2017-2018 Academic Year
St. John’s Catholic School Student and Family Handbook
This document contains policies and procedures for which our school community members are responsible. The parent(s)/legal guardian(s) and student(s) accept all the conditions set forth in the current St. John’s Catholic School Student and Parent Handbook (hereinafter referred to as “the handbook”) and agree to comply with all school regulations and policies by their signatures on the Acceptance of Handbook Policies form.
The school reserves the right to review and amend the handbook throughout the school year. The Principal, in collaboration with the Pastor, has the right to amend or revise any policy in the handbook. Parent(s)/legal guardian(s) (hereinafter referred to as “parents”) will be given prompt notification in writing if changes are made.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- General Information
- Office Communication
- School Supervision
- Dress Code/Personal Hygiene
- Possessions Brought to School
III. Health Rules and Policies
- Medications at School
- Student Accident Insurance
- School Policies and Procedures
- Home-Study Assignments
- Guidance and Testing
- Student Confidential Records
- Parent-Teacher Conferences
- Non-Custodial Parents
- Visitors at School
- Additional Information
- Computer and Internet Acceptable Use
- Federal Programs
- Homeroom Representatives
- Safety Drills
- School Trademarks
- Service Hours
- Student Interviews
- Virtus Training
- Weather Conditions
- Human Sexuality Policy
- Right to Amend
- SCHOOL PROFILE
Significant events in the history of St. John’s School
Catholic education in Hot Springs dates back to 1880 with the Sisters of Mercy opening St. Mary’s Academy, a boarding school for girls and a day coeducational high school and grade school. St. John’s opened its school shortly after in 1908, under the guidance and support of Benedictine priest, Father John E. Weibel, and two Olivetan Benedictine Sisters. At that time, there were eight grades, two teachers, and sixteen pupils attending St. John’s School. In 1921, Monsignor William Carroll, Pastor of both parishes, directed that both schools merge and requested that the Sisters of Mercy take over the leadership and guidance of St. John’s School. Class sizes and attendance continued to grow, requiring many transformations and building projects to be organized to provide for the educational needs of its Catholic and non-Catholic community.
|Venerable Catherine McAuley, foundress of the Sisters of Mercy|
During the mid-sixties, grades seven and eight were dropped because of a lack of Sisters to teach the students and because of a drop in enrollment. During these years, St. John’s School, along with many other Catholic schools, experienced a shift in its teaching staff from Religious Sisters to lay teachers. St. John’s School is very fortunate still to have the benefits and blessings of three Sisters of Mercy on its staff!
The 1980s and 1990s, under the direction of Father Ralph Bauer, brought about additional renovations and technological advances to the school. The convent building was converted into additional office space and a new building project was underway, housing our present day cafeteria and the gym along with a new library, art and music room, and additional classrooms.
In September of 1987, the school began its first Pre-K program with one teacher and thirteen students. As the student population continued to increase, the need for more space became once again apparent. In the fall of 1996, the school began discussion about restoring the 7th and 8th grades. With the support of the parish, under the guidance of the Pastor, Father James West, the 7th grade was reestablished in the fall of 1998, and the 8th grade became part of the school in the fall of 1999. Building expansions of the 1990 gym building included additional classroom space to accommodate the junior high level students and the addition of a youth room. A new state-of-the-art Science lab was also included with this expansion, which was completed in time for our first 8th grade graduation in over 30 years, in the year 2000. The Callahan Computer Lab, which offers wireless internet access throughout the school, continues to evolve and is updated to respond to the changing needs of global IT. At the start of the 2003-04 school year, a second Pre-K class was added.
Today, St. John’s School, still located at 583 West Grand Avenue in Hot Springs, continues to offer coeducational classes for students in grades Pre-Kindergarten 3-year-olds through 8th grade with the support of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church and its Catholic Community, St. Mary of the Springs Catholic Church in downtown Hot Springs, and Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in Hot Springs Village.
St. John’s School offers a comprehensive and well-rounded educational environment where students are loved, nurtured, and helped to develop physically, spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually into mature Christians, capable of making free choices in the light of the Gospel. St. John’s is a place where all involved form a family which ministers together to provide a loving, safe Christian environment where all feel accepted and respected and where each member of the family is challenged, encouraged, and empowered to develop into a whole person who uses his/her gifts to build up the Reign of God. We realize that our families have a choice and oftentimes make sacrifices in order to provide their children the opportunity to attend Catholic school. Tuition is therefore kept at a minimum and we rely heavily on the support of our Hot Springs business partners and community in order to alleviate some of these extra burdens and financial constraints. It is truly a blessing to be able to share this ministry of educating our youth—our future—and we are grateful for the support of our wider Hot Springs Community in their educational partnership towards this endeavor.
St. John’s School offers a rigorous academic program, adhering to the curriculum guidelines established by the Catholic Schools of Arkansas, Diocese of Little Rock. St. John’s also offers Religious studies, Spanish, Art, Computer Science, Library, Music, Physical Education, and Latin. Athletic participation includes team sports through the Little Rock Parochial League. Students are also exposed to fine arts activities and are provided opportunities to participate in play performances, academic competitions, writing competitions, and science fairs. They also share their musical talents at church and in the community.
May God continue to support our educational ministry as St. John’s Catholic School embraces its 108th year of Catholic education here in Hot Springs, Arkansas.
St. John’s Catholic School is accredited by the Arkansas Nonpublic School Accrediting Association (ANSAA). In addition to ANSAA, St. John’s School is a member of the National Catholic Education Association as well as the Mercy Elementary Education Network.
St. John’s Catholic School, a fully accredited educational institution, develops the whole person, promotes Gospel values, inspires a love of learning, and upholds academic excellence in a nurturing community.
Statement of Philosophy
St. John’s Catholic School is a spiritually centered community, living the charism of the Sisters of Mercy and Catholic/Christian virtues. We are a dynamic academic environment where the love of learning and the pursuit of creative ideas are strongly promoted in a positive atmosphere which reflects and supports family values. Committed and qualified faculty emphasizes high academic achievement while exploring the quest for wisdom. In addition, our school is a place where students are nurtured, respected, and encouraged to become service oriented members of our local community.
Goals and Objectives
- To provide St. John’s students a comprehensive academic program with Catholic identity and culture as its core.
