HILLCREST ELEMENTARY STUDENT HANDBOOK
HOME OF THE COWBOYS
MESSAGE FROM THE PRINCIPAL
Welcome to Hillcrest Elementary and the Cowboy Family!!! I am looking forward to an amazing year together! Our school is a great place to be because of the outstanding students, dedicated teachers, and caring support staff. We want your child to enjoy learning and to cherish his/her elementary school experiences. You have entrusted your most precious gift to us; we take this responsibility very seriously. We believe that ALL children can learn at high levels. The faculty, staff, and administration strive to equip your child academically, socially, emotionally, and physically. Our goal is to prepare each child to meet the challenges of the 21st century and to be college and career ready. We urge you to support our school by becoming involved and supporting your child’s educational development. When we work together as a TEAM, success is inevitable!! Thank you for the opportunity to work together to educate your child and to have a productive and successful school year.
Dr. Paula Davis, Principal
Mission: Inspiring and empowering everyone, every day.
Vision: The vision of Hillcrest Elementary :
* provide a safe and caring environment
* provide a quality education
* meet individual needs-social, emotional, and academic
* partner with all stakeholders
* develop productive citizens and creative lifelong learners
CODE OF CONDUCT
To empower our students and teachers, we implement a multi-tiered, problem-solving approach to support a positive learning environment. We incorporate positive interventions that strengthen academic engagement and build strong teacher/student relationships based on mutual trust and respect.
Hillcrest Elementary provides a 7-hour instructional day for our students.
● Our school office is open from 7:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
● The first bus riders arrive at 7:00 a.m. and go immediately to the cafeteria for breakfast or early morning supervision.
● Car riders begin entering the building at 7:10 a.m. and go to the cafeteria for breakfast or supervision.
○ K-2 enter at the back
○ 3-5 enter at the front through the cafeteria door
● Grade level teachers pick up their students in the cafeteria at 7:20 a.m.
● The students remain in the cafeteria until 7:20 a.m. when they are picked up by one of their grade level teachers. By 7:45 a.m., all students should be seated in their classroom and ready to work.
● Classroom instructional time is from 7:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.
While the number of COVID cases may limit family involvement again this year, we hope to be back to normal. Parents, guardians, grandparents, and friends of the school are always welcome to visit our school. For the protection and safety of your children and the Hillcrest staff, we must insist on the following:
1. School Board policy requires all persons, including parents and others, who visit
staff or students between the hours of 7:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. must report to the office and obtain a visitor’s badge. No one is permitted inside the building unless they have received permission from the office and have obtained a visitor’s pass.
2. Anyone who picks up a student during the school day for early dismissal must be a parent, guardian, or a person listed on the student’s registration information as an approved contact. For your child’s safety, a photo ID must be presented each time a student is picked up early from school.
3. Conferences between parents and teachers are encouraged; however, they must be scheduled by an appointment. Please contact the teacher or call the school office at 586-7472 for an appointment with your child’s teacher.
We surely hope the COVID cases are low this year so you may be more involved with us in the education of your child. We always appreciate parent volunteers who assist our staff with special projects and work with our students in reading or other skills. Please plan on attending special parent meetings, events, and Cowboy Connection Nights scheduled throughout the school year. We invite all parents, grandparents, other relatives, and friends to join us as members of Hillcrest’s PTO.
FAMILY RESOURCE COORDINATOR
Mrs. Linda Hadden, Family Resource Coordinator, is available to assist parents in obtaining information and locating necessary resources, such as food, clothing, shoes, glasses, counseling services, etc. If you have a specific need, please do not hesitate to contact Mrs. Hadden.
All parents and visitors may park in front of the building in the far left lane next to the grass until 1:15 p.m. We request that you do not block the front entrance of the building. After 1:15 p.m., only five-minute parking for student pickup is allowed at the front entrance of the school. Due to fire codes, no parking is allowed in front of the classroom portables at any time during the school day.
Cars should enter the front parking area from Oak Street and form two lines. Please do not block two-way traffic or driveways on Oak Street while you wait in line. Stay in your car, and a staff member will assist your child. Please do not park in front of the school and leave your car during the morning drop-off. If you need to park your car and go into the school office, please park on the far left side beside the grass. Do not block the drive-through lanes. All vehicles must exit onto South Liberty Hill Road at the four-way stop. Parking is also available in the Hillcrest Baptist Church parking lot; you may park and walk your child across the street. A crossing guard is posted at the crosswalk to assist parents and children.
