Dear Family Members and Friends,

Here’s wishing you a warm and sunny welcome back!
I hope you found some sun this summer rested up for the studies and adventures that lay ahead this school year. 

Class Configurations and Schedules
In response to the large class size this year, (40+ students) the school board approved a motion to add a half time teacher in the afternoons.   With her strong science background, third grade teacher Ms. Stephanie Strasser-Goldstein, (“Ms. S”) will be teaching physics and pe/computer lab.   I will be teaching social Studies and also pe/computer lab.  Students will be split into two, mixed grade groups for afternoon class rotations, including one elective.

The 7th/8th grade class will meet each morning in the gym for attendance and announcements and then break into language arts groups, with all of the eighth graders and a majority of the seventh graders (34 students) attending my class.  Seven seventh grade students will go to Ms. Leuck's class.

For math, students will be grouped into pre-algebra and algebra classes with Laramie teaching the smaller algebra group as I take on the larger pre-algebra group.

Also note that the board approved extending instructional minutes for the upper grades by 10 minutes a day, thereby shortening morning recess by 10 minutes.

I am very excited about this dynamic schedule and looking forward to working with an upper grade team of teachers

School Supplies
Because students will be sitting at different desks throughout the school week, all school supplies and personal belongings need to be kept in a backpack.  There will be bookshelf space available for work portfolio folders and some textbooks, but students will be bringing their backpacks with them when they move to different classes.  By next Monday, all students need to bring to school the following school supplies:
pencil sharpener
single subject spiral notebook
three 1” floppy vinyl binders
composition book
one 2” binder
colored pencils
solar scientific calculator
subject dividers
pocket folders

Weekly Progress Reports & Homework Assignments
In order to ensure the success of your child and keep you well informed, weekly progress reports, along with class/school news and reading records, will be sent home with your child every Tuesday. Progress reports reflect grades and assignments we have covered in the previous two weeks. Please sign the progress report and send it back with your child the following day (Wednesday). This is also a good place to write me any questions or comments.  You can also access your child’s grade report online through

Homework is generally assigned daily, Monday through Thursday, with occasional weekend work for projects. Weekly homework assignments are always written on the chalkboard and posted on Jupiter Grades, which you can access through the class website, Expect your child to spend around an hour on homework each day, independent reading included. If absent, students have one week to make up missing assignments before the grade becomes a zero. Otherwise, 10% will be subtracted from the homework assignment each day that it is late.  Unexcused missing assignments cannot be made-up and will be scored as an “F.”  An hour long “Homework Club” is also available after school in room 12, Monday through Thursday, for any student that needs academic assistance, access to computers and the internet, or just a focused place to work.

8th Grade Ski Trip and 7th Grade Aquatics Camp
It may seem like a long way off now, but these epic adventures will be underway before we know it, and now is the time to start planning and, most importantly, fundraising. The eighth grade trip costs around $450 per student and aquatics camp could cost $150, so begin talking with your child about fundraising opportunities such as: mowing lawns, babysitting, recycling, car washes, bakes sales etc. Because of the high level of maturity and motivation present in the eighth grade class this year, I’m putting much of the fundraising into their hands. I think in this way, students will develop a deeper understanding and a greater appreciation of this, once in a lifetime experience. Of course I’m happy to help organize events any way I can. Let’s brainstorm ideas soon.

Cell phones, i-pods, & hand held video games
Despite my love for technology and all things geeky, cell phones and other gizmos can be a source of great distraction for some students. For this reason, all cell phones brought to school must be turned off and stowed away while your child is at school. A failure to follow this rule will result in your child’s phone being confiscated for the day and possibly banned from school. Personal music players and hand held games can be used in class at my discretion (rainy day recess for example), but cannot be used outside of room 12, and risk being stolen or broken if brought to school.

Independent Reading
Nothing bolsters the brain better than reading books.  For full credit, students need to read at least 30 minutes a day, including weekends and vacations. Students are also responsible for writing, at home, a one-page independent reading journal response that will be due every Friday. These may be typed or neatly written, and remember, spelling counts!  More on this in the weeks to come.
Best regards and have a joyous school year,

Tyler Vack

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