Dear Parents,


              Welcome back to school!  I know you are as eager for your student to succeed in school as I am.  Every student needs to feel confident and successful and experience the pride of accomplishment for his/her endeavors.  This makes learning enjoyable.  I believe all students need to assist the teacher in creating an environment where every student has the opportunity to learn.  Please take the time to read through this packet of important information about my policies and procedures that will help foster a positive learning environment.




              Mustangs are . . . Respectful, Responsible, Friendly and Safe




              *Be respectful to other people and things.

              *Be a good listener and follow directions.

              *Use good manners.

              *Work and play safely.




              *Verbal praise or written thank you notes and compliments

              *Choice activity time

              *Lunch on the picnic tables

              *Silver horseshoes for school drawings and class goals

              *Tickets for classroom drawings




                *Teacher will use redirecting language.

    *Student may be moved to another area of the room to complete his/her work.  Unfinished work may be sent home.

    *Student will meet with teacher to discuss behavior and a logical consequence. (Break it/fix it, loss of a privilege, positive time-out)

    *Student will meet with principal.

    *Teacher or principal will contact parents.


    Positive Behavior Support Program – At Russell Ranch, silver horseshoes, special needs awareness, recess snack and chat, and conflict resolution through SMART and Second Step lessons are a few of the ways we build community and encourage students to exceed Mustang expectations. We will also incorporate some of the core practices of the Responsive Classroom approach including a Morning Meeting. Students will have a buddy class and participate in school wide activities focused on kindness and empathy. 



    Weekly Homework – Homework will be assigned daily as reinforcement for an activity or skill learned at school.  Homework also helps students develop responsibility and gives parents an opportunity to be involved in their student’s learning process.  Third graders will have a weekly reading assignment sheet due Friday and nightly math (to be turned in the following day).  Third grade homework may also include writing practice, or preparation for a science or social studies test.  Please review and initial the Homework Log.  It is the student’s responsibility to neatly complete the work in pencil and to return the assignments (and Homework Folder) to school.  It is the parent’s responsibility to provide the student with a quiet place to work and offer support if needed.  Students will be given adequate notice of any long-term classwork assignments.  A grading rubric and detailed directions will accompany long-term assignments.  Unfinished work may be sent home for completion.

                Nightly Reading - Each third-grade student should read 15-20 minutes nightly.  Students will use the weekly Homework Log to help keep track of daily reading and respond to the text.  You can assist your child in developing their reading comprehension skills by discussing their independent reading with them. 

    Late Work – Students with incomplete or missing work (both classwork and homework) are strongly encouraged to complete the work at home and return the assignment to school as soon as possible. Students who are ill will be given additional time to complete missed assignments and assessments.

    Written Work – Work is to be written in the student’s best printing, unless otherwise directed.  (For example, some projects can be typed.  Third graders will use cursive later in the year.)  The assignment should follow the proper heading:  name and student number.  Please assist your student in checking his or her work for proper grammar, spelling, punctuation, and capitalization.  Complete sentences are to be used.  The overall appearance of all assignments should be neat and clean.  Homework completed in colored pencil or ink will not be accepted.  Please encourage your student to use pencil and erase neatly.

    Homework Folder & Assignments – Russell Ranch teachers continue to support the inclusion of homework as we look at best practices.  Third grade students will use a “Homework Log” to support their independent reading.  Third graders will bring home the weekly reading assignment (completed paper is due on Friday) and a nightly math assignment.  Students will have one homework folder (black) that will travel from school to home and back to school the next day.  The reading assignment sheet (inside the folder) will also be used to note any additional assignments (study for a science test, for example) and reminders (PE, test dates, forms to return).  There is a multiplication chart on the back of the homework folder for reference.  

    Homework Start Date - For the week of August 14-18, the Homework Log and most of the math practice page problems will be completed in class.  Students will bring home their folder and a few math problems to solve each night. The folder, log, and math should be returned the following day. Starting Monday, August 21st, students will be responsible for completing both the Homework Log reading and writing and nightly math assignment at home.    

