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Armstrong Elementary School

PTA » PTA New Family Handbook

PTA New Family Handbook

John S. Armstrong Elementary School

New Family Handbook


John S. Armstrong Elementary School

3600 Cornell Avenue

Dallas, Texas 75205



on Facebook @ Armstrong Eagles PTA




Principal:                                           Dr. Skip Moran



Administrative Assistants:                        Maxine Nelson

Heather Turner



Guidance Counselor:                      Barbara Clinton




School Nurse:                                   Kim Oliver




Mascot:                                              Eagle in Flight

                                                            (Goldie the Eagle)



School Colors:                                  Green and Gold



HPISD Administration:                 7105 Westchester Drive




School Hours:                                  Kindergarten                       8:00am-2:30pm*


                                                            1st & 2nd grades          8:00am-3:00pm*


                                                            3rd & 4th grades         8:00am-3:15pm*


                                                             *First bell rings at 7:50a.m.;

   Tardy bell rings at 8:00a.m.



Welcome to Armstrong!!!


On behalf of the PTA New Families Committee, we would like to welcome you to Armstrong Elementary.  We are so glad you’re here!!  A new school can be a challenging experience not only for the student, but also for the entire family.  It is our hope that this handbook will provide you with helpful information and answers to many questions not addressed in other publications.


Please do not hesitate to reach out to our committee members or to your Room Parents for answers to any questions not provided herein.  We are happy to do anything we can to help make Armstrong a great experience for your family!





Brandy Grayson  678.409.7426

Mother of 1st and 4th grade students


Shannon Taylor  214.335.1448

Mother of a 3rd grade student


Carol Ann Zelley  214.668.0503

Mother of 1st and 3rd grade students






















The ABCs of Armstrong……………………………………………………………………5-10                                                        



Groups and Associations at Armstrong…………………………………………….11-12




Events at Armstrong………………………………………………………………………13-15




Parent Volunteer Opportunities………………………………………………………16-18




HPISD 2013-2014 Calendar………………………………………………………………..19




Armstrong PTA Roster………………………………………………………………….20-24




School Map…………………………………………………………………………………….…25















The PTA publishes the Armstrong Directory with class rosters, lists of families, a school calendar, lists of faculty and staff, volunteer worker schedules, and policies and procedures specific to Armstrong.  The directories are distributed in the early fall to each family that purchases one or more during Back to School Sign-Up (BSSU).  Copies are $10 each and may later be purchased from the Eagle Store.  A smartphone directory app will be available in the Fall to all those who purchased Armstrong directories during BSSU.  If you don’t have a smartphone, consider purchasing an extra directory for your car!





The front office electronically publishes a weekly newsletter called The Eagle News, which is sent each Monday by email.  It contains information relating to school events as well as extracurricular activities, reminders of volunteer opportunities, and news about Armstrong families.  Please contact the school office to place items in the newsletter.  Take time to read the Eagle News so you will stay informed on what’s happening at Armstrong and in the community. 





The Park Cities YMCA located at 6000 Preston Road offers sports and social programs to the youth of our community.   Many students participate in YMCA sports during their school years.   Soccer and baseball are offered in all grades, including Kindergarten.  Basketball, volleyball, and football are offered in the upper elementary grades.  Other programs include track, swimming, gymnastics, karate, and ballet.  YMCA Guides and Indian Princess groups are offered for Kindergarten, first, and second grade boys and girls and their fathers.  Armstrong physical education teachers also have information on sports programs offered through the YMCA.  In addition, the YMCA has a full-scale fitness facility and offers fitness classes for adults.  Please contact the Park Cities YMCA for additional information at 214.526.7293.  You may also visit them at www.pcymca.org.




For general health and wellness policies, please refer to the Class Schedules/Attendance section of the Student Handbook at http://armstrong.hpisd.org or contact the school office at 214-780-3100.





For general health and wellness policies, please refer to the Special Programs and Services/Health Services section of the Student Handbook at http://armstrong.hpisd.org or contact the school nurse at 214-780-3120.




