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West Student Handbook

Welcome to West Elementary School
Helpful Handbook
Click on the titles below to learn more about our school.
School Day: 8:00 a.m. - 2:45 p.m.
Students should not arrive earlier than 7:45 a.m. or later thabn 8:10 a.m.
Attendance: Cafeteria Rules:
After School Activities: Cancellation of School:
Alcohol & Drugs:  Change of Address/Telephone:
Arrival & Dismissal: Classroom Parties:
Athletic Programs: Conferences:
Awards: Directory of Staff & Administrators:
Bicycles: Discipline:
Bookstore: Doctor & Dentist Appointments:
Bus Conduct: Dress Code:
Education Goals: Illness or Injury:
Emergency Drills: Immunizations:
Fees: Insurance:
Leaving Campus:
Fighting: Library:
Gifted & Talented Program: Litter Policy:
Gum: Loitering:
Grading Scale: Lunch Money:
Home/School Advisor:
Homework: Medication:
Newsletter: Recess Policies:
Nurse: Report Cards:
Physical Education: School Colors & School Mascot:
Pictures: Study Skills:  
Playground Rules & Supervision: Substitute Teachers:
PTO: Tardiness:
Promotions & Retentions:
All students are expected to be in attendance each day unless they are ill or a family emergency arises. If a student is absent from school, one of the parents is requested to call the school office (833-2072). In cases where there is no telephone, a note from parents will suffice. We realize that there will be instances when your child may be tardy, but please avoid this whenever possible. Tardiness interrupts your child's instructional time. A note should accompany your child to explain the reason for his/her tardiness. To enter Kindergarten in the Metropolitan School District of Mt. Vernon (MSD), a child must be at least five (5) years of age on June 1, of the current year. Exceptions to this may be made by the Superintendent of Schools on the basis of a "readiness examination" at the expense of the parents requesting the exception, and if there is available space for the child. To enter the first grade in the Metropolitan School District of Mt. Vernon, a child must have had his/her sixth (6) birthday prior to June 1, of the current year, to have completed Kindergarten in the MSD of Mt. Vernon. Exceptions to this may be made by the Superintendent of Schools on the basis of a "readiness examination" at the expense of the parents requesting the exception. A child who has completed public school Kindergarten in another community may be permitted to enter the first grade.
A variety of after school activities will be provided. Information will be sent home detailing each activity, and students may register for the activities of their choice. Permission slips are required for participation. Parents are responsible for students' transportation.
The possession, sale, or use of alcohol, drugs, or any other controlled substance, on the school campus or buses, is strictly forbidden. Violation of this rule will cause immediate suspension and will be reported to appropriate law enforcement agencies.
You are not expected to arrive at school before 8:00 am. You should plan your departure from home accordingly. Use the main sidewalks and cross at the intersections. Do not run on the sidewalks. Do not loiter on the way to school or home. All students who enter the building before 8:00 am, are to enter through the main entrance and stay in the designated area. Students who arrive after 8:10 am, are to report directly to the office. All students are to be in their rooms by 8:10 am, leave the building and school grounds promptly following the close of the school day, unless under the direct supervision of a teacher. A before and after school child care program sponsored by the YMCA is available from 6:30-8:00 am, and 2:45-6:00 pm. Registration forms are available in the school office.
Students receive special recognition at the school through a variety of awards programs. These awards are intended to promote and recognize academic skills, athletic achievement, and various aspects of good citizenship. Teachers and parents are expected to promote these awards as an encouragement, and an incentive towards special effort and achievement by the students.
The school assumes no responsibility for bicycles. However, provisions have been made to safeguard bikes by requiring them to be properly parked and locked in the school bike racks. Bicycles are never to be ridden on school grounds, or off school grounds during the school day, except with prior approval. When traveling to and from school, students must obey all traffic regulations.
The school bookstore is open from 8:00-8:10 am, Monday through Friday. Students may go to the bookstore during their lunch hour and immediately after school.  
The following rules have been established in order to ensure the safety of all students who ride buses:
Talk quietly and make no unnecessary noise.
Do not talk to the driver unless it is necessary.
Keep head and arms inside the bus.
Do not litter the inside of the bus or throw anything out the window.
Be quiet when the bus is crossing the railroad tracks.
Absolutely no food on the bus.
Infractions of the above rules will be brought to the attention of the parents. Continual abuse of the bus privileges will result in the denial of transportation.
Follow directions the first time they are given.
Observe your space. Stand in line quietly.
Talking must be conversational at the table where you are sitting. No shouting.
When lights are turned off, listen carefully for instructions.
Students may not throw, share, or trade their food.
Pick up trash before leaving.
Take food tray to trash can and empty carefully into trash cans, then place on counter for washing.
