Dondero Parent Handbook
8:30 am Morning recess/Breakfast served
8:45 am Entrance open to school
8:55 am School begins
3:15 pm Dismissal for walkers/riders/PEAK students
3:18 pm Dismissal for bus student
Teachers will supervise activities on the playground beginning at 8:30 AM. Please do not send your students to school or drop them off before 8:30. We cannot be responsible for supervision prior to that time. Breakfast will be served beginning at 8:30 a.m.
ABSENCES, TARDINESS AND DISMISSALS
- Parents are requested to notify the school between 8:00 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. in the event that your child must be absent from school for any reason. If you are unable to call during these times, you may call either the night before or earlier that morning and leave a message on the school’s answering machine. Requests for homework should be made at this time. In the event that a parent notifies the classroom teacher of a child’s absence, it is still necessary to communicate the absence directly with the office.
- In an effort to provide maximum protection of children, through the Child Watch program you will receive a call from the principal's office if the child's absence has not been reported by the parents to the school office. Secondary contact numbers will be used after failed attempts to call the primary contact number.
- Students who arrive after 8:55 a.m. are tardy and are requested to report to the office and sign‐in before going to the classroom.
- Parents who have requested that their child be dismissed early should report to the office to pick up the student. Students will not be released to anyone without written notification to the school by the parents. In either case identification must be shown before a student is released. For security reasons, no students will be dismissed from the classroom. Students will be called to the office for dismissal after the parent/guardian signs them out in the office. Students will not be released from class until the parent/guardian arrives at school. Students returning back to school the same day must be signed back in by the parent/guardian.
- Bus students will not be allowed travel on a different bus without a note from their parents. Walkers must have a note from home if they plan to ride a bus. Bus passes will be issued from the office in these cases.
- Each student has been asked to complete a dismissal form which states how s/he will be leaving school each day. If there is a change in the schedule throughout the year, you will be asked to update to form.
- In order to ensure that teachers receive the message, telephone requests or emails to the office with dismissal changes need to be made prior to 1 pm.
- Walkers and students being picked up are dismissed at 3:15. Parents/guardians picking up students should wait for them outside or in the vestibule. A member of the staff will supervise pick‐up outside to ensure they’re properly matched up with their designated ride.
Regular attendance is necessary for success in school. Students are expected to attend school whenever it is in session except in the case of personal illness or family emergency. If you do not contact us by phone, a note explaining the absence is required upon the student's return. If there is to be an excused absence, a note with the dates of the student's absences should be given to the building principal.
Extended excused absences should be pre‐arranged with the building principal. The parents will be advised of the school district's policy upon request for an extended absence.
School attendance is the primary indicator of a child’s level of success in school. The State of New Hampshire RSA 193:1 requires "that every child between six and sixteen years of age shall attend the public school at the time the public schools are in session." The law RSA 193:2 further states that "every person having custody of a child shall cause the child to attend such a school during all the time the public schools are in session."
Arriving at school on time is another important factor in a child’s daily success. Morning routines and classroom meetings set the stage for what will occur throughout the day. A tardy student who is forced to play catch up begins their day at a disadvantage.
Classroom teachers, counselors, school nurse, and the principal monitor student attendance patterns. Counselors, school nurse, and the principal review cumulative attendance records regularly. Classroom teachers direct their concerns about excessive absence or tardiness to the office.
Information about student attendance concerns will be shared with Portsmouth Middle School Staff each spring as part of Middle School Transition planning.
- 5 absences (unexcused or parent excused) A note will be sent home to notify parents.
- 8 absences (unexcused or parent excused) The school will send another note and phone home to arrange a meeting to discuss a plan to address the problem.
- 10 absences (unexcused or parent excused) Documentation is given to the Portsmouth Police Department for police intervention.
Parents of chronically tardy students will be similarly notified and the child may have to make up missed work during recess.
Children are allowed to ride bicycles and scooters to school if the following rules are observed:
- Bicycles/scooters/skateboards should be walked on school property at all times.
- Students are reminded that bicycles and scooters are brought to school at their own risk. The school will not assume responsibility for damage.
- A note giving permission for the student to ride his bike or scooter to and from school is required from a parent.
- Helmets are required by New Hampshire law to ensure prevention of head injuries. Anyone who does not observe these rules will lose the privilege of bringing a bike or scooter to school. http://www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/documents/law‐bikehelmets.pdf
Out of sensitivity to our students, if birthday party invitations are distributed in school, the invitations should extend to all the students in the class. Dondero is an allergy aware school – therefore it is our tradition that no edible birthday treats are sent to school. Each classroom will recognize students’ birthdays in a unique way.
Breakfast is available each day beginning at 8:30a.m. The cost is $1.50 per day.
Hot lunch is available at a cost of $ 2.50 per day. Children wishing to purchase only milk may do so at a cost of $0.40 per carton. Carbonated beverages are not allowed. We also request that any juice drinks not be in glass bottles.
Each student has an individual food account in the cafeteria. Families may send in funds as credits to the account and students draw from it each time they make a cafeteria transaction. Parents/guardians may also access an online prepayment service, mySchoolBucks.com, to deposit money into your child's school meal account at any time.
Menus are sent home at the beginning of each month and are posted at: http://www.cityofportsmouth.com/school/meals/index.htm Applications for free or reduced price meals are available in the office or http://www.cityofportsmouth.com/school/meals/index.htm
If you have any questions about the school lunch program please contact Deborah Riso, School Nutrition Director, at 610.4474 or the Nutrition Department at: http://www.cityofportsmouth.com
BUS RULES FOR STUDENTS
The responsibility for students using school buses rests with the parents until the students actually board the bus for school and after the child gets off the bus on the return trip.
