Vista Heights Middle School
Blackhawk Handbook 2023-2024
Vista Heights Middle School
484 W. Pony Express Parkway
Saratoga Springs, UT 84045
Phone: (801) 610-8770
Dear Vista Heights Student,
Welcome to the 2023-2024 school year! There are so many great people at Vista. The students, staff, and teachers help make this such a great place. We are excited for the new school year and want to see you succeed in all areas of your school experience.
One of the focal points of our school is our emphasis on Everyday Strong and our Vista Values. Why is this? As a student you have influence on each other and on our school as a whole. The three main concepts of Everyday Strong are Safety, Connection, and Confidence. Our Vista Values are Respect and Responsibility. These five guiding principles will make our school the type of place you enjoy. Please do your part in your interactions with each other and work to build each other up.
Our faculty and staff are committed to your success and we will work each day to ensure that you find that success.
It is great to have you here! Keep being awesome!
Mr. Tim Thompson, Principal
Vista Heights Middle School 2021-2022
Front Office: (801) 610-8770
Counseling Center: (801) 610-8771
School colors: Black, Teal and Silver / Mascot: Blackhawks
Aug. 14 Back to School Night 3:30-6:30
Aug. 15 7th Grade Day 8:15-11:30am (buses are running)
Aug. 16 First day of school (all grades) 8:15 am-1:45 pm (A Day)
Aug 31/Sep 1 Picture Day During student’s English class
Sept. 28 Parent Teacher Conference 3:30 pm-7:00 pm
Oct. 5 Picture Retake Day In the Commons
Feb. 22 Registration Information Night 3:30 pm-7:00 pm
May 24 Last day of school 8:15-10:00 am
Sep. 4 Labor Day
Oct. 6 Teacher Work Day
Oct. 119-20 Fall Break
Oct. 23 Teacher Professional Development
Nov. 22-24 Thanksgiving Break
Dec. 22 Teacher Work Day
Dec. 25-Jan 5 Christmas Break
Jan. 15 Martin Luther King Day
Feb. 9 Teacher Work Day
Feb. 19 President’s Day
Mar. 11 Teacher Professional Development
Mar. 12 Teacher Work Day
Apr. 1-5 Spring Break
Oct. 18 1st Term
Dec. 22 2nd Term
Mar. 8 3rd Term
May. 24 4th Term
Flight Time Bell Schedule M, T, Th, F
Wednesday Early Out
Principal- Mr. Thompson
Ms. Clarke A-Co
Assistant Principal- Mr. Broadhead
Mrs. Gleason Cr-Ha
Assistant Principal- Mr. Bushman
Mr. Ringer He-Mi
Assistant Principal - Ms. Lunt
Mrs. Webb Mo-Sc
Mrs. Preece Se-Z
At Vista Heights Middle School, our core focus is to provide a safe and effective learning environment for all students. It is important to maintain behaviors and attitudes that fall in line with our Vista Values of being respectful and responsible wherever you are in the building and in whatever you are doing. In order to create a safe and effective learning environment, we are implementing a school-wide positive behavioral plan, which is outlined below:
School-Wide Behavior Expectations:
“Vista Values” are the expectations for each individual in this school community. All behaviors and attitudes fall under two simple themes: Respect and Responsibility. As our core focus is to provide a safe and effective learning environment for all students, it is important to maintain behaviors and attitudes that fall in line with these two themes wherever you are in the building and in whatever you are doing. Always be aware of your role within the school and how you can demonstrate our “Vista Values”.
Allow learning to happen.
Treat yourself, others, and property kindly, causing no harm.
Use appropriate language.
Do your best.
Be accountable for your own actions.
Follow school policies.
Allow teachers to teach and students to learn.
Follow reasonable requests.
Use equipment as intended.
Do your best work.
Arrive on time.
Be prepared for class.
Take action to correct mistakes.
Follow class rules & procedures.
Behave in a way that allows learning to happen.
Follow rules for the activity you attend.
Choose to improve your learning and grades.
