POLK SCHOOL DISTRICT
DR. WILLIAM A. HUNTER, SUPERINTENDENT
Your child is preparing to begin the most exciting time in his/her life….their educational journey! You will be amazed at the changes and growth you will witness in your child this school year. At Polk School District Pre-K, we are thrilled to have this opportunity to work with you toward the success of your child. Pre-K is the first step in creating a love of learning in our students. Many of you find this a greater adjustment than expected as you watch your little one take that leap toward independence. Please understand, that the rules and policies that we have in place are there to help and protect all of our students. We appreciate your understanding and support in enforcing the expectations.
Georgia’s Pre-K Program was established in 1993 to provide Georgia’s four year old children with high-quality preschool experiences. The goal of every Georgia Pre-K classroom is to provide our four-year olds with the learning experiences they need to prepare for kindergarten. This unique program, funded by the Georgia Lottery for Education, is expected to serve over 72,000 children. In 2009, Georgia Pre-K welcomed the millionth child into the program! With this statewide pre-kindergarten program, Georgia reaches a higher proportion of four year old children than any other state in the nation. Georgia’s Pre-K Program is successfully preparing children for school by providing an opportunity for them to develop school readiness skills in an environment that encourages them to have fun while learning. An evaluation by Georgia State University found that children who attended pre-kindergarten had higher academic and social ratings by their kindergarten teachers and better kindergarten attendance than children who did not attend preschool programs. Participation in a high quality preschool program also helps children develop social and pre-academic skills that will help them succeed in kindergarten and throughout their educational experiences.
The most effective method of ensuring success for your child is to become a vital member of the educational team. Feel free to visit our program and/or volunteer in your child’s classroom. We will also offer opportunities for parent conferences and programs. Being an active participant in the Pre-K experience will be a priceless experience for you.
Once again, we are thrilled to have this time to work with you and your family. We look forward to a wonderful year full of milestones and memories!
The mission of Polk School District Pre-Kindergarten program is to provide a nurturing learning environment where all students can achieve success.
Free to all students
Children and parents should not enter the building before 7:20. Please see your teacher’s online classroom page.
For safety reasons, please enter building through the main office entrance and obtain a Pre-K visitor’s pass. Please sign your child in and out in the office when necessary. All exterior school doors will be locked after 8:00 am. If you arrive after 8:00 am for any reason you must enter through the main entrance.
What Students Should Wear
Please dress children in play clothes and sneakers or other closed-toe shoes. A lot of movement takes place in Pre-K and shoes are vital to success. Girls should wear shorts or bloomers under their dresses. Children should never wear shoes with wheels or rollers.
Students should bring a towel to be used during nap time. Your child’s teacher will give you specific instructions about how often to send in a clean towel to be kept at school for the week.
It is important for your child to always have a change of clothing available in the event of an accident. Please be sure to label all clothing, jackets, towels etc. sent to school.
Our program is governed by the Georgia Bright from the Start Pre-K.
- To enroll-complete application and provide certified birth certificate, social security number, and immunization record.
- A waiting list will be established when enrollment reaches 22 students.
- Immunization record (Form 3231) and Eye, Ear, Dental, and Nutrition screenings (Form 3300) must be provided within the first (30) thirty days of school or child will be removed from the program.
- Attendance regulations require that students attend regularly, be on time, and stay for the entire day. A child who is frequently absent, tardy, or leaves early may be removed from our program to make room for a child on the waiting list. Call the office before 9:00 am if your child is absent. (Remember that attendance plays a huge part in securing your child’s position in the Pre-K program. Excessive absences will be grounds for withdrawal from the program.)
- School Hours are 7:55 – 2:45. Children who arrive after 8:00 are considered tardy and must be signed in by you in the office. A reason must be given. Have your child here on time. Please do not ask your child’s teacher to excuse you from signing your tardy child in or to make similar concessions for you. This makes the teacher uncomfortable. Remember, there are 22 others in the classroom. Pickup begins at 2:45. Please have your child picked no later than 3:00! Please do not pick your child up before 2:45 without good reason, as it will be documented that he or she has not attended an entire school day. Early pick up to avoid traffic glow is not a good reason. Expect arrival and departure time to improve as the children and parents learn the routine. At first this will seem to move quite slowly. We are patient. We need for you to also be patient.