The Portsmouth School Department in conjunction with its pupil transportation providers endeavors to promote a safe and pleasant bus‐riding environment for our passengers and drivers. In order for this to happen, the students must act in a responsible and well‐behaved manner at all times. The driver must be able to expect that students will observe the proper riding behavior with minimum supervision in order to operate the bus on our streets and roads and deliver these students safely to their destinations. A committee of interested parents, administrators, bus company officials, and Board of Education members all agree that for this to happen the Bus Rider Rules, Bus Rider Disciplinary Policy, Bus Provider and School Commitments, and Parental Concerns Resolution Process must be clearly communicated to all student riders and their parents or guardians. This committee believes that the most effective way to do this is in the form of a bus rider agreement. This agreement would be treated as a contract between the School, the parents (guardian) and, most importantly, the rider.
BUS RIDER RULES
In general, we expect students, while riding the bus, to behave as they would in the classroom with their teacher or at home with their parents. Specifically, all students who ride Portsmouth School Department school buses:
At Bus Stops, Students should …
- Wait and ride only if approved by the school,
- Be orderly and avoid horseplay,
- Arrive at least 5 minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive,
- Wait clear of traffic and back as far as possible from the road,
- Wait to approach only after the bus has stopped,
- Cross the street only after the driver has put on the flashing lights and signaled to cross, and,
- Only get on and off at their own stops.
Once on the Bus, Students should …
- Go directly to an available seat or assigned seat,
- Remain seated during the bus ride,
- Keep hands, heads, arms, and legs inside,
- Never play with emergency exit equipment,
- Never throw or pass around any object(s),
- Not carry on live animals of any kind,
- Carry on only items which they can hold on their laps, and,
- Not to eat or drink food items.
For the Driver to Keep Attention to the Bus Operation and the Traffic,
- Not carry on hazardous materials, or use nuisance items, such as laser lights, etc.
- Not have or carry on weapons of any kind,
- Not use or be carrying tobacco products, drugs, alcohol, or any other controlled substance,
- Not use profanity or make obscene gestures,
- Observe all other school rules (printed in the student handbooks or developed by school administration) and district‐wide policies, and,
- Show respect for the driver and other students.
BUS RIDER DISCIPLINE POLICY
Any bus rider who does not follow the rules established to provide for a safe and pleasant bus ride will be subject to the following disciplinary procedure. It is intended that this procedure start simply between the driver and the student but can progress to school administration and result in the loss of riding privileges.
- Informal (Verbal): Driver and Rider
- The driver will speak with the student about the undesirable behavior.
- The driver may assign a seat or restrict the student from sitting in a specific area of the bus for a period of time as determined by the driver.
- Should the student continue to violate the rules, the driver will submit a written report to the transportation supervisor. Upon review of the report, the transportation supervisor may forward it to the building principal where the child attends school.
- Formal (Written): Bus Provider, School Administration, Parent and Rider (When the informal no longer is working)
- First Report ‐ The student will meet with the Principal, and a copy of the report will be mailed home.
- Second Report ‐ The student will meet with the Principal to discuss a plan of improvement and consequences, which could include up to a five (5) day dismissal from the bus. Parent(s) will receive a copy of the report following the meeting.
- Third Report ‐ The student will meet with the Principal and the parent will be notified. A probable five (5) day dismissal and possibly the extended loss of bus privilege will occur. A copy of the report and a letter of bus privilege dismissal will be delivered to the parent.
- Extended Suspension of Riding Privileges: School Administrator, Parent and Rider
After the failure of the informal and formal discipline above, a student rider may lose riding privileges for an extended period of time. This decision will be made by school administration after due process with the student and parent. Any extended suspension must be in compliance with RSA 189:9a which includes due process and Board approval.
BUS PROVIDER AND SCHOOL COMMITMENTS
The bus company pledges to passengers:
We will provide equipment and drivers who meet or exceed Federal Motor Safety Regulations. All new drivers graduate from our 30 hour safety program which covers all state requirements of school bus operators as well as providing additional safety training which meets STA’s strict safety policies. Our drivers are required to attend 8 hours of additional safety training annually, which exceeds the state requirements. Our drivers will operate their vehicles in a safe, lawful, and professional manner.
The bus driver shall instruct the students in safe riding and pedestrian practices as follows:
- Safe walking practices to and from the bus stop. Procedures to deal with strangers while walking to and at the bus stop.
- Wearing of light‐colored or reflective clothing if going to and from the bus stop in darkness or on an overcast/rainy day.
- How and where to wait safely for the bus.
- Safe roadway crossing before boarding or leaving the bus.
- Problems with clothing, backpacks, and the dangers of getting them caught when departing the bus (remove drawstrings from clothing and excess straps from backpacks).
- What to do if the bus is late or does not arrive.
- Emergency evacuation procedures.
The Portsmouth School Department,
- insists student safety while riding the buses must come first
- believes the most important job of the bus driver is to operate the bus in a safe and prudent manner
- will not tolerate rider behavior which jeopardizes safe operation of the school bus
- requires its administration to work with the bus drivers and bus company officials to ensure the safe operation of the school bus
- considers the bus company and its personnel to be an extension of the school's own personnel
- considers students who are on the bus are the responsibility of the Portsmouth School Department
- believes that all of its students and employees should be treated with respect and dignity
- will make every effort to resolve rider or parent concerns in a fair manner to all.
PARENTAL CONCERNS RESOLUTION PROCESS
How parents (guardians) can get help when they are experiencing a problem with their child's bus ride or with a bus driver:
- Talk to the bus company officials first;
- Because of time and scheduling, the driver can not take the time while completing his/her driving responsibilities, so a phone call directly to the bus company supervisor is recommended.
Ask for Dennis Belhumeur
Ask for Bill or Katie Scholes
- The bus company representative will make every effort to listen, explain, and generally try to resolve your concerns.
