Saint Mark School
399 Woodward Avenue
Buffalo, NY 14214
Web site: www.saintmarkschool.com
St. Mark School Handbook 2016-2017
Table of Contents
1 Philosophy of St. Mark School 18 Drugs, Alcohol & Smoking
St. Mark School Mission Statement 19 Emergency Evacuation
2 St. Mark School Honor Code Emergency School Closings
St. Mark School Prayer Extra-Curricular Activities
3 Letter from the Principal Family Financial Survey
4-6 Academics 20 Field Trips
Grading and Marking Period Standards Fire Drills
Homework for Absentees Home School Association (HSA)
Progress Reports 21 Library
Report Cards Lockers
Honor Roll Lost and Found
Promotion/Retention Policy Medication
Testing 22 Money
6 Accidents/Illness Parent-Teacher Conferences
7 Accident Insurance Parking
Admissions Registration/Emergency Forms
After School Program School Calendar
8 Anti-Bullying/Harassment Policy 23 School Cleanliness
Asbestos Inspection Notice School Doors
9-10 Attendance Snow Conduct
Tardiness Student Records
Arrival/Dismissal Technology Use Policy
Extra-curricular Attendance Policy Telephone Calls
Absence Due to Family Vacation 24 Textbooks
11 Athletics Tuition
Authorized Persons, Custodial and Legal Issues Tuition Assistance
12 Bicycles, Skateboards & Scooters Wellness Policy
13 Cafeteria Services
Cafeteria Rules and Conduct
Cell Phone Policy
14 Communication to Parents
14-16 Diocesan Code of Conduct
16-18 Dress Code
Physical Education Uniform
Dress Down Day Guidelines
St. Mark School is a Catholic elementary school located in North Buffalo open to boys and girls of all races, color, creed and national origin in Kindergarten through Eighth Grade.
It was founded in 1921 through the efforts of Father John McMahon and placed under the supervision of the Sisters of St. Joseph.
PHILOSOPHY OF ST. MARK SCHOOL
It is our conviction that the child of God is a unique individual with his/her own rate and pattern of spiritual, intellectual, cultural, social and physical growth. Since we believe this, we must provide optimum conditions, to the best of our ability and resources, by which each child’s needs can be developed.
Therefore, we dedicate ourselves to the development of the whole child: striving to create a secure, challenging and creative community, a community in which each child and adult experiences love, tolerance, understanding and self-worth. The goal of this community is to be witness to a vital relationship with Christ and to affirm Christ’s message and spirit of hope for all mankind.
The basic goal of St. Mark School is to make a difference in the lives of children: spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, physically, and socially. To help achieve this end, the school community strives to develop a deeper relationship with Christ and with each other, to offer challenging programs that stimulate a spirit of inquiry and satisfy each child’s needs, and to come to a real appreciation and understanding of the uniqueness of each child.
- MARK MISSION STATEMENT
- MARK SCHOOL’S MISSION IS TO ASSIST FAMILIES IN THE EDUCATION AND SPIRITUAL FORMATION OF THEIR CHILDREN. WE STRIVE TO HELP CHILDREN DEVELOP ACADEMICALLY, SPIRITUALLY, EMOTIONALLY AND SOCIALLY. CHILDREN ARE EMPOWERED TO DEVELOP THE SKILLS NEEDED TO MAKE RESPONSIBLE AND APPROPRIATE DECISIONS AND ARE ENCOURAGED TO PERFORM TO THE BEST OF THEIR ABILITIES IN ALL ENDEAVORS.
St. Mark School Honor Code
St. Mark School is committed to inspiring all members of our faith community to be visible examples of the Gospel’s teachings. St. Mark School seeks to develop students who have an enthusiasm for learning and growth and a true respect for and dedication to the values of the Church and the community.
The St. Mark School Honor Code sets forth the expectations for all members of our school community – students, parents, and staff. At the heart of the Honor Code is the recognition that we are all God’s children and that we are all members of His family.
All students, parents and staff will strive to always:
- Demonstrate respect for ourselves and others
- Treat others the same way we would like to be treated
- Not engaged in negativity, bullying or harassment, whether in person, in writing, or online
- Demonstrate integrity and never cheat on any test, project, or homework assignment
- Be honest and truthful
- Refrain from talking or writing about others in a negative or condescending way
- Honor Jesus Christ by modeling our behavior to be more like His in every way
Prayer of St. Mark
May Jesus be our way, our truth, our life
St. Mark, light our way
Guide us to the truth
Help us to live in unity and peace with one another
Dear Parents, Guardians and Students:
Welcome to St. Mark School! We are very pleased that you have chosen our school and that you have committed to the values of a Catholic education.
The faculty, office staff and administration will work to ensure a quality education for all students and promote the teachings of the Catholic Church.
This Parent/Student Handbook contains information, procedures and policies of St. Mark School. Families are encouraged to read this handbook carefully.
The attached agreement should be signed and returned to school. Signing this agreement indicates that you accept, and will act in accordance with, the policies and procedures of St. Mark School.
We look forward to much success in the 2016-2017 school year!
