Franklin Early Childhood Center
|Melrose Public Schools||Franklin Early Childhood Center|
|360 Lynn Fells Parkway||16 Franklin Street|
|Melrose MA 02176||Melrose MA 02176|
|(781) 662-2000||(781) 979 – 2260|
School Year: 2016-2017
Melrose Public School Administration
Ms. Cyndy Taymore Superintendent
Ms Marianne Farrell Director of Finance/Administrative Affairs
Ms. Patti White-Lambright Assistant Superintendent of Pupil Personnel Services
Dr. Margaret Adams Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning
Melrose High School Administration
Mr. Jason Merrill High School Principal
Mr. Bryan Corrigan Assistant Principal
Ms. Cari Berman Assistant Principal
Melrose Middle School Administration
Mr. Brent Conway Middle School Principal
Mr. James Parsons Assistant Principal
Melrose Elementary Schools & Early Childhood Center Adminstration
Ms. Donna Rosso Franklin Early Childhood Center Director
Carol Weldin Hoover School Principal
Dr. Mary Ellen Carideo Horace Mann School Principal
Ms. Jenny Corduck Lincoln School Principal
Ms Cynthia Santosuosso Lincoln Student Support Services
Ms. Mary Beth Maranto Roosevelt School Principal
Mr. John Maynard Winthrop School Principal
Welcome to the Melrose Public Schools Franklin Early Childhood Center! Our school represents a place where talents are developed and recognized. We strive to help each child achieve his/her highest potential. In order to make this happen, we firmly believe that the process of education is both life-long and team-oriented. A high level of involvement and good communication between administrators, teachers, parents, and students is essential in reaching our goals.
This handbook serves as a guide, which will hopefully be the cornerstone of communication as we work together throughout the school year. It contains most of the information you will need on a day-to-day basis. You will find information relating to the school calendar, school policies and regulations, expectations for conduct, emergency procedures, and opportunities for volunteers. Please keep it in a place that is handy for future reference. We hope you will find it helpful.
MELROSE PUBLIC SCHOOLS MISSION AND CORE VALUES
Our Mission: We inspire, engage, support, prepare and challenge all students to achieve personal and academic excellence, to become life-long learners, and to be responsible, respectful and successful participants in our global community.
- All students can learn
- All students can achieve personal learning success
- Quality and reflective teaching is essential in helping students reach academic and personal success
- Rigorous, relevant and research-based curricula promote quality learning for all
- Honesty and integrity guide our individual and group actions, interactions and decisions
- By working collaboratively and collegially, we will be better able to overcome obstacles, solve problems and achieve goals
- We honor and celebrate differences, respect individuality and take pride in and respect ourselves, each other, our schools, our work and our environment
- Strong, respectful partnerships between educators and parents are critical to the successful education of children
- Ongoing and meaningful collaboration and communication between educators and community members promotes a dynamic school system
FRANKLIN EARLY CHILDHOOD CENTER VISION AND CORE VALUES
(Reviewed by Instructional Leadership Team Fall 2017)
Through collaborative, careful planning the Franklin Early Childhood Center’s highly-qualified faculty and staff engage our District’s youngest students in a positive, student centered, active, hands-on learning process using our comprehensive preschool curriculum that is aligned with the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education PreK Common Core Standards. Each of our early childhood classrooms offer an environment and materials that spark curiosity and invite active exploration that allows students to take direct control of the learning process. Each day our faculty and staff provide children with a variety of direct, intentionally planned lessons affording all our students opportunities to learn together. The culture of our school purposefully supports and celebrates the individual strengths of each child with the expectation that all our children fully participate in the life of the school.
CORE VALUES OF THE FRANKLIN EARLY CHILDHOOD CENTER COMMUNITY
As Staff Members we will strive to:
- Stay current on educational research, trends and our own professional development.
- Recognize, respect and support each child as an individual and unique learner.
- Advocate with families on behalf of their children.
- Help families reinforce classroom concepts and rules at home.
- Encourage families to volunteer in many different ways.
- Communicate classroom curriculum and activities to families via newsletter, conferences, and daily interactions.
- Know and understand the needs of children and families.
- Build positive relationships with families
As Families we ask you to:
- Recognize, respect, and support each child as an individual and unique learner.
- Advocate for your child by communicating his/her needs and sharing information with staff in a timely fashion.
- Respect and support staff members.
- Respect the classroom environment and confidentiality as a family member and volunteer.
- Encourage and support a learning environment and classroom concepts at home.
- Understand that you can volunteer in many different ways.
- Build a positive relationship with our school and staff.
Holiday and/or Cultural Events Celebrations Policy
The Melrose Public Schools recognizes that, “Holidays are a time to promote greater understanding and tolerance among students of different traditions while respecting and adhering to the First Amendment’s prohibition against school-sponsored endorsement or promotion of religious beliefs of any kind.” Diverse holiday and/or cultural event celebrations or assemblies should:
- Advance a child’s knowledge of society’s rich cultural and religious heritage
- Focus on several different religions or holidays
- Express the diverseness of beliefs and customs
- Never promote one religion over another. Religious music:
- Must not dominate or be the focus of a holiday concert
- Should not be limited to a particular holiday or religious denomination.
- Classroom decorations should only reflect those symbols that have come to have a secular meaning (e.g., snowflakes, candles,Dreidels, Christmas trees, Star of David, star and crescent). Crosses and nativity scenes must not be displayed. At no time should one holiday or religion be discussed exclusively.
- Throughout the course of the year, there should be a balanced discussion of different religions, cultures and holidays as they occur. Children should not be expected to be the authorities on their particular religion or holiday celebration.
To ensure sensitivity and avoid any hurt feelings, invitations to parties should be mailed to children’s home addresses. Invitations will not be distributed by school personnel in school or on school premises before/after school.
ENROLLMENT & REGISTRATION INFORMATION
Students entering the Franklin Early Childhood Center must be 3 or 4 years old by September 1st. Priority enrollment for current ECC families takes place in January of the upcoming school year. This includes a child who will be returning the following year and/or an eligible sibling.
Families do not have to reside in Melrose to enroll their child at the Franklin. Community registration begins with an Open House in January. Families have an opportunity to meet our staff, visit classrooms and ask questions. Registration takes place after Open House with program openings provided on a “first come, first serve” basis. The school registration form requests families to designate their top three program choices. Shortly after registration, families are notified of their child’s program placement. If necessary, an active wait list is maintained. In addition to the registration information, families must provide a copy of the child’s birth certificate/passport, copy of health and immunization records.
Tuition is collected in ten installments (April-June, September-March). Tuition rates are determined based on program days, holidays, Melrose Public Schools early release days and school vacations are factored into this rate; therefore no further adjustments will be made during the year. Shortly after notifying the office of accepting a child’s program placement, families are asked to give a non-refundable $100.00 deposit to secure their spot. This $100 will be applied to the first tuition payment in April. Tuition may be paid on-line (student ID number required), by check (payable to “Melrose Public Schools”), mailed to the Franklin Early Childhood Center, sent to school via your child’s teacher or dropped off in the office. Please indicate your child’s name and program on the check. If a check is returned for insufficient funds, a bank fee of $55.00 will be assessed to cover the charges incurred from the bank. Beginning with the October tuition payment, tuition received after the 10th of the month will be charged a $25 late fee. The Melrose Public Schools reserves the right to discontinue a child’s enrollment if tuition and fees are not paid on time.
For rate and schedule information refer to the registration form online at http://melroseschools.com/ on the Early Childhood Center Page.
Franklin ECC Arrival and Dismissal Procedure
In order to ensure students arrive and leave school safely compliance with the following arrival and dismissal procedures is crucial. Families are only allowed to enter and exit the Franklin Early Childhood Center via the Main Door facing Franklin Street. This door remains locked and monitored by a staff member stationed at the door and/or by staff via camera located in the main office.
Families may choose to drop their child(ren) off /pick them up in the driveway or park their car and bring them to the classroom at arrival /meet them at the designated walking dismissal location at dismissal. Both these options are described in detail below. If interested in utilizing the driveway to pick-up your child, parents/guardians are required to fill out a form advising the teacher in writing of this preference. Please read the following with care.
Driveway Arrival Procedures
- Vehicles traveling East on Franklin Street, make a right turn ONLY (NO LEFT TURNS from Franklin Street) into the driveway. PLEASE NOTE driveway parking is limited to staff and those with a handicap placard ONLY.
- As vehicles enter the driveway, they must pull forward toward the designated drop off zone. If you arrive before 8:20 please use only the left lane before starting a second lane on the right.
- Cell phone use while in the driveway is prohibited and adults must remain in their vehicles at all times.
- Children must remain buckled in safety seats at all times when waiting in the driveway.
- All car engines must be turned-off while in the designated drop-off zone.
- When in the designated drop off zone our “driveway helpers” will direct staff who will then open the driver’s side passenger door and help children get out of their car seats.
- Once inside the building, children will be supervised by staff until escorted to their classrooms by ECC staff.
- In order to expedite the arrival process, please pay particular attention to the times listed below.
- No child will be allowed access to the school via the driveway until the appropriate scheduled time.
- For arrival after scheduled driveway drop-off time please follow Walking Arrival Procedures.
- Cars may only enter the driveway 10 minutes prior to the start of driveway arrival. For the 8:20-8:35 arrival cars may enter at 8:10 and for the 8:55-9:10 arrival cars may enter at 8:45.
|Class||Driveway Arrival Times|
|Multi-Age, PreK EXT & Preschool EXT||8:20-8:35|
|Pre-K (4&5 Day)& Preschool (2&3 Day)||8:55-9:10|
Walking Arrival Procedures
- Parking for the Franklin is available in designated parking spaces on Franklin Street and Main Street
- Parking is also available in the Greenleaf parking lot.
- We must be good neighbors and park only in designated areas. Do not park in local business lots or resident parking including on Greenleaf Place.
- A traffic crossing guard is assigned to the intersection of Franklin and Main Street to assist with pedestrian crossing.
- Please only cross where there is a crosswalk.
- Families may enter the building only through the main doors facing Franklin Street.
- In order to expedite the arrival process, please pay particular attention to the arrival times.
- No child will be allowed access to the school until the appropriate scheduled time.
- If you arrive before the designated time frame, please be prepared to wait patiently until a staff member arrives to monitor the door.
|Class||Arrival Door Times|
|Multi-Age, PreK EXT & Preschool EXT||8:20-8:35|
|Pre-K (4&5 Day)& Preschool (2&3 Day)||8:55-9:10|
Families may choose to either pick up their child(ren) in the driveway or park their car and pick them up at the designated dismissal location at dismissal.
Driveway Dismissal Procedures
- Children will be brought to the driveway from the classroom.
