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Forest Park Elementary School Parent Handbook 2011-2012

Half Hollow Hills Central School District

HALF HOLLOW HILLS CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT Forest Park Elementary School Mr. Ross Diener, Principal Mrs. Deborah Kolodny, Assistant Principal


Superintendent of Schools

Dr. Patrick Harrigan

Assistant Superintendent for District-wide Administration

Mr. John O’Farrell

Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Education

Mrs. Mary A. Rettaliata

Assistant Superintendent for Elementary Education

Ms. Anne Marie Marrone Caliendo

Assistant Superintendent for Finance and Facilities

BOARD OF EDUCATION Jeanine Bottenus, President James Ptucha, Vice President Diana Acampora, Board Trustee Betty DeSabato, Board Trustee Eric Geringswald, Board Trustee Frank Grimaldi, Board Trustee Paul Peller, M.D., Board Trustee

Principal’s Message Dear Parents, The staff and I extend a warm welcome to you as we begin another school year. We view your participation in your child’s education to be a vital link in the student-schoolparent triangle. Your child’s success is based, in part, upon how well we communicate and cooperate with each other. This Parent Handbook provides information about Forest Park: our policies, procedures and programs. Please become familiar with this resource, and use it for future reference. We appreciate your comments and feedback as to the usefulness of this pamphlet and the information it contains. The upcoming school year should be very exciting. We are looking forward to your participation in our numerous during and after school activities and events. You should also consider joining the PTA; officially these letters stand for Parent Teachers Association, but here at Forest Park they also stand for Parents + Teachers = Achievement. Again, welcome to another school year; we look forward to seeing you around the building.


Ross Diener Principal


Our Mission Our mission is to provide our students with opportunities designed to meet individual needs and to ensure that every child has experiences that promote growth in all

academic and social/developmental areas. Through mutual respect our students will grow and learn in a positive atmosphere, where faculty, staff, parents and students together are enthusiastic about the learning process.

Our Vision To achieve our mission, we will develop our capacity to function as a professional learning community, wherein well-researched best practices are in place and/or explored. We envision a school in which we… •

Unite to achieve a common purpose with clear goals;

Work together in collaborative teams;

Seek and implement promising strategies for improving student achievement on a continuing basis;

• •

Monitor each student’s progress;

Demonstrate a personal commitment to the academic success and general well-being of all students.


Attendance Policies SCHOOL HOURS Grades K – 5

9:10 am to 3:20 pm

ARRIVAL AND DISMISSAL Instruction begins at 9:10 AM, and dismissal is at 3:20 PM. Please make every attempt to have your child arrive on time. If your child should arrive after 9:10 he/she needs to report to the front desk for a late pass. You need to escort your child into the building. Unless otherwise instructed in writing, your child will be escorted to and placed upon his/her regularly assigned bus. If you wish to have your child go on a different bus, you must send in a letter to that effect. Since seating is limited and seats are assigned, if no seat is available, you will be notified to make other arrangements. If you plan on picking your child up before the regular dismissal time, or at dismissal time, you must send in a written letter (pre-prepared pads are available through the PTA) to your child’s teacher stating the time you plan on picking your child up. Upon your arrival, you will be asked to sign your child out in the official Student Dismissal Book located with the Hall Monitor outside of the main office. Your child will then be sent for. If you pick up your child at dismissal time, he/she will meet you in the cafeteria; you will be asked to sign him/her out as well and in all instances, you will be asked to show proof of identity. We do understand that there are last minute circumstances that may result in changes in your child’s dismissal. Whenever possible please notify the office of changes to the regular dismissal procedures by no later than 2:45 PM. This will allow for a smooth dismissal process of all students. Students can only be dismissed to a custodial parent, unless you submit a letter indicating that a grandparent, aunt or uncle, adult sibling (18 years old or older) or an adult friend will be picking up your child. Please include the name of the individual and their relationship to your child. Under no circumstance will we dismiss a child to anyone other than the custodial parent unless the request is made in writing. Phone requests are not acceptable! Also, the individual picking up your child must be 18 years of age or older and must be able to provide a valid form of identification.


