Tuscarora Elementary School
Family Handbook 2018-19
Together United, Everyone Succeeds
Tuscarora Vision Statement:
We are an energetic community of learners who collaborate to meet and exceed high expectations. We build relationships in order to foster a flexible growth mindset and achieve our goals.
6321 Lambert Dr
Frederick, MD 21703
Phone: 240-566-0000 Fax: 240-566-0001
Welcome to the 2018-2019 school year at Tuscarora Elementary School! This handbook is a ready reference of information about our school.
You are welcome to visit your child’s class upon making an appointment with the teacher, attend your child’s programs, become an active participant in our wonderful PTA volunteer programs and the School Improvement Process.
We are looking forward to a very exciting year of learning for your child and building a collaborative relationship with your family.
Dr. Kimberly Mazaleski Mrs. Belinda Pippen Mr. John Veronie
Principal Assistant Principal Assistant Principal
Every family receives the Frederick County School System’s Calendar Handbook which contains information about the school system’s policies, programs, Student Rights and Responsibilities, and a School System Directory. It should be used as a reference if questions arise during the school year.
Maryland’s College and Career-Ready Standards are a set of expectations that outline what students learn in language arts and mathematics at each grade level PK-12. Maryland adopted these standards in 2010.
In elementary school, students are placed heterogeneously in classrooms for most of the day. Within the classroom are varied levels of flexible reading and math groups. Teachers, administrators, and the literacy specialist use multiple criteria when making placement decisions. Areas considered are:
Students have the opportunity to work in flexible group structures. The teacher sets the criteria determining the composition and purpose of a group. Groupings may be homogeneous, heterogeneous, total group, cooperative learning, or small instructional groups. Students will be provided with enrichment opportunities that align with curriculum, as appropriate.
Throughout the school year, informal and formal assessments are used to measure a child’s success and needs. The purpose is to evaluate learning, so that instruction can be adjusted to meet student needs and improve learning. Assessments also demonstrate whether schools, teachers, and students have met the objectives outlined in the curriculum. Assessments mirror instruction in the classroom and emphasize tasks students do in real life. They are kept by the classroom teacher in each child’s portfolio and are available for your review during a parent-teacher conference. State assessments will also be given each year, which include PARCC for grades 3, 4, and 5, and Science MSA for grade 5. Please be advised of testing windows/dates that are published in the FCPS Calendar Handbook before making doctor appointments and planning vacations during these scheduled times.
Homework provides opportunities for your child to practice skills learned in the classroom. Per FCPS Regulation number 500-15:
You can help at home by developing routines to establish good study habits, as follows:
We are very excited about the use of technology for both student learning and home/school communication at TuES. Students will access computers in the classroom, media center, and in our two computer labs. Students will be given many opportunities to utilize technology in order to demonstrate, synthesize, and apply skills they have learned. Grades 2-5 currently have a 3:1 ratio of chromebooks within the classroom. Technology continues to be a focus at TuES. We are adding more technology into the classrooms as we are able. Staff and students are instructed on the regulation for acceptable use of computers: Reg. 400-73.
Report Cards and Interim Reports
FCPS uses a reporting system which includes interim reports and report cards. Interims may be used at any time between regular reporting dates to indicate notable achievement, improvement, or unsatisfactory work. Report cards are issued four times each year: November, February, April, and June.
Parent-teacher conferences are held to discuss your child’s progress and give you the opportunity to examine samples of your child’s work to determine your child’s strengths and needs. Check the FCPS Calendar Handbook or the FCPS website for dates of the scheduled conferences. Since conferences are scheduled for short periods of time, think about what you want to learn and make notes of specific questions you would like to ask.
Conferences may be held at any time at the request of the parent, teacher and/or administrator. Parents may freely discuss with school personnel any concerns that directly affect their child’s school performance. If you wish to meet with school personnel, please arrange your visit in advance to ensure that the time is appropriate and does not interfere with planned activities. For example, in the morning before school begins, your child’s teacher is busy making final preparations for the school day, greeting students as they arrive, and/or providing support to individual students; therefore, this would not be an appropriate time for an unscheduled conference.
Remember, if you are involved with your child’s school and teacher in a positive manner, you can help your child meet with success in school.
