Back to School Night Packet

August 15, 2023


Dear Parents,

Welcome to a new school year! With Back to School Night happening in a couple weeks on Aug 24, we are sending out much of the information directly, then using our in-person time to answer questions and to get to know you a bit.


This year in our class we will be focusing greatly on building community, taking risks, and understanding that mistakes are part of learning. This will take place through direct and indirect activities, conversations, and the on-going reactions to learning situations every day.


As a teacher my goal is connection, with the students and with you, their families. A guiding question for me as I teach is “How can we best help these students become the best version of themselves and the best humans they can be?”


In our class we have aims designed to help students learn and apply important life principles in any situation.

Be Here—Be present and on time, and more importantly, be involved and interested.

Be Kind—Look for ways to be kind to others and yourself in any situation

Have Fun—Getting involved and enjoying yourself makes learning more effective.


We will be building community using restorative practices designed to help students reflect on their own actions while also recognizing their responses to what is going on around them. Carrillo teachers and staff have all been trained in these practices and it is a school-wide goal to utilize these practices in resolving problems and building community. We will ask frequently, “What is the kind thing to do: for ourselves, and for others?”


Every day we are developing a safe atmosphere for students to do their best while helping them to challenge themselves to stretch beyond what seems easy and possible.


Character Development

This year at Carrillo, we will continue focusing on Character Development as a school. We are keeping our focus on kindness and adding focus on a character trait each month. At the beginning of each month, there will be a flag salute to highlight the trait. At the end of the month, we will celebrate the trait and recognize students with character awards.



I will check my school email at least twice a day. [email protected] Also I check for phone messages throughout the day. I will return your calls and email as soon as possible, generally within 24 hours. I will also be frequently calling parents, or speaking with you in person, for a general check-up on how things are going. It is my intention to speak with each of you, on the phone or in person, at least once a month. Please feel free to email or call whenever you have comments or concerns. I send most class related emails directly through the Synergy portal which shows up looking like email. Please make sure your email addresses are current for all family members that would like to receive class email from me.


Content and Extra Work

Students will be working all year toward mastering more complex reading and math concepts. To facilitate this, they must know basic addition and subtraction facts to 10. Please help your child practice these facts daily for 5 minutes. If you are looking for additional homework, or enrichment activities for your child, there are various on-line programs, such as iReady, available through the Clever login.



This year we are using Benchmark as our Language Arts program and we will be connecting phonics skills and high frequency vocabulary in our spelling program. All week in the classroom we will study and practice words based on the focus pattern, as well as including 10 high frequency vocabulary words. There is not a weekly test for spelling, but rather an on-going focus in using words correctly in their writing, as this forms the basis of the spelling grades on the report card. Students will usually bring home a work page with the focus words for the week at the beginning of each school week so that you have the words available if you’d like to practice with them at home.



We will work with a variety of strategies, tools, and methods across the school year as we work toward a deeper understanding of math concepts. We frequently talk about math in class and with the goal of understanding how math works by looking at a variety of ways to solve equations and problems. This provides opportunities for growth to advanced, and advancing, students. If they bring home math work that looks differently than a way you might have solved it, please ask your student to explain what they did and why. These math conversations at home are valuable connections, and help to reinforce what we are learning at school. If your student struggles in explain it, contact the teacher for further support.



This year in second grade the only daily, on‐going responsibility given to the students outside school hours is to read. We expect students to read daily, either independently or with a family member. Daily reading will improve students’ overall academics as reading is an integral part of all subject areas. Homework for second grade students is to read 20 minutes each day. Students receiving additional instructional support may receive individualized learning activities for home.



Please refer to and follow the SMUSD policies regarding student illness. We work to share at school but we do our best to not share colds and viruses.


Water bottles

Water bottles are great to have in the classroom and to take out for recess. I ask that if students bring a bottle, it should be small to medium sized, with a cap that is easy for them to open, and keep closed when not in use. Also, please don’t freeze the bottles or include ice because the condensation gets everything on their desk, or in their backpack, wet. Water only please. Also, please write your student’s name on their bottle.



