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Parent Handbook

John Swett

John Swett Elementary School is located in a beautiful wooded setting in the Alhambra Valley of Martinez.  Built in 1961, the school has recently celebrated our 50th anniversary. The school houses approximately 540 Transitional Kindergarten through Fifth grade students. The staff is comprised of regular education teachers, one CEC teacher, a Resource pecialist, PE specialist and Music specialist.  Support staff includes a Psychologist, Speech and Language Pathalogist and a district nurse who are shared with other school sites in the district.

Mission/Vision

"The John Swett community will provide a solid foundation that fosters rigor, relevance, socialization and self-reliance in a changing world"

Student Supervision

School supervision begins fifteen minutes prior to any of the school’s starting times.  It is important that students not arrive prior to the time at which supervision is available.  For those students who walk or ride their bikes to school, arriving before 8 a.m. means they may need to cross at the intersection of Alhambra Avenue and Alhambra Valley Road before the arrival of the crossing guard.

School provided supervision ends fifteen minutes after dismissal time.  You are encouraged to pick up your students promptly or

have arrangements made for on time pickup.  There will be no school provided supervision aside from the fifteen minutes before and after school.  Parent cooperation in this matter will help reduce safety problems that exist when students are not supervised.

Although traffic backs up during pick-up time, please do not have your children wait for you off school grounds.  We cannot provide supervision and this can lead to an unsafe situation.

Traffic Safety - Drop-Off and Pick-Up

As you know, drop-off and pick-up can be very busy at school, especially the first few days. We are asking families to carpool and park away from the school as much as possible.

The drop-off area in front of the office is used for drop-off only.  NO parking is allowed in the drop-off area. Traffic moves into drop-off by way of Gilbert Lane.

Remember that the parking lot area next to Kindergarten is not part of the drop off area.  It is very dangerous to have children walking into this area between the staff cars to the sidewalk. Also, please do not send your child from the parking area, across the crosswalk in front of the office, unaccompanied by you.  If you are parking your car, you must get out and walk your child across.  Please only use the crosswalk to come from the parking lot to the school.

 

Please be prepared for delays and make plans accordingly. Thank you for your continued effort to keep our students safe.

 

Dogs and Other Animals

Lice

Lice are not strangers to school campuses.  Although lice do not carry disease, they are tenacious, bothersome, and easily spread from one person to another.  Help your children to avoid coming in contact with lice by encouraging them not to share combs, hats, hair ribbons or other personal items. 

If lice are found on a student, parents are notified and the child is sent home with information regarding treatment. Siblings are also checked, and if two or more students from one class have lice, all families in class are notified. (Ed. Code 48213)

 

Birthday Celebrations

Cake, cupcakes or food of any kind for student birthday's are NOT allowed in class. Balloons of any kind are NOT allowed in class either. If you wish to celebrate your child's birthday at school, please talk with the teacher about acceptable ideas. (purchase a book for class, pencils, etc.)

Cell Phones

Although students are not encouraged to bring cell phones to school due to the possibility of loss, theft or damage, we understand that many families want their children to have a cell phone to contact parents before or after school hours. 

Therefore, if a student chooses to bring a cell phone to school, it must be turned "OFF" during the school day and placed where it will not be accessed during the instructional day -- in a backpack, jacket, etc.  It should not be visible to other students or staff during the day.  If a student does not follow these rules and 1) uses the cell phone, or 2) the cell phone rings, or 3) the cell phone is visible to other staff or students during the instructional day, it will be confiscated and turned in to the office.  Parents will be contacted to come to school and pick up the phone at their convenience.

We believe that this policy allows families the flexibility to use cell phones as needed, but will also protect the school day for teaching and learning.  Thank you for your cooperation and understanding in this matter.

Disease Notice

Crossing Guard

A crossing guard is provided by Martinez Unified School District at the intersection of Alhambra Avenue and Alhambra Valley Road from 7:45–8:15 a.m. and again from 2:15-2:45 p.m.

School Lunch Program

The Martinez Unified School District participates in the Federal School Lunch Program.    The price for a tray is $2.25 for students and $3.25 for adults.  Milk and A la Carte items are available for $.50.  All prices are subject to change.

