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Student Handbook Information


 School Administration Team

Angela Spencer, Principal
Denise Schmiade, Assistant Principal
Carla Combs, Guidance Counselor
School Hours
Daily 8:45-3:36 – Students can be dropped off no earlier than 8:25 a.m.   
AM Kindergarten 8:45-11:51 ~ PM Kindergarten 12:30-3:36
AM Preschool 9:00-12:00 ~ PM Preschool 12:00-3:00
White’s Tower Elementary is located in the southern end of Kenton County, a rapidly growing community that serves students from both rural and suburban communities. The school currently serves about 565 students in pre-school through fifth grades. All children who attend White’s Tower Elementary are actively engaged in rigorous educational opportunities that are aligned to the Program of Studies and Kentucky’s Core Content for Assessment. Each year, as we plan for improvement, we continually realign our curriculum to meet the needs of our students. Our school district is accredited with the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges (SACS). Our CATS performance scores show improvements in all core academic areas over the past 5 years. White’s Tower Elementary has been designated as a “Progressing” school, having met our established goal point as well as the novice reduction requirement. We have also met our Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for NCLB (No Child Left Behind) accountability. We are so proud of our academic success and we will continually strive to improve. We believe that every student is important and all students can achieve at high levels. 
White’s Tower Elementary School’s Mission Statement
To Know
To Celebrate
To Love
To Inspire
Every Student to Succeed
Kenton County School District Goals
Goal 1: All students will perform at or above grade level in numeracy and literacy at each transition point.
Goal 2: All professional practices will be based on a common understanding of quality instruction and best practice for every student, in every classroom, every day.
Goal 3: Beginning in the fourth grade, all students will participate in at least one activity providing a meaningful connection to school beyond the regular classroom. 

White’s Tower School Web Page
The Kenton County School District’s website allows parents/guardians to access district, school, staff members, school organizations, and program websites. 
Kenton County School District website address: www.kenton.kyschools.us
White’s Tower Elementary School website address: www.whites.kenton.kyschools.us
Community Safe
The Community Safe system is used to promote communication between the school and home. This system allows us to contact every home within a matter of minutes. We use the system to call you if your child is absent from school and also to inform you of upcoming events, weather emergencies, and crisis situations should they arise. Our having accurate telephone numbers is vital to the success of this program. Should your telephone number change, please call our office immediately at 356-9668.

Inclement Weather
Winter begins during the time of year when weather conditions are uncertain and could make it necessary to close schools or call delays. The safety of the students is the sole basis for making these decisions. The Kenton County School District operates on a uniform calendar; so if one school is closed, all schools are closed when there is inclement weather.  You will receive a call from the District Community Safe system or you can listen to your local television stations for announcements regarding school closings or delays.