Our class rules are based on the Carrillo Elementary school rules with focus on The Carrillo Way to “Do the right thing, because it’s the right thing, even if no one is looking.” We focus with students on some guiding principles.


              Be Respectful

              Make Good Choices

              Solve Problems

To encourage students to follow our rules, I reinforce appropriate behavior with positive recognition and praise along with the natural consequences of responsible behavior. We have a clip chart on the wall with student names to help them monitor positive behavior and warnings to improve, as well as consequences.

The consequences are:


              Time out from an activity or recess

              Lunch time in another classroom and a home contact

              If things continue beyond this, removal from class and contact with office are possible

In trying to focus on the positive, we will also have programs in place that earn rewards, both as a class and as individuals. I will be constantly looking for the positive, to “catch” kids doing what we are hoping for them to do as well as to guide them towards those goals.


Classroom Website

We have a website for classroom news, homework, schedules, information and most importantly communication. It can be found at

Or go to the Carrillo website and look in the classrooms section for Mr. Marklyn Retzer.



We have regular access to a computer cart with Chromebook computers and regular time scheduled for independent and targeted work. School policy is for phones and smart watches to remain in backpacks other than for medical reasons (such as diabetes monitoring.) The plan for now is that students will keep their computers at school and generally will not be carrying them between home and school every day. Our computer cart in the classroom makes storing and charging easy. There are occasions when students may bring the computers home for additional practice. If this is something you as a parent are interested in, please contact the teacher.


Weekly Readers

The PTO has chosen to support the school with the purchase of the weekly Scholastic News magazines from PTO funds. Your support of the PTO helps to fund this and many other great things for the school. Thank you!


Snacks and Celebrations

Healthy snacks are important here at school. As you plan for snacks for your student, please remember that recess is before lunch this year. Candy and soda are not allowed at school. Please look for healthy options for snacks. The California Department of Education and our school district have established guidelines regarding food for celebrations. This means that food (or treats) may not be included as part of birthdays celebrations. One great way to honor your child on this special day is to donate a book. The library has a wonderful program in place where children donate books to the library on their birthday. There are other non-food options for celebrations also.


Parent Volunteers

There will be various opportunities to help on campus and in the classroom. An email with more information will come to the class email list in September, once we have established our regular routines.



It is very important that your child attend school daily. We do many lessons, projects and activities to promote learning throughout the day. Regular and punctual attendance plays an important role in your child’s educational success. The school day begins promptly at 8:45 a.m. Students who arrive late not only miss instruction, but can also be a class disruption. If a student is late, they must obtain a Late Pass from the office in order to be admitted to class. Please help your child form the good habit of being on time. If your child will be missing three or more days of school in a row, please contact the teacher regarding missed classwork.


Curriculum, Standards and Grading

Please see the curriculum guides for the state and district required content for this grade level. These standards form the basis for the grades we give. We will move forward during the year, with proficiency of these standards as our goal by the end of the school year. The numbers 1-4 are the written grades we give based on these standards. Note that 3 is mastery of grade level standards.

4 The student consistently demonstrates advanced mastery of grade level standards.

3 The student consistently demonstrates mastery of grade level standards.

2 The student demonstrates partial mastery of grade level standards.

1 The student is consistently performing below grade level in standards.


Common Core State Standards

Carrillo Elementary, and all of SMUSD, follows the California Common Core State Standards in Math, Language Arts, Writing, Science, and Social Studies. This makes some of the areas of instruction, (especially math) look different than how it may have traditionally been taught. There are a number of resources explaining this on the district’s website.


Carrillo PTO

Please check the Carrillo PTO website at for information updates and to sign up for the email list.


In order for the students to have the most successful year possible, we need your continual support. Thank you for the opportunity to work with your child.


Mr. Marklyn Retzer

 [email protected]

760-290-2900 x3012

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