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School Handbook-OP

Montessori Elementary & Middle School of Tracy, Inc.
120 Murrieta Way, Tracy, CA  95377
Telephone:  209  833-3458
Federal ID Number:  94-3257101
www.MontessoriCA.com
e-mail: tre@montessorica.com
Dr. Pamela Zell Rigg, Acting Head of School

SCHOOL  HANDBOOK

 

Introduction

The Administration and the Teachers of the Montessori Elementary & Middle School of Tracy welcome you and your child to the School.  The School Handbook presents the philosophy, goals, policies and procedures of the School.  The School Handbook sets forth the policies and procedures of ME&MS-TR. If you have any questions the Administration and the Teachers are available to answer them.

We look forward to your participation in the School!

Maria Montessori

 

Maria Montessori was born in 1870 in Italy and became the first woman to receive a medical degree in Italy, from the University of Rome.  In the first decade of the twentieth century Dr. Montessori observed children carefully and experimented with various curriculum materials and teaching methods.  Dr. Montessori visited various schools throughout Europe seeking effective teaching approaches.  Unimpressed with the teaching styles and methods of the day she returned to her observation of children to determine effective teaching approaches. From careful observation and experimentation with curriculum materials Montessori developed the world-famous Montessori Method:  Curriculum Materials and Educational Philosophy.

Montessori Method

 

Montessori’s primary focus was the fundamental nature of the child.  She believed that the child passes through Planes of Development in six-year cycles.  Each plane of development is distinct. The second plane of development, from ages six to twelve years old, is relevant to this School Handbook.

The following qualities are required in introducing students to new concepts:

  1. The educational and emotional experiences for the child are linked.  Therefore, the introduction to a new concept must dramatically excite the child.  This key experience, as it is named, must have certain characteristics.  The lesson may be dramatic: when introducing fractions, for example, the teacher takes a hammer and smashes a unit bead.  The teacher then explains that the single, whole bead has been fractured into many pieces just as a single whole number may be divided into smaller parts.  The smaller parts are called fractions which comes from the Latin word fractus, which means to fracture or to part. The lesson may be dramatic in another way:  the fifty-meter black ribbon with the last inch in white shows the time that the earth has existed in black and shows how long human beings have been on the earth in white!
  1. The students in the Montessori elementary program are multi-age grouped because Montessori found that each student possessed a varied academic and social profile:  the student may be strong in mathematics but less apt in reading, stronger in biology and less gifted in chemistry, etc.  Furthermore, the student may be strong academically but less mature socially.  The multi-age grouping allows the student to be among a sampling of ages which in its variety will match and complement each student’s strengths and deficiencies.  Therefore:

Lower Elementary – Mrs. Sisineros, Curriculum Specialist for Lower Elementary

Grades 1, 2 and 3 are grouped together:

Room #2 with Ms. Rodrigues and Mrs. Rege

Room #3 with Mrs. Gore and Mrs. Kiran

Room #4 with Mr. Cloke and Mrs. Aerolla

Upper Elementary – Mr. Ayres, Curriculum Specialist for Upper Elementary

Grades 4, 5 and 6 are grouped together:

Room #5 with Mrs. Embucado and Mrs. Yaseem

Room #6 with Mrs. Maddapatla and Mrs. Bhardwaj

Middle School – Mr. Aires, Curriculum Specialist for Upper Elementary

Grades 7 and 8 are grouped together:

Ms. Dacruz and Mrs. Paranthaman

Additionally, each student is seen as a leader or a leader-in-the-making.  Within each grade grouping,

  1. in the first year the student learns to follow the good leadership of the older students;
  2. in the second year the student perfects the ability to be a good follower and begins to develop leadership qualities;
  3. in the third year of the three-year-cycle the student has many opportunities to exhibit good leadership behavior with the younger students in the classroom.
  1. Lessons are initially introduced with manipulative materials after which the student is introduced to appropriate abstract materials.  Montessori manipulative materials are available for each mathematics and geometry concept.  Every language concept, such as prefix and suffix, has a manipulative as a key experience, as well.    The elementary classroom contains so many materials because through the materials concepts become embedded in the students’ mind.  The student uses the classroom as a resource to further research the curriculum.
  1. Montessori emphasized the need for the elementary student to work with other children.  The student continues in the elementary to work individually, but increasingly the students are working collaboratively.  This is often referred to as peer learning or collaborative learning.

Affiliation

 

The Montessori School is affiliated with the American Montessori Society.  The Society provides standards for the School, and consultants and seminars for professional development.  The School is equipped with the required Montessori materials and the Head Teachers hold Montessori Teacher Credentials as required by the American Montessori Society.

School’s Goal for Each Student

The School’s goal is for each student to experience nurturance, encouragement and direction in order to optimize the students’ potentiality in social and emotional development, in language and cognitive development, and in fine and gross motor development.  

 

Montessori Learning Environment

The Montessori learning environment and learning activities for the students reflect the School’s Montessori philosophy and vision.  The environment supports curiosity about the world and supports social and emotional development, language and cognitive development, and fine and gross motor development.

                       

Hours of Operation

 

The School is open from 6:30AM to 6:00PM.

 

Programs

 

Academic School Hours:           8:00AM –  3:00PM.

Optional Clubs:                            3:00AM – 4:15PM

Day Care Hours:                           6:30AM –  8:00AM and 3:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Holiday Day Care Hours:           6:30AM –  6:00PM on some days during the

Winter Break & the Spring Break –

See School calendar

Schedule of the School Day: 8AM – 3PM

 

The Schedule of the Day is found in the Appendix.  The Schedule of the Day focuses on the Montessori Academic Period in the morning and the Montessori Cultural Subjects in the afternoon.

The morning period from 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM for the Lower Elementary Grades (1 – 3 grade), and 8:00AM 11:30AM for the Upper Elementary and Middle School Grades (4 – 8 grade) has scheduled small reading and small group mathematics groups conducted by the  teacher-specialist followed by language arts and mathematics assignments:

From 8:00 – 9:30AM ability groups of  six to seven students spend 20 minutes each day with the reading specialist.