Health Requirements
A valid Kentucky Immunization certificate, eye examination by an optometrist or ophthalmologist, a Dental Screening or Examination by a dentist, dental hygienist, physician, registered nurse, advanced registered nurse practitioner, or a physician assistant, and a valid Medical Examination is required for every child entering school.  Students transferring from out of state must meet this requirement as well.  Out of state or Kindergarten students enrolling must show proof of a Kentucky immunization upon enrollment.  Legislation requires students entering Kindergarten and Sixth Grade to show proof of having received a rubella and measles vaccine. 
Health Procedures
If a child becomes ill during the day, the parent is notified immediately. If the parent cannot be reached, the emergency contact number will be called. The child is sent to the office and remains there under adult supervision until the parent or authorized person arrives to take the child home. If a child has had a fever, vomiting, diarrhea or pink eye within the last 24 hours, parents must keep the child at home. In case of a medical emergency during the school day, the parent or authorized adult will be notified as quickly as possible. If emergency medical attention is required, the staff will call 911 and the child will be transported to the hospital. Every effort will be made to contact the child’s parents.
White’s Tower Family Resource Center
White’s Tower Elementary has a full-time Family Resource Center Coordinator. Programs and services are available to all parents/guardians with elementary school-age children. Information and recommendations can be made to community agencies and organizations for child care, health care, mental health counseling, parent/guardian education, adult education (GED), emergency assistance, food, clothing, and school supplies. This support will help parents enable their children to learn, be healthy, and to be nurtured to their fullest potential. The center is open Monday through Friday during school hours. If you need additional information, contact Sally Fortney, Family Resource Coordinator, at 957-0048 or 356-9668. 
The School Based Decision Making (SBDM) is a group of teachers, parents and administrators, elected by the staff and community, who work together to improve student achievement at White’s Tower. The SBDM meets the second Tuesday of each month at 4:00 p.m. in the library. Meetings are open to the public so you are welcome to attend. The SBDM helps the school develop policies in the following nine areas as required by Kentucky School Law: curriculum, assignment of staff time, assignment of students to classes, schedule of the school day and week, use of school space, instructional practices, discipline, extracurricular programs, committee participation, consultation when recommending new teachers, and the use of technology. At each meeting there are a variety of agenda items that are discussed, reviewed, and acted on. There is also a time called “Open Forum” which allows public comment on any of the above mentioned nine required functions of the SBDM. If you would like to give a comment or suggestion during “Open Forum” please follow the procedures as recommended by The Kentucky Association of School Councils and modeled after Kenton County Board of Education procedures. During open forum you will be given the opportunity to make your comment or suggestion. If you would like to attend a meeting, please feel free to join us.  
White’s Tower PTA
White’s Tower Elementary has a very active Parent Teacher Association. Officers are elected yearly.
The PTA Officer Positions are:
                            President: Tammy Lewis-McCauley
                            First Vice President: Marissa Kidd
                            Second Vice President: Karen Murray
                            Third Vice President: Julie Squires
                            Recording Secretary: Allison Sabie
                            Corresponding Secretary: Lisa Stephens
       Treasurer: Amy Holt
                            Staff Representative: Kim Berry
PTA Vision – Making every child’s potential a reality.
PTA Mission – PTA is a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for the education and well-being of every child
PTA Values
·Collaboration:  We work in partnership with a wide array of individuals and organizations to accomplish our agreed-upon goals.
·        Commitment:  We are dedicated to promoting children's health, well-being, and educational success through strong parent, family, and community involvement. 
·        Accountability:  We acknowledge our obligations.  We deliver on our promises.
·        Respect:  We value our colleagues and ourselves.  We expect the same high quality of effort and thought from ourselves as we do from others.
·        Inclusivity:  We invite the stranger and welcome the newcomer.  We value and seek input from as wide a spectrum of viewpoints and experiences as possible.
·        Integrity:  We act consistently with our beliefs.  When we err, we acknowledge the mistake and seek to make amends. 