Regular attendance is required by law, and is vital for your child to have success in school. Research shows that student achievement is directly related to attendance. TuES’ attendance goal mirrors the state goal of 96%; this equates to missing no more than 7 days of school per year. Attendance is carefully monitored and parents are informed when we notice a concern regarding attendance. If your child is reluctant to attend, contact the school so we can work with you in solving the problem. When it comes to your child’s education, every day counts. Teachers model the thinking process while reading books aloud and explain math problems with manipulatives and real-life examples. Students interact with their peers to connect social studies and science passages to the community around them. While we certainly understand that circumstances beyond your control arise, we ask that you make every effort to limit your child’s absences to those due to illness, and plan family vacations over long weekends and other breaks already built into the school calendar. Please also be aware of scheduling appointments and vacations during testing windows that are published in the FCPS Calendar Handbook.
If your child is not at school OR leaves early, please contact your child’s after-school care provider. The school is not responsible for relaying this information, and this often creates confusion and delays during dismissal.
State law requires a written excuse any time a child is absent. The excuse note should be received by the school within two days of the absence and should include the child’s first and last name, date of the absence, the reason for the absence, teacher name, and the signature of the parent/guardian. Without this information, the absence is coded as unlawful. A written excuse note is required when a child arrives at school after the morning bell. A written excuse note from a physician is necessary for a long-range restriction from physical education activities or recess. FCPS Student Attendance Procedure Reg 400-70.
For the safety and welfare of the students, it is imperative that no children arrive before 8:30 a.m., as no adult supervision can be provided prior to that time. The doors open at 8:30 a.m. and students should be in their classrooms by 9:00 a.m.
The following procedures were developed with your child’s safety in mind as our first priority.
Bus Riders arrive at the bus loop and are met by staff.
Walkers enter the building through the middle doors located at the front of the building.
Car riders should be dropped off in front of the school in the car rider traffic loop. Drivers may release students when their vehicle is in “park” against the curb adjacent to the front of the building. Please pull up as far as possible to allow for the maximum number of cars in the flow-through lane. Cones are set up to prohibit cars from passing on the left during arrival and dismissal. Please respect this safety measure. Students should enter/exit on the passenger’s (right) side only. Please do not get out of your vehicle to retrieve your child. Cell phone use is strictly prohibited in the car rider line. For the safety of the students, please adhere to these guidelines.
Please use a parking space in the front lot to attend to school business and use the crosswalk. Students must be accompanied by a parent/guardian when crossing from the parking lot to the main entrance. Do not park in the fire lane.
We strongly encourage you to utilize bus transportation if it is available to keep the school arrival and dismissal process safe.
NOTE: If you drive your child to or from school, but you park off-campus, your child is considered a “walker.”
Dismissal begins at 3:30 pm. No child will be dismissed directly from the classroom, which also applies if you are volunteering. In addition, no student will be allowed to leave school with anyone other than the parent or legal guardian unless written permission is presented to the school office. Verbal permission may be granted by administration or designees.
Should a parent wish to pick up a child after school instead of the child using their normal means of transportation, a note must be sent to the school. You may call the Main Office and verbally advise the office staff to notify your child of a change in transportation. These requests need to be made before 3:00 p.m. Otherwise, the child will be going home according to their normal mode of transportation. Please remember to notify your daycare provider if your child is going home a different way.
FCPS policy states that children must ride the bus to which they have been assigned, except in cases of emergency with Administration’s permission. If a child is riding in a car, or walking to the home of another student, a note must be presented by parents of both families. Your cooperation with this procedure is greatly appreciated and enables us to ensure that children arrive home safely.
Walkers If you are meeting your child, establish a regular meeting place so your child always knows where to go. Students can be dismissed as a “red” door walker (by the flagpole) or a “green” door walker (by the playground). Please let your child know which door to exit.
Bus riders It is a good idea to help your child memorize his/her bus number before the school year begins. FCPS uses the “T” number on the bus card in the window; not the painted number on the bus.
Car riders will be dismissed to the car rider entrance/dismissal location in the front of the school. Cars will line up in front of the school in the car rider traffic loop. Cell phone use in the car rider line is strictly prohibited for the safety of our students. Students will wait outside in the “kindergarten corral” until their car pulls up and they are given permission by a staff member to walk to their car. We ask your cooperation in following these procedures and discussing your personal pick-up/dismissal instructions with your child prior to the start of school.
If you need to change the way your child is normally dismissed, send the change in writing or call the office prior to 3 pm when change notes are delivered to students. Do not email the teacher as they may not have the opportunity to check prior to the end of the day.
If, on occasion, your child is to go home with another student, we must have a note with permission from both families.
We encourage you to try to schedule your child’s appointments around the school hours and day off. If you must pick up your child prior to dismissal, the secretary will call your child to the office upon your arrival. Please arrive early enough to accommodate this process.
