Everything You Need to Know About Kindergarten!

Dear Families,
Welcome to kindergarten at Burroughs Community School!  I hope all of you had a relaxing and fun summer!  I am looking forward to being your child’s teacher this year.  We have an exciting year ahead of us!  Here is information about everything you need to know for our classroom and school policies:
Home-School Folder and Word of the Day.
This folder is your child’s “Home-School Folder” that we expect them to bring to school every day.  Anything that is placed in the “Read and Remove” side of the folder can be taken out and left at home.  The other side is “Sign and Return,” where I will put forms that need to be filled out and returned to school.  Pease check your child’s backpack every day and return the folder to school.  Any messages or flyers will be in the folder.  Today, on the first day, this packet is FULL of info!  Please read carefully through this packet and keep it for reference. 
In the back pocket of this folder will be a paper where the students will write their “Word of the Day.”  The Word of the Day has two purposes, one for you and one for your child: 1) to give you an easy way to start a dialogue about what happened that day at school, and 2) for your child to work on handwriting every day.  Please leave this paper in the folder for the entire week, and remove it each weekend
Absences/ Bussing or Pick up Changes
            Every time that your child will be absent (whether planned or sickness) please communicate that to me and also to the school office (612-668-3280).  If it is a planned vacation, doctor appointment, etc., please send a written note in the Home-School Folder.  For planned vacations, you will need to complete the “Family Activity Form” and be approved for your vacation, if your student will be missing school.   Also, if your child’s end of the day routine (bussing, pick-up, Spanish class, Minneapolis kids) changes, I need to know by hand-written note.  We do not let students change their end of the day routine with verbal permission, it must be written permission.  Also, we do not give bus passes for children to go home with friends.  This is very important!!
 Bussing Note to AM Parents
            If your child takes the bus home after morning kindergarten (around 12:00-12:30pm), be aware that their bus arrival time at home will vary from the scheduled time.  Not all kindergarten students ride the bus home each day. Some days they may go to Minneapolis Kids or another day care, and some days they go directly home.  This means that there is a large variation in how many students ride the bus from day to day.  For the first week or so, please be at your child’s stop early and allow for a big window on the arrival time.  After a week or two, you will know what time the bus regularly drops off your child. 
            We do not give homework every night.  We highly suggest reading for 20 minutes with your child each night.  We do send a homework packet every week, via email.  The packet of pages will be a review of what we are working on in class, usually consisting of 5-6 pages.  You may choose to do these pages however you would like, all in one setting or one page per day.  Your child’s teacher does not require the packet to be turned in weekly, and we do not formally correct the packet.  Our philosophy about homework is that it is meant to facilitate discussion about what we are learning and help parents extend the learning to the home.  We believe it is extremely important to develop the routine of doing homework during the kindergarten year.  We assume that you will help your child complete the packet, and that they will need some assistance, especially in the early months of kindergarten.  Please fill out the email group form at the back of this packet to receive the homework packets and other important notices.  If you do not have Internet access, we can send a paper copy in your child’s Home School Folder each week.
Food in Kindergarten
            Breakfast is offered for free for every student.  They may get a breakfast and bring it to our room in the morning.  We do not have snack time in kindergarten.  This is due to our short half-day schedule.  Also, due to concerns about allergies and special diets, we request that parents do not send in treats for any reason, including birthdays.  According to Burroughs policy, no food items can be brought for any celebrations or birthdays at school. Food, candy and/or beverages will not be used for rewards.
Specialist Schedule
Burroughs works very hard to fit specialist classes into the half-day kindergarten schedule. Each week, each class (both morning and afternoon) will see either 2 or 3 specialists in our school, including gym, music, art, media center, and literature.  To accommodate all of the half-day classes, kindergarten is on a trimester specialist schedule.  Check the Home-School Folder for our specialist schedule for the first trimester, from September to mid-November.  We will communicate the new schedule when the trimester is about to change.  Please keep this schedule handy so you know when to send gym shoes or library books with your child.
  Volunteering in Kindergarten
             During the school year, there will be numerous opportunities for you and your family to be involved in your child’s education. Research has shown that the more families are involved, the better students do in school. It is our goal to provide many opportunities for you to volunteer. The first step to volunteering in the classroom is to fill out the Burroughs Volunteer Form and then watch the volunteering video. This can be done online on the Minneapolis website, during Curriculum Night in September, or you can call the office (612-668-3280) and speak with Lila to set up an appointment. Then, you fill out a certificate of completion, saying you’re ready to volunteer, and turn that in to the office.  This needs to be completed prior to working in the classroom.  If you’re interested in volunteering, do this promptly, because we will request volunteers shortly after school starts!
The way we have parents sign-up for volunteering is via Google docs.  More information will be coming about how to sign up to volunteer in your child’s class! 
When you volunteer in any of the kindergarten classes, you will be helping with our daily center time in the beginning of the class. This time is from 9:10 - 9:40 in the AM class and from 12:40 - 1:10 in the PM class. This time is when students are completing tasks and activities at their tables and may need help with an activity.  You will work with a small group of 4-6 students.  We usually only schedule one volunteer per day, every week day during the year.  An additional sign-up will be sent home for special events, like the Orange Party in October or the 12 Days of Winter in December.  These are events that are usually a longer period of time and require more volunteers.   We ask that you do not bring younger siblings to volunteer with you.  Please arrange for childcare if you plan to volunteer.   
