Parent Handbook

OUR PHILOSOPHY

The School as a Community with a shared vision, teachers as leaders and parents as partners. A Curriculum with Coherence using centrality of language, core commonalities, and measuring results. A Climate for Learning with patterns to fit purpose, resources to enrich, and services for children. A Commitment to Character teaching core virtues and living with a purpose.

Contents

  1. 1 ABSENCES/ATTENDANCE
  2. 2 AFTER SCHOOL ARRANGEMENTS
  3. 3 BAND/ORCHESTRA
  4. 4 BEHAVIOR EXPECTATIONS
  5. 5 BIRTHDAYS/CLASS PARTIES
  6. 6 BOOK FEES/SCHOOL SUPPLIES
  7. 7 BUSES
  8. 8 CARE OF PROPERTY
  9. 9 CHECKS WRITTEN TO THE SCHOOL
  10. 10 CHILD CARE - BEFORE AND AFTER SCHOOL
  11. 11 CLASSROOM/SCHOOL VISITS
  12. 12 COMMUNICATION WITH TEACHERS
  13. 13 DRESS CODE
  14. 14 FACILITY USE
  15. 15 FIELD TRIP/BUS FEES
  16. 16 FRIDAY FOLDERS
  17. 17 HOMEWORK BELIEFS
  18. 18 ILLNESS DURING SCHOOL
  19. 19 LATE ARRIVAL
  20. 20 LEAVING SCHOOL EARLY
  21. 21 LOST AND FOUND
  22. 22 LUNCH PROGRAM
  23. 23 PARENT INVOLVEMENT OPPORTUNITIES
  24. 24 PARKING/STUDENT DROP OFF
  25. 25 PERSONAL PROPERTY
  26. 26 PROGRESS REPORTS
  27. 27 SCHOOL DAY-HOURS
  28. 28 TELEPHONE USE
  29. 29 TUTORING
  30. 30 WEATHER PROCEDURES
    1. 30.1 SCHOOL CLOSURE
    2. 30.2 DELAYED START
    3. 30.3 EARLY DISMISSAL

ABSENCES/ATTENDANCE

Regular attendance is essential to student learning. Parents are to leave a message on the 24-hour attendance line, 303-387-6927, to report the absence of their child. Parents should leave the following information: Parent's name, child's name, teacher, date(s) of absence and reason for absence. Parents are encouraged to schedule vacation and appointments during school breaks.

AFTER SCHOOL ARRANGEMENTS After school arrangements must be finalized before school starts each morning and communicated to the teacher by note, e-mail, or voicemail by a parent.

BAND/ORCHESTRA

Fourth and fifth grade students are given the opportunity to join our school band or orchestra. All lessons occur before school, and parents are responsible for providing transportation. If children do not own an instrument, they can rent one for the school year. A band orientation meeting will be held in August.

BEHAVIOR EXPECTATIONS

Wildcat's commitment to character focuses on maintaining an atmosphere which is conducive to learning. The following values are developed in all students and supported by all school personnel: Honesty, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Compassion, and Citizenship. Classroom, cafeteria, and playground rules reflect these values. When a student chooses to misbehave, appropriate consequences will be provided. Our goal is to be continually teaching good behavior and responsibility for one's actions. For more detailed information regarding behavior expectations, see Douglas County School District Codes of Conduct and Discipline.

BIRTHDAYS/CLASS PARTIES

Birthday parties for individual children are not permitted during the school day. To maximize instructional time, the teacher may designate a time for the child to share a treat with the class at the end of the day. Invitations to private birthday parties are NOT to be distributed at school, unless all members of the student's class are being invited. By law and District policy, we are unable to provide parents with names, addresses, or phone numbers of our students. Parents may, however, use the published student directory. There are three parties scheduled during the year: Halloween, Winter holiday, and Valentine's Day. These celebrations last about an hour and are planned by the Room Parent(s) in collaboration with the teacher. Wildcat Mountain encourages simple, child-centered parties that focus on the uniqueness of the day. Party treats should be balanced and nutritious with limited "sweets."