- If you do not feel successful in talking with the bus company then;
- Give the school principal a call to see if he/she can help you. In most cases a principal can provide assistance and guidance in working out an unresolved bus problem.
- Request a meeting at school with the principal and the bus company supervisor.
- If a problem continues past this point;
- You can request Central Office review the situation by calling the Superintendent's Office. Call 431‐5080 and ask for the Business Administrator.
- You can also call the Superintendent at the same number.
- The Board of Education can also be informed through written or personal communications from a parent. It must be said, however, that all other efforts should be exhausted before taking this step as it would otherwise be the Board's policy to refer this matter back to administration unless all steps have failed.
The school prohibits students the use of all telecommunication devices, including cellular phones and pagers/beepers, at all schools and school‐sponsored or school‐related activities on or off school property, during the instructional school day. Students shall be allowed to possess such devices; however, such devices must not be visible and must remain turned off during the instructional school day. In the event of an emergency, students may use the office phone.
Camera phones may not be displayed or used at any time on school grounds or during school‐ sponsored programs, including transportation.
To comply with the Child Protection Act (RSA 169C, 1979), it is the policy of the Portsmouth School Department that any teacher or other school employee who suspects that a child's physical or mental welfare may be adversely affected by abuse or neglect must report to the principal, or other designated personnel, who must then call the Division of Children and Youth Services and/or the Portsmouth Police Department.
Under RSA 169C, school personnel, who in good faith make a report of suspected child abuse or neglect, have immunity from any liabilities, civil or criminal. The good faith of the reporter is presumed.
Each elementary school maintains a Child Watch program, which tracks each student’s absence. If the parent does not notify the school that their child will be absent, the school calls the parent at home and/or work. If we are unable to reach a parent, calls are made to other contacts listed on the School Emergency Form. In the event that there is no information available about the student’s absence, the Portsmouth Police Department is contacted for a follow‐up.
DELAYED OPENINGS/NO SCHOOL/UNSCHEDULED EARLY DISMISSAL
Schools will be open during bad weather unless it is considered to be too dangerous for pupils to commute to school. The Portsmouth School Department utilizes utilizes Blackboard Connect system, which contacts parents and guardians via phone and email in the event of emergencies and weather‐related schedule changes. It is important for families to supply our office with current contact information, so the database used for emergency calls and emails is accurate.
Delayed: If weather conditions are bad at 6:30 a.m. but expected to improve by mid‐morning, a delayed school opening will be in effect. The following factors will prevail:
- Everything will be delayed two hours, bus pick‐up will be two hours later and schools will open two hours later.
- Breakfast will not be served on that day.
Unscheduled Early Dismissal: If school is in session and it begins to storm, tune in the local stations for a possible early dismissal. You will be contacted by the Blackboard Connect system to notify you of the early dismissal.
DISCIPLINE/STUDENT BEHAVIOR EXPECTATIONS
Our teachers are knowledgeable regarding behavior that can reasonably be expected from children, considering development, personalities and social context. Most discipline problems are handled by the classroom teacher in concert with the parents. When necessary, positive alternatives are employed to bring about improvement in student behavior. The principal and/or counselor serves as a resource person to both teachers and parents in improving student behavior. In instances where the teacher and/or the parent have been unable to effect a positive change, the principal will become more directly involved in the disciplinary process.
Pupils are expected to conduct themselves in a manner reflecting a sense of responsibility, good citizenship, and consideration for the rights of others. Dondero School does not tolerate rudeness, violence or bullying in any form.
Through the Responsive Classroom program and the Open Circle curriculum, we have established expectations for behavior that focus on respect, responsibility and self‐control within the classroom. We have established expectations for behavior that focus on respect, responsibility and self‐control within the classroom and to the common spaces in the school.
The following provides descriptions of what following the School Rules looks and sounds like:
Use “inside” voices
Be kind with your words Keep food on your tray and in your mouth
Hands and feet to yourself Raise hand for permission to get up
Stay to the right Hands by your side Tight line
Walking feet Eyes forward
Please refer to Bus Rider Agreement
Wash hands with soap and water
Dry hands with paper towel Put paper towels in basket Act responsibly
Respect other’s privacy Report any problems
Show respect for adults on duty Be kind with your words
Hands and feet to yourself Play safely
Good listening Line up quickly
Use equipment the way it is meant to be used Follow rules of fair play and good sportsmanship
Infractions of these rules are handled by a number of people. The classroom teacher or other supervising staff member will handle issues that arise on the playground, in the hallways, bathrooms, or cafeteria. This may involve consultation with the counselors and/or principal for additional support. The bus driver, in consultation with the counselors and/or principal when additional support in required, handles issues that arise on the bus.
The following is a non‐inclusive list of behaviors and likely interventions:
Level 1 Behaviors:
Level 2 Behaviors:
Teacher, staff member, counselor, and/or principal responsibility
2nd offense: all of the above plus:
3rd offense: all of the above plus”
1. Parent conference
4th offense: all of the above plus:
1. In‐school or out‐of‐school suspension
Level 3 Behaviors:
Teacher, counselor, and/or principal responsibility
A Dondero School Incidence Report will be filled out when students do not follow school rules. Parents/guardians of both students (aggressor and recipient of behavior) will be notified for Level 1, 2, and 3 Behaviors.
The principal will be provided discretion to determine what intervention is most appropriate to improve student behavior and be fair to both the student and others involved. Copies of all Incident Reports are provided to the principal.
The Incident Forms DO NOT become part of your child’s school record. The intent of the form is to improve communication between home and school and to track student behavior that might be considered bullying.