Check your grades often and identify missing assignments.
Arrive with supplies and assignments.
Be considerate of others’ property.
Maintain personal space.
Display affection appropriately.
Allow learning in classrooms to continue without disruption.
Travel safely: walk, hands to self
Use and maintain your own locker.
Avoid sharing your combination.
Control your belongings.
Go directly where you need to be; return to class quickly.
Stay in allowed areas.
Wait patiently in line for food.
Follow directions from staff.
Use an arms length voice.
Share table space.
Be considerate of other’s property.
Clean up after yourself- throw away trash.
Report problems to staff.
Control your property.
Sit in seats.
Turn off electronic devices.
Give attention to the program.
Show support to participants without causing disruption.
Sit in designated areas.
Chromebooks are a tool for your education.
Use online sources wisely.
Follow instructions for Chromebook usage.
Be a good digital citizen.
Bring your device charged and ready to use.
Take care of your device, avoid damage
(Auditorium, bus, gym)
Stay in your seat.
Leave other people alone.
Follow directions and rules for the situation.
Keep your belongings with you.
Clean up after yourself.
Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is a priority at Vista for both students and teachers. Vista Heights counseling office hosts a wellness room for students to use with permission for a brief period of time to address the SEL competencies of self awareness, social awareness, self management, relationship skills, and decision making.
Alpine School District is dedicated to promoting the health and well-being of our students by focusing on the whole child and improving connections to services for school-age youth. This includes student academic learning, as well as their social and emotional safety.We aim to increase student connectedness and safety, academic achievement, and their ability to thrive.
Through our partnership with the United Way and the "EveryDay Strong" Campaign, we know that students need to feel SAFE (physically and emotionally), CONNECTED (a feeling of belonging and being understood) and CONFIDENT (in their own skills, and abilities) in order to THRIVE.
Vista will continue to use technology to pursue greater learning opportunities for our students. Vista is joining the district in becoming a Next Generation School. Students will be issued a Chromebook and charging cord the first week of school. Deployment permission will be a part of updating student information in Skyward. Each student will be issued a learning device that they will be able to use for the entire school year. The use of one-to-one digital resources in schools has been shown to increase opportunities for engagement by creating options in how students can learn and demonstrate understanding.
Vista Heights is a 1:1 school. Every student is issued a personal Chromebook for the school year. Students are responsible for bringing their own Chromebook, charged and ready to use daily. If your Chromebook isn’t working, stop at the front office to complete a repair form, then go to the media center to get a temporary Chromebook.
When you are absent, your parent/guardian is required to email the attendance secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org to excuse the absence within 10 days. The email must include the student first and last name, and the dates you are excusing. If you miss more than three consecutive days you may have your homework collected for you and available in the front office. Most missed assignments should be discussed and made up with your teacher.
Visit with your teacher about what you need to do to improve your grade. Take advantage of Flight Time and before/after school time, to get help in the classes you are not doing well in.
Visit with your teacher during Flight Time or check your grades online through Skyward. A computer is now available in the library for students to check their grades before or after school.
In the counseling office is a Wellness Room for students to use for an emotional break. Every teacher has a pass for students to briefly visit the wellness center.
Please stay home. Make sure your parent/guardian excuses your absence, and then work with your teacher to collect missed assignments. If you become ill during school let your teacher know. Check with the secretary in the front office to call home. If you are leaving school you must be checked out through the front office.
Let the front office know so they can refer someone to assist you.
The financial office will be open before school, during lunch and after school. You may also pay your fees online at www.myschoolfees.com.
Please visit the lost and found located in the cove of the lunchroom.. Please remember that valuable items should not be brought to school. Vista Heights is not responsible for any lost, damaged or stolen items.
Vista Heights Middle School offers different opportunities for students to be involved in school events and activities. Listen for announcements and check social media for opportunities to join and participate during the school year. Student groups include Multicultural, Battle of the Books, Operation Empathy, National Junior Honor Society, FBLA, FFA, Yearbook, Student Council, Robotics, Drama, Performing arts, etc. Some have entry, auditions, and or course requirements
Counseling services are available for all students. If a parent or student would like to visit with a counselor please make an appointment with the counseling secretary or with the counselor directly.
