Student & Parent Handbook 2018-2019 School Year  

Mount Vernon-Ruth Elementary School

Mount Vernon-Ruth Elementary School

2785 Hudlow Road

Forest City, NC 28043

Phone: 828-287-4792

Fax: 828-287-5253

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Dear Families,

I would like to personally welcome you to Mount Vernon-Ruth Elementary School, home of the LIONS.  We are excited to begin another school year with our students and families.  During the 2017-18 school year we saw much growth in our students.  We are very proud of their many successes and accomplishments.  This summer our staff have worked diligently growing themselves professionally by attending professional development and collaborating with one another to plan for another successful, even better,  2018-19 school year.  Our main goal this year is to continue building partnerships with our families and community to help grow each of our students to make more progress than we have ever seen.  Together, we know that this is possible.  We thank you in advance for your continued support in your child’s education.

In the following pages you will find some expectations, rules, and regulations for Mount Vernon-Ruth Elementary School.  One of our favorite phrases is “Kids First.”  Everything included in this packet strives to keep “Kids First”.  Our ultimate goal is student safety.  My expectation is that you will help us follow these guidelines so that all students will have the best opportunity to learn in a fun, safe, and nurturing environment.  If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact the school at 828-287-4792.  Again, I appreciate your dedication to Mount Vernon Ruth Elementary School and your child’s early learning experiences.


Mrs. Stronach and MVR Staff


School Vision

Our students will be prepared for middle school and beyond.

School Mission

In an ever-changing diverse community, Mt. Vernon-Ruth Elementary School will provide a nurturing school environment for all students and families through rigorous and challenging learning experiences.

School Improvement Goals

Mt. Vernon-Ruth Elementary School will raise overall student proficiency on the North Carolina End-of-Grade Test of Reading to meet or exceed the district-wide rate during the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years.

Mt. Vernon-Ruth Elementary School will raise overall student proficiency on the North Carolina End-of-Grade Test of Mathematics to meet or exceed the district-wide rate during the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years.

Mt. Vernon-Ruth Elementary School will raise overall student proficiency on the North Carolina End-of-Grade Test of Science at grade five to meet or exceed the district-wide rate during the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years.

Mt. Vernon Ruth Elementary School will raise overall student proficiency on DIBELS Reading Assessments in grades K-2 to 80% during the 2017-18 school year and the 2018-19 school year.

2018 – 2019

MVR Faculty/Staff  

Principal - Erika Stronach

Secretary - Dana Bright

Part-Time Secretary - Danielle Guffey

Data Manager - Bebe Ingle (Wed/Thur)

Instructional Coach - Paula Davis

Technology Coordinator - Tara Mauney

Technology Support - Maria Edwards

Resource Office - Brian Gilreath

Kindergarten Team (Teacher / Teacher Assistant)

Elizabeth Abrams / Rebecca Lane

Kerrie Earley / Christy Teague

Jordan Yelton / Cheryl Cole

First Grade Team (Teacher / Teacher Assistant)

Kristie Corn / Kiyini Smith

Bethany Thorn / Taylor Shackley

Monya Wilkins / Jodi Riggs

Second Grade Team (Teacher / Tutor)

Linda Armentrout / Renee Luckadoo

Lee Murray / Renee Luckadoo

Third Grade Team (Teacher / Tutor)

Chelsea Blake / Lynnae Barrella

Kathy Huckabee / Lynnae Barrella

Fourth Grade Team (Teacher / Tutor)

Jill Scott / Penny Newton

Scottie Yarboro / Penny Newton

Fifth Grade Team (Teacher / Tutor)

Julie Buchanan / Penny Newton

Kimberly Howard / Penny Newton

Allison Baynard / Penny Newton

Lab - George Lorber (Tue.-Fri.)

Library - Teri Wells

Music - Jane Hill (Mon./Tue.)

Guidance - Caroline King (every other Mon.; Tue./Wed.)

Physical Education - Brad Causby

Art - Courtney McNeely (Tue.)

Exceptional Children’s Team (Teacher / TA)

     Erica Phipps / Julie Carson

Speech Pathologist - Katherine Clevenger

     (every other Fri.)

Speech Assistant - Kayla Reichard (Wed. & Fri.)

ESL - Laura Bridges (Wed. morning)

School Psychologist - Bill Elmore (Wed.)

Exceptional Children’s Program Specialist -

     Starr Morrow (Wed.)

