- Absences, Tardies, and Attendance
- Arrival and Dismissal
- Change of Address or other contact information
- DISCIPLINE POLICY AND SCHOOL RULES & EXPECTATIONS
- DRESS STANDARDS
- In Case of Emergency
- Homework Policy
- Parent Organizations
- Parent-Teacher Conferences
- School Communication
- School Events
- Student Belongings
- Visitors on Campus
- Private School Applications
Absences, Tardies, and Attendance
State law requires that absences be verified. Please call the school at (408) 973-8191, ext. 6 or use the Absence Report Form each day that your student is absent.
When calling in an absence, please SPEAK SLOWLY AND CLEARLY and state the following:
- Name of the student (please spell the last name), room number, teacher
- Nature of illness or reason for absence
Regular attendance is necessary if a student is to progress satisfactorily in school. It is important, however, to keep your student home at the first sign of illness as this often can prevent longer absences and the spread of an illness to other students.
A child cannot be in school when he/she is ill and experiencing one or more of the following symptoms:
- Diarrhea (must remain at home until free of symptoms for 24 hours)
- Nausea or vomiting (must remain at home until free of symptoms for 24 hours)
- Severe headache
- Continuous coughing or runny nose
- Evidence of a communicable disease such as a rash, swelling or unusual sore throat
- A temperature of 100 degrees or higher (must remain at home until he/she has a normal 98.6 degree temperature for 24 hours without the use of a fever reducer such as Tylenol)
If a student is sent home from school for feeling ill, the child may not return that day. If a student is absent due to illness for 7 days, a doctor's note is required.
If your child is seen by a medical doctor and determined to not be contagious, please submit a doctor’s note that the child “is not contagious and may return to school.”
If your child is late to school, please check into the office before sending your student into the classroom so that our attendance records are accurate and your child is not marked absent in error.
If your child is going to be late coming to school due to an appointment, please call the absence line to inform the office that your child will be late. Please leave the name of the student, room number and the reason for being late.
Delays and Truancy
State law requires the District to declare a student truant and send a letter to parents when their child is absent from school without a valid excuse for three (3) full days or late for more than 30 minutes during the school day without a valid excuse on three (3) or more occasions during one school year. Please note that taking a vacation during the non-holiday periods is recorded as an unexcused absence and can be considered truancy.
Letters will also be sent home if a student is delayed to school five (5) or more times in one school year. A delay is defined as up to 29 minutes late to school. This is disruptive to the learning environment for both teachers and students and the office loses valuable time processing paperwork related to a delay.
Arrival and Dismissal
Students should arrive to school after 7:45 a.m. and 5 minutes before the start of their day. School begins promptly at 8:00 a.m. for Grades 405 and at 8:15 a.m. for students in Grades K-4. Adult supervision begins at 7:45 a.m., Students are not allowed on campus until that time.
Students are only permitted to leave the school grounds when signed out from the office by a parent, legal guardian or other person listed on the student's Enrollment/Health card.
There is no supervision on the school grounds after school. Both playgrounds (Penguin Island and Icy Island) and the blacktop are closed to students, until the upper grades are dismissed at 2:48 p.m. The K-3 students who are dismissed at 2:38 p.m. may not wait unsupervised.
Parents who pick up primary students are asked to wait out in front of the office area or out in the parking lot area. Those parents who wait for older children must keep the younger children with them. Running and playing is not allowed during this time because it is disruptive for students in class.
We will be monitoring all delay arrivals and late pick-ups. Delay and truancy letters will be sent home as needed. If there is a pattern of picking your student up late, a meeting will be set up with the truancy officer and principal.
LEAVING AND RETURNING TO CAMPUS
If you are picking up a student for an appointment, parents are to check into the office first to get a Pick-Up Badge BEFORE going into the classroom. After picking up your student in the classroom, parents are to return to the office to sign out the student. Students can leave school only if signed out from the office by a parent/guardian or other person listed on the Student Enrollment/Health card. Students returning to campus will need to check back into the office prior to returning to the classroom.
Change of Address or other contact information
It is important we have updated contact information for all students. You must report any change of address to the district office (Student Assignment Office) within 10 days using this form. More information can be found on the CUSD website.
