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First Day of School for 2019 - 2020

Pre-Kindergarten Families

Dear Pre-Kindergarten Parents and Caregivers:

In our effort to meet your needs and encourage ongoing communication, we have established the following orientation procedure at the Ralph Bunche School. Our goal is to create an active partnership in this exciting and demanding endeavor—the education of your child.

We follow a graduated schedule for the first two days of school. We begin with 1-hour session on Thursday, September 5, the first group (A to L) will be from 8:45am – 9:45am and the second group (M to Z) will be from 10:00am – 11:00am. On Friday, September 6 the entire class will be in for a shortened session for 2 hours and 30 minutes. On Monday, September 9 the entire class be in for a full-day session (8:15am – 2:35pm.) We require adult attendance with each child in all our classes on the first days of school.

Orientation is divided into several parts. The educational and administrative components occur on the first day of school. A 1-hour orientation with parent/caregiver and child will be held first, in the classroom. The purpose of this session is to provide teachers, children, and parent/caregivers with an opportunity to meet with one another in a small group setting. The teachers will also use this time to cover important information related to the pre-kindergarten experience in general and to your child’s needs in particular.

Parents/caregivers and children will then speak with the Parent Coordinator for further orientation. You can expect this portion to last 10 to 15 minutes at most. Here you will receive and sign for a Parent Handbook, and make any changes or corrections to your personal information (such as emergency contacts or telephone numbers). At this time, you should submit any missing papers (medical forms, parent/caregiver participation forms, child photos, and so on) to the administrative staff. Your attendance at this session is required in order to meet school requirements.

The third part of the orientation is a parents’/caregivers’ session scheduled for September 12 (4pm – 7pm) in a pre-kindergarten classroom. This meeting, conducted by the Principal, will provide you with an opportunity to socialize with other parents/caregivers and learn about our policies (such as health and safety issues) that are instituted as safeguards for the well-being of your child. We will also review sections of the Parent Handbook. Most important, parents will have an opportunity to have questions answered. These informal sessions are not mandatory but are encouraged.

We look forward to a wonderful school year.

Best regards,

Reginald Higgins, Principal

Kindergarten Families

Dear Kindergarten Parents and Caregivers:

Your child has reached an important milestone. On Thursday, September 5, 2019, he or she will start kindergarten at the Ralph Bunche School—P.S.125. Please note that September 5th is a half-day for kindergarten students. They will be dismissed at 11:30am from the classroom. Their first full day will be on Friday, September 6, 2019. Our regular school day begins at 8:15am and ends at 2:35pm. It is an exciting experience, and it should be a very enjoyable one if a few simple suggestions are followed.

1. Try to bring your child to the school playground a day or two before school opens. Explore the playground area. As you will see from this visit, we have an exceptionally attractive and well-equipped playground. It is likely to appeal to your child.

2. In discussing the start of school with your child, be positive. Tell him or her how much fun school can be. Your child will almost surely like kindergarten—especially if you present it in an enthusiastic way.

3. When your child first enters the school building, it can be a rather traumatic time for both of you. Try to stay calm and cheerful. Say goodbye with a smile. Remember, this is an adventure for your child, a fascinating beginning.

We believe that your child’s first day of kindergarten will be an enjoyable one. We intend to do everything in our power to make sure that it is. Our kindergarten teachers are looking forward with great enthusiasm to September 5th. It is a day we are sure you will look back on with fond memories.

Best regards,

Reginald Higgins, Principal

For All Families

Dear Parent/Caregiver,

P.S. 125—The Ralph Bunche School continues to look for ways to ensure the security and welfare of our students and staff. As part of this practice, we will be implementing a new access control system at the Ralph Bunche Campus.

As of September 5, 2019, P.S. 125—The Ralph Bunche School can no longer use a school entrance pass to gain access to the building. As part of this practice families are expected to present an identification card at the School Safety Agent’s desk. This policy applies to students in pre-kindergarten through 5th grade and to all co-located schools on the campus. All prior color-coded school entrances provided to parents/caregivers are now invalid.

We appreciate all of your support and patience as we embark on our new school year and finetune our arrival and dismissal procedures. All parents/caregivers dropping off/picking up students will need to go to the accessible entrance [located behind the school near the P.S. 125 Life Garden] from 8:00a.m. – 8:30a.m. and 2:15p.m. – 2:30p.m. where their identification will be reviewed by school staff. After 8:30a.m. and 2:30p.m. parents/caregivers will be required to gain access to the building through the main entrance. Parents/caregivers will not be allowed access at any other location and must stop by the main office to be given permission to enter any classroom.

