20-21 student handbook.doc
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Steve Merchant- Principal

Kristin Lilly Porter - Assistant Principal

Deanne DeGroat - Administrative Assistant


3618 Helen Perry Road       tel: 209-556-1690      fax: 209-541-1363     Web: http://sv.ceres.k12.ca.us/


Grade:        Teacher:        Email Address:

T- K        Christi Chahal        cchahal@ceres.k12.ca.us

Kindergarten        Sarah MacDannald        smacdannald@ceres.k12.ca.us

Kindergarten        Tricia Marles        tmarles@ceres.k12.ca.us

Kindergarten        Jeanette Ochoa        jochoa@ceres.k12.ca.us

1st Grade        Karen Lozano        klozano@ceres.k12.ca.us

1st Grade        Monica Wong- Perez        mwong-perez@ceres.k12.ca.us

1st Grade        Nicole James        njames@ceres.k12.ca.us

2nd Grade        Toni Neville        tneville@ceres.k12.ca.us

2nd Grade        Heather Quintanar         hquintanar@ceres.k12.ca.us

2nd Grade        Kim Martin        kmartin@ceres.k12.ca.us

2nd Grade        Julie Perry        jperry@ceres.k12.ca.us                

3rd Grade        Kim Chavez        kchavez@ceres.k12.ca.us

3rd Grade        Crystal Johnson        cjohnson@ceres.k12.ca.us

3rd Grade                            Manpreet Kaur        mkaur@ceres.k12.ca.us

4th Grade        Sharee Felt        sfelt@ceres.k12.ca.us

4th Grade        Grant Tiwater        ttiwater@ceres.k12.ca.us

4th Grade        Claudia Tiwater        ctiwater@ceres.k12.ca.us        

5th Grade        Tamara Mendonca        tmendonca@ceres.k12.ca.us

5th Grade        Sharon Sakakihara        ssakakihara@ceres.k12.ca.us

5th Grade        Lisa Banister        lbanister@ceres.k12.ca.us

6th Grade        Bethany Doty        bdoty@ceres.k12.ca.us        

6th Grade        Michelle Borges        mborges@ceres.k12.ca.us

6th Grade        Greg Ratto        gratto@ceres.k12.ca.us

RTI         Tasha Ely         tely@ceres.k12.ca.us

PE        Mike Stucker        mstucker@ceres.k12.ca.us

Music/Band        Jeffery Beckton        jbeckton@ceres.k12.ca.us


Name:        Position:

Steve Merchant        Principal

Kristin Lilly- Porter         Assistant Principal

Deanne DeGroat        Administrative Assistant

Janell Holliday        Office Manager

Alicia Urena        Secretary ll

Ana Arroyo        Community Liaison

Maribel Quezada        Office Clerk

Geri Rothstein        Nurse

Mary Olvera         Health Clerk

Kellie Durazo        ELTA

Robyn Houston        Resource Specialist

Sue Montgomery         Psychologist

Christina Alviso        Psychologist

Emily Harper        Speech Therapist

Elizabeth Cooper        Library Media Clerk

Cyndi Ferguson        Para-Professional

Alejandra Navarro        Para-Professional

Cecilia Estrada        Para-Professional

Ana Alvarez        Para-Professional

Larry Ferrister        Head Custodian

Juan Garcia        Custodian

Alejandro Ruiz        Custodian

Elizabeth Ravera        Student Supervision Assistant

Alejandra Navarro        Student Supervision Assistant         

Carrie Bowles        Student Supervision Assistant

Amandeep Kaur        Student Supervision Assistant

Jamie Huarte        Student Supervision Assistant

Crystal Miller        Cafeteria Manager

Laura Hager        Food Service

Sonia Yepez        Food Service

Mary Yu        Food Service

Ceres Unified School District

P.O. Box 307

Ceres, CA 95307

Board of Education        



Term Expires

Mike Welsh



Betty Davis



Valli Wigt

Board Member


Lourdes Perez

Board Member


Faye Lane

Board Member


Hugo Molina

Board Member


Brian de la Porte

Board Member


Board of Education meetings are held at 7:00 PM on the first and third Thursday of each month at the Ceres Unified School District Offices located at 2503 Lawrence Street in Ceres. The public is welcome to attend. To access meeting agendas and schedules, visit their website www.ceres.k12.ca.us and click on Board of Trustees.

District Personnel

        Superintendent        Dr. Scott Siegel

        Asst. Supt. of Personnel        Dr. Denise Wickham        

        Asst. Supt. of Ed. Services        Dr. Amy Peterman

        Asst. Supt. of Business Services        Dr. Daniel Pangrazio

        Director of Student Support Services        Kristi Britton

        Asst. Supt. of Student Support Services        Jay Simmonds

        Coordinator, of Child Welfare/Attendance        Jose Beltran

        Coordinator, of Tech/Media Services        Chris Higle

        Director of Child Nutrition        Rhonda Whitehead

        Director of Maintenance        Ken Hines

        Director of Transportation        Nancy Krigbaum

District Office Numbers

Superintendent        556-1500        Ceres Parks & Recreation        538-5628

Business Office        556-1560        Ceres Youth Baseball        538-8326

Personnel        556-1510        Ceres Youth Football        537-7523

Ed. Services        556-1520        Ceres Youth Soccer        538-4717

Attendance        556-1540        Young Olympians/Karate        538-5782

Student Support        556-1530        Ceres Library        537-8938

Transportation        556-1595        Stanislaus Library        558-7814

Ed. Options        556-1550        Adult Education        556-1557


Students are NOT allowed on campus before 7:30 a.m. There is no supervision.