- To provide quality Catholic education to all children in the local parishes who desire to take advantage of such an opportunity, regardless of ability to pay.
- To instill a positive attitude towards the learning process while providing students with the opportunity to achieve academic excellence.
- To promote strongly and recognize Christian values and moral behavior.
- To promote unity, love, respect and understanding among all people regardless of race, religion or socioeconomic group.
- To foster positive self-esteem and mature responsible behavior with the purpose of arriving at the fullness of Christian life.
- To encourage teachers to strengthen their Christian commitment and professional growth to better enable them to integrate Gospel values into daily lessons.
- To promote holistic growth of all teachers, staff, and students, encompassing the physical, social, spiritual, moral, and intellectual realms.
- To live and promote the charism of the Sisters of Mercy and their foundress, Venerable Catherine McAuley.
St. John’s Catholic School is made up of a dynamic faculty, a diverse student body and a community of loving families. Our small classes and individual attention focus on a superior academic curriculum and solid Christian values while expanding to meet our ever-changing educational needs.
Role of Parents
“Since parents have conferred life on their children, they have a most solemn obligation to educate their offspring. Hence, parents must be acknowledged as the first and foremost educators of their children. Their role as educators is so decisive that scarcely anything can compensate for their failure in it. It is particularly in the Christian family, enriched by the grace and sacrament of matrimony that from their earliest years children should be taught, according to the faith received in baptism, to have a knowledge of God, to worship Him, and to love their neighbor. While belonging primarily to the family, the task of imparting education requires the help of society as a whole. As for Catholic parents, the Council calls to mind their duty to entrust their children to Catholic schools, when and where this is possible, to support such schools to the extent of their ability, and to work along with them for the welfare of their children.”
Declaration of Christian Education, VATICAN COUNCIL II
The St. John’s School Board is an advisory board that assists the Principal in various duties. New members are recommended by the board and appointed by the Pastor. Individual board members exercise no official consultative role outside the board meeting. Members do not have the responsibility or authority to resolve school matters. If a board member is approached regarding a school issue, he/she will refer the aggrieved person to the complaint procedure outlined in this handbook.
PARENT-TEACHER ORGANIZATION (PTO)
St. John’s Catholic School Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) strives to enable all parents to form a partnership role in their child’s education. This organization will function in accordance with the diocesan regulations and the local by-laws. Parents are expected to show their interest in their child by attending scheduled PTO meetings and participating in school events. PTO by-laws and constitution are available online.
- GENERAL INFORMATION
- OFFICE COMMUNICATION
School hours: 7:45 a.m.-3:20 p.m. Telephone number: 624-3171.
Office hours of the Principal: 8:30 a.m.-2:45 p.m., by appointment.
Your child (youngest) will bring home a communication envelope every Wednesday, which will contain important information. Please read all information and return the envelope the next day with your child. If anything needs to be returned to the school, please send it back in the communication envelope. You can also check the school’s RenWeb site for important information and forms. Teachers and staff are available by email and phone. We will do our best to provide information and ask that you check all resources often for updates.
Each year St. John’s publishes a directory with student and parent names, phone numbers, addresses, and email addresses. Any parent who does not want their information published in this directory must modify their information in RenWeb.
St. John’s Catholic School will admit students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin to all rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to their students.
While the school does not discriminate against students with special needs, a full range of services may not be available to them. Decisions concerning the admission and continued enrollment of a student in the school are based upon the student’s emotional, academic, and physical abilities, and the resources available to the school in meeting the student’s needs.
Students transferring into St. John’s School will only be considered conditionally for admission after reviewing their written behavior and academic history. A parent/guardian must sign a request form for these records to be sent from the previous school. The student’s welfare and stability of the class/school are assessed when accepting a transferring student. Any misrepresentation of facts will result in immediate dismissal. Priority will be given to a student/family moving from out of town.
- TUITION – PK-8
St. John’s School depends upon the loyal support of its family members to meet the day-to-day operating expenses of the school. A major portion of that support comes in the form of tuition payments. Tuition shall be determined by the tuition schedule, which is to be based annually on budget requirements. There is a tuition reduction policy for families having more than one child enrolled at St. John’s School. Catholics who do not support the Church monthly by use of Church Envelopes or check (a record cannot be maintained by giving cash) will be charged Non-Catholic Tuition. Tuition payments may be made annually, semiannually, or monthly. In order for the school to pay its operating expenses on schedule, we must receive the tuition payments from parents on a timely basis. Registration Fees for the next year will be due in the spring of the current year. This payment guarantees a place for your child at St. John’s for the upcoming school year.
Tuition Payment Options:
- Ten monthly payments through FACTS. These payments will be automatically deducted from checking or savings, or automatically charged to credit card (with convenience fee) beginning in August on your choice of the 5th or 20th of the month. The FACTS annual enrollment fee is paid per family, and will be deducted from your account prior to the first tuition payment.
- Semi-Annual payments due August 1st and December 1st (paid by cash or check to the school office or by credit card through FACTS with a convenience fee)
- Annual payment due on August 1st (paid by cash or check to the school office or by credit card through FACTS with a convenience fee)
Books and fees are paid in July through FACTS.
Financial assistance may be available on a first-come-first serve and need-basis each school year. In order to be considered, an application for assistance must be submitted online to FACTS. Applications will be reviewed by the Parish Manager and Pastor in summer, and families will be notified when eligibility is determined. All families who receive financial assistance are required to apply for free and reduced lunches. If there is any doubt that you will be able to meet your financial obligations, it will be essential that you apply for assistance through FACTS at the time of registration. Should a financial crisis occur after registration and you are unable to meet your obligation, an immediate conference with the Parish Manager and/or Pastor should be scheduled. Any student whose tuition account becomes more than 60 days past due MAY BE SUBJECT TO SUSPENSION until an agreement has been made.
The penalty for withdrawal any time prior to the first day of school equals one month’s tuition forfeited. The penalty for withdrawal anytime thereafter equals two months’ tuition forfeited. This penalty is applicable even if the student does not start the school year. For a student who is withdrawn during the school year, tuition is calculated for the portion of time attended, plus a penalty equal to two months’ tuition.
Registration is held each spring for all students attending St. John’s School at a fee of $125.00 per student. Students reapply for admission each year. Admission is not guaranteed. The registration fee is non-refundable.
