Texarkana Seventh-day Adventist School

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Student Handbook
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(updated August 2014)
Mission Statement
The mission of the Texarkana Seventh-day Adventist School is to lead each child into the family of Christ and provide them with quality education for now and eternity.

Philosophy
At Texarkana Seventh-day Adventist School education is Christ-centered. It is our belief that the ultimate purpose of man is to love and serve God and our fellow man. All instruction and learning must be directed in seeking to restore in man the “image of God” with which he was created (Genesis 1:27). This includes developing the spiritual, mental, physical, and social qualities which God intended from the beginning.

Goals
1.    To provide instruction and examples that will help students recognize God as their personal Friend and Savior.
2.    To present the “Father image” of God in such a way that students will long to be a member of His family.
3.    To help students develop Christian character traits, strong moral values, and positive work ethics for now and eternity.
4.    To provide an environment and atmosphere in which students may acquire confidence and skill in all areas of academic study.
5.    To foster in students a philosophy of life based upon the principles of cooperation and mutual respect.
6.    To prepare students to serve as leaders in their community by developing consideration and respect for others as well as a sense of civic responsibility.

Accreditation and Governance
The Texarkana Seventh-day Adventist School is fully accredited by the National Council for Private School Accreditation. This recognition is granted by the Accrediting Association of Adventist Schools, Colleges, and Universities, Inc..
The Texarkana Seventh-day Adventist School is part of the North American Division (NAD) school system, which is operated by the Seventh-day Adventist denomination. This system includes hundreds of schools throughout North America. The NAD supervises the overall structure and curriculum of the schools.
The NAD is subdivided into several Union Conferences. This level of government is responsible for policy development and various other administrative functions. We are in the Southwestern Union Conference which is subdivided into several local conferences. The Texarkana Seventh-day Adventist School is a part of the Arkansas-Louisiana Conference and is directly supervised by the Office of Education of this conference.
Locally, the school is under the supervision of the school board. This is the governing body that directs all policies and activities of the school. This board is made up of local church members, business men, concerned parents, and educators.

Entrance Requirements
Age Factor
All applicants must show birth certificates as proof of age during the application procedure and will be placed in the appropriate grade level.
Grade placement will be based on:
1.    Chronological age
2.    Emotional, physical and social development
3.    Scholastic achievement as evidenced by: standardized test scores, teacher observations, teacher evaluation of academic progress, student records and cumulative files
First Grade applicants must show proof that they are or will become age 6 by September 1 of the First Grade school year.
All other students must show proof of age and completion of class work for grades leading up to the grade for which they are applying.

Admission Procedures
The following steps must be completed for admittance to the Texarkana Seventh-day Adventist School.
1. Complete both sides of all forms in the application packet and return them to the school office. These forms will include:
    a. Application for Admission to SDA Schools
    b. Consent to Treatment and Health Insurance Information
    c. Medical Evaluation Record of Students with DOCTOR'S SIGNATURE.
    d. Student Transportation/Pick-up List stating who can pick the child up.
    e. Record Release request which will be sent to the student's previous school.
2. The following forms must be delivered to the school office:
    a. Birth Certificate
    b. Immunization Records
3. Both the student and parents should complete an interview with the school principal and classroom teacher.
4. The student may also be required to take placement tests at the discretion of the teacher or principal.
5. The applicant must provide adequate character references listing family, friends, former teachers, clergy etc. who can be contacted at the discretion of the principal and school board.
6. The student's application information will be submitted to the School Board for approval.
7. The school board will review the material and notify the applicant of his/her acceptance or rejection. The school board reserves the right to refuse to admit any child whenever it deems such action necessary for the welfare of the child or of the school.
    a. All students who are accepted are on probationary status for 30 days.
    b. Any serious social, physical, or civic problems concealed from the school staff at the time of registration may be cause for dismissal.
8. NO CHILD may begin classes at Texarkana SDA School until this process is complete, ALL forms are on file in the school office, and the registration fee is paid.