Please make sure your student/s does not arrive before 7:30 a.m.

Parents may use both parking lots when dropping off and picking up children. Patience and respect for fellow drivers is the major key for safety. Our goal is to keep students safe, which means all traffic laws must be followed at all times:

Children who walk to school must use the following crosswalks: Helen Perry & Boothe Road; Helen Perry & Liquid Amber or Helen Perry & Monterey Pine. These locations will be staffed with crossing guards. It is very important children who live north of the school use the crosswalk with our crossing guards when walking to and from school. Please help us keep your child safe by encouraging them to follow the traffic laws.


Grades 1-6 school are released at 2:25; TK and Kindergarten are released at 2:15 on regular school days. Please make arrangements to have your student picked up on time every day. Students are not allowed to use the school phone to contact parents about after school arrangements, please make sure your student knows what he/she is to do after school. In addition we cannot guarantee messages received by office staff in regards to after school arrangements for your student will get to your student if it is late in the day. Students not picked up by 2:40 and are registered with ASES, will be sent to ASES and parents may pick them up in the cafeteria. Students that are walkers will be sent home immediately.



Please be sure to note the minimum days throughout the school year. Students in Grades 1-6 will be dismissed at 12:25; T-K and Kinder is dismissed at 12:15. Students not picked up by 12:40 and are registered with ASES will be sent to ASES and may be picked up in the cafeteria.


The After School Education and Safety Program (ASES) funds the establishment of local after school education and enrichment programs that provide literacy, academic enrichment and safe alternatives for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. The ASES program is provided at no cost. The After School Program is offered Monday- Friday, from the time school is dismissed until 6:00pm, coinciding with the school calendar. Students must be registered to attend the program. Registration forms are available in the front office.



Parents Are Very Important People

Your attitude toward the school is an important ingredient to your child’s school success. Children will adjust quickly and happily if they are prepared to enter school with an attitude of anticipation and pleasure. Be interested in your child’s reaction to school and encourage him/her to share new experiences with you and the family. You can help your child by:j0136987

Tuesday Purple Folders/ Parent Square

Parent involvement is important to Sam Vaughn. Our goal is to get information about upcoming events, special services and meeting information home to families so you may be part of the education of your student. Most parent information will be sent home on Tuesdays in a purple communication folder. Sam Vaughn also utilizes a program called Parent Square. The program includes a robo-dialer, but also has the ability for two-way communication and many other features. The biggest benefit of this program is that it will control all of our various communication needs. Families will receive  information every Sunday evening in regards to the upcoming week’s events and activities.

Reporting to Parents

Report cards go home three times a year (at the end of every trimester). 2nd trimester report card has no scheduled conference, but parents with questions or concerns are encouraged to call the school and schedule a meeting with your child's teacher. The third report card will go out at the end of the school year. Many teachers send home periodic computer printouts, which let parents know how their child is doing academically. Teachers often phone home or send notes with good news and during times when parental support is needed to solve a problem. We believe effective schools provide regular and frequent communication with the home. Our goal is to be the most effective school possible.

Jamboree Spirit Days

Every Friday is School Spirit Day. All students are encouraged to wear their Sam Vaughn T-shirts or school colors. Occasionally Student Council will host a “Dress Up Day.” We also demonstrate our school spirit Friday mornings during Jamboree. Classes perform, & individual students and classes are recognized. Families are welcome and encouraged to attend Jamboree.

Parent Volunteers

Due to State requirements and to enhance the safety and well-being of Ceres Unified School District (CUSD) students, CUSD requires all volunteers to complete and/or meet the following:

Step 1: Obtain the School Volunteer Application Form at any school site office or the CUSD Community Webpage at http://www.ceres.k12.ca.us/portal/community.htm.

Step 2: Submit a completed application to each school at which you plan to volunteer. A valid picture I.D. is required at the time of submission.

Step 3: The District will verify compliance with the following:


PTC (Parent Teacher Club)

PTC is a parent group that hosts various family nights, after school events and fundraisers throughout the school year to provide educational enrichment for our children through field trips and educational programs. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend the monthly meetings.

Watch D.O.G.S (Dads of Great Students)

WATCH D.O.G.S. ® is an innovative program being used by schools across America which helps them to be positively impacted by the committed involvement of fathers and father-figures in their student’s life.  The goal is to have male family members (Dad, Uncle, and Grandfather) spend at least one day this year at the school to be a positive male role model and provide an extra set of eyes and ears.

School Site Council

The School Site Council (SSC) is composed of the principal, teachers, parents and other school staff with voting members equally divided between staff and parents. SSC plans, monitors and evaluates the activities and expenditures for programs operated at the school to improve student achievement. All parents are welcome and encouraged to attend. 

English Learner Advisory Committee

The English Learner Advisory Committee (ELAC) is responsible for advising the principal and staff on programs and services for English learners and the School Site Council on the development of the Single Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA). The ELAC shall assist the school in the development of: the school's needs assessment; The school's annual language census; Ways to make parents aware of the importance of regular school attendance.


