Especially if your child is starting PreK-3 and attending school for the first time, we know firsthand that the transition to school is both exciting and hard. So, we thought we'd answer some of the questions that we had when we were joining the Langley community.
Most importantly, if you have any questions, no matter how big or small, email firstname.lastname@example.org. That address is monitored by our four PTSA officers: the president, vice president, treasurer and secretary - these individuals know our community inside and out and can get you your answers, or direct you to the person who can. Also, join us for one of the upcoming play dates (Saturday, June 1, 10 am - noon and Saturday, July 13, 10 am - noon) - you and the kids get to visit classrooms, meet Langley tigers and staff and chat with families!
What makes Langley special?
Our vision is that every student feels loved, challenged, and prepared to positively influence society and thrive in life. We care about the whole child, and their emotional development is just as important to us as their academic growth, especially during the crucial early years when developing pro-social behavior is so critical. We aim to provide a safe, nurturing, loving home-away-from-home where the learning comes more easily, because the children's emotional needs are met first.
We are a community school! Parents, teachers, EVERYONE is very engaged. There are lots of opportunities to contribute and participate. You will not go long before every member of our community, from the principal to fellow parents know your child's name and what they're all about.
What is Conscious Discipline?
Langley utilizes Conscious Discipline, a social-emotional learning and classroom management program, as the main component of its school culture plan for all students. This means we put a lot of emphasis on creating a loving school and classroom environment, done with daily routines and rituals to connect. How does this translate into practice? Principal Drumm or a designated teacher greets each and every child every morning, as they enter the school. We have a school song and each class has its own theme and class song. Children are taught techniques to calm themselves, so they can begin to name, and eventually tame, their surprising emotions. Some of these techniques include mindful breathing, meditation and self-directed alone time. For example, each classroom also has a "safe place," a cozy space where a kid can settle down and cool off, and a kindness tree where kids compliment one another with supportive sticky notes. Follow Conscious Discipline on Instagram to learn about their approaches and use them at home to get the full benefit of the program. Langley will also offer two free coaching sessions for parents a year. Plan on it - they are invaluable!
Who is Principal Drumm and the leadership team?
Langley's outstanding leadership team is made up of Principal Vanessa Drumm-Canepa, Assistant Principal Shaunte Jennings, Dean of Students Monique Robinson and Director of Specialized Instruction Justin Lien. The Washington Post recently published a story about Principal Drumm. Read it here to learn more about what she prioritizes and why.
Who are our amazing teachers?
We love our teachers! Parents can rest easy knowing that they truly care about the children and work so hard each day to give our kids their best. Langley invests a lot in professional development so that the staff has the best tools and techniques to teach. Read about some of our amazing teachers here.
What are we excited about?
Our school is growing year by year and with that growth comes additional resources. We look forward to welcoming new leadership team members and new staff members too! We have a big facility and plenty of room to continue expanding. In addition to paid staff, we are gaining more and more engaged parents who understand that a few volunteer hours, a small donation, or even just speaking up during a PTSA meeting, helps our school thrive.
We are getting a beautiful new garden!
This year's PTSA leadership team was tasked with replacing the educational garden in front of the school. The goal was to build an attractive, safe and highly usable space that each and every member of our community could benefit from - and to do so without spending any money raised by the PTSA (which is reserved for more direct help for students and teachers).
We are halfway to our goal, thanks to the grants we have received. Children are already learning in the space. But there's more work to be done! Be sure to get involved if you would like to be a part of completing our "dream garden" rebuild.
How to stay up to date?
Langley uses every tool at its disposal to reach families, because we know communication is key to helping busy families succeed. Count on a monthly newsletter written by Principal Drumm-Canepa, which will arrive home in your child's backpack and is also published here. You will occasionally receive robocall and emails from the school, when the subject is time-sensitive or urgent. You must register to receive them with the front office.
The PTSA helps bridge potential gaps in communication through the use of this website - which is completely volunteer managed and funded. Explore it thoroughly to find useful info, including the school calendar, staff phone numbers and email addresses, and of course this blog: Tiger Tales, which features news, photos and notices of events!
You can also stay up to date by connecting with Langley on social media. Click on the buttons on our homepage to find them.
Who is on our PTSA and what do they do?
Langley's PTSA is open to parents, teachers, students and community members - all are welcome to join and to attend meetings. The meetings are lead by our four officers: the president, vice president, treasurer and secretary. Many of our members have also joined committees; they are Fundraising, Grants, Family Engagement and Garden and Wellness committee. Each committee meets separately and updates are given during the larger, nearly monthly, PTSA meeting. If you would like to join the PTSA, please email email@example.com.
