Family-friendly schools clearly communicate their policies to parents and families through written policy statements. For example, Mountainview Elementary School in Morgantown, West Virginia, distributes the following information in a school policy booklet:
"TEXTBOOKS, SUPPLIES, AND SCHOOL FEES
All textbooks, consumable practice books and other teaching materials are furnished free of charge to all students. Textbooks are loaned to students for the year and must be returned. The only supplies your child will need are writing instruments (pencils, pens) and notebook paper. A notebook or organizer is highly recommended so students can be better prepared and organized for the challenges of learning.
In order to preserve our textbooks in as fine a condition as possible, students should protect their books with some form of simple book covering. Paper bags or commercial book covers may be used, but care should be taken not to use tape in any area where it might come in contact with the backing or pages of the books.
Parents and students are responsible for the replacement cost of any defaced, destroyed, or lost textbooks. The typical cost for a text ranges from $15.00 to $25.00.
Instructional fees WILL NOT be assessed this year as has been the case in the past. The Monongalia County Board of Education is providing each school instructional fees this year in lieu of these fees.
Our mission is to provide a child-centered environment that will enable all students to become successful, active learners and to enjoy learning. We will accomplish this mission in an inviting school climate which nurtures positive self-esteem and makes learning rewarding, challenging, and relevant to everyday living.
Yes, many schools may state similar missions, but our goal is to live by this mission. There are two key concepts we wish to point out that bear particular interest: child-centered and to enjoy learning. We are organizing our curriculum and teaching differently so we may better meet the needs of each individual child (child-centered) while making learning rewarding, challenging, and relevant (to enjoy learning). Over the next several months, you should notice a significant difference in how your child is learning at Mountainview. The topics below will help explain these differences.
HOW WE ORGANIZE FOR INSTRUCTION
Students are arranged in homerooms in a heterogeneous manner and not by ability. Research and experience very clearly show that grouping children in homerooms by ability does not benefit anyone. Students are assigned to a homeroom teacher and remain largely with that teacher throughout the day. All students receive instruction in art, music, physical education, computer, and basic skills once each week by our highly qualified fine arts teachers.
Classroom instruction is delivered by our exceptional group of qualified teachers through a variety of methods. One major shift in our teaching will focus on getting children more actively involved in the learning process. By this we mean that children will spend less time at their seats doing paper/pencil drills and more time in activities that involve 'hands on' experiences. Remember, our mission is to make learning exciting and enjoyable.
CURRICULAR AREAS (what is taught)
Your child receives not only quality teaching but a quality curriculum centered around your child's needs, some of which are unique to Mountainview. Again, in keeping with our mission, we recognize that each child is an individual and his/her needs must be addressed before effective learning may occur.
Language Arts - Along with other schools in the county, Mountainview adopted a new reading series this year. Children in grades K-1 will be using the Wright Group reading series. Children in grades 2-6 will be using the D.C. Heath series. These series emphasize reading development skills approached through literature-based themes. Both series blend in well with our mission and goals.
Mathematics - Over the past three years, the faculty along with mathematics experts from West Virginia University developed our own curriculum in math that emphasizes the application of math in real life situations. Instead of having students complete tedious assignments from the book, our aim is to have them solve problems using their newly learned skills and manipulatives (things they can actually see, feel, and handle). The newly adopted HBJ Math textbooks will be used for guided practice and some drills, but your child will not have his/her own book. Instead of pictures of pies to demonstrate fractions, for example, your child may use plastic pies to actually manipulate pieces of a pie. Your child will also be able to use calculators much more frequently. You remember, our mission in part is to make learning relevant. Well, using calculators to solve complex problems is part of everyone's life. In today's world, why not take advantage of our technology to help us be more effective?
Science - HBJ Science Series. Our emphasis is on inquiry and the scientific method. In addition, our goal is to get children actively involved by encouraging hands-on activities in real life situations.
Social Studies - Health Social Studies Program. Our focus is on U.S. history and world geography. WV history is introduced in fourth grade and continued through sixth grade. Projects and research are emphasized to help children become more actively involved.