Students must be respectful to all school personnel; teachers, assistants, and lunchroom workers.
Food from the cafeteria may not be taken out of the cafeteria.
Canned or bottle drinks are not allowed on school premises.
Cancellation of school takes place only during circumstances such as extreme weather, equipment failure, or public crisis. The school board and administrators are aware of the hardship which can be caused by an abrupt cancellation. Therefore, school will not be canceled unless significant safety risks have been created by unusual circumstances. Every practical means is used to notify parents of a cancellation, including radio, TV, and newspapers.
It is very important that every student maintain an up-to-date address and telephone number record at the school office. Notify the school immediately if you have a change of address or telephonenumber during the school year.
Two major classroom parties will be held to celebrate Fall and Valentine's Day. Treats may be brought in for student birthdays after the date and time are cleared with the classroom teacher. It is requested that birthday treats be limited to snacks and juice. Chewing gum is NOT allowed on the building premises.
Parent/teacher conferences occur at the end of the first nine week grading period. Parents are asked to make an appointment with the teachers of each of their children, regardless of the progress of the child. These conference times are very valuable to the overall education program. Some parents are hesitant about participating in conferences, but our teachers can do a much better job with students if they can share their understanding of the student directly with the parent. It is not necessary to wait for the regular conference time if a parent has a special concern. Parent conferences are encouraged and can be arranged at any time during the school year.
Teachers have the authority and responsibility to maintain discipline in the classroom. School discipline policies have been established and consistently enforced. When a student is having a problem, the teacher may: conference with student, conference with the parent, use classroom disciplinary procedures, or refer the situation directly to the building principal. Suspensions from school are given by the principal for the very worst infractions of school rules and policy. Parents must meet with the principal before a student can be reinstated. Suspensions are given only as a last resort. It signifies that the student behavior has been so disruptive, that the only reasonable way to deal with the situation is to remove the student from the school environment.
Students are expected to make every effort to schedule doctor and dentist appointments outside of school hours. However, when this is not possible, students will be excused for these special appointments. Please come to the office first to check your child out. For your child's safety, the teacher will not release a child to anyone who has not obtained an Early Dismissal Slip from the office.
Any type of dress or grooming which is disruptive will not be permitted. Shirts with inappropriate slogans or advertising are not permitted.
The basic goal of our school is to provide a quality education to each and every student. This means developing the academic and social skills of each student to the highest possible degree. The specific goals of the school are established and guided by the democratically elected officials of our local and state community. These goals are intended to reflect the needs and desires of all citizens. Every member of the community is encouraged to take part in the governmental processes which determine our educational goals.
Fire, tornado, and earthquake drills are conducted twice each semester. Detailed escape maps and plans are posted inside each classroom. During tornado drills, each classroom goes to a designated area within the building. All children kneel with their heads covered and faces toward a wall. For fire drills, each class has an escape route to an outside area, a safe distance from the building. In the event of an earthquake, the children drop and take cover. Once the earthquake is over, the children are evacuated to a designated area. A detailed emergency preparedness plan is available in the school office.
Parent(2) and Guardian(s)
Complete up-to-date address
Home phone and parent(s) work phone
Emergency phone number of friend or relative
Physician's name and phone
Medical alert information
Dentist's name
Hospital preference
The school charges a variety of fees for different services and materials. Some of these fees are for optional activities and some are required of all students. Fees should be paid promptly.
Field trips within our city and to nearby points of interest are scheduled by various classroom teachers throughout the school year. These trips are designed to supplement different aspects of the classroom curriculum and to introduce students to the resources of the community. Parents will receive notices of field trips well in advance of the scheduled trip date and will usually be asked to sign field trip permission forms. Sometimes a small amount of money may be requested from each student to help defray transportation or facility costs. Parents are encouraged to attend field trip outings with their children.
Fighting is strictly forbidden in the school or on campus!
The Metropolitan School District of Mt. Vernon recognizes the unique needs of gifted students. Our gifted and talented program fosters an understanding of these needs. Students need assistance in not only realizing their uniqueness and potential but also in acceptance of themselves and others. The foregoing indicates a belief in the need to differentiate educational programs and services in order to challenge and develop gifted students' unique abilities, and to foster development of wholesome relationships with peers. Striving to develop the total student, we will help to instill a sense of personal responsibility to the community and society as a whole. We have a commitment to address the above goals in the five areas of giftedness as defined by the Gifted & Talented Children's Act of 1978. These areas include:
General intellectual ability
Specific academic aptitude
Creative and/or productive thinking
Leadership ability
Visual/performing arts ability
Our school has a three part policy which governs the use of gum during school hours:
Students are expected to comply with all aspects of this policy.
