ABC's of Kindergarten Handbook
Ms. Stamps’ Zebra Class
Welcome to a new year of school at Paschal Elementary! My name is Ms. Stamps and I am delighted to be your child’s teacher this year. This is my 7th year teaching Kindergarten with Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City I.S.D. I truly enjoy working with young children and having the opportunity to guide them in this very special year of their school career. I am eager to get the year started and to get to know all of my new students.
Each Kindergarten classroom at Paschal Elementary has a mascot. My classroom is the Zebra Class, so throughout the year you will receive communication that refers to the “Zebra Class”.
Kindergarten is a time of new beginnings, making new friends, and learning many new things each and every day. Our days will be filled with many wonderful experiences and opportunities for learning and growing.
As with most new beginnings, you may have many unanswered questions. To help, I have prepared this handbook which should answer many questions that you have concerning my classroom. As always, if you have further questions, please feel free to call, write a note, or email me.
I look forward to a fantastic year with you and your child. I thank you in advance for your support, kindness, and cooperation.
If your child is sick, you may send me an email to let me know they will be absent. If your child is or will be out for several days, please also contact our attendance clerk (Mrs. Dominguez), and let her know. It is important to always send a note to excuse the absence once your child returns to school, as the office keeps these on file (even if you have emailed or called). For your convenience, sending in absences can be done online too.
Students should arrive to school no earlier than 7:30 AM. They are picked up by me from the cafeteria at 8:00. Our instructional day begins at 8:15. Tardies are noted after 8:15.
A successful school experience is the responsibility of the child, the parent, and the school. Your child’s progress, both academically and socially, is influenced to a great extent by daily participation. Regular attendance without tardiness is a key.
I feel it is extremely important that you are aware of your child’s behavior- appropriate as well as inappropriate. In order to keep you informed, we will maintain Behavior Folders/ Daily Folders. The Black Folder that the children bring home each day will serve two purposes. It will let you know what kind of day your child had, and contain any other information that I need you to see on that day (cafeteria notes, reminders, work that needs to be finished, etc.). I have found that this folder is a wonderful tool for teacher/parent communication. If you have notes, lunch money, change of transportation notes, or anything you need to bring to my attention, please place it in the pocket of the folder. I check these folders each morning. Also, please initial the folder each evening.
Regardless of what your child receives for the day, please initial the behavior folder calendar daily so that I know you are aware of your child’s behavior. There is a detailed key, and additional important information that is taped under the behavior calendar in the Black folder that explains how the children earn stamps for the day. The teacher/parent page located behind the calendar can be used for both you and me to write small reminders, to ask questions, or to send a small note when needed. Please keep in mind that if there are any major concerns, I will call you and you are always welcome to call or email me.
The behavior folder is where your role becomes very important. It really matters to your child that you’re aware of their behavior at school, both appropriate and inappropriate. If your child has great behavior all week, then praise them for it. Make a big deal out of it and perhaps come up with a family reward system. Your praise for your child’s good behavior gives them more motivation to continue having good behavior. Young children seek and love praise! Also, talk to your child about how great it feels inside when they do a good job, in order to reinforce the idea that they’re in control of their own behavior and therefore in control of their own happiness. In just the opposite, you should also speak to your child if they bring home a “sad” note concerning inappropriate behavior. Discuss the rules that were broken and how to improve behavior. Then you can work together to set a goal for the next day of school (or the whole week of school). If the children have goals for themselves and know that you have goals for them, then they will have more motivation to achieve that goal for themselves and for you.
We know how special birthdays are for you and your child. We recognize birthdays at school in an appropriate manner. A detailed birthday note will come home when it is getting close to their birthday. If you plan on sending invitations, please send one for each child and contact me for a class count. I understand parties are very expensive, and if you choose to invite just a few children, I will ask that you be responsible for getting the invitations to the parents of the children outside of school.
As for birthday celebrations, we do not allow food due to severe food allergies. If you would like to send a treat bag in for the students you are more than welcome to do so. I will pass the birthday treat out at the end of the school day. You are always welcome to join us for the celebration!
I will be sending home book orders throughout the year. Please do not feel obligated to purchase. However, book orders are a wonderful way to build your child’s home library, encourage reading, and improve reading skills. If you order, please send it to me with a check (payable to the book club) inside a sealed and labeled envelope, placed in your child’s daily folder. No cash, please.
I will schedule conferences throughout the school year. In the meantime, if you need to contact me, please call the school, send a note, or e-mail me to make arrangements for scheduling a special conference. My conference period is 10:50-11:45. Near the end of the first nine weeks grading period, I will contact you to make arrangements for a parent/teacher conference. We will discuss your child’s accomplishments, strengths, and overall progress.
I follow all state and district guidelines when planning the curriculum for my classroom. I also take into account the needs of the individual student.
Students will take part in many different methods of learning including: large and small group instruction, one-on-one instruction, teacher and student-led instruction, hands-on instruction, computer-led instruction and free exploration opportunities.
