STUDENT & PARENT HANDBOOK 2019-2020
“Engage and Empower ALL Learners to Thrive!
- CHILDREN WHO ARE ABSENT: As required by state law, the school will try to contact the parents of students who are absent from school. This is done as a safety precaution to verify that the parent is aware of the absence. If your child is going to be absent, please call 540-658-6300, send an email to email@example.com, notify on the link on our school website, send a message via teacher's class tag or send a note to school between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. to report the absence. This courtesy will gently reduce the number of calls we must make during the busy morning hours. When children return to school, he/she MUST bring a written excuse or use the “Note to School” form stating the date(s) and reason for the absence. Make up work will be providing to the student upon returning to school. An absence without written excuse will be recorded as an unexcused absence.
- RETURNING TO SCHOOL AFTER ILLNESS: If your child has had a fever of over 100.0 F, diarrhea or throwing up (even through the night), they may NOT return to school until they have been fever free without medication, no diarrhea or vomiting for twenty-four (24) hours. Please be aware that you will be asked to pick up your child if this policy is not followed.
- COMPULSORY ATTENDANCE LAW: “When a student returns to school. Following an absence, the student's parent or guardian shall either advise the school in writing of the reason for the student’s absence or accompany the student to school to explain the reason for the absence (s). Whenever a student is absent for three (3) consecutive school days, or for a total of five (5) school days per month, or seven (7) per calendar quarter, and the school has not been notified of the reason for absences in a timely manner, the school will notify the attendance officer promptly. The attendance officer will make reasonable effort to reach the parent. Should the situation continue to be unresolved, the attendance officer will, on behalf of the school system, initiate contact with the appropriate legal agencies to ensure that Virginia’s compulsory school attendance law is upheld” (Source: Code of Virginia, Section 22.1-258).
- TARDY: Students arriving at school after 9:00 a.m. are required to be escorted to our front sign-in desk by parents or guardians. Children who will be given a tardy slip to present to their homeroom teachers.
- SIGN-OUT: When picking up your child, please report to the office to sign him/her out. Your child will be called to meet you in the office. For the safety of all students, children will not be released to parents at the classroom door. When custody papers or special situations exist, the office must be informed and a copy of any official documents should be provided for our files. Photo identification must be presented to pick a child up from school.
MORNING STUDENT DROP OFF & AFTERNOON PICKUP:
- Students may not be dropped off before 8:30 a.m. and students should be picked up in the afternoon by 4 p.m.
BUS/ TRANSPORTATION INFORMATION:
All afternoon dismissal and transportation changes must be made in writing. Please send notes in with students in the morning or feel free to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We cannot accept these requests over the telephone. This is for the safety of all students as we cannot verify who is calling on the telephone. Thank you for your understanding.
- TRANSPORTATION: The citizens of Stafford County have chosen to provide bus transportation for our children. Bus transportation is not required, but considered a privilege to ride to and from school. Ensuring student safety is the primary goal of bus rules and regulations. For that reason, students are expected to behave properly and follow the rules at all times.
- APPROPRIATE BUS BEHAVIOR: Students are expected to follow the bus driver’s instructions. Students are to board the bus in an orderly manner and should be seated immediately. Students are to remain seated at all times when the bus is moving. Students are required to share seats equally and to be courteous and respectful of others’ property. A student is not allowed to put hands or head out of the bus window. The aisle of the bus must be kept clear at all times. Good conduct on the bus is critical to safe transportation. Students are not allowed to bring large objects, animals, music device, or glass items onto the bus. Eating on the bus is prohibited.
- BUS LOADING AREA: Moncure’s bus loading area is a dedicated loop for busses only. Since this is designated through the VA Department of Transportation, car traffic is prohibited. The area is clearly marked for bus traffic only. This is done for the safety of our students. Please adhere to this policy and park in one of the designated parking areas when you visit our school.
- LEAVING THE BUS: Students must remain seated until the bus comes to a complete stop and the driver opens the doors. Students are to leave the bus in an orderly manner with those in the front seats leaving first. In accordance with sound safety practices, students should leave the bus stop area as soon as possible. If a student must cross a highway, the students must walk to a distance of at least ten feet from the bus. The student is not to cross the highway until the driver has signaled it is to do so.
- WAITING FOR THE BUS: Students are to be at the bus stop at leave five (5) minutes before the regular pickup time, but no earlier than ten (10) minutes before this time. Students are to wait in a safe, designated area well off the traveled portion of the roadway until the bus has come to a complete stop. For this reason, parents are encouraged to accompany their children to and from the bus stop. Parent supervision during the time that the students are waiting for their bus to arrive could prevent a serious incident.