Armstrong parents must complete Back to School Sign-Up (BSSU).  BSSU will include enrollment information and invoices for school supplies, joining the PTA, purchasing a school directory and birthday book, as well as opportunities for charitable contributions related to the school and district.  Parents will also have the opportunity to volunteer for service in various capacities at Armstrong.  Registration is held in August prior to the start of school.  The help desk (214-780-4040) will be available from 9am-4pm every weekday during BSSU.  Check your mail for a bright pink envelope containing your individual online password to be used during BSSU.  The website for Highland Park ISD is www.hpisd.org.





This program is designed to enable the school to add books to the Armstrong Library.  A check for $20 will purchase a new book for the library as a gift from your child that he/she selects during his/her birthday month.  Children with summer birthdays have the opportunity to gift their birthday books to the library during the spring.  Sign-up forms for Birthday Books are included in Back to School Sign-Up (BSSU) and throughout the year by contacting the librarian, Lori Riley. 





The Armstrong cafeteria serves delicious, well-balanced meals daily.  Students in Kindergarten and First grades have a choice of set menus for hot or cold lunch to choose from each day; students in Second, Third, and Fourth grades have greater autonomy in making their lunch selections.  Classes are allotted 30 minutes for lunchtime.  Your teacher can provide you with your student’s designated lunchtime, or you can find that information in the school directory.  Parents are welcome to eat lunch with their child any day.


The Armstrong PTA operates and staffs the cafeteria with volunteer cashiers and servers each day.  The success of our cafeteria depends upon our volunteers—our wonderful Armstrong parents and even some grandparents!  Volunteering in the cafeteria is a wonderful way to get to know other parents as well as the students in your child’s class.  For information on volunteering, please refer to page 16 under Parent Volunteer Opportunities/Cafeteria.


A daily menu and price list can be found on the Armstrong website at http://armstrong.hpisd.org.  It is published twice yearly and is sent home in the Friday Folder both during the first week of school and after the winter holiday break. 


The Armstrong cafeteria uses the DINE RITE debit system for purchasing food.  This automated system allows parents to set up a prepaid account for their child/children’s lunch purchases.  Additional information regarding enrollment and payment procedures are discussed in detail in the ARMSTRONG STUDENT HANDBOOK located on the Armstrong Elementary website at http://armstrong.hpisd.org.




Carpool locations and specific procedures for student drop-off and pick-up are of the utmost importance.  Please refer to the Armstrong Student Handbook’s section addressing Daily Schedule/Carpool for detailed guidelines at http://armstrong.hpisd.org.





HPISD has a public access television station, Channel 16, which is available on the Park Cities cable television system.  Information about school events and community activities is broadcast 24 hours a day.




Carpool locations and specific procedures for student drop-off and pick-up are of the utmost importance.  Please refer to the Armstrong Student Handbook’s section addressing Class Schedules/Dismissal for detailed guidelines at http://armstrong.hpisd.org.





Please refer to the Student Behavior Expectations/Dress Code section of the Student Handbook at http://armstrong.hpisd.org.




The PTA sells Armstrong spirit items, such as T-shirts, shorts, and hats, featuring the Armstrong logo.  These items are available in the Eagle Store, located on the first floor by the school nurse’s office.  The Eagle Store is open on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 7:50-8:00a.m.  Your child will enjoy wearing his/her Armstrong Spirit Items on designated Armstrong Outreach/Spirit Days!



Please refer to the Armstrong’s Eagle News section of this handbook for an explanation of the weekly eBLAST.




Each Friday, your child will bring home a green Friday Folder with important Armstrong and/or school district information as well as correspondence and parent communication from the classroom teacher.  We encourage you to look through this carefully each weekend.  Most information will be sent home with only one child in the family—typically the eldest—when several children from the same family attend Armstrong.  This promotes utilizing our resources wisely as well as helping parents with “paper clutter.”   All bulletins or flyers for community-wide distribution must have the approval of the district prior to distribution.  All campus communication sent in the Friday Folder must have Principal approval. 