    Enrichment - Families looking for more practice/enrichment are encouraged to work online in Lexia and Freckle (Clever Portal), and All the Right Type (RRE website, under School Links).  Students may extend their nightly reading time and keep a reading response journal.  Students may work ahead at their own pace towards mastery of the multiplication and division facts 0-12.  Enrichment packets will be offered for each math topic.  




    Language Arts:

              *Oral Reading Fluency

              *Growth Model Assessments (Renaissance Star Reading)

              *Writing Genres:  Opinion, Informative/Explanatory, Narrative, Research

              *Benchmark Weekly and Unit Assessments

    *Smarter Balanced Assessment (CAASPP)


              *Growth Model Assessments (Renaissance Star Math)

              *Topic (Chapter) Quizzes and Tests

              *Math Facts Fluency Tests (multiplication and division)

    *Smarter Balanced Assessment (CAASPP)

    Social Studies and Science:

    *These areas will be evaluated primarily through teacher observation, student participation, projects, and chapter/unit quizzes.

    Report Cards and Grading – Report cards are issued three times per year.  Third graders receive a standards based score in reading, writing, listening and speaking, social studies, science, and mathematics.  Students will also receive marks for demonstrating Lifelong Learning Skills and marks for participation in Technology, Visual and Performing Arts, and Physical Education.   Daily class work assignments, unit tests, homework, daily group and individual participation, daily behavior and performance on projects and growth model assessments will be used in evaluating your student’s growth. 

    Monitoring Student Progress - Parents can access student scores and track work completion via the PowerSchool Portal on our school website. 

    Parent Conferences – I will send home a “request for conference” sheet at conference time during the first trimester.  I will do my best to schedule your conference at your convenience.  You are invited to request an additional conference at any time should you feel one is necessary.  

    Curriculum - Third graders have social studies textbooks, and consumable workbooks for language arts and math.  The textbook will remain at school unless you request your child bring it home for review purposes.  Language Arts (Benchmark), Social Studies (TCI) Math (enVision) and Science (Amplify/Next Generation) curriculum apps can be accessed through the Clever Portal.

    Common Core State Standards – Please refer to the Russell Ranch website for a link to Student Success and Core Curriculum (under Parents). 


    A weekly schedule will be provided when PE and Library times are finalized.  The most critical periods of instruction are Reading, Math and MTSS (Learning Center).  MTSS runs Monday through Thursday, 11:10 to 11:55 AM.  It is a program that provides additional Language Arts instruction at each student’s level.  Students may move to another classroom for instruction.  Resource and speech services are provided at this time. 

    Our school day runs from 8:15 AM to 2:45 PM, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, unless it is a minimum or super minimum day. Students will have early release every Thursday at 1:15 PM.

    8:15 - 8:30 Unpack, Attendance, Lunch Count, Schedule, Morning Meeting

    8:30 - 9:45 Math 

    9:30 - 10:20 Benchmark Reading, Writing, Grammar & Spelling

    10:20 - 10:40 Morning Snack Recess

    10:40 - 11:10 Benchmark, cont.

    11:10 - 11:55 MTSS (Monday to Thursday)

    11:55 - 12:25 Cursive, Math Facts, Wizard of the Week Sharing

    12:25 - 1:05 Lunch and Recess

    1:05 - 1:45 Class Novels, Journal Writing, Class PE

    1:45 - 2:30 Rotations: Chromebooks, Social Studies, Science, Art, STEAM 

    2:30 - 2:45 Clean - up, Closing Circle, Dismissal                 * Additional PE and Library TBD




    Volunteers – To check your volunteer status, please contact our Parent Coordinator, Kim Harter. Remember to sign in and pick up a badge when you arrive on campus, and sign out when you leave. No younger siblings are allowed in classrooms during school hours.

    Field Trips – At this time, we are not collecting trustee funds. The third grade teachers will request donations for field trips and special projects as activities are confirmed.