SAU #52 BULLYING POLICY
Definition ‐ Bullying is defined as a single significant incident or a pattern of incidents involving a written, verbal, or electronic communication, or a physical act or gesture, or any combination thereof, directed at another student which:
- Physically harms a student or damages the student’s property;
- Causes emotional distress to a student;
- Interferes with a student’s educational opportunities;
- Creates a hostile educational environment; or
- Substantially disrupts the orderly operation of the school.
Bullying shall also include actions motivated by an imbalance of power based on a student’s actual or perceived personal characteristics, behaviors, or beliefs, or motivated by the student’s association with another person and based on the other person’s characteristics, behaviors, or beliefs if those actions cause one or more of the results in (a) through (e) above. Bullying or cyber‐bullying of a student on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, age, marital status, familial status, pregnancy, physical or mental disability may constitute illegal discrimination under federal and/or state laws. Complaints regarding such conduct may be processed through the Board’s Student Discrimination and Harassment Complaint Procedure.
Policy Statement ‐ The School Board believes students are entitled to learn in a safe and secure school environment. Students are expected to conduct themselves with respect for others in accordance with this and other School Board policies and school rules governing student conduct. The Board will take reasonable steps to protect all students from the harmful effects of bullying and cyber‐bullying that occurs at school and/or that interferes with student learning and orderly school operations.
Further, in accordance with RSA 193‐F, the District reserves the right to address bullying and, if necessary, impose discipline for bullying that:
- Occurs on, or is delivered to, school property or a school‐sponsored activity or event on or off school property; or
- Occurs off of school property or outside of a school‐sponsored activity or event, if the conduct interferes with a pupil’s educational opportunities or substantially disrupts the orderly operations of the school or school‐sponsored activity or event.
Disciplinary Consequences ‐ The District reserves the right to impose disciplinary measures or appropriate measures against any student, teacher, staff member, administrator, volunteer, or school district agent who commits an act of bullying, falsely accuses another student of bullying, or who retaliates against any student or witness who provides information about an act of bullying.
Policy Reference – The full School Board Policy JICK “Pupil Safety and Violence Prevention (Bullying)” can be referenced on the district website www.cityofportsmouth.com/school/index.htm
Lunch is a time for students to eat, relax, and meet with friends. We do not expect or desire a silent cafeteria; however, certain behaviors are not acceptable. These include continual loud talking or shouting, throwing food or rough housing, and disrespecting others including Cafeteria Teachers.
Rules for a Respectful & Enjoyable Lunch Time are posted in the cafeteria and printed below.
- Use “Inside Voices” and kind words
- Keep food on your tray or in your mouth
- Keep hands and feet to yourself
- Raise your hand to ask for permission to get up
- Walk carefully
- When adults want your attention they will: Clap the echoing rhythm, and
Raise their hands and Show the “School Listening Look”
Consequences for not following these rules may include:
- Verbal warning.
- Moved to a separate table.
- Removal from cafeteria for the remainder of the lunch period, which may include loss of recess.
- Removal from the cafeteria and loss of lunch recess privileges for additional days.
- Conference with parent and child to determine appropriate consequence.
- A Dondero School Incidence Report may also be completed and sent home.
Personal electronic devices, i.e., CD players, mp3 players/Ipods and electronic games or any unnecessary devices deemed potentially disruptive are not to be used during school hours. The school can not be responsible for lost or stolen electronic devices and therefore, it is best to avoid bringing expensive equipment to school.
A classroom teacher may schedule field trips out of the building during the school year. These field trips are designed to enrich the educational program. No student may go on a class trip unless his/her parent or guardian has signed a permission slip before departure. The slip will include any special conditions such as cost and lunch arrangements when appropriate.
Parents will be notified in advance if their child will not be permitted on a field trip. An alternative learning opportunity will be discussed and provided.
HEALTH –SCHOOL HEALTH PROGRAM
The goal of our health program is to maximize each student’s potential to choose a healthful lifestyle. This is done through assessments, screenings, with appropriate referrals and follow‐ up. Immunization audits are conducted to ensure the control of communicable diseases. The School Nurse works with community agencies, physicians, families and other school personnel as needs arise in the home and school. The nurse also participates in health instruction in the classroom and is a resource for teachers. The nurse’s office has an open door policy for students, parents and staff. Our school nurse looks forward to meeting parents and working with them to provide the health services that your child needs to enhance their educational program.
One of the common dilemmas facing parents of children in school is when to keep them home due to illness. Sick children do not belong in school for their own good as well as the well being of others. Often the first sign of illness is a change in behavior such as loss of appetite, irritability or lethargy. A fever may or may not be present. When your child shows signs of being ill they are best kept home from school so that you and/or your health care provider can further evaluate their condition.
Generally speaking, if your child has any of the following symptoms they should be kept home:
- Fever‐ (Temperature should be normal for at least 24 hours before return to school. Often temperatures are lower in the morning but rise in the afternoon.)
- Red and watery eyes/discharge from eyes
- Persistent and severe cough
- Not feeling well enough to participate in school activities
- Severe cold symptoms—sneezing, congestion, nasal drainage
If these symptoms persist or are severe you should check with your child’s health care provider. It is important that sick children receive proper care and that the rest of the school population is protected from contagious diseases. When a child becomes ill at school, the parent or his designee, is responsible for taking the child home as soon as possible. Our concern is for the comfort and protection of your child. If you have questions regarding the advisability of sending your child to school please feel free to contact the school nurse or your health care provider. If your child is unable to attend school please call the school office between 8:00 a.m. and 8:30 a.m.
If your child is absent because of illness but is able to do some schoolwork, requests for homework should be made when notifying the school of his/her absence in order to allow time for the assignments to be prepared. Teachers are unable to speak with you during the school day because that time belongs to the whole class.
