Parent Student Handbook
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Table of Contents
Understanding Francine Delany
Communication at Francine Delany
Daily Schedule at Francine Delany
Which absences can lawfully be excused?
How can I get an absence marked as excused?
Which absences cannot be excused?
When can an early release or a tardy become an absence?
How many absences are “too many” absences?
What is summer school and its attendance policy?
Safe School Policy
Frequently Asked Questions
Understanding Francine Delany
A charter school is an independent public school. Francine Delany New School for Children (FDNSC) became a charter school in 1997. The N.C. Department of Public Instruction sponsors FDNSC’s operating contract.
As a charter school, FDNSC has the ability to hire and dismiss, contract for outside services, define its own educational philosophy and curriculum, and control its own finances. Charter schools are held accountable by the state; in order to stay in operation, they must meet the terms of their respective charters.
Charter schools may not charge tuition. They receive the same per-pupil money allotment from the state as other schools in their district. They must maintain a racial balance that reflects the racial makeup of the local school district.
Charter schools focus on results, permit true decentralization, offer new professional opportunities for teachers, and provide for a more market-driven educational system.
“Francine Delany is a school I truly believe in—where the community works for the individual, and the individual learns to work for the community.
Our emphasis is on academic development and social justice.
It’s a model of public education that really works.”
- We believe that students learn best when they are actively engaged in an experientially rich, hands-on program of study.
- We strive to create a learning community that includes students, teachers, parents, and community all working in partnership. Our classrooms serve as working models of this learning community.
- We challenge students to develop critical thinking skills and reach ambitious academic goals while developing self-respect and respect for others.
- We value curiosity and creativity.
- We believe that teachers function as guides and partners.
- We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or mental, physical, or sensory disability.
FDNSC has three main bodies that govern the operation of the school.
1. The Directorate is responsible for discussing school issues and maintaining the vision laid out by the FDNSC charter. It consists of FDNSC teachers and founding teachers. Its responsibilities include:
- ensuring that the school conforms to state and federal laws,
- making curriculum decisions,
- managing the budget,
- overseeing the admissions process,
- managing faculty and staff,
- disciplining students as outlined in our Safe School Plan, and
- carrying out the philosophy of the school in instruction.
2. The Executive Council is the administrative and operating body of the school responsible for the day-to-day management. It consists of Buffy Fowler, Operations Coordinator; Elana Froehlich, Title I teacher; Melissa Murphy, Naomi Marotta and Robyn Moser, teacher representatives. Its responsibilities include:
- making final decisions with teacher input/recommendation (that cannot be decided by the Directorate); finalizing details/policies/proposals with teacher input,
- handling emergency time sensitive decisions that need action before the next Directorate,
- acting as board and Directorate members, and
- ensuring that philosophy and theory of the school is followed as written in the charter.
3. The Board of Directors is the governing body of the school and safeguards its existence, values, and philosophy as stated in our charter. The Board has nine members: four teachers employed by the school, three parents of children attending the school, and two members from the community. The Board
- establishes policies,
- approves personnel,
- oversees the budget, and
- ensures that all of the school’s affairs are consistent with state and federal laws.
Anyone interested in serving on the board should contact a Directorate or Board member. For a listing of current Board members, please refer to www.fdnsc.net/about-fdnsc/board-of-directors/.
The Board meets monthly at 5:30 p.m. at the school. All meetings are open to the public, and we encourage parents to attend. The meeting dates for each school year are set at the first Board meeting. For information on Board meeting dates, please call the office.
Because we believe parents play an important role in our learning community, we ask that you volunteer ten hours per semester.You can fulfill this volunteer time by driving on field trips, helping out in the classroom, lending a hand at the health fair, etc. Contact your child’s teacher for other volunteer opportunities.
Please be sure to record your volunteer hours online at www.fdnsc.net or in the logbook in the office. We use this log to gauge the level of parent involvement; plus, this log is very useful when we apply for grants and donations.
When volunteering on campus, you may learn about students’ strengths, needs, and tendencies. In order to provide a safe and caring environment, we ask that volunteers maintain a high level of confidentiality. Please do not share information you learn about children while volunteering with anyone but the child’s classroom teacher.
Communication at Francine Delany
We value open and frequent communication between teachers, parents, and students. Below is a list of ways we can keep in touch.