Occupational Therapist - Betsy Krigbaum (Thur.)

Academically and Intellectually Gifted - Allison Tate (Fri.)

Bus Drivers

# 81  Cindy Pfoutz         

# 66 AM  Kiyini Smith

# 66 PM  Eva Bradley

#131 AM  Sidney Calhoun

#131 PM  Nubia Sprouse


Missy White - Lead

Sidney Calhoun

Nubia Sprouse


Susan McEntire - Manager

Eva Bradley

Laura Gagner

Robin Hardin

School Hours

Our school doors open at 7:00 AM. Breakfast is available and strongly encouraged from 7:00-7:30 AM.  Instruction begins promptly at 7:30 AM for grades K-5.  Please do your very best to have your child to school on time.  Students who arrive after 7:30 AM have already missed instruction.

Afternoon dismissal begins at 2:15pm.


Mount Vernon-Ruth Elementary School is governed by the State of North Carolina Public School Law and the Rutherford County Board of Education.  The compulsory Attendance Law requires students to be in attendance.  Academic achievement is highly important at MVR; therefore, students must make up all work required by the teacher when absent.  It is currently Rutherford County School’s policy that attendance be a deciding factor when considering retention or promotion.  Please make sure your child is absent only when necessary.

The Rutherford County School Compulsory Attendance Policy stipulates the following:

Please note that parents may write notes for up to 10 absences.  These will be considered excused.  After 10 absences only doctor’s notes will be excused.

Absences play a significant factor in retention and promotion.

Please refer to the Rutherford County Schools K-5 Policies Handbook for complete attendance laws.


Arriving late to school or leaving early is considered a tardy.  Instruction at all grades K-5 begins promptly at 7:30 AM.  It is imperative that your child is in the classroom, settled, and ready to learn at 7:30 AM.  Excessive tardies are considered for retention or promotion.  

Any student arriving late to school must be walked into the building and signed in by an adult.  

Early Check-Out

If you need to pick up your child early, please send a note to the child’s teacher stating this so they can arrange accordingly.  We will call your child to the office when you arrive.  This will minimize time lost in the classroom.  You must report to the office to sign your child out for early dismissal.  Early dismissals should not occur after 1:45.  This is for student safety during our dismissal process.

Our Student Information Sheet includes a list of people who may pick up your child.  No one else will be allowed to pick up your child without written consent (include your phone number on the written consent, so that we can call you to verify, if we feel it is necessary).  A picture ID may be required.  We will not allow any student to be picked up by anyone other than parents or legal guardians or people listed on the form, without written consent by you.

We ask that you do not come into the office to check your child out at the end of the day.  Again, this is for student safety during dismissal.  All staff need to be focused on students during this time.  Please use our car rider line.

Traffic Safety

Bus Riders AM and PM

All bus riders will enter and exit the school building through the bus doors located near the cafeteria.

Car Riders AM

Morning car riders will be dropped off in the car rider line located in our main parking lot.  Please pull all the way down to the library doors (closest to the library, not the gym) to drop off your child.  A staff member will be present to welcome your child.  Students will walk under the breezeway and enter the building through the library doors.  Please try to make sure your child exits the vehicle on the building side for their safety.

Car Riders PM

Afternoon car riders will dismiss from the gym.  A staff member will call students’ names to a number (1-5).  Parents/guardians will pull up to the corresponding number to pick up their child.  It is our goal to load all students in their vehicle on the building side of the car rider line for safety.

During the first week of school all car rider parents will receive a paper stating their child/children’s names.  Please leave this in a visible location so that our staff calling names can clearly see who to call for each call.  We appreciate your help in keeping our car rider line swift and safe.

For the safety of our students our bus parking lot is restricted to buses only.  Please do not drop off students or park in this area during the school day.

Transportation Changes

A written request must be provided:

All information should be listed on the transportation request with your signature and phone number.  We expect written permission for your child to change his/her way of going home except in emergency situations.  

A student will not be allowed to make a transportation change.

Please understand that phone calls during the day to change transportation are stressful for your child, are not conducive to child safety, and also take away from the school day and should not be made except in an emergency.  

Bus Transportation

The purpose of the school bus is to transport students from home to school, from school to home, and return safely.  To accomplish this purpose, a discipline plan is used on the buses.  The plan includes rules and consequences that each student is taught during the first week of school.  

