Blue Ridge Independent School District
BRISD School Board Approved: July 16, 2018
Yellow Highlight denotes changes from 17-18 to 18-19 Student Handbook
Blue Highlight denotes amendments made after board approval per TASB Model Handbook updates
Blue Ridge Independent School District
318 West School Street
Blue Ridge, TX 75424
Blue Ridge Elementary School
425 North Church Street
Blue Ridge, TX 75424
Blue Ridge Middle School
710 Tiger Pride Circle
Blue Ridge, TX 75424
Blue Ridge High School
11020 CR 504
Blue Ridge, TX 75424
2018-2019 School Board Members:
Mike McCreary, President
Joe Harvey, Vice President
Kevin Dauster, Secretary
John Wink, Superintendent
Chris Miller, Blue Ridge HS Principal
Matthew Todd, Director of Curriculum & Instruction
Phillip Lentz, Blue Ridge MS Principal
Melissa Stiney, Director of Instructional Technology
Amanda Ray, Business & Finance Manager
Greg Smyder, Blue Ridge Elementary Principal
Shelley Reeves, Blue Ridge Elementary Asst. Principal
Kim Mounger, Payroll & Benefits Manager
Table of Contents
SECTION I: PARENTAL RIGHTS
CONSENT, OPT-OUT, AND REFUSAL RIGHTS
Consent to Conduct a Psychological Evaluation
Consent to Display a Student’s Original Works and Personal Information
Consent to Receive Parenting and Paternity Awareness Instruction if Student is Under Age 14
Consent to Video or Audio Record a Student When Not Otherwise Permitted by Law
Prohibiting the Use of Corporal Punishment
Limiting Electronic Communications with Students by District Employees
Objecting to the Release of Directory Information
Objecting to the Release of Student Information to Military Recruiters and Institutions of Higher Education
Participation in Third-Party Surveys
Consent Required Before Student Participation in a Federally Funded Survey, Analysis, or Evaluation
“Opting Out” of Participation in Other Types of Surveys or Screenings and the Disclosure of Personal Information
REMOVING A STUDENT FROM INSTRUCTION OR EXCUSING A STUDENT FROM A REQUIRED COMPONENT OF INSTRUCTION
Human Sexuality Instruction
Reciting a Portion of the Declaration of Independence in Grades 3–12
Reciting the Pledges to the U.S. and Texas Flags
Religious or Moral Beliefs
Tutoring or Test Preparation
RIGHT OF ACCESS TO STUDENT RECORDS, CURRICULUM MATERIALS, AND DISTRICT RECORDS
Notices of Certain Student Misconduct to Noncustodial Parent
Accessing Student Records
Authorized Inspection and Use of Student Records
Teacher and Staff Professional Qualifications
STUDENTS WITH EXCEPTIONALITIES OR SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES
Children of Military Families
Parental Role in Certain Classroom and School Assignments
Multiple Birth Siblings
Service/Assistance Animal Use by Students
Students in the Conservatorship of the State (Foster Care)
Students Who Are Homeless
Students Who Have Learning Difficulties or Who Need Special Education or Section 504 Services
Students Who Receive Special Education Services with Other School-Aged Children in the Home
Students Who Speak a Primary Language Other than English
Students With Physical or Mental Impairments Protected Under Section 504
SECTION II: OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR STUDENTS AND PARENTS
Age 19 and Older
Between Ages 6 and 19
A student will be required to attend any assigned accelerated instruction program, which may occur before or after school or during the summer, if the student does not meet the passing standards on the state assessment for his or her grade level and/or applicable subject area. [See policy FEA(LEGAL).]Prekindergarten and Kindergarten
Exemptions to Compulsory Attendance
All Grade Levels
Secondary Grade Levels
Failure to Comply with Compulsory Attendance
All Grade Levels
Age 19 and Older
Between Ages 6 and 19
Attendance for Credit or Final Grade
Official Attendance-Taking Time
Documentation After an Absence (All Grade Levels)
Doctor’s Note After an Absence for Illness
Driver License Attendance Verification
ACCOUNTABILITY UNDER STATE AND FEDERAL LAW
CAREER AND TECHNICAL EDUCATION (CTE) PROGRAMS
CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE AND OTHER MALTREATMENT OF CHILDREN
CLASS RANK/HIGHEST-RANKING STUDENT
Valedictorian and Salutatorian
Course Calculation for GPA
[For more information, please review BRISD’s Student Academic Handbook.]
COLLEGE AND UNIVERSITY ADMISSIONS
COLLEGE CREDIT COURSES
COMPLAINTS AND CONCERNS
Applicability of School Rules
Campus Behavior Coordinator
Disruptions of School Operations
Elementary and Middle/Junior High School Grade Levels
High School Grade Levels
CREDIT BY EXAM—If a Student Has Taken the Course/Subject (All Grade Levels)
CREDIT BY EXAM FOR ADVANCEMENT/ACCELERATION—If a Student Has Not Taken the Course/Subject
Students in Grades 1–5
Students in Grades 6–12
DATING VIOLENCE, DISCRIMINATION, HARASSMENT, AND RETALIATION
Sexual Harassment and Gender-Based Harassment
Investigation of Report
All Grade Levels
Texas Virtual School Network (TxVSN) (Secondary Grade Levels)
DISTRIBUTION OF LITERATURE, PUBLISHED MATERIALS, OR OTHER DOCUMENTS
DRESS AND GROOMING
General Dress Code Information
Shorts/Split Skirts/Skirts/Dresses/Pants & Jeans
Facial Hair, Hair, and Grooming
ELECTRONIC DEVICES AND TECHNOLOGY RESOURCES
Possession and Use of Personal Telecommunications Devices, Including Mobile Telephones
Possession and Use of Other Personal Electronic Devices
Instructional Use of Personal Telecommunications and Other Electronic Devices
END-OF-COURSE (EOC) ASSESSMENTS
ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS (All Grade Levels)
If a student is considered an English language learner and receives special education services because of a qualifying disability, the student’s ARD committee will make instructional and assessment decisions in conjunction with the LPAC.
EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES, CLUBS, AND ORGANIZATIONS
Standards of Behavior
Offices and Elections
GRADE-LEVEL CLASSIFICATION (Grades 9–12 Only)
Requirements for a Diploma for a Student Enrolled in High School Prior to the 2014–15 School Year
Requirements for a Diploma Beginning with the 2014–15 School Year
Testing Requirements for Graduation
Minimum, Recommended, and Advanced/Distinguished Achievement Graduation Programs
Foundation Graduation Program
Personal Graduation Plans for Students Under the Foundation Graduation Program
Available Course Options for all Graduation Programs
Certificates of Coursework Completion
Students With Disabilities
Scholarships and Grants
Physical Activity Requirements
For additional information on the district’s requirements and programs regarding elementary school student physical activity requirements, please see the principal.
School Health Advisory Council (SHAC)
Student Wellness Policy/Wellness Plan
Other Health-Related Matters
Physical Fitness Assessment (Grades 3–12)
Tobacco and E-Cigarettes Prohibited
Asbestos Management Plan
Pest Management Plan
LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES
Questioning of Students
Students Taken Into Custody
Notification of Law Violations
Unless specified by campus policy approved by the Board of Trustees, each school campus in the Blue Ridge ISD shall operate a closed campus during lunch. Only students identified by the principal/counselor as a student worker (Career Practicum student) will be permitted to leave campus during lunch hours.
At Any Other Time During the School Day
LOST AND FOUND
Makeup Work Because of Absence
DAEP Makeup Work
In-School Suspension (ISS) Makeup Work
Out of School Suspension (OSS) Makeup Work
MEDICINE AT SCHOOL
NONTRADITIONAL ACADEMIC PROGRAMS
Parent Involvement Coordinator
PHYSICAL EXAMINATIONS/HEALTH SCREENINGS
PLEDGES OF ALLEGIANCE AND A MINUTE OF SILENCE
PROMOTION AND RETENTION
Elementary and Middle School Grade Levels
High School Grade Levels
RELEASE OF STUDENTS FROM SCHOOL
REPORT CARDS/PROGRESS REPORTS AND CONFERENCES
Preparedness Drills: Evacuation, Severe Weather, and Other Emergencies
Emergency Medical Treatment and Information
Emergency School-Closing Information
SAT, ACT, AND OTHER STANDARDIZED TESTS
Use by Students Before and After School
Conduct Before and After School
Use of Hallways During Class Time
Meetings of Non-curriculum Related Groups
Students’ Desks and Lockers
Telecommunications and Other Electronic Devices
Vehicles on Campus
Secondary Grade Levels
SAT/ACT (Scholastic Aptitude Test and American College Test)
TSI (Texas Success Initiative) Assessment
STAAR (State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness)
High School Courses—End-of-Course (EOC) Assessments
STUDENTS IN FOSTER CARE
SUBSTANCE ABUSE PREVENTION AND INTERVENTION
TEXTBOOKS, ELECTRONIC TEXTBOOKS, TECHNOLOGICAL EQUIPMENT, AND OTHER INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS
Buses and Other School Vehicles
All Grade Levels
VISITORS TO THE SCHOOL
Visitors Participating in Special Programs for Students
WITHDRAWING FROM SCHOOL
Freedom From Bullying Policy
To Students and Parents:
Welcome to school year 2018–19! Education is a team effort, and we know that students, parents, teachers, and other staff members all working together can make this a wonderfully successful year for our students.
The Blue Ridge ISD Student Handbook is designed to provide basic information that you and your child will need during the school year. The handbook is divided into two sections:
Section I—PARENTAL RIGHTS—with information to assist you in responding to school-related issues. We encourage you to take some time to closely review this section of the handbook.
Section II—OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR STUDENTS AND PARENTS—organized alphabetically by topic and, where possible, further divided by applicability to ages and/or grade levels for quick access when searching for information on a specific issue.
Please be aware that the term “parent,” unless otherwise noted, is used to refer to the parent, legal guardian, any person granted some other type of lawful control of the student, or any other person who has agreed to assume school-related responsibility for a student.
Both students and parents should become familiar with the Blue Ridge ISD Student Code of Conduct, a document adopted by the Board and intended to promote school safety and an atmosphere for learning. That document may be found on the district’s website at www.brisd.net and is available in hard copy upon request.
The Student Handbook is a general reference guide only and is designed to be in harmony with Board policy and the Student Code of Conduct. Please be aware that it is not a complete statement of all policies, procedures, or rules that may be applicable in a given circumstance.
In case of conflict between Board policy (including the Student Code of Conduct) and any provisions of the Student Handbook, the current provisions of Board policy and the Student Code of Conduct are to be followed.
Also, please be aware that the Student Handbook is updated yearly, while policy adoption and revision may occur throughout the year. The district encourages parents to stay informed of proposed Board policy changes by attending Board meetings. Changes in policy or other rules that affect Student Handbook provisions will be made available to students and parents through newsletters or other communications. The district reserves the right to modify provisions of the Student Handbook at any time when it is deemed necessary. Notice of any revision or modification will be given as necessary.
Although the Student Handbook may refer to rights established through law or district policy, the Student Handbook does not create any additional rights for students and parents. It does not, nor is it intended to, create contractual or legal rights between any student or parent and the district.
If you or your child has questions about any of the material in this handbook, please contact the school counselor or the campus principal.
Also, please complete and return to your child’s campus the following forms provided in the forms packet distributed at the beginning of the year or upon the student’s enrollment:
Please note that references to policy codes are included so that parents can refer to current Board policy. The district’s official policy manual is available for review in the district administration office, and an unofficial electronic copy is available online at www.brisd.net.
This section of the Blue Ridge ISD Student Handbook includes information related to certain rights of parents as specified in state or federal law.
A district employee will not conduct a psychological examination, test, or treatment without obtaining prior written parental consent unless the examination, test, or treatment is required under state or federal law regarding requirements for special education or by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) for child abuse investigations and reports.
Teachers may display students’ work, which may include personally identifiable student information, in classrooms or elsewhere on campus as recognition of student achievement.
However, the district will seek parental consent before displaying students’ artwork, special projects, photographs taken by students, original videos or voice recordings, and other original works on the district’s website, a website affiliated or sponsored by the district, such as a campus or classroom website, and in district publications, which may include printed materials, videos, or other methods of mass communication.
A child under the age of 14 must have parental permission to receive instruction in the district’s parenting and paternity awareness program; otherwise, the child will not be allowed to participate in the instruction. This program, developed by the Office of the Texas Attorney General and the State Board of Education (SBOE), is incorporated into the district’s health education classes.
State law permits the school to make a video or voice recording without parental permission for the following circumstances:
The district will seek parental consent through a written request before making any video or voice recording of your child not otherwise allowed by law.
[See VIDEO CAMERAS on page 90 for more information, including a parent’s right to request video and audio equipment be placed in certain special education settings.]
Corporal punishment—spanking or paddling the student—may be used as a discipline management technique in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct and policy FO (LOCAL) in the district’s policy manual.
If you do not want corporal punishment to be administered to your child as a method of student discipline, please indicate on the additional online enrollment forms OR submit a written statement to the campus principal stating this decision. A signed statement must be provided each year if you do not want corporal punishment to be administered to your child.
You may choose to revoke this prohibition at any time during the year by providing a signed statement to the campus principal. However, district personnel may choose to use discipline methods other than corporal punishment even if the parent requests that this method be used on the student.
Please note that if the district is made aware that a student is in temporary or permanent conservatorship (custody) of the state, through foster care, kinship care, or other arrangements, corporal punishment will not be administered, even when a signed statement prohibiting its use has not been submitted by the student’s caregiver or caseworker.
Teachers and other approved employees are permitted by the district to communicate with students through the use of electronic media within the scope of the individual’s professional responsibilities. For example, a teacher may set up a social networking page for his or her class that has information related to class work, homework, and tests. As a parent, you are welcome to join or become a member of such a page.
An employee described above may also contact a student individually through electronic media to communicate about items such as homework or upcoming tests.
If you prefer that your child not receive any one-to-one electronic communications from a district employee or if you have questions related to the use of electronic media by district employees, please contact the campus principal.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA, permits the district to disclose appropriately designated “directory information” from a child’s education records without written consent. “Directory information” is information that is generally not considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if released. This directory information will be released to anyone who follows procedures for requesting it.
However, a parent or eligible student may object to the release of a student’s directory information. This objection must be made in writing to the principal within ten school days of your child’s first day of instruction for this school year. [See the “Notice Regarding Directory Information and Parent’s Response Regarding Release of Student Information” included in the forms packet.]
The District has designated the following categories of information as directory information: student name; photograph; date and place of birth; major field of study; degrees, honors, and awards received; dates of attendance; grade level; most recent educational institution attended; participation in officially recognized activities and sports; and weight and height of members of athletic teams.[See FL(LOCAL)]. If you object to the release of the student information included on the directory information response form, your decision will also apply to the use of that information for school-sponsored purposes, such as the honor roll, school newspaper, the yearbook, recognition activities, news releases, and athletic programs.
Also review the information at Authorized Inspection and Use of Student Records on page 20.
The district is required by federal law to comply with a request by a military recruiter or an institution of higher education for students’ names, addresses, and telephone listings, unless parents have advised the district not to release their child’s information without prior written consent. A form included in the forms packet is available if you do not want the district to provide this information to military recruiters or institutions of higher education.
Your child will not be required to participate without parental consent in any survey, analysis, or evaluation—funded in whole or in part by the U.S. Department of Education—that concerns:
You will be able to inspect the survey or other instrument and any instructional materials used in connection with such a survey, analysis, or evaluation. [For further information, see policy EF(LEGAL).]
As a parent, you have a right to receive notice of and deny permission for your child’s participation in:
As a parent, you may inspect a survey created by a third party before the survey is administered or distributed to your child.
As a part of the district’s curriculum, students receive instruction related to human sexuality. The School Health Advisory Council (SHAC) is involved with the selection of course materials for such instruction.
State law requires that any instruction related to human sexuality, sexually transmitted diseases, or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) must:
In accordance with state law, below is a summary of the district’s curriculum regarding human sexuality instruction:
The Board shall select any instruction relating to human sexuality, sexually transmitted diseases, or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) with the advice of the SHAC. The instruction must:
As a parent, you are entitled to review the curriculum materials. In addition, you may remove your child from any part of the human sexuality instruction with no academic, disciplinary, or other penalties. You may also choose to become more involved with the development of curriculum used for this purpose by becoming a member of the district’s SHAC. Please see the campus principal for additional information.