Mr. Robert Clemens
The curriculum follows the guidelines mandated by the New York State Education Department and the Department of Catholic Education in the Diocese of Buffalo.
Religion plays an integral part in the curriculum of St. Mark School. All students participate in our Religion program. Christian values and attitudes permeate all areas of school life. Religion is considered not as just a graded subject in the curriculum, but as a way of life to be lived. The gospel message is integrated with activities so that children may grow in their faith by living their faith: sharing prayer, giving service, experiencing community, showing respect and concern for others. Included in the Religion program are monthly school liturgies.
Children in second grade receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Children in third grade receive the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. Parent participation in the sacramental preparation of their children is required throughout the year.
The core curriculum subjects: English/Literature, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies and Religion are taught by the classroom teachers in Grades K-5. At the junior high level, classes are departmentalized and are taught by qualified teachers who specialize in specific subject areas. Students in Grades 4-8 have regular instruction in Spanish.
The Buffalo Public Schools provide Reading and Math help for students who qualify. A special classroom is provided for their use. The Buffalo Public Schools also provide speech help for children who qualify.
Physical Education, Music, Art and Computer Instruction are a regular part of the school curriculum on all grade levels, K-8, and are taught by teachers trained in those areas. A Resource Room teacher and Librarian are additional resources available at St. Mark School. Lessons in piano, school band, violin and choir are also offered for our students.
Grading & Marking Period Standards
When preparing the quarterly marks for students, the following areas are considered:
- Unit and chapter tests
- Weekly test and quizzes
- Performance on projects, research papers, class-work/homework
- Class participation, effort and conduct
Homework is a necessary part of the School Program. It is designed to be a constructive tool in the teaching-learning process. The students must take ownership of their learning and therefore are accountable for completion of all homework assignments.
In order to receive full credit, assignments and projects must be submitted in a complete fashion on the day that they are due. Family emergencies will be taken into consideration on an individual basis. Parents must contact the school to inform us of such situations. If homework is missing or incomplete, the assigning teacher may send home a homework sheet to be signed by a parent or guardian, and/or take points off of the child’s grade. If there is a frequency of incomplete or missing homework, detention may be assigned.
Homework takes first priority before sports practices, games, enrichment, television, etc. A main goal of St. Mark School is to foster growth in the personal integrity of each student. As a result, the copying of homework will result in a zero for both the student lending and the student copying homework. Plagiarism, the use of another’s work and claiming it as one’s own, is a serious academic problem and is forbidden. When doing research or working on homework students must credit their sources of information.
Homework for Absentees
Parents may request homework when calling a child in absent
ANY REQUEST FOR HOMEWORK MUST BE RECEIVED NO LATER THAN 8:30 AM. This allows teachers time to prepare assignments and send them to the office. Assignments will be ready for pick up at 2:30 outside the school office.
Midway between marking periods, Progress Reports are sent home to parents. Parents are to sign the progress report acknowledgement slip and return it to the child’s teacher within two days.
Additional Progress Reports may be sent home if parents and teachers agree it is necessary following a parent/teacher conference. This is done at teacher discretion.
Parents are encouraged to contact the teacher whenever there is a question about the child’s development. If a parent wishes to confer with a teacher, he/she should call the main office.
The lowest passing grade at St. Mark School is a 70.
First and Second Honors Students are recognized through our School Newsletter.
First Honors: An average of 100% – 94.0%
Second Honors: An average of 93.9% - 88.0%
Students who have successfully met the district and state grade level requirements will be promoted to the next grade level.
Test results and school performance may indicate that a student cannot complete a year’s work in the required time. It may be necessary for a student to be retained in a particular grade level. Criteria for retention:
- Unable to consistently recognize upper and lower case letter and sounds
- Unable to fluently read text at grade level
- Unable to consistently write complete grade level sentences
- Inability to rote count
- Maturation level
- Failure in reading
- Failure in Reading and Math
Grades 3 – 8:
- Failure to achieve an overall average of 70 in the core subject areas
New York State Tests in English Language Arts and Mathematics are administered to students in Grades 3 through 8. New York State tests in Science are administered to students in Grades 4 and 8. These series of tests enable school personnel to compare St. Mark’s results in these subject areas with public, private and Catholic schools in the State. June examinations are administered in Grades 3-8.
Parents will be notified in the event of an accident or sudden illness. If parents cannot be reached in a reasonable amount of time, an emergency contact listed on the child’s registration/emergency card will be called.
Occasionally a student requires emergency medical attention. The parent will be contacted on what action should be taken. If a parent cannot be reached, 911 will be contacted.
Every child registered in St. Mark School has Student Accident Insurance. In case of an accident in a school-sponsored activity, the principal must be notified immediately. Claim forms are available in the school office.
It is recommended that interested parents register their children at the annual Open House, usually held at the end of January, which is the beginning of Catholic Schools Week.
Children entering Kindergarten must be five years old before December 1st of the year of registration. Parents must present a copy of the child’s birth certificate when registering a child for any grade level.
Students applying for Grades 1-8 will have their cumulative records reviewed before being accepted into the school. Every child new to our school will be accepted on a probationary status only for the first year. His/her continued attendance is based upon the ability to successfully follow the standards of St. Mark School. Students will be asked to sign a probationary contract as a part of their enrollment.