- Display on the dashboard the sign (provided by the school) that identifies the child’s name.
- Vehicles that are in the marked pick-up zone must shut off their car engines.
- Children will be escorted to their vehicle and parents will be responsible for buckling their child(ren) prior to turning on the ignition.*
- Please notify classroom staff by sending a note in the morning if the “regular” pick-up person is different on a particular day. The individual must have proper identification and have been included on the Parental Release Permission Document.
- In order to expedite the dismissal process, please pay particular attention to the dismissal time below
- Cars may only enter the driveway 15 minutes prior to the start of driveway dismissal. The 2:05-2:15 dismissal cars may enter at 1:50, the 11:55-12:05 dismissal cars may enter at 11:40 and the 1:25-1:35 dismissal cars may enter at 1:10.
|Class||Driveway Dismissal Times|
|Multi-Age, PreK EXT & Preschool EXT||2:05-2:15|
|Pre-K (4 day)||1:25-1:35|
|Pre-K (5 day) & Preschool (2/3 Day)||11:55-12:05|
For dismissal after scheduled driveway pick-up time please follow Walking Dismissal Procedures. Please also note if you
re not registered for after school and you are late picking up your child, your child will remain with school staff and an additional fee of $10 per five minute increments will be incurred. An invoice for this additional fee will be due on receipt .
Walking Dismissal Procedures
- Caregivers picking children up wait outside the designated doorway at dismissal time.
- Please notify classroom staff by sending in a note in the morning if the “regular” pick-up person is different on a particular day. The individual must have proper identification and have been included on the Parental Release Permission Document.
- On days when classes are using the outside play areas at the end of the day dismissal will happen from the playground.
- Please also note if you are not registered for afterschool and you are late picking up your child, your child will remain with school staff and an additional fee of $10 per five minute increments will be incurred. An invoice for this additional fee will be due on receipt.
Walking Dismissal Times/Location
|2:10 dismissal from the Front Door:||Becca, Darlene, Kara, Melissa, Marie, Shannon|
|2:10 dismissal from the Courtyard:||Kristen S, Lori B, Stephanie O., Janice, Janet, Andrea, Mary C|
|1:30 dismissal from the Courtyard:||Kathy, Stefanie|
|12:00 dismissal from the Courtyard:||Krystina, Wendy|
|12:00 dismissal from the Front Door:||Kristen H|
Throughout the District we continue to work with the Melrose Police Department as we carefully monitor safety procedures. We ask that you please support these efforts by using extra care when driving on Greenleaf Place and in our driveway. Families and young children will be coming and going from our building throughout the day.
We see parents/guardians as crucial partners in the educational process and as such we value your support and your feedback. Please contact your child’s teacher or Franklin Director if you have questions or concerns regarding safety these procedures.
Melrose Police Department officials are available for car sear safety checks. If you are interested, please call the school safety officer at 781-979-4485 to set-up an appointment.
Franklin Early Childhood Program Schedule
|2 Day Preschool||Thurs & Fri||9:00 – 12:00|
|3 Day Preschool||Mon – Wed||9:00 – 12:00|
|5 Day Preschool Ext||Mon – Fri||8:25 – 2:10|
|4 Day PreK||Mon – Thurs||9:00 – 1:30|
|4 Day PreK Ext||Mon – Thurs||8:25 – 2:10|
|5 Day PreK||Mon – Fri||9:00 – 12:00|
|5 Day PreK Ext||Mon – Fri||8:25 – 2:10|
|2 Day MultiAge||Thurs & Fri||8:25 – 2:10|
|3 Day MultiAge||Mon – Wed||8:25 – 2:10|
|4 Day MultiAge||Mon – Thurs||8:25 – 2:10|
|5 Day MultiAge||Mon – Fri||8:25 – 2:10|
FRANKLIN ECC SCHOOL YEAR CALENDAR
The Franklin operates on a schedule that closely mirrors that of the Melrose Public Schools. Where we deviate is at the beginning and end of the academic year. In order to assist families in transitioning their child with as few competing interests as possible, our programs begin one week after and end one week earlier than the Melrose Public School Calendar. We are closed on all Holidays, Vacation breaks and Professional Development days as approved by the Melrose School Committee.
Please refer to melroseschools.com/calendar for an electronic copy of the school year calendar.
2017 – 2018 FRANKLIN ECC Early Release and Half Day Schedule
Early Release days for professional development will occur on the following Weds Oct 3, Nov 1, Dec 6, Jan 10, Feb 7, Mar 7, Apr 4, & May 2. Additional ½ days per MPS calendar-November 22, December 22, February 16, and last day of school. Check the district website or with Franklin Administrative Assistant (Tanya Neff) for additional information.
The Franklin faculty and staff appreciate the professional development opportunities provided during early release days and extend our sincere thanks to our Franklin families for their support.
The following are the dismissal times at the Franklin for Early Release and Half Day:
- All 8:25 classrooms will be dismissed at 11:25
- All 9:00 classrooms will be dismissed at 12:00 noon
For an additional fee on all Early Release Days children who are currently registered may participate in our Stay and Play Early Release Day Programming. At the Franklin, lunch is NOT served on early release days so those children participating in our Stay and Play Early Release Day Programming need to bring a lunch from home.
SCHOOL CANCELLATION AND DELAYED OPENING PROCEDURES
Delayed Openings/Snow Days:
If there is inclement weather causing a delayed opening in Melrose, school will open two hours later than the usual start time.
- THERE WILL BE NO SCHOOL for 9:00 – 12:00 Pre-K or 9:00 – 12:00 Preschool Programs.
- Full-day Multi-age, 4-day Pre-K Ext, 5 day Pre-K Ext and 5 day Preschool Ext classes (normally starting at 8:25) will start at 10:25.
- 4-day Pre-K classes (normally starting at 9:00) will start at 11:00.
- All classes will end at the regular times.
If you utilize the Before School Education Stations Jr. Program, please know that if school is delayed the before school program will not operate.
If school is cancelled or delayed, information will be communicated through our Connect- Ed system and on the home page of the MPS website: www.melroseschools.com. It can also be found on Local Radio and TV stations.
The primary form of all school communication is email. Some examples of such communications may include information related to educational topics, upcoming school or community events, or friendly reminders. Depending on the type of information, it may be generated by the director, Main Office, PTO or outside community group. If email communication poses a complication, please contact the Main Office to make other arrangements. Other sources of information are our school/district website as well as individual school Facebook pages.
If you or someone you know is in need of translation assistance (oral and/or written), please contact the Franklin ECC Director.
In order for learning to be meaningful, it must be relevant to a child’s experience. The more able a child is to become involved in a learning experience (also known as “hands-on” experience), the greater the potential for learning. Therefore, curriculum needs to be diverse and interactive in order to make it authentic. Our curriculum is designed to allow children to explore and learn through many modalities.
The classroom environment is arranged to connect and support learning. By allowing children to choose their activities, we empower them to learn at an individualized pace and recognize their own developmental styles and capabilities. The Franklin ECC Curriculum is guided by the Department of Early Education and Care’s Guidelines for Preschool Learning Experiences along with Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s PreK Frameworks for English Language Arts & Literacy Incorporating the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts and Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects, Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Pre-K Framework for Mathematics Incorporating the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, 2016 Massachusetts Science and Technology/Engineering Curriculum Framework, along with Massachusetts Standards for Preschool and Kindergarten in the Domains of Social and Emotional Learning, and Approaches to Play and Learning. Using each of these standards as a framework the Franklin Early Childhood Center curriculum is then developed in collaboration with district-wide goals.
Assessment is an important aspect of curriculum. Assessment allows our teachers to adjust expectations and performance standards to the unique characteristics and capabilities of our children. It ensures that children are mastering skills and allows us to create appropriate activities designed to build increasingly complex ideas. Our goals are measurable. Portfolios, collecting student work, skill assessment, observing students, note taking and interacting with students are some of the tools we use to assess student achievement.
Our program is accredited National Association Education of Young Children. The NAEYC process requires that we meet high standards for early childhood programming.
Formal conferences are held twice a year. However, parents may request to have a meeting with their child’s teacher at any time.
Twice a year, in February and June, parents will receive written information in a Progress Report format indicating the progress their child has made.
Children who attend a program that is three hours long will have a twenty minute outdoor play time each day. Classes that are four hours or greater, will have two twenty minute outdoor play times each day. We make every attempt to play outside. Therefore it is imperative that children bring to school the necessary outdoor clothing, particularly in the winter time. On days it is raining, too cold or too icy, students will remain indoors and other arrangements will be made for indoor play. Melrose Public Schools will adhere to standardized weather conditions guidance as reported for the zip code 02176 at www.weather.com. Principals and/or school staff should reconsider outside recess and provide a safe alternative when; the “feels like” temperatures fall below 20 degrees, including the wind chill or the temperature index “feels like” reaches 95 degrees or above
Please do not send your child to school in crocs or flip flops. Sneakers are the safest bet for playing on the playground.
Predictability and consistency are important components in helping your child feel secure and in control of his/her environment. Please make every effort to bring your child to school on time each day. If for any reason your child will be absent, please call 781-979-2115 and leave a message anytime.
Please put this number with your emergency telephone numbers. You may call the number any evening or until 8:00 a.m. each morning and your message will be recorded. Give your child’s name, the date, his/her teacher’s name, and the reason for the absence/tardiness.
Late Arrival & Dismissal
- If you arrive after the designated timeframe you will need to check in at the office before proceeding to the classroom.
- If you need to dismiss your child early or you are bringing your child to school late you will be asked to sign the regular attendance log. A staff member will then alert the classroom teacher that you are in the building and heading to the classroom.
- Visitors who will be spending time outside the Franklin drop off and pick up timeframe must sign the visitor log, wear a visitor badge and have completed the Bridge Volunteer process.
- Parents are to send a note to the classroom teacher if a child is to be dismissed during the day. Please give the requested dismissal time. Parents must report to the office to pick up the child at the designated time. Sign-out is required!
- No student will be dismissed from school in the custody of a person other than the parent or guardian of the child or a person listed by the parent or guardian as an authorized adult on the child’s Student Release Form. Exceptions will be made only when the parent informs the school in writing of an additional authorized adult. Proper identification will be requested the first time an authorized adult is picking up a child.
PARENT RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES
- We are thrilled that you have decided to share your child with us! We are committed to being you partner in creating the best early childhood experience possible for your child. As your partner, we will give you lots of information throughout the year.
