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בס"ד TORAH ACADEMY: Not just a school…A KEHILLA! 5772/2011-12 SCHOOL YEAR FAMILY HANDBOOK Rabbi Shmuel Jablon, Menahel (Principal) Rabbi Naftoli Eisemann Dr. Joyce Kail Mrs. Kara Feldman Sgan Menahel (Assistant Principal, Judaics) Assistant Principal Early Childhood Director TORAH ACADEMY OF GREATER PHILADELPHIA 742 Argyle Road Wynnewood, PA 19096 Phone: (610) 642-7870 Fax: (610) 642-2265 www.torahacademyonline.org revised Shevat, 5772…February, 2012 2 CONTENTS School Mission Statement 3 2010-11/5771 School Calendar 4 Our Theme 6 Important Procedures 7 School Hours 7 Admissions 7 Financial Assistance 8 Attendance and Academics 8 Report Cards 10 Homework 10 Parent-School Partnership: Team Meetings and Meeting Students Needs 11 Arrival and Dismissal 14 Eligibility for Teams/Activities 14 Dismissal Information 16 School Closings 17 Food and Health at T.A. 17 Kashrut 17 Allergies 17 Healthy Food and Physical Activity 18 Health Procedures 19 Safety and Security 21 School Climate 22 Parties 22 Dress Code 22 Lost and Found 23 Electronics 23 Communication is Key 25 Behavioral Expectations 26 Confidentiality 28 Parent- Teacher Organization 28 SPECIAL NOTE: Though some of this information has remained the same from past years, a great deal is new or has been updated. We respectfully request that you (and older children) read this new Family Handbook in its entirety. Please note that this handbook is not a contract. The administration and/or Board of Directors of Torah Academy reserves the right to change policies and procedures without notice. The most updated copy will be posted at www.torahacademyonline.org . Thank you for partnering with us in the education of your children. 3 School Mission Statement The Torah Academy of Greater Philadelphia educates boys and girls from nursery through grade eight in its Lower School division and high school girls in its Girls High School division. With a curriculum rooted in Torah and general studies characterized by academic excellence and providing skill proficiency in all areas, TA provides a dynamic Jewish education that fosters intellectual as well as spiritual understanding and love of Torah through a commitment to its mitzvos and values. An emphasis on middos tovos infuses all aspects of school life. Torah Academy will make every reasonable effort to provide tuition assistance to those families who demonstrate financial hardship. By creating a climate of active intellectual inquiry in both Judaic and general studies, Torah Academy: encourages exploration and understanding of the world. emphasizes the responsibility of each Jew toward G-d and all people. instills in its students Ahavas Yisrael--love of Israel and the Jewish people- -as embracing the Land and State of Israel, and fellow Jews. inculcates in its students the ideals of the American democratic heritage of freedom, justice and human dignity. views each child as an individual and provides a stimulating education for students with different levels of academic ability and learning styles. partners with parents to nurture each student to develop as an entire person. enables and encourages students, through critical thinking, skill proficiency and substantive knowledge, to discover and excel in fields in which they can lead meaningful lives. prepares its students with the skills to pursue their Judaic and general studies at the next level of learning and throughout life. In sum, Torah Academy provides the foundation for its students to mature as Torah-observant Jews and role models who are contributing members in Jewish and general society. 4 5772/ 2011-12 School Calendar…Grades 3Y-8 New Faculty Orientation Monday, August 22 Faculty In-Service Week Tuesday, August 23-Friday, August 26 Required Lice Checks for Students Wednesday, August 24-Thursday, August 25 First Day of School for Students K-8 Monday, August 29 3y-4Y meet and Greet (10-11:30) First Day of School for 3Y-4Y Program Tuesday, August 30 Labor Day- No School Monday, September 5 Back to School Night Wednesday, September 7 ECP Ice Cream Social at T.A. Sunday, September 11 (1-2:30) Erev Rosh haShannah- no school Wednesday, September 28 Rosh haShannah- no school Thursday, September 29-Friday, September 30 Erev Yom Kippur- no school Friday, October 7 Sukkot Break Wed. October 12-Sunday Oct. 23 Faculty Meeting Tuesday, October 25 (4:45-6:15 p.m.) First “Early Friday” 1:30 Dismissal Friday, October 28 st 1 Day of Sunday Program Sunday, October 30 Election Day/Parent-Teacher Conferences- no school for students Tuesday, November 8 Picture Day Wednesday, November 9 Imathination: MobileEd Math Assembly, Grades 1-5 Friday, November 11 Parent Workshop w/ Chabad featuring Dr. Novick Wednesday, November 16 Kittah Bet Messibat Chumash Sunday, November 20 (10 a.m.) Thanksgiving Vacation Thurs, November 24- Friday, November 25 Kohelet Fellowship Adult Learning Program Monday, December 5 (8 p.m.) End of 1st Trimester Thursday, December 8 Faculty Work Day- no school for students Friday, December 9 4Y Chanukkah Play Monday, December 19, 9:15 a.m. Morah Miriam’s Kindergarten Chanukkah Play Tuesday, December 20, 9:15 a.m. 3Y Chanukkah Workshop Wednesday, December 21, 9:15 a.m. Morah Shanna’s Kindergarten Chanukkah Play Thursday, December 22, 9:15 a.m. Chanukkah Extended Weekend-no school Friday, December 23-Sunday, December 25 Winter Vacation Sunday, December 25-Sunday, January 1 Fast of Tevet- 1:30 dismissal Thursday, January 5 ERB Standardized Testing Week (Grades 3-8) and Monday, January 9-Friday, January 13 Middle School Judaic Studies Achievement Testing 1st Grade Messibat haSiddur Sunday, January 15 Picture Re-Take Day Wednesday, January 18 Living Abraham Lincoln: MobileEd Assembly Thursday, January 19 (2 p.m.) Extended Weekend- no school Friday, January 20- Monday, January 23 Teacher In-Service Day- no school for students Tuesday, January 24 Parent- Child Middle School Book Club Wednesday, February 1 Faculty Meeting Tuesday, February 7 (4:45-6:15 p.m.) Tu Bishvat- “Healthy Food Day” Wednesday, February 8 Kohelet Fellowship Adult Learning Program Monday, February 13 (8 p.m.) Ivrit Book Week Monday, February 13-Friday, February 17 Presidents Day- No School Monday, February 20 Science Fair Tuesday, February 21 5 Annual Scholarship Dinner Sunday, February 26 Parent-Teacher Conferences Monday, Feb. 27 /Wed., Feb. 29 (6-9 p.m.) Last Day of Sunday Program Sunday, March 4 End of 2nd Trimester Tuesday, March 6 Taanit Esther- - faculty work day- no school for students Wednesday, March 7 Purim- no school Thursday, March 8 Shushan Purim-special programs Friday, March 9 Last “Early Friday” 1:30 Dismissal-Students Friday, March 16 Faculty In-Service 1:45-3:30 8th Grade Pre-Pesach Car Wash (hosted by the boys) Sunday, April 1 Matzah Factory Day Tuesday, April 3 8th Grade Pre-Pesach Spaghetti Dinner (hosted by the girls) Wednesday, April 4 Pesach Vacation Thursday, April 5-Sunday, April 15 Yom HaShoah Thursday, April 19 Faculty Meeting Monday, April 23 (4:45-6:15 p.m.) Yom HaZikaron (special program) Wednesday, April 25 Yom HaAtzmaut (special programs) Thursday, April 26 Lag B’ Omer (special activities) Thursday, May 10 6th/7th Grade Girls Play Monday, May 14 (evening) Yom Yerushalayim (special programs & Torah Fair) Monday, May 21 No School For Students/ Faculty In-Service (9-12:30) Friday, May 25 Shavuot – No School Sunday, May 27-Monday, May 28 Memorial Day Ivrit Achievement Tests Tuesday, May 29-Thursday, May 31 Reading & Math Olympics Awards Presentation Friday, June 1 (9:30 a.m.) 2nd Grade Oceanography Presentations Friday, June 1 (10:30 a.m.) T.A. Family Sun and Fun Day Sunday, June 3 Art Show Monday, June 4 Middle School Boys Open Microphone Program Monday, June 4 8th Grade Boys Class Trip Tuesday, June 5-Wednesday June 6 8th Grade Girls Class Trip . Wednesday, June 6-Thursday June 7 Mrs. Laytin’s 1st Grade Reading Play Thursday, June 7 (1:30 p.m.) Mrs. Rosenthal’s 1st Grade Reading Play Friday, June 8 (9:30 a.m.) 3Y Closing Program Monday, June 11 (10:15) 4Y Closing Program Tuesday, June 12 (10:15) Kindergarten Graduation Wednesday, June 13 (10:15) Last Day of School- noon dismissal Thursday, June 14 8th Grade Graduation (7 p.m.) Friday, June 15 Faculty Records Day HOURS OF SCHOOL: 3Y-4Y Nursery: 8:30-1:00 or 3:50 Kindergarten- Grade 5: 8:25-3:50 Grades 6-8 : 8:25-4:40 Fridays: October 28-March 9: 1:30 Dismissal…Other Fridays: 3:50 Dismissal As of 11 Av, 5771/ August 11, 2011 Dates subject to change. 6 Torah Academy: Not Just a School… A KEHILLA In OUR KEHILLA (community)… Everyone is focused on the same goals. In our Kehilla our goals are observance and love of Torah, middot tovot, academic excellence, Ahavat Yisrael and strengthening our T.A. Kehilla! Everyone cares for each and every member. In our Kehilla we value the unique contributions of everyone and practice Chesed with those both near and far. We teach that since everyone is different, everyone needs and also contributes different things. Everyone is focused on the spiritual, academic, physical and social-emotional needs of each and every child. In our Kehilla we are child-centered. What is best for the children- both as a group and as individuals- always comes first. Everyone is proud that they are part of something bigger than themselves. In our Kehilla we stress pride in and responsibility for our school. We teach that we may not always get what we want, we but we will get what we need. We are all connected – wherever we may be and especially in Eretz Yisrael. In our Kehilla we teach that there are no limits to our love and commitment for one another (past, present and future) and especially for Eretz Yisrael. All of this makes T.A. not simply a school… It makes us a KEHILLA! 7 IMPORTANT PROCEDURES ADMISSIONS PROCESS Torah Academy welcomes applications for admission for new and transfer students at all grade levels. We SCHOOL HOURS welcome all Jewish children whose families desire an CLASSES: excellent Torah and General Studies education. 3Y Pre-Nursery: 8:30 am to 1:00 pm or 3:50 pm Students undergoing conversion are accepted in 4Y Nursery: 8:30 am to 1:00 pm or 3:50 pm accordance with the policies of the rabbinical advisory K – 5: 8:25 am to 3:50 pm committee. 6-8: 8:25 am to 4:40 pm Applications for admission to Torah Academy are It is critical for children to be picked up on time. obtained from the educational office or our web site. Parents who are more than 10 minutes late will be The following steps are then followed. charged $1 per minute. 