The following information is very important for the safety and security of your child:


Included in this letter is information regarding the Universal Meal program offered at all schools within Ceres Unified School District with the exception of Whitmore Charter, along with notification of other information related to the Child Nutrition Department and district site funding. The information provided will be effective for the 2020-21 school year. 

 Meal Charges

·  Costs and prices

·Lunch Meal Prices: Each student is entitled to one free breakfast and lunch per school day.

· Second Meals: Will be sold at the adult meal price – No charging allowed.

                              Breakfast: $3.00

                              Lunch: $5.00

· Ala Carte Milk: $.50 – No charging allowed.

  Alternate Income Data Collection

· The percentage of Free and Reduced Lunch Applications we received for the 19-20 school year made it possible for us to continue offering Universal meals for the 20-21 school year and eliminate the need to mail out lunch application forms.  However, as a district we rely on household income data for not just school meals, but funding for school sites and district programs as well.  For this reason, it is very important for every newly enrolled family or out of district transfer to turn in an Alternate Income Data Form as part of their enrollment packet regardless of income.  Even though one breakfast and lunch meal per student is now free of charge, the school district needs your assistance to keep school programs intact as is.  The best way to help us with this is to submit the Alternate Income Data form to your child’s school!  Thank you!

  Annual Notifications to Parents/Guardians

· Location on website:  Currently found on the district website under the Child Nutrition tab.

· Student Handbooks:  Policy information will be provided in student handbooks issued by the school site at the beginning of the 20-21 school year.

CUSD Student Wellness Policy


Per California Ed. Code 49431, schools may not provide or sell non–nutritious snacks or drinks to students at any time during the school day. When planning a reward/celebration for a student (including birthdays), please bring only pre-packaged snacks from the District Approved Snack List, below are some options (full list available in office upon request). Please contact your student’s teacher in regards to specific seasonal parties.

Student Birthdays

In compliance with Ed. Code, parents must make arrangements with the teacher ahead of time and bring a District approved snack to celebrate student birthdays. Cupcakes are not on the approved snack list. In addition, balloons, stuffed animals and/ or flowers will not be delivered to the classroom and we ask that families not bring or send these items to school. Please contact the office for the full snack list.

District Approved Snacks: 

Apple, Fresh

Giant Goldfish Grahams

Pepperidge Farms, Giant Goldfish Grahams

Dolphins & Friends

Orange, Fresh

Chex Snack Mix- All Flavors

Hot Chocolate, Sugar Free

Pepperidge Farms, Pretzel Goldfish

Elf Grahams

Marshmallow Crispy Squares

Applesauce Rocketz

Ice Cream, Low or Fat Free

Pita Puffs, Baked, Cinnamon

Elfin Magic Bar, Apple

Milk and Cereal Bars

Baked Doritos

Jell-O, Sugar Free

Pita Puffs, Baked, Habanero

Flat Fruit

Mixed Fruit Cup

Baked Lays

Journey Bar, Chocolate

Pita Puffs, Baked, Ranch

Fruit Roll-ups,

MJM Vanilla Bear Grahams

Baked Ruffles

Juice , Light, 50%


Rold Gold Pretzels, Cheddar Twists

Mrs. Good Cookie Jungle Crackers

Baked Tostitos

Juice Bar, Grape


Fruit Shapes, Betty Crocker, Bugs

Munchies Kids Mix

Banana, Small

Juice Bar, Lemon

Pretzel Goldfish

Fruit Shapes, Betty Crocker, Elmo

Nature Valley Chewy Granola Bars

Beef Jerky

Juice Bar, Orange

Pudding, Chocolate

Fruit Shapes, Betty Crocker, Pooh

Nature Valley Cinnamon


Juice, Vegetable 50%

Quaker Chewy Chocolate Chip

Fruit Shapes, Betty Crocker, Scooby

Nature Valley Crunchy Granola Bar

Peach Cup

Keebler Elfin Magic Bar, Apple Cinnamon

Quaker Chewy Oatmeal Raisin

Fruit Shapes, Betty Crocker, Sunkist

Nature Valley Maple Brown Sugar

Keebler Scooby Snacks

Keebler Ernie's Animal Crackers

Quaker Oatmeal Bars to Go

Fruit, Dried

Nature Valley Oat n Honey

Kettle Corn Crunchies

Keebler Honey Grahams

Quaker Rice Snacks




Keebler Jungle Crackers

RF Chocolate Chip Cookie


Orange, Fresh

Rold Gold Pretzels, Butter Crackers

Ritz Chips

Cinnamon Applesauce, Mott's


CUSD uses a computerized attendance system. This enables the district to keep up-to-date, accurate records. Your assistance is needed if this program is to work efficiently.

What Can You Do? 

  1. Parents, you are legally required to have your child in school, on time, daily.
  2. If your child is absent, please contact the school @ 556-1690, before 9:00 a.m. If you do not have a phone, use Parent Square or send a note with your child when he/ she returns.
  3. Notify the school of a change of address and/or telephone number.
  4. Update emergency contact numbers when there are changes.  

Only those specified as emergency contact on student registration cards will be allowed to pick up students. Parents will not be able to call in and have someone off the list pick up their children because of safety concerns.