TRANSPORTATION All district children are provided transportation to and from school. Bus schedules are made available to parents at the opening of the school year. If for some reason you need to pick your child, please send a note to his/her teacher and plan to meet him/her in the Cafeteria. A dated, written note must accompany any request for a change in dismissal arrangements, otherwise, your child will be dismissed in the regular fashion. This policy is designed to ensure the safety of all students. Please keep in mind that dismissal begins at 3:15 PM. Removing your child prior to this time will interfere with his/her instruction time and is also disruptive to the entire class. Bus Safety We are very concerned with bus safety and regularly instruct students on appropriate procedures throughout the year. It would be helpful if you would review the following regulations with your child. 1. Wait for the bus at a safe distance from the side of the road. 2. Board the bus when it is stopped, red lights are flashing, and the doors are opened. 3. Take a seat promptly. 4. Buckle your seat belt. 5. Talk in a soft voice. 6. Keep objects on the seat or in your lap, or on the floor in front of you. 7. Remain seated while the bus is in motion. 8. Stand only when the bus has come to a complete stop. 9. Never put arms or heads out of the bus. 10. Listen to the bus driver. 11. When leaving the bus, always cross 10 feet in front of the bus. Look up at the driver and watch for his/her signal to cross. 12. Proceed directly home after getting off the bus. 13. If ever something drops in the road, do not go back for it. Instead, wait for an adult to do so.


STUDENT DROP OFF AND PICK UP Although the district provides free busing, many parents prefer to drive their children to and from school. If you wish to do so, please drop your child off in the morning in the large parking lot, following the directions of the security guard. No cars are allowed in the circular driveway when school buses are present. Likewise, if you should park in the small lot in the front of the building, please pull into a spot and shut off your engine. Cars will not be permitted to enter or exit the small parking lot while buses are present in the circle. Any car parked in the small lot will be required to wait until all buses have exited the circle. Cars are not to be idling facing the buses; this is done to guarantee the safety of all students. At dismissal time, if you are picking your child up, you should park in the large parking lot in a designated spot, not interfering with the buses. As a safety precaution, students may not go back into unsupervised classrooms after dismissal.

ABSENCES Your child’s success in school as well as the ability to learn good work habits will be enhanced by good attendance and punctuality. Please make every effort to have your child arrive at school on time and to be absent only if really necessary. New York State attendance laws require a written excuse note for each absence indicating the reason for the absence. This note must accompany your child upon his/her return to school. Should your child need to be absent, please call the nurse’s voice mail at 592-3556 to report the absence; you can call before or after school and leave a message. Illness A child may be exposed to strep throat or other viruses for which there are no vaccines. However, a well-nourished, physically fit child can be more resistant to illness. If your child should become ill, the following suggestions may be helpful: 1. Keep your child home if he/she has a temperature of 100 or over. 2. Keep your child home if he/she has a temperature 99+ and appears to be fatigued, has a headache, is vomiting, has diarrhea, or has symptoms of a beginning cold. 3. Keep your child home if during the previous day or evening he/she has had any of the before-mentioned symptoms. Children need some time to recuperate before they can return to a day of school. We request that you call the school to let us know if your child will be absent. This is a safety precaution so that we are sure all children who should be in school have in fact arrived. It is important to report to the school nurse any communicable disease or other illness or injury.


Should your child become ill in school, the nurse will notify you or your designee. PLEASE BE SURE THE NURSE HAS CURRENT AND ACCURATE EMERGENCY PHONE NUMBERS. Accidents In case of an accident or injury the school nurse will use appropriate first aid and call you. Special Medical Needs If your child has a special need such as asthma, diabetes, or other condition, we strongly encourage you to discuss this with the nurse so that we can help your child adapt to the school day. Medication Procedure Your child may be required to take medication in school during the year. We must have written permission from the parents and written medical directions from the physician. The nurse will only dispense medication from a pharmacy-prepared container.