BOOK FEES/SCHOOL SUPPLIES

The District approved a $10 book and materials fee per child to be collected by all elementary schools. This money assists in purchasing textbooks and instructional materials for each classroom. Students are expected to provide basic supplies. Supply lists for each grade level are available on the WME web site and in the school office.

BUSES

Route schedules showing pick-up and drop-off points are available on the DCSD Transportation site. In the event of a route change, parents will be notified by the Transportation Department. Occasionally a school bus may run late; students are asked to wait at the stop for at least 15 minutes after the scheduled departure time. When this occurs, call the Transportation Dispatch office at 303.387.0407 for more information on your child's bus. Parents should have an alternative plan in place when the bus is more than 15 minutes behind schedule. Whenever possible, it is always best if an adult can accompany their child to the bus stop and wait with them until the school bus arrives. It is also best if an adult can meet the school bus when a student returns home. During inclement weather, announcement of delayed opening will be made on major radio and television stations, is posted on the DCSD home page, and via a text messaging option for parents. On those days, buses will run 90 minutes late for elementary schools. If you have any questions regarding the buses and schedules you may call Transportation (303.387.0415) at any time during operating hours (6:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.).

Expected Student conduct on buses:

  • Students must follow the directions of the driver and respect fellow passengers.
  • Students must remain seated, face forward with feet on or near the floor.
  • Students must not throw anything inside or outside the bus.
  • Permission to board or leave the bus other than the scheduled stop must be cleared by transportation and the parent or guardian of the child.
  • Large musical instruments, dangerous objects, animals, or insects are not allowed to be carried on the bus. Items too large to be held on the lap or below the seats will not be permitted on the bus.
  • Being rude/disrespectful to the bus driver or engaging in behavior that distracts the driver will be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with district policy.

** Please go to the district website to view a copy of the school bus contract for students. Transportation

CARE OF PROPERTY

Students are held responsible for the loss of, or damage to: textbooks, library books, and school property. Fines will be issued to cover the cost of replacement. All school books checked out for student use at home should be covered and carried in a backpack or school bag.

CHECKS WRITTEN TO THE SCHOOL

Due to the number of checks that students deliver to the school on a daily basis, please write separate checks in the following manner:

  • Checks for lunch: payable to WME, on the memo line, indicate the student's name and student number
  • All other checks: payable to WME, on the memo line, indicate the student's name and the purpose of the check (i.e. field trip, party money, book fees, etc.) To ensure proper processing, all checks sent to the school should be in an envelope with the student's name on the outside of the envelope and the purpose for the check.

CHILD CARE - BEFORE AND AFTER SCHOOL

Lori Hickerson, Director of Wildcat Mountain's Before & After School Care Program, "BASE", is available to all WME families for a fee that is comparable to private providers. The morning session runs from 6:30 to 9:00 a.m. and the afternoon session runs from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. Information on this program is available on the WME web site > Wildcat Care tab. Wildcat Care

CLASSROOM/SCHOOL VISITS

At Wildcat Mountain, we believe strongly in "Parents as Partners" in the education of each child. You are welcome to visit our classrooms at any time during the school year. We would request that you allow the teacher the courtesy of advance notice. All visitors must sign in at the office and wear identification badges at all times.

COMMUNICATION WITH TEACHERS In order to ensure a quality conversation, parents should schedule an appointment if requesting a conference with a teacher. E-mail is encouraged as an effective and efficient means for communication. The email convention for teachers is firstname.lastname@dcsdk12.org. Unless it is an emergency, teachers will not be interrupted during class time to take a phone call. In order to ensure that concerns are resolved respectfully and equitably, parents are expected to maintain communication with their child's teacher. Only after all attempts have been made to resolve a concern with the teacher, will an administrator assist in the resolution.