Class instruction begins at 8:10 a.m. Students are tardy if they are not in class at 8:10 a.m.. Students who enter class after 8:10 disrupt the educational program and establish poor work habits. Since regular attendance is required by law, we will inform you of any problems regarding your child's tardiness. Extended Tardy is when your student is  tardy for more than a 30 minute period during the day without a valid excuse, extended tardy is considered a truant event.  


A student may accrue up to 8 absences in a school year for reasons outlined in Administrative Regulation (AR) 5113.  The reasons are, but are not limited to: Personal illness, medical or dental appointments, attendance at a funeral service, participation in a religious exercise, etc.  

When absences become excessive, school staff are required to notify parents/guardians in writing of the number of absences a student has accrued.  Parents are responsible for working with their child and the school in developing a plan of corrective action as deemed appropriate.  Excessive Absence letters are generated through Attention to Attendance (A2A).

Excessive Absence Letters will be distributed as follows:

Excessive Excused Absence (EEA) Letter #1-  Parents are advised that their child has accrued five (5) absences for illness and/or any other reasons outlined in AR 5113.  The parent is encouraged to contact the school to set up an appointment with the Principal or his/or designee.  

Excessive Excused Absence Letter #2- Parents are advised that their child has accrued eight (8) absences for illness and/or any other reasons outlined in AR 5113.  All absences from this point forward would need to be cleared by a physician’s note or verification by a school nurse/health clerk.  


A student shall be classified as truant if absent from school without a valid excuse three (3) or more full school days in one school year, or tardy and/or absent for more than any 30 minute period during the day without a valid excuse on three occasions in one school year.  

Truancy Letter 1- Student has accrued 3 unexcused absences or extended tardies (30 minutes or more) throughout the school year.  Notice will be mailed home to parents byA2A.

Truancy Letter 2- Student has accrued 6 unexcused absences or extended tardies throughout the school year. Notice will be mailed home to parent by A2A

Truancy Letter 3- Student has accrued 9 unexcused absences or extended tardies throughout the school year.  Notice will be mailed home to parents by A2A and a meeting with Administrative Assistant is scheduled.  If a student should accrue any additional unexcused absences, students will be considered habitually truant and a Pre-SARB meeting will be scheduled.  

Calls home are made for students that have missed 10% or more of the school year.


When your child must be absent for reasons other than illness, arrangements can be made to continue studies through assigned work. Listed below are guidelines regarding Independent Study Contracts. An Independent Study contract must be signed in order to ensure that your child has an opportunity to receive academic credit for work completed during time absent.

You must notify the office in writing at least three (3) days in advance.

  1. Contracts will not be written for less than 5 school days or more than 10 school days.
  2. All student work must be completed during the time of the contract (no extensions).
  3. Contract dates may not be extended. Retroactive contracts are not allowed.
  4. Contracts must be signed in advance by the parent, teacher, student, and Admin.
  5. The amount of work averages four hours of work in order to earn full credit.
  6. Completed work must be returned the day the student returns to receive full credit.
  7. If the student does not return to school within 15 days, he/she will be dropped (this includes IS days). If a student is dropped, the student will have to re-register and there is a possibility that the student will be placed at an overflow school.
  8. IS may be denied if he/she has a history of not completing previous IS assignments.
  9. Only in rare circumstances will two (2) contracts be approved in a school year.


When a transfer is approved in order to assure continued enrollment at the requested school, the student and Parent/Guardian have agreed to do the following:

  1. Attend school regularly on a timely basis. (All absences must be excused).
  2. Maintain good citizenship and obey conduct code.
  3. Maintain a 2.0 GPA.
  4. Parents will provide necessary transportation.

Failure to maintain the requirements will result in the transfer being rescinded and the student will be transferred to their home school.


Students are only allowed to participate in field trips if properly signed permission forms are returned to school within the designated time frame. Siblings are not allowed to accompany parents on field trips. Chaperones must be 18 years or older and must have approved volunteer application on file. Parents who are not volunteer approved will not be allowed around students on field trips to ensure the safety of all students in an environment outside of school. *Parents may be requested to attend a field trip with their student if there are behavior concerns; this is to ensure the safety of the student and others. Please read below in regard to behaviors that may require a parent accompany/ chaperone a student.


Participation in non-curriculum based special activities sponsored by Sam Vaughn School or PTC is a privilege. Therefore, it is limited to students who are well-behaved, follow school rules, and cooperate with one another and their teacher. Students will be excluded from participation in non-curriculum based special activity for one or more of the following reasons:

  1. Consistent disregard of the school/classroom rules. This includes students who have received an excessive number of citations or students who have been sent to the office for discipline reasons more than two times during the three weeks prior to any non-curriculum based special activity.
  2. Demonstrate inability to cooperate and respond appropriately during previous special activities.
  3. In some cases, students who are under suspension from bus riding privileges may also be ineligible for activities involving transportation.

Students excluded from a non-curriculum based event for any of the above reasons, may participate if they are accompanied by a parent/ legal guardian AND if the Principal has given prior approval.