1) An ‘Application for Admission Form’- accompanied by a non-refundable $50 application fee (per child)- is submitted. Minyan for boys Grades 5-8 takes place daily in 2) Parents sign a “records release form” so that Rabbi Schwersensi’s new classroom. Girls in we may request school records to be directly Grades 5-8 join the minyan on Mondays and sent from all prior schools (for children Fridays. Tuesdays through Thursdays they have entering grade 1 or above). tefillot in the library. 3) Parents are interviewed by the Menahel (Principal) and any other relevant member of On Fridays October through March and fast days, the administration. dismissal is at 1:30 pm for all classes. Specific 4) Students applying for grade 2 and over will early dismissals are listed in the school calendar. also spend the day visiting T.A. and being Please see the section on early dismissals for more interviewed by faculty and administrators. information on early dismissal procedures. Additional screening may be conducted during the visit. Between Simchat Torah and Purim, school is also Torah Academy reserves the right to ask for additional in session on Sunday mornings for boys in grades testing or evaluation (e.g. from an educational 5-8. Sunday school is optional for boys in Grade psychologist) prior to granting admission. 4 and Girls Grades 4-8. Minyan begins at 8:30, Based upon the school’s assessment of its ability to followed by breakfast. Dismissal takes place at serve the student well, a child’s application for 11:30 a.m. Please check the school calendar for admission may be accepted, receive provisional more information. acceptance or be denied. Applicant families will be notified in writing. All financial arrangements must be made with the T.A. Business Office in order to enroll EDUCATION OFFICE: and attend school. Enrollment contracts- as well as The educational office is open from 8:00 am to medical, transportation and emergency forms- will be 5:30 pm on regular days. The office telephone sent a later date. number is 610-642-7870. After hours, you may ***** leave a message on school voice mail. E-mail is a Special notes for Early Childhood Classes: recommended way to send messages to school. The cut-off dates for Early Childhood classes are: Pre-Nursery (3Y) - Three years old by August 31 of Office: 610-642-7870 Office Fax: 610-642-2265 the school year Menahel’s e-mail: Nursery (4Y) - Four years old by August 31 of the email@example.com school year Office E-Mail: Kindergarten (5Y) - Five years old by August 31 of firstname.lastname@example.org the school year In some cases, the Menahel and Early Childhood Director may provisionally accept a child born in 8 September. However, an evaluation by an educational ARRIVAL psychologist may be required at parent expense. Students arrive at school by carpool or bus. Carpool drivers are asked to pull into the Children must be completely toilet trained to attend driveway near the field, and to circle the driveway Torah Academy. until the door faces Wynnewood Road. Please do NOT park your car in the carpool line or drive Financial Assistance Financial aid in the form of scholarship and/or way area. Drivers who wish to escort their tuition deferrals is available for students in grades children into the building may do so after parking K-8. The application process includes the in the lot. Parents with children in the Early completion (by parent or guardian) of a Childhood Program may leave their child with the confidential form that is sent to an independent ECP staff person at the door of the circular review board and a detailed survey that is returned driveway (facing Wynnewood Road). Following to the school. Applications for tuition assistance these procedures will contribute to everyone’s are available in the business office, and are treated safety. with the utmost discretion and confidentiality. Applicants will be notified in writing when the PLANNED ABSENCES process is complete. We recognize that sometimes students will have planned absences for family events, Shabbatonim or other educational opportunities. Please notify ATTENDANCE AND ACADEMICS your child’s teachers, the educational office and the Menahel well in advance. Students are ATTENDANCE Students benefit when they come to school expected to make arrangements with their regularly. Please model concern for school teachers as to which assignments they will need to attendance by scheduling routine appointments on complete (and when they will need to complete early dismissal days or when school is closed. In them). This is particularly important with long the event your child must be absent, a written term assignments that may be during or just after explanation signed by the parent is due. To the period of the planned absence. arrange for missed work to be sent home, please Make Up Work notify the educational office by 10:00 am on the morning of the absence. We cannot guarantee Please try your best to schedule appointments and homework after this hour. Even if you have called vacations around the school calendar. Students the school, you must still provide an absence note can no more "make up" school than they can for the teacher’s record. "make up" vacation. There is far too much happening to be able to be replaced by a mere DAILY ADMISSION packet of worksheets. If you know your child will Students are due in at 8:25 am in their first period be away from school, please tell your child’s class. Students who arrive after 8:45 should come teachers in advance. They will make every effort to the education office to sign in for the day. The to give them a reading assignment and/or a student will receive a late slip to give to the journal writing assignment. Work packets will teacher. rarely be sent home. If you need to pick up your child early from school, please inform your child's Parents are asked not to walk their children to the teachers as soon as possible classroom. Your child will be sent to the ILLNESS AND ACCIDENTS classroom from the education office. Although regular attendance is imperative, it is just as important to keep children home when they display symptoms of sore throat, fever, chest 9 cough, vomiting, diarrhea, earache, or other signs Strep is suspected, but results of a throat of illness. This is both for their own protection, culture have not been received and for the health of all the pupils in the school. Positive throat culture for strep throat. Children who develop such symptoms during Student may return to school after 3 doses of school may be sent home. If a child is to be antibiotic treatment if the student’s condition excused from physical education activities or is improved with no fever, fatigue, etc. recess, or must remain indoors, a note signed by the parent must be presented to the office. Symptoms of acute illness such as persistent cough, runny nose with body aches Please notify the office immediately if your child contracts a communicable disease, such as Presence of lice or nits (unless a doctor chicken pox, or the highly contagious head lice, certifies they are dead and the child is not so that necessary medical advice can be made contagious) in hair available to the parent body. Pus-like drainage from the eyes Each child is required to have on file in the school Severe headache, severe earache, severe or office a current Emergency and Medical persistent abdominal pain Authorization Form which lists people to contact Rash suspected to be contagious in case of emergency and allows us to deal with an urgent situation. Please send this form to the Wheezing/coughing episode in an asthmatic office as soon as possible. In the event your child which is not relieved by prescribed becomes ill at school, and it is deemed necessary medication that s/he be sent home, the school will contact you Injuries which require medical attention or those listed by you on the Emergency Form and Severe emotional concerns request that your child be taken home. Sometimes children need to go home when they Required lice checks will be performed prior to get sick during the day. They will also need to go the opening of schools and after every major home if they have any condition which may be vacation. contagious to others. Please be sure your Guidelines for Keeping Students Home emergency records are up to date so that we may contact you if there is a problem. For the health Nobody likes their children to miss school…and and safety (both physical and emotional) of all of being supportive neighbors, nobody likes to cause our children and staff, it is crucial that if contacted other people's children to miss school. Please be by the school to pick up your child, you do so as considerate of the entire school community by soon as possible. In case of emergency, and keeping your child home when they are ill. The parents cannot be reached, it is our procedure to following guidelines have been developed to take the child to the nearest hospital. We will assist the school staff when making decisions contact your personal physician whenever regarding sending students home from school for possible, and attempt to reach you as soon as health concerns. Students are to be excluded from possible. school for the following reasons: It is the responsibility of the parent/guardian to Vomiting/diarrhea in school or report of make arrangements for child care in the event repeated/recurrent vomiting at home after a child develops signs of communicable disease dinner the night before or other illness/injury that prevent the child Temperature of 100.4 or higher in school or from functioning in class. Therefore, if a student at home within the last 24 hours without is ill or injured and needs to leave school, the anti-fever medication parent is to make the necessary arrangements to 10 provide care for their child outside the school not meet TA’s academic and behavioral standards, setting. the school will guide parents to outside resources that will help foster improvement. If for some What NOT to Bring to School: reason these efforts do not bring the desired Expensive and/or irreplaceable possessions results, an evaluation of the standing will be should not be brought to school. The school does made. not accept responsibility for items which are On occasion parents may request that their child brought to school. In addition, weapons of any be retained. The administration will work kind- as well as household tools, toy weapons together with the parents to determine if this is in and knives- are not permitted at school. the best academic and social/emotional interest of the child. REPORT CARDS Parents of students in grades K-8 will receive Grade eight students will graduate if: report cards on a trimester basis. Report cards 1. they have earned enough credits are available via www.cwksmarts.com. Ends of 2. they have completed a service learning trimesters are noted on the school calendar. project successfully 3. they have attendance rate of 90% or better; The Marking Guidelines for Grades 1-5 are: 4. there are no major conduct concerns; 1: below grade level 5. there is consistent completion of 2: below grade level but making progress homework assignments. 