Issuu on Google+

Parent & Student Handbook


PURPOSE AND USE OF HANDBOOK

This handbook exists to foster the efficient operation of Horizon Academy. To meet this objective, the school’s administration is given flexibility and the ability to exercise discretion in appropriate circumstances. The principal has discretion to take action on circumstances other than those specified in the handbook. This handbook is not intended and should not be considered to create any additional rights for students and/or parents/guardians. AMENDMENTS TO HANDBOOK

This handbook is subject to change at any time when determined to be necessary by the board or administration of Horizon Academy. OUR HISTORY

Horizon Academy was born out of a passion for education, a love for children, and an aspiration for excellence from a core group of parents and educators who believe that every child should be given the opportunity to meet and exceed his or her true potential. The efforts have been focused and consistent, the faith and the vision unwavering. The result is truly the product of synergy. Horizon Academy is proof that dedication and hard work can indeed make dreams a reality. OUR CREED

• We believe in the power of our God, the source of all and the reason for all. • We believe in celebrating, living, and sharing our core values. • We believe in the power of education and the process of learning. • We strive to create a challenging and nurturing environment of active and interactive learners. We respect the classroom as a place where we can take risks, discover our talents, and share them with others. • We believe in teaching to the heart, mind, and soul of each child. OUR MISSION

To provide a challenging international education, from kindergarten to high school, in a progressive environment which focuses on the development of the whole child in preparation for national and global citizenship OUR CORE VALUES

• Accountability and Responsibility • Appreciation for Diverse Cultures • Progressive Work Ethics • Civility • Excellence • Healthy Living • Respect for the Environment • Honesty • Independence • Individual Integrity


OUR PROMISE

We will: • provide a happy, safe student-centered environment. • have a strong, involved community of parents, teachers, and students interacting daily with each other. • encourage and engender excellence in academics by meeting and going beyond national benchmarks. • have a comprehensive Language Arts program with a built-in reading component which will introduce students to quality children’s literature. • build character and develop the spiritual dimension by teaching Character Education along with Religion and involving students in community outreach programs. • support the use of technology in each classroom. • implement a two-part Physical Education Program based on fitness and athletics. • teach courses in Study Skills, Organization Skills, and Test-taking Skills. • actively involve students in the school’s decision to “Go Green” and in the school’s organic garden. • execute an elective program that will highlight and develop individual interests and talents.


Table of Contents About the Handbook; Purpose and Use Amendments Our History; Our Creed Our Mission; Our Core Values Our Promise Table of Contents Admissions Policy Attendance Behaviour Expectations/Discipline/ Bullying/Harassment Birthdays Care of School Property Cheating Closing of School in Inclement Weather Communication Conferences Confidentiality Curriculum Custody and Guardianship Differentiation Dismissal Policies Dress for Learning Emergency Protocols Expulsion Extracurricular Activities Fees Field Trips Forbidden Items Fundraising Going Green Grade Level Promotion/Retention/Acceleration Guidance Services Health Issues Helping Students Succeed Homework

Library Lost and Found Lunch and Snack Program Making Up Work Money Order of the Day Parents as Partners Parties Progress Reports Problem Solving Room Questions Registration of New Students Related Arts Report Cards School Books School Committees Special Education Services Study Habits Summer Programs Summer Reading and Math Supplies Suspension Tardiness/ Truancy Telephone Use Testing Transportation Changes Visitors Volunteers Website Wish List You Younger Siblings ZZZZZZZ


PLACING NEW STEPS OF CHANGE

1

POLICIES AND SCHOOL REGULATIONS ADMISSIONS POLICY

Admissions Policy: Horizon Academy has a non-discriminatory policy which admits students of any race, colour, nationality, and/or ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities which are available to students at the Academy. General Admission Requirements • Baptismal certificate, if applicable • Immunization records • Student’s most recent report card, if applicable • Proof of custody for students not living with either or both biological parents Age Requirements • Students must have reached the age of 3 by September 30 in order to be eligible for the Pre-Kinder program. • Students must have reached the age of 4 by September 30 in order to be eligible for the Kindergarten program. • Students must have reached the age of 5 by September 30 in order to be eligible for Infant 1. Readiness testing, at the discretion of school administration, may be used to determine appropriate class placement. The administration reserves the right to place students in a class which is consistent with the results of admission testing and/or the prior academic records of the student. Prospective students who do not speak English are strongly encouraged to attend ESL classes before and during enrolment at the Academy until they achieve functional fluency. ATTENDANCE

School attendance is of great importance. A student will be more successful, academically and socially when he or she regularly attends classes. On the day the student returns to school from being absent, he or she must have a note from his or her parents explaining the reason for the absence. Parents may also call the school to report the reason for the absence. THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION REQUIRES THAT ALL STUDENTS ATTEND SCHOOL.


2

HORIZON ACADEMY PARENT & STUDENT HANDBOOK

BEHAVIOUR EXPECTATIONS/DISCIPLINE/BULLYING/HARASSMENT

In order to form proper habits and good attitudes, the following 5 behavioral expectations are constantly emphasized in every classroom and every area of the school compound as part of Horizon’s Character Bees Program: • Be There Be Ready • Be Responsible • Be Respectful • Be Thoughtful • Be Attentive Each student is given a Passport to the Hive at the start of the academic year. This document is a description of the Character Bees program as well as a listing of Horizon’s rules or expectations of behaviour and of the rewards which students are able to work towards as they collect their bees. It acts as a physical reminder to parents and students of the way Horizon students are expected to behave. Horizon Academy believes strongly in the benefits of positive reinforcement and considers these 5 behavioural expectations to be the code of conduct by which every student should live. Following is a listing of specific expectations for the different areas of the school. Classroom 1. Be There Be Ready Have your materials ready for your teacher. Get to class on time. 2. Be Responsible Complete all assigned tasks. Keep your area neat and clean. 3. Be Respectful Mind your manners. Speak nicely and use kind words. 4. Be Thoughtful Keep walls and school furniture clean. No hitting, fighting, or rough playing. 5. Be Attentive Always listen to your teachers. Earn your Bees.