- Franklin ECC New Family School Wide Information Night – Join the Donna Rosso, Director of the Franklin Early Childhood Center and members of the Franklin community for this ADULT ONLY interactive and informative evening where you will learn everything you need to know about sending your child to the Franklin Early Childhood Center. Highlights of this 2 hour lively workshop style event will include every thing from curriculum, communication, parent engagement opportunities, dressing for success in preschool, and selecting the right backpack and lunch box!- See more at: http://childhoodcenter.melroseschools.com/2017/07/grand-opening-franklin-childrens-garden/#sthash.FzUdw4wu.dpbs
- Our school also hosts a “Great Start Night” for all families that helps to acquaint you with some important information regarding our school and curriculum as well as visit your child’s classroom and meet the teachers.
- Our Sneak Peek Event for all families helps to acquaint both your child and you with the school, the teachers and the other families in your child’s classroom.
- Parent input is one of the most important aspects of our program. We encourage parents to make suggestions that help us improve our school and our ability to meet the needs of children and families. The Franklin Early Childhood Center asks parents to participate in mid and end of the year evaluations. The feedback we receive from families is reviewed by staff so that we can look at ways in which we can improve. Families should know that their input and suggestions are important to insure the quality of education for our children.
CODE OF CONDUCT
Student Guidelines and Expectations Franklin Early Childhood Center
This code of conduct has been carefully prepared to enable you to know and understand the disciplinary philosophy, policies, and practices of the Melrose Public Schools. Since we feel that parental support is essential to the welfare of our students and to the achievement of our goal of self-discipline, we hope the policies outlined are reinforced by, and consistent with, your personal philosophies.
Travel to and from School
Respect the property of others. Cross at crosswalks. Don’t walk between cars. School behavior applies here as well. Roller blades may not be used for travel to and from school. Travel directly to and from school. Walk with others if possible. When riding to school on a bike, scooter, skateboard etc., helmets must be worn.
Rules that apply to the general school setting ensure a safe, respectful relationship among members of our school community. Unacceptable behaviors include: fighting, swearing, verbal abuse, theft, cheating, sexual behavior, wrestling, spitting, and swinging of backpacks. Children should have respect for property and people. Since dogs can at times be frightening or dangerous to students, with the exception of seeing-eye dogs, they are not allowed on school premises.
Pets on School Property
Per a city ordinance, dogs are not permitted on school property during school hours, 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Service animals (i.e. dogs) are the only exception.
Rules that apply to the playground are to ensure a safe, respectful environment in which to play.
Play safely. Play fairly. Be a good friend.
Rules that apply to the play equipment are to ensure the safety of children playing on and in the area and ensure the respectful use of property. Go down the slide feet first. Jumping off platforms, pushing, vandalism, mistreatment of equipment, or writing on equipment will not be tolerated.
As the office area is a place of business, students and parents who enter the area should be quiet and respectful of office business.
Language and Gestures
Disruptive language and/or gestures, which violate community standards of acceptability, are not allowed in school or at school-related events. Examples of offensive language/gestures shall include, but are not limited to: language/gestures that are obscene, profane, racist, or sexist.
Note to Parents: Parents should model for their children expected behavior following all school rules and procedures while on school grounds and at school sponsored events, such as good manners, respect for staff members and other families. A mutual respect between parents and the school is essential. Parents should teach their children to be respectful, polite, courteous, and cooperative. Parent support and partnership from home is particularly important in regards to the following expectations.
Good manners need to be practiced and exhibited in order for the school community to embody the principles extolled in the Mission Statement of the Melrose Public Schools. Good Manners are expressed verbally and symbolically:
Verbal manners include saying, “Thank you,” “Please,” “Excuse me,” “I’m sorry,” “Pardon me,” and “You’re welcome.” Verbal manners also include calling adults by their proper title – Ms., Miss, Mrs., and Mr., as well as using, “yes” and “no.”
Symbolic manners are expressed in many different ways: holding doors for others, picking something up when dropped by others, stopping to allow another person to pass in front or ahead of you, not walking between two people who are talking, waiting to be called on or acknowledged rather than interrupting, assisting and asking.
DISCIPLINE & CONFLICT RESOLUTION
Appropriate behavior management techniques recognize the individual and diverse developmental needs of each child. Programs at the Franklin Early Childhood Center have some basic rules for the health and safety of the children. We arrange the environment to avoid problem situations. We tailor our expectations to fit the developmental levels of the children to minimize frustrations and inappropriate behavior. Children participate in establishing school rules and policies as appropriate. These rules are posted in classrooms.
Children are encouraged to develop their own control, autonomy, management of feelings, problem solving and find their own rewards in cooperative social behavior. We model a sense of control in our own touch, voice and body language. We are firm about our limitations when they are appropriate to the situation and the child’s ability to understand and comply. We are consistent. We work as a team with other teachers, professionals and with parents. We analyze possible reasons for the behavior problems and make whatever adjustments in the environment we can.
Children are encouraged to verbalize their feelings, evaluate problems, brainstorm ideas to deal with their emotions and develop strategies towards conflict resolution. Our staff will offer choices, try to redirect activity, point out natural or logical consequences of different behaviors and help the child individually or in a group to problem solve. However, when a child does act in such a way that is or could be harmful to self or another we do intervene. We do not use corporal punishment, humiliation, verbal abuse or deny children food or bathroom privileges. In situations where warranted, disciplinary actions may include removing the child from the classroom environment with a staff person. If appropriate, restrictions in space such as where a child may play or be and what s/he might be able to use. Once the child regains control, staff will work with the child to learn more acceptable ways of expressing his/her feelings with the goal of returning to the group as soon as practical. In this instance the teacher will discuss the behavior difficulty with the parent at the end of the class sessions.
Melrose Public Schools recognizes the importance of providing a safe and supportive environment for all students and will not tolerate any form of bullying, cyberbullying, or retaliation, in our schools, on our school grounds, or during our school-related activities. We will promptly investigate all reports and complaints of bullying, cyberbullying, and/or retaliation to ensure a safe and supportive learning environment. We invite members of our learning community and citizens of Melrose to partner with us to create a school culture of safety, respect, and sense of belonging for all.
PROHIBITION AGAINST BULLYING AND RETALIATION
Acts of bullying, which include cyberbullying, are prohibited:
- on school grounds and property immediately adjacent to school grounds, at a school-sponsored or school-related activity, function, or program whether on or off school grounds, at a school bus stop, on a school bus or other vehicle owned, leased, or used by a school district or school; or through the use of technology or an electronic device owned, leased, or used by a school district or school, and
- at a location, activity, function, or program that is not school-related through the use of technology or an electronic device that is not owned, leased, or used by a school district or school, if the acts create a hostile environment at school for the target or witnesses, infringe on their rights at school, or materially and substantially disrupt the education process or the orderly operation of a school.
Retaliation against a person who reports bullying, provides information during an investigation of bullying, or witnesses or has reliable information about bullying is also prohibited.
Aggressor is a student who engages in bullying, cyberbullying, or retaliation.
Bullying, as defined in M.G.L. c. 71, § 37O, is the repeated use by one or more students of a written, verbal, or electronic expression or a physical act or gesture or any combination thereof, directed at a target that:
- Causes physical or emotional harm to the target or damage to the target’s property
- Places the target in reasonable fear of harm to himself or herself or of damage to his or her property
- Creates a hostile environment at school for the target
- Infringes on the rights of the target at school
- Materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school.
Cyberbullying is bullying through the use of technology or electronic devices such as telephones, cell phones, computers, and the Internet. It includes, but is not limited to, email, instant messages, text messages, and Internet postings. See M.G.L. c. 71, § 37O for the legal definition of cyberbullying.
Hostile environment, as defined in M.G.L. c. 71, § 37O, is a situation in which bullying causes the school environment to be permeated with intimidation, ridicule, or insult that is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of a student’s education.
Retaliation is any form of intimidation, reprisal, or harassment directed against a studentho reports bullying, provides information during an investigation of bullying, or witnesses or has reliable information about bullying.
Staff includes, but is not limited to, educators, administrators, counselors, school nurses, cafeteria workers, custodians, bus drivers, athletic coaches, advisors to extracurricular activities, support staff, or paraprofessionals.
Target is a student against whom bullying, cyberbullying, or retaliation has been perpetrated.
REPORTING AND RESPONDING TO BULLYING AND RETALIATION
Reporting bullying or retaliation. Reports of bullying or retaliation may be made by staff, students, parents or guardians, or others, and may be oral or written. Oral reports made by or to a staff member shall be recorded in writing. A school or district staff member is required to report immediately to the principal or designee any instance of bullying or retaliation the staff member becomes aware of or witnesses. Reports made by students, parents or guardians, or other individuals who are not school or district staff members, may be made anonymously. The district has made a variety of reporting resources available to the school community including, but not limited to, a Harassment Incident Report Form, a voicemail box at each school, a district dedicated mailing address, and an email address at each school. Contact information for each school is as follows:
- Early Childhood Center – Donna Rosso, [email protected] – 781-979-2260
- Horace Mann – Dr. Mary Ellen Cobbs, [email protected] – 781-979-2190
- Hoover – Jenny Corduck, [email protected] – 781-979-2180
- Lincoln – Allison Donovan, [email protected] – 781-979-2250
- Roosevelt – Mary Beth Maranto, [email protected] – 781-979-2270
- Winthrop – John Maynard, [email protected] – 781-979-2280
- MVMMS – Jamie Parsons, [email protected] – 781-979-3102
- Melrose High – John Buxton, [email protected] – 781-462-3239
The District mailing address is as follows:
- Melrose Public Schools –c/o Cyndy S. Taymore, 360 Lynn Fells Pkwy, Melrose, MA 02176
Use of the Harassment Incident Report Form is not required as a condition of making a report. The school or district will: 1) include a copy of the Harassment Incident Report Form in the beginning of the year packets for students and parents or guardians; 2) make it available in the school’s main office, the counseling office, the school nurse’s office, and other locations determined by the principal or designee; and 3) post it on the school’s website. The Harassment Incident Report Form will be made available in the most prevalent language(s) of origin of students and parents or guardians.
At the beginning of each school year, the school or district will provide the school community, including administrators, staff, students, and parents or guardians, with written notice of its policies for reporting acts of bullying and retaliation. A description of the reporting procedures and resources, including the name and contact information of the principal or designee, will be incorporated in student and staff handbooks, on the school or district website, and in information about the Plan that is made available to parents or guardians.
Reporting by Staff. A staff member will report immediately to the principal or designee when he/she witnesses or becomes aware of conduct that may be bullying or retaliation. The requirement to report to the principal or designee does not limit the authority of the staff member to respond to behavioral or disciplinary incidents consistent with school or district policies and procedures for behavior management and discipline.
Reporting by Students, Parents or Guardians, and Others. The school or district expects students, parents or guardians, and others who witness or become aware of an instance of bullying or retaliation involving a student to report it to the principal or designee. Reports may be made anonymously, but no disciplinary action will be taken against an alleged aggressor solely on the basis of an anonymous report. Students, parents or guardians, and others may request assistance from a staff member to complete a written report. Students will be provided practical, safe, private and age-appropriate ways to report and discuss an incident of bullying with a staff member, or with the principal or designee.