- Children are not to be dropped off in the parking lot unattended! Please do not ask your child’s teacher to make an exception to the rule. Pick-up children at the same designated Pre-K area in which your child was delivered. All drop-offs and pick-ups during school hours must go through the main office entrance where you will sign in and obtain a visitors pass. After 8:00 am all entrance doors will be locked. After 8:00 am please enter through the main office entrance.
- Drop off and pick up procedures will be explained by your classroom teacher.
- Pre-K will follow the Polk School District calendar that is included in this handbook.
- Breakfast and lunch are served daily. All students in Polk School District eat free.
- If you choose to send your child’s lunch, please send healthy food. A sandwich and fruit are good choices. Please avoid junk food. We have several children with severe peanut allergies. We provide peanut-free lunches and snacks. If your child has a specific allergy, please notify their teacher.
- Our curriculum is rich and varied to promote an active learning environment. Children will participate in large and small group activities. These activities are designed to stimulate children and instill in them a love for learning. Since we are a readiness program, academics, movement, and other activities that develop the total child are appropriate. We strive to prepare children in all areas. Your child’s teacher will be in contact with you on a weekly basis. Please reinforce skills at home with your child. Social development-getting along with others and learning to work cooperatively, is just as important as academic development. More adults have trouble getting and keeping jobs because of the way they behave than because of their ability to do the job. These are skills that should be learned during childhood that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. The Learning Goals include:
Social and Emotional Development
- In order to keep a safe and enriching learning environment, we expect children to behave well and cooperate. In the event that a child needs to be corrected, this will be done in a consistent, appropriate manner. Time-out is the form of discipline we use. Children will be seated in a chair no longer than one minute per year of age. We will be firm and patient with children as we help to adjust to a group environment. If poor behavior persists, the parent may be notified to pick up the child and/or meet with the teacher to form a plan for helping the child improve. We will not allow a child to hurt others. Children who pose a threat to others or have extreme discipline problems, which interrupt the learning process, will be removed from the program. Parents, please discuss with your child the importance of being good to others and learning to get along.
- We have a wonderful playground. Children will play outside everyday unless weather forbids outside activities. Children will need to dress appropriately for weather conditions and for active play. Children need to wear shoes designed for activity. Shoes will rollers/wheels are not to be worn to Pre-K.
- Dress children appropriately for an active day. Expect them to come home dirty. Painting, cooking, outside play, gardening, exploring, and even eating can be a bit messy. Play clothes are a good choice. Girls should always wear shorts/bloomers under their dresses.
- Do not send your child to school if he or she is sick. This affects everyone. Please keep your child at home if:
- Child has a temperature of 100 degrees or more
- Child has had a 100 degree fever in the last 24 hours
- Child has had diarrhea or vomiting in last 24 hours
- Child has contagious conditions of any kind (inform staff of this so we may inform other parents.) Some conditions may require a note from the doctor before the child may return to school.
Please inform the teacher if your child has a condition that will affect school experience. Prescription Medicines must be sent in original containers with measuring devices and instructions for dosage. Medication forms must be completed. Medicine will be kept locked in a cabinet, and will be administered by the school nurse.We can’t stress the importance of communication when it comes to children’s health. If your child has specific medical needs, please discuss these both verbally and in writing with the teacher.
- Send your child a change of clothing to keep at the school. Label clothes with child’s name.
- Children are will supervised and every precaution will be made to avoid accidents and injuries. First aid will be administered when needed. Staff members with First Aid/CPR certification are on duty during the day. A school nurse is available. In the event of a critical emergency, we need to be able to contact you at all times. It is absolutely necessary that your child’s teacher be able to contact you in the event your child is ill or injured. Please be sure that we have current phone numbers at all time!
- A positive attitude makes the difference in learning. Please model a positive attitude and be a partner with your child to succeed in school.
- We encourage all 4-year olds to be fully potty trained. We understand that young children are still developing bathroom habits and they may have accidents periodically. We try to keep accidents to a minimum by taking children to the restroom at specific times. We ask that parents be sure their child uses the bathroom before arriving at school. If accidents are chronic, a parent will be called to come and assist pre-k staff and to formulate a plan of support to help with toiletry skills. If the accident requires further clean up and/or bath, a parent or guardian will be called to take the child home. Students may return to school after being bathed and changed into clean clothes.
