Back to School!

Welcome Back from the PTO

The Exploris Parent Teacher Organization welcomes you to a new school year. We hope you’ll join in a few activities we have planned for this week.

  1. First Day of School Photo Album- Share your pics! Each year we put together a facebook photo album filled with all of the fun back to school pictures that parents post. Note: we do not tag parents or include student names on the photo captions.
    To share your photo, please post it in a comment on the Exploris PTO facebook page or Parent/Guardian Group, or just use our hashtag #ExplorisPTO on Facebook or Instagram. Here are our first day photos from last year.
  2. First General PTO Meeting- Wednesday, 6:30-7:30pm, on Zoom. We will send a separate email with the Zoom link, proposed budget, and agenda on Tuesday.
  3. Flower Friday! Bring flowers for your teachers on August 20 To reaffirm our Connections to Nature and to kick off the school year on the right foot, the Exploris PTO needs your help!  We are hoping for your child to bring in flowers for their teacher and/or a staff member on Friday, August 20th.  Just one or two flowers will be enough! They can be flowers picked in the backyard, found on a walk, picked at the park, bought from a store, just ask your neighbor before you pick from their yard!
    The PTO will be supplying each Exploris Teacher and Staff Member with their own vase, in hopes that by each child bringing in a different flower, the teachers will end up with a beautiful bouquet, full of color and love! 
    Let’s show our support for the entire Exploris Staff! 
  4. Popsicles in the Park- Sunday, August 22, 5:00-6:30pm at Chavis Park. Scroll down for more info. We hope all Exploris families will be able to join us outdoors on Sunday.

Welcome back letter from the Leadership Team:

Welcome, Exploris Families, to the 2021-2022 School Year

This email is chock-full of reminders and things that will make a fantastic first day for everyone! 

What should my student bring for the first day of school?

  • Masks  Please a pack backup mask, too, especially for K-2 students
  • Water bottle  (Suggestion: add your student’s name & grade to their water bottles; water bottles are our most frequently lost item!) 
  • Wear sneakers/comfortable shoes for walking & movement
  • Lunch and 2 snacks (no microwave or refrigerator available, so please make sure everything is ready-to-eat)
  • Medication and related health plan for administration
    • At the elementary school, we ask families with medications and health plans to park on the street and walk to the front office. 
    • A member of the student support team will be at the front desk to intake medication and health related information for students.

What time does school start and end? 

  • MS: Carpool starts at 7:55 and school begins at 8:15
  • ES: Carpool starts at 8:10 and school begins at 8:30
  • Both Schools: Carpool begins at 3:15 and all students should be picked up by 3:30 or sign up for the aftercare program

How does before and aftercare work? 

How does carpool work? 

Our carpool plan is designed by the City of Raleigh and with both student safety and traffic flow downtown in mind. All families must follow these regulations. 

  • Remember RIGHT TURNS ONLY.  
    • At the Middle school, approach only from Hillsborough St. heading East, and turn RIGHT onto Harrington, RIGHT into the Ugly Monkey parking lot, and RIGHT on Morgan St as you exit. 
      • Do not try to turn left onto Harrington and cut into the carpool line. This will create a big traffic jam
      • Do not try to turn left into the Ugly Monkey lot; you will be cutting in front of the line and turning across a student walk area
      • Do not turn left onto Morgan St as you leave, even if there’s no traffic.  This creates a backup for the whole line. 
      • Students should get out of their cars and get into their cars ONLY in the Ugly Monkey parking lot.  DO NOT allow students to exit the vehicle in front of the school; with the moving cars in the carpool line, this is very dangerous both for the kids and for the drivers who now try to pull out of the line. 
      • Walk ups and Walk offs are allowed!
        • Families can drop off students at a different location and they can walk up to the school
        • At the end of the school day, students can walk off campus to an agreed upon location and get picked up there. 
        • Students who leave campus should not return that afternoon
        • Special note about Morgan Street Food Hall:
          • We know this is a popular place for our students to visit after school
          • Please review with your student expectations for behavior (walking vs running, picking up trash, being aware of other customers, etc) 
          • So far our vendors at the Food Hall have been very supportive of Exploris students. We have had some past incidents though with student behavior, and we want to make sure to preserve that good relationship. The Food Hall has considered a policy of “no unaccompanied minors” and that would be a very big disappointment; please help us keep a strong community by reminding your students that being alone in the food hall is a privilege that could be revoked. 
    • At the Elementary School:
      • Please approach on Swain Street going north and turn RIGHT into the carpool lane
      • Please turn RIGHT as you leave the school
      • Please turn RIGHT onto Morgan St./New Bern at  the light
    • Please refrain from using cellphones while in carpool. We need eyes on kids!
    • For afternoon pickup, please place a piece of paper with your student(s) first name and grade-level on the windshield that is easy to read for staff.
    • In order to avoid blocking staff parking, do not enter the driveways early
    • The city requires right turns ONLY into and out of our lots on both campuses; left turns block the flow of city traffic 
    • If you arrive after carpool you must park, come into the building, and sign your student in using the School Pass Digital ID that was emailed to families.  The Digital ID will be used for early checkout as well. (We know families will need a few days to get their Schoolpass ID worked out; please sign up as soon as possible.) 