- Teachers have regularly scheduled teacher/parent/student conferences for the purpose of evaluation throughout the year. These meetings typically coincide with report cards. Look for notices in your child’s papers and sign up for a conference time that works for you.
- Feel free to email your child’s teacher (addresses are on the back cover or on our website) with questions, observations, or comments. You may also call the school (236-9441) and leave a message for the teacher.
- You can also schedule a meeting with your child’s teacher. Please call the school (or send a note with your child) to schedule an appointment before 8:00 a.m. or after 2:45 p.m. To protect the learning environment for all children, teachers do not schedule conferences during the school day (8:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.). Sometimes Exceptional Children’s conferences are scheduled during the day.
- Per Section 1111(h)(6)(A) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by No Child Left Behind (NCLB), Parents have the right to request and the school will provide, information regarding the qualifications of the student’s classroom teacher(s). If you would like to review your child’s teacher’s qualifications please contact Elana Froehlich at firstname.lastname@example.org or 236-9441 ext. 243.
Yes! We want you to know what is happening at FDNSC. You are welcome in the classroom as a visitor or as a volunteer. Volunteering is a helpful way to become part of the learning community. Please ask your child’s teacher to set up a schedule that is convenient to both of you. (You may always join your child at lunch for a quick and informal visit.) Alwayscheck in at the office to sign in and get a visitor’s name tag.
Yes, we have open-houses, parents’ nights, community events, and other activities organized through classrooms. FDNSC strives to create an open and friendly environment, and these community events are wonderful times to let your child be your guide and to meet the many people who make up this learning community. For more information about community events, contact Tyrone Greenlee at email@example.com.
As a parent, your observations and questions are important to us. If you have questions or concerns, your child’s teacher is your first point of contact. If the issue is not resolved, see a member of the Executive Council, to schedule an Executive Council meeting. If you do not resolve the issue at the Executive level, please contact the Board President.
Daily Schedule at Francine Delany
School starts at 8:15 a.m.
Students should arrive between 7:30 a.m. and 8:15 a.m. Do not bring your child to school before 7:30 a.m.; there is no supervision before 7:30.
We’ve explained below where your child should go when he or she arrives.
|Your child arrives between 7:30 and 8:00 a.m.,||your child should go straight to the multi-purpose room.|
|Your child arrives after 8:00 a.m.,||your child should go to directly to his or her classroom.|
|Your child has breakfast at the school and arrives between 8:00 and 8:10 a.m.,||your child should go to the multi-purpose room.|
|Your child arrives after 8:15 a.m.,||your child should go to the office and get a tardy slip|
School ends at 2:30 p.m.
You should pick up your child between 2:30 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. We will supervise the children until 2:45 p.m. After 2:45 PM, children will go to the school office. Parents should park and come to the office for their child. We will charge parents $5.00 for childcare for each 15 minute interval past 2:45 p.m. Please pay when you pick up your child. For more information on riding the bus, please see the Transportation section in the Frequently Asked Questions. If a child is not picked up by 4:00, we will contact DSS and/or the police to help get the child home. For more information on riding the bus, please see the Transportation section in the Frequently Asked Questions.
Yes, we have contracted with Denisa Rullmoss to run an after school program, The Owls Nest. Questions about the program can be directed to Denisa at firstname.lastname@example.org. Several after school programs also pick up at our school including: YWCA and Salvation Army. Students may ride our bus to the Jewish Community Center.
We believe that each student should be on time and attend school every day. Regular school attendance is critical to your child’s learning. We also believe that you and your child are responsible for ensuring regular attendance.
Because we believe so strongly in the importance of school attendance, our attendance policy goes beyond the North Carolina State Laws pertaining to student attendance by not excusing travel-related absences. Furthermore, the Board of Directors is committed to the implementing a student attendance policy that is nondiscriminatory, discourages dropouts, and encourages regular attendance.
If your child is absent for one of the reasons below, you can request that the absence be marked as excused. (These conditions are also true for any tardy or early release.)
a. The student is ill and cannot physically attend school. (See our Health and Safety FAQ’s.)
b. The student has a medical or dental appointment. (The student should return to school with a note from the medical or dental office.)
c. The student is absent because of the death of an immediate family member.
d. The student is absent due to the observance of an event required or suggested by the student’s religion.
e. The local health officer or State Board of Health orders the isolation of the student.
f. The student is required to attend a court hearing.