Parishioners are given priority in registering at St. Mark School. Second priority is given to siblings of students already registered. Non-parishioners are welcome, dependent upon class size.
St. Mark School welcomes and admits students of any race, color, and national or ethnic origin to all its programs and activities made available to students of the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, or any of its programs.
AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM
The program consists of organized sessions held Monday through Friday from 2:30-5:30p.m. for students of St. Mark School. A snack is provided daily. Caregivers supervise all activities. Such activities include: quiet and active games, sports, outdoor activities, arts and crafts, movies, homework time.
The families are billed on a monthly basis. The ASP invoices are sent home in the brown communication envelope the first week of every month and must be paid in full each month. If a family is not current with their monthly payment by the 1st of the following month, their child/children will not be able to attend the program until the balance is paid in full.
Children are discouraged from bringing toys and games from home. The After School personnel or school are not responsible for any items brought to school. Please be sure to label all items and clothing with your child’s name.
If a student participates in an extracurricular program that does not begin immediately after dismissal, then he/she will need to attend the ASP in the meantime. All students must be accounted for at all times by an adult and they are not allowed to roam the school without supervision.
The Catholic Elementary Schools in the Diocese of Buffalo call on Jesus as the model for our thoughts, words, and actions. Children learn best in a climate of acceptance, tolerance, and respect where bullying and harassment are not tolerated. Therefore, St. Mark School strives to create and maintain an atmosphere absent of threat in interactions with peers and adults.
Bullying behavior may include words, actions, and/or body language that happen repeatedly or present a threat to physical or emotional safety due to an imbalance of strength, power, or numbers. It may take several forms: verbal, written, electronic, and/or physical. This behavior would not be considered of a social nature, is unwelcome, offensive, and fails to respect the rights and dignity of others.
Incidents of bullying/harassment will be addressed by the Principal and Assistant Principal in a timely manner. The following steps of investigation may be taken:
- Individual discussions with the parents/guardians of the target(s) and the student(s) responsible for the behavior.
- Discussions with the direct witnesses or bystanders.
- Discussion with the supervising adult.
- Completion of an Incident Report.
- If required by diocesan policy, report the incident to the Department of Education.
- If required by law, report the incident to law enforcement.
If the investigation reveals that the complaint is valid, prompt attention and disciplinary action will be taken immediately. In the event the investigation reveals that a student has not engaged in any wrongful behavior, the Principal will inform both parties of such. Reasonable measures will be taken to protect the confidentiality of all parties.
Consequences of the behavior will be in accord with the school’s Discipline Policy and Acceptable Technology Use Policy (if technology was used in the incident).
ASBESTOS INSPECTION NOTICE
Because friable asbestos-containing materials may cause health problems, EPA regulations require that the following inspection notice be published:
St. Mark School has been inspected for asbestos-containing building material and has been found to be in conformity with all requirements of the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA).
A record of the inspection and a diagram of the location of asbestos-containing material are located in the main office. For further information, interested persons should contact school.
St. Mark School believes that regular student attendance and punctuality are essential to a student’s success in school. These must be habits which are instilled in a child as soon as the child begins school. The loss of even one day is a detriment to the progress of the child. Most subject areas are taught in sequence, requiring the understanding of each concept in the order of its presentation. Thus persistent absenteeism or tardiness create a genuine hardship for a student and are considered a serious problem. Please also keep in mind that early dismissal days are considered full days of school. Active instruction occurs on these days and children are expected to be in school. Further, students who miss 20 days of school, and have not met periodically with school administration, are in jeopardy of retention and may result in student ineligibility for re-registration.
New York State indicates that the only legal excuses are: sickness, death in the family, impassable roads, religious observances, quarantine, or required appearance in court.
Children’s absences for purposes of a family trip, vacations, baby-sitting, are illegal and are indicated in the attendance registers. The number of a student’s absences and tardiness are indicated on the student’s report card, the register of attendance and on the permanent record card, a copy of which is forwarded to the student’s next school.
Parents of pupils in ALL GRADES must report absence by placing a call to the school office at 836-1191 by 8:30a.m. (24 hour voicemail is available). In the event that a parent does not telephone for an absent student, school personnel will call the child’s home or parent’s place of work to ensure the safety of the child.
If your child has undergone surgery or has a scheduled surgery, please inform the office. Any physical restrictions due to surgery, illness or mediation must be communicated to the school office, the school nurse, the homeroom teacher and the Physical Education teacher.
It is very important for students to develop the habit of arriving for school on time. Late arrivals are disruptive to the start of the school day for other students and the homeroom teacher. All students should be present in their class for the 8:00 bell. Excused tardiness will be limited to medical or dental appointments and emergencies. In a marking period, if a student is tardy 3 times for unexcused reasons, the parents will be contacted. After this contact, if the child is tardy 2 more times (totaling 5 tardiness in that marking period) student will not be able to participate in all after school activities and/or sports for the rest of the marking period.
