school policies and procedures
Below are the policies and procedures at North Side Community School. If you are looking for a specific section, please click on one of the links below to view that section of the handbook. Or download a PDF of the handbook here.
Attendance and Absences
Daily attendance is critical for students to learn. Every effort must be made by parents and the school to ensure that children miss as few days as possible. It is also critical that they come ready to learn and to participate in all aspects of school life. Except for illness, a death in the family, legal appearances, professional appointments (that can not be made at any other time), religious holidays, or family emergencies, students are expected to be in school. Days missed for reasons other than these will be unexcused absences. Students will not receive credit for work missed on these days, but are expected to learn what was missed. If a child misses more than five days in a grading period the parents will be contacted and a plan developed to avoid further absences. Students who exceed fifteen (15) absences between the start of school in August and the June recess may not be eligible for promotion to the next grade. The school is required, in such cases of excessive absences, to report the child and parents to the Division of Children's Services for truancy and educational neglect.
If a student must be absent, it is the parent's responsibility to notify the school office between 7:30 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. Notification is important. It lets the school know the child is safe and accounted for. A note explaining the cause of the absence must accompany a child upon his/her return to school if three or more days are missed. All work missed while absent must be made up during free class time, recess, after school, or at home within three days of the absence.
If a child is to be absent for a prolonged period, arrangements should be made with the classroom teacher to stay up with the class work. Books and assignment can be picked up at the school. It is important to reduce the loss from such an absence. Vacations should be taken during the scheduled vacation times, not during scheduled school days.
It is very important for the school to have up-to-date contact information for all parents/families. At the start of each year, enrollment and registration forms contain that information. However, phone numbers and addresses change during the year. When such changes occur, ALL PARENTS MUST MAKE CERTAIN THE SCHOOL HAS CURRENT CONTACT INFORMATION AT ALL TIMES.
Parents are responsible for their children being on time, whether they walk, ride a bicycle, or come in a car. Tardiness disrupts the classroom and the start of your child's day. Excessive tardiness will result in a parent conference to remedy the problem. Children who are tardy must report to the office before being admitted to the classroom. Do not take your child directly to his/her classroom. TEACHERS WILL NOT ACCEPT ANY CHILD INTO THEIR CLASSROOMS AFTER 8:30 A.M. WITHOUT A TARDY SLIP.
Students need to be in school all day. Early dismissals are discouraged since they interrupt the child’s learning and disrupt the classroom. Requests for early dismissal should happen only in extreme emergencies. Arrangements for early dismissal must be made through the office. If your child must leave early, notify the office in the morning indicating the reason and time of dismissal. Parents, or a designated adult, must come to the office to sign their child out. Children will only be released to individuals whose names appear on the child(ren)’s emergency information form(s). If custody issues exist, the school must have the relevant court order. No child will be released to meet a parent at the car, in the parking lot, or in another part of the building.
If a child becomes ill during the day, the parent will be contacted and a decision made as to how to proceed. The office will use the emergency contact forms on file in the office to reach a parent; therefore, as stated earlier in this handbook, it is imperative that parent contact information be current at all times so that a parent can be reached immediately in case of any emergency.
Any changes in a student’s dismissal routine must be requested by the parent no later than 2:00 p.m. on the day of the requested change and approved by the office. Parents picking up their children in cars should wait in their cars in the pick-up lane in front of the main office building. All children picked up by parents will be escorted to their parent’s car. DO NOT get out of your car to go to the classroom, and please DO NOT move your car out of the pick-up lane to go around cars in order to avoid waiting behind cars whose occupants are still waiting for their children. Dismissal is a very busy time and our children’s safety guides all of our dismissal procedures.
Cancellations, Delays, and Early Dismissals
Generally, we cancel or delay school due to weather conditions when the St. Louis Public Schools cancel or delay. Local radio and television stations will carry these announcements. (Cancellations or delays by St. Louis Public Schools for reasons other than weather will not affect us.) In the event of cancellations or early dismissals due to other causes (eg. a utility failure, etc.), the school will notify parents as to the closing of school by sending out a ROBO call. This is another reason we ask that all families share with the school their updated contact information. Parents should have a plan in mind for securing their children in cases of emergency school closures. (Again, emergency contact information should be on file in the office and should be current at all times.)