From 9:30 – 11:00AM or 11:30AM ability groups of six to seven students spend 20 minutes each day with the math specialist.

The lunch & physical education (PE) are from 11:00AM to 12:00 Noon for the Lower Elementary Graders (1 – 3 grades), or 11:30AM – 12:30PM for the Upper Elementary and Middle School Grades (4 – 8 grades).

The afternoon period from 12:00 Noon to 3:00PM, or 12:30PM to 3:00PM begins with the large group lesson of the day:  botany, zoology, history, geography and chemistry/physics.  This lesson is followed by a once-a-week Art Specialist and Spanish Specialist that provide a group lesson, and then move individually from student to student throughout the classrooms until 2:45PM.

PE is the third specialist of the week who works throughout the afternoon with groups of 8-10 students in thirty-minute increments.  The focus is ball handling and developing specific game skills related to the sport.

After the lesson the students individually or in small groups continue on their own projects and assignments in the various curriculum areas.

Schedule of the Day Care Program

In the morning from 6:30AM to 8:00AM Day Care is provided.  The early morning day care is relaxed and focused.

In the afternoon from 3:00PM to 6:00PM Day Care is provided.

3:00  –  4:00PM   Supervised study hall is monitored.

4:00  –   5:00PM   Supervised sports on the soccer field or gymnasium,

and have supervised study hall.

Alternatively the Book Club meets

5:00  –   6:00PM   Game boards, art, puzzles are available in addition

to Book Club Reading.

Enrollment Procedure

 

  • Orientation to the lower elementary program is on the first Thursday of February.
  • Applications for enrollment and re-enrollment are accepted beginning in February.
  • Letter of recommendation is accepted from the prior School of attendance attesting to academic and social maturity, and ability to benefit from this School.
  • Letters of acceptance are mailed March 1st. Returning students are accommodated first, until March 1st.  After March 1st enrollment is open to new applicants.
  • In May each new student visits the School for a half or full-day.

 

While always available to answer your questions, additional questions or concerns may be addressed on the third Thursday in August, between 10:00 AM and 11:30 AM, when you are invited to meet with your child’s teacher at the School Open House. The Back-to-School meeting from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM on Thursday of the last week in August provides an additional opportunity to become familiar with the School.

 

Admission Policy and Procedure

The School is an educational institution with the purpose of providing an optimal educational experience for each student within the constraints of the entire student body.   Students are admitted and retained at the School based upon the behavior of the student, the parent’s support of the child’s educational progress, and the student’s ability to benefit from the School experience.  Admissions are granted on the School’s evaluation of the student’s ability to optimally benefit from the educational experience that the School provides.

Students with family values and behavior patterns aligned with those of the School’s expectations easily adjust to the School’s expectations of academic and social responsibility.  Therefore, a match between School and family values and expectations is sought.

Admission Policy – The School is an educational service for children ages six to twelve years old.  Enrollment is available to students within this age range regardless of race, gender, ethnic background, national origin, religion, or disability.  Returning students, siblings, legacies and Montessori school transfers are accorded first admission.   Enrollment is then open on a first come, first serve basis.  The School reserves the right to refuse admission based upon likelihood to benefit from the School program.

     Admission Procedure – Observation of the School is required before submittal of the application.

Upon receipt of the application and the application fee the admission procedure formally begins.

  • An acknowledgment of receipt of the application and application fee payment is e-mailed.
  • A notification of acceptance or non-acceptance is e-mailed shortly after the application is received.
  • An on-line Student Profile is created by the School and completed by the family
  • Updates to the Student Profile are initiated by the family whenever there are changes, and a formal review is required by August 1st of each year – prior to the first day of the new school year.
  • Tuition payment information and ACH authorization is provided upon enrollment.
  • Invitations to the Open House the Thursday prior to the first day of School and to the Back-to-School Night are e-mailed along with the School Calendar and the Schedule of the Day.

Student’s File Requirement

 

Prior to attendance the following forms must be completed and submitted to the School:

  • Application and Application Fee
  • Enrollment Agreement – docu-sign
  • Contained in the Student Profile is:

Identification and Emergency Information *

Student’s Pre-admission Health History

Consent for Medical Treatment

Parent Participation Commitment & Parent Committee selection

School Handbook Acknowledgement

  • Upload of documents:

Physician’s Report

California School Immunization Record:

Polio – at least three dosed (if the third or last dose was given

before two years of age one additional dose is required)

DTaP/TD – at least four doses (if the fourth or last dose was given

before two years of age one additional dose is required)

MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) – one dose of each

on or after the first birthday

Hib & HepB – third dose at least four months after the first dose

Varicella – on or after first birthday

The above information is reviewed and updated by the family by August 1st

each year.

Tuition

 

Tuition is for the academic year.  Tuition may be paid in full or tuition may be paid in ten equal monthly installments – July 1st  through April 1st.  To secure your child’s enrollment for each upcoming school year a nonrefundable enrollment deposit of $200.00 is due by the last day of February.  The remainder of the first tuition installment is due by July 1st.  The subsequent nine tuition installments are paid by ACH authorization August through April.

Day care hours are before 8AM and after 3PM.  Day care hours are billed at the end of the month at an hourly rate.

Tuition installment is paid through ACH – direct transfer, withdrawn on the first day of each month.  Check payments incur a $25.00 payment-processing fee.

Payments not honored your bank, either check or ACH, incur a return fee of $25.00.

No adjustment or refund is made if your child is withdrawn from the School after March 31st.    Before March 31st adjustments are made only with a thirty-day written notice submitted to the Head of School.  The written withdrawal notice, therefore, must be submitted by the last day of February.

Materials Fee

The $350.00 Material Fee includes both books that the student uses and takes home such as the programmed readers and math and Language soft cover work books, and hardcover books that remain with the School and are periodically replaced with updated materials. The advanced e-textbooks in the upper grades, Educational City, and Rosetta Stone (Spanish language program) subscriptions fees are covered in the Material Fee.  The various binders provided to the student are paid by the School.