PreK Morning Drop-Off & Pickup
All PreK students will enter through the back gate on Baker Street. PreK students should be dropped off between 8:00 and 8:15 a.m. and picked up between 3:00 and 3:15 p.m.
AFTERNOON CAR RIDERS
These procedures are for the safety of our children. Please be courteous to our staff and other drivers and follow these guidelines.
Please do not pick your child up before 2:45 to avoid traffic. All car riders will be dismissed through the cafeteria doors or from Halls 1 and 3 depending on the grade level of the child. Please stay in your car until a staff member delivers your child to you. You will be provided a car rider sign (green for the 22-23 school year) with your child’s name for you to place in your windshield. You must have the correct colored car rider tag to be allowed to pick up a child in the car rider line. Anyone wishing to pick up a child without the car rider tag must come to the school office, show a photo ID, and be approved by the administration. If someone else will be picking up your child, please call the office before 2:00 p.m. Remember to give the car rider sign to your designated family member or friend for faster student pickup.
All car riders must be picked up by 3:00 p.m. If students cannot be picked up by 3:00 p.m., the parent must enroll them in ESP (Extended School Program).
Walkers are defined as students walking home. Walkers must have a parent note on file verifying that they are allowed to walk home alone. Walkers must leave the building through the cafeteria entrance and cross the street at the crosswalk under the care of our crossing guard, Mr. Cutshall.
● Please allow 2 business days for applications to be processed. Applications are processed each day from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.
● ESP will begin August 1, 2022
● All NEW students must be pre-registered to attend and please allow for the processing window when picking a start date for your child to begin. If your child is in 2nd grade at Manley or Russellville, you will register for ESP at the Intermediate buildings.
● Children that attended during the 2021-22 School year DO NOT NEED TO complete a new registration. Parents should update any new contact and payment information through the Sandbox Portal at parentportal.runsandbox.com.
● ESP for Pre-K students is only offered at the following locations: Russellville Primary, Manley Primary, and Union Heights
● All past due balances from summer or the previous school year must be paid before your child may attend after-school for the new school year.
● 6th grade students are eligible to attend ESP at their elementary feeder school, if a bus route already exists to accommodate transportation.
● If Hamblen County Schools close early due to inclement weather, there will be NO ESP services available.
● Non-school day ESP services are provided at West Elementary for the 2222-2223 school year.
SCHOOL BUS REGULATIONS & SCHEDULES
All bus students must follow policies of the Hamblen County School Transportation System. Our buses provide services only for students in the Hillcrest School zone. We have five buses: #29, #34, #39, #45, and #54 that leave Hillcrest at approximately 2:40 p.m. each day. The Girls Inc. bus picks up members at 2:40 p.m.
CHANGES IN TRANSPORTATION
Students are sent home from school by the same means of transportation every afternoon, either by car, bus, or walking. If there is a change for any reason, a note to the teacher or a phone call to the office is required. A verbal message from a child is not allowed. If you plan to pick up a child other than your own, that child’s parent/guardian must call the school or send a note before 2:00 p.m. to verify the change in transportation. A car tag is required for anyone picking up a child.
SCHOOL PROPERTY DAMAGES
Any student who is responsible for defacing, destroying, or damaging school/staff property (books, laptops, equipment, bus seats, etc.) will be expected to pay the cost of replacing or repairing such materials according to the correct value of this property.
Textbooks issued to students are the property of Hamblen County Board of Education. Library books borrowed by the students are the property of Hillcrest School Library. All books should be used with care and returned in good condition. Students are responsible for paying for books that are lost, stolen, or damaged beyond use.
Students and staff will not be called to the telephone except for an emergency. If a parent wishes to contact a teacher, they should leave a telephone number with the secretary or leave a voice message on the teacher’s telephone. The teacher will return the call at the earliest time possible. Only in extreme cases will a student be allowed to use the telephone. This does not include calling for a band instrument, cheerleading or basketball shoes, uniforms, practice attire, etc.