Homework is primarily a means of extending and reinforcing the work done at school. It helps students develop the organizational skills and responsibility necessary for success in school. Additionally, homework strengthens the connections between school and family life. Learning does not end at the end of the school day. School and family are an extension of each other. The more parents are involved, the more they help their children with school work, the more they know about what their child is doing and learning in school, and the more effective the education of the child will be, both at the home and in the school. Minimum expectations for daily homework for grades K-2 is 15- 30 minutes and 30-45 for grades 3-5. We strongly encourage parents to read to or with children every night, in addition to regular homework time.
Grades and Grading System
The school year is divided into three (3) terms. Individual Student Reports (ISR’s) will be sent home at the mid-point of each term. Report cards will be sent home at the end of each term. Students will be evaluated on: 1) progress towards meeting state and school standards, 2) performance in each of the subject areas, and 3) progress on reaching personal and social development goals. A grading scale of 1 to 4, with “1” being the lowest grade and “4” the highest grade, will be used to identify student progress. All reports will contain written comments by teachers.
Books and Materials
Textbooks will be provided by the school and are school property. Lost, misplaced, or damaged books must be replaced at parent expense, so make certain your child takes care of them. The school provides most materials the students need. Parents do have to supply some materials. Classroom teachers will notify parents during the first week of school of the exact items needed.
All students must wear the school uniform every day (except on special non-uniform days). The school uniform consists of either a navy blue or light blue polo or button down shirt and navy blue pants/slacks (no cargo pants or jeans). Shorts may be worn until November 1 and after spring break. Girls may wear skirts, jumpers, or skorts, but they must be navy blue. On days when students have physical education, they must wear rubber soled tennis shoes.
Other uniform-related requirements are as follows:
* No sagging pants
* No jackets or shirts over the uniform shirts (Exception: blue sweaters may be worn when needed)
* All shirts must be tucked in
* Tennis shoes should be clean
* No sandals or flip-flops (for safety reasons)
* Socks and tights worn to school must be navy blue, light blue, or white (our school colors). No multi-colored or patterned socks/tights may be worn with our regular uniforms.
* No bracelets, necklaces, rings, or earrings (except for stud-type) may be worn to school. Necklaces and earrings pose safety hazards when children are playing during recess and/or during P.E. classes. Bracelets prevent students from resting their hands properly on desktops when writing.
* Belts must be worn if belt loops are on a student’s uniform pants/slacks. NO sashes/scarves are to be worn around girls’ uniform blouses, shirts, skirts, or jumpers/dresses.
* Perfume, cologne, and lip gloss are NOT to be brought to school. These items can cause allergic reactions in other students and can become “toys” which interrupt the learning process in classrooms. If these items are brought to school, they will be collected and kept in the office until a parent can pick them up. Make-up should also not be worn to school because it,too, can cause distractions in the classrooms which interfere with the educational process.
* Purses are NOT to be brought to school. Students “hide” things in their purses that they know are not to be brought to school, and then these items become distractions to the learning process. (Exception: Girls needing to bring personal care items to school may bring these items in a purse.)
Students should NOT fight, be violent, use profanity or be insubordinate or disrespectfully
They cannot bring any of the following FORBIDDEN ITEMS to school:
- audio/visual devices
- cell phones
- gum or candy
At all times, students should BE
- Responsible and honest
- considerate and polite
- respectful of persons and property
- dutiful and obedient
Because we believe that parents and teachers must work closely together to educate our students, conferences are a vital part of our program. Parent/teacher conferences are held two times each year, in October and January. Special conferences are encouraged, and may be scheduled as needed. Students will not be present for conferences, except where deemed necessary by the parent
All grades will have field trips during the year. Out-of-school educational experiences are an important part of our program. They help extend in-class activities and experiences outside the classroom, while also functioning as independent learning experiences. A general permission form will be signed by parents at the beginning of the school year authorizing the child to participate in all regular school field trips. Parents will be notified in advance of each trip. If a parent, for whatever reason, does not want his/her children to participate in a specific field trip, he/she must notify the school three days before the trip so that arrangements can be made for the child to remain at school. Parents are encouraged to chaperone field trips.
North Side Community School serves breakfast and lunch. Meals meet Missouri nutritional guidelines. Students not wishing to eat the school lunch may bring a sack lunch from home. All parents seeking state and federal assistance must complete the required paperwork and prove eligibility at the beginning of the school year. Failure to do so will result in the loss of free or reduced (F&R) meals.
