St. Ambrose School
302 Randel Street
Schuylkill Haven, PA 17972
The education and training of our children is the joint responsibility of the home and school. This handbook has been designed to acquaint you with the necessary rules, regulations and procedures of this school. It is believed that you can contribute much to the success of the school’s program if you understand what the school is trying to do.
Much thought and effort has been put into preparing this handbook. The safety and rights of all students, teachers and staff have been considered.
It is expected that you will read the entire handbook, acquaint yourself thoroughly with its contents, keep it in a safe place and consult it for the assistance it is designed to give.
Saint Ambrose – Our Patron Saint
St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan in Italy from 374 to 397 AD, is one of our four most illustrious fathers and doctors of the church. He, along with St. Augustine, St. Athanasius and St. John Chrystostom, hold “The Chair of St. Peter,” leader of the apostles, in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
He was born into an ancient noble Roman family. His father, Ambrosius, ruled the present territories of France, Britain, Spain and part of Africa. He was well educated in law and was appointed by Emperor Valentinian as Governor of Liguria and Amelia with residence in Milan.
When the Bishop of Milan, Auxentius, died in 374, Ambrose came to Milan to insure order and peace. So popular and loved was Ambrose that the crowds shouted out “Ambrose, Bishop.” At the time, he was only a catechumen or beginner in the faith. At the age of 35, he was baptized and ordained a priest and on December 7, 374 AD, he was consecrated Bishop of Milan. Thus, December 7 is the Feast of St. Ambrose in the church calendar.
He immediately divested himself of all his worldly goods and gave over all his personal property to the poor. He became famous for his piety and spirituality and as an eloquent preacher of Catholic doctrine. He was a great orator who attracted thousands to his sermons. Among them was a young man living a dissolute life – St. Augustine.
St. Ambrose was famous for his writings for which he received the title “Doctor or Teacher of the Church.” He wrote more than six large volumes covering almost all facets of Christian Dogma. At an earlier date, he wrote the book “On Penance” which gave evidence of the power of the church to forgive sins, the necessity of Confession and the meritorious character of good works. So well respected was St. Ambrose that he was even able to make the Emperor Theodosius do public penance for the massacre of 7000 insurgents before he was admitted to the church for worship.
St. Ambrose was the originator of chant in the music of the church and he introduced the responsorial psalms between the readings. He wrote many hymns. Two of the most famous are “Veni, Creator Spiritus” or “Come, Holy Ghost” and the “Te Deum Laudamus” or “We Praise Thee O God.”
St. Ambrose died on Good Friday in the year 397. One of St. Ambrose’s successors as Bishop of Milan was Pope Paul VI who was Archbishop of Milan before being elected the Bishop of Rome and head of the Universal Church.
History of Saint Ambrose School
St. Ambrose School was established on August 31, 1914 by Father Vincent Dever. The school was staffed by the Sisters of St. Joseph and classrooms were located in the basement of the church on Broadway and Dock Streets. Thus began the tradition of academic excellence which continues today.
Fifty-one girls and forty-eight boys were enrolled in the school. The first commencement was held on Sunday, June 24, 1917, following the ten o’clock Mass. To Miss Frances Dalton and Miss Mildred Reiff belongs the honor of being the entire first graduating class.
In 1928, Father John J. Carr authorized the building of a school and an auditorium at 214 North Margaretta Street at a cost of $48,000. Classes continued on a small scale with only five students graduating as late as 1941. With an increase of enrollment in the late 1950s, Father Donohue reactivated two classrooms in the basement of the church on Dock Street.
Under the direction of Father Alfred Ott, a 14-acre tract of land off East Main Street in North Manheim Township was purchased in 1971. This land was to be utilized for the relocation of the church, school and rectory.
The first lay principal, Miss Mary Lou Casserly, was hired in 1985. Recognizing the need for a new school, Father Francis J. Schuster supervised the building of the present St. Ambrose School and adjacent parish center. On September 3, 1986, the school opened its doors and on September 14, 1986,was dedicated by Bishop Thomas J. Welsh. Due to the changing role of the Sisters of St. Joseph, St. Ambrose School began the 1987 school term with an all lay faculty.
The school was first accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools on October 23, 1992 and re-accredited in 2002. It continues to move forward with focus on the future, meeting the accreditation standards. The strong commitment of the members of St. Ambrose Parish to Catholic education is evident.
Philosophy of Saint Ambrose School
Education at St. Ambrose School is the total integration of Christian living and academic pursuits in an endeavor to develop the whole child. In addition to the aspiration encouraged or directed toward Christian ideals, the greatest gift a child can receive from his/her school is a love of and an enthusiasm for continued growth through learning. Experience within the classroom must prepare the students to make value judgments, to make decisions great and small, to think creatively and to criticize constructively. They must, furthermore,
learn to appreciate differing points of view in an attempt to understand, value and respect self and others. The faculty and staff are committed to educate the child spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, physically and socially.
The faculty and staff of St. Ambrose School strive continually to nurture the spiritual, intellectual, physical, social, emotional and creative qualities of all our students. We offer a challenging curriculum that exceeds both state and national standards, while providing differentiated instruction to meet the needs of individual students. We are committed to promoting Catholic values, fostering high academic achievement, developing 21st Century Skills, and enkindling personal initiative, responsibility and self-reliance.
We believe that:
· Education is the total integration of Christian living and academic pursuits in an endeavor to develop the whole child.
· The school community works together to facilitate the transmission of the faith and cultural values.
· The greatest gift a child can receive from his/her school is a love of and an enthusiasm for continued growth through learning.
· Experiences in the classroom must prepare the students to make value judgements, to make decisions, to think creatively and to criticize constructively.
· Students must learn to appreciate differing points of view in an attempt to understand, value and respect self and others.
· The faculty and staff recognize that children learn at different rates and in different ways and see to create differentiated instruction.
· Each child learns differently and is worthy of an education that nurtures him or her.
· The school should encourage all students to develop her or his talents to her or his maximum potential.
No child shall be denied admission to a Catholic school serving the geographical area in which the child resides on the basis of race, religion, color or national origin. However, admission may be denied if a class is full or if the educational program of the school does not meet the special needs of an individual student.
Catholic schools, established and maintained by the personal sacrifices of the Catholic people who will continue to be their main source of support, may justly give preference in admission to Catholic children who are members of a Catholic parish which supports the school. This principle not only accords with justice but also constitutes a proper accommodation to religious conscience.