In accordance with school board policy, students are not allowed to bring cell phones to school.
FEES/FIELD TRIPS/ YEARBOOKS/OTHER PURCHASES
Textbooks are furnished to your child by the school. However, consumable materials and general supplies for classroom use must be purchased. In order to secure these expendable items, students are assessed an instructional materials fee of $12.00 at the beginning of the school year. Hillcrest Elementary will accept CASH ONLY for all fees, field trips, yearbooks, and special purchases costing less than $25. Checks will be accepted for anything over $25.
Students are encouraged to have appropriate school supplies and materials. We ask parents to be responsible for purchasing necessary classroom supplies. School supply lists are placed in the end-of-year grade cards and are located on the Hamblen County website (hcboe.net). If you are unable to purchase the supplies, please let your child’s teacher or the office know.
Student lunch prices are $2.05 per day (K-5). Breakfast will be served from 7:10 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. each morning AT NO COST. Reduced lunch prices for all students will cost $0.40. Lunch for parents/visitors is $5.00. If you need to charge a meal, the charge limit is $5.00. We ask that a student have no more than three (3) outstanding charges. Payment on student cafeteria accounts is handled in the cafeteria. We encourage you to pay for the entire week or month instead of sending money each day. You may pay online using MyPaymentsPlus.com. The cafeteria manager, Darnell Shaftner, may be reached at 585-3764.
School board policy prohibits food from outside food service establishments from being brought into the school cafeteria. We ask you to abide by this policy at all times. The food in our cafeteria is excellent; students may serve themselves from choices in each food group. Depending on the COVID case number, parents may come occasionally and have lunch with their child. If possible, please call ahead or send a note so that sufficient food will be prepared.
Students whose daily prescription medication is to be administered during school hours must have a form on file in the office. The parent/guardian is responsible for obtaining the form in the office and returning it to the school. Also, any other prescription and non-prescription medications must be given to the office with written instructions for dispensing it. Teachers will not give any medication to students. ALL MEDICATIONS MUST BE KEPT IN THE NURSE’S OFFICE AND ADMINISTERED BY THE SCHOOL NURSE.
- Parents are asked to notify the school and the school nurse of any known allergies, as well as putting the medical information on the registration forms.
ACCIDENTS OR ILLNESS AT SCHOOL
In the event of an injury or illness of a student, we will make every effort to follow the procedures as listed on the emergency information section of the student’s registration information. Please keep telephone numbers up-to-date in our files so that someone can be easily reached should an emergency with your child arise.
An insurance program designed to cover students who receive injuries while participating in school activities, who are traveling to and from school, or who are involved in accidents while engaged in supervised activities on the school premises will be available through the school. A 24-hour policy is also available. See our front office for information.
All student belongings should be marked with the student’s name. Valuable items such as jewelry, cash, cell phones, electronic games, and other electronics should not be brought to school. The school will NOT be responsible for theft or loss. Please do not allow your child to bring toys to school. The Lost & Found area for clothing is located outside the cafeteria. Parents are encouraged to have their children search the Lost & Found area for any missing clothing items.
Physical Education is an essential part of our school’s instructional program. All children need to participate in a developmentally appropriate physical education program. Every child is required to participate in physical education unless excused in writing by a physician. Children should dress in play clothes and wear rubber-soled shoes that tie or velcro.
There will be three (3) scheduled school parties during the year. All parties will be scheduled for the last hour of the school day. Per school board policy, we cannot accept homemade food items.
Fall Festival--October 27. No dress-up or snacks will be served on October 31.
Winter Holiday—December 17
Valentine’s Day--February 14
Classroom teachers may schedule educational field trips. Permission forms are required for participation. Student behavior throughout the year will be a factor in determining whether or not a student is permitted to participate. Students receiving a disciplinary office referral may NOT be allowed to participate in field trips for that nine weeks. This decision will be made by the principal and the teacher(s).
Please note: If 90% of the cost for the trip or activity is not collected, the school reserves the right to cancel the trip or activity.
Teachers may assign homework as an extension of class work or for a student who has been absent or fallen behind in a subject.
Homework for students who are absent because of illness for more than three (3) days must be requested by 10:00 a.m. and can be picked up between 2:30-3:00 p.m. at the school office. For shorter periods of absence, the students will be able to make up any assignments when they return to school.