Students arriving after 9:00 a.m. must report to the office and get a “Late Pass.” If a child has been tardy several times, a letter will be sent home to the parent. Tardiness has a huge impact on student learning. If a child is 10 minutes late 2 days per week, that adds up to about 30 minutes of missed instruction by the time the child gets a late pass from the office, walks to class, and stops at their locker. We strongly encourage that children maintain an appropriate attendance pattern including being on time each day.
When a student is absent due to illness, parents may request make-up work; students who are absent for one day will receive work missed from the teacher the following day. Parents may request make-up work for students that will be absent for more than one day by contacting the teacher. Due to limited planning and preparation periods, teachers cannot send home individualized lessons and activities for your child if they are taken out of school for vacation. Instead, please help your child maintain their academic progress by doing the following:
At TuES, we focus on improving the school’s ability to teach and support positive behavior for all students. Staff members work to embed the Character Counts philosophy into lesson plans and into their classroom behavior modules. The Pillars are Respect, Fairness, Caring, Citizenship, Responsibility and Trustworthiness. This is a proactive approach for creating and maintaining a safe and effective learning environment in school.
We work collaboratively to promote our TuES Vision through the Tuscarora Elementary School Pack Promise. Students and staff commit to…
Our behavior committee is meeting regularly to update our school-wide behavior program. Stay tuned for updates! If you would like to participate in a future parent feedback group, please contact Toni Zimmerman by phone: 240-566-0000, or email: Toni.Zimmerman@fcps.org.
TuES follows all FCPS Policies and Regulations relating to discipline.
The bus should be viewed as “TuES on Wheels.” The same rules apply on the bus as in school. Riding the bus is a privilege which may be temporarily denied or permanently revoked if the behavior of your child jeopardizes the safety of others on the bus. Please review proper bus conduct with your child. Even if your child does not access bus transportation on a regular basis, we do utilize busses for field trips. At the beginning of the year, parents will need to complete and return the “Safe Transport Letter” to school. The letter broadens the concept of safe passage to school for all students/parents. It provides tips and useful information not only to our bus riders but also to those students who walk to school. It also explains the consequences for poor student behavior on the bus, and includes a signature section for parents of students who ride the bus.
The Frederick County Sheriff’s Department assigns crossing guards, and families are encouraged to cross the streets only where guards are on duty.
Information regarding cancellations, delays, and early closings are announced on local radio stations (WFMD 930 AM and WFRE 99.9 FM) and Frederick cable channel 18. You can also obtain school closing information at www.fcps.org and by signing up for “Find Out First” on the FCPS website. FCPS also notifies regional TV and radio stations.
Parents are encouraged to arrange emergency backup care and to notify students as to where they should go when school closes unexpectedly.
The student information form will be available at the Open House for you to review and update. The Health Information Card is kept in the health suite in case you need to be contacted. Please make sure all telephone numbers and addresses are accurate and clearly written. Include the name and telephone number of a local person who can be contacted in case you cannot be reached. Please notify the school if you change addresses or telephone numbers during the year. Current and accurate information is essential if an emergency arises and school must locate the parent due to injury, sickness, or educational issues. If there are any special custodial arrangements, a copy of the legal documents must be filed with the school.
The school counselor works with students in a variety of settings: total class, small group, or individually, emphasizing areas such as personal and school growth, decision making, self-esteem, and positive interactions with others. If you would like to speak with the counselor, please contact Kathy Leber at Kathy.Leber@fcps.org or by calling the school at 240-566-0000.
Our Behavior Support Specialist provides interventions that empower students to make informed decisions and improve academic and behavioral performance. They provide direct services for at-risk students that may include: individual and group counseling, crisis intervention, the teaching of self-regulation skills, self-management skills, and coping strategies. If you would like to speak with the Behavior Support Specialist, please contact Marisha Leber at Marisha.Leber@fcps.org or by calling the school at 240-566-0000.
Our School Psychologist is a professionally trained psychologist who specializes in services for pre-school and school-aged children, adolescents, their teachers, and families. They work with all school personnel to help make education a positive and rewarding experience for students and to assist them in achieving their potential as productive members of society. Our school psychologist is Geri Pryor. Contact Kathy Leber, school counselor, with concerns or questions and she can put you in contact with the necessary personnel.
FCPS incorporates the Six Pillars of Character Counts into the daily operation and curriculum of its schools. The six Pillars of Character are as follows:
TuES supports the use of Character Counts and encourages students to show “good character” each and every day. We invite you to use the Six Pillars of Character within the home setting as well.