DRESS CODE

The appearance of a student plays a large part in his/her behavior and attitude toward school. There is significant research to suggest how student dress affects academic performance. We urge parents to develop a code of dress that promotes a positive self-concept and a respect for school as a place of learning. It is suggested that children should come to school looking clean and neat and dressed in a manner which is accepted as being in good taste.

The following are expectations for student dress at Wildcat Mountain:

  • Clothing advertising inappropriate products is not allowed.
  • Clothing containing inappropriate language is not allowed.
  • Shirts and blouses must be long enough to conceal the midriff.
  • A decent coverage of the body is expected.
  • Halter tops, spaghetti strap tops, muscle shirts, bare midriffs, net shirts, swimsuits, etc. are for a more casual time and are not to be worn to school.
  • Pants worn to school should be sized to fit your son's/daughter's waist in order not to sag. Sagging pants are those which are other than the student's normal size, baggy and hanging below the student's waistline.
  • Shorts should be long enough to reach the student's mid-thigh.
  • Hats and sunglasses are not to be worn in the building other than for school sponsored special occasions.
  • No heelies, wheelies, shoe taps, thongs, flip flops, or bare feet are allowed.

These expectations are in direct alignment with our School Board Policy JICA and JFCA. These policies are explained in more detail in our Student Codes of Conduct and Discipline handbook. Parents will be called to bring a change of clothes for students not following these expectations.

FACILITY USE

Wildcat Mountain is a community school, and as such, is made available by Board of Education Policy for community use. The first priority for after hours use is always given to elementary age programs such as Scouting, youth sports and enrichment activities. Depending on the time needed and the profit/nonprofit status of the group, an hourly charge and a damage deposit, and proof of liability insurance is required by the Board of Education. The consumption of food and drink in areas other than the lunchroom or community room are prohibited. In addition, all participants in a rental activity must be closely supervised and remain in the area rented. Access to other areas of the building is prohibited. The school has the right to hire a monitor to ensure compliance. This charge is paid by the group renting the building. Rental and fees information is available under Facility Use on the DCSD web site.

FIELD TRIP/BUS FEES

Signed permission slips are required for each field trip. A bus fee will be collected from each student before each field trip to cover transportation expenses. An additional fee may be necessary to cover extra costs such as admission to events for specific field trips.

FRIDAY FOLDERS

Fridays are school/home communication day. You can expect your child to bring home a folder containing school work, and classroom news. Parents are encouraged to use this folder to communicate their comments or concerns to the teacher. The folder should be returned to school each Monday. Electronic communications are sent on Monday which includes school news and flyers for upcoming school events or community activities.

HOMEWORK BELIEFS Before the beginning of the year, our staff reflected on research, our beliefs, and our vision to evaluate our current homework practices. Here is what we came up with:

We Believe:

  • Children should have opportunities to pursue their passions outside of school
  • Kids deserve to be kids and benefit from down time
  • In a home and school life balance
  • Our students think and work hard all day and need time to process what they've learned
  • Every child is a different type of learner with different needs.

As a result of these beliefs, here's what homework could look like:

  • Reading based on personal choice and interest to develop a love for reading
  • Personalized and/or differentiated
  • Purposeful and meaningful
  • Authentic and relevant
  • Passion or choice driven
  • Stress free - fostering positive family involvement

Each grade level has determined the ways their homework approach will reflect these beliefs. I would like to clarify that Wildcat Mountain does NOT have a "No Homework" policy. Rather, our goal is to engage students in meaningful and personalized work, develop a love of reading through a consistent nightly routine, provide choice, and the freedom to pursue their own interests as well.

