CAPS Intermediate Information for Parents

August 22, 2018

Dear Parents and Guardians of Intermediate Students,

Welcome to a new school year, and thank you for sharing your children with us!  The start of a new year holds the promise of new discoveries and learning, as well as personal growth in all areas.  We look forward to guiding each student through an exciting school year.

General information: The intermediate classrooms are comprised of students in third, fourth, and fifth grade. Students in intermediate classrooms have Spanish with Mrs. Luna for an hour twice a week and music for an hour twice a week. Music choices will be explained in a separate letter coming from the music teachers. Intermediate students will have a morning recess and a recess after lunch. We will have physical education twice a week. Due to district policy, we are unable to celebrate birthdays in the classroom with treats or parties. We sing “Happy Birthday” weekly during morning meeting to acknowledge and celebrate birthdays in the school.

Community: Students in grades three, four, and five are embarking on an exciting journey in their development, especially socially.  Children at this age are learning more and more about themselves, as well as how to think about the perspectives of others.  Our classrooms will devote time to foster this development, and provide a variety of opportunities for students to learn to work together.  One important thing to note is that students from each class will spend time with each teacher for various learning opportunities, as well as during non-academic times (i.e., students will be allowed to eat lunch in either classroom).  We are excited to provide this opportunity for all students to learn from both teachers!

Social Studies and Science Content: Our social studies content this year looks at a variety of ways in which we can look at the Earth through various tools such as maps and globes.  Students will embark on a mission to use these tools to prepare for a highly fictional and comical invasion of zombies! Students will take a deeper look at human interactions with natural resources and land in Oregon, as well as how highways, waterways, and regions within the state are linked.  In Science students will look to the skies as they learn more about weather, Earth’s systems and climates, and compare the elements in the day compared to the night sky. Students will also explore weathering and impacts of erosion and changes in the landscape.

Reading: For reading instruction, we will be working from curriculum designed by Lucy Calkins from Columbia University’s Teacher’s College Reading Writing Project.  There are several elements to the curriculum including direct instruction, group discussion, read alouds, independent reading, and small group work. Our major topics of study will be: reading strategies, reading the weather, and informational texts. In addition to the reading curriculum, intermediate students will participate in Reading Scramble – book groups of 5-8 students who discuss a shared reading book.  During Reading Scramble, students from both classes will be combined into small groups.

Writing: Our writing curriculum is designed by Lucy Calkins from Columbia University’s Teacher’s College Reading Writing Project. It is a combination of direct instruction on specific skills, group writing, and plenty of time for independent writing. Students will edit and revise their writing for clarity, punctuation, spelling, and formatting. Students will be taught spelling strategies and skills for using spelling resources (such as spelling dictionaries). Students can also ask teachers for help with spelling. There will not be any spelling tests given in the intermediate classrooms. Our major genres for writing will be fairy tales, narrative, and information, although we will certainly complete other types of writing throughout the year as well. Students will complete handwritten and typed pieces using Google drive accounts.

Student emails: Students will have a Google email through the Corbett School District. This email can only be used to contact others with a Corbett email address. Students will use this account to type essays using Google Drive, complete assignments with Google Classroom, and contact teachers with questions. Students should not change their school-assigned passwords. An additional form explaining technology will be coming home separately.

Homework: Students in the intermediate classes will not have daily homework given by their homeroom teacher. Students may have homework from their math class. We encourage students to read on a daily basis but there’s no formal assignment related to reading outside of school. At the end of the week students will have a Weekly Review, which is a great way for parents to see what students have been doing throughout the week.

Volunteering: We love to have volunteers in the classroom. Prior to volunteering you must complete district’s volunteer paperwork with Ms. Gyerko. Please contact your child’s teacher to schedule a time to volunteer. We will have field trip chaperone opportunities throughout the year.

Water Bottles: We strongly encourage all students to bring one water bottle to school.  The water bottles must, however, contain only water. This means that any sports drinks or flavored beverages can be consumed during our lunch period, but water only during our classroom instruction time.

Contact: The best way to contact us is through email. If there’s a change in end of the day routines, please contact Nancy Gyerko in the office as we don’t always have a chance to check our email during the day.


Lindsey Henson:

Abby Steichen:


Ms. Steichen

This is my eleventh year teaching and my tenth in an intermediate classroom in Corbett. I’ve been teaching at Springdale since the beginning. I have loved seeing the school grow and adapt throughout the past few years.

My goal as a teacher is to help kids become strong, critical, curious, and kind thinkers about the world around them and within them. I strive to help kids feel calm, engaged, supported, challenged, and brave in the classroom and in the world.

I live in Portland with my husband, three daughters, and two cats. When I’m not teaching or planning for our wonderful year, I love to read, hike, travel anywhere and everywhere, and cheer on the Portland Thorns. This year I’m excited to join the Portland Art Museum’s Teacher Advisory Council, which brings together two of my passions: education and art.


Ms. Henson

Each day holds the potential for learning and adventure.  Our world is filled with questions, infinite thoughts, captivating books, curious animals, heart-stirring sights, and of course, humor.  It is these elements, among many others, that shape how I think about teaching.

This will be my seventh year teaching, and my fourth in the Corbett District at Springdale.  I am excited to be returning to the classroom after working three years as a Learning Specialist.  In the past I have taught third and fourth grade.

Portland has been home for most of my life.  I live with my husband, our dog Brinn (American Bulldog), and a turtle named June who is over 30 years old.  Some of the activities I find most enjoyable are: sewing felt play food for my niece, reading, latin/swing dancing, and watching movies.  Someday I would like to visit New Zealand.