3: at grade level 6. they have earned a 90% or better on a test 4: above grade level of Yediot Klaliyot (basic Jewish 5: far above grade level knowledge), a copy of which is available on our web site (Students may take the test The Marking Guidelines for Grades 6-8 are: as often as needed). 97-100: A+ 93-96: A 90-92 A- 87-89: B+ 83-86: B 80-82 B- HOMEWORK 77-79: C+ 73-76: C 70-72 C- We hope that all of our children will not just love 60-69: D 0-59: F school, but that they will love learning! Our curriculum, under constant review, is designed to Grade averages below 60 will be given an be engaging and challenging in every way. An incomplete and students are expected to exert important part of this is homework. Homework is effort by a clear deadline to complete the work, never intended to be "busy work" or "drill and retake a test, etc. to achieve a passing grade. kill." It is intended either to reinforce what the Incompletes change to an "F” following the children have learned in school or to help them deadline. prepare for a future lesson or project. Students who do not pass a particular class may- All of our children, beginning in grade one, at the discretion of the administration- be should expect to do homework nightly (Sunday permitted to advance to the next year on academic through Thursday). This homework, which may probation and/or be required to take a summer include reading and/or written work in both Judaic course or independent study class in order to and General Studies, should take no more than the achieve a passing grade. following average lengths of time: Promotion to the next grade is based on Grades 1-2 30-45 minutes performance. The school reserves the right to Grades 3-4 40-50 minutes withhold a promotion if a child’s needs will not be Grades 5-6 60-90 minutes best met at the next grade level. If a student does Grades 7-8 120-150 minutes 11 DIVISION OF HOMEWORK RESPONSIBILITIES Teachers Student Parents Homework should be a Students are responsible Parents should check parent review of work done, an for writing down emails/homework active reading exercise, assignments and with planner/HomeworkNow.com previewing coming work, bringing home any or student folder to help working on projects or materials needed to focus students work reviewing for tests/quizzes. complete. Students should ask their Parents should provide a teacher if they do not Homework is not for quiet, well-lit place for the understand the assignment parents. child with the materials or feel they cannot needed for their child complete it. Homework should be a Students should stop doingParents should realize that "doable" task. This may homework if they exceeded one goal of homework is to necessitate "differentiating" Torah Academy's time limitteach responsibility, the homework for some and ask their parents to planning, and time/materials students. send the teacher a note. management Parents should stop a child Student should report to the from continuing homework Homework and teacher if he/she if it exceeds the time frame projects/tests should be experienced difficulty and/or if the assignment coordinated between all completing homework, or if appears to be stressful and teachers so that assignments there was an excessive send a note to the teacher. If are not all due back at the number of tests per this happens regularly same time. day/week. modifications may be necessary. Student should attempt to Homework is to be done in complete homework on Parents should communicate a reasonable amount of time their own to the best of with the teacher if there are consistent with Torah their ability without having ongoing issues related to Academy policies, parents or others do the homework. task for them. Homework should be Students should return all carefully reviewed by Parents should not do homework/assignments to teachers and returned with homework for a child, but their teacher in a timely meaningful feedback, or should support, guide, and manner. If they need an provide a means of class encourage. extension they should ask. review. Students should understand Teachers should clearly Parents whose children have that completing homework inform students as to how continuing concerns should regularly and responsibly homework counts in their ask for a team meeting with will increase success and grade in their class. their child’s teachers. potential. 12 ACHIEVEMENT TESTS: to ensure that the person will be present. The Achievement tests are administered annually in meeting will last no more than 40 minutes. If grades 3-8. We administer the Educational issues require further discussion, another meeting Records Bureau CTP test. Testing will be given will be planned. in February so that results are received early enough to assist in any academic planning that Torah Academy has formed a Grade Level Team may be necessary. (GLT) to be pro-active to examine and propose interventions for a student who is experiencing PARENT-SCHOOL PARTNERSHIP: TEAM academic, behavioral or emotional difficulties in MEETINGS AND MEETING STUDENTS’ his/her general education classroom. This team NEEDS usually consists of the student’s teacher, an Torah Academy values and encourages administrator, the school counselor and support involvement from our parents as we work to meet personnel from the school. The student and the needs of every student. As part of the parent(s) also comprise part of the GLT team. planning process, parents, teachers and administrators will constantly be involved in GLT meetings allow parents and school staff the assessing student achievement. Teachers are opportunity to share concerns and develop a joint generally happy to schedule an individual instructional plan when a student begins to conference with parents at any time during the struggle in school or if they require enrichment to school year at a parent’s request. There are also meet their needs. These instructional plans will parent-teacher conferences twice yearly. vary based on the individual educational needs of Likewise, the teacher may ask a parent to come in the student and will include specific strategies. for a conference if there is a special concern, or GLT meetings will also take place to monitor the news about their child. student’s progress and ensure the utilization of the instructional plan and its effectiveness. A parent or teacher may request a formal or informal meeting with a member of the If the GLT instructional plans are not successful, a administration to discuss overall progress and recommendation for more intense instruction or a concerns. The purpose of this meeting is to possible evaluation may be recommended. discuss the student’s progress and to develop an individual plan to increase success in the school To help us better service each student we ask the setting. parent to be pro-active and attend the GLT meeting with an open mind and provide detailed Following, or in lieu of, this meeting, the school information about your student. Please be sure to or parent can request a Grade Level Team (GLT) provide us with any outside testing or reports Meeting. These meetings take place in the middle regarding your child. We need all available of the school day (Each grade level is assigned a information to assist your child. Please ask specific time when meetings occur. If that time is questions when you are uncertain about not possible for a parent, we will make every recommendations or information being discussed. effort to accommodate a different time during the We also recommend that you talk to your child to school day. However, this may take additional see if he or she has any special concerns or time to arrange. ). The student’s academic and questions that he or she would like you to discuss non-academic teachers, the school counselor and a or clarify with the teacher. member of the administration will participate in the meeting (or submit written reports). A parent Please note that if you need forms or evaluations can also request that a specific teacher attend the filled out for your children for outside providers conference and the school will make every effort (such as the school district, doctors, counselors, 13 etc.) these forms should be given to the Assistant being assigned to the class that best meets Principal. They will be sent directly by our office their ability. to the outside provider or evaluator, not returned When possible within the school schedule, the directly to parents. school will occasionally offer “subject matter acceleration” (progressing more quickly For more information please contact Rabbi Jablon through the curriculum in a particular subject) or Dr. Kail. to students who qualify as gifted and talented in a particular subject matter. Therefore, they may spend some of their day in a class with “GIFTED AND TALENTED PROGRAM” older children, or with a teacher who is able to Torah Academy’s core academic program is teach that particular subject on their level. intensive and enriched. However, we recognize that there are some students who require even T.A. does not “diagnose” giftedness. Children are more to be properly challenged. To meet the identified as eligible for available programs needs of these students, Torah Academy will – through the results of their standardized testing. whenever possible – provide a range of services, Specifically, the students will demonstrate including some “pull out” accelerated achievement at the 95th percentile or higher in programming and/or accelerated class sections in reading comprehension and/or math concepts/total selected academic areas. This will be above and math. Parents may also submit testing conducted beyond the normal “challenge” work provided by a licensed psychologist reflecting an IQ of 133 within the classroom. It will include both teacher (plus or minus the 3 point error of measurement) directed and independent learning activities and/or achievement tests reflecting achievement at (including homework). It will focus on high level the 95th percentile or