Our site has a Student Study Team, which consists of a variety of professionals from our school/district. Meetings are held on Wednesdays. Parents and teachers may refer students to the Student Study Team if problems that interfere with the child's learning exist. The team will make recommendations to help each student be successful. Students may be recommended for testing, resource, counseling, speech, language development, or GATE. Our school also has additional counseling and social skills services for our students. Students may be seen by school health or mental health professionals (e.g., school nurse, counselor, social worker, school psychologist, student support specialist, social skills facilitators) without parental notice or consent to ensure that the student is safe or is not a danger to others. District school psychologists routinely assist teachers in planning classroom instruction and monitoring its effectiveness and do not need to notify parents of, or seek consent for, such involvement in student support.

G.A.T.E. (Gifted and Talented Education)

G.A.T.E. students are identified each year through testing in grades 4-6. If your child qualifies, you will be contacted and given further information.


Children who need assistance in speech correction or language development are served by our Speech Therapist. Please feel free to call the school to discuss any speech or hearing difficulty your child may have.  


Homework helps students succeed in school. It is an integral part of the school program, and it should help the student become an independent learner. Teachers assign regular homework that is appropriate to the subject area, objectives and the achievement levels of the students. (CUSD Board Policy #6154)

At our schools, we believe homework is an important part of the learning process. Homework is an extension of learning that has taken place in the classroom. It gives students a chance to practice independently what has been previously learned. Equally important to the practice is the fact that homework is an exercise in developing responsibility and good study habits.

The purpose of homework is to accomplish the following:

  1. Reinforce skills taught in school
  2. Allow the child to practice age-appropriate skills
  3. Broaden vocabulary
  4. Keep parents aware and involved in their child's progress and education
  5. Teach the child to complete work independently
  6. Prepare the child for upcoming lessons
  7. Extend concepts or new ideas and provide for creative enrichment
  8. Assist the child in continuing the development of sound study habits and skills
  9. Prepare the child for life's self-directional needs

As part of the CUSD’s emphasis on the importance of homework, staff has developed clear homework expectations for each grade level. Each teacher will share their own classroom homework policy with parents at Back-to-School Night. We hope you will pay special attention to the homework expectations, discuss them with your child, and work with him/her to make sure homework is completed and returned. Students are to charge devices overnight.j0089036


Research shows that when schools and parents work together, students achieve more. Here are some ways you can help your child with homework.

1.        Set up a comfortable workplace for your child.

2.        Set a consistent homework time.

3.        Reinforce that homework is a student's responsibility, but that you are there to help.

4.        Think of yourself as a consultant, not as a proofreader or editor.

5.        Make sure the television and radios are off.


Sam Vaughn School, in conjunction with the Educational Options Division, offers academic and other student support services beyond the regular school day.

The Academic Intervention Program (AIP) -We are pleased to offer Ceres Unified School District’s Academic Intervention Program (AIP) for students in grades 2-6. The goal of AIP is to give students who are “at-risk” of not graduating from high school the extra academic support needed for promotion to the next grade level. Students who are at risk of retention, or in need of some extra help in reading, writing, or math are encouraged to take advantage of the program. Classes are offered for 1 ½ hours, three days per week (Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday) and during the summer for Summer School. Your child’s teacher will be contacting you about these programs if they believe your child is in need of the service. Additional classes are offered with extra support for students who are learning English. Feel free to discuss your child’s participation in this with his/her teacher. Due to limited AIP spots only our most at risk students will be offered our AIP. These spots will be determined by the teachers based on classroom data.

After School Program (ASES) ASES is open to all students in grades TK-6. ASES runs Monday through Friday beginning right after school and ends at 6:00 PM including minimum days. Students may be signed out before 6:00 PM in accordance with our early release policy. Students receive a snack and the program is supervised by CUSD recreational leaders who provide homework support and recreational, enrichment activities in a safe and structured environment. This year we will also experiment with intramurals and possible supper programs. Guidelines will be provided by ASES.


Student Council is a way to involve the children in school decisions, to teach responsibility, and to help students understand procedures. Our Student Council is an active group that supports the school's activities. Student leaders are elected yearly. Each classroom of students (grades 3-6) elects a Student Council Representative and an alternate. Some of the activities of Student Council include: dress-up days and involvement in many school-wide events. Fundraisers are conducted to help pay for many of the school activities and special events. School beautification projects, additional playground equipment, and canned food drives for needy families in our community are just a few of the many activities and events sponsored by our Student Council.


School Safety Patrol members are student volunteers from upper grades. Patrollers direct children, not traffic. As school-age leaders in traffic safety, patrol members teach other students about traffic safety on a peer-to-peer basis. They also serve as models for younger children, who look up to them. School Safety Patrol members:


Every child has a right to feel safe at school and to be in a productive learning environment. Every teacher has a right to teach and to expect students to allow others in the room to learn. Therefore, we expect proper conduct from ALL students. If your child has any problems, encourage him/her to contact the teacher immediately. As a parent, feel free to call the teacher or Administration at any time about your child's school behavior or that of another person toward your child. Each parent is requested to review the Sam Vaughn rules and the Ceres Unified School District's Conduct Code with his/her child. It is very important that parents and students have a clear understanding of the rules and consequences. If a child continually chooses to break rules, or is involved in major behaviors (fighting etc.), students may be suspended and/or expelled. The key to our Multiple Tiers of Support is not just the consistency of applied consequences, but the abundance of positive recognition offered to students who mind the rules.

