CMS Frequently Asked Questions

For Incoming 4th Grade Parents

Q. What are school hours for the 4th grade?

        Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 8am- 3pm

        Wednesday: 8am- 1:50pm

        Minimum Days: 8am- 12:15pm

Q. When is recess and lunch?

        On M,T,Th,F recess is from 9:37-9:52am and lunch is from 11:27-12:02. On Wednesday, recess is from 9:25-9:40 and lunch is from 11:03-11:38.

Q. How often do 4th graders have PE, music, art, science, and spanish?

        P.E. and Music will operate on an A/B schedule so your student will have PE 2-3 days a week and Music 2-3 days a week for 45 minutes each period. Art is once a week for 45 minutes. Spanish is once a week for 45 minutes. Science is twice a week. Each of these subjects are taught by specialists credentialed in their subject area.

Q. How does the instrumental music program work for 4th graders?

        Students may either choose an Instrumental Band class or General Music. If they choose instrumental music, they may select which instrument they would like to play.

Q. How much homework can we expect?

        The CMS homework policy states that the estimated time to complete homework for Grade 4 is 45 minutes. This may vary slightly from student to student, but teachers are committed to abiding by this policy. Homework is posted online on the 4th Grade Academic Calendar. Flex has been added to the schedule (30 minutes M/T/Th/F) at the end of the day to ensure that students have a jump start on homework.

Q. When will I know my child’s class/teacher? Can I meet the teacher prior to school starting?

        There is a 4th grade orientation the day before school starts. 4th graders will meet their teacher on this day and engage in fun, student council led activities. In addition, parents will have an opportunity at the end of the day to pop in and meet their teacher and see the classroom. Class lists will be posted on the Friday afternoon before school starts.


Q. What kind of backpack is recommended? Will they get a student planner? Do they have lockers?

        All students will need a backpack to carry materials back and forth to school. They hang the backpacks on the hooks outside of the classroom. Many students have the “backpack with wheels”. You may also want to spend some time with your child and discuss different ways of organizing their materials. Your child will also receive a student planner at the beginning of the year to help them keep track of assignments and test dates. Assignments are posted on the Academic Calendar. The student handbook is also in the planner which outlines school policies and rules. Students do not receive a locker until 6th grade.

Q. When is Back-To-School Night?

        Back to School Night occurs a few weeks after school starts. Parents have the opportunity to meet their homeroom teacher and also see a presentation from their Specialist teachers.

Q. How does my child order hot lunch?

        Information will be sent home at the start of school on how to sign up online for our hot lunch program, Choice Lunch.

Q. What is the procedure for early pick up for dentist appointments etc.?

        You must go to the office at all times when taking your child outside of normal release times and sign them out. The office will call the teacher and your child will then be released.

Q. What volunteer opportunities are there for parents?

        Teachers are always asking for parent volunteers in the classroom to work with students, help with copying, present to students on an area of expertise, attend field trips etc. Teachers will talk about opportunities at Back to School Night. In addition, we have lunch activities that we may ask for parent volunteers- such as Kickball tournaments etc. You can also volunteer to serve hot lunch to students. Please always make sure to check in/ sign in at the office and get a visitor badge when volunteering.

Q. When are parent-teacher conferences?

        You will be invited to attend one parent-teacher conference, which will occur in November.  These will be minimum days for students. Students are expected to attend the parent-teacher conference. Parents who want to confer with teachers about student concerns should arrange the time prior to the conference.

Q. What are report cards like for 4th grade?

        4th and 5th graders receive a standards based report card twice a year- after each semester. A report card will be sent home at the end of January, and at the end of June. In addition, there are parent-teacher conferences held in November. Parents can always request a meeting with their child’s teachers at any point in the year if they are having concerns.