Schedule Changes: Schedule changes are strongly discouraged. In the event a schedule change is needed, a completed schedule change form and $5 fee is required before the change can be made with your counselor.
We will be using the Signs of Suicide (S.O.S.) curriculum for our school wide suicide prevention program. S.O.S. teaches students to ACT when they notice warning signs. (A) Acknowledge that you’re seeing signs of depression and/or suicide in yourself or others. (C) Care by letting them know you’re worried about them. (T) Tell a trusted adult. The S.O.S program will be delivered to each student through classroom lessons and discussions throughout the school year. The SafeUT Crisis Chat and Tip Line is a statewide service that provides real-time crisis intervention to youth through live chat and a confidential tip program – right from your smartphone. We can help anyone with emotional crises, bullying, relationship problems, mental health, or suicide-related issues.
Flight Time is a 35 minute segment of the school day schedule, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, when students have the opportunity to work on assignments or meet with teachers to work on any failing grades or missed work. Students occasionally miss school due to illness, absences, or other activities (competitions/festivals). Flight Time is a chance to identify missed work, suffering grades, or extra help on class contect. Students are expected to be in their assigned location for all of Flight Time and are expected to use their Flight Time appropriately and effectively. Flight Time gives all students equal opportunity to have the extra help they may need.
Buses will be available for students to take home if they need to stay after school to make up work. The late buses will run Mondays and Thursdays, and will leave the school at 3:50pm. You will receive a ticket from teachers that you work with, and you must have a ticket from a teacher in order to ride the late bus home.
Stay connected and current with school information on the school website: https://vistaheights.alpineschools.org or on other social media sources @vistaheightsmiddleschool, vhmsstudentcouncil, and more.
A program called Bark uses AI technology to monitor student accounts and will flag for review areas of concern like bullying, violence, self-harm, depression, drug use, and sexual content. We are confident this will ensure student safety and accountability for students to learn digital citizenship at school. There is also an optional purchasable piece for parents. This is a high-end program that will help you be involved in your student’s digital experience, ensure safety, and increase communication about struggles they face.
We encourage you to use Skyward during the school year to keep informed of your progress. Teachers will update grades regularly in order to remain current. Skyward can be accessed by internet at vistaheights.alpineschools.org. You can access updated assignments, attendance, grades or leave an e-mail message for teachers. Please become familiar with Skyward as we will now be paperless for report cards and midterm reports.
District Policies are accessible for viewing at: https://policy.alpineschools.org/policy-numbers/
Attendance is one of the most significant factors affecting student achievement in school. In order to assist students in their efforts to be academically successful and responsible citizens, Vista Heights expects students to be in class, prepared and on time each day. The objectives of the Vista Heights Attendance Guidelines are to:
When a student is absent from school, parents are required to excuse the absence within 10 days. We prefer absences are excused by a note or email. Any attempts to excuse an absence beyond 10 days, must be done through an administrator.
Students who arrive after school has begun need to check in at the attendance office with a note or phone call from their parent or guardian. Students may not leave during the school day unless they are checked out through the front office by a parent/ guardian or authorized person. Any person checking out a student must present photo ID and be listed in Skyward as an emergency contact before the student may be released from the school. Person checking out student should remain in the office until the student arrives. You may update the emergency contacts for your student via Skyward.
Students are expected to be on time to class, prepared, and ready to work when the tardy bell rings. There is a five minute passing period between classes with a one minute warning bell.
Students are considered truant if they are deliberately not in their assigned location at the assigned time. This may include missing part or all of a class or being gone the entire school day after arriving at school. Leaving campus during lunch is also considered a truancy. Students who are truant will owe detention as arranged by administration for each instance. This may include after school detention on days when late bus transportation is available.