Cafeteria 1. Be There Be Ready Be on time and seated for snacks and lunch. Wash hands before and after meals. 2. Be Responsible Sit quietly and eat. Clean up after yourself. 3. Be Respectful Eat what’s on your plate. Mind your manners. 4. Be Thoughtful Sit properly around the table. 5. Be Attentive Walk in a line. Wait your turn.


PLACING NEW STEPS OF CHANGE

Hallway/Library 1. Be There Be Ready Have your materials ready. 2. Be Responsible Take care of books and return them on time. Walk through the hallway. 3. Be Respectful Be quiet in the library. Be quiet in the hallway. 4. Be Thoughtful Keep walls and library furniture clean. 5. Be Attentive Listen to the teachers. Playground 1. Be There Be Ready 2. Be Responsible Take care of playground equipment. Use playground equipment properly. 3. Be Respectful Take turns. Practice good sportsmanship. 4. Be Thoughtful Protect plants and hedges. Play nicely. 5. Be Attentive Respect the bells. Form lines quietly.

Garden 1. Be There Be Ready Have your materials ready. Get to class on time. 2. Be Responsible Complete all assigned tasks. Clean up after yourself. 3. Be Respectful Stay in your assigned area. Nurture the natural environment. 4. Be Thoughtful Use equipment only as directed. Harvest only under teacher supervision. 5. Be Attentive Listen to the teacher. Respect the bells. Common Areas 1. Be There Be Ready 2. Be Responsible Have a Hallway Pass. Walk carefully up and down stairs. 3. Be Respectful Knock before entering a room. Mind your manners. 4. Be Thoughtful. Protect artwork in stairwell. Practice safety. 5. Be Attentive Follow the rules. Listen to the teachers.

3


4

HORIZON ACADEMY PARENT & STUDENT HANDBOOK

UNACCEPTABLE BEHAVIOURS

Behaviors that are considered totally unacceptable are

• Academic Dishonesty (copying another student’s work, plagiarism, cheating) • Bullying Behaviours (see below) • Continued failure to observe the uniform code • Disrespectful conduct or attitude towards a teacher, administrator, or any school staff member • Disruptive behaviour (inappropriate interruption while others are speaking, passing notes during class, etc.) • Drug or alcohol use/abuse • Fighting • Forgery of parent/guardian signature • Foul language, gestures or actions • Gum chewing in school during school hours • Harassment of fellow students • Lack of adherence to adult directions and requests • Lack of adherence to the Character Bees code • Leaving school grounds without permission • Loitering in bathrooms or hallways • Misuse of school property or the property of others • Running in the school building • Stealing • Tampering with school computers • Threats of any kind (verbal, written, drawn, inferred) • Vandalism (carving in the furniture, defacing school property, writing on the walls, destroying bathroom facilities, etc.) Please note that parents will be held legally and financially responsible. PROCEDURES

Horizon’s view is that students thrive on positive recognition and praise. Horizon Academy works hard to create an environment of friendship and respect. Children are taught that life is about choices and they are expected to make appropriate choices. When problems arise, they will be dealt with naturally and logically. Because of the wide-range of possible infractions and the individual seriousness therein, three stages of procedural response are outlined below. As always, the Administration reserves the right to determine the most appropriate response. Stage One – Minor Offenses 1. Infractions of Character Bees will be initially responded to by the teacher with a general reminder of the Character Bee expectation being ignored. 2. If the child continues to ignore the Character Bee rule, a more direct reminder is given to the child. 3. If the Character Bee is ignored a third time, the child is then sent to the Problem Solving Room (see below). Stage Two – More Serious Offenses In case of more serious offenses, the child is sent immediately to the Problem Solving Room,. The incident is documented by both the adult counsellor (or Problem Solver) in the room and the student or students involved, and a copy of the student’s report is sent home to be signed by a parent or guardian. Reporting and


PLACING NEW STEPS OF CHANGE

5

consequences continue if the serious offenses continue, through three stages. At Stage 3, after a third serious incident, a Behavioural Action Plan is agreed upon and the parents are called for an interview to discuss the plan of action agreed upon by the student and the Problem Solver. Simply stated, Horizon’s general style of discipline focuses on (1) identifying the conflict; (2) talking it through with the child or children involved; and (3) helping the children make better future decisions. For the most part, this model is effective and conflicts can be resolved in a timely and effective manner, often with intervention of the teacher. Stage Three – Bullying Bullying is a widespread problem in many schools and communities. The behaviour encompasses physical aggression, threats, teasing, harassment and exclusion. Horizon Academy will not tolerate bullying behaviour. Threats of any kind will be dealt with immediately. We expect all students to assist in our efforts to identify and eliminate bullying behaviour from our classrooms, playground, lunchroom, bathrooms and hallways by reporting incidences to teachers and/or administrators. Through activities, speakers and anti-bullying lessons, students will be taught ways in which they can help create an anti-bullying climate at Horizon. DEFINITION OF BULLYING

