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Dear Families :-)

Hi! My name is Cindy Helms.  I get to be your child’s first grade teacher! This is my 38th year in education.  My bachelor’s degree is from Mount Union University; my master’s degree in reading is from Youngstown State University; I am a National Board Certified Teacher; and have a Senior License from Ohio’s Department of Education.  My husband, Greg, and I live in Salem.  We have two daughters, a son-in-law, one granddaughter, and a grandpuppy.  Erin lives in Lakewood, OH. Stephanie and Brian live in Broadview Heights with four-year-old Morgan and Winston, the cocka-poo.

I am looking forward to working with you and your child this year.  If you ever have any questions or comments, please write me a note, send an email (cindy.helms@wbwarriors.org)  or call me at school.  The number in our room is 330-938-1158.  The phone does not ring in the classroom during school hours, so please leave a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

LUNCH—Your child will eat in the cafeteria.  Grade One lunch time is from11:05-11:35, daily.  Your child’s options are:

         Receive a school lunch prepared by our cafeteria ladies,

         Pack a lunch from home.  Chocolate or white milk can be purchased. 

COST OF LUNCH—The cost of lunch is the same as last year, $2.00/day.  Packers can purchase milk for 35c/carton.  Free and reduced lunch status carries over from last year during the month of September.  Each child who qualifies for this program HAS to have the forms completed and submitted for reinstatement.  It is beneficial to the district for everyone who qualifies for this program, apply.  Online payment is available at: http://www.westbranch.k12.oh.us/.  Hover over the “Parent” tab.  On the pop-up menu, click “Cafeteria and Fee Online Payment”.

ABSENCES—If you child is sick, please call the school (330-938-1122) to report him/her off.  You HAVE to send a note upon returning, explaining their absence.  (If you do not send a note, someone might be calling you.  The school needs to keep this type of information for a year.)  The work your child misses must be completed at home and returned to school, ASAP.

CURRICULUM—All three first grades at Knox work very closely together.  We work with the same Ohio Learning Standards in Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies Standards.  We are implementing Fountas and Pinnell Literacy Collaborative format for English/Language Arts and McGraw-Hill's Everyday Math.  We have a literacy and math coach to support our programs. We sometimes cover things the same and sometimes differently.  We have the same lunch/recess times.

HOMEWORK—Your child’s daily homework is to read for 20 minutes.  Also, your child will have spelling, math, and writing homework.  We will have a homework packet that needs to be returned weekly. 

SPECIALS—Our specials this year will be as follows:

Day 1 Music with Mrs. Brand dduring the first semester.  Art with Ms. Lancey during the second semester.

Day 2 Gym with Ms. Woods *

Day 3 Library and Computer Lab with Mrs. Plocher

*Children are required to wear sneaker/gym (tennis) shoes.They can wear them to school all day-inside and outside.

SCHOOL FEES—The school fees are $40.00 and can be paid online.  This must be paid in order to receive a report card.  A letter from the Superintendent will follow explaining the fees.

PET PARTNERS--This year Mrs. Pasch and her Goldendoodle, Shelby, will be in our classroom.  They will read with us.  More information to follow.

PICTURES/NOTES--Pictures of family members, pets, and/or special occasions, might help your child when feeling melancholy.  Tape the pictures inside a folder so your child can take a sneak peek at some of his/her favorite pics.  Inserting a note in a lunch or backpack usually brightens someone’s day! 

WATER BOTTLES—Your child may bring his/her own labeled water bottle.  It needs to have some type of pop-up lid.  We do not share this item.  Please only send water…no juice/pop, etc.  The bottle needs to be filled from home.  Research says that water keeps our brains/ bodies working better.  However, gigantic bottles are not recommended for first graders.

DISCIPLINE PLAN—Our discipline is based on the Warrior Way.  We will have a class meeting developing and discussing rules that fit the needs in our classroom and decide the consequences.  We’ll share that information with you at a later date.   We Are Respectful, Responsible, and Ready (to Learn.)

CLASSROOM WEBSITE—The address of our classroom webpage is:  http://www.westbranch.k12.oh.us/olc/teacher.aspx?s=149 

TITLE ONE—There are Title One Teachers assigned to our room  They will work with children in the classroom who qualify for Title One Reading Services.

ASSESSMENTS—Each child in a West Branch Elementary will be assessed throughout the year.  First Graders take the STAR Early Literacy Test, assessments provided by Reading Street, Math and Spelling tests.  The tests can be traditional paper/pencil, computer generated, personal or written communication, selected response and performance assessments.  With the Ohio’s Common Core Standards, children will be responsible and accountable for knowing what their learning and have an active role.

SCHOOL SUPPLIES and Headphones— If you need a copy of the school supplies, please stop in at the office.  Your child will have the opportunity to use the iPads.  We will not share headphones. Your child needs a pair of headphones that can be sent to school, please label them, and they will be stored in their cubby. (Earbuds are too large for the Firsties' ears.)

The transition between Kindergarten and First Grade should be easy.  First Grade should not be stressful.  Granted, there is much material to cover, however, your child will show success and progress.  I am really excited about this year and am looking forward to working with you and your child.  Again, please feel free to call, email, or write me a note if you have any questions, concerns or comments.


Mrs. Cindy Helms      

Mrs. Cindy Helms