Make-up work due for excused absences will be given an assigned date to complete. Homework not received by the assigned date must be finished during recess or in-school suspension.
Students’ progress will be reported to parents through mid-term (halfway through the nine weeks), report cards (end of every nine weeks), and parent-teacher conferences. Parents may request a conference at any time during the school year by calling the school at 586-7472 or by emailing the student’s teacher. Parent/Teacher Conferences will be held on October 4th and 6th from 3:00-6:00 p.m.. If these dates and times are not convenient, parents/guardians may contact the teacher and make an appointment.
ATTENDANCE AND ABSENCES
The Hamblen County Board of Education recognizes that frequent absences and tardiness have a negative impact on student achievement. Punctual and regular attendance is necessary for students to progress. The Board has adopted the following attendance policy:
Daily attendance matters, not only for academic success, but because school offers an opportunity to develop social and emotional skills such as listening, paying attention, problem-solving and self-regulation, all which are needed to grow and learn. Attendance and punctuality are essential for developing work ethic in students for becoming productive members of the community.
ATTENDANCE AND ABSENCES (continued)
Parents, guardians, and those who are responsible for students in Hamblen County, have access to the Hamblen County Student Attendance Board Policy (6.200) on the Hamblen County Board of Education website. Please familiarize yourself with the Sign-out Procedures at your student’s individual school.
Students shall be present at least fifty percent (50%) of the scheduled school day in order to be counted present. If you have a student in middle or high school, check to see the number of required minutes per class period. Absences shall be classified as either excused or unexcused determined by the principal or designee in charge of attendance. When a student is absent, the school shall be contacted by the parent/guardian. Upon return to school, the student must present a note signed by the parent/guardian, medical note or other legal documentation listed in Board Policy. Parent/guardian notes shall be accepted for five (5) days for each semester; after five (5) days a doctor’s statement shall be required for personal illness.
A student who is absent five (5) days without adequate excuse will be reported to the Director of Schools/designee who will, in turn, provide written notice to the parent(s)/guardian(s) of the student’s absence. If a parent does not provide documentation within adequate time excusing those absences, or request at attendance hearing, then the Progressive Truancy Intervention Plan will be implemented before a referral to juvenile court.
EXCUSED AND UNEXCUSED ABSENCES
Absences shall be classified as either excused or unexcused as determined by the principal or designee in charge of attendance. When a student is absent, the school shall be contacted by the parent/guardian. If your child has to miss school due to sickness or another emergency, please send a written note the day your child returns to school so the absence may be excused. Notes should include the reason the student was absent and the date of the absence.
A student is excused for the day or days absent, but not from the responsibility for the material covered in class. It is the responsibility of the student to request make-up work in all subject matter covered during the absence.
Absences shall be excused for:
1) Personal illness; parent/guardian signed note shall be accepted for five (5) days for each semester; after five (5) days, a physician’s statement shall be required
2) Death in the immediate family; not to exceed three (3) days
3) Illness of parent/guardian requiring temporary help; physician’s statement shall be required
4) Recognized religious holidays
5) Court summons; only time in court shall be excused
6) Doctor or dentist appointment; medical statement shall be required
7) Absences approved by the principal; after consulting with the parent/guardian, the principal may excuse an absence if in agreement the absence is legitimate
Absences for any reason other than those listed above shall be unexcused. Parents may not keep students home to baby-sit, run errands, or for any non-emergency family business. Missing the bus is NOT an excuse to keep a child home. The parents, guardians, or other persons having charge and control of a child are held responsible for the child’s school attendance.
PROCEDURES FOR UNEXCUSED ABSENCES
Tennessee has adopted a new policy (TCA 49-6-3007) for absenteeism in school with progressive truancy interventions for students who violate compulsory attendance requirements. There are 3 tiers.
Tier I is triggered by three (3) unexcused absences within a school year.
1) A conference with the student and parent/guardian
2) An attendance contract to include penalties for additional absences and alleged school offenses, including disciplinary action and potential referral to juvenile court
3) Regularly scheduled follow-up meetings to discuss student progress
Tier II is generated with five (5) unexcused absences within the school year
1) A release is signed by the parent for communication between the school and the medical community to determine illnesses, etc.