A bully is someone who repeatedly and intentionally directs physical, verbal or psychological aggression or harassment toward others, with the goal of gaining power over or dominating another individual. Bullying is repeated and deliberate negative behaviour, direct or indirect, towards another person who ultimately becomes a target. Some examples of bullying behaviour include, but are not limited to Name calling Physical aggression Spreading rumours Unwanted touch Ridiculing Mocking Threatening (serious or in jest) Intimidating Teasing Excluding Playing a dirty trick Degrading Language Bullying is indicative of a behavioural problem. Because bullying can have a life-long negative effect on the target of bullying, both the parent and the school response should be quick, clear and geared towards providing security for the victim and educating the bully on the impact of his/her behaviour. Once the Administration has determined that a bullying situation exists, the following steps will be taken: • The student involved will be referred to the Problem Solving Room, where standard PSR procedures will take place. Depending on the severity of the incident, reporting may begin at any of the three PSR Stages. • The school administration will meet separately with the child being accused of bullying, the child being bullied, and anyone else involved. • The administration will educate the students on proper behaviour and establish positive steps towards resolution. • The administration will notify the children’s parents and discuss the incident. • Consequences based on the severity of the incident may range from verbal reprimand, detention, loss of school privileges, or additional assignments to an in-school or out-of-school suspension, or expulsion. The Administration reserves the right to implement the appropriate consequence. Most incidents will be handled according to the following guidelines:


6

HORIZON ACADEMY PARENT & STUDENT HANDBOOK

Incident #1 In-School Supervised Detention (the child is removed from the class as determined by the administration.) Incident #2 In-School Supervised Detention along with an individual Behavioural Contract, which will be drafted and signed by student and parents. Incident #3 One Day In-School Suspension Incident #4 Two Day Out-of-School Suspension The student may be excluded from the school in the event of a very serious disciplinary incident or if repeated attempts to change negative behaviours have failed. During this process, the principal will meet with the student and parents/guardians. BIRTHDAYS

A birthday child will be invited to celebrate his or her birthday during snack time with any goodies they choose to bring in that day, as planned in advance with the teacher. On their special day, the celebrating students will be recognized with a birthday badge or crown. The child’s birthday will be mentioned during morning announcements or assembly. BIRTHDAY BOOK CLUB

As part of the school’s emphasis on the value of literacy, Horizon Academy runs a Birthday Book Club. We believe that making a book donation to the library as part of a child’s birthday celebration sends a strong message about the importance of reading. In addition, this program supplements the library while it allows the school to be able to purchase extra books, videos or audio tapes. Family and friends of students can participate in the program in one of two ways: 1) Near the date of your child’s birthday, library volunteers will send out a copy of Horizon’s current wish list. You can indicate your choice on the form and send it back with your check in the return envelope. If you would like to donate a book not named on the list, please check with the library volunteers to avoid duplications. A bookplate with the name of the birthday child will be placed in each book and the child will be notified when the book is available. 2) Donations can be set up anonymously or as a remembrance for a loved one or as a gift in the name of a teacher or family member for birthdays or holidays. Please contact the library volunteers or the office for further information. CARE OF SCHOOL PROPERTY

Horizon Academy has made every effort to provide students with the material and furniture that they need in order to have an attractive and responsive learning environment. Students are expected to respect this community property in order to ensure that it will remain useful for years to come. Any defacement to or destruction of school property will not be tolerated and parents will be held liable for the cost of repairing or replacing the damaged items.


PLACING NEW STEPS OF CHANGE

7

CHEATING

Horizon Academy has a no tolerance policy on cheating. No action will be taken against Pre-K and Kindergarten students. Actions taken against Infant 1 and Infant 2 students are as follows: • Student will be sent to the Problem Solving Room, where a contract will be drawn up. • Student will be retested on the same day during a break. • Parents will be informed of the incident Actions taken against Stds. 1, 2 and 3 students are as follows: First Offense: • Student will be sent to the Problem Solving Room, where a contract will be drawn up. • Student will be retested on the same day during a break, with a starting grade of 90%. • Parents will be informed of the incident. Second Offense: • Student will be sent to the Problem Solving Room, where their contract will be reviewed. • Student will be retested on the same day during a break, with a starting grade of 90%. • Parents will be called in for a Parent, Teacher, Child Conference. Actions taken against Stds. 4, 5, and 6 students are as follows: First Offense: • Student will be sent to the Problem Solving Room, where a contract will be drawn up. • Student will be retested on the same day during a break, with a starting grade of 80%. • Parents will be informed of the incident. Second Offense: • Student will be sent to the Problem Solving Room, where the contract will be reviewed. • Student will be retested on the same day during a break, with a starting grade of 80%. • Student will be required to write a letter of apology to the teacher and an essay on why cheating is wrong. • Parents will be called in for a Parent, Teacher, Child Conference. If the offense is repeated a third time, administration will become more deeply involved. CLOSING OF SCHOOL IN INCLEMENT WEATHER

Horizon Academy will follow the Ministry of Education’s directives on cancellations and delays. The Academy, however, reserves the right to make decisions concerning additional postponements and/or cancellations of classes. Watch any of the major television stations or listen to radio station Love FM for news on school cancellations and delays.You can also check the school website for updates.