higher in reading critical thinking, reading and/or math comprehension and/or math concepts/total math. comprehension, and research/communication skills. It is intended for students working As with all other special programs, participation is significantly above their grade level in a particular only with parental consent and eligibility is area. constantly under review. Students are expected to maintain a “B” average to remain in the program. In Grades 1-2 this enrichment is provided by the classroom teacher who consults with the In some instances, a student’s needs can best be Gifted and Talented Specialist. met by whole grade acceleration, i.e. “skipping”. In Grades 3-6, the enrichment is provided At Torah Academy, we use the Iowa Scale of either by the Gifted and Talented Specialist or Acceleration in order to determine whether a child by the classroom teacher in consultation with is good candidate for acceleration. This process the specialist, based on the needs of the may be initiated at the request of parents and/or students. The specialist is scheduled to meet educators. The first part of the scale requires regularly with the teachers and assist in the parents to submit IQ and achievement testing creation and identification of new materials in conducted by a licensed psychologist at the order to do the best possible job to meet the parent’s expense. The second part, conducted on needs of the learners. the condition that the first part demonstrates the In our Middle School (Grades 6-8) we offer necessary criteria, is a holistic look at the many multiple sections in Talmud and math, as well factors that make up the individual student. Once as Hebrew language classes divided by ability, the complete scale is concluded, parents may be based on the needs of the students. Thus, offered whole grade acceleration for their child, at many students identified as “gifted and the discretion of the administration. In the talented” are able to have their needs met by possible situation that the administration advises 14 acceleration as the only way to adequately meet b. In some cases, a parent may be required to the child’s needs, the parents will be so advised accompany his/her child on a trip if there are though will still ultimately be able to make the concerns about behavior, medical conditions decision. or other matters. c. The School cannot be responsible for any loss As with all parts of our program, the “Gifted and of personal property suffered by a student Talented Program” will undergo regular review while on a school trip. throughout the school year by the educational d. The student will be subject to the supervision administration. and control of the chaperones that have jurisdiction on the trip at all times. For more information please contact Mrs. Lisa e. If children are transported via car, Dardashti, our Gifted and Talented Education Pennsylvania State Laws regarding booster Specialist. seats must be observed. Children under 8 years old must have a booster seat unless they Torah Academy gratefully acknowledges the are over 80 pounds and/or over 4 feet nine support of the Kohelet Foundation who has made inches tall. It is recommended that children this program possible. over 8 but not the listed height and weight should have booster seats. Parents are responsible for providing the booster seats for ASSEMBLIES: field trips. Weekly assemblies (Kehilla Meeting in Grades 1- f. Other regulations may be enacted for specific 3 and Shira Ve’Zimra- separately for boys and trips. girls- in Grades 4-8) are a part of the curriculum g. If a trip is scheduled to return after 3:50 PM, a designed to expose and provide students with parent/guardian must agree to pick up the educational as well as entertaining experiences. student or designate, in writing, an adult who Students will enter Shabbat with singing and will. Divrei Torah. Often, Divrei Torah and skits will h. Any failure of a student to follow trip be delivered by classmates. Students are expected regulations will result in disciplinary action. to be courteous and well-mannered to the i. All school policies must be obeyed when on a audience and the performers. Respect for each school trip. other is the major rule. ELIGIBILITY FOR TEAMS/ACTIVITIES SCHOOL TRIPS: In order to remain eligible for representing Torah Field trips complement the school curriculum and Academy on teams or to participate in activities, will occur periodically throughout the year. students must maintain at least a C- average and Parents will be notified well in advance that the good behavioral record in each and every class. field trip will be taking place. One permission In the case of sports teams, our Athletic Director slip, which covers all trips during the academic will check eligibility before each game. Students year, will be on file in the school office so that it who fall below this standards will not be will not be necessary for a permission slip to be permitted to participate (other than as an observer) signed before each trip. The attire of parents who without special permission of the Menahel until are invited to come on school outings should the standard is met. adhere to the school’s standards. a. Students will at all times conduct themselves ACADEMIC HONESTY AND PLAGIARISM: in a manner which will bring credit to Torah Students are expected to always be honest, Academy and Klal Yisrael. including in academic issues. Copying from other children or turning in someone else’s work as 15 their own, talking or sharing materials during olds who live in Lower Merion. Additional quizzes/tests, etc. are all examples of cheating. information is available in the Business Office. Students may never copy directly from printed material or from the Internet and then submit it to SCHOOL BUS CONDUCT a teacher as their own work. Information The rules in this section apply whether children printed from computer searches or from CD- Rom ride on school district or T.A.- rented busses. references may not be turned in “word-for-word” as a student’s report. Your child should check Children are expected to practice safe and with his/her teacher before the report’s due date courteous bus behavior. The privilege of riding concerning footnotes, bibliographies, sources, etc. the bus may be revoked for children who do not Depending on the severity of the situation and the behave properly. age of the child, consequences for academic dishonesty may include (but are not limited to): a Boarding and riding your bus: “zero” on the assignment, need to re-do an Board your bus in an orderly manner. assignment, mandatory parent-teacher- Remain seated at all times. administrator conference, failing a class, Avoid loud conversations. suspension. Keep the aisle and emergency exits clear of personal belongings. ARRIVAL AND DISMISSAL Head and hands are to be inside at all times. Nothing may be thrown from the bus. Avoid defacing, damaging, or tampering with BUS TRANSPORTATION: any of the bus equipment. Many public school districts in which TA students live, provide round-trip transportation free of At home and at your bus stops: charge. This type of district transportation is When you leave home, go directly to your currently available for the following: assigned bus stop. Students in grades 1 – 8 who are residents of Arrive at the bus stop five minutes before Philadelphia. your bus is scheduled to be there. Drivers do Students in grades K – 8 who live in portions not wait. of Montgomery and Delaware Counties. Wait in a safe area away from traffic. Students in grades K - 8 who live in When crossing the street to board the bus, Cheltenham Township. wait until the bus has stopped and the red Requests for district transportation are included in lights are flashing. When you are sure that the registration packet. traffic is clear in both directions, cross at least ten feet in front of the bus. Prior to the first day of school, families eligible At the end of the school day, get off the bus for district bus service will be notified in writing at your designated stop. We cannot allow by the district with bus stop information. students to get off at other stops other than Questions and change requests should be directed their home. to the local public school district transportation Go directly home – Do not approach office. Torah Academy has no control over the strangers. designation of school bus stops or routes. Please note that Torah Academy neither owns the TORAH ACADEMY TRANSPORTATION bus nor employs the bus drivers (or other Pending sufficient registration, the school employees). However, on both school district and provides fee based transportation to 3 and 4 year T.A.-hired busses we are expected to provide 16 support for issues of behavior (including, but not DAILY DISMISSAL PROCEDURES: limited to, suspending the privilege of riding the Dismissal for Early Childhood students at 1 bus). Students who receive a written conduct pm will take place at the door in the circular report from a bus driver for engaging in unsafe driveway facing Wynnewood Road. If you behavior will be suspended from riding the bus arrive after 1:05, please park your car and for one week. Students who receive a written buzz to be let into the building. You child will conduct report for engaging in inappropriate be at the security desk. behavior will be suspended from riding the bus When the entire school dismisses at 1:30 pm for two days. Repeat offences will receive longer such as on early Fridays during the winter, the suspensions and potential suspension from school. Early Childhood dismissal area will be in the kindergarten room (with the exit door facing EARLY DISMISSALS (school wide AND the fields). Students in grades 1 – 8 will be individual): called to this dismissal area as their cars arrive Scheduled early dismissals are announced in to pick them up. advance in the school calendar sent to you this Dismissal area for carpool at 3:50 pm will be summer and in the TA weekly eNewsletter. in the Kindergarten room (with the exit door Parents must make the necessary arrangements for facing the fields). Bus riders will wait in child care. Sometimes emergency early dismissal classrooms until buses are called. days are necessary. Parents should take advantage of early dismissals days or when schools are Please be punctual for dismissal. closed by scheduling doctors, dentists, and other A form will be sent home requesting carpool appointments. information and those authorized to pick up your children. Each family will receive two carpool In certain situations a student may