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Letters to Families

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 a four-and-a-half 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. Our classroom website is: http://www.westbranch.k12.oh.us/olc/teacher.aspx?s=149 If you have a phone that has the “QR Scan” app, an easier way to get to this site is to scan the business card attached to the giant Mickey Hand paper clip.

LUNCH—Your child will eat in the cafeteria. Grade One lunch time is from 11:05-11:35 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.

BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION—Your child can celebrate his/her birthday with the children in the class.  Treats can be sent in for your child to distribute to his/her classmates.  Today, there are 22 children in our classroom.

NIFTY NAME—Your child will be featured in our classroom during Nifty Name month.  An “all about me” paper will be sent home Please help your child complete it and return to school.  Your child can share a “show and tell” item, pictures and a snack.  The snack is to begin with the first letter in your child’s name.  For example, Patty could bring pretzels.

CURRICULUM—All three first grades at Knox work very closely together. We work with the same Ohio Learning Standards in Language Arts, Math, Social Studies and Science. We sometimes cover things the same and sometimes differently. We are implementing Fountas and Pinnell's Literacy Collaborative format and are continuing with McGraw-Hill's Everyday Math.  We work with a literacy and math coach. We have the same lunch/recess times.
HOMEWORK—Your child’s daily homework is to read for 20 minutes. In addition, your child will have spelling, math, and writing homework. 

SPECIALS—Our specials schedule is: 

Day A: Music with Mrs. Brand (first semester); Art with Ms. Lancey (second semester)

Day B: Gym with Ms. Woods**

Day C: Library with Mrs. Plocher.  When we have library two times during the week, the second time usually is in the computer lab.
**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 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.

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! 

PET PARTNERS--Mrs. Lori Pasch and her Goldendoodle, Shelby, will be a part of our classroom.  They will read with the children on an individual basis, weekly.  More information to come.                                                        


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—Use the QR Code app or type in the address of our classroom webpage is: http://www.westbranch.k12.oh.us/olc/teacher.aspx?s=149

ASSESSMENTS—Each child in a West Branch Elementary will be assessed throughout the year. First Graders take the STAR Early Literacy Test; Ohio's Diagnostic assessment; assessments from Fountas and Pinnell; Math and Spelling tests. The tests can be traditional paper/pencil, observational, computer generated, personal or written communication, selected response and performance assessments. With Ohio’s Learning 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 do not share headphones. Your child’s headphones needs to be labelled, and they stored in their cubby. (Earbuds are too big for 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.


Cindy Helms