Therefore, enrollment of Catholics from other parishes will be accepted as long as there is room and with the consent of both pastors. Non-Catholic students will be accepted for enrollment as long as there is room.
Registration forms can be obtained at the school office. Completed registration forms and fee must be submitted to the school office. Baptismal or birth certificates for students who were not baptized at St. Ambrose parish must be presented at the time of registration.
St. Ambrose School abides by the provisions of the Buckley Amendment. Therefore, in the event that a student is from a separated family and is living with one parent, a copy of the custody section of the divorce decree must be presented to the school.
The following applies to Kindergarten registration:
1. Child must be 5 years old by October 15 of the year the child is starting Kindergarten.
2. Parents/Guardians must present proof of the required immunization dates. State law requires that immunizations be completed before the child enters school.
3. Physical and dental exams are also required for entry.
4. A readiness screening will be administered to all prospective
All other registrations:
Upon expressing an interest in enrollment, parents/guardians must contact the school. A pre-admission interview may be required. If the student is accepted, a transfer of records permission form is sent to the student’s previous school.
2017-18 Tuition and Fee Schedule
Tuition rates for 2017-18 are as follows:
Parishioner 1st child rate $355.00 per month (10 months)
2nd child rate $255.00 per month (10 months)
3rd child rate $200.00 per month (10 months)
Nonparishioner 1st child rate$375.00 per month (10 months)
Please note: Annual, Semi-annual and 11 month payment plans are available.
Families select one of the following payment options at registration:
¨ Annual Payment
Total annual tuition is due in one lump sum on or before August 1 preceding the new school year.
¨ Semi-annual Payment
One half of the total tuition is due on or before August 1 preceding the new school year.
The remaining tuition balance is due on or before February 1.
¨ 12 Month Plan
Tuition is paid in twelve equal installments beginning on June 1st through May 1st.
¨ 10 Month Plan
Tuition is paid in 10 equal installments due on or before the first day of each month starting August 1 through May 1.
¨ Alternate Payment Plan
Any family who requires an alternate payment schedule that differs from the above options should contact the office for an alternate payment option.
¨ Personal Payment Option
Families who cannot pay full tuition due to unusual circumstances or financial difficulties should request a financial aid form from the principal. Financial aid applicants are assured complete confidentiality.
This form should be completed and submitted to the pastor.
The pastor will schedule a meeting with the family and determine
a personal tuition payment option. The pastor will then notify the principal
of the personalized payment option. All personalized payment options will
be reviewed annually by the pastor.
All payments will be due in accordance with the policy noted above. Any payments in arrears will be processed using the policy for Late or Non-payment of Tuition, Registration Fee, Computer Technology Fee and the Mandatory Fundraisers. St. Ambrose School reserves the right to withhold the records of any student who has unpaid tuition bills at the end of the school term.
Policies for Late or Non-payment of Tuition, Registration Fee,
Computer Technology Fee and Noncompliance with the
To outline the procedures for the collection of late or unpaid tuition, registration, computer technology fee and mandatory fundraisers.
Each family elects a tuition payment option in accordance with the policy on tuition payment options. Families will register with FACTS Management for tuition and financial assistance, if requested.
· A late notice will be sent by the principal for each tuition payment 30 days in arrears. A copy of this notice will be sent to the pastor.
The notice will request all payments be paid within 14 days or a meeting will be scheduled with the pastor to arrange a personalized payment option.
· A second late notice will be sent if any balance exceeds 45 days, a personalized payment option has not been arranged, and the family fails to meet with the pastor. If there has not been a mutually acceptable agreement for the payment of past tuition, the school shall withhold report cards and transcripts from the student.
The notice will request that all payments be paid by the next monthly payment period (60 days in arrears). Failure to comply with tuition & fundraising requirements may impact the student’s eligibility to participate in field trips.
· A third and final notice will be sent if any balance exceeds 60 days and the family fails to meet with the pastor to arrange a personalized payment option.
This final notice will require all payments be made for any amount of tuition due within 14 days.
Notice of disenrollment will be given at this time and acted upon
within 30 days if there is no payment or alternate arrangements made.
· Any unpaid balance after the above steps will be subject to any and all legal means available to the school.
· All tuition must be paid in full by May 15th during a child’s 8th grade year.
A notice will be sent May 1 indicating that any unpaid balance is due by May 15th.
If any balance is not paid as of May 15 in the year of graduation, the child(ren) cannot participate in class trips or graduation activities, and academic transcripts will not be forwarded to secondary schools.
The registration fee must be paid by June 1 prior to the beginning of the new school year. In order for the school to provide for our students, we must have an accurate count by June 1 preceding the school year, as materials and supplies are ordered during the summer break.
This notice will state that until payment is received, the child(ren) will not be enrolled in school.
Mandatory Fundraisers and Mandatory Gift Certificate Program
Each family must participate in the mandatory fundraisers and the mandatory gift certificate program.
· Any unpaid fundraising or gift certificate balances will be added to the tuition and the procedure for unpaid tuition will apply.
St. Ambrose School does not refuse to enroll any student because of tuition or his/her ability to pay tuition. Parents who are not able to pay the entire amount should request information and apply for tuition assistance. The Diocesan procedures are as follows:
1. A copy of the Student Aid form from FACTS Grant & Aid Assessment must be completed online with appropriate documentation. Access FACTS Grant & Aid from the St. Ambrose eBoardwebsite.
2. An interview with the Principal or her delegate may be necessary.
3. In addition to the monthly agreed upon tuition payment, fees must be paid in full and all fund raising quotas made in full.
4. If a student receiving aid transfers for any reason other than moving away from the St. Ambrose area, no aid will be granted and the full tuition amount must be paidin full.
EFFECTIVE 2016-17 SCHOOL YEAR, THE EASTERN PA SCHOLARSHIP ADVISORY BOARD HAS ENDORSED THE FOLLOWING: IF A FAMILY HAS NOT PAID THEIR PAST TUITION BILL THEY WILL NOT BE ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE AN EITC/OSTC SCHOLARSHIP FROM THE EASTERN PENNSYLVANIA SCHOLARSHIP FOUNDATION.
Regular attendance of students is primarily the responsibility of the parents/guardians. Even one day of absence is a detriment to a student’s education. To insure a comprehensive education which will prepare the individual for life, attendance and punctuality are imperative in the formative years.