- RIDING A DIFFERENT BUS: In order to ride a bus other than the one regularly assigned, a child must have written permission from the parent. Please send a note specifying which bus, where the child will be going, and what date(s) he/she will be riding that bus. If a child is riding the bus home with a friend, we must have a note from the parents of BOTH children giving permission for the visit. In an emergency situation, a parent must fax or email the school to change bus arrangements. If it is not an emergency, please plan ahead and send a note.
- NOTIFICATION IN CHANGE OF TRANSPORTATION: In an attempt to maintain a safe dismissal for all students, any change to afternoon student dismissal must be in print ( notes, fax, email email@example.com) no later than 2:00 p.m. If a fax or email is sent, please verify with our office that the transportation change is received.
- CAR RIDER/ DAYCARE PICK-UP PROCEDURE: If your child is a regular car rider, please complete the Car Rider Registration Form. Once this registration form is completed and returned to the school, families will be issued a number. Please place the hanging number on your vehicle's windshield mirror during our daily dismissal. If your child is not a regular car rider but you plan to pick them up, you will need to send a note to the school before 2:00 p.m. Children designated as car riders, will be called to the gymnasium daily. Children will be escorted from the gymnasium to our pick up line as vehicles arrive with assigned numbers/ passes. If you do not have a number, or do not send a note to the front office by 2:00 p.m. you will need to go the the front office to sign out your children. There will be no pickups between 3:20 -3:30 p.m. each day. Children will only be released to individuals who have been given written authorization to do so by parents and guardians. Office staff WILL require identification from any persons seeking to pick up students. We ask that you refrain from lining up prior to 3:15 p.m., remain with your vehicle, and proceed to our pick-up area in an orderly manner. Using this procedure, we will provide additional safety to our children and less inconvenience to our parents and families.
CAFETERIA: Lunches are available daily in our school cafeteria. Students may purchase lunches by the day, week, or month. We have a computerized accounting system that makes the prepaid lunch an easy option for parents and students. Checks should be made payable to Stafford County Focus Services. Please use the following link to access this information: https://www.myschoolbucks.com/ver2/login/getmain?requestAction=home
CELL PHONE POSSESSION AND PHONE WATCHES: The Stafford County Code of Conduct states: “Elementary school students shall not be permitted to use or display such devices while on school grounds unless expressly authorized by staff”. Students are asked to keep their phones off and away during school hours. Phone watches are acceptable only if they are used as watches. Students who use these devices as phones will be asked to place these items in their backpacks.
EMERGENCY DISMISSAL PROCEDURES: Look for county communication should emergencies arise. Communication may come in the form of telephone, text, or email.
FIELD TRIPS: Each of our classes will take a field trip at some time during the school year. When a trip is being planned, you will be notified of the destination, date, and cost. In order for your child to participate in such a trip, you must sign and return a permission slip. This does not relieve us of our responsibility for taking proper care of your child, but simply verifies that you wish your child to leave the school building to participate in this activity. Under no circumstances will your child be allowed to go on a field trip without your written permission. Without your written permission, your child will remain at the school to do work under proper supervision.
We often ask a few parents to accompany a class on a field trip to provide more supervision for the children. We encourage parents to participate in this learning activity with their children, but at times need to limit parent participation due to available seating or admission restrictions placed by the hosting facility. Per County policy, any parents, family members or legal guardians over the age of 18 who would like to chaperone field trips MUST be fingerprinted at Central Office. Once fingerprinted it can take up to 10 days for fingerprints to be verified, please make sure you have considered this when volunteering. Forms are available in the front office.
Field trips are planned for students as an extension of the curriculum. Chaperones are needed to implement learning activities and provide supervision, therefore, we are not able to approve request for participation of siblings. It will be necessary for you to make other arrangements for childcare if you are going to accompany one of our classes on a field trip.
You can access the online payment system through Moncure’s webpage or access it directly by using the following link: https://osp.osmsinc.com/StaffordVA/BVModules/CategoryTemplates/Detailed%20List%20with%20Properties/Category.aspx?categoryid=CJ029
Note: For safety and supervisory issues, we are only permitting parents or legal guardians to chaperone field trips.
GRADING: All students in grades K-5 will receive a report card at the end of each nine-week period. Progress will be indicated in the following manner:
4- Exceeds Standard
3- Meets Standard
2- Works Toward Standard
1- Performs Below Standard
A conference will be held prior to the distribution of the report card to the parents at the end of the first grading period.
HOMEWORK: It is important to form good study habits at a young age. On the elementary level, homework is usually not new work, but rather a practice or extension of what was covered in class. The student will assume increasing responsibility for homework assignments as he/ she progresses through the grades. Suggested guidelines for homework in Stafford County are as follows:
Grades 1-3: Approximately 20 minutes for written work once or twice a week.
Grades 4: Approximately 20-40 minutes for written work two to three times per week.
Grades 5: Approximately 45 minutes to one hour four times a week.
*Additionally, each student is expected to read for 15 minutes per night at home.
HOW TO HELP:
- Ensure that your child wakes up in time to dress and eat breakfast.
