VIII. COMMUNICATIONS

Lines of Communication

As a Christian community, respectful communication is important to the partnership between home and school. The school has established clear channels of communication. Proper communications begins at the appropriate level. At Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School, the line of communication is: the teacher first, then the principal, and finally the pastor. Only after genuine effort has been made in communicating concerns with the appropriate person and good faith efforts made to work for a solution, may an appeal be made to the next school official in line.

The Enrollment Agreement, signed by parents upon enrollment of their child(ren) in the school, is between the school and the individual family for the educational benefit of the child(ren). Therefore, communication of concerns, etc. is to be on an individual basis. Unauthorized group activity for the purpose of expressing concerns, etc. is not an appropriate communication avenue.

Requests for a conference with a teacher or the principal can be made by calling the school office or by sending a note/email to the proper person. A mutually convenient appointment will be scheduled as soon as possible. Please do NOT approach teachers on yard duty to conference. The teacher’s attention must be on supervising the students at that time.

Neither the School Advisory Committee (SAC) nor the Parents’ Club is part of the chain of communication, unless a concern or complaint is directly involved with their proper sphere of activities. Requests for time on the agenda at a meeting of either the SAC or Parents’ Club can be made by contacting the principal or the president of the organization concerned, at least one week prior to a meeting. Such requests must comply with the lines of communication policy and the expressed purpose of each group.

Parents have the opportunity to participate in and provide input in a variety of ways at our school: conferences, notes, phone calls, periodic school surveys, Parents’ Club, School Advisory Committee, fundraising and community building activities. The administration and faculty encourage parents to use these opportunities as appropriate so that any concerns can be addressed as expeditiously as possible.



Approval of Communications

All communications intended for any or all school families must be approved by the principal prior to distribution, e.g. notices, flyers, Parents’ Club information, room parents’ notes, teachers’ information to parents, etc. The communication should be made available to the principal well in advance of anticipated distribution. Email “alerts” need to be pre-approved and issued from the school and not from individual parents. School families are encouraged to be wary of any communications, written or electronic, from sources other than the school, especially if it involves the collection of money.



Parent-Student Handbook

The Parent-Student Handbook is provided to help parents and students understand expectations and responsibilities. Every effort is made to include the most up to date and accurate information in the Handbook.

Each year each school family must complete the Handbook Signature Page indicating that they will read it and follow it accordingly. The completed Signature Page must be returned to the school office by the date indicated on the page and is REQUIRED for students continued attendance at the school.

The administration reserves the right to amend the Handbook as needed. Parents will be given timely notification if changes are made.  

Changes in policy for this school year are noted in red.



Directory Information

Each year the school publishes a School Directory that includes the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of the families and the grade levels of the children. The purpose of this Directory is to facilitate parent communication. The Directory is not intended for student use. Parents have a responsibility to guard the confidentiality of the information therein.  The Directory will be accessible via our school website.  The Directory is not public information.

The following information shall be considered “Directory Information” and will be published as appropriate. Family’s name, address, home telephone number, child’s name, grade level. Parents will have the option of including their email address also if desired. Parents will give permission for others to view each piece of information.



Weekly Communication

An electronic bulletin containing information about the school or Parents’ Club events will be emailed to parents on Wednesdays. It is essential that parents take the time to read the weekly bulletin. This is the school’s primary method of communication with its families.

Any information to be included must be in the school office by Friday prior to the following week’s email. Late submissions may not be included until the following week. The administration reserves the right to decide what is appropriate for inclusion in the bulletin.



Parent-Teacher Conferences

Formal parent-student-teacher conferences are held before the first report card period, in the middle of the first trimester. All parents and students are required to attend these conferences. The school secretary will send out notices listing the time and date of your conference(s). Additional conferences may be held during the school year at the request of the teacher or the parent. To schedule an additional conference with your child’s teacher, please send a note/email or contact the school office with your request.