- Attendance procedures
Pre-K Procedures for Chronic Absenteeism or Tardiness
Polk School District has established a Truancy Intervention Program with community partners from the various agencies in Polk County. The mission of the team is to review the records of students who have been referred due to excessive absenteeism for the purpose of identifying and removing barriers that may be prohibiting school attendance.
Students may be referred to this team by schools, parents, or social agencies. After a review of the situation, a contract is developed with the students and parents to improve and/or correct excessive absenteeism. Failure to comply with the terms of the contract could lead to a court hearing and possible incarceration or removal of the child from the home by the appropriate agency.
The overall objective of the team is to increase the high school graduation rate in Polk County. By addressing poor school attendance, the team will reduce the numbers of:
- School dropouts
- Pregnant youth
- Youth who are economically disadvantaged
- Youth who are at risk to commit violent or delinquent acts
- Youth who are at risk of experiencing mental health problems
- Youth who attempt to harm themselves or who attempt suicide
- Youth who are at risk of repeated failure in school
The Truancy Intervention Program meets with parents and students on a monthly basis. Parents and students are notified by letter of the date, time and location of the meeting. School personnel are available to answer any questions and to assist the parents and students in reaching a resolution to correct the problem of truancy. Parents who need assistance from the Truancy Intervention Program should contact Greg Teems at 612 South College Street; phone # (770) 748-3821.
Polk School District emphasizes the value of regular attendance in enabling students to benefit from the school program.
Georgia law requires all children to attend school on a daily basis from their sixth (6th) birthday through their sixteenth (16th) birthday. It is the responsibility of each student as well as each parent or guardian of children in Georgia to fulfill this requirement.
More important, however, is the effect of regular and punctual attendance on the student’s scholastic achievement. Not only is each day’s lesson important to the individual student, but his/her presence as a class participant contributes to the education of others. Frequent absences and tardies for any reason are almost certain to affect adversely a student’s work at school. Each student is expected to be in school every day except when illness, injury, or some providential condition beyond his/her control prevents attendance.
In order for a student to attain perfect attendance, he/she must be counted present each day.
In order to receive maximum benefit from the instructional activities, students are expected to be in school each day unless excused for legitimate reasons. Good attendance habits positively impact the learning process and carry over into the world of work. It is the position of the Polk School District Board of Education that every day at school is important and that no student should be absent except for extraordinary reasons.
In accordance with Georgia Board of Education Rule 160-5-1.10, students may be temporarily excused from school who are:
1). Personally ill and whose attendance in school would endanger their health or the health of others;
2). In whose immediate family there is a serious illness or death which would reasonably necessitate absence from school;
3). On special and recognized religious holidays observed by their faith;
4). Serving as Pages of the General Assembly during the school year (Pages shall be credited as present as if on a field trip by the school in which enrolled-OCGA 20-2-692);
5). Registering to vote or voting for a period not to exceed one day;
6). When conditions render school attendance impossible or hazardous to the student’s health or safety; or
7). Mandated by order of governmental agencies, including pre-induction physical examinations for service in the armed forces and court orders.
8). Visiting a parent for up to 5 days who is on military leave or is being deployed to a combat zone.
Any absences, which are not permitted under the Compulsory School Attendance Law and by policies and regulations of the Polk School District Board of Education will be considered unlawful (unexcused).
Very Important-Please Review Carefully!!!
Georgia’s Compulsory School Attendance Law 20-2-690 states that more than five (5) unexcused absences constitute truancy. The law also states that possible consequences for parent(s)/guardian(s) of student’s whose unexcused absences exceed five (5) days may be:
- At least a $25 and not more than a $100 fine;
- Up to 30 days of jail time;
- Community service; or
- any combination of these penalties
The school will make a reasonable attempt to contact the family each day a student is absent.
The school will accept excuses from parents/guardians for ten (10) total days of absences per year and will use the Georgia Board of Education Rules above to determine whether the absence is excused or unexcused.
