Mr. Mitlo's Classroom Handbook


Dear Parents/Guardians and Fourth Graders,  


Welcome to the 2020-21 school year at Buffalo Elementary!  Madison Petras will be your child’s Math, Science, and Social Studies teacher.   William Mitlo  will be your child’s Reading, Grammar, and Writing (ELA) teacher.  Spelling will be taught by your child’s homeroom teacher.  Below you will find some helpful information about our classes.  

Please also understand that these notes are a guide for our classes, and are subject to change, especially this school year!  We cannot possibly include every detail.  Your child will be informed in class, assignments boards will be used, and students will complete their planners daily.   We also update Schoology daily assignments.

We will do our very best to make this school year positive for your children.  Your teachers have spent many hours over the summer preparing as best we can for remote, hybrid, and in-person instruction.  Please remember that a lot of this is new to us, and we are sure there will be kinks!  We will address concerns and issues as soon as possible.  

We are looking forward to a great school year!  Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns.


Madison Petras    

William Mitlo



The best way to communicate with us is through our school email addresses listed below. You may call between 8:15-8:30 and 3:30-3:45.  Please use email to request schoolwork, but please do so by 9:00 a.m.  If there is a change to dismissal, please call the front office. (724-353-9577)  We might not see an email because we are often away from our computers or there may be issues with the internet that day.

We will use Schoology, email, and student planners to communicate with parents.  In school, students will utilize their planners and copy assignments from an assignment board.  Remotely, they will use Schoology.


Contact information:


Phone number:


Madison Petras

724-353-9577 ext. 4023

William Mitlo

724-353-9577 ext. 4022


Illnesses/Schedule Changes 

Please email your homeroom teacher or contact the office before 9:00 a.m. if your child is ill and you would like work sent to the office to be picked up. Also, please contact the office or write a note if your child is going somewhere other than normally scheduled. Please do not rely on our voicemail or email to make changes on the same day, as we may not be able to check either before the end of the day.     


Schedule of Specials:  (2:30-3:10 pm; unless noted otherwise)




Day 1



Day 2


Choir 9:05-9:50       Music

Day 3



Day 4



Day 5



Day 6



*Gym:  Please wear or bring sneakers.

**Art:  Please send a paint shirt in a large Ziploc bag with your child’s name written on the tag and the bag.

***Health:  Grades are taken and recorded for semester 1 and 2 (not quarterly).

****Band:  (For students enrolled in band.) If your child forgets his or her instrument on a band day, please refrain from dropping it off in the office.  It is a disruption to our instructional time and impedes your child’s path to responsibility.



Reading (Mr.Mitlo)

Our reading series, Journeys, is aligned to the ELA Common Core standards.  This series also includes grammar, spelling, and writing instruction.  In addition to whole group instruction, paired reading, and independent work, students will be working in reading stations in my classroom.  The leveled readers and packets in these stations are differentiated for the different reading levels of 4th grade students.  Your child may change groups based on assessments, classroom performance, and teacher discretion.  Please check the newsletter for the weekly story selection, skills, and assessments and/or due dates.  I also include a reading “mini-project” to reinforce skills in a creative way for each selection.

Before the winter break and after PSSA testing, we will complete novel units.  My reading assignments do change during those times and will be communicated to students and parents.

To encourage reading outside of the classroom, students in my classes will read chapter books and write “Book Sharing Letters” to assigned friends in an effort to share the books.  These letters will be written in a letter format, and we will review letter writing in class.  I will send more information home with your child about this assignment soon.  Book Sharing Letters will be completed throughout the school year.  (Due to Covid-19, the Book Sharing Letters will be put on hold until further notice.)

Reading comprehension tests and vocabulary tests will be given on Day 6.  A reading “mini-project” will be assigned with each Journeys selection.  These assignments are another way for students to earn grades outside of taking a test.  They will reinforce one of the selection’s reading skills, include writing, and often allow for student creativity.  They will be graded based on the rubric on the assignment and in Schoology. 


Grammar/Writing (Mr Mitlo)


    Weekly grammar instruction will be included.  Homework is typically assigned nightly in grammar.  Students will often have a small amount of class time to begin their grammar homework.  Worksheets in the “Reader’s Notebook” will be completed as part of class instruction.  I create packets for additional practice.  We also complete notes in a “Grammar Rock” notebook.  Students may refer to this notebook for homework and for studying for tests.  Grammar tests are given on Day 6.


    We will complete many writing projects throughout the year.  Most of the time the genre is chosen by the teacher, but students choose their own topic.  A rubric will be used to assess your child’s final copy.  We will move through the writing process in class.  Please do not correct, write, or change your child’s assignments. Typed assignments will not be accepted.  Due to time constraints, students may have to work on these at home if they do not finish in class.  If a writing assignment comes home, it is important that parents do not do the work for their child.