Parents are asked to see that students are at school between 7:15 and 8:00 a.m. School doors do not open prior 7:15 a.m. For safety reasons, please have your child wait with you until you see a staff member at the door. Students entering the building after the 8:00 a.m. morning bell are considered tardy. When students arrive at school in the morning they must enter the building through door #2. They should go to the cafeteria if they arrive between 7:15 and 7:45.
Dismissal begins at 2:20 p.m. for Grades K-8. Students not taking buses are expected to leave the school grounds upon dismissal. If they are not picked up by 2:30pm they will be checked into the After School Program. Crossing guards are available after school for a short period of time.
Parents are asked NOT to block the middle of Woodward Avenue when dropping off and/or picking up their child. There is no parking on the side of the street directly in front of our school building. This presents a possible safety hazard to our school and neighborhood if emergency vehicles cannot get down our street. Parents should park on the surrounding streets if there is no available space near the school. Please be respectful of our neighbors at all times and do not park in or block their driveways.
Extra-curricular Activity Attendance Policy
Students who wish to remain after school for any reason, must have a written note from their parent or guardian given to the student’s homeroom teacher. For a prolonged activity, e.g. sports team, the parent only needs to write one note which will allow the student to participate in the event for the duration of the activity.
Any student who is absent during the school day due to illness or vacation will not be able to attend or participate in any extra-curricular activity.
Absence Due to Family Vacation or Sports Competition
The school calendar provides numerous days of throughout the school year. Parents are encouraged to schedule trips or family outing during these times to eliminate the need for interruption of student learning. The teacher is not responsible to have work prepared to give to the student prior to an absence for a family vacation. The family assumes responsibility for their child’s learning under these conditions. The student is responsible for work taught during the period of absence, including classroom assignments, which should be completed within one week of returning to school from vacation. Parents should understand it isn’t possible to duplicate much of the work which is missed due to vacations.
All students in Grades K-8 participate in physical education classes one to two times per week. The extracurricular athletic program is open to all students. All participants must abide by the policies stated in the Athletic Guidelines and Attendance Policy. The extracurricular program may include:
- Baseball Boys (Grades 5-8)
- Basketball Boys and Girls (Grades 4-8)
- Hockey Boys and Girls (Grades 5-8)
- Ski Club Boys and Girls (Grades 6-8)
- Softball Girls (Grades 7-8)
- Soccer Boys and Girls (Grades 5-8)
- Swimming Boys and Girls (Grades K-8)
- Track Boys and Girls (Grade 4-8)
- Volleyball Girls (Grade 8)
Any student who participates in the athletic program must have on file with the school a current-year release from a doctor to participate, written permission from the parents to participate, a Sports Code of Ethics signed by parent and athlete and a completed St. Mark Waiver Form. These forms are included in the “Sports Packet” located on our Web site.
AUTHORIZED PERSONS, CUSTODIAL and LEGAL ISSUES
A student may be released only to people authorized by the parent or legal guardian of the child being released. Only written authorization for pupil release will be accepted. If a child is a member of a family where there are legal orders regarding custody, the school must have a copy of those legal orders on file. It is the responsibility of the parents to provide the school with an original copy of the most recent custodial papers in a timely fashion.
The safety and well-being of each child is essential. Therefore, it is also the responsibility of the parents to provide very clear and accurate communications regarding:
- Who has primary custodial rights?
- Who is allowed to pick up the child and on what days?
- What are the non-custodial parental rights regarding contact with the child during school time and at dismissal?
- When is the child allowed to be with the non-custodial parent?
BICYCLES, SKATEBOARDS & SCOOTERS
Due to the extreme traffic congestion on Woodward Avenue and surrounding streets, the use of bicycles, skateboards and scooters is strongly discouraged. However, should a parent allow a student to travel to and from school this way, St. Mark will not be responsible for lost or damaged bicycles, skateboards or scooters.
Please -send in simple snacks with necessary paper products marked clearly with student name. Do not send in any balloons, flowers, gift bags. Please check with teacher for any food allergies.
Very Often children distribute invitations in school for their birthday parties. This practice is acceptable if the whole class, all the boys or all the girls are being invited. If not, the invitations should be sent by mail.
Bussing is provided by the Buffalo Public School District for students who reside ¾ of a mile or more from St. Mark School. We are grateful for this service and expect our students to conduct themselves with respect and good behavior while on the bus. The students are to follow all rules of order and safety as directed by the bus driver. These rules, which provide for a safe and efficient system of bus transportation include:
- While talking is allowed, voices must be kept at a level which ensures safety and permits the driver to concentrate on driving.
- Courteous behavior is expected at all times.
- The children are to board the bus in an orderly fashion, with no pushing when entering or exiting the bus.
- Children are not to stand or walk around while on the bus. They are to remain in their seats until the bus comes to a stop.
- Hands and arms are to be kept inside the bus at all times.
- When exiting the bus, if it is necessary to cross the road, cross far enough in front of the driver so that you can be seen by the driver. Wait for the bus aide to cross you or wait for the bus driver’s signal that it is safe to cross. Look both ways and if cars are coming, wait until they have come to a full stop. Never assume that they will stop.