The material fee covers paper, art materials, and the many supplies provided the students during the school year, as well.

 

Field Trips fees and After School Club fees are not included in the materials fee.

 

Refund of Tuition – Withdrawal

Refund of tuition is made on a pro-rata basis when thirty days written notice of withdrawal is given.  Withdraw refund is not honored after the last day of February.    The formula for calculating the tuition refund is the academic tuition divided by the total number of school days times the number of days of the student’s attendance.  This dollar figure represents the pro-rata use of educational services.  This amount is subtracted from payments already made.  Refunds are issued within thirty days (30) of withdrawal.

Material Fee, After School Club Fee, Field Trip fee are not refunded or prorated.

Late Enrollment Tuition

 

The formula for calculating the late enrollment tuition is the academic tuition divided by the total number of school days times the number of days of the student’s projected attendance.  This dollar figure represents the pro-rata use of educational services.  This amount is paid over the remaining installment months with the remaining tuition due at the beginning of the enrollment.

 

Material Fee, After School Clubs Fees, and Field Trip Fees are not prorated.

Re-enrollment

To secure your child’s re-enrollment for the upcoming school year a nonrefundable re-enrollment deposit of $200.00 is due by the last day of February.  The $200.00 deposit is credited to the first installment of tuition due July 1st.

The subsequent nine tuition installments are charged to your designated checking account via ACH on the first of each month August through April.

Tuition Financial of California – TFC

 

Tuition Financial of California is the billing and collections service for the School.  TFC processes the ACH school fees on behalf of the ME&MS-TR.  The Administration advises TFC of enrollments and of the program in which a student is enrolled. The Administration advises TFC of program changes, withdrawals, and late enrollments.  No special financial arrangement can be negotiated through the Administration or through TFC that is different than the written arrangements found in the School Handbook and the Tuition Agreement form including the waive of late payment, returned checks, and change-of-program fees.

TFC processes payments by ACH (Automated Clearing House) from checking or savings accounts.

Dress Code/ Uniform

 

The purpose of dress standards and uniform at the Montessori Elementary & Middle School of Tracy is:

  • to promote neatness and appropriateness.
  • to encourage the attitude that School is a place of focused learning.
  • to enhance safety during the School day.
Dress  – Uniform Standards

 

  1.   Uniforms are to be neat, clean and in good repair.
  2. The only acceptable type of footwear is a shoe that completely encloses

the foot.  Thongs, sandals and any other footwear are deemed unsafe on

the playground and are therefore not acceptable.  Socks must be worn.

  1. Jewelry (e.g. long earrings) and other accessories that could contribute to

physical injury during play times are not acceptable.

  1. School polo shirts are ordered through the school website “SHOP”, paid

by credit card, and picked-up at the School office.

Dismissal

The School maintains high academic and behavioral standards of its students.  The School reserves the right to dismiss a student who is not meeting those standards and consequently is not benefiting from the School’s curriculum.  Equally, parents are required to support School standards and to act respectfully towards adults and students while on campus.  The School reserves the right to dismiss a student based upon the student’s and/or parent’s behavior.  See “General Policy Statement on Student Behavior.”

Tardy and Absences – See Appendix for state law

Arrive is between 7:40 – 7:55 AM.  This arrival time allows for a formal, individual greeting for each student followed with a visit to the bathroom and by the placing of items into the students’ private locker.  Classes begin promptly at 8:00 AM.  Students arriving after 8:00 AM are considered tardy.  Thirty minutes late for school is considered a truancy event by California State law.  See appendix for the state law and the School’s reporting truancy to county sheriff’s office.

Tardiness is noted and appears on the student’s permanent report card.  Formal lessons begin promptly at 8:00 AM, therefore, the tardy student both misses important instruction and disrupts the concentration of the other students.  Further, the student is both less focused and less settled when arriving late for School. The School considers prompt arrival to School an important alignment of values between the School and the Family.

Regular School attendance is a high priority of the School.  All students are expected to be in School regularly and on time, and to attend all scheduled classes and other required activities.

Parents call the school when their child is absent from School.

The typical absences are those due to students’ illness, medical and dental appointments, and attendance at a funeral of a member of the immediate family.  All other absences, such as family vacations, require a discussion with the student’s teacher to organize vacation study-time.

Safety and Conduct Guidelines

The safe and efficient operation of the School requires the cooperation of the students, the teachers, the administration, and the parents.

Family Participation Commitment – 10 hours per year per student

 

Each family is required to commit ten (10) hours per year per student enrolled.  Family participation involves membership in one (or more) of the Parent Participation Committees.  If parent participation is not possible a $200.00 Family Participation Fee is assessed per student enrolled.  Parent Participation commitment is required by October 1st.  Non-commitment to a Parent Participation Committee or the selection of the non-participation option results in the billing of the $200.00 parent participation fee. Unfulfilled parent participation commitment  hours are billed at the rate of $20./hour by April 1st. Hours served after April 1st are credited  toward the next academic school year.

The family makes the Parent Participation commitment by October 1st via Parent Participation Committee on-line registration.  Families are billed the $200.00 non-participation if no commitment is made by October 1st..  Parent Committee commitment hours not completed by April 1st are billed to the family’s ACH account.  Hours served after April 1st are credited toward the following school year.

Parent Participation Committees

 

You are encouraged to be involved in the school.  The required ten (10) hours per student per year may be served by participating on a Parent Participation Committee.  The Parent Participation Committees provide an opportunity to become more acquainted with the other parents as well.  Parent Participation commitment must be made by October 1st each year.  The participation hours must be fulfilled by March 31st, or credited to the following school year.  Families are billed at the beginning of April for unfulfilled Parent Participation hours.  There are no parent participation hours as an option after March 31st.

  1. Art Exhibit Committee (February)
  2. Dismissal (End of School Day) Committee (Monthly)
  3. Events Committee – Support for School/Family Events
  4. Garden & Grounds Committee
  5. Office Support Committee
  6. Photography Committee – Yearbook
  7. Photography Committee – Events
  8. Yearbook Committee

Student Progress Reports

Student Progress Reports are provided to students and their family twice yearly. The first Progress Report is in December, and the second Progress Report is in May.

