Parent Handbook 2017-18

  • Parent Handbook




    Grade One

    Mrs. Skala

    Hello Parents:  

    This is a document that I hope will help to answer some questions you may have about how our classroom will work during the year.  I look forward to seeing you all at Open House.  



    Gina Skala


    Homework Guidelines

    Purpose of Homework

    Homework serves as a tool to link the home and school.  It reinforces or extends what is being taught in the classroom, prepares the student for an upcoming lesson and teaches the student responsibility.


    When and How Homework Will Be Assigned

    In understanding how hectic a family schedule may be, I have implemented a flexible plan.  I hope you will find the allowance of flexibility in this schedule to be helpful.  Each Monday, a homework sheet will be sent home.  The assignments will consist of but are not limited to reading, math, FUNdations, content areas and writing.  These assignments should average 20 minutes a night.   


    Student’s Homework Responsibility

    Students are expected to give their best effort on their homework.  It should be completed neatly.  Students should ask for help from their parents only after they have tried themselves.  If there is a question regarding the assignment, it should be asked before Friday.  Students are responsible for making sure their homework notebook and any separate sheet assignments are turned in.


    Teacher Homework Responsibility

    All homework will be reviewed.  Positive recognition will be given to students who neatly and thoroughly complete all assignments when due.  Helpful comments may be made to guide the student to complete a similar assignment differently the next time.


    Parent/Guardian Responsibility

    It is strongly recommended that parents take the following steps to make homework a positive experience for the children.

    • Please review completed work and sign or initial every assignment at the top of the page.  If you notice that a concept is difficult, please notify me.

    • Make sure homework is a priority in your home.

    • Provide the necessary supplies.  If necessary, requests may be made to borrow supplies from the classroom.

    • Set a daily homework time.

    • Set up a study area that is quiet, well lit and free from distractions.

    • Guide your child with the directions to get them started if needed.

    • Allow your child to work independently, but review and help them correct the things they are expected to know.  Correct the spelling of high frequency words or tricky words above their attempts and model use of capital letters and punctuation together with your child.

    • Have your child place their homework in a designated spot so it doesn’t get lost or thrown away.  You can then review it and initial it.

    • Praise your child for completing the homework.


    If Students Do Not Complete Homework

    If a student chooses not to do or complete their homework, the student will be reminded to finish the assignment and it will be considered late.  If the student misses more than 3 assignments, a note will be sent home to the parents.  If the student continues to have difficulty completing the homework, I will call and see if we can work out appropriate steps to ensure further success or set up a conference.If there is a reason why your child is unable to complete the homework, please just send a note to me stating the reason and we will work out an extension.



    • In the Homework Notebook (HWN) the student should always write the date where they start the new homework for the week and work neatly.

    • The assignments do not have to be completed in order.

    • Use the front and the back sides of the pages in the HWN.    If you need to draw boxes or go across two pages in order to organize better, please do so.

    • Review and initial your child’s homework assignments near the dates  

    • The HWN should be used to complete all assignment unless it is a separate sheet to fill in.  Please do not staple extra sheets into the notebook.  They get turned in separately.


    Classroom Management System

    I will be using a classroom management system, which guides every student to make good decisions about his/her behavior.  Your child deserves the most positive educational climate possible for his/her growth, and I know together we can make a difference in the process.  The plan below outlines our classroom rules, positive recognition for appropriate behavior, and the consequences for inappropriate behavior.  They are as follows:


    Classroom Rules  - Specific rules in  conjunction with our PBIS SHARK  School Rules

    1. Follow the directions the first time they are given.

    2. Raise your hand and wait to be called on for a turn to speak.

    3. Keep your hands, feet and objects to yourself.

    4. Listen attentively to others while they speak.

    5. Use inside voices in the classroom.

    6. Say only kind things to classmates, aides and teachers, act respectfully.

    7. Complete assignments, homework and classwork on time.


    Positive Recognition

    To encourage students to follow these classroom rules, I will recognize appropriate behavior with verbal praise and written certificates.  At the end of each day, those children who followed all the rules will have Smooth Sailing checked. If your child goes over and beyond to show positive behavior, they can move up on the status “rainbow” clip chart.  (Rainbow Fish, Angelfish and the top place to strive for is ESM shark).  