General Rules:


Cafeteria rules


Riding your bicycle to school is a privilege. If the student chooses not to follow the rules, this privilege will be taken away. Bicycles must be kept in the bike rack. For safety reasons, they should be locked during the day. The school is not responsible for theft or damage.


        1.         Students cannot ride bicycles, skateboards, roller skates etc.. on campus

2.         Students must walk their bicycles to the bike rack.

        3.         Students must leave all bicycles alone except their own bicycle.

        4.          Students must follow California state law and wear bicycle helmets.


Related to Students from Board Policy #5131.2(a) and #5145.7 bullying and sexual harassment of students can be a serious problem in schools. It can threaten a student’s emotional well-being, impair academic progress, and ultimately inhibit the attainment of career goals. Bullying and sexual harassment is more than inappropriate behavior. It is illegal under both federal and state laws and constitutes a violation of Title IX of the 1972 Education amendments. Prevention is the best tool for eliminating sexual harassment. Creating awareness and sensitivity to potentially negative effects on students and on the school as a whole is the first step toward preventing sexual harassment. Awareness decreases the probability of bullying and sexual harassment and aids in early identification so that problems can be addressed informally. It is the intent of Ceres Unified School District to maintain an academic environment which protects individual dignity and promotes the mutual respect of students. Students must understand what bullying and sexual harassment is and know the consequences of harassing other students. Instruction regarding bullying and sexual harassment will focus on respect for self and others. (I.e. how to treat other people and how you want to be treated by others) Students or staff are to immediately report incidents of bullying or sexual harassment to the principal or other school officials. Any parent who believes their son or daughter is being bullied or sexually harassed are advised to contact the principal or other officials at the school.


Technology provides students with access to people and materials from all over the world. We believe that information and interaction promotes educational excellence and is consistent with the goals of the district. The Internet does include some materials that are not appropriate for students. Efforts are taken to protect students from inappropriate materials, but it is impossible to completely protect students from materials that are not consistent with CUSD goals. Students will use the Internet within an educational activity, such as performing research, developing projects and disseminating information. We also recommend purchasing the affordable insurance for your child’s device. Information will be sent home at the beginning of the year.

*Your wifi at home does not have the same filters as the school wifi. Please closely monitor your child’s device and check their email & website history for any inappropriate activity.

An "Acceptable Use Policy" is sent home yearly with students. It is important to discuss the rules and consequences with your child. Students will not be allowed to use the Internet until the contract is signed and returned.


The use of the Internet is a privilege, not a right.

The privilege may be withdrawn if it is not used responsibly.

Students are responsible for good behavior on school computer networks just as they are in a classroom or a school hallway. Communications on the network are often public in nature. General school rules for behavior and communications apply. The network is provided for students to conduct research, complete assignments, and communicate with others. Independent access to network services is provided to students who agree to act in a considerate and responsible manner. Parent permission is required for minors. Access is a privilege, not a right. Access entails responsibility. Individual users of the district computer networks are responsible for their behavior and communications over those networks. It is presumed that users will comply with District standards and will honor the agreements they have signed.

Network storage areas may be treated like school lockers. Network administrators may review   files and communications to maintain system integrity and insure that users are using the system responsibly. Users should not expect that files stored on District servers will always be private. During school, teachers of younger students will guide them toward appropriate materials. Outside of school, families bear responsibility for such guidance.

As they must also exercise guidance with information sources such as television, telephones, movies, radio and other potentially offensive media.

The following are not permitted:

·         Sending or displaying offensive messages or pictures

·         Using obscene language

·         Giving personal information when using the system, such as complete name, address, phone number, and identifiable photo without permission from teacher and parent or guardian.

·         Harassing, insulting or attacking others

·         Damaging computers, computer systems or computer networks

·         Violating copyright laws

·         Using others' passwords

·         Trespassing in others' folders, work or files

·         Intentionally wasting limited resources

·         Employing the network for commercial purposes, financial gain, or fraud.


·         Violations may result in a loss of access.

·         Additional disciplinary action may be determined at the building level in line with existing practice regarding inappropriate language or behavior,

Including expulsion. When applicable, law enforcement agencies may be involved.


 The Board of Trustees and staff of the Ceres Unified School District believes that all students are accountable for their behavior and conduct while attending school and school-sponsored activities. Repeated offenses may result in a maximum consequence of expulsion. Violation of the rules and regulations set forth may cause one or more of the following interventions:


The following behaviors may result in suspension from school and could lead to expulsion:


1. (E.C. 48900) No pupil shall be suspended or expelled for any of the acts enumerated unless the act is related to school activity or school attendance. A pupil may be suspended or expelled for acts which are enumerated in this section and related to school activity or attendance which occur at any time, including, but not limited to, any of the following.

(a) While on school grounds.

(b) While going to or coming from school.

(c) During the lunch period whether on or off campus.

(d) During or while going to or coming from, a school-sponsored activity.

2. Students accumulating 20 days of suspension, in one school year, are subject to involuntary transfer to an alternative program, or to the Administrative Panel for possible expulsion. Parents and students may be referred to the School Attendance Review Board.

3. Disciplinary action will be taken if a student’s behavior is disruptive to the instructional process or causes a danger to persons or property even though the offense is not defined in this Student Conduct Code.

