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    Mahala F. Atchison School

    STUDENT HANDBOOK 

    Absence

    The parent or legal guardian is requested to call the school absentee line (732-542-5438 or 732-542-2500 ext. 2502) before 8:00 A.M. the morning of the pupil’s absence.  P.M. Prep must call by 8:30 of that day.

    The parent or guardian who anticipates a future absence or anticipates an absence will be prolonged should notify the pupil’s teacher who will assist in the arrangement of make-up work. A note listing the dates and reasons for any absence is required when a child returns to school.

    •   Without a note or phone call, the absences will count as Unexcused Absences- Truant.
    •   A student’s early dismissal from school should only occur in emergency situations.

     

    Admission to the Building

    To ensure a safe environment, anyone entering the building must do so by the side door across from the soccer fields.  Please use the buzzer and state your reason for entering the building.  Upon entering the building visitors must report directly to the main office.  If you are staying in the building, you must sign the Visitor's Book and wear a Visitor's badge.

     

    Balanced Literacy

    The Mahala F. Atchison School follows the balanced literacy philosophy for English Language Arts instruction for Kindergarten through second grade.

     

    Balanced Literacy is a framework designed to help all children learn to read and write effectively to meet the needs presented by our society. Guided Reading, which is the core of a Balanced Literacy program, is an instructional strategy utilized by teachers to meet the individualized needs of each student.  This approach guides students to develop reading strategies in a teacher supported environment. 

      

    Book Fines

    Books and equipment distributed to the students are the property of the Tinton Falls Board of Education. Students assume the responsibility for these items and will be fined for any damage, misuse, and lost materials. Failure to pay fines will result in the withholding of student records. Report cards will be held if any outstanding fines remain in June. Failure to pay a fine could result in loss of certain privileges during the next school year.

     

    Bullying, Harassment & Intimidation

    Bullying, harassment and intimidation of any type will be addressed according to the Board of Education Policy. Consequences for students guilty of bullying, harassment, and/or intimidation will be strongly enforced.

     

    Bus Information

    Conduct Standards for Pupils Riding School Buses

    Discipline:  The driver shall be in full charge of the school bus at all times and shall be responsible for order.  The drive shall never exclude a pupil from the bus; however, if unable to manage any pupil, he/she shall report the unmanageable pupil to the school principal. Students are advised to adhere to basic rules concerning the safety and protection of all passengers.  Video cameras may also be installed on some buses to aid the driver in maintaining order and safety.   Refusal to obey rules and cooperate with the bus driver may or will result in suspension of bus privileges.  Students suspended must still attend school in compliance with the laws of the State of New Jersey.  The decision to suspend/exclude shall rest with the appropriate school principal, Business Administrator and/or Superintendent.  The student's parents shall provide transportation to and from school during the period of suspension/exclusion.

     

    Meeting the Bus

    Pupils must:

    • Be at their assigned bus stop at least ten minutes prior to the regular pick up times, as drivers are not required to wait for tardy students. Remain at the stop until bus arrives.
    • Parents/Guardians are responsible for supervision of students while at a bus stop.
    • Do not stand in the road, or on residents' property, or engage in play or other activities that will endanger themselves, other pupils, or the residents' property where the bus stop is located while waiting for the bus to arrive.
    • Wait to cross a traveled portion of the road, until the bus has stopped and other vehicles approaching or following the bus have also stopped.  The bus driver or patrol will signal students to cross when it is safe to do so.
    • Students are to cross the road at least 10 feet in front of the bus after the bus driver has signaled that it is safe; never cross in the rear of the bus.
    • Report any illness or injury sustained on or around the bus immediately to the driver.
    • Kindergarten students will be returned to the school if no one is at the bus stop to receive them.  An hourly charge will be assessed to chronic offenders. 

