August 29, 2016

 

Dear Students and Family Members,

 

            My name is Jesse Chacona and I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you back to Hampden Elementary/Middle School for the 2016/2017 school year.  I will be responsible for teaching Middle School Math to your child.  My students exhibited many accomplishments last year, and I am looking forward to continuing that success with your child this year.

            Math is a cumulative and sequential subject.  Skills that were taught last year will be applied to the new skills being taught this year.  Concepts that your child learns one week will be needed for the next week.  Objectives that have been successfully taught in one math unit will be utilized in later units throughout the year.  In other words, it is imperative that your child masters the skills and concepts that are being taught in order to have continued success in math.  Therefore, I highly encourage you and your child to make math a priority.  Homework is one of the best tools to practice, demonstrate, and apply an understanding of what was taught in class.  Please make sure your child completes and understands his/her assignment for that night.  If your child still needs more assistance I am always available to give extra help.  All he/she needs to do is ask!

 

            Materials

           

Your child will need one five-subject notebook for Math.  We will be using different sections of these notebooks for vocabulary, notes, class work, and homework.  Your child will also need one three-ring binder in order to save some of the workbook worksheets that may need to be ripped out when taken home and/or graded. A folder could also be beneficial to save, take home, and bring back any additional important papers and homework.  Even though pens are allowed in middle school, they will NOT be allowed in my classroom!  Mathematics involves a lot of trial and error, experimenting with certain methods and procedures, and correcting unforeseen mistakes.  Therefore, pens are not the proper tools for these tasks.  Suffice it to say, your child will need several pencils to use throughout the school year.  I strongly recommend mechanical pencils as they eliminate the distractions caused and time wasted by using the electronic pencil sharpener I have in my classroom.  Other mathematical materials that are recommended, but are not required for your child to have are:  a ruler (with a centimeter and an inch side), a protractor, a calculator, and a compass (mathematical, not directional).

 

Curriculum

 

            The middle school mathematics curriculum we will be using this year is called "SpringBoard."  This curriculum has a direct correlation to the questions and standards that appear on the PARCC Assessment. It was designed to promote higher order thinking skills.  Students may become frustrated at times, but they are encouraged to make sense of the problems and persevere in solving them. They will also be encouraged to use many different methods in order to find the same solution. 

            Occasionally, I will incorporate a textbook and some worksheets to supplement the “SpringBoard” program.  The problems in this book range from multi-step word problems involving higher level thinking skills to more drill orientated problems. The “drill problems” help students master the concepts being taught, whereas the word problems help the students apply their mathematical knowledge to real-world situations.  We will learn and review many different skills in class, so it is extremely important that these concepts are practiced and maintained through certain home assignments. 

           

           

Grading

 

            Your child's grade in Math will be comprised of six different components.  They are:  Homework, quizzes, tests, class work, class participation, and preparation.  70% of your child's math grade is derived from tests, quizzes, and class work.  Your child will always be notified several days in advance of any graded assignment, with the exception of a few "pop-quizzes." 

            My students are expected to participate in class.  Class participation may take the form of any of the following:  giving answers, suggestions, or educated guesses to the teacher, displaying class work and/or homework on the board, working well and contributing to discussions in group work, and asking questions when a certain concept or problem is not understood!  This participation will account for 10% of their grade.

            Students are expected to be well-prepared as they enter my classroom.  This includes sharpened pencils, a notebook, binder, folder, and their homework that is needed for that day.  Being well-prepared also means being on time.  Tardiness will result in missing pertinent information needed to accomplish the math objective for the day.  Five points will be deducted from your child's preparation grade every time he/she comes to class tardy or unprepared.

            The final 10% of your child's math grade focuses on homework.  Homework will be given Monday through Thursday.  Occasionally certain Math projects will need to be worked on over the weekend.  Homework is a vital tool to reiterate and practice the concepts that have been taught throughout the day.  In order for your child to be successful in Math, please make sure homework is completed every night.

I will not accept any work that was completed sloppily and carelessly.  I will only accept your child’s best work.  Anything less than their best will need to be redone.  Every missed home assignment will result in a five-point deduction in your child's homework grade.  Any homework which was completed carelessly or incorrectly will result in a three-point deduction.  Homework is a vital part in understanding the concepts taught in class, and should be treated as such.

            If your child is absent, he/she will be held accountable for any missed notes, class work, or homework.   If your child missed a test or quiz, it is his/her responsibility to schedule a time with me, before, during, or after school, to make-up that assignment, or I will be forced to give him/her a zero.  Coach class will be available every Wednesday during your child’s lunch period.  (Don’t worry, he/she will still be able to eat lunch!J)  I require my students to sign up for coach at least one day in advance.  It will be a perfect opportunity not only to receive extra support and help, but it can be used as a designated time for your child to make up any missed class work, homework, or assessments.  My students are also encouraged to attend coach class if they received a low or failing grade on an assessment.  Not only will they receive extra instruction to fix the mistakes they made, but they will also receive extra points on that assessment that will improve their grade.  Your child will also have study hall every day this year! This is yet another opportunity for your child to work on homework, improve upon assignments, make up missed tests, and get extra help when needed.

 

 

Discipline

           

            Being in middle school will provide your child with many new freedoms and responsibilities, but also new consequences for their actions.  Detention may be given if class work was incomplete or not attempted, for excessive missed homework assignments, unexcused tardiness, skipping class, and/or for poor and disrespectful behavior. 

             Behavioral warnings will work as follows:

                        1st strike – Verbal warning

                        2nd strike – Written account/reflection of behavior

            3rd strike – Note to be sent home (written by student or teacher) to be                                 signed by an adult family member, and/or a phone call to inform you of

            your child’s detention day and time.       

                                                                                             

            I always have your child’s best interest in mind.  It is my job to make sure your child has a successful school year, and I will do everything in my power to ensure that we achieve this goal.  However, the burden also falls on my students' shoulders.  They will need to put forth the time and effort in order to do well this year.  If you ever have any questions, comments, and/or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.  Together we can make sure that this new school year is a victorious one.  Thank you for your time and cooperation.

 

                                                            Sincerely,

 

                                                            Mr. Chacona

 

                                                  jchacona@bcps.k12.md.us

 

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