Riding the bus is a privilege for students.  Students are expected to follow the same behavioral standards while riding the bus that are expected on school property or at school activities or events.  All school rules are in full effect while a student is riding the bus or waiting at a bus stop.

Bus Rules

  1. No standing.  Stay seated while the bus is moving AND while it is stopped.
  2. Stay in your assigned seat and do not ask to move seats.
  3. Use a quiet voice to talk to your nearby neighbors.
  4. No food, candy, or drink on the bus.
  5. Arms, legs, and feet in your seat area at all times.
  6. Keep hands, feet, and objects to yourself.  
  7. Absolutely no heads, arms or objects outside of the window.
  8. Throw away all garbage when exiting the bus.
  9. Raise your hand, stay seated, and wait for the bus driver to call on you before telling them of a situation.
  10. Treat your bus driver and fellow riders with respect.
  11. Bus 81 - Seatbelts will be worn at all times.

Bus 57 → Is becoming Bus 81

We are lucky to be replacing Bus 57 with a new bus - Bus 81.  Bus 81 has seatbelts!  It will be expectation that students wear seatbelts while riding this bus.  Our hopes are to expand our other two buses to seatbelts in the future!

Bus Consequences

First Offense → Driver provides a verbal warning and/or reassigns seat.

Second Offense → Office visit with a warning and principal reassigns seat.

Third Offense → Office visit with a parent contact.

Fourth Offense → Office visit with a one day bus suspension.

Fifth Offense → Office visit with a three day bus suspension.

Any severe act or misconduct is an immediate suspension.

School Closings

The decision to close school due to bad weather is made by the superintendent.  Every effort is made to make this decision as early as possible.  You may learn of this decision by listening to local radio or television.  Please do not call the school.  Calling the school ties up our lines and takes our attention away from students.  Many times local radio gets the information before we do.  Also, the SchoolMessenger system will be used to notify you of changes in the school day.

The following are sources that may provide information regarding school closings, delays or dismissals.

If school should be dismissed early due to inclement weather, please make sure your child’s teacher knows IN ADVANCE how he/she will be getting home.  PLEASE KEEP YOUR PHONE NUMBER UPDATED WITH US AT ALL TIMES OF THE SCHOOL YEAR!  

School Discipline

Teachers spend much time during the first few weeks of school discussing classroom and school-wide rules with the students.  Your child’s teacher will send home a description of the behavior management plan to be used in your child’s classroom.  

Grades K-4 use a universal clip chart system.  In these classrooms students can move up or down the clip chart throughout the day depending on their behavior.  Mrs. Stronach will always intervene when a student is on RED to attempt to redirect them.  

Purple - Off the chart → Great Job

Green - Ready to Learn → Expected Behavior

Yellow - Warning → Stop and Think

Orange - Consequence → Teacher's Choice

Red - Parent Contact

Black - Office Visit / Referral

Grade 5 uses Class Dojo.  Parents of students in Grade 5 will receive more information about Class Dojo at the beginning of the school year.  This behavioral system allows students to lose or earn points based on their behavior.  Special’s Teachers will use Class Dojo with 5th grade students as well.

Dress Code

The following standards apply to all elementary schools.  Principals make make additions to these standards.

Sick or Injured at School

If your child becomes sick or injured while at school, we will make every effort to take care of them and contact you in a timely fashion.  The Student Information Sheet is very important under these circumstances because it provides us with contact numbers.  It is imperative that you notify us when your number(s) change.  If the situation demands immediate attention and we cannot make contact with anyone, we will call 911 for Rutherford County E.M.S.


The school staff cannot administer medication to students unless the parents have turned in a Student Medication Form (available in the office).  The Student Medication Form must be completed and signed by both the parent and the physician.  No medication of any kind will be given without this form completed.

Any over-the-counter medication must be in the original box or bottle.  Parents must also complete a medical form for over-the-counter drugs.  


Lice/No Nit Policy

The Rutherford County Board of Education has adopted a no nit policy for students with head lice.  There is no shame in having head lice.  Lice can be completely eliminated in the home by following proper removal procedures.  Please contact our school nurse if your child has a consistent problem with head lice.  Children will be sent home for lice and/or nits.

School Insurance

Accident insurance is available for purchase.  Your child will bring insurance information home at the first of the school year.  If you do not receive this information, please contact the front office and we will be glad to send information home to you.

