, please do not bring treats to school for your child’s birthday.


    Thank you for being patient and working within the guidelines we’ve set forth.  We know that new routines and changes don’t always accommodate everyone, however because they generally work for the majority and we have your children’s safety at the heart of our decision-making, we consider them a success and will continue to work on areas of needed improvement should they arise.  There is a LISD Elementary Student Handbook on our website, and our Campus Specific Student/Parent Handbook as well.  These books contain lots of information to help answer any questions you may have. 


    I would ask that you pay special attention to the new LISD Student Code of Conduct for the 2019-2020 school year.  The format of the book has changed and it includes many new mandates, definitions, and other information we, as a district, must abide by.  The document has been made much easier to read and understand and provides families with all they need to know regarding student expectations on LISD campuses.  Of special note, is the change in perfect attendance.  If at any time your child is late or checks-out early from school, this now directly effects whether your child will receive perfect attendance or not.


    Upcoming September Events: (These are also on our school website.)


    Tuesday, Sept. 3rd         Monster Yogurt Spirit Day! All day!

    Wednesday, Sept. 4th    Choir Try-outs during Workout Wednesday (fine arts time)

    Wednesday, Sept. 4th    After school try-outs for our Musical, Alice in Wonderland!


    Monday, Sept. 9th          iPad Deployment- 12:30-3:00 p.m.

                                        PTA Board meeting (for board members only) - 6:30 p.m.

                                        Cub Scout Rally at Morningside cafeteria, 6:30-7:30 p.m.

    Tuesday, Sept. 10th        Chipotle Spirit Night,  5:00-9:00 p.m.

    Wednesday, Sept. 11th  Patriot’s Day and First Responders’ Day in honor of those who served on 9-11-01

    Thursday, Sept. 12th      Student Council Candidates Speeches in Cafeteria – 8:45 a.m.

    Friday, Sept. 13th           Friday Nite Live is BACK!  7-11 p.m.  $12.00/student, 1st-5th graders only


    Week of Sept. 16-20     Celebrate Freedom Week observed

    Tuesday, Sept. 17th        Constitution Day!

                                        PTA General Meeting, 7:00 p.m. – 5th grade performs!

    Friday, Sept. 20th           Friday Nite Live!  7-11 p.m.  $12.00/student, 1st-5th graders only


    Week of Sept. 23-27     First Parent Lunch Week of the Year (must have a completed and approved volunteer                           background check in order to attend)

    Monday, Sept. 23rd       21 Day Challenge Sign-up Begins

    Tuesday, Sept. 24th        Student Council Workshop at Peters Colony

                                        Panda Express Spirit Night! 5:00-8:00 p.m.

    Thursday, Sept. 26th      ICE CREAM SOCIAL!!!  5:30-7:30 p.m.

    Friday, Sept. 27th           American Indian Heritage Day observed

    Friday Nite Live!  7-11 p.m.  $12.00/student, 1st-5th graders only


    A look into October:  (October is Dyslexia Awareness Month and Cybersecurity Month.)


    Wk of Sept. 30-Oct. 4    TCHS Homecoming Week!

    Monday, Sept. 30th        PTA Birthday Table (during lunch-for September birthdays)

    Tuesday, Oct. 1st            FALL PICTURE DAY!!  Be sure to dress up nicely for your picture.  The pictures taken

                                        on this day are those which will appear in the yearbook. J

                                        Monster Yogurt Spirit Day!  All Day!!  Get your yogurt anytime!

    Wednesday, Oct. 2nd     International Walk/Ride Bikes to School Day

                                        TCHS Homecoming Parade, 6:00 p.m.  The parade route is the same as

                                        last year.  It will begin at the corner of Paige Rd. and S. Colony, head west to Blair

                                        Oaks, go south on Blair Oaks and end at the high school for a pep rally.

    Friday, Oct. 4th              Creamistry Spirit Night – 5:00-9:00 p.m.

                                        TCHS Homecoming Game at 7:00 p.m.