Responding to a report of bullying or retaliation.
Safety: Before fully investigating the allegations of bullying or retaliation, the principal or designee will take steps to assess the need to restore a sense of safety to the alleged target and/or to protect the alleged target from possible further incidents. Responses to promote safety may include, but not be limited to, creating a personal safety plan; pre-determining seating arrangements for the target and/or the aggressor in the classroom, at lunch, or on a transportation vehicle; identifying a staff member who will act as a “safe person” for the target; and altering the aggressor’s schedule and access to the target. The principal or designee will take additional steps to promote safety during the course of and after the investigation, as necessary.
The principal or designee will implement appropriate strategies for protecting from bullying or retaliation of a student who: has reported bullying or retaliation; has witnessed bullying or retaliation; provides information during an investigation; or has reliable information about a reported act of bullying or retaliation.
Obligations to Notify Others:
Notice to parents or guardians. Upon determining that bullying or retaliation has occurred, the principal or designee will promptly notify the parents or guardians of the target and the aggressor of this, and of the procedures for responding to it. There may be circumstances in which the principal or designee contacts parents or guardians prior to any investigation. Notice will be consistent with state regulations at 603 CMR 49.00.
Notice to another School or District. If the reported incident involves students from more than one school district, charter school, non-public school, approved private special education day or residential school, or collaborative school, the principal or designee first informed of the incident will promptly notify by telephone the principal or designee of the other school(s) of the incident so that each school may take appropriate action. All communications will be in accordance with state and federal privacy laws and regulations, and 603 CMR 49.00.
Notice to Law Enforcement. At any point after receiving a report of bullying or retaliation, including after an investigation, if the principal or designee has a reasonable basis to believe that criminal charges may be pursued against the aggressor, the principal will notify the Melrose Police Department. Notice will be consistent with the requirements of 603 CMR 49.00 and locally established agreements with the Melrose Police Department. Also, if an incident occurs on school grounds and involves a former student under the age of 21 who is no longer enrolled in school, the principal or designee shall contact the Melrose Police Department if he or she has a reasonable basis to believe that criminal charges may be pursued against the aggressor.
In making this determination, the principal will, consistent with the Plan and with applicable school or district policies and procedures, consult with the district’s School Resource Officer (SRO), if any, and other individuals the principal or designee deems appropriate.
Investigation. The principal or designee will investigate promptly all reports of bullying or retaliation and, in doing so, will consider all available information known, including the nature of the allegation(s) and the ages of the students involved. Specifically, the Principal or designee shall complete the investigation within a reasonable amount of time, not to exceed 15 school days following the date of the report.
During the investigation the principal or designee will, among other things, interview students, staff, witnesses, parents or guardians, and others as necessary. The principal or designee (or whoever is conducting the investigation) will remind the alleged aggressor, target, and witnesses that retaliation is strictly prohibited and will result in disciplinary action.
Interviews may be conducted by the principal or designee, other staff members as determined by the principal or designee, and in consultation with the school counselor, as appropriate. To the extent practicable, and given his/her obligation to investigate and address the matter, the principal or designee will maintain confidentiality during the investigative process. The principal or designee will maintain a written record of the investigation.
Procedures for investigating reports of bullying and retaliation will be consistent with school or district policies and procedures for investigations. If necessary, the principal or designee will consult with legal counsel about the investigation.
Determinations. The principal or designee will make a determination based upon all of the facts and circumstances. If, after investigation, bullying or retaliation is substantiated, the principal or designee will take steps reasonably calculated to prevent recurrence and to ensure that the target is not restricted in participating in school or in benefiting from school activities. The principal or designee will: 1) determine what remedial action is required, if any, and 2) determine what responsive actions and/or disciplinary action is necessary.
Depending upon the circumstances, the principal or designee may choose to consult with the students’ teacher(s) and/or school counselor, and the target’s or aggressor’s parents or guardians, to identify any underlying social or emotional issue(s) that may have contributed to the bullying behavior and to assess the level of need for additional social skills development.
The principal or designee will promptly notify the parents or guardians of the target and the aggressor about the results of the investigation and, if bullying or retaliation is found, what action is being taken to prevent further acts of bullying or retaliation. All notice to parents must comply with applicable state and federal privacy laws and regulations. Because of the legal requirements regarding the confidentiality of student records, the principal or designee cannot report specific information to the target’s parent or guardian about the disciplinary action taken unless it involves a “stay away” order or other directive that the target must be aware of in order to report violations.
Responses to Bullying:
Teaching Appropriate Behavior through Skills-building. Upon the principal or designee determining that bullying or retaliation has occurred, the law requires that the school or district use a range of responses that balance the need for accountability with the need to teach appropriate behavior. M.G.L. c. 71, § 37O(d)(v). Skill-building approaches that the principal or designee may consider include:
▪ Providing relevant educational activities for individual students or groups of students, in consultation with guidance counselors and other appropriate school personnel.
▪ Implementing a range of academic and nonacademic positive behavioral supports to help students understand pro-social ways to achieve their goals.
▪ Meeting with parents and guardians to engage parental support and to reinforce the anti-bullying curricula and social skills building activities at home.
▪ Adopting behavioral plans to include a focus on developing specific social skills.
▪ Making a referral for any further evaluation as appropriate.
Taking Disciplinary Action. If the principal or designee decides that disciplinary action is appropriate, the disciplinary action will be determined on the basis of facts found by the principal or designee, including the nature of the conduct, the age of the student(s) involved, and the need to balance accountability with the teaching of appropriate behavior. Discipline will be consistent with the Plan and with the school’s or district’s code of conduct.
Discipline procedures for students with disabilities are governed by the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA), which should be read in cooperation with state laws regarding student discipline.
If the principal or designee determines that a student knowingly made a false allegation of bullying or retaliation, that student may be subject to disciplinary action.
Promoting Safety for the Target and Others. The principal or designee will consider what adjustments, if any, are needed in the school environment to enhance the target’s sense of safety and that of others as well. One strategy that the principal or designee may use is to increase adult supervision at transition times and in locations where bullying is known to have occurred or is likely to occur.
Within a reasonable period of time following the determination and the ordering of remedial and/or disciplinary action, the principal or designee will contact the target to determine whether there has been a recurrence of the prohibited conduct and whether additional supportive measures are needed. If so, the principal or designee will work with appropriate school staff to implement them immediately.
TRAINING AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Annual staff training on the Plan. Annual training for all school staff on the Plan will include staff duties under the Plan, an overview of the steps that the principal or designee will follow upon receipt of a report of bullying or retaliation, and an overview of the bullying prevention curricula to be offered at all grades throughout the school or district. Staff members hired after the start of the school year are required to participate in school-based training during the school year in which they are hired, unless they can demonstrate participation in an acceptable and comparable program within the last two years.
Ongoing professional development. The goal of professional development is to establish a common understanding of tools necessary for staff to create a school climate that promotes safety, civil communication, and respect for differences. Professional development will build the skills of staff members to prevent, identify, and respond to bullying. As required by M.G.L. c. 71, § 37O, the content of schoolwide and districtwide professional development will be informed by research and will include information on:
- Developmentally appropriate strategies to prevent bullying
- Developmentally appropriate strategies for immediate, effective interventions to stop bullying incidents
- Information regarding the complex interaction and power differential that can take place between and among an aggressor, target, and witnesses to the bullying
- Research findings on bullying, including information about specific categories of students who have been shown to be particularly at risk for bullying in the school environment
- Information on the incidence and nature of cyberbullying
- Internet safety issues as they relate to cyberbullying
Professional development will also address ways to prevent and respond to bullying or retaliation for students with disabilities that must be considered when developing students’ Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). This will include a particular focus on the needs of students with autism or students whose disability affects social skills development.
Additional areas identified by the school or district for professional development includes:
- Promoting and modeling the use of respectful language
- Fostering an understanding of and respect for diversity and difference
- Building relationships and communicating with families
- Managing classroom behaviors constructively
- Using positive behavioral intervention strategies
- Applying constructive disciplinary practices
- Teaching students skills including positive communication, anger management, and empathy for other
- Engaging students in school or classroom planning and decision-making
- Maintaining a safe and caring classroom for all students
Written notice to staff. The school or district will provide all staff with an annual written notice of the Plan by publishing information about it, including sections related to staff duties.
ACADEMIC AND NON-ACADEMIC ACTIVITIES
Specific bullying prevention approaches. Bullying prevention curricula will be informed by current research which, among other things, emphasizes the following approaches:
- Using scripts and role plays to develop skills
- Empowering students to take action by knowing what to do when they witness other students engaged in acts of bullying or retaliation, including seeking adult assistance
- Helping students understand the dynamics of bullying and cyberbullying, including the underlying power imbalance
- Emphasizing cybersafety, including safe and appropriate use of electronic communication technologies
- Enhancing students’ skills for engaging in healthy relationships and respectful communications
- Engaging students in a safe, supportive school environment that is respectful of diversity and difference
Initiatives will also teach students about the student-related sections of the Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan. Beginning with the 2011-2012 school term, the Melrose Public School staff will review developmentally appropriate versions of the definitions, reporting and responding sections of this Plan with students by October 1st of each year.
General teaching approaches that support bullying prevention efforts.
The following approaches are integral to establishing a safe and supportive school environment. These underscore the importance of our bullying intervention and prevention initiatives:
- Setting clear expectations for students and establishing school and classroom routines
- Creating safe school and classroom environments for all students, including for students with disabilities, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender students, and homeless students
- Using appropriate and positive responses and reinforcement, even when students require discipline
- Using positive behavioral supports
- Encouraging adults to develop positive relationships with students
- Modeling, teaching, and rewarding pro-social, healthy, and respectful behaviors
- Using positive approaches to behavioral health, including collaborative problem-solving, conflict resolution training, teamwork, and positive behavioral supports that aid in social and emotional development
- Using the Internet safely
- Supporting students’ interest and participation in non-academic and extracurricular activities, particularly in their areas of strength
As stated in M.G.L. c. 71, § 37O, nothing in this Plan requires the district or school to staff any non-school related activities, functions, or programs.
COLLABORATION WITH FAMILIES
Parent education and resources. The Melrose Public School district will offer education programs for parents and guardians that are focused on the parental components of the anti-bullying curricula and any social competency curricula used by the district or school. The programs will be offered in collaboration with the PTO, School Site Councils, Special Education Parent Advisory Council or similar organizations.