Please refrain from using oversized backpacks in school. Backpacks should be able to fit under your classroom seat. Also, please understand that if a student engages in suspicious or unusual activity, including leaving campus unexcused, his/her backpack may be searched by administration to ensure student school safety.
Students are expected to adhere to the Vista Values while on the school bus. Bus drivers will instruct you concerning specific bus rules, which includes being respectful and responsible. Please use caution and good judgment when you are around a school bus. Students must be careful while boarding buses after school. Never approach a moving bus or run along beside the buses as they enter or leave the parking lot. Riding the school bus is a privilege; if you fail to follow the rules or expectations of the driver you may lose that privilege. No student should ever cross the parking lot to reach a bus. Due to a bus driver shortage there is a possibility that there could be double bus runs, please be patient as these routes are worked out.
Adult visitors to the school must first check in at the front office. Student visitors are not allowed. Students from other schools who are loitering may face a misdemeanor charge of trespassing. The police will be called. Once students arrive at school, they may not leave the school grounds unless properly checked out through the main office. If students do check out of school, they must check back in through the main office if they return to school. Students leaving school grounds without properly checking out will be marked as truant. As a closed campus facility, students may not have deliveries or services on campus including but not limited to food and transportation.
When using computers with internet access at Vista Heights, students must first have parents or guardians sign the Internet Use Policy Form online, giving permission for their student to access the internet. School computers must be used responsibly by students. School computers must not be used to access or create materials that are considered inappropriate at school. This includes, but is not limited to: images and messages that are sexually explicit, violent, grotesque, or are meant to demean or harass others. Computer use is a privilege and may be taken away if students use the computers in an inappropriate fashion. Vista Heights strictly enforces the policies set forth by the Alpine School District’s Acceptable Use Policy.
Vista Heights Middle School is a “Drug Free Zone,” this means that these rules not only apply to campus, but they are enforced up to 1000 feet off campus. Any student in violation of drug and alcohol policy shall be subject to the following actions:
A drug offense consists of the possession, use, or distribution (giving away or selling) of any controlled substance (including marijuana, cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cocaine, steroids, prescription drugs, or other drugs listed in the law): or any imitation controlled substance (something that looks like a controlled substance, even though it isn't): or any drug paraphernalia (things like hypodermic needles, bongs, roach clips, hash pipes, etc., which may be used to produce, package, distribute, or use drugs.)
We are NOT responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged electronic devices (phones) brought to school. If an electronic device or phone, becomes a nuisance item it will be confiscated and returned to the student after class/after school. Repeated problems with cell phones or electronic devices may result in having the phone taken and require parents to pick it up in the office. Continued abuse of electronic devices will result in additional parent conferences and may lead to further consequences.
Prescription medication must be kept in the front office and parent/guardian must provide the school with a written health plan signed by both the parent and medical provider. This is required yearly for any medication to be given at school Forms may be picked up in the front office or downloaded from the district website. If proper authorization has been obtained, a parent must bring medication to the school in its original prescription bottle with the original pharmacist label. It will be kept in the front office. It is a district policy that the only medication that a student may have in their possession is an EpiPen, Inhaler or needs for Diabetes. The student must have physician authorization on file in the front office for these medications.
Over the Counter Medication
Report cards will be available online via Skyward. Parents and students are encouraged to use Skyward to monitor student progress during the year.
Academic Tracking: Tracking methods to monitor progress may include talking with a teacher, counselor, administrator, or advocate, Flight Time progress reports, and Skyward.
Respectful and responsible language should be used with peers and adults anywhere on school grounds. Language which includes swearing, obscene jokes or gestures and dirty words will not be tolerated whether it is in the classroom, halls, playing fields, or anywhere else on school grounds.
For students choosing to have a locker, a combination lock is assigned to students at the beginning of the year. Students are expected to use their locker in a respectful and responsible manner. Students will share their locker with another student. Locker combinations are changed each year and the combination is issued only to those students who are responsible for that locker. The school is not responsible for lost or stolen items; please leave valuable items at home! Lockers should be clean and cannot have any material on the outside. Legal opinions have ruled that school lockers will remain the property of the school. Authorized personnel have a responsibility and right to examine the contents of lockers for reasons of health, safety, and security.