Since orderly behavior is vital to the safe operation of the bus, misconduct will not be tolerated. Verified reports of misconduct on the bus, especially those from the bus driver in the form of a bus disciplinary referral, will be handled by the Principal. The discipline for bus misconduct, if it occurs repeatedly, may include assigned seating or the suspension of the student’s privilege to ride the bus.
Children may not go to a friend’s home by riding a bus.
Students may purchase breakfast, hot and cold lunches, ice cream, snacks, milk and water bottles in the school cafeteria daily. Students must notify Homeroom Teachers at arrival if they will be purchasing a lunch that day. Applications for free and reduced lunch must be completed and returned to the cafeteria manager.
Cafeteria and/or school personnel may contact parents about inappropriate behavior.
Rules & Conduct
Students are to…
- Enter cafeteria at a Level 0 and sit at assigned table
- Wait to be called up for purchase of lunch/snacks by cafeteria monitors
- Students are encouraged to use good table manners and speak at a Level 2 (indoor) Voice Levels
- Be respectful and follow directions of the cafeteria monitors at all times
- Ask permission of monitors when the need to leave the cafeteria arises
- Follow directions for disposing trash/recycling
- Take responsibility for their own behavior
- Give immediate attention to monitors when the lights go off
CELL PHONE POLICY
(Including cell phones, tablets, Smart watches will not be used by students at any time during the school day.)
St. Mark School requires an electronic device policy be signed and returned to the school office. If a student brings a cell phone or other electronic device to school, the following occur:
A student is not allowed to carry their cell phone with them during the school day
The cell phone must remain powered off and in the students backpack in his/her locker
If a student is found carrying an electronic device, it will be confiscated and returned to the parent/guardian at the end of the school day
If there is a second office, student will receive detention and the parent will need to pick up the cell phone at the end of the school day
Subsequent offences will result in detention and parental pickup of device
COMMUNICATION TO PARENTS
The previous communication through St. Mark School’s “Brown Envelope” is posted online each time a regularly scheduled envelope is sent home. Parents are encouraged to check www.saintmarkschool.com on a weekly basis to make sure they are updated on all school information. An opt-out form will be sent to all families at the start of the 2016-2017 school year and anyone who wishes to continue with the paper “Brown Envelope” will have one provided. Families who choose to opt out and support our electronic envelope will have access to all material online and can print what is applicable to them. This comes in an effort to have information readily available to our families as well as an effort to save paper.
St. Mark School has formulated Crisis Plans for steps to be taken if an unforeseen situation occurs: medical emergency, bomb threat, intruder, etc. Drills will be conducted to teach students proper procedures to follow.
DIOCESAN CODE OF CONDUCT
Adults who work with children or young adults through the Diocese of Buffalo or any of its parishes or schools have the legal, moral and religious responsibility to perform their duties in a way that educates and assists, and does not harm, the children and young adults with whom they work. In keeping with that obligation, the Diocese of Buffalo has established a Code of Conduct for all who minister to children and young adults in the parishes of the Diocese, teach children and young adults in the schools of the Diocese, coach children and young adults on sports teams connected with the Diocese or any of its parishes or schools, or in any other way work with children and young adults through the Diocese of Buffalo. Priests, Religious, teachers, coaches, employees and volunteers must pledge to follow the Code of Conduct, attend a Protecting God’s Children Workshop and participate in monthly internet safety in-services (Virtus training bulletins).
Philosophy of Discipline
In accord with the Catholic Church’s documents on Christian Education, St. Mark School considers discipline an aspect of Christian development. We encourage students to exercise self-control in living and working with others. The basis of our discipline code is respect for self, others, and God. The goal of our discipline policy is to change negative behavior and teach our students to make positive choices and decisions which result in building integrity and moral excellence.
Certain behaviors are completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated. These behaviors include and are not limited to:
- Cheating and/or plagiarism
- Truancy/Cutting School/Leaving School without Permission
- Use of profanity, vulgarity, or obsene gestures
- Inapporpriate sexual comments or references
- Physical Abuse, including shoving, kicking, excessive horseplay
- Verbal abuse, including racial, sexual or intellectual slurs
- Disrespect and Disobedience
- Interfering with another’s right to learn
- Vandalism (This means intentionally damaging or destroying property, including writing on desks, walls, etc. – This is cause for immediate suspension and possible dismissal. The school requires that vandal damage be paid before a student is allowed to return to class. If a student accidentally causes damage, he or she should report it to the teacher immediately, so that the damage is not misconstrued as vandalism)
- Possession and use of electronic devices
- Misuse of school technology resources
- Throwing items
- Dress Code Violations
- Interfering with another’s right to pray
- Using God’s name improperly
- Threatening, harassing, bullying, or intimidating others at school or on SOCIAL MEDIA
- Insubordination (i.e failing to comply with the lawful directions of the teachers, administrators, or other school staff, including substitutes and all others in charge of students)
When students choose to behave inappropriate, they will be expected to behave responsibility for their actions, make up in some way for any harm their actions may have caused, and demonstrate that they have learned appropriate behaviors. Students found to have violated the provisions of this handbook are subject to the following consequences. The sequence of these consequences does not necessarily indicate the order of implementation. Each consequence includes the personnel authorized to impose that penalty.
