Dear Primary Center Families,
It is my honor and pleasure to welcome you to the 2023-2024 School Year! I am thrilled to welcome our students and staff back to school as we initiate our new school-wide positive behavior program this year! We recognize our kindergartners are beginning a new chapter in their life and starting their road to academic success for the very first time. The Primary Center staff is also excited to see our returning students, who are now first graders! We are looking forward to a productive partnership with you to ensure our children can achieve their highest potential.
The Primary Center has an excellent staff that builds the foundation for the entire district. Together with our dedicated staff, we strive to make connections with students to help them feel valued, accepted, and safe. Our overarching goal is to encourage active student engagement to foster a lifelong love for learning.
Our students are greeted each day by approximately 50 staff members – all committed to giving our students the very best education possible. Currently, the Primary Center has approximately 500 students. There are six (6) classrooms of A.M. Kindergarten, five (5) classrooms of P.M. Kindergarten, and 11 classrooms of First Grade. The Primary Center offers an intervention program referred to as the Title I Reading program, for eligible students, and our Skill Reinforcement program is offered to ALL Primary Center students.
At the Mars Area Primary Center, the use of technology adds quality and richness to our rigorous curriculum. iPads enhance curricular experiences and keep students actively engaged in every Kindergarten and First Grade classroom. Additionally, quality supplemental programs such as Reading Eggs, will help to further enrich daily instruction and student competency.
The P.C. reading mantra is “Today a Reader...Tomorrow a Leader”. Our reading program is part of an integrated approach to language arts – emphasizing reading with robust vocabulary and sight word mastery, speaking, writing, and listening skills. Our math curriculum uses manipulatives and stresses problem solving and application of skills. Our social studies and science curriculums offer students hands-on experiences and opportunities of inquiry to develop an understanding of the key concepts in these areas at an age appropriate level. Additionally, our Primary Center STEAM program challenges our young learners to explore, create, and innovate utilizing various materials and technologies.
I look forward to the start of the new school year and the chance to collaborate with you to provide your children with an effective and engaging educational experience. At the Mars Area Primary Center, we encourage parent involvement. We have a very active Parent Teacher Organization who goes above and beyond to put student interests at the center of their focus. Together, we will work together in partnership, friendship, and goodwill to make this year a smooth transition.
As always, my door is open, and we welcome your input. Please feel free to contact me at any time to discuss your children’s education or any ideas you feel will make this year the best one yet! Here’s to new beginnings and staying connected. I look forward to working with you!
Jessica Semler is the principal at Mars Area Primary Center.
Semler previously served as a substitute principal at the school during the 2022-2023 School Year and as the assistant principal at Mars Area High School during the 2021-2022 School Year. She began her career at Mars Area School District as a second grade teacher (2009-2012) at Mars Area Elementary School, before moving to a third grade teaching position (2012-2021). In 2015, she also served as an elementary principal intern in the District.
At Mars Area School District, Semler was a member of the Instructional Technology, Technology Planning, Safety Mechanics and Comprehensive Planning teams as well as a member of the Safety Differentiated Supervision; Third Grade Language Curriculum Writing; Third Grade Social Studies Curriculum Writing, and Third Grade Novel List committees. She has also served as a mentor for new staff members; as a summer STEAM Camp and Junior Achievement facilitator; and, as a coordinator of a school-wide Food Drive at Mars Area Elementary School.
A Mars Area High School graduate, she holds a master's degree in educational leadership with a principal certification (K-12) and a bachelor's degree in elementary education from Westminster College (New Wilmington, Pa.).