You may request that your child be excused from recitation of a portion of the Declaration of Independence. State law requires students in social studies classes in grades 3–12 to recite a portion of the text of the Declaration of Independence during Celebrate Freedom Week unless (1) you provide a written statement requesting that your child be excused, (2) the district determines that your child has a conscientious objection to the recitation, or (3) you are a representative of a foreign government to whom the United States government extends diplomatic immunity. [See policy EHBK(LEGAL).]
As a parent, you may request that your child be excused from participation in the daily recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States flag and the Pledge of Allegiance to the Texas flag. The request must be in writing. State law does not allow your child to be excused from participation in the required minute of silence or silent activity that follows. [See Pledges of Allegiance and a Minute of Silence on page 77 and policy EC(LEGAL).]
You may remove your child temporarily from the classroom if an instructional activity in which your child is scheduled to participate conflicts with your religious or moral beliefs. The removal cannot be for the purpose of avoiding a test and may not extend for an entire semester. Further, your child must satisfy grade-level and graduation requirements as determined by the school and by state law.
Based on informal observations, evaluative data such as grades earned on assignments or tests, or results from diagnostic assessments, a teacher may determine that a student is in need of additional targeted assistance in order for the student to achieve mastery in state-developed essential knowledge and skills. The school will always attempt to provide tutoring and strategies for test-taking in ways that prevent removal from other instruction as much as possible. In accordance with state law and policy EC, the school will not remove a student from a regularly scheduled class for remedial tutoring or test preparation for more than ten percent of the school days on which the class is offered, unless the student’s parent consents to this removal.
The school may also offer tutorial services, which students whose grades are below 70 will be required to attend.
[Also refer to policies EC and EHBC, and contact your student’s teacher with questions about any tutoring programs provided by the school.]
As a parent, you have a right to review teaching materials, textbooks, and other teaching aids and instructional materials used in the curriculum and to examine tests that have been administered to your child.
A noncustodial parent may request in writing that he or she be provided, for the remainder of the school year, a copy of any written notice usually provided to a parent related to his or her child’s misconduct that may involve placement in a disciplinary alternative education program (DAEP) or expulsion. [See policy FO(LEGAL) and the Student Code of Conduct.]
You may review your child’s student records. These records include:
A federal law, known as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, or FERPA, affords parents and eligible students certain rights with respect to the student’s education records. For purposes of student records, an “eligible” student is one who is 18 or older or who is attending an institution of postsecondary education. These rights, as discussed in this section as well as at Objecting to the Release of Directory Information on page 16, are:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-5901
Both FERPA and state laws safeguard student records from unauthorized inspection or use and provide parents and eligible students certain rights of privacy. Before disclosing any personally identifiable information from a student’s records, the district must verify the identity of the person, including a parent or the student, requesting the information.
Virtually all information pertaining to student performance, including grades, test results, and disciplinary records, is considered confidential educational records.
Inspection and release of student records is primarily restricted to an eligible student or a student’s parents—whether married, separated, or divorced—unless the school is given a copy of a court order terminating parental rights or the right to access a student’s education records.
Federal law requires that, as soon as a student reaches the age of 18, is emancipated by a court, or enrolls in a postsecondary institution, control of the records goes to the student. The parents may continue to have access to the records, however, if the student is a dependent for tax purposes and under limited circumstances when there is a threat to the health and safety of the student or other individuals.
FERPA permits the disclosure of personally identifiable information from a student’s education records, without written consent of the parent or eligible student, in the following circumstances:
Release of personally identifiable information to any other person or agency—such as a prospective employer or for a scholarship application—will occur only with parental or student permission as appropriate.
The principal or superintendent is custodian of all records for currently enrolled students at the assigned school. The principal or superintendent is the custodian of all records for students who have withdrawn or graduated.
A parent or eligible student who wishes to inspect the student’s records should submit a written request to the records custodian identifying the records he or she wishes to inspect. Records may be inspected by a parent or eligible student during regular school hours. The records custodian or designee will respond to reasonable requests for explanation and interpretation of the records.
A parent or eligible student who provides a written request and pays copying costs of ten cents per page may obtain copies. If circumstances prevent inspection during regular school hours and the student qualifies for free or reduced-price meals, the district will either provide a copy of the records requested or make other arrangements for the parent or student to review these records.
Address of the Superintendent’s Office:
Blue Ridge ISD
318 W. School Street
Blue Ridge, TX 75424
Address of the Elementary Principal’s Office:
Blue Ridge Elementary
425 N. Church St.
Blue Ridge, TX. 75424
Address of the Middle School Principal’s Office:
Blue Ridge Middle School
710 Tiger Pride Circle
Blue Ridge, TX. 75424
Address of the High School Principal’s Office:
Blue Ridge High School
11020 CR 504
Blue Ridge, TX. 75424
A parent (or eligible student) may inspect the student’s records and request a correction or amendment if the records are considered inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise in violation of the student’s privacy rights. A request to correct a student’s record should be submitted to the appropriate records custodian. The request must clearly identify the part of the record that should be corrected and include an explanation of how the information in the record is inaccurate. If the district denies the request to amend the records, the parent or eligible student has the right to request a hearing. If the records are not amended as a result of the hearing, the parent or eligible student has 30 school days to exercise the right to place a statement commenting on the information in the student’s record.
Although improperly recorded grades may be challenged, contesting a student’s grade in a course or on an examination is handled through the general complaint process found in policy FNG(LOCAL). A grade issued by a classroom teacher can be changed only if, as determined by the board of trustees, the grade is arbitrary, erroneous, or inconsistent with the district’s grading policy. [See FINALITY OF GRADES at FNG(LEGAL), Report Cards/Progress Reports and Conferences on page 80, and Complaints and Concerns on page 41 for an overview of the process.]
The district’s policy regarding student records found at policy FL is available from the principal’s or superintendent’s office or on the district’s website at www.brisd.net.
The parent’s or eligible student’s right of access to and copies of student records do not extend to all records. Materials that are not considered educational records—such as a teacher’s personal notes about a student that are shared only with a substitute teacher—do not have to be made available to the parents or student.
You may request information regarding the professional qualifications of your child’s teachers, including whether a teacher has met state qualification and licensing criteria for the grade levels and subject areas in which the teacher provides instruction; whether the teacher has an emergency permit or other provisional status for which state requirements have been waived; and undergraduate and graduate degree majors, graduate certifications, and the field of study of the certification or degree. You also have the right to request information about the qualifications of any paraprofessional who may provide services to your child.
Children of military families will be provided flexibility regarding certain district requirements, including:
In addition, absences related to a student visiting with his or her parent, including a stepparent or legal guardian, who has been called to active duty for, is on leave from, or is returning from a deployment of at least four months will be excused by the district. The district will permit no more than five excused absences per year for this purpose. For the absence to be excused, the absence must occur no earlier than the 60th day before deployment or no later than the 30th day after the parent’s return from deployment.
Additional information may be found at Military Family Resources at the Texas Education Agency.
As a parent, if your children are multiple birth siblings (e.g., twins, triplets, etc.) assigned to the same grade and campus, you may request that they be placed either in the same classroom or in separate classrooms. Your written request must be submitted no later than the 14th day after the enrollment of your children. [See policy FDB(LEGAL).]
As a parent, you may:
[See Bullying on page 34, policy FDB, and policy FFI.]
A parent of a student who uses a service/assistance animal because of the student’s disability must submit a request in writing to the principal at least ten district business days before bringing the service/assistance animal on campus.
A student who is currently in the conservatorship (custody) of the state and who enrolls in the district after the beginning of the school year will be allowed credit-by-examination opportunities outside the district’s established testing windows, and the district will grant proportionate course credit by semester (partial credit) when a student only passes one semester of a two-semester course.
A student who is currently in the conservatorship of the state and who is moved outside of the district’s or school’s attendance boundaries, or who is initially placed in the conservatorship of the state and who is moved outside the district’s or school’s boundaries, is entitled to continue in enrollment at the school he or she was attending prior to the placement or move until the student reaches the highest grade level at the particular school.
In addition, if a student in grade 11 or 12 transfers to another district but does not meet the graduation requirements of the receiving district, the student can request to receive a diploma from the previous district if he or she meets the criteria to graduate from the previous district.
In addition, for a student in the conservatorship of the state who is eligible for a tuition and fee exemption under state law and likely to be in care on the day preceding the student’s 18th birthday, the district will:
[See also Students in Foster Care on page 87 for more information.]
Children who are homeless will be provided flexibility regarding certain district provisions, including:
If a student in grade 11 or 12 is homeless and transfers to another school district but does not meet the graduation requirements of the receiving district, the student can request to receive a diploma from the previous district if he or she meets the criteria to graduate from the previous district.
Federal law also allows a homeless student to remain enrolled in what is called the “school of origin” or to enroll in a new school in the attendance area where the student is currently residing.
A student or parent who is dissatisfied by the district’s eligibility, school selection, or enrollment decision may appeal through policy FNG(LOCAL). The district will expedite local timelines, when possible, for prompt dispute resolution.
[See also Homeless Students on page 25 for more information.]
For those students who are having difficulty in the regular classroom, all school districts must consider tutorial, compensatory, and other academic or behavior support services that are available to all students, including a process based on Response to Intervention (RtI). The implementation of RtI has the potential to have a positive impact on the ability of districts to meet the needs of all struggling students.
If a student is experiencing learning difficulties, his or her parent may contact the individuals listed below to learn about the school’s overall general education referral or screening system for support services. This system links students to a variety of support options, including making a referral for a special education evaluation or for a Section 504 evaluation to determine whether the student needs specific aids, accommodations, or services. A parent may request an evaluation for special education or Section 504 services at any time.
If a parent makes a written request for an initial evaluation for special education services to the director of special education services or to a district administrative employee of the school district, the district must respond no later than 15 school days after receiving the request. At that time, the district must give the parent prior written notice of whether it agrees or refuses to evaluate the student, along with a copy of the Notice of Procedural Safeguards. If the district agrees to evaluate the student, it must also give the parent the opportunity to give written consent for the evaluation.
Note: A request for a special education evaluation may be made verbally; it does not need to be made in writing. Districts must still comply with all federal prior-written notices and procedural safeguard requirements as well as the requirements for identifying, locating, and evaluating children who are suspected of having a disability and in need of special education. However, a verbal request does not require the district to respond within the 15 school-day timeline.
If the district decides to evaluate the student, it must complete the student’s initial evaluation and evaluation report no later than 45 school days from the day it receives a parent’s written consent. However, if the student is absent from school during the evaluation period for three or more school days, the evaluation period will be extended by the number of school days equal to the number of school days that the student is absent.
There is an exception to the 45-school-day timeline. If the district receives a parent’s consent for the initial evaluation at least 35 but less than 45 school days before the last instructional day of the school year, it must complete the written report and provide a copy of the report to the parent by June 30 of that year. However, if the student is absent from school for three or more days during the evaluation period, the June 30 due date no longer applies. Instead, the general timeline of 45 school days plus extensions for absences of three or more days will apply.
Upon completing the evaluation, the district must give the parent a copy of the evaluation report at no cost.
Additional information regarding special education is available from the school district in a companion document titled Parent’s Guide to the Admission, Review, and Dismissal Process.
The designated person to contact regarding options for a student experiencing learning difficulties or regarding a referral for evaluation for special education services is Terra Mathers at 972-752-5554.
Each school district must have standards and procedures in place for the evaluation and placement of students in the district’s Section 504 program. Districts must also implement a system of procedural safeguards that includes notice, an opportunity for a parent or guardian to examine relevant records, an impartial hearing with an opportunity for participation by the parent or guardian and representation by counsel, and a review procedure.
The designated person to contact regarding options for a student experiencing learning difficulties or regarding a referral for evaluation for Section 504 services is Missy Douglas at 972-752-5554.
[See also Students with Physical or Mental Impairments Protected under Section 504 on page 21.]
The following websites provide information to those who are seeking information and resources specific to students with disabilities and their families:
The district will annually notify parents that it provides assistance to students, other than those already enrolled in a special education program, who need assistance for learning difficulties, including intervention strategies
If a student is receiving special education services at a campus outside his or her attendance zone, the parent or guardian may request that any other student residing in the household be transferred to the same campus, if the appropriate grade level for the transferring student is offered on that campus. However, the district is not required to provide transportation to the other children in the household. The parent or guardian should speak with the principal of the school regarding transportation needs prior to requesting a transfer for any other children in the home. [See policy FDB(LOCAL).]
A student may be eligible to receive specialized support if his or her primary language is not English and the student has difficulty performing ordinary class work in English. If the student qualifies for these extra services, the Language Proficiency Assessment Committee (LPAC) will determine the types of services the student needs, including accommodations or modifications related to classroom instruction, local assessments, and state-mandated assessments.
A student determined to have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity, as defined by law, and who does not otherwise qualify for special education services, may qualify for protections under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. Section 504 is a federal law designed to prohibit discrimination against individuals with disabilities. When an evaluation is requested, a committee will be formed to determine if the student is in need of services and supports under Section 504 to receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE), as this is defined in federal law. [See policy FB.]
Topics in this section of the Student Handbook contain important information on academics, school activities, and school operations and requirements. Take a moment with your child to become familiar with the various issues addressed in this section. It is organized in alphabetical order to serve as a quick-reference when you or your child has a question about a specific school-related issue. Where possible, the topics are also organized to alert you to the applicability of each topic based on a student’s age or grade level. Should you be unable to find the information on a particular topic, please contact the campus office at 972.752.5554.
Regular school attendance is essential for a student to make the most of his or her education—to benefit from teacher-led and school activities, to build each day’s learning on the previous day’s, and to grow as an individual. Absences from class may result in serious disruption of a student’s mastery of the instructional materials; therefore, the student and parent should make every effort to avoid unnecessary absences. Two state laws—one dealing with the required presence of school-aged children in school, e.g., compulsory attendance, the other with how a child’s attendance affects the award of a student’s final grade or course credit—are of special interest to students and parents. They are discussed below.
A student who voluntarily attends or enrolls after his or her 19th birthday is required to attend each school day until the end of the school year. If a student age 19 or older has more than five unexcused absences in a semester, the district may revoke the student’s enrollment. The student’s presence on school property thereafter would be unauthorized and may be considered trespassing. [See policy FEA.]
State law requires that a student between the ages of 6 and 19 attend school, as well as any applicable accelerated instruction program, extended year program, or tutorial session, unless the student is otherwise excused from attendance or legally exempt.
State law requires attendance in an accelerated reading instruction program when kindergarten, first grade, or second grade students are assigned to such a program. Parents will be notified in writing if their child is assigned to an accelerated reading instruction program as a result of a diagnostic reading instrument.
Students enrolled in prekindergarten or kindergarten are required to attend school and are subject to the compulsory attendance requirements as long as they remain enrolled.
State law allows exemptions to the compulsory attendance requirements for several types of absences if the student makes up all work. These include the following activities and events:
As listed in Section I at Children of Military Families, absences of up to five days will be excused for a student to visit with a parent, stepparent, or legal guardian who has been called to duty for, is on leave from, or immediately returned from certain deployments. Please see page 24 for that section.
In addition, a junior or senior student’s absence of up to two days related to visiting a college or university will be considered an exemption, provided this has been authorized by the board under policy FEA(LOCAL), the student receives approval from the campus principal, follows the campus procedures to verify such a visit, and makes up any work missed.
Absences of up to two days in a school year will also be considered an exemption for:
*Required documentation: Paperwork signed by the relevant military branch showing that the student’s absence was related to enlistment.
An absence of a student in grades 6–12 for the purpose of sounding “Taps” at a military honors funeral for a deceased veteran will also be excused by the district.
School employees must investigate and report violations of the state compulsory attendance law. A student absent without permission from school; from any class; from required special programs, such as additional special instruction, termed “accelerated instruction” by the state; or from required tutorials will be considered in violation of the compulsory attendance law and subject to disciplinary action.
After a student age 19 or older incurs a third unexcused absence, the district will send the student a letter as required by law explaining that the district may revoke the student’s enrollment for the remainder of the school year if the student has more than five unexcused absences in a semester. As an alternative to revoking a student’s enrollment, the district may implement a behavior improvement plan.