The specific means in which these goals are accomplished will vary according to the nature of the inappropriate behavior and may include, but are not limited to the following:
- Oral warning from any member of St. Mark faculty (including parent volunteers)
- Parent notification, either verbal or written
- Discipline Report placed in student file
- Removal from classroom
- Detention – in school or after school
- Suspension from extra-curricular activities, including sports, field trips, clubs
- Parent conference
- Suspension from school – length determined by Principal, Pastor, or Assistant Principal
- Expulsion from St. Mark School
Additional Guidelines for Students
- When students arrive at school in the morning, they must enter the building. No standing outside, running or rough play.
- Students are expected to leave the school grounds upon dismissal. If they are waiting for older students to be dismissed, they should wait with their teacher until picked up.
- Running is not allowed in the school except in gym class.
- Gum is completely forbidden at all times in all classes.
- Students may not open the school doors for anyone, not even his/her parents, unless they are specifically asked to do so by a teacher or office staff.
All students, Grades 1-8, wear the school uniform from the first day of school to the close of the school year, unless otherwise designated by the school. The uniform must be worn to and from school.
Parents are asked to see that children are dressed in full uniform before leaving for school each morning. If unforeseen circumstances require a child to be out of uniform, a written note from parents giving a legitimate reason will excuse the child for ONE day. If the child does not have a note, the parents will be contacted at home or at work and notified of the infraction and will be asked to bring the proper uniform to school. If they are unable to do so or if the parents cannot be contacted, the child will be given a uniform from our lost and found collection. Repeated offenders will serve detention. Parents will be notified of detention date.
Grades 1-4: St. Mark uniform jumper
Grades 5-8: St. Mark uniform jumper or skirt
The skirts can be no shorter than two inches above the knee. Girls may NOT roll the waistband of their uniform skirt or shorts. In September, October, May and June, navy blue or khaki dress walking shorts (must be knee length) may be worn. Navy blue or khaki dress slacks are optional during the colder months. No jeans of any kind, no pants with big pockets, braids/rivets, no cargo pants, etc. are to be worn. No leggings allowed.
Blouses/Shirts: White, light blue or navy blue tailored blouse with collar, 3 or 4 button shirt with collar (polo) or turtleneck. Tops may be short sleeved or long sleeved.
Sweatshirts/Sweaters: Solid navy blue or hunter green sweaters (pullover or cardigan) or navy blue school sweatshirt may be worn with uniform. No other shades of blue or green permissible. An accepted school blouse/shirt as described above must be worn under a sweater/sweatshirt. Plain t-shirts are not allowed.
Socks/Shoes: Solid navy blue, black, hunter green or white knee socks, ankle socks or tights. Stockings may be worn in grades 6-8. Shoes must be black, brown or navy blue school shoes with closed toes and backs with a sturdy sole. All shoes must be tied. No unusually high heels (no more than 1” high). No slippers, moccasins, flip flops, sneakers, hiking boots, clogs, crocs or boots are allowed. Sneakers are permissible only on gym days.
Cosmetics: Eye makeup & lipstick are not allowed.
Pants: Navy blue or khaki dress slacks. No jeans of any kind, no pants with big pockets or braids/rivets, no cargo pants, etc. are to be worn. In September, October, May and June, navy blue or khaki dress walking shorts (must be knee length) may be worn.
Shirts: White, light blue or navy blue dress shirt, 3 or 4 button down with collar (polo) or long sleeve turtleneck. Denim shirts are NOT allowed.
Sweaters/Sweatshirts: Pullover or cardigan. Solid navy blue sweaters (not royal blue or any other shade) or navy blue St. Mark sweatshirt over uniform shirt (not a t-shirt) are permissible.
Socks/Shoes: Solid navy blue, black, hunter green or white socks. Black, brown or navy blue school shoes with closed back and toes and with sturdy soles. All shoes must be tied. No sneakers, slippers, hiking boots, moccasins, flip flops, crocs, clogs, etc. Sneakers are permissible only on gym days.
BOYS AND GIRLS
- Only St. Mark navy blue school sweatshirts and uniform regulation sweaters are allowed. Other sweatshirts will be confiscated. Parents must retrieve the sweatshirts from the office.
- Hats, headgear of any kind, may not be worn in school except for medical or religious reasons. Exceptions to the rule must be prearranged with the principal.
- Hair must be neatly cut and well-groomed; no extreme hair styles or color.
- During the winter months we ask that students wear boots, hats, and gloves to school for their health protection. No shoe boots, hiking boots or rubber shoes are allowed in the classrooms.
- Jewelry: In the interest of safety, no jewelry may be worn to school other than a watch. Boys are not allowed to have any earring or other forms of body piercing. Girls are allowed to wear one small post earring in each ear. Long, dangling earrings, hoop earrings and other body piercing are not allowed.
Physical Education Dress Code (Grades 1-8)
In order to provide safety and health of each student and to eliminate the time needed to change clothes for class, the following uniform will be worn to school on the day students have physical education class.