REQUIRED REGISTRATION DOCUMENTS:
- Birth Certificate
- Immunization records
- Baptismal Certificate for all Catholics
- Transfer students must submit copies of past and current year report cards and all previous standardized test scores, academic records from previous years, and copies of existing psychological and/or therapy reports and evaluations.
A child must be six (6) years of age on or before September 1, when entering the First Grade;
five (5) years of age, on or before September 1, before entering Kindergarten; four (4) years of age, on or before September 1, when entering Pre-K 4 year old; and two and one-half (2-1/2) years of age, on or before September 1 when entering Pre-K 3 year old.
Special admission requests are handled on a case-by-case basis.
All students attending Catholic schools in the Diocese of Little Rock are subject to the immunization laws of the State of Arkansas which can be found on the AR Health Department website, www.healthy.arkansas.gov.
- DAILY SCHEDULE
The first morning bell is at 7:45 a.m., at which time students may enter the classroom. The tardy bell is 7:55 a.m. Students are allowed on campus no earlier than 7:30 a.m., unless other arrangements have been made with the office. Students are expected in the classroom OR in church and ready to start the day at 7:55 a.m. Any student arriving after Mass begins will be counted tardy, must check in at the office, and be escorted to Mass by a parent or guardian. Out of respect to the Holy Mass, this policy will be strictly enforced. The written tardy policy is also available online. Regardless of their own religious faith, non-Catholic students will not be proselytized. Students and their families will, of course, be welcome to explore the possibility of conversion to the Catholic faith, if they should so desire.
Parents are encouraged to attend school Masses. Holy Mass will be attended by students on a regular rotating basis during the week, and all students will attend Mass on Friday as a total school community.
The school day ends with the dismissal bell at 3:20 p.m.
- DROP OFF AND PICKUP PROCEDURES
Drop Off: Pre-Kindergarten students are to be escorted to their classrooms and signed in. Other students are to enter campus through the gate between the intermediate and middle school buildings. Parents may either park in the upper or gym parking lot or drop off at the gate by driving up Sr. Noeline Lane. Please use caution and drive 5 mph if using this option.
Pickup: Pre-Kindergarten students are to be signed out of their classrooms or from After School Care. At the dismissal bell, students who are to be picked up will proceed carefully to the upper parking lot, where staff supervision is provided. Parents are encouraged and welcome to wait for their children in the courtyard. Students are NOT to be picked up in the gym lot or in front of the church, as supervision is not available in those locations. The driveways are blocked during pickup time for safety of the students and families. Students not picked up at 3:20 will participate in After School Care or Study Hall (see details below).
- FACULTY MEETINGS
In order to schedule Faculty Meetings and Inservice Programs for the teachers, classes are to be dismissed at 1:30 p.m. each first Friday of the month, unless notified of a change in schedule.
- SCHOOL SUPERVISION
- DURING SCHOOL
Playground supervision is conducted according to safety and health regulations. Playgrounds will be supervised at all times when students are active on the grounds. During the recess period, a teacher or staff member will supervise the students on the playground or in the gym. Students will not leave the school grounds at any time without the express permission of the Principal and without being accompanied by an authorized adult.
Parents are asked to volunteer for playground duty during the school year from 10:45 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. We have one permanent monitor on the playground every day and one rotating parent to help supervise playground activities. If we have enough volunteers you will only have to serve one day a month or maybe every other month. One day gives you 2 service hours. Please be generous and sign up in the office. A monthly calendar will be in your envelope to remind you of your day(s) signed up. If you are unable to fulfill this commitment, please find someone to take your place. Volunteers are asked to supervise students; caring for younger children or use of phones or tablets are distractions from this very important responsibility.
- AFTER SCHOOL SUPERVISION (AFTER SCHOOL CARE AND STUDY HALL)
After school supervision from 3:20 p.m. until 5:30 p.m. will be available for students from Pre-Kindergarten through 8th grade. This program follows the licensing guidelines set forth by the Department of Human Services for church-operated facilities. The fee is $35 per week or $10 per day for drop-in students. Any student remaining beyond 5:30 pm will be assessed a $1 fee per minute. Students with an outstanding balance greater than one month’s fees will not be permitted to attend After School Care. Students in Pre-K through 3rd grade will participate in After School Care in the cafeteria. Students in 4th to 8th grades must proceed to Study Hall in the computer lab until 4:00 p.m., and then transfer to After School Care, unless given permission to participate in another school activity. After school study hall is strictly for academic purposes. All students must be signed out by a parent or authorized adult.
Please note that ANY student remaining on campus is under the care of the school and thus will be placed in the aftercare program until a parent is present for pick up. Standard aftercare fees will be charged based on current policy.
- OFF-CAMPUS ACTIVITIES
Before groups of students are taken off the school grounds, written approval must be obtained from the parent of each child. No off-campus trip will be taken without the approval of the Principal.
Field trips will be organized throughout the year by the classroom teacher. The trips will be appropriate and educationally rewarding. Field trips are a privilege and students can be denied participation if they fail to meet academic and/or behavioral requirements. Prior to the outing, each student will receive a Field Trip Permission Form. This form will contain the details of the trip and a section to be signed by the parent granting permission for his/her child to attend. This form must be returned to the teacher in order for the student to attend. Failure to return the permission form will lead to the student remaining in school, under supervision. Handwritten notes or phone calls will not be accepted. Parents do have the right to refuse to allow their child to participate in a field trip.
Parents who plan to chaperone any field trip must be VIRTUS trained and have notified the teacher prior to the day of the field trip. If chaperoning, parents should not bring other children. Each driver on a trip must provide the office with a copy of his/her driver’s license and auto insurance. Because licenses and insurance expire, copies will not be kept on file, and new copies may be required for each trip.
If a DVD player will be used in a vehicle while traveling for a field trip, any movies shown must be rated G or approved by the Principal.
- DRESS CODE/PERSONAL HYGIENE
A sense of Christian modesty will dictate the type of clothing worn by the students and teachers. “Free Dress” day opportunities will be offered at various times throughout the school year. At all times, however, clothing should be appropriate for the academic and Christian climate of St. John’s School. The administration reserves the right to interpret what is appropriate. Gum is not allowed on campus except during SAT-10 testing, if teacher permits.