Volunteer Program
Parents/guardians, grandparents, uncles, aunts, and community members who have the desire to assist students and staff at White’s Tower Elementary are encouraged to become volunteers. A volunteer form will be sent home the first week of school or you may contact the school office for one. A background check is required, but at no cost to the individual, for any volunteer. This background check takes approximately four to six weeks to process. If an adult plans to chaperone field trips, or assist at school in any way, he/she must have the background check completed prior to volunteering. The background check, once completed, is valid for 3 years. It is the responsibility of the volunteer to keep the background check up-to-date. School involvement can occur through PTA, special events, serving on school committees, reading to students, etc.
White’s Tower Elementary offers lunch to all preschool students and first through fifth grade students and breakfast to kindergarten through fifth grade students. A form for free or reduced lunch will be sent home at the beginning of the school year. Each student has a five digit account number. The five digits are the last five numbers of the child’s social security number. When the child goes through the cafeteria line for a meal, he/she is asked the number for identification purposes. When the child gives the number, the amount of the meal is deducted from the account. Parents are encouraged to pay for meals in advance with cash, checks, or on-line with a debit or credit card. The on-line payment system (Mealpay) can be found by accessing the Kenton County website at www.kenton.kyschools.us. Charging meals is allowed when a student occasionally loses or forgets meal money. This service is not designated or intended to provide a credit service for continuous charging and collection of student meals. Under no circumstances can a-la-carte items be charged. Additional information regarding cafeteria charges can be found in Kenton County Board Policy. 
Attendance and Notes
The White’s Tower Elementary school day begins at 8:45 a.m. and ends at 3:36 p.m. Parents/guardians should contact the school before 10:00 a.m. to report a student’s absence. When the student returns to school, he/she must bring a statement signed by the parent/guardian or doctor in order to receive an excused absence. Excused absences include illness, physician visits, funeral/death of immediate family, and court appearances. Parent notes are accepted for up to (9) absences per school year. Additional absences in a school year may be deemed unexcused without a certified doctor’s statement stating that the student was unable to attend school for the total number of days. Documentation including, but not limited to, physician statements, court subpoenas, and other proof may be required to excuse an absence in a case other than personal illness. Students and parents are responsible for returning all notes, which are due upon return to school. Unexcused absences include skipping school, suspension, and absences not accompanied by a note or absences not meeting the excused guidelines. Students with unexcused absences may not receive credit or make up work during time missed and are not permitted to attend school functions on unexcused absence days. Family vacations are considered avoidable and may be classified by the principal as unexcused. Students who are not in their classroom and seated when school/class begins are considered tardy. Physician notes are the only way tardies are excused. School has the discretion to assign consequences for students with unexcused tardies following the code of acceptable behavior guidelines. 
Student Rules
Students at White’s Tower Elementary are expected to show respect for themselves, other children, adults and the environment around them. The White’s Tower staff encourages parents/guardians to help students understand that rules must exist and be followed so that better learning can occur. We ask that parents/guardians and students discuss the rules of the school. Parents/guardians and White’s Tower staff will work together throughout the school year to ensure a safe learning environment.
Student Code of Conduct
Yearly, all Kenton County students and their parents/guardians receive the school system’s Code of Acceptable Guidelines. Students and parents/guardians should be familiar with these rights and responsibilities.
Positive Behavior Support System
White’s Tower uses a behavior system that is supported through the Kentucky Center for Instructional Discipline (KYCID). This behavior system is intended to support students making positive behavior choices through a small classroom and individual reward system. We will still continue to use a discipline referral form for serious discipline offenses. The form requires the signature of the principal and parent/guardian. If parents/guardians receive this form with an offense listed, they are asked to discuss the offense with the child, sign, and return the form to school. Discussion should be centered on the offense and resolutions.

Guidelines for Students Transported by Car
Many White’s Tower Elementary students are transported to and/or from school by car. In order to ensure the safety of all students, it is requested that parents/guardians give written permission and follow certain guidelines. Persons picking up students must be at least 18 years old and on the students’ emergency card. Identification will be required at pick up. When parents/guardians park at school to drop off or pick up students, we ask that only designated parking spaces be used. Please do not block the bus lane and do not park in “No Parking” areas. We encourage parents/guardians to use the lower parking lot if the upper lot is full. Students may be dropped off at school beginning at 8:25 a.m. If your child needs to arrive to school earlier, Children Inc. services are available starting at 7:00 a.m
Guidelines for Students Transported by Bus
The Kenton County School District provides bus transportation for approximately 12,000 students. Route schedules and times are available at the beginning of the school year. If throughout the year your child needs to ride a bus other than his/her regular bus, a note must be sent to the school office. The note must include the address of the child’s destination and the signature of the parent/guardian. All transportation changes must be made before 10:00 a.m. each day. No changes in transportation will be made after 10:00 a.m. each day.   
CAUTION: Do not send an e-mail to school that would need to be opened on the same day as sent. Example: If a parent/guardian sends an e-mail requesting that the child take a different bus home, the e-mail may not be opened by bus time. The bus garage can be contacted at 356-5050.  

Dress Code
Schools rely upon a system of supervision and monitoring by staff to maintain a safe school environment. To not obscure the identity of any student or visitor, the following items are prohibited from being worn (or carried, as appropriate) at school: hats or caps, sunglasses or any colored lens glasses, cosmetic contact lenses (e.g. Wild Eyes lenses), theatrical type make-up (e.g. face paint, white face, etc.), dog collars, hardware chains, bandanas, gang colors, or paraphernalia. Shoes must be worn and shall fit securely through design or strapping. Securely fitting backless shoes are permitted. No flip flops or beach shoes should be worn.