    Driving Etiquette and Parking – Students may be dropped off in DROP OFF/ PICK UP zones located in the front parking lots. Each lot is separate and we ask that you observe and follow signage and directional flow of traffic. Please remember there is no student DROP OFF/PICK UP on Owl Meadow.  The lanes are reserved for bus transportation.  

    Closed Campus – To ensure and improve safety protocols throughout our school, please note our campus will be “closed” before, during, and after school, beginning Thursday, August 10th.  Breakfast is served from 7:55 to 8:10 AM. Students eating breakfast at home should not arrive before 8:05 AM.



              BirthdaysStudents love to celebrate birthdays!  All food treats must be store bought and individually wrapped for the safety of our students with food allergies.  Pencils, stickers, and bookmarks also make great birthday treats to share with classmates. Please send a minimum of 26 treats.

    Families looking for a healthier alternative to treats might consider starting a new birthday tradition.  Invite your child to choose a favorite book to donate to the classroom library in honor of their special day. 

    Students with summer birthdays are welcome to celebrate their half birthday with the class.  June birthdays would be celebrated in December.  Students with July birthdays can celebrate in January.

    Book Orders – Scholastic Reading Club order forms will come home via the Friday Folder.  Order books online and pay with your credit card.  Materials typically arrive two weeks after the order is placed.  Our class code is GRMZT. 

    Emergency Procedures – Students will practice fire, lockdown, and disaster procedures monthly.  In the event of a true emergency that results in the evacuation of Russell Ranch, students will be walked to neighboring Vista Del Lago High School for safe pick-up.

    Friday Folders – Please look for the red Mustang Folder in your student’s backpack on Friday afternoons.  Important information pertaining to our classroom, grade level, school, and district will come home via the Friday Folder in addition to graded student work and practice activities.  Please review the work with your child and encourage completion of any unfinished work that was returned.  Friday Folders should be returned to school the following Monday.  

              Illnesses – If your child is going to miss school, please notify the office first thing in the morning.  Upon your request, I can then gather your child’s class work and materials and leave it in the office or send it home with a sibling or classmate.  

    Independent Study - If your child will miss 3 or more days of school, I can prepare an Independent Study Contract.  Please contact our School Clerk, Stacey Young Southard, at least two weeks ahead of time if it is a planned absence (vacation).

              School Meals – All students enrolled in FCUSD schools will be able to receive school breakfast and lunch at no cost for the 2023-24 school year. Breakfast is available from 7:55 to 8:10 AM. If a student wants a second meal, it must be purchased. Parents can monitor their child’s account activity and balance and make online payments at https://www.ezschoolpay.com/Login.aspx.    


     Spirit Days – Every Friday is school spirit day.  Students are encouraged to show their Mustang pride by wearing a Russell Ranch shirt, sweatshirt or school colors. Wednesday will be our class (Room 32) spirit day, chosen by our WOW.


              Student School Supplies – Please refer to the “Student Supply List” link available on our class website for a recommended list of supplies your student may want to keep in his/her desk.  Please do not send tape, staples/staplers, correction fluid, paper clips, or binders to school.  In addition, the number of supplies should be limited.  Three pencil grips are acceptable, twenty are a distraction.

              Technology - Students in grades TK-5 may not use cell phones, smartphones, smart watches or other mobile communication devices while on campus.  Devices must be turned off and placed out of sight during the school day.  Students who need to call parents may use phones located in the administrative office. 


              Water Bottles – Students are free to bring water bottles to the classroom.  I recommend a reusable water bottle (clearly labeled with student’s name) that can go through the dishwasher at the end of each week.   Should the water bottle become a “toy,” the student will lose the privilege of having water at his/her desk.


          Wish List for Classroom Suppliessoft tissue boxes, band-aids, hand sanitizer, double sided tape, Clorox/Lysol wipes, baby wipes, black Sharpies, graph paper, eraser caps, dry erase (whiteboard) markers, highlighters, post-it notes


    Thank you for taking the time to review this information.  I encourage you to contact me if you have a question or concern about your student.  You are welcome to e-mail me at jkeeton@fcusd.org.  I will respond to your message as soon as possible.  I am looking forward to a great year!