The school strictly adheres to the diocesan regulations regarding the hours given per week to the teaching of each subject and the state law regarding the number of days students must attend school each year.
A student who is absent from school must present a written excuse from a parent/guardian which states the reason for absence and specifies the exact dates of the absence. This written excuse must be presented to the teacher immediately upon the return of the student to school.
Students must present a doctor’s note upon their return to school after any contagious disease and after three or more days of illness. Students who have a specific health condition that causes frequent or repeated absence from school, even though the days absent are not consecutive, must have a letter from the doctor, which verifies and explains the reason for such absence.
If an excuse is not brought in within three days of return to school, the absence will automatically be classified as unexcused. Parents of children who accumulate 3 unexcused absences will be subject to prosecution for their child’s unlawful absences in accordance with the compulsory attendance laws of the Commonwealth of PA. If a test is missed because of absence, the student must see the teacher on the day they return to make arrangements to reschedule the test.
A parent/guardian must call the school between the hours of 8:00 and 9:00 AM to report the child absent. If this is not done, a phone call will be made to check on the absence. The parent/guardian who calls the school must be prepared to tell the office staff how the child’s missed school and homework assignments will be obtained.
Sample Absentee Note
Today’s Date ________________________
Student’s Name ____________________________
Grade ______ Dates Absent ________________
Parent’s Signature ___________________________
Arrival and Dismissal
St. Ambrose School begins classes at 8:50 AM and ends classes at 3:30 PM. Students are to arrive between 8:30 and 8:50 AM. Prior to 8:30 AM, student supervision is not provided unless prearranged through extended day care. Dismissal begins at 3:30 PM. Students who are not riding a bus must be picked up promptly at 3:30 PM.
Students are not permitted to remain in the building after school or to use any part of the building such as the parish center, library, computer room, etc., unless they are under the direct supervision of a moderator or teacher who is present during the time of the activity. Parents/Guardians and students are asked not to return to the school building after school.
If a student arrives after 8:50 AM, the student is late. Lateness not only interferes with the student’s learning, but also causes an interruption for the teacher and the class. Students who are late must report first to the office at which time their name and time of arrival will be written in the Late Book.
Students arriving after 11:00 AM will be marked absent for ½ day; students leaving prior to 1:30 will be marked absent for ½ day.
A record of all lateness is kept in the student’s permanent file. Consistent lateness will be investigated by the principal and may result in fines according to the compulsory attendance laws of the Commonwealth of PA.
Courses of study follow the norms set by the Diocesan Office and the State of Pennsylvania. The curriculum includes religion, language arts, mathematics, reading, science, social studies, art, music, computer instruction and physical education. It is constantly being evaluated and updated. Programs which complement the core curriculum are utilized to meet the changing needs of the students (i.e., foreign language).
Excused Absence for Educational Trips
Parents/Guardians are discouraged from removing children from school for vacations. If, after weighing the seriousness of loss of academic progress, the parent/guardian considers this absence necessary, the parent/guardian must complete and submit an Educational Trip form to the principal one week prior to the absence. Educational trips should be limited to one per year. Unless there are unusual or emergency circumstances, such requests will not be approved for the first or last ten days of the school term, during exams or standardized testing.
Make-up work is the responsibility of the parent/guardian and student. The teacher is not expected to provide special instruction to the student. This work will be given when the student returns to school after the absence. Homework and work that was covered in class must be completed within a week of their return. The faculty will not be responsible for academic failure due to vacation absence. An educational trip report must be submitted to the principal within one week of the student’s return to school. Failure to submit this report on time will result in detention during which the report will be completed.
Students are always identified with their school. Therefore, they must ever be aware of their responsibility to project the good image and spirit of the school. Students’ conduct in public gatherings reflects their character. Behavior which is disruptive or which would endanger the health, safety or welfare of others will not be tolerated.
Field trips are privileges afforded to students. No student has the absolute right to a field trip. Students can be denied participation if they fail to meet academic or behavioral requirements or have not returned their permission form by the day of the field trip.
Our school’s official permission form must be signed by a parent/guardian and returned before the time of the field trip. No other written or verbal permission will be accepted.
ALL CHAPERONES FOR FIELD TRIPS, WITHOUT EXCEPTION, MUST HAVE COMPLETED ALL REQUIREMENTS ACCORDING TO THE DIOCESE OF ALLENTOWN BACKGROUND CHECK POLICY.
The required background checks and acknowledgements may be found on the website: stambrose.eboard.comgo to the Diocese Info tab, then choose the Volunteer Materials tile (green). All volunteers must attend a Protecting God’s Children session and submit the Certificate of Attendance to the parish Director of Religious Education, written acceptance of the Diocese of Allentown Sexual Abuse Policy, written acceptance of the Diocese of Allentown Code of Conduct, PA State Police Criminal Background check, PA Child Abuse History Clearance, FBI Fingerprint Criminal Background Check and Mandated Reporter Training.
Since the chaperoning of students is a serious undertaking, the following directives are issued for the safety of all concerned:
1. Chaperones are accountable at all times for students assigned to them.
2. If a serious problem arises, the chaperone is to make it known to the teacher in charge.
3. At no time are the chaperones permitted to deviate from the agenda set up for the trip.
4. If parents sign up to chaperone and find they cannot honor the commitment, please notify the teacher in charge as soon as possible so that s/he can make other arrangements.
5. Please do not ask the teacher in charge to change the assigned list of students.
6. Only students whose class is going on the field trip may participate.
The purpose of homework is to solidify and integrate what has been taught in the classroom and to teach the student a sense of personal responsibility and accomplishment. Every student is expected to prepare adequately for the school
day. However, if a student is spending an excessive amount of time or is not doing homework, the teacher should be consulted.
Students in grades two through eight are required to have an assignment book in which they must list their assignments on a daily basis. Assignment books are available for purchase in the school.
Parents/Guardians can be helpful by:
· Establishing a regular time and place for homework to be accomplished. If no specific assignments are made, parents should encourage their child to use their homework time for reading or review.
· Providing favorable conditions that are free from distractions.
· Checking homework assignment books and homework postings
· Encouraging the proper use of time and completion of assignments.
· Checking work to see if it is done properly and neatly.
· Giving assistance, illustrations and suggestions when necessary. Do not do the homework.