CLOSING OF SCHOOL IN EMERGENCIES & DELAYED OPENINGS The regular school day is from 9:10 AM to 3:20 PM. Buses usually leave by 3:25 PM. On inclement days, you will receive a telephone call through the district’s telephone routing system, advising you about a delayed opening or school closing. Another valuable resource is the district web site,, or, local radio and/or television stations. Please note that on days when we do have a delayed opening, there is no early morning program; please do not drop your child off before 11:10 AM, since there is no one here to supervise them.


ADMISSION Kindergarten A child residing in the district who will be five years old on or before December 31st may enter Kindergarten in September. Kindergarten registration is held in the spring. Public notice will be given of exact dates, times and places. A birth certificate, certificate of immunization and evidence of physical examination must be presented. New York State requires that children must be adequately immunized against measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR), diphtheria, polio, hepatitis B and varicella (chicken pox).

First Grade To be eligible for admission to first grade, a child must be six years of age on or before December 31st, or evidence must be presented that the child has satisfactorily completed a full year in a Kindergarten program of a non-public school, which is registered with the State of New York Education Department. Attendance at a nursery school is not an acceptable substitute for certified Kindergarten program; your child will not be considered for admission to first grade.

BEFORE & AFTER SCHOOL CARE Child care is available at Forest Park everyday. Beginning at 7:30 AM, a caring person is on hand to receive children and watch them until school begins. Similarly, after-school is also available daily until 6:00 PM. These programs are available through R.E.A.C.H. CYA, Inc. A fee is charged for these services. You can contact R.E.A.C.H. CYA at 549-9417.


Student Policies and Services EXTENDED LEARNING Teachers are required to provide students with two forty-five minute periods of extended learning each week either before or after school. Your child’s teacher will post his/her extended learning schedule at the beginning of the school year and will discuss it at Meet-the-Teacher Night.

REPORTING STUDENT PROGRESS Meet the Teacher Night Meet the teacher night is held a few weeks after the start of school in September. This meeting provides you with an opportunity to meet your child’s teacher and to learn about the curriculum and activities which will take place throughout the year. If you need to talk to your child’s teacher about issues specific to your child, it would be appropriate to schedule an appointment to do so. Report Cards Report Cards are distributed four times throughout the school year- November, January, April and June. The Half Hollow Hills Central School District is pleased to announce that the Elementary Report Card is now available online. If you already have Parent Portal Access to Infinite Campus you can view your child’s report card online. All parents are encouraged to access the Parent Portal as soon as possible. See the district website for more information. Parent Teacher Conferences Parent Teacher Conferences are held two evenings and one full day in November. Your child’s teacher will send home written notification to you requesting which day and time is convenient. In addition, teachers are always willing to meet with you to discuss your child’s progress; to do so, send in a request to your child’s teacher to set up an appointment.


HOMEWORK Homework is an outgrowth of the activities that take place in school the day it is assigned, unless of course, your child is working on a long-range project. Since the homework content may be new and unfamiliar material, it would be best to wait for your child to return to school, learn the new material, and have his/her teacher determine an appropriate homework assignment. If your child is home ill, it would be better to allow him/her to recuperate and return to school as soon as possible. Your child can always read and if you so desire, could write a response to the reading. If your child is going to be out of school for a prolonged time due to a medical issue, arrangements can be made through the district to provide home schooling. A letter from your physician is required.

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT SERVICES In addition to their classroom and special area teachers (art, music, library and physical education), children who need additional support and/or enhancement can receive these services from … ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾

reading specialists math specialist our school psychologist speech and language pathologists an enrichment consultant our sight and hearing impaired instructor an English as a second language instructor a physical therapist an occupational therapist

STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS All of us are unique and have different learning styles. To assist students with academic, social and behavioral skills issues, learning disabilities and/or speech and language problems, the district has initiated special classes or services to address these needs. As a parent, you have the right to have your child evaluated, and if deemed appropriate, to have your child placed in an appropriate school setting which will best meet his or her needs. Testing is only done with written parental approval. All results will be shared with you along with a full explanation and recommendations.


