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Back to School Basics 2016-2017

August 5, 2016

The PTA has put together a webpage with just about everything you need to know to prepare for the new school year all in one place, including:

  • Pre-K/K staggered start schedule
  • After school for Pre-Ks
  • Before/After school registration
  • The *New* bell schedule: what it is and how to prepare for it
  • Procedures for carpool line, walkers and bus riders
  • Teacher assignments
  • School supplies
  • Important dates
  • Specials (PE/Music/Art)
  • FAQs for Pre-K students

Please see Back to School Basics to start preparing for a great year!

Carpool Line Procedures

August 5, 2016

It is very important that you exhibit patience anytime you are in the carpool lane. Safety comes first!  Please be courteous and follow the instructions of our crossing guard.  Our crossing guard is representing the Durham Police Department (DPD) and implementing rules and guidelines instilled through many hours of training with the DPD.  As per NC State law, motorists must obey signals from school crossing guards (Statute 20-114.1a) and our guard is required to report any infractions to his/her supervisor at the DPD.

Due to safety concerns, with the high volume of traffic on Urban Ave., No left turns are permitted when exiting the carpool lane.  Please make a right out of the carpool lane.

Drivers should enter Urban Ave. from Buchanan, ONLY. Drivers are encouraged not to enter Urban Ave. from Watts St, in front of Watts Baptist Church.  Drivers on Urban Ave. will have priority to proceed.  Any drivers on the church side of Watts may proceed to the carpool lane when there are no more cars on Urban Ave.

For the safety of our children, parents and guardians are not permitted to drive on Watts St in front of the school, going either direction.   New DPS policy requires school buses to have their lights on and their stop arms extended while parked in front of schools during drop-off and pick-up times. 

Passing a stopped school bus is a Class 1 misdemeanor. If convicted, a person will receive five driving points on their driver’s license and is subject to a minimum fine of $500.

Please remember to only enter the Watts-Urban intersection when there is enough space to clear the crosswalk.  Blocking an intersection or crosswalk and obstructing the passage of other vehicles or pedestrians is an infraction and subject to fines up to $100 in accordance with G.S. 20-176.

Please DO NOT park or turn around in the Watts Baptist Church parking lot across the street, on Urban Ave.  This is the church parking lot and they respectfully request it not be used by George Watts Montessori.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Principal Patti Crum.  Call, email, or come by the office between 8 am and 3 pm (, 919.560.3947).

Below are links to the Spanish version of this information as well as a map to help with where to park and where not to park.

Spanish Version

Drop off and Pick Up Maps


After School for Pre-Ks

August 1, 2016

A couple of parents have asked about after school for Pre-K. Here’s what we know:

  • After school for Pre-K starts Friday, September 2nd.
  • Space is limited, but there’s still room
  • Parents should inform their teacher on the first day of school if their child is in after school.
  • Forms to register for after school are online here:



The First Week of School: Staggered Starts

July 28, 2016


George Watts uses a staggered start for Pre-K & Kindergarten students during the first week of school to help ease the transition. Here’s how it will work for the 2016-2017 school year:

Monday, August 29th: Full day of school (7:45a-2:15p)
Tuesday, August 30th: Full day of school (7:45a-2:15p)
Wednesday, August 31st: No school
Thursday, September 1st: No school
Friday, September 2nd: Full day of school (7:45a-2:15p)

Monday, August 29th: No school
Tuesday, August 30th: No school
Wednesday, August 31st: Half day of school (7:45a-11:00a)
(there will be no lunch or transportation on half days)
Thursday, September 1st: Half day of school (7:45a-11:00a)
(there will be no lunch or transportation on half days)
Friday, September 2nd: Full day of school (7:45a-2:15p)

Please contact the school at 919-560-3947 if you have any questions.

For more important school year dates, see the George Watts Calendar:

Playground construction to begin!

July 28, 2016


  • Start date:  We are told construction will begin on Monday, August 1!!   We had hoped that construction would start earlier in the summer, however, complications for a project of this size and complexity are not unusual.  It took longer than expected to work through the site plan approval process and other final details with the city .  The contractor, Eastern Earthscapes and Construction, will work to get as much done as possible before school starts on August 29.
  • Project scope:  We will still be getting a new play/soccer field, half-court basketball court and rain gardens.  DPS will also be paving part of the walking trail.  This will occur in two phases.  The first phase will be the grading, paving and other construction elements, and should take about a month to complete.  Phase 2 is mostly plantings, and will be done in the fall. The fossil dig and embankment slide, while still in the plan, will occur in Phase 3, which we hope will follow soon after Phase 2 is complete.  We anticipate the fossil dig will be installed by PTA volunteers.  If we encounter unforeseen costs, we may have to delay the embankment slide until we raise more funds. The bulk of the work in the first two phases is being dictated by city stormwater rules and our stormwater grants, and we have been required to put in more piping, swales, soil amendments and plantings than originally planned.  These elements cost money and have to take priority.  All of this means that we currently don’t have funding for the hard-surface “outdoor classroom” space that we had planned near the playground entrance, or the walkway along the parking lot to Dacian Ave. These elements are part of the original plan and we will continue to explore how and when to complete them.
  • Access to the playground:   When the work begins, the playground will be closed for the rest of the summer.  As the work progresses, we will work with the school, DPS, and the contractor to figure out whether and how the playground can be used for recess once school begins.  Safety is the first priority. We do know that the play/soccer field will need to be fenced off for some time while the new grass takes root.  The short-term inconvenience will pay off in the long-term, and we ask for everyone’s patience  (Stay tuned to the listserv for an updated location for the August 7 PTA play date).
  • Fundraising: We are continuing to raise funds for this project through grants and donations.  All ideas, leads and offers of support are most welcomed!
  • We are grateful for all the help DPS, landscape architect Katherine Gill and Chris Dreps, with the Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association, have provided to get us to this point. We will be in touch soon with concrete ways you can help with this project. If you have any questions in the meantime, please contact Sarah Musser ( or Annie Ambrose (
  • As construction begins we will post photos and updates…stay tuned!

DPS Bus Presentation at May PTA Meeting

May 10, 2016

Thank you to DPS Transportation Director Marlon Watson for speaking to us about the upcoming bell schedule changes at our PTA meeting on May 9.  Please click here for a copy of his presentation:  Bell Schedule Impacts – 2016-2017

Mr. Watson also informed us that:

  • Parents who have questions or concerns about bus transportation at any time should call 919-560-BUSS (2877)
  • Parents can track their child’s bus using the Here Comes the Bus app. Click here for more information:

Carnival and Silent Auction Success!

May 10, 2016

Thank you to all the students, parents, teachers, staff, volunteers, donors and sponsors for making our two spring fundraising events tremendously successful this year!

Together with our fall Annual Fund, the Carnival and Silent Auction are the primary source of funds for the George Watts PTA, which supports the school financially in efforts such as the writers’ workshops, classroom and Montessori supplies, field trips, grounds work, the edible garden and literacy projects.


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