Welcome to Fourth Grade!



Dear Parents and Students,

            Welcome to 4th grade! I am Ms. Dojnia, your child’s new teacher. I am looking forward to building a collaborative relationship with you in order to have an exciting and productive year. Please read this packet with each other and sign the acknowledgement and return only the signature page to school by Friday, keeping the packet for reference. The rest of this letter is divided into general categories that will summarize some of the major areas of interest in my fourth grade classroom. As you read it, jot down any questions you might have on the signature page.



            The fourth grade curriculum will become increasingly challenging as the school year progresses. Students will be challenged as the concentrate on deepening comprehension strategies, critical thinking, enhancing writing techniques, and solving, creating, and explaining mathematical problems. These are crucial in preparation for the demands of the Common Core State Standards.


Home/School Communication:

Good communication between the home and school is vital to promote a healthy relationship between all of us. Please feel free to contact me any time with questions, comments, concerns, or information about your child. There are several options for communication between us:


Email: mdojnia@waterby.k12.ct.us  I check my email in the morning and before I turn the computer off as I leave the classroom in the afternoon. I will return emails as soon as possible and am very timely with this type of communication. Traditionally, this has been my quickest form of communication.


Notes: I check the Student Planner (homework notebook) for notes each morning. I will write a reply in the Student Planner when I have read the note. Notes that contain private or more confidential information should be written separately and will also be addressed daily.


Telephone Calls: The school telephone number is (203) 573-6660. When you call the school, the secretaries will take a message and place it in my mailbox. I will check for messages when I am able to go to the teachers’ workroom. If I have duty or obligations that prevent me from going to the workroom, I may not receive the message immediately after your telephone call. In addition, I will return the call after my class has been dismissed and/or other school duties are completed.


Classroom Rules:

My classroom discipline system utilizes colored tickets as reminders to follow the classroom rules. This system focuses on encouraging responsibility and positive behaviors. Prior to any child pulling a ticket, I give verbal reminders/warnings to refocus and attend to the immediate task. I also verbally praise students, use thumbs-up signals, and other forms of non-verbal acknowledgement for on-task behaviors throughout each school day. However, inappropriate actions will result in consequences that deter them (inappropriate actions) in the future and remind the student the importance of staying on track in our school community. The behavior chart is posted on the front white board. Tickets are colored coded based on our classroom rules, for example, red = stay on task, yellow = look and listen, blue = respect others and school property, and green = cooperate. When a student breaks one of this rules he/she pulls a colored ticket based on the rule not followed, after each subject I pull a ticket and if they have that ticket then they aren’t able to color in a square, instead they will x it out. Students can get lucky if the color coded rule that they broke is not pulled, but I will conference with that student so they know that they need to correct/change that behavior because they might not be so lucky the next time. At the beginning of each week, we have a magic number posted on our classroom behavior chart.  Students are trying to earn that number or exceed it so that they can earn Fun Friday.  Each student is also given a new personal chart that they keep on their desk weekly.  If a student doesn’t meet the goal (magic number) then they are not allowed to participate in Fun Friday and will have to complete a Think Sheet. I ask that the parent signs the Think Sheet and the child returns it to school on Monday. It is my intention that the parent and child will discuss the choice that the student made that resulted in pulling a ticket(s) and resulting in the loss of Fun Friday.  Your support is greatly appreciated!



I feel that homework is an integral part of the school curriculum. It serves as an important link between school and home to keep the families informed about the student’s learning, as well as reinforcing and extending what has been taught in the classroom. Assignments are never sent home without an explanation having been given in class. Your child will have homework every night, Monday through Thursday, which will include reading for 20 minutes. Students are required to complete a reading log, which is provided for them, daily.  Students will also have a math and spelling assignment daily. Every fourth grader has received a Student Planner. This is a great organizational tool that we use to record the homework assignments each day. Students are responsible for writing their assignments daily in their planner and are given time to do so each day.  In addition, the homework will remain posted on the board for the entire week.

There are two types of assignments in the fourth grade:

  • Daily Assignments: These are given on one day and due the next morning.
  • Long Term Assignments/Projects: These are sent home with explicit instructions (which include a due date and progress check dates) and are completed over the course of a few weeks.

Homework is due first thing in the morning. Students will not be allowed to call home for homework. Students, who do not have their homework, will lose their homework square on their behavior chart, and be required to make up the missed assignments at recess and/or lunch recess.

 Homework counts for 10% of a students’ final grade for each marking period. Also, if a student fails to hand in 2 homework assignments in a week they will automatically lose Fun Friday.


Attendance and Tardies:

            When your child is absent, please call the school office (203)573-6660 and request I send this work down to the office. I ask that you call early in the day and I will send it down before school is dismissed. Work missed, due to an absence, is allotted one day for completion.

            Students, who are tardy, do not start the day out on in a positive manner. A child rushing into the classroom, where the routine is already in progress, must quickly collect their thoughts and catch up. I observe students in this situation taking quite a lot of time to get into the “school mode.” In addition, the entire class is disrupted when someone rushes in during a lesson or when the routine has begun. If a student is late, due to an appointment, the school office would appreciate a note from the provider to clear the absence. All work will be made up upon the student’s return to class.

            The instructional time is very valuable and our day begins promptly at 8:35. Please help your child develop a routine at home that will ensure he/she arrives at school prior to the start time, thus beginning on a positive note. Thank you!


Student Folder:

            Checking your child’s homework nightly and going through their student folder for forms, notices, tests, and any completed class work that is returned weekly will keep you current on his/her academic needs and eliminate any surprises at grade time.  They are an additional form of communication between you and me that focus on happenings in the classroom.



If a student receives a 65 or below on a quiz or test, the test or quiz must be signed and returned to school the next day.


Waterbury Public Schools
236 Grand Street
Waterbury, CT 06702
Phone: (203) 574-8000

Fax: (203) 574-8010