Remember, to volunteer in our room, you must complete the following steps:
1.    Fill out Volunteer form online or at Curriculum Night (Done once per school year).
2.    Watch Volunteer Video online or at Curriculum Night (Only need to watch once while your child is at Burroughs).
3.    Turn in your certificate of completion to the office (Done once per school year).
4.    Get on your classroom’s schedule, on Google docs (Done monthly).
5.    Come on in and help out!  J
Burroughs Website and Classroom Websites
            A great way to stay connected to the Burroughs community is to regularly check the Burroughs website and your child’s classroom website.  There, you can find a school calendar, information about upcoming events, and much more.  The website is http://burroughs.mpls.k12.mn.us/.  Bookmark it for easy access!  From the Burroughs website, you can follow the link to your child’s classroom site.
 Email Group
We want to be available to you during the school year and one important way of communicating with parents is through email.  In addition to the weekly homework packets mentioned earlier, we will be emailing a weekly update every Monday.  This weekly update will include the week’s homework packet, the weekly newsletter, the weekly phonics stories, and any other important notices.  Email also is a great way for you to drop me a note if, for example, your child is getting picked up or will be absent.  Please note, however, that I usually do not check my email during the school day.  I only check it before or after school, so if you have an urgent message please call the school.  This is especially important if your email is urgent or contains a change in bussing for that day.  It would be better to just call the school with that kind of information (612-866-3280).
Birthdays in Kindergarten
We will celebrate each student’s birthday during the school year. If the birthday falls on a Saturday, we will celebrate on Friday, and Sunday birthdays will be celebrated on Monday. Those children who have a summer birthdays or birthdays during a school break can pick a day during the year to celebrate their birthday in schoolWe have decided NOT to have treats shared during our birthday celebrations due to all of the allergies and special diets of students. We thought that is would be a good time for students to share something that is important or special to them. We don’t call this show and tell and it is not the time to bring the latest toy, but something that is truly special to your child. For example, they could bring in a picture of family or a special event or a blanket or other object that has sentimental value to share in our circle.  We will play a guessing game with the class around what they bring. It would be best to send the item in a grocery bag so it can be a surprise to the class until they have guessed what is in the bag.
Class List and Directory
            A class list with the names of the children in your child’s class will be sent home soon.   Also, a Burroughs School Directory will be compiled and sent home this fall.   Please remember that due to privacy issues, your child’s teacher may not share any contact information for other students.  If you want to be able to contact parents of other students directly, the directory is the best option!  We will let you know how to enter your family information electronically into the school directory. 
 Dropping Off and Picking Up Your Child
            At Burroughs, we have a great system in the mornings and afternoons for drop off and pick up.  With over 800 students coming in and out of the building, it is important for the safety of everyone that you know the guidelines. 
            Dropping Off in the morning:
1.    If you are dropping off your child, drive into the circle by the front door. 
2.    Adults do not get out of their car.  Students hop out quickly.
3.    You may not park in the circle at any time.  If you need to come in, find a parking spot and walk in with your child, please
Picking Up Students During the School Day (For an appointment, etc)
1.    Park and come into the office.
2.    Sign out your child.
3.    The office staff will call to the teacher and your child will walk down to meet you in the office.
4.    If your child is returning to school after an appointment, please walk him or her back in and sign her back in to school.  
Picking Up Students After School (for both AM and PM kindergarten)
1.    Park and walk into the atrium.  Your child will walk through the atrium with his or her teacher.  Please meet your child in the atrium, and do not go to the classroom.
2.    After 3pm, please do not drive into the Main Entrance Circle.  This area is for busses.
3.    If you are later than 3:40pm, you can meet your child in the school office.  Please be prompt.  Kindergarten classes walk out to the atrium at 12:05am and 3:30pm.
Coming to School Late
1.    If your child arrives later than 9:10am (for AM students) or 12:40pm (for PM students), and adult must walk the child into the main office and sign in on the tardy roster. 
2.    Please be prompt!  We do keep track of late arrivals.
 Forms for Parents to Complete
            At “Meet the Teacher Night,”  parents will receive a packet full of forms to fill out.  These are very important and need to be returned as soon as possible.  In the packet, there will be 5 pages:
1.    Emergency Contact Card- This contains contact information that the school will use to reach you.  If any of your contact information (phone numbers, email addresses, home address, etc.) changes during the school year, please let us know immediately. 
2.    Kindergarte Questionnaire- This is a two-sided form with valuable information for our child’s teacher. 
3.    Email and Birthday Information- This is different from the emergency contact form.  By filling this form out, you are adding your email to your teacher’s weekly email group, and will recieve the newsletter each Monday.  Also, on this form we ask that you fill out your child’s birthday and choose a day to celebrate his/her birthday at school. 
4.    MPS Discipline Policy
5.    Permission Forms/Media Release
Any more questions?
We hope this packet has been helpful to you!  Please keep it for reference throughout the school year.  Please don’t hesitate to call or email if you have any questions about Burroughs Kindergarten procedures or policies.  We are excited to get the school year started and look forward to getting to know your student and family!