White Sands School Student Handbook K-8


White Sands School  (K-8)             
Student and Parent Handbook
2017-2018

MISSION STATEMENT
White Sands School commits to providing a safe and caring learning environment. Collectively, we will provide high standards for personal responsibility and academic growth. Our school is a place where students engage in a variety of experiences that allow them to become high functioning members of society. 
 
STAFF COMMITMENT
We believe all students can reach their academic potential. It is our job to create a safe environment in our classrooms and school, which will result in all students raising their academic and social levels of performance. We are confident, that with our professional expertise, our students will master challenging academic material. We accept this responsibility and we are prepared to work collaboratively with colleagues, students, and parents to maximize achievement…one student at a time. 

Administration:

Julie Maestas Principal
Corina Valdespino   Counselor
Monica Bustamantes Secretary
#1 Viking Street
White Sands, NM 88002

(575) 674-1241
Fax (575) 674- 1515

Dear Students,

On behalf of the administration, faculty and staff, I would like to welcome you to White Sands Middle School, “Home of the Sun Chiefs.”

This handbook details important guidelines regarding both school and district policies that you are expected to follow at all times. My expectations of you are extremely high. I believe that your adherence to the guidelines detailed in this handbook, will make your time at White Sands Middle School a very successful one.

Please ensure that you have read this handbook, as you will be held responsible for this information. It is also important to share this handbook with your parents. You will find information alphabetized by topic. If you have any questions, please ask a teacher or administrator. 

All of us here at White Sands Middle School welcome the opportunity to work with you as you progress through your middle school experience.

Respectfully,

Julie Maestas
Principal

ATHLETICS/ACTIVITIES
Participation in athletics and activities at White Sands is a privilege that carries with it certain responsibilities and commitments.  It is the RESPONSIBILITY of each student-athlete and his/her parent(s) or court appointed legal guardian(s) to be familiar with the standards and consequences for student-athlete conduct, residency requirements, and eligibility guidelines.  Athletic/activity academic requirements: See NMAA handbook. 
 DISCIPLINE PLAN FOR STUDENT MISBEHAVIOR
White Sands School follows a progress discipline plan (attached).

ATTENDANCE POLICY
It is the philosophy of the Las Cruces Public Schools that students must be in school in order to learn the content being taught, allowing for academic progress. Regular and uninterrupted classroom instruction, classroom participation, and interaction with classmates are essential to the educational process. Preparation and training for subsequent study or employment includes the development of self-discipline through regular class attendance.

You must attend school according to the school calendar established by LCPS. Responsibility for compliance rests upon you and your parents. A complete copy of the Compulsory Attendance Law is available on the LCPS website.

Schools shall comply with the “Compulsory School Attendance Law,” Chapter 22, Article 12 NMSA 1978.  All qualified students in the school district, except those exempted by law, regulations, or rules, must enroll in school and are required to attend school full time.

Legitimate absences from a class include, but are not limited to, religious activities, illnesses, family crisis, and medical/dental appointments. Verification is the responsibility of the parents.  Students will still be marked absent when not in class. (Please refer to LCPS Policies and Regulations “Exclusions and Exemptions from School Attendance.”)

A student taking high school credit courses may not be given credit for a class unless the student is in attendance for at least 90 percent of the days the class is offered.  A student who attends fewer than 90 percent of the days the class is offered, but passes the class, will be referred to an attendance review committee. The attendance review committee will review all factors to determine if a credit will be awarded. Factors include medical notes, parent notes, and truancy.

IT IS CRITICAL THAT EXCUSAL NOTES ARE TURNED INTO THE FRONT OFFICE AFTER EACH AND EVERY ABSENCE WITHIN THREE DAYS OF THE ABSENCE IN ORDER FOR THE ABSENCE TO BE CONSIDERED EXCUSED. All notes must be turned in directly to the Secretary in the front office. Students with more than ten unexcused absences may also be referred to the District Attorney’s office.

Las Cruces Public Schools uses a daily telephone notification system regardless of reason for absence. If a parent is not receiving these upon absences, parents need to ensure the phone number on file is correct with the registrar. Attendance may also be viewed on ParentVue (see StudentVue/ParentVue section).

BULLYING/HARASSMENT
Bullying and harassment are NOT tolerated at WSMS. Bullying or harassment is any act or speech that subjects persons to indignity, humiliation, intimidation, physical abuse or threat of physical abuse, social or other isolation, shame, or disgrace.  Such behavior will not be tolerated and students who violate this policy will be penalized. 

If you are a victim of bullying please report this to your counselor or an administrator immediately. Administration will handle these severe, yet sensitive, situations with care as to not target a student while also working to firmly stop the behavior. It is imperative that these issues are reported immediately. Administration cannot be proactive if they are unaware of a situation. If you are being cyber-bullied, report this activity to your parent immediately so that your parent may involve the police authorities as needed. Please note that access to social networking cites are blocked by the school server, therefore preventing this behavior from taking place at school. Parents need to monitor their student’s personal cyber activity as this is not a school responsibility.

