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Arbor Ridge Parent/Student Handbook

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Absences/Excuses/Tardies

Regular attendance is important and is required by state law. Students may be excused when the absence is due to personal illness, serious illness or death in the student's immediate family, and to observe recognized holidays of the student's religious faith.

It is the responsibility of the parent to furnish a written excuse explaining the cause of the absence within two days. An absent excuse note should include the following: 

  • Student’s first and last name
  • Student’s grade level
  • Date/s of absence
  • Reason for absence
  • Parent Signature
  • Phone number at which parent can be reached

If the school does not receive a written excuse, your child's attendance record will automatically reflect an unexcused absence. After five unexcused absences, a certified letter is mailed to the parents. Teachers will document intervention methods to help improve student attendance. Ten unexcused absences are considered excessive and will be reported to the Orange County Social Services Department for investigation.

Family vacations that are taken when school is in session (i.e. outside holidays regularly scheduled on the school calendar) are considered unexcused absences. Teachers WILL NOT be expected to provide assignments to be used during the child's absence.

Excessive absences in our Middle School Magnet Program can result in dismissal from the program.

Tardiness

- It is important that your child be on time. Excessive tardiness is a serious problem and will be reported to the Orange County Social Services Department for investigation. Students who are tardy should report to the office for a tardy pass as well as to report the reason for the tardiness. Each five tardies per grading period will count as an unexcused absence. Excessive tardiness to class in sixth, seventh and eighth grade will also result in detention and in-school suspension.

Articles Prohibited in School

Problems arise each year because students bring articles which are hazards to the safety of others or interfere with school procedure. Such items as iPods, CD players, MP3 players, pocket chains, toy guns, water pistols, knives, radios, tape recorders, electronic games, skateboards, cameras, virtual pets, lighters, matches, shoes with wheels, etc. are undesirable items for the educational process and will be confiscated and returned to PARENTS at their request. These items not only disturb classes, but they may be stolen or lost, in which case, the school is not responsible. Cell phones are permitted on campus, but must remain concealed and in the off position during school hours. Parents are requested to help students understand the necessity for such regulations.

Disciplinary action will occur for not complying with these policies. Articles that are prohibited at school are also prohibited at Extended Day.

Change of Address and Phone Numbers

Parents are responsible for notifying the office and their child's teacher of any change in address or telephone numbers. Emergencies can occur at any time, and the school must be able to contact the parents at all times! If you fail to keep the school and your child's teacher informed of any changes, especially your telephone number, you may cause us to lose precious time in contacting you.

Clinic

The school has responsibility for first aid only. In case of illness, the student will be cared for until the parent arrives or he/she returns to his/her classroom. In case of a minor injury, attention will be given, and the student will return to class. In case of major or other injuries, first aid will be given, paramedics will be called and the parents will be immediately notified. Be sure you keep up-to-date telephone numbers on file in the office.

Under no circumstances will any medication be given to anyone without a physician's order and authorization for medication form completed by the parent. These authorization forms are available in the school office. Prescription medicine must be brought to school in the prescription bottle.

Clothing

The dress code for the school is based on the OCPS guidelines. Extremes in dress have no place at school. Students shall observe modes of dress and standards of personal grooming which are in conformity with the studious atmosphere and good personal hygiene necessary in schools.

It is the responsibility of the principal to see that the appearance of no pupil shall be extreme to the point of creating a disturbance to the educational atmosphere, or is hazardous to the student, others, or school property. If a student is not sure about whether or not clothing will violate the dress code, he/she should check with the school administration BEFORE wearing such clothing to school. Students who violate the dress code will be subject to disciplinary action.

Please refer to the Orange County Public Schools’ Student Code of Conduct for specifics on dress code.

Conduct/Discipline

Our discipline policy is to work with all children in a positive way. We believe that all children should have positive experiences that encourage academic achievement as well as emotional and social development. Children who are not responsive to teachers when requested, and those who consistently cause disruptions in class or any place on the school grounds are referred to an Administrator. All disciplinary action taken by Administration is intended to help the child accept his/her responsibility for being a student in the school. Parents will be informed by phone, written note, or by formal disciplinary form.

A copy of the Orange County Code of Student Conduct is given to each student. Please read and discuss this with your child. This Code of Student Conduct tells you about the rights of a student in the school and also tells you what will happen if the rules are not followed.

Curriculum Materials

Parents are welcome to review any materials that are used in the classrooms at Arbor Ridge School. Due to the cost of materials, we cannot send these items home. You may request a conference to review materials or inquire in the Media Center for copies that may be checked out. All items used in the classrooms are not always available in the Media Center. However, the school will provide you with the necessary information to obtain your own copies.

Custody Considerations

Parents having sole custody of a child with any specialized court orders that restrain a natural parent from coming into contact with the child need to notify the office of the circumstances. Legal documents of this type need to be included in the child's records.