Personal information (phone or email) and emergency contacts can be updated by parents in ParentVue. If you have updated this information, please let the school office know as soon as possible. Children cannot be released to anyone without parental permission.
DISCIPLINE POLICY AND SCHOOL RULES & EXPECTATIONS
Murdock-Portal Elementary School has implemented the PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention Supports) to benefit our entire student population.
Here are the key points of PBIS:
➢ We have clearly defined behavior expectations of Acting Responsibly, Behaving Respectfully, and Caring for Others. Every student will be taught our expectations in multiple settings throughout our school (see Behavior Matrix below).
➢ We, as a staff, will continually self-evaluate our culture and seek behavior supports to effectively meet the social and emotional needs of all students.
➢ We have established a supportive community here at Murdock-Portal Elementary School to encourage the expected behaviors of Acting Responsibly, Behaving Respectfully, and Caring for Others.
➢ We will build discussions into our staff meetings for continued growth and to strengthen our PBIS practices.
➢ We are developing a curriculum that is shared school-wide that discourages inappropriate behavior and teaches and encourages appropriate behaviors that optimize learning and social-emotional competence.
➢ We are reducing the need to always be reactive by replacing it with a more proactive approach of teaching students our expectations first. Rather than waiting for a student to fail before we intervene, we provide the necessary support aligned with the Social and Emotional Learning Standards.
➢ With this being the first year that we are implementing PBIS, we will focus on Tier 1 of the multitiered system. We will work on developing Tiers 2 and 3.
➢ We are developing behavior report forms and support plans that target problem behaviors while working on establishing environments that teach and reinforce functionally equivalent replacement behavior.
➢ PBIS reminds us that growth must occur for all students even in situations of misbehavior.
➢ Research has shown that PBIS not only improves a school culture, but it will also improve academic performance.
Importance of Family Engagement
Research has consistently linked family engagement (or parental involvement) with positive academic outcomes, reductions in delinquent behaviors, and overall increase of self-esteem and self-worth.
Parents Role in PBIS
By working together, parents and Murdock-Portal Elementary School staff will reinforce the necessary skills for productive citizenship. Home and school communication is a must when it comes to providing a consistent environment with high, but reasonable expectations. Your help with PBIS is very important and your support sends an important message to your child that we are working together as a team to help him/her be successful in school. We ask that you support the school’s expectations in the following ways:
1. Please spend time reviewing the behavior expectations with your student
2. Please remind your student of the expectations each day before he/she leaves for school
Acting Responsibly, Behaving Respectfully and Caring for Others
3. Our system is consistent and predictable so if your student has earned a consequence please support the decision and do all you can to have your student take responsibility for his/her actions. Your student will be told the reason for the consequence and he/she should be able to tell you what occurred. If you have any questions regarding the situation please call the classroom teacher and/or school administration.
4. When your student arrives home from school, talk with them about their day and ask if their behavior was acknowledged with a Portal Pride Ticket (ticket they receive for positive behavior). Ask your student what they did to earn the ticket. Please offer your student extra praise and reinforcement for these behaviors.
5. If your student did not meet the school expectations that day, use the matrix as a tool to go over and reinforce specific expected behaviors.
6. You might try to use the same language at home. You might even add additional behavior expectations for your home.
Teachers & Staff Responsibilities: Tier 1
How do we prevent negative behaviors?
➢ Establish regular, predictable, positive learning and teaching environments.
➢ Teachers and staff will teach, model, and practice each of the behavioral expectations throughout the year.
➢ Students and teachers together develop specific classroom rules, procedures, and routines that are aligned with the school-wide expectations.
➢ Teachers and staff will acknowledge student behaviors that meet our expectations.
➢ Pre-correction methods will be provided. We will work on anticipating and preventing behavior by correcting the behavior before it occurs (e.g., The teacher is aware the student becomes upset when making mistakes; therefore, prior to a challenging assignment, the teacher discusses this with student, reminding him how to remain calm if frustrated and how to assertively seek help).
➢ Teachers will provide interesting and engaging instruction aligned with student’s needs and interests. Students will be provided with multiple opportunities to respond during instruction to maintain attention to lessons.
➢ Teachers and staff will provide non-verbal cues (gestural, facial expression, moving closer to student) to redirect misbehavior prior to verbal correction.