· Decreasing the amount of supervision as the student gets older and encouraging independence at the upper middle and junior high grades.
· Not making excuses for neglect of homework. Remember that good study habits are developed early in the child’s education.
Students in grades five through eight who are awarded honors are those who excel in the areas of scholastic progress and character formation. Honor cards accompany the progress reports.
¨ First Honors: 90 and above in each major subject and
I, S, VG, or O in every other area
¨ Second Honors: 85 and above in each major subject and I, S, VG,
or O in every other area
¨ Honorable Mention: At least a one point increase in general average since the previous progress report (begins with second marking period) and I, S, VG, or O in every other area.
Report Cards and Progress Reports
Report cards are issued at the conclusion of each trimester. At the midpoint of the trimester, a Progress Report will be issued to each student. The Progress Report is an opportunity for the school to share the progress of the student at that point in time. This allows teachers to share with parents where their student is relative to the expectations of the student. Parents are encouraged to log onto Option C in order to track the progress of their student(s).
Report Card averages are a composite of class work, home assignments, projects and tests. All test papers are sent home (in the red test binder for grades 5 – 8) to be signed. If parents/guardians are not receiving test papers, it is their responsibility to contact the teacher. If the student’s work is carefully monitored, the marks on the progress report should reflect the parents’/guardians’ expectations. Progress reports and Report Cards must be signed by a parent/guardian and returned to school within five school days. If a conference is requested, the parent/guardian should check the appropriate box on the back of the progress report.
Promotion and retention are based on the all-around adjustment of the child. A student is promoted when s/he adequately demonstrates mastery of the material covered. Decisions of retention will be discussed cooperatively among all persons connected with the educational development of the student. Final decisions are the responsibility of the school.
Religion, as taught in our school, is a way of life, not merely one other subject. In addition to the daily class lessons in religion, the following religious opportunities are provided:
vThe entire student body participates in the celebration of Mass on a regular basis and on Holy Days of Obligation.
vStudents have the opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation
vStudents participate in special liturgical services throughout the school year.
vStudents are expected to participate in daily prayer.
The responsibilities of the non-Catholic students who attend the school are stipulated in the Diocesan Board Policy 5010. A copy of the policy is presented to each non-Catholic student by request.
The school’s religious education program is meant to supplement the religious training given by the primary educators – the parents.
As the primary educators of their children, parents are involved in the cathechesis of their children. Mandatory meetings are held for the parents prior to the reception of Reconciliation, Holy Eucharist and Confirmation. The teachers in the classroom provide instruction, but it is the parents who create the environment in the home for the child’s inborn need to seek God.
Library time is scheduled on a weekly basis for all classes. Books may be checked out during this time. The librarian gives instruction in library skills once a month. Fines are charged for overdue books. If a student loses, destroys or defaces a book, s/he is required to pay for that book. Arrangements can be made for students to use the library for independent research. Students may use the library only when supervision is available.
A computer software library is also available for use within the school. All students are expected to conduct themselves in an appropriate manner while using the library.
Student use of the Computer/ Internet should be in keeping with our school philosophy. This educational tool offers considerable amounts of information that can be useful for student growth. No student will be permitted to use a computer unless under the direct supervision of a faculty member. Students and parents will be required to sign an Internet Use Agreement each year. A copy of this will be available in the school office. Misuse of computers/Internet will not be tolerated and students may lose the privilege of computer use.
In keeping with diocesan regulations, National and State standardized tests, which monitor intellectual development and the acquisition of skills, are administered on a yearly basis. Traditionally, the students perform above national, state and diocesan averages.
Unless there is an emergency, doctor and dentist appointments should be made outside of school hours. In the case of necessity, at least a day before the
appointment, the student must bring a note which is signed by the parent or guardian and states the reason for and the date and time of the appointment. The note must be shown to the teacher first and then it will be forwarded to the office. No student will leave the school building at any time without a parent or guardian. The parent or guardian must sign the student out when picking him/her up. Upon returning, a parent/guardian must sign him/her in and present a note from the doctor or dentist, which states the date and time of the appointment. If the student does not return to school that same day, the note must be presented to the office on the day s/he returns.
Every Friday throughout the school term, the youngest child in each family is responsible for taking home all important information in a communication envelope. Parents/Guardians are to read the contents, complete forms, sign the envelope on the appropriate line and return to the school on Monday. A replacement fee will be charged for lost envelopes.
Parent teacher conferences are scheduled in the fall of each school term. If parents/guardians have a concern about their child at any other time of the year, they are to schedule a conference with the child’s teacher(s). It is counterproductive to discuss concerns with anyone other than those who are directly involved.
Parents/Guardians are not permitted to see teachers without scheduled appointments. If the matter is not resolved at the initial conference, parents/guardians have the option of scheduling another conference with the teacher(s) and the principal. Parents may not call the teachers at home unless the teacher requests this.
Dropping off Items
Encourage your child to remember everything s/he needs for school each day. If it is necessary to bring anything to a student during the school day, label it clearly with your child’s name and grade and leave it in the school office.
Emergency Care Information Cards are issued to every family on the first day of school. Parents/Guardians are to complete the card and return it to school on the second day. Please notify the school immediately if there are any changes on the information given.
Emergency messages will be sent out through Option C. The messages will go out as telephone calls, text messages and emails. Please share your contact information and preferences with the Main Office.
Early dismissals and late starts (for any reason) will be announced on the following television stations: WBRE (Channel 28), WNEP (Channel 16) and WYOU (Channel 22).
Please do not call the school. An emergency plan should be decided upon in the event that parents/guardians are not home when an early dismissal occurs.
Illness of a Student during School Hours
In case of the illness of a student during the school day, every effort will be made to contact the parents/guardians. If parents/guardians cannot be reached, the person listed on the Emergency Care Information Card will be called.
Lost and Found
All clothing and supplies should be labeled with the student’s name.
Articles, which are brought to the office, will be announced at the end of the school day. If the owner cannot be identified, the article will be held in a designated area for one month. After that time, unclaimed items will be given to a selected charity.
All medications brought to school must be accompanied by a completed medication form that has been signed by the prescribing physician and the parent/guardian. Forms will be sent home at the beginning of the school year. Additional forms may be requested from the office or school nurse.