Nondiscriminatory Policy
The Seventh-day Adventist Church and all of its church schools admit students of any race to all rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at its schools. We make no discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnic background, country of origin, religion or gender in the administration of educational policies, applications for admission, or extracurricular programs.

Right of Refusal of Admittance
While the school board and administration adhere to the above policy of non-discrimination based on the stated criteria, it is important to our school to maintain a culture of positive Christian influence and high academic standards for our students. For this reason the board reserves the right to refuse admittance to any student whose academic or attendance records, test scores, interviews, references etc. do not show that they meet the standards our school strives to maintain.
The school board also recognizes that our school staff and facilities may not be able to address the special needs of every student. If at any time our staff or school board does not feel that we can provide adequate services to meet the needs of a student, that student may be refused admittance and/or referred to another school which would be better able to meet their needs.

Attendance

School Hours
Regular school hours are from 8:00 am to 3:00 pm, Monday through Thursday, and 8:00am to 2:00 pm on Fridays. On occasional early dismissal days, i.e. before Christmas vacation, the dismissal time for classes will be 12:00 noon. Students are expected to have prompt and regular attendance.

Pick-up and Drop-off times
Supervision for students is available for ½ hour before the school day begins and ½ hour after the school day ends. This allows for students to be dropped off as early as 7:30 am.
Students must be picked up no later than 3:30 pm on Monday through Thursday, 2:30 pm on Friday, or 12:30 pm on early dismissal days. If a parent expects to be late, they should phone the school as early as possible so that arrangements can be made for the care of their child.
Any student who is dropped off earlier or picked up late may be assessed a fee for services at the discretion of the staff member who is supervising them.

Snow Days or School Delays
The Texarkana SDA School generally follows the Texarkana Public School System schedule for snow days or school delays. Parents should always use their best judgment for the safety of themselves and their child regarding travel conditions.

Tardiness
In order to teach our students responsibility and positive work ethics, it is very important that parents and students respect school hours. When students are late for school, they miss out on important instructional time and disrupt the day for the rest of the class.
Students will be marked tardy if they arrive after 8:00 am. In order for a tardy to be excused, a written excuse must be presented to the teacher when the child enters the classroom on the day of the tardy.

Absence
Absences will be recorded on the basis of ½ and full days. A ½ day absence will be recorded any time a student misses between 2 and 4 hours of school. A full day absence will be recorded for missing 4 or more hours of the school day.
Absences may be excused or un-excused. Both types of absences will remain on the student's record. If a student misses 10% of classes, their records will be reviewed by the school board in conjunction with state law.
A written notice of excuse must be given to the teacher on the day of the student's return to school. A note from the parent will be accepted for 1 or 2 days absences, but if a child is absent for more than 2 days due to illness, a note from a doctor will be required. Absences will be excused for:
    •    Verified illness of the student
    •    Medical, Dental, or Optometrist appointments
    •    Bereavement
If a student must be absent for any other reason, such as travel, written notification should be given to the teacher as early as possible. The teacher will make arrangements with the family as necessary.

Missed Work
A student will be required to make up missed work from excused tardiness or absences at the teacher's discretion. An un-excused absence may result in the child receiving zeros for any missed work.

Dress Code
It is important for students’ self-esteem that they look and feel their best for each school day. Studies have shown that when students are well fed and well-dressed, their performance improves. Our dress code upholds these ideals as well as those of Christian modesty and cleanliness.
Pants and Shorts: Blue denim jeans, capris, and shorts may be worn; they must meet the following standards.
1.    They must be in good repair with no holes, rips, or tears.
2.    Shorts must be of modest length.
3.    They must fit at the waist. No “hip-huggers” or low-rise waist lines that reveal undergarments or personal areas.
Shirts: Polo style shirts in any solid color may be worn. Writing and logos should be minimal.
Skirts and Jumpers: Girls may wear skirts or jumpers that are of modest length. Tights or shorts must be worn underneath for modesty.
Jackets and Sweaters: Outer wear must have no inappropriate wording, logos, or advertisements.
Shoes are to be worn at all times.
1.    All shoes must have a closed toe and closed heel.
2.    No high-heeled shoes are permitted.
3.    Socks or stockings are required.