need to be placards. A placard should be visible in the signed out before the end of the day. Parents will windshield of the car that is coming to school to request that the child be released from class at the retrieve students. Cars without placards will be security desk. Your child will not be released until directed to wait until personnel can deal with a parent or legal guardian appears at the security them. desk. Children need to be signed out of school by For their own safety, children will not be allowed a parent or legal guardian (or by another adult to to leave with anyone other than their regular whom you’ve given written permission) if they carpool driver unless the teacher and the are leaving before dismissal. For their safety, educational office are notified of the change by children are not sent to waiting cars. Please give the parent in writing. yourself enough time to follow these procedures. Children who leave school before regular pick Children who were signed out but then return to up times: the school during the school day need to be signed Safety procedures require that children who are in by their parent at the security desk. dismissed early are to be signed out of school by the person who picks them up. A sign out sheet is Parents should also notify the school in the case of located in the education office. Students cannot unanticipated early dismissals by faxing or e- be picked up from their classrooms. Please do not mailing the school with the child’s name, time of ask us to have your child wait in an unsupervised dismissal and name of the adult escort picking area. child up. This communication is due by 3:10 pm on the day of the early dismissal. Our goal is for every child to make it home safely. To assist us in this regard, please do not make unnecessary changes to the dismissal routine. 17 We require that changes be made according to the Number is 1107. You should also sign up for text following procedures. messaging at www.homeworknow.com so you will be notified of closings and delays quickly. 1. Changes are made in writing. Parents should send notes to the school with their child, fax Lower Merion Residents please note: them to the school office at 610-642-2265 or In addition to the TA closing number of 1107, e-mail them to the educational office at least parents need to know the Lower Merion school one hour before dismissal to district closing/delay number, which is 302. email@example.com. Snow closing/delay information is also available on the KYW website. 2. For younger children, the note should be pinned to their clothing. For all dismissal When Lower Merion schools announce a one or changes, parents should call the educational two hour delay in opening, buses for students will office to verify that the information about the be delayed accordingly. change has been received. When calling the office, please make sure to speak with one of In the event that the school operates on a regular our office staff. We cannot guarantee that time schedule and the district operates on a voice mail messages are always received in delayed schedule, students may be brought to time. school by their parents, or they may wait for the district bus to pick them up. However, as school 3. As a general rule, only changes in writing will will operate as normal, we do recommend be carried out. Only in extreme and urgent bringing children on time. circumstances, will changes by phone be When an unanticipated snowstorm or emergency accepted. necessitates the mid-day closing of school, parents will be contacted at the daytime phone number 4. Dismissal data is collected until 50 minutes listed on the family emergency card. before dismissal. Dismissal changes that come in after 3:00 pm can not be honored. On early Please call the school for the Philadelphia and dismissal days, changes are accepted until Cheltenham closing/delay numbers. 12:10 pm for a 1:00 pm dismissal. FOOD AND HEALTH AT T.A. 5. Assistance after the designated time for KASHRUT dismissal changes is available only in extreme In order to maintain a uniform standard of situations. Kashrut, we ask that families adhere to the following guidelines. Food sent to school should bear one of the 6. It is critical for children to picked up on time. There will be a charge of $1 per minute following certifications: assessed for pick up more than 10 minutes late. SCHOOL CLOSING When school must be canceled due to inclement weather, an announcement will be broadcast on radio station KYW 1060 AM. The radio station announces schools by number rather than by Please inquire from the Menahel about other name. Torah Academy’s Emergency Closing certifications and he will work with the 18 rabbinic advisory committee to clarify the For younger children (age 7 and under): matter. We recommend that you do not send the following So that all students may participate, Cholov items in your child’s lunch. Although your child may Yisrael dairy products are to be served at handle these foods well at home, they are considered a events that include the class. choking hazard in the larger, classroom setting. Homemade food may not be distributed at Grapes school. Caramels Utensils may not be brought from home for Raisins Gushers public use at school. Popcorn Pre-cut fruit, if not under rabbinic Fruit roll ups supervision, should not be served to the class. Hard candy Please do not bring in for whole class use Nuts or seeds strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, figs, Laffy Taffy Squeeze bottle drinks dates, cauliflower, broccoli or lettuce as they Olives are too difficult to check for bugs in the Raw carrots limited amount of time we have available. ALLERGIES IN THE CLASSROOM LUNCHES: Torah Academy will make every effort to Lunch should be sent to school each day. Please accommodate children with food allergies. After see our allergies sections below for important consultation with our medical consultants and the information! Lower Merion School District, the following policy is now in effect. In addition to time for lunch, students have opportunities to eat snacks sent from home. 1) Parents of children with allergies need to Lunches sent from home could be dairy, meat or provide the school with written documentation pareve. If you are sending a meat lunch, please from their doctor that details the allergy, the include a special napkin or placemat to place extent of the allergy (whether it's only by under the meat platter. ingestion or even by contact, and if the student's In preparing lunch, please keep in mind that there life may be in danger) as well as an action plan in are no facilities for refrigeration or heating. case of an allergic reaction. Drinks in glass containers should not be brought to school. Care should be taken that pareve 2) In classrooms with children with life snacks should be sent after a meat lunch. threatening allergies to peanuts, nuts or eggs, the classroom will be a "peanut/tree nut free zone" We recommend keeping sweets to a minimum. In and/or "egg free zone" (e.g. raw or cooked plain addition, chewing gym is not permitted at any egg, although other products with eggs included time at T.A. as an ingredient- such as baked goods- would not be forbidden). Nobody will be allowed to bring Cholov Yisroel milk is provided to children with products containing the designated product(s) into dairy or pareve lunches. Early Childhood the classroom (unless they are closed in their book classes also receive a snack in the morning and in bag). Other allergies will be handled on a case by the afternoon. Please notify your child’s case basis, at the discretion of the administration teachers of any food allergies or restrictions in writing. 3) In Grades 3-8, where children eat in their lunchroom, a table or portion of the table will be Parents will be notified when lunch will be sold designated as a relevant allergy table. In some by the PTO or other groups. cases we may use individual desks where children 19 with allergies shall sit in order to avoid exposure. candy, cookies, soda, sports drinks or other In these cases we will make every effort to wipe sweets. These items will also not be sold to down tables in advance. Please note that with students at school. permission of the doctor and parents, children can sit at their class' regular table. 2) Our Early Childhood Program will be providing healthy options, such as fruits or 4) We ask parents of children with allergies to vegetables for at least one of the two daily snacks. sign a waiver acknowledging that Torah In baking projects, the teachers will do their best Academy, its faculty and staff, are not responsible to use the healthiest possible ingredients that are for any medical problems (including allergic also reasonably economical. reactions) that result from their child being in a main stream school. Although we will make 3) Children bringing treats for the class either for every effort to accommodate the needs of the their birthday or for Shabbat Imma/Abba should children, there is no way that Torah Academy can not bring candy bags for the class and are guarantee that the school, a classroom or any encouraged to bring healthy treats (Please consult other area is truly free of any allergen of any kind. the Kashrut policy for additional information as to fruits/vegetables that may be brought for whole We understand that some aspects of this policy class use.). However, they are still invited to may be inconvenient for children who do not have provide birthday cake, cookies or cupcakes for the allergies. Therefore, we have developed a policy class. that is narrowly tailored to meet the needs of children with health risks while having minimal 4) We will promote healthy living habits within necessary impact on those who do not. Please our school program. The Health and Wellness help us accommodate the health needs of the subcommittee be working on a "Healthy Food children in our Kehilla. Day" in honor of Tu B'shvat. 