BOYS AND GIRLS—PK 3/4–every day
- SJS logo tie-dyed T-shirt
- Navy blue shorts (logo) or plain Navy sweatpants or Navy elastic waist pants from Toggery
- SJS Navy blue sweatshirt
- Tennis shoes and white socks
P.E. UNIFORMS—BOYS AND GIRLS, K-8th
- Plain Navy blue sweatpants or SJS logo shorts (should be just above the knee)
- Ash grey T-Shirt with John’s Logo.
- Navy blue SJS Logo sweatshirt OR Navy blue SJS Logo fleece jacket (cold weather days)
- Tennis shoes with solid white socks
- E. Uniforms for boys and girls in grades K–8th may be purchased at The Toggery in Little Rock. Navy blue sweatpants may be purchased anywhere, as long as they are the correct color and style pant.
GIRLS – Kindergarten – 5th Grade:
- Navy blue plaid box jumper
- Navy blue plaid skirt or skort
- White or Navy polo shirt with John’s embroidered logo
- **Dress uniform includes the white polo shirt with embroidered logo
BOYS Kindergarten – 5th Grade:
- Navy blue twill pants or Navy blue walking shorts with belt (Kindergarten boys do not wear belts)
- Light blue or white polo shirt with John’s embroidered logo
- **Dress uniform includes the white polo shirt with embroidered logo
Uniforms for Middle Grades (6-8):
- Girls: Navy blue plaid skirt or skort
- Girls: White or Navy polo Shirt with embroidered logo or white pointed collar blouse with embroidered logo
- Boys: Navy blue twill pants or walking shorts with belt
- Boys: White or light blue polo Shirt (not Navy blue) with embroidered logo or white oxford cloth shirt with embroidered logo, plaid uniform tie for dress uniform
- Girls & Boys: Navy blue sweater vest with logo
- **Dress uniform includes sweater vest with logo, long-sleeved oxford shirt/pointed collar blouse, and uniform plaid tie for the boys in cool weather, or white polo with logo in warm weather.
OUTER WEAR for classroom and church (Boys and Girls – Grades Pre-Kindergarten-8th)
- John’s Sweatshirt, or solid Navy blue cardigan sweaters with logo, or fleece zip jacket with logo (sold by PTO), or all-weather logo jacket from Toggery; no hoodies please.
- Under skirts/jumpers, girls must wear Navy blue modesty shorts, Navy leggings (no skin showing at ankles), or Navy tights.
- Slacks and shorts are to be uniform style – No cargo, baggy, Capri, etc.
- Belts –Solid brown, black, or Navy belts, no wider than 2 inches, are required with slacks and walking shorts (except Kindergarten).
- Shoes and Socks: Soft-soled walking shoes and tennis shoes are required. Shoes must be closed-toed and closed-heeled for safety. (Sandals, Crocs, boots, and open-toed shoes are not allowed.)
- Solid white socks or St. John’s logo socks are required.
Uniforms, except sweatpants, must be purchased from The Toggery or Lands’ End.
The Uniform policy is ALSO available online or in the school office.
STUDENT ATTIRE, HAIRSTYLES AND MAKE-UP
St. John’s students are expected to be neat and clean in appearance at all times. Hair shall be worn in an appropriate manner, well groomed, and not extreme. Boys’ hair must not touch the collar, the eyebrows, or the top of the ears. Girls’ hairstyles must be off the face and out of the eyes. Hair colors should be natural color. Feathers and any other hair extensions are not permitted. No makeup, visible tattoos, artificial nails, or fingernail polish are allowed.
OTHER UNIFORM GUIDELINES
- Clothing deemed inappropriate cannot be worn.
- All uniforms should fit properly and have no holes or significant fading.
- All pants must be uniform style with pockets on the inside, not sown outside; no Cargo pants or Capri pants.
- Pants, skirts, and shorts must be worn at waistline.
- All skirts must touch the top of the knee in both the front and the back.
- Shorts must be worn under jumpers and skirts.
- Undershirts must be white, should not show through the over shirt and sleeves should not stick out past uniform shirt.
- Shirts must be tucked in (if the belt cannot be seen, the shirt is considered un-tucked).
- Tights and leggings must be navy blue. They cannot be loose-fitting. Leggings must be long enough to tuck inside socks.
- Girls’ bows and hair accessories should be simple; colors must match the uniform.
- Shoes must be closed toe, closed heel, and rubber soled to protect the gym and other floors. No slip-on shoes, extra-high high tops, “finger” shoes, boots, or shoes with wheels, lights or cleats.
- Socks must be solid color white.
- One pair of single post earrings can be worn on the lower lobe. No hoop or dangling earrings. No earrings on boys.
- No bracelets, rings, or necklaces, except for religious items, and limited in size/number.
- No make-up, visible tattoos, fingernail polish, or artificial nails.
The final decision for appropriate attire rests with the Principal and/or Pastor.
PARENTS: WE DEPEND UPON YOUR SUPPORT REGARDING THE DRESS CODE.
REMEMBER: You and your children are representatives of not just the school but God’s Holy Catholic Church.
- POSSESSIONS BROUGHT TO SCHOOL
All items brought to school should be marked with the student’s name (sweaters, jackets, raincoats; etc.) Please make sure BOTH ITEMS (of a pair) are marked. If a student loses articles at school, he/she should check the LOST AND FOUND BOX. The school is not responsible for items lost, stolen, or broken at school. Electronic devices such as cell phones, tablets, radios, digital devices, CD players, video games, etc., may not be brought to school without special permission and the approval of the Principal. If a student needs to bring a cell phone to school, it is to remain off and in the student’s backpack until after the final bell, unless the teacher gives permission for educational activities.
On-campus use of devices or possessions without proper authorization will result in immediate confiscation by the Principal, such that a parent/legal guardian must come to the office for its return. It will NOT be returned to the student.
III. HEALTH RULES AND POLICIES
Please do not send a child to school with an elevated temperature. If a child has had a temperature over 100°, do not send him/her back to school until the temperature has been normal for 24 hours. Communicable diseases should be reported to the child’s teacher. Dental and medical appointments should be made after school hours.
