Parent Letter

Dear Families,

Welcome to the 2021-2022 school year! I am delighted to have your child in my 6th grade class. Hopefully, the trials of the last seventeen months are behind us, and we can forge ahead into an amazing year of learning together. I have planned an exciting and academically challenging year, and I invite you to join in partnership with me in support of your child's educational progress.

I use the principles of Depth and Complexity, Crosscutting Concepts, and Math/Science/ELA Practices to provide my students with deep and complex learning experiences. My GATE classroom has a curriculum that is differentiated to meet the needs, interests, and abilities of all students. I create environments in which my students are encouraged to think, question, explore and reflect. Students are actively engaged in learning experiences where they prove existing generalizations or claims (deductive reasoning) or create their own generalizations or claims (inductive reasoning). I provide an analytical approach to learning where students may select topics for investigation and exploration, including analysis of patterns and trends, opposing points of view, and the ethics of issues. In my classroom, the practice of teaching both the skills of the standards-based curriculum and higher level thinking skills reinforce each other and facilitate deeper levels of knowing for all learners.

I expect each student to be on time, organized, and prepared to work. Please be sure that your child has a quiet learning place and these suggested supplies (at minimum):

A charged iPad, a 3-ring binder with dividers and 3-hole punch ruled paper/spiral notebooks and many sharpened pencils.

The following is an outline of curriculum goals, assignments, homework, attendance, and grading:

Curriculum Goals:

This year we will continue learning through the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for English Language Arts and Mathematics. Written communication has a focus on argumentation, making claims and citing supporting evidence, and explanation. Of course, effective communication requires careful attention to grammar and mechanics of writing.

Mathematics: To achieve a complete and balanced mathematics curriculum, my students and I will be using Core Connections, Year 1 by College Preparatory Mathematics (CPM). It is a middle grades and secondary mathematics program that integrates basic skills and topics with conceptual understanding and problem solving strategies. I will be supplementing our CPM program with a variety of formative assessment lessons, performance tasks, and math explorations to develop the natural use of algebra as a problem solving tool. You and your child can learn more about CPM and access student resource pages, homework help, and parent guides (and more!) by visiting their website:

Technology Goals: To manage our learning, I will be using Google Classroom where students will be able to access various articles, resources, and assignments, as well as electronically submit their digital work. Please have your child familiarize you with the features of Google Classroom.

Social-Emotional Learning (SEL): I will be using the District adopted Second Step program which features units on Mindset & Goals, Recognizing Bullying & Harassment, Thoughts, Emotions, & Decisions, and Managing Relationships & Social Conflict.

Homework: Your child has a minimum of 20-30 minutes of independent reading every night, in addition to assigned work. It is important that your child choose a book, magazine, or text that interests him or her and that it is at an appropriate reading level. Our daily homework will vary and usually consists of work started in class with the ability to finish more thoroughly at home. Please contact me if your child is spending an unreasonable amount of time on homework, so we can work together to solve the problem.

Absences: It is crucial that your child be in attendance during our classroom lessons and complete assignments on time. It is each student’s responsibility to collect and complete the assignments s/he has missed. As a general rule, if a student is absent for two days, then s/he may have two days to complete the work.  After the two days, the work may be recorded in Power School as incomplete.  (If you know that your child will need more time to complete the work, please contact me before the work is incomplete so we can arrange an extension of time.)


Grading: Tests, quizzes, and projects will be scored on a 100-point system. I expect all work to be of the highest quality, neat, legible, fulfilling the requirements of the assignment, and on time. Students are expected to use their iPads to “word-process” their written digital work. Please have your child get into the habit of checking Power School weekly. Late work may receive a 10% reduction in points for each day late and incomplete work will be recorded as “zeroes” until made up in a timely manner.

Your child is a valued member of our classroom. He or she deserves the most positive educational climate possible for his or her academic and social growth. Since I believe that lifelong success depends in part on self-discipline, I have developed a Classroom Discipline Plan to give students guidance in making good decisions about their behavior and thus, an opportunity to learn in a positive, nurturing environment. The plan below outlines our classroom rules and the positive or negative consequences for appropriate and inappropriate behavior.

School Rules:

  • Be on time.
  • Be prepared.
  • Be safe and walk at all times.
  • Be respectful.
  • Be a STAR!

I will support appropriate behavior with praise, positive notes and phone calls home, trimester awards, and virtual hugs or handshakes from administration.

However, if a student chooses inappropriate behavior, the following steps will be taken:


Step 1: Documented warning

Step 2: 10 minute detention during recess for student/teacher conference

Step 3: 15 minute detention during recess; parent contact/conference

Step 4: Administrative referral

Step 5: Suspension from class

Please be assured that my goal is to work with parents and families in ways that I would want my child's teacher to work with me. I appreciate your insights regarding your child. To contact me, you may text me at (619) 880-1972, send a note with your child, or send an e-mail to [email protected]. I will make every effort to respond as soon as possible. I check my email early in the morning before school and then again after school. If it is urgent to contact me during school hours, leave a message at the Rio Seco office (956-5500). Our classroom phone number is 956-5574. We will have virtual Back to School Night soon with parent/teacher conferences after the first trimester. If you would like a conference sooner, please let me know so we can schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

                                                      Thank you,

                                                                                      Mrs. June Richards