All medications must be brought to the office as soon as the student enters the building. Medications may be dispensed only by the school nurse. If it is not possible for the student to self-medicate, the parents/guardians are responsible for dispensing the medications on the days of the week on which the school nurse is not in the building. Any child who is to take lozenges, cough drops, etc., must have a note written by a parent/guardian.
Every time money is brought to the school, it must be in an envelope clearly marked with the following information:
vStudent’s name, grade, amount enclosed and reason/purpose of money
All money must be given to the teacher as soon as the student arrives at school. Students are discouraged from bringing excessive amounts of money to school without good reason.
Prior to the start of each month, a monthly school calendar will be sent home in the communication envelope. Please refer to this calendar and any notices printed on the back for current information.
Fire and safety regulations require that the circle in front of the school remain free of vehicles while the building is occupied. Therefore, this area can be used only for buses, which are dropping off or picking up students. Parents/Guardians who are transporting students or dropping off items must use the Church parking lot between the hours of 8:30 - 9:15 AM and 3:15 - 3:45 PM. The lot adjacent to the school circle is reserved for faculty cars and other authorized vehicles.
It is most important for parents/guardians to withhold judgement on what appears to be a grievance until they get all the facts.
1. Contact the teacher first.
2. Discuss the problem with the proper person as soon as possible.
3. If necessary, contact the principal.
This procedure is stressed because, in most cases, problems will be resolved with little difficulty. Problems discussed with friends and neighbors tend to become exaggerated.
It is the responsibility of the student to report any act that is harmful to himself or herself, to another student or to school property.
Parents’/Guardians’ attitude toward the school, the teachers and all school personnel must always be respectful. Parents/Guardians are reminded that criticism, complaints, gossip, words spoken in anger or in jest are absorbed by the child and become a part of his/her education. Respect and obedience cannot be learned at school if they have not been taught at home.
On their birthday, students may bring a small snack for their classmates to enjoy. Invitations for parties may be distributed at school only if every classmate is invited or: if a party for only girls, all the girls; if a party for only boys, all the boys.
Student Use of the Phone
The school telephone is for the use of school staff. Students may use the phone only in an emergency and with the principal’s permission. Parents/Guardians are not to call and ask to speak to their child over the phone unless it is an emergency.
Please see “Cell Phones” under Discipline and Safety Policy
Because security is of paramount importance, all doors are locked during school hours. Therefore, all visitors must be properly identified before they will be permitted to enter the building. At no time may a parent/guardian/visitor go directly to the classroom. All parents/guardians/visitors must report to the school office upon entering. To access parts of the building other than the office, s/he must sign in and receive a badge, which must be worn throughout the visit. When the visitor is leaving, the badge must be returned when s/he signs out.
Discipline and Safety Policy
St. Ambrose School wishes to provide the students with an atmosphere conducive to learning. Students are expected to be courteous to everyone in the school, to work to capacity, to complete assignments and to respect persons and property associated with the school. The rules of the school exist primarily for the safety of the students, the preservation of individual and group liberties and the orderly working of the school. No student has the right to interfere with the education of fellow students. It is the responsibility of all students to respect the rights of teachers, students, administrators and others who are involved in the educational process. Therefore, St. Ambrose faculty has an obligation to correct students who ignore the rights of others and/or violate school standards.
To establish reasonable consistency in the school, a discipline code has been developed. Teachers may develop individual rules and disciplinary practices that supplement the code but do not conflict with it. The code applies to all students enrolled in St. Ambrose School in Kindergarten through grade eight.
Discipline Codes by Levels
Infractions and the responses to them are divided into four levels. Each level represents progressively more serious behavior and consequences. One or any combination of responses may be applied to any infraction. This section of the code identifies example infractions for which a student may be disciplined and sets forth example responses. Note, however, that this list is not all-inclusive and a student committing an act of misconduct not listed will be subject to the discretionary authority of the principal. Consistent with this code, it is the responsibility of the principal or designee to determine the level of the offense and its appropriate response. The principal, teachers, bus drivers and
other supervisory personnel are responsible for student discipline. Discipline should be applied after consideration of the eventual effect on the behavior of the student and should promote improved conduct.
Level I offenses are acts of misconduct which interfere with orderly classroom procedures, school functions, approved transportation, or a student’s own learning process.
Level I offenses will be handled first by the teacher or other staff member involved. When the teacher or other staff member involved determines that additional action is necessary because of continued violation or other concerns, the student will then be referred to the principal or designee for appropriate disciplinary action. The teacher or school administrator /designee, after review of the student’s explanation, consultation with school personnel involved and further investigation (when needed) will determine the appropriate disciplinary action, consistent with this code.
ü Cheating/lying (K - 4).
ü Chewing gum.
ü Dress code violation (minor).
ü Eating or drinking during class without permission.
ü Electronic devices.
ü Failure to bring in notes/excuses.
ü Failure to follow classroom management rules.
ü Hall pass violation (5 - 8).
ü Inappropriate language/conduct.
ü Late to class.
ü Lunch room infractions.
ü Offensive behavior.
ü Out of assigned area.
ü Playground violation (minor).
ü Uncovered books.
Ø Behavioral contracts.
Ø Classroom management plan.
Ø Loss of recess.
Ø Grade point deduction (cheating).
Ø Parental contact by teacher.
Ø School service.
Ø Teacher’s educational assignments.
Ø Verbal reprimand
Ø Warning of referral to Level II.
Ø Withdrawal of privileges.
Level II offenses are intermediate acts of misconduct that do not seriously endanger the health and safety of others. Level II offenses must be reported to the school administrator/designee because the seriousness or frequency of misconduct requires another level of intervention. School support staff and/or community resource agencies may be involved. The school administrator/designee, after review of the student’s explanation and after consultation with the school personnel involved, will determine the appropriate disciplinary action consistent with this code.
ü Absence from school without permission.
ü Cheating/lying (5 - 8).
ü Computer misuse.
ü Disrespectful behavior to others.
ü Disregard for school property or that of others.
ü Disruptive behavior/disorderly conduct.
ü Failure to follow arrival/dismissal procedure.
ü Fire alarm violation.
ü Habitual tardiness.
ü Harassment/intimidation / bullying.
ü Inappropriate behavior in church.
ü Making false accusations about school staff member/another student.
ü Misconduct on school bus or at bus stop.
ü Repeated Level I offenses.
ü Stealing/theft (less than $20).
ü Unauthorized assembly, publication, etc.