INJURIES AT SCHOOL
Minor injuries are taken care of by the teacher or in the office. In case of a serious injury, parents will be notified as quickly as possible. If the parents cannot be reached, the emergency numbers will be tried. If the emergency numbers cannot be contacted, the injured child will be taken to the hospital if necessary. All accidents will be reported on the school incident report form and a copy will be sent home and the original will be placed in the child’s file. Since medical bills resulting from accidents to students at school are the responsibility of the parents, all parents of students at St. John’s are given the opportunity to purchase student accident insurance through the school. Forms are available in the school office.
- MEDICATION AT SCHOOL
- Any medication brought to school will be stored in a designated place in the office.
- Prescription drugs must be in the original container labeled with the physician’s name and appropriate dosage.
- No medication will be administered to a student by any school personnel unless a Medication Form is on file in the office for the specific medication, including time and dosage of medication to be administered.
- Students may not keep any medication, whether prescription or non-prescription, in their possession while at school, except Epinephrine auto-injectors and asthma inhalers. A Medication Administration Release form must still be on file in the office for these items.
- STUDENT ACCIDENT INSURANCE
All students will be offered the option to enroll in school accident insurance. The Diocesan Board of Education will assist the Superintendent in selecting the insurance to be used by the Catholic schools in the Diocese.
If any student brings to school, or has in his/her possession on the school grounds, during or after school hours, any illegal drugs, medications not authorized, tobacco, or alcohol, the proper authorities will be notified. The student will be immediately removed from school grounds, pending the proper investigation and consequential expulsion.
- SCHOOL POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
Student achievement is directly related to consistent school attendance. In addition to the fact that state legislation requires school attendance, St. John’s School believes that regular school attendance is necessary to ensure that students understand the instruction and material presented by its faculty. Time lost from class is irretrievable in terms of opportunities for instructional interchange. Thus, a student’s attendance should not be interrupted, except for important matters or unavoidable circumstances. Parents should be aware that the student’s grade might be adversely affected by absence. Generally, a pupil who has accumulated 25 days of absences during the school year (three tardies equating to an absence) shall repeat the grade or be required to attend summer school. Pupils are expected to be in attendance at all times when school is in session, unless illness or an emergency prevents it. Excessive tardiness and/or absences from school inhibit learning and are disruptive to the student’s classmates and teachers. For this reason, family vacations or other activities requiring absence from school, even doctor’s appointments, should be avoided.
Reporting Absence and Makeup Work: It is the responsibility of the student or parent to contact the teacher to obtain makeup assignments. If a child is to be absent due to illness or for any other reason, the parents must notify the school office before 9:00 a.m. When the child returns to school, his or her parent is to send an email or a note to the office or classroom teacher stating the reason for the absence. When there is a planned absence, the student is required to gather advanced assignments from his/her teachers and establish a schedule (not to exceed 5 days from the time of return to school) for completing assignments and tests. Since it is not always possible or desirable to provide all of the assignments that will be covered during the time of the absence, some assignments may be required to be completed by the student upon his/her return to school. The parents will submit a letter to the office and to the student’s teacher detailing the date of departure and date of return as well as reason for absence. This request should be made at least 5 school days prior to the planned absence. An “excused absence” includes illness, quarantine, or death in the immediate family. An “unexcused absence” is the nonattendance of a student for truancy. Such reasons as “overslept, visiting, out of town, needed at home, had to go on an errand,” are considered unexcused absences. Excuses of a doubtful nature shall be investigated by the Principal.
A student is considered tardy if not in the classroom or in Mass when the 7:55am class bell rings. Tardiness interferes with progress in school and constitutes a disturbance for all members of the class. Excused tardies are for doctor or dental appointments. Three tardies, either excused or unexcused, will be counted as an absence. Parents will meet with the Principal if excessive tardiness continues to occur.
The tardy bell rings at 7:55 a.m. All tardy students must check in at the office. THIS INCLUDES TARDINESS TO MASS. For the safety of the student, we ask parents to accompany their child to Mass, after checking in with the office. The tardiness policy is available online and in the appendix.
PARENTS: The celebration of the Holy Catholic Mass is integral to the St. John’s School mission. As such, tardiness will be handled in the same manner as classroom tardiness. Any student not seated in mass by 7:55am must sign in at the office.
Parents wishing to pick up their children during the school day must first report to the school office, sign their children out, and wait for them to be called to the office. If returning during the same day, the parents must sign their child back in at the office. These are recorded as tardies or partial absences.
PERMANENT WITHDRAWAL FROM SCHOOL
As early as possible the parent is to notify the school if a withdrawal is forthcoming. Issues with delinquent tuition, outstanding library books, school books, athletic uniforms, or other fees must be settled before records will be sent to another school.
All Catholic schools will follow the Diocesan and Arkansas State requirements regarding basic materials, specific courses, and suggested time allotments. St. John’s Catholic School follows the In Spirit and Truth Curriculum Guide.
- A planned instructional program will lead to discovering and developing the abilities of each student.
- St. John’s offers a balanced curriculum including Religion, Language Arts (English, Reading, Literature, Oral and Written Communication, Speech Arts, Handwriting, Spelling Usage, Vocabulary, and Grammar), Science, Mathematics, Social Studies (History, Geography, Civics, Economics and Sociology), Spanish, Latin, Art, Music, Health, Physical Education, Computer Skills and such electives as deemed practical and helpful. All Catholic schools in the Diocese of Little Rock will use approved texts in the instructional program. The Title I program is used to meet the special reading and math needs of the students. Guest speakers, service projects, and field trips enhance the curriculum.
Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten
The philosophy of the Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten Programs is based on the premise that children are unique and have individual needs which must be met. Emphasis is placed on helping students develop in their social skills and interaction with others. The development of language arts skills, especially oral language, receives a great deal of emphasis. Oral language development is closely related to academic skill development. The nature of the program provides opportunities for students to begin their basic reading and math skills. This includes recognition of numbers and letters. The reading readiness includes the sounds for which the letter stands. Each child moves into the reading readiness program as he/she is ready. The program, in compliance with DHS guidelines, is designed to help the students in making a transition to a formal school setting. Guidelines are available for preview upon request.
Books are checked out for one-week intervals. The student who signs the Borrower’s Card is responsible for any fines should the book be lost or damaged. A student who violates the policy may have restricted library privileges and a $25 fine per book. Lending a library book to a friend is strongly discouraged as the student’s name on the Borrower’s Card is still responsible for any damage to the book regardless of his/her innocence in the loss of the book.
