Dondero Parent Handbook
GENERAL INFORMATION AND POLICIES
7:45 am Morning recess/Breakfast served
8:10 am Entrance open to school
8:20 am School begins
2:50 pm Dismissal for walkers/riders/PEAK students
2:53 pm Dismissal for bus student
Teachers will supervise activities on the playground beginning at 7:45 AM. Please do not send your students to school or drop them off before 7:45. We cannot be responsible for supervision prior to that time. Breakfast will be served beginning at 7:45 a.m. Those students eating breakfast will be asked to enter the cafeteria upon arrival. Once finished, they will be dismissed to the playground.
ABSENCES, TARDINESS AND DISMISSALS
1. Parents are requested to notify the school between 7:30 a.m. and 8:15 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. 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.
2. Students who arrive after the 8:20 a.m. bell are tardy and are requested to report to the office and sign-in before going to the classroom.
3. In an effort to provide maximum protection of children, through the Child Watch program you will receive a call from the main office if the child's absence has not been reported by the parents to the school office by 8:40am.
4. 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.
5. Bus students will not be allowed to 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. The main office will sign off on all bus notes as well as contact the bus company.
6. 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.
7. 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 12 pm.
8. Walkers and students being picked up are dismissed at 2:50 pm. 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:
1. Bicycles/scooters/skateboards should be walked on school property at all times.
2. Students are reminded that bicycles and scooters are brought to school at their own risk. The school will not assume responsibility for damage.
3. A note giving permission for the student to ride his bike or scooter to and from school is required from a parent.
4. 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 7:45a.m. The cost is $1.60 per day.
Hot lunch is available at a cost of $ 2.60 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 …
1. Wait and ride only if approved by the school,
2. Be orderly and avoid horseplay,
3. Arrive at least 5 minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive,
4. Wait clear of traffic and back as far as possible from the road,
5. Wait to approach only after the bus has stopped,
6. Cross the street only after the driver has put on the flashing lights
and signaled to cross, and,
7. Only get on and off at their own stops.
Once on the Bus, Students should …
1. Go directly to an available seat or assigned seat,
2. Remain seated during the bus ride,
3. Keep hands, heads, arms, and legs inside,
4. Never play with emergency exit equipment,
5. Never throw or pass around any object(s),
6. Not carry on live animals of any kind,
7. Carry on only items which they can hold on their laps, and,
8. Not to eat or drink food items.
For the Driver to Keep Attention to the Bus Operation and the Traffic,
1. Not carry on hazardous materials, or use nuisance items, such as laser lights, etc.
2. Not have or carry on weapons of any kind,
3. Not use or be carrying tobacco products, drugs, alcohol, or any other
4. Not use profanity or make obscene gestures,
5. Observe all other school rules (printed in the student handbooks or developed by school administration) and district-wide policies, and, 6. 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.
A. Informal (Verbal): Driver and Rider
1. The driver will speak with the student about the undesirable behavior.
2. 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.
3. 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.
B. Formal (Written): Bus Provider, School Administration, Parent and Rider (When the informal no longer is working)
1. First Report - The student will meet with the Principal, and a copy of the report will be mailed home.
2. 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.
3. 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.
C. 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
Bus Provider Commitment to a safe and pleasant bus ride.
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:
1. Safe walking practices to and from the bus stop. Procedures to deal with strangers while walking to and at the bus stop.
2. Wearing of light-colored or reflective clothing if going to and from the bus stop in darkness or on an overcast/rainy day.
3. How and where to wait safely for the bus.
4. Safe roadway crossing before boarding or leaving the bus.
5. Problems with clothing, backpacks, and the dangers of getting them caught when departing the bus (remove drawstrings from clothing and excess straps from backpacks).
6. What to do if the bus is late or does not arrive.
7. Emergency evacuation procedures.
Portsmouth School Department Commitment to a safe and pleasant bus ride.
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:
1) Talk to the bus company officials first;
a) 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