➢ Teachers and staff will praise immediately by naming positive behavior observed (e.g. “good job Anthony, you raised your hand before speaking”). The ratio of teacher acknowledgement of appropriate behavior to correction of inappropriate behavior should be HIGH (e.g. 4 positive comments to every one correction).
➢ Teachers and Staff will focus on relationship building. Positive teacher-student relationships support students' adjustment to school, contribute to social skills, promote academic performance, and fosters students resiliency in academic performance.
Positive Behavior Acknowledgement System
When appropriate behaviors have been identified and taught, they should be acknowledged on a regular basis. All staff at Murdock-Portal Elementary School are able to acknowledge student’s positive behavior throughout the school day and throughout the school campus.
Acknowledgement occurs in various levels as described below:
➢ We have defined our expected behavior for students.
➢ We have taught our expected behavior to our students.
➢ Now we will encourage expected behavior through acknowledgement and positive praise
The Behavior Matrix is the foundation of how we will teach our students the behavioral expectations here at Murdock-Portal Elementary School. This work is a collaborative effort of our teachers and staff. This has not been done by an outside source. The students, staff, and parents will continue to align our goals with our student needs. Our PBIS curriculum is never set and will always change with our culture. Everyone plays a significant role in helping our students.
Tier Level Interventions
As you can see, we are creating a strong foundation of how we are going to help 100% of our students become successful. As we continue on this with the implementation of PBIS, our interventions will strengthen over the years.
Below is a chart that shows how the tiers of PBIS are almost identical to the tiers of academic success. This year, as we roll out PBIS to our students, we will have a focus on Tier 1. We will also be developing Tiers 2 and 3 throughout the course of the school year.
Consequences for Classroom Managed and Office Managed Incidents
When students do not follow the outlined schoolwide discipline plan they will receive consequences based on the philosophy of progressive discipline. Progressive discipline uses a consistent approach that starts with a minor consequence for first offenses to a more severe consequence for repeat offenses.
Classroom managed behavioral issues will be handled by the teacher. Teachers will refer to the chart below when they believe the classroom behavior requires a consequence.
The following is a sampling of the consequences teachers may use:
➢ Reteach expectations
➢ Conference with student
➢ Note and/or phone call to parent
➢ Removal to another setting (no longer than 30 minutes and as a last resort to preserve instructional learning time)
➢ Parent conference
Office managed offenses will be handled by administration. Each child is an individual whose needs will be considered when determining the consequence.
The following is a sampling of the consequences administrators may use:
➢ Natural consequence (clean desk that student wrote on, letter of apology, etc.).
➢ Parent phone call
➢ Suspension (if behavior is severe in nature)
As a school, we will use a consistent procedure for handling discipline. Teachers will address minor infractions in the classroom. Teachers will document the minor infractions. Teachers will refer all major infractions to the office. In most cases our school, Behavior Report Form, will be completed and sent home for parent signature. If a student receives a behavior report form and is sent to the office, parents will be notified by administration.
District policy stipulates that students wear “clean and safe clothes appropriate for all school activities.” High-heeled shoes, backless shoes or flip-flops are not considered safe for school or appropriate for physical education activities. Research has indicated there is a direct correlation between student’s attire and their classroom behavior, attitude, and achievement. Children are to come to school neat, clean, wearing shoes, and with their hair out of their eyes. Current styles are accepted, but clothing should be appropriate to the school situation. Light leather or tennis shoes are appropriate footwear for P.E.
Students may possess cell phones under specific conditions. Cell phones must be turned off during the school day, including recess and lunch and kept in the student’s backpack at all times. Failure to abide by this policy may result in the cell phone being confiscated and the loss of cell phone possession privileges at the discretion of the principal.
Students are allowed to wear a smart watch to school, however, games, messaging and other features must not be accessed during the school day. If the watch becomes disruptive to the learning environment, it may be removed and parents will be notified. Parents should refrain from messaging students throughout the school day.
In Case of Emergency
In the case of a medical emergency occurring at school during a non-disaster school day, the school will try to contact a parent. If the parent is unavailable, the emergency contact person listed on the enrollment card will be called. In order to best serve your child, please be certain to notify the office of any new phone numbers or emergency contact names.