Skateboards and small scooters may not be taken to class. Students are required to lock their skateboard, longboards and small scooters in a school locker. Bikes and large scooters are also not allowed in the school and should be locked at the bike racks at the west side of the building.
Students are expected to exhibit respectful and responsible behaviors in the lunchroom, as outlined in the Respect and Responsibility Matrix. According to current federal funding, lunch and breakfast are free of charge. Students are only given one free lunch. Students should not go through multiple lines for extra food.
The library is open from 7:45 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. and during most lunches. During class time, class groups must be accompanied by their teacher. An authorized media center pass is required of all students who use the library during instructional time. Students should check in at the desk as they enter so the staff is aware of who is in the center and what they will be doing, so the staff is better able to assist. Most books are checked out for two weeks and may be renewed for three additional two week periods. There will be a charge of $.10 per day for overdue items. Late reference items will be charged $.25 per day. At all times, students are expected to exhibit respectful and responsible behavior in the Media Center.
Students should not engage in public displays of affection (PDA) anywhere on campus or at any school-sponsored activity.
ASD Board Policy 5152
Vista Heights Middle School respects students’ rights to express themselves in the way they dress. All students who attend Vista Heights Middle School are also expected to respect the school community by dressing appropriately for an educational environment. Student attire should facilitate participation in learning as well as the health and safety of students and the adults that supervise them. This policy is intended to provide guidance for students, staff, and parents.
The administration reserves the right to determine what constitutes appropriate dress. Students who do not adhere to these guidelines will not be allowed to attend class. Parents will be called if appropriate clothing is not available or the student refuses dress-code appropriate clothing.
Vending machines are available to you before and after school and during lunch, but not between classes as food and drinks are not allowed in the classrooms. Please do not abuse this privilege. Anyone found kicking; hitting, rocking, or damaging the machines may be fined. If the machine “eats your money” Vista Heights will not refund your money.
Substitute teachers will be treated with the same respect as the regular classroom teacher. Those students who fail to respect any adult in the school will be subject to school discipline. Substitutes participate in our regular Vista Values reward system, and they are encouraged to award positive points to students who they see acting in respectful and responsible ways.
The ASD Safe School Policy includes avoiding the following:
Sexual Harassment is defined as unwanted conduct or communication of a sexual nature that adversely affects a person’s educational opportunities, relationships or environment. This includes electronic harassment in the form of texts, chat rooms, social networking sites, pictures, etc. District Policy prohibits sexual harassment of any kind – adult to adult, adult to student, student to adult or student to student. Anyone may file a sexual harassment complaint when an incident arises with a counselor or administrator.
Forms are available in the front office and the Counseling Office and the incident will be investigated immediately. Students who harass others may be suspended or possibly expelled.
When a student struggles to follow the Vista Values, he or she is re-taught the behavioral expectations through feedback from an adult. If the student repeats the inappropriate behavior after being re-taught, teachers may provide the student with an opportunity to reflect on, or remediate, his or her behavior. This may include a “Think Time” which will involve a brief removal of the student from the classroom or an activity, the student will fill out a reflection sheet that will be used as a tool for the teacher to conference with the student, outlining consequences for any further infractions for that same offense and teaching the student the desired behavior.
Major behavioral infractions, such as physical violence, vandalism, or repeated minor violations (including refusal of Think Time), will result in an office referral. Our goal is to teach students appropriate social and academic behaviors; consequences for behaviors that do not follow the Vista Values will be determined with this goal in mind.
The safety of our students and staff is our priority at Vista Heights Middle School; we are implementing a Standard Response Protocol that has been adopted throughout the Alpine School District. This is a collection of procedures that school districts, law enforcement, and first responders learn regarding emergency situations. The following graphic outlines the procedures that all students and staff will follow in case of emergency.
Vista Heights Middle School Map