It is difficult to explain my entire curriculum to you at one time, so you will receive more information throughout the year referencing specific parts of the instruction. Overall, I hold high expectations for all of my students. I believe children will give you no more than what you expect from them. If you have high expectations, then we’ll see high achievement. I build student self-confidence through encouragement and reminding my students to always do their best! My highest goals are to instill within them a love of learning, a feeling of happiness, and a sense of safety when at school.
Students are regularly assessed using a checklist, Benchmark testing, the Kindergarten Report Card, I-Station assessments, and teacher observations in order to lead instruction. I will send you more information on these topics later in the year.
We will hold parent conferences early in the year not only to let you know how your child is doing, but to discuss their academic goals.
We will be using Class Dojo to keep you informed on how your child is doing behaviorally. It is a point system that will show daily “positive” and “needs work” points for your child. As we learn expectations and routines my expectations for student behavior will increase. This is where your role becomes very important. It really matters to your child that you’re aware of their behavior at school, both appropriate and inappropriate. If your child has great behavior all week, then praise them for it. Make a big deal out of it and perhaps come up with a family reward system. Your praise for your child’s good behavior gives them more motivation to continue having good behavior. Young children seek and love praise! Also, talk to your child about how great it feels inside when they do a good job, in order to reinforce the idea that they’re in control of their own behavior and therefore in control of their own happiness. In just the opposite, you should also speak to your child if receive a point deduction concerning inappropriate behavior. Discuss the rules that were broken and how to improve behavior. Then you can work together to set a goal for the next day of school (or the whole week of school). If the children have goals for themselves and know that you have goals for them, then they will have more motivation to achieve that goal for themselves and for you.
We will be using Data Folders in conjunction with our CCI (Continuous Classroom Improvement) program.
We will spend time learning class procedures and practicing them. Each student is expected to follow the class rules.
1. Teach and review rules
2. Praise positive behavior
(verbal and non-verbal rewards)
3. Redirect inappropriate behavior
4. Verbal Warning
(discussion with teacher and note home unless behavior improves)
(discussion with teacher, restriction from activity or center, and note home
unless behavior improves)
Note: Parents, please do not get upset if your child receives a note at the beginning of school. It is difficult for them at first. Usually after one or two times they realize they have to follow the rules.
Paschal Elementary dismisses at 3:20 p.m.. Please do not come to the classroom to pick your child up without first stopping by the office to sign them out. Those riding buses and daycare vans will walk to the cafeteria and be picked up in the bus circle. Parent Pick-up children can be picked up in the gym or by using the drive through circle. If your child is a parent pick up, please have your white car tag that you were given during registration. This will aid in getting them to you more quickly. If your child’s means of transportation should change, please send a note with them that morning or contact the office as soon as possible. This will help prevent any “late day” mixups.
Students should dress in accordance with the SCUCISD dress code.
You may contact me via my school e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org .
I check it several times throughout the day, on weekends, and on holidays. If you need to discuss something urgently, please call me at the school instead.
It is imperative that the office and I have current emergency contact numbers. Please remember to let us know if numbers should change at any time during the year.
We will schedule at least one fieldtrip this school year. I will inform you as soon as we know when and where we will be going. If you plan to chaperone, a criminal history form will need to be submitted. Information is on the SCUCISD website.
In addition to the daily folder, your child will bring home a blue Friday Folder on the last day of the school week. This folder will contain important school information, as well as our classroom newsletter, called “ The Zebra Stampede”.
Please review the Friday Folder when your child brings it home. It contains vital information concerning school and classroom events. The most important part of the Friday Folder is your child's work! I will put most of the items that we have completed during the week in the folder, with the exception of those that I save for your child's scrapbook. Please return the Friday Folder to school each Monday.
FMNV (Foods of Minimal Nutritional Value) Policy
There are guidelines from the United States Department of Agriculture concerning foods of minimal nutritional value (FMNV). These guidelines restrict what the school is allowed to hand out for snack and classroom parties. Due to this, it has been decided that it is best for children to bring their own snacks. However they must be from this list Approved Snack List http://snacksafely.com/snacklist.pdf).You can decide what’s best for your child. Please note: These guidelines do not apply to lunch. You may send whatever you want for your child’s lunch. The guidelines prevent parents and teachers from passing out FMNV to other students, as well as sharing snacks. For more information, see www.squaremeals.org or www.agr.state.tx.us .
Your child will learn to read - or improve their reading this year. If they are already reading, which I know several of them are, they will be increasing their reading level. I will be starting small group reading instruction soon. Please practice any take home books your child brings home and remember to read together at least 20 minutes per day. The “Reading Envelope” will contain all take home books. These books will be sent home every Friday. Reading is something that will only get better with practice.
We teach D’Nealian handwriting at Paschal. I will send home a sample handout of it at a later date.
Your child will be given a homework packet that will go home Monday and come back to school on Friday. This will not begin until January. Beginning of the year homework will be sent home during the first weeks of school. It will have a different activity/skill to focus on each night. Although kindergarten seems a bit early to be starting homework assignments, it is a good habit that if started early, and supported by you, will last throughout your child’s academic career.