Handwriting - D'Nealian. A more logical approach of teaching the transition of printing to cursive. Much better than the way we were taught.
Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Creativity - Throughout our curriculum these important concepts are developed through writing, reading, and questioning. Moreover, many of our teachers are trained to incorporate the Techno Kids curriculum into their daily instruction. Techno Kids fosters creative problem-solving using technology. This is a special emphasis area for us.
Computer Literacy - Our school has an IBM minilab in each K-3 classroom networked to a server using the Josten's integrated software package. We also have an IBM lab in our media center available to all other students. In addition, each 4-6 classroom has at least two Apple computers and a printer available for classroom projects. Mountainview is currently developing long-range technology plans that include: a computer curriculum, identifying our future hardware/software needs, funding possibilities, and using multimedia as an integrated part of our teaching and learning.
Reference/Library Skills - Our media specialist has developed a comprehensive library program which encompasses instruction in library skills, research, student assistance, and coordination of resources for our classroom teachers.
Music, Art, Physical Education - Our Fine Arts staff provides regular instruction in these areas at least once each week.
Special Education - Services are provided for students who qualify for special instructions outside the regular classroom. Our Child Study Team meets regularly to monitor student achievement and to process teacher/parent referrals for children who may be in need of these services. Contact Mr. King, Mrs. Benedum, or your child's teacher for more information.
Guidance and Counseling - All students have access to our school counselor, and he is most happy to assist any student or parent in school or personal matters. Contact Michael Fike at 291-9255.
Choir and Band - Band, choir and string instruction is offered to all 5th and 6th grade students. String instruction extends to our 4th grade students. Students must provide their own instruments.
REPORTING STUDENT PROGRESS
Academic report cards are issued at the end of each nine-week grading period and sent home with your child. The specific dates are outlined in the school calendar. Parents are urged to contact the school for a conference whenever student progress is in doubt. Our teachers are equipped to help parents do all they can in helping children succeed in school. Keeping parents informed about their child(ren)'s progress is an important factor in the success our students' experience. For this reason, all teachers prepare and send home a progress report during the middle of each grading period. This report provides parents with an overall picture of how their child(ren) are currently progressing. This year, progress reports will be issued October 3, December 5, February 20, and March 27. We want to emphasize the ultimate responsibility in monitoring student progress rests with parents. Be sure you check student work, progress reports, and report cards.
At no time should you be in doubt in regards to your child's progress in school. In addition to report cards and progress reports, classwork is sent home on a regular basis. Any parent with questions regarding his or her child's school progress should feel free to contact the school to speak with your child's teacher or schedule an appointment for a conference. The best time to contact teachers is between 7:55 and 8:15 a.m., during a scheduled planning period, or other times convenient to both the teacher and you. Talk to your child's teacher for the best times. In addition, specific dates in our school calendar are devoted for evening conferences as a convenience to our parents. Parent conference evenings are scheduled for November 7 and January 30.
Students' academic and health records are maintained and filed in the office. A parent may review his or her child's folder at anytime in person during the school day upon request. All information is held in confidence, and records may not be removed from the office. Copies of your child's records may be obtained at a nominal charge ($.25 per page).
If you are new to the area or entering Mountainview from another local school--WELCOME! We are confident you will find our school inviting and exciting! Any child who will be 5 years old by August 31 is eligible for kindergarten. All first-time transfer students must provide the following documentation:
If you are entering school from another state, a TB test must be administered and read before entrance!! This takes about 3 days, so plan ahead!!!
MEDICATION AND STUDENT ILLNESS AT SCHOOL
As educators, we are not authorized to dispense medication to students (not even aspirin). Our nurse, however, will be happy to supervise dispensing of medicines provided you complete a medical release form (see first day packet) and include specific, clear directions along with the medicine in its original container.
When a student becomes ill during the school day, we will contact the parent to determine whether the student should go home. Parents will also be notified in the event of any serious illness or injury occurring at school.