ADMINISTRATION OF MEDICATION AT SCHOOL
If your child is on medication and the dose schedule cannot be worked around school hours the following procedures must be followed:
- The nurse must receive the medication in its original container (both prescription and non‐prescription).
- You must see the nurse to sign the permission form and to deliver the medication.
Please do not send medication to school with your child.
- A written statement from the prescribing physician, stating the name of the medication, dosage, and time to be given.
- Non‐prescription medication must be in the original container with the student’s name and date clearly marked on the container.
Only the school nurse or staff member delegated by the principal assists in administration of medication. Children are not permitted to have medicine in the classroom or on their person. Parents should take the medication to the office where it is kept in a locked place. Please do not send in cough drops or lozengers due to choking concerns.
ILLNESS AND ACCIDENTS DURING THE SCHOOL DAY
In case of emergency during the school day, the nurse is available. When she feels a child should be sent home, the parent is notified. It is imperative that the school has two emergency phone numbers. In an emergency, if neither parent, guardian, nor person designated by parent is available, the nurse will review the situation with the principal. Parents should not hesitate to call the school if questions of physical or emotional health arise. Parents should notify the nurse if a student would be absent for an extended period of time due to illness or surgery. The nurse should also be alerted if a student receives immunizations, gets new glasses, or if there is a significant change in health status.
ILLNESS AND AFTER‐SCHOOL EVENTS
If your child is absent from school or is sent home due to not feeling well, attendance at and participation in after school events is not permitted.
PARTICIPATION IN PHYSICAL EDUCATION CLASS
Students are expected to participate in physical education unless a written request is received from their physician indicating the reason they should not participate.
Homework is an integral part of the educational process. Our Dondero Community believes that homework enriches the school experience, develops and refines intellectual skills, fosters self‐discipline and independent learning and aids students in feeling confident as learners.
Homework is defined as written or non‐written tasks that are assigned by teachers to be completed by students outside of the classroom. The purposes of homework in the Dondero community are to practice newly taught skills, review previously mastered skills, develop independent study habits, and extend and enrich the curriculum. Homework should be related to the curriculum of the school and promote an understanding of the importance of lifelong learning. Additional academic homework will not be used as a behavior management tool or as a form of punishment.
In order to obtain the maximum benefit, homework requires cooperation, active participation and communication among administrators, teachers, parents, and students. Homework has different purposes at different grade levels.
Students’ Roles and Responsibilities:
- Set a time each day to do homework
- Check work and, if possible, explain it to an adult
- Do your personal best
- Bring the completed homework back to school when it is due
- Be responsible for taking care of, and returning any books and tools
Parents’ Role and Responsibilities:
- Promote a positive attitude toward homework as part of the learning process
- Understand and reinforce expectations for the quality of student work
- Provide structure, a place, and tools needed to help the child organize for the completion of homework
- Be available to provide supervision, but do not do the assignment for the child
- Communicate often with the student and his/her teacher, giving feedback to the teacher when there is a homework concern
Teachers’ Role and Responsibilities:
- Homework should supplement a well‐planned lesson following a careful explanation and definition of the task.
- Homework should be differentiated based upon a student’s individual learning needs.
- Review homework and return it in a timely manner
- Establish a system for recording and reporting homework
- Provide ways for parents to communicate with teachers about homework
- Notify parents regarding homework problems and missing assignments
- Establish and implement grade level expectations
Administrators’ Role and Responsibilities:
- Support the grade level in the implementation of the homework guidelines
- Facilitate the communication process between the school and home, and help maintain the parent/school partnership on homework.
Homework guidelines for some students with special needs may be determined by the student’s educational plan and should be specifically related to the student’s learning profile. The modifications in an educational plan supersede the general guidelines listed here.
LOST AND FOUND
Parents are requested to put their child’s name on each article of outside clothing and backpack. Lost and Found articles are placed in the cafeteria or front hall and parents are welcome to examine the area for lost articles. Smaller items such as jewelry, keys, money, and glasses are kept in the school office.
In the interest of air quality for our students, staff and families, please turn off vehicles and avoid idling when picking up or dropping off students.
NO SMOKING POLICY
Smoking is prohibited at all times in the school and on the school grounds.
Parents/guardians are requested to call the school office if there are any changes in the following:
- Telephone number (home, cell, work)
- Email address
- Names: child's or parent’s
- Place of work
- Moving out of school district
- Transferring‐‐see Transfer...
- Dismissal Procedures
- Early Release (if different than usual)
b) Not going home as usual or going home with another student (note required). Please notify the school no later than 12:00 pm of this change.
- Extended absences
- Conference appointments
PARENT AND STUDENT EXPECTATIONS AT AFTER‐SCHOOL EVENTS
Dondero is fortunate to have events throughout the school year that help strengthen our sense of community. Many events occur after school hours. For the safety of students and their siblings, parents are expected to supervise their children during these events. While meeting and socializing is part of what makes school events successful it is important that children are safe at all times. Parent cooperation will help make these events enjoyable for all, especially school staff who are invited and encouraged to attend these events. Parents are asked to familiarize themselves with school and playground rules found in this student/parent handbook.
Some expectations for after‐school events and gatherings:
- A parent or a designated adult must supervise his/her children at all times including on the playground.
- Classrooms and offices are off limits.
- Walk throughout building.
- No food or beverages in the halls or foyer.
- All playground rules apply.
- All traffic and parking rules apply.
- Respect others.
- Respect school grounds and building.
- An adult must accompany children at all times – children should not be dropped off.
- Event volunteers are requested to make arrangements with another adult to supervise their children.
PARKING AND TRAFFIC PATTERNS
The parking lot at Dondero School is a crowded place during drop‐off and dismissal times. Please see the Appendix for a parking map showing safe and efficient driving patterns. Please observe the following protocols to make sure that all children arrive and depart school safely.