Read here the minutes from the last meetings.
Getting ready for PreK
What to bring to school?
Bring two complete outfit changes that the kids keep in class. The kids will need a cot sheet and blanket for nap time. They have to bring it to school on Mondays and will come home with it on Friday, for laundering.
You can pack lunch and snacks for them. There is no fridge so add some cooling elements to the lunch box. Breakfast, lunch and snacks are served for free, but if your kid prefers his/her own food, pack it!
How do school meals work?
The school will serve free breakfast, lunch and snacks. Vegetarian options are available.
What’s the school uniform?
Our school uniform colors are khaki, white, brown and orange. Kids usually wear kaki bottoms/dresses and white, black or orange polos. You can now also wear blue school t-shirts every day. You can purchase them in the front office. Also the school has some that they can provide, if you can’t get it.
The School Routine
What does a typical school day look like?
A typical preschool day includes a free breakfast in the classroom, Morning Meeting, writing practice, choice of activity centers, math activities, a Special (Art, Music, PE, Spanish, Library), free lunch, recess, rest time and snack.
Morning drop off happens between 8:15 - 8:30 and pickup is 3:15 - 3:30. Classes start with a wonderful routine based on Conscious Discipline. Kids greet each other at circle time and sing their class song, then do breathing exercises to ground themselves and make a commitment, such as listening ears, gentle hands or quiet feet.
We have lots of special events. See our school calendar here.
How does pre- and after-care work?
DCPS offers after-care from 3 to 6 pm every day. Registrations started on May 1. Spots usually fill up pretty fast. It is around $90 a month for the first child and has decreasing rates for multiple kids. Find more info here.
We also have a private aftercare provider, Flex. They offer pre and after care from 7 to 8 am and from 3 to 6 pm. They also offer care on professional development days when school is closed, over February break and they have flexible and part-time drop in option. There are unlimited spots and sign-up will start over the summer.
The routine of snack, outside/gym time, inside playtime is the same for both DCPS and Flex. Read our blog about after care at Langley here.
Are there other enrichment offerings for kids?
Yes! Flex Academics will also offer interesting classes every semester like soccer, yoga, ballet, art. They usually cost around 15$ per class and run for a semester. The school and the PTSA will circulate the offerings and remind you to sign up. They are also running our summer camp this summer for the first time!
How will I get updates about the school day?
Many teachers have Instagram accounts. You can follow them as well as Principal Drumm-Canepa and Vice Principal Jennings to get photos and updates. Check in on our Tiger Tales blog for photos and stories.
The first few days...
School for Pre-K 3 and Pre-K 4 starts on Thursday, August 29th. It will be a full day with pre- and after care, if needed. The first few days and weeks really focus on getting everyone comfortable and happy in the school routine. For some families, the transition is bumpy at first as your child gets acquainted with the new faces, places and schedule. You will have had a visit from your teacher and teachers aide, prior to the first day of school. Be aware that you'll get a call from them ahead of time to schedule this and to determine a location - either your home or a public place. The visit will help your child by giving them a chance to connect with his or her teachers and it will help you communicate any special needs or concerns you may have before the big day.
How to help kids transition to the school environment?
Come to the play dates - come to several of them - the kids get to see classes, meet teachers and friends. It will make the first days easier. Some kids transition very easily. For others, it is an adjustment that comes with some tears. What helped our kids? Reading books about going to school, talking about how doing something new is both fun and hard. Rely on the preschool teachers - they are pros! All of our preschool teachers come with MANY years of experience and have seen it all. They have creative ways to solve any difficult situation.
What to do if my kid is sick?
If your kid is sick or can’t come to school, let the front office now. We will miss our Langley Tiger and want to know that they are ok. Please call or email Ms. Graham in the front office. It is important that every absence, even in preschool, is approved with a valid reason.
What about school days off & camp options?
Flex, Langley’s private after care provider, will offer camp on all professional development days and also during the February Break! Langley will be hosting a summer camp with Flex Academics for the first time this year! We are exploring with them if they can also offer spring break camp!
How can you engage and help us grow?
We are a growing school. Having an active parent community makes a huge difference. Please join the PTSA as an active member. Join a committee, get involved by doing what you know, what you love, what interests you! If you can't commit to regular volunteering, but want to pitch in on a Saturday here and there, that's great too! Get on the PTSA google group by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, and you'll hear about every chance to get involved.