Emergencies—Fire, Earthquake, Evacuation – In case of an emergency, please do not call the school. We must keep our phone lines open for emergency communications. We are on an immediate telephone alert system with our district office. If phones are out of order, there is a backup radio system. Staff members are CPR and /or First Aid certified. Student Emergency Cards will be used for identification for each child. If evacuation becomes necessary, the instructions on the Emergency Release Card will be followed. It is imperative that you always keep all information up to date on this card.
Parents should develop an evacuation plan with their children and be sure that children understand it in detail. In case of an emergency, traffic conditions may prohibit the use of cars, so parents may need to park a distance away and walk to the school. A Student Release Center will be set up on the blacktop. Please follow the procedures below:
-Bring photo identification with you, as no student will be released to an adult unless they are properly identified.
-When you arrive on campus, follow instructions and signs to Student Release. If possible, we recommend walking to campus, as our parking lots might be blocked off for emergency vehicles only.
We can only release students to adults who are on their enrollment/health card and have a photo ID! Please take this opportunity to update your child's emergency contact information in the school office. You'll want to consider people who might be closest to Murdock-Portal, in case you cannot get to school.
Both the district and the school have disaster plans in place. Fire, earthquake, and lockdown drills are practiced regularly. The school’s Disaster Preparedness Plan is updated each year. The Murdock-Portal Safety Plan can be found HERE.
Recommended amount of time, according to Cupertino Union School District’s policy, is 15-30 minutes per day for K through 3rd grade, and 40-60 minutes per day for 4th through 5th grade children. If your student is taking longer than the recommended amount of time on homework and he/she has put forth his/her best effort, please initial the paper and contact the teacher.
Students: Remember to Take Your Homework Materials With You at Dismissal Time!
We occasionally have students come back to campus requesting to get into their classrooms to retrieve forgotten materials. If their teacher has left for the day, the office staff will not be able to open the classroom door.
- Write down all assignments, including the due date, do not rely on your memory.
- Ask questions about any part of the assignment you do not understand.
- Before leaving school make sure you have all the materials you need to bring home for the assignment.
Examples of homework are:
- Preparing book and other types of report
- Studying words for spelling tests, math facts
- Preparing for sharing time and oral report
- Completing work not finished in class
- Studying for a test
- Extra drill in an academic skill
- Making up work missed through absence
- Revising/editing work
For each grade level, the homework policy may differ as to types of homework activities.
Children vary in the amount of time they spend on homework, so these suggested times are guidelines for teachers and parents. Homework is generally limited to Monday through Thursday and is not assigned over the major holidays. Students and parents are informed of long-term projects well in advance.
To help your student with his/her homework:
- Make sure you have the necessary materials available, such as dictionaries, pencils, paper, etc.
- Help your child set aside a regular time for homework.
- Make sure you have a quiet, well-lit place for your child to work.
- Familiarize yourself with your child’s homework assignments. Check your student’s homework.
- Talk to your child about their assignments.
PORTAL SCHOOL COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION (PSCO)
The Portal School Community Organization strives to encourage cooperation between the home, school, and community. Our PSCO sponsors diverse activities, and the funds raised by the PSCO are used to supplement programs and materials not funded through other channels. PSCO meetings are scheduled once a month.
SCHOOL SITE COUNCIL (SSC)
SSC is an elected committee. Its function is to annually review and monitor the School Improvement Plan. The council is composed of ten members: five parents, three teachers, one classified employee and the Principal. The SSC meets once a month.
In order to ensure adequate time to consult with your child’s teacher, we suggest you make an appointment to discuss your child’s progress. During the time that students are in the classroom, the teacher is not available for conferencing.
Parent Teacher Conferences are scheduled in the fall and spring. During conferences, dismissal time is 12:45 each day. Parents will be provided with an opportunity to sign up for a conference.
The purpose of the August conference is to establish learning goals for the upcoming school year, not a report of progress.
The March conference aligns with the 2nd trimester report card and is a time to review the learning goals.
Penguin Press Newsletter
Parents are kept informed about our school programs, special events, and other newsworthy items through our school newsletter, Penguin Press. The Penguin Press is published twice a month. Email blasts are also used as a tool for the principal to communicate any important or critical school information.