    Conduct on the Bus

    • Students must obey the bus driver at all times to assure safety of all students.
    • Students may only ride on their assigned bus from and to their assigned stop.
    • Students are to remain seated while the bus is in motion and are required to have a seatbelt on at all times.
    • Students are required to wait until the bus stops before attempting to exit the bus in an orderly manner.
    • Students must promptly take their seats, keep feet out of the aisles, and must be able to hold their belongings in their lap. (NO large or breakable objects are permitted.)
    • Students must keep their head, arms, and hands inside the bus at all times and are not permitted to throw objects out of the bus windows.
    • NO eating, drinking, littering, profane or vulgar language (and gestures), fighting, pushing or shoving will be tolerated.
    • NO animals, weapons, illegal substances are permitted on the bus at any time.
    • NO water pistols, live reptiles, animals, insects or oversized items that would block an aisle, cause loss of passenger seat space, obstruct the driver's view, or create a safety hazard are permitted on the bus.
    • NO loud talking, yelling, whistling, singing, or screaming will be tolerated as a serious safety can result from noise that distracts the driver.
    • Students are to maintain appropriate school behavior at all times while on the bus.
    • Defacing or damaging the school bus is not permitted and will result in payment to be made by the student or parent/guardian and also may result in suspended bus riding privileges for the students.

    Refusal to obey rules and cooperate with the bus driver may or will result in suspension of bus privileges. Please refer to the Standards of Conduct for Pupils Riding School Buses for specifics pertaining to consequences.

         

    Cafeteria Rules

    • Each class will have an assigned table in the cafeteria. Clear your area after you have finished eating.
    • Walk while in the cafeteria.
    • Students need to raise their hands and are expected to receive permission of cafeteria supervisors when requesting to use the bathroom.
    • The cafeteria is a place to talk quietly. Use inside voices only.
    • Do not leave cafeteria until dismissed. Remain seated and wait quietly for directions.

     

    Cell Phones and Electronic Devices

    The school discourages the possession of cell phones, IPODS, video games, or any other electronic devices during school hours. If a student chooses to bring an electronic device to school, the student must keep the electronic device turned off during the day. They are not to be visible or handled during the school day, on the school bus, or at any school sponsored function. Text messaging, taking pictures, phone calls, game playing, and listening to music is strictly prohibited and will result in disciplinary action. Picture and video taking can only be done with the Principal’s permission.

     

    Classroom Rules and Conduct.

    Classroom rules are designed to protect a student’s rights to learn in an environment that is safe and comfortable. The right to receive organized instruction with class time spent on curriculum activities and the right to be treated with respect. Teachers and students may work together to establish rules and procedures that insure that all student’s rights are met. Courtesy should be the key to a student’s conduct at school. A positive attitude toward teachers and classmates will make the experience enjoyable for all. The following are the general rules of conduct:

    • Students have primary responsibility for their own actions. We encourage self-control.
    • Students must observe the safety rules of the school for their own security and that of others.
    • Students shall respect the person and property of others
    • Students must show respect for the truth.
    • Students shall follow class rules established by the teacher.

    Contacting Teachers

    Teachers cannot be called to the phone during class time.  If you need to contact a teacher, either call the office or send an email.  The teacher will return the call sometime during that day or the next.  The teacher's email address is the first letter of the first name and the last name followed by the school address.  For example, Mrs. Black's email address is as follows: jblack@tfschools.org .

     

    Delayed Opening

    A two-hour delayed opening may be in effect when the forecast is for improving weather conditions.  The delayed opening will always be two hours later than the regular school schedule.  Your children's bus pickup time will be two hours later than on a normal day.  The two-hour delayed opening will be announced via our Honeywell Instant Alert System, on our district website, and via Twitter/Facebook.  Information will also be announced on several TV stations (Verizon Fios Channel 1 and News 12 NJ). 

    • You may dial 732-460-2400, then press the indicated number for Emergency Closing Information from 6:00AM on to obtain information from a recorded message.  DO NOT call the police department.
    • District web site:tfschools.org.
    • A message will be available on the MFA school phone line: 732-542-2500.