  

Achievement Tests

The Stanford Achievement Test – Tenth Edition (SAT 10) is administered to all students in May.  The results of the test are provided to the parents by mail in  July.

 

Release of Child to Authorized Persons Only

 

Your child is only released to those persons appearing on the Emergency and Identification Student Profile that each family completes prior to attendance.  Photo identification is requested if the person is not recognized by the dismissing teacher.

If someone new is picking up your child enter the new person in the on-line Student Profile.

Day Care Hours

 

In addition to regular school hours (8AM – 3PM) day care hours are available.  These hours are well-supervised and provide care during hours a family may require before or after the regular School day. The following hours are available: 6:30 – 8AM and 3 – 6PM.

Day care hours may be used in a drop-in basis.  Day care hours are billed at the end of each month to the ACH account.

Late Pick Up

 

Late Pick Up is pick-up of a student after the closing hours of the School – 6PM.    Occasionally an emergency may arise preventing picking-up of a student on time at the end of the day.  An automatic, non-negotiable late fee of $5.00 for each five-minute interval is charged.  Three late pick-ups may result in the School’s termination of day care services to the family.

 

Personal Belongings

 

Personal belongings that clearly relate to the intent of the classroom are welcome.  The personal belonging is placed in the classroom and is available to all the children on the same basis as any other material in the classroom. Personal belongings that do not relate to the student’s functioning at the School are discouraged so that there are no lost articles or distractions.   Toys and games remain at home.

If your child brings home an object that does not look familiar, please check with the teacher.  Even seemingly insignificant objects may be critical to a Montessori material.  Please return all materials.

The School provides binders and composition notebooks for each student.

Routines

Routines are an integral part of the life of the student and the School program.  Routines allow your child to apply practical life skills and develop self-help and pro-social skills.  Arrival and departure routines, eating routines, and gymnasium and PE routines are predictable.  Routines follow a sequence so that your child experiences a relaxed and peaceful atmosphere.

 

Lunch

 

The family provides lunch.  The lunch container and the food must all be non-disposable.  The School does not provide warm-up options.  Any portion of the lunch not eaten by your child is returned so that the family can monitor preferences and intake.  Lunch is expected to be nutritional which means the lunch is low in sugar and low  in fat, and high in protein, vitamins and minerals.  Such a lunch precludes sugar drinks, chips, cakes and cookies.  Organic waste (apple cores, et cetera) is placed in the classroom’s organic waste container and daily taken to the compost bin.

Advise the School if your child has a food allergy or a dietary restriction.

Field Study Trips

 

Three (3) Field Study trips are arranged during the school year for the third-grade students, the upper elementary students, and the middle school students.  The focus of each Field Study Trip rotates: history, the arts, and science/technology.

In September the Study Field Trip permission and payment form for the year is distributed to families with a return to the Office by October 1st.  Generally, transportation is provided by coach rental.

Special Needs and Disabilities

 

Modifications are made in the environment and staffing patterns for the child with special needs and disabilities.  Teachers are informed of the identified/diagnosed special needs of the child and trained to follow through on a specific intervention plan.  With the assistance of qualified specialist, a program is developed appropriately and incorporated within school activities as much as possible.  Teachers are responsive to the priorities and concerns of the family of the student with special needs.

Child Abuse Reporting

 

While everyone should report suspected child abuse and neglect, the California Penal Code requires that certain professionals and laypersons must report suspected abuse.  The mandated reporters include Teachers.  Failure to report suspected abuse by a mandated reporter within 36 hours is a misdemeanor punishable by 6 months in jail and/or a $1,000.00 fine.  Marks on your child that are not satisfactorily explained to the School are reported to authorities.

Bullying and Unkind Behavior

 

Bullying is defined as aggressive behavior in person or on-line involving an observed or perceived in-balance of power.

Unkind behavior may take many forms – verbal, gestural, face-to-face and on-line.  Unkind behavior does not have an imbalance of power component.  Bullying or unkind behavior does not reflect the foundational values of our school.

On a first occasion the offender is spoken to by the offended student and the administration.  The second occurrence incurs a one-day school suspension.  On the third occasion the student is dismissed from the school. If the offense is egregious as determined by administration dismissal can be immediate.

Family and School Partnership

           

Families are in partnerships with the School, establishing and maintaining regular, ongoing, respectful two-way communication to build trust and mutual understanding, and to ensure that your child’s learning and developmental needs are met.

You are informed about the program and about the curriculum through the School’s weekly emails, flyers, and mailings.  Policy changes and other critical issues are communicated by direct mail.

Communication between teachers and families ensures your child a smooth transition from home to the School, or from one program to another during the day. Major changes that effect your child, such as changes in room or in teacher, and use of special services, are discussed with you before decisions are made.

Confidentiality

 

Confidentiality is maintained when discussions are held between you and your child’s teacher.

Family Observation of the Classroom

 

Formally, observations of the classroom are scheduled during the months of November and April.   Informal observations may be scheduled with your child’s teacher throughout the school year.

Family Conferences

 

Informally, you are invited to initiate a conference at any time you feel the need.  Formally, conferences are scheduled in December and in May.  Your child’s progress, accomplishments, and difficulties at home and at School are discussed.  Both formal and informal conferences provide the opportunity for continuity of input between you and the School.

At both formal and informal meetings, we work together to make decisions about how to best support your child’s development, progress, accomplishments and learning, or to handle problems or differences at home or at school as they arise. Teachers seek your specific ideas for working with your child when at the School.  The Student is a part of the formal, twice-a-year conference.

The formal and informal meetings provide the opportunity to solicit and to incorporate your knowledge about your child into ongoing assessment and planning at School.

 

Calendar of Family Events

See the School Calendar and the Calendar of Events.