    Rainbow Chart- Interpretations

    (blue) ESM shark- Excellent behavior, complimented frequently. Super role model

    (purple) Angelfish - Great behavior, complimented often, acted as a role model for others

    (pink) Rainbow Fish- good behavior, was complimented once

    (green) ***Smooth Sailing-  status quo, acted as expected, followed the rules

    (yellow) Rough Seas- Needed time to reflect on behavior, needed some reminders


    If your child needs more encouragement to follow the rules, they will move their clip and an alert will be filled in on their “rainbow strip”.  Ex: “I required support in  ________________.” This will help us to communicate the kind of behaviors we are working on in class.  They have the rest of the day to try to continue to move their clip up and strive for higher status on the rainbow chart.  This is a way that they can recognize their goals to work on and I can also communicate with you what has happened in class.  I ask for you to initial the rainbow chart each night to ensure you have seen where they were on the chart each day and discuss any alerts they may have had.


    List of alerts that may be circled:


    Alerts/ Behaviors Related to Learning   _Your child required support or reminders …

    Appropriately using the bathroom /water fountainOrganizing/ Cleaning up their area & supplies

    Attentive listening to a peer/teacher speakingSpeaking out of turn/Raise their hand

    Completing assigned tasks/centers on time Respecting rights and feelings of others

    Demonstrating quality class work/neatnessStaying focused on a task

    Following classroom directions Using a quiet voice

    Following school PBIS rules/ line behaviorWorking independently

    Monitoring self-control (hands to themselves)Working cooperatively in a group/taking turns

    M isuse of supplies/pencils, scissors/other

    When they have earned 10 smooth sailing or higher days, they will be able to choose from the class reward chart (treasure box, choose a privilege or take a sticker.)  The rainbow status chart is kept in their Home/School Folder so each day you can check to see how your child did.   I will show you and explain the Rainbow clip chart at open house and it will be easier to understand.


    Also as a positive reinforcement, the children will collectively earn points in groups.  The group points will be used to reward individual groups and the entire class.



    If an individual student chooses to break a rule or requires support to maintain their behavior, the following consequences will result.  Everyone starts on smooth sailing (green) on the rainbow chart each new day.  


    • First infraction in one day == Verbal Warning 1

    • Second infraction in one day     ==   Warning 2 - status change and alerts circled

    • Third infraction in one day  == Warning 3 -status change, possible 5 min time out, alert circled about the area of concern

    • Fourth infraction in one day == Parents will be contacted by an administrator /myself.


    Every child tends to need reminders on occasion to get back on track. That is the intent of the free first verbal warning in the beginning. The warning, alerts circled and comments are issued to keep in communication of the areas that are being noticed and may be causing a distraction for your child’s learning. With each new day, the student starts a clean slate.


    My goal is to work with you to ensure the success of your child this year.  Please read and discuss this classroom management system with your child and reinforce the importance of good behavior.  Agree upon appropriate rewards and consequences that may occur at home to follow up and support the behavior they choose.  Thank you for your cooperation and support.


    Odds and Ends


    Birthday Celebrations

    We would like to recognize your child’s birthday this year   We are an allergy awareness school, therefore, as per school policy, food items cannot be brought in.   Summer birthdays can select a day in May or June to celebrate their birthday.  We welcome other special items or ways to make your child’s day special instead of a food. Some examples are:  donating or bringing in a favorite book we can read on their special day.  They may bring something in to show and tell about.  They may hand out pencils or stickers to the class in lieu of food, but this is not necessary.


    Other Celebrations

    Parents will be encouraged to participate in events that take place during the school year.  Parents will also be asked to donate materials for special events.  If you have a creative idea, please let me know and we will try to make arrangements.


    Some events to look forward to are Johnny Appleseed’s Poetry Sharing (Sept.), Pumpkin Centers (Oct.) Thanksgiving Celebration (Nov.), Winter Celebration/Pillow Reading (Jan.), The 100 Day of School (Feb.) Spring Celebration and Baseball Day (April), and Field Day, Flag Day, and an End of Year Celebration (June)


    I know as a working parent that is hard to attend all of these events.  My intent in offering so many choices, is that you will be able to choose the one(s) that will fit into your schedule best.  You may always send a friend, neighbor or relative in your place if that helps in any way.


    Notes for Pick-ups

    If your child is going to be getting picked up early and will not be taking the bus, you must send a note to let me know.  That note gets forwarded to attendance and they will know you are coming.  We also will be able to have your child packed up and ready if they are leaving during their lunch or special.


