Here is the welcome letter again for your reference.

                                                                                                                 September 7, 2017


Dear Families,

I hope you had a fun and restful summer! I am really looking forward to getting to know your family this year (and reconnecting with ones I already know!!). I am happy to welcome Ana as our Teacher Assistant, Maria as our student teacher (through December), and Susan as our paraprofessional.

I live in Nyack with my husband Seth. We just bought an old house and are fixing it up. We spent a good part of the summer taking road trips to places like Cape Cod, MA, Hopkinsville, KY (WE SAW THE TOTAL SOLAR ECLIPSE!!!), Asheville, NC, and Baltimore, MD. When I’m not at Lab I spend my time seeing my big extended family, doing yoga, watching TED talks, hiking, skiing, and enjoying our extremely cute kittens.

I absolutely love teaching gifted kids and appreciate all of their unique strengths and needs. Fourth grade is an exciting time. The academic curriculum is rich and rigorous. There are many important developmental tasks at hand such as self-regulation, independence, and resilience. Students are encouraged to work together but to also build independence—to take responsibility for their actions and their learning. I hope you can attend our Curriculum Night on Wednesday September 13 to learn more about what your child will learn this year.

This letter contains a lot of information you’ll need to know in order to have a smooth school year, so please take the time to read it carefully, and keep it in a safe place for future reference.



Family support is integral to a successful year. I look forward to partnering with you to maximize learning opportunities for all students. If you have an area of expertise you would like to share with our class community please do reach out. As your child’s teacher I should be the first point of contact for any questions or concerns regarding our classroom. The best way to communicate with me about anything time sensitive is via a note in your child’s Homework Folder. My email is



Please double check that your child’s name is on all personal belongings i.e. backpack, lunchbox, sweatshirt, baseball hat etc. Help children to become independent about checking their homework folders, and maintaining an organized backpack. Encouraging students to be responsible for these tasks will help them immensely as they progress through school (and life).

Please do not go through the homework folder without your child. He or she is ultimately responsible for making sure that what needs to be there, is there.

The homework folder should go home every night and come back to school every morning.  The homework folder will contain student’s homework for the evening or week, permission slips and other notes that need to be signed and returned, other school-wide notices, graded work to keep at home, etc. Please check the homework folder together with your child every evening, and if there are notes for you, take them out.  Do not leave things in the homework folder unless they need to be returned to school.


Your child should read for 30 minutes each day (including weekends) to support his or her reading development. During the course of the year, homework assignments will vary as the curriculum progresses. Some homework may require using the internet (such as research, educational programs/games, typing, etc.). Alternative or supplemental homework may be given to best support your child’s specific academic needs (such as correcting mistakes on a math test, revising an essay, extra practice with a particular skill, etc).  I will communicate directly with your child if and when this may occur.

In general, homework should not take excessive amounts of time (no more than one hour and fifteen minutes per night including the 30 minutes of reading). There will be times when your child needs to plan out his or her time such as in preparation for a larger research project, to complete a writing piece, or to study for a test. Students will begin to learn how to prioritize and manage their time over the course of this year. These important skills will continue to develop in the years ahead. Children also need time to play and relax. Please reach out if homework becomes a challenge.

Your child will be expected to write down homework in his or her planner each afternoon. This serves to support the development of executive functioning. Please make sure your child brings the planner to school each morning and be sure to review it together with your child to see what the assignments are.  

Each student will be assigned a class buddy.  If your child misses school, it is his or her responsibility to find out the homework assignment from his or her buddy.  If there are homework handouts and/or other notices, your child can get them when they return to school in their mailbox.  There is no need to make homework arrangements with me — there is an automatic 2 day extension.

Scholastic Book Orders

I will periodically send home scholastic order forms. Please place all orders online at Please use our class code when ordering: MHT9F 

This helps us earn new books for our classroom. Thank you!


Specials Schedule (subject to change)

Please keep an eye out for a class schedule that will be sent home as a reference. As always, your child should wear sneakers on PE days and bring their instrument to school when needed. As of now Upper Strings have music on Mondays and the rest of the class has PE. Lower Strings have music on Tuesdays and the rest of the class has PE. I’ll be reviewing the class schedule with the students in the coming days.



Attendance and punctuality are important for all students. Please keep in mind that lateness should be avoided if possible. If your child is late, he/she should report to the main office to get a late pass and then come to class, entering quietly so as not to disturb the rest of the students.


Early pick-up

If you know you will be picking up your child early from school, please send in a note to me in the morning so that I can be aware. When you come to pick your child up, go to the office; please do not come up to the room.



Please sure to send in the dismissal form outlining dismissal plans for your child. If there are any changes to dismissal, a written note is required, preferably in the morning. Please do not have other parents inform me at the door that “it’s ok”. I cannot dismiss to someone who has not been previously authorized.


Class Parent

I am looking for a volunteer to serve as “class parent”. The class parent would communicate with all of the parents about various opportunities to support the class this year as well as important updates or announcements. The class parent would help our class with the coordination of celebrations, coordinate donations for the classroom, help to locate chaperones for trips, set up photo sharing, and help with special projects.  If I have several volunteers one will be selected by picking a name out of a hat. Please let me know if you are interested in being involved in this way.
Request for additional school supplies

  • If you have not already done so, please send in all school supplies.
  • Additionally, we are collecting $5.00 per student to cover the cost of

Time for Kids Magazine. Please make a check out to PS 77 or send in exact cash.

You are already so generous and I can’t tell you how much it is appreciated. Your generosity makes our school so wonderful.


For you to complete

  • Please complete the enclosed family survey. This information will help me be the best teacher I can be for your child. Please complete as much of it as your time allows. Please return it to school with your child by Tuesday September 12  if possible. Feel free to put it in a sealed envelope.
  • Within the first few days of school you will received many forms and notices from the school. Please complete them and return them as soon as you can. Of particular importance is the blue emergency card and the school lunch form. All families must complete the lunch form whether or not they receive free or reduced lunch. The income portion is not mandatory but all lunch forms must be returned. Please be sure to send in a completed dismissal form right away.

Thank you in advance for your support and partnership this year.  I look forward to a wonderful year together!


Warmest Regards,

Robin Courtwright