Sexual harassment is unwanted, unwelcome attention directed toward a person’s sexuality or sexual identity. Institutions have had to set sexual harassment policies because they want the academic environment to be free from all forms of discrimination. Sexual harassment is an illegal form of discrimination under Title VII of The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972. If you are being sexually harassed, report this to your counselor or an administrator immediately. 

CELL PHONES/USE OF TECHNOLOGY DEVICES
Cell phones and other devices are not to be a distraction in the learning process. It is strongly recommended that all student devices be left at home as to deter any issues with theft or inappropriate use. However, if a student brings these devices to school, they are to remain unseen during class time unless the teacher has approved the device to be used during class. Unapproved use of cell phones or inappropriate use of devices may become disciplinary issues and treated as such. These items may be confiscated from students and require parent pick-up. If parents need to contact their student during school hours due to an emergency, please call the front office at (575) 674-1241.

If a device is stolen, please report it to administration. White Sands is not responsible for lost or stolen items. If they are of significant value please leave them at home.

COMPUTERS
Students are required to have completed the Internet Use Agreement form in order to access school computers. Whether in the computer lab or using any school computer, the following rules must be followed: Absolutely no food or drink is allowed while using a school computer. Viewing pornography and/or hacking will result in dismissal from school or long-term suspension. The administrator investigating the violation will determine the length of suspension from the computer labs and/or school (See Internet Policy). All computer access will be removed. Students are not allowed in the computer lab without staff supervision.

COUNSELING SERVICES
Your counselor is your best source of information when you have questions or problems in class, socially, or with post-secondary needs. 

DISCIPLINE
The Board of Education, student body, staff, and community expect reasonable student conduct at all times. When expectations of behavior are not met, disciplinary action will occur.  A major offense (to include but not limited to drugs, fighting, bullying, gang activity, sexual harassment) or repetition of violations may warrant punishment as severe as long-term suspension.

WSMS uses a progressive discipline system. Intervention and/or consequences may include mediation, lunch detention, and in/out of school suspension.
DRESS CODE
Students’ appearance or mode of dress or cleanliness should not disrupt the educational process or constitute a threat to health or safety. Casual business dress is appropriate for the school day.
Prohibited Items of dress:

   Caps and hats are prohibited in the building.
#    Jeans that are torn above the knees are prohibited.
   Clothing that is revealing or ill-fitting to include but not limited to: halter-tops, spaghetti straps, tube tops, midriff tops, short shorts (shorts must be arm length and pockets should not be visible). Undergarments are not to be seen. 
   Clothing with profanities, of a sexual nature, or drug and alcohol advertising.
   Sunglasses worn in the building.
   Pajamas or Slippers are not permitted unless it’s an approved pajama day. 

The above list provides basic guidelines, but is not limited to the listed items. When, in the judgment of the principal, a student’s appearance or mode of dress is distractive, disrupts the educational process or constitutes a threat to health or safety, the student may be required by the principal to make requested modifications. Parents may also be required to bring a change of clothing for their student. First offense will be given a verbal warning and student will call parents to make them aware of the infraction, thereafter the progressive school discipline plan will be followed (attached).

GRADES
Report cards are no longer mailed by the district. Please check your students grades regularly and report card information on ParentVue/StudentVue. Students are responsible for notifying the office for any missing grades on a report card. Additionally, any errors in grades earned should be reported to the office and teacher. All contractual agreements between teachers and students with regard to course work must be made prior to the end of the term. If a student has a question or concern about a current grade, the student needs to meet with that specific teacher. Any time a posted grade is contested, a written letter must come from the student or parent to a principal. Students and parents may monitor grades using the ParentVue/StudentVue online system at any time. Please see the secretary to receive your access code.

INTERIM NOTICES
Interim notices are no longer sent by the district. Please check your students grades regularly on ParentVue/StudentVue. Interims are at the midpoint of a grading period. If you have a “D” or “F” in a class, we encourage students and parents to contact the teacher to set up a parent-teacher conference with the student to ensure the student does not continue with low grades in the class and passes with a passing grade.

INTERNET RULES USE AND REGULATIONS
In order to use the Internet, students must turn in an Internet Use Agreement Form as part of the Las Cruces Public School’s Internet Rules and Regulation. Both the parent and the student must sign the Internet Use Agreement. It is important to turn this in during the first week of school as many teachers integrate internet research in assignments. Many inappropriate websites are blocked through the school server. However, it is impossible to assure that all inappropriate content is blocked due to the vastness of the World Wide Web. Therefore, it is important that students use the internet only for educationally-based needs related to assignments and projects. Inappropriate use of computers will result in disciplinary action.  

INTERRUPTION OF CLASSES
Whenever a class is interrupted, the education of all the students in that class is put on-hold. Therefore, the following policies will be strictly followed:
   TELEPHONES:  The office phones are business phones and are to be used ONLY FOR EMERGENCIES.
   EARLY RELEASE: Students may not be released from school during the last 15 minutes of the day.
   DELIVERIES: Flower bouquets, balloon bouquets, candy, etc. will not be delivered to classrooms for any occasion. They will remain in the office until the end of the school day. 
   CELL PHONES or IPODS: any electronic device is strictly prohibited during class and will not be tolerated unless approved by the teacher. In order to best avoid theft, leave these items at home as administration is not responsible for these stolen items. 