Tell me about lunch!

  • All students should bring a lunch, refillable water bottle,  and two snacks
    • Follow your grade-level requests regarding snacks
    • Limit packaging waste in lunches; we practice pack-in/pack-out which means all leftover trash and food items will come back home
    • Consider reusable utensil and food packing to help promote environmental responsibility in our students
  • For students who forget lunch or are part of our free/reduced price lunch program, lunch and snacks will be provided by the school. 
  • We regret that we don’t have facilities for students to store lunch in the refrigerator or to microwave items. Please make sure all food can be kept and eaten at room temperature
  • Please do not arrange for food deliveries from professional companies.  We do not have enough staff to be able to monitor, and we want to avoid outside adults and cars coming onto our campus. (A family member can drop off food if a student has forgotten lunch!)
  • Our whole school lunch program with Green Planet begins Sept. 8th
  • A small group is piloting our new lunch vendor
  • If your student is not part of the lunch pilot program, pack a healthy lunch daily 
  • Please see the email from our school counselors with more details

What if I need to drop off my student late or pick them up early?

  • We are using a system called Schoolpass this year
  • Please check your texts for a message with a link on how to create your account
  • Starting as early as Monday, students can be checked out with their unique Schoolpass ID
  • Schoolpass will also be used for school volunteers to sign in

What will my student’s day look like? What school supplies do they need?  How can I get more information?

  • Please check your email for a note from your specific Crew teacher
  • Email Leadership@Exploris for any other questions, or contact your building administrator

What are you doing to protect everyone from Covid?

  •  Please see The Exploris School Return to Learn Plan
  • School leadership is connected almost daily to reports and updates from the NC Department of Health and Human Services and from the NC Department of Public Instruction. As Covid spread is an ever-evolving situation, we will frequently be reviewing our protocols and updating as recommended or required. 

We will see everyone Monday morning!

The Exploris Leadership Team


We are excited to welcome you for the first time or welcome you back to school! On Friday afternoon you should have received a text or an email from our friends at SchoolPass. This year, we are working with SchoolPass to offer a new and more streamlined experience when students arrive late, need to leave early, or parents come to volunteer.
The text and email you received holds your digital ID (or Quick Pin) that you need to know in the event your student is late or you need to pick them up (or if you need to volunteer!). If you have any questions or concerns, or did not receive this communication from SchoolPass, do not hesitate to contact me. Thank you!



School Supplies

SUPPLY LISTS: Here’s the supply lists for each grade!  Bring supplies on the first day of school if possible.

The School Supply links are also included on our Back to School webpage. Please use this handy page as a reference for all things Back to School! 2021-22 Back to School Checklist – Exploris PTO

It’s time to sign up for the EXPLORIS FAMILY CARPOOL MAP! 

Each summer, Exploris PTO volunteers help families connect by posting the Exploris Family Carpool Map. Whether you need a daily carpool, occasional rides, or just want to connect with families that live near you, we hope you’ll opt-in to this map. We’ll keep it updated for about six weeks so everyone will have time to get carpools lined up.

Please fill out this form to get on the map:

Exploris School Family Carpool Map 2021-22

  • Password Protected: The Family Map and the School Directory will be posted on password protected pages on the PTO website. You will be emailed the password once your information has been added. Please do not share the passwords publicly.
  • Get on the Map! Even if you’re not sure if you will be carpooling, please fill out the form.  Your address will be on the map, making it easier to find Exploris families in your neighborhood.

The Map will be updated daily as more people fill out the form.

Feel free to email Dana and Jen at if you have any questions. Thanks!

Back to School/First Trimester Dates!

  • August 16: First Day of School
  • August 18: PTO General Meeting (on Zoom)
  • August 20: Flower Friday- bring flowers for your teachers
  • August 22: Popsicles in the Park (5-6:30pm, Chavis Park)
  • September 6 & 7: Holidays/No School (Labor Day, Rosh Hashanah)
  • September 13: Flex Day (details TBA)
  • September 16: Holiday/No School (Yom Kippur)
  • October 4-8: Fall Break/No School
  • October 22: Teacher Workday: Parent Conferences
  • November 11: Holiday/No School (Veteran’s Day)
  • November 12: Flex Day (details TBA)
  • November 19: End of Trimester 1

View the 2021-22 school calendar and Google Calendar here:

Thanks for reading the Exploris PTO blog. Please follow our website to receive emails from the PTO.

Please follow the Exploris PTO on social media, too.  We are active on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.