PARENTS DROPPING OFF AND PICKING UP STUDENTS (without leaving car)
- Pick up and drop off of students is to occur only in the circle in front of the school.
- Cars enter on Fillmore Road.
- Cars must pull forward around the cul‐de‐sac, single file, as far as possible before stopping.
● Drivers must remain in cars while in the cul‐de‐sac.
- Children enter and exit from the passenger side of the car onto the sidewalk.
- Please follow the traffic direction provided by our custodians on duty.
- Please exit via Fillmore Road and proceed onto Van Buren Road.
SHORT TERM PARKING
- Enter via Adams Avenue. Stop at the sign then turn right into short‐term parking.
● No drop off or pick‐ups in this area. Please use cul‐de‐sac.
- Parents who need to walk in with their children park here.
- Volunteers will park here.
- This is a one‐way parking area with an exit on Fillmore.
WALKERS AND BIKERS
- Children who walk or ride bikes to school should enter and exit the school using the sidewalk on Fillmore road, crossing Van Buren at the crosswalk with the crossing guard. They should not enter or exit on Adams Road.
- Bicycles are to be parked only in the bicycle racks on the fields next to the sidewalk.
- The school accepts no responsibility for bicycles brought to school.
- There is absolutely no bicycle riding on school property when school is in session.
- Per New Hampshire State Law, helmets must be worn. A lock for the bike is recommended but not required.
- Please supervise your children at dismissal. Please do not permit your child to climb or sit on the split rail fence.
Any student may be suspended from school by the principal for gross misconduct, or for neglect or refusal to conform to the reasonable rules of the school; and he/she shall not attend school until reinstated by the principal. Physical violence and weapons possession are grounds for immediate suspension.
Children should be appropriately dressed to spend time outdoors during recess. Warm clothes, gloves, hats, and boots should be worn during winter months. Children well enough to come to school are considered well enough to be outside during recess. Exceptions for medical reasons may be granted on an individual basis. In the event of severely cold or inclement weather, outdoor recess will be canceled and children will have indoor recess time.
Footwear suitable for running on uneven surfaces such as the field and wood chips, and for climbing the play structure should be worn to school. Flip‐flops and shoes with raised heels are not safe for this type of play.
RULES AND PROCEDURES FOR STUDENT DRESS
A student's appearance is primarily the responsibility of the student and his/her parents. However, the learning atmosphere must be the determining factor in student dress.
- Students are to wear clothing and hairstyles that are appropriate and safe in their school activities.
- Students are to wear footwear that will assist in the proper maintenance of school property and will not be dangerous when worn on the playground.
- Students are to wear clothing that is in good taste within generally accepted community standards.
- Examples of inappropriate clothing include, but are not limited to:
- halter and tube tops, cropped shirts and see‐through tops
- shorts and skirts shorter than mid‐thigh
- clothing with inappropriate words or graphics
- Staff members who question a student's attire should refer the student to the principal's office.
- The school principal or his/her designate(s) will be the final judge regarding the appropriateness of a student's appearance.
- A student who disregards the stated rules may be sent home, on parent contact to change into appropriate dress before returning to school.
- The above rules may be adjusted by teachers and coaches of special programs to fit specific curricular and extracurricular activities.
Federal and State regulations require all school districts to notify parents and students annually of rights and policies regarding release of and access to school records, independent evaluations, prior notice, prior consent, due process procedures, evaluation procedures, least restrictive environment, and confidentiality in relation to educationally handicapped students and release of and access to school records for all students. You may receive a detailed copy of these policies and rights in the principal's office.
A strong and communicative teacher/parent relationship is essential for student success. Below are a few tips to help establish a positive working relationship:
- Get acquainted with your child's teacher.
- Volunteer in the classroom
- Communicate with the teacher at school concerning your child's progress and welfare. Make an appointment for a conference simply by calling the school or emailing the teacher directly.
- Show interest in your child's daily work.
- Work closely with the teacher.
- Problems at home cause problems at school. The teacher has a better opportunity to help your child overcome difficulties if he/she is aware of home problems that are stressful for the child.
- Reading is a critical element of our curriculum. Every effort should be made to provide the pupil with a positive reading atmosphere and ample reading opportunities at home.
TELEPHONE MESSAGES TO THE SCHOOL
If it is necessary to telephone your child at school, the message will be relayed to him/her. It is most helpful if a message is telephoned in before your child’s lunch time. If possible all instructions should be given to your child before he/she leaves home in the morning. A message may be taken at any time for a teacher. Unless there is an emergency, teachers will not be interrupted during the school day from classroom instruction.
TRANSFER OR WITHDRAWAL
Parents are requested to notify the school as soon as possible if a child is moving out of the district. Records will be forwarded to the new school upon notification of registration. It is important that all books and material belonging to the school be returned prior to withdrawal.
VISITS AND APPOINTMENTS
Please visit Dondero often. Classroom and school volunteers are a critical part of our community. Become acquainted with what your children are doing and what services are offered them. This is one way of helping children realize the importance of school. Teachers will not be able to discuss issues with you during class time as their focus needs to be on the children. They will, however, be most happy to make appointments to meet after
or before school. To make an appointment, simply call the school, email or write a note to the teacher.
When entering school for a visit, please sign in and receive a visitors’ pass in the office before going to other areas of the building.
PEOPLE AND PROGRAMS
At Dondero art classes are offered to all students, grades K‐5 have one period each week. In art we learn concepts of drawing and design. We build from the simplest ideas in kindergarten up to both two and three‐dimensional projects in Grade 5. Elements of art, line shape, form, and the principals of art, balance, repetition, harmony and unity are used to help us understand our world around us. We work on being unique, and each person doing the best possible work they can do. In art class children and the teacher learn there are many "right" answers to one problem.