                                        Friday Nite Live!  7-11 p.m.  $12.00/student, 1st-5th graders only


    M-Th, Oct. 7-10th           2nd Grade Swimming at the Aquatic Center in The Colony

    Monday, Oct. 7th           PTA Board Meeting – 6:30 p.m.

                                        21-Day Challenge Begins! Email your Healthy Selfies to Coach Terry:

    Thursday, Oct. 10th        3rd Grade to Elm Fork – all day

    Friday, Oct. 11th            MUSTANG STAMPEDE KICK-OFF!!! (during Round-Up at 8:15 a.m.)

                                        End of 1st 9 weeks grading period (Report Card Day is Friday, October 18th)

                                        EARLY RELEASE for students at 11:45 a.m.

                                        Friday Nite Live!  7-11 p.m.  $12.00/student, 1st-5th graders only


    Monday, Oct. 14th         Columbus Day! – FAIR DAY – NO SCHOOL!

    Tuesday, Oct. 15th         PTA General Meeting – 7:00 p.m. - 4th grade performs!


    Thursday, Oct. 24th       SAVE the DATE!!  MUSTANG STAMPEDE DAY!!  8:00-11:30 a.m.


    I would like to give special thanks to all the parents who helped get things ready for our school this summer.  Some folks helped make or create things, provided food, drinks and snacks, and/or decorated our library for the teachers’ first day back on August 6th.  The PTA Teacher Appreciation team provided snacks and treated our staff to breakfast and lunch during our professional learning days before school started.  Many thanks to all those involved in these projects.  Your dedication to our school, teachers and students is truly appreciated!! 

    **New last year** All volunteers on our campus will have to sign-up on VOLY, anytime you come to campus.  The sign up includes completing a volunteer criminal background check.  Please make plans to apply online at so that you may be eligible to serve as a campus volunteer.  A campus volunteer is defined as anyone who comes on campus to assist our office, the teachers or students; attend events or assemblies on campus; have lunch with your child; attend field trips, class parties, etc.  It takes approximately 2-3 weeks for the applications to be processed.  Therefore, apply early so you don’t miss out on activities with your children. 

    Please continue to check our district and school websites for updates throughout the year.  All teachers have their own website unique to their grade level which will be updated regularly throughout the year. There you will be able to view information on what your child’s class is doing for the week/month, look up dates of interest, upcoming events, contact the teacher via email and basically remain “tuned-in” to school life.  Please check us out!  If you have trouble accessing the website or getting updated information, please let me know.


    Gentle Reminders:

    1. Pets - Please do not bring your pets on campus during drop off, pick up or any other time during the year.  We can never be certain how animals will react to certain people or stimuli, we have students who are allergic to certain pets and dander and we have some students who are scared of animals.  One time during the year, for our Annual Pet Parade, is the one exception where we allow pets.  For this event, we inform parents, and gain permission for children to be around other people’s animals.  Aside from that, I will appreciate it if everyone keeps their pets at home for the safety of all our students. 


    1. Social Media – While social media can be informative and great entertainment, I hope not to see anything unkind being said of our school, staff or students.  If anyone ever has a concern, question, suggestion, or you may need clarity on any topic or situation, please know that our door is always open and that we welcome you to come and visit with us.  I personally give my heart and soul to our public school and love our students, staff and community very much.  I want everyone’s experience with our campus and staff to be one that is positive, caring and collaborative.  Therefore, I challenge each of you to use social media for sharing only good news!


    I will send a letter similar to this one (but NOT nearly as long), between the 1st and 7th of the month, using our Skylert Email Messaging system.  I will also post a copy of the letter on our website, under Parent Resources. Each month’s letter will be archived as new letters are posted so you may still access previous information.


    Campus Website:


    “Like” us on Facebook: Morningside ES

    “Follow us” on Twitter: @MorningsideES



    Facebook: Morningside Elementary PTA The Colony TX

    Twitter:  @Morningside_PTA


    Thank you for continuing to support our school family and public education!  We appreciate you!!




    Rita Bacque