     

    Dismissal

    Parents are urged to leave their children in school all day. Medical and other appointments should be scheduled outside school hours or on school holidays if possible. If it is necessary to pick up your child before the end of the scheduled school day, you are asked to provide a written request for early dismissal. This request is to be given to the homeroom teacher on the same day and must state the reason for the early dismissal as well as the time you expect to report to the main office so your child may be released to you. You must sign the student out of school at the main office. It is required to show identification when picking up your child when asked by school staff.

    • Phone calls to the school should not be made about changes in dismissal plans unless there is an emergency.
    • If an early dismissal is absolutely necessary, we ask that you do not call for your child during the last 30 minutes of the day. Such requests are disruptive to closure in the classroom as well as very problematic for our office staff and teachers on duty.
    • On regular school days, students are expected to leave the building and grounds immediately upon dismissal. Loitering in and around the school building is discouraged.    

     

    Early Dismissal

    It may be necessary to close school early and send students home if a severe storm or emergency develops during the school day.  A school emergency closing announcement will be will be made via our Honeywell Instant Alert System and Twitter/Facebook.  Bus dismissal will be adjusted accordingly. Parents may also come to school to take their children home.  Make arrangements for your children and make sure they know what to do in an emergency closing situation.  In the event of an early closing, PM PREP and Time+ sessions will be cancelled.

     

     Emergency Closing -

    When school is cancelled for the day because of inclement weather:  * A "NO SCHOOL" announcement will made via our Honeywell Instant Alert System, on our district website, and via Twitter/Facebook.  Information will also be announced on several TV stations (Verizon Fios Channel 1 and News 12 NJ). 

    • You may dial 732-460-2400then press the indicated number for Emergency Closing Information from 6:00AM on to obtain information from a recorded message.  DO NOT call the police department.
    • District web site:tfschools.org.
    • A message will be available on the MFA school phone line: 732-542-2500.

     

    Forget Something at School –

    Please note that all classrooms are locked at the end of the day.  Students who forget homework assignments, materials, etc. will not be allowed back into the classroom.  Please reinforce the need to write down all assignments and gather all materials before leaving for the day.

     

    Free & Reduced Meals-

    Applications for free and reduced meals are distributed to all students at the beginning of the school year. The New Jersey Department of Education sets the income eligibility guideline. Completed applications must be returned to the school.

     

    Guidance Counselor

    MFA has a guidance counselor five days a week.  Referrals may be made by parent or teacher - or students may seek out our guidance counselor.  Written parental approval is required to initiate individual counseling.    

     

    Health Services

    We have one full time and one part time nurse at MFA. Students becoming ill during the school day must notify the teacher/supervisor before going to the nurse's office.  If the nurse is not available, the student is to report to the main office.    

     

    Homework

    Homework is used to extend and reinforce the learning experience of the school.  In the primary grades (K-2), homework should not exceed thirty minutes per evening. The parent(s) or legal guardian(s) of an absent student may request homework assignments to be completed during the student's absence.  Please call the office before 12:00 to request an absent child's work to be organized by the end of the day.

     

    Home Instruction

    Home instruction services are provided to any student during extended absence due to illness or accident. Special Services (732-460-2410) will require a written recommendation from the attending physician. Arrangements will be made based on student needs.

     

    Honeywell Instant Alert System

    Schedules change, buses run late, emergencies occur, these events are announced to parents by-mail, cell phones, PDA’s. Instant Alert brings news directly to parents who can decide how they want to receive messages. Contact the school for forms to fill out and stay informed in an instant.

     

    Lock Down

    In case of an emergency that requires a lock down procedure, all students and staff must return and remain in their classroom. Students are to calmly and quietly follow the directions of the staff members.