- Gold or Gray school gym shirt (labeled with child’s name)
- Solid color navy blue, black, or maroon sweatpants with no writing or pictures on them (stripes down the side are permissible). No gray sweatpants.
- Shorts with no zippers or belt loops worn UNDER sweatpants
- Absolutely no yoga pants or tight fitting sweat pants.
- No jewelry may be worn on physical education days
- Solid colored socks only
If students are not adequately prepared for physical education class, it will be reflected in their report card grades and other consequences may follow.
Guidelines for Out of Uniform Days
Exceptions to dress code may be allowed for certain classroom or school events. Notice of exceptions will be sent home in a timely manner so families have time to prepare.
The following guidelines are to be followed for Out of Uniform Days:
Students may not wear:
- Tank or tube tops
- Low cut blouses/tops and tops exposing midriff
- T-Shirts with inappropriate writing or pictures
- Ripped jeans
- Pajama pants
- Clothing that is tight or short
- No see-through clothing
- No pants that sag below the waist
- *Leggings are allowed only when the top covers mid-thigh or longer
DRUGS, ALCOHOL, SMOKING
Students may not distribute, use, or have the following in their possession: drugs, drug paraphernalia, alcohol, any form of tobacco, fireworks, matches, lighters and electronic (e) cigarettes. These items are strictly forbidden.
Any students involved with any of the above listed items in school, on school property, or at a school-sponsored event will be suspended immediately. A conference with the student, parents, and principal will be arranged. The student will be placed on probation. Suitable punishment will be assigned. A second offense of a serious nature against any school rule while on probation will result in expulsion.
In the event of an emergency evacuation, St. Mark Church will be used as an emergency shelter. The students are to sit in the areas assigned to them for Mass. If it is not possible to use the church, we will walk to School 54 on Main Street for shelter. Our normal route for evacuation will be to walk down Woodward Avenue to Jewett. Turn left on Jewett and walk to Main Street. Turn right on Main Street and walk to School 54.
EMERGENCY SCHOOL CLOSINGS
In the event of a severe storm or other inclement weather, all Catholic elementary schools in the City of Buffalo will be closed if the Buffalo Public Schools are closed. It is to be presumed that school will be open unless an announcement to the contrary is made. Announcements for Buffalo Public and Catholic Schools will be made before or about 7:00am. In the event that a severe storm or other emergency warrants sending the children home when the school is in session, all parents will be contacted before children are released.
Students are encouraged to become involved in after school activities, which vary from year to year. If students remain after school for school activities, the parents are responsible for their transportation home. Activities should never interfere with academic achievement. Any student who receives two failing grades, or who’s average for a marking period is below 70, or receives two or more discipline notices will be excluded from all extracurricular activities for a period of 5 weeks.
Any student who is absent during the school day due to illness or vacation will not be able to attend and/or participate in any extracurricular activity that day.
FAMILY FINANCIAL SURVEY
Every year the parents are asked to complete a CONFIDENTIAL survey, the results of which determine how much money and/or federal programs we obtain to provide our students with a variety of materials and services. It is one of the few educational benefits children receive from parents’ tax dollars. Parents are strongly encouraged to complete the survey.
Parents must give written permission by completing a waiver form whenever students go on a field trip. Students will not be allowed to go on the field trip if the waiver form has not been handed in.
Parents may be invited to assist with the supervision of students on such trips. Only those parents who are Virtus trained may be chaperones on any trip. Parents may not bring any other children on a school field trip.
Please note the following with regard to field trips:
- Attendance on a field trip is a considered a privilege, not a right for students
- Excessive classroom disruptions or discipline notices may result in non-participation
- There are no traditional field trips. Class participation in a field trip over a number of years does not mean the field trip has become a tradition
- Not all grades have the same number of field trips
- A TELEPHONE CALL WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED IN LIEU OF A FIELD TRIP FORM
The school is required by law to conduct a minimum of twelve fire drills each school year. They are conducted to teach students to exit from the building as quickly as possible and in an orderly fashion. Procedures to be followed:
- Whenever the fire alarm is heard, everyone must immediately vacate the building.
- Teachers and students must proceed according to the directives posted in each classroom/assembling area. They must move rapidly without running.
- Each teacher is responsible for his/her class.
- Students must keep their hands to themselves
- Absolute SILENCE is maintained during the entire fire drill, from the time the alarm rings until students are back in their classroom or other area.
- Talking or misbehaving during a fire drill are causes for automatic detention and other consequences.
Tuition and subsidy from the parish do not cover all of the operating expenses of the school. Fundraising activities are necessary to meet the school’s budget. All parents are encouraged to participate in these activities or pay an additional fee.
HOME SCHOOL ASSOCIATION
The St. Mark Home School Association (HSA) continues to provide a close bond between
the school and the homes of the students. It provides an opportunity for the parents and teachers of St. Mark to cooperate in their mutual endeavor to educate our children according to Catholic principles.
The HSA’s contributions to the school over the years are numerous. Many successful financial, social and enrichment programs have been and continue to be sponsored. The students have benefited greatly from this close, caring relationship, and parents enjoy the friendship which develops.
Every parent is invited to become involved in his or her own child’s education, through participation in the Home School Association. Please refer to the HSA calendar on the school website or the school directory for meeting dates and times.
