September 4th, 2019 First Day of School Letter

September 4, 2019

Dear First Grade Families,

Welcome to first grade!  My name is Mrs. Costa and I will be your child’s first grade teacher. This is my 6th year teaching, and my 1st year teaching at St. John. I am very excited to be joining this amazing school community, and I look forward to getting to know you and your family.  I would like you to take note of a few things that will help us all with school and first grade procedures.

School Hours

School begins at 8:20 a.m. sharp and is dismissed at 3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.  Students should arrive and be in line by 8:15. The line up area for our class will be on the playground (by the play pit) labeled Room 2/Costa.  If students arrive after the 8:20 bell then they must go to the office for a tardy slip. At 3:00 p.m. students will be dismissed on the East side of Quigley building, just past the trees at the handicapped parking spaces on the blacktop. I will walk the students out of the classroom every day.  If your child attends XDC after school, he/she will meet the Daycare Teacher where she will check him/her in. If you are meeting your child in person, please wait for him/her outside.  I will supervise pick up.  Students need to inform me when they see their parents/family members. Students who are picked up by car will be walked over by Mrs. Jessup to the flagpole. Any child not picked up by 3:15 p.m. will be sent to Daycare. Please only come to the classroom at prearranged times and always check in at the office before coming to the classroom. 


An electronic version of this letter will be sent home via email. If you do not receive this letter via email please contact me at with the best email address to reach you throughout the year.

Homework Folder

Please send any notes to me by way of your childs take home folder and make sure your child returns the folder each day.  If you need to contact me call (206) 783-0337 x334 and leave a voice mail, or you can reach me via email at I will make every attempt to respond to your calls/emails before or after school each day.

Please take some time to view the class website (accessed via the St. John School website under Classroom) regularly.  I will include important links as well as other information related to the first grade curriculum (including my newsletters).


Make sure that all of your child’s belongings are clearly marked with his/her name.  In addition, any money sent to school needs to be in an envelope marked with your child’s name and the purpose.

Homework and Newsletters

Starting Friday, September 6th homework will be sent home at the end of every week and due the following Friday.  Homework is returned to school in your child’s take home folder.  I will send home your child’s work papers with the homework.  The newsletter will be on my website every Friday (I will send you the link by email).  It will inform you of happenings in first grade as well as the Star Sea Otter schedule.  Please take the time to go over the work with your child, as this is a wonderful time for your child to discuss the week with you.


We are very lucky to have a range of specialist activities at St. John. Students will participate in PE and Music on Mondays and Tuesdays, Art and Library on Wednesdays, and Spanish on Thursdays. Please send your child to school in athletic shoes on PE days. A copy of our classroom schedule can be found on our classroom website.

Star Sea Otter

Every student will have a chance to be a “Star Sea Otter” in class.  The Star Sea Otter completes a poster and brings pictures on Monday. Then on Friday he/she can bring 1-2 items (no live animals) to share.  I am teaching students to become independent speakers so families are not required to be present for Friday sharing day.  The Star Sea Otter will also bring home “Elizabeth” the sea otter and write about his/her weekend with Elizabeth in the journal. The Star Sea Otter list is on my website!

Snacks and Water Bottles

Remember your child is responsible for bringing snack daily. Healthy snacks are an excellent way of establishing food nutrition in first grade.  If your child forgets his/her snack, he/she may not share snacks with others due to food allergies.  Please do not send snacks that have peanut butter or nuts. The first grade classrooms will be NUT FREE this year. Your child should bring a water bottle, labeled with their name, to school every Monday. It would be very helpful to have a water bottle in class that does not screw open to avoid spills!  On Fridays your child will bring his/her water bottle home so that it can be washed.


Please remember that teachers are not allowed to give out medicine (including cough drops).  If you would like your child to get medication you will need to contact the office, write a note, and it will be stored at the office.  Please check the Family Handbook for more details. Thank you!


The class will make a birthday book for the student.  On the birthday, the student may bring a new/used book (wrapped) to share with the class.  Please do not send treats with your child. We are promoting a healthy environment and are respectful of allergies. If your child’s birthday is in the summer, we will celebrate his/her half birthday. 

First Grade Assistant

Mrs. Cheryl Pinsoneault will be assisting me in first grade daily.  This will be her first year as my aide. She will help with individuals, small groups, along with many other classroom duties.

Finally, I would like to share a prayer with you as we embark on this new school year.