Those families not qualifying for free or reduced assistance may pay the school (method to be arranged with school) or provide their own meals. Parents must report all food allergies or special needs to the school office prior to the start of the school year.
Breakfast will be served from 7:45 to 8:10 a.m. Children arriving after this time will not be served breakfast.
Students have recess once each morning from 9:55 to 10:20. They also have a twenty-minute afternoon recess on days when they do not have gym. Recess is outside, weather permitting (rain, wet snow, or extreme temperatures -- below 25 or above 95 degrees). NSCS has an excellent outside play area with both grassy and hard-topped playing areas, as well as playground equipment. We strongly
feel that it is good for children to be outside after spending most of the day in classrooms. However, no child will be allowed outside unless dressed appropriately for the weather. If a parent wishes to restrict outside recess for his/her child, the school must be notified in writing.
Teacher Home Visits
To strengthen relations with families, we will use the School to Home Visit Program. By breaking down barriers between school and home, the program helps parents and teachers better understand each other and work together to more effectively educate our children/students. We strongly encourage parents to welcome teacher visits.
Field Day and Family Picnic
One day each May is devoted to fun extra-curricular activities for the whole school, including outdoor games and sports, exhibits of artwork and special projects, and the spring program. The day will end with a school/family picnic from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
The Student Health Form, which must be on file by the first day of school, will identify any medications a student must take during the school day. All medications should be given to the school office personnel who will administer them at the time and in the manner indicated on the medicine or in special instructions from the parent. School staff will not administer any additional medicines to students.
All students are required to have an up-to-date immunization record and a Student Health Information Form on file. Proof of immunization must be in your child's file by the first day of school for him/her to be admitted to school by Missouri law. The Student Health Form, identifying medicine needs and health issues, must also be on file before your child begins school.
It is a school policy that students stay at home when ill, for the benefit of other students and teachers, as well as for their own. The school does not have the facility or the staff to care for sick children, beyond emergency care, first aid and CPR. If a student becomes ill at school, parents will be notified. The Missouri Department of Health guidelines, listed below, will be used to determine if he/she
should be sent home.
- Flu symptoms (headache, stiff neck, vomiting, diarrhea)
- Severe coughing
- Conjunctivitis (pinkeye)- discharge, redness in eyes
- Unusual spots or rashes; infected skin patches
- Sore throat and trouble swallowing
- Fever over 100 degrees
- Severe itching on skin or scalp
Contagious childhood illnesses (chicken pox, strep throat, head lice, flu) should be reported to the school and the child kept at home until the period of contagion has passed. To return to school, the student must have a note from a doctor certifying he/she is free of the illness.
The school has a special education teacher(s) to provide diagnostic, remedial, and consultative services for special needs students in all grades. Special needs students are those identified by a diagnostic process as requiring an alternative education plan or services, either within the regular classroom or in a special classroom. These needs will be determined by a placement team consisting of the classroom teacher, the special education teachers, a contracted specialist and the principal. Parents will be consulted throughout the process. No testing or special plans will be initiated without the consent of the parent(s).
Visitors to School
We encourage parents and others to visit. All visitors must report to the office and sign-in. If you wish to visit or observe a particular classroom, arrangements should be made in advance with the teacher. Volunteers, parents and others, must also report to the office and sign-in.
Good conduct at school is essential if students are to learn and teachers to teach effectively. We believe that no child has the right to disrupt the learning of other students. The school has the responsibility to help each student learn how to behave in an orderly and productive way. Proper behavior is learned, like anything else. Our approach is to teach our students how to behave, reinforce
the teaching with rewards and consequences, and then teach it again until students understand and comply. As in all we do, the participation of parents in this process is critical to its success. We also believe that disruptive behavior affects the overall atmosphere and mood of the school, making it a less
appealing, less healthy, and less productive place for both students and teachers. Our school discipline policy is built upon these beliefs.
The discipline process will work as follows:
- Teachers will establish classroom rules and consequences, explain them to students, and spend time helping students to understand and follow them. These rules supplement those general school rules and behavior expectations described in this handbook.
- If a student is unable to comply with school or classroom rules and the regular consequences have failed to change behavior, the teacher will talk with the student and create a plan to improve behavior. The parent will be contacted and a conference will be held to address the problem and review the plan of improvement.
- If this fails to produce the desired change in behavior, the Principal will meet with the child, teacher and parent to define the next steps to be taken. The goal will be to determine the source and nature of the behavior problem. Remedial actions will be defined and a course of action set.