ü Unexcused absence from class.
ü Unexcused absence from detention.
ü Unsafe acts/actions.
Ø Assigned bus seat.
Ø Behavioral contract.
Ø Confiscation of unauthorized material.
Ø Detention (5 - 8).
Ø Family conferencing.
Ø Level I response.
Ø Parental contact (by teacher or administrator).
Ø Reassigned bus seats.
Ø Referral to counseling.
Ø Return of property or restitution for damages.
Ø School service.
Ø Suspension from bus.
Ø Suspension from school-sponsored activities.
Ø Verbal reprimand.
Ø Warning of referral to Level III.
Ø Withdrawal of privileges.
Level III offenses are serious acts of misconduct. They include but are not limited to: repeated acts of misconduct, those acts with prior warning of referral to Level III action, serious disruptions of the orderly conduct of the school, threats to the health, safety, and property of self or others, or other acts of serious misconduct.
Level III offenses must be reported immediately to the school administrator/designee and will follow the established investigative procedure and the assignment of disciplinary action. When an emergency exists, procedures for handling it shall be put into effect immediately to protect the safety of all students. The school may initiate prosecution for Level III offenses.
NOTICE: Use, possession, distribution, and sale of tobacco products are prohibited on school property and on school buses.
ü Abusive language to school personnel.
ü Breaking and entering.
ü Destruction of property/vandalism.
ü Leaving school without permission.
ü Misuse of electronic equipment such as computer, cell phones, etc.
ü Plagiarism (5-8)
ü Repeated Level II offenses.
ü Repeated misconduct of a more serious nature.
ü Sexual harassment.
ü Smoking/tobacco/alcohol possession or use.
ü Theft ($20.00 or more).
Ø Behavioral contract (written).
Ø Family conferencing.
Ø In-school suspension
Ø Long-term bus suspension.
Ø Parental contact by administration.
Ø Referral for student assessment.
Ø Referral to appropriate prevention or treatment program.
Ø Referral to counseling.
Ø Referral to law enforcement.
Ø Referral to support services.
Ø Return of property or restitution for damages.
Ø School service.
Ø Temporary removal from participation in school sponsored activities.
Ø Warning of referral to Level IV.
The most serious acts of misconduct are included in this level. Committing any of these acts may be sufficient grounds for expulsion. Major acts of misconduct must be reported immediately to the school administrator/designee. These violations are so serious that they may require involvement of outside agencies, and/or fines. Such acts may also result in criminal penalties. The administrator/designee may recommend the expulsion of any student who has committed a serious breach of conduct.
ü Bomb threat.
ü Breaking and entering.
ü Inciting, leading, or participating in acts that substantially disrupt orderly conduct at school or a school function.
ü Repeated Level III offenses.
ü Serious breach of conduct.
ü Serious misconduct on school bus or at bus stop.
ü Stolen property: possession, use, distribution, or sale.
ü Weapons/firearms/explosives (as per Diocesan Board Policy 5140).
Ø In-school or out of school suspension.
Ø Long-term bus suspension.
Ø Parental contact (mandatory).
Ø Recommendation for expulsion.
Ø Referral for student assessment.
Ø Referral of students to alternative placement.
Ø Referral to law enforcement.
Ø Return of property or restitution for damages.
Once a student is issued a textbook s/he is responsible for the book. Hardcover textbooks must be covered at all times. Tattered or defaced covers must be replaced immediately. If a student loses, damages, or mars any book, s/he is financially responsible for the book. All students must use a school bag for transporting books to and from school.
Blue Mountain, Minersville, Pine Grove, Pottsville, Schuylkill Haven and Tanaqua School Districts provide busing. Students riding these buses are expected to follow the bus policy of the district in which they reside. Absolutely no misconduct will be tolerated on the bus. Disruptive behavior may result in loss of bus privileges.
Students may only ride buses within their own school district. If a student must ride a bus other than the one that s/he has been assigned, the parents must make arrangements with the school district that provides the transportation. St. Ambrose School must be made aware of these alternate arrangements via a written communication.
All students are to report to the Parish Center after prayers and announcements with their teachers. Students are to follow the direction of the teachers for where to line up for their transportation. Students should quietly wait for their bus or van number to be called, and then follow direction.
Students who are going home by car must sit quietly and listen for walkers to be called. After hearing this, each student will wait for the teacher in charge to lead the line to the portico. Parents/guardians are to meet their children on the portico. Students will not be dismissed until a parent/guardian or another adult is there to walk them safely to the car. Parents/guardians, students, siblings must walk to their car via the walkway. At no time should anyone enter the faculty
parking lot. Students are the responsibility of their parent/guardian once they leave the teacher in charge. Siblings must be under control at all times while on school property.
If a parent is unable to walk to the portico, a designated adult may accompany the student to their car. Due to safety concerns relating to the school buses entering and leaving the faculty parking lot and the circle in front of the school, the handicapped area should NOT be used at dismissal time. The faculty parking area should NOT be entered for the safety of the students between 3:15 PM and 3:45 PM.
Dress Code – Revised August 2017
A student’s appearance, self-respect and performance tend to complement each other. Hence, reasonable care and neatness in regard to dress and appearance are required of all students. The manner of wearing the school uniform reflects self-respect and respect for family as well as the St. Ambrose School community.
When in doubt about any aspect of the dress code, call the school and ask for verification before purchasing school clothing and/or allowing your child to wear questionable hairstyles or clothing. Whenever a determination must be made as to whether or not a student is violating the dress code, the school administrator will make the decision.
In order to show reverence when attending the sacred liturgy, students are to wear the dress uniform on all Mass days. Boys’ dress uniform includes the dress shirt and a school tie. Girls’ dress uniform includes white blouse and the plaid jumper or skirt. If the school Mass is celebrated on a gym day, students in grades K-4 may wear their gym uniform to Mass. Students in grades 5-8 must wear the dress uniform to Mass and bring their gym uniforms and sneakers to change into for gym.
Shoes: Soft-soled, flat shoes of conservative colors are permitted. Boots, clogs, sports shoes, sneakers and sandals are not permitted. If boots are worn to school, shoes must be worn while the student is inside the building.
Slacks: Navy blue cotton dress slacks are permitted. Slacks must be worn at the waist. Baggy pants, cargo pants or any pants with patch pockets are not acceptable.