White’s Tower Elementary has a preschool program for eligible 3, 4, and 5 year olds. Students will attend Monday through Thursday from 8:45 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. or 11:45a.m. - 2:45 p.m. Transportation and lunch are provided. The program is staffed with a certified teacher and two teaching assistants. A speech/language pathologist is on-site for the class at least one day each week. To schedule a preschool screening, you may contact Stephanie Sciamanna at 341-4408 ext. 5341 or call the school. 
Homework assignments vary based on the needs of the students in each class. Teachers provide information about homework to students and parents on an on-going basis. Homework is an important part of your child’s education and is intended to reinforce skills and concepts taught during the school day. We expect homework to be completed and returned to school as assigned. Students who chronically fail to complete assignments will be referred to the office and after school detention will be assigned.  

Report Cards
During the school year White’s Tower Elementary has three grading periods. Parent teacher conferences will be held at the end of the first grading period. Additional conferences are encouraged and may be requested by either the parent or the teacher. Students will receive their report cards on November 19, March 4, and June 7. Dates are subject to change because of the cancellation of school. 

Parent/Guardian & Teacher Conferences
A parent/guardian and teacher conference is requested at the end of the first grading period to receive the first report card. Conferences will be held the week of November 15th throughout the school day and in the evening. Your child’s teacher will contact you with more details. Dates are subject to change because of cancellation of school. It is important that the report card be thoroughly reviewed and discussed with your child. Teachers or parents/guardians are encouraged to request a conference any time during the school year as the need arises. Communication is encouraged through notes, phone calls or e-mail. If there is an urgent issue to be discussed, it is important to remember that nothing replaces a face-to-face conversation with your child’s teacher.

Bearcat News
Communication between school and home is critical. It is important that parents are aware of what goes on at school and that the family in turn communicates regularly with White’s Tower Elementary. In order to ensure that parents/guardians are kept informed, a monthly newsletter will be sent home. These newsletters (also posted on the school webpage) are sent home at the beginning of each month. 

School Guidance Program
White’s Tower Elementary has a full-time guidance counselor. The counselor teaches in every classroom approximately once every month. Topics for Classroom Guidance are based on the Kentucky Core Content for Practical Living and Vocational Studies. Staff and parents/guardians may refer students for small group sessions. Possible small group topics are Self-Confidence, Friendship, Study Skills, Divorce, Death, Behavior/Decision-Making, etc. Teachers, parents/guardians, and administration may refer students to be seen individually by the counselor as well. Students may also self-refer to see the counselor. School based counseling is educational in nature and not intended to replace psychological or psychiatric services for severe mental health issues. 

Our music program involves the teaching of basic music concepts that lead to music reading and appreciation. These skills are taught through singing, moving, listening, and playing a variety of classroom instruments. The music core content also correlates with other arts and humanities concepts such as drama and dance as well as with social studies, science, and language arts. A basic music foundation is given that will allow further pursuits in choral or instrumental performance after elementary school. 

Physical Education (P.E.)
Physical Education (P.E.) includes interdisciplinary activities that support reading and writing instruction. P.E. also includes movement education from kindergarten through second grades, beginning sports skills from kindergarten through fifth grades, and educational dance from kindergarten through fifth grades.
All White’s Tower Elementary students are able to visit and check out books weekly from the school’s library. A variety of materials are available for reference and checkout. The librarian is available to assist teachers and students with research or individual book selection. Since all White’s Tower Elementary students, parents, and members of the community frequent the school library, homeroom teachers often use it to display student projects. All students participate in the computer based Reading Counts Program. This program encourages independent reading skills and improved comprehension. Throughout the school year, evening hours will be available to check out books and take Reading Counts tests. The dates will be published in the Bearcat News. 

Computer Lab
All students will attend class on a regular basis in the White’s Tower Elementary computer lab. The lab contains 27 computer stations. During computer lab instruction, students will develop and/or improve technology skills, learn proper keyboarding, learn to communicate via computer, use computer programs to improve reading and math, research for class projects, and begin to master the computer in a positive, non-threatening way. Students also have the opportunity to use various computer programs to strengthen their knowledge in all content areas, especially reading and math. 
Read to Achieve
White’s Tower Elementary is a recipient of the Read to Achieve grant awarded by the Kentucky Department of Education. Read to Achieve is a state funded grant available to certain schools throughout the state. The RTA teacher helps primary children learn to read by providing extra support during the school day. At White’s Tower Elementary there is a full-time Read to Achieve teacher. The teacher may work with the children in the classroom or in the resource room. Children are recommended to the program by teacher recommendation and assessment data. 
Gifted and Talented Program
The school-based Gifted and Talented program provides enrichment learning activities for identified students in all grades. Students in the fourth and fifth grades, who qualify, will have the opportunity to participate in Project Ascent at White’s Tower.
Kenton County Schools Athletic League
The Kenton County Athletic League is open to all interested fourth and fifth grade students. Students will have the opportunity to play basketball, volleyball, or participate on a bowling league. Basketball practices will begin in early October. All teams are coached by volunteers. For more information, or if you are interested in volunteering, please contact the school’s Athletic Coordinator.