Students may bring a lunch from home or purchase lunch by by cash or check, or in advance by placing money on a lunch account by visiting www.myschoolbucks.com. A fee will be charged for each online transaction. You will need to set up a new account if you have not used this before. The student’s name and ID number (which you can get from the office) are required. A payment in any amount may be placed in the child’s account. Parents may indicate “Meals Only” on the check if they prefer their child not purchase a la carte items. When the check is received indicating “Meals Only,” a notation will be made on the child’s account to alert the food service staff. On the lunch account you can also indicate if the money is for lunch only, snack only, or both.
Breakfast and Lunch menus and costs can be found on the FCPS Nutrition Website.
Elementary School Prices (subject to change):
If the need should arise, students will be permitted to charge their lunches and will be expected to pay for the charged lunch the following day. You will receive notification that a lunch was charged.
Free and Reduced cost lunches are offered to those families who qualify. Applications and guidelines will be sent home on the first day of school. If your situation changes during the year, please ask for an application at the front office.
Lunch periods are 30 minutes long. Staff members are available to assist with opening packaging or drink containers, but it is helpful if you work with your child to learn to do this by himself/herself. Students may not share food. Parents/guardians are always welcome to eat lunch with their child. Please be mindful that our cafeteria space is limited and parents may have to stand and eat alongside of their child. Strollers are not allowed in the cafeteria. All visitors must sign in and get a visitor’s badge from the office.
Parents/guardians are always welcome to visit our school. Our building is equipped with the “buzzer system” where all visitors will need to push a buzzer to gain access. Once the buzzer is pushed, you will be asked to provide your name and purpose for visiting the school. ID may also be requested. Visitors are required to sign in and wear a visitor badge. Your cooperation with this state law is appreciated.
FCPS is in the process of implementing a new security sign-in system known as the Raptor System. When visiting school for the first time folks will be asked for ID which will be scanned into the new system. Subsequent times when folks visit they will need to provide name and date of birth to be signed in by front office staff. Following sign in, visitors will be given a sticker identification which must be worn visibly in the building. Feel free to see front office staff with any questions.
Please do not bring siblings to school events unless the event is open to the public. Strollers are not permitted in the building.
The PTA is open to all interested parents and friends. If you’ve ever thought about your student’s school experience and found yourself saying, “Wouldn’t it be great if…” we want to hear from you! You can contact the PTA at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the PTA website to learn more: http://tuespta.com/mission/ .
Several different forms of correspondence are utilized to enhance communication between the school and the home. Your child will receive a “Thursday Folder,” which contains notices and important papers from the school, the community, and the PTA. Please check this folder, sign the card, and and return it to school the next day. You may use the folder to send correspondence to school.
It is important that you sign up for Find Out First. To minimize our paper use and cost, the PTA and school administration will publish newsletters and reminders using the Find Out First system. You can sign up to receive these alerts via text or email by visiting http://www.fcps.org/fof . Find Out First and our school website will help keep you informed of planned school events and other important school information.
If you wish to communicate with with fellow parents from your child’s class, please complete the authorization form to allow your email to be shared with other families. This form will be distributed by your child’s classroom teacher.
Please visit the TuES Website at https://education.fcps.org/tues. You will find information about our school, upcoming events, links to other FCPS sites, the school newsletter, “The Timberwolf Times,” and many other helpful bits of information.
Each staff member is available to communicate through email. In general, staff email addresses have been created using first and last name followed by fcps.org. For example: email@example.com. Please keep in mind that teachers may only be able to check their email during their daily scheduled planning time. If the message is urgent, please contact the front office. Do not email notices about dismissal changes to the child’s teacher as they may not receive the email request prior to dismissal. We ask that you respectfully give staff at least 24 hours to respond to your correspondence.
Weather permitting, students have an outside recess, so please dress them appropriately. Notes from the physician are needed for any child to remain inside. Recess is held outside if the temperature is above 20 degrees, including wind-chill factor.
The Health Room Technician (HRT), under the direction of a Health Department Registered Nurse, is on-site to provide the following services:
If a child sustains a serious injury or shows an elevated temperature, the parents/guardians, or your emergency contact, as noted on your child’s emergency card, will be notified. For this reason, your correct, current address and telephone number must be on file in the office by the end of the first week of school. Please notify us immediately of any change.