8

HORIZON ACADEMY PARENT & STUDENT HANDBOOK

COMMUNICATION

Clear and frequent communication between school and home is essential. We are constantly striving to improve our methods to maintain effective communication. Weekly, monthly and yearly communications help parents to plan ahead and to be informed of current happenings. The following methods of communication are employed at Horizon to help to ensure an effective Home and School connection: Monthly e-Newsletter At the start of each month, an updated newsletter will be e-mailed to each family and posted on the school’s website (www.horizonacademy.edu.bz). Each issue of On the Horizon contains important information from the principal, details about upcoming events and meetings, and classroom news. Those who do not have access to email or the internet may request a hard copy to be sent home with their child. Daily Planner Each Horizon student has a daily planner which is a vital part of the academic and communication process at Horizon. The planner is more than a record of daily assignments; it is also a medium for communication between parents and teachers on a daily basis. Parents are encouraged to utilize the planner to keep in touch with their children’s teachers. Information Folder When necessary, printed communication from the school will arrive home in an special folder. Parents are asked to review the contents of the folder and return all requested paper work in the same folder on the following school day. All confidential written correspondence with teachers should be delivered in a sealed envelope with the teacher’s name. School Website The school website serves two main purposes. First, it provides an overview of the every aspect of the school for those interested in learning more about Horizon Academy. Second, it offers current updates for people interested in the day-to-day happenings at our school.Visit us online at www.horizonacademy.edu.bz. CONFERENCES

Horizon Academy hosts one parent/teacher conference per term. Classroom teachers, however, may request additional conferences throughout the year if necessary. CONFIDENTIALITY

The safety and well-being of all students is Horizon’s number one priority. Any observations or conversations made while in the school setting should not be discussed in or out of school with anyone other than the class teacher and/or the principal. CURRICULUM

Horizon Academy is distinguished by its unique curriculum, which incorporates the National Curriculum of Belize and strives to provide a challenging international education from kindergarten to high school, in a progressive learning environment. The curriculum is designed to provide instruction not only in human knowledge and skills but also in character education, core values, and life. Based on the belief that children learn best by making connections and tapping into the multiple intelligences, our curriculum incorporates and is enhanced by the integration of technology and the exposure to cultural and global enrichment.


PLACING NEW STEPS OF CHANGE

9

As instructional leader, the Principal must determine a well balanced curricular program which focuses on the development of the whole child in preparation for national and global citizenship. It is the teachers’ responsibility to provide integration through the use of materials and their own knowledge and ability. CURRICULUM OVERVIEW

Language Arts Horizon Academy’s Language Arts program is a progressive version of the classic Integrated approach to the teaching of Language Arts. It includes Reading, Comprehension, Grammar, Spelling, Phonics, and Writing, all taught as individual subjects under the encompassing block of the daily Language Arts period. Because we recognize the importance of reading, the Language Arts program also has a separate reading component designed to first build and then enhance and strengthen each child’s reading and comprehension skills while inspiring in them a love of literature. The underlying goal is to help children develop fluency in and facility with the speaking, reading, and writing of English. Math Horizon’s Math program is a well-structured and truly student-centred one in which students are given an opportunity to direct the progress of the class. Students are challenged to think and to develop reasoning skills, and they are able to master problem solving techniques and core mathematical applications in a fun atmosphere. The Horizon Math student sees Math as both practical and enjoyable. Social Studies The Horizon Social Studies program follows the National Curriculum, moving students from a child-centred recognition of their world to a broader awareness of their family, their community, their country, and the world. The National Curriculum includes the study of Belize and highlights our African and Maya heritage. Our school curriculum broadens the scope and starts students on the road toward being true global citizens by also teaching them about other major regions and cultures of the world. Science Science at Horizon Academy epitomizes a holistic approach to learning about life and all things that affect it. Divided into the two main areas of General Science and Health, this program integrates healthy lifestyles and scientific processes. Students get hands-on experiences that allow them to discover and apply new concepts. Horizon Science students explore all aspects of Science, from weather to body processes. They learn to appreciate the value of practical learning through supervised, memorable experiences. Spanish In compliance with Belize’s Language Policy and Education Goal #12, which states that students should acquire functional skills in the Spanish language by the end of primary school, Horizon Academy includes the teaching of Spanish from Infant 1 upwards. The course is designed to enable each student to be functionally literate by placing emphasis on conversational Spanish and by including a variety of children’s books either written or translated into Spanish to get children used to listening and speaking, reading and writing Spanish. Information Technology Horizon Academy realizes and respects the importance of technology and its role in progressive education and has decided to integrate technology into all subjects at all levels. Doing so will utilize the level of computer literacy that students as young as four years old come to school with and develop the skills they will need for higher level application. Structured classes in IT are also given.


10

HORIZON ACADEMY PARENT & STUDENT HANDBOOK

Character Development Horizon Academy’s creed states the commitment to teach to the heart and soul of each child, and so the Academy has developed a unique plan of action which effectively blends character education and religion. As a multi-denominational school, Horizon focuses on the teaching of character and virtues through the use of Bible stories, songs, readings and common prayer. Character development is emphasized daily by Horizon’s positive approach to discipline and its Character Bees program. The upper division students are also introduced to religions of the world and their beliefs and practices. Organic Gardening To underscore one of Horizon Academy’s core values, Respect for the Environment, and to include the many facets of this core value, a complete curriculum in Organic Gardening has been included for all levels. Enriched with many cross-curricular links, this course takes the students from a basic understanding of the wonders of plant life to a broad respect for the earth and the virtues of healthy living and on to an awareness of entrepreneurial skills and opportunities. Physical Education In keeping with true holistic development, a school needs to blend efficiently both physical and academic activities. Horizon Academy offers two PE classes every week, one for fitness and the other for the development of skills in a particular sporting discipline. Fitness classes include not only exercises that will develop, mold, and tone young bodies but also lessons in aerobics and dance, yoga and stretching. The various sports include the standard disciplines like football, volleyball, basketball, and track and field. Art Program Horizon Academy’s art program is innovative and exciting. It challenges students’ creativity through art and provides a solid visual arts foundation through its comprehensive art lessons. This standard-based art education program teaches students to critique, compare and contrast, and analyze and positively discuss their own art work. Grades are determined not by artistic ability but by application of the learning process and the technique being taught. To enhance the creativity of students even more, the program is also linked with Language Arts through cross-curricular activities. Music Program Horizon Academy recognizes the many facets of learning which are integral to the make-up of students and so has developed a music program which teaches them to celebrate the joys of music. Students learn different elements of music as well as songs from around the world and from different periods and genres. They are also introduced to instruments from all the instrument families and have the opportunity to move on to deeper instruction in a particular instrument. Musical activities focus on personal, social, and emotional development so that students learn more about themselves while they learn about music. Expressive Arts and Sports Horizon Academy is committed to developing students’ individual interests and talents by allowing them the opportunity to choose additional music, arts, and sports classes that appeal to them. This Expressive Arts and Sports Program has grown out of students’ responses to questions asked on the registration form. The courses offered are those they have identified and expressed interest in – some traditional and some new. They include areas like basketball and football, swimming and archery, guitar and keyboarding, cooking and arts and crafts and dance, and they will be taught in 40 minute blocks, three times weekly. Experiences like this help to complete the holistic learning experience at Horizon.