Student Council
White’s Tower Elementary has a very active and involved Student Council. Students in the third grade are nominated by their teachers and students in the fourth and fifth grades are nominated by their peers. Some of the activities the students have participated in are Box Tops for Education, buying recess equipment for the school, starting the ROAR Store, and helping set up for school events. The Student Council meets monthly.
Children, Inc. - Before and After School Program
Children, Inc. provides before and after school child care from 7:00 a.m. – 8:25 a.m. and from 3:36 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. each day that school is in session. Programs and services consist of crafts, art, gym, outdoor play, science, community service, and homework time. Any parent/guardian interested in the program can contact Children, Inc. at 431-2075.
Fifth Grade Promotion Ceremony
Fifth Graders are recognized at the end of the school year to celebrate the completion of their White’s Tower Elementary experience. In addition to the recognition program, the PTA plans a picnic for all fifth graders. Both events are a good time to come together and celebrate the success of the learning that has taken place and recall the memories of all the fun times at White’s Tower Elementary.

Kindergarten Graduation
Kindergarten Graduation is an event to celebrate the completion of Kindergarten and to celebrate all of the hard work and superior effort put forth by the students. The students’ accomplishments are recognized with special awards and diplomas.
Field Day
Each spring all White’s Tower Elementary students participate in a fun filled day of activities and sports. Possible activities are scooter races, jump rope, softball throw, tug-of-war, etc. This event takes place at the end of May before the closing of school. If you are interested in being a volunteer, please contact the school.
Field Trips
White’s Tower Elementary students are given the opportunity to participate in field trips throughout the school year to enhance their learning experience. Parent/guardian permission is necessary for all trips. Students pay a fee that covers the cost of admission and bus transportation.  Parents/guardians are asked to volunteer as chaperones on most field trips. Any parent/guardian who intends to volunteer as a field trip chaperone must have completed a background check. It can take up to six weeks for the background check to be completed. Forms are sent home at the beginning of the school year. 
Withdrawals and Transfers
If your child must be withdrawn or transferred from school, please notify the office in writing a week prior to the withdrawal. This will provide an opportunity for completion of school records and for the staff to do a check of property accountability (textbooks, library books, etc.).

Articles Brought to School
Treasures brought from home such as stuffed animals, dolls, toys, or electronic devices become a problem when they arrive at school. We prefer that children check with the teacher before bringing anything from home. If you have something that may be of interest to the entire class, please check with your child’s teacher before bringing the item to school.    
Student Records
All student records maintained by the school are open for review by the child’s parent/guardian. These records may not be released to anyone outside the school without written permission from the parent/guardian. If you wish to review your child’s records, please contact the school and set up an appointment.
Change of Address/Phone Number
Please notify the office immediately if your address, home or work phone number changes, or if you need to add a person to your child’s emergency card. It is vital that the emergency card information remain current. 
Parents are always welcome to visit and we encourage everyone to attend activities during the year. If the teachers are not free to talk with you during class time, please understand that children come first. The teachers will be happy to talk with you after the children are dismissed or you may phone the teacher at your convenience. All adult or student visitors must come to the office to sign-in before going to any classroom. Visitor nametags, provided in the office, are to be worn by all visitors in the building. As visitors leave the building, they must stop by the office to sign-out. These are required safety procedures for all Kenton County Schools. 

District Check Collection Policy
Your check is welcome. Returned checks are subject to electronic recovery for face value and state allowed fee. We have the right directly or by agent to resubmit your check electronically and/or deposit a paper draft to withdraw the state allowed fee, without your signature, for each check returned as permitted by law. If you have any questions concerning the check acceptance policy, please call 1-877-891-5422.