ILLNESS DURING SCHOOL

Students who are not feeling well during the school day are sent to the health room (in the office). After resting for 10-15 minutes, and checking their temperature, the student will either return to class or call a parent to be picked up. The office staff administers routine first aid and daily medication only. WME shares a nurse with several other schools. Whenever a child is running a fever of 100 degrees or more, parents/guardians are contacted and expected to pick up the child as soon as possible. Please update your child's emergency information when there is a change in phone number, emergency contact person, etc. If a child is injured at school and medical attention is needed, a school district accident report will be filed and a copy will be provided to the parents.

LATE ARRIVAL

If your child arrives at school after the starting time, s/he must check in with the school office before going to class. The student will be given a late pass to take to the teacher and the attendance record will be corrected. To excuse a late arrival in advance, please call the attendance line, 303.387.6927.

LEAVING SCHOOL EARLY

Anyone picking up a child before the end of the school day must check the child out from the school office. The child will then be called to the office upon the parent's arrival. If anyone other than the parent or guardian is to pick up a child from school, prior arrangements must be made through the school office. Otherwise, only those individuals listed as an emergency contact are allowed to sign out a child from school. Anyone checking a child out of school early is expected to come into the school and show identification to the office staff.

LOST AND FOUND

The lost and found area is located near the WME preschool classroom just inside the main entrance. Unclaimed items will be donated to charity at the end of each semester. Parents are encouraged to label all of their children's belongings.

LUNCH PROGRAM

The following are prices for school lunch items: Student Lunch w/milk $2.75, Second Entree $1.50, Reduced Lunch $0.40, Adult Lunch $3.25, Adult Lunch w/milk $3.75. Any amount of money can be deposited in a child's lunch account either by sending a check or cash with your child to school or on myschoolbucks.com. Each time the child goes through the lunch line, their account is automatically debited. Please note - If your child has an intolerance for dairy products, we must have a physician's statement on file in order to substitute orange juice for milk with their school lunch. Any questions regarding your child's account should be directed to the kitchen staff prior to 11:00 a.m. or by calling the kitchen at 303-387-6942. Your child may qualify for free or reduced price meals. A Free and Reduced Price School Meal Application is available on the DCSD web site under Nutrition Services. Please bring a copy of the approval letter to the school office.

PARENT INVOLVEMENT OPPORTUNITIES

Parent volunteers are much appreciated in our school. Volunteers may work in the classroom with small groups of students or perform clerical tasks at school or home. Volunteers also help in the library, workroom, hearing and vision screening, picture day or field trips. Please contact our Parent Volunteer Coordinator, Jamie Stoller, at 303.387.6925, to discuss volunteer opportunities. The Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) is an important and active part of the school community and supports the school through various activities. Fundraising endeavors raise the money needed to provide for enrichment programs and assemblies, materials for classroom and library use, funds for school improvement projects, and supplemental programs. In addition, the PTO supports staff through matching grants and food during conferences. The PTO plans community events such as Move-a-Thon, Movie on the Mountain, Book Fair, Father/Daughter Dance, Mother/Son event and more. For more information about PTO contact Whitney Nallathamby . The School Accountability Council (S.A.C.) is comprised of parent representatives and staff who assist in defining Wildcat Mountain's goals and developing school improvement plans. This council reviews the school program and assists in making decisions which benefit children. The S.A.C. meets monthly. If you are interested in serving in this capacity, please write a letter of interest to the principal.

PARKING/STUDENT DROP OFF

To ensure the safety of our students, staff, and visitors, please note:

  • If leaving your car to walk with your child, ALWAYS park in a legal zone. Parent parking is located in front of the school in the north parking area. Parking in this area will allow you to safely walk to the school without crossing in the student drop off lane.
  • Student Drop Off Lane: Parents using this area must drop their child off along the curb. This area is two lanes wide so that parents can stop along the curb and then pull out into the left lane when exiting. Students should only exit the car on the passenger side. Parents using this area should always drive as far forward in the lane as possible before stopping. When picking students up in this area, parents SHOULD NOT double park NOR leave their car unattended. Students should, again, only enter the car on the passenger side from the curb.
  • A separate bus loop on the west side of the school is provided for buses and daycare vans only. Under no circumstances may parents park in this area.

