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Family Handbook

Updated on September 22, 2019

I have set up a classroom website for families to use to reference important materials for our class. On the website, you can find nightly homework assignments, extra copies of forms and documents relating to our class, class news and samples of student work, and an easy way to contact me.

You can access the website by visiting: http://mrsampsell.com

My name is Nick Sampsell and I am originally from Elmira, NY. I graduated from Elmira College with a degree in Childhood Education. I also have a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction. Prior to the 2019-2020 school year, I taught on a small school on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in Western North Dakota.

Outside of school, I live with my two dogs, Lady and Grace. I enjoy spending time with my family and learning new things. I am looking forward to an exciting school year!

I welcome the opportunity to meet with families. Please use one of the below methods to contact me or to set up a conference. I do ask for 24-hour notice if I need to gather information or documentation for our conference.

Email: nsampsell@gstboces.org
Phone: (607) 565-8186
Website: http://mrsampsell.com
Remind: http://remind.com/join/sampse

A red homework folder will be sent home every night. Please remove any work and materials from the side marked “Keep at Home.” Anything on the “Return to School/Homework” side must be completed and returned the following school day.

Each night, students will be asked to read for 20 minutes. When finished, students will write a short reflection of what they read and their thinking (varies by night). Math homework may be assigned up to twice per week.

On Fridays, I will be sending home a newsletter with important dates and information for the following week. In addition, a weekly progress report detailing behavior and missing assignments will be sent home. Please read over this and respond if you wish. Please strive to return this progress report by the following Monday.

Birthdays: Students may bring in treats to celebrate their birthdays. Please ensure they are individually wrapped or precut to allow for them to be passed out easily. Treats may be dropped off in the morning with your child or delivered to the main office. We will typically pass out birthday treats in the afternoon. Please make sure there are enough for all students.

Please note: Birthday party invitations may only be passed out during the school day if every child in the class receives one. If this is not possible, please make other arrangements for passing out invitations.

Holiday & Other Celebrations: Holiday celebrations and parties will take place according to policies set forth by the school. Typically major holidays (Halloween, Winter Holidays, Valentines Day, etc.) and milestones (100th day of school, meeting a goal, etc.) will be celebrated. Additional information will be sent home regarding these celebrations as they occur.

If your family does not celebrate certain holidays or your family’s customs or beliefs prohibit certain celebrations, please let me know and other arrangements can made. I will make all efforts to allow everyone to feel welcome and included.

Volunteers: I welcome all families to participate in celebrations. Please contact me if you are interested in volunteering or enjoying the celebration with the class.

Visiting: I strive to make our classroom a welcoming place for all families. If you wish to visit, please contact me so I can make arrangements with the office.

Volunteering: I believe that family involvement in the educational process is critical for student success. To help with this, I welcome family volunteers. Volunteers can read with students, assist with projects, help with celebrations, and complete other tasks. If you are interested in volunteering, please let me know and I can make arrangements with the main office.

Please note: If you plan on volunteering multiple times during the school year, you will need to be added to the district’s volunteer list. This form can be filled out in the main office. The list serves as a safety measure for staff and students. If you have questions about the volunteer list, please contact the main office at (607) 565-8186.

Donations: If you would like to help out in the classroom and are unable to, donations are always helpful. Basic school supplies (wide-ruled paper, pencils, crayons, colored paper, etc.) and gently used games can always be used.

Please do not feel obligated to make donations.

Box Tops: Our school collects Box Tops for Education labels. The program is moving toward a digital system, so check out http://btfe.com for information on how to submit the new digital Box Tops. Older-style Box Tops can still be found. Please feel free to send them to school with your child and we can submit them for credit.

Full-Value Contract: At the beginning of the school year, the class will create a set of agreed-upon rules known as a “Full-Value Contact.” These rules will be followed by everyone in the class. If a student does not follow these agreed-upon rules, the following list of consequences will occur:

Consequences
1st Offence – Warning
2nd Offence – Time Out/Break from Activity
(Student will be removed from the activity for 5-10 minutes. He or she will still be required to pay attention or follow along, but cannot actively participate until the break period is over. He or she will then conference with me before being allowed to rejoin the class.)
3rd Offence – Family Notification/Office Referral (Depending on Situation)
(I will contact the student’s family using the method listed on the family information form filled out at the beginning of the school year. In the event the infraction is severe, a referral to the office may be filled out).

Bullying & Harassment: All reports of bullying and harassment are taken seriously and will be dealt with in accordance with the School Board’s policies relating to bullying, harassment, and the Dignity for All Students Act. Please contact the district office for information relating to these policies and Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) Coordinators for the district.

Restorative Justice/Character Education: To help students become more adept in working with others, I will be using a combination of mediation and class meetings to deal with class-wide issues. Students will work to determine probable solutions to issues and work to resolve them. Class meetings, character education, and interpersonal skills will be focused on frequently throughout the school year.

Several instructional approaches will be used in my classroom this year. Below are a few major methods I use and a brief description of each.

Direct Instruction – Concepts are taught to students by the teacher demonstrating a process or procedure.

Guided Release – Information will be taught and completed first by the teacher, the class will then practice the concept together. Once students demonstrate understanding, they will be given the opportunity to practice the skill or concept on their own.

Daily 5 – A reading/language arts block format that involves students completing purposeful tasks related to reading (Reading to themselves, listening to reading, writing, and spelling/word work). After short blocks of purposeful tasks, short lessons (mini-lessons) focusing on a reading skill are taught by the teacher. The taught skills are then practiced and reinforced during small group and independent work time.

Workshop – Concepts are taught using a short lesson (called a mini-lesson) and students can work by themselves, with others, and with the teacher to practice the skill and make connections to other information. Teacher-to-student and student-to-student conferences and discussion of thinking is a key part of a workshop model of instruction. Workshop-based instruction always ends with a self-reflection of progress seen and areas requiring additional practice/

Guided Inquiry – students complete a hands-on activity are asked questions that make them think closely about what they are working. Students then make conclusions about a concept and share their thinking with others.

Guided Reading/Guided Math – students are split into small groups based on their needs and instruction is tailored to those needs. For example, a group of students who quickly understands a concept may be given a harder concept to work on, while those who are having trouble will be given additional support in the classroom.

Adventure-Based Learning – Students will be asked to work together to complete a task and given opportunity to reflect on what worked, what didn’t, and chances to make in the future.

Cooperative Learning – students will work on completing a task with other students in groups of various sizes. Using each other’s knowledge and previous experiences, students will work together to solve the task and demonstrate understanding of a concept.