A Prayer to Begin the School Year

God of wisdom and might,
we praise you for the wonder of our being,
for mind, body and spirit.
Be with our children as they begin
a new school year.
Bless them and their teachers and staff.
Give them strength and grace as their bodies grow;
wisdom and knowledge to their minds
as they search for understanding;
and peace and zeal to their hearts.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers


I look forward to meeting all of you and hope to see you at Curriculum Night on Thursday, September 12th at 7 p.m. If you have any questions regarding the information in this letter, please feel free to send me an email or bring them to Curriculum Night. I will provide you with information about the first grade curriculum and plans for the school year.  I would like to thank you for entrusting the education of your child to St. John School and I look forward to working with each of you!


Mrs. Megan Costa









September 6th, 2019 Newsletter

First Grade Sea Otter Newsletter

What an exciting first week of school! It has been wonderful getting to know the first graders and we are already off to a great start. Here are a few announcements and activities we did this week! Today, your child should have brought home his/her take-home folder with their first week’s homework as well as a packet about the Jog-a-Thon.

This week first graders learned all of the new routines in first grade. We have already been working on becoming independent learners. They practiced printing letters, started Daily 5, and practiced writing numbers from 1-100. In religion, students learned about the Holy Days of First Grade. This is where first graders will make saint holy cards each month for saints and feast days we celebrate.  At the end of the year they will have a special Holy card key chain. First graders also started learning the rules of the school this week as well as our school’s theme this year: BE KIND!


Today we kicked off our school Jog-a-Thon fundraiser with the Jog-a-Thon assembly! We learned If our class wins first place we will challenge Sr. Pablo and Mrs. O’Leary in the annual Silly String Showdown and earn a class party! Jog-a-Thon is on September 20th. Please keep those pledges coming!

Parent Homework 

Please take a moment to visit our class website to fill out the “Introducing your child” form. The form can be found under “Class News” on the left hand side. You can find it by clicking this link: . Your responses are sent directly to me. Any information you provide is greatly appreciated and helpful in getting to know your child.

Reading Assessments

First grade students are given a variety of reading assessments in the first weeks of school. Students are given assessments of phonological awareness (rhyming, blending, segmenting), phonics, and fluency. Mrs. McCarthy, our reading specialist, will be in the first grade rooms in the first weeks of school to give students the DIBELS assessment. The DIBELS assesses beginning literacy skills and is used to help determine which students would benefit from participating in her reading intervention groups.

New Pick-Up Location!

We have decided to move our afternoon pickup location from the basketball courts to directly ahead of the north entrance of the school. We will plan to lead first grade lines out the north doors and past the trees, (near the marked handicapped parking spaces on the blacktop). Please do not get your child from the line until the entire class has lined up in this location. We will dismiss your child once you check in with us. Thank you!

Play-Pit after school

A reminder that parents need to be present at the play-pit and dismissal is at 3:15 sharp. Please make sure that you are supervising your child after school and be mindful of when it’s time to leave.

Cross-Country sign up is open!

Please consider signing up your first grader for cross-country! XC is a great way to have fun and get great exercise with your friends. It is also a great way to get ready for the jog-a-thon. Sign up here:

Questions to Ask Your Child

– What is one of our school rules?

– What is our school’s theme this year?

– What have you learned so far in first grade?

Did you know?

  • At the age of first grade (around ages 6-7), children are more aware of their fingers as tools. They are also learning to distinguish from left and right.
  • Because they are teething, they often chew on pencils, fingernails, hair, books and other objects.
  • 6 year olds thrive on encouragement and are anxious to do well. They enjoy explaining things and sharing about things they like. They are also very ambitious and motivated to learn.

From Chip Wood’s book Yardsticks

Special Notes

– Please send in headphones and comfort kits if you have not yet done so.

– Curriculum Night is Thursday, September 12 at 7:00pm.

-Welcome Back BBQ is Friday, September 13 from 5:30-8:00.


Dress Uniform Requirements

DRESS UNIFORM Required for all students. To be worn as requested for school liturgies, field trips, special events, etc. The St. John Dress Uniform consists of a white polo shirt and navy sweatshirt with St. John logo. In addition, boys will wear khaki slacks; girls in grades 6, 7, and 8 may wear the Marymount plaid skirt or khaki pants; girls (K-5) may wear khaki pants or Marymount plaid jumper.