Severe Weather:

  • If it is actively raining or snowing and you want to pick up your child, we suggest that you leave home a few minutes early to be able to park and bring an umbrella or other cover to aid your child in getting to the car safely.
  • If lightning is present in the area at the time of dismissal, all students will be held in their classroom until the storm has passed. Students who ride a bus will be dismissed by route number when it is safe to have them walk from the building to the bus loop. Children may be picked up in their classroom by their parents at any time. REMEMBER - THE PARKING LOT IS A ONE WAY SYSTEM.


PERSONAL PROPERTY

Personal objects of value are to be brought to school only during special occasions when a teacher has given permission. Playground equipment is provided by the school. Toys and items such as skateboards, scooters, rollerblades and radios are not permitted at school. We cannot be responsible for any loss or damage to students' personal property.

PROGRESS REPORTS

Student Progress Reports are available on the parent portal two times a year at the end of each 12-week semester. Two Goal-Setting Conferences are scheduled during the school year (October & March). A parent may request a conference at any time with their child's teacher or other teachers who work with their child. Teachers and parents are encouraged to make children a part of the conference whenever both feel it is appropriate.

SCHOOL DAY-HOURS

School office: 7:15 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Grades 1-5 & Full-Day Kindergarten: 8:30 a.m. - 3:30p.m. Kindergarten: Half Day 8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Wildcat Care: 6:30 a.m. - 8:30 a.m. & 3:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. Buses arrive at approximately 8:30 a.m. Parents are responsible for their child's transportation home from morning kindergarten. There is no supervision on the school grounds before or after school. Students are expected to arrive at school no earlier than 8:20a and to go directly home after school. The school provides "Wildcat Care" for those children who need to be at school before 8:20 a.m. and after 3:30 p.m. For the safety of all our children this policy is strictly enforced. Students on the grounds before 8:20 a.m. or after 3:30 p.m. will be asked to join the "Wildcat Care" program and the parents will be billed accordingly.

TELEPHONE USE

Students are asked to use the office telephone only in cases of emergency. Arrangements for visits to friends after school are not considered emergencies. Student cell phones are not allowed in the classroom. If a student brings a cell phone to school, they are expected to leave the phone in their backpack during the school day.

TUTORING

Teachers cannot tutor "for pay" or give private lessons to a student in their own class. Because our District does not screen, perform background checks or consult references of potential tutors, a "tutor list" is not maintained. Parents are welcome to approach other teachers about the possibility of tutoring, however, the tutoring session cannot occur during the teacher's contracted day.

WEATHER PROCEDURES

SCHOOL CLOSURE

In the event of inclement weather or other circumstances, school may be cancelled for the day. An announcement will be made on major radio and television stations when school is cancelled, and posted on the DCSD home page. There is also a text messaging option available to parents for weather and school closure announcements. Please do not call the school office for information about weather-related schedule changes. You may call a hotline for up-to-date weather-related changes: 303.387.7669 or by connecting to the district's web site: www.dcsdk12.org. No Wildcat Care services are provided when the school is closed for the day.

DELAYED START

In the event of inclement weather, school may be on a delayed schedule beginning 90 minutes later than usual (10:00 a.m.) - buses also run their routes 90 minutes later. Announcement of a delayed schedule, an early dismissal or school cancellation will be made on all major radio and television stations beginning at 5:00 a.m. Wildcat Care is also on a 90 minute delay. Before school programs such as band, orchestra or choir will not meet before school when there is a delayed start.

EARLY DISMISSAL

In the event of inclement weather or other circumstances, school may be dismissed early. Generally early dismissal is around 1:30. Our policy in the case of early dismissal is to notify each family by phone or email. Students will not be released from school until we have verification that an adult is aware of the early closure and has given us permission to either put the student on their school bus or allow them to be picked up by a designated adult.