PLACING NEW STEPS OF CHANGE

11

CUSTODY AND GUARDIANSHIP

Horizon Academy’s registration form asks parents to supply relevant information for regular and emergency contacts. If any changes in custody or guardianship should occur, please notify the office. DIFFERENTIATION

Because each student enters Horizon Academy with different abilities, learning styles, prior knowledge and experiences, we realize that our individual classes may require different levels of instruction. It is Horizon’s challenge to assist each child in attaining academic excellence at his or her highest level. Within the context of one classroom, therefore, some students may be learning concepts differently from others. By working to ensure that differentiation occurs in each classroom, we strive to meet the individual academic needs of each child. DISMISSAL

Daily dismissal is at 3:00p.m. Students should be picked up outside the main entrance of the school. Teachers remain on dismissal duty with students to help the process to move efficiently until 3:15. After 3:15, students report for After Care. Parents need to park and come in to pick us their children, and they will be charged the regular hourly rate. Early Dismissal If your child needs to leave school before the regular dismissal time, you must go to the office to sign him/her out. The secretary will call your child to meet you in the office. All early dismissals are counted as tardies. Changes In Pick Up Plan Please notify the office of any changes in regular pick up arrangements for your child. DRESS FOR LEARNING

Students of Horizon Academy wear a full dress uniform of a yellow button down shirt with a burgundy tie and khaki shorts or pants for boys and skorts or pants for girls. Brown shoes and a brown belt complete the uniform. The P.E. uniform includes a white Horizon t-shirt with green shorts and tennis shoes. The uniform is a reflection of the school’s philosophy and aspirations. Parents are asked to ensure that students come to school neat and clean and in full uniform. Extreme hair-dos, excessive jewelry, make-up, nail polish, and tattoos do not fit the Horizon concept of being dressed for learning, and so are not allowed. EMERGENCY PROTOCOLS

Emergency Cards Emergency cards are sent home at the beginning of the school year so that parents may indicate what telephone numbers are to be used for them at work or at home in case of an illness or injury to a child. Parents are also asked to designate a neighbour or relative who can be responsible for their child in the event that neither parent can be located at home or at work. Two emergency cards are completed at the beginning of each school year, one coloured card for the main office and one white card for the Problem Solving Room.


12

HORIZON ACADEMY PARENT & STUDENT HANDBOOK

Emergency Evacuation Of School In the event that the school must be evacuated for safety reasons, bomb scares, fire, or any other emergencies, students will be directed to a safe area. Following instructions from the office, room mothers will begin a telephone chain to notify parents of the early release of their children. It is necessary, therefore, that adequate information be on file on the emergency cards. EXPULSION

Conduct which constitutes good cause for suspension of expulsion of a student includes, but is not limited to the following: • Continued and willful disobedience • Open defiance to any teacher, administrator, or any staff • Physical attack on any student, teacher, administrator or any other staff • Taking or attempting to take personal property or money by means of force, fear, or otherwise • Willfully causing or attempting to cause damage to school property • Truancy by a student • Defacing school property • Smoking and/or drinking on school grounds Expulsion is employed only when all other means of discipline, including suspension, have been used and proven ineffective. If, however, in the sole determination of the school, a student’s conduct or activity reflects such grave discredit to the school, or otherwise presents a definite impediment to the welfare and progress of the school’s community, the student can be expelled without the school’s having taken any prior disciplinary measures. EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

The curriculum at Horizon Academy is carefully designed to ensure that the school day blends academic, physical, and artistic education. To accommodate other interests, extracurricular clubs take place after school hours. Parents are informed of the schedules of these clubs so that they may make alternate pick up arrangements if their child chooses to participate. FEES

School fees at Horizon Academy include an annual Registration and Activity fee and monthly tuition for 12 months. Parents are also expected to pay for uniforms, books, and supplies which will be ordered by the school. FIELD TRIPS

Educational field trips are encouraged. The principal, in collaboration with teachers, will decide on the suitability of the trip. A fee will be charged to cover the cost of the event. Field Trips are a privilege, not a right. Students must comply with all school behaviour policies and expectations in order to participate in a field trip. Members of the School Activities Committee will also participate in the coordination of field trips. Parents will help to chaperone these outings. Please note that most field trips use bus transportation and that special arrangements will be made for students with medical needs. Permission in writing must be obtained from parents/guardians in order for a student to participate. FIRE DRILLS

Practice fire drills are held regularly throughout the school year. All students will participate and are expected to walk quickly and quietly to our designated outside area.