Early Release

Please come to the school office to complete our sign-out roster if it is necessary for a student to leave early during the school day. Do not go to the classroom. The student must be signed out in the office when he/she is dismissed during the school day prior to dismissal. Students are not permitted to be signed out after 2:30, as the school is preparing for our regular dismissal. If you must sign your child out early, please arrive prior to 2:30. Students may not leave the school during the school hours unless they are picked up, from the office, by their parent(s) or guardian. If someone other than parent/guardian picks up a student, that person's name must appear on the Emergency Form. For student safety, a driver's license or other identification may be requested by school personnel. Parents are asked NOT to make it a habit of signing their children out early from school.

Extended Day Care

Before and after-school care is offered for students through the Champions. Registration is required for the program. A weekly fee and a one-time insurance fee will be required for each child. If a payment is late, the child(ren) will be removed from the program.

Field Trips

Educational field trips are part of the school program. Students need written permission slips from the parent/guardian to attend all field trips. Children without written permission will remain at school. Students who are tardy for field trips may be left behind. Parents volunteering to chaperone school trips may not bring their other children on the trip. Parent chaperones must be registered ADDition volunteers prior to field trips.

No parent may drive a student on a field trip unless he/she has approval from the principal. Proof of automobile insurance must be provided, and a copy will be kept on file in the office. This approval must be renewed prior to each trip.

Parents may be required to accompany their children on a field trip when their child has demonstrated that he/she does not obey the classroom teacher during any school experiences.

Health Screening

The following health screening programs will be made available to certain grade levels within the school: vision, hearing, growth and development, and scoliosis. This is done as part of the Student Services Program and in cooperation with the Orange County Health Department, local medical societies, and other health agencies.

The school will inform parents or guardians in writing that their children will receive specified health services as provided in the district's health services plan. Any student shall be exempt from any of these services if his or her parent or guardian requests such exemption in writing.

Florida Statutes: Chapter 232.0233, Chapter 232.033119, Chapter 4033.32.

Head lice

From time to time some of our students experience the problem of pediculosis (head lice and nits [eggs]). If a student has been diagnosed as having head lice, the parent will be contacted at once. In addition, it will be necessary for the student to be isolated from the other students. Any student with lice OR nits must be effectively treated before returning to school. Shampooing with an over-the-counter or prescription shampoo that is made specifically for treatment of lice and nits effectively treats nits. All nits need to be completely combed out of the hair after shampooing.

Upon return to school, your child must be free of ALL lice and nits and present proof of treatment such as shampoo box top and/or a note from you stating the shampoo used and that it was used as directed. Your child will be rescreened. If the treatment was not satisfactory, i.e., removal of all lice and nits, he/she will not be admitted to class and you will be notified again or asked to pick up your child.

If there is a case of lice discovered in a classroom, all parents of students in that room are notified. It is important that you notify the school at once if you find that your child has contracted head lice. When we know, we are then able to check the entire class. This is the best measure we have to prevent lice from spreading.

Homework

Homework is assigned on the basis of need. An instructional program that stresses individual differences in children means that homework, when assigned, may vary from child to child. Homework is expected to be completed on time at all times. Homework that is incomplete or not completed at all will result in a decreased academic grade.

Lunches

A well-balanced breakfast and lunch is served daily. The price includes chocolate, whole or low fat white milk. A lunch menu is sent home with each parent newsletter. A written statement from a doctor is required if a student needs to receive a milk substitute (juice). If a child brings his/her lunch, he/she may purchase milk separately. Children may bring a thermos of milk, water, or juice. Absolutely no soft drinks or carbonated beverages are to be brought. Smaller size drink containers such as Gatorade are preferred. Refrain from sending junk food in bag lunches. Look for items low in added sugar, salt, and excess chemicals.

Students are encouraged to make advanced payment for lunches on Monday morning. Up to one month's payment is accepted. Send the money in a sealed envelope, clearly marked on the outside with the following information:

  • Child's First and Last Name
  • Teacher's Name and grade
  • Amount Sent

Students will not be allowed to charge breakfast or lunch. If elementary school students do not have money for a meal, a sandwich and milk will be provided.

Media Center

The Media Center strives to maintain a current collection of print and non-print materials that enhance the development of each student. The Media Center operates on an open/flexible schedule. Prekindergarten through eighth grades come to the Media Center using the buddy system or in small groups with passes from the classroom. Materials are checked out for a 14-day period. It is the student's responsibility to care for and return materials. Teachers will receive weekly printouts/notices of students with overdue materials. After a third notice, the student will be expected to pay for the lost or damaged item or to work out a method of payment. A student who habitually has overdue materials or does not take care of materials will be disciplined in accordance with Arbor Ridge's discipline plan. Please feel free to contact the Media Center if a problem arises. Materials are also available for parent check-out.

Messages

Please encourage your child to be responsible for the materials needed for school. Delivery of messages and forgotten materials to a classroom during the day causes a disruption for all children in a class. For this reason, messages CANNOT be delivered to children unless there is a REAL emergency. Therefore, it is important that children organize lunch money, homework, books and other materials BEFORE LEAVING HOME in the morning. They should know how they are to get home and have a note if it is different than usual.

Middle School Backpack Policy

Students in the 6th and 8th graders are permitted to carry backpacks. They must remain organized and should be cleaned out each week. 7th graders are not permitted to carry backpacks.