I know it is difficult to decide whether or not to keep your child home from school, however it is important to keep them home if they are ill. This helps keep your child comfortable and prevents others from getting sick. Also, we all know that children function better in the classroom when they are healthy. “For example, if your child has a fever over 100 degrees, he or she must stay out of school until fever free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medications. In addition, students with diarrheal illnesses must stay home until they are diarrhea free without diarrhea-suppressing medications for at least 24 hours. A full list of conditions for which the school must exclude children can be obtained from the school nurse.”
(SCUCISD Elementary Student/Parent Handbook p.52)
We keep several journals in class to use during our journal or writing time. You will see growth in your child’s writing throughout the year. It is a good idea to keep a spiral notebook at home for them to write in and illustrate stories. You will be amazed at the progress they will make throughout the year with their journals.
You can “keep up” on all our class information by checking your child’s daily take home folder. They are responsible for bringing this folder to school each day. All communication from our classroom will be inside this folder and the Friday Folder (newsletters, notes from me or the school, homework, etc…). Please help your child take care of these folders.
Lunch and Lunch ID Numbers
Our lunch time is from 12:50-1:20 p.m. If you plan on having lunch with your child you can do so by checking in with the front receptionist. You and your child only can sit at one of the round tables in the cafeteria. Please do not invite your child’s classmates to join you. You are welcome to sit at the long class table with your child, so you can dine with the group. It is okay to bring in outside food for your child - but please, due to food allergies, do not bring food for other children.
Lunch money should be taken to the cafeteria. If you need to send money, be sure that it is in a sealed envelope and is clearly labeled with your child’s name and my name. If you
cannot get the money to school yourself and do not feel as though your child is responsible enough to turn it in, please put the envelope in the pocket of your child’s daily folder and I will turn it in to the cafeteria. Please be sure to keep your child’s account paid-up. The cafeteria allows no more than 3 charges. If you have questions concerning lunch charges, contact the cafeteria directly. (Cafeteria Manager #619-4513) Thank you for your help!
Each student in the district is assigned an ID number, which also doubles as their lunch number. Please help your child memorize it. This number will remain with them as long as they are a student within the SCUCISD.
You may deposit money into your child’s lunch account at any time. Check the district website for lunch menus and lunch account information.
Our school will be using the Investigations and Pearson Envision Math Programs. We will work on math skills during our calendar and math time each day. We will be doing lots of group activities and hands-on type activities through the use of manipulatives. The math program emphasizes conceptual understanding of mathematics, it explores a broad mathematics spectrum, not just basic arithmetic, and it is based on how children learn and what they are interested in as we prepare them for their future mathematical needs.
I will send home a weekly newsletter each Friday, called “The Zebra Stampede”. The newsletter will be in your child’s take home folder and will contain many updates, activities, and themes for the week. It will also be attached to my website.
Our nurse tends to the students’ medical needs throughout the day. For more serious injuries and sudden illnesses, she will take care of your child until you can be reached to pick them up from school. She also administers all medications to students during school hours. If your child has any medical conditions or allergies that we need to be aware of, please contact her as soon as possible. Again, make sure your contact numbers are always up to date, in case of an emergency.
Open Lines of Communication
Please let me know if you have ANY concerns or questions throughout the year. I feel it is our job to work together as a team if we are to enhance your child’s education and make their first year a successful one. I can be reached at 619-4500, or you can email me at email@example.com. My conference time is 10:50-11:45.
Your support of school activities makes your child feel important, and also sends the message that you value school. We are always happy to have your help for special activities in the classroom.
We are allowed three “party” days this school year, and I will let you know when they are. I will be asking for your help with these events, as I can always use extra pairs of hands and goodies.
If for any reason your child is unable to attend PE (Physical Education), send a note to the nurse ASAP. Please note this will also excuse your child from recess participation. Children must wear tennis shoes on PE days!
Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns regarding your child’s education.
Quick Good-byes help keep Dry Eyes
It is best to say good-bye quickly in either the cafeteria or the parent drop off line. Be assured that I will contact you if your child is having a problem that I cannot solve.
Your child will have recess every day. Please see that they are dressed according to the weather. If for any reason your child is unable to attend recess/PE, please send a note.
We are on a nine week grading period, at which time your child will receive a report card. I will meet with you near the end of the first nine weeks to discuss and review the report card.
Our Rotations will be from 10:50-11:55, each day. Please refer to the rotations schedule to see where your child will go. Please make sure they wear tennis shoes on our PE days.
Zebra Classroom Rules
(Rules are in rhyme to help the children remember them.)
- Keep your hands to yourselves, not on people, walls, or shelves.
- Be a good listener - that you must do. Then we’ll be good listeners when we listen to you.
- When you have something to say, raise your hand all of the way.
- When you have a problem, please don’t pout. Let’s stop and work it out.
Our rules display also encourages these other good behaviors:
*Think before acting