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  • Frequently Asked Questions

    Hyattsville Elementary School

    One Team, One Goal: Together We Make a Difference

    Frequently Asked Questions

    School Mascot & Theme

    Q: Is there a school mascot?  

    Our mascot is the lion.  Since we are continuing our focus on working together to accomplish the goal of outstanding academic achievement for all students, our theme for 2018-2019 is: One Team, One Goal:Together We Make a Difference.

    School Hours

    Q: What are the school hours?

    Student arrival is at 7:30 am and dismissal is 1:55 pm.  Instruction will begin at 7:50 am. Students must be in their classrooms and ready for instruction no later than 7:45 am.  Students who arrive between 7:46 am and 7:59 am will be marked tardy by the classroom teacher. Students arriving after 8:00 am are to report to the office to receive a pass to enter class.  The office will mark the student late, which is also recorded on the student’s attendance record.

    Uniform Policy

    Q: What is the uniform policy?

    Students are expected to be in uniform every day unless otherwise specified. Uniform is white or dark blue polo shirt, and tan shorts, pants or skirt. Navy or tan rompers are permitted by girls. Shoes should be dark blue or black and sweaters should be dark blue or white. Students cannot wear light-up shoes. Click here for the full uniform policy.   

    Breakfast & Lunch

    Q: What is the procedure for breakfast?

    Breakfast is free and is provided in the classroom every morning. Students have the option of taking a food item, milk or juice, and fruit. Breakfast ends at 7:50 AM.

    Q: What is the procedure for lunch?

    Students have a 30-minute lunch period in the cafeteria with their classmates daily. Students may bring lunch from home or purchase a hot lunch for $2.75. A menu is distributed to students at the beginning of the month and is available on the PGCPS website. Applications are available to obtain reduced-price lunches for those families who qualify. Every family should complete a lunch application.  For health safety purposes, students are not to share their lunches. Students are expected to know their lunch pins and should not share it with their peers. Families may use the MySchoolBucks website to monitor and add funds to their children's account. You may also use this link to to the Food and Nutrition Website for additional information.A menu is distributed to students at the beginning of the month and is available on the PGCPS website (also, there is a ‘Meal Viewer’ APP for phones). Applications are available to obtain reduced-price lunches for those families who qualify. It is important that EVERY family should complete a lunch application at the beginning of the school year, even if they don’t qualify for free or reduced lunchFor health safety purposes, students are not to share their lunches. Peanuts and other allergy-prone food are allowed in lunch boxes (Food and Nutrition Website). 


    Q: How do I let the school know if my child needs to be absent?

    You may contact your child’s teacher by email or Class Dojo to let him/her know about your child’s absence.  Provide a written note to the teacher upon his/her return to school. Please take note of the following excused/lawful absences:

    Lawful Absences

    All students are expected to attend school regularly in accordance with The Public Schools Laws and Bylaws of Maryland 1984.  According to Bylaw 13A.08.01.02, “Absence from school, including absence for any portion of the day, of students who are presently enrolled in public schools shall be considered lawful only under the following conditions:

    ·  death in the immediate family,

    ·  illness of the child,

    ·  health quarantine,

    ·  court summons,

    ·  hazardous weather conditions which would endanger the health or safety of the student when in transit to and from school,

    ·  work or activity approved or sponsored by the school or the local school system, or the state education agency,

    ·  observance of a religious holiday, or state emergency.

    Excessive absences will result in a referral to the Pupil Personnel Worker for further investigation.


    Children may enter the cafeteria for breakfast at 7:30 a.m.  Students are expected to be seated in their classroom and ready to learn at 7:45 a.m.  The beginning of the day is extremely important for students and teachers. When a child arrives late, the class and teacher are inconvenienced and the late student is unaware of announcements and instruction that has already been given.  In addition, arriving on time is a habit that we work to establish with all children at a young age. We urge parents to make every effort to have your child at school on time each day.  Students arriving late, after 7:45 a.m., must report with their parent/legal guardian to the office to obtain a late pass to take to their teacher.  Excessive tardies may result in a referral to the Pupil Personnel Worker for further action.

    Students late without a note have 48 hours to produce a note.  Students who are late because of school buses will not be penalized and will be provided with a late pass. Students who are late because of transportation of any type other than school buses will not be excused.  Trips, traffic and vacations are not considered excused late arrivals.


