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Policies and Procedures

School Responsibilities

  1. To provide qualified, trained teachers and staff.
  2. To maintain a low pupil-teacher ratio during classroom instructional work periods of approximately 2:1 in the Preschool and the Autism Spectrum Module (modified ABA class); 3:1 in the Pre-K, Primary class, Developmental Module and Functional Academic Modules; and 4:1 or 5:1 in the Upper School Functional Academic programs. Opportunities for students to gain practice skills and independence are provided through larger group activities (such as PE/Gross Motor time, music & art therapy period), community based instruction times, lunch, etc. where larger student to staff ratios are maintained.
  3. To use appropriate teaching methods and material geared to meet goals stated in your child’s Individualized Educational Program (IEP).
  4. To keep parents informed of child’s progress.
  5. To maintain a structured environment conducive to learning.
  6. To provide support for parents and families.
  7. To communicate at least weekly (through classroom notes).

Parent Responsibilities

  1. To have your child to school on time and to be promptly picked up at dismissal time.
  2. To support your child’s teachers and therapists in order to provide a united front with the school for your child.
  3. To attend scheduled parent/teacher conferences.
  4. To attend scheduled parent meetings.
  5. To assist in fundraising projects and other school activities.
  6. To be financially responsible by prompt payment of tuition and fees.
  7. To refrain from gossip or talking negatively with parents about the school or its staff.
  8. To be supportive of school policies, procedures, and mission.
  9. To be actively engaged in a collaborative partnership with The Joseph Sams School.

Parents who have concerns or disagreements about any classroom or school policy, events, personnel, etc. are expected to discuss their concerns with the appropriate IST, therapist, or administrator and refrain from gossip or discussing negative feelings or concerns with parents or other staff members not directly involved. Parents who consistently stir up dissension or gossip may be asked to withdraw their child/children from the school. Please see “Communication” on page 10 for more details. (Adapted from Trinity Christian School – Parent/Staff Handbook, p. 9)

Daily Policies and Routines

  1. Promptness in bringing your child to school and picking him/her up at dismissal time is of utmost importance to our program and staff. Due to the staff’s many responsibilities before and after school hours, we are unable to supervise your child before or after school hours.

Preschool Hours                                                                     9:00am – 1:00pm

Pre-K Hours                                                                            9:00am – 2:00pm

Primary, Elementary, and Upper School Classes                   8:30am –  3:00pm

  1. Full-day students (Primary, Elementary and Upper School) are dropped off and picked up at the front of the building. Children may be dropped off no earlier than 8:20am. Afternoon pick-up begins at 2:50pm
  2. Preschool children may be dropped off no earlier than 8:50am. Preschool pick-up begins at 12:50pm.
  3. Pre-K children may be dropped off no earlier than 8:50am. Pre-K afternoon pick-up begins at 1:50pm.
  4. If you arrive in the morning after 8:45am (full day) or 9:10am (Preschool/Pre-K), we will need you to bring your child into the school and check him/her in with the Administrative Assistant; if applicable, then accompany your child to his/her classroom. Additionally, if you arrive prior to the above-mentioned pick-up times, please park in one of the parking spaces in front of the building and come in to get your child.
  5. Prompt pick-up is most important. This allows our staff to have clean-up and preparation time for the next day. Parents are allowed 3 tardy pick-ups. On the forth late pick-up, a $5.00 late fee will be assessed if the child is not picked-up by “ten-after” the appropriate pick-up hour (1:10pm for preschool and 3:10pm for full-day). In addition, a $1 per minute late fee will be assessed for every minute after 1:15pm (Preschool) or 3:15pm (full-day).
  6. For drop-off/pick-up, each parent is provided an orange card. Please print your child’s/children’s name on the card (large and bold) and hold-up or display this card in your car window as you approach the car line. Please stay in your car at all times, as this will expedite the drop-off/pick-up process. Traditionally, more mobile students are dropped-off/picked-up in the outer lane (furthest from the door). However, when the outer lane becomes backed-up and the inner lane is empty, please pull into the inner lane closest to the door so that we can get you on your way as quickly as possible. When pulling into the inner lane, please go all the way through the portico to the #1 spot in front of the overhang. This will allow staff to access three cars at a time which will hasten the process.
  7. Please do not allow your child to bring toys from home.
  8. If your child is going to be absent, please call the office by 8:00am so that necessary changes can be made in the daily schedule.
  9. Please supply your child with a complete change of clothes, including socks and shoes, to be kept at school in case of emergencies. Please label all articles of clothing.
  10. School closings or late opening due to inclement weather will be announced on WSB-TV and WSB AM (radio) 750. If school will be in session and open on time, there will be no notification on the TV or radio. Please look for the school listed as “The Joseph Sams School.”
  11. Students will not be released from school to anyone other than parent or guardian unless written permission from parent or guardian is on file in the school office. Staff members may only release students to siblings who are 16 years or older.
  12. When bringing your child to school late or picking him/her up early, please sign the In/Out register at the front counter.
  13. Students will need to bring a lunch from home on Monday. Tuesday through Friday, you may purchase lunch for your child at a cost of $4.00 per day. Lunches will be provided by Chick-fil-A, Piccadilly, and Atlanta Bread Company. Please review the lunch order form in the appendix for a detailed listing of the meal choices offered on these days.