A - Superior 93% - 100%
B - Above Average 83% - 92%
C - Average 73% - 82%
D - Below Average 63% - 72%
U - Unsatisfactory 0% - 62%
The Home/School Advisor Program is a program designed to deal with students who may exhibit:
Academic problems
Discipline problems
Attendance problems
Home problems
Other problems
A referral would be made only after conventional means of action fail to facilitate attitude/behavior and adjustment. After a referral is made, the Home/School Advisor would counsel with the child and the child's parent or guardian in the home, if appropriate, to try to alleviate the problem. Ongoing communication regarding this student's problem and progress will be shared with the principal and teacher.
Homework is important! It is an extension of the learning that takes place in school. Homework can provide practice and drills that reinforces classroom learning and can provide opportunities for independent study, research, and creative things. Parents can help their children by arranging a quiet, comfortable place for the students who work and by seeing that assignments are completed.
In case of illness or injury, a student will be cared for temporarily by the school nurse or a member of the school staff. School personnel will render first aid treatment only. If emergency medical treatment is necessary, the parents will be contacted. If parents are not available, the emergency phone numbers will be used. Please make sure that these numbers are on file.
State law requires that every student who is admitted to public school must have evidence of a successful vaccination for diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and polio. Also required is a rubella, measles, and mumps vaccination and a tuberculin skin test.
School insurance will be offered at the beginning of each school year. The cost is small compared to potential cost of medical care, and parents are encouraged to take advantage of this service.
Students are not allowed to leave the school campus during school hours for any reason, without the knowledge and consent of their teacher. Permission to leave the school grounds will only be granted upon written or verbal request from the student's parent or guardian. Please come to the office first to obtain an EARLY DISMISSAL SLIP.
The library is open on a regular scheduled basis and is supervised by the librarian or the library assistant. Library classes are held for the grades K-5, and for special classes in the school. They are held for the purpose of library instruction, as well as for the enjoyment of materials and books. Students are allowed to use the library during library hours with permission of their classroom teacher. They may use the library to read, check out books, return books, use audio visual materials, do reference work or work on special projects. Each student may check out one or two books for a period of up to two weeks. There is no fine for overdue books, but lost or damaged books must be paid for. The library collection is constantly updated and expanded. Books are chosen for either their educational or recreational value or teacher use in the classroom. In addition, a color television, VCR, and laser disc player are located in the library for small group and classroom use. Computers accessing the internet for research and reference are also available to students and teachers.
Our school campus is one of the most attractive in our area. Please help us keep it clean! Put litter in its place.
Students should leave the school and school grounds promptly after classes or activities are dismissed. There is to be no unnecessary "hangin' around" before or after school.
All clothing found at school, regardless of its value, is placed on the lost and found table near the art room. Money, jewelry, or any other articles of value are turned in to the office.
The price for lunch is $1.50. Extra milk may be purchased for $.40. Money is collected at the beginning of the week in the foyer. If the child pays on a daily basis, the money will be collected by cafeteria personnel. The office has a fund for children who forget their lunch money. The money is loaned to the child with the understanding that the borrowed money will be paid back as soon as possible.
The school is obligated to provide make-up work for excused absences. Students, or their parents, are responsible for requesting make-up work immediately upon the student's return to school. If dates of a student's absence are known in advance, the teacher should be notified and planned assignments may be given.
All medication must be kept in the principal's office or the nurse's office area in the original container bearing the original label. "Medication" includes non-prescription medication; such as aspirin, cough syrup, vitamins, etc., as well as prescription medication--it is not limited to prescription medication. Students are no allowed to transport medication of any kind to/from school. Neither prescription or non-prescription medications shall be administered unless the following requirements are met:
All medication (prescription or non-prescription) must be brought to school in a container clearly labeled by a physician or a druggist, stating the child's name, the doctor's name, and the dosage.
Written permission of parents or guardian is required.
Written instructions from a physician are REQUIRED, even for non-prescription medication. The container with the doctor's instructions is acceptable.
The nurse's office is located inside the main office of the school. The nurse is responsible for the maintenance of health records, routine health checks, parental contact concerning health problems and attendance, care of minor injuries, and assistance in hearing and vision screening. Please be sure to contact the nurse if your child has any health problems. Please call the nurse if your child is absent from school.
The staff at West School believes that physical education is an important part of the educational experiences. The development and maintenance of a healthy body is essential for physical well being and good mental health. We also believe that attitude development is an important part of education. Physical education classes are provided twice each week for all students.
Individual and class pictures will be taken sometime during the first of the school year. Pictures will be available within six weeks of the photo sessions.