    When the child returns to school after an absence, you must send a note to the teacher explaining the reason for the child’s absence.  Teachers will review missed work when a child returns to school after an excused lawful absence. Parents should contact the teacher to obtain missed assignments.

    Students who are absent three or more days must bring in a note from their physician.  Students who are absent for reasons not stated in under daily attendance or who fail to provide an acceptable note within 48 hours, will have their absence marked as unexcused, and they may not be allowed to make up the work they missed in class.

    If a student is going to be absent from school for more than three days for medical reasons, the parent/legal guardian needs to inform the school so that arrangements can be made for make-up work.

    Student Schedules

    Q: What will my child’s schedule be each day?

    Although schedules change every day, the typical school day contains 20 minutes for recess, 30 minutes for lunch, 30-60 minutes of either Art, Music, PE, Guidance or Media, and the rest of the time is centered on academics.

    Communication with School 

    Q: What is the best way to stay updated on school activities and emergency closures?

    Hyattsville Elementary uses both email and Class Dojo app. All families should sign up for Class Dojo to receive school-wide messages or messages specific to your child’s class. Ask your child’s teacher for a class specific code.

    Q: How do I contact my child’s teacher?

    You can contact your child’s teacher by sending an email or reaching out through Class Dojo.  No calls will be transferred to classrooms during instructional hours. Please ensure that the teacher as well as the office has a valid email for school messaging purposes.

    Staff Communication Response Timeframe

    Please allow the school 24-48 hours to reply to your messages.  If you receive no reply, please call the school's main number (301-209-5800) to give your message to one of the secretaries. The message will be personally delivered the teacher.  If no contact is made after your second attempt, please contact Mr. Durkin or Mrs. Bey.

    Health Concerns

    Q: How is medication handled in the school?

    The school must have a completed medical form on file in the nurse's office before the medication is administered at school. Medication will be kept in the nurse’s office.  All students that take medication must have a form signed by the doctor with the medication instructions.

    Q. How will I be notified if my child becomes sick at school?

    The school nurse or office will notify the family should your child become ill at school.  You will be informed whether or not you need to pick your child up from school. It is important that you have a support system in place if you are unable to pick up your child.  Children should not be expected to remain at school when they are sick. Note: Your child can return to school once they are 24 hours free of fever without the help of medication.  


    Q: Is it OK to provide a snack for my child?

    Prekindergarten through first grade classes will have designated times for snacks.    

    Q: Is it OK to provide a snack for a classroom event?

    Please check with the teacher before donating a snack to a classroom. All snacks must conform to the school system’s policy of being store bought and healthy.

    Birthdays Acknowledgement

    Q:  Can my child celebrate their birthday at school?

    In an effort to preserve instructional time we will not hold birthday celebrations at school, however, you are welcome to bring for each student in the class, non-food items, in recognition of your child’s birthday.  The items must be given to the teacher in the morning and will be given to students at the end of the day to take home. We will also acknowledge students’ birthdays during morning announcements.

    Arrival, Dismissal, & Early Departure

    Q: What are the arrival procedures for school?

    In the morning you will be directed to proceed up 43RD Avenue and make a left turn into the alley at the end of the school building.  A staff member will greet you at the end of the alley.

    The school has limited parking.  The curb in front of the school is marked for emergency vehicles only, as indicated by the yellow curb.  The parking across from the school is designated as community parking only. St. Jerome’s does have some available parking for a limited amount of time.

    Q: How do I pick-up my child in the afternoon?

    Students in 1st - 5th grades are dismissed from the playground.  Parents are asked to receive their child from the playground.  It is very important that you have made the classroom teacher aware that you have received your child before leaving the playground.  When picking your child up by car, please do not stop at the playground gate.  Take a moment to park your car and walk to pick-up your child.  

    Kindergarten children will be dismissed to the parent at the two Kindergarten classroom doors below the ramp to the playground.  Again, please be sure your child’s teacher is aware that you have received your child.

    Pre-K children will be dismissed from the main entrance

    Again, parking is limited along 43rd Avenue. Should you pull to the curb careful attention must be made when pulling back onto 43rd Avenue.  Again, please be sure your child’s teacher is aware that you have received your child.

    Q: What if I need to take my child out of school early?

    For early departures, parents should come to the main office. At that time, the child will be called to the office so he/she can be signed out. No student will be called to the office until the parent is present. Photo ID is required. No early departures are granted after 1:30 p.m.  There is lots of movement in classrooms during the final minutes of the day and we do not want to distract teachers from monitoring the safety of the entire class.

