Dear parents of Room 15 students:
Here’s that typical September letter you always get from teachers begging you to volunteer, send in snacks, and bring in gifts! Since we have no Back to School Night this year, here’s what you need to know:
Homework: Your child will have homework every Monday through Thursday night beginning tonight. The work will usually consist of a skills review activity (usually in math) and 20 to 30 minutes of reading. There is a space on the Assignment Calendar for a parent to initial, which indicates that you’ve verified that your child has completed the work. To get credit for reading, the student must get your initials. The Assignment Calendar often includes notes for parents, so please make it a habit to check it every night. Homework can be stressful for the whole family.
The Daily Platypus: Nearly everything you need to know about our classroom appears right here on The Daily Platypus, our classroom webpage. You can watch math tutorials, print forms, view special events, and much more. To get to the webpage, go to District6.org and follow the links to schools, CPE, and classrooms, or simply go to dailyplatypus.org. We use the webpage a ton, so check it out tonight and bookmark it!
Sending home completed work: As a parent, I quickly grew tired of receiving piles of old work from school. Consequently, I send home only items of significance. Daily practice work will not be sent home. We do, however, verify completion and correctness on such practice activities. Ultimately, our goal is to work toward purposeful products that you and your child will be proud of. These we’ll share at Spring Portfolio Exhibition (different than the school Exhibition) and various performances and events throughout the year.
Major areas of study: Instruction is based on the new National Common Core Standards with an emphasis on American history, literature, math, writing, and community service. Explore other pages here on The Daily Platypus for more information on class content. Anytime you have a question or concern about what we’re studying, please feel free to contact me, or even better, come watch!
School Supplies: Imagine going to work as a plumber without any tools! When students show up to school without school supplies or with poor quality materials, they’re unable to work successfully. Please periodically check with your child to make sure his or her tools are in good working order. If you’re having financial difficulties, please let me know. We can help.
PE & Fitness: The CPE staff works hard to stave off ever-growing childhood obesity rates by having students participate in daily fitness (two laps around the school block) and regular PE. It’s important students come to school appropriately dressed for physical activity every day. They’re welcome to change into tennis shoes prior to fitness and PE. Rest assured, we do take into consideration physical ailments such as asthma or illness, but students will not be excused without a note or call from home.
Report Cards: We focus on “learning from mistakes.” We strive to create a classroom culture where kids are comfortable taking academic risks. Students who put forth their best effort, maintain a positive attitude, and complete work will do fine. In D6 we are de-emphasizing the report card and standardized testing in favor of purpose-driven instruction. I like rely on statistical and “real world” measures to evaluate performance. Students will still receive a report card, but I’ll often be using other forms of evaluation in class. I’ll explain in greater detail during goal-setting conferences in October.
Snacks: We’re constantly in need of reasonably-healthful snacks to share with the class. If you’re willing to donate snack items, simply send them in. Please avoid those with high-fructose corn syrup and those heavy in sugar. Thanks in advance. Students are also welcome to bring their own personal snack, but we ask that they wait until after lunch to eat them (otherwise they end up “snacking” on their lunch all morning and end up with nothing to eat at lunchtime).
Volunteers: I encourage parents to spend time in our classroom, whether as a regular volunteer or just as a drop-in. If interested, please email me at email@example.com. If you do spend any time in the classroom, please sign in at the office. Should we schedule any field trips, I’ll request chaperones at that time. Note: volunteers are required to submit background-check paperwork and meet the state’s vaccination requirements.
Attendance: Oregon has one of the highest absentee rates in the nation, yet attendance is another area for which our school receives a “grade.” Given the “high stakes” of these standards, our policy is to insist on regular student attendance unless the child is truly ill. Parents are also asked to call the school on days when your child will not be attending. Tardiness has also become a chronic problem at CPE in recent years. We jump right into essential learning activities each morning, so being on time is critical.
Contacting me: Always feel free to call me anytime with your concerns or questions. The school’s phone number is 541-494-6500. I’m generally there between 6:45 am and 3:30 pm. I check my e-mail at first recess (9:45 am) and regularly all day afterwards, so feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will always do my best to reply as quickly as possible, though classroom demands sometimes prevent a quick response. If you haven’t heard back from me after 24 hours, feel free to pester me again.