- HOME-STUDY ASSIGNMENTS AND RECOMMENDED TIME
Home assignments, whether written or study work, are a necessary part of each student’s educational program. Home-study/homework is thus to be expected in all grades and will be age specific as determined by that grade teacher.
In order to assimilate the academic skills acquired at school, it is essential that good study habits be fostered in the home. Parents can do much to help their child by:
- Providing an atmosphere conducive to study
- Scheduling a definite time for study
- Showing an interest in the child’s work
- Realizing that homework does not solely consist of written work, but that both written and study work are important
- Expecting the child to have his assignments for homework written down
- Checking with the teacher if the student repeatedly says he has no homework
Home-study time varies according to the needs of the individual child.
If your child is ill, call the school office (624-3171) by 9:00 a.m. to report the absence and to request homework. Homework can be picked up in the school office or sent home with a friend or sibling.
- GRADING/REPORTING OF STUDENT’S PERFORMANCE
Uniformity of grading will be conscientiously maintained throughout the school. That is, work of similar quality will receive about the same mark from all teachers. Academic marks are to be based on academic achievement and not on conduct, as behavior is to be graded separately.
Grading—The letter system or percentage system will be used for reports to parents, and for permanent record files. In either case, the following interpretation will be maintained:
A Superior Work 90 to 100% O – Outstanding
B Above Average 80 to 89% S – Satisfactory
C Average 70 to 79% N – Needs Improvement
D Passing 60 to 69% U – Unsatisfactory
F Failure Below 60%
Report cards are distributed every nine weeks. The students’ grades are used to report individual progress and should not be used as a comparison to other students. All report cards must be signed and returned within a week of the distribution date.
Pre-K and Kindergarten will be evaluated on developmentally appropriate skills which are recorded quarterly on a student checklist.
St. John’s will publish an honor roll each quarter. Students will be recognized who have earned all A’s and all A’s and B’s. All subjects for which students earn letter grades will be counted in determining these honor rolls.
STUDENTS WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
In order to document a student’s handicapping condition, the school must have a current psychological evaluation on file in the office. Grades for students with special needs are used to indicate a student’s progress in relation to his or her ability and not in relation to an expected grade norm. A modification checklist can be prepared on an individualized basis. If quantity of coursework or grading is modified, it will be noted on the report card and permanent record card.
A student is promoted each year after evaluation by the teacher and the Principal. When making an evaluation of the student’s academic progress, the teacher will consider the social, emotional, physical, and moral development of the student. The Principal will have the final say in promoting or retaining a child.
- Two failures (less than 60% for the year) in core academic subjects constitute a grade failure unless made up in summer classes approved by the Principal.
- Proof of attendance at summer school or approved tutoring and passing marks from the tutor, must be presented to the Principal before the child is promoted.
- Accumulation of 25 days of absences during the school year may be grounds for retention.
- GUIDANCE AND TESTING
Every teacher is concerned with helping students meet their personal, emotional, educational and vocational needs. The guidance program involves the following services:
- Orientation of students
- Records – individual inventory of physical and mental growth
- Testing and assessment
- SAT-10 Achievement Test is administered to students in grades K or 1 through 8 in April.
- The classroom teacher is responsible for informal guidance in the classroom or on the playground, etc., and formal, individual counseling for personal, educational and social needs. Referrals are made to professional sources.
- Students having learning difficulties may be referred to an appropriate provider.
- Health Services: Vision test for students in grades Kindergarten, 1, 3, 5 and 7 and any others referred by the teachers. Hearing test for students in Kindergarten, grades 1, 3, 5 and 7 and any others referred by teachers. Scoliosis Test for girls in grades 5-8 and boys in grades 7-8.
- STUDENT CONFIDENTIAL RECORDS
According to the Buckley Act of 1974, a student’s records are confidential and will be open only to members of the professional staff and to the student’s parents/guardians, or to the student herself/himself, if she/he has attained the age of 18, at times pre-arranged with the Principal.
Permanent record cards are kept in the school office for every student. Annual attendance, average grades for each year, and standardized test scores for each year are the only items recorded on these cards.
ACCESS TO STUDENT RECORDS
Parents may access student records by submitting a request in writing at least 24 hours before they would like to see the records.
- PARENT-TEACHER CONFERENCES
Mandatory Parent-Teacher Conferences will be scheduled once each semester as announced by the Principal or teacher. Parents are encouraged to contact the teacher or Principal to request an additional conference if they have a particular concern.
- NON-CUSTODIAL PARENTS
Non-custodial parents are not to use the school as a meeting place to visit with their children. In the case of divorced parents, a copy of the court order, stating visiting rights may be required to be on file in the school office. If no court order is provided, St. John’s School will assume both parents have equal rights. The Principal will allow a noncustodial parent to take the child as specified in the court order. A copy of the child’s report card may be given to the non-custodial parent.
- VISITORS AT SCHOOL
Visitors at the school must sign in at the office and obtain a Visitor’s Badge before visiting a class or contacting a teacher or student. Visitors are to sign out and return the Visitor’s Badge to the office before leaving campus. Please use only the office gate entrance to enter the campus.
No one is allowed on the school grounds or in the school building to solicit or to request signatures for a petition unless authorized by the Pastor and/or Principal.
The ultimate goal of discipline at St. John’s is to teach students to become effective modifiers of their own behavior. Good order and self-discipline are expected. The classroom teacher is responsible for developing age appropriate rules, rewards, and consequences, which are clearly conveyed to students verbally and in writing. Emphasis will be placed on positive values rather than negative. A disciplined person consistently reflects correct attitudes and respect for the rights of others. For the individual’s own good, and for the good of the nation, the school will aim at producing disciplined citizens. Students must be intent on mastering subject matter, and this is best accomplished in an atmosphere conditioned by discipline. Every student and parent will be held accountable for any disorderly conduct in school, on the school’s entire campus (includes church, parking lots and playgrounds), or at any school function. A grade-level discipline policy will be read and signed by parents and students.
Students remain St. John’s students at all times, on and off campus, and their behavior reflects on themselves and the school. A student will be held accountable for behaviors that are detrimental to the reputation of St. John’s School. Parents also have a responsibility to St. John’s School and are expected to maintain positive behavior and a cooperative relationship with the school and its employees. If parents fail to support this relationship, their child may be removed from the school.