When a student between ages 6 and 19 incurs unexcused absences for three or more days or parts of days within a four-week period, the school will send a notice to the student’s parent, as required by law, to remind the parent that it is the parent’s duty to monitor his or her child’s attendance and to require the student to come to school. The notice will also inform the parent that the district will initiate truancy prevention measures and request a conference between school administrators and the parent. These measures will include a behavior improvement plan, school-based community service, or referrals to either in-school or out-of-school counseling or other social services. Any other measures considered appropriate by the district will also be initiated.
The truancy prevention facilitator for the district is the School Resource Officer (SRO). If you have questions about your student and the effect of his or her absences from school, please contact the facilitator or any other campus administrator.
A court of law may also impose penalties against a student’s parent if a school-aged student is deliberately not attending school. A complaint against the parent may be filed in court if the student is absent without excuse from school on ten or more days or parts of days within a six-month period in the same school year.
If a student ages 12 through 18 incurs unexcused absences on ten or more days or parts of days within a six-month period in the same school year, the district, in most circumstances, will refer the student to truancy court.
[See policy FEA(LEGAL).]
To receive credit or a final grade in a class, a student in kindergarten–grade 12 must attend at least 90 percent of the days the class is offered. A student who attends at least 75 percent but fewer than 90 percent of the days the class is offered may receive credit or a final grade for the class if he or she completes a plan, approved by the principal, which allows the student to fulfill the instructional requirements for the class. If a student is involved in a criminal or juvenile court proceeding, the approval of the judge presiding over the case will also be required before the student receives credit or a final grade for the class.
If a student attends less than 75 percent of the days a class is offered or has not completed the plan approved by the principal, then the student will be referred to the attendance review committee to determine whether there are extenuating circumstances for the absences and how the student can regain credit or a final grade lost because of absences. [See policy FEC.]
All absences, whether excused or unexcused, must be considered in determining whether a student has attended the required percentage of days. In determining whether there were extenuating circumstances for the absences, the attendance committee will use the following guidelines:
The student or parent may appeal the committee’s decision to the Board by following policy FNG(LOCAL).
The actual number of days a student must be in attendance in order to receive credit or a final grade will depend on whether the class is for a full semester or for a full year.
Absences other than Medical “M”: PER SEMESTER
After the 8 absences (REGARDLESS OF MEDICAL, EXCUSED, OR UNEXCUSED) within a semester, a student is placed on audit status and will not receive a credit at the end of the semester for that class unless the student successfully appeals to a building attendance committee. When the student completes the Appeal for Credit Form, a meeting will be held with an attendance committee, student and at least one parent or guardian near the end of the semester. The attendance committee will consist of the student’s counselor, a building administrator and two faculty members (one who is presently a teacher of the student appealing for credit). At this meeting, the student will present information to justify why a grade and credit should be given. Evidence worthy of sharing at the meeting will include doctors’ notes confirming the seriousness of the illness or injury, proof of significantly improved attendance since being placed on audit status in the class(es), proof of completed assignments, proof of improved performance in class, serious/prolonged illness, serious/prolonged injury, family emergency, etc. The committee will then rule on whether the audit status should be removed and credit and letter grade awarded. If the appeal is denied, the student will receive an NC (no credit).
The district must submit attendance of its students to the TEA reflecting attendance at a specific time each day.
Official attendance is taken daily at 9:30 am on the elementary campus (afternoon Pre-K attendance is taken at 12:45 pm). Official attendance is taken Monday-Thursday at 9:40 am and Friday at 10:05 am on the middle and high school campuses; however attendance is taken each class period on secondary campuses to ensure compulsory attendance and class credit requirements are met.
A student absent for any portion of the day, including at the official attendance-taking time, should follow the procedures below to provide documentation of the absence:
When a student is absent from school, the student—upon arrival or return to school—must bring a note signed by the parent that describes the reason for the absence. A note signed by the student, even with the parent’s permission, will not be accepted unless the student is age 18 or older or is an emancipated minor under state law. A phone call from the parent may be accepted, but the district reserves the right to require a written note.
The campus will document in its attendance records for the student whether the absence is considered by the district to be excused or unexcused. Please note that, unless the absence is for a statutorily allowed reason under compulsory attendance laws, the district is not required to excuse any absence, even if the parent provides a note explaining the absence.
Upon return to school, a student absent for more than 3 consecutive days because of a personal illness must bring a statement from a doctor or health clinic verifying the illness or condition that caused the student’s extended absence from school. Otherwise, the student’s absence may be considered unexcused and, if so, would be considered to be in violation of compulsory attendance laws.
Should the student develop a questionable pattern of absences, the principal or attendance committee may require a statement from a doctor or health clinic verifying the illness or condition that caused the student’s absence from school in order to determine whether the absence or absences will be excused or unexcused.
[See policy FEC(LOCAL).]
For a student between the ages of 16 and 18 to obtain a driver license, written parental permission must be provided for the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to access the student’s attendance records and, in certain circumstances, for a school administrator to provide the student’s attendance information to DPS. A verification of enrollment (VOE) form may be obtained from the office, which the student will need to submit to DPS upon application for a driver license.
Blue Ridge ISD and each of its campuses are held to certain standards of accountability under state and federal law. A key component of the accountability requirements is the dissemination and publication of certain reports and information, which include:
Information about all of these can be found on the district’s website at www.brisd.net. Hard copies of any reports are available upon request to the district’s administration office.
TEA also maintains additional accountability and accreditation information at http://www.texasschoolaccountabilitydashboard.org and http://www.tea.texas.gov.
Recognitions and awards may include academic achievement, positive character/leadership traits, and perfect attendance.
See the Blue Ridge ISD Academic Handbook for more information.
Bullying is defined in Section 37.0832 of the Education Code as a single significant act or a pattern of acts by one or more students directed at another student that exploits an imbalance of power and involves engaging in written or verbal expression, expression through electronic means, or physical conduct that:
Bullying includes cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is defined by Section 37.0832 of the Education Code as bullying that is done through the use of any electronic communication device, including through the use of a cellular or other type of telephone, a computer, a camera, electronic mail, instant messaging, text messaging, a social media application, an Internet website, or any other Internet-based communication tool.
The district is required to adopt policies and procedures regarding:
Bullying is prohibited by the district and could include hazing, threats, taunting, teasing, confinement, assault, demands for money, destruction of property, theft of valued possessions, name-calling, rumor-spreading, or ostracism.
If a student believes that he or she has experienced bullying or has witnessed bullying of another student, it is important for the student or parent to notify a teacher, school counselor, principal, or another district employee as soon as possible to obtain assistance and intervention. The administration will investigate any allegations of bullying or other related misconduct. The district will also provide notice to the parent of the alleged victim and the parent of the student alleged to have engaged in bullying. A student may anonymously report an alleged incident of bullying by submitting an Anonymous Alerts Report.
If the results of an investigation indicate that bullying has occurred, the administration will take appropriate disciplinary action and may notify law enforcement in certain circumstances. Disciplinary or other action may be taken even if the conduct did not rise to the level of bullying. Available counseling options will be provided to these individuals, as well as to any students who have been identified as witnesses to the bullying.
Any retaliation against a student who reports an incident of bullying is prohibited.
Upon the recommendation of the administration, the board may, in response to an identified case of bullying, decide to transfer a student found to have engaged in bullying to another classroom at the campus. In consultation with the student’s parent, the student may also be transferred to another campus in the district. The parent of a student who has been determined by the district to be a victim of bullying may request that the student be transferred to another classroom or campus within the district. [See Safety Transfers/Assignments on page 24 .]
A copy of the district’s policy is available in the principal’s office, superintendent’s office, and on the district’s website, and is included at the end of this handbook in the form of an appendix. Procedures related to reporting allegations of bullying may also be found on the district’s website.
A student or parent who is dissatisfied with the outcome of an investigation may appeal through policy FNG(LOCAL).
[See Safety Transfers/Assignments on page 24 , Dating Violence, Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation on page 45 , Hazing on page 64 , policy FFI, and the district improvement plan, a copy of which can be viewed in the campus office.]
The district offers career and technical education programs in the following areas: Arts and Humanities, Business and Industry, STEM, Public Service, and Multidisciplinary. Admission to these programs is based on student interest.
These programs will be offered without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, or disability. Blue Ridge ISD will take steps to ensure that lack of English language skills will not be a barrier to admission and participation in all educational and CTE programs. [Also see Nondiscrimination Statement on the BRISD website for the name and contact information for the Title IX coordinator and Section 504 coordinator, who will address certain allegations of discrimination.]
Although a parent or grandparent is not prohibited from providing food for a school-designated function or for children in the child’s or grandchild’s classroom for his or her birthday, please be aware that children in the school may have severe allergies to certain food products. Therefore, it is imperative to discuss this with the child’s teacher prior to bringing any food in this circumstance. Occasionally, the school or a class may host certain functions or celebrations tied to the curriculum that will involve food. The school or teacher will notify students and parents of any known food allergies when soliciting potential volunteers for bringing pre-made STORE-BOUGHT food products in sealed packages.
[Also see Food Allergies on page 66.]
The district has established a plan for addressing child sexual abuse and other maltreatment of children, which may be accessed in school board policies FFE(LEGAL) and FFG(LEGAL). As a parent, it is important for you to be aware of warning signs that could indicate a child may have been or is being sexually abused. Sexual abuse in the Texas Family Code is defined as any sexual conduct harmful to a child’s mental, emotional, or physical welfare as well as a failure to make a reasonable effort to prevent sexual conduct with a child. A person who compels or encourages a child to engage in sexual conduct commits abuse. It is illegal to make or possess child pornography or to display such material to a child. Anyone who suspects that a child has been or may be abused or neglected has a legal responsibility, under state law, for reporting the suspected abuse or neglect to law enforcement or to Child Protective Services (CPS).
Possible physical warning signs of sexual abuse could be difficulty sitting or walking, pain in the genital areas, and claims of stomachaches and headaches. Behavioral indicators may include verbal references or pretend games of sexual activity between adults and children, fear of being alone with adults of a particular gender, or sexually suggestive behavior. Emotional warning signs to be aware of include withdrawal, depression, sleeping and eating disorders, and problems in school.
A child who has experienced sexual abuse or any other type of abuse or neglect should be encouraged to seek out a trusted adult. Be aware as a parent or other trusted adult that disclosures of sexual abuse may be more indirect than disclosures of physical abuse and neglect, and it is important to be calm and comforting if your child, or another child, confides in you. Reassure the child that he or she did the right thing by telling you.
As a parent, if your child is a victim of sexual abuse or other maltreatment, the school counselor or principal will provide information regarding counseling options for you and your child available in your area. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (TDFPS) also manages early intervention counseling programs. To find out what services may be available in your county, see Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, Programs Available in Your County.
The following websites might help you become more aware of child abuse and neglect:
Reports of abuse or neglect may be made to:
The CPS division of the TDFPS (1 800-252-5400 or on the web at Texas Abuse Hotline Website).
A student’s class rank shall be determined according to the following:
The valedictorian and salutatorian shall be the eligible students with the highest and second highest ranking, respectively. To be eligible for such recognition, a student must:
The following procedures shall be used in the order listed to determine who shall be recognized as valedictorian and salutatorian if two or more students have the same weighted GPA and the GPA is the highest or second highest in the graduating class:
Class rank shall include all courses except the following in a student’s GPA for ranking a student’s high school grade point average:
^Local Electives ^PALS ^Career Practicum
^Yearbook ^Study Skills ^Band
^Instrumental Ensemble ^Band ^Cheer
^Physical Education ^Athletics ^Student Aide Positions
and other local credits to include concurrent enrollment courses, summer school courses (which includes high school and college courses), credit by examination courses, correspondence school courses, courses repeated for local credit, and summer school programs abroad.
A student in grades 9–12 will earn credit for a course only if the final grade is 70 or above. For a two-semester (1 credit) course, the student’s grades from both semesters will be averaged and credit will be awarded if the combined average is 70 or above. Should the student’s combined average be less than 70, the student will be required to retake the course.
To determine grade point average for graduation, grade points shall be assigned to courses in grades 9-12 according to the level of the course. The levels of courses shall be Advanced (including Pre-AP, AP, and dual credit) and Regular.
Dual Credit courses are college or university courses in which a student receives simultaneous credit for the course from both the college and the high school. Blue Ridge ISD has partnered with Collin College to offer BRHS students various options for obtaining college credit as a high school student. For admission information, see www.collin.edu. Students who qualify may enroll in BRISD and Collin College concurrently. Students may receive high school and college credit for designated courses, currently including:
Advanced courses are those courses that provide a challenging curriculum in a variety of offerings based on the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index2.aspx?id=6148). Regular courses are those courses in which a student has modifications made to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index2.aspx?id=6148).
Honor courses are designed to enhance student learning at a higher level and provide new challenges across the curriculum. To be eligible for courses, students must meet the following criteria:
Advanced weighted courses include:
High School Credit for Middle School Students
Eighth grade students may qualify to enroll in Algebra I/Algebra I Honors, and/or Spanish I high school courses by principal recommendation/state test scores/campus-based assessments.
Students may earn high school credit for a course only once. Grades earned in courses shall count toward high school GPA. Honors courses are denoted with H on the master schedule of Blue Ridge High School.
A student who enrolls into the district with higher-level course credits, such as International Baccalaureate (IB), International honors (IntH), Advanced Placement (AP), Pre-AP/Honors, or dual credit, shall receive similar credit counted toward his/her GPA, in accordance with the list of higher-level courses offered to other students in the same graduating class at BRHS and the grade point scale used for credits earned in the district.
[For further information, see policy EIC(LOCAL) and the Student Academic Handbook.]
All students are expected to attend school for the entire school day and maintain a class/course schedule to fulfill each period of the day. Exceptions may be made occasionally by the campus principal for students in grades 9–12 who meet specific criteria and receive parental consent to enroll in less than a full-day’s schedule.
[See Schedule Changes on page 82 for information related to student requests to revise their course schedule.]
For two school years following graduation, a district student who graduates in the top ten percent and, in some cases, the top 25 percent, of his or her class is eligible for automatic admission into four-year public universities and colleges in Texas if the student:
In addition, the student must submit a completed application for admission in accordance with the deadline established by the college or university. The student is ultimately responsible for ensuring that he or she meets the admission requirements of the university or college to which the student submits an application.
The University of Texas at Austin may limit the number of students automatically admitted to 75 percent of the University’s enrollment capacity for incoming resident freshmen. For students who are eligible to enroll in the University during the summer or fall 2019 term, the University will admit the top six percent of the high school’s graduating class who meet the above requirements. Additional applicants will be considered by the University through a holistic review process.
Should a college or university adopt an admissions policy that automatically accepts the top 25 percent of a graduating class, the provisions above will also apply to a student ranked in the top 25 percent of his or her class.
Upon enrolling in their first course that is eligible for high school credit, the district will provide written notice concerning automatic college admission, the curriculum requirements for financial aid, and the benefits of completing the requirements for automatic admission and financial aid.
Students and parents should contact the school counselor for further information about automatic admissions, the application process, and deadlines.
[See also Class Rank/Highest-Ranking Student on page 37 for information specifically related to how the district calculates a student’s rank in class, and requirements for Graduation on page 57 for information associated with the foundation graduation program].
Students in grades 9–12 have opportunities to earn college credit through the following methods:
All of these methods have eligibility requirements and must be approved prior to enrollment in the course. Please see the school counselor for more information. Depending on the student’s grade level and the course, a state-mandated end-of-course assessment may be required for graduation.
It is important to keep in mind that not all colleges and universities accept credit earned in all dual credit or AP courses taken in high school for college credit. Students and parents should check with the prospective college or university to determine if a particular course will count toward the student’s desired degree plan.
*Collin College reserves the right to charge out-of-county tuition for those students living outside of Collin County.
Usually student or parent complaints or concerns can be addressed informally by a phone call or a conference with the teacher or principal. For those complaints and concerns that cannot be handled so easily, the Board has adopted a standard complaint policy at FNG(LOCAL) in the district’s policy manual. A copy of this policy may be obtained in the principal’s or superintendent’s office or on the district’s website at www.brisd.net.