FIELD TRIPS Trips are an important part of your child’s school experience, and all students should be encouraged to participate. A signed permission slip must be on file with the office prior to the date of the trip. Telephone permission is not acceptable. Please make sure you include all pertinent information that you feel will make for a safe trip.

BREAKFAST PROGRAM Breakfast is an important element to your child’s success in school. A School Breakfast Program is available, and each year you will receive information about its cost. Breakfast consists of four ounces of juice, cereal, accompanied with toast, bagel or roll, and milk.

SCHOOL LUNCH Children’s health and ability to do well in school are influenced by the type of lunch they eat. Forest Park provides a hot lunch daily, which includes beverage and dessert. Menus are distributed monthly. Of course, students may bring their own lunch and can purchase snack items separately. Free or reduced lunch is available for those families meeting the annual income level requirements of the School Food Authority as prescribed by the New York State Education Department. Applications are available through the Health Office. If your child has forgotten their lunch, they should check in the office to ensure that it has not been brought to school. With teacher approval, students may phone home to request that you bring their lunch. Otherwise, students can purchase a hot lunch. If they do not have money, they may borrow money from the Hall Monitor, who should be reimbursed the next day. As long as children repay this debt, he/she will be able to select a lunch of their own choice. For safety reasons, if a child forgets their lunch in their classroom, we do not allow them to return to the room to retrieve it; they are asked to purchase a lunch as described above. Similarly, students may not go back into unsupervised classrooms after dismissal.


Curriculum Overview The New York State Common Core Standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics integrated with History, Social Studies, Science and Technical Subjects are the foundation for the Half Hollow Hills Curriculum. Through differentiated instruction, curriculum is molded to meet the needs of all learners. Classroom teachers incorporate into their lesson planning the diversity of learning styles and abilities that exist in all classrooms, working closely with students who need assistance while at the same time providing other students with enrichment opportunities.

Elementary Content English Language Arts integrates reading, writing, listening and speaking and provides students with the tools to acquire, understand, analyze and evaluate information. Students are provided with opportunities to communicate effectively and expressively, and learn to interact and respond to literature more critically becoming evaluators of text. Social Studies is viewed from a historic, geographic, economic, civic, political and social perspective. Students are presented with global understandings of change, citizenship, culture, empathy, environment, identity, interdependence, nation-state, scarcity and technology and acquire skills necessary to analyze and utilize info. The Mathematics program focuses on the development of critical thinking and problem solving strategies. The use of various manipulatives enables children to enjoy a hands-on approach to learning. Computer software is used to facilitate the acquisition of math skills both in school and at home. Students participate in small group activities where they learn to listen and consider the ideas of others in solving problems. Students continually communicate mathematical ideas and solutions and explain their reasoning. Science instruction incorporates a hands-on approach as students investigate life, physical and earth sciences. Using the elements of scientific inquiry, students hypothesize, experiment, record data and draw conclusions based upon information they have gathered. Our Computer Technology program is sequential in nature. Students become familiar with the operations and terminology of computers while integrating these


skills within other curriculum areas. Students have access to computers in their classroom, library and on mobile laptop carts. Within the Physical Education program students experience physically engaging, socially rewarding and emotionally uplifting activities while developing confidence, competence and self esteem. They develop specific loco-motor skills, learn rules, follow directions, realize the importance of teamwork, plan and execute strategies, practice good sportsmanship and value the importance of physical fitness and safety. Our Library program is geared to foster a love of reading, and as well as provide students with the skills needed to use the library as a resource. Research skills are taught, and in collaboration with classroom teachers, our library media specialist creates activities that are aligned to class work and curriculum. All students participate in our library’s book lending program. In Art, students learn through exploration, creativity and self-expression. Students learn the rudiments of art through a developmentally appropriate sequential curriculum. Using an array of art mediums, students learn basic art skills, become familiar with artistic styles, techniques and equipment, and learn to appreciate art and its contributions to society and culture. Higher-level thinking skills are addressed as students are asked to make critical judgments regarding form, design and quality.