PLACING NEW STEPS OF CHANGE

13

FORBIDDEN MATERIALS

Items expressly forbidden at school include electronic communications devices such as toys or any favourite items from home, iPods, Game Boys, Nintendo DS, PSPs, or any other handheld games, cellular phones, pagers or beepers, laser devices such as laser pointers, knives, weapons, explosives, fire crackers, spray devices, illegal drugs, alcohol, or tobacco products. The Academy is equipped with enough materials to entertain the children. This restriction on items from home is put in place to avoid broken spirits due to lost or broken toys. FUNDRAISING

In an effort to keep the rate of tuition as affordable as possible, the school offers various opportunities for fundraising. All fundraising activities are evaluated and coordinated through the Advancement Council and/or the Fundraising Committee. New ideas are welcome. It is helpful if new ideas are presented in writing, with potential revenue and details addressed, and delivered to the office prior to a meeting of these groups. GOING GREEN

In our best attempt to do our part to be environmentally conscious and pro-active, Horizon Academy is committed to increase awareness among the students, their families and the school community at large and to establish protocols and recommendations for becoming better “Keepers of the Earth”. Horizon Academy separates garbage into containers for paper, plastic, glass, aluminum, and food waste. Appropriate material from the cafeteria is used as compost for the Organic Garden, and students in every class participate in the care and development of this garden. The cafeteria at the Academy also serves lunch and snacks on paper or re-useable plates. The Greening Committee serves to further the development of the school’s Go Green! Program. GRADE LEVEL PROMOTION/RETENTION/ACCELERATION

PROMOTION is the action that advances a student from one level to the next on the basis of demonstrated academic achievement. RETENTION is the action that provides a student the opportunity to gain or reinforce learning based on the adopted course of study and objectives by being reassigned to the same standard. ACCELERATION is an action that provides the student, who has advanced academic achievement, with a more appropriate learning environment by being reassigned to a higher standard. Decisions regarding the acceleration of students are made by the faculty and administration. Students may be referred for acceleration by a teacher or by a parent/legal guardian. The principal has the authority to promote, retain, or accelerate students. Parents/legal guardians of students being considered for retention are officially notified no later than the end of the second semester that there are concerns regarding the educational progress of their child and that a conference will be scheduled. At this conference, the teacher will inform the parents/guardians of the reasons why their child is being considered for retention and discuss ways they may help the child. The final decision will not be made until the end of the third term; an additional conference will be held at that time. Students may be required to attend Summer School to improve their academic skills. At the end of Summer School, the student’s progress will be evaluated and he or she may be promoted to the next standard or


14

HORIZON ACADEMY PARENT & STUDENT HANDBOOK

retained at the current grade. Parents/legal guardians disagreeing with the decision may appeal, in writing, to the Principal within three weeks of final retention notification. The decision to retain students is never easy and many factors are taken into consideration. Among them are: • Student attendance • Report card grades • Work habits/daily achievement • Social maturity • Class level expectations • Achievement test scores High expectations from parents/legal guardians/caregivers encourage academic success. Encouraging students to be in school daily, to complete their assignments, and to take seriously their responsibility to learn, will, in most cases, ensure success. GUIDANCE SERVICES

Horizon Academy is equipped with a school counsellor. Counselling services include individual and group counselling, referral to outside agencies when appropriate, and parenting assistance when requested. Counselling can be initiated by the student, or at the request of the parent/guardian or school personnel on behalf of the student. In the event of a crisis, counselling services will be provided to students. HEALTH ISSUES

Medication Policy Should your child need medication during the school day, parents must follow these procedures. • The medication must be placed in a Ziploc bag labelled with your child’s name and class, and the time it should be administered. • Only parents are allowed to deliver medication to the school office. (At no time should siblings be put in charge of this). Returning To School Students may NOT return to school for 24 hours:

• after being fever-free • after beginning an antibiotic medication regime • after being properly treated for infections • after being treated for vomiting or diarrhea

HELPING STUDENTS SUCCEED

In order to help your child succeed, it is important to develop a positive home learning climate. As parents/legal guardians, you can accomplish this by • encouraging and expecting high performance from your child for school work, household duties, and other responsibilities • showing interest in what your child does each day in the classroom by asking specific questions


PLACING NEW STEPS OF CHANGE

15

• providing proper conditions for home study, including definite study time and quiet, non-distracting conditions • limiting the time spent watching television • providing supervision to ensure your child receives adequate rest, nutrition, and physical exercise. Parents/Legal Guardians/Caregivers are also encouraged to be involved in the school by • volunteering to help with school activities • attending parent meetings • visiting your child’s classroom (upon appointment) • participating in parent-teacher conferences. Horizon parents/legal guardians should never hesitate to call the school to have questions or concerns answered. HOMEWORK

While learning at home is an essential part of your child’s development, it is Horizon’s view that after spending 7 hours at school with trained teachers, what’s left of your child’s day should be used primarily as quality time with family members. Homework, then, should serve two main purposes: first, to reinforce what the student has learned during that day; second, to make parents aware of what their children are doing on a daily basis. Horizon will follow the 10 minute homework rule per level. Therefore • Inf. 1 10 minutes • Inf. 2 20 minutes • Std. 1 30 minutes • Std. 2 40 minutes • Std. 3 50 minutes • Std. 4 60 minutes • Std. 5 70 minutes • Std. 6 80 minutes Pre-kinder and Kindergarten students are to be read to every night for at least 10 minutes. Teachers of these levels will use the daily planners to let parents know how they can help their children to reinforce learning. LIBRARY

Horizon’s library exists both to promote literacy and the enjoyment of reading, and to support the curricular needs of the members of the Horizon Academy community. Our goal is to offer students and faculty access to a wide variety of materials in several formats including books, periodicals, CD-ROMs, the Internet, video, and audio tapes. Parents are encouraged to donate to our school library. Students receive instruction and borrow books during their scheduled reading class or library time, and they may come to the library to exchange books or research a topic any time during library hours. All borrowed books must be returned to the library. The cost of materials that are lost or not returned will be charged to the student (or parent). Administration reserves the right to withhold final report cards if all library debts are not settled.