Should a parent or student feel a need to file a formal complaint, the parent or student should file a district complaint form within the timelines established in policy FNG(LOCAL). In general, the student or parent should submit the written complaint form to the campus principal. If the concern is not resolved, a request for a conference should be sent to the superintendent. If still unresolved, the district provides for the complaint to be presented to the Board of Trustees.
As required by law, the Board has adopted a Student Code of Conduct that prohibits certain behaviors and defines standards of acceptable behavior—on and off campus as well as on district vehicles—and consequences for violation of these standards. The district has disciplinary authority over a student in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct. Students and parents should be familiar with the standards set out in the Student Code of Conduct, as well as campus and classroom rules. During any periods of instruction during the summer months, the Student Handbook and Student Code of Conduct in place for the year immediately preceding the summer period shall apply, unless the district amends either or both documents for the purposes of summer instruction.
By law, each campus has a campus behavior coordinator to apply discipline management techniques and administer consequences for certain student misconduct, as well as provide a point of contact for student misconduct. The campus behavior coordinator at each district campus is listed below:
Disruptions of school operations are not tolerated and may constitute a misdemeanor offense. As identified by law, disruptions include the following:
School rules apply to all school social events. Guests attending these events are expected to observe the same rules as students, and a student inviting a guest will share responsibility for the conduct of his or her guest.
A student attending a social event will be asked to sign out when leaving before the end of the event; anyone leaving before the official end of the event will not be readmitted.
Please contact the campus principal if you are interested in serving as a chaperone for any school social events.
The school counselor is available to students and parents to talk about the importance of postsecondary education and how best to plan for postsecondary education, including appropriate courses to consider and financial aid availability and requirements.
In either grade 7 or 8, each student will receive instruction related to how the student can best prepare for high school, college, and a career.
High school students and their parents are encouraged to talk with a school counselor, teacher, or principal to learn more about course offerings, graduation requirements, and early graduation procedures. Each year, high school students will be provided information on anticipated course offerings for the next school year and other information that will help them make the most of academic and CTE opportunities, as well as information on the importance of postsecondary education.
The school counselor can also provide information about entrance exams and application deadlines, as well as information about automatic admission, financial aid, housing, and scholarships as these relate to state colleges and universities. The school counselor can also provide information about workforce opportunities after graduation or technical and trade school opportunities, including opportunities to earn industry-recognized certificates and licenses.
The school counselor is available to assist students with a wide range of personal concerns, including such areas as social, family, emotional or mental health issues, or substance abuse. A student who wishes to meet with the school counselor should write their name on the sign-up sheet at the counselor’s office and wait to be called-down by the counselor from class. As a parent, if you are concerned about your child’s mental or emotional health, please speak with the school counselor for a list of resources that may be of assistance.
[Also see Substance Abuse Prevention and Intervention on page 87 and Suicide Awareness on page 88.]
A student in grades 9–12, or in a lower grade when a student is enrolled in a high school credit-bearing course, will earn credit for a course only if the final grade is 70 or above. For a two-semester (1 credit) course, the student’s grades from both semesters will be averaged, and credit will be awarded if the combined average is 70 or above. Should the student’s combined average be less than 70, the student will be required to retake the semester in which he or she failed.
A student who has previously taken a course or subject—but did not receive credit or a final grade for it—may, in circumstances determined by the principal or attendance committee, be permitted to earn credit by passing an exam approved by the district’s Board of Trustees on the essential knowledge and skills defined for that course or subject. Prior instruction may include, for example, incomplete coursework due to a failed course or excessive absences, homeschooling, or coursework by a student transferring from a non-accredited school. The opportunity to take an examination to earn credit for a course or to be awarded a final grade in a subject after the student has had prior instruction is sometimes referred to as “credit recovery.”
The school counselor or principal would determine if the student could take an exam for this purpose. If approval is granted, the student must score at least 70 on the exam to receive credit for the course or subject.
The attendance review committee may also offer a student with excessive absences an opportunity to earn credit for a course by passing an exam.
[For further information, see the school counselor and policy EHDB(LOCAL).]
A student will be permitted to take an exam to earn credit for an academic course or subject area for which the student has had no prior instruction, i.e., for advancement or to accelerate to the next grade level. The exams offered by the district are approved by the district’s Board of Trustees, and state law requires the use of certain exams, such as College Board Advanced Placement (AP) and College Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests, when applicable. The dates on which exams are scheduled during the 2018-19 school year will be published in appropriate district publications and on the district’s website. The only exceptions to the published dates will be for any exams administered by another entity besides the district. In this case, a student and the district must comply with the testing schedule of the other entity. During each testing window provided by the district, a student may attempt a specific exam only once.
If a student plans to take an exam, the student (or parent) must register with the school counselor no later than 30 days prior to the scheduled testing date.
[For further information, see policy EHDC.]
A student in elementary school will be eligible to accelerate to the next grade level if the student scores at least 80 on each exam in the subject areas of language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies, a district administrator recommends that the student be accelerated, and the student’s parent gives written approval of the grade advancement.
A student in grade 6 or above will earn course credit with a passing score of at least 80 on the exam, a scaled score of 50 or higher on an exam administered through the CLEP, or a score of 3 or higher on an AP exam, as applicable. A student may take an exam to earn high school course credit no more than twice. If a student fails to achieve the designated score on the applicable exam before the beginning of the school year in which the student would need to enroll in the course according to the school’s high school course sequence, the student must complete the course.
The district believes that all students learn best in an environment free from dating violence, discrimination, harassment, and retaliation and that their welfare is best served when they are free from this prohibited conduct while attending school. Students are expected to treat other students and district employees with courtesy and respect, to avoid behaviors known to be offensive, and to stop those behaviors when asked or told to stop. District employees are expected to treat students with courtesy and respect.
The Board has established policies and procedures to prohibit and promptly respond to inappropriate and offensive behaviors that are based on a person’s race, color, religion, gender, national origin, disability, or any other basis prohibited by law. A copy of the district’s policy is available in the principal’s office and in the superintendent’s office or at www.brisd.net. [See policy FFH.]
Dating violence occurs when a person in a current or past dating relationship uses physical, sexual, verbal, or emotional abuse to harm, threaten, intimidate, or control the other person in the relationship. Dating violence also occurs when a person commits these acts against a person in a marriage or dating relationship with the individual who is or was once in a marriage or dating relationship with the person committing the offense. This type of conduct is considered harassment if the conduct is so severe, persistent, or pervasive that it affects the student’s ability to participate in or benefit from an educational program or activity; creates an intimidating, threatening, hostile, or offensive educational environment; or substantially interferes with the student’s academic performance.
Examples of dating violence against a student may include, but are not limited to, physical or sexual assaults; name-calling; put-downs; threats to hurt the student, the student’s family members, or members of the student’s household; destroying property belonging to the student; threats to commit suicide or homicide if the student ends the relationship; threats to harm a student’s current dating partner; attempts to isolate the student from friends and family; stalking; or encouraging others to engage in these behaviors.
Discrimination is defined as any conduct directed at a student on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, disability, or any other basis prohibited by law, that negatively affects the student.
Harassment, in general terms, is conduct so severe, persistent, or pervasive that it affects the student’s ability to participate in or benefit from an educational program or activity; creates an intimidating, threatening, hostile, or offensive educational environment; or substantially interferes with the student’s academic performance.
Examples of harassment may include, but are not limited to, offensive or derogatory language directed at a person’s religious beliefs or practices, accent, skin color, or need for accommodation; threatening, intimidating, or humiliating conduct; offensive jokes, name-calling, slurs, or rumors; physical aggression or assault; graffiti or printed material promoting racial, ethnic, or other negative stereotypes; or other kinds of aggressive conduct such as theft or damage to property.
In addition to dating violence as described above, two other types of prohibited harassment are described below.
Sexual harassment and gender-based harassment of a student by an employee, volunteer, or another student are prohibited.
Examples of sexual harassment may include, but not be limited to, touching private body parts or coercing physical contact that is sexual in nature; sexual advances; jokes or conversations of a sexual nature; and other sexually motivated conduct, communications, or contact.
Sexual harassment of a student by an employee or volunteer does not include necessary or permissible physical contact not reasonably construed as sexual in nature, such as comforting a child with a hug or taking the child’s hand. However, romantic and other inappropriate social relationships, as well as all sexual relationships, between students and district employees are prohibited, even if consensual.
Gender-based harassment includes harassment based on a student’s gender, expression by the student of stereotypical characteristics associated with the student’s gender, or the student’s failure to conform to stereotypical behavior related to gender.
Examples of gender-based harassment directed against a student, regardless of the student’s or the harasser’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, may include, but not be limited to, offensive jokes, name-calling, slurs, or rumors; physical aggression or assault; threatening or intimidating conduct; or other kinds of aggressive conduct such as theft or damage to property.
Retaliation against a person who makes a good faith report of discrimination or harassment, including dating violence, is prohibited. Retaliation against a person who is participating in an investigation of alleged discrimination or harassment is also prohibited. A person who makes a false claim or offers false statements or refuses to cooperate with a district investigation, however, may be subject to appropriate discipline.
Examples of retaliation may include threats, rumor spreading, ostracism, assault, destruction of property, unjustified punishments, or unwarranted grade reductions. Unlawful retaliation does not include petty slights or annoyances.
Any student who believes that he or she has experienced dating violence, discrimination, harassment, or retaliation should immediately report the problem to a teacher, school counselor, principal, or other district employee. The report may be made by the student’s parent. [See policy FFH(LOCAL) for other appropriate district officials to whom to make a report.]
Upon receiving a report of prohibited conduct as defined by policy FFH, the district will determine whether the allegations, if proven, would constitute prohibited conduct as defined by that policy. If not, the district will refer to policy FFI to determine if the allegations, if proven, would constitute bullying, as defined by law and that policy. If the alleged prohibited conduct, if proven, would constitute prohibited conduct and would also be considered bullying as defined by law and policy FFI, an investigation of bullying will also be conducted.
The district will promptly notify the parents of any student alleged to have experienced prohibited conduct involving an adult associated with the district. In the event alleged prohibited conduct involves another student, the district will notify the parents of the student alleged to have experienced the prohibited conduct when the allegations, if proven, would constitute a violation as defined by policy FFH.
To the extent possible, the district will respect the privacy of the student; however, limited disclosures may be necessary to conduct a thorough investigation and to comply with law. Allegations of prohibited conduct, which includes dating violence, discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, will be promptly investigated.
If a law enforcement or other regulatory agency notifies the district that it is investigating the matter and requests that the district delay its investigation, the district will resume the investigation at the conclusion of the agency’s investigation.
During the course of an investigation and when appropriate, the district will take interim action to address the alleged prohibited conduct.
If the district’s investigation indicates that prohibited conduct occurred, appropriate disciplinary action, and, in some cases, corrective action, will be taken to address the conduct. The district may take disciplinary and corrective action even if the conduct that is the subject of the complaint was not unlawful.
All involved parties will be notified of the outcome of the district investigation within the parameters and limits allowed under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
A student or parent who is dissatisfied with the outcome of the investigation may appeal in accordance with policy FNG(LOCAL).
[See Dating Violence, Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation on page 45.]
Distance learning and correspondence courses include courses that encompass the state-required essential knowledge and skills but are taught through multiple technologies and alternative methodologies such as mail, satellite, Internet, video-conferencing, and instructional television.
If a student wishes to enroll in a correspondence course or a distance learning course that is not provided through Odysseyware, in order to earn credit in a course or subject, the student must receive permission from the principal prior to enrolling in the course or subject. If the student does not receive prior approval, the district may not recognize and apply the course or subject toward graduation requirements or subject mastery.
Publications prepared by and for the school may be posted or distributed, with the prior approval of the principal, sponsor, or teacher. Such items may include school posters, brochures, flyers, etc.
An annual yearbook is available for purchase to students
All school publications are under the supervision of a teacher, sponsor, and the principal.
Students must obtain prior approval from the principal before selling, posting, circulating, or distributing more than 10 copies of written or printed materials, handbills, photographs, pictures, films, tapes, or other visual or auditory materials that were not developed under the oversight of the school. To be considered, any non-school material must include the name of the sponsoring person or organization. The decision regarding approval will be made within two school days.
The principal has designated hallway bulletin board as the location for approved non-school materials to be placed for voluntary viewing or collection by students. [See policy FNAA.]
A student may appeal a decision in accordance with policy FNG(LOCAL). Any student who sells, posts, circulates, or distributes non-school material without prior approval will be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct. Materials displayed without approval will be removed.
Written or printed materials, handbills, photographs, pictures, films, tapes, or other visual or auditory materials not sponsored by the district or by a district-affiliated school-support organization will not be sold, circulated, distributed, or posted on any district premises by any district employee or by persons or groups not associated with the district, except as permitted by policy GKDA. To be considered for distribution, any non-school material must meet the limitations on content established in the policy, include the name of the sponsoring person or organization, and be submitted to the principal for prior review. The principal will approve or reject the materials within two school days of the time the materials are received. The requestor may appeal a rejection in accordance with the appropriate district complaint policy. [See policies at DGBA or GF.]
The superintendent has designated the foyer table at the district administration building as the location for approved non-school materials to be placed for voluntary viewing or collection.
Prior review will not be required for:
All non-school materials distributed under these circumstances must be removed from district property immediately following the event at which the materials are distributed.
The district’s dress code is established to teach grooming and hygiene, prevents disruption, and minimizes safety hazards. Students and parents may determine a student’s personal dress and grooming standards, provided that they comply with the following:
If a student’s grooming or clothing violates the school’s dress code and/or is academically or educationally distracting, the parent will be notified, and the student will be given an opportunity to correct the problem at school. If not corrected in a time frame specified by campus administration, the student may be suspended for the remainder of the day or until the problem is corrected. Repeated offenses may result in more serious disciplinary action in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct.
*Campus administration will make the final determination of what constitutes a dress code violation.
For safety purposes, the district permits students to possess personal mobile telephones; however, these devices must remain turned off during the instructional day, including during all testing, unless they are being used for approved instructional purposes. A student must have approval to possess other telecommunications devices such as netbooks, laptops, tablets, or other portable computers.
The use of mobile telephones or any device capable of capturing images is strictly prohibited in locker rooms or restroom areas while at school or at a school-related or school-sponsored event.
If a student uses a telecommunications device without authorization from campus administration during the school day:
Confiscated telecommunications devices that are not retrieved by the student or the student’s parents will be disposed of after the notice required by law. [See policy FNCE.]
In limited circumstances and in accordance with law, a student’s personal telecommunications device may be searched by authorized personnel. [See Searches on page 83 and policy FNF.]
The district is not responsible for damaged, lost, or stolen telecommunications devices.
Except as described below, students are not permitted to possess or use personal electronic devices such as MP3 players, video or audio recorders, DVD players, cameras, games, e-readers, or other electronic devices at school, unless prior permission has been obtained. Without such permission, teachers will collect the items and turn them in to the principal’s office. The principal will determine whether to return items to students at the end of the day or to contact parents to pick up the items.
In limited circumstances and in accordance with law, a student’s personal electronic device may be searched by authorized personnel. [See Searches on page 83 and policy FNF.]
Any disciplinary action will be in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct. The district is not responsible for any damaged, lost, or stolen electronic device.
In some cases, students may find it beneficial or might be encouraged to use personal telecommunications or other personal electronic devices for instructional purposes while on campus. Students must obtain prior approval before using personal telecommunications or other personal electronic devices for instructional use. Students must sign the Student Technology Responsible Use Agreement form found in the campus registration packet, which contains applicable rules for use. When students are not using the devices for approved instructional purposes, all devices must be turned off during the instructional day. Violations of the user agreement may result in withdrawal of privileges and other disciplinary action.
[See Graduation on page 57 and Standardized Testing on page 85.]
A student who is an English language learner is entitled to receive specialized services from the district. To determine whether the student qualifies for services, a Language Proficiency Assessment Committee (LPAC) will be formed, which will consist of both district personnel and at least one parent representative. The student’s parent must consent to any services recommended by the LPAC for an English language learner. However, pending the receipt of parental consent or denial of services, an eligible student will receive the services to which the student is entitled and eligible.
In order to determine a student’s level of proficiency in English, the LPAC will use information from a variety of assessments. If the student qualifies for services, and once a level of proficiency has been established, the LPAC will then designate instructional accommodations or additional special programs that the student will require to eventually become proficient at grade level work in English. Ongoing assessments will be conducted to determine a student’s continued eligibility for the program.