Parent Participation Committees

 

You are encouraged to be involved in the school.  The required ten (10) hours per student per year may be served by participating on a Parent Participation Committee.  The Parent Participation Committees provide an opportunity to become more acquainted with the other parents as well.  Parent Participation commitment must be made by October 1st each year.  The participation hours must be fulfilled by March 31st, or credited to the following school year.  Families are billed at the beginning of April for unfulfilled Parent Participation hours.  There are no parent participation hours as an option after March 31st.

  1. Art Exhibit Committee (February)
  2. Dismissal (End of School Day) Committee (Monthly)
  3. Events Committee – Support for School/Family Events
  4. Garden & Grounds Committee
  5. Office Support Committee
  6. Photography Committee – Yearbook
  7. Photography Committee – Events
  8. Yearbook Committee

Grievance Procedure for Families

Difficulties and differences that arise from interactions between teachers and families are resolved through special conferences, or individual meetings involving all participants.  The school director facilitates the meetings.

The School has a Family Policy and Appeals Committee that has established a grievance procedure and policy review procedure.   Families may request a review concerning an unresolved matter after negotiating directly with the teachers and Head of School.

School Transfer

 

The School’s formal record of your child’s development is available for transfer to another school with family permission.

Referrals and Community Resources

 

The Head of School has the range of experience and the community resources to make appropriate professional referrals when necessary. The Head of Schooll and teachers are familiar with and make appropriate use of community resources including social services; mental and physical health agencies; and educational programs such as museums, libraries, and neighborhood centers.

The family is referred to resources and services based on the needs and interests observed by the director or teachers or expressed by the family.

 

Sickness Policies and Procedures

 

Sick Students are not admitted to the School.  A student is deemed sick if there is a temperature (over 99.6 degrees), sore throat, cough, active cold, diarrhea, or vomiting, or other indications of illness. Advise your child’s teacher of special health conditions or considerations so that they are alert to the health of your child.

Should your child become ill or injured at School, we will notify you immediately and take whatever steps you have indicated on your emergency forms.  You will also be informed if you child has had any minor bump or bruise during the day.

If your child will be absent for more than two days, notify the School.  If your child has a communicable disease (e.g. chicken pox, measles, lice), notify the School immediately.

See paragraph on medication if your child requires medication while at School.

Please notify us if there are any changes in emergency numbers (your work or home phone number, new doctor, etc.).

Medication

 

The School administers medication to your child on your written request noted in the Administration of Medication Request  form.

Give all medication directly to the teacher.  Medication containers are required to have the child’s name, the name of the medication, the dosage, the expiration date, and the time and frequency of the administration of the medication.

Your child’s medical problems and accidents at School are recorded and reported to you. A written record is kept of such incidents.

Notify the teacher if your child is taking any medication that may account for behavioral changes.

Discipline Statement

 

Students experience security where there is consistent adult guidance and discipline.  Adults, in their role of caring for students, model, teach, and reinforce pro-social behavior.  Teacher use constructive and consistent methods of discipline in order to maintain a peaceful and nurturing environment that supports learning.

The teachers do not use negative physical touching.  Additionally, teachers do not use humiliation, intimidation, ridicule, coercion, threats, mental abuse, or interference with daily living functions.

The teachers are trained in observation to anticipate possible conflicts and to prepare the environment to minimize difficult situations.  Techniques such as redirecting, natural and logical consequences, active listening and I-messages are techniques used by the teachers.  The family is contacted in situations in which the child is or potentially may inflict harm to self, others, or the environment.

Consistent ground rules and reminders of proper behavior result in clarity for children in a majority of the time.  In situations in which the array of techniques do not produce expected results, the School’s position is that this environment is not meeting the child’s needs and a more suitable environment is required.

Teacher – Student Interaction

 

  1. Teachers interact frequently with student showing interest, and respect. Teachers interact non-verbally by smiling and by listen to students during activities and routines.  Teachers verbally interact by speaking with students throughout the day. Teachers actively seek meaningful conversations with students.

 

  1. Teachers are available and responsive to students. Teachers listen to students with attention and respect. Teachers are aware of the activities of the entire classroom even when dealing with a smaller group.  Teachers position themselves strategically and look up often from involvement.  Teachers spend time observing each student without interrupting an actively involved a student.
  1. Teachers speak to students in a friendly, positive, courteous manner. Teachers speak to students by name and speak with individual students often asking open-ended questions. Teachers include students in conversations; describe actions, experiences, and events; listen and respond to students’ comments and suggestions
  1. Teachers talk with individual students. Teachers ask open-ended questions and talk positively to students about family members, family events, traditions, and routines.
  1. Teachers treat students of all races, religions, family backgrounds, and cultures with equal respect and consideration. Teachers initiate activities and discussions to build positive self-identity and teach the value of differences. Teachers make it a firm rule that a person’s identity (age, race, ethnicity, family life, physical appearance, and ability) is never used to tease or reject anyone.  Teachers speak positively about each student’s physical characteristics and cultural heritage.  Teachers react to teasing or rejecting among children by intervening to discuss similarities and differences.
  1. Teachers provide students of both genders with equal opportunities to take part in all activities. Teachers provide models, props, and visual images that counter traditional sex-role limitations such as female firefighters, male nurses.  Teachers value positive levels of noise and activity involving both girls and boy.  Teachers acknowledging individual students, avoid gender stereotypes in language references such as strong, gentle, pretty, helpful for both girls and boys.

 

  1. Teachers facilitate the development of responsibility, self-regulation, and self-control in children. Teachers set clear, consistent, fair limits for classroom behavior. Teachers use student’s mistakes as learning opportunities, describing the situation and encouraging the children’s evaluation of the problem rather than imposing the solution.  Teachers anticipate and eliminate potential problems, redirecting students to more acceptable behavior or activity.  Teachers listen and acknowledge student’s feelings and frustrations, and respond with respect. Teachers guide students to resolve conflicts and model skills that help students to solve their own problems. Teachers encourage appropriate behavior, patiently reminding students of rules and their rationale. Teachers apply logical or natural consequences in problem situations.