4. In addition to those sections enumerated in E.C. 48900 (a through o) and 48915 (a and c), a student may be suspended or expelled from school for violation of school/classroom rules.

Teacher Suspension

Teachers have the right to suspend a student from class due to violations listed below. (E.C. 48910) Teachers are responsible for contacting parents regarding incidents  and should organize a parent meeting within an appropriate time frame. Sam Vaughn does not have in school suspension and all students removed from class will meet with administration to provide due process and assign appropriate consequences, which may result in home suspension or recommendation for expulsion.


The parents/guardians of the Ceres Unified School District are charged with the responsibility of dressing their children in a neat and clean manner. In addition, under normal circumstances, no student will be sent to school wearing any kind of clothing, costume, and/or hair style which will tend to interrupt, disturb, or interfere with the normal educational program being carried on, either on campus or in the classroom, or negatively affect the health and safety of individuals. The students must dress in such a manner that will conform to good taste. Explicit or implied profanities and/or obscenities will not be acceptable. Any items of clothing, jewelry, footgear, or headgear which would be injurious or potentially disruptive to the normal education program or to any person or school district property are prohibited. (cf. 6136 Gangs) These guidelines shall be in effect at all school-related activities except where modified by the site administrator for specific extracurricular activities or specific cases.

  1. All clothing, including jackets, shoes, and head coverings that may be determined to be gang related are not allowed.
  2. Accessories, such as jewelry, belts, bandanas, purses, and sunglasses which have logos, insignias, color, or writings depicting gang related activities are not allowed.
  3. Attire and hairstyles worn or altered in such a way as to identify students with gangs is not allowed. This includes, but is not limited to: sagging/baggy pants, shorts with knee high socks, hanging belts, canvas belts (military style), or gang related initials on belt buckles.
  4. Pants must fit at the waist and not be more than one size too large or one size too small. If belts are worn, they must not be more than one size too large.
  5. Attire which is sexually suggestive or extremely brief is not allowed. This includes, but is not limited to: low-cut garments, strapless or off the shoulder tops, straps less than 2 inches in width, bare midriffs, tank tops/racer-back tops or muscle shirts, undershirts, tops that expose undergarments, shorts which are shorter than mid-thigh or fingertip length, and skirts shorter than fingertip length.
  6. Attire that advocates, advertises or symbolizes any type of alcohol, drugs, tobacco or acts which are illegal, violent, obscene, or hazardous to one’s health is not allowed.
  7. Shoes must be worn at all times. Flip-flops, socks or sock-like footwear, slippers, backless shoes, or shoes with over a one inch heel are not safe or appropriate for school.
  8. Clothing, jewelry, and other accessories that present a safety hazard to the wearer or others are not allowed. Facial piercings other than ear lobes are not allowed.
  9. Facial make-up is not allowed, nor is non-natural hair color that creates a distraction.
  10. In accordance with Education Code 35183.5 hats or other head coverings may be worn at school. Such hats or head coverings must be school appropriate and follow the various guidelines enumerated in this policy.
  11. Sun glasses may not be worn in school buildings


Giant of the Week: teachers select one student a week to be featured in a unique way.        Students will be announced at Friday Jamborees.

3 R’s Award: Every Month Sam Vaughn focuses on a different life skill. At one        Jamboree a month we will honor those who demonstrated the specific life skill.


                Achievement incentives will be given out every trimester for the following:

Honor Roll (grades 4-6)

Perfect Attendance (No tardies, No Partials (early check out), No absences)



6th grade teachers assess their class in all areas (academics, attendance, behavior, citizenship). Each teacher chooses 2 students to receive the special plaques.




The President of the United States issues a certificate to each graduating sixth grader who has maintained a grade point average of 3.5 or higher throughout 4th, 5th, & 6th grade.

4.        HONOR ROLL:

This certificate is awarded to 4th, 5th, & 6th grade students that have maintained a grade point average of 3.0-3.49.


This certificate is awarded to 4th, 5th, & 6th grade students that have maintained a grade point average of 3.5 – 3.99.


This certificate is awarded to 4th, 5th, & 6th grade students that have maintained a grade point average of 4.0.

7.         RFEP CERTIFICATE: This certificate is awarded to English Learners who have made sufficient growth in their English Proficiency to be reclassified as English Fluent.


We are proud of our library! All students visit the library on a weekly basis. Students check out books for a variety of purposes. All students are responsible for keeping the books in good condition and returning them to the library. Students who damage or lose books will be charged for repairs or replacement of the book. If books are not returned or paid for, students may not check out any other materials. Please visit our library clerk for details.  

All Chromebooks are also checked out through our library. If a Chromebook is lost or damaged, it needs to be paid for. All Chromebooks must be returned in good condition.


AR provides a way for educators to monitor and guide reading practice and ensure success for their students through goal setting.

• AR provides quick and accurate assessments of whether students have read and understood trade books that they have selected and textbook passages that have been assigned to them.

• It assigns point values for each AR Practice Quiz taken. Point values are a factor of book level and performance on quizzes. Points accumulate during the school year, and are a way for teachers to monitor students’ reading volume.

• The system tracks student performance on AR quizzes over time.