This is Murdock-Portal’s means of weekly communication from the classroom to home and includes student work and other additional information. This encourages communication between parents and teachers. The folder needs to be returned the next day. Please set aside time with your child to go through the contents.
All communication from the school site and district level are sent via ParentSquare. All families are encouraged to sign up to stay updated.
Back to School Night is a parent only event. This is an opportunity for you to meet with your child’s teacher and see what curriculum will be covered, hear about the homework policy and understand more about what goes on during your child’s day.
Open House will be held in the late winter/spring and is an opportunity for students and parents to visit the classrooms together and showcase the work students have completed during the school year. Parents and the community are welcome to circulate throughout the campus buildings to see various classes and programs. Teachers are not available during this time for individual conferencing.
Due to limited space in the classrooms and narrow walking space in the hallways, rolling backpacks are strongly discouraged.
FORGOTTEN LUNCHES AND HOMEWORK
Homework assignments, backpacks, or forgotten school materials and supplies will need to be dropped off in the office. The office will not call into the classroom, as it is disruptive. The student can pick up the item(s) during recess or lunch.
LOST AND FOUND
All articles found on the school grounds are hanging outside Room 17 and 18. Lost valuables, such as keys, money, watches, etc. are kept in the school office. All articles left at the end of each trimester will be donated to charity.
TEXTBOOKS & LIBRARY BOOKS
All students are responsible for using all textbooks and library books with care. If any book is lost or destroyed, the student will be expected to pay for the cost of the book.
Visitors on Campus
Safety and student health are priorities. Parents are always welcome to visit at school. To minimize disruption of the instructional program, maintain an orderly and disciplined campus, and for the purpose of school safety and security, all visitors, including parents, district employees and volunteers, must check into the office first before going into the classroom or onto the playground. The school keeps a log of visitors’ names. Each visitor is asked to wear a badge at all times during his or her visit. Our knowledge about which adults are on our campus is important for the protection of the children. Students from other schools, whether relatives, friends, or former students, may not visit during the regular school day. This includes toddlers at the lunch tables.
Private School Applications
The following protocol outlines Murdock-Portal Elementary School’s policy regarding requests for private school applications. Please make sure to read this information carefully. If students do not meet the requirements of the policy, it may delay school staff in completing student requests. All Portal staff members ask for 2 working weeks notice to complete the request for documents regardless of the application due date.
Method of Submission
When requesting school records or a recommendation, please indicate how your private school application is being completed - through an online system (e.g. Ravenna, etc.) or by paper submission. If you are asking Portal staff to submit paper records or recommendations, you must include a stamped, pre-addressed envelope for each document you would like to be sent (recommendation and/or records).
School Records Request (transcripts and test scores)
You will need to obtain a records release form from the school you are applying to and/or through the application system (e.g. Ravenna, Gateway). The request for school records form must be filled out completely including your student first and last name, private schools you want the school records sent to, and how the records will be submitted (paper via mail, online, etc.). If you are submitting your application through a 3rd party (e.g. Ravenna, etc.), you need to include that organization on the school records release. Please remember a parent signature is required for the school to be able to release student records (including report cards and test scores).
Please send requests and/or signed records release for report cards and test scores to the office.
Request for Recommendation
Please keep in mind requests are just that - a request. It is up to the school staff member if he/she will complete the recommendation. In person, polite requests with consideration for the teacher’s time and effort are more likely to be completed. Staff members may decline to complete a recommendation. Recommendations are confidential. They will not be shared with students or parents. Requests made without 2 weeks notice will not be completed.
Requests for teacher recommendations must be submitted directly to the teacher, not through the school office. Teachers may have additional requirements for recommendations beyond this school policy. It is highly advised to approach your teacher in advance of your request about their requirements regarding private school recommendations.
Requests for administrator recommendations must be submitted directly to the principal with 2 weeks advance notice to complete recommendation requests.
For online recommendations
For Ravenna, you will need to input the contact information for the recommender through their online system. The online system will send a link to the personalized recommendation to the school staff recipients you include. If you are using a different online application system, please make sure you inform the Portal staff member as to how they will be submitting the recommendation.