 

  1. Overall sound of group is pleasant. Busy activity, pleasant conversation rather than harsh, or stressful noise is achieved.  Adult voices do not predominate.  Classical music is often heard.
  1. Teacher’s support students’ social and emotional development by assisting them to be comfortable, relaxed, happy, and involved in their studies and in other activities. Teachers reassure students who are hurt, fearful, or otherwise upset. Teachers assist students in dealing with anger, frustration, or sadness by identifying, and reflecting feelings.  students are helped to use various strategies to express emotions and solve social problems.  The teachers intervene quickly when students’ responses to each other become physically aggressive, and discuss the inappropriateness of such action. The family is contacted.

 

 

  1. Teachers recognize and encourage pro-social behaviors among students. Teachers help students learn to take turns, to solve problems, and to show concern for others. Expectations of students’ social behavior are developmentally appropriate.  Teachers support students’ friendships and provide opportunities for students to learn from each other as well as adults. Students are encouraged to cooperate in small groups.

 

  1. Teachers use a variety of teaching strategies to enhance students’ learning and development throughout the day. Teachers stimulate students’ thinking and extend their learning using verbal methods such as posing problems, asking questions, and making comments and suggestion. Teachers introduce students to new experiences, ideas, or challenges and guide students in the acquisition of specific skills as needed, being careful to challenge, but not frustrate.

School Holidays

The traditional School holidays are observed:  Labor Day, Veterans’ Day; two days at Thanksgiving; two weeks at Winter Break; Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday; two days for Presidents’ Birthdays; one week at Spring Break; Memorial Day, and Independence Day.

Day Care is provided on the following School holidays at no additional charge for children enrolled in the All Day Program:

Winter Break for four days

Spring Break

For an additional charge, students enrolled in the School-only program may enroll during the School Holidays in which day care is provided.

Dismissal

 

The School reserves the right to dismiss a student who is not suited to our individualized program, who is not benefiting from the School environment, or who exhibits inappropriate behavior patterns.  The family is legally liable for any damage done to property or to another person.  Further, a students is dismissed if the family member(s) exhibits abusive or disrespectful behavior to students or adults at the School.  Finally, any tuition not current by the end of the month results in automatic dismissal of the student.

Recommended Readings

The Absorbent Mind,  Maria Montessori

The Secret of Childhood, Maria Montessori

The Discovery of the Child, Maria Montessori

Montessori Today,  Paula Lilliard

Positive Discipline,  Jane Nelson

Disaster Procedure

In the event of a disaster such as an earthquake your child remains at the School unless advised by authorities to evacuate.  If your child is moved, the location will be posted.  All reasonable precautions for your child’s safety and health will be taken.  Three days of supplies are on site for each child.

 

Polo-shirts

 

School logo polo-shirts are a required part of the school uniform.

Definition of a Truant

The California Legislature defined a truant in very precise language. In summary, it states that a student missing more than 30 minutes of instruction without an excuse three times during the school year must be classified as a truant and reported to the proper school authority. This classification and referral helps emphasize the importance of school attendance and is intended to help minimize interference with instruction. Effective January 1, 2013, the law was amended to authorize school administrators to excuse school absences due to the pupil’s circumstances, even if the excuse is not one of the valid excuses listed in the California Education Code (EC) or the uniform standards established by the governing board of the district. The EC section that defines a truant reads as follows:

EC Section 48260 (a) A pupil subject to compulsory full-time education or to compulsory continuation education who is absent from school without a valid excuse three full days in one school year or tardy or absent for more than a 30-minute period during the school day without a valid excuse on three occasions in one school year, or any combination thereof, shall be classified as a truant and shall be reported to the attendance supervisor or to the superintendent of the school district.
(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), it is the intent of the Legislature that school districts shall not change the method of attendance accounting provided for in existing law and shall not be required to employ period-by-period attendance accounting.
(c) For purposes of this article, a valid excuse includes, but is not limited to, the reasons for which a pupil shall be excused from school pursuant to Sections 48205 and 48225.5 and may include other reasons that are within the discretion of school administrators and, based on the facts of the pupil’s circumstances, are deemed to constitute a valid excuse.

Definition of a Chronic Truant

Effective January 1, 2011, EC Section 48263.6: Any pupil subject to compulsory full-time education or to compulsory continuation education who is absent from school without a valid excuse for ten percent or more of the school days in one school year, from the date of enrollment to the current date, is deemed a chronic truant, provided that the appropriate school district officer or employee has complied with EC sections 48260, 48260.5, 48261, 48262, 48263, and 48291.

First Notification Mandate

In addition to the reporting requirement, the law states that the school district must notify the parent or guardian of the truant by the most cost-effective method possible, and that the notification must include specific information related to the student’s unexcused absences. The EC Section regarding notification reads as follows:

EC Section 48260.5: Upon a pupil’s initial classification as a truant, the school district shall notify the pupil’s parent or guardian, by using the most cost-effective method possible, which may include electronic mail or a telephone call:
(a) That the pupil is a truant.
(b) That the parent or guardian is obligated to compel the attendance of the pupil at school.
(c) That parents or guardians who fail to meet this obligation may be guilty of an infraction and subject to prosecution pursuant to Article 6 (commencing with Section 48290) of Chapter 2 of Part 27.
(d) That alternative educational programs are available in the district.
(e) That the parent or guardian has the right to meet with appropriate school personnel to discuss solutions to the pupil’s truancy.
(f) That the pupil may be subject to prosecution under Section 48264.
(g) For a pupil under 18 years of age but 13 years of age or older, that the pupil may be subject to suspension, restriction, or delay of the pupil’s driving privilege pursuant to Section 13202.7 of the Vehicle Code.
(h) That it is recommended the parent or guardian accompany the pupil to school and attend classes with the pupil for one day. (Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 507, Sec. 8. (SB 816) Effective January 1, 2019.)