2) Progressive Truancy Intervention Assessment (medical excuses addressed, transportation addressed, counseling addressed)
3) Parent contact/home visit
4) Follow-up meetings to track attendance progress
Tier III is started when there are ten (10) unexcused absences.
1) There is a referral to the Attendance Review Committee
2) School-based services
3) Diversions for the student which have been assigned by the committee are documented and a copy is provided to parents.
Truancy is a serious violation of the law and requires severe disciplinary and legal action by the school. Parents are held legally responsible for keeping their children in school.
EXCUSED AND UNEXCUSED TARDIES/EARLY DISMISSALS
Students are considered tardy if they arrive in the classroom after the bell rings.
1) Excused tardies/early dismissals
a) Late bus
b) Illness with doctor’s note
c) Death in family
d) Religious holiday
e) Medical/dental appointment; doctor’s note required.
2) Unexcused tardies/early dismissals
Tardy #3 (Parent contact by mail)
Tardy #6 (Loss of perfect attendance; parent contact by attendance coach)
Tardy #10 (Referral to juvenile court)
Excessive absences may limit progress to the point that promotion is questionable. If parents choose to appeal this decision, a written request must be made to the school attendance committee.
WE ASK THAT YOU DO NOT PICK UP YOUR CHILD EARLY FROM SCHOOL. Our school day includes teaching activities until 2:40 p.m. each day. Parents are asked to schedule all medical appointments after 3:00 p.m. We want all children to be successful in school, and in order to do so your child needs to be here. We realize that there will be times you may get your child early. If so, please present a photo ID and sign for your child’s dismissal. A photo ID must be presented before a student may be released. If you plan to pick up a child other than your own, that child’s parent must call the school or send a note before 2:00 p.m. to verify the change in transportation. This is for the safety of all children. All doors remain locked for the safety of our students. Students will not be dismissed through the back or side doors of the building or from the learning cottages.
INCLEMENT/BAD WEATHER PROCEDURES
School may operate on a snow schedule because of inclement weather during the year. This means that buses will run one or two hours later, and the school building will open one or two hours later.
Inclement weather may cause early dismissal. Parents are encouraged to make plans in case of an early dismissal. An inclement weather form will be sent home. Forms must be returned to school indicating how the student should go home in the event of an early dismissal due to weather or other emergency. Listen to local radio (105.7 FM) and television stations during times of inclement weather. The Central Office will send a robo call in the event of early dismissal.
According to Hamblen County School Board Policy, students that are zoned to another school other than Hillcrest will be allowed to attend Hillcrest on a space-available basis. If classes become overcrowded, out-of-zone students will be asked to attend the school for which they are zoned. The board policy states that the last student to enroll would be the first student to return to the school in their zone. Parents/Guardians of currently enrolled students may sign the out-of-zone list for the next school year the first 5 days of the second semester. For the 2223-2224 school year, the dates will be January 4-6; 9-10). New students may sign up January 11-13; 16-17).
Parents can access information about their child’s grades, discipline, and attendance through Parent Portal. Parent Portal is available at: http://connect.hcboe.net If you have more than one child in the Hamblen County School System, you may link all your children to one account. If you need assistance with this process, please contact Melissa Gibson or Raina Dixon in our front office.
Basketball is offered to third, fourth, and fifth grade boys and girls. Tryouts are scheduled in September, and teams begin practicing on October 1. Cheerleader tryouts for rising third, fourth, and fifth grade students are conducted in the spring for the following school year.
A variety of student activities are offered both during the school day and after school. Third, fourth, and fifth grade students may participate in cheerleading or basketball. Fourth and fifth grade students may belong to 4-H. Fifth grade students have the opportunity to participate in Beta Club. Fifth Grade may qualify for Scholastic Bowl, Safety Patrol, and Recycling Team. Participation may be based on teacher recommendations and/or grades and TCAP test performance (Beta Club).
*Parents may request non-participation for their children from participating in these clubs and organizations by providing written notification to the school.
SCHOOLWIDE DISCIPLINE PLAN
Our school rules include:
- Follow teacher directions the first time given.
- Be in your seat ready to work with all materials.
- Keep hands, feet, objects, gestures, and inappropriate comments to yourself.
