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PINE CASTLE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL HANDBOOK

ORANGE COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

The faculty and staff of Pine Castle Elementary School welcome you and your family. We will do our utmost to offer your child the best possible education. We ask for your support and we hope that you will be an active participant in your child’s education. This assignment book has been carefully prepared and presented in order that students and parents may know and understand the policies and practices of Pine Castle Elementary School. We look forward to working with you throughout the school year.

Vision Statement

We envision that Pine Castle Elementary School will foster a participatory learning environment which provides the necessary tools ensuring that all students have the opportunity to become productive members of our society.

School Beliefs

In order to provide a safe, positive, productive, instructional learning environment:

¶ We believe that each student is a citizen of our school and this citizenship comes with benefits as well as responsibilities.

¶ We believe that we should all be consistent and work proactively and positively together enforcing the school wide discipline plan.

¶ We believe by using the “Guidelines for Success”, the students will have positive interactions and attitudes which will reflect in their positive behavior.

¶ We believe we, as adults, need to model interacting respectfully and provide a safe atmosphere where students interact respectfully to their peers and adults which encourages a positive learning environment.

School Hours

School starts at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 2:45 p.m. (1:45 p.m. on Wednesdays.) Teacher hours are 8:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Students may not be on campus prior to 8:00 a.m. and should depart at dismissal time as there is no adult supervision after 3:15 p.m. Should students need to be dropped off at the campus prior to 8:00 a.m., they must enroll in morning Extended Day program. If a student needs to be picked up prior to 2:30 or 1:30 on Wednesdays, parents must come to the office and sign them out. NO CHILDREN MAY BE PICKED UP IN THE OFFICE BY PARENTS BETWEEN 2:15 -2:45 OR 1:15 – 1:45 ON WEDNESDAYS. It is an extremely critical time for our front office staff to handle inquires from bus, car and walker supervisors. They must be able to handle emergencies immediately during the actual dismissal time. Parents or designees must bring picture ID in order to pick up before dismissal. Teachers will not release students early unless the proper procedure has been followed. Afternoon car riders must be picked up no later than 3:15 p.m. It is the parents’ responsibility to make arrangements for their children to be picked up on time. We do not allow changes in the way students go home unless we have a written note with a parent signature. (These notes may be hand carried by the student or faxed to the school @ (407- 858-2227).

Tardies

School starts promptly at 8:30 a.m. It is extremely important for all students to be in their seats and ready to learn. Arriving tardy to school interrupts all the students in that classroom. The time at the beginning of the day is an important part of the day. Reading instruction begins at the start of each day. Our goal is to have all students ready to learn at 8:30 a.m. Our policy for tardy students is:

  1. Report to the office with a parent/guardian to obtain a tardy slip.
  2. After 5 tardies a phone call and letter will be sent to the parent.
  3. After 10 tardies a parent conference will be held.
  4. After 10 tardies the student will lose privileges at school.

Extended Day Care
Child care is provided after school until 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. A before-school program is also available. Call the EDC
office (407-858-3170, ext. 272) for more information.

New Address, Phone Number, Custody

It is very important that the school office be notified immediately when there is a change of address, phone number or custody. A student will be released to either natural parent unless a copy of a court order granting custody is on file. To insure your child’s safety and well-being, please keep us informed. Emergency forms must be completed and updated as necessary.

Parent-Teacher Conferences

Parents are invited to arrange conferences at any convenient time during the year. Good communication is the key to successful relationships. For a productive conference: please schedule ahead; have a list of questions and concerns with positive solution ideas; keep information confidential; share honestly not critically and remember we want your child to be successful.

Visitors

All visitors must report to the school office and obtain a visitors welcome badge. We welcome parents for classroom visitations; however, prior arrangements must be made with the teacher. A visitor or volunteer badge is mandatory for everyone

Student Conduct and Discipline
As well as high expectations for academics we also expect students to conduct themselves in a proper manner at all times. Respect and responsibility are necessary for learning. We pride ourselves in the fact that most of the students follow our guidelines for success. Each student is expected to behave in a manner that does not interfere with the education of others. Parent cooperation and support is necessary when discipline problems arise. Parents will be notified by phone, written note in the planner or by the formal disciplinary form. No toys, trading cards, video games, etc. may be brought to school. All such unauthorized articles will be confiscated. Students who continually are disruptive and disrespectful will be dealt with in accordance to the procedures outlined in the Code of Student Conduct. Please review this book at home with your child.