Notification requirements. Each year the school or district will inform parents or guardians of enrolled students about the anti-bullying curricula that are being used. This notice will include information about the dynamics of bullying, including cyberbullying and online safety. The school or district will send parents written notice each year about the student-related sections of the Plan and the school’s or district’s Internet safety policy. All notices and information made available to parents or guardians will be in hard copy and electronic formats, and will be available in the language(s) most prevalent among parents or guardians. The school or district will post the Plan and related information on its website.
RELATIONSHIP TO OTHER LAWS
Consistent with state and federal laws, and the policies of the Melrose Public Schools, no person shall be discriminated against in admission to a public school of any town or in obtaining the advantages, privilege and courses of study of such public school on account of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, or sexual orientation. Nothing in the Plan prevents the school or district from taking action to remediate discrimination or harassment based on a person’s membership in a legally protected category under local, state, or federal law, or school or district policies.
In addition, nothing in the Plan is designed or intended to limit the authority of the school or district to take disciplinary action or other action under M.G.L. c. 71, §§ 37H or 37H½, other applicable laws, or local school or district policies in response to violent, harmful, or disruptive behavior, regardless of whether the Plan covers the behavior.
ACCESS TO RESOURCES AND SERVICES
A key aspect of promoting positive school climates is ensuring that the underlying emotional needs of targets, aggressors, families, and others are addressed and that supports and services necessary to meet their needs are made available. In order to enhance the school’s or district’s capacity to prevent, intervene early, and respond effectively to bullying, these services should reflect an understanding of the dynamics of bullying and provide approaches to address the needs of targets and aggressors and. include a strategy for providing counseling or referral to appropriate services for aggressors, targets, and family members of those students.
The Assistant Superintendent for Pupil Personnel Services oversees the collection and consolidation of building level information regarding the capacity of each school to provide counseling and other services for targets, aggressors and their families. This includes staffing, financial, and curricula supports. This information is compiled by individual school principals and provided to the Assistant Superintendent annually. Regularly scheduled leadership meetings (comprised of principals and district level administrators) provide opportunities for this information to be updated.
- Assess the effectiveness of current resources at each school.
- Determine professional development needs of staff. This will be completed primarily by the Director of Curriculum in coordination with building principals.
- Evaluate the efficacy of current programs (i.e. Second Step & Responsive classroom) at elementary level, Aggressors, Victims, and Bystanders from the Teenage Health Teaching Module (THTM), Acts of Kindness Week and the Acts of Kindness club at the middle school level and Peer Mediation at the high school level.
- Explore published curricula and/or develop new curricula for use across the district.
- Once identified, any new curricula will be reviewed and evaluated by the building principals, central administrators, and School Health Advisory Committee.
- Compile information regarding community agencies and service providers that offer counseling and/or social skills development support.
Counseling and other Services
English as Second language:
English is the primary language of the students attending Melrose Public schools. For students for whom English is a second language, the district utilizes a contracted translation service, and additional agencies offering counseling services will be identified.
At the building level, administrators, counselors and staff possess knowledge and experience in preventing and responding to bullying behaviors. In addition, school psychologists, guidance counselors, and social workers within the district will compile and maintain a comprehensive list of community based agencies, counseling, and social skills development programs available.
When the student’s needs exceed the counseling support appropriate to a school setting, and/or when the parent requests information to support their child at home a referral to outside services may be appropriate. As with all referrals, it will be communicated that this is a parent choice and not a requirement of the school system.
Students with disabilities.
As required by M.G.L. c. 71B, § 3, as amended by Chapter 92 of the Acts of 2010, when the IEP Team determines the student has a disability that affects social skills development or the student may participate in or is vulnerable to bullying, harassment, or teasing because of his/her disability, the Team will consider what should be included in the IEP to develop the student’s skills and proficiencies to avoid and respond to bullying, harassment, or teasing.
Other Service Providers and Resources:
Melrose Alliance Against Violence (MAAV) provides professional development training for staff and informational presentations for parents and students. Additionally, MAAV provides information about bullying on their web site (http://www.maav.org); pamphlets and handouts; a resource library of books, curricula and DVD’s on bullying for parents, students and staff.
Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center (MARC) provides professional development trainings, and information on their web site, in support of staff, parent, and students. www.bridgew.edu/marc
The Middlesex Partnership for Youth and Project Alliance, in coordination with the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, provide ongoing support by presenting information on school safety and anti-bullying to staff and parents. www.middlesexpartnershipsforyouth.com
Any person who makes knowingly false charges or brings a malicious complaint is subject to disciplinary and/or corrective action.
Disciplinary and Corrective Actions
Violation of this Policy is a serious offense. Violators will be subject to appropriate disciplinary and/or corrective action to correct and end the conduct, prevent its reoccurrence, and protect the complainant and other similarly-situated individuals from harassment, discrimination, hate crimes, retaliation, and bullying in the future.
As a result of FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR part 99), school officials cannot tell a parent how they disciplined another student, even if his or her child was directly targeted by that student. School Officials must obey state and federal laws which mandate that they keep student records confidential and private.
Gifts for Teachers/Staff
In accordance with M.G.L. c. 268, the State Ethics Commission prohibits any public employees, including teachers, are prohibited by §§ 3 and 23(b)(2) of the conflict of interest law from accepting gifts worth $50 or more that are given to them because of the position they hold, or because of some action they could take or have taken in their position.
Teachers and other public employees may accept gifts that are worth less than $50, but they have to disclose in writing the fact that that they have done so if, based on the circumstances, a reasonable person would think that the teacher might unduly show favor to the giver or the giver’s child because of the gift. G.L. c. 268A, § 23(b)(3). Therefore, whether you may accept the gift depends on its value, and whether you must disclose a gift you are allowed to accept depends on the circumstances.
A teacher who is offered an end-of-the-year gift worth $50 or more should not accept it, unless it is a permissible class gift. The Commission created an exemption in its regulations at 930 CMR 5.08(14) to permit parents and students of a class, acting together, may give a gift worth up to $150 to a teacher, provided that the gift is identified only as being from the class, and the names of the givers and the amounts given not identified to the teacher. A single class gift worth up to $150, or several class gifts during the school year with a total value up to $150, may be given. A teacher may not accept any other gift from someone who has contributed to a class gift. Therefore, if an individual gift is offered, before accepting it, the teacher must confirm that the giver did not contribute to the class gift.
A gift given to a teacher to use solely in the classroom or to buy classroom supplies is not considered a gift to the teacher personally, and is, therefore, not subject to the $50 limit on personal gifts to teachers. Parents may give to the classroom or the school in accordance with the rules of the school district. A teacher who receives such a gift must keep receipts documenting that the money was used for classroom supplies. Please see the following link for more information: https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartIV/TitleI/Chapter268 a.
DISCIPLINE OF STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES
All students with disabilities are expected to meet the requirements of behavior as set forth in this handbook, unless the Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) for a student specifically indicates that the student is not expected to comply with such rules, or is expected to comply with modified rules, as described below. In addition to those due process protections afforded to all students, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and related regulations require that additional provisions be made for special education students before they may be excluded from their programs for more than 10 cumulative days in a school year, as described below. Students who have been found to have a disability that impacts upon a major life activity, as defined under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, must also be afforded these increased procedural protections prior to imposing discipline that will result in the student’s removal for more than 10 school days in a given year or a change in placement. The following additional requirements apply to the discipline of students with disabilities.
- The IEP for every student eligible for special education or related services must indicate whether the student can be expected to meet the regular discipline code of the school or whether the code should be modified to address the student’s individual needs.
- The principal or designee will notify Pupil Personnel Services if a student with a disability commits an offense that warrants suspension or removal from the program described in the student’s IEP according to the discipline code, and a record shall be kept of such notice.
- Students with disabilities may be excluded from their programs for up to 10 consecutive school days in a school year, or for shorter periods that constitute a pattern of removal and accumulate to more than ten (10) school days, in the same manner as a student in the general education program. Exclusions for longer periods of time are considered to constitute a change in the student’s placement.
- Whenever the principal contemplates changing a special education student’s placement through the disciplinary process, the student’s parents must be sent a copy of the Notice of Procedural Safeguards, notifying them of the procedural protections available to special education students.
- In general, before a student with a disability may be excluded from his/her program for more than 10 school days in a given school year, the student’s Team must meet to conduct a functional behavioral assessment (FBA) for the purpose of developing and implementing interventions to assist the student in avoiding the problematic behavior in the future. If an FBA already has been conducted and a behavioral intervention plan (BIP) exists, the Team should review and modify the BIP, as necessary, to address the student’s behavior.
- In addition, before a student with a disability may be excluded for more than 10 school days in a given school year, relevant members of the student’s Team, as determined by the district and the student’s parent(s), must meet to determine the relationship between the student’s disability and behavior (i.e., whether the student’s behavior (1) was caused by [had a direct and substantial relationship to] his/her disability; or (2) was the direct result of the district’s failure to implement the IEP) (manifestation determination). If the Team determines that the behavior was NOT related to the student’s disability, the school may discipline the student in accordance with the procedures and penalties applicable to all students, but must continue to provide services to the student as specified in the student’s IEP. If a parent disagrees with the Team’s manifestation determination, the parent has the right to request an expedited hearing with the Bureau of Special Education Appeals.
- If the Team determines that the behavior WAS related to the student’s disability, the student may not be excluded from his/her current educational program (except in cases of weapons or drugs) until the Team develops, and the parents consent, to a new IEP.
- If a student with a disability, while on school grounds or at a school-related function, possesses a weapon, knowingly possesses or uses, sells or solicits the sale of an illegal drug or a controlled substance, or inflicts serious bodily injury on another person, the district may place the student in an interim alternative educational setting (IAES) for up to 45 school days. A hearing officer or judge may also order the placement of a student in an IAES for up to 45 school days if the district can present substantial evidence that the student presents a substantial likelihood of injury to self or others in the current setting.
- Under certain circumstances, students who have not been determined to be eligible for special education services nonetheless may be entitled to the protections described above, if the district had prior knowledge that the student had a disability and was eligible for special education services, before the behavior that precipitated the disciplinary action occurred.
The State Board of Education Regulations apply to all information kept by a School Committee on a student in a manner such that he or she may be individually identified. The regulations divide the record into sections: the transcript and the temporary record. Please note: The general provisions of parent/student rights (603 CMR 23.00) are now available in brochure form and can be obtained from the building principal or at the office of Pupil Personnel Services. Listed below are six items that come under the broader category of Student Record Regulations.
The transcript includes only the maximum information necessary to reflect the student’s educational progress. This information includes the name, address, course, titles, grades, credits and grade level completed. The transcript is kept by the school system for at least sixty years after the student leaves the system.
