4E-Mrs. Harrison

    Parent Handbook



    By Cleo V. Swarat

    I dreamed I stood in a studio
    And watched two sculptors there,
    The clay they used was a young child’s mind
    And they fashioned it with care.
    One was a teacher:
    the tools she used were books and music and art;
    One was a parent
    With a guiding hand and gentle loving heart.
    And when at last their work was done,
    They were proud of what they had wrought.
    For the things they had worked into the child
    Could never be sold or bought!
    And each agreed she would have failed
    if she had worked alone.
    For behind the parent stood the school,
    and behind the teacher stood the home!


     Assignment Notebooks:

    • Signatures will be required on an as-needed basis. Please check your child’s assignment book regularly.  If your child has a missed an assignment, it will be marked and highlighted. Occasionally, I may also write a note to you in your child‘s assignment notebook. Feel free to use this as a tool to write to me, as well.

    Basic Math Facts:

    • All math classes will use “Reflex Math” on their iPads to learn and review math facts. Oral practice of these facts at home is encouraged.  When practicing, students should say the problem and the answer. 


    • Your child will be required to keep all handouts through the rings and in the appropriate sections of his/her binder. I will let the students know when papers can be removed. I suggest creating a space to keep these at home as a record of your child’s school year. Math papers can be helpful for those who want to do a quick review prior to ITBS/PSSA testing.


    • Birthdays are important! We will make your child feel special on his/her birthday. However, edible treats are no longer permitted at school.

    Class Meetings:

    • As part of our Bully Prevention Program, our class will hold weekly class meetings. The emphasis of these meetings will be to celebrate and encourage positive interactions between the students, thereby preventing bullying. 


    • Parent/teacher communication is essential to your child’s education. The best way to reach me is via e-mail: kharrison@northallegheny.org.


    • Fall conferences will be scheduled with all parents. I encourage you to bring your child with you to the conference.  If you would like an additional conference throughout the year, just let me know.


    • E-mail is the best way to contact me and receive a speedy reply. I will also utilize e-mail to contact you, so please make sure that I always have a current e-mail address. E-mail me anytime, even if you think the matter is trivial.


    • Parents and students are able to view grades online.
    • Don’t panic if a grade falls during the course of a grading period. This is not unusual, even for the best students. In most cases, there are enough grades in a nine weeks to counteract one or two low scores. Give your child some time to bring-up his/her grade before you hound him/her.
    • All graded items from my classes will be sent home in a weekly folder every Friday. Please initial this folder and return it to school each Monday.


    • We will study grammar using our Harcourt program. We integrate the skills into our reading and writing as much as possible.


    • I only assign homework that is essential for the students’ learning -- no “busy work”. Therefore, all assignments need to be completed on time. I do allow one late assignment per class per nine weeks, which should be saved for emergencies (see below). Students with perfect homework records will earn rewards at the end of each nine weeks.

    Homework Policy:

    • Missed assignments are dealt with on a “per class/per nine weeks” basis. These assignments must be made-up, even if there is no penalty for that miss.  ALL missed assignments will be highlighted by me in the assignment notebook.  Therefore, pages should never be removed from the assignment notebook.
    • 1st miss: no penalty (but perfect homework record will be affected);  2nd miss:  loss of recess; 3rd miss:  loss of recess, notification of parents via assignment notebook, e-mail, or phone.

    Make-Up Work:

    • Make-up work can be gathered upon request for students who miss two or more days of school by e-mailing me or calling the office. Adequate time will be allowed for the completion of these assignments.

    Parent Help:

    • The amount that is appropriate varies by student, but try to keep it to a minimum, as independence is a major goal of fourth grade. Be careful not to write on your child’s work.  Children need to make and find their own mistakes for optimal learning.


    • Every effort is made to schedule pull-outs during non-instructional time, such as SQUIRT, recess, individualized skill time, and chorus (for non-chorus students). No pull-outs occur during math class, and very few occur during CA. However, science and/or social studies are often affected by pull-outs. Please be aware of your child’s pull-out schedule so that you can remind him/her to check with me for their make-up work until they adjust to their new routine.
    • In my classes, the students with pull-outs have a “Pull-Outs Folder,“ which they are to place on their desk when they leave. While they are gone, I will place any necessary papers and/or notes regarding what they have missed. If needed, they can still approach me for explanation, but usually this folder is all that is needed. It is important that the students remember to leave their folders on their desks so that I know where they are at all times, and they can receive the necessary information.

    Responsibilities of Students:

    • Proper behavior. They wrote their own rules, which I will enforce. I try to be very proactive, therefore I have very few behavior issues in my classroom.
    • Organization: Desk, Binder, Assignment Book. Some students need a lot of help with this, which is fine, as long as we see improvement throughout the year.
    • Completion of assignments. Parental help should be minimal. If the children cannot complete something independently, I will not assign it. As a general rule of thumb, remember DO NOT WRITE ON YOUR CHILD’S PAPERS.


    • Mrs. Zallow is your child's science teacher. The science units are Ecosystems, Water Cycle, Weather, Electricity, Magnetism, Energy, Objects in Motion, Earth’s Cycles, Planets, and Technology.  Students will be employing the scientific method as they investigate each of these topics.  In addition, they will also be reading from our science textbook. 

    Social Studies:

    • I am your child’s social studies teacher. Fourth Grade focuses on regions of the United States. Class instruction will include a variety of methods, including simulations, hands-on activities, cooperative learning, mapping, projects, games, story-telling, study skills, and close reading reading. I TEACH the students how to read nonfiction, as this type of reading does not come naturally for many of them. I emphasize that they need to understand and remember what they have read.


    • Binders, pencil boxes, and pencils are “must-haves.” Other supplies are available in the classroom, but must be shared and are in “used” condition.  Students who prefer their own markers, crayons, scissors, glue stick, etc. may keep them in their pencil boxes.


    • Vacation request forms should be submitting to the office at least two weeks prior to the first day of absence. Assignments will be given to the student prior to the first day of their absence and are due upon return from vacation.
    • Vacations of 10 or more consecutive days will require parents to disenroll/re-enroll their children.


    • PA law now requires school volunteers to submit background checks. Please refer to the link on  northallegheny.org for complete details.


    • I will post nightly assignments. This post does not replace the use of student assignment books, however.  They still must write their assignments before leaving school to ensure that they have the proper materials to complete their homework.  This handbook and important forms are also available online.




Last Modified on September 16, 2019