First Grade Handbook

Dear Parents,


        Welcome to First Grade!  I want to welcome you and your child to our class!  We are looking forward to working with you this school year.  Your first grader will be actively involved everyday in learning many new skills in our classroom.

        I hope that this booklet of information will help to make your transition into First Grade a smooth one.  As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.  I believe an open line of communication between home and school is very important. I welcome the opportunity to hear your thoughts or questions. Feel free to contact me anytime by email (, notes in folder or by phone after 2:30 at 654-1800.



 Mrs. Armstrong


First Grade




            Newsletters will be sent home via your child’s homework folder or report card.  Please read them carefully as they will contain information concerning academic skills being taught, special projects/events, and other pertinent information concerning your child’s classroom.



            On the first grade supply list is a folder from the school store with pockets.  This folder is designated for transporting homework assignments (Mon.-Thurs.), a weekly log, a behavior calendar, your child’s completed papers, notes to you, and eventually take-home readers (baggy books).  Please make a habit of checking your child’s folder each day and initialing his/her log.  Any notes should be sent in this folder also.



            A conference will be held at the beginning of the school year (after Open House) and at the end of the school year.  Other conferences may be requested (by the teacher or yourself) to discuss your child’s progress at any time throughout the year.  In school phone conferences can be conducted from 2:45-3:30 PM.  Messages can also be left in the office (654-1800).



            Your first grader’s academic progress will continually be assessed throughout the school year.  Evaluations are made from developmental assessments, anecdotal notes, work samples, and testing.  Progress will be reported in the form of a developmental report card sent home every nine weeks.

 Assessments are completed in the areas of communication skills (oral language, orientation to print, listening/silent reading comprehension, and writing) and mathematics.  The skills on these assessments will be explained at your first parent-teacher conference.  During activities, anecdotal notes are kept relating to your child’s understanding of concepts and skills.  Samples of your child’s work are collected/dated/filed each week.  In addition, reading tests which assess comprehension, written expression and decoding skills are administered.



            Students cannot arrive on campus prior to 7:15 AM.  Adult supervision will not begin until this time and Glen Arden cannot be legally liable for children dropped off at school before that time.  First grade students will report to the media center prior to being sent to their classrooms at 7:40 AM.  Afternoon dismissal begins at 2:25 PM immediately following the announcements.  Dismissal times are as follows: 




Car riders: 2:30

Bus riders: 2:30

After school: 2:30

Walkers: 2:35

Vans: 2:45




            If your child is leaving school early, we request that a note be sent to us in your child’s homework folder.  Your child will wait for you in front of the office.  You must sign him/her out in the office before leaving the building.  Glen Arden’s Safe Schools Policy requires a written note, signed by the parent, in order for a child to be dismissed to anyone other than the parent or guardian.



            If your child has any change in his/her transportation, we must have it in writing.  Otherwise, we will send your child home by regular means.  Please send notes inside your child’s homework folder. We understand that changes may need to be made last minute. In this case we can accept a change if it is noted in the office and notice is given to the teacher.



            It is important that your first grader attend school each day unless he/she is ill.  If your child is ill, please send a note explaining the absence when your child returns to school.  If your child becomes ill at school, we will call you in this order unless you notify us differently:  home phone number, mother’s work phone number, father’s work phone number, emergency contact’s phone number.  IF THESE PHONE NUMBERS CHANGE, PLEASE NOTIFY US IMMEDIATELY.

            Absences related to illness, injury, death in the family, or court appearances that are signed by the parent will be considered excused absences.  Students must bring a note from home stating the cause of the absence.  According to Buncombe County Board policy, children with eight accumulated absences may be required to provide medical verification of the illness in order for the absence to be excused.  Any student who attends less than 162 school days will be required to attend “Attendance Summer School.”

            Absences not related to sickness, injury, death in the family, or court situations are usually unexcused.  An Excessive Absence Letter will be sent home after 3, 6, and 10 days of unexcused absences.  State Policy requires that students who accumulate 10 unexcused absences are to be referred to an attendance counselor for possible legal action. 