Patrols

Patrols are fifth graders who have been trained to help direct student movement safely on school grounds. Patrols help to direct the flow of car traffic during morning and afternoon student pick-up. They assist children at the bicycle racks and on the bus loading ramp. Children need to walk in the halls. Patrols help us spread this important message throughout the school. Please encourage your child, for his own safety, to listen to and obey the directions of the school patrols.

Rainy Days

Please make plans and let your children know IN ADVANCE what they are to do in case of rain. Notify the teacher in writing if you plan to pick them up when it rains.

Registration

Age Requirements - Florida law states that a child must be six years old on or before September 1 in order to enter first grade, and the child must have attended a kindergarten program. The age requirement is five years old by September 1 for kindergarten entry. A birth certificate is required of all pupils new to Orange County.

Health Records - Immunization certificates (HRS 680 or 3040) are also required of all students entering Florida schools for the first time. A physical examination within the last year is also required.

Proof of Residence - Proof of residence may be provided in the form of a current homestead exemption certificate, a lease agreement, notarized manifestation of domicile, or a notarized statement of residence.

Reporting to Parents

Evaluation of student progress is an important form of communication between home and school. It provides parents with information to understand the needs of the child. It provides teachers with a base of knowledge to provide individual and group instruction.

Report cards and parent conferences are an integral part of your child's assessment at Arbor Ridge. The school year is divided into four learning periods, each lasting approximately nine weeks. At the end of each learning periods, your child will receive a report card. Progress reports are also sent home to parents in the middle of each learning period.

Parents and teachers are encouraged to have conferences concerning a child's progress and/or behavior throughout the school year. Please arrange for conferences ahead of time. This serves two purposes: 1) it ensures that the teacher will be able to meet with you when you come, and 2) it gives the teacher the time to gather necessary information or materials needed for the conference. If you cannot keep your conference appointment, please call the school and cancel the visit. Online access to student attendance, grades and progress is available at http://parentaccess.ocps.net.

School Visitation

Orange County School Board Policy states: "Anyone wishing to contact teachers or pupils during the school day must receive permission from the principal or his representative." All visitors must stop by the office to sign in and obtain a visitor's pass before entering a classroom or other school area. Please do not make unscheduled visits to the classroom. All interruptions hinder student learning.

Transportation

After School Programs: Parents will be responsible for providing transportation when a student remains at school for any extracurricular activities.

Bicycles:

Students may park their bikes at the bike racks. However, the school does not assume any responsibility for any bikes parked in the bike racks. Students who ride bikes must follow these rules:
  • Students must have a bike lock.
  • Only one lock and chain per bike. No double locking with younger siblings or friends. This causes confusion at dismissal time.
  • Do not leave the bike overnight at school.
  • Do not ride the bike on school campus.
  • Walk the bike across the street at the crosswalks.
  • Use a backpack or basket to carry belongings.
  • Wear a bike helmet.

Students who repeatedly break the bicycle rules may lose their bicycle privileges on campus.

Bus Riders

Bus riders are dismissed just prior to the car riders and load in the bus loading area at the south driveway next to the primary wing. No automobiles are allowed in the bus loading area during arrival/dismissal. School bus transportation is a privilege provided to eligible students. The school is responsible for the student at all times while on the bus. Any student misconduct will be reported to administration. Continued misbehavior on the bus will be cause for suspension of the student's bus riding privilege. In this case, it is the responsibility of the parent to see that the student is transported to/from school. It is important that the student adhere to the following rules:
  • Stand off the roadway while awaiting the bus.
  • Stay in your seat at all times while the bus is in motion.
  • Keep arms and head inside the windows.
  • Refrain from talking to the bus driver while the bus is in motion.
  • Outside of ordinary conversation, classroom conduct is to be observed.
  • The driver is in full charge of the bus and pupils. Pupils must obey the driver.
  • The driver has the right to assign seating to promote order on the bus.
  • No eating or drinking allowed on the bus.
  • Pupils must be on time; the bus cannot wait for those who are tardy.
  • Children are required to ride the bus to which they have been assigned.
  • Children who are not bus riders are not eligible to ride the school bus.

The bus driver is required to drop students off only at a student's assigned stop. If, for some reason, you want your child to get off at a different stop, write a note to the school (include a telephone number where you can be reached to verify) explaining the reason and exact stop. The principal must approve all exceptions each time they occur.

Car Riders:

Parents are to load and unload students at the drop-off spots in front of the school at the primary and intermediate wings. No automobiles are allowed in the bus loading area during arrival/dismissal. Older students will meet younger brothers and sisters at the primary pick-up area. Students waiting for pick-up are to remain calm, quiet, and sit on the blue safety line painted on the sidewalk. Do not park in the parking lot or in front of the school and walk to get your child at the pick-up points. This causes children and adults to walk back across traffic to get to the parking lot. It also tempts children to cross traffic to get to parents. This is extremely dangerous. A child or adult could easily be hit by the oncoming traffic.

Transportation Changes:

It will be necessary to send the teacher a written note or fax the office if you change your child's method of transportation. The teacher will not allow the student to alter their normal routine without this note. Transportation changes cannot be taken over the telephone.

 

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