The role of the school counselor is to provide professional support to children, parents, and the teaching staff regarding behavioral or emotional concerns displayed in the school setting. In addition to this, the counselor assists in the development of individual self‐concept and cooperative group skills
The counselor provides the following services:
- Individual counseling that can be teacher, parent, and/or student initiated.
- Small groups that may focus around problem solving, friendship issues, changing families, pro‐social skills instruction. Often times these groups are in the form of “lunch groups” in which a student may invite a friend or two from their grade level. Lunch groups are facilitated by one of the counselors.
- Support and referral at times of emotional and/or behavioral crisis.
- Close working relationship and coordination of services with community agencies.
- Consultation with colleagues and families
- Co‐facilitate the Open Circle curriculum when applicable.
- Coordination and support of the annual “Personal Body Safety” presentations offered by SASS educators.
ENGLISH SPEAKERS OF OTHER LANGUAGES
ESOL is a program for students whose native language is not English. The children receive personalized English lessons, the frequency of which depends upon the student’s proficiency in English.
- Dondero School seeks to provide students with a well‐rounded education that includes several extra‐curricular activities. These activities are designed to increase student awareness of their world and to develop skills essential to social and academic development. All students will be able to participate in activities scheduled by the school and sponsored either by the PTA or the school itself.
If your child was absent from school or is sent home due to not feeling well, attendance at and participation in after school events is not permitted.
- Two eight‐week sessions of After School Enrichment Program classes are held during the school year.
- Students also have the opportunity to participate in Student Leadership Team. The purpose of the team is to provide students with an opportunity to develop leadership skills and to help create a positive school community. The team also developed ideas for projects that reach out to children and families in our larger community. The team consists of 4th and 5th graders. The team sets meeting times.
- Music: Lessons for band instruments are available for students in grade 5.
- All fifth graders are encouraged to participate in fall soccer and/or basketball in the winter months. Dondero teams play students from other Seacoast area schools.
- Students in fourth and fifth grade are welcome to participate in spring track.
- Intramural basketball is offered to fourth grade boys and girls during the months of January and February. There are co‐ed teams who are coached by parents. Games are scheduled for Thursday nights and are held at Dondero.
- Third grade students are invited to participate in the Amigos program. Students are paired with student volunteers from Portsmouth High School for weekly‐supervised meetings.
- Chess Club is organized for students who are interested in learning the game and/or improving their skill level. Dondero students participate in the Seacoast Challenge Cup Chess Tournament each spring.
- All school‐sponsored field trips are of an educational nature and directly related to what is happening in the classroom.
- Each student must have a permission slip signed by a parent or guardian. No student will go on a field trip without a permission slip on file.
- Teachers and parent chaperones will be assigned on each trip to provide adequate supervision.
- All students who go on a field trip must return to the school with the group. Any exceptions must be approved by the principal prior to the trip.
An optional low cost accident insurance plan is offered each year. It protects the student during school hours and school travel time. Available at a higher rate is a second and more complete plan that covers the child twenty‐four hours a day throughout the calendar year. Information is sent home early in the school year and forms are available in the school office.
The services of the library are an essential part of the educational program at Dondero. Each class has a regularly scheduled library period every week. We are fortunate in having the services of a library aide and access to system‐wide resources to assist children in acquiring knowledge.
Students are responsible for the proper care and timely return of items they borrow, and are expected to pay for lost or damaged material, before the final report card is given out. Parents are welcome to discuss individual circumstances with the librarian in order to make alternate arrangements.
LOST AND FOUND
A lost and found box is located in the cafeteria. Please urge your child to check it if they are missing an article of clothing. It is helpful to mark clothing with the child's name in order to return lost items to their owners.
Music is a basic and valuable part of every student's curriculum. We strive to expose students to many musical styles, types, and mediums. Hopefully each child will respond to music in a meaningful way, enjoy many musical experiences, and produce some of their own music.
Opportunities are available:
- In a classroom setting on a weekly basis
- On a band instrument on a beginning level in Grade 5.
- In recorder classes in Grade 4
A city‐wide elementary band is also available on a weekly basis for those players in Grade 5. Special programs using the stage are planned for December and May.
OPEN CIRCLE SOCIAL CURRICULUM
Dondero classroom teachers, counselors, and specialists are trained to teach the Open Circle social curriculum. The Open Circle curriculum is a comprehensive, grade‐differentiated social and emotional learning program for grades K‐5 children. Lessons are taught twice a week for approximately 15 minutes each. “The explicit instruction and practice in various social competency skills provided in this curriculum help students and teachers to build more positive relationships and raise their expectations of themselves and others. Together, they can create a supportive and nurturing classroom environment, one that appreciates diversity of all types and encourages and supports the academic achievement of all” (Open Circle, 2006).
PARENT TEACHER ASSOCIATION
The Dondero PTA is a non‐profit association open to parents of children attending our school, teachers, staff members, administration, and interested community members. A membership drive is held every fall, but new members may join at any time. Membership ensures the right to vote on budgetary and other issues. Any parent unable to pay the membership fee who wants to join the PTA should speak with the principal.
The PTA encourages all parents to join and take part in its activities. Its aim is to support the school and coordinate efforts of parents and teachers so that a closer relationship between home and school is established, thus promoting the welfare of the children.
Throughout the year, the PTA conducts evening programs featuring speakers and panel discussions for parents. It keeps parents informed of school activities. Each year it sponsors a variety of social events. Fundraising supports a great variety of programs, materials and equipment for the school.
PTA meetings are held monthly. Dates and times are published in the school newsletter. All parents are welcome and childcare is available.