Taking medications during the school day is discouraged. There are occasions, however, when it is deemed necessary by a physician for a child to receive medication during the school day. In these cases, Frederick County policy states that:
Students may not wear clothing which advertise alcohol, drugs, tobacco, and/or clothing that supports or implies violence or sexual activities. Students are not to wear clothing that is unduly revealing. Students are prohibited from wearing clothing or items containing derogatory expressions or language demeaning an identifiable person or group such as based on a person's race, color, gender, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability that could disrupt or materially interfere with school activities. Students are prohibited from wearing head gear unless an exception is provided. Head gear is defined as any article worn on the head including, but not limited to, hats, sunglasses, bandanas, hoods, or visors.
School administrators may grant exceptions to the dress code for disabilities, health reasons or for sincerely held religious beliefs. Exceptions may also be made for spirit week celebrations or for extracurricular and athletic related purposes, as approved by the school administrator.
Students may find it helpful to have available a sweater or sweatshirt on days when the air-conditioning is operating. They are encouraged to wear shoes that tie or fasten in some way.
Student birthdays are announced each morning. We will include students who have birthdays on the weekends and during the summer. Due to Health Department recommendations, edible birthday treats are not allowed. Students are welcome to bring in small non-edible treats, such as pencils, for their classmates. Please do not send in balloons, flowers, etc., as these can cause a distraction to the learning process.
Party invitations may not be distributed at school or on the bus.
Cell phones must be powered off at all times during the school day. Electronic devices with camera and recording functions may not be used to take or transmit any image at any time on school property. If a student violates this policy, the cell phone will be confiscated and parents will be contacted to pick it up.
TuES recognizes and appreciates our volunteers! A volunteer is any interested person willing to donate time to support our school. This service can occur in many ways: working directly with children in the classroom, preparing materials to enhance instruction, helping in our media center or cafeteria, attending field trips, planning school events, and so much more! Volunteers may even provide services from home by completing tasks (cutting, pasting, coloring, etc.) or offering babysitting for other volunteers. Our students and staff are grateful for any time you can offer. An orientation will be held in the fall for all volunteers. New volunteers are required to complete the orientation prior to volunteering. Questions can be directed to the Susan Thompson, the TuES volunteer coordinator. (firstname.lastname@example.org or 240-566-0000)
Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students)
WATCH D.O.G.S. is an innovative program being used by schools across America which helps children to be positively impacted by the committed involvement of fathers and father-figures in their student’s life. Our goal is to have you spend at least one day this year at the school to be a positive male role model and to provide an extra set of eyes and ears.
A Watch D.O.G.S. orientation for kindergarten dads and male role models will be held in the fall. A notice will be sent out via “Find Out First.”
Every year, several boxes of unclaimed articles are given to needy organizations. Label outerwear and lunch boxes so they can be returned to children.
Parents are responsible for the cost of lost or abused textbooks and library books.
Field trips will be scheduled to enhance the curriculum. Parents must sign a permission form to participate in field trips. If permission is not given, an alternative activity will be scheduled.
Parent chaperones are sometimes needed for field trips. Parents chaperones must take the transportation provided for the students, unless otherwise stated, and must adhere to guidelines set up by the classroom teacher. Siblings may not attend field trips.
Please refer to FCPS Regulation 400-5 for clarification of field trip policies.
Safety of our students and staff are our number one priority. Several types of safety drills are conducted throughout the year: fire drills, lockdown drills, evacuation, severe weather drills, etc. A comprehensive safety plan has also been developed for our school and a Crisis Team made up of school staff are aware of their roles and responsibilities in the event of an emergency. Please be aware that drills may not all be held on pleasant, sunny, warm days.
The Frederick County Board of Education has adopted a tobacco-free environment policy. The sale or use of tobacco products in any form is prohibited in school buildings at all times. The sale or use of tobacco products in any form is prohibited on school grounds by anyone who uses, leases, or otherwise occupied FCPS property for any purpose, whether or not school is in session. We appreciate your support of this effort to ensure a safer, healthier environment for everyone.
The Frederick County Board of Education has adopted a policy regarding weapon possession. Students, parent/guardians, teachers or any visitors are forbidden to have weapons or look-alike weapons on school property. Possession of a firearm, loaded or unloaded, or other weapons including pocket knives can carry severe disciplinary action up to permanent removal from Frederick County Public Schools.
Pets are not permitted on school grounds.
“We Are the Tuscarora Timberwolves”
We are the Tuscarora timberwolves.
We work together to achieve.
Our character shines through in everything we do.
In everyone of us we believe.
Our teachers are the best and our parents are so cool.
Together we work, to make a great school.
Whether at work, or outside at play,
Timberwolves know how to have a great day.
When we work together there is nothing we can’t do.
So hand in hand if you help me I’ll help you.
Take a look inside our school and you will surely see,
Just how awesome the Timberwolves can be.