Cafeteria Services

We offer breakfast at a cost of $1.25 and lunch for $1.80 per student. Free and reduced price meals are available for eligible students. An adult lunch costs $3.00 and parents are welcome to join us, but we ask that you first notify the lunchroom manager at 407-858-3172 and be a registered ADDition volunteer. (Prices are subject to change.) Restaurant manners are expected while dining. We begin serving breakfast at 8:00 a.m. Children will be sent to their class at the first bell, 8:25 a.m. The only exception for entering the cafeteria after 8:20 am is if a bus comes late. Children are not allowed to bring canned or bottled carbonated drinks for lunch, including those found in prepackaged lunches. If your child has a food allergy, it is imperative that you let the teacher and our clinic attendant know in writing immediately. Monthly menus are distributed to students. Students are only allowed to charge lunch for one day. After one charge, students will receive a sandwich and milk. Please send money in advance in an envelope with the first and last name of student, the amount of money sent and the teacher’s name. The service of www.MyLunchMoney.com is offered. It allows families to directly link to their student’s accounts via the website and pay for student meals. Refrain from sending junk food in bag lunches. Look for items low in added sugar, salt and excess chemicals.

Attendance
Regular school attendance is essential for good academic progress. School begins promptly at 8:30 a.m. and it is critical for your child to be in class and ready to learn. Students not in their seats will be counted tardy. To avoid interruption of the education process, doctor and dental appointments should be made outside the school day whenever possible. Prearranged absences can be handled through the office in an emergency. A note or doctor’s excuse must be sent with the child following an absence, otherwise the absence will be considered unexcused. Vacations are not excused absences.
The policy for tardies / absences is:
School attendance is the responsibility of the student and parent.
If your child has 5 or more unexcused absences the school will contact you.
If your child has 10 unexcused absences within a 90 day period, the principal will refer the case to the school’s child study team and
social worker. The team will schedule a meeting with parents to identify potential remedies.  In the child study team documentation, 5
tardies will equal one unexcused absence.

Dress For Success
Students are expected to be neat, clean and well-groomed. Pine Castle has a uniform policy which is part of the School Advisory Council initiative. Requirements and purchase information can be obtained in the office. All students will receive a copy of the OCPS Code of Student Conduct which contains complete dress code requirements. Dress code standards are strictly enforced at Pine Castle.

  • Clothes shall be worn as they are designed-suspenders over the shoulders, pants secured at the waist, belts buckled, no underwear as outwear, no underwear exposed.
  • Clothing with holes, tears or inappropriate patches will not be allowed if considered obscene.
  • Bare midriffs and bare sides should not show even when arms are extended above the head.
  • Clothing normally worn when participating in a school sponsored extracurricular or sports activity may be worn to school when approved by the sponsor, coach, or principal.
  • Clothing that is too tight or revealing is unacceptable.
  • Garments and/or jewelry which display or suggest sexual, vulgar, drug, alcohol or tobacco related wording/graphics or may to tend to provoke violence or disruption in school shall not be worn.
  • Gang paraphernalia, jewelry, tattoos or other insignias which display, suggest, provoke, or may tend to provoke violence or disruptions are not allowed.
  • The following items have potential to cause disruption or threats to a safe and positive school environment and are prohibited: hats; caps; visors; sunglasses, chains hanging from the neck/belt/pocket or attached to wallets; jewelry that contain any type of sharp object; or bandanas while on campus during the school day.
  • Hemlines of shorts, dresses, skirts and skorts shall be no shorter than mid-thigh.
  • Clothing must follow the four finger wide rule at the shoulders.
  • Shoes shall be worn. The following are not acceptable: thong sandals; cleated shoes; backless shoes or shoes with wheels known as Heeleys.

Questions or concerns should be directed to the principal.