     

    Lost and Found

    A Lost and Found Box is maintained in the hallway. Each year many items are turned in but never claimed. Some of the items are new. Parents are encouraged to label student clothing, lunchboxes, etc. to help us in identifying owners. Periodically, items which are unclaimed are given to charitable organizations.

     

    Lunch Cards/Money

    MFA has the QSP Point of Sale (POS) system.   Each child will receive a picture ID card.  Parents will have the convenience and security of putting cash/checks into the child's account, to be used for the purchase of lunch or ala carte items (which will be debited from the account).  

    For your additional convenience, we also offer an internet-based payment system, which allows you the option of funding each child’s debit account on-line via credit card or ACH (electronic banking). This service also allows you to receive instant on-line information detailing your child's account balance, as well as which food and beverage type items they purchased for lunch, and if their balance is low. Additionally, like EZ-Pass, there is an "auto-replenishment" option which allows you to set up a low-balance threshold and automatic debit amount to replenish your child's account. More info on this system can be found at www.payforit.net. Click on FAQs. Note that there is an internet convenience fee associated with on-line payments by credit card and a smaller internet convenience fee for electronic checking (ACH) payments, whereas there is no fee to send your child to school with cash or a check. The internet fee is associated with Credit Card processing fees and website services. No portion of the fee is retained by the school district.

     

    Cash will continue to be accepted on any particular day for lunch. Parents have the option of sending their child to school with a check to hand into the cafeteria, or a check can be mailed to the MFA Cafeteria (961 Sycamore Ave.) to be credited to your account.  Please remember to put your child's name, teacher's name, grade, "Lunch Money" and the amount enclosed on the envelope and their name on the check so the money can be credited properly. Checks should be made out to the Tinton Falls School District Cafeteria. Any question, please call- 732-542-5886.

     

    Medication

    According to school policy, the nurse cannot dispense medications unless the failure to do so would jeopardize the health of the student, or the student would not be able to attend school if the medication were not available during school hours. If a student is taking medication prescribed by a doctor to be taken during the school day, the medicine must be left in the nurse’s office. Students may NOT transport medication. A parent wishing to send in prescription medication should contact the school nurse for further instructions. A prescription is required to accompany the medication in order for it to be distributed by the nurse.

     

    Morning Drop Off

    1. Children may be dropped off at the front of the building beginning at 8:05.
    2. Students will enter the building by the front main entrance.
    3. If a child can exit the automobile without any help from an adult, please use the curb.  Parents remain in the car.  
    4. If a child needs help getting out of the car, needs a hug or a kiss, or needs any other assistance, please park the car and walk your child across the lot.
    5. Please drive slowly through the front lot when dropping off students.  Make a right at the end of the lot.
    6. The main entrance is closed at 8:25.  After 8:25, parents must park and walk the children to the main office using the side entrance. 

     

    Nutrition Policy

    The Tinton Falls School District adopted a Nutrition Policy that meets both Federal and State requirements.  Key areas in this policy related to food consumption are as follows:

    • Foods of Minimal Nutritional Value will no longer be allowed to be sold or given to children during the school day.
    • Provide students with healthy and nutritious foods.
    • Encourage the consumption of fresh foods and vegetables, low fat milk, and whole grains

    Some examples of Foods of Minimal Nutritional Value are all food and beverage items listing sugar, in any form, as the first ingredient including but not limited to all forms of candy, soda, water ices, chewing gum, hard candy, candy sticks, lollipops, mints, sugar wafers, cinnamon candies, jaw breakers, breath mints and cough drops, jellies, gums, gummy fruit snacks, marshmallows, fondant including such foods as candy corn and soft mints, licorice, spun candy, candy coated popcorn.  These food products cannot be served, sold, or given out anywhere on school property at any time before the end of the school day.     