A parent can write an excuse for ten (10) total days per year, but after ten (10) total days, a medical excuse will be required from a doctor or other qualified medical practitioner. High school students on the semester system will be allowed five (5) excused absences each semester, for a total of ten (10) for the academic year.
At three (3) unexcused absences, the school will mail a notice to the family, requesting that a family member schedule a meeting with school staff to resolve the absence status of the student.
If the student reaches five (5) unexcused absences, the family will receive a letter by certified mail, return receipt requested, with official notification that any further unexcused absences will result in charges being filed as required by state law and local protocols.
Truancy Intervention meetings will be held with parents and students when they reach the 5th unexcused absence. The meeting will be for the purpose of intervening and helping the parents find solutions to the problem of truancy in their family.
Certain unexcused educational absences may be permitted without the make-up work penalty, provided arrangements are made with the local school administration prior to the absence.
Family vacations are not excused absences in accordance with state of Georgia Board of Education rules.
If a student wishes to obtain an employment certificate (worker’s permit), the student must obtain a letter from the school principal indicating that he/she is enrolled in school full-time and has an attendance record in good standing for the academic year.
If a driver is younger than 18 years of age, a driver’s permit or license can only be received if the student is enrolled in and not under suspension from school and has satisfied relevant attendance requirements for a period of one academic year prior to application.
If a student has more than ten school days of unexcused absences (cumulative) in any academic year, the school system will submit a Certificate of Non-Compliance to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and the student’s license will be revoked by the DMV.
If a student drops out of school without graduating and has remained out of school for ten consecutive days, the school system will submit a Certificate of Non-Compliance to the Department of Motor Vehicles and the student’s license will be revoked by the DMV.
All students 10 years and older by September 1 and all parents will be asked to sign an Acknowledgement Form from this handbook, verifying that they have been given access to a copy of, and are aware of these attendance procedures.
If you have questions about the attendance procedures, contact one of your local building administrators, your child’s classroom teacher, or Greg Teems at the Polk School District Central Office at 770-748-3821.
Truancy: More than 5 unexcused absences from school without a valid written excuse.
Tardy-to-class: Arrival at a classroom after the tardy bell at his/her school.
Tardy-to-school: Arrival to homeroom in the morning after the tardy bell.
Early-check-out: Signing of a student out of school before the end of the school day by a parent or designated individual.
Exception-for-suspension: School days missed as a result of an out-of-school suspension shall not count as
unexcused days for the purpose of determining student truancy.
A.The following procedures will apply when the limit of unexcused absences has been exceeded.
1. A warrant will be taken through the Magistrate Court against the parent or legal guardian.
2.Parents have a right to bring a lawyer.
- Requirements for parents and students can be set by the Magistrate Judge.
- The following penalties may be assessed:
a.At least a $25 and not more than a $100 fine;
b.Up to 30 days of jail time;
d.Any combination of these penalties;
B.Students who are 13-15 years of age who have exceeded the allowable number of absences may have juvenile charges filed against them through the Juvenile Court.
Parents of students who are between 6-16 years of age who allow their child/children to exceed the allowable number of absences may also have a warrant filed against them through the magistrate court. Students under the age of six (6) that have been enrolled for twenty (20) or more days must also follow the conditions of the Georgia Compulsory Attendance Law, OCGA 20-3-690.
In addition to the Georgia Compulsory Attendance Law, OCGA 20-3-690, students in grades 9-12 may be denied credit if they accumulate more absences than the limit listed below:
Academic Year: Five (5) unexcused absences per semester.
If a student has a passing grade in a class in which he/she accumulates more than the allowable number of unexcused absences as listed above he/she will be given a NC signifying no credit. In these situations the student should contact the building principal or designee for the proper forms and instructions necessary to file an attendance appeal.
Final course grades of students shall not be penalized because of absences if the following conditions are met:
1. Absences are justified and validated for excusable reasons; and
2. Makeup work for excused absences was completed satisfactorily.
1. An excuse must be on file in the Principal's Office or with the principal's designee within three (3) school days from the day of the student's return to school. If the student fails to file an excuse within three (3) days of his or her absence, the absence shall be considered as unexcused.
2. Students shall be permitted to make up work missed. It shall be the responsibility of the student to arrange with the teacher for making up work within three (3) days after returning to school in order to receive full credit. At the discretion of the administration, additional time may be granted for completion of make-up work taking into consideration the number of absences and the extent of the makeup work.