The TAG program serves gifted students in accordance with state mandates.  Students meeting district-developed criteria, including standardized test results, are invited to participate in this program.  Students participating in the program spend some time out of their regular classroom with the TAG teacher and class.  Information about the TAG program is distributed in the Fall.  Testing occurs in the Spring semester.  Parents must submit an application for their child(ren) to be tested by the December deadline.  The Fall information session is the best place to learn more information about TAG.  Please contact the TAG coordinator for any additional questions. 




The JumpStart program is a regular education program offered for students who need extra support and practice in literacy skills.  Participation begins with teacher referral based on educational need.  Students must meet eligibility criteria and receive parental permission prior to placement.  Services will be provided after all requirements for participation are met. 




The Armstrong Media Center is available to students through classroom visits, as well as before and after school, from 7:50 a.m. to 3:45 p.m.  The Media Center serves as both a traditional library and technology center.  Kindergarten students may check out one book at a time.  First through fourth grade students may check out two books at a time. Books are due after one week.  Parents may also check out books for their children (or themselves!).  Students are reminded through notices in their Friday Folder if they have overdue books.   The library is not open for visits from parents and siblings until after the instructional day.




The Memory Book is a yearbook with all of the student class pictures, as well as candid shots taken throughout the year.  The book is published at the end of each school year. Order forms for the Memory Book are available during BSSU.





The following local newspapers often carry news about Armstrong activities: Park Cities People, the Park Cities News, and the NeighborsGo section of The Dallas Morning News. 





On select Friday nights during the school year, Armstrong teachers offer a Parent’s Night Out, held in the school gymnasium.  The price is $40 for the first child and $30 for each additional child.  Hours are 5:30 pm to 11:00 pm.  Students may come in late, but parents must pick up either before 11pm or right on time.  Drop-off is usually at the outside gym door (St. John’s door) and pick up is at the auditorium (Cornell Door). Pizza, either cheese or pepperoni, is served with a drink; a snack is served before movie time around 9 pm.  The students have a wonderful time.  PNO is always popular, so it is necessary to act quickly to reserve your spot!  PNO flyers are sent home in the Friday Folders and a reminder is posted on the doors to the Armstrong main entrance.





School supplies will be available for online purchase during BSSU.  If you arrive after the start of the school year, supplies will be provided for your child for a fee.




Daisies, Brownies, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, and Boy Scouts all have active troops at our school.  For more information, please contact the school’s main office for the scouting coordinator contacts.



Special education and related services are specifically designed instructional services mandated by the state to support students with disabilities within the general curriculum.  The intent of the support services is to enable all students with disabilities to make progress in the general curriculum, to participate in extracurricular and nonacademic activities, and to be educated and participate with peers in the public school system.  See http://armstrongspecialeducation.weebly.com for more information. 




A newly revised and updated Student Handbook for Armstrong Elementary is available at both http://armstrong.hpisd.org and in the front office.  The Student Handbook provides a comprehensive guide to policies and procedures for the parents and students of Armstrong Elementary.                                                             




































The Armstrong PTA meets several times during the school year.  Please check the school calendar for dates and times.  Meetings are held in the Armstrong Auditorium, beginning at 8:15 a.m.  All parents are invited to attend these meetings.  PTA involvement is a great way to meet other parents and to learn more about Armstrong.  

We urge you to join the PTA.  Membership will be offered during Back to School Sign-Up (BSSU).  It is $35.00 for the year.

Armstrong’s PTA operates both the Cafeteria and the Eagle Store in cooperation with Highland Park Independent School District (HPISD).  The PTA also supplies volunteers to the Teacher Workroom and the Library/Media Center, the Bicycle Rodeo, Field Day, the School Carnival, and the annual Armstrong Auction.  This unique involvement is evidence of the strong tradition of parent participation at Armstrong and throughout the entire school district.  PTA information is distributed through the weekly Armstrong eBLAST and on the PTA Facebook page.  Contact Meredith Mabus, PTA President 2013-2014, for questions or additional information.