            Educational trips may be excused if they have prior approval.  You must complete a Request for Approved Educational Student Leave form (located in the Student/Parent Handbook or can be obtained from the front office).  The principal will notify you as to how the absence will be coded.  Please remember that North Carolina law requires that our children attend school.  Vacations, business trips, and family reunions are not valid reasons for excessive absences.  (Further information on the attendance policy may be found in the Student/Parent Handbook.)




            School begins at 8:00 AM.  Our day commences immediately following the bell; therefore, it is imperative that your child be here and is ready to start our day.  Please remember that the car rider line is often very long.  We ask that you plan your time accordingly.  Make sure you allow additional time for cold or rainy weather.  If your child should arrive late, a TARDY slip must be obtained from the office before he/she comes to class.  Tardies are marked on your child’s permanent record.  Notices are sent home from the office for repeated tardies.  We appreciate all efforts you make to insure that your child experiences a full instructional day.





            The cafeteria begins serving breakfast at 7:30 AM.  The cost is free for students and TBD for adults.  Please note:  Students arriving by car who plan on eating breakfast need to be on campus by 7:40 AM.




            School lunch costs $2.00 (includes milk).  If your child brings lunch from home, milk can be purchased (juice is also available).  In first grade, your child is responsible for his/her own money.  Please make sure any money is sent in a  sealed envelope with your child’s name and ID number written on the front.  (We highly recommend the prepayment method.)  Menus are sent home monthly.  Parents and grandparents are always welcome to join their child for lunch.  Lunches brought in from commercial restaurants are not permitted. Due to limited space and table assignments, guests will eat at designated tables with their children.  For the special lunches planned for Thanksgiving, Christmas, reservations are required.  We will send home notices in advance of these days with instructions for calling the office to reserve your place.  Please remember to stop by the office to sign in on the computer and get a badge whenever you join your child for lunch.



            In first grade, the children should bring a healthy snack from home every day.    We recommend that snacks should be nutritional and in bite-size quantities (any cutting should be done at home).  In order to provide the healthiest snacks, please try to avoid snacks containing refined sugar, chocolate, or caffeine.  Suggested snacks:  crackers, raisin bread, muffin, fruit (orange, grapes, banana, pear, and apple), graham crackers, trail mix, unsweetened dry cereal, vegetable sticks (celery, carrots, etc.), and raisins. Extra snack are always welcome as some students may forget them.




            Please be sure that your child has the following supplies:  1 book bag (no wheels), 1 red pocket folder (with prongs and pockets), 1 yellow pocket folder (with prongs and pockets), First Grade Homework Folder (Yellow one from school office cost $1),  2 packs of #2 pencil (yellow only), 1 box of crayons (24 count) 1 pack of washable markers (8 count), 1 pack of colored pencils (optional), 1 pair of scissors, and 1 wide ruled Primary notebook. The following items are considered “community property” and will be shared among classmates: 2 Dry erase markers, 1 clean sock for Expo storage and erasing, 1 box gallon size Ziplock Freezer bags (boys only), 1 box of quart size Ziplock Freezer bags (girls only), and 1 pack of post-it notes. The following are always needed and appreciated: boxes of tissue, sanitizing hand gel, band aids, notebook paper, glue sticks, graham crackers, and saltine crackers.




Buncombe County School policy allows school staff to administer prescription medication under the following conditions:

·         A signed physician’s order is on file indicating what dosage and when.

·         Medicine must be in its original bottle with pharmacist’s label designating patient’s name, prescription period, and all other pertinent information.

·         A signed consent form from the parents giving the Glen Arden office staff the authorization to dispense the medication is on file.

·         Medication is delivered to school by the parents.  It cannot be sent with the child on the bus.  The school office is open from 6:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

  • Children may not keep any form of prescription or non-prescription medication in the classroom.This includes cough drops, anti-itch cream, etc.