3. Students who are hospital/homebound are counted as present.
4. Students placed in in-school suspension programs or alternative education program are considered in attendance at school and shall be permitted to make up work missed.
5. Students who refuse in-school suspension or alternative program placement shall not be permitted to make up work missed.
6. Excuses from a licensed practitioner of the healing arts are recommended in all cases where the absence is due to illness. "Licensed practitioners of the healing arts" shall include dentists, medical doctors, chiropractors, osteopaths, equivalent degreed practitioners, and registered nurses employed by the Polk County Health Department or by Polk School District.
7. Students who are absent due to administratively-imposed short-term out-of- school suspension shall be permitted to make up work missed for the first suspension. For the second suspension and all subsequent suspensions, there will be no make-up work allowed. Upon returning to school following the first suspension, the student must make a request to the administrator to make up work. The work must be made up after school and within five school days. Short-term out-of-school suspension shall be a suspension up to and including ten (10) school days. Students who are placed on short-term suspension during final exams may have the opportunity to take their exams. During the term of suspension the student is not allowed on the school campus or at any school activity or school-sponsored event.
8. Students under long-term out of school suspension or expulsion shall not be allowed to make up work missed. Long-term out of school suspension shall be a suspension in excess of ten (10) school days.
9. When there is reason for a student to be excused from school for a portion of the school day, the principal may release the student only to the parent or guardian or to persons properly identified with parental approval. An effort should be made to verify the authenticity of such requests.
10. School officials shall not become involved in family disputes with parents who are divorced or separated. No person shall make or attempt to make a change of custody of a minor child by removing the child from the school premises without permission of the person who enrolled the child in school
11. All students are subject to this policy upon entry into Polk School District. Absences incurred in other school districts shall not be counted as absences by the Polk School District in determining the number of permitted absences.
12. When a student is in jeopardy of losing credit in a class because of excessive absences the school shall send a letter to the parent, guardian, or caretaker of the student notifying them of the student's status. It shall be the responsibility of the student to sign that he/she received and understands the significance of the letter. It shall also be the responsibility of the student to take the letter home to his/her parent, guardian, or caretaker, have the letter signed by his/her parent, guardian, or caretaker, and return the letter to school.
13. School related absences shall be considered excused and accounted for according to State Standards.
14. When a student desires to withdraw from school, he/she must have the written permission of his/her parents or guardian if under the age of eighteen prior to withdrawing. Prior to accepting such permission, a school administrator will have a conference with the student and parent/legal guardian within two school days of receiving notice of the intent of the student to withdraw. The purpose of the conference is to share with the student and parent/guardian educational options available and the consequences of not earning a high school diploma.
15. Students under foster care are to be counted as “present” when attending court proceedings relating to such students’ foster care.
16. Students participating in the Student Teen Election Participant (STEP) program are to be counted as “present.”
ACTIONS FOR UNEXCUSED ABSENCES
A student who has an unexcused absence for one or more classes may be subject to, but not limited to, the following actions:
1. Detention with parent notification;
2. Assignment to in-school suspension;
3. Assignment to alternative education program
4. Out of school suspension;
6. Possible court action against parents or student;
7. Loss of credit;
8. Referral to the Truancy Intervention Program
EXCERPTS FROM THE GEORGIA COMPULSORY SCHOOL ATTENDANCE LAW - 20-2-690.1
(a) Every parent, guardian, or other person residing within this state having control or charge of any child or children between their sixth and sixteenth birthdays shall enroll and send such child or children to a public school, a private school, or a home study program; and such child shall be responsible for enrolling in and attending a public school, a private school, or home study program.
(b) Any parent, guardian, or other person residing in this state who has control or charge of a child or children and who shall violate this part shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be subject to a fine not less than $25.00 and not greater than $100.00, imprisonment not to exceed 30 days, community service, or any combination of such penalties at the discretion of the court having jurisdiction
Each day’s absence from school in violation of this part after the child’s school system notifies the parent, guardian, or other person who has control or charge of a child of five unexcused days of absence for a child shall constitute a separate offense. After two reasonable attempts to notify the parent, guardian, or other person who has control or charge of a child of five unexcused days of absence without response, the school system shall send a notice to such parent, guardian, or other person by certified mail, return receipt requested, or by first-class mail. Prior to any action to commence judicial proceedings to impose a penalty for violating this subsection on a parent, guardian, or other person residing in this state who has control or charge of a child or children, a school system shall send a notice to such parent, guardian, or other person by certified mail, return receipt requested.