Shorts: Navy blue dress shorts may be worn in from August to October 15 and from April 15th through June (weather permitting). Solid navy blue or white socks and school shoes must be worn with the shorts.
Shirts: Light blue, long or short-sleeved dress or the St. Ambrose knit (red) shirts are permitted. The dress shirt must be worn with a tie. All shirts must be worn tucked in.
Ties: The plaid school tie must be worn whenever the dress shirt is worn. Ties must be in place when the boys enter school and may not be removed until the boys return home.
Belts: Solid dark color belts must be worn. If the pants have belt loops, belts must be worn for students in grades 5-8.
Socks: Solid dark or white socks without design or logos and which are visible above the shoe are to be worn.
T-shirts: Solid white t-shirts may be worn under the uniform shirt.
Sweaters: Only solid navy blue cardigan, vested or pullover sweaters with the St. Ambrose logo are permitted. The black with red St. Ambrose track jacket may be worn by boys in grades 6 – 8.
Jewelry: A wristwatch, small cross, medal or Student Council pin may be worn.
Boys may not wear earrings.
Grooming: Male students must be neatly groomed. Hair is to be cut to a length which is above the collar and may not extend below the eyebrow or below the ears. All male students must be clean-shaven. Extreme or fad hairstyles may not be worn. This includes unnatural hair coloring.
Shoes: Soft-soled, black or dark brown flat heel dress shoes are permitted. Boots, sneakers, sports shoes, open-toed shoes, sandals, backless shoes and clogs are not permitted.
If boots are worn to school, shoes must be worn while the student is inside the building.
Jumpers and Skirts: Flynn O’Hara plaid drop waist jumper is worn in Kindergarten through grades four. Girls in grades 5 - 8 wear the box pleated Flynn O’Hara skirt. Jumpers and skirtsmust be hemmed to “knee length”. Jumpers and skirts are to be worn with the appropriate white blouse.
Slacks: Plain navy blue dress slacks are permitted. Stretch pants, cargo pants and pants with patch pockets are NOT acceptable.
Skorts: Navy blue uniform girls’ skorts (available from Flynn O’Hara)may be worn from August through October 15 and from April 15th through June (weather permitting). Navy blue or white knee socks or anklets and school shoes must be worn with the shorts.
Blouses: White, round collar (Peter Pan collar) blouses are to be worn with the jumper (grades K – 4). White oxford blouses are to be worn with the plaid skirt ((grades 5 – 8). Long or short-sleeved blouses may be worn. Long sleeves may not be rolled up. Blouses must be buttoned at the neck at all times. If a round collar blouse is worn without a sweater or jumper, a camisole or white tank top must be worn underneath. All blouses/shirts must be worn tucked in.
Socks: Navy blue or white knee socks without design or logos and which are visible are acceptable. Navy blue or white tights are also permitted.
Sweaters: Only solid, navy blue cardigan or vested sweaters are permitted. All sweaters MUST have the St. Ambrose logo.
Jewelry: A wristwatch, small cross, medal, one pair of small (non-dangling and in the earlobe) earrings and the Student Council pin may be worn.
Hairstyle: Hair must be styled neatly and so as not to impair vision. Severe hairstyles, including unnatural hair coloring may not be worn.
Head Bands: Small, inconspicuous headbands or bows are permitted.
Makeup: Makeup of any kind is not permitted.
Fingernail Polish: Clear fingernail polish is permitted in grades 5 – 8..
Physical Education Clothing
Students must wear the St. Ambrose gym uniform to school on their gym day. Sneakers are to be worn with the gym uniform. The gym uniform consists of:
· Gray t-shirt – short or long sleeve with logo
· Black sweat pants with logo
· Gray sweat shirt, crew neck or front zip with hoodie with logo
· Red shorts with logo *
*If a student wishes to wear the gym uniform shorts for gym, s/he must wear sweat pants over them at all times other than during gym class from Oct. 15 through April 15. All articles of gym clothing are to be labeled clearly with the child’s name and grade.
Students in grades 6 – 8 may choose to wear the red trimmed black track jacket and track pant with the school logo. (Available at Mystic).
Dress Down Days
Occasionally throughout the school year students are allowed to dress in casual clothing other than their school uniform. They must be neatly groomed and wear appropriate clothing. Students may not wear sloppy, tight fitting or revealing clothing. No bare midriffs or t-shirts with logos that contradict the school philosophy will be permitted. For safety reasons, sneakers may be worn however; no flip-flops, sandals, backless or high heel shoes may be worn.
*If inappropriate clothing is worn on a dress down day, the parents will be called to bring in the students’ uniform. The student may lose the privilege of participating in future dress down days.
Dress Code Violations
Failure to adhere to the dress code will result in a warning slip that must be signed by parents/guardians. If for any reason a student is not in uniform, a note of explanation from the student’s parent or guardian must be sent to the school with the child on the day they are out of uniform. Only reasonable excuses will be accepted. If a student is out of uniform without a reasonable excuse, parents will be contacted to bring the appropriate garment to school.
Pennsylvania School Law requires that all schools hold a fire drill at least once a month. A fire drill familiarizes the student with emergency procedures. Silence is required during a fire drill. Running is absolutely forbidden.
§ Students must be courteous to all teachers, kitchen staff and volunteers.
§ Students must talk quietly at all times.
§ Students must keep the lunch area neat and must clean up after themselves (table, chair and floor).
§ Students must stay seated until they have finished their lunch and are ready to throw their garbage away. One trip to the trash container during lunch is permitted.
§ Students must raise their hand and ask permission of the teacher in charge should they need to leave the lunchroom for any reason.
§ Students must remain in their seats at their assigned table until they are called to get in line.
§ When students are called, they are to quietly get in line and follow the teacher in charge to the recess yard or to the classroom on inclement weather days.
§ A note from a parent/guardian is required if a student is to remain indoors for recess due to illness or other important medical reasons.
§ A note from the supervising teacher must be presented to the teacher on lunch duty in order for a student to be excused from recess to attend an activity.
St. Ambrose School is concerned at all times with the safety of the pupils who attend the school. The school would like to suggest the following:
· Be sure your child knows a direct, safe route to the bus stop or to school.
· Teach your child to walk on the sidewalks at all times and to cross the streets only at corners where crossing guards are stationed.
· Instruct your child to go directly home after school.
· Be sure to inform the school of any changes of address or telephone number. It is most important that the school have correct information in the event of an emergency.