    If you child will not be taking the bus and will be picked up at dismissal by yourself or someone else, you need to write a note.  Please wait for your child in the rotunda.  They will meet you there with the teacher assigned to walk those children to the pick- up area.  


    If your child is attending brownies or other organized pick- up on a regular basis, one note is sufficient if you write all the dates, or days it applies to.  Then I will know each time to put your child on the pick-up line.  If there isn’t a note, your child will be put on the bus.  


    Absent Notes

    If your child is ill, or misses school, you must write a note stating the date and reason they were absent.  If a note isn’t sent, your child will be marked illegally absent.


    Field Trips

    Generally there are 2 field trips throughout the year.  The students will pay expenses, admission and transportation.  Chaperones are chosen randomly if they are needed.


    Friendship List

    If you would like your child to be on a class friendship list with their name, address and/or phone number and/or email that will be distributed to only our class, we must have your signature giving permission for me to pass that information along.  This list is helpful so the children can call each other for questions or invite others for occasions outside the classroom.  Please sign the back page and return it ASAP.  I will print it when I have received them all back with yes or no.

    Birthday Invitations

    If your child’s name is on the friendship list it makes it easier to have invitations sent to them.  I ask that you do not send invitations to school to be handed out unless the entire class is invited (or all the girls or all the boys).  If you could see the look on the face of a child who has not been invited to a party, you would understand why I ask this of you.  Thank you!


    Lunch Boxes and Backpacks

    Please make sure to send in money if your child is ordering lunch.  They are responsible for keeping it safe until we walk to lunch.  Be sure it is well labeled.  We recommend pre-pay for lunches which makes it easier and quicker for the children in the cafeteria.  They will need to memorize their 6 digit student number.


    Their lunch box should be clearly marked with their name on the outside so it is visible.  Please also make sure your child’s backpack is labeled so it can be identified by a monitor or someone else that may have to retrieve it or pack up for your child.  Many of them look similar.  If you are not comfortable with their name large on the outside, please put it large on the inside or their initials or their “magic number” so it is visible.  Also you may consider attaching a luggage tag or a colored ribbon that can make it easy to identify which bag it is to someone looking.  This happens so often!


    Healthy Snacks

    We have time for  a small healthy snack on a daily basis.  Please provide your child with something healthy and of nutritional value.  Some acceptable snacks may include yogurt, pretzels, cheese and crackers, fruit, vegetables and dip, rice cakes, granola bars or dry cereal, fruit snacks, popcorn, muffins, poptarts, etc .) Snacks like cookies and potato chips will be saved and eaten at lunch time.  Thank you for your cooperation in this effort to teach our children to make wise food choices to lead healthier lives.  


    Please send them with a snack or twp that can be easily opened, eaten quickly and is not messy.  Healthy drinks (water, juice, milk, etc..) should be sent in containers that can be disposed of or closed after snack is over. We usually have a 5-10 minute working snack.


    Your child may bring a reusable water bottle filled with water, or a bottle of water labeled with their initials on top.  They are allowed to keep it in the “water basket” and take sips from it during the course of the day at independent work times to stay healthy and hydrated.  


    I am looking forward to a very enjoyable year with your child.  I hope this has answered some of the common questions that arise with the start of each year, new grade and a new teacher.  Working together and communication are keys to a child’s success!

     Friendship List / Class Directory

                      Permission Slip - Please Fill and and Return

    Many people write notes to me asking for addresses and/or phone numbers of their child’s classmates for a variety of reasons including parties and get-togethers.  I’m very sorry that I am unable to accommodate these requests, but I’m sure that you can understand that we need to respect each family’s need for privacy.


    However, if you wouldn’t mind having your child’s name, address and/or phone number included, please fill out the form below with whatever information you would like to divulge.  Thanks for your cooperation!!!!  Please send the slip in below by next week.


    ___  No, I do not wish to have my child on the Friendship list at this time.


    ___  Yes, please include the following information for my child on the Friendship List. Fill in what you would like added.



    Child’s Name  ___________________________________________________


    Address  ______________________________________________________


    Town and Zip  __________________________________________________


    Phone:  Home-(          )________________________________


    Parent/Guardian Name #1  ________________________________________  


         Cell: (             ) _______________________  email  _______________________________


    Parent/Guardian Name #2  ________________________________________  


         Cell : (             ) _______________________  email  ______________________________