Entries and Withdrawals
Students transferring from Pine Castle Elementary should notify the office as early as possible prior to the last day of attendance so that a
transfer can be easily arranged.

Entering students should register in the office. A proof of residence is required as students must reside in our attendance area.

Reporting to Parents
Report cards are issued each nine weeks, with interim reports for unsatisfactory progress issued mid-quin. Some teachers issue periodic
reports to individual students. All teachers communicate through this assignment book and each nine weeks through newsletters.

Safety
In order for us to assure our students safety it is essential to have all parents and staff cooperating and working together. We have established procedures for EVERYONE to follow. These procedures may seem inconvenient at times, but they are necessary. Our plan will work and students will be safe if everyone follows the guidelines. Bicycle riders are expected to follow rules of the road. Bike riders must wear a safety helmet in order to ride their bicycles to the school campus. Skateboards are not allowed on campus unless arranged with the Principal. Walkers are to arrive and depart via the crossing guard corners only.
We are very concerned about your child’s safety when returning home each day after school. If you must change the way your child is to go home at the end of the day, a note with parent/guardian signature must be sent to the teacher that day. We will not change the way a child goes home based on a telephone call. In an emergency, a signed faxed statement to the principal can be accepted.

ARRIVAL: Students may be dropped off in the loop on Waltham Avenue each morning beginning at 8:00 am. Please DO NOT bring your children before 8:00 as NO one can supervise them unless you have them enrolled in the Extended Day Before School Program. NEVER DROP YOUR CHILD OFF IN THE PARKING LOT.
Please be patient and use the front of the school. The line will move quickly if parents will follow the guidelines. If you are entering the car loop at 5-8 minutes before 8:30, chances are good that child will not be in their seats on time and receive a tardy slip. Children should be ready to exit the car. Have the children have their belongings ready and hop out of the car when you stop in line. This is a courtesy to those waiting behind you and prevents having to wait in a long line. If no one is available to open your car door, please have children get out on their own. Parents should not get out of the cars.

DISMISSAL: All students are dismissed to the front of the school except walkers, EDC and bike riders. Parents are to use the loop on Waltham Avenue to pick up their children. Please follow the signage as to where you are to wait to enter the loop after the buses have cleared the area. A Pine Castle Elementary car rider sign will be issued to you. Please place this sign on your dashboard. If you have a conference or appointment please park in the designated parking places in the lot, not along the street. NEVER PICK UP STUDENTS IN THE PARKING LOT. NO CHILDREN MAY BE PICKED UP IN THE OFFICE BY PARENTS BETWEEN 2:15-2:45 OR 1:15-1:45 ON WEDNESDAYS.

RAINY DAY PLAN FOR WALKERS / BIKE RIDERS: If it is a light rain, dismissal will be as usual. If it is hard driving rain or there is lightning, children will be taken to the car loop area. Parents will be expected to pick up their children in the front of the school in the loop. If parents have given the school permission to walk or bike home unattended, we will hold the children in the cafeteria until the storm subsides.

Patrols
The patrols at Pine Castle Elementary are fifth graders that have been nominated by Pine Castle Elementary Staff. They help students move safely on the campus. They also help direct the flow of car traffic during arrival and dismissal under the supervision of staff members. Patrols are there to help children remain safe. Please encourage your students to listen to, respect and flow the directions of the school patrols.

Curriculum
Pine Castle’s curriculum follows the Florida Sunshine State Standards as teachers make use of research based programs such as Content Enhancement, Houghton Mifflin, Reading Mastery Plus, Scott Foresman, and Everyday Math. Unit Organizers for Science and Social Studies are refined and various Content Enhancement routines are developed by each grade level team in all academic areas several times throughout the year. This planning, along with progress monitoring assessments such as DIBELS and OCPS Benchmark tests, leads to effective and strategic instruction being delivered to every child. Pine Castle Elementary also adheres to the Orange County Public Schools Literacy Plan which calls for an uninterrupted 90 minute reading block for grade K-5 in which students are instructed in whole and small group settings. We also provide instruction in the following special areas: art, music, physical education and computer lab.