- If parents wish to appeal a disciplinary action of the school, they may appeal to the Executive Director and, if still unsatisfied, to the school's Board of Directors. The Board will designate one of its members to review all relevant information and talk with the parents, student, and others if necessary. The Board member will report his/her findings to the Board for approval. The decision of the Board
- will be final. This process will also be followed in cases of suspension and expulsion.
NSCS will follow all reporting requirements required by State statutes and charter school legislation. Specifically, it will comply with reporting requirements for violent behavior as defined in Missouri Statutes 160.261, suspension/expulsion guidelines for violence, danger to others, impairment of morale and orderly/safe operation of the school in 167.161, provision of alternative education in cases of
expulsion in 167.164, and due process in suspension/expulsion cases as outlined in 167.171. In cases of criminal conduct, we will follow the definition and reporting requirements (to civil authorities, our staff, and other interested parties) in Missouri statutes 167.115 and 167.117.
Discipline records will be maintained by the school secretary and overseen by the Principal. All incoming students will be required to furnish discipline records from previous schools. Discipline records of students transferring out of NSCS will be sent promptly to new schools as required by Missouri statute 167.020.
North Side Community School serves a specific geographic area in St. Louis. Most students live within two miles of the school. Parents living within this geographic area are encouraged to provide transportation for their child. If they cannot, we attempt to accommodate them using our bus transportation. NSCS will work with parents to satisfy the transportation needs of all students. However, its resources are limited and the school must adhere to all state transportation regulations, which may prevent meeting the needs of some students/parents.
Those students using school bus transportation are expected to follow these guidelines: -- be at the bus stop at least 5 minutes before the scheduled pick-
-- follow bus rules while on the bus
-- ride only your assigned bus to and from school
Specific procedures and rules of behavior on the bus are as follows: AM and PM:
All bus riders are expected to sit in their seats during the bus ride to and from school. They will wait for the bus to come to a complete stop and will wait for the bus driver’s signal before standing to exit.
● Switching seats is not allowed.
● Students must keep feet on the floor and face forward. They can converse in low
voices with the person next to them. Shouting or screaming is not allowed.
● For safety reasons, no student shall have legs, hands, feet or other objects in the
● Students will leave all belongings in their book bags; no littering is allowed on the
● Throwing objects on the bus or out the windows is not allowed.
● Extending arms, legs, or head out of the bus windows is not allowed.
● Students should not talk to the bus driver except in an emergency.
● Students will keep hands, feet, and all other objects to themselves.
● Fighting, punching, shoving, etc. will not be tolerated.
● No student shall eat, drink, or chew gum on the bus.
● Use of profanity, obscenity, or obscene gestures is prohibited.
● Upon arrival at school, all students will exit the bus in a calm, orderly fashion.
● All bussed students will walk to the cafeteria with their belongings.
● At dismissal, students will walk in a line with their classroom teacher to their assigned buses.
● 2n d – 5th grade students are not included in the 3:30 pm dismissal procedures and are not released until 5:00 pm (Extended Day).
● Students must be seated immediately upon entering the bus and remain seated until they arrive at their stop.
First Violation: Students who fail to follow bus rules will be given one (1) verbal warning.
Second Violation: Parent notification of potential loss of bus privileges if another bus referral occurs.
Third Violation: Loss of bus privileges for 1 or more days (discretion of administrator)
If a parent wishes to change transportation arrangements for a specific day, the school must be notified by the parents either in writing or verbally no later than 2:00 p.m. on the day of the requested change so that teachers and drivers can be notified. Verbal requests from students for transportation changes will NOT be accepted.
Decision Authority: School Administrator
If a parent wishes to change transportation arrangements for a specific day, the school must be notified no later than 2:00 p.m. so that teachers and drivers can be notified.
Testing is an important part of our instructional program. It provides teachers with information on the strengths and weaknesses of students, aids in assessing the effectiveness of the school curriculum, and influences teacher decisions on content and instruction for individual students. The most important assessments are the everyday and weekly ones administered in the classroom—teacher-made tests, curriculum-based tests, and observations. The standardized assessment instrument used at NSCS is NWEA (Northwest Education Association). This computer-based assessment tool is administered three times a year (ie. fall, winter, spring). The state-mandated test (MAP) is given in grades 3-5 in the spring of each year.
Testing for special education purposes is coordinated through our special education consultant with the approval of the parents.