The LPAC will also determine whether certain accommodations are necessary for any state-mandated assessments. The STAAR L, as mentioned at Standardized Testing on page 85 may be administered to an English language learner, or, for a student up to grade 5, a Spanish version of STAAR. In limited circumstances, a student’s LPAC may exempt the student from an otherwise required state-mandated assessment or may waive certain graduation requirements related to the English I end-of-course (EOC) assessment. The Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System (TELPAS) will also be administered to English language learners who qualify for services.
Participation in school-sponsored activities is an excellent way for a student to develop talents, receive individual recognition, and build strong friendships with other students; participation, however, is a privilege, not a right.
Participation in some of these activities may result in events that occur off-campus. When the district arranges transportation for these events, students are required to use the transportation provided by the district to and from the events. Exceptions to this may only be made with the approval of the activity’s coach or sponsor. [Also see Transportation on page 89.]
Eligibility for initial and continuing participation in many of these activities is governed by state law and the rules of the University Interscholastic League (UIL)—a statewide association overseeing interdistrict competition. If a student is involved in an academic, athletic, or music activity governed by UIL, the student and parent are expected to know and follow all rules of the UIL organization. Students involved in UIL athletic activities and their parents can access the UIL Parent Information Manual at https://www.uiltexas.org/athletics/manuals; a hard copy can be provided by the coach or sponsor of the activity on request. To report a complaint of alleged noncompliance with required safety training or an alleged violation of safety rules required by law and the UIL, please contact the curriculum division of TEA at (512) 463-9581 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
[See http://www.uiltexas.org for additional information on all UIL-governed activities.]
Student safety in extracurricular activities is a priority of the district. The equipment used in football is no exception. As a parent, you are entitled to review the district’s records regarding the age of each football helmet used by the campus, including when a helmet has been reconditioned.
In addition, the following provisions apply to all extracurricular activities:
Sponsors of student clubs and performing groups such as the band, choir, and drill and athletic teams may establish standards of behavior—including consequences for misbehavior—that are stricter than those for students in general. If a violation is also a violation of school rules, the consequences specified by the Student Code of Conduct or by board policy will apply in addition to any consequences specified by the organization’s standards of behavior.
Certain clubs, organizations, and performing groups will hold elections for student officers. These groups include, but are not limited to: BETA, Student Government, FFA, and FCA.
Materials that are part of the basic educational program are provided with state and local funds at no charge to a student. A student, however, is expected to provide his or her own pencils, paper, erasers, and notebooks and may be required to pay certain other fees or deposits, including:
Any required fee or deposit may be waived if the student and parent are unable to pay. Application for such a waiver may be made to the campus principal. [For further information, see policy FP.]
Student groups or classes and/or parent groups may be permitted to conduct fundraising drives for approved school purposes. An application for permission must be made to the superintendent at least 14 days before the event. [For further information, see policies FJ and GE.]
Certain criminal offenses, including those involving organized criminal activity such as gang-related crimes, will be enhanced to the next highest category of offense if they are committed in a gang-free zone. For purposes of the district, a gang-free zone includes a school bus and a location in, on, or within 1,000 feet of any district-owned or leased property or campus playground.
[See Dating Violence, Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation on page 45.]
After the ninth grade, students are classified according to the number of credits earned toward graduation. Classification for Grade Level designations will be applied in the fall of each school year.
Credits Earned Classification
6 Grade 10 (Sophomore)
12 Grade 11 (Junior)
18 Grade 12 (Senior)
Grading guidelines for each grade level or course will be communicated and distributed to students and their parents by the classroom teacher. These guidelines have been reviewed by each applicable curriculum department and have been approved by the campus principal. These guidelines establish the minimum number of assignments, projects, and examinations required for each grading period. In addition, these guidelines establish how the student’s mastery of concepts and achievement will be communicated (i.e., letter grades, numerical averages, checklist of required skills, etc.). Grading guidelines also outline in what circumstances a student will be allowed to redo an assignment or retake an examination for which the student originally made a failing grade. Procedures for a student to follow after an absence will also be addressed.
[See the Blue Ridge ISD Academic Handbook for additional information on grading guidelines.]
Beginning with students who entered grade 9 in the 2014–15 school year, as well as any currently enrolled high school student who decides to graduate under the foundation graduation program, a student must meet the following requirements to receive a high school diploma from the district:
Students are required, with limited exceptions and regardless of graduation program, to perform satisfactorily on the following EOC assessments: English I, English II, Algebra I, Biology, and United States History. A student who has not achieved sufficient scores on the EOC assessments to graduate will have opportunities to retake the assessments. State law and state rules also provide for certain scores on norm-referenced national standardized assessments or on the state-developed assessment used for entrance into Texas public universities to substitute for the requirement to meet satisfactory performance on an applicable EOC assessment, should a student choose this option. See the school counselor for more information on the state testing requirements for graduation.
If a student fails to perform satisfactorily on an EOC assessment, the district will provide remediation to the student in the content area for which the performance standard was not met. This may require participation of the student before or after normal school hours or at times of the year outside normal school operations.
In limited circumstances, a student who fails to demonstrate proficiency on two or fewer of the required assessments may still be eligible to graduate if an individual graduation committee, formed in accordance with state law, unanimously determines that the student is eligible to graduate.
[Also see Standardized Testing on page 85 for more information.]
For students who were enrolled in high school prior to the 2014–15 school year, the district offers the graduation programs listed in this section. Students enrolled in high school prior to the 2014–15 school year also have the option to pursue the foundation graduation program as described below. Note that permission to enroll in the Minimum Program as described in this section will be granted only if a written agreement is reached among the student, the student’s parent or person standing in parental relation, and the school counselor or appropriate administrator. In order for a student to take courses under the Minimum Program, the student must be at least 16 years of age; have completed at least two credits each in English language arts, math, science, and social studies courses that are required for graduation; or have failed grade 9 one or more times. [See policy EIF(LEGAL).]
* A student who is unable to participate in physical activity due to a disability or illness may be able to substitute a course in English language arts, mathematics, science, or social studies for the required credit of physical education. This determination will be made by the student’s ARD committee, Section 504 committee, or other campus committee, as applicable.
** State rules prohibit a student from combining a half-credit of a course for which there is an EOC assessment with another half-credit of an elective credit course to satisfy an elective credit requirement. However, the district will allow a student to satisfy a graduation requirement for which there are multiple options with one-half credit of one allowable option and one-half credit of another allowable option, if neither course has an EOC assessment.
*** A student graduating under the Advanced/Distinguished Achievement Program must also achieve a combination of four of the following advanced measures:
Every student in a Texas public school who entered grade 9 in the 2014–15 school year and thereafter will graduate under the “foundation graduation program.” Within the foundation graduation program are “endorsements,” which are paths of interest that include Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM); Business and Industry; Public Services; Arts and Humanities; and Multidisciplinary Studies. Endorsements earned by a student will be noted on the student’s transcript. The foundation graduation program also involves the term “distinguished level of achievement,” which reflects the completion of at least one endorsement and Algebra II as one of the required advanced mathematics credits. A personal graduation plan will be completed for each high school student, as described on page 61.
State law and rules prohibit a student from graduating solely under the foundation graduation program without an endorsement unless, after the student’s sophomore year, the student and student’s parent are advised of the specific benefits of graduating with an endorsement and submit written permission to the school counselor for the student to graduate without an endorsement. A student who anticipates graduating under the foundation graduation program without an endorsement and who wishes to attend a four-year university or college after graduation must carefully consider whether this will satisfy the admission requirements of the student’s desired college or university.
Graduating under the foundation graduation program will also provide opportunities to earn “performance acknowledgments” that will be acknowledged on a student’s transcript. Performance acknowledgments are available for outstanding performance in bilingualism and biliteracy, in a dual credit course, on an AP or IB exam, on certain national college preparatory and readiness or college entrance exams, or for earning a state recognized or nationally or internationally recognized license or certificate. The criteria for earning these performance acknowledgments are prescribed by state rules, and the school counselor can provide more information about these acknowledgments.
The foundation graduation program requires completion of the following credits:
Number of Credits: Foundation Graduation Program
Number of Credits: Foundation Graduation Program With an Endorsement
Social Studies, including Economics
Language other than English***
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math
Business and Industry
Arts and Humanities
* In order to obtain the distinguished level of achievement under the foundation graduation program, which will be denoted on a student’s transcript and is a requirement to be considered for automatic admission purposes to a Texas four-year college or university, a student must complete an endorsement and take Algebra II as one of the four mathematics credits.
** A student who is unable to participate in physical activity due to a disability or illness may be able to substitute a course in English language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, or another locally determined credit-bearing course for the required credit of physical education. This determination will be made by the student’s ARD committee, Section 504 committee, or other campus committee, as applicable.
*** Students are required to earn two credits in the same language other than English to graduate. Any student may substitute computer programming languages for these credits. In limited circumstances, a student may be able to substitute this requirement with other courses, as determined by a district committee authorized by law to make these decisions for the student.
**** A student must specify upon entering grade 9 the endorsement he or she wishes to pursue.
A personal graduation plan will be developed for each high school student who is subject to the requirements of the foundation graduation program. The district encourages all students to pursue a personal graduation plan that includes the completion of at least one endorsement and to graduate with the distinguished level of achievement. Attainment of the distinguished level of achievement entitles a student to be considered for automatic admission to a public four year college or university in Texas, depending on his or her rank in class. The school will review personal graduation plan options with each student entering grade 9 and his or her parent. Before the end of grade 9, a student and his or her parent will be required to sign off on a personal graduation plan that includes a course of study that promotes college and workforce readiness and career placement and advancement, as well as facilitates the transition from secondary to postsecondary education. The student’s personal graduation plan will denote an appropriate course sequence based on the student’s choice of endorsement.
Please also review TEA’s Graduation Toolkit, available here: TEA's Graduation Toolkit.
A student may, with parental permission, amend his or her personal graduation plan after the initial confirmation.
Information regarding specific courses required or offered in each curriculum area will be distributed to students each spring in order to enroll in courses for the upcoming school year. Note that the district may require the completion of certain courses for graduation even if these courses are not required by the state for graduation.
Please be aware that not all courses are offered at every secondary campus in the district. A student who wants to take a course not offered at his or her regular campus should contact the school counselor about a transfer or other alternatives. If the parents of at least 22 students request a transfer for those students to take a course in the required curriculum other than fine arts or CTE, the district will offer the course for the following year either by teleconference or at the school from which the transfers were requested.
A certificate of coursework completion will be issued to a student who has successfully completed state and local credit requirements for graduation but has not yet demonstrated satisfactory performance on the state-mandated tests required for graduation.
Upon the recommendation of the admission, review, and dismissal (ARD) committee, a student with a disability who receives special education services may be permitted to graduate under the provisions of his or her IEP and in accordance with state rules.
A student who receives special education services and has completed four years of high school, but has not met the requirements of his or her IEP, may participate in graduation ceremonies and receive a certificate of attendance. Even if the student participates in graduation ceremonies to receive the certificate of attendance, he or she may remain enrolled to complete the IEP and earn his or her high school diploma; however, the student will only be allowed to participate in one graduation ceremony.
[See policy FMH(LEGAL).]
Please also be aware that if an ARD committee places a student with a disability on a modified curriculum in a subject area, the student will be automatically placed in the Minimum Program, if that program is applicable based on the school year in which the student entered high school, in accordance with state rules.
If a student receiving special education services is scheduled to graduate under the Minimum Program or in accordance with the provisions of his or her IEP, the student’s ARD committee will determine whether the general EOC assessment is an accurate measure of the student’s achievement and progress and, if so, whether successful performance is required for graduation, or whether an alternative assessment is more appropriate. STAAR Alternate 2 is the alternative assessment currently allowed by the state. [See Standardized Testing for additional information.]
ARD committees for students with disabilities who receive special education services and who are subject to the foundation graduation program will make instructional and assessment decisions for these students in accordance with state law and rules. In order to earn an endorsement under the foundation program, a student must perform satisfactorily on the EOC assessments and receive no modified curriculum in the student’s chosen endorsement area. A student may still be awarded an endorsement when the student fails to perform satisfactorily on no more than two EOC assessments but meets the other requirements for graduation under state law.
Graduation activities will include:
*Appropriate dress will be required.
The following students and student groups shall be recognized at graduation ceremonies:
Certain graduating students will be given an opportunity to have speaking roles at graduation ceremonies.
A student must meet local eligibility criteria, which may include requirements related to student conduct, to have a speaking role. Students eligible for speaking roles will be notified by the principal and given an opportunity to volunteer.
[See FNA(LOCAL) and the Student Code of Conduct. For student speakers at other school events, see Student Speakers on page 87.]
Because students and parents will incur expenses in order to participate in the traditions of graduation—such as the purchase of invitations, senior ring, cap and gown, and senior picture—both the student and parent should monitor progress toward completion of all requirements for graduation. The expenses often are incurred in the junior year or first semester of the senior year. [See Student Fees on page 55.]
Students who have a financial need according to federal criteria and who complete the Recommended Program or Advanced/Distinguished Achievement Program, for as long as those programs are in place, or who complete the foundation graduation program, may be eligible under the T.E.X.A.S. Grant Program for tuition and fees to Texas public universities, community colleges, and technical schools, as well as to private institutions.
Contact the school counselor for information about other scholarships and grants available to students.
[See Dating Violence, Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation on page 45.]
Hazing is defined as any intentional, knowing, or reckless act occurring on or off campus directed against a student that endangers the mental or physical health or the safety of a student for the purpose of pledging, being initiated to, affiliating with, holding office in, or maintaining membership in any organization whose members are or include other students.
Hazing will not be tolerated by the district. If an incident of hazing occurs, disciplinary consequences will be handled in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct. It is a criminal offense if a person engages in hazing; solicits, encourages, directs, aids, or attempts to aid another in hazing; or has firsthand knowledge of an incident of hazing being planned or having occurred and fails to report this to the principal or superintendent.
[Also see Bullying on page 34 and policies FFI and FNCC.]
When your child is ill, please contact the school to let us know he or she won’t be attending that day. It is important to remember that schools are required to exclude students with certain illnesses from school for periods of time as identified in state rules. For example, if your child has a fever over 100 degrees, he or she must stay out of school until fever free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medications. In addition, students with diarrheal illnesses must stay home until they are diarrhea free without diarrhea-suppressing medications for at least 24 hours. A full list of conditions for which the school must exclude children can be obtained from the school nurse.
If a student becomes ill during the school day, he or she must receive permission from the teacher before reporting to the school nurse. If the nurse determines that the child should go home, the nurse will contact the parent.
The district is also required to report certain contagious (communicable) diseases or illnesses to the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) or our local/regional health authority. The school nurse can provide information from TDSHS on these notifiable conditions.
Contact the school nurse if you have questions or if you are concerned about whether or not your child should stay home.
State law requires the district to provide information about bacterial meningitis:
Meningitis is an inflammation of the covering of the brain and spinal cord. It can be caused by viruses, parasites, fungi, and bacteria. Viral meningitis is common and most people recover fully. Parasitic and fungal meningitis are very rare. Bacterial meningitis is very serious and may involve complicated medical, surgical, pharmaceutical, and life support management.
Someone with meningitis will become very ill. The illness may develop over one or two days, but it can also rapidly progress in a matter of hours. Not everyone with meningitis will have the same symptoms.
Children (over 2 years old) and adults with bacterial meningitis commonly have a severe headache, high fever, and neck stiffness. Other symptoms might include nausea, vomiting, discomfort looking into bright lights, confusion, and sleepiness. In both children and adults, there may be a rash of tiny, red-purple spots. These can occur anywhere on the body.
The diagnosis of bacterial meningitis is based on a combination of symptoms and laboratory results.
If it is diagnosed early and treated promptly, the majority of people make a complete recovery. In some cases it can be fatal or a person may be left with a permanent disability.
Fortunately, none of the bacteria that cause meningitis are as contagious as diseases like the common cold or the flu, and they are not spread by casual contact or by simply breathing the air where a person with meningitis has been. They are spread when people exchange respiratory or throat secretions (such as by kissing, coughing, or sneezing).
