Guide for New Families

Download a PDF version (organized alphabetically)

Lincoln Options Elementary

Alphabetical Guide for New Families

Welcome to Lincoln Options! We’re thrilled that your family is now part of our vibrant community.

As your first year with us unfolds, we know you and your child will have a lot of questions. Prior to the start of the school year, you will receive The Lincoln Handbook, a document from the Lincoln Office titled “Daily Details,” and other documents that contain in-depth information. Throughout the year, you will be receiving more detailed communication from your child’s teacher, the staff, and the Options Community Council. This guide is intended to give you an overview of the school’s operations and the events that make Lincoln special. Think of it as a quick-reference guide to use throughout your first year at the school.

The Lincoln community includes families of many sizes and configurations. Throughout this document, we use the term “parent” for ease and consistency in communication. We know that there are guardians, grandparents, and others who are the care providers for students at our school. When you see “parent,” please know that all families are welcome and encouraged to participate in the Lincoln community!

We’re looking forward to getting to know you and your child!


If your child will be absent for any reason please leave a message on the attendance line (360)596-6403. You may notify your child’s teacher if you wish, but you must also notify the office and identify the reason for the absence in order for us to excuse the absence. Students who are sick with a fever or vomiting/diarrhea must be symptom free, without medication, for 24 hours prior to returning to school.


Lincoln is a peanut-free school. This applies to all food that is brought into the building. If your child has a life threatening allergy or other life threatening health condition the nurse will work with you to set up an emergency action plan. Please notify the nurse and your child’s teacher of any allergies.


School begins at 8:40. Classrooms are open 5 minutes before school begins. Please refrain from earlier drop offs as teachers are preparing for the day and are not able to supervise students. If your student arrives after 8:40, they will have been marked absent in the classroom and need to be signed in at the office so we can rectify their attendance.


On most Friday mornings at 9 am, the Lincoln community gathers in the gymnasium for assembly focusing on kindness, learning, and celebration. Classes and individual students often perform. The Community Band is another vibrant part of assembly, leading students in songs that celebrate the Earth and our unique community. Assembly is always open to (and well attended by) families. Join in when you can!

Back-to-School Potlucks

During the last week of summer break, each class has a back-to-school potluck so students and their families can meet their teacher, connect with new classmates and their families, and re-connect with old friends. At the class potlucks, each family has an informal picture taken to put up on the wall inside the school. If you miss the potluck, you can always bring in a family picture to add to the board!


There are separate student and adult bathrooms on each floor. Adults are not allowed in the kids’ bathrooms. There are gender-neutral bathrooms located on the first and third floors. These are single-stall bathrooms and may be used by adults or students. Please pack an extra set of clothes for your kindergarten student! At the beginning of the year, when students are adjusting to new routines, bathroom accidents are frequent.

Before- and After-School Care

The YMCA offers for-pay, ongoing care on the Lincoln premises before and after school. It is not a drop-in service. You can sign your child up for Y-Care any time through the South Sound YMCA website. Many sites do fill up quickly, so you are encouraged to register over the summer. For more information, call the South Sound YMCA at (360)753-6576.


Due to the number and variety of food allergies in our student community, we do not celebrate birthdays with treats brought from home. Please talk to your child’s teacher about how birthdays are celebrated in their classroom.

Buddy Classes

Each child at Lincoln is assigned an older or younger buddy from a buddy classroom. Older and younger buddies sit together at assembly and may have reading time or other activities together. Buddies are meant to foster connections between age groups, give new or younger students a friendly face to turn to, and give older students an opportunity to act as helpers.

Bus Service

There are two bus routes that serve Lincoln students. One route transports children that live within the Lincoln service area and one is the “Options Bus” which picks up and drops off at Madison, Roosevelt and Garfield. You can visit the OSD transportation webpage for bus route information. For questions, call the OSD Transportation Department at (360)596-7700. Their office closes at 2:00 during summer months. Buses run at the dismissal time on both early release days and half days.

Camp Elderberry

Near the end of the school year the entire Lincoln community gathers for an all-day field trip we call Camp Elderberry. This takes place at Panhandle Lake in Shelton on a Friday, typically in late May or early June. The camp is about a 45-minute drive from the school.
The kids are assigned several activities during the day, focusing on crafts and outdoor play. The day concludes with a giant potluck dinner and the fifth grade graduation ceremony. Activities run through 4:00 after which families leave whenever they see fit. Many families choose to stay overnight in tents, campers, or in the camp’s open-air cabins.
We hope you’re able to make arrangements early in the school year to take the day off and join the community for this day of fun and open air, creative play!

Class Meetings

Each teacher schedules a class meeting toward the beginning of the year to give families detailed information about the daily routine and a big picture for the coming year; expectations and responsibilities for students, families and teachers; volunteer opportunities and expectations; and much more. Students are not part of the meetings so childcare is provided. This is your best and earliest opportunity to get a sense of what the school year will hold, and to make connections with your new classroom community and your child’s teacher.

Classroom help

Adults can sign up to volunteer in the classroom to assist teachers with projects and instruction. Help may include simple tasks such as sharpening pencils and making copies, or more in-depth help such as working one-on-one with a student or assisting with an all-class project. There are a variety of tasks you can assist with if you’re not available during school hours, such as shopping for supplies or making phone calls to other families to remind them of an event.


Communication is the cornerstone of any successful school experience, and also one of the most challenging. Classrooms publish weekly newsletters, most of these are distributed electronically. These newsletters give information about upcoming events in the classroom and the schoolwide community, highlight current areas of learning and student work.

We also have a monthly school-wide newsletter called the Opus, which is also sent in electronic form. Other communications may come home in “backpack mail”. It is helpful to get into the habit of asking your student if they brought home any papers each day.
Please be sure the office has accurate email addresses on file for your family.


Teacher conferences occur in the Fall and Spring. Tuesdays through Fridays of conference week days are half days.
Conferences are a chance to work with your child and the teacher to set goals and check on progress. Children attend the conference with their family and the conversation is focused on goals articulated between your child and the teacher. Conferences are approximately 20 minutes long. If you need private conferences to discuss your child’s development, schedule them individually with your child’s teacher.


The dismissal time on a regular, full-day of school is 3:02. We also have Early Release days and Half Days. Early Release dismissal time is 12:25 and Half Day dismissal time is 11:45. At the beginning of the year we will provide you with a one-page list of all the dates with a dismissal that varies from the regular 3:02 time. This information is also available on our online calendar which can be found on the school’s website.

Early Release Days

Lincoln has approximately eleven Friday Early Release days to allow time for teacher collaboration. We do not observe the Wednesday district-wide Early Release days . The dismissal time is 12:25. Volunteers organize supervised activities for children that need care until 3:02 on early release afternoons. A permission slip is sent home prior to each Early Release day with a list of activities and suggested payment amount. Since this program cannot accommodate Lincoln’s entire student population, this service is intended only for families who need it.

End of Day Plans

Your teacher may ask you to indicate your end-of-day plan, including where they go after school and/or who is picking them up. Names of all adults who may pick up your child must be on file in the office. If you need to add someone’s name as a one-time or occasional pick-up person please notify the office in writing and inform the person picking up your child that they will need to check-in at the office and show photo ID when they arrive.
Please notify the office of any change to your student’s end of day plan as early as possible. It can be challenging to get information to students late in the school day.

Family Access

Family Access gives you online access to your student’s records, allowing you to monitor daily attendance records, lunch account information, report cards, and student/family profile information. This is an easy way to make sure we have updated phone, address, emergency contact information, etc. Please make sure that we have accurate email address information on file for your family so we can link you in with Family Access. Once you have established your account, you can login here.

Field Trips

Our students go on field trips throughout the year. Teachers rely heavily on volunteers to assist with children during field trips. It’s a fun way to connect with your child and their classmates! Sign up to drive children to a site or walk with the class to nearby neighborhood. You may learn something about salmon or Washington State history, too! The district volunteer clearance (online) and a volunteer driver form (available in the office) must be completed prior to driving students.


The Lincoln garden is a cornerstone of the Lincoln community. It takes many hands to make it successful. Every classroom spends time out in the garden as part of our science curriculum and with parent volunteers. Volunteer opportunities include weekend garden projects, helping kids plant, weed, or harvest during class time, assisting with the plant sale, or summer caretaking. The OCC Garden Committee is very active in organizing garden projects and volunteer opportunities. You can be a garden representative for your classroom, or you can request to be added to their email group so you get notifications of different opportunities.

Half Days

The half day dismissal time is 11:45. No lunch is served on half days, but a “grab and go” lunch can be requested in advance. There are no early release activities on half days.

Harvest Festival

Each year the Lincoln community celebrates the harvest of our own garden and the bounty of the season in a morning event on an early-release Friday in the fall. All students gather for an assembly and are then released to participate in outdoor activities and crafts such as cider pressing, woodworking, mud pie construction, doll making, and hay jumping.

Kindergarteners should have an adult present to help them navigate the activities. It’s great fun but also very busy. Teachers do their best to make sure all kids feel prepared for this exciting event but it can be easy for younger kids to feel overwhelmed. If you can’t be there, please arrange for another family to take your child under their wing for the event.

A highlight is the Harvest Festival meal, prepared by our kids and using ingredients straight from the Lincoln garden! Kids eat with their families. Serving everyone can be tricky, so be patient with long lines or beat the lines by eating as soon as the kitchen opens.


Students at Lincoln have a choice to bring lunch from home or to purchase a lunch from the cafeteria. Breakfast is also available for purchase. Breakfast is served from 8:10-8:40.

You can make payments for school lunch in the office or online through the Family Access. If the account balance is negative, you will receive a phone call and email from the school district notifying you of the status of the account.

Free and reduced lunches are also available. We will send home the application to every student at the beginning of the year and the application is available in the office year-round.

During lunch, your child uses a designated lunch card with their name on it to pay for lunch. Sometimes children decide to purchase a lunch from the cafeteria even if they have a packed lunch from home. If you need help with this, you may have their card removed so they are not able to purchase lunch without a note giving permission. Work with Brenda Young, cafeteria services, to manage this or any other meal-related concerns.

Students have approximately 25 minutes for lunch, so packed lunches should be simple to open and quick to eat. There is no way to re-heat food. Youngers have snack time in the morning and in the afternoon. In some classes, families provide snacks for their children individually. In others, families sign up to provide snacks for the whole class once or twice during the year.


If medication is needed for your child, including over-the-counter medications and topical creams, it must be given to the nurse to administer along with an Authorization to Administer Medications Form signed by you and your healthcare giver. Check with the office to obtain the proper form. Students are not allowed to take medications themselves or carry them with them or in a backpack unless authorized by a healthcare professional.

Nurse’s Office

Lincoln Elementary has a district nurse who rotates through several schools, so a nurse is not on site every day. Wendy Trevorrow, Annie Maclay and the paraeducators are able to provide basic nursing services for your child if needed. This includes care for minor cuts, administering medication, taking your child’s temperature, and addressing minor discomfort or pain.

Options Community Council (OCC)

The Options Community Council is a not-for-profit organization comprised of family members, teacher representatives and a community representative. The organization’s purpose is to support educational opportunities for children in the Lincoln community such as the garden, Spanish program, Camp Elderberry, and funds for teachers to use for classroom enrichment. Each classroom has a volunteer representative on the OCC in addition to several officer positions. This is a great way to be involved in our community in a deep and meaningful way if you have availability in the evening. Meetings are on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month from 6:30-8:30.

Program Fund

Fundraising efforts by Lincoln families provide funds for classroom expenses, field trips and programs such as the Lincoln garden, the Spanish program, and a day in nature at Camp Elderberry. The Options program limits fundraising to two distinct efforts, the Program Fund Drive and the Spring Fling. This keeps families from having to participate in multiple, small sales throughout the year – at Lincoln you will not be asked to sell wrapping paper or candy bars.

In the fall, Lincoln families are asked to make a one-time contribution to the school to help us meet our annual budget. With online giving options, you can also choose to give a small amount per month, either for the 10 months of the school year, or year-round.
Rather than a fixed dollar amount, our goal is 100% participation from Lincoln families. Any amount is appreciated. Please consider giving at a level that is feasible and meaningful for your family.


There are three recesses every day for Lincoln students. During recess, the students have several options, which include going outside, to the library, or (during morning recess only) to the cafeteria for Art Cart. Special curriculum/events such as Samba, Choir, Orchestra for fourth and fifth graders, and Band for fifth graders are also available to the students if they choose to participate. Students are encouraged to go outside during at least one recess, so be sure that your child is dressed appropriately for all kinds of weather.

The playground is divided into “zones” with a paraeducator assigned to each zone to monitor children. The paraeducators’ primary role is to ensure safety and to keep their eyes and ears open for unsafe situations or behaviors. During the first week of school, the paraeducators visit each classroom and introduce themselves so your child will know who they can go to for help if they are hurt or in trouble.

Safety and Preparedness

All classrooms practice safety drills throughout the year, including safe practice exiting the building. The school is equipped with emergency supplies including snacks, water, blankets, and first aid supplies. The school also has an emergency operations plan that can be viewed on the district website.

Sign In/Sign Out

If your child arrives after 8:40 or leaves before 3:02 they need to be signed in/out at the office. There are purple attendance sheets at the front desk.

Spring Fling

The Spring Fling is an evening event held off-campus which includes food, drinks, conviviality and a live and silent auction. We ask that every family do something to help make this event happen! What can you do? Join the committee that pulls together details throughout the year. Contact your favorite coffee shop or boutique to ask for a contribution. Contribute an item you’ve made. Donate an experience, such as an evening at your house with a Moroccan meal or breakdancing lessons. Bake a dessert for the dessert dash. Volunteer in one of many ways at the event and attend for free! Invite your friends and neighbors – it’s a wonderful celebration of our community and our commitment to helping it thrive!

Theme Night

Each year Lincoln has a school-wide theme that teachers weave into their lesson plans. Starting sometime after Winter Break, students begin work on a project based on this theme. Each classroom’s projects explore the theme from a slightly different angle. Your child’s teacher will send home information about any work that need to be completed at home. On Theme Night the whole Lincoln community comes together to celebrate with an assembly, classroom gatherings, presentations, and project viewing. For a portion of the evening, all the classrooms are open so anyone can walk through and admire the students’ hard work.


Lincoln is based on a vibrant culture of family participation and volunteering. There is a wide variety of opportunities to participate in the educational process, from direct interactions in the classroom to support with special projects and events. Families are encouraged to volunteer four hours each month. Lincoln has developed a handbook of guidelines titled “Volunteers in the Classroom” that provides a complete outline of volunteer opportunities. A copy is available in the office. All volunteers MUST complete a Volunteer Application and be cleared before working with students (this can be done online through the district website.)  This process is required annually.