All students in elementary school have physical education once a week. The purpose of Physical education is the development of physical, emotional and social skills. The body is used as a tool for individuals to find out about themselves and how they relate with other students. Through various activities such as gymnastics, team sports, movement exploration and cooperative games we try to accomplish these goals. Children should wear sneakers to school on the days of their PE class.
The Reading Specialists provide direct reading support to children and oversee the reading programming in the building, including the Title I program. These specialists also serve as resources for teachers regarding new methods, procedures, materials and programs to be used for the improvement of instruction and/or meeting individual children's needs.
Whenever possible, the children go outside for all or a portion of their recess time. We recommend that students dress appropriately, particularly during the winter months. When weather conditions prohibit going outside, an indoor recess will be offered.
Any child not well enough to go out for recess should remain at home unless we have a communication from the child’s physician recommending that he/she remain inside.
Report cards will be distributed three times a year. The first trimester report card will be given to the parent/guardian during the December Parent/Teacher conference. Report cards and attachments may be kept by the parent. The envelope must be signed and returned to school.
THE RESPONSIVE CLASSROOM APPROACH TO TEACHING
Many teachers at Dondero have received formal training in this approach to teaching, and evidence of that work can be seen all over the building. Though each teacher uses these methods in varying degrees, the following is a synopsis of some of the Responsive Classroom's major components.
Morning Meeting: This is a 15‐30 minute block of time set aside for the direct teaching of both social and academic skills. Classes take time to build community through sharing, greeting each other and playing together. A daily message from the teacher to the students gets students tuned into the planned learning of the day.
Rules and Logical Consequences: The discipline system in the Responsive Classroom provides a balanced approach to discipline where students have a hand in forming the rules which guide their behavior and learn from their mistakes through logical consequences. Teachers provide firm and caring guidance without tearing down students.
Guided Discovery: This is a process that allows students and teachers to explore new materials and areas of the classroom and school together, brainstorming possibilities for use and learning opportunities and discussing proper care for materials and spaces.
Classroom Organization: Teachers take time to create a classroom environment that is developmentally appropriate, clean, attractive, and conducive to learning. It is understood that the spaces in which we work affect the way we behave.
This is a very basic synopsis of just a few of the most important aspects of the Responsive Classroom approach to teaching. More information about the Responsive Classroom is available at Dondero School or at www.responsiveclassroom.org.
Dondero provides resource personnel for tutoring of individuals and small groups in reading, math and organizational skills. Students who are identified as having an educational disability and children who are recommended by the classroom teacher may receive this support service.
RESPONSE TO INTERVENTION
The Response to Intervention (RtI) model is designed to support teachers with struggling students. When a teacher recognizes that a student is struggling in any area‐ academic, social, emotional or behavioral‐ they begin the process by filling out RtI Student Information paperwork. They then share this information with members of the RtI team‐ principal, counselor and grade level teachers. The goal of the meeting is to provide the teacher with intervention ideas to assist the student in overcoming their struggle. On‐going monitoring of student growth takes place on a six week cycle. This is not related to special education.
Most classes break throughout the day for a brief snack time. Students should bring healthy, well‐balanced snacks. Soda and candy are prohibited.
The Speech‐Language Pathologist works with the Dondero staff to identify, assess and support children with speech and language challenges. Each identified student’s speech and language goals are integrated with academic and social goals. Services are provided through individual or group sessions, in classrooms in collaboration with teachers or on a consult basis meeting with teachers and parents.
Ongoing assessment occurs throughout the year in all classes. In addition, the following assessments are conducted:
- The New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) will be administered in all New Hampshire schools in the fall to students in Grade 3 through 8. Results will be shared with parents when they become available.
- The New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) Science Test will be administered in all New Hampshire schools in the spring to students in Grade 4, 8, and
- Results will be shared with parents when they become available.
- The Development Reading Assessment is given to all students twice a year.
- A Math Common assessment is given to all students in grades 1‐5 twice a year.
The Title I program has been part of Dondero School since 2007. This means that specific children no longer need to be identified and that all children in the school are eligible to receive support through the program.
Title I paraprofessionals support teachers in reading instruction throughout the building. The program primarily focuses on remedial reading to the present program where the students receive support across the curriculum to achieve the high standards that have been established for all students.
We appreciate it when parents and community members volunteer in our school. School volunteers play an important role in the daily school program. Volunteers help enrich the school’s curriculum, assist teachers, and expand the opportunities available to our children. Volunteers at Dondero help at school and at home. We are very fortunate to have many active and dedicated volunteers.
Please take time to complete the volunteer forms you receive. Call the school volunteer coordinators if you have questions or ideas about how you can help enrich our school. We require that when volunteering in the school you wear a nametag so you will be recognized
as a volunteer. All volunteers are requested to sign the volunteer register in the foyer each time they help at school or at home.
According to RSA 189:13‐a, the law requires a NH and Federal criminal record background check for all volunteers. Documents will be mailed from the Superintendent’s office to the NH Department of Safety. A packet containing the necessary paperwork may be retrieved in the main office at Dondero.
As a condition of volunteering, parents and community members must complete the following:
- Complete the Criminal Records Authorization Form. This form must be signed in the presence of a notary public.
- Complete the Fingerprint Card. Please bring this card to the Police Department to have your fingerprints inked. The Portsmouth Police Department offers fingerprinting services on Saturday, from 9am‐ 12noon only.
PORTSMOUTH SCHOOL BOARD OF EDUCATION POLICIES
School Board policies are posted on the School Department’s web site: http://www.cityofportsmouth.com/school/
*Please note that the policies posted on the web site are for informational purposes only and should not be used as official documents. Portsmouth School Board Policies are reviewed and updated on an ongoing basis. Please contact Ms. Amy Noble at Central Office (603‐431‐5080) for information regarding the issuance of official copies of School Board Polices.