The germ does not cause meningitis in most people. Instead, most people become carriers of the germ for days, weeks, or even months. The bacteria rarely overcome the body’s immune system and cause meningitis or another serious illness.
Maintaining healthy habits, like getting plenty of rest, can help prevent infection. Using good health practices such as covering your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing and washing your hands frequently with soap and water can also help stop the spread of the bacteria. It’s a good idea not to share food, drinks, utensils, toothbrushes, or cigarettes. Limit the number of persons you kiss.
There are vaccines available to offer protection from some of the bacteria that can cause bacterial meningitis.* The vaccines are safe and effective (85–90 percent). They can cause mild side effects, such as redness and pain at the injection site lasting up to two days. Immunity develops within seven to ten days after the vaccine is given and lasts for up to five years.
You should seek prompt medical attention.
Your school nurse, family doctor, and the staff at your local or regional health department office are excellent sources for information on all communicable diseases. You may also call your local health department or Regional Department of State Health Services office to ask about a meningococcal vaccine. Additional information may also be found at the websites for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, http://www.cdc.gov, and the Department of State Health Services, http://www.dshs.state.tx.us.
* Please note that the TDSHS requires at least one meningococcal vaccination for a student ages 11 to 12 or for a student enrolling in grades 7 through 12, and state guidelines recommend this vaccination be administered between ages 11 and 12, with a booster dose at 16 years of age. Also note that entering college students must show, with limited exception, evidence of receiving a bacterial meningitis vaccination within the five-year period prior to enrolling in and taking courses at an institution of higher education. Please see the school nurse for more information, as this may affect a student who wishes to enroll in a dual credit course taken off campus.
[Also refer to Immunization on page 69 for more information.]
The district requests to be notified when a student has been diagnosed with a food allergy, especially those allergies that could result in dangerous or possibly life-threatening reactions either by inhalation, ingestion, or skin contact with the particular food. It is important to disclose the food to which the student is allergic, as well as the nature of the allergic reaction. Please contact the school nurse or campus principal if your child has a known food allergy or as soon as possible after any diagnosis of a food allergy.
The district has developed and annually reviews a food allergy management plan, which addresses employee training, dealing with common food allergens, and specific strategies for dealing with students diagnosed with severe food allergies. When the district receives information that a student has a food allergy that puts the student at risk for anaphylaxis, individual care plans will be developed to assist the student in safely accessing the school environment. The district’s food allergy management plan can be accessed at www.brisd.net.
[Also see policy FFAF and Celebrations on page 36.]
Head lice, although not an illness or a disease, is very common among children and is spread very easily through head-to-head contact during play, sports, or nap time and when children share things like brushes, combs, hats, and headphones. If careful observation indicates that a student has head lice, the school nurse and campus administrator will determine whether the child needs to be picked up. The nurse will communicate a plan for treatment with the parent for use of an FDA-approved medicated shampoo or cream rinse that may be purchased from any drug or grocery store. After the student has undergone one treatment, the parent should check in with the school nurse to discuss the treatment used. The nurse can also offer additional recommendations, including subsequent treatments and how best to get rid of lice and prevent their return.
Notice will also be provided to parents of elementary school students in the affected classroom.
More information on head lice can be obtained from the TDSHS website at http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/schoolhealth/lice.shtm.
[See policy FFAA.]
In accordance with policies at EHAB, EHAC, EHBG, and FFA, the district will ensure that students in full-day prekindergarten–grade 5 engage in moderate or vigorous physical activity for at least 30 minutes per day or 135 minutes per week.
In accordance with policies at EHAB, EHAC, EHBG, and FFA, the district will ensure that students in middle or junior high school will engage in 30 minutes of moderate or vigorous physical activity per day for at least four semesters.
For additional information on the district’s requirements and programs regarding junior high and middle school student physical activity requirements, please see the principal.
During the preceding school year, the district’s School Health Advisory Council (SHAC) held 2 meetings. Additional information regarding the district’s SHAC is available from the superintendent’s office.
The duties of the SHAC range from recommending curriculum to developing strategies for integrating curriculum into a coordinated school health program encompassing issues such as school health services, counseling services, a safe and healthy school environment, recess recommendations, improving student fitness, mental health concerns, and employee wellness.
[See policies at BDF and EHAA. See Human Sexuality Instruction on page 18 for additional information.]
Blue Ridge ISD is committed to encouraging healthy students and therefore has developed a Board-adopted wellness policy at FFA(LOCAL) and corresponding plans and procedures to implement the policy. You are encouraged to contact the superintendent’s office at 972-752-5554. with questions about the content or implementation of the district’s wellness policy and plan.
Annually, the district will conduct a physical fitness assessment of students in grades 3–12 who are enrolled in a physical education course or a course for which physical education credit is awarded. At the end of the school year, a parent may submit a written request to the Athletic Director to obtain the results of his or her child’s physical fitness assessment conducted during the school year.
The district has adopted and implemented the state and federal policies and guidelines for food service, including the guidelines to restrict student access to vending machines. For more information regarding these policies and guidelines, contact the superintendent’s office at 972-752-5554. [See policies at CO and FFA.]
Students are prohibited from possessing or using any type of tobacco product, electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes), or any other electronic vaporizing device, while on school property at any time or while attending an off-campus school-related activity.
The district and its staff strictly enforce prohibitions against the use of all tobacco products, e-cigarettes, or any other electronic vaporizing device, by students and all others on school property and at school-sponsored and school-related activities. [See the Student Code of Conduct and policies at FNCD and GKA.]
The district works diligently to maintain compliance with federal and state law governing asbestos in school buildings. A copy of the district’s Asbestos Management Plan is available in the superintendent’s office. If you have any questions or would like to examine the district’s plan in more detail, please contact the superintendent’s office at 972-752-5554.
The district is required to follow integrated pest management (IPM) procedures to control pests on school grounds. Although the district strives to use the safest and most effective methods to manage pests, including a variety of non-chemical control measures, pesticide use is sometimes necessary to maintain adequate pest control and ensure a safe, pest-free school environment.
All pesticides used are registered for their intended use by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and are applied only by certified pesticide applicators. Except in an emergency, signs will be posted 48 hours before indoor application. All outdoor applications will be posted at the time of treatment, and signs will remain until it is safe to enter the area. Parents who have further questions or who want to be notified prior to pesticide application inside their child’s school assignment area may contact Maintenance Supervisor at 972-752-5554.
You are encouraged to inform the district if you or your child are experiencing homelessness. District staff can share resources with you that may be able to assist you and your family.
For more information on services for homeless students, contact the district’s homeless education liaison, Matthew Todd, at 972-752-5554.
[See also Students Who Are Homeless on page 25.]
[See Student Academic Handbook for details]
[See Student Illness under Health-Related Matters on page 64.]
A student must be fully immunized against certain diseases or must present a certificate or statement that, for medical reasons or reasons of conscience, including a religious belief, the student will not be immunized. For exemptions based on reasons of conscience, only official forms issued by the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS), Immunization Branch, can be honored by the district. This form may be obtained by writing the TDSHS Immunization Branch (MC 1946), P.O. Box 149347, Austin, Texas 78714-9347; or online at Affidavit Request for Exemption from Immunization. The form must be notarized and submitted to the principal or school nurse within 90 days of notarization. If the parent is seeking an exemption for more than one student in the family, a separate form must be provided for each student.
The immunizations required are: diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis; measles, mumps, and rubella; polio; hepatitis A; hepatitis B; varicella (chicken pox); and meningococcal. The school nurse can provide information on age-appropriate doses or on an acceptable physician-validated history of illness required by the TDSHS. Proof of immunization may be established by personal records from a licensed physician or public health clinic with a signature or rubber-stamp validation.
If a student should not be immunized for medical reasons, the student or parent must present a certificate signed by a U.S. registered and licensed physician stating that, in the doctor’s opinion, the immunization required is medically contraindicated or poses a significant risk to the health and well-being of the student or a member of the student’s family or household. This certificate must be renewed yearly unless the physician specifies a lifelong condition.
As noted at Bacterial Meningitis, entering college students must also, with limited exception, furnish evidence of having received a bacterial meningitis vaccination within the five years prior to enrolling in and attending classes at an institution of higher education. A student wanting to enroll in a dual credit course taken off campus may be subject to this requirement.
[For further information, see policy FFAB(LEGAL) and the TDSHS website: Texas School & Child Care Facility Immunization Requirements.]
When law enforcement officers or other lawful authorities wish to question or interview a student at school, the principal will cooperate fully regarding the conditions of the interview, if the questioning or interview is part of a child abuse investigation. In other circumstances:
State law requires the district to permit a student to be taken into legal custody:
Before a student is released to a law enforcement officer or other legally authorized person, the principal will verify the officer’s identity and, to the best of his or her ability, will verify the official’s authority to take custody of the student.
The principal will immediately notify the superintendent and will ordinarily attempt to notify the parent unless the officer or other authorized person raises what the principal considers to be a valid objection to notifying the parents. Because the principal does not have the authority to prevent or delay a student’s release to a law enforcement officer, any notification will most likely be after the fact.
The district is required by state law to notify:
[For further information, see policies FL(LEGAL)]
Please remember that student attendance is crucial to learning. We ask that appointments be scheduled outside of school hours as much as reasonably possible. Also note that picking up a child early on a regular basis results in missed opportunities for learning. Unless the principal has granted approval because of extenuating circumstances, a student will not regularly be released before the end of the school day.
State rules require that parental consent be obtained before any student is allowed to leave campus for any part of the school day. The district has put the following procedures in place in order to document parental consent:
Students are not authorized to leave campus during regular school hours for any other reason, except with the permission of the principal.
Students who leave campus in violation of these rules will be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct.
A “lost and found” collection box is located at a designated location (see office for location). If your child has lost an item, please encourage him or her to check the lost and found box. The district discourages students from bringing to school personal items of high monetary value, as the district is not responsible for lost or stolen items. The campus will dispose of lost and found items at the end of each 9 week grading period.
For any class missed, the teacher may assign the student makeup work based on the instructional objectives for the subject or course and the needs of the individual student in mastering the essential knowledge and skills or in meeting subject or course requirements.
A student will be responsible for obtaining and completing the makeup work in a satisfactory manner and within the time specified by the teacher. A student who does not make up assigned work within the time allotted by the teacher will receive a grade of zero for the assignment.
A student is encouraged to speak with his or her teacher if the student knows of an absence ahead of time, including absences for extracurricular activities, so that the teacher and student may plan any work that can be completed before or shortly after the absence. Please remember the importance of student attendance at school and that, even though absences may be excused or unexcused, all absences account for the 90 percent threshold in regards to the state laws surrounding “attendance for credit or final grade.” [See also Attendance for Credit or Final Grade on page 31]
A student involved in an extracurricular activity must notify his or her teachers ahead of time about any absences.
A student will be permitted to make up tests and to turn in projects due in any class missed because of absence. Teachers may assign a late penalty to any long-term project in accordance with time lines approved by the principal and previously communicated to students.
A student removed to a disciplinary alternative education program (DAEP) during the school year will have an opportunity to complete, before the beginning of the next school year, a foundation curriculum course in which the student was enrolled at the time of removal. The district may provide the opportunity to complete the course through an alternative method, including a correspondence course, another distance learning option, or summer school. The district will not charge the student for any method of completion provided by the district. [See policy FOCA(LEGAL).]
A student removed from the regular classroom to in-school suspension or another setting, other than a DAEP, will have an opportunity to complete before the beginning of the next school year each course the student was enrolled in at the time of removal from the regular classroom. The district may provide the opportunity by any method available, including a correspondence course, another distance learning option, or summer school. The district will not charge the student for any method of completion provided by the district. [See policy FO(LEGAL).]
Students receiving Out of School Suspension (OSS) may or may not be permitted to make up missing daily/minor assignments on days suspended off campus, based on principal discretion.
Medication that must be administered to a student during school hours must be provided by the student’s parent. All medication, whether prescription or nonprescription, must be kept in the nurse’s office and administered by the nurse or another authorized district employee, unless the student is authorized to possess his or her own medication because of asthma or a severe allergy as described below or as otherwise allowed by law.
The district will not purchase nonprescription medication to give to a student. District employees will not give a student prescription medication, nonprescription medication, herbal substances, anabolic steroids, or dietary supplements, with the following exceptions:
Only authorized employees, in accordance with policy FFAC, may administer:
Students whose schedules provide for regular time spent outdoors, including for recess and physical education classes, should apply sunscreen before coming to school.
For students at the elementary level, the student’s teacher or other district personnel will apply sunscreen to a student’s exposed skin if the student brings the sunscreen to school and requests assistance with the application of the sunscreen. Nothing prohibits a student at this level from applying his or her own sunscreen if the student is capable of doing so.
For students at the secondary level, a student may possess and apply sunscreen when necessary. If the student will need assistance with this application, please address the need for assistance with the school nurse.
Whether a student is at the elementary or secondary level, if sunscreen needs to be administered to treat any type of medical condition, this should be handled through communication with the school nurse so that the district is made aware of any safety and medical issues.
A student with asthma or severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) may be permitted to possess and use prescribed asthma or anaphylaxis medication at school or school-related events only if he or she has written authorization from his or her parent and a physician or other licensed health-care provider. The student must also demonstrate to his or her physician or health-care provider and to the school nurse the ability to use the prescribed medication, including any device required to administer the medication.
If the student has been prescribed asthma or anaphylaxis medication for use during the school day, the student and parents should discuss this with the school nurse or principal.
In accordance with a student’s individual health plan for management of diabetes, a student with diabetes will be permitted to possess and use monitoring and treatment supplies and equipment while at school or at a school-related activity. See the school nurse or principal for information. [See policy FFAF(LEGAL).]
A psychotropic drug is a substance used in the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of a disease or as a component of a medication. It is intended to have an altering effect on perception, emotion, or behavior and is commonly described as a mood- or behavior-altering substance.
Teachers and other district employees may discuss a student’s academic progress or behavior with the student’s parents or another employee as appropriate; however, they are not permitted to recommend use of psychotropic drugs. A district employee who is a registered nurse, an advanced nurse practitioner, a physician, or a certified or credentialed mental health professional can recommend that a student be evaluated by an appropriate medical practitioner, if appropriate. [For further information, see policy FFAC.]
In its efforts to promote nondiscrimination and as required by law, Blue Ridge ISD does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, gender, sex, disability, age, or any other basis prohibited by law, in providing education services, activities, and programs, including CTE programs, and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The following district representatives have been designated to coordinate compliance with these legal requirements:
John Wink, Superintendent
318 W School St
Blue Ridge, TX 75424
Office: 972-752-5554 Fax: 972-752-9084
Missy Douglas, Section 504 Coordinator
425 N. Church St.
Blue Ridge, TX 75424
School: 972-752-5554 Fax: 972-752-9950
Terra Mathers, Special Education Coordinator
11020 CR 504
Blue Ridge, TX 75424
School: 972-752-5554 Fax: 972-752-5361
[See policies FB, FFH, and GKD.]
Both experience and research tell us that a child’s education succeeds best when there is good communication and a strong partnership between home and school. Your involvement in this partnership may include:
The Parent Involvement Coordinator, who works with parents of students participating in Title I programs is Matthew Todd and may be contacted at 972.752.5554.
A student who wishes to participate in, or continue participation in, the district’s athletics program governed by the UIL must submit certification from a health-care provider authorized under UIL rules that the student has been examined and is physically able to participate in the athletic program.
This examination is required in the first year of middle school competition and the first and third years of high school competition. During the alternate years, the student must complete a medical appraisal form, and the results of this appraisal may prompt the district to require a physical examination.
[Also see policy FFAA.]
Each school day, students will recite the Pledge of Allegiance to the United States flag and the Pledge of Allegiance to the Texas flag. Parents may submit a written request to the principal to excuse their child from reciting a pledge. [See Reciting the Pledges to the U.S. and Texas Flags on page 19.]
State law requires that one minute of silence follow recitation of the pledges. Each student may choose to reflect, pray, meditate, or engage in any other silent activity during that minute so long as the silent activity does not interfere with or distract others. In addition, state law requires that each campus provide for the observance of one minute of silence at the beginning of the first class period when September 11 falls on a regular school day in remembrance of those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.
[See policy EC for more information.]
