welcome to first grade at catoctin elementary mrs rita welsh rita welsh@lcps org n.
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Welcome to First Grade at Catoctin Elementary! Mrs. Rita Welsh rita.welsh@lcps.org. Welcome message from Mrs. Rueckert and Mr. Heironimus. School Climate. Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS)

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school climate
School Climate
  • Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS)
    • Catoctin is a PBIS school. We are working as school to be respectful, ready, and responsible. When the children are seen exhibiting these behaviors they are recognized with golden tickets. They will be able to save up their golden tickets and then “purchase” items from a prize store.
classroom climate
Classroom Climate


  • Use polite and kind words
  • Stay in your personal space
  • Raise your hands
  • Work quietly
  • Listen to others


  • Follow directions and class routines
  • Complete work given
  • Make good choices
  • Clean up after yourself 


  • Have materials ready
  • Give your best effort
  • Stop, Look, and Listen
classroom climate cont
Classroom Climate (cont.)
  • Rewards
    • Class prizes / Marble Jar
    • Golden tickets
  • Consequences
    • Color Model: blue=exceeds, green=meets, yellow=progressing, and red=below expectations for behavior (work in progress)
    • Each day the children will start on yellow. As the day progresses each child will have the opportunity to move to green or blue if he/she exhibits appropriate behavior. If there is a problem he/she will be asked to move to red. If the child ends the day on red, a red note will be sent home.
classroom climate cont1
Classroom Climate (cont.)
  • Think papers will be used at times.
  • Please review any documentation (red notes or think papers) with your child, sign and return to school the following day.
  • If anyone harms another child on purpose he/she will be asked to speak with an administrator.
toys look alikes
Toys/ “Look-Alikes”
  • LCPS policy is no weapon of any kind may be on school property.
  • This does include “look-alikes”. For example: toy guns, etc.
  • Please help to enforce this policy with your child.
  • Thanks to all the money that was earned through Box Tops for Education, each child will be provided a planner.
  • Each day your child will record the color he/she ended the day on and a word or picture about his/her day.
  • Planners will be sent home daily. Please initial that you reviewed it with your child.
  • The Catoctin handbook can be found in the front of the planner. Please take time to review this information with your child.
  • The tardy bell rings at 7:50 a.m.
  • Students arriving after the bell will be marked as tardy unless he/she was at breakfast.
tuesday folders
Tuesday Folders
  • Tuesday Folders will be sent home on Tuesday.
  • Catoctin will be sending home all paperwork (including PTA information) on Tuesdays in this folder.
  • Please take time to review the work, sign the folder and return it the next school day.
  • If you have any comments or questions about your child’s work simply write it in the folder.
  • I will send all work and anything that is NOT time sensitive in the Tuesday Folder.
daily communication folders
Daily Communication Folders
  • Daily Communication folders will remain in students’ book bags.
  • If there is something that needs to go home on a particular day (not a Tuesday) I will have the students place it in the Communication folder.
  • If you have a note for me, please do the same.
  • It is the students responsibility to check the folder daily and put things for me in my box.
  • I do not check book bags so please remind your child to check his/her folder.
  • Homework will start in late September or early October.
  • It will be a weekly packet that will contain a reading log, word study log, math, and sentence writing practice.
  • Homework packets will be handed out on Mondays and be due the following Monday.
  • The children should engage in 20 minutes of reading a night.
  • More information will follow.
sunshine math
Sunshine Math
  • Sunshine Math will be offered to first grade students if there is enough parent interest.
  • Sunshine Math is an enrichment program and will not be graded.
  • I will need 1-2 volunteers to help with this program.
  • More information to follow.
  • Catoctin is a Pathways school.
  • Pathways is a balanced approach to literacy.
  • The daily components are word study, shared reading, guided reading, centers, read aloud, independent reading, and writers’ workshop.
  • Poems, passages, and big books are used to promote fluency, sight words, and skills.
responsive instruction ri
Responsive Instruction (RI)
  • RI will take place daily from 8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.
  • Each student will participate in a short assessment focusing on fluency in early September
  • RI will focus on fluency instruction
developmental reading assessment dra
Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA)
  • The DRA is a reading assessment that is administered at the beginning and end of first grade.