Although the primary responsibility of student health rests with parents, a school health nurse is available most days and will assist in maintaining the highest possible level of health care for our students. Our nurse checks health records, refers students for vision, hearing and scoliosis screenings, attends to teacher referrals and monitors any communicable (scabies, lice, etc.) diseases contracted by any of our students.
School accident insurance and dental insurance are available to every student. Parents have the opportunity to purchase these separate policies at the beginning of the year. Payment should be sent directly to the providing companies. Please! Do not send payment for these policies to school. We cannot process them.
LUNCH AND BREAKFAST--OUTSTANDING!
Mountainview offers delicious, nutritious meals each school day for any student. A breakfast, lunch or separate milk may be purchased any day based upon the monthly meal calendar published and sent home. Any day your child wishes to enjoy any of our meals, all he or she needs to do is inform his or her child's teacher during the homeroom period each day he or she plans to eat. Parents will be billed on the third school of each month for meals received during the previous month. Payment is required within ten (10) days of billing.
Free and reduced meals are available to qualifying families at anytime during the school year. Applications are included in the first day information packets or are available in the office.
Homework is an important element in the learning process at Mountainview. It is a logical extension of classroom activities designed to enable a student to work independently. It not only reinforces and enriches the skills introduced, but homework also serves to increase responsibility.
Parents play an important role in this process. We request that parents stress that all assignments are to be completed, provide a set time each evening designated for school work (or just reading), establish a comfortable, quiet space for your child, and have pencils, paper and erasers available. You may also supervise the completion of homework to the point of seeing that your child completes his or her responsibilities.
As a guideline, students in grades 1-4 are generally not assigned more than 40-60 minutes of homework per week. Students in grades 5-6 are not assigned more than 2 hours per week. If you notice your child continually spending more time doing his or her homework, please contact your child's teacher.
STUDENT ACTIVITIES--GET INVOLVED!
Student involvement helps make our school great! Students may participate in a number of activities designed to promote school spirit, leadership, and self-esteem. Here are some of the activities available to our students:
Peer Tutoring - Students assist other students (usually younger) in their classwork. These tutors make their own lesson plans and teach specific skills to other students. Other tutors find great satisfaction in reading to a small group of first or second graders!
Big Brother/Big Sister - These dedicated sixth graders "adopt" one kindergarten child for the year and help him or her in any way possible. Whether it be a special note, a pat on the back or accompanying them on a field trip, these big brothers and sisters make for very special friends.
Student Advisory Council - Homeroom representatives and elected officers meet regularly to discuss student suggestions and decide on projects to sponsor that will make our school a better place to live and learn.
School Pledge Leaders - We begin each day with the Pledge of Allegiance. Each week a classroom selects five different students or groups of students to lead the pledge over our PA system.
Wee Deliver Postal Workers - From nixie clerks to Postmaster, these 5/6 grade students run our simulated Postal system. Children may send mail to anyone at Mountainview, provided, of course, the postcard is properly addressed and stamped.
P.A.W.S. - This select group of responsible 6th graders work very hard in serving our Community of Learners. Students assist teachers and the office in important jobs.
Techno Kids - A program emphasizing creative problem solving using simple and complex technology--from spaghetti to multimedia--as a means of solving problems in a creative manner.
School Bank - Along with our Partners in Education, Huntington Bank WV, children in grades 3-5 can establish a real savings account and make deposits on a regular basis at school. Information and applications will be sent home in early September.
VALUABLE ITEMS AND PLAYTHINGS
Valuable items such as radios, tape players, and electronic games must not be brought to school unless the item is to be used for a specific purpose within the classroom. Toys, POGS, and other personal items should also be left at home unless permission is granted by the teacher to bring them to school. Any item that proves to be disruptive to the learning process will be collected by the principal and returned to the parent upon request.
This policy fosters a better learning environment and avoids these valuables from being stolen or misplaced.
A TIP FROM MR. KING!!
One would be amazed over the collection of lost items we accumulate at school that go unclaimed because we can't identify the owners! So, parents, here is a word to the wise--mark all clothing, jackets, hats, lunch boxes, folders, etc., with your child's name and homeroom. We will be tickled to return any lost items to its owner if we can identify to whom it belongs!!