We consider your child present when your child is:
a. participating in a school-sponsored field trips,
b. involved in other activities initiated by and scheduled by the school,
c. attending special school events which may require early dismissal from school, or
d. attending an in-school suspension.
Write a note explaining the absence with your signature. Send the note in with your child when he or she returns from the absence within two days.
As soon as a parent anticipates a student’s extended absence because of a severe, prolonged, or chronic illness under a physician’s care, the parent must notify the child’s teacher.
In general, if the absence is not covered in the reasons for excused absences above, we cannot excuse the absence.
We cannot excuse any absences related to travel, however educational it may be.
We expect students to arrive on time and remain in school the full day. Tardies and early releases cause students to miss important information and are strongly discouraged.
An early release will become an absence if the student was present for less than three hours of the school day.
Three unexcused tardies or early releases or any combinations of early releases and tardies will be equated to one day of absence.
We believe that students benefit from being in class every day. If your child is out for 3 consecutive days because of illness, we may require you to provide a doctor’s letter verifying the illness.
Once your child has 10 absences (either excused or unexcused), the Directorate will require the family to attend a meeting to discuss an attendance improvement plan. The Directorate may file A Report of Unlawful Absences if the child accumulates unexcused absences.
We will require your child to attend summer school if your child has 19 or more absences (excused or unexcused).
FDNSC’s summer school program operates a five-day session. The daily schedule is 8:30am-11:30am, and the cost is $50.00 paid in advance. If a student is unable to afford the summer school, the student’s parents may ask the Directorate for a fee reduction. The Directorate will determine whether to reduce the $50.00 fee within 10 days.
During the summer school sessions, absence, tardiness, or disruptive behavior will result in dismissal from the summer school program. This may result in a grade level retention.
Safe School Policy
We strive to provide the entire school community with a safe, orderly, and caring learning environment. In this section, we outline items we prohibit from our campus. In addition, please note that bringing any of these items onto school property can result in disciplinary actions. (You may ask in the office to see the Safe Schools Policy in its entirety)
We prohibit the following on campus:
- Knives (including pocket knives, folding knives, sheath knives, “Swiss Army” and “Leatherman” or other multi-tools that include knife blades)
- Drugs (including both illegal, over-the-counter, prescription)
If your child requires medication at school please see the Safety and Health Policy for procedures.
- We will consider this action a serious misbehavior.
- We will suspend the student from school immediately.
- We may contact the police or take other legal action if appropriate or necessary.
Also remember, if a student uses any object as a weapon and threatens, intimidates, or injures another student or staff member, the same consequences apply. We will immediately suspend the student and may contact the police.
Since tobacco is prohibited on campus, can I smoke if I’m at school?
No. We prohibit all tobacco, alcohol, and drugs.
We believe that students have a major role in making meaningful decisions about their schooling and in designing an educational community in which they feel connected to one another and to adults. Students must exercise self-discipline so that an appropriate learning environment can be maintained. Our Discipline Policy assumes that our expectations for student behavior are clearly communicated and failure to follow those expectations is a matter of student choice (i.e. poor decision making). Our plan reflects the belief that we should learn from our mistakes through logical consequences. Parents are a vital link in this learning process. We look forward to the support of the parent in helping us resolve any problems.
What are logical consequences? (from Rules in School by Northeast Foundation)
When children make mistakes in following the rules, the teacher will help them solve the problems caused by their mistakes through the use of “logical consequences.” Logical consequences are not punishments. They are ways to help children see the effects of their actions, repair the situation, and learn to do better next time.
There are three basic kinds of logical consequences:
Take a break – If a child is losing self-control, s/he goes to a designated spot in the room to cool off. The break is short. The child comes back as soon as s/he has regained control. Children may go voluntarily to “take a break.” Children may go voluntarily
Loss of privilege – If a child misuses a material or acts out during an activity, s/he will be told to stop using the material or doing the activity for a short period of time. The privilege will be restored when the child and teacher have talked about how to prevent a similar problem in the future.
“You break it, you fix it” – If a child damages something or hurts another’s feelings, s/he will try to fix the damage. In the case of hurting another’s feelings, the child might offer an apology of action – writing a card, helping with an activity, making illustration, taking some other action beyond verbally saying sorry.
Our goal as teachers is to help children believe in their ability to create a caring learning environment. Learning to live by the rules they’ve created is an important step. Logical consequences are relevant, realistic and respectful. They help us learn by our mistakes in everyday classroom situation.