The Armstrong-Bradfield Preschool Association (ABPA) welcomes into its membership all parents living in the Armstrong and Bradfield school districts who have children Kindergarten age and younger.  This group focuses on presenting programs that promote training in parenthood and family living and on the healthy development of preschool-aged children.  They accomplish their mission by providing quality speakers at general meetings, children’s parties in the fall and spring, playgroups, social functions for parents, community service projects, and a December fundraiser “Homes for the Holidays” that benefits both the Armstrong and Bradfield schools.


This group provides many opportunities for parents of preschoolers to get to know other parents and their families.  Nursery care is available for meetings.  For more information on membership, please see www.armstrongbradfield.com. 




Armstrong has a Park Cities Asian-American Families club.  The mission of this group is to make our growing population of Asian-American students feel welcome to our school, as well as to demonstrate to our non-Asian students the rich traditions of Asian-Americans.  For more information, please contact this year’s President, Kunthear Mam-Douglas, at 469-233-4482.  You can also join their Yahoo Group at pcaaf@yahoo.com.


The 2013-2014 Armstrong Dad’s Club holds scheduled meetings during the school year, hosts activities for both students and Dads, handles special projects and school events, helps with fundraising, and works with our Principal, Dr. Moran, and the PTA to support instructional and school-wide enhancements. 

The Armstrong Dad’s Club is an important part of your child’s Armstrong experience and provides an avenue for Dads to become more involved in their child’s development.  Your participation makes Armstrong Elementary a better campus.  Some of the projects and events the Dad’s Club have participated in and supported in the past include: the new playground fundraiser; the redevelopment of the Armstrong athletic fields and common area; the Lunch commons and eating area design, funding, and development; Special classroom projects and technology applications for teachers; Snow-cones for the children on the first and last days of school; Dad’s Club greeter program for the morning car pool lane; Special grounds and outdoors projects; Carnival set-up and break-down; Special guests and speakers; The Armstrong Auction; Bike Rodeo; Cafeteria Duty; Teacher Appreciation; Dr. Seuss Reading Week.

The Dad’s Club plays a vital role within the school.  Its primary focus is giving Dads an opportunity to be involved.  We hope that Armstrong dads can find time to participate. Below are some of the events planned for this year.  Please add these events to your calendar accordingly.  If you did not become a member during BSSU, you may sign up in  the school office or directly contact Mario Santander, the Dad’s Club President for 2013-2014.  Please refer to the PTA Roster in this handbook for contact information.

2013-2014 Dad’s Club Calendar:

·         Monday August 26, 2013 – Dad’s Club serves Snow Cones after school

·         Thursday September 5, 2013 – 1st Dad’s Club mtg. - Meet the Highland Park Scots Football team

·         Thursday September 19, 2013 – Dads’ Spirit Party for Auction – Details TBA

·         Monday October 7, 2013 – Park Cities Dad’s Club Golf Tournament – Dallas Country Club

·         Friday October 11, 2013 – Bike Rodeo, Armstrong

·         Thursday October 17, 2013 – Special guest  - Dr. Dawson Orr, Superintendent HPISD - 7:15am

·         Friday October 4, 2013– Armstrong Preview Party

·         Saturday November 2, 2013 – Armstrong Auction – The Hilton Anatole Hotel

·         Sunday February 9 – Armstrong Father-Daughter Valentine Tea 2:00pm – Holiday Inn Park Cities

·         February 24 to February 28 – Dr. Seuss Reading Week – Dads read your favorite Dr. Seuss book

·         Saturday April 12th – Armstrong Carnival

·         Friday May 30th – Last Day of School – Dad’s Club serves Snow Cones at 2pm 




The Armstrong PTA is committed to engaging our children in caring for the greater community in which they live.  The Armstrong Family Day of Service will take place on Saturday, May 3, 2014.  Spirit attire is the appropriate attire for the Family Day of






New this year, Armstrong is gearing up for 4 designated days of community service: September 27th (Armstrong GIVES), November 22nd (Armstrong SERVES), January 31st (Armstrong LOVES), and March 28th (Armstrong SHARES).  Look for more information on the weekly eBLAST and in the Friday Folders.  Spirit attire is the appropriate attire for Armstrong Outreach Days.  See SPIRIT DAYS.