CHEWING GUM AND CANDY
Chewing gum and candy must be left at home since:
For these reasons, children should not bring gum or candy to school. We must take any gum or candy we find.
PARTIES AT SCHOOL
Often, parents request that they be permitted to bring treats to school to celebrate their child's birthday. Sharing this special day with other classmates by having a birthday party at school is great; however, we ask that you follow these simple guidelines:
SCHOOL CLOSING/SNOW DAYS
During the school year, weather conditions or unforseen circumstances may require closing our schools. Announcements regarding school cancellations will be made via local radio and television stations by 6:30 a.m. Please listen to your radio for this information. Along the same lines, it sometimes becomes necessary to release children before the regular ending time due to weather conditions and possible delays. Again, please listen to your radio for announcements of early dismissals.
We urge every family to have an alternate plan that allows children a second location to go should school be closed early and conflicts with work schedules create problems. Because of short notice on emergency dismissals, all our children do not have time to call their parents. For everyone's peace of mind, plan now for this event.
'Unless you try to do something beyond what you've already mastered, you will never grow.' --Ralph Waldo Emerson
MOUNTAINVIEW'S POSITIVE DISCIPLINE PLAN
The faculty and staff at Mountainview believe that it is the right and privilege for every one of our students to expect to be provided with a learning environment that is safe, orderly and uninterrupted. We also believe that a positive climate is a more inviting, nurturing atmosphere in which to learn best. Therefore, we implement a school-wide Positive Discipline Plan based upon these beliefs. The elements of the plan are used widely throughout the country and place a strong emphasis on resolving conflicts through peer assistance (called Class Meetings).
All students participate in training at the beginning of the year that allows them to describe any conflicts in a positive manner and then to discuss and choose possible solutions. All parents will receive a letter outlining our Positive Discipline Plan at the beginning of the year to take home. In addition, the Plan is discussed with all students to ensure that they understand the Plan, expectations, and consequences for student conduct. We request that parents review that Plan with your child so everyone may work together to provide a learning environment that is pleasant, productive, and free from disruptions.
VISITORS ARE WELCOME AT OUR SCHOOL!
We are proud of our school and the overall learning process at Mountainview. We encourage parents to visit the building and to observe your child's classroom, browse through our media center or just talk to the principal about your ideas for improving our school. We request only that prior notice be given and that visitors check in the office upon arrival.
STUDENT RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The state of West Virginia publishes a handbook of students rights and responsibilities which is available for review to all students. Copies of the handbook may be checked out by students or parents via the library.
APPEAL PROCEDURES FOR CITIZENS
In accordance with state and local board policies, an appeal procedure exists for citizens wishing to seek solutions to problems with the school or county board of education. Forms for appeals are available in the county board and school offices.
EQUAL EDUCATION OPPORTUNITIES
Monongalia County Board of Education does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, handicapping conditions, marital status or national origin in employment or in its educational practices and activities. Inquiries may be referred to Marlene Lawrence, Title IX Coordinator, Technical Education Center, 1000 Mississippi St., Phone (304) 291-9240; or to Louis Hlad, Section 504 Coordinator, 13 S. High St., Phone (304) 291-9210; or to the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights.
We are dealing with your most prized possession--you have the right to know what's going on at school! Become active in your child's education.
NEW AT MOUNTAINVIEW THIS YEAR!
Good study skills, a willingness to learn, and ability are important ingredients in a student's quest for classroom success. But they aren't the only ingredients. Another very important quality children bring to school with them is high self-esteem. The child who has an 'I can' attitude generally will do much better in school than the child who is an 'I can't' person.
You play a critical role in the development of your child's self-esteem. By encouraging your children, noticing and praising the little 'wins,' however small, and taking the time to talk about what's going well (and not so well), you can help your child become a better student.
Here are some things you can do to provide positive feedback to your children:
'The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.' --Vincent Lombardi
LET'S HAVE A GREAT YEAR, BOBCATS!!"