Students are to remain on the play field or blacktop during outdoor recess. When fields are muddy, these areas will be off limits. Tackle football is NOT permitted. Other dangerous activities, such as skateboarding, piggyback riding, rock throwing, and snowball throwing are not permitted. Misuse or destruction of playground equipment will not be tolerated. School staff will supervise the playground during the morning, noon, and afternoon recesses. At least two adults are on the playground during regularly scheduled breaks. The playground is not supervised after school and students are expected to leave for home immediately following dismissal.
The West PTO has been highly involved in improving our school. All parents are urged to become members and to actively participate. Meetings are scheduled four times during the year and they are announced several weeks in advance. Each year the PTO sponsors several money making projects. With the help of all parents, these projects can be very successful. They allow the PTO to fund many important activities at West School.
Promotions and retentions are based on an evaluation of academic, physical, social and emotional growth. The primary reasons for considering retention are:
Indifference or lack of effort by the student
Physical or social immaturity
Frequent or long absences
Plan your day and schedule time for homework
Parents can assume their child will be promoted unless the alternative of retention has been discussed during the school year. Parents will be involved in retention decision.
Weather permitting, students are given from one to three recesses each day. Decisions to have outside recess during cold weather depend upon the temperature and the wind chill factor. Shorter outside recess times are possible on very cold days. Students should always dress for outside recess. Students will have supervised free time in the classroom on days when bad weather prevents outside recess. Quiet games, talking with friends, etc., are usually allowed by the teacher in charge. If a child wears a coat to school, then he/she is expected to wear that coat. At teacher's discretion and weather permitting the child may leave the coat in the classroom during recess. If a child is ill, a note or phone call from home requesting to keep the child indoors is required. Otherwise, the child will go out for the recess.
Report cards are issued following the completion of each nine week grading period. Please carefully review your child's progress and contact your child's teacher if you have questions regarding grades. Parent/teacher conferences are scheduled following the completion of the first nine week grading period. The parent's attendance at conferences is very important. A parent may request a conference with their child's teacher at any time during the school year. Please call (833-2072), the school office, for an appointment if a conference is desired. Likewise, a teacher may sometimes find it necessary to request a special conference with a parent. Please make every effort to meet with the teacher if you receive such a request.
The West School mascot is the Warrior, and the school colors are red and white. We encourage our students to identify with these symbols as a representation of our school pride and spirit. School color day will be announced and all students are encouraged to participate.
Specific skills and techniques can make learning easier and more enjoyable. The following are student guidelines for achieving good study habits:
Come to class prepared with pencil, paper, and other necessary materials.
Be an active participant in class. Listen well and take part in class.
Ask questions to clarify problems.
Plan your day and schedule time for homework.
Use what is learned and apply it to new situations.
Strive to do the very best work possible. Just "getting by" is not a worthwhile goal.Top
Every student will periodically be taught by a substitute teacher. The most common reason for using substitute teachers occurs when the regular teacher is ill. However, substitutes are also used when regular teachers are on leave for personal business, professional training, or family emergency. Students are expected to be extra courteous to substitute teachers. Any misconduct in the classroom will be dealt with immediately.
Prompt arrival at school is expected of all students. Late arrival disrupts class and causes loss of instruction time. Any student who arrives at school after 8:10 am is considered tardy, and should report to the office before going to class.
The office telephone is a business phone and is not to be used by students unless permission has been given by school personnel. You and your child are encouraged to make all personal arrangements before leaving home, thus, eliminating the need to seek the use of the school phone except in emergencies or unusual circumstances.
Common sense and consideration is the best guide in determining whether or not to bring personal possessions to school. The school staff can't be responsible for valuables which students bring to school. It is recommended that students leave all valuables at home. If special circumstances make it necessary for a student to bring substantial cash or other important possessions to school, these items can be safeguarded by registering them and leaving them in the school safe.
Our school and school equipment are public property. Willfully damaging or destroying this property is cause for immediate disciplinary action. The administration requires that vandal damage be paid for by the student involved. If a student accidentally causes damage, they should report it to their teacher immediately so that the damage is not misconstrued as vandalism.
All visitors are required to report to the school office upon entering the building, and pick up a Visitor's badge. Parents are welcomed and are encouraged to visit the school.
Students who walk to school should come straight to school, remain on the sidewalks at all times and cross only at designated crosswalks. Remember the safety rules: walk with a friend and never accept a ride with a stranger.
Application for withdrawal should be completed by the parents of any student who is withdrawing. Teachers and staff will summarize the student's progress and prepare the student's file for forwarding to their next school of enrollment.
Metropolitan School District of Mt. Vernon
"Learning Takes Place Here"
We believe everyone has a basic desire to learn, everyone can learn, and learning is a life-long experience.
We believe learning takes place in an environment that is safe, caring, positive, trusting, cooperative, pleasant, and challenging.
We believe the responsibility for learning is shared by all, and all are expected to learn.
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