Two of the most talked about and highly anticipated events of every Armstrong school year are the annual Armstrong Preview Party and Silent Auction.  This year’s Auction is scheduled for Saturday, November 2nd, 2013.  The auction, Armstrong’s largest fundraiser of the year, is a themed, adults-only gala that provides parents with the opportunity to give back to the school and to get to know other Armstrong families in a social setting.  The auction is kicked-off by an Auction Preview Party that will be held on October 4th, 2013.  Items to bid on include luxurious trips, sports items and tickets, gift certificates to fabulous Dallas restaurants and shopping venues, and most importantly, custom-made class gifts and the coveted Teacher’s Gifts of Time.  All proceeds from these events off-set the Texas State Legislature’s Robin Hood Bill in order to help our school maintain its level of excellence.  These are two events you will not want to miss. 


The Bicycle Rodeo takes place Friday, October 11th in conjunction with Safety Week.  Children in all grades participate by riding their bikes or scooters and learning safety techniques.  The rodeo is geared toward building children’s confidence and teaching them to make good decisions while riding through the neighborhood streets.




Sales from the annual fall Book Fair benefit the Armstrong Library.  Books are for sale before and during school, and children also have the opportunity to attend the Book Fair with their classes.  The Book Fair provides a great opportunity for students to purchase and “gift” books in their name to their classroom teachers.  You are also encouraged to visit the Book Fair with your child on family night!


The Armstrong Carnival is another major and FUN fundraising project for the school.  It is scheduled to be held on April 12,2013 on the school grounds.  The carnival features games, prizes, concessions, entertainment, and raffles.  Carnival Admission Tickets are sold in advance and also on the day of the Carnival.  Raffle tickets are sold in advance to the students both at school and through the Friday Folder.  The Carnival is always an exciting, kid-friendly, family event. 


Winter Holiday and Valentine’s Day class parties are held before winter vacation and on or near Valentine’s Day.  Room Parents and other class volunteers help with these events.  To volunteer, contact your Room Parent or ask your child’s teacher for additional information.


Field Day is a spring event when the students compete in fun and easy relays.  At Armstrong, it is traditionally held on the last day of school.  Classrooms within each grade compete, and all of the students are involved.  Many parents come to assist and cheer on their children.  Contact the PTA Field Day Coordinators to sign up to help or let your Room Parent know you are interested.



One of Armstrong’s most valued traditions is Grandfriend’s Day.  Grandparents and special guests of our students are invited to enjoy a morning or afternoon with their grandchildren at Armstrong.  Each grade and class will be assigned a specific time for  visits on this special day.  This year’s event will be held on March 21st, 2014.  Valet parking is provided.  Additional information will be provided in the Armstrong eBLAST and Friday Folders.





Armstrong’s annual Harvest Picnic takes place the Friday before the Thanksgiving holiday.  Parents are invited to lunch with their students on the school grounds.  Detailed information will be sent home via Friday Folders and will also be available through the weekly eBLAST prior to the event.  Armstrong families and friends never miss an opportunity to celebrate just how thankful we are for our wonderful school!






Curriculum Night is a night no parent will want to miss.  This parent-only night allows you to meet your child’s teacher, receive valuable information on curriculum, classroom and grade level expectations, and upcoming class events.  This is the first opportunity parents will have to sign-up for important classroom and school-wide events.  Curriculum Night will be held on September 12th, 2013.




This event is a family event!  At the Spring Open House, your child will have the opportunity to show you the special work that they have done during the school year.  It is followed by a catered family picnic dinner.  This year’s Spring Open House will be March 6th, 2013.


*Look for information on both of these events in your child’s Friday Folders and via the weekly eBLAST.




Armstrong 3rd and 4th grade students can participate in our school’s Science Fair, which is held in January.  Students can partner with a classmate or submit an individual project.  Informational packets will be distributed to all 3rd and 4th grade students several weeks prior to the event.