Each student has a right to individually, voluntarily, and silently pray or meditate in school in a manner that does not disrupt instructional or other activities of the school. The school will not encourage, require, or coerce a student to engage in or to refrain from such prayer or meditation during any school activity.
A student will be promoted only on the basis of academic achievement or demonstrated proficiency in the subject matter of the course or grade level, the recommendation of the student’s teacher, the score received on any criterion-referenced or state-mandated assessment, and any other necessary academic information as determined by the district.
In addition, at certain grade levels a student—with limited exceptions—will be required to pass the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR), if the student is enrolled in a public Texas school on any day between January 1 and the date of the first administration of the STAAR.
In grades 1-3, promotion to the next grade level shall be based on an overall average of 70 on a scale of 100 based on course level, grade level standards (essential knowledge and skills) for all subject areas and a grade of 70 or above in reading and mathematics.
In grades 4-8, promotion to the next grade level shall be based on an overall average of 70 on a scale of 100 based on course level, grade level standards (essential knowledge and skills) for all subject areas and a grade of 70 or above in three of the following are-as: language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies.
In order to be promoted to grade 6, students enrolled in grade 5 must perform satisfactorily on the mathematics and reading sections of the grade 5 state assessment in English or Spanish.
In order to be promoted to grade 9, students enrolled in grade 8 must perform satisfactorily on the mathematics and reading sections of the grade 8 state assessment in English.
If a student in grade 5 or 8 is enrolled in a course that earns high school credit and for which an end-of-course (EOC) state assessment will be administered, the student will not be subject to the promotion requirements described above for the relevant grade 5 or 8 state assessment.
If a student in grades 3–8 is enrolled in a class or course intended for students above his or her current grade level in which the student will be administered a state-mandated assessment, the student will be required to take an applicable state-mandated assessment only for the course in which he or she is enrolled, unless otherwise required to do so by federal law.
[See the Blue Ridge ISD Academic Handbook or Standardized Testing on page 85 for more information.]
A student in grade 5 or 8 will have two additional opportunities to take a failed assessment. If a student fails a second time, a grade placement committee, consisting of the principal or designee, the teacher, and the student’s parent, will determine the additional special instruction the student will receive. After a third failed attempt, the student will be retained; however, the parent can appeal this decision to the committee. For the student to be promoted, based on standards previously established by the district, the decision of the committee must be unanimous and the student must complete additional special instruction before beginning the next grade level. Whether the student is retained or promoted, an educational plan for the student will be designed to enable the student to perform at grade level by the end of the next school year. [See policy EIE.]
Certain students—some with disabilities and some classified as English language learners—may be eligible for exemptions, accommodations, or deferred testing. An admission, review, and dismissal (ARD) committee meeting will be convened if a student receiving special education services in grade 5 or 8 fails to meet satisfactory performance after the first STAAR administrations in reading or math. For more information, see the principal, school counselor, or special education director.
Parents of a student at or above grade level 3 who does not perform satisfactorily on his or her state-mandated examinations, will be notified that their child will participate in special instructional programs designed to improve performance. The student may be required to participate in this instruction before or after normal school hours or outside of the normal school year. Failure of a student to attend these programs may result in violations of required school attendance as well as the student not being promoted to the next grade level.
A personal graduation plan (PGP) will be prepared for any student at the middle school or junior high level who did not perform satisfactorily on a state-mandated assessment or is determined by the district as not likely to earn a high school diploma before the fifth school year following enrollment in grade 9. The PGP will be designed and implemented by a school counselor, teacher, or other staff member designated by the principal. The plan will, among other items, identify the student’s educational goals, address the parent’s educational expectations for the student, and outline an intensive instruction program for the student. [For additional information, see the campus principal and policy EIF(LEGAL).] For a student receiving special education services, the student’s IEP may serve as the student’s PGP and would therefore be developed by the student’s ARD committee.
[For information related to the development of personal graduation plans for high school students, see Personal Graduation Plans on page 61 .]
To earn credit in a course, a student must receive a grade of at least 70 based on course-level or grade-level standards.
A student in grades 9–12 will be advanced a grade level based on the number of course credits earned. [Also see Grade Level Classification on page 57.]
Students will also have multiple opportunities to retake EOC assessments. [See Graduation on page 57 and Standardized Testing on page 85 for more information about EOC assessments.]
[See Leaving Campus on page 71]
Report cards with each student’s grades or performance and absences in each class or subject are issued to parents at least once every 9 weeks.
At the end of the fourth week of the grading period the parents will be given a written progress report or their child’s performance. If the student receives a grade lower than 70 in any class or subject at the end of a grading period, the parent will be requested to schedule a conference with the teacher of that class or subject. [See Working Together on page 76 for how to schedule a conference.]
Teachers follow grading guidelines that have been approved by the principal pursuant to the Board-adopted policy and are designed to reflect each student’s relative mastery of each assignment for the grading period, semester, or course. State law provides that a test or course grade issued by a teacher cannot be changed unless the Board determines that the grade was arbitrary or contains an error, or that the teacher did not follow the district’s grading policy. [See policy EIA(LOCAL) and Grading Guidelines on page 57.]
Questions about grade calculation should first be discussed with the teacher; if the question is not resolved, the student or parent may request a conference with the principal in accordance with FNG(LOCAL).
The report card or unsatisfactory progress report will state whether tutorials are required for a student who receives a grade lower than 70 in a class or subject.
Report cards and unsatisfactory progress reports must be signed by the parent and returned to the school within 3 days.
[See Dating Violence, Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation on page 45.]
Student safety on campus, at school-related events, and on district vehicles is a high priority of the district. Although the district has implemented safety procedures, the cooperation of students is essential to ensuring school safety. A student is expected to:
Soon after the school year begins, parents will have the opportunity to purchase low-cost accident insurance that would help meet medical expenses in the event of injury to their child.
From time to time, students, teachers, and other district employees will participate in preparedness drills of emergency procedures. When the command is given or alarm is sounded, students need to follow the direction of teachers or others in charge quickly, quietly, and in an orderly manner.
If a student has a medical emergency at school or a school-related activity when the parent cannot be reached, the school may have to rely on previously provided written parental consent to obtain emergency medical treatment, and information about allergies to medications, foods, insect bites, etc. Therefore, parents are asked each year to complete an emergency care consent form. Parents should keep emergency care information up-to-date (name of doctor, emergency phone numbers, allergies, etc.). Please contact the school nurse to update any information that the nurse or the teacher needs to know.
Each year, parents are asked to complete an emergency release form to provide contact information in the event that school is dismissed early or opening is delayed because of severe weather or another emergency, or if the campus must restrict access due to a security threat.
The district will rely on contact information on file with the district to communicate with parents in an emergency situation, which may include real-time or automated messages. It is crucial to notify your child’s school when a phone number previously provided to the district has changed.
If the campus must close, delay opening, or restrict access to the building because of an emergency, the district will also alert the community in the following ways:
Channel 4, Channel 5, Channel 8, District Remind, Facebook and Twitter Accounts
[See Standardized Testing on page 85.]
Request for schedule changes will not be reviewed until the parent sends a written request to the school counselor and/or campus principal. The schedule change will be at the discretion of the principal.
Certain areas of the school will be accessible to students before and after school for specific purposes. Students are required to remain where their activity is scheduled to take place.
The following areas are open to students before school, beginning at 7:15 a.m. for elementary and secondary.
Unless the teacher or sponsor overseeing an activity gives permission, a student will not be permitted to go to another area of the building or campus.
Students are not allowed to eat or drink in areas other than the cafeteria during breakfast/lunch periods without permission. High-Caffeine Energy drinks (i.e. Monster, Red Bull, etc.) are not permitted.
After dismissal of school in the afternoon, unless a student is involved in an activity under the supervision of a teacher or other authorized employee or adult, or unless students are granted permission to remain on campus in accordance with policy FNAB, students must leave campus immediately.
Teachers and administrators have full authority over student conduct at before- or after-school activities on district premises and at school-sponsored events off district premises, such as play rehearsals, club meetings, athletic practices, and special study groups or tutorials. Students are subject to the same rules of conduct that apply during the instructional day and will be subject to consequences established by the Student Code of Conduct or any stricter standards of behavior established by the sponsor for extracurricular participants.
Loitering or standing in the halls during class is not permitted. During class time, a student must have a hall pass to be outside the classroom for any purpose. Failure to obtain a pass will result in disciplinary action in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct.
The district participates in the School Breakfast Program and National School Lunch Program and offers students nutritionally balanced meals daily in accordance with standards set forth in state and federal law.
Free and reduced-price meals are available based on financial need or household situation. Information about a student’s participation is confidential; however, disclosure of a student’s eligibility may be made without prior notice or consent to programs, activities, and individuals that are specifically authorized access under the National School Lunch Act (NSLA), which is the law that sets forth the disclosure limits for the district’s child nutrition programs. A student’s name, eligibility status, and other information may be disclosed to certain agencies as authorized under the NSLA to facilitate the enrollment of eligible children in Medicaid or the state children’s health insurance program (CHIP) unless the student’s parent notifies the district that a student’s information should not be disclosed. A parent’s decision will not affect the child’s eligibility for free and reduced price meals or free milk. See registration packets and/or office staff to apply for free or reduced price meal services.
Parents are strongly encouraged to continually monitor their child’s meal account balance. When a student’s meal account is depleted, the district will notify the parent. The student will be allowed to continue purchasing meals for up to 8 days or up to $10, whichever occurs first, and the district will present the parent with a schedule of repayment for any outstanding account balance. If the district is unable to work out an agreement with the student’s parent on replenishment of the student’s meal account and payment of any outstanding balance, the student will receive an alternate meal.
The library is a learning laboratory with books, computers, magazines, and other materials available for classroom assignments, projects, and reading or listening pleasure. The library is open for independent student use during select times with a teacher permit.
Student-organized, student-led non-curriculum related groups are permitted to meet during the hours designated by the principal before and after school. These groups must comply with the requirements of policy FNAB(LOCAL).
A list of these groups is available in the principal’s office.
In the interest of promoting student safety and attempting to ensure that schools are safe and drug free, based on reasonable suspicion, district officials may from time to time conduct searches. Such searches are conducted without a warrant or parent consent as permitted by law.
Students’ desks and lockers are school property and remain under the control and jurisdiction of the school even when assigned to an individual student.
Students are fully responsible for the security and contents of their assigned desks and lockers. Students must be certain that their lockers are locked, and that the combinations are not available to others.
Searches of desks or lockers may be conducted at any time there is reasonable suspicion to believe that they contain articles or materials prohibited by policy, whether or not a student is present.
The parent will be notified if any prohibited items are found in the student’s desk or locker.
Use of district-owned equipment and its network systems is not private and will be monitored by the district. [See policy CQ for more information.]
Any searches of personal telecommunications or other personal electronic devices will be conducted in accordance with law, and the device may be confiscated in order to perform a lawful search. A confiscated device may be turned over to law enforcement to determine whether a crime has been committed.
[See policy FNF(LEGAL) and Electronic Devices and Technology Resources on page 52 for more information.]
A student has full responsibility for the security and content of his or her vehicle parked on district property and must make certain that it is locked and that the keys are not given to others. [See also the Student Code of Conduct.]
Vehicles parked on district property are under the jurisdiction of the district. School officials may search any vehicle any time there is reasonable suspicion to do so, with or without the permission of the student. If a vehicle subject to search is locked, the student will be asked to unlock the vehicle. If the student refuses, the student’s parent will be contacted. If a search is also refused by the student’s parent, the district will turn the matter over to law enforcement. The district may, in certain circumstances, contact law enforcement even if permission to search is granted.
The district will use trained dogs to alert school officials to the presence of prohibited or illegal items, including drugs and alcohol. At any time, trained dogs may be used around lockers and the areas around vehicles parked on school property. Searches of classrooms, common areas, or student belongings may also be conducted by trained dogs when students are not present. An item in a classroom, a locker, or a vehicle to which a trained dog alerts may be searched by school officials.
[For further information, see policy FNF(LOCAL).]
[For further information, see policy FNF(LOCAL). Also see Steroids on page 87.]
[See Dating Violence, Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation on page 45.]
The district provides special programs for gifted and talented students, homeless students, bilingual students, migrant students, students with limited English proficiency or who are English language learners, students diagnosed with dyslexia, and students with disabilities. The coordinator of each program can answer questions about eligibility requirements, as well as programs and services offered in the district or by other organizations. A student or parent with questions about these programs should contact the Director of Special Programs at 972-752-5554.
Many colleges require either the American College Test (ACT) or the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) for admission. Students are encouraged to talk with the school counselor early during their junior year to determine the appropriate exam to take; these exams are usually taken at the end of the junior year. The Preliminary SAT (PSAT) and ACT-Aspire are the corresponding preparatory and readiness assessments for the SAT and ACT, and more information can be obtained on these assessments from the school counselor.
Note that participation in these assessments may qualify a student to receive a performance acknowledgment on his or her transcript under the foundation graduation program and may qualify as a substitute for an end-of-course testing requirement in certain circumstances. A student’s performance at a certain level on the SAT or ACT also makes the student eligible for automatic admission to a Texas public institution of higher education.
Prior to enrollment in a Texas public college or university, most students must take a standardized test called the Texas Success Initiative (TSI) assessment. The purpose of the TSI assessment is to assess the reading, mathematics, and writing skills that entering freshmen-level students should have if they are to perform effectively in undergraduate certificate or degree programs in Texas public colleges and universities. This assessment may be required before a student enrolls in a dual-credit course offered through the district as well. Achieving certain benchmark scores on this assessment for college readiness may also waive certain end-of-course assessment requirements in limited circumstances.
In addition to routine tests and other measures of achievement, students at certain grade levels are required to take the state assessment, called STAAR, in the following subjects:
Successful performance on the reading and math assessments in grades 5 and 8 is required by law for the student to be promoted to the next grade level, unless the student is enrolled in a reading or math course intended for students above the student’s current grade level. Exceptions may apply for students enrolled in a special education program if the admission, review, and dismissal (ARD) committee concludes the student has made sufficient progress in the student’s individualized education plan (IEP). [See Promotion and Retention on page 78 for additional information.]
STAAR Alternate 2 is available for eligible students receiving special education services who meet certain state-established criteria as determined by the student’s ARD committee.
STAAR Spanish is available for eligible students for whom a Spanish version of STAAR is the most appropriate measure of their academic progress.
STAAR end-of-course (EOC) assessments are administered for the following courses:
Satisfactory performance on the applicable assessments will be required for graduation, unless otherwise waived or substituted as allowed by state law and rules.
There are three testing windows during the year in which a student may take an EOC assessment, which will occur during the fall, spring, and summer months. If a student does not meet satisfactory performance, the student will have additional opportunities to retake the assessment.
STAAR Alternate 2 is available for eligible students receiving special education services who meet certain state-established criteria as determined by the student’s ARD committee.
An ARD committee for a student receiving special education services will determine whether successful performance on the EOC assessments will be required for graduation within the parameters identified in state rules and the student’s personal graduation plan.
[Also see Graduation on page 57 for additional information.]
State law prohibits students from possessing, dispensing, delivering, or administering an anabolic steroid. Anabolic steroids are for medical use only, and only a physician can prescribe use.
Body building, muscle enhancement, or the increase of muscle bulk or strength through the use of an anabolic steroid or human growth hormone by a healthy student is not a valid medical use and is a criminal offense.
In an effort to provide educational stability, the district strives to assist any student who is currently placed or newly placed in foster care (temporary or permanent custody of the state) with the enrollment and registration process, as well as other educational services throughout the student’s enrollment in the district.
Please contact Matthew Todd, who has been designated as the district’s foster care liaison, at 972.752.5554 with any questions.
[See also Students in the Conservatorship of the State on page 25 for more information.]
The district provides students the opportunity to introduce the following school events: daily announcements. If a student meets the eligibility criteria and wishes to introduce one of the school events listed above, the student should submit his or her name in accordance with policy FNA(LOCAL).
[See policy FNA(LOCAL) regarding other speaking opportunities and Graduation on page 57 for information related to student speakers at graduation ceremonies.]
If you are worried that your child may be using or is in danger of experimenting, using, or abusing illegal drugs or other prohibited substances, please contact the school counselor. The school counselor can provide you with a list of community resources that may be of assistance to you. The TDSHS maintains information regarding children’s mental health and substance abuse intervention services on its website: http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/mhsa-child-adolescent-services/.