The temporary record contains the majority of the information maintained by the school about the student. This may include such things as: standardized test results, class rank, school sponsored extracurricular activities, and evaluations and comments by teachers, counselors, and other persons as well as other similar information. The student may take the temporary record at the end of the senior year or it is destroyed within five years after the student leaves the system.
Inspection of Records
A parent or a student who has entered the ninth grade or is at least 14 years old has the right to inspect all portions of the student record upon request. The record must be made available to the parent or student no later than two days after the request unless the parent or student consents to a delay. Parents and students have the right to receive copies of any part of the record, although a reasonable fee may be charged for the cost of duplicating the materials. Finally, the parent and student may request to have parts of the record interpreted by a qualified professional of the school or may invite anyone else of their choosing to inspect or interpret the record with them.
Confidentiality of Records & Access to Student Records by Third Parties
Ordinarily, student record information may not be disclosed to third parties without the written permission of the parent or eligible student. State and Federal law, however, provide that student records may be released without such consent in certain circumstances, including the following:
- To authorized school personnel who have a legitimate need for such information in the performance of their duties (for example, administrators, teachers, counselors, nurses, and clerical staff to the extent necessary to enable them to do their jobs)
- To a person or company to whom the school district has outsourced services or functions for which it otherwise would use its own employees (for example, an auditor, attorney, medical consultant or therapist).
- Upon request, to officials in the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, the Department of Youth Services, judicial officials and probation officers under the provisions of M.G.L. c. 119, sections 51B, 57, 69 and 69A respectively.
- Upon receipt of a court order or lawfully issued subpoena.
- To appropriate parties when the release of such information is necessary to protect the health or safety of a person (for example, the local police department and local health officials).
Amendment of Records
The parent and student have the right to add relevant comments, information, or other written materials to the student record. In addition, the parent and student have the right to request that information in the record be amended or deleted. The parent and student have the right to a conference with the school principal to make their objections known. Within a week after the conference, the principal must render a decision in writing. If the parent and student are not satisfied with the decision, the regulations contain provisions through which the decision may be appealed to higher authorities in the school system.
Destruction of Records
The regulations require that certain parts of the student record, such as the temporary record, be destroyed a certain period of time after the student leaves the system. School authorities are also allowed to destroy misleading, outdated, or irrelevant information in the record from time to time while the student is enrolled in the school system. Before any such information may be destroyed, the parent and student must be notified and have an opportunity to receive a copy of any of the information before its destruction.
Public Record Law
As a result of the Public Records Law, professional information relating to public employees and members of licensed professions, including public school teachers and administrators, is a public record under the state public records law G.L. c.4, s.7. Under this law, any person, whether or not s/he has a child in school, is entitled to ask for and receive the following professional information in regard to staff members: name, certification/licensure status, and degrees earned, including field of study and the institution that awarded the degree/s. Parents must put their request in writing to the building principal. Principals will respond in writing within 10 business days. The public records law specifically exempts from disclosure employees’ personnel and medical files and any other individual data the disclosure of which may constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.
Records of a school-based health clinic are subject to medical, not student, record regulations. Health records are confidential and must be issued separately from school nurse to school nurse when a student transfers. Special protection exists for certain health information (AIDS, HIV, etc.). A health care provider cannot disclose any information with respect to the same without specific, informed, written consent. Physician’s records are confidential and may not be released to any third party without written consent.
Rights of Families Regarding Student Records
To facilitate the educational process and to provide students with appropriate instructional and related services, the Melrose Public Schools collects and maintains certain information regarding students and their families, including information of a confidential nature. The Massachusetts Student Records regulations and the Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) provide that parents (including legal guardians), eligible students, and school officials are entitled to have access to such information, but protect such private information from disclosure to most third parties without the prior consent of a parent or eligible student. Relevant provisions of the laws and regulations are summarized below. Questions concerning student records that are not addressed in this Handbook should be directed to the Principal.
A visitor or volunteer is considered any person who enters the school other than a student or campus staff member. Anyone wanting access to our school must enter through the main doors and report immediately to the Main Office. Visitors and volunteers must sign in and obtain the appropriate identifying badge (either visitor or volunteer depending on role). This policy helps us ensure the safety and security of our school building. Visitors and volunteers should only be in the location of their designated activity. Entering classrooms and locations other than the ones designated by your role is prohibited. At the conclusion of your visit/volunteering, please stop by the Main Office to sign out. Districts are required to keep track of volunteer hours which is another reason signing in and out is important.
Volunteers must register with the schools’ centralized volunteer program – The Bridge School/Community Partnership. Registration forms can be obtained online at: http://melroseschools.com/schooldepartments/bridge/new-volunteer-parent-application/ or from the Main Office. Any questions regarding “The Bridge” please contact the Coordinator of Volunteers, Jennifer McAllister, at [email protected] or by calling 781-979-2299.
In accordance with Mass General Law Chapter 71, section 38R, any current or prospective volunteer who may have direct and unmonitored contact with children must agree to a criminal record (CORI) check. Information obtained will be confidential and will effect decisions about the placement of volunteers and field trip chaperones.
Confidentiality when working in a school setting is extremely important. All volunteers must sign a confidentiality agreement and successfully pass a CORI check. To ensure the privacy and safety of students and staff, information concerning both groups must not be discussed with anyone except the appropriate school personnel.
Volunteers who are unable to maintain a professional stance regarding confidentiality or other unbecoming behavior will be asked to discontinue their volunteer work for the rest of the year. Volunteers are not permitted to take photographs of staff or students.
Volunteers who have access to the school’s computers, networks, and Internet services are to use them for school-related purposes and performance of job duties. The school retains control, custody and supervision of all computers, networks, and Internet services owned or leased by the Melrose Public Schools. Volunteers have no expectation of privacy in their use of school computers, including e-mail messages and stored files. The school committee’s “Acceptable Use Policy” regarding school computers is available upon request.
Privacy restrictions mandate that group photos or photos of students other than your own child not be posted on social media without explicit permission of the parents of each child present in the photo.
Emergency Health Care
The school nurse is able to administer first aid as it relates to the immediate and temporary care given in case of an accident or sudden illness. There are times when a child becomes ill at school and parents are not able to provide transportation. If a responsible person is at home, the nurse, the principal or secretary may, at their discretion and with parent’s permission, arrange for dismissal and/or transportation home. Please contact the school immediately if there is a change in the care provider or if you will be away on vacation. It is imperative that you make arrangements for whoever will assume care should an emergency arise. A sick/injured child cannot be kept at school. Careful planning in advance can prevent a very difficult situation. Children should not come to school if they appear to be ill. In keeping with health regulations, we request you keep your child home if he/she 20 has a severe cold, constant coughing or sneezing, or an undiagnosed rash. Additionally, students should be free from vomiting and/or diarrhea for at least 24 hours before return to school. If they have been prescribed an antibiotic for a bacterial infection they must have taken it for at least a full 24 hours before returning to school. Children should be fever free for at least 24 hours without the use of Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen.
Emergency Contact Information
At the beginning of each school year parents are asked to provide emergency information for each of their children. This information is vitally important for the wellbeing of the child. In the event of illness or injury, the parent will be notified and asked to provide transportation home. Two emergency numbers are requested in case of the parent’s absence from home. Please keep this information updated in the school office.
Confidential health information is also required for the school nurse. This gives the nurse valuable information such as previous illnesses your child might have had, diseases or conditions, medications taken by the child, emergency contacts, health insurance provider names and primary care physician information. One Confidential Health Form is required for each child each academic year at all grade levels.
- Parents are urged to give medication(s) at home before or after school whenever possible. It is our policy to have all medications administered by the School Nurse. Medications are kept in a locked cabinet in the Health Office with the exception of inhalers and epipens.
- All medications brought from home to the school should be 21 delivered to the School Nurse by a parent or other designated adult. The medication must be in a pharmacy-labeled container with the child’s name, the name of the medication, the dosage and frequency of administration. Both the parent and the prescribing physician must sign consent forms for administration in school. For short-term medication such as antibiotics, parents must sign consent but the pharmacy-labeled bottle or package will take the place of the physician’s order.
- All non-prescription medicine must be delivered to the nurse by an adult in its original packaging with the child’s name labeled on it and with dosage instructions. The parent must sign a consent form for use in school.
- All Health Offices have access to a nebulizer machine. If your child is in need of this service please contact your School Nurse.
- All reasonable accommodations are met in regard to sending medication on field trips. If accommodations cannot be made safely, the parent/guardian will be asked to give the medication or to make other arrangements.
- Acetaminophen is available as needed to all students in grades Pre-K – 12 during regular school hours administered by the School Nurse. Parents may indicate permission for as-needed medications on the Confidential Health Form submitted at the beginning of each school year. No as-needed medications will be given without parental consent. If the child has a fever, the parent will be notified that dismissal from school is necessary.
Immunizations and Physicals
All children entering Preschool must have an up to date physical and immunization form on file with the School Nurse before the first day of school. Preschool state immunization requirements are: 3 doses Hepatitis B, 4 doses DTaP, 3 doses Polio, 1-2 doses MMR, and 1-2 doses 22 Varicella or a physician documented history of the disease.
All children entering Kindergarten must have a five-year physical and record of immunization on file with the School Nurse before the first day of school. If you registered your child for Kindergarten with a five year physical and updated immunizations, no further action is required. If your child has a five-year physical and/or updated immunizations after Kindergarten registration has taken place, please mail the updated information to the school your child will be attending, care of the School Nurse. Kindergarten state immunization requirements are: 3 doses Hepatitis B, 5 doses DTaP, 4 doses Polio, 2 doses MMR, and 2 doses Varicella, or physician documented history of the disease.
An up to date physical and immunization form is required from any grade 1 student who did not attend Kindergarten, or any child transferring from another school system before their first day of school, unless school records are transferred with the child demonstrating an adequate health appraisal in the school year of transfer.
If your child is not up to date with their immunizations at any grade level they will be excluded from school, unless they have a medical or religious exemption, or are progressing through a physician documented catch-up series of vaccines. All state requirements are subject to change according to Mass. Gen. Laws and DPH requirements. Up to date physicals and immunization forms are recommended for grades 3, 7 and 10. Please send all forms to the School Nurse.
Any student who does not have a primary care provider or health insurance should contact their School Nurse immediately for assistance. The Children’s Medical Security Plan provides health insurance for all students up to the age of 19 who are Massachusetts residents.
