Frequently Asked Questions
Several PGCPS offices have published FAQs, these include Specialty Program FAQs, Spanish Immersion FAQs and Transportation FAQs. The Phyllis E. Williams PTO FAQs incorporate some of the PGCPS FAQs, as well as other topics.
What are the school hours?
The school hours are 9:15 a.m. – 3:25 p.m. for the 2016 - 2017 school year but this could change. PGCPS has a team of staff that review transportation patterns and bell times for PEW and all the PGCPS schools. Bell times are usually announced in March or early April.
Is there school bus transportation?
Yes. Parents can arrange for school bus pick-up/drop off at the student’s home address or, under certain circumstances, another address (e.g., a licensed child care facility for before/after care.) For more information see Transportation Information for Parents, Transportation FAQs and the PEW bus route. Also contact the PGCPS Transportation Office at (301) 952 - 6570 or Transpor@pgcps.org.
How are breakfast and lunch handled at the school?
All PEW students are provided a free breakfast in the classroom. Students can bring their lunch and store it in the classroom (no refrigeration is provided for lunch from home) or purchase it. Lunch is eaten in the cafeteria.
PGCPS offers MySchoolBucks for parents to make electronic payments for meals and after school programs, monitor student cafeteria purchases, and receive email notifications for low account balances.
Is there an After School/Extended Learning Program at the school?
PGCPS has elected to operate a before and after care school program at PEW. Currently this before/after care does not offer bilingual services; all instructors/teachers are English-speaking. In addition to this program, there are offsite after school programs from other vendors. Some vendors may provide bilingual homework assistance and/or transportation. Contact the vendor(s) for more information.
What are the school clubs and organizations?
PEW’s clubs and organizations meet at designated times after school or during the school day (subject to change). Participation depends on grades and available slots.
Are school uniforms required?
Yes; light blue collared shirts, navy blue bottoms, and dark colored shoes and navy sweaters. Students may receive special permission to dress down on certain days (e.g., due to perfect attendance for a quarter, or if the student’s parent attends a PTA meeting.) Students are also allowed to wear Spirit Wear on Fridays with a uniform bottom.
How do parents know about their child’s progress throughout the school year?
Parents can schedule additional parent-teacher conferences with their child’s classroom teacher throughout the school year. Also, parents are encouraged to frequently track their child’s progress in SchoolMAX. PGCPS uses the SchoolMAX Student Information System to manage student data, including grades, attendance records, and schedules. See the “Parent Portal Information” page for more information.
How can parents stay informed of school news?
There are several ways to stay informed. If you have other ideas, share them with the school and PTA.
How do two programs – the Spanish Immersion Program and the comprehensive program – operate inside one school?
Students are enrolled in either the traditional comprehensive program, or the Spanish Immersion Program that started in 2014-2015 with kindergarten entry through lottery application. Returning students continue in the program in which they started. Currently, approximately 350 students are enrolled at Phyllis E. Williams.
The four Spanish Immersion kindergarten classrooms are in one area of the school. As the program grows, it will add one grade every year through 5th grade, and PEW will become a dedicated Spanish Immersion school. PGCPS is developing a Phase II plan to extend the Spanish Immersion Program to grades 6-12. This will require finding possible locations and developing a program with specific tasks and milestones.
How can I learn more about the Spanish Immersion Program?
The PGCPS Language Immersion Programs portal is an important resource. It includes Entrance into the Spanish Immersion Program, Spanish Immersion FAQs, Estimated Proficiency Levels, Frequently Asked Questions About Language Immersion Education, and “Parent Resources” and “Additional Resources” sections for new/updated documents, videos, apps, links, etc.
Regarding Entrance into the Spanish Immersion Program, in addition to kindergarten entry via lottery application, there is a younger sibling preference for kindergarten entry. Parents of students already enrolled can pick up a PGCPS sibling preference form for specialty programs at the school. If there are available seats for 1st grade and above, proficiency testing will be offered for interested students. For more information, contact Pupil Accounting and School Boundaries.