    Changes in School Hours

    Q: How will I be informed of school closures and early departures?


    Decisions about school closures are made by the superintendent of Prince George’s County Public Schools.

    • Closures are announced on the school system's website at and on the local news.

    • You can go to the following site to sign up to receive text message alerts from the system’s communication offices.

    • Messages informing families of any changes to school hours will also be sent via Class Dojo.  It is most imperative that you sign up for Class Dojo this school year. We want to make sure that we stay connected.

    Be sure to make plans in advance for your child’s care in case schools are dismissed early.  You could possibly be away from your home at the time an emergency occurs. Make decisions now, before the emergency, so that your child will know where to go when you are not home. Child Care providers should be made aware of any changes as well.  If your emergency/early dismissal plan for your child changes, please be certain to notify the school of the change immediately.

    Early Release / Half Day

    At times during the school year, the students may have a half day of school.  At Hyattsville Elementary, this means that dismissal will begin at 10:50 a.m. Parents are expected to make appropriate arrangements for children as no provision exists for children to be cared for at school.


    Q: What are the procedures for school visits?

    Visitors (including parents) to Hyattsville Elementary School must enter through the main entrance (front doors) only and report to the main office immediately upon entering the building.

    Visitors must show a valid, government issued ID, sign in, and obtain a pass before proceeding throughout the building.  This pass must remain visible at all times. Visitors should not go to the classrooms without an appointment set by the teacher or administration.  Please be mindful that instruction is our business and is sacred to our school. Upon leaving the school, all visitors must report to the office and sign out.

    If a court has ordered restrictions against any persons regarding visitations with your child, please provide the office with copies of the court orders.

    If you bring something for your child during the day, you may be asked to leave it at the main office.

    Q: Will I be able to visit my child’s classroom during the day?

    Classroom visits provide parents with an opportunity to observe the great things happening within the classrooms and to view their child in his or her daily setting.  Parents are welcome to observe

    their child’s class any time except when classes are undergoing testing or formal observations. Visits are for specified time periods of 30 -45 minutes unless otherwise agreed upon by the teacher.

    There may be times when the teacher or an administrator may ask you to visit for the entire day.

    It is vital that you make an appointment with the teacher or administrator in order to eliminate interruptions to instruction and/or classroom schedules, and to ensure safety.

    Click below for additional information:,-Volunteers-and-One-time-event-volunteer--Requirements/



    Volunteering is a great way to support your school! New HES families are encouraged to begin the clearance process as soon as possible, in order to volunteer at the school including chaperones for fall field trips.

    How can I volunteer at Hyattsville Elementary?

    There are many different opportunities! If you are interested in volunteering at the school, please contact the Family Engagement Assistant, Ms. Blanca Ellis, at

    Q: What are the requirements for volunteering at the school?

    According to PGCPS policy, all Volunteers, Field trip Chaperones, Mentors, Interns and Tutors are required to do two things:

    Get fingerprint clearance by PGCPS. There is a fee for the fingerprint clearance, but if your child receives free or reduced lunch, this fee can be waived. This only needs to be done once during your student’s


    Take the online Safety Training program*.  This video series will train you on school related issues.  These assigned courses must be completed before you can volunteer or participate in school field trips, the online Safety Training must be done yearly. (add link)



    Q:  What type of assessments will my child participate in?

    Your child may participate in state, local, and classroom based assessments.  Based on your child’s grade level, they may need to participate in all three. Some examples of state assessments are Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), Maryland Integrated Science Assessment (MISA), and WIDA: Access for ELL’s 2.0.  Some examples of local assessments are NWEA’s Measures of Academic Progress (MAP), and Houghton Mifflin’s Math Inventory (MI). Finally, teachers will create classroom assessments to determine students’ understanding of the standards.

    Q:  What times of year will my child participate in assessments?

    Students participate in classroom based assessments throughout the year.

    WIDA: Access for ELL’s 2.0 takes place in January and February MISA takes place in March, and PARCC takes place in April and May.  

    Q: What if I suspect that my child has a disability?

    If you suspect that your child has a disability, you may request a meeting or phone call with one of the Resource Teachers, Joyce Brooks-Kelley ( or Cathy Berry ( You may also call the school's main number to leave a message for one of them.