16

HORIZON ACADEMY PARENT & STUDENT HANDBOOK

LOST AND FOUND

Horizon Academy has a lost and found area.You are encouraged to check it regularly for missing items, as unclaimed items will eventually be donated to a worthy cause like the Children’s Home or the Hostel. Items will be removed from the lost and found after two weeks. Please label your child’s book-bag, lunchbox, water bottles, and so on. LUNCH AND SNACK PROGRAM

One of the core values at Horizon Academy is Healthy Living, and the school cafeteria strives daily to provide tasty, child-friendly, nutritious snacks and lunches. Fruits and vegetables are menu staples; whole wheat flour is used over and along with; nothing is fried. The average daily cost for a morning snack, lunch, and afternoon snack per student is $7. It is best to pay weekly or even monthly into your child’s lunch account by putting money on his card. Each student’s ID card serves as his or her meal card as well, and the cost of any food or drinks the child receives in the cafeteria is automatically deducted from this card. Snack and Lunch Times 10:00 – 10:20; 12:00-12:40; 2:00 – 2:15 Menu The monthly cafeteria menu is emailed home to parents and posted on the school’s website at the start of the first week of each month. Parents are, then, able to see what’s being prepared and to pre-order their child’s meals on a monthly basis. Parents are also encouraged to support the cafeteria since it is a means of generating income for the school. MAKING UP WORK

Students will be expected to make up any class work and tests that they miss due to absences. If a student has been absent for more than two days, he or she should return with a note from the parent or guardian documenting the reason for the absence. When the child returns to school, the work that has been missed will be documented by the homeroom teacher and the list will be sent home. The teacher will then generate a schedule for the student’s making up work to ensure that each child is able to catch up without feeling overwhelmed. Parents are reminded that extended absences for reasons that are within parental control often prove detrimental to students’ performance in school, and that such absences are not recommended. MONEY

It is difficult for children to keep track of money. If parents choose to send money to school for any reason, please put it in a sealed envelope that is labeled with your child’s name and what the money is for. Always send money in your child’s take-home folder.


PLACING NEW STEPS OF CHANGE

17

ORDER OF THE DAY

8:00 Arrival time; first bell rings 8:05 Morning Assembly and Character Development session 8:20 Classes begin 10:00 Morning snack break 10:20 Return to classes 12:00 Lunch break 12:40 Return to classes 2:00 Afternoon snack break 2:15 Return to classes 2:50 Daily wrap-up 3:00 Dismissal from School The school’s responsibility for supervision of students begins at 8:00 and ends at 3:15. For children properly enrolled in After Care, the school’s responsibility for the supervision of students begins at 3:00 and ends at 5:30. If students are not picked up by 3:15, they must go directly to After Care and parents will be charged the hourly rate. PARENTS AS PARTNERS

Horizon Academy remains committed to its belief that partners should be partners in the educational process. We ask parents to set rules and limits so that your child: • gets to bed early on school nights • gets a healthy breakfast before coming to school • arrives to school on time and is picked up on time at the end of the day • is dressed according to the school’s dress code • completes assignments on time • completes ongoing requirements of nightly reading and Math Maintenance • comes to school with nutritional snack and lunch each day or is able to purchase nutritional snacks and lunches in the cafeteria. We also invite parents to • actively participate in school activities such as Parent-Teacher Conferences • see that their child pays for any damage of school books or property due to carelessness or neglect on his or her part • notify the school with a written note when the student has been absent or tardy • notify the school office of any changes of address or important phone numbers • inform the school of any special situation regarding the student’s well-being, safety or health • complete and return any requested information promptly • read school notes and newsletters and show interest in the student’s total education • support the developmental and educational goals of the school • support and cooperate with the discipline policy of the school • treat teachers with respect and courtesy in discussing student problems


18

HORIZON ACADEMY PARENT & STUDENT HANDBOOK

PARTIES

There will be four school-wide celebrations each year. The first is Horizon’s Birthday Party, celebrated on September 7. The next three parties will coincide with the end of each term. Our Christmas party will be held on the last day of school before the Christmas break, our early Easter Egg Hunt on the day before school breaks for Easter, and an End-of-Year celebration before we go off on summer holidays. The School Activities Committee will help to organize and coordinate volunteers and donations for these and other school celebrations. PROGRESS REPORTS

Horizon Progress Reports will be sent home three times per year, at the midpoint of each term. These reports are designed to reflect the progress your child has made towards his or her individual standards of learning and development. PROBLEM SOLVING ROOM

Students report to the Problem Solving Room after being involved in three incidents of inappropriate behavior or one major incident which warrants more serious attention. Here the child has an opportunity to discuss the incident with a problem solver who works to help the child to learn to consider the reasons for his behavior, the consequences of his actions, any alternative actions he may have taken, and the ways in which he will choose to deal with future incidents. Read more about Problem Solving Room Procedures under BEHAVIOUR EXPECTATIONS. QUESTIONS

Feel free to contact us at telephone number 223-2765 with any questions or concerns you may have. We will gladly address them. REGISTRATION OF NEW STUDENTS

Registration for incoming students is ongoing through the year, depending on the number of spaces available in each class. Parents of registered students will be asked to re-register for the new school year at the end of the second term. All new registrations should be finalized by April 30. RELATED ARTS

The Expressive Arts offered at Horizon Academy include General Art, General Music, and P.E. (Fitness and Sports) as subjects taken by every student. Cooking, Arts and Crafts, Art, Dance, Chess, Recorder, Guitar, Keyboard, Choir, Basketball, Football, and Swimming are all options available to students for the three-times a week Expressive Arts program. These courses are chosen based on the talents and interests of our students specifically to develop these talents and interests and to complete the holistic education of our students. REPORT CARDS

Report cards will be issued three times for the year, once at the end of each term. Parents are required to come in to collect their child’s report cards and to discuss progress with their child’s teachers.