MAKEUP WORK
Students have a responsibility to make up work regardless of the reason for the absence.

When an absence is excused, the teacher has an obligation to provide the student with resources in order to learn the material missed during the excused absence. This may include the actual class work assigned during the student’s absence or an alternate assignment to cover the same material. It is the student’s responsibility to learn the missed material, including completing alternate assignments deemed appropriate by the teacher. A short-term suspension is considered to be an excused absence.  (For suspensions, refer to Regulation JKD-RA.)

Students have one day of make-up time per each day of excused absence.

MEDICAL ISSUES/NURSE
It is imperative that you return your signed medical referral card during the registration process or within the first week of school so that if there is an emergency and we cannot reach one of your parents, we can proceed with necessary emergency treatment. Persons listed as parents/guardians or otherwise listed as responsible for you will be the only people contacted if you are injured or ill.
If you are too ill to remain in class or have been injured, ask your teacher for a pass and report to the nurse’s office.  If the nurse is out, report to the main office. If it is necessary for you to go home, the nurse/office will attempt to reach one of your parents. 

Medication can only be dispensed by the nurse under the specific orders of a physician, in accordance with the district policy for medication administration. School personnel cannot give medicine to students; this includes aspirin. Students are not allowed to share their medications with other students.

A physician’s excuse will be required if you are to be exempted from a required course such as physical education. This exemption must be renewed annually and will become part of your folder. If you are required to miss P.E. for your middle school career, a PE Waiver must be approved by the state and documentation provided to your school counselor BEFORE the spring semester of your 8th grade year. 

SCHEDULE CHANGES
Some changes will be necessary during the first week of school due to scheduling and class leveling. This requires an appointment card from the counseling office during the first week of school. Once the semester has started, students may not change their schedules unless there is an error resulting in a conflict. Please see district policies regarding the dropping of classes and how this impacts your transcript.

SCHOOL PROPERTY
Students are responsible for the proper care of all school property. Vandalism or damage will not be tolerated and will be treated as a disciplinary offense. Students are responsible for any lost or damaged school property.

SEARCH OF SCHOOL PROPERTY, STUDENTS AND THEIR VEHICLES
A search of school property may be made at the discretion of a principal if there appears to be reasonable grounds to conduct the search.  Search of a student’s person or bags shall be conducted if there is reasonable suspicion of misconduct of rules. Searches are always conducted by or in the presence of an administrator.  


STUDENT/PARENT VUE
StudentVue and ParentVue is an online system in which a student or parent may log-in to view student grades. It is STRONGLY encouraged that students and parents log-in on a weekly basis to view grades on specific assignments and overall grades in classes. You can log-in as much and as often as preferred. Teachers may also be contacted through this system.

Parents may receive their log-in code by picking it up in the front office.  It is not necessary to receive a new code each year. If a parent does not have computer access at home, parents are welcome to come into our office and access their child’s grades at any time.

TEXTBOOKS, LIBRARY BOOKS AND SUPPLIES
Students will be responsible for returning all books and supplies when withdrawing from school for any reason. As per Instructional Material Law (22-15-10 B) a school district, state institution, private school or adult basic education center as agent may hold the parent, guardian or student responsible for the loss, damage or destruction of instructional material while the instructional material was in possession of the student.

Any book that has been lost must be replaced at full value. This value is to be assessed according to replacement cost. Library book replacement will follow the same procedure.  If the book cannot be replaced with the exact title, the cost of a similar publication is to be assessed. Payments for the replacement items must be made to the school finance secretary.  The school will issue a receipt, and keep an accounting of it.  

If payment is not made for the replacement book(s) or supplies, White Sands Middle School reserves the right to withhold grades and transcripts from the student UNTIL ALL MONIES ARE PAID.

TARDIES
Students are required to be in each and every class on-time. If a student comes in to school late due to an appointment or emergency, it is required that the parent come into the office to sign the student into school for the tardy to be considered excused. After three unexcused tardies, progressive discipline action is taken which includes lunch detention and student/parent conferences with an administrator. 

TEACHER PASS
When it is absolutely necessary for a student to leave a classroom, he/she must have an official pass issued by the teacher. The number of students leaving a classroom for any reason is limited.  No passes will be given during the first 15 minutes or the last 15 minutes of class.

VISITORS
All visitors, including parents, much check-in at the front office. Student visitors are not permitted. 

WEBSITE
Please visit our school website at  https://sites.google.com/a/lcpsmail.org/wss/ for updated information regarding many facets of our school to include teachers, academics, student successes, and so much more!

The district website is lcps.k12.nm.us which is a great resource for district policies, district-wide updates, district calendars, and so forth.
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS REGARDING THE CONTENT OF THIS HANDBOOK, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO BRING YOUR QUESTIONS TO THE FRONT OFFICE FOR ANY NEEDED CLARIFICATION. 
Thank you for taking the time to review this handbook. We look forward to a great school year!

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