5) In addition to special treats for holiday parties HEALTHY FOOD AND PHYSICAL and other special events, the school will be ACTIVITY providing healthy food options as well. Torah Academy aims to provide a comprehensive educational approach, by teaching our students 6) While children may still bring anything their necessary lifelong tools to continually grow as parents permit for their own personal lunch and spiritual individuals as well as promote their snack, we encourage the Torah Academy health and well-being. Under the direction of community to join us in teaching the mitzvah of Kenny Myers, we have developed a formal guarding our health to our students, and we hope physical education curriculum (available on our that the renewed emphasis on this mitzvah will web site). In consultation with both our staff and provide a safer and more wholesome environment the Health and Wellness subcommittee of the for all of our students. Lower School Education Committee, we are focusing on the mitzvah of "you shall guard your HEALTH RELATED PROCEDURES: lives" and paying special attention to encouraging The goals of Health Services are to detect specific healthy eating at Torah Academy. To this end, we health problems at an early stage and to facilitate have established the following guidelines to their resolution. Programs include growth, vision, promote healthy eating habits in our students: hearing, scoliosis, dental screenings, and physical examinations of all pupils upon admission and 1) With rare exceptions, faculty and staff will not again in sixth grade. The Lower Merion district give students prizes or incentives that involve school nurse visits Torah Academy each week to 20 conduct health screenings and to update students’ 3. Number of days medication will be taken medical forms. State law mandates that medical by student forms for each student be updated annually and 4. Any special circumstances or side effects. filed at school. Annual screening tests for vision 5. The form also requires a physician’s and hearing are conducted at school, as well as signature. screening for scoliosis at the appropriate age. As All medication taken by the student will be a representative of the state Health Department, monitored by a staff member. The staff will the nurse may require that a child not attend ensure that the medication is stored and secured; school if their records/immunizations are not up therefore, all medication must be brought to the to date as required by law. office. No medication is to be stored in the If your child complains of illness or injury at classroom. Doses are to be scheduled during the home, please do not send him/her to school student’s break times. expecting the nurse to administer to his/her needs. Please note that Torah Academy offers this Chronic medical conditions such as asthma, service as a convenience to parents. Torah diabetes, and behavior disorders must be reported Academy and its staff cannot be held liable for to the administration and the nurse. Please notify loss of medication, forgetting to administer us and send in doctor’s instructions if your child is medication, side effects to medication or injured, hospitalized or seen at an Emergency accidental improper administering of medication. Room. When medically recommended, students with such conditions may receive long-term Sick Policy medications in school provided their parents School policy requires that a child be fever free comply with the School Health Services policy. for 24 hours before returning to school after an Short-term medications are not normally illness. This is to allow the child ample time to dispensed in school. The parent must fill out the recover and to prevent spread of illness to other necessary forms if a medication needs to be taken students. at any time during the year even if this is only in sporadic situations. Treatment of School Related Injuries The office staff takes care of minor injuries Parents must submit Health Insurance information (scrapes, insect bites, bruises, bumps etc.) (provider and policy numbers) to the nurse with cold compresses, ice, antibiotic indicating coverage. The nurse will assist in ointment, or band-aids as the need arises. getting coverage for uninsured children. Contact Parents will be notified about minor injuries her for help. The nurse can also assist in getting at the discretion of the Administration. coverage for eye exams if your medical insurance Parents may be called to ask permission for does not cover them. Please do not give administration of acetaminophen. students medicine to carry around with them. The When confronted with an injury that needs medicine could be lost, stolen or misused by their further attention, our staff will make every peers. effort to address the child’s needs and make If your child takes medicine, parents are required contact with parents. In an emergency, the to provide the signed LMSD form (a copy is on child will be taken to the nearest hospital. our website) to the educational office, which It is the responsibility of parents to authorizes medicine to be dispensed at school. update school medical information This note includes the following information: (allergic reaction to medication, 1. Purpose of medication inoculation etc.). A form with this 2. Time of daily administration information has been provided for each student. 21 SMOKING Parents who wish to visit classes in session are Smoking is forbidden on the campus (indoors and asked to schedule an appointment with the out) of Torah Academy. Menahel. SAFETY AND SECURITY Lunches, projects, homework, and the like that are delivered to the school should be left at the reception desk. Written messages for children SECURITY AT T.A.: may also be left at the reception desk. The Torah Academy School staff takes every possible precaution to ensure the safety of every Children, other than those applying for admission student. Exterior doors are locked during the to Torah Academy, may not visit T.A. during the school day. After 8:35 AM, the entrance to the school day. building is only through the main door. No one is permitted access to any part of the building TELEPHONES without permission from the office and the The telephone in the main office may only be issuance of a visitor’s pass. Any parent or visitor used by students for urgent matters. Messages who does not have a pass will be referred to the may only be relayed to students for urgent office. School staff is assigned to supervise matters. After school arrangements should be students in the yard. All students are counseled by made between parents and students outside of staff members in ways to avoid contact with school hours. strangers. CELL PHONES All students are required to be supervised by an Cell phone usage by students is not permitted adult at all times. during school hours. In case of an emergency, students should go to the educational office. The At no time may a student leave campus without a staff will confiscate cell phones improperly used. supervising adult. At no time may students be in They will remain in the office until a parent “restricted” areas of the building (e.g. roof, boiler comes to claim them. room, etc.) where their safety- or the safety of others- would be in jeopardy. Violation of these CUSTODY AND OTHER LEGAL PAPERS: rules may result in a suspension from school. A copy of relevant, current legal papers should be brought to the office where they will be safely VISITORS filed. Legally, it is assumed that both parents Torah Academy welcomes parents to visit the listed on the record card and school application in school. For safety reasons, parents and visitors the office have custody of the student. are not permitted to go directly to the classrooms. Please report to the reception desk upon entering Legal papers, not verbal information, are required the building, where our staff will assist you. A by the school in special situations. Legal papers stick-on tag will be issued. It must be worn while are binding in the event of any custody case. you are in the school. With the exception of Notify the principal of unique situations. The prearranged report card conferences on the most current papers on file are binding, so be sure designated days, no one may go to any area of the the most current ones are on file at school. school building without the express permission of the Menahel or his designee. FIRE DRILLS Fire drills are held regularly at Torah Academy. Parents may not visit their child’s classroom Each drill is an important practice so that unannounced. This disrupts the classroom routine. everyone is prepared in the event of an actual 22 emergency. Students are to conduct themselves in reasonable suspicion that a child is being abused a silent and orderly way during a drill and treat or endangered are required to report this without each drill as if it were an actual evacuation due to delay to the proper legal authorities. a real fire or other emergency. Students who are disruptive during fire drills may be suspended for one day. OUTSIDE RESOURCES FIRE DRILL PROCEDURES: Intermediate Unit 1. When the fire bell rings, all students line up Private schools in Montgomery County have immediately and follow the teacher’s access to a range of health – related services under instructions. the auspices of the Montgomery County 2. Follow the drill procedures which are posted Intermediate Unit (I.U.). Referrals to the in each room. professionals of the Intermediate Unit for 3. Students on an errand, in the bathroom, or not evaluation of a student are at the discretion of the with a class should join the nearest class administration, in consultation with parents and exiting the building and remain with that class teachers. A parent who is interested in obtaining until the drill is over. these services for their child, should contact the 4. Every student must remain silent throughout Assistant Principal. the entire drill. 