Homework
Homework contributes to the development of independence and responsibility on the part of the student. The amount, length, and type of homework will vary according to the individual needs of your child. These may include practice of new skills, book reports, research papers or content reading. Please provide a time and place for students to do the required work. Research shows that children who read more are better readers, therefore it is important for children to read every evening. Reading logs may be required. Our goal is to improve study habits at school and at home. We require an adult signature or initial on the student assignment book each evening. Further information can be obtained from the teacher.

Care of Textbooks and Library Books
Students are responsible for all textbooks and library books issued to them during the school year. The school must be reimbursed for all lost or damaged books. All monies collected are recorded by the school bookkeeper and paid to the proper fund for replacement purposes. If a lost book is found and returned, money will be refunded.

Transportation

Bus service is provided to students residing outside a two-mile area. Bus transportation is a privilege to eligible students. The school is responsible for the students while on the bus. Misbehavior on the bus will be cause of 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 extremely important for safety that the students adhere to the following rules:

  1. Obey the bus driver at all times.
  2. Stand off the roadway while waiting for the bus.
  3. Remain seated at all times when the bus in moving.
  4. Be at the bus stop 10 minutes prior to the scheduled stop time.
  5. Keep arms, head and all items inside the bus.
  6. Refrain from talking to the bus driver while the bus is in motion.
  7. Remain silent when the dome lights are on and at railroad crossings.
  8. Refrain from bringing food, drinks gum, reptiles, bugs or any animals on the bus.
  9. The driver has the right to assign seating to promote safety on the bus.
  10. Refrain from any behavior that interferes with the orderly and safe transportation of yourself and other bus riders.

For safety reasons, car riders must arrive and depart from the front of the school. Waltham Avenue becomes a one-way street from 7:00-9:00 a.m. and 1:00-4:00 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Field Trips

Official field trip permission forms must be completed, signed and returned to the student’s teacher before the date of the planned trip. Telephone calls from parents cannot be accepted as a form of permission to attend a field trip. Parents wishing to be chaperones must be registered as an ADDition volunteer. ADDition forms must be completed each year and a field trip application for each field trip.

Student Photographs

In the fall individual photo packages are available on a prepaid basis and are guaranteed. Students are also photographed with their classes and individually in the spring. Individual spring pictures are not prepaid however, class photos are prepaid.

School Advisory Council

The purpose of the School Advisory Council is to develop and implement school improvement goals. Our SAC committee is composed of people who are representative of the families, community and staff members at Pine Castle Elementary.

Clinic Procedures

Students who are ill should not attend school. A clinic attendant is on duty from 8:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. each day. Students who become ill at school will be referred to the clinic and the parent will be called. Students with head lice will be sent home to be treated. Before returning to class, students must be rechecked in the clinic. Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian for the lice recheck. Four days per year will be excused for head lice.

Only medications prescribed by a physician for a particular student will be given in school. All medication and medical forms must be left in the clinic. Over the counter medications will not be administered unless accompanied by a note from the physician. For safety and security reasons, medication must be transported to and from school by a parent or guardian. All medication that is not picked up at the end of the school year will be disposed of.

PTA and ADDitions

Our Parent Teacher Association works to bring a closer relationship between the home and the school so parents and teachers may cooperate in the education of the children. Executive Board Meetings are usually held the first Tuesday evening of the month and parents are welcome visitors. General meetings are held throughout the year and advance notice will be sent home. Our mutual concerns and goals for Pine Castle Elementary School can be recognized and realized through this fine organization.

Volunteers are always needed for special activities such as fund raisers, Holiday Gift Shop, Book Fair and Field Day. We are proud of our active PTA and urge you to become involved!

Parents and friends of the school help in the classrooms and work with individual students through ADDitions, an active volunteer program. We welcome your services and encourage you to become involved. Please contact your child’s teacher or the ADDitions coordinator to see how you can help. You can register online to become an ADDitions volunteer at https://volunteer.ocps.net. All adults must be registered ADDitions to be on campus with students

I have read and discussed the preceding information with my child, ______________________.

Parent Signature______________________________________ Date ___________

Student Signature_____________________________________ Date ____________