Spelling (Mr. Mitlo and Miss Petras) 

Students will receive 20 words each week.  Generally, spelling homework is assigned first thing in the morning as morning work, so students may have time to begin the assignment.  In a typical week, there will be an assignment made each day.  Homework is due the next school day, and students earn five points per assignment.  The spelling test will be given on Day 5.  Spelling will run on Days 1-5, with a break on Day 6.


Math (Miss Petras)

This year, we have the math program My Math, which is aligned with the math Common Core Standards. Students use a book that they write in, and have access to the book online.

The math website is:  The login information is: Username: BuffStudents4   Password: Fourth4  

Number sense, problem-solving, and estimation are stressed along with writing to explain. Computational proficiency is necessary for success. All incoming students are expected to have mastered the addition and subtraction facts to 20, as well as their multiplication facts to 9.      

Your child will have math homework almost every night. It is typically one page front and back with questions from the lesson we learned that day. Students will be graded in a variety of ways, including homework participation, chapter tests, and miscellaneous projects. 


Social Studies (Miss Petras)

The emphasis in Social Studies in fourth grade is the United States. The units study the United States by dividing it into the five regions and their geographic features, natural resources, culture, and economy.  We alternate Social Studies and Science due to time constraints.  


Science (Miss Petras)

This year, we will be implementing the FOSS Science curriculum. This is a very exciting program full of hands-on activities and experiments, class lead sense-making discussions, and individual student journaling and discoveries. We will cover earth science, physical science, and life science throughout the year. We will begin with Rocks, Soils, and Landforms, followed by Energy,  and ending with Environments. Grades will be given throughout each module for participation in the activities and journaling, as well as formal assessments at the end of each investigation. Student login information will be sent home at a later time for the FOSS website.


Responsive Classroom

    Last year, the Freeport Area School District adopted a program called, “Responsive Classroom.”  Our class will often have meetings, play games, or do short activities to “energize.”  Please know that these activities are built into the school day for a reason.



On-Line Resources

Information can be found in Schoology about how to access the on-line textbooks and materials.  Please be sure you can access these materials before asking your child to leave his or her book(s) at school.  Backpacks can get heavy quickly, so we do recommend using on-line textbooks.  



Your help and support will not only make your child more successful in school this year, but will also instill good study habits that will last a lifetime.  Assignments should be manageable for students, therefore, if you find that your child regularly struggles with homework and needs special assistance from you, please let us know. Your child’s planner needs to be filled out and checked daily. This will help your child stay organized. Supervise your child’s work, but please do not complete it for him or her.  

Assignments may be turned in late according to the following guidelines.  Homework is generally given 1-5 points; late homework must be turned in the next day for ½ credit.  Your child will be given a zero for homework assignments if they are not turned in the next school day.  Illnesses and absences will be taken into consideration.

Additionally, projects in Mrs. Welling’s classes that are late will have 10% of the final grade deducted for each day the project is late.  This includes, but is not limited to, writing assignments, book sharing letters, and weekly reading mini-projects. 



Please refer to PowerSchool to routinely check your child’s grades. If you see an assignment with a “0” beside it or a missing grade, please have your child complete the assignment as soon as possible.


Grading Scale:          91-100 A     81-90 B     70-80 C     60-69 D        0-59 F  


Behavior and Expectations

We expect all students to behave respectfully and cooperatively at all times. We will contact the parent if a student has had several warnings, if the behavior persists, or is concerning.  Our discipline plan and contract is attached.  Please review this with your child.  A google form will be sent for you to consent to our discipline contract.  Thank you for your support!



Recess is from 11:00-11:30.  Please dress for the weather. A note is required to stay inside.  



Due to our lunch schedule, students are encouraged to bring a snack to school. Snacks should be healthy, but not messy. Water bottles are permitted and must go home each day. We have working snack time after recess. Lunch is at 12:40 p.m.



Please send money in an envelope with your student’s first and last name.  


Scholastic Book Club 

Students and parents will have the opportunity to purchase books through the Scholastic Book Club. If ordering on-line, use the class code that will be provided with the order form.  If ordering with the order form, please send a check…cash is not accepted.  Checks must be made out to Scholastic Book Clubs.    


Birthdays or Celebrations

Due to Covid-19, the school’s policy is that there will be no birthday treats sent in this year.  



Fall Conference: November 12-13

Winter Conference: February 11-12


PSSA Testing 

Please try and refrain from taking trips and scheduling doctor appointments during these dates if possible. Testing is usually from 9-12 am each morning.  These dates are testing windows.  More information about more specific dates will be released later in the school year.


ELA:     April 16-23    Math, Science and Make-ups:   April 26-30



    Freeport Area School District uses a visitor management system.  If visiting the school, you will need to bring your driver’s license.  All volunteers will need to submit and maintain clearances.  Please note that due to Covid-19, we will be limiting visitors.


Thank you for reading!  We will send a Google Form for student information and the discipline contract.  This helps us to have a quick reference of our homeroom to better serve your child/children.  Have a great school year!    



Miss Petras  and Mr. Mitlo