The school library is open for most of the school day. Classes use the library regularly for instruction, reading, and research. Books are circulated for a one week period and may be renewed. Students must pay for lost or damaged books before they receive their report card each quarter.
Lockers are provided for students’ belongings. In order to maintain a quiet atmosphere for class, students are allowed to use their lockers at specified times only. Lockers are to be kept closed during the school day. Inspection of school lockers may occur at any time. (People v. Overton, 4NYd522 (1969))
LOST AND FOUND
Students who lose or find items should make a report to their teacher or school office staff. Lost and found items are located in the cabinets outside the Art Room.
Lunchboxes, book bags, textbooks, workbooks and notebooks should be marked with the owner’s name. All items of clothing which children may remove during the day should be labeled with name tags or marking pen. This includes uniforms, blouses, shirts, slacks, gym clothes, caps, scarves, mittens, boots, sneakers, school sweatshirts, etc. Many items are found each year and are never claimed. Unclaimed articles will be donated to charitable organizations at the end of each semester.
It is sometimes necessary for oral medications to be given during the school day. Children should be encouraged to take medication before or after school, if possible. New York State Education guidelines state that oral medications may be administered by school personnel if a Request Form for Giving Medication at School is on file. The form, available in the nurse’s clinic at school, must be completed by the child’s physician and signed by the parent.
Medication containers must be clearly labeled with adequate instructions by the pharmacy or physician as to when it is to be given, how much, and for how long. The medication must be delivered directly to the nurse or secretary by the parent. Parents must report to school personnel immediately if there is any change in the course of treatment or in medication. Any changes in medication or dose will require the completion of a new Request Form for Giving Medication at School.
When money is sent to school for payment of any type, it should be put in an envelope marked with the child’s name, grade, date and purpose (i.e. Afterschool Payment, Lunch Account, etc.). Please note that a separate check is needed for each individual account.
Parent-teacher conferences to discuss children’s progress will be held following the first marking period. Parents are encouraged to contact the teacher whenever there is a question about the child’s development. If a parent wishes to confer with a teacher, he/she should call the school office and leave a message for the teacher that a conference is requested.
Parking is not allowed in front of the school during school hours. Tickets for violations are given out frequently.
Registration/Emergency Forms are completed or updated by parents when the child enters school in September. If there are changes during the year: address, telephone number, place of business, emergency contacts, etc., it is important to notify the school office immediately.
Please check our Web site for the year’s calendar and monthly newsletter. Please note that the school calendar is subject to change. Should changes be necessary, parents will be notified with as much advanced notice as possible.
Students and teachers should enjoy having a clean school environment in which to work. Students should take pride in their school. They should clean the area around their desks after each class and at the end of the school day. Students should also clean up any wastepaper, etc. in the dining area.
The outside doors are locked during school time. Parents and visitors should ring the bell to the right of the entrance near the office (Door #2) and report to the office for a guest pass. Parents are not to proceed to the classrooms prior to receiving a guest pass. When parents are exiting the building, they are asked to make sure the doors lock securely behind them and to be cautious about allowing others to enter the building. If they do not know the person who would like to enter the building, they are asked to escort the visitor to the office.
To ensure everyone’s safety, the students may not throw snowballs or snow on the school property or on the way to and from school. Students are not permitted to climb on the snow banks near the streets.
All student records are held with strict confidentiality. If a parent or guardian wishes to review a child’s records with the principal, a written request for an appointment to do so must be given to the principal.
TECHNOLOGY USE POLICY
Students in Grades K-8 are asked to sign the Acceptable Use Policy which clarifies student rights and responsibilities in using computers and the internet at school. Parents must sign the agreement indicating if they give their child/children permission to use the internet.
Students are discouraged from making calls while at school. Use of the school phone is for school business only. The phone may be used in case of emergency or necessity, not for permission to visit a friend, etc. Helping children to be independent and to remember their personal responsibilities is a special form of learning that is strongly encouraged.
Textbooks are very expensive. It is the student’s responsibility to see that textbooks are given the best possible care. All textbooks and workbooks must be covered at all times except as directed by the teacher. Book covers should not be taped to the book itself since they usually rip the cover. Books that are written on must be replaced by the student. Books and workbooks are to be carried to and from school in a book bag or backpack. Students must pay for damaged or missing books before report cards or records are issued.
Tuition is due in ten monthly installments beginning in July and ending in April. Parents will not be allowed to re-register their child/children for the following school year if tuition and other student fees are unpaid. Records will not be released if there are unpaid balances.
The BISON Fund is a privately sponsored scholarship program that offers tuition assistance to low income families. The scholarships are selected by lottery and vary depending upon family income, household size and the school’s tuition costs. Applications for the BISON Fund are available in the school office.
Along with spiritual and intellectual growth, the physical well-being of each of our students is a priority. Our cafeteria staff follows the guidelines of the National Child Nutrition Program with the objectives of promoting student health and reducing childhood obesity.
Our Physical Education and Health classes focus on activities, lessons, knowledge and skills that foster fitness and encourage students to make choices that will lead to life-long health.