5. No one should enter the school until the “all Parent Advocate clear” bell is sounded. This year, we are pleased to have the services of Mrs. Orit Seif as our Parent Advocate. Parents VIDEOS/PICTURES OF STUDENTS who need support accessing services outside of There may be situations at school or on school- T.A., particularly those to which children may be related activities that students are part of pictures legally entitled (such as from school districts, that are taken. These pictures may be used in counties of the intermediate unit), will be able to school publicity and/or on our web site (without contact Mrs. Seif for her assistance. These names). If a parent/caregiver objects to their child services could include testing, dual enrollment, being in such pictures, they must notify the school early intervention support, behavioral support office within one week of the new school year. services, shadows, etc. Some of these are You have already signed permission for this as particularly helpful during transition periods. She part of your enrollment materials. will be able to “walk parents through the system,” as well as advocate on their behalf if necessary. CARE OF SCHOOL PROPERTY: We hope that families will take advantage of this Students are responsible for the proper care of assistance. school property. Students are responsible for the care, maintenance and timely return of all textbooks and for proper care of the T.A. building, SCHOOL CLIMATE furnishings, etc. Students and/or their parents will be assessed penalties for lost or damaged PARTIES: textbooks and/or property. Birthdays are exciting events and offer children the opportunity to celebrate with their peers. REPORTING OF ABUSE Parents of Early Childhood students are In accordance with the law of the Commonwealth encouraged to celebrate the child’s birthday with of Pennsylvania, it is the policy of Torah the class. Parents bring in a special treat (no soda, Academy of Greater Philadelphia that- as please). Inexpensive, age appropriate “goodie mandated reporters- staff members who have a bags” are permitted (though not required), as long 23 as they conform to the school’s Kashrut policies. While every effort is made to be sensitive and not Please consult with the classroom teacher in cause unnecessary embarrassment, it is very advance when planning such a party. A gift to the uncomfortable for the staff as well as the student classroom in honor of the child’s birthday such as to discuss an infraction of the dress code or a book, tape, or toy makes the day very special. personal grooming. It is much appreciated when the necessary foresight is exercised in order to Beginning in first grade, children do not have avoid hurt feelings and embarrassment. class parties. However, they may make arrangements with their teacher to bring a special treat to school. For students in the Early Childhood Program In no case will parents be able to sponsor (3Y through Kindergarten): expensive programs or trips (other than Suitable clothing is essential for your child to feel anonymously) for birthdays as this would result in completely free and happy during the day. uncomfortable economic pressure in the school. Teachers recommend light comfortable clothes, The decision as to whether something is closed shoes so children can run and jump and appropriate will be made by the appropriate clothes that can get messy. Please remove administrator. drawstrings from jacket and sweatshirt hoods as they can be hazardous. Boys should wear tzitzit It is our hope that when having out of school and a kippah. Mondays through Thursdays your birthday parties, either all members of the child’s child should come in "work clothes". They class (or just a few “special friends”) will be should not be worrying about keeping spotless . included in the celebration. In order to avoid hurt On Fridays, however, if your child is the Shabbos feelings, invitations will only be allowed to be Abba or Ema, they may wear special clothes. distributed in school if every child in the class is invited. As all children must be completely toilet trained, “pull ups” are not acceptable. DRESS CODE: The Torah Academy dress code is part of our For students in Grades 1-8, the dress code is as building a community of young Torah students. It follows.: is designed to have students dress in a modest, Boys: non-competitive, safe and comfortable manner. It In addition to Kippot and Tzitizit, boys wear: is also designed to be economical for parents. All Collared, button down dress shirts, button of these values are an important part of Torah down “sport” shirts or turtleneck shirts. observance and a halachic school community. Buttons are to be closed. Shirts are free of writing, logos, pictures or drawings. The underlying and deeper lessons of personal tzniut (modesty) are taught in Torah Academy as Sweatshirts or sweaters over dress code developmentally and age appropriate. We do not approved shirts are permitted. These must view the role of Torah Academy as the halachic be either solid colored or the official TA decisor for any family, but we do have the sweatshirts that will be sold. responsibility to maintain an environment which T-shirts (including T.A. shirts) are NOT is as accommodating to our entire kehilla as permitted unless special permission is possible. The school’s technical standards of given. tzniut were established by the community rabbis Shirts should be long enough so that the with the goal of being as considerate as possible entire stomach and back are covered even to a diverse community. when hands are raised. 24 Solid colored, straight leg dress or Make up and/or excessive jewelry is not corduroy pants (not sweats or denim). permitted. Baggy pants are not acceptable. Footwear includes socks with shoes or Because our dress code promotes a community sneakers (Sneakers are required for gym.). that values modesty, safety, comfort and lack of Sandals or “crocs” are not permitted due to competition, it is in force at all school activities. safety issues. In addition, the administration reserves the right Baseball-style hats are permitted outside to determine if a student is dressing within both only. the “letter” and the “spirit” of the dress code. Jewelry and/or shoulder length or unkempt hair is not permitted. As with all school rules, the faculty and administration will enforce these rules in an age Girls: appropriate, loving, caring, fair and consistent Girls wear: manner. Collared, button down dress shirts, button down “sport” shirts or turtleneck shirts. Depending on the nature and frequency of a Buttons are to be closed. Shirts are free of violation, as well as the age of the student, a writing, logos, pictures or drawings. Shirts student may be excluded from class and/or school and blouses should cover the collar bone. Low activities until they change into school-provided and scooped out necklines are not “extra clothes” (which then must be laundered and permitted. T-shirts (including T.A. shirts) returned to school the next day) or until a parent are NOT permitted unless special brings him/her clothing that is within the school’s permission is given. dress code. th Beginning in 4 grade sleeves are at least up to the elbows. Shirts may not be “tight This dress code will be continually reevaluated by fitting” or “see through.” One-color the administrative team, with input from the sleevies are permitted so that sleeves are Rabbinic Advisory Committee and Education of sufficient length. Committee, to determine if it is assisting us in Shirts should be long enough so that the meeting our goals of modesty, safety, comfort and entire stomach and back are covered even affordability. If it is not, serious consideration when hands are raised. will be given to a stricter policy in the future. Sweatshirts or sweaters over dress code Therefore, it is in everyone's best interest for approved shirts are permitted. These must students to adhere to the spirit and letter of this be either solid colored or the official TA dress code. sweatshirts that will be sold. Skirts are solid colored (not denim), free LOCKERS: Lockers are provided for middle school of writing, logos, pictures or drawings. Skirts are at least up to the knees at all students in grades six, seven and eight. Lockers are to be kept neat and orderly and times. Skirts may not be “tight fitting.” They are to be single color. “Slits” may may be checked periodically. Locks may not be attached to the lockers. not reach the knee. Teachers and administrators may open Footwear includes socks with shoes or sneakers (Sneakers are required for gym.). lockers to inspect, deliver items, etc. Expensive and/or irreplaceable possessions Sandals or “crocs” are not permitted due to safety issues. should not be brought to school. The school Baseball-style hats are permitted outside does not accept responsibility for items which only. are brought to school. In addition, weapons 25 of any kind- as well as toy weapons- are not Parent – Teacher Communication permitted at school. Timely communication between parents and ELECTRONICS teachers is an important part of the Students may not have any electronics (including educational process. School personnel often cell phones) during the school day. The only communicate with parents by sending emails exceptions are: home or by telephone. Contact may be made with a teacher by sending an email or by 1- devices pre-approved for educational use. leaving a message in the office. The message 2- phones turned off and left in book bags for will be delivered so that the teacher may emergency use contact parents at a convenient time. 3- games left in book bags that parents allow Report cards are issued three times during the children to use on the bus year for students in grades K – 8. Parent-teacher conferences in all grades are T.A. cannot take any responsibility for the safety scheduled twice yearly. of these items. Early Childhood reports will be issued in June. Please note that even in the above cases, devices may NOT be 3G, 4G or Internet enabled. Many In addition to conferences that are scheduled, new phones, e-Readers, IPhones, IPads, etc. have parents are encouraged to initiate communication the ability to connect to unfiltered Internet from with teachers of their children. We ask you to anywhere. These devices are not permitted at make contact with your child’s teacher at the first Torah Academy or on the bus. sign of a problem. This will enable us to best meet each child’s needs Any electronics used in violation of these policies T.A. Text Alerts will be taken away until a parent comes to claim Torah Academy will issue text mail alerts through them. the www.homeworknow.com system (which is also where teachers post homework assignments). LOST AND FOUND: Please go to www.homeworknow.com to sign up Each year the school collects a large number of for your personal account. You will be able to clothing items in our lost and found. Items that select T.A. and then select what kind of alerts you are marked with children’s names can be claimed would like to receive. You may want to be alerted from the bins located in the main office. every time a teacher posts homework. But you Unclaimed items will be discarded or donated to will also have the option to just select charity. transportation (like bus delay), school closing and emergency alerts. COMMUNICATION IS KEY: BEHAVIORAL EXPECTATIONS: Ba’Kehilla: Our eNewsletter A bulletin with Divrei Torah for the Shabbat In order to provide a program of quality table, announcements of school activities, education, a well ordered, respectful, and friendly upcoming events and community news is e- atmosphere must exist in the classroom and mailed (or, for families without email, sent home throughout the school. The cooperation of each Friday with one child in each family). students, parents, teachers, paraprofessionals, the Please check your inbox on Thursday afternoon or administration, and the community is needed. ask your child for it! Mutual respect is essential. 