Lunch money may be paid by the week or by the month. (We ask that you do not pay for lunches on a daily basis.)  Weekly lunch orders and money are due on Monday morning. If you prefer to order by the month, your child’s lunch orders and money are due the first Monday of the month.

Please Note: All full-day students (Primary, Elementary, Upper Collaborative, and Upper School) must bring lunches from home the first week of class.

Calendar

The Joseph Sams School operates on a 173 school day calendar. If school is cancelled due to inclement weather or other emergency circumstances, the cancelled days may need to be made up. Parents will be informed of any changes in the school calendar ASAP.

See the 2017-2018 Calendar here.

Illness and Medication

  1. Please do not send your child to school if he/she has had any of the following symptoms within the last 24 hours:
  • a fever
  • coughing or wheezing
  • runny nose of colored discharge
  • vomiting or diarrhea
  • conjunctivitis (pink eye)
  • unusual skin rashes or skin infections
  • lice

Please remember that many of our students, due to their disability and/or medical condition, are very susceptible to infections and illnesses. We asked parents to diligently follow this policy as to not expose other children to possible infections.

  1. If your child becomes sick at school, you will be contacted to pick up your child immediately. In such an event, your child will be kept in the office away from the other students until you arrive. This is to ensure the health of the other students and staff.
  2. If medications need to be administered at school, a medical information and permission to administer form must be on file in the office. It is the parents’ responsibility to update your child’s medical form as medications and dosages change.
  3. Prescription medications will be administered by the School’s Assistant Principal who keeps a daily medication log; non-prescription medications may be administered by the Administrative Assistant, Principal, and Instructional Support Teacher or a previously designated staff member.
  4. Non-prescription medications must also be listed and permission given by you to administer these.

Confidentiality and Release Forms

All personal records for students are kept in the school’s office. Parents have access to these files at any time. Other programs or individuals not associated with The Joseph Sams School requesting a student’s file must complete a Release of Records Form that must be signed by the student’s parents. No information will be given verbally to other individuals or organizations without consent of the parents.

If your child is receiving OT or PT, please request a “Release of Information for Related Services.”

Student Information” and “Permission to Leave School” forms must be filled out by parents/guardian.

In addition, parents must complete the “Permission Form for Participation.” This allows the child to participate in activities, field trips and be transported by The Joseph Sams School van and/or staff. This form also gives permission for photographing and videotaping of a student for both publicity and/or educational programming purposes.

Parents are also required to complete a “Liability Waiver for Outside Therapeutic and/or Communication Devices used on Premises at the JSS.”

Parental/Family Visitations

In order to ensure a distraction-free environment for JSS students, the following guidelines are set forth:

  • Classroom time is for uninterrupted teaching. Forgotten items are to be left at the Front Desk for delivery at the appropriate time. Please do not walk to your child’s classroom to deliver such items as this might disrupt instruction.
  • The Joseph Sams School welcomes parent visitations. Please notify your child’s IST/IST’s if you wish to observe your child in class. This provides the IST time to determine the best way to conduct the observation in order to minimize distractions for your child.
  • Any siblings or other children accompanying parents into the building must remain under their parents’ direct supervision at all times in order to prevent students, teachers, and other office personnel from being disrupted while in class or working. If a child becomes disruptive, it is left to the discretion of the administration to ask the parent and child or children to leave the building.  Proper attire is required in the building at all times.

Curriculum

The curriculum utilized has been generated from various proven and published curriculums for children with developmental disabilities. Each student’s program is individualized to meet his/her needs. Each IEP is generated from the established, researched-based curriculums.