            Student school bus transportation is one of our primary safety concerns.  Riding a school bus is a privilege that carries with it responsibility for good behavior on the part of our students.  Bus drivers have the authority to maintain order, and they will work to make their respective buses pleasant and safe for your child.  You are asked to discuss proper behavior with your child.  Please  review the following rules even if your child does not ride the bus on a regular basis.  Our class will be going on field trips this year that involve riding a bus.


School Bus Passenger Safety Rules:

·         Board the bus quickly and quietly.  Be seated and stay seated until the bus comes to a stop at your house or stop.  Do not change seats unless the bus driver tells you to.

·         Keep all body parts inside the bus.  Keep body parts and objects to yourself.  Hold your book bag on your lap.  You may not take up an extra seat with your possessions.

·         No food or gum on the bus.

·         If your driver asks you to sit in a particular seat you are to do so.  He/she has a reason.

·         Walk in front of the bus cross arm, never behind the bus or along the side.  The driver cannot see you behind or along side.

·         If you drop something while getting on or off the bus, tell the driver and then move away from the bus.  Do not try to reach under the bus to pick it up.  Wait until the bus has completely moved away before returning for the object.

·         In the afternoons pay special attention to where your bus is.  Do not get so involved in a conversation with your friends that you miss your stop.  If you do not get off the bus when your stop comes, you will be returned to school and your parents will be called to come pick you up.  THIS IS ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT WHEN THERE IS A SUBSTITUTE DRIVER ON THE BUS!

·         Keep the aisles clear of feet, book bags, and other objects.

·         Students must meet the bus at the designated stop at the designated time and may not get off at any unassigned stop without permission from the office.

·         You may not ride a bus other than the one which is designated as your “home bus unless a situation calls for emergency childcare.”  If you are planning to go home with a friend who does not ride your bus you must make arrangements for someone to pick you up as a car rider.  If you are to get off your “home bus” at a different stop we must have a note from your parents.  Give the note to your teacher first thing in the morning and make sure you take it to the bus with you and present it to the driver as you get on.  Without the note, we cannot let you off at another stop.

·         Students may not delay the bus schedule.  *If there is a change of transportation, it must be approved prior to 2:00 PM.

·         Fighting, loud talking, horseplay, using profanity, or refusing to obey school authorities or a bus driver while waiting for, riding, or leaving a school bus will not be tolerated.

·         Vandalism and tampering with buses will not be permitted.  Damage to buses will result in replacement/repair costs being charged to the student.

·         Talk quietly to the people in the seat with you.  Do not try to talk to friends three seats away.  Remember to use quiet voices.

·         If the lights are on it signals – NO TALKING!

·         Remember, the same rules apply on the bus that apply in the classroom.  You are to be kind and courteous.  Bus time is a perfect time to remember the Glen Arden 3 R’s:  Respect, Responsibility, and Reasonable Thinking.

·         If you have a problem do not take things into your own hands.  Step one is to tell the person bothering you to “STOP!”  Immediately report any problem to your bus driver, Mrs. Hipps, Mrs. Bradley, or your teacher.  We cannot help solve the problem until we know there is one.  Remember, you are the one who can avoid problems by behaving as you should.




 The following discipline plan will generally be used when students are referred to the office for failing to comply with bus safety rules.  Individual circumstances and severity of offense may affect the handling of any individual referral:

·         Step 1 – Warning, written notice to parent

·         Step 2 – One/Two-day suspension of bus transportation privilege

·         Step 3 – Three-day bus suspension

·         Step 4 – Five-day bus suspension

·         Step 5 – Suspended from bus for remainder of the year




            If your child is a car rider, you must use the front entrance for dropping off and picking up.  The back entrance is for buses only.  Staff members and the Glen Arden Safety Patrol will be on duty in the front of the school to watch children going into the building in the morning and assisting children into the correct car in the afternoon.  Please pull up and use the designated places when dropping off/picking up your child.  Do not drop your child off in any other areas as this is a safety hazard.



