Principal's Monthly Newsletter

Dear Students and Families,

What an exciting time for everyone as we start another school year! All of us at Swift River Elementary School are ready and waiting for students to walk through our doors. We also look forward to welcoming our parents who continue to volunteer their time throughout the year to make our school a place that embraces education and cares for the well-being of our students, which I am so proud of.

As we continue to grow as an educational community, I would like to continue to keep the lines of communication open. Please don’t hesitate to call, email or access our school website for information that can assist you. We will continue to do our very best to make our school a safe environment in which students can reach their academic potential.

Technological advances in our school over the past two years have increased resources within every classroom. It allows opportunities for teachers to integrate lessons in many content areas to engage students with current real world applications. This blended learning model is allowing for creative cross ciricular work in many of the grade levels.  Our list continues to grow with the use of iPad’s, classroom mini labs, interactive projectors, Apple TV’s, document cameras and our new computer keyboard lab in the library. New this year, we are adding eight chrome books in each of the third grade classrooms. The technology expansion will give our upper grade the ability to use the google environment with individualized usernames and passwords that will follow them through 12th grade. All of these advances will expose every student to the technologies being used in our world to engage and create a path to career readiness.

One of our main initiatives identified in our school improvement plan is the focus on writing. We are continuing to grow a positive culture with the goal that students will see themselves as good writers as they venture through many genres throughout the school year. We see writing as one of the most important areas of child development that will support their individual reading skills and building word knowledge. As educators we know that writing and reading are complementary skills that support one another, like two sides of the same coin.

Our Peace Builders program continues to focus our attention on our social and emotional development necessary to promote respect and good citizenship. We will continue our student climate surveys throughout the school year to recognize students feeling safe so we may address and support the students every day. We will pause at certain points within the school year and revisit our Peace Builders initiative through Peace Rallies, Swift River Day, monthly family projects connected to the six principles of our peacebuilder’s pledge and class lessons that provide social growth.

New this year, we are introducing a unified arts enrichment program that will be implemented by our Specialist teachers that offer creative opportunities for our second and third grade students. More information will be forth comming in mid-September. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to call us.

Last year we changed the procedure and wanted to remind all families and supply new families with the student pickup procedure. The parent pick up will be in the back of the building using the exterior door to get to the C side cafeteria to sign out your child. Please refer to the main page of our Swift River Elementary website for more details.

  • Our drop off procedure is still at the front of the school each morning beginning at 8:15AM. School will begin at 8:45AM each day.

Lastly, I want to mention what a great community we have here in Belchertown. Swift River Elementary School has always been supported by many parents volunteering their time and energy to make this a special place as well as our Parent Teacher Organization that has always supported our needs while creating fun activities such as movie night, arts and crafts evenings and many other wonderful planned activities too numerous to mention. If you are interested in attending a PTO meeting and getting involved please visit their website at for more information.

As I begin my 11th year as principal of Swift River Elementary School, I consider it an honor to work with children every day and educate them to their fullest potential. It is with great pride that I lead a building of amazing educators who are professionally current and committed to the ultimate task of success for every student.


Robert Kuhn, Principal


Absentee Call-In Line

     When your child is going to be absent from school, please call the Absentee call-In-Line at 323-0455. When you call this number, you will be expected to give your name, your child’s name, and the reason your child will be absent or tardy that day. You may access this number twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week. Your cooperation is very much appreciated.  

Arrival Procedure

     The following guidelines are in place for the safety of children and to reduce traffic congestion in front of the school, especially during high traffic hours.

  • All vehicles will drop off children at the main entrance to the school.  Children will exit the vehicle on the passenger side so that they step safely onto the sidewalk.


  • Children may exit the vehicle at any point within the drop-off zone designated by the orange traffic cones. You do not have to wait until your vehicle is in front of the door. We need to move vehicles through the drop-off zone as quickly as possible.
  • Last minute details such as giving out lunch money or giving children instructions should be done prior to getting in the vehicle drop-off line.
  • Once your child has exited the vehicle stay in line and proceed out the drive.   Assigned personnel are on duty to receive your child starting at 8:15 AM.
  • Parents/guardians who need to come into the school for any reason should park in the visitor parking area, not within the drop-off zone or fire lane.

It is very important that students not arrive before 8:15 AM. Personnel will not be on duty to supervise prior to that time. It is very important that we establish safe guidelines and expectations so we can ensure safety for all students. I appreciate your thoughtfulness in this area.

Dismissal Procedures

     For your child's safety, please remember to send a note to your child's teacher with the time of dismissal and identify who will be picking up your child.  We receive a high volume of calls near the end of the day changing pick up plans.  We understand, due to emergencies, that plans may change, however, please make every effort to send a note with your child. When picking up your child, it is imperative that you come into the school's office and sign your child out in the appropriate dismissal book/log.  Remember, your child's safety is our primary concern!


     If you are picking your child up at the end of the day, please wait in the C-Side Cafeteria for your child.  The back doors will be opened at 2:55 PM.  Please proceed directly to the C-Side Cafeteria and wait there for your child.  Children are dismissed at 2:55 PM from their classrooms.  Parents are not allowed to go directly to the classrooms to pick up their children.



We are a PeaceBuilders School


     This is a positive approach in developing school culture, with six essential principles for developing a peaceful environment.  All teachers and support staff have been trained in the PeaceBuilders program.


Success for Every Student Every Day