Welcome to a new school year for all of our first grade families. Your children call me Mrs. Painter but feel free to call me Joanie. Here’s just a little bit about me:  I was born in eastern Montana but my family moved here when I was in 7th grade. I attended Roosevelt Grade School, Sentinel High School and the University of Montana.  I have a Master’s degree in Education from Lesley University a division of Cambridge.  My husband Mike is retired from the Missoula fire department after many years of serving as firefighter, then Captain, then assistant chief, and then chief.   We have two grown children.  Our son is a firefighter in great falls and his wife is an elementary band teacher.  They have given us two delightful granddaughters who are in fourth grade and first grade this year.   Our daughter lives here in town.  She is a published poet and a coffee master for Starbucks. Her partner is in charge of transportation for the University of Montana and he also serves on the city council.  I have taught first grade since 1990, beginning at Cold Springs Elementary.


     All first grade teachers have the same curriculum materials through the district for major academic areas. These materials are aligned to our district and state standards.  We use a variety of other materials for differentiation to meet individual student needs.

    Spelling is taught in context which means although lists of spelling words will come home every week or every other week for your child to practice, the practice in school is done in sentence form and so will the test.  Students need to memorize many of these spelling words because they are usually an irregular usage of letters and can’t always be sounded out.   Students should spend time every day they are not in class working on their spelling words.  The weekly list will always include the test date so you know when your child should have mastered the words.   

    Communication:  Your child will write in a spiral bound agenda each day.  If there are notices or information to parents these will come home in the front pocket page of the agenda.  Your child should bring their agenda with them to class each day.  I check the agenda first thing in the morning so that pocket is a good place for you to put notes or other items for me.   You may email me with questions or concerns at:  jpainter@mcpsmt.org        You can also call the school at 542-4010 and leave a message for me with Miss Tiffany.   If you are calling or emailing me because your child’s going home plans have changed ,  please note that I am rarely at my desk during teaching hours so be sure that information is sent well before the afternoon.  Our schedule as you may imagine is very compact, there is not a lot of time while kids arein the building for me to check or answer emails. But I will always check prior to 8:15 and after 2:10.

    On Wednesdays and Fridays  ( depending on if your child is in the AA or BB group)  your child will bring home a REMOTE LEARNING FOLDER.  This will contain things that your child should do on days when they are not in class.  All paperwork needs to be returned in the folder.  Spelling practice does not need to be turned in ,  but if your child wants me to see it, that’s fine.  Small white paper books for reading do not need to be returned,  they are for your child to keep.  If math manipulatives are sent home to help complete work ( in a baggie)  they do need to be returned.   Some REMOTE LEARNING items are curriculum driven and will be given to all first graders.  As the year progresses I will be adjusting those things to better suit your child’s specific needs.


    Finished work won’t come home on a regular basis.  In the past we always sent student work on Thursdays  but that’s not a workable plan.  When your child does bring home finished tasks it will just be lose in their backpack  it  will not be in their REMOTE LEARNING FOLDER.

    It will help if your child has a labeled water bottle for their desk.  It’s hard to sanitize the drinking fountain in our room after each student takes a drink.

    Thank you for sending your child’s school supplies so promptly. Just a few kids still need headphones.  Currently our classroom does not need tissues, WET WIPES  or gallon size baggies.  I will let you know when we are running low.

     Here is a video tour of our classroom.    

    room tour link      

    Thank you,  Mrs. Painter