Sam Vaughn uses software called Renaissance Place, this program has a special feature called Renaissance Home Connect, which you can access outside of school from any computer with an Internet connection. Renaissance Home Connect is fun and easy to use. It allows the teacher, you and your child to share information about your child’s progress in Accelerated Reader. You will receive a username and password specific to your student. You can view Renaissance Home Connect from any computer with an Internet connection using these browsers:

To log in to Renaissance Home Connect

Website: https://Hosted118.renlearn.com/284705/HomeConnect

If you'd like to receive emails showing your student's quiz or test results, click the Email Setup link in Renaissance Home Connect and follow the directions. To be sure these emails reach your inbox, add homeconnectautodelivery@renlearnrp.com to your address book.

If you have questions about Renaissance Home Connect, please call Sam Vaughn’s Library and Media Clerk.


A letter from our Nurses…

Dear Parents,

Welcome to a new school year! Healthy children learn best and your school nurse is here to help each child reach and maintain optimal health. We would like to share some information with you to help insure a safe, healthy year for your student.

Emergency Information:  Please keep the office informed of changes in home and work phone numbers. It is also important that you have local emergency numbers for when you cannot be reached. We will always attempt to notify parents first but need the emergency number so an ill or injured child can receive prompt care. Children left after 6:00 P.M. will be turned over to the Ceres Police Department.

Medications:  California Education Code 11753.1 allows the school to assist in the administration of medication if requested to do so by the physician and parent. An authorization form, available from the school office, must be completed by the physician and parent. Medications must be brought to school by an adult in the original pharmacy labeled bottle. Medication requests must be renewed each year and any changes in medication should be reported to the school by the parent. Inhalers and auto-injectable epinephrine (Epipen) may be carried by the student, as long as the student’s parents and doctor give permission and the notes are on file in the nurse’s office. As a way to safeguard against students losing or using up their inhalers, the American Lung Association of California recommends that all students with asthma have an inhaler in the health care office, even when that inhaler is in addition to the one the student carries.

Be aware that the school may take disciplinary action if a student misuses an inhaler or Epipen in any way, including sharing it with anyone, using it inappropriately, or spraying it at anyone. In these circumstances, the question of a student’s maturity may be also raised with the physician and your child may lose the privilege to carry their own inhaler.

First Grade Physicals: The California Health and Safety code requires that every child entering first grade in a California school have a health check-up. A certificate signed by a doctor, must be presented to the school by December 1st to verify that the child has received the health check-up.

TB testing:  Parent volunteers, as well as staff members, must have a current clearance for tuberculosis. The PPD or Mantoux Skin Test is acceptable and may be obtained from your physician, the County Health Department or Ceres School District. Clinics are held once a month. Call your school nurse or staff for information about the next clinic. The skin test is good for four years. If you have had a positive skin test in the past, a chest x-ray is required.

Illness:  Your child will be in close contact with many children in the school setting which allows illness to spread easily. Please be alert to signs of illness and keep your child home if you suspect he/she is not well. If you think your child might have a communicable disease such as chicken pox, ringworm, impetigo, strep throat, hepatitis or head lice please notify the school.

Chronic health problems: If your child has chronic health problems such as diabetes, epilepsy, asthma, allergic reactions, etc., please notify your school nurse and child's teacher. This allows them to plan for any special needs your child might have.

Lice: Did your child come home with head lice? Understand the problem before it becomes one.

A lice infestation can happen to anyone. Socioeconomic background or lack of cleanliness has nothing to do with determining who gets lice. Lice are insects. They are an easily treatable condition that can be eliminated once they are discovered. Know the symptoms of a lice infestation. If your child is constantly itching, check the scalp for lice or eggs. The eggs will appear as white specks stuck to the hair near the scalp.

Growth and Development: The school nurse will be meeting with the 4th grade girls, 5th grade boys and girls, and the 6th grade boys and girls in the spring. Topics related to changes experienced during puberty and HIV/ AIDS will be discussed. A parent preview will be held prior to the presentations. The parents will be notified by mail regarding times and dates for the parent preview. Please contact the school nurse for any questions related to the growth and development presentations. Parents can opt out.

Kindergarten Dental Requirements; California law requires every kindergarten student to have an oral health assessment prior to May 31st. The law specifies that the assessment must be performed by a licensed dentist or other licensed or registered dental health professional. Oral health assessments that have happened within the 12 months before your child enters school meets this requirement.


An insurance policy is available to parents who wish to voluntarily enroll in this coverage for their children. The fee is nominal and there are several plans from which to choose. Information will be sent home the first week of school. The district does not provide paid insurance for students.


Ample evidence has demonstrated the health hazards associated with the use of tobacco products, including smoking and the breathing of second-hand smoke. Therefore, in accordance with state and federal law, as well as Ceres Unified School District Policy, Sam Vaughn Elementary School prohibits the use of tobacco anywhere and anytime on district property.


The Ceres Unified School District, its officers, agents, or employees shall not be responsible, in any manner, for the loss, theft, damage, or destruction of any personal property brought onto District premises by students, for any reason whatsoever, including, but not limited to, a request by a staff member. Students who bring personal property onto school premises assume all risk of loss, theft, damage, or destruction of personal property, which may occur. All bikes, scooters, and skateboards must be locked in the bike rack area. Personal items should not be brought to school. These include toys, cell phones, games, radios, skateboards, skates, scooters, balls, and trading cards. Confiscated items will not be returned until a parent comes to pick them up.