The Spanish Immersion FAQs include sections on Program Description, Instructional Staff, Parent Participation, and Assessment. Find additional Spanish Immersion resources on the PGCPS World Languages website.
Contact PEW’s Spanish Immersion Coordinator, Mr. Ralph Sierra, at email@example.com for Open House/Showcase dates throughout the year or to make an appointment.
PGCPS World Languages will present information at PEW’s Open Houses, Orientation, and/or Back to School Night. They also will present at the PGCPS Academic Fairs/Showcases and other venues.
Are students assessed before they start kindergarten in the Spanish Immersion program?
No. However, the kindergarten teacher uses Maryland’s Kindergarten Readiness Assessment early in the school year. It measures what your child knows and can already do. The data inform teachers and parents and supports individualized classroom instruction. For more information, go to https://maryland.kready.org/olms/R4K.
How does the teacher engage the students?
The teacher, speaking in Spanish only, will use a variety of approaches to work with the different learning styles, levels and needs of the students. Some approaches are common in language immersion programs, such as teachers using many gestures and exaggerated facial expressions. Efforts are made to keep the students engaged and to motivate positive behaviors. Phyllis E. Williams uses the Positive Behavioral & Intervention Supports (PBIS) program. The teacher assigns students individual daily behavior color codes that are recorded in the student’s agenda book and sent home for parents to review.
What’s the best way to contact my child’s teacher?
Parents may send a note to school in their child’s folder or email the teacher, who will try to respond after classes have ended the same day or next day. If the message is time-sensitive, parents also may want to contact PEW’s Spanish Immersion Coordinator.
Do the Spanish Immersion teachers move with the same students from kindergarten through 5th grade?
No. The Spanish Immersion teachers receive grade-specific training and hone grade-specific experience over a number of years. The Spanish Immersion kindergarten teachers will remain kindergarten teachers each year for the incoming classes. As the program grows, Spanish Immersion teachers for each additional grade will be hired, trained and remain as teachers at that grade level.
What is a sample schedule for Spanish Immersion kindergarteners?
7:20 a.m. Buses start arriving at school
7:45 - 8:00 a.m. Breakfast
8:00 – 10:00 a.m. Language
10:00 – 10:30 a.m. Lunch
10:30-11:15 a.m. Math
11:15-12:00 p.m. Science/Social Studies
12:00 – 12:15 p.m. Recess
12:15 – 1:30 p.m. Specials
1:30 – 2:00 p.m. Dismissal
How is technology incorporated into the Spanish Immersion Program?
The teachers have access to whiteboards, laptops and three to four desktops in each classroom. Each Phyllis E. Williams SI class has also been equipped with a class set of iPad Air devices. The children use these devices to increase the use of technology in the class and also to master previously taught skill sets.
What is homework like in the Spanish Immersion Program?
Homework packets are sent home with students on Mondays and due Fridays. The homework includes Mathematics, Spanish Language Arts, Science and Social Studies. Instructions are in English and Spanish for kindergarten through 1st grade. Starting in the 2nd grade, instructions are only in Spanish. All students receive the same homework packets. Parents who want additional homework that is tailored for their child can discuss this request with the teacher or Spanish Immersion Coordinator. The school also provides a list of Spanish words in the monthly newsletter (e.g., sight words, high frequency words, new vocabulary) that are being introduced, emphasized or included in assessments.
What can parents who don’t know Spanish do to help their child?
How can parents of enrolled students access the free Spanish reading collections presented at a PGCPS World Languages workshop?
Espanol Santillana Anthology Access
Descubre el espanol A (K) Antologias
User name: antologiaAst
Descubre el espanol B (1) Antologias
User name: antologiaBst
Santillana E Books Collection Access
If you have suggestions for additional FAQs, contact the PEW PTO at firstname.lastname@example.org.