Telephone messages to the school assigning chores or changing where the child is to go after school are difficult to handle because they must be verified and confusion might result. Messages must be limited to those that involve emergency situations only.
§ All students must be in view of the teacher in charge at all times.
§ Rough playing will not be tolerated.
§ Only teacher-approved games are permitted. The teacher in charge must also approve any balls or other toys brought to the play area.
§ Students must always be courteous to the teachers, volunteers and the other students on the playground.
§ Students must have the permission of the teacher in charge before s/he may leave the play area for any reason.
Unnecessary Items/Cell Phones
Students may not bring unnecessary items to the school. Electronic devices including but not limited to cell phones, iPods, MP-3 players, radios, CD players, handheld computer games, other electronic games, etc. are not permitted during school hours (8:30 – 3:45). According to school policy, students MUST keep their cell phones turned off and IN THEIR BACKPACKS. At no time should cell phones be removed from the backpack during the school day. Students may not send or receive cell phone calls/text messages during the school day or while participating in school events without the express permission of school officials. Failure to comply with this rule will result in:
1st offense – School keeps the device and the parent/guardian must retrieve.
2nd offense – School keeps device and the parent/guardian must retrieve and a detention is assigned.
3rd offense – School keeps device and the parent/guardian must retrieve and in school suspension is assigned.
Identified gifted/talented students in grades one to eight may participate in enrichment programs that are offered by the school district in which they reside.
Students may be tested for the enrichment program upon faculty recommendation or parental request. The Public School District in which the student resides will administer the testing.
Students who participate in the enrichment classes are responsible for making up any assignments they miss while attending a class. Should enrichment students fall behind in their regular class work, the classroom teacher will notify the student’s parents/guardians. At that time, the decision to include the student in the enrichment program will be reviewed.
Act 89 provides the following services: Intervention Instructional Support Program, remedial reading and math, speech and hearing therapy, physical and occupational therapy and psychoeducational testing.
Title I also provides math and reading remedial services.
Acts 90 and 190 provide funds for textbooks and workbooks up to a specified amount.
Title VI provides funds for library books, computer software and audio-visual equipment up to a specified amount.
Act 372 obligates public school districts to provide free bus transportation to non-public school students who live more than one and one-half miles from the non-public school or who must travel through hazardous areas within the school district. The non-public school may not be more than ten miles from the closest boundary of the public school district. The public school district shall be responsible for bus routes, bus stops and pick up and departure times.
Health services are administered according to the guidelines outlined by the Pennsylvania School Health Code. The Blue Mountain School District provides a registered nurse for one half day per week. State mandate also provides for:
· Annual vision screening for all students.
· Annual height and weight measurements for all students.
· Hearing examinations for students in Kindergarten through grade three and grade seven.
· Dental examinations for students in Kindergarten and grades three and seven.
· A scoliosis examination for students in grades six and seven.
· Physical Exams for K and grade 6
Immunization record, specific health conditions or allergies, family health history, growth chart, record of physical examinations, vision and hearing examination results and a dental record are all included in the student health record.
If your child has a specific medical problem, the homeroom teacher and the school nurse should be advised of the problem. If any medical problems or
conditions arise at any time, it is very important to notify the school office of these changes. Medic-alert bracelets are strongly recommended for any child with a serious medical condition. In order to keep teachers informed, the school
nurse will compile a yearly listing of special medical needs of the students. School personnel will make an entry in a log each time medication is taken by a student.
Diocesan policy 5130 dictates the procedure, which is to be followed in the event that a student infected with acquired immune deficiency syndrome should enroll. A bloodborne pathogen exposure plan is in place.
In accordance with state regulations, St. Ambrose School will report any suspected cases of child abuse.
Menus are sent home for each of the lunches offered through the school. Lunch
orders must be placed in homeroom at the beginning of the day.
It is the responsibility of the parent/guardian to make sure there is a positive balance in the school account to cover the cost of lunch if the student is ordering lunch. Information about how to log onto the account is shared at the beginning of the school year.
Drinks may be ordered independent of the lunch program. Drink orders are due on the date that the lunch order is due.
Students are required to bring lunch to school each day they do not order the school lunch. This lunch must be clearly marked with the student’s name.
The St. Ambrose School Parent Council is an organization that provides support for the students and teachers. General meetings of this organization are held each month. Parents/Guardians are strongly urged to become active in this valuable organization.
St. Ambrose Parish offers a pre-school program for four year old children. Children must be four years old by Oct. 15 of that school year.
Individual student pictures will be taken once each year. Notices are sent home prior to the date on which pictures are scheduled. Purchase of these pictures is voluntary.
Students may receive the services of the school psychologist upon faculty recommendation or parent request.
Stationery and other school supplies are available for purchase. Orders must be placed during morning activities period only. A list of available items is sent home at the beginning of the school term.
All students who are enrolled in St. Ambrose School are covered by the Student/Athletic Accident Program that is sponsored by the Diocese of Allentown. This insurance covers injuries that occur during the day and hours when school is in session and while attending or participating in school sponsored and supervised activities on or off the school premises. This includes CYO activities. The school covers the cost of this program. Claim forms, as well as a description of the coverage, may be obtained at the school office.
Parents/Guardians of all students are asked to participate in the volunteer program, which affords them the opportunity to become an integral part of the operation of the school. Volunteers work in the library, the lunchroom, the office, the classroom and on the playground. They may also serve as chaperones on field trips. (See visitor’s section on page 17 of this handbook for instructions.)
St. Ambrose School promotes and maintains activity programs that extend the opportunities for educational growth and development to each student. It is imperative that extra-curricular activities be kept in perspective. These activities should be used to support and enhance basic learning. Students who participate in extra-curricular activities sponsored by the parish/school are required at all
times to conduct themselves as exemplary Christians.
Art Show/Talent Show
Capital Area Science and Engineering Fair
Catholic Schools Week Activities
Clubs (grades five through eight)
Holy Childhood Association
Liturgical Singing Groups
Nativity Track and Field Meet
Pottsville Republican Spelling Bee
Religion and Science Fairs
St. Jude’s Math-a-thon
Various community-sponsored art, poster and writing contests
*Some vary from year to year
Short Story Contest
Right to Amend
The school and /or the principal have the right to interpret and to amend this handbook for just cause. Parents will be given notification if changes are made.
Revised July 2017