1st Grade

Dear First Grade Families,

Imagine a day in first grade where you were greeted with ”We’re Walking on Sunshine” playing in the background while you prepare yourself to be ready to learn. Then the music STOPS and your day begins!

You look forward to coming to school because you know fun is built into all learning! You are taught using the SmartBoard, singing your spelling words and math skills to tunes like “Happy Birthday” and B-I-N-G-O, and using whiteboards for writing, math and word work! During the first six weeks of school our goal is to develop automaticity within the classroom on procedures and routines.The children will know what their jobs are and become responsible for their learning. With practice and modeling the first grader will become automatic on managing their homework and other products that demonstrate knowledge and mastery of the learning goals. Our objective is to maximize student learning in a setting where classroom management becomes invisible.

We will focus on establishing a productive work environment, which promotes student involvement and cooperation in all classroom activities. We will practice procedures until they become routine to promote a relaxed, pleasant classroom environment. Students will know what is expected of them to be successful.Through character-building activities the children will learn about their responsibility as a student. Their job is to come to school to learn. We do not bribe or reward children for good behavior. Our hope is that their achievements both socially and academically will be their reward. Parents and caregivers will be contacted to help with any challenges with discipline.We believe the parents are the child’s first and best teacher. We need and welcome your help in the classroom. We will be contacting you on an as needed basis to assist with and coordinate classroom projects, family celebrations, field trip drivers, service learning projects, material resources and errands.


Mrs. Faye Bahmanyar
Ms. Katie Bowes
Mrs. Rhonda Hanley

Reading Workshop
Writer’s Workshop
Social Studies
Art, Science, Library, Music, P.E., French, Spanish, Computer, and Strings

Special Events
Educational Philosophy

Rhonda Hanley

First Grade, Lower School Professional Development Coordinator
B.S. from Illinois State University
M.A. in Teaching from Aurora University
M.E.L. in Administration from Aurora University

Email: rhonda.hanley@keithschool.net
Phone: 815-399-8823

Rhonda is a veteran teacher with experience educating students ranging from pre-kindergarten to masters-level students. She has worked as a first and second grade teacher, a media specialist, a technology trainer and a coordinator of professional development. Rhonda joined the Keith faculty in 2005. In 2008, she was a Golden Apple Finalist and in 2012 she was the recipient of Keith’s Distinguished Faculty Award. Outside the classroom she enjoys reading, gardening, her grandchildren and traveling with her family.


Katie Bowes

First Grade Co-Teacher
B.S. from Rockford University

Email: katie.bowes@keithschool.net

Ms. Bowes joined the Lower School team in 2012 as a Cougar Quest Teacher, and after her college graduation became the full-time teaching assistant in the Junior Kindergarten class. Katie is a graduate from Rockford University with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Human Development and a minor in Psychology. She has an obvious passion for teaching and working with children. Outside of the Keith family, Katie enjoys spending time with her large extended family, and being an evening caregiver for her 94-year-old grandmother. She is a huge sports fan, animal lover, and a Disney expert. Ask Katie about anything Disney! Katie is looking forward to motivating her students so they may reach their highest potential, while instilling a love for school and learning.