26 2) Everyone has the responsibility to do their Parents and students will note that specific best to resolve conflicts by talking through classroom rules are not included in this code. It is appropriate dialogue. The adults can for each individual classroom teacher to establish help. and reinforce his/her own classroom rules, 3) Everyone has the responsibility to be kind and rewards, and consequences. considerate towards others. 4) Everyone has the responsibility to participate Allow us to reassure you that the manner in which respectfully in class, and to follow the instructions expected behaviors, rewards, and consequences of the adults in school. are stated for different classes must vary 5) Everyone has the responsibility to be honest according to a student’s level of understanding. It and to talk respectfully to others (both adults and is expected, however, that as the tone and spirit of children). general school expected behaviors are set forth, 6) Everyone has the responsibility to act in a safe parents and students will realize that the entire manner at all times. school staff is committed to reinforcing positive 7) Everyone has the responsibility to clean up behavior, applying sanctions for inappropriate after themselves and not damage the property of behaviors, and doing so in a consistent and fair others or our building property – either individual manner. In addition, we respect the or communal. confidentiality of all concerned. 8) Everyone has the responsibility to learn from their mistakes and plan for a new start. Torah Academy students are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with the precept As with all school rules, the faculty and “Derech Eretz Kadmah La Torah”: “Torah study administration will enforce these rules in an age is predicated upon honorable behavior.” Our appropriate, loving, caring, fair and consistent students deserve a spirit in school that is free from manner. any distractions that take away from the ability of others to learn. Our view of appropriate student When a student interferes with the rights of others behavior includes a sense of orderliness that or does not live up to his/her responsibilities, it is pervades the entire school day. necessary for him/her to receive a logical consequence for his/her actions. Depending on Rights and Responsibilities In Our the age of the child, the nature and/or frequency of the behavior, and the impact of the behavior(s) School Kehilla: on the other children in the class and school, these may include (but are not limited to): In our school: 1) Everyone has the right to be safe (their bodies, 1. Reminders from a teacher or administrator their property and their feelings). 2. Teacher makes a phone call home 2) Everyone has the right to be respected. 3. Email referral to administration (with copy to 3) Everyone has the right to be treated fairly. parent), consequences could include: missing 4) Everyone has the right to learn. mid-day recess, referral to counselor, behavior 5) Everyone has the right to a clean and neat modification through daily report, written school. apology note, essay discussing how to better his/ her behavior, and/or paying for property The rights that we all enjoy result in all of us damaged. Any of these interventions will be having specific responsibilities: imposed at the administrator’s discretion. 1) Everyone has the responsibility to be in the Administrator’s intervention will always include right place at the right time, and to be with an email notification to parent. adult. 27 4. Team meeting with parents, the Menahel, responsibility to engage in safe behaviors, please Assistant Principal or S’gan Menahel. note the following… 5. In the case where the behavior continues the school will initiate another parent-administrator (1) Supervision: conference, where we may impose mandatory All students are to be under the supervision of a psychological evaluation and/or counseling as a faculty or staff member at all times. condition of continued enrollment at T.A. At no time may a student leave campus without a 6. Should behavioral issues persist and/or for supervising adult. At no time may students be in particularly severe cases of misbehavior (such as “restricted” areas of the building (e.g. roof, boiler violence, threats of violence), we reserve the right room, etc.) where their safety- or the safety of to impose stronger interventions that may include: others- would be in jeopardy. Violation of these in-house suspension, exclusion from after school rules may result in a suspension from school. activities, one to three day suspension or indefinite suspension until a problem is (2) Bullying remediated. This will typically include a meeting Torah Academy takes bullying and/or harassment with administrators and- at the school’s and/or allegations seriously. If and when an allegation of family’s discretion- the family Rabbi and outside bullying occurs, we are careful and thoughtful as counselors or therapists- to determine if T.A. to how we proceed. We always do a thorough remains the appropriate placement for the child investigation (including meeting with those and, if so, what outside counseling or other involved and potential witnesses) since interventions, may be required in order to remain accusations of bullying have gravity and can be at T.A. harmful to victims, bystanders and alleged bullies. 7. Permanent expulsion. Because we view After such an investigation, students who expulsion as akin to dinei nefashot repeatedly initiate behavior that makes others (matters of life and death), a student will not be physically or emotionally unsafe, will be subject permanently expelled without an to the disciplinary interventions listed above. administrator first meeting with a member of the Sometimes there are one-time incidents which Rabbinic Advisory Committee and seem like bullying but may instead be fights or the chair of the Education Committee to peer conflicts. Sometimes younger children’s discuss the case and review the child’s behavior may appear to be bullying when it is, in file. A parent will be notified prior to fact, not since bullying is always purposeful. But expulsion being considered so that they interpreting these behaviors is part of the may determine whether or not they wish to investigative process. voluntarily withdraw their child. Please be aware that though consequences are Bullying or harassment is defined as a pattern of being implemented, we respect the confidentiality words or actions that occur over time and cause of all children and families involved and do not another student to have their emotional or inform others of these consequences. physical safety placed at risk. Students who display such behavior are subject to Please note that these rules and potential disciplinary action, including (as noted above) consequences apply at all times on TA’s campus, immediate suspension, indefinite suspension or both for TA programs and programs that are the permanent expulsion from school. responsibility of organizations/individuals using our facility. Bullying is evidenced when a student is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on Safety Issues: the part of one or more students. This behavior As part of the right to a safe school and the 28 may be in the forms of physical, verbal or nonverbal actions. (6) Auditorium a. Entry and exit to and from the auditorium will be conducted in an orderly, quiet manner. Examples of Direct Bullying: b. Students are expected to sit in assigned seats Physical - hitting, kicking, shoving, spitting except if directed otherwise by teacher, Verbal - taunting, teasing, racial slurs, verbal paraprofessional or principal. sexual harassment c. Courtesy and respect will be demonstrated Non-Verbal - threatening, obscene gestures during assembly presentations. Examples of Indirect Bullying: (7) School yards Physical - getting another person to assault a. Ball games should take place in one part of the someone yard with set boundaries. All games are to be Verbal - spreading rumors played in a safe and fair manner. Non-Verbal - deliberate exclusion from a group or b. Students are expected to pay attention to the activity bell/whistle indicating the end of the playtime. (3)Fire Drills and Evacuations CONFIDENTIALITY: Students are to remain quiet and follow all Torah Academy views confidentiality as critically instructions during fire drills and other building important. Our faculty and staff will not discuss evacuations. Failure to do this may lead to a one children in public venues with parents, nor will day suspension. they discuss children with anyone else other than their parents or teachers. (4) Hallways/Stairways It is very important for parents and students to 1. Students are expected to walk to the right side assist us in maintaining everyone’s of the hallway at all times. confidentiality. Please do not discuss confidential 2. Students are required to have a hall pass at all matters in a public venue. In addition, it is very times when leaving the classroom. important that the school, its personnel, board and 3. Students are expected to walk, NOT RUN , in students are never discussed on internet sites such the hallways and on the stairs. as Facebook, My Space, etc. Violating this 4. Loud conversation or noise is not acceptable in expectation may result in no longer being able to the hallways or stairwells. be part of the Torah Academy Kehilla. (5) Lunchroom Thank you for assisting us in protecting your a. Depending on their grade, students eat lunch children’s privacy. in the lunchroom, a central classroom or their own classroom. PARENT TEACHER ORGANIZATION b. Students are expected to speak in a quiet, The Parent-Teacher Organization is designed to polite manner during lunchtime. provide special activities for the students and c. All trash is to be placed in the trash cans. faculty. Proceeds of numerous PTO activities Tables and the surrounding floor areas are to during the year fund these programs. be left clean and neat. d. Birkat haMazon is recited together with the Please support the efforts of the PTO, which teachers on duty. directly benefit our students. e. Entry and exit to and from the lunchroom will be conducted in an orderly manner. No running, pushing, or loud voices.
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