Phone Use

Students are not allowed to use the phone.  In the event of an emergency, a teacher will call home for the student.  Students should leave cell phones at home.  We cannot be responsible for lost or stolen phones.  If a student has a cell phone, the teacher will bring the phone to the office and an adult will be called to pick up the phone.  

Physical Education 

To ensure student safety, all students MUST wear tennis shoes on PE days.  Students who do not wear tennis shoes on their PE days will be assigned a designated area to walk in the gym.  

Best practice is also for students to wear tennis shoes during their classroom recess time.  We work hard to make sure our playgrounds are free of ant hills and trash; however, sometimes these things go unnoticed.  Tennis shoes also provide ankle support which helps lessen the risks of ankle injuries.  

Thank you for helping us make sure all of our students are safe.


No one reaches his/her potential without practicing their skills.  Please allow time in your family’s schedule for homework.  Do not do your child’s homework.  Doing your child’s homework misleads the teacher in knowing their progress and ability.  We ask that you simply monitor that their homework is complete.  Please contact your child’s teacher to schedule a conference if your child is struggling with their homework.  It is strongly recommend that your child read for at least 20-30 minutes each night.

Report Cards

Report cards will be issued each six weeks, in accordance with the Rutherford County Schools Board of Education schedule.  Grades 3-5 teachers will issue Progress Reports halfway through the six week period.  We encourage you to schedule a conference with your child’s teacher at any time if you have a question concerning grades.  Keep in mind, grades are not given, they are earned.  The State Board approved a standard 10-point scale to begin with the 2015-16 school year.  This grading scale will be used for grades 3-5.

Grading Scale

A = 90-100

B = 80-89

C = 70-79

D = 60-69

F = <59

Report Cards will go home (these dates are subject to change due to inclement weather)

October 11th, 2018

November 30th, 2018

January 28th, 2019

March 14th, 2019

May 2nd, 2019

June 12th, 2019

Standardized Testing

In elementary school, we have some standardized testing.  Our students are assessed in the following ways -

MTSS - Responsiveness To Instruction (RTI)

Mount Vernon-Ruth Elementary School implements Responsiveness to Instruction (RTI) in all K-5 classrooms.  RTI is a framework for providing instruction to students on the level they need in order to be successful.  For struggling students, RTI allows for early intervention using strategies and processes that are research-based.  For all other students, RTI provides time for extension and enrichment of the core curriculum.  All MVR students participate in one hour of MTSS/RTI time where they receive interventions that are appropriate for them.


We want constant communication to happen between school and our families.  Below are just a few of the tools we use to communicate.  

Food Nutrition Services / Classroom Parties

Breakfast and lunch are served daily.  Breakfast is served in the cafeteria from 7:00 to 7:30 each morning.  Lunch is served from 11:00-1:00 each day.  All Rutherford County Schools students receive free breakfast and lunch.  We invite you to join your child for lunch as often as possible.  Bringing your own child food is permissible, however, due to student allergies bringing another child food is not allowed.

The State of North Carolina has issued guidelines against bringing home baked goods into the school due to problems associated with E-coli bacteria and food allergies.  If you wish to bring food items into the classroom for birthday parties, and other special occasions, please purchase all food items from a commercial kitchen such as grocery store, bakery, or deli.  The nutrition information and ingredients are posted on commercially prepared food.  Do not remove the nutrition labels as we may need to review them due to student allergies.  Students may not consume party foods, etc., before the cafeteria finishes serving, at 1:00 PM.

To schedule a class party, please contact your child’s teacher.  Please do not just show up with a party for the class.

Visitors and Volunteers

Always report to the office when you enter the school.  Please use our front doors.  Do not come through our bus or gym doors.  Our visitor pass procedure has been implemented to help keep all students safe.  Wearing a visitor’s pass is required at all times while on campus.  

All volunteers will be required to register at the school office and wear a visitor’s pass while on school grounds.  A background check will be necessary each year for volunteers.  You will need to fill out a Volunteer Background Check form giving the Board of Education permission to run a background check before being able to volunteer.

Our county identification system will be cleared two to three times per year.  Please know that you may be asked to bring in your driver’s license for scanning throughout the year.  Again, this is to keep our students and staff safe.


P.T.O. provides much support to students and staff.  We are always in need of new members.  To join the MVR P.T.O. please contact the front office to receive more information.  

Lost and Found

If your child has lost an item, he or she may check the Lost and Found located in the Music Room.  Parents are also welcome to check the lost and found.  Best practice is to label your child’s personal belongings.