- Raise your hand to be recognized.
- Follow school-wide handbook policies
Daily behavior is recorded on the Behavior Tracking Sheet and students have the opportunity to earn a Behavior Reward Day at the end of each nine weeks.
HAMBLEN COUNTY HAS A ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY ON POSSESSION OF FIRE ARMS, ASSAULT ON STAFF, AND DRUGS ON SCHOOL GROUNDS. Punishment for these offenses will be expulsion from school for one calendar year.
USE OR POSSESSION OF ANY TOBACCO PRODUCT IS PROHIBITED ON SCHOOL PROPERTY OR BUSES.
The appearance of the student is the responsibility of the student and the parent.
1. Pants will be hemmed and worn at the waist. No baggy or sagging pants will be allowed.
2. Shorts, dresses, and skirts must be a minimum length of mid-thigh. Have your child put his/her hands down at the side and check to see if fingertips are touching skin. If so, the garment is too short.
3. Tank tops, halter tops, or tops with spaghetti straps are not permitted.
4. No headwear of any type will be worn inside the buildings. Hair bows and barrettes will be permitted, provided they are of reasonable size and subtle color.
5. Shirts should cover the stomach area including when the child raises her arms.
6. Safe shoes should be worn for outside play and physical education. Flip-flops can cause children to fall, especially when running and playing.
7. Clothing must be neat with no holes or tears. Jeans with the knees ripped or torn are not allowed.
8. Hair will be a natural hair color and worn in a manner that does not disrupt the educational process and does not call attention to the individual.
9. The Hamblen County School Board prohibits the display of any symbol on school property or any object (such as a book bag) that promotes racial discord or is related to gang activity.
1. Gum is not allowed in school or on buses.
2. Students are not permitted to bring toys, collectibles, candy, or soft drinks to school unless instructed by the teacher.
3. Balloons or stuffed animals are not to be sent to school as gifts. There is nowhere in the classroom to store these items during the day.
4. Any items that might appear as a weapon are not allowed at school!
5. No bullying will be tolerated. An anti-bullying program is taught in guidance classes and by classroom teachers.
Students, staff, and teachers have the right to work and learn in a school environment free of harassment. It is important for everyone to understand what harassment is, what to do if your child believes he/she is being harassed, and what the consequences are if your child chooses to harass another person. The following information will explain some of the types of harassment that are unacceptable to our school environment:
Harassment is any behavior or action exhibited toward a person that is unwanted and uncalled for and makes that person uncomfortable and uneasy. Unacceptable behavior may include physical contact, verbal abuse, graffiti, written messages, rumors, etc.
Sexual Harassment is any behavior of suggestive or sexual nature, either verbal, physical, or overt, that makes the other person uncomfortable.
Racial/Ethnic Harassment is any inappropriate behavior that is based upon racial or ethnic differences. Racial slurs, jokes, or name calling are unacceptable.
Disability/Handicap Harassment is any inappropriate behavior that is directed toward a physical or mental disability.
Religious Harassment is any inappropriate behavior that is directed toward an affiliation with a specific or general religious preference.
Any incident of possible harassment involving student versus student will be investigated; infractions may result in warnings, parent contact, in-school suspension, out-of-school suspension, and dismissal from school through the assertive discipline procedure. Any incident of possible harassment involving staff or teachers will be reported to the Director of Schools. Infractions may result in reprimand, suspension, and/or dismissal.
The Hamblen County Board of Education is committed to safeguarding the right of all students and employees within the school system to learn and work in an environment that is free from all forms of harassment or discrimination.
In accordance with the Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, it is the policy of Hamblen County School to maintain a learning and working environment that is free from harassment and discrimination of any type. The school system prohibits any form of harassment or discrimination based upon age, religion, disability, race, or national origin. It will be a violation of this policy of any student or employee of the system to harass, sexually harass, or discriminate against a student or an employee through conduct or communication in any form as defined by this policy.
Please notify the Dr. Paula Davis, principal, of any concerns or complaints to initiate proper action. Assistant Principal, Dr. Krista Crum, is the 504 Coordinator for Hillcrest Elementary. If you suspect discrimination based on a disability, please contact Amy Mitchell, District Section 504 Coordinator, at 423-581-3067.