Other
    •    There is to be no make-up, fingernail polish, hats, or body art worn at school.
    •    No jewelry should be worn at school
    •    Hair is to be kept clean, neat, and natural colored.
    •    No extremes in hairstyles or fashions will be allowed.
The principal will have final say on the acceptability of any item of clothing, and the definition of the term "modest' within the dress code. Dress code violations will be treated as a minor offense.

    Performance Uniform
Each child is required to purchase the following uniform pieces for performances This will be the uniform required for performances as specified by the staff.
Boys: Black pants and white, button-up, collared shirt.
Girls: Black skirt and white blouse with collar.

Student Conduct
School Rules
It is our continued goal at Texarkana Seventh-day Adventist School to provide a safe, Christ-centered environment for our students. Students, parents, and guardians will be expected to demonstrate self-discipline and show courtesy and respect to the faculty, staff, administration, and fellow students. Our basic rules are:
1. Words and Deeds Should Honor God.
This includes such things as being reverent in worship services, appropriate actions during class instruction, and behaving in ways that are in keeping with Christian standards. There is to be no use of profanity, swearing, or taking of the Lord's name in vain.
2. We Must Show Respect for Others as God's Children.
Violence of any sort will not be tolerated. There is to be no malicious name calling or teasing. The property of the school and others is to be treated with respect and care. Teachers should be held in high esteem and treated with respect by both parents and students.
3. We Must Show Respect for Ourselves as Children of the King.
Students should show due respect for themselves as children of the King by taking proper care of their bodies, dressing appropriately, being prompt in attendance and completion of work, and putting forth their best efforts.
When observed fully, these rules provide the guidelines for determining whether behavior is appropriate.

Additional School Rules
The use or possession of alcohol, tobacco or drugs, gambling, indiscriminate association of sexes, dishonesty, profanity, and theft are all in direct opposition of the principles of the school and will not be tolerated. (Please see Medications policy for prescription drugs.)
Items not permitted at school include:
    1. Audio or video equipment (i.e. radio, cell phones, laptops, iPads, mp3 players, etc.)
    2. Electronic games
    3. Chewing gum
    4. Any other items such as toys, books, magazines, etc. that the teacher determines to be a distraction to students or inappropriate in content.
    5. Pets (unless prior permission is granted by the principal.)
    6. Weapons of any type, or objects that may be used as a weapon that are not necessary for completion of school work.
    7. Items such as lunch boxes, backpacks etc. with inappropriate logos or advertising.
Any such items brought to school will be confiscated by the teacher and must be picked up by a parent or guardian. Unclaimed items will be disposed of after 7 days

Random drug/alcohol testing may be implemented at the discretion of the school board if substance abuse is suspected. If test results come back positive, the charges for the testing will be the responsibility of the parent. However, if the testing comes back negative, the school will be responsible to pay for the test.

Playground and Gymnasium Safety
1. Children are not allowed on the playground without direct adult supervision.
2. Swings, slides, etc. should be used in the manner intended. For example, there shall be no standing on swings or slides.
3. There is to be no rough play involving kicking or hitting actions.
4. There is to be no violent play involving discussion or pretense of guns or other weapons.
5. Good sportsmanship and sharing should always be practiced in these areas.

Homework
It is our desire that the important work of school not interfere with the important work of the family. We do ask the students to do a few things as homework:
✓    Each student is expected to read for at least 20 minutes each day at home.
✓    They will be asked to do some review of information which shouldn't take more than 10-15 minutes.
✓    If students do not use school time wisely, they may need to finish some assignments.
If your child is regularly spending more than 30-45 minutes on homework, please speak with the teacher.