Emphasis is placed on positive values, rather than punishments. When violations do occur, each case will be dealt with patiently, respecting the personal dignity of the student, the teacher, and all who have been offended by the student’s misconduct. Means of coping with problem situations include, but are not limited to:
- focusing on virtue-based, restorative solutions,
- providing appropriate consequences to the misbehaving student,
- talking to the student in private,
- informing parents or guardians,
- seeking positive help for the student, and/or
- assigning the student to detention.
Serious or continuous disciplinary problems will be referred to the Principal and Pastor, and parents will be notified of the infractions and of the disciplinary actions taken. If a student cannot be helped through these actions, the Principal will follow the procedure for suspension and/or dismissal.
Examples of types of conduct not tolerated:
- Any disorderly conduct or destruction of property. Students will pay for any damage to school or parish property.
- Defiance of school authority
- Disrespect or any type of abuse of school staff, volunteers, or other students
- Possession of firearms or other weapons
- Any behavior that threatens the safety of others
- Consistent lack of cooperation, both within and outside the class
- Theft, cheating, plagiarism
- Possession of or use of alcohol/drugs (See ALCOHOL/DRUGS Section)
*St. John’s School reserves the right to search and seizure if necessary.
- DISMISSAL OF STUDENTS—SUSPENSION
Suspension is defined as “the temporary exclusion of a student from school for disciplinary reasons.” Suspension from the school will be the decision of the Principal in consultation with the Pastor. Students may be suspended for serious reasons by the Principal, for a period of time not to exceed ten (10) days. Some infractions would not rise to the level of suspension. In such cases, an In-School Suspension would be considered. The Principal will notify the student and the student’s parents or guardians of the reason for the suspension, the time of the suspension, and the requirements for reinstatement, which are to be determined by the Principal and the Pastor and are not negotiable.
- DISMISSAL OF STUDENTS—EXPULSION
Expulsion is defined as “the permanent dismissal of a student from the school.” Expulsion from the school will be the decision of the Principal in consultation with the Pastor. Notification of this expulsion will be sent to the School Board President. A written report containing reasons for the expulsion will be sent to the student’s parents or guardian and to the Diocesan Superintendent’s office. The written report to parents will contain the information concerning the process of appeal.
Any parent or guardian feeling aggrieved concerning any matter connected with the school will contact the individual involved before discussing with other patrons. Complaints should be handled in the following manner:
- If a person has a complaint, the individual will go to the employee who is most directly involved in the situation to seek a solution to the problem.
- If the matter cannot be resolved satisfactorily at that level, the person will contact the Principal for an appointment and discussion.
- If the issue is still not resolved, the person will submit a written complaint to the Pastor who will then determine the best course of action.
- If no solution is found to the problem, the matter will be referred to the superintendent.
It is not the responsibility or authority of the School Board members or PTO officers to resolve school matters. If board members or PTO officers are approached with complaints, they are to refer the aggrieved person to the above procedure.
- ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
The purpose of the athletic program at St. John’s Catholic School is to provide an opportunity for all interested students to use the physical talents that God has given them and experience the Christian values that can be found in sportsmanship, camaraderie, and teamwork, all while improving basic skills in sports. The athletic program will strive to encourage active participation and individual efforts of each student regardless of skill level. As a result of participating in the sport, the student should develop a respect for authority (coaches, referees, parents, etc.) and a respect for others (teammates and opposing players). The Athletic Department hopes that each individual will develop self-confidence, increase self-esteem, and have fun. A volunteer athletic director works in coordination with the Principal in organizing the athletic program. The Parochial League policies are available on the school website. Students absent or who arrive at school after 10:00 a.m. on a game day are not allowed to play in that day’s game. If a student checks out of school early, he/she must receive approval from the Principal in order to play.
- COMPUTER AND INTERNET ACCEPTABLE USE
Access to e-mail and the Internet will enable students to explore thousands of libraries, databases, and bulletin boards throughout the world. Families should be warned that material accessible via the Internet may contain items that are illegal, defamatory, inaccurate, or potentially offensive to some people. The intent is to make Internet access available to further educational goals and objectives. We believe that the benefits to students from access to the Internet, in the form of information resources and opportunities for collaboration exceed any disadvantages. But ultimately parents and guardians of minors are responsible for setting and conveying the standards that their children should follow when using media information sources. The school supports and respects each family’s right to decide whether or not to apply for access.
Students are responsible for behavior on school computer networks just as they are in a classroom or school hallways. The network is provided for students to conduct research and communication with others. Access to network services is given to students who agree to act in a considerate and responsible manner. Parent permission is required. Access is a privilege – not a right. Access entails responsibility.
Within reason, freedom of speech and access to information will be honored. During school, teachers will guide students toward appropriate materials. As outlined in the school policy and procedures the following guidelines must be followed:
- The administration or teacher has the right to access information stored in any student file on any student screen, or student electronic mail.
- Hardware or software shall not be damaged, modified or abused.
- Intentionally altering the files, data or software on the school computers will be viewed as vandalism.
- Loading software on any computer without authorization of the technology coordinator is forbidden.
- Making copies of licensed or copyrighted software is illegal and therefore prohibited.
- Using of or sharing another’s password is not allowed.
- Before accessing the Internet, each student will receive instruction in the proper use of the online tools.
- Students must notify teacher immediately of inappropriate material found.
- Use of Internet without the knowledge and permission of a teacher or administrator is prohibited.
- Students may not download programs.
- Use of the Internet without a clearly defined educational objective understood by both student and teacher is not allowed.
- Students will use polite language; obscene language, harassing, insulting, or attacking language will not be tolerated.
- Transmitting or downloading materials in violation of copyright laws is prohibited.
- Users are prohibited from sending and displaying offensive messages or pictures.
- Trespassing in another’s folders or files is forbidden.
- Intentionally wasting limited resources is not allowed.
- Students are not to reveal any personal information.
Violation may result in loss of access as well as other disciplinary or legal actions.
By signing the Acceptance of Handbook Policies form, students agree to comply with the above stated rules – communicating over the network in a reliable fashion while honoring all relevant laws and restrictions.
By signing the Acceptance of Handbook Policies form, parents grant permission for their children to access networked computers services such as electronic mail and the internet, understand that individuals and families may be held liable for violations and that some materials on the internet may be objectionable, and accept responsibility for guidance of internet use – setting and conveying standards for their children to follow when selecting, sharing, or exploring information and media.