- Check to see that all necessities, such as lunch money, school supplies, and homework are carried to school.
- Read with your child and encourage the use of school and public libraries.
- Praise your child for tasks that are well done and encourage your child to continue to do well.
- Provide opportunities for your child to be independent and responsible at home.
- Avoid comparisons with other children.
- Encourage positive peer relationships at home and in the community.
- Help your child to understand that the teachers, administrators, and other adults at school are there to help.
- Provide an opportunity for your child to study at home each day.
- Get to know your child’s teacher and help the teacher understand some of the experiences your child has had that may impact success in school.
INTERIM REPORTS: All students will receive an interim report at mid-grading period to inform the parent about their child’s progress. Please review this and contact the teacher if you have questions.
SCHOOL HOURS: The normal school day for students in grades K-5 is 9:00 a.m. until 3:40 p.m. Children who are brought to school by parents should not arrive before 8:30 a.m. No one will be on duty to supervise children before that time.
SCHOOL NURSE: We have a school nurse on duty. If your child is ill or has suffered a serious injury, you will be contacted by the school nourse. Please keep in mind that our school nurse cannot diagnose or prescribe. In the case of questionable bumps, rashes, swellings, etc., please contact your doctor. The nurse can only call you to come pick up your child. Please be sure that you provide us with home phone number, a work phone number, and the name and phone number of at least one emergency person who can be contacted in case of an emergency. In case of an emergency, it is important that we are able to reach you as soon as possible. Please be sure to update your child’s school emergency card if you change jobs or if you change babysitters/ daycare.
- MEDICATION: If a physician prescribes medication that must be administered to your child during the school day, the school requires that the original prescription container and a medication request form be sent our nurse. The medication form can be obtained from the school. The medication request should be signed by both the physical and the parent. This will allow authorized school staff members to give your child the medications prescribed on the form. Short term medications, (10-12 days) such as antibiotics, need only the parent signature and the original prescription container, medications must be brought into the school by an adult and must be in the original container. Non-prescription drugs should be administered at home. School personnel have no authority to give aspirins, cough syrup, decongestants, etc. to children. Parents who feel that a non-prescription medication must be given can (a) ask a doctor to sign the medication request form to authorize or (b) come to the school to personally administer the medication to their child. DO NOT send any medication including cough drops to school with your child. This practice could place your child or another student in danger. Do not instruct your child to take medication on his own. For the safety of our students, all medications are kept in the clinic and are administered by an adult.
SECURITY: To maintain a safe school environment, all exterior doors remain locked during the school day. Parents and Visitors are also NOT permitted to walk in hallways unless they are volunteering, walking children to classrooms (ONLY permitted on the first two days), or special occasions. Thanks for helping us keep our children safe!
- POLICY ON WEAPONS AT SCHOOL: No student is allowed to bring a weapon of any kind on school grounds or on a school bus. This includes pocket knives, any other type of knives, guns, laser pens/pointers, and.or explosives. Students are also prohibited from bringing toys that look like weapons. This includes, but is not limited to cap guns, dart guns, and water pistols.
- SAFETY DRILLS: State law required weekly fire drills in public schools during the first (20) days of each school session. During the remainder of the school year, fire drills are required monthly. Schools also are required to have one (1) tornado drills and four (4) lock down drills over the course of the school year. Teachers will instruct their classes on proper conduct and routes to take from the building.
TELEPHONE CALLS: We make every effort to preserve instructional time. Unless it is an emergency, parents calling the school requesting to speak with students or teachers will be asked to leave a message. When a parent leaves a message, the teacher will make every effort to return the call at the earliest possible time. This may be during planning time, after school, or at a time when they are able to leave the classroom. Children are only allowed to use the office telephone in the case of an emergency.
VISITORS: Moncure Elementary welcomes visitors to our school. If you will be attending a school event, or visiting the cafeteria or picking up a child, you will need to present a valid picture ID. All visitors are to report to the main office immediately upon entering the building. Please understand that this is a School Board Policy that is in place for the protection of our students...your children! Parents are welcome to visit our classrooms. We ask that you contact the teacher at least one day prior to the visit if you wish to schedule a classroom visit. Unannounced visits are discouraged. These visits may interrupt the flow of a lesson and distract the students and teacher. All visitors must wear a visitor’s badge during their visit.
VOLUNTEERS: Volunteers at Moncure Elementary are a critical part of our school family. Without volunteers, we would not be able to provide the high quality of education that we have come to expect in Stafford County. There are a number of ways our volunteers help in the school. Please contact your child’s teacher, PTO board, or the school office, if you wish to volunteer.
- PLEASE ALWAYS INCLUDE THE STUDENT'S FIRST AND LAST NAME ALONG WITH THE TEACHER'S NAME ON ALL CORRESPONDENCE TO THE SCHOOL.