PLACING NEW STEPS OF CHANGE

19

SCHOOL BOOKS

Horizon school books are carefully selected to meet the needs of our uniquely blended curriculum. From nationally printed texts to internationally used series, our school books work together well to provide a challenging level of education. Books should be labeled and covered and should not be carried to and from school without a book bag. Parents are requested to check books regularly to ensure that they remain in good condition. SCHOOL COMMITTEES

As part of the Horizon commitment to working with parents as partners, six school committees have been formed. They are the Advancement Council and the Events, Fundraising, Marketing, School Activities, and Greening Committees. These committees consist of parents and teacher representatives, and they exist to further the growth and development of the school in various ways. For more information on the committees and how you can be involved, please contact the office. SPECIAL EDUCATION SERVICES

Horizon Academy’s belief in inclusion allows us to welcome those students on both ends of the special needs spectrum, as long as their needs are identified as needs which can be addressed within the setting of the Horizon classroom. A child psychologist is on staff and available for interventions, consultations, formulation of Individual Progress Plans, and any other forms of assistance necessary. STUDY HABITS

Horizon students are encouraged to develop and display good study habits. Our expectations include that they

• be fully prepared for class each day • hand in all work on time (this includes homework, class work, and projects) • be responsible for making up missed work in a reasonable amount of time • consider reading and studying to be an important part of their daily work.

SUMMER PROGRAMS

Horizon Academy runs a summer camp each year in the month of July. Camp Horizon offers activities that blend academic reinforcement with sports and outside play time, so students are engaged in worthwhile pursuits all day long. Parents are informed of the Camp schedules and invited to register for Camp at the beginning of June. First preference for space in the Camp is always given to registered students of Horizon Academy. SUMMER READING AND MATH

In order to further encourage the development of individual reading skills and math maintenance, Horizon’s teachers prepare Summer Reading and Math packets for our students. These packets contain lists of appropriately leveled suggested reading material and math practice exercises that students can complete over the course of the summer. Completion of the material in the Summer packet may mean a head start on the collection of Character Bees for the new academic year.


20

HORIZON ACADEMY PARENT & STUDENT HANDBOOK

SUPPLIES

When supplies are brought in, some will be considered as community supplies, since they will be shared. Items such as lunch boxes, book bags, sweaters, water bottles, and so on, however, must be clearly labeled with your child’s name. SUSPENSION

Repeated violation of school regulations will not be tolerated. Suspension will be used for serious infractions of school policies and undesirable behaviour. Suspension may only be imposed by the school principal. Parents will be notified of the administration’s decision and the matter will be discussed. All school work missed during suspension will be made up after suspension is lifted. TARDINESS/TRUANCY

Students who arrive at school late (after 8:05 a.m.) should report to the office before going to class, preferably with a parent. Lateness is discouraged, as it is very important that students arrive early so that they can settle in and get ready for their day. Truancy must be reported to the Ministry of Education, as it is considered a serious offence. TELEPHONE USE

If students need to use the telephone to contact their parents at any time, they may ask permission to go to the office to make a phone call. Cellular phones are not permitted in school. Children who bring cell phones to school will be asked to leave them in the office at the start of each day and collect them at dismissal time. TESTING

Testing is an important part of the process of assessment. At Horizon Academy, we believe that testing does not always have to be in the form of traditional, written tests, though. Testing may also be verbal, or individual or group assessments during practical assignments, or it may take a variety of other forms. The focus of the assessment is always to determine the student’s true grasp of the concepts that have been taught. TRANSPORTATION CHANGES

If your child’s transportation arrangements change for any given day, please alert us by sending a note in your child’s take-home folder or call the office before 2:30. VISITORS

All visitors, including familiar faces, must sign in and get a name tag in the office. Horizon Academy welcomes and encourages family involvement. It is important to remember that while this process may seem inconvenient to frequent visitors, it is the goal and responsibility of the school to create a safe learning environment. VOLUNTEERS

By expressing an interest in your child’s education, you are encouraging his or her success in school. If you would like more information on how to become a volunteer, please call the office or visit our website. WEBSITE

Our school website can be found at www.horizonacademy.edu.bz. The website is another important means of communicating with our school community, and we are making every effort to ensure that the site is informative, relevant, and user friendly. Read more under COMMUNICATION.


PLACING NEW STEPS OF CHANGE

21

WISH LIST

A Horizon Academy Wish List will be posted on our website throughout the year. We ask that you take note of this list from time to time, to see if you may be able to assist with any of the items we need. All donations are gratefully accepted. YOU

You are your child’s first and most important teacher. No one can influence your child’s life the way that you can! YOUNGER SIBLINGS

Younger siblings should NOT be brought to school when you are volunteering. This allows you to give full and focused attention to what you are doing, and helps to build a special relationship between you and your inschool child. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Make sure your child gets plenty of rest at night-time. Setting and keeping a bedtime helps him or her to be alert and ready to learn each day. A well rested child learns more in class.


The Positive Approach To Education

3 Mls. Northern Highway Belize City, Belize P: 223-2765 horizonacademybz@gmail.com www.horizonacademy.edu.bz


School's Handbook