We need your help and cooperation for our system to work effectively. Our school staff are handling multiple tasks and although they will work diligently to help you gain access into the building as quickly as possible, there may be a short delay until someone can verify your identification and allow access. Please help by having your identification ready, identifying yourself and providing your child’s name.

We ask for your patience as we all get acquainted with this new system and remember that we have your child’s best interest at heart.

As always, please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.


Reginald Higgins


Arrival, Dismissal and Pick-up

Arrival to School 

Time to Arrive

     -  7:45 a.m. if a student WILL be eating breakfast at school. Go directly to the basement cafeteria at 7:45 a.m. Student will enter through the main entrance at the School Safety Desk. No students will be permitted entrance before 7:45 a.m.

     -  8:00 a.m. if student will NOT be eating breakfast at school. Walk through P.S. 125 Life Space Garden (area behind school) to the accessible entrance.

Method of Travel:

     -  Walking to school

       * Use sidewalk from Amsterdam and Morningside Avenues

       * Use crosswalk with crossing guards at the avenues

    -  Riding bicycle or scooter to school – P.S. 125 The Ralph Bunche School assumes no liability for bicycle or scooters that are damaged or stolen while on school property.

     -  Riding a bus – buses will unload behind the school. Students will be sent to breakfast or to line up.

Dismissal and Pick-up 

Dismissal Time:

     - 2:35 p.m. on Mondays - Fridays

REMEMBER – 2nd – 5th grade students are supervised until 2:45 p.m. in the school yard. Students not picked up by 2:45 p.m. must be checked out from the main office.

Change in Method of Travel Home:

     - Send a note or call the office prior to 2:15 p.m. if your student needs to go home by a different way or will be picked up by a different person.

     - Without notification by a parent/caregiver, all students will be sent home via their usual way. We will not accept the verbal consent from a student that you authorized them to leave.

Arrival and Dismissal Expectations

GOAL: Students will arrive and depart in a safe and orderly manner.

Arrival Expectations 

     - For the safety of all, students are not to be on school grounds before 7:45 a.m. unless they are eating breakfast.

     - No one is allowed to play in front of the school building or on the construction scaffolding.

     - Students arriving to school after 8:15 a.m. will be marked late. 

     - Scooters, roller blades, skate boards or skate shoes cannot be used on school grounds. Items must be hand-carried upon arrival on school grounds. Students will receive one warning if they use these items on school grounds. Upon the second infraction of this rule, the item will be held for parent/caregiver-only pick up. 

     - Parents/caregivers who wish to escort their children to their classes before 8:00a.m. need to stop by the front office and pick up a visitor's pass.

Breakfast Students 

     - Breakfast is served in the basement cafeteria from 7:45 a.m. to 8:10 a.m. Students who walk or are parent/caregiver drop-offs should try to arrive on school grounds at 7:45 a.m. through 8:10 a.m. for breakfast service. Bus students are scheduled for breakfast from 7:45 a.m. to 8:10 a.m. 

     - Students eating breakfast will go directly to the basement cafeteria and follow cafeteria guidelines. 

     - Use a LEVEL 2 VOICE while in the cafeteria.

Bus Arrival 

     - Students will unload from buses in a safe and orderly manner. Students will walk with the staff supervisor either to the basement cafeteria for breakfast or to the line-up area.

At 8:15 a.m. – PK – 1st Grade Students

     - Parents/caregivers will drop off students directly in the classrooms.

     - Students need to keep their bodies and personal belongings to themselves.

     - All items brought from home, including show & tell type items, will be kept in their backpacks.

At 8:15 a.m. – 2nd – 5th Grade Students

     - Students will wait in the designated line up area outside on the large school yard. A place is designated for each classroom. They will use respectful LEVEL 2 VOICES and appropriate language.

     - Students need to keep their bodies and personal belongings to themselves.

     - All items brought from home, including show & tell type items, will be kept in their backpacks.

     - Teachers will escort students to the classroom after the 8:15 a.m.. 

Dismissal Expectations

After School - Bus Riders 
    - Students will go directly from class to the bus loading area. They will not wait around classrooms and/or visit with friends. 

    - Bus riders will wait calmly keeping their bodies and personal belongings to themselves. 

    - Bus riders will use LEVEL 2 VOICES. 

    - Students will refrain from taking or giving cuts in line.

After School - Walkers  

     - Walkers will go directly home or to their parent/caregiver-approved meeting destination. 

     - Students are supervised from 2:35 – 2:45 p.m. for parent/caregiver pick-up.