            If your child will be walking to and from school, please discuss the route they are to follow.  No child will be allowed to walk home without a signed note from the parents.  We encourage you to talk to your child about walking in the grassy areas versus the main roads.





 The decision to close school early or to delay the start of a school day may be affected by 
 weather conditions.  Here are some important things to remember:

·         The decision to close school or to delay the opening will be made by the Central Office no later than 6:00 AM.  If possible, the decision will be made the evening before.

·         Tune in to area radio (WWNC 750 AM) and television (WLOS Channel 13) stations for the announcement or contact a neighbor who can listen for you.  Please do not call the school, the central office, or the news media.  You can also check for closings on Buncombe County School’s website at

·         School closings are done by districts.  If the Roberson District is closed, this will include the Reynolds District also, since the children from both districts attend Cane Creek Middle School.

·         If NO announcement is made, school will operate on a regular schedule.

It is very important for you to let us know what your child’s “early dismissal plan” is.  It is your responsibility to keep this information up to datePlease remember that we will not be able to call individual parents in the case of an early dismissal due to a shortage of phone lines.  On days of inclement weather, we ask that you listen to the radio or television for possible early dismissal announcements.




            Birthdays are always a special occasion.  On your child’s birthday, his/her name will be announced on the morning announcements and he/she will receive a birthday pencil from the office.  In our classroom, we sing to your child and he/she receives a birthday hat and certificate.  If you choose, you may send in a "birthday snack" for the class. We would have the birthday snack sometime after lunch.  (Please note, due to the recommendations being made by the School Health Advisory Council of Buncombe County Schools, food served must be commercially prepared and labeled due to allergies.)   Invitations for parties may  be passed out at school if each and every child receives an invitation. The exception to this is inviting either ALL girls or ALL boys.  (Gifts for students, including flowers, balloons, cookie bouquets, etc., may not be delivered to the school.)





            Throughout the year, your child will bring home various book orders.  These orders provide you with an opportunity to purchase good literature at reasonable prices for your first grader.  If you wish to purchase books, please complete the order form and make your checks payable to the individual book clubs as these do not go through the school.  (Checks written to Glen Arden will be returned because the office won’t cash these).
You may also order anytime online at: Our class activation code is: GVHKL. The books will be shipped to our school and will be given to your child to bring home. Please allow approximately 1 week processing time. If the book is a gift for your child, just let me know and I can call you when your order is delivered!




            As a reward for good behavior, your child will make periodic visits to our classroom prize basket.  (This is used in conjunction with our discipline plan described in this booklet.)  We encourage donations from the children to keep the prize basket stocked.  Items such as stickers, small games, toys, coloring books, puzzles, etc. are often found in the prize basket.  Please keep us in mind before discarding items your child no longer is interested in, as these items may be appealing to a classmate.



Everyone has…

1.        the right to live safely,

2.       the right to learn,

3.       the responsibility to be polite,

4.       the responsibility to be honest,

5.       the responsibility to use time wisely.


Summary of the Rights and Responsibilities


1.       Everyone has the right to live safely.  This policy encompasses all rules concerning aggressive behavior among students, such as hitting, pinching, pushing, and even biting.  It also covers inappropriate individual behaviors, such as running in the hall, standing on desks, and throwing rocks into the air.

2.     Everyone has the right to learn.  This right protects the learning environment in the classroom.  Any behavior that distracts a student from learning is covered here – everything from disrupting others by talking with a classmate to simply not paying attention in class.

3.     Everyone has the responsibility to be polite.  This policy stresses that each person is accountable for protecting the positive classroom environment.  Polite actions and language will be modeled and taught at all times.

4.     Everyone has the responsibility to be honest.  Honesty provides harmony in the classroom and helps students build their own sense of honor and self-worth.

5.     Everyone has the responsibility to use time wisely.  Having quality time for learning in the classroom is very important, so the responsibility for time management will be shared with the students.  When students are late turning in assignments or returning from the bathroom, they rob themselves of valuable learning time.  The importance of using class time to its full advantage will be emphasized.