FDNSC also employs mediation as a conflict resolution strategy. We use mediation to empower students in minor conflicts to create their own logical agreements. For more information about mediation and its role at FDNSC, contact your child’s classroom teacher.
What behaviors will require further disciplinary actions?
Below is a list of behaviors that are against school policies of nondiscrimination and safety. We will initiate disciplinary actions for any of the following:
- Actions that could endanger the safety of the student or another individual (e.g., violence, verbal abuse, displaying hostile treatment, disobeying bus rules, and violating our Safe School Plan)
- Actions that could damage school or personal property (e.g., graffiti)
- Actions, behaviors, and language that are socially unacceptable such as those that are sexually explicit, exploitative, or bigoted. (Examples include: teasing, bullying*, slurs, discrimination*, sexual harassment, innuendos, derogatory remarks, jokes, demeaning comments, mimicking, name calling, gestures, physical contact, stalking, and displaying or circulating written materials or pictures (including clothing).
- Actions that threaten to disrupt the learning environment (e.g., excessive interrupting and refusing to cooperate)
*FDNSC defines bullying and discrimination the following ways:
Bullying is any harmful or aggressive act toward an individual or group that is intentional and repeated. There is typically a real or perceived imbalance of physical power, a social network, or verbal skills that favor the perpetrator(s).
Discrimination is an act by a student, staff member, volunteer, or parent that is insulting, intimidating, or demeaning any student, staff member, volunteer, or parent or group of people based upon actual or perceived characteristics of but not limited to race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or mental, physical, or sensory disability.
What is the disciplinary procedure?
Depending on the severity of the offensive behavior, the teacher may handle the problem in the classroom with the use of logical consequences or (s)he may enlist parent support to help solve the problem.
We use the following disciplinary procedure:
- The teacher documents the behavior and logical consequences.
- The teacher contacts the parents, as needed.
- The teacher, parent, student and a Directorate member meet to create a Student Behavior Plan, as needed. If a parent does not attend a scheduled behavior meeting, a Directorate member will act as the child’s advocate in the meeting.
- The teacher and parents will meet to document progress on the Behavior Plan, as needed.
What forms might you see?
Teachers may use the Student Update form or an informal note to communicate with parents. The Safe School Plan Incident Report has two levels. Level I refers to minor infractions that are chronic disruptions to the learning environment. Level II refers to severe infractions. You can view these forms in the office.
When does this discipline policy apply?
This policy will apply in the following circumstances:
- while in any school building on any school premises before, during or after school hours;
- while on bus or other vehicle as part of any school activity;
- during any school function, extracurricular activity, or other activity or event (on or off campus);
- when subject to the authority of school personnel; and
- anytime or place when the behavior has a direct and immediate effect on maintaining order and discipline in the school.
Frequently Asked Questions
|How will I know if the school is closed because of inclement weather?||1. Watch WLOS-TV or check www.wlos.com for our school name. You may also listen to WCQS (88.1) FM. We do not follow the Asheville City School system. You will see or hear our school name if school is canceled.2. If our name appears, it will specify whether FDNSC is:
|What will change if the school opens at 10:00 am?||
When the school opens late because of weather, we will not provide morning transportation. You must drop-off your child on these days. Please drop your child off between 9:45 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. There is no scheduled supervision prior to 9:45 a.m. The afternoon bus will run on its normal schedule.
Please remember that we want you and your child to be safe. If school opens at 10:00 a.m. and your roads are too dangerous to travel, please send us a signed note to that effect within two days of your child’s return to school, and we will excuse the absence.
|What if my child goes to an after school program run by Asheville Parks and Recreation?||In addition to looking for FDNSC status, you’ll also need to know if Asheville City Schools are closed. If Asheville City Schools are closed, the Asheville Parks and Recreation’s after-school programs will be canceled.|
|What if my child goes to another after school program?||Be sure to listen for your after-school program and plan accordingly.|
|What if the weather turns bad during the day?||· Listen to TV or radio for announcements.· Feel free to pick up your child any time you believe weather is making roads hazardous.· If your child’s early dismissal plan is different than his or her regular after school transportation, please let your child’s teacher know in writing. Again, check with your after- school arrangement to see if it provides service for early dismissal. Your child’s teacher must be aware of what you want your child to do.|