Student Evaluations

The Joseph Sams School does not recommend formal psychological testing until any student is five to six years old. At the request of the student’s parents or County School program such an evaluation can be done by the public school system or a private evaluator. The student’s family makes payment for such private evaluations. The Joseph Sams School Staff will provide recommendations of private psychologists and will provide any necessary information to all evaluators, with written parental consent.

Individualized Educational Program

An Individualized Educational Program (IEP) is written for each student annually.  The IEP identifies the individual student’s educational needs, prescribes the student’s educational program for school and home in the form of goals and measurable objectives, and sets the period of time for mastery. For new students, the IEP is written after the staff has worked with the child in the classroom setting for 5-6 weeks.  For returning students the IEP is written at the end of each school year or when the student has completed the equivalent of a 10-month school year. 

Goals are written on the IEP in the areas of cognition, social and self/help, fine motor, language and communication and gross motor skills.  Data is recorded daily on tasks being taught to each student.  All objectives and lessons, taught to each child, are task analyzed on an individual basis.

A percentage for mastery is set for specific objectives outlined in the IEP. The percent for mastery depends upon the child’s abilities and his/her specific objectives.  When a student reaches criterion on a task, that task is mastered and reviewed periodically or a new more difficult step or task is added to the objective.

If a student is receiving special education services through his/her county program, an Individualized Educational Program is also written annually by the receiving school system.

Progress Reporting/Parent Conferences

Formal parent conferences are held mid-year and near the end-of-the-school year.

For first year students, a conference is held approximately six weeks after program entry for the current year and in May to review the current IEP.  The new IEP for the following school year is developed at the May (or end-year) conference or after the student has attended the school for the equivalent of one school year.  Nine week assessments are conducted by the child’s IST to document progress.  Progress reports based upon 9-week assessments are sent home throughout the school year.

Informal parent conferences are held at the request of the parent or teacher.   When a student leaves The Joseph Sams School to attend a public school, a representative(s) from The Joseph Sams School staff would be glad to attend the meetings at the invitation of the school or by invitation of the family.

Communication/Grievances

Positive and open communication between the home and the School is the foundation of a good partnership of each student’s benefit.  Going to the source of an issue will help to dispel rumors or misunderstandings.

Concerns regarding a student’s progress, curriculum, or behavior should first be addressed directly with the appropriate Instructional Support Teacher (IST) or Speech/Language Therapist. Direct contact with the teacher and/or therapist often alleviates concerns that might otherwise escalate.  Directly contacting the Principal or Assistant Principal is the next step if conversations with the appropriate teacher or therapist do not reach resolution. Speaking with the Executive Director is the next step in the process should resolution not be secured.  IST and administration are always willing to speak with parents as needed.

Information at JSS often travels quickly, and it is important for everyone involved that it be as accurate as possible and that it be kept in perspective.

The administration makes every effort to communicate as clearly and as thoroughly as it can about matters affecting the school and the community.

Please be considerate and respectful by not telephoning staff on their phones.  Instead, use their school voicemails/or e-mails unless there is an emergency situation.

Behavior Management Policy

The Joseph Sams School operates on the principle of positive reinforcement to increase appropriate behaviors and to decrease inappropriate behaviors.  This management system stresses redirection and replacement skills for incompatible behaviors and for behaviors requiring additional measures, behavior plans will be developed.

Lost and Found

All articles and clothing that a child uses in school should be plainly and durably marked with his/her name before they are put into use or worn (book-bags, lunch boxes, coats, etc.).   Any unclaimed items found in the building will be deposited in a “lost and found” box in the front office area.  All items will be kept for 30 days.  After 30 days, any unclaimed items will be donated to local charities.  Please return any articles your child takes home by mistake.

Security

For the security of students and staff, all doors are kept locked during school hours.  All visitors are required to sign-in and sign-out when entering and existing the facility.

Both fire drill and tornado drill procedures are in place and posted in all rooms throughout the building.  Periodic drills are held to ensure that all staff and students are familiar with these procedures and are able to quickly respond in case such emergencies should arise.

The School will support and participate in lockdown situations as deemed necessary by the local authorities for the protection of our students and staff members.

Alcohol, Drug and Smoke Free Workplace

The Joseph Sams School is an alcohol, drug and smoke-free workplace.  No smoking or use of alcohol or illegal drugs is allowed on the premises of JSS by staff, students, parents, or visitors.