  • It is an assessment that is used to find the child’s independent reading level.
  • The DRA provides essential information about the child’s decoding skills, comprehension skills, and fluency.
  • At conference time we will review your child’s testing in detail.
phonological awareness literacy screening pals
Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS)
  • The PALS is administered at the beginning and end of first grade.
  • This assessment provides information about the child’s knowledge of letter sounds, spelling, and instructional reading level.
  • We will discuss your child’s PALS assessment at conference time as well.
first quarter conferences
First Quarter Conferences
  • I would like to meet with each family to review student progress during the first quarter. We will be discussing PALS and DRA results as well as all other academic areas.
    • Please sign up before you leave this evening.
accelerated reading ar
Accelerated Reading (AR)
  • When a child is able to read and comprehend on a DRA level 16 he/she will be invited to try the AR program.
  • This is an independent, enrichment program.
  • The child must be able to read the book on his/her own and take the test on his/her own.
  • AR tests are completed upon arrival in the morning.
  • The first grade team will send out a monthly newsletter to keep you informed.
  • Newsletters will be emailed if you have provided your email address.
  • Email is the most efficient form of communication to contact me, but notes will be fine also. Phone calls are welcome but I will not be able to return calls until the end of the school day.
  • My email address is rita.welsh@lcps.org. If you have a question that is child specific, please email me so we can set up a time to conference via phone or in person.
  • All visitors must sign in at the office to receive a visitor pass.
  • Volunteers are welcome (please sign up).
  • If you would like to visit the classroom (aside from volunteer work and special events), please contact the administration and set up a time to come in and observe.
  • Parents may attend lunch without notification but please sign in at the office and meet your child in the cafeteria.
daily schedule
Daily Schedule
  • Refrigerator Reminder
    • Monday: PE and Library
    • Tuesday: Art
    • Wednesday: Music and Computer Lab
    • Thursday: PE
    • Friday: PE and Music
    • Guidance and Search - TBD
lunch money
Lunch Money
  • Please make sure that your child has lunch money in his/her account.
  • Ice cream and cookies can be purchased in the cafeteria.
snack water bottles
Snack/Water bottles
  • The cafeteria is currently offering a mid-morning snack of white milk for 50 cents. Your child should notify me first thing in the morning if he/she would like to purchase a container of milk for that day.
  • Students may keep water bottles at their desks. I would prefer a bottle with a push top or straw rather than a cap.
  • Students may bring a small healthy mid-morning snack.
  • Juice is only allowed in the cafeteria.
  • Children/Families may not bring in any type of edible treats in celebration of a birthday. This is a LCPS policy. We can provide a list of other ideas to recognize birthdays in school.
  • Birthday party invitations may not be distributed in school. Please join the PTA and submit your family’s information to be included in the Catoctin Directory.
book clubs
Book Clubs
  • Please complete the letter regarding book orders if you would like to receive Scholastic orders forms.
  • This is an opportunity to purchase books at a discounted rate and is optional.
  • The curriculum that is being covered will be listed in our newsletters.
  • Each grading period’s curriculum will be posted as a link on the First Grade Webpage.
  • The Virginia SOLs can be found on the Virginia Department of Education website.
  • Work completed at literacy centers will be marked with a “C” (for center work). Centers work is a formative assessment used to guide instruction and will not be graded.
  • Classroom assignments completed accurately and independently will have a check plus.
  • Work completed with minimal errors and with teacher assistance will have a check.
  • Work completed with difficulty will be marked with a check minus and a note on the paper. Please review and talk with your child about the work.
  • If a child has difficulty completing an assignment due to behavior it will be sent home to be completed at home.
  • Graded assignments will be marked with a: E (exceeds the standard), M (meets the standard), P (progressing towards the standard), B (below the standard)
clarity parent portal
Clarity Parent Portal
  • Available for grades K-2 in January 2013.
  • Parents will be able to access student progress/grades online.
  • More information to follow.
report cards
Report Cards
  • Please review the brochure about the first grade report card.
  • Progress Indicators for Academic Subject Areas will be:
    • E/4 = exceeds standards
    • M/3 = meets standards
    • P/2 = progressing towards standard
    • B/1 = performing below standard