The lunch program is operated on a daily cash basis.  Parents or students may purchase lunches in advance in the school office. You may purchase any number of lunches in advance.  The cafeteria will keep track of lunches used with a computer system. Checks may be made payable to MUSD.  There is less chance for money being lost if you purchase advanced lunches.  Money is not kept in the office so we are unable to change bills for pupils and each student is responsible for his or her own money.

PTA

The Parent Teacher Association, PTA, serves as an advocate for school age children.  The John Swett Parent Teacher Association provides support services for staff and students at school.  PTA fundraisers have provided money for many projects including the rock wall and our lots of new technology across campus. PTA also sponsors exciting enrichment classes for our students.

School Site Council

The School Site Council is an elected group of five parents and five staff representatives.  The Council is responsible for assisting the development, review, and implementation of the School Improvement Plan and budget.  Council meetings are held five times throughout the year, the schedule can be found on the SSC website.

 

Parents and Visitors on Campus

Parents are welcome and encouraged to visit their child’s classroom with prior approval of the teacher. But please remember that state law requires all visitors to check into the office.  You must complete the sign in procedure, at which time you will receive a “visitor” badge.  You must wear your badge while on campus.

This visitor policy has been initiated in an effort to make our school more secure.  Any time you are on campus during school hours, 8:15 a.m. to 2:45 p.m., please follow the above practices.  If a parent is not wearing a visitor’s pass, any teacher will ask them to return to the office. We cannot include children not enrolled in our school for visitation.

The success of this effort and the safety of our children depend on the consistent cooperation of all.

Clothing

Please remember to use good judgment when choosing appropriate cloths for your child to wear to school. Students' clothing should be safe for themselves and for the children around them. Therefore, the following guidelines should be considered:

  • Casual, loose clothing that allows children to move and play comfortably is recommended.
  • Shoes should be safe and appropriate for recess and PE. Close-toed shoes are best for school and are required for "PE days." Flip-flops, shoes without a heel strap, boots, "wheelies," dress shoes or shoes with high heels are not safe.
  • Beach attire, such as halter tops, bare midriffs, strapless shirts or dresses, spaghetti strap shirts or dresses, see-through clothing, off-the-shoulder blouses and short skirts/shorts are not appropriate for school.
  • In hot weather, students may wear shorts that are at least mid-thigh in length. Remember, however, that long pants protect knees better than shorts do! Pants and shorts must be worn at the waistline and must not expose undergarments.
  • Clothing which displays vulgar language or symbols or promotes drugs, alcohol or other inappropriate or illegal messages are not permitted.
  • Bracelets and other dangling jewelry can tangle in play equipment and cause injury.

Before your child walks out the door, please make sure he/she is wearing appropriate clothing for an elementary school. Students may be sent home to change clothing if their attire is inappropriate or disruptive to the educational setting.

Student Behavior Expectations

John Swett Elementary School has high expectations for all students.  We strive to provide each student with the maximum opportunity to acquire a quality education.  No student has the right to interfere with this opportunity by his/her actions, poor manners, or lack of consideration.  All rules and regulations are developed and enforced with this thought in mind.  All students are expected to follow school and classroom rules.  School rules apply on the school grounds, going to and from school, and at any school event or field trip.

Emergency Procedures

The staff and parent community at John Swett are well prepared for emergencies.  Procedures for all types of emergencies have been developed and are practiced regularly.  All classrooms are well supplied with emergency materials. Please remember that if an emergency occurs that requires us to shelter in place, no one will be allowed in or out of school buildings.  If such an emergency occurs, parents should also shelter in place until the all-clear signal is sounded. Please understand that no student will be released to other than a parent, a legal guardian or someone authorized on the emergency card to pick him/her up.

Emergency Card

Please include current home, work, cell phone and pager numbers.  Please provide two or more names of individuals who can pick up your student at school in case of illness or injury.  Be sure that these individuals are available in your absence and live in the immediate area.  Please advise the school office if this information changes.  It is extremely important that the information be accurate and current.  Please complete both sides of the emergency card and return within the first week.