If a child contracts a communicable disease, that child will be excluded from school. If the illness is found at school the school nurse will assess the student regarding his/her condition and determine the need for exclusion. The nurse will then contact the parents to remove the child from school. Students will be readmitted to school according to the criteria for the specific illness found in the School Health Manual. A note from the student’s primary care provider may be required at the discretion of the school nurse/principal upon re-entry. Examples of excludable illnesses are: Chicken pox, conjunctivitis, impetigo, measles, mumps, meningococcal illness, lice, scabies, strep throat and ringworm. Any child with a temperature of 100.0 or higher will be excluded from school and should not return until he/she has been fever-free for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication such as Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen. Students should be free from vomiting and/or diarrhea for at least 24 hours before return to school. Pediculosis (head lice): Upon discovery of lice or nits, the student’s parents will be contacted and next steps will be discussed. Head lice are not a health hazard or a sign of poor hygiene and are not responsible for the spread of any disease. Therefore, students will not be excluded from school. While undergoing treatment for lice, the student must check-in with the nurse upon entering school. The parent should be prepared to have a conversation regarding the treatment used, the number and viability of any remaining nits, and the ability to diagnose a re-infestation. For more information please see:
While children are not required to be fully toilet trained to attend the Franklin Early Childhood Center, parents should be actively working toward toileting training including promoting self-help skills and independence. Any child not trained, must wear disposable pull-ups to school. Parents are responsible for supplying pull-ups and wipes. In order to promote toileting skills and independence at school parents are encouraged to dress children in clothes that are easy to put on and off and to have children practice dressing and self-care at home.
FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION REGARDING TOILET TRAINING, PLEASE CONSULT THE NURSE”S PAGE OF THE FRANKLIN ECC WEBSITE OR CONTACT THE SCHOOL NURSE DIRECTLY.
If a child who is capable of changing himself and performing own self care has wet/soiled underwear or pull-up:
- Staff will coach the child through the change using the protocol posted in the COACHING AREA.
- Children in a classroom with an attached bathroom may be coached by staff in that bathroom also considered COACHING AREA.
- If clothes are handled staff member will wear gloves provided in bathrooms.
- A double plastic bag will be used to place clothes. Bags are available in bathrooms.
- Double bag containing soiled clothing will be secured and labeled with child’s name and “soiled.”
- Wet/soiled pull up immediately following the change will be placed in specified trash barrel.
- If a child who is incapable of changing himself or providing own self care has a wet/soiled pull-up or underwear:
- Staff member will bring the child to CHANGING AREA in Nurse’s office.
- The nurse or office staff will be alerted that a change is occurring.
- In CHANGING log provided, staff will note child’s name, time of change, staff member who changed child and staff member who witnessed change.
- Staff member will change the child in CHANGING AREA
- Staff member will place piece of exam paper on floor. Child stands on paper for change. Paper is in bathroom.
- Staff member will wear gloves. Gloves are provided in bathroom.
- Staff member will coach the child through any step he/she can do. Toileting visual aids are provided on walls.
- Staff member will use gloves for assistance with self-care/wiping.
- Soiled wipes and soiled pull-up will be placed in double bag provided for pull-up change.
- Soiled wipes and pull up will be secured in a double bag. Double bag will be disposed of in designated trash barrel.
Every classroom at the Franklin Early Childhood Center has a daily schedule that includes a snack time. All snacks coming into school must be nut free. Parents provide a snack and drink for their individual children. Please minimize the amount of sugary snacks our children bring to school.
Children enrolled in classes operating until 1:30 or 2:10 will be eating lunch in their classrooms. Students may bring a nut free lunch from home. Please provide a cold pack in an insulated lunch box for refrigerated foods. Our staff does not have the ability to refrigerate or heat-up meals.
Students may either bring a lunch from home or purchase a school lunch. When bringing a lunch from home, it should be packed appropriately as refrigeration/microwaves are not available. When purchasing lunch or ala-carte item (milk), a debit system is used. Money must be prepaid or deposited into individual student accounts. Payments to your child’s account may be made on line or sent to school in an envelope clearly labeled with your child’s name. Cash or checks (payable to Melrose Public Schools) are the acceptable methods of payment.
Students who have a positive account balance can purchase any item(s). Students with a negative account balance will be allowed to purchase a meal for two (2) days. After two (2) days, if money is not deposited into the account, the student will be allowed to receive a lunch of a cheese, or other sandwich, which will be charged to their account. In an effort to prevent negative account balances, the Foodservice Department will periodically send notices home to parents indicating low account balances.
Students may qualify for a free or reduced lunch based on family income; to see if your family qualifies you need to apply. The application is available from the building principal or by following this link: https://ecm.nutrislice.com/melrose-public-schools/file/2017-8-18/1503090614740__Melrose%20fy18%20Meals%20Application.pdf.
Monthly lunch menus are posted in advance and available through the following link on the district website: http://melroseschools.nutrislice.com/.
City of Melrose Health and Wellness Policy
Over the past several years, the Melrose Public School system has worked to create a safer and healthier environment for our students. The city’s Health and Wellness Policy states that we will take measures to address healthy eating habits, as well as food allergies. There has been an increase in students with life-threatening food allergies. All food coming in for classroom snack must be nut-free. Students are not allowed to share food with each other. When a celebration includes a “treat” parents/guardians will supply their child with their own individual food. The lunchroom has a designated nut free area. Therefore, there are no food restrictions in the lunchroom. The Health and Wellness Policy states that the schools must, “Uniformly minimize the amount of cake, cupcakes, etc. being brought into school by encouraging families to bring in nonfood treats while also addressing life-threatening food-allergy concerns.” Therefore, we have also eliminated the distribution of food being brought in for birthdays/celebrations.
Testing and Assessment
Evaluation of students through standardized achievement tests or required state assessments are conducted periodically. Parents will be notified of the dates, results and educational impact. Throughout the school year, students will also participate in benchmark tests to assess their acquisition of reading and math skills. Data from these assessments is used to inform classroom instruction and provide necessary intervention and differentiation. Teachers will share with parents their individual student scores.
For students who attend the full day Multi-Age and full day Pre-K or Pre School programs, a thirty minute quiet time is incorporated into their day. Each student will be assigned a rest mat. Children are not required to sleep at this time however some will chose to do so. After thirty minutes, the classroom slowly comes back to life. Parents are urged to communicate with staff of how to handle a child who continues to sleep beyond the set time.
Emergency Response Drills
Attending to the safety of our schools is of the greatest importance. In conjunction with our local officials, our response procedures are reviewed yearly so that we can make prompt, responsible decisions in the event of an emergency. Throughout the school year, students and staff practice fire, lock down and off site evacuation drills. In advance of a lock down and off site evacuation drill, parents will be notified.
CRISIS TEAM PLAN OF ACTION
A Crisis Team Plan of Action is kept at each Melrose school. Its purpose is to assist the school when it is dealing with issues of death and dying. The guidelines help members of the school community respond to the needs of the students and faculty at times of grief and loss in order to help them remain psychologically healthy and to prevent the development of later psychological problems. The plan establishes a caring committee or crisis team at each school typically consisting of some of the following: the building principal, assistant principal, classroom teachers, guidance staff, nurses, parents, and students. Credit for the original design goes to the Good Grief Program at Judge Baker’s Childrens’ Center in Boston. The process of, “good grief,” promotes good mental health and involves the four psychological tasks of: understanding, grieving, commemorating, and going on. The protocol associated with the plan is designed to aid in the accomplishment of these tasks. A copy of the Crisis Team Plan of Action is available at the front office of each school.
Procedure for Discussing School Related Concerns
We believe in a strong partnership between home and school. If you have concerns however, please begin with your child’s classroom teacher. If your concern is not resolved, please make an appointment with your building principal.
STUDENT TEACHERS AND HIGH SCHOOL INTERNS
Our teachers occasionally work with student teachers and/or high school interns. Parents will be notified when this partnership occurs.
LOST AND FOUND
Any found items should be brought to the office. If the owner cannot be identified, items such as clothing will be put in the school’s lost and found area. It is a good idea to clearly mark items with the child’s name and room number in a visibly restricted area on the item.
Students should only bring materials that are used for academic purposes. Personal belongings, such as stuffed pets, toys, electronic devices and other valuables should not be brought to school, and the school will not be liable for lost, stolen or damaged items. Permission may be granted from the student’s teacher for personal belonging to be brought school for classroom purposes.
The objective of the PTO is to provide a forum for parents and teachers to cooperate in the education and enrichment of the current and future students of the school. The PTO helps coordinate many activities during the school year. Fund-raisers and dues financially support the PTO. The PTO provides support to each classroom in many different ways.
PARENT/GUARDIAN NOTICE REGARDING SEXUAL EDUCATION OR HUMAN SEXUALITY ISSUES
Melrose Public Schools affords parents/guardians the flexibility to exempt their son/daughter from any portion of any course that teaches or involves human sexuality education or human sexuality issues. In order to exempt your youngster from any portion of any class that pertains to these issues, the parent/guardian must provide written notification to the school principal. Please note, no student so exempted shall be penalized by reason of such exemption. Every reasonable effort will be made to help support the educational needs of the student. To the extent practicable, curriculum materials will be available for review.
INSTRUCTIONAL SUPPORT TEAM
The Instructional Support Team (IST), which is a function of regular education, enables staff members to meet as a team to address the individual needs of children. At the classroom level, the purpose of the IST process is to identify aspects of the student-teacher partnership where accommodation in the classroom can help the student experience improved success. Its primary outcome is to provide direction and guidance so that teachers can differentiate instruction. A secondary outcome is to help the student develop strategies that enable him/her to make effective progress. If, after a variety of instructional interventions and strategies have been implemented in the general education setting for an appropriate amount of time, the student is still not making effective progress, the IST will refer the child for an evaluation to determine special education eligibility.
Pupil Personnel Services
The Department of Pupil Personnel Services (PPS) offers a broad range of diagnostic services and programs for students in the Melrose Public Schools whose learning challenges cannot be addressed through the general education program alone.
As outlined above, the building based Instructional Support Team (IST) collaborates to address individual needs of students. Most often the interventions recommended by the team help to resolve concerns. In some cases, however, it is deemed appropriate by the school staff and/or the child’s parents to refer the child for further evaluation by the Department of Pupil Personnel Services. We also accept direct parent referrals although we strongly encourage parents to work collaboratively with the school staff in submitting a referral.
The evaluations performed as a result of the referral, address the areas of need defined by those who know the child best: the school staff and the parents. Evaluations may include educational testing, psychological testing, speech and language testing or other testing based on areas of need.
At the conclusion of the evaluation, parents and school staff will meet together to discuss the testing results and determine whether or not special learning needs exist. If it is determined that they do exist, a discussion will take place around what program modifications or adaptations need to be developed, and what consultative and/or direct services need to be implemented in order to address the child’s needs and help that child maximize his/her potential to learn.
Our goal is to offer services that meet students’ needs while putting the least restrictions on the students’ schools experience. Services may include in classroom and small group pull-out. The objective is to keep a student with his/her peers, participating in a standards-based education to the greatest degree possible.