Habitual Truant Mandate

The law further requires that after a student has been reported as a truant three or more times in one school year and after an appropriate school employee has made a conscientious effort to hold at least one meeting with the parent and the student, the student is deemed a habitual truant. The intent is to provide solutions for students who failed to respond to the normal avenues of school intervention, and the most cost-effective method possible should be used to notify the parent or guardian about the meeting at the school. The EC Section outlining habitual truancy reads as follows:

EC Section 48262: Any pupil is deemed an habitual truant who has been reported as a truant three or more times per school year, provided that no pupil shall be deemed an habitual truant unless an appropriate district officer or employee has made a conscientious effort to hold at least one conference with a parent or guardian of the pupil and the pupil himself, after the filing of either of the reports required by Section 48260 or Section 48261. For the purposes of this section, a conscientious effort means attempting to communicate with the parents of the pupil at least once using the most cost-effective method possible, which may include electronic mail or a telephone call.

Interventions

When a student is a habitual truant, or is irregular in attendance at school, or is habitually insubordinate or disorderly during school, the student may be referred to a school attendance review board (SARB) or to the county probation department pursuant to EC Section 48263. The student may also be referred to a probation officer or district attorney mediation program pursuant to EC Section 48263.5. The intent of these laws is to provide intensive guidance to meet the special needs of students with school attendance problems or school behavior problems pursuant to EC Section 48320. These interventions are designed to divert students with serious attendance and behavioral problems from the juvenile justice system and to reduce the number of students who drop out of school.

Referral to School Attendance Review Board

EC Section 48263 (a) If a minor pupil in a school district of a county is a habitual truant, or is a chronic absentee, as defined in Section 60901, or is habitually insubordinate or disorderly during attendance at school, the pupil may be referred to a school attendance review board, or to the probation department for services if the probation department has elected to receive these referrals. The school district supervisor of attendance, or any other persons the governing board of the school district or county may designate, making the referral shall provide documentation of the interventions undertaken at the school to the pupil, the pupil’s parents or guardians, and the school attendance review board or probation department and shall notify the pupil and parents or guardians of the pupil, in writing, of the name and address of the school attendance review board or probation department to which the matter has been referred and of the reason for the referral. The notice shall indicate that the pupil and parents or guardians of the pupil will be required, along with the referring person, to meet with the school attendance review board or probation officer to consider a proper disposition of the referral.(b) (1) If the school attendance review board or probation officer determines that available community services can resolve the problem of the truant or insubordinate pupil, then the school attendance review board or probation officer shall direct the pupil or the pupil’s parents or guardians, or both, to make use of those community services. The school attendance review board or probation officer may require, at any time that it determines proper, the pupil or parents or guardians of the pupil, or both, to furnish satisfactory evidence of participation in the available community services. (2) If the school attendance review board or probation officer determines that available community services cannot resolve the problem of the truant or insubordinate pupil or if the pupil or the parents or guardians of the pupil, or both, have failed to respond to directives of the school attendance review board or probation officer or to services provided, the school attendance review board may, pursuant to Section 48263.5, notify the district attorney or the probation officer, or both, of the county in which the school district is located, or the probation officer may, pursuant to Section 48263.5, notify the district attorney, if the district attorney or the probation officer has elected to participate in the truancy mediation program described in that section. If the district attorney or the probation officer has not elected to participate in the truancy mediation program described in Section 48263.5, the school attendance review board or probation officer may direct the county superintendent of schools to, and, upon that direction, the county superintendent of schools shall, request a petition on behalf of the pupil in the juvenile court of the county. Upon presentation of a petition on behalf of a pupil, the juvenile court of the county shall hear all evidence relating to the petition. The school attendance review board or the probation officer shall submit to the juvenile court documentation of efforts to secure attendance as well as its recommendations on what action the juvenile court should take in order to bring about a proper disposition of the case.(c) In any county that has not established a school attendance review board, if the school district determines that available community resources cannot resolve the problem of the truant or insubordinate pupil, or if the pupil or the pupil’s parents or guardians, or both, have failed to respond to the directives of the school district or the services provided, the school district, pursuant to Section 48260.6, may notify the district attorney or the probation officer, or both, of the county in which the school district is located, if the district attorney or the probation officer has elected to participate in the truancy mediation program described in Section 48260.6.(Amended by Stats. 2018, Ch. 507, Sec. 9. (SB 816) Effective January 1, 2019.)

Penalties (Student)

The law provides schools and school districts with discretion regarding student penalties for truancy as long as they are consistent with state law. The penalties for truancy for students defined in EC Section 48264.5 become progressively severe from the first the time a truancy report is required through the fourth time a truancy report is required. The EC Section regarding penalties for students who are truant reads as follows:

EC Section 48264.5: Any minor who is required to be reported as a truant pursuant to Section 48260 or 48261 may be required to attend makeup classes conducted on one day of a weekend pursuant to subdivision (c) of Section 37223 and is subject to the following:
(a) The first time a truancy report is required, the pupil may be personally given a written warning by any peace officer specified in Section 830.1 of the Penal Code. A record of written warning may be kept at the school for a period of not less than two years, or until the pupil graduates or transfers, from that school. If the pupil transfers, the record may be forwarded to any school receiving the pupil’s school records. A record of the written warning may be maintained by the law enforcement agency in accordance with that law enforcement agency’s policies and procedures.
(b) The second time a truancy report is required within the same school year, the pupil may be assigned by the school to an after school or weekend study program located within the same county as the pupil’s school. If the pupil fails to successfully complete the assigned study program, the pupil shall be subject to subdivision (c).
(c) The third time a truancy report is required within the same school year, the pupil shall be classified a habitual truant, as defined in Section 48262, and may be referred to and required to attend, an attendance review board or a truancy mediation program pursuant to Section 48263 or pursuant to Section 601.3 of the Welfare and Institutions Code. If the district does not have a truancy mediation program, the pupil may be required to attend a comparable program deemed acceptable by the school district’s attendance supervisor. If the pupil does not successfully complete the truancy mediation program or other similar program, the pupil shall be subject to subdivision (d).
(d) The fourth time a truancy is required to be reported within the same school year, the pupil shall be within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court which may adjudge the pupil to be a ward of the court pursuant to Section 601 of the Welfare and Institutions Code. If the pupil is adjudged a ward of the juvenile court, the pupil shall be required to do one or more of the following:
(1) Performance at court-approved community services sponsored by either a public or private nonprofit agency for not less than 20 hours but not more than 40 hours over a period not to exceed 90 days, during a time other than the pupil’s hours of school attendance or employment. The probation officer shall report to the court the failure to comply with this paragraph.
(2) Payment of a fine by the pupil of not more than one hundred dollars ($100) for which a parent or guardian of the pupil may be jointly liable.
(3) Attendance of a court-approved truancy prevention program.
(4) Suspension or revocation of driving privileges pursuant to Section 13202.7 of the Vehicle Code. This subdivision shall apply only to a pupil who has attended a school attendance review board program, or a truancy mediation program pursuant to subdivision (c).