Attendance

Regular and punctual attendance is essential to a successful school experience.  When your child is absent for any reason, please call 925-335-5860 or e-mail the school office manager at (JOANN@Martinez.k12.ca.us) or send a note with your child upon his/her return to school.  When you contact the office, please provide the following information:  student name, reason for absence, date of absence and your relationship to the student.  Absences are excused for the following reasons:  illness, medical or dental appointments, participation in religious instruction or exercises in accordance with district policy, quarantine under the direction of the county or city health officer and attendance at funeral services for a member of the immediate family.  Other absences are considered unexcused.  Letters will be sent to parents of students who are experiencing attendance problems.  If attendance problems continue, a parent conference will be required.  Chronic attendance problems will result in a referral to the School Attendance Review Board (SARB) or other child welfare agencies.  All work missed during your child’s absence will be expected to be made up.  Please note that the district does not receive funding for any absences whether they are excused or not.


Tardies not only cause your child to miss instruction, but also disrupt the rest of the class.  If your child is tardy, he/she must check into the office for a tardy slip before reporting to class.  Habitual tardiness will result in letters, conferences and a referral to the School Attendance Review Board (SARB).  Punctual attendance develops lifelong habits which are critical to your child’s future success.

Independent Study

Independent study assignments and/or class assignments will be provided for absences of five or more days under the following conditions:

  • The classroom teacher must receive written notice 48 hours in advance of the absence.

  • The parent must complete a short term Independent Study Agreement.

  • All assignments must be returned to the teacher upon returning to school.

Picking Up Children During School Hours

Whenever it is necessary for your child to be picked up during school hours, it is required that parents/guardians sign their child out of school through the school office.  The secretary will then summon your child from the classroom.  If the child returns on the same day, the parent must sign the child back into school through the office with a note from the physician.

Medical and dental appointments should be scheduled after school whenever possible.  The parent or guardian must sign out children who leave school prior to the end of the school day.  Parents are encouraged to send a note to the classroom teacher indicating the time the student will be picked up from the office.  If someone other than the parent will be picking the student up, please indicate such in the note.  Without prior notification, students will not be released to anyone other than a parent or person authorized on the student’s emergency card.

Administering Medicine at School

If a physician has prescribed medication for your child that is to be taken during the school day, a form is to be completed by the doctor and parent/guardian.  The medication will be kept in the school office.  Please read the following policy carefully as medication will not be administered to children at school unless all conditions are met.

California Education Code Section 49423 provides that any student who is required to take during the regular school day, prescribed or over-the-counter medication, medical test, or treatment may be assisted by school personnel.  Before a student receives assistance with the administration of prescription or over-the-counter medication, medical monitoring or medical test the Martinez Unified School District’s policy requires: (1) A written statement from a parent or guardian that requests and authorizes the district to assist the student with the administration of medication, medical test or treatment; (2) For prescription medication, medical test or treatment, a written statement from a physician that specifies the dosage, name of the prescribing physician, method of administration and the time schedule for the administration of the medication, and (3) for over-the-counter medication, a written statement from the parent or guardian that specifies the dosage, method of administration and time schedule for the administration of the medication.

Prescription medication, medical test or treatment containers must be labeled by a licensed California pharmacist.  The label must indicate the student’s name, name of the prescribing physician, time of administration, the circumstance in which the medication is to be administered, dosage, expiration date and the name and telephone of the pharmacy.  Over-the-counter medications shall be provided to school personnel in the original container and packaging.  The parent or guardian should personally deliver medication, medication utensils, and medical test or treatment equipment or supplies to school or send the medication, utensils, equipment or supplies with a designated adult.

At the conclusion of the school year, a parent, guardian or designated adult should take all remaining medication home.  All medication not taken home will be disposed of.

This means:

  • All medication requires a written plan.

  • Prescription medication requires a doctor’s instruction and signature.

  • Students may not transport or carry medications, whether over-the-counter or prescription

  • Parents must take the responsibility for supplying needed medications to the school.

The prescription bottle must match the doctor’s orders.

District Nurse

The district nurse for Martinez Unified School District is responsible for conducting health screenings for the State of California.  At John Swett Elementary, those screenings include vision and hearing testing for grades kindergarten, two, three and five.  If there is a concern about the results of any screening, parents will be notified by the district nurse.  The nurse, at (925) 335-5900 extension 238, can answer any questions you may have about the screenings.