For the 2013-2014 school year, there will be 4 designated Spirit Days that will coordinate with and promote outreach and giving.  On designated Spirit Days, students are encouraged to wear Armstrong attire and/or school colors and show their school spirit.   This year’s Spirit Days will be held on September 27th  (Armstrong GIVES), November 22nd  (Armstrong SERVES), January 31st  (Armstrong LOVES), and March 28th  (Armstrong SHARES).  See ARMSTRONG OUTREACH.



Parent volunteers are essential to Armstrong and help maintain our level of excellence.  There are many ways to become involved for the benefit of our school and children.  If you have a special interest or talent and are able to help, please contact any PTA Board member.  We always welcome new ideas and value our parents’ input and involvement!  To volunteer or to obtain additional information on any of the following opportunities for service, please visit the volunteer website at http://armstrongpta.org or refer to the PTA Roster of this handbook for the names and contact information of the specific committee chairs.





Servers—Servers staff the cafeteria from 10:45 to 12:45.  The servers do not prepare the food, but serve portions from stations along the serving line or snack bar.  Servers volunteer for a set day/days of the month for cafeteria serving positions (1st Monday or 3rd Friday, for example).


Cashiers—The Cashiers total the cost of a student’s meal and take payment at the end of the line.  This job has become very simple with the automated “Dine-Rite” system.  Cashiers are also responsible for preparing the daily deposit at the end of their shift.  Like servers, cashiers volunteer for a set day/days of the month for cafeteria cashier positions.




There is a large committee for this event.  Jobs range from set-up and take-down, to decorating, working the booths, selling tickets, and cleaning up at the end of the day.  In addition, there are committees for T-shirts, publicity, games, and prizes.  The Carnival is a fun way to get to know other parents and to enjoy family time with your children. Carnival shifts will be posted on the PTA website in early March.




Eagle Store volunteers are responsible for selling Spirit Items to students at designated times and dates both prior to the start of the school day at the Armstrong Eagle Store and at special Armstrong events.  This year’s Eagle Store hours will be on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 7:50-8:00am.






Volunteers are needed to work field games, serve refreshments, lead teams, and monitor events.  The Field Day Chairpersons recruit these volunteers in the spring.  The event lasts either throughout the morning or throughout the afternoon, depending on the grade level.  Field Day is held on the last day of school.




Volunteers are needed to help collect and tally order packets for their child's classroom for this annual giftwrap and merchandise sale in September.  This commitment is a concentrated effort for a few days over a two- to three-week period. 




Volunteers help students check books in/out, reshelve returned books, and assist the Librarian with various other duties.  Volunteer shifts are two hours in duration.  The Library Chairs make every effort to coordinate your day/time slot to correspond with the days that your child’s class visits the library




The Memory Book Chairperson will compile the yearbook, which is distributed during the last week of school.  If you snap any great pictures of Armstrong students at different events, please submit them to the Memory Book Chair.




This committee is responsible for welcoming new families to our school throughout the year.  A fall coffee is held shortly after school begins to welcome all new families.   A spring coffee is held to welcome new families who arrive after the start of the school year.  Dr. Moran and the PTA President attend these gatherings to welcome and to share important information about Armstrong with our new parents.




Room Parents organize class parties and distribute important PTA and classroom information throughout the year via email.  Serving as a Room Parent is a great opportunity to get to know your child’s classmates, their parents, and your child’s teacher.   Sign-up to be a Room Parent online during BSSU or at the Eagle’s Nest Party on August 22nd, 2013.


This committee plans monthly treats and luncheons throughout the school year to express our gratitude to and show our appreciation for our teachers.  This volunteer position offers an avenue to become acquainted with the teachers and staff at Armstrong.




These volunteers work a morning or afternoon two-hour shift, one day per month in the Teacher Workroom, which is located on the second floor of the school building.  Duties include helping the teachers with cutting, copying, laminating, and other various tasks.  This opportunity provides volunteers with an avenue to become acquainted with the Armstrong teachers; because of the flexibility of the hours, it is also a good service option for working parents.