(c) Public schools shall provide to the parent, guardian, or other person having control or charge of each child enrolled in public school a written summary of possible consequences and penalties for failing to comply with compulsory attendance under this Code section for children and their parents, guardians, or other persons having control or charge
of children. Parents, guardians, or other persons having control or charge of a child or children shall sign a statement indicating receipt of such consequences and penalties. Children who are age ten and older by September 1 shall also sign the statement. After two reasonable attempts by the school to secure such signature or signatures, the school shall be considered to be in compliance with this subsection if it sends a copy of the statement, via certified mail, return receipt requested, or first-class mail, to such parent, guardian, other person who has control or charge of a child, or children. Public schools shall retain signed copies of statements through the end of the school year.
(d) Local school superintendents in the case of private schools or home study programs and visiting teachers and attendance officers in the case of public schools shall have authority and it shall be their duty to file proceedings in court to enforce this subpart.
(e) Student Attendance and Driver’s Licenses—Students must have satisfied relevant attendance requirements for a period of one academic year prior to application for an instruction permit or driver’s license.
(f) Instruction permits or drivers licenses shall be suspended by the Dept. of Motor Vehicle Safety in accordance with OCGA Code Section 40-5-22 when the following conditions occur.
a. A student under 18 has dropped out of school and has remained out for ten consecutive school days.
b. A student has more than ten school days of unexcused absences.
c. A student has been suspended from school for:
- Threatening, striking, or causing bodily harm to school personnel.
- Possession or sale of drugs or alcohol on school property.
- Possession or use of a weapon on school property.
- Any sexual offense prohibited under Chapter 6 of title 16.
- Causing substantial physical or visible bodily harm to or seriously disfiguring another person, including another student.
The Department of Public Safety shall notify any minor driver who has been issued an instruction permit or driver’s license that his permit or license is suspended subject to review upon receipt of such notice.
**Students age 16-18 must have parent permission to withdraw from school. The principal shall convene a conference with the parent and student within two (2) days of the student expressing intent to withdraw.
For detailed information regarding attendance, please refer to Polk School District Student Attendance Policy JB. Questions concerning this policy or hospital/homebound services should be directed to the Director of Student Services at 770-748-3821.
The Home-School Partnership
The parent is the primary and most important teacher. It is essential that teachers and parents work together to form a partnership that will foster the growth and development of the total child.
Parents become involved in this partnership by:
- Attending all parent observations and meetings
- Communicating openly with teacher regarding concerns
- Notifying the teacher of any problem which will affect the child at school
- Bringing the child to school (on time, every day)
- Notifying the teacher of illness
- Helping the child develop a positive attitude toward school and learning
- Serving as chaperone on field trips
- Volunteering in classroom
- Helping with class parties or special projects
- Helping your child develop responsibilities through household chores and other tasks
- Reading to the child, making it a positive experience
- Notifying teacher of change of phone number or address
- Providing child opportunities to share with others
- Showing a positive attitude toward work child brings home – be interested and let the child know it
- Talking with the child daily about what he or she did in school
Pre-K staff will work toward this partnership by:
- Being available to parents, answering phone calls, arranging meetings when there is a need
- Scheduling workshops, meetings, and trainings for parents
- Scheduling at least two private teacher/parent conferences per year
- Inviting parents to be a part of the educational process and making parents feel welcome
- Making the safety and health of student a primary concern
- Showing sensitivity
- Helping each child become ready for school
- Knowing the developmental needs for four and five year old children
- Providing a developmentally appropriate program of high caliber
- Treating all children with respect and holding high expectations for them
I have read by child __________________________ handbook and understand if I have any questions or concerns I will contact by child’s Pre-K teacher.
Please sign and return this form to your child’s teacher as soon as possible. The teacher will send a copy home with your child.
Parent Signature Date