Education Code Penalties (Parent)

Penalties against parents apply when any parent, guardian, or other person having control or charge of any student fails to compel the student to attend school. The penalties against parents in EC Section 48293 (a) become progressively severe with a second and third conviction. The EC Section regarding penalties for parents of a truant reads as follows:

EC Section 48293 (a): Any parent, guardian, or other person having control or charge of any pupil who fails to comply with this chapter, unless excused or exempted there from, is guilty of an infraction and shall be punished as follows:
(1) Upon a first conviction, by a fine of not more than one hundred dollars ($100).
(2) Upon a second conviction, by a fine of not more than two hundred fifty dollars ($250).
(3) Upon a third or subsequent conviction, if the person has willfully refused to comply with this section, by a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500). In lieu of the fines prescribed in paragraphs (1), (2), and (3), the court may order the person to be placed in a parent education and counseling program.

EC Section 48293 (b): A judgment that a person convicted of an infraction be punished as prescribed in subdivision (a) may also provide for the payment of the fine within a specified time or in specified installments, or for participation in the program. A judgment granting a defendant time to pay the fine or prescribing the days of attendance in a program shall order that if the defendant fails to pay the fine, or any installment thereof, on the date it is due, he or she shall appear in court on that date for further proceedings. Willful violation of this order is punishable as contempt.

EC Section 48293 (c): The court may also order that the person convicted of the violation of subdivision (a) immediately enroll or re-enroll the pupil in the appropriate school or educational program and provide proof of enrollment to the court. Willful violation of an order under this subdivision is punishable as civil contempt with a fine of up to one thousand dollars ($1,000). An order of contempt under this subdivision shall not include imprisonment.

Penal Code Penalties (Parent)

In addition to the EC penalties for parents in Section 48293, Penal Code Section 270.1 is effective January 1, 2011 and provides penalties for a parent or guardian of a pupil of six years of age or more who is in kindergarten or any of the grades from one to eight:

Penal Code Section 270.1. (a) A parent or guardian of a pupil of six years of age or more who is in kindergarten or any of grades one to eight, inclusive, and who is subject to compulsory full-time education or compulsory continuation education, whose child is a chronic truant as defined in Section 48263.6 of the EC, who has failed to reasonably supervise and encourage the pupil’s school attendance, and who has been offered language accessible support services to address the pupil’s truancy, is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine not exceeding two thousand dollars ($2,000), or by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or by both that fine and imprisonment. A parent or guardian guilty of a misdemeanor under this subdivision may participate in the deferred entry of judgment program defined in subdivision (b).
(b) A superior court may establish a deferred entry of judgment program that includes the components listed in paragraphs (1) to (7), inclusive, to adjudicate cases involving parents or guardians of elementary school pupils who are chronic truants as defined in Section 48263.6 of the EC:
(1) A dedicated court calendar.
(2) Leadership by a judge of the superior court in that county.
(3) Meetings, scheduled and held periodically, with school district representatives designated by the chronic truant’s school district of enrollment. Those representatives may include school psychologists, school counselors, teachers, school administrators, or other educational service providers deemed appropriate by the school district.
(4) Service referrals for parents or guardians, as appropriate to each case that may include, but are not limited to, all of the following:
(A) Case management.
(B) Mental and physical health services.
(C) Parenting classes and support.
(D) Substance abuse treatment.
(E) Child care and housing.
(5) A clear statement that, in lieu of trial, the court may grant deferred entry of judgment with respect to the current crime or crimes charged if the defendant pleads guilty to each charge and waives time for the pronouncement of judgment and that, upon the defendant’s compliance with the terms and conditions set forth by the court and agreed to by the defendant upon the entry of his or her plea, and upon the motion of the prosecuting attorney, the court will dismiss the charge or charges against the defendant and the same procedures specified for successful completion of a drug diversion program or a deferred entry of judgment program pursuant to Section 851.90 and the provisions of Section 1203.4 shall apply.
(6) A clear statement that failure to comply with any condition under the program may result in the prosecuting attorney or the court making a motion for entry of judgment, whereupon the court will render a finding of guilty to the charge or charges pled, enter judgment, and schedule a sentencing hearing as otherwise provided in this code.
(7) An explanation of criminal record retention and disposition resulting from participation in the deferred entry of judgment program and the defendant’s rights relative to answering questions about his or her arrest and deferred entry of judgment following successful completion of the program.
(c) Funding for the deferred entry of judgment program pursuant to this section shall be derived solely from non-state sources.
(d) A parent or guardian of an elementary school pupil who is a chronic truant, as defined in Section 48263.6 of the EC, may not be punished for a violation of both this section and the provisions of Section 272 that involve criminal liability for parents and guardians of truant children.
(e) If any district attorney chooses to charge a defendant with a violation of subdivision (a) and the defendant is found by the prosecuting attorney to be eligible or ineligible for deferred entry of judgment, the prosecuting attorney shall file with the court a declaration in writing, or state for the record, the grounds upon which that determination is based.
SEC. 3.  No reimbursement is required by this act pursuant to Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution because the only costs that may be incurred by a local agency or school district will be incurred because this act creates a new crime or infraction, eliminates a crime or infraction, or changes the penalty for a crime or infraction, within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code, or changes the definition of a crime within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution.