Back to school, back to virtual instruction: What’s new and what’s a familiar old friend?

Welcome to Oak Forest Elementary! For some of you, this is your first year with our amazing school and everything feels strange. Don’t worry, even the fifth grade parents feel a little off this year. The good news is that you are part of an awesome school with dedicated leadership, teachers, staffers, PTA members and volunteers! We are grateful to have such a vibrant community and thankful for each member!


Many things are going to be new and different this year and that makes it even more thrilling than usual! Start getting your kids excited about having their own OFE outpost at home – they’ll be logging in and seeing their teachers and friends before you know it!

Here’s what’s new this year:

  • School starts virtually on Sept. 8.

  • Meet the teacher is virtual this year and starts the week of August 24th.

  • OFE will be distributing school supplies and classroom learning supplies–everything you will need for virtual learning, minus the teacher!! The PTA will also have item pick up on these days to limit the number of trips you need to make to school.

    • These will be distributed along the drive by the multipurpose room on 43rd. Please place a large-print sign with your child’s name and grade on your dashboard. If you have multiple children, you are welcome to choose one time to pick up all supplies.

    • Even if you didn’t order school supplies, please plan to pick up all the other learning materials that will be distributed. Everyone at school is working hard to set your kids up for success and these packets will help them be ready to go on Sept. 8.

    • If you are expecting to pick up PTA items that were ordered: Bobcat Store items, Membership swag or New Parent signs for incoming students, you will exit the back drive and pull into the front lot at Oak Forest and 43rd along the wave. PTA stations will be available for pick up.

    • Pick up days are as follows:

      • K-2 7:30-9:30 am and 5-6:30 pm on Tuesday, Sept. 1.

      • 3-5 7:30-9:30 am and 5-6:30 pm on Wednesday, Sept. 2.

      • If you miss your allotted time, there will be one more opportunity on Thursday, Sept. 3, from 7:30-9:30 am.

      • If these days don’t work, ask a friend to pick up supplies for you. There will be an opportunity to pick up after school begins, but you really want these supplies in hand on Sept. 8.

    • If you requested technology, you will be contacted separately.

    • If you have any questions, please email Angela Pennington at

Here are the usual eight things you should do before Sept. 8:

    • Check out the Oak Forest Elementary School website and the OFE PTA website.

      • While lots will be posted to Living Tree and our school PTA Facebook page (more about that later), you will want to familiarize yourself with both sites as they will be where you will find lots of information throughout the school year.

  • Join Living Tree

    • Please accept your Living Tree invitation to join our prime source of communication with teachers and administration.

    • If you have any questions about Living Tree, please email Helen Canales at

  • Join the OFE PTA Facebook Group

  • It’s school supply time!

  • Join the PTA!

    • We have an amazing and supportive PTA and we know you want to be a part of it, so become a member of our PTA today!!!

    • There are several membership levels to choose from with “Star” and above offering a number of spirit items like the popular car magnet. “Super Star” and above offer premium spirit items like the OFE RTIC Tumbler. This year we are adding a new spirit item – a flag pennant!

    • Membership spirit items will be distributed during the curbside pickup during the first week of September, so make sure to join before then.

    • Join online today at:

  • Sign up for VIPS!

      • The HISD VIPS (Volunteers In Public Schools) program is now accepting NEW and Returning Volunteer Applications for the upcoming school year. You must be VIPS approved to volunteer for school activities and approval must be renewed each school year.

    • Complete the orientation at: Once finished, print and save your certification, then follow the directions to the Raptor site to submit your application for a background check. You will quickly receive a confirmation email and then a VIPS approval email within 3-5 days.

    • Reach out to with any questions.

  • Remember OFE’s core values EMPOWER

      • Oak Forest Elementary is guided by core values that EMPOWER our students and families. As we get ready for a school year like no other, let’s remind ourselves and our students that if we put in Effort, we will be rewarded.

    • This month, snap a picture of you and your students putting some effort into getting ready for school, whether that means setting up a new virtual learning environment at home (we’ve named ours the OFE Taylor Outpost), donating old uniforms or simply setting up your school supplies, and send it to and you may be featured in an upcoming newsletter.

    • As a reminder, our school’s core values are:

      • Effort

      • Motivation

      • Perseverance

      • Ownership

      • Wisdom

      • Empathy

      • Respect

  • Bonus: Get your OFE 2019-2020 yearbook!

    • Limited quantities of the OFE 2019-2020 yearbook are still available! Make sure you have yours ordered before they sell out!

    • Visit to order your yearbook or to confirm that your order was received.

That’s all folks!

Geez, that list looks long, but I promise it can all be done pretty quickly. (This promise comes from a parent with a second grader and a fifth grader who used writing this article as her personal to do list)


Most of all, get excited for this school year! It’s one we will always remember and will go by faster than we can imagine!


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