Q. How do we handle makeup homework for absences? Do the teachers have homework posted on their web site?

        If a student misses class due to illness, the student is allowed make up time usually equal to the length of the illness.Teachers post homework on the Academic Calendar and students write the HW assignments in their planners. If a student is absent, email is a very efficient way of obtaining missed homework assignments from teachers. Also, encourage your child to have a homework buddy that they can call to get assignments.

Q.   What lunch activities are available for 4th graders?

        The Game Room, Maker Space room, Library,  Art room, and Music Room are open multiple times a week for students. There are also student council run activities once a month (talent shows, dance off’s etc.) and the PE teachers run noon league (supervised lunch activities) several times a week. In addition, 4th graders are assigned an 8th grade buddy and have buddy activities once a month.

Q. Who do students go to if they are feeling ill or are having issues with other students?

        Our front office staff, Susan Outland and Ashlie Contos  are available to assist students with minor issues. Additionally, our school counselor Todd Patterson, our Assistant Principal  Kristen Shima, and our school psychologist Lisa Scigliano are available if students are having social, academic, or emotional concerns. Our school nurse, Abbe Keane is on campus once a week.

Q. What happens if my child is having a conflict with another student?

        Todd Patterson, our full time school counselor is available to mediate conflicts between students.

Q. Do the 4th graders mingle with the upper grades?

        The 4th/5th grade classrooms and play areas are separate from the 6th/7th/8th grade areas. There are, however, closely supervised whole school activities during the year including assemblies. Also, many of our lunchtime programs are 4-8. Please note that there are no unsupervised interactions between the elementary and middle school students.

Q. Do 4th graders participate in CMS Student Council?

        At the beginning of the year, each 4th grade classroom will select one student council representative and one alternate. They attend monthly student council meetings and then will report back to the class.

Q. Where does one park and where do I drop off my child for school?

        There are several visitor parking spots in the far lot past the office and some spots directly across from the main office. Also, there is overflow parking available down the alley towards the playground. Please do not park in any staff parking spots. In the morning, please pull into the parking lot, make a right, and continue around the loop. The drop off zone is at the far lot past the front office. Because it is very crowded in the morning, it is important to drop your child off quickly and do not linger. If you need more time, please pull into one of the visitor parking spots.

Q. What CMS after school activities are available for my child?

        Fourth grade girls can do volleyball in the fall and all fourth graders can participate in Track and Field in the spring. There may also be fee-based after school activities, but this varies year to year.

Q. When is the library open? How early can my child come to school?

        The library at CMS is open from 7:30am- 4:00pm. Students should not be on campus before 7:30 because we do not have supervision. Students should also be off campus by 4pm unless they are participating in a supervised after school activity. The school office closes at 4pm as well.

Q. What is the health curriculum in 4th grade?

        We use a Health Program- The Great Body Shop- to discuss health topics with students in 4th grade. Our more formal family life education program starts in 5th grade. There is also Family Life in 8th grade.

Q. How do I find out about school events?

        The PVSD Events Calendar on the school district website it a great tool to find out what is going on at Corte Madera.  The Principal sends out monthly newsletters, teachers post monthly updates on their class websites or in Google Classroom, and information is in the Weekly. We also send specific grade level emails to parents via Powerschool with important information.

Q. What curriculum is used for 4th grade?

The district adopted curriculum is in place at Corte Madera. Students will continue their work with Reader’s & Writer’s Workshop, developing their literacy skills and expanding on the lessons learned in prior years. Math Expressions is used as the base for math instruction. Both RWWS and Math also have IXL available for students to practice online. Teachers also use Project Based Learning to supplement the learning for students. 4th graders attend the Gold Rush trip in the Spring, this correlates with the social studies focus as outlined by the state of California.

Q. What about tardies and detention for 4th graders?

We encourage families to develop good work habits and part of that is establishing timely arrival at school. If you have a family emergency and your child is late, please let the office know. Additionally, if you will be out of town we do appreciate advance notice so that work can be provided by the classroom teacher. 4th graders are not assigned detention during the first semester.