If you think your child may have a disability that is interfering with his/her progress at school, talk to your child’s teacher and principal. They will assist you in facilitating a resolution to your concerns, either at the building level or by referring your child to the Instructional Support Team.
The Special Education Program at our schools has been designed so as to comply with G.L. c. 71B and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA-04), every student must be given an adequate and appropriate education with special services and special programs when needed. A full range of programs are available to provide assistance to children who may be experiencing difficulties in school. An Individual Education Plan (I.E.P.), signed by the parent/guardian, is required for service delivery. Specialists are actively involved in diagnosing and prescribing individual student needs, sharing instructional materials/techniques with classroom teachers, and providing consultation to teachers and parents. Support services provided by trained specialists may include academic support, speech/language therapy, counseling services, and occupational or physical therapy.
Physical Restraint of Students
The purpose of 603 CMR 46.00 is to ensure that every student participating in a Massachusetts public education program is free from the use of physical restraint that is inconsistent with 603 CMR 46.00. Physical restraint shall be used only in emergency situations of last resort, after other lawful and less intrusive alternatives have failed or been deemed inappropriate, and with extreme caution. School personnel shall use physical restraint with two goals in mind:
(a) To administer a physical restraint only when needed to protect a student and/or a member of the school community from assault or imminent, serious, physical harm; and
(b) To prevent or minimize any harm to the student as a result of the use of physical restraint.
Statement of Non-Discrimination
The faculty and staff of Melrose Public Schools are committed to providing a safe and supportive environment in which high expectations are held for all. All members of our community should be able to feel safe and to expect that their person, property and opinions will be respected. As such, all members of our school community are expected to contribute to an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect. This handbook is intended to explain to students their individual rights and responsibilities to themselves and their community. School should be a setting where respect for rules and common decency are accepted by all as the necessary structure for both learning and community, and where those in authority strive to strike a balance between individual rights and the general good.
- RIGHT TO AN EQUAL EDUCATION
- Non-Discrimination Policy: State and federal laws prohibit discrimination in education (see MA G.L. c. 622 and c. 282). In the Melrose Public Schools, we do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, sex, gender identity, homelessness, religion, national origin, disability or sexual orientation with regard to admission, access to programs or activities, or employment opportunities. In the Melrose Public Schools:
- No individual shall be excluded from participation in, denied the benefit of, or subjected to discrimination, or subjected to harassment in any program or activity of the school because of such student’s race, color, age, sex, gender identity, homelessness, religion, national origin, disability or sexual orientation (i.e., protected status).
- English language learners have the right to counseling and course information in a language they understand. Families of English language learners have a right to school information in a language and/or way they understand. School staff will arrange for interpreters for conferences or meetings related to the education of their child.
Melrose Public Schools has identified Assistant Superintendent Patricia White-Lambright as the Civil Rights Officer for the following:
- Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973;
- Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990;
- Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964;
- Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972;
- Age Act
- A “Complaint” is defined as an allegation that a student or employee has been discriminated against or harassed on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or religion.
- “Discrimination” means discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, age, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or religion that is excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or otherwise be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity of the school.
- “Harassment” means unwelcome conduct on the basis of race, age, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or religion that is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive to create a hostile environment for the individual at school. Harassment may include insults, name-calling, off-color jokes, threats, comments, innuendoes, notes, display of pictures or symbols, gestures, or other conduct which rises to the level of a hostile environment.
- “Sexual Harassment” means unwelcome, sexually offensive or genderbased conduct which is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive to create a hostile environment for the individual at school. Additionally, under M.G.L. c. 151C, § 1, the term “sexual harassment” may also include, but is not limited to, sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when: (i) submission to or rejection of such advances, requests or conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of the provision of the benefits, privileges or placement services or as a basis for the evaluation of academic achievement; or (ii) such advances, requests or conduct have the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s education by creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating or sexually offensive educational environment.
- Harassment in any form or for any reason is absolutely forbidden. This includes harassment by administrators, certified and support personnel, students, vendors and other individuals in school or at school related events. When determining whether an environment is hostile, the school district examines the context, nature, frequency, and location of the sexual or gender-based incidents, as well as the identity, number and relationships of the persons involved. The school district must consider whether the alleged harassment was sufficient to have created such an environment for a reasonable person of the same age, gender, and experience as the alleged victim, and under a similar circumstance.
- Retaliation against any individual who has brought harassment or other inappropriate behavior to the attention of school officials or who has cooperated in an investigation of a complaint under this policy is unlawful and will not be tolerated by the Melrose Public Schools. Persons who engage in harassment or retaliation may be subject to disciplinary action, including, but not limited to, reprimand, suspension, termination/expulsion or other sanctions as determined by the school administration and/or School Committee, subject to applicable procedural requirements.
- Procedure for Filing Complaints Related to Discrimination or Harassment:
- If an individual feels he or she has been discriminated against, harassed or has been subjected to retaliation, the student may lodge a complaint with appropriate school staff, the principal of his or her school, or the Superintendent.
- District staff is expected to report possible incidents of discrimination or harassment of students and fellow employees. Parents and other adults are also encouraged to report any concerns about possible discrimination or harassment of students or employees which have allegedly occurred on school grounds, at school related events, or actions which occurred outside of school but possibly create a hostile environment for a student or employee while he/she is at school.
- All reports of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation will be investigated promptly and in an impartial and as confidential a manner as possible, to ensure prompt and appropriate action.
- The appropriate civil rights coordinator, or his or her designee, will conduct a prompt, impartial investigation. Interviews and gathering of information, except in circumstances in which more time is necessary to complete the investigation, will be completed within approximately fifteen (15) school days of the receiving of the complaint. The parties to the complaint will be provided opportunity to be heard as part of the investigation including the opportunity to provide relevant information and identify witnesses for the investigator’s consideration.
- Within ten (10) school days, the civil rights officer or designee will provide written notice of the outcome of the investigation to both the complainant and the individual accused of the discriminatory conduct.
- Any individual who is found, after appropriate investigation, to have engaged in discriminatory conduct, or harassing conduct, or retaliation will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including suspension or termination of employment. Additionally, the Melrose Public Schools will implement remedial and/or corrective measures that are reasonably calculated to eliminate the discrimination and/or harassment.
- If a party is not satisfied with the outcome of the investigation, that individual may appeal, within fifteen (15) calendar days of the notice of the outcome of the investigation by filing a written appeal with the Superintendent of Schools. The Superintendent will issue a written response on the appeal to the grievant and the respondent within fifteen (15) calendar days of receiving the appeal. If the individual is not satisfied with the response, he/she may take the complaint to:
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Program Quality Assurance, 75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148- 4096 or other appropriate federal or state agency.
- All the timelines indicated above will be implemented, as specified, unless the nature of the investigation or exigent circumstances prevents such implementation, in which case the matter will be completed promptly and equitably.
- Harassment may constitute child abuse under Massachusetts law (G.L. c.119, §51A) and/or a violation of criminal law. Melrose Public Schools will comply with Massachusetts law in reporting suspected cases of child abuse, including those involving sexual harassment, to the Department of Children and Families and/or the Department of Children and Families and/or the Melrose Police.
The governing regulations of Title IX, effective July, 1975, covers all aspects of sex discrimination in schools with regard to admissions, treatment of students, and employment. Specifically, Title IX states: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination, under an educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
Section 504 is an act, which prohibits discrimination against persons with a handicap in any program receiving federal financial assistance. The Act defines a person with a handicap as anyone who:
- Has a mental or physical impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities (such as caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working)
- Has a record of such an impairment or is regarded as having such impairment.
In order to fulfill its obligation under Section 504, the Melrose Public Schools recognizes it responsibility to avoid discrimination in policies and practices regarding its personnel and students. No discrimination against any person with a handicap will knowingly be permitted in any of the programs and practices in the Melrose Public Schools.
The Melrose Public Schools has specific responsibilities under this Act, which include the responsibility to identify, evaluate, and afford access to appropriate educational services, if the student is determined to be eligible under Section 504. If the parent or guardian disagrees with the determination made by the professional staff of the Melrose Public Schools, he/she has the right to a hearing with an impartial hearing officer.
Non-Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity Statement
An Act Relative to Gender Identity (Chapter 199 of the Acts of 2011), which became effective on July 1, 2012, amended several Massachusetts statutes prohibiting discrimination on the basis of specified categories, to include discrimination on the basis of gender 63 identity. Among the statutes amended is G.L. c. 76, § 5, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity against students who enroll in or attend the public schools. G.L. c. 76, §5 now reads as follows: Every person shall have a right to attend the public schools of the town where he actually resides, subject to the following section. No school committee is required to enroll a person who does not actually reside in the town unless said enrollment is authorized by law or by the school committee. Any person who violates or assists in the violation of this provision may be required to remit full restitution to the town of the improperly-attended public schools. No person shall be excluded from or discriminated against in admission to a public school of any town, or in obtaining the advantages, privileges and courses of study of such public school on account of race, color, sex, gender identity, religion, national origin or sexual orientation.
Infringement of Civil Rights
No student shall, by the behaviors and/or remarks, interfere with the civil rights of others. This includes sexual harassment, reference to race, religion, gender, handicap, sexual orientation, age or ethnic background.
PPRA Notice and Consent/Opt-Out for Specific Activities
The Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA), 20 U.S.C. § 1232h, requires the Melrose Public Schools to notify you and obtain consent or allow you to opt your child out of participating in certain school activities. These activities include a student survey, analysis, or evaluation that concerns one or more of the following eight areas (“protected information surveys”):
- Political affiliations or beliefs of the student or parent;
- Mental or psychological problems of the student or student’s family;
- Sexual behavior or attitudes;
- Illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, or demeaning behavior;
- Critical appraisals of others with whom respondents have close family relationships;
- Legally recognized privileged relationships, such as with lawyers, doctors, or ministers;
- Religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student or parents; or
- Income, other than as required by law to determine program eligibility. The Melrose Public Schools will provide parents, within a reasonable period of time prior to the administration of the surveys and activities, notification of the surveys and activities and be provided an opportunity to opt their child out, as well as an opportunity to review the surveys. (Please note that this notice and opt-out transfers from parents to any student who is eighteen years old or an emancipated minor under State law. If the school does not receive notification that a parent wishes to opt their child out of participation in the survey, passive parental consent for participation will be assumed.)
Certain rights and privileges pertaining to patriotic ceremonies are afforded by the First Amendment. A student may decline to participate in the salute to the flag, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the singing of the National Anthem. The school may not force the student to leave the room or otherwise punish the student. Students who choose to refrain from participation have a responsibility to respect the rights and interest of others who do wish to participate in the ceremony. The student may refuse to perform the ceremony in a manner that will not disrupt the ceremony for other persons.