Medication
Where possible, please give students medication before or after school. If there is a need for students to take medication while at school, be it prescription or over-the-counter, parents must bring all medication to the teacher personally. Students shall not have any type of medication in their possession at any time. Parents should give written permission to the teacher to administer the medication (there is a form to fill out). It is important that the following criteria be followed:
1. Medication prescribed by a physician should be in its original container.
2. The label must specify:
    a. The student for whom the medicine is prescribed.
    b. Name and address of pharmacy or pharmacist.
    c. Name and address of prescribing physician.
    d. Dosage and full instructions outlining the method and time for administering the medication.     
3. Over-the-counter items should be clearly labeled. (This includes cough drops and aspirin)

Illness and Control of Infection
If your child comes down with a childhood or communicable illness, please notify your child's teacher as soon as possible. Then, follow your doctor's advice for keeping your child at home until he/she is no longer contagious. This will help keep the sharing of illness to a minimum in our school. If your child displays symptoms of any communicable illnesses or if he/she is running a fever over 99.6, please keep them home from school. Your child should be fever-free for 24 hours before they return to school.

Lunches
Health and physical fitness are important to every other aspect of child development. An important aim of the school is to help each student understand more about his or her body, and to provide the opportunity to practice good health habits that will last a life time. With increasing trends in childhood obesity and risk for diabetes, we ask that parents carefully prepare lunches for their children that will develop a taste for a nutritious diet. Lunches should not include soda or unclean meats. We also prefer that parents limit sugary items and desserts to one per day.

Telephone Use
The school telephone is for school business only. Parents are asked not to call the teacher or students during school hours except in cases of emergency. Students will not be permitted to use the phone during the day except in case of emergency.

Unwritten Rules
Rules which the teacher develops to meet changing conditions and needs shall have the same force as those outlined in the handbook. Responsibility for interpretation and application of all regulations shall rest with the teacher. Any issues not covered in the handbook will be addressed by the school board as they arise.

Internet & Computer Acceptable Use Policy

Discipline
Basic Guidelines
The goal of our discipline procedures at the Texarkana SDA School is to help students become productive citizens by managing their own behavior and exhibiting Christian character traits. Consequences will be administered when necessary to protect students, school property, school employees, or to maintain a Christian environment and order for teaching and learning activities. We make every effort to insure that students will be treated fairly and equitably.
Discipline shall be based on a careful assessment of the circumstances of each case. Some factors to be considered will include:
    a. Seriousness of the offense
    b. Student age
    c. Frequency of misconduct
    d. Student attitude
    e. Potential effect of the misconduct on other students and the school environment.

Minor Offenses
The general steps for disciplinary actions involving Minor Offenses will be:
Step 1: A warning given
Step 2: A directed consequence given. (See Directed Consequences on following page)
Step 3: A written notice sent home for parent/guardian signature which must be returned to school before the student returns to class.
Step 4: Teacher will hold a conference with the parent/guardian and a behavior contract will be developed.
Step 5: Parents will be called to remove the child from class for the remainder of the day and will be required to meet with the principal and/or teacher before the child returns to class. A short-term suspension may be necessary.
Step 6: Student and parents will be required to attend a hearing of the discipline committee or school board in order to determine further action.

Directed Consequences
Although we believe that it is best to allow students to learn from the natural consequences of their mistakes, from time to time it is necessary to direct the student to a course of action which will help them to realize the error of their ways and to refocus their attention on acceptable behavior. Some examples of directed consequences include: time out, separation from the group, restriction of privileges, loss of recess, etc. Directed consequences will not include: yelling or screaming at the child, corporal punishment, withholding bathroom privileges or food, nor any other action which would endanger the child's safety.

Major and Repeated Offenses
These include but are not limited to behaviors such as cheating, fighting, bullying, lying, blatant disrespect, overt use of inappropriate language, or possession of any potentially harmful or dangerous substance. The teacher and/or principal shall determine the severity of these offenses. Immediate suspension may be enforced and the student may not be allowed to return to class without approval from the discipline committee or school board.

