Parent Student Handbook » Academic Information

Academic Information

Homework is an important part of the instructional program. The purpose of the assignments is to reinforce classroom learning, encourage self-direction and good study habits, and to stimulate independent thinking. Parents can help their children by taking an interest in what the student is doing as well as by providing encouragement and guidance where appropriate. It is important to have the necessary resource materials and a good work place for the student. Parents may also check work for neatness and to see that directions have been followed. Parents should confer with the teacher if help seems needed.
Homework is assigned at all grade levels and should be no longer than:
Kindergarten - 10 to 15 minute on one scheduled night per week
Grade 1 - 10 to 15 minutes per night
Grade 2 - 15 to 20 minutes per night
Grade 3 - 20 to 25 minutes per night
Grade 4 - 30 to 40 minutes per night
Grade 5 - 50 to 60 minutes per night
Report cards are issued at the end of the second and third trimesters. An annual Parent/Teacher conference is scheduled in November in lieu of the first trimester report card. Appointments may be made for conferences with your child’s teacher anytime during the school year.
Cumulative Records are kept on file in the office. These include all academic records and student histories. Parents may have access to these records by appointment with the Principal.
Transcript requests may be made through the office. Please provide an addressed envelope with enough postage to send two (2) ounces.
Regular Testing is provided in conjunction with district and state testing programs. Parents are welcome to discuss the results with their child’s teacher. The SBAC tests are given in the spring to grades 2-5. The results may be discussed with the teacher or the principal at a scheduled conference.
Class Assignments
Each year in the spring before school is dismissed, our classroom teachers, principal, and specialists are involved in creating classroom lists for the following year. Many parents ask what opportunity the parent has in providing input into their child's placement from year to year. We hope the information included here will be helpful in understanding our process.
Student Placement
The class placement process is VERY complex and many factors enter into the decision making process. Much time, effort and care is taken by staff in meeting, discussing, and creating well-balanced classrooms. After balanced rosters are created, teachers will be assigned when our staffing is complete.
Each of the following are considered to create classes that are grouped heterogeneously:
  • balanced ratio of boys & girls
  • a balance of achievement levels in literacy and mathematics
  • motivation level of each student
  • behavior factors regarding each student
  • compatibility of students with others in the classroom (i.e. separating students who have not worked well together in the past)
  • independent work habits
  • social needs and leadership skills
  • information provided by the teacher
Parent Information
Specific parent requests for classroom assignments or teachers are not considered. We ask that parents trust the school's decisions in placing students. It is almost impossible to prepare class lists while working within the constraints of parent requests for teachers. We have an exceptionally dedicated staff who will provide the same quality of learning experiences for your child. 
Parents may have pertinent information about your child that you would like considered in the placement process. Examples of information staff find helpful are: "Please separate my twins, Sally and Suzie," or "Please do not place my son Joey in the same class as Fred as we are neighbors and they are together all of the time," or "My child has only been in the United States one month and needs assessment for ELL support." 
Examples of comments that we all agree upon and do not need to be included are: "We want a warm, nurturing, caring environment for our child." "We want our child challenged." "We want our child in a structured classroom." We take these comments as a given; it is each teacher's responsibility to provide a nurturing, challenging, safe environment for every student. 
If you choose to provide specific information regarding your child that the teacher does not have or may be unaware of, please provide a written letter addressed to the Principal. Be assured that these letters will be kept confidential. Please note as discussed above that we cannot accept requests for individual teachers by gender, experience level, or name etc.- this information or request will be removed from that portion of the letter.
Request for Alternate Grade-Level: Valentine ES follows state guidelines  on student placements in grade levels according to the student’s date of birth. It is not recommended to have a student be placed outside the student’s age-appropriate grade level. In very rare instances, a Student Success Team (SST) may be held after 6 weeks of attendance by a team consisting of the student’s teacher to review the possibility of an alternate grade-level placement. Even if the team recommends placement in a higher or lower grade level than the student’s age-appropriate grade level, alternate grade-level placement may not be possible depending on class size. The integrity of the programs in the other grade levels for the students who are in their age-appropriate grade levels must be preserved as those students have a priority to not have a higher class size.