Office Telephone

The office telephone is not for student use, except with a teacher’s approval or in the event of an emergency involving your child. Emergencies do not include calls for:
  • Forgotten books, homework, or supplies
  • Making arrangements to go to a friend’s house
  • Lunch or snacks
Students must accept consequences for forgetful actions, regardless of who was responsible for the negligence.



Cell Phones

For the safety and security of all students, students are not permitted to bring cell phones onto the campus at any time. This includes before and after school events, Open House, sports, etc. Any communication with your child for the duration of the school day (including daycare time) is to be done through our established channels:
  1. Call the school office (524-4170) between 7:45 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. to leave any messages for your child, e.g. appointments, changes in pick up, etc.
  2. If your child is ill, he/she may call on the office phone. However, we do not allow students to call for items forgotten at home or to make after school plans to visit another student’s home, etc. All that should be arranged BEFORE the student comes to school.
  3. If contact is needed during extended day care hours, call the extended day care telephone (524-5345) between 7:00 – 7:45 a.m. and dismissal to 6:00 p.m.
  4. If your child is staying for an after school activity, the supervising teacher will always have access to a school phone if contact with a parent is needed. Please be sure to make all pick up arrangements BEFORE the child comes to school that day. If the after school activity should end and a parent has not arrived for pick up, the supervising teacher will escort the student to extended day care.
Students who bring a cell phone on campus face serious disciplinary consequences. The phone will be confiscated and the parent/guardian will have to meet with the principal to reclaim it. The student will receive a 60 minute detention.



Messages to Students/Teachers

Emergency calls will always be handled as expeditiously as possible. If a parent needs to leave a message for his/her child or to contact a teacher, it is very much appreciated if every effort would be made to adhere to the following procedures:
  • Call the school office and leave your message with the school secretary. The secretary will get the message to your child or to the teacher.
  • Please do not ask to have the students or teacher leave class to come to the phone, as it is disruptive to classroom instruction.
  • Whenever possible, advise your child to check in at the office during their break times or after school to receive an anticipated message from you.
  • Please advise your child that if you are not here after school for pick up within 15 minutes of dismissal that he/she should automatically check into daycare. The student may not come to the office to ask to call home.
  • Try to avoid calling from 8:00-8:30 a.m. and 2:30 – 2:45 p.m. as these are often the busiest times in the office.
  • If you are calling to verify your pickup of your child for an appointment that has been scheduled during school hours, please be advised that we will not call the student from class until you have actually checked into the school office to sign your child out.


Divorced/Separated families and Non-Custodial Parents

The school must have accurate custodial information on file. All separated and divorced parents must provide the school with a copy of the custody agreement. The school is NOT responsible for the splitting or collecting of tuition, fees, or parent volunteer hours from parent or the other. A second set of bulletins, calendars, etc. will be mailed upon request.

The school abides by the provisions of the Buckley Amendment with respect to the rights of the non-custodial parent. In the absence of a court order to the contrary, the school will provide the non-custodial parent with access to the academic records and to other school related information regarding the child. If there is a court order specifying that there is to be no information shared, no or limited contact with the child, it is the responsibility of the custodial parent to provide the school with an official copy of the court order. In the absence of a court order, all parents have equal access to their children.



Student Party Invitations

Much heartbreak is experienced by children of all ages when the majority of a class or of the boys or girls of a certain age group is invited to a birthday or other party and others are not invited. A parent may experience this when his/her child is one of the children not invited. Every year teachers have to comfort children who have experienced this rejection. Therefore, as a Christian community and in consideration of and respect for all students, we ask all parents to observe the following in regard to party invitations:

Such invitations may be distributed at school only if all children in a grade are invited or if all of one gender of a grade is invited (e.g. all second grade boys). Invitations to smaller parties that may not include everyone in the class or all students of the same gender in the class must be mailed to the invited students’ homes. If the celebration is to be held after school, out of sensitivity, we ask that neither presents nor party attire be brought to school. Parents should make other arrangements to deliver those items to the party. Parents must talk to their child and discourage them from discussing the party at school to avoid hurting the feelings of those not invited.