Suspension
Suspension may be immediately administered by the principal when he/she feels that a particular offense warrants such immediate action. This suspension will last until the student and parents have had an opportunity to meet with the discipline committee or school board. This period of time is to last no more than one week from the time of the offense. At that time, the discipline committee or school board may determine to allow the child to return to classes on a probationary basis, extend the suspension until further action can be pursued, or they may choose to expel the student.

Expulsion
Only the school board or discipline committee may determine expulsion. Once a student has been expelled, his/her guardian must remove his/her belongings from the class room within one week of the expulsion date, and the child is not to return to the school.

Positive Reinforcements
It is our belief that children should be taught to behave appropriately because it is the right thing to do, not to avoid punishment or to receive a reward. However, we also believe that it is appropriate to recognize and encourage students for their successes. Therefore, from time to time, the students will be given positive reinforcements. These may include free time, a positive call to parents, pencils, erasers, bookmarks, etc.

Miscellaneous Information
Insurance
The school carries accident insurance for all its students under a group rate policy. There can be no exceptions under this group policy.

Child Injury Proceedings
Every parent or guardian must sign a Consent to Treatment document when registering the child. It is important that the following information be easily accessible:
1. Name of parents, guardians, or other contact persons.
2. Both home, work, and cell phone numbers for these individuals.
3. Names of the parent's or guardian's preferred doctor(s) and treatment facilities.
4. Any unusual conditions or medications the child is allergic to.
If an injury occurs, the teacher or a staff member will assess the injury. If the injury is minor it will be treated with water, soap, and a band-aide if necessary, and the parent will be informed of the injury.
If there is evidence that the injury has caused a broken or dislocated bone, an abrasion requiring stitches, etc. the teacher will determine whether an ambulance is necessary and the child will be taken for treatment. In these cases the parent will be contacted immediately.
If the child needs quick professional medical care, an ambulance will be called without waiting permission from the parent or guardian. The parent or guardian will be notified of where the child will be treated as soon as possible after the ambulance has been called.
If the child is able to ride in a personal vehicle for treatment, the parent or guardian will be called to transport the child.

Change of Address or Telephone Number
In order to maintain adequate communication between the home and school, the administration must have up-to-date information. If a family moves during the school year or has a change of telephone number, parents should provide the school with the new address or phone number immediately.

Lost and Found Items
The school cannot be responsible for articles lost or stolen on the school premises. Students should not leave clothing at school. Clothing should be marked with the student's name for identification purposes. Items not claimed at the close of the school year may be given to Community Services.

Parent/Teacher Conferences
An open line of communication between parents and teachers is essential for the education and development of each child. Regular parent-teacher conferences are scheduled after the first and third grading periods to review each student's progress.
However, much more frequent communication is strongly encouraged in order to foster the family environment that we long to provide. For this reason our staff is available for conferences on request. In order to maximize the benefits of these conferences, we insist that they be scheduled outside of regular classroom time so that regular student instruction is not interrupted.
Parents/Guardians are invited to visit the classroom to observe when possible. Visits should be scheduled at least 24 hours in advance in order to insure the maximum benefit for everyone involved.

In case of conflict
If you have a grievance, please follow the guidance in Matthew 18:15. "If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him - work it out between the two of you.  If he listens, you've made a friend.  If he won't listen, take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest, and try again. "  The Message

It is hoped that issues that cause conflict can be resolved at the earliest time and at the lowest level.  Parents, students, and teachers are encouraged to discuss and attempt to resolve differences as soon as they are identified as such, and before they grow larger and become an obstacle to Christian interpersonal relationships. For this reason, the Texarkana Seventh-day Adventist School follows the Arkansas-Louisiana Conference K-12 Complaint Procedure for Students, Parents, and School Board Members.
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