Our Music program is designed to help each child develop listening skills and an awareness of the impact music has on our daily life. Individual creativity and expression are stressed along with performance skills and the ability to participate in both choral and instrumental ensembles. Students are afforded the opportunity to perform before a live audience several times during the year.


General Policies & Information LOST AND FOUND If your child has forgotten an item at home, they may call home requesting that you bring it in with their teacher’s approval. Similarly, items left in school may be brought to the Lost and Found box located in the cafeteria. Students should check it regularly; periodically, the box is cleaned out and the items are donated to local charities. Notices will be sent home to alert you. Please label all clothing items, book bags, and supplies with your child’s name. By doing so, most “lost” items can be returned to their owners promptly.

FIRE AND RELOCATION DRILLS Drills are held on a regular basis throughout the school year.

UNAUTHORIZED ITEMS Students are not permitted to bring to school or to use the following items on the school bus…iPods, CD players, cell phones, or any other electrical equipment. If a child has anyone of these items in their possession, it will be taken from them and placed in a secure place in the principal’s office. You will be notified and asked to come to school to retrieve the item. From our experience, these items tend to create problems and/or get lost. In addition, students cannot bring toy guns or any other weapon-like object to school. They will be taken from them and a parent will be required to remove them from the school.

PARTY INVITATIONS Many unhappy situations have occurred when party invitations are distributed to classmates in school. Children who are not invited are often hurt and learning is disrupted. To avoid this, invitations should be conveyed by telephone or through the mail.

VISITORS Visitors are always welcome at Forest Park. Prior to going to your child’s classroom, everyone is expected to sign the visitor’s book and receive a visitor’s pass, which can be obtained at the desk outside of the main office. If you wish to meet with your child’s teacher and/or other staff member, it is best to call ahead to schedule an appointment.


SCHOOL BASED MANAGEMENT TEAM The Team discusses educational and social issues, which address the needs of Forest Park students and the community. It is comprised of parents, teachers and support staff, a community member and the building principal and assistant principal.

PARENT TEACHER ASSOCIATION The Forest Park PTA plays a vital role in your child’s education; they provide educational programs and materials as well as numerous during- and after-school social activities. Your involvement in the PTA is a vital link in the school-student-home continuum. Membership is open to all, and your active participation is greatly encouraged and appreciated. Throughout the school year, the PTA sponsors various fund raising activities that raise money to help enhance our educational programs. In addition, there is wonderful collaboration between parents and the school, with several events throughout the year being jointly sponsored, such as PARP (Parents As Reading Partners). As a member of the PTA, you will have the opportunity to volunteer on numerous committees and to participate in numerous activities.

BOARD OF EDUCATION MEETINGS Meetings are open to all district residents, and are held twice monthly, usually on Monday evenings. Dates and meeting locations are listed on the school calendar.

COMMUNITY LIBRARY PROGRAM Half Hollow Hills offers a multi-faceted community library program. A newsletter describing the available programs will be sent to you monthly.

INDOOR SWIMMING POOL Half Hollow Hills High School West provides district residents access to its indoor swimming pool. For more information, call 592-3276 for details.


STAYING INFORMED There are a number of ways to stay informed about what is happening at school. Here are a few: Meet the Teacher Night Parent Teacher Conferences Principal’s Newsletter Class Newsletters District Website - (Click on Our Schools, and then Forest Park Elementary for more Information) Notices Sent home with your child Parent Teacher Association Notices


2011-12 Forest Park Handbook  

2011-12 Forest Park Handbook