If in an emergency situation it is necessary to evacuate the building indefinitely, all occupants of the school buildings will go to St. John’s Catholic Church. This will be our safe point from which students can be picked up.
- FEDERAL PROGRAMS
Each year St. John’s Catholic School students receive benefits from Title I through funding from the federal government. These funds are used to provide programs, teacher inservice and materials to address student improvement. Because much of this funding is based on the number of free or reduced lunch students attending the school, we encourage everyone to apply.
Civil Rights Statement:
- HOMEROOM REPRESENTATIVES
Homeroom representatives are selected to help the classroom teachers and Principal with student and school activities. All activities are to be approved by the Principal. Homeroom representatives are to assist or solicit assistance with classroom parties, field trips, teacher appreciation week, etc. The PTO coordinates this program and needs your help in this important responsibility.
- Menus for the month will be sent home at the beginning of the month with the school newsletter and are available online. They change occasionally, and every effort will be made to communicate changes with parents.
- Lunches are paid in advance. Please send lunch payments to the office in an envelope labeled with the student’s first and last name and the amount enclosed.
- If lunches are brought from home, please prepare nutritious lunches. No carbonated or caffeinated drinks are to be brought to school.
- Parents are welcome to eat lunch at school with their children. Visiting parents are invited to order a lunch; please let the office know as soon as possible of your plan.
- Lunch cost is $3.00, and students purchasing only milk pay $0.50. If a student has an outstanding cafeteria balance greater than one month’s cost, the student must bring lunch from home until the balance is paid down.
St. John’s participates in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) through the Department of Agriculture.
To promote and recognize Christian values and moral behavior, a stated goal of St. John’s Catholic School and by recommendation of the School Board, only movies with a MPAA rating of “G” (General Audiences) will be allowed to be viewed at the school. Middle school students may also be allowed to view movies rated “PG” (Parental Guidance Suggested) if the teacher has previewed the movie prior to showing it to his/her class, and has received prior approval from the Principal. (The Principal will consult the USCCB listing of movie reviews for information.) “PG – 13” movies are not permitted.
Students may not have individual birthday parties at school. Permission to send cupcakes or other treats on your child’s birthday must be coordinated with the child’s teacher and will usually be given at lunch or afternoon snack time. At no time are gifts to be exchanged in the classroom. Party invitations may only be passed out in class if all students in the classroom receive one. Students are not allowed to receive flowers, balloons, candy, or other deliveries at school. These will be forwarded to the home address. A classroom Valentine’s Day Party will be coordinated by the homeroom Mom/Dad and teacher. An all-school Christmas Pancake Breakfast will be provided the day before Christmas Break.
St. John’s reserves the right to use student photos and videos for school publications, website, advertising, and official social media pages, including publications for the diocese, ANSAA, and other official organizations. All such photos and videos become the property of St. John’s School for both current and future use. If parents do not want their children to appear in school photos or videos, they must sign a waiver in the office.
- SAFETY DRILLS
St. John’s School follows the guidelines of the Diocese of Little Rock and the Department of Human Services for safety drills. Students participate in regular fire, tornado, and lockdown drills. In addition, the teachers orient students regularly in classroom safety rules.
- SCHOOL TRADEMARKS
The school name and logos may not be used on any physical or electronic materials without the written permission of the Principal, Parish Manager, or Pastor.
- SERVICE HOURS
St. John’s Catholic School recognizes the importance of family commitment to Catholic education. Families are required to give at least 30 service hours to the school each year. Single parent families will give at least 15 service hours. Service hours may be obtained in many ways. For example, helping with playground duty, dismissing students/parking lot duty, helping at Bazaar, Mardi Gras, etc., assisting teachers, helping around the school, attending PTO meetings, helping with PTO projects, driving on field trips, Track & Field Day, and substituting in a class when a teacher is out, are some of the many needed services where we rely on the generosity of our parents/community for assistance.
Many families contribute more than 30 hours, which is of great benefit to the students and is appreciated. Parents will receive information about opportunities to earn service hours, but should also contact the school to seek service opportunities. Families can register their services hours on RenWeb or submit a service hours form to the office. At the end of the year, families are required to pay $10 for each uncompleted hour.
- STUDENT INTERVIEWS
Officials from the Department of Human Services (DHS) and certain other agencies have the authority to come to school and interview students when necessary. The Principal will be present at any such interview, according to DHS policy.
- VIRTUS TRAINING
Every volunteer in the school is required by the Diocese of Little Rock to have completed the VIRTUS “Protecting God’s Children” training. Training sessions are available throughout the year at St. John’s and other parishes. Upcoming training sessions can be found through the church office (623-6201) or the diocesan website.
- WEATHER CONDITIONS
School closings because of inclement weather will be announced on major radio and television stations and sent out through RenWeb. The decision to close school due to storms is made by the Principal and Pastor. Please listen to the news, check your texts and phone messages, and check your email, but try to avoid calling the school or church offices. When school closes due to inclement weather, After-school care will also close. If the school is in session when the announcement is made to close school, parents are to make arrangements to have their children picked up as quickly as possible. Cyber-day assignments will be utilized as often as the diocesan policy allows in an effort to minimize the amount of lost instructional hours.
- HUMAN SEXUALITY POLICY
St. John’s Catholic School of Hot Springs has fully adopted the Diocese of Little Rock’s Human Sexuality policy. The diocesan human sexuality policy is a part of the diocesan Manual of Policies and Regulations for Catholic schools, and is located in subsection 4.42 of the section titled “4.0 Students.” It can be viewed on the Catholic Schools Office website at: http://www.dolr.org/schools/policy-manual
- RIGHT TO AMMEND
In developing these rules and policies, the administration has tried to be as explicit as possible. Nevertheless, during the school year new and unusual situations will arise. Therefore, the Pastor and Principal have the authority to use their discretion in whatever circumstances the handbook does not precisely apply. The Principal, with the approval of the Pastor, reserves the right to amend the handbook for a just cause in keeping with the spirit of the St. John’s mission. Updates will be posted to the online version of the handbook in red font.
When the printed and online versions of the handbook differ, the online version will be followed.
By signing the Acceptance of Handbook Policies, students and parents agree to comply with the policies outlined in the Handbook.