Other responsibilities of the district nurse include checking each student’s immunization requirements and making sure they are up to date.  California law states that there is no grace period for immunizations and that the immunizations need to meet the state requirements at time of registration.  Be sure to check with the district nurse or your health care provider for the most up to date list of immunizations needed for entry into school.

In addition, the district nurse will check on the requirements for the students needing physicals upon school entry.

Lost and Found

Articles of clothing, backpacks and lunch boxes, which have been found, should be taken to the Lost and Found area in the multipurpose room. All personal items should be clearly marked with the owner’s name so they can be returned. Please encourage your child to periodically check our lost and found for missing items.

Woodbridge

Woodbridge Children’s Center provides on site day care for either before school or after school needs.  Parents who find it necessary to have their children at school more than 15 minutes before the start of class or after dismissal time should make appropriate child care arrangements.  Woodbridge Children’s Center hours are 6:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.  It is also open during staff development days and long holidays.  Please contact the Director at (925) 228-7540.

AUP

Students and their parents are required to sign an Acceptable Use Policy contract before students can access a school computer.  This form is included in your registration packet.

Field Trips

Field trips can be an important part of your child’s learning experience.  To attend a field trip, a student must demonstrate acceptable behavior.  Students must also bring a signed permission slip for every field trip.  No child will be allowed to attend a field trip without a permission slip signed by his/her parent.  Parents who would like to help with driving on field trips will need to show proof of a current driver’s license, current insurance and a policy which provides $100,000-$300,000 liability, $50,000 property damage, and $5,000 medical coverage. Due to insurance reasons, the Martinez Unified School Distinct can only allow enrolled students and adults over 21 to attend field trips.  Please make other arrangements for siblings, as they cannot attend the field trips.

Sexual Harassment

(Education Code Section 48980)  Sexual Harassment is unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual favors, and other verbal, visual, or physical contact of a sexual nature made by someone from or in the work or educational setting.  School Board policy applies to the conduct of students and employees.  The policy states it is unlawful and a violation of policy for anyone who is authorized to recommend or make personnel or educational decisions affecting an employee or student to engage in sexual harassment.  Allegations of sexual harassment shall be thoroughly investigated in accordance with the district’s sexual harassment administrative regulations.  Rules and procedures for reporting charges of sexual harassment and pursuing available remedies may be obtained from the principal of each school site or the District Title IX Officer.  Any student or employee who has a sexual harassment complaint needs to report their complaint to a teacher, staff member or administrator, who shall report the complaint to the principal.  Those filing a formal, written complaint are to complete the Sexual Harassment Complaint form (Form No. 42).  Forms may be obtained from the principal’s office or the school district office at 921 Susana Street.

Tobacco, Alcohol and Drug Information

The Martinez Unified School District recognizes that the use of tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs may adversely affect a student’s ability to achieve academic success, is physically and emotionally harmful, and has serious social and legal consequences.  A  Zero Tolerance Policy for drugs and alcohol is in effect. The District policy requires schools to provide prevention instruction, intervention services, recovering student support, and enforcement/discipline procedures for K-12 students.  Enforcement/discipline procedures specify the consequences for violations relating to the pretense, possession or use of alcohol or illegal drugs.  Consequences include parent and law enforcement contact, suspension, and restriction from extracurricular school activities.  Violations of this policy may result in expulsion.

Weapons on Campus

The Zero Tolerance Program is an agreement among participating Contra Costa County schools, law enforcement agencies, the juvenile justice system, parents, and students that guns and other weapons will not be tolerated on school grounds.  The goal is to eliminate all weapons from all schools.

General School Actions:

When a student is found in possession of a weapon (as defined by the Penal Code) on school grounds, at school activities, or when coming to or going home from school, implementation of Zero Tolerance will take place.  The implementation will include the following:

  1. The school administrator or designee will immediately remove the student from school activities.

  2. The school administrator or designee will immediately notify the police and parents or guardian.

  3. The school administrator or designee will suspend the student from school and will initiate other appropriate actions as required by law, district policy, and administrative regulations.


NOTICE TO PARENTS:  Please make sure your children understand that no knives of any kind may be brought to school.  At the elementary level, this is the most common violation of the zero tolerance policy.

Birthday/Celebration Invitations

Handing out Birthday/Celebration Party invitations is not allowed at school. Please use the school directory for communication purposes.