The district is committed to partnering with parents to support the healthy mental, emotional, and behavioral development of its students. If you are concerned about your child, please access Texas Suicide Prevention or contact the school counselor for more information related to suicide prevention services available in your area.
You may also contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
Parents of a student(s) in grades 5, 8, and 9-11 who do not perform satisfactorily on his/her STAAR assessments will be notified that their child shall participate in summer school designed to improve performance. Summer school will be provided Monday through Thursday; dates and times will be determined by the campus administrator. Transportation will be provided for students under the Student Success Initiative (SSI).
Summer school may also be utilized by the campus administrator in other grade levels to enhance a student’s academic performance, as well as work to reduce and ultimately eliminate the practice of retaining students. EIE (LOCAL)
Repeated instances of tardiness will result in disciplinary action, in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct. See the campus principal for specific information concerning the campus’ tardy policy.
Textbooks and other district-approved instructional materials are provided to students free of charge for each subject or class. Any books must be covered by the student, as directed by the teacher, and treated with care. Electronic textbooks and technological equipment may also be provided to students, depending on the course and course objectives. A student who is issued a damaged item should report the damage to the teacher. Any student failing to return an item in acceptable condition loses the right to free textbooks and technological equipment until the item is returned or the damage paid for by the parent; however, the student will be provided the necessary instructional resources and equipment for use at school during the school day.
The principal is authorized to transfer a student from one classroom to another.
[See Safety Transfers/Assignments, on page 24, Bullying, on page 34, and Students Who Have Learning Difficulties or Who Need Special Education Services, on page 26, for other transfer options.]
Students who participate in school-sponsored trips are required to use transportation provided by the school to and from the event. As approved by the principal, a coach or sponsor of an extracurricular activity may establish procedures related to making an exception to this requirement when a parent requests that the student be released to the parent or to another adult designated by the parent.
The district makes school bus transportation available to all students living two or more miles from school. This service is provided at no cost to students.
Bus routes and stops will be designated annually, and any subsequent changes will be posted at the school and on the district’s website. For the safety of the operator of the vehicle and all passengers, students must board buses or other vehicles only at authorized stops, and drivers must unload passengers only at authorized stops.
The district has identified the following areas where hazardous conditions exist for students who live within two miles of the campus:
Because students in these areas might encounter hazardous conditions when traveling to and from school independently, the district will provide transportation to these students. Please contact Blue Ridge ISD transportation for additional information.
A parent may also designate a child-care facility or grandparent’s residence as the regular pickup and drop-off location for his or her child. The designated facility or residence must be on an approved stop on an approved route. For information on bus routes and stops or to designate an alternate pickup or drop-off location, you may contact 972.752.5554.
[See the Student Code of Conduct for provisions regarding transportation to the DAEP.]
Students are expected to assist district staff in ensuring that buses and other district vehicles remain in good condition and that transportation is provided safely. When riding in district vehicles, including buses, students are held to behavioral standards established in this handbook and the Student Code of Conduct. Students must:
Misconduct will be punished in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct; the privilege to ride in a district vehicle, including a school bus, may be suspended or revoked. For more information, see the BRISD Transportation Handbook.
The taxpayers of the community have made a sustained financial commitment for the construction and upkeep of school facilities. To ensure that school facilities can serve those for whom they are intended—both this year and for years to come—littering, defacing, or damaging school property is not tolerated. Students will be required to pay for damages they cause and will be subject to criminal proceedings as well as disciplinary consequences in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct.
For safety purposes, video and audio recording equipment is used to monitor student behavior, including on buses and in common areas on campus. Students will not be told when the equipment is being used.
The principal will review the video and audio recordings routinely and document student misconduct. Discipline will be in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct.
Upon written request of a parent of a student who receives special education services, a staff member (as this term is defined by law), a principal or assistant principal, or the board, state law requires the district to place video and audio recording equipment in a classroom in which the student spends at least 50 percent of his or her instructional day, referred to in the law as a self-contained classroom. The majority of students in this type of classroom must also be students who receive special education services. Before the district places a video camera in a classroom or other setting in which your child receives special education services, the district will provide notice to you. Please speak directly with the principal or the Director of Special Programs, who has been designated by the district to coordinate the implementation of and compliance with this law, for further information or to request the installation and operation of this equipment.
Parents and others are welcome to visit district schools. For the safety of those within the school and to avoid disruption of instructional time, all visitors must first report to the main office and must comply with all applicable district policies and procedures. When arriving on campus, all parents and other visitors should be prepared to show valid photo identification for the Positive Proof system.
Visits to individual classrooms during instructional time are permitted only with approval of the principal and teacher and only so long as their duration or frequency does not interfere with the delivery of instruction or disrupt the normal school environment. Even if the visit is approved prior to the visitor’s arrival, the individual must check in at the main office first.
All visitors are expected to demonstrate the highest standards of courtesy and conduct; disruptive behavior will not be permitted.
In accordance with Education Code 37.105, a school administrator, school resource officer (SRO), or district police officer has the authority to refuse entry or eject a person from district property if the person refuses to leave peaceably on request and:
Appeals regarding refusal of entry or ejection from district property may be filed in accordance with FNG(LOCAL) or GF(LOCAL).
[See also Student Code of Conduct.]
On High School Career Day the district invites representatives from colleges and universities and other higher education institutions, prospective employers, and military recruiters to present information to interested students.
We appreciate so much the efforts of parent and grandparent volunteers that are willing to serve our district and students. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact the administration office at 972-752-5554 for more information and to complete an application.
A student who is eligible to vote in any local, state, or federal election may obtain a voter registration application at the main campus office.
A student under age 18 may be withdrawn from school only by a parent. The school requests notice from the parent at least three days in advance so that records and documents may be prepared. The parent may obtain a withdrawal form from the principal’s office.
On the student’s last day, the withdrawal form must be presented to each teacher for current grade averages and book and equipment clearance; to the librarian to ensure a clear library record; to the clinic for health records; to the school counselor for the last report card and course clearance; and finally, to the principal. A copy of the withdrawal form will be given to the student, and a copy will be placed in the student’s permanent record.
A student who is age 18 or older, who is married, or who has been declared by a court to be an emancipated minor may withdraw without parental signature.
Accelerated instruction is an intensive supplemental program designed to address the needs of an individual student in acquiring the knowledge and skills required at his or her grade level and/or as a result of a student not meeting the passing standard on a state-mandated assessment.
ACT-Aspire refers to an assessment that took the place of ACT-Plan and is designed as a preparatory and readiness assessment for the ACT. This is usually taken by students in grade 10.
ACT refers to one of the two most frequently used college or university admissions exams: the American College Test. The test may be a requirement for admission to certain colleges or universities.
ARD is the admission, review, and dismissal committee convened for each student who is identified as needing a full and individual evaluation for special education services. The eligible student and his or her parents are members of the committee.
Attendance review committee is responsible for reviewing a student’s absences when the student’s attendance drops below 90 percent, or in some cases 75 percent, of the days the class is offered. Under guidelines adopted by the Board, the committee will determine whether there were extenuating circumstances for the absences and whether the student needs to complete certain conditions to master the course and regain credit or a final grade lost because of absences.
DAEP stands for disciplinary alternative education program, a placement for students who have violated certain provisions of the Student Code of Conduct.
EOC assessments are end-of-course tests, which are state-mandated, and are part of the STAAR program. Successful performance on EOC assessments are required for graduation. These exams will be given in English I, English II, Algebra I, Biology, and United States History.
FERPA refers to the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act that grants specific privacy protections to student records. The law contains certain exceptions, such as for directory information, unless a student’s parent or a student 18 or older directs the school not to release directory information.
IEP is the written record of the individualized education program prepared by the ARD committee for a student with disabilities who is eligible for special education services. The IEP contains several parts, such as a statement of the student’s present educational performance; a statement of measurable annual goals, with short-term objectives; the special education and related services and supplemental aids and services to be provided, and program modifications or support by school personnel; a statement regarding how the student’s progress will be measured and how the parents will be kept informed; accommodations for state or districtwide tests; whether successful completion of state-mandated assessments is required for graduation, etc.
IGC is the individual graduation committee, formed in accordance with state law, to determine a student’s eligibility to graduate when the student has failed to demonstrate satisfactory performance on no more than two of the required state assessments.
ISS refers to in-school suspension, a disciplinary technique for misconduct found in the Student Code of Conduct. Although different from out-of-school suspension and placement in a DAEP, ISS removes the student from the regular classroom.
ESSA is the federal Every Student Succeeds Act of 2001.
PGP stands for Personal Graduation Plan, which is required for high school students beginning with ninth graders in the 2014–15 school year, and for any student in middle school who fails a section on a state-mandated test or is identified by the district as not likely to earn a high school diploma before the fifth school year after he or she begins grade 9.
PSAT is the preparatory and readiness assessment for the SAT.
SAT refers to one of the two most frequently used college or university admissions exams: the Scholastic Aptitude Test. The test may be a requirement for admissions to certain colleges or universities.
SHAC stands for School Health Advisory Council, a group of at least five members, a majority of whom must be parents, appointed by the School Board to assist the district in ensuring that local community values and health issues are reflected in the district’s health education instruction, along with providing assistance with other student and employee wellness issues.
Section 504 is the federal law that prohibits discrimination against a student with a disability, requiring schools to provide opportunities for equal services, programs, and participation in activities. Unless the student is determined to be eligible for special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), general education with appropriate instructional accommodations will be provided.
STAAR is the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, the state’s system of standardized academic achievement assessments, effective beginning with certain students for the 2011–2012 school year.
STAAR A is an accommodated version of the STAAR that is available for certain students who receive special education services or students who have been identified as dyslexic.
STAAR Alternate 2 is an alternative state-mandated assessment designed for students with severe cognitive disabilities receiving special education services who meet the participation requirements, as determined by the student’s ARD committee.
STAAR Linguistically Accommodated (STAAR L) is an alternative state-mandated assessment with linguistic accommodations designed for certain recent immigrant English language learners.
State-mandated assessments are required of students at certain grade levels and in specified subjects. Successful performance sometimes is a condition of promotion, and passing the STAAR EOC assessments is a condition of graduation. Students have multiple opportunities to take the tests if necessary for promotion or graduation.
Student Code of Conduct is developed with the advice of the district-level committee and adopted by the Board and identifies the circumstances, consistent with law, when a student may be removed from a classroom, campus, or district vehicle. It also sets out the conditions that authorize or require the principal or another administrator to place the student in a DAEP. It outlines conditions for out-of-school suspension and for expulsion. The Student Code of Conduct also addresses notice to the parent regarding a student’s violation of one of its provisions.
TELPAS stands for the Texas English Language Proficiency Assessment System, which assesses the progress that English language learners make in learning the English language, and is administered for those who meet the participation requirements in kindergarten–grade 12.
TSI assessment is the Texas Success Initiative assessment designed to measure the reading, mathematics, and writing skills that entering college-level freshmen students should have if they are to be successful in undergraduate programs in Texas public colleges and universities.
TxVSN is the Texas Virtual School Network, which provides online courses for Texas students to supplement the instructional programs of public school districts. Courses are taught by qualified instructors, and courses are equivalent in rigor and scope to a course taught in a traditional classroom setting.
UIL refers to the University Interscholastic League, the statewide voluntary nonprofit organization that oversees educational extracurricular academic, athletic, and music contests.
Note to handbook developer: Because state law requires that the district’s policy on bullying be distributed in its Student Handbook(s), the following has been formatted for you to more easily insert the district’s FFI(LOCAL) policy here rather than in the body of the handbook itself.
Note that School Board policies may be revised at any time. For legal context and the most current copy of the local policy, visit http://pol.tasb.org/Policy/Code/317?filter=FFI. Below is the text of Blue Ridge ISD’s policy FFI(LOCAL) as of the date that this handbook was finalized for this school year.
STUDENT WELFARE: FREEDOM FROM BULLYING FFI(LOCAL)
Adopted on 02/24/2012
Note: This policy addresses bullying of District students. For provisions regarding discrimination and harassment involving District students, see FFH. Note that FFI shall be used in conjunction with FFH for certain prohibited conduct. For reporting requirements related to child abuse and neglect, see FFG.
The District prohibits bullying as defined by this policy. Retaliation against anyone involved in the complaint process is a violation of District policy and is prohibited.
Bullying occurs when a student or group of students engages in written or verbal expression, expression through electronic means, or physical conduct that occurs on school property, at a school-sponsored or school-related activity, or in a vehicle operated by the District and that:
This conduct is considered bullying if it:
Bullying of a student may include hazing, threats, taunting, teasing, confinement, assault, demands for money, destruction of property, theft of valued possessions, name calling, rumor spreading, or ostracism.
The District prohibits retaliation by a student or District employee against any person who in good faith makes a report of bullying, serves as a witness, or participates in an investigation.
Examples of retaliation may include threats, rumor spreading, ostracism, assault, destruction of property, unjustified punishments, or unwarranted grade reductions. Unlawful retaliation does not include petty slights or annoyances.
A student who intentionally makes a false claim, offers false statements, or refuses to cooperate with a District investigation regarding bullying shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.
Reports of bullying shall be made as soon as possible after the alleged act or knowledge of the alleged act. A failure to immediately report may impair the District’s ability to investigate and address the prohibited conduct.
To obtain assistance and intervention, any student who believes that he or she has experienced bullying or believes that another student has experienced bullying should immediately report the alleged acts to a teacher, counselor, principal, or other District employee.
Any District employee who suspects or receives notice that a student or group of students has or may have experienced bullying shall immediately notify the principal or designee.
A report may be made orally or in writing. The principal or designee shall reduce any oral reports to written form.
The principal or designee shall determine whether the allegations in the report, if proven, would constitute prohibited conduct as defined by policy FFH, including dating violence and harassment or discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, or disability. If so, the District shall proceed under policy FFH. If the allegations could constitute both prohibited conduct and bullying, the investigation under FFH shall include a determination on each type of conduct.
The principal or designee shall conduct an appropriate investigation based on the allegations in the report. The principal or designee shall promptly take interim action calculated to prevent bullying during the course of an investigation, if appropriate.
Absent extenuating circumstances, the investigation should be completed within ten District business days from the date of the initial report alleging bullying; however, the principal or designee shall take additional time if necessary to complete a thorough investigation.
The principal or designee shall prepare a final, written report of the investigation. The report shall include a determination of whether bullying occurred, and if so, whether the victim used reasonable self-defense. A copy of the report shall be sent to the Superintendent or designee.
If an incident of bullying is confirmed, the principal or designee shall promptly notify the parents of the victim and of the student who engaged in bullying.
If the results of an investigation indicate that bullying occurred, the District shall promptly respond by taking appropriate disciplinary action in accordance with the District’s Student Code of Conduct and may take corrective action reasonably calculated to address the conduct.
A student who is a victim of bullying and who used reasonable self-defense in response to the bullying shall not be subject to disciplinary action.
The discipline of a student with a disability is subject to applicable state and federal law in addition to the Student Code of Conduct.
Examples of corrective action may include a training program for the individuals involved in the complaint, a comprehensive education program for the school community, follow-up inquiries to determine if any new incidents or any instances of retaliation have occurred, involving parents and students in efforts to identify problems and improve the school climate, increasing staff monitoring of areas where bullying has occurred, and reaffirming the District’s policy against bullying.
The principal or designee shall refer to FDB for transfer provisions.
The principal or designee shall notify the victim, the student who engaged in bullying, and any students who witnessed the bullying of available counseling options.
If the investigation reveals improper conduct that did not rise to the level of prohibited conduct or bullying, the District may take action in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct or any other appropriate corrective action.
To the greatest extent possible, the District shall respect the privacy of the complainant, persons against whom a report is filed, and witnesses. Limited disclosures may be necessary in order to conduct a thorough investigation.
A student who is dissatisfied with the outcome of the investigation may appeal through FNG(LOCAL), beginning at the appropriate level.
Retention of records shall be in accordance with CPC(LOCAL).
This policy and any accompanying procedures shall be distributed annually in the employee and student handbooks. Copies of the policy and procedures shall be posted on the District’s Web site, to the extent practicable, and shall be readily available at each campus and the District’s administrative offices.