Message From Principal Hetrick

Dear Families,

Welcome to Pony Express, Home of the SMART Panther.  Together, we will create a year of excellence for our children as we focus on academics and building culture and family engagement. We will create a school where safety, respect, accountability, support and excellence are highly evident! In creating a culture of college readiness, we continue to build shared understandings about what this means and ways parents and teachers can work together to ensure that every SMART Panther is college and career ready.


Our school day begins at 9:00AM every day. Please be sure to have your child/children here on time. Students who are consistently tardy are at a clear disadvantage and usually arrive feeling frantic and unprepared. All students who arrive after 9:00am must sign in at the office with a parent. If your child is sick please report the absence by 10:00am by calling the office at 916-433-5350. 

If you drop your child off by car please remember not to U-Turn in the street as it presents a danger to children, parents and other drivers. Please use the crosswalk if you walk your student to school.  Parents when running late try to dart across the street to save some time.  This creates an unsafe situation and does not reinforce safety for our students. 

The front entrance will open at 8:45 am. Dismissal time 3:00 PM.  Please DO NOT send your students to school before 8:45AM unless they eat school breakfast. These students should be here no earlier than 8:30.


School lunches will be served starting the first day of school. Students who were approved for a free or reduced lunch last year will remain eligible for the first month of school until new applications are completed. New applications must be submitted for the new school year. Menus, prepayments, and other pertinent lunch information can be accessed on line. More information will be sent home on the first day of school.  Pre-payments can be made in at the counter where breakfast is served or on-line.


Our programs each year are exciting and structured to ensure that all our kids continue to receive a well-rounded, rigorous and challenging education. Our standards and expectations remain high! As always, our number one goal is providing our students with a quality educational experience in a safe, caring and nurturing environment. All our instructors are fully credentialed while professional development and collaborative opportunities are built into our yearly schedule. Our curricular program is aligned to the Common Core Standards.   

Our school-wide goals for each student is to:

  • Maintain at least 96% attendance (that’s fewer than 7 absences per year);
  • Complete at least 90% of assigned homework; and
  • Achieve 80% or higher in subject mastery in each content area


Teacher/classroom requests are seriously considered at Pony. Once your child has been placed in a classroom they will remain there for the remainder of the year unless barring extenuating circumstances. We have two combination classes this year. Combination classes are designed due to enrollment fluctuations and all students selected for these classrooms are selected randomly. All our instructors are highly qualified and prepared to teach both standard and combination classes. If you should have questions please check in with your child’s teacher regarding their program or send me an email.


Because it is so important that teachers and parents work together in making a child’s school year a happy and successful one, it is hoped that you will be able to spend some time during the school year helping in the classroom or at home. Please discuss with your child’s teacher, ways that will work within your schedule. Home/School partnership is the reason Pony Express continues to excel academically.


We strongly encourage all of our families to join our Parent Teacher Association (PTA), led by our new PTA President, Andrea Delgado. The goal of PTA is always to provide additional supports and activities to students through school-wide events, assemblies, and field trips.  Fundraising is paramount to make this successful and we hope you will help support our efforts. When a fundraising event occur, please consider helping on distributions days.  Also, with the afterschool events such as the Harvest Festival, we will need many volunteers.

As always, I am privileged to have the opportunity to return this school year as your Principal.  I feel honored to work with our highly qualified and dedicated staff, our wonderful students, and all of the supportive parents. . I am a lifelong educator who brings a firm commitment to students and families as well as a love of learning. The elementary years are critical times of development for students and families and I look forward to working with all of you to make this school year a success

Debra Hetrick

Principal, Pony Express Elementary School