     

    100 Book Challenge

    The 100 Book Challenge encourages children to read.  Fun, fast, and easy is the slogan of the program. Students should read a minimum of 15 minutes but are encouraged to read 30 minutes each day at home.  Each line on the reading log equals 15 minutes of reading not the number of books read.  For example, some children may read two or three books in 15 minutes.  Only one book is listed on the log.  Some children may read for 30 or more minutes.  Then the number of 15 minute blocks is recorded on the log.  If a child is reading a longer book, such as, a chapter book, the same title will appear on a number of lines. Any reading materials may be read and listed on the 100 Book Challenge Reading Log.  Parents may use the skill cards to help with comprehension.  A short book discussion with a parent would benefit the student after the nightly reading.

     

    Parent Visits

    Parents are encouraged to contact teachers to discuss any aspect of their child’s performance or progress in school. Appointments can be made by sending in a note to school, e-mail to the teacher or calling the office to leave a message. Stopping by the classroom unannounced is inappropriate, disruptive to instruction, and problematic in terms of our over-all building security measures. When anyone enters the building they are expected to first sign in at the main office. Parents should not approach classrooms without first obtaining a pass from the main office. Teachers have been directed not to admit any visitors unless they display the pass.

     

    Playground Rules

    • Students will be assigned to a specific play area. They must remain in that area unless they have permission from a supervising adult.
    • Follow directions the first time they are given.
    • Playground equipment is for the use of all students. Use all equipment properly.
    • Students are to play fairly. Do not tease or fight.
    • Students are not to bring toys, games, radios, etc. to be used in school without permission of their teacher or the supervising adult.
    • Do not enter the building (from the playground) without permission of the teacher or supervising adult.
    • Do not throw rocks or any other objects.
    • Line up immediately when the whistle is blown.

     

    PTA

    Tinton Fall’s PTA supports and enhances our educational program. Through its fundraisers the PTA subsidizes assemblies and school wide events. All parents are encouraged to join and become active in this organization.

     

    Records and Transfers

    Student records are available for review at any time by appointment. When transferring to another school, be sure to notify the office (732-542-2500) as soon as possible. Records will be forwarded to the new school as soon as we receive a request. 

     

    Report Cards

    Report cards are available on Genesis Parent Portal at the end of each trimester.

     

    School Rules

    1. Enter and leave the building in an orderly manner.
    2. For everyone’s safety, do not run in the hall for any reason at any time.
    3. Follow directives from all staff members.
    4. Show respect for all adults and fellow student, without exception. Keep hands and feet to one’s self.
    5. Use appropriate language at all times.
    6. Keep hands off walls and treat all school property with respect. Defacing or misuse of school property will result in the offending student being held responsible for the damage.
    7. Fire drills are held for the safety of everyone in school. Be orderly and quiet in a fire drill.
    8. Gum chewing is not permitted in school or on the bus.
    9. Hats are not to be worn in school unless special circumstances require it.
    10. Teachers will utilize hall passes at their discretion whenever a student is sent out of class.

     

    Suspensions

    Out of school suspension is reserved for serious transgressions such as possession of weapons/fireworks/inappropriate substances, theft, violence, vandalism, and harassment. Students may not participate in any school-sponsored activity during the entire period suspension nor are suspended students permitted on school grounds.

     

    Tardiness

    When a student arrives at school late, the parent or guardian must bring the student to the main office.  A tardy slip will be completed and a lunch order will be taken before the student goes to his/her classroom.  

        

    Visitors

     All visitors must enter the building by the side door across from the soccer fields.  Visitors must go directly to the main office and sign in.  Please wear a visitors badge while you are in the building.    

     

    Volunteers

    Parents, grandparents, and senior citizens are encouraged to become part of the Mahala F. Atchison educational family by volunteering at the school. Your talents and skills are needed. Please contact the office (732-542-2500) to enlist.

     

    Writing Portfolio

    Writing portfolios are used to report student progress.  The portfolio, containing student's writing samples, will be distributed three times during the year.  After reviewing the portfolio at home, please return the folder with all the samples included.

     

     Updated: July 2018

Last Modified on July 17, 2018