Admin

Policies

We appreciate your cooperation in helping us maintain a safe environment by following appropriate traffic rules during arrival and dismissal times.  Please be courteous to our staff members on duty, they are following procedures formulated for the safety and well-being of our students.  The speed limit on school grounds is 5 miles per hour.  It is unsafe to pass cars in the car rider zone.  It is against the law to drive through parking spaces.  Please follow the path through the parking lot by staying in the designated lanes outlined by the cones.  Teachers must know how your child will go home from school each day.  Changes in transportation require a written notice to the school signed by the parent/guardian.  All changes must be submitted to the school no later than 12:00pm (10:00am Wednesday’s).  Telephone calls or emails WILL NOT be accepted. If an unforeseen emergency arises during the day resulting in a late pick up, please notify the office immediately so that proper arrangements can be made for the student.

 Walkers/Bicycle Riders:

Crossing guards are on duty before/after school to assist students crossing neighborhood streets.  Crossing guards may not be available for tardy students.  Students must leave as soon as their dismissal is announced.  It is recommended that students in Kindergarten have an adult pick them up to walk home.  Students riding bicycles to school will be expected to follow proper bicycle safety rules.  Students should ride single file, with traffic, use proper hand signals, one person per bicycle, and wear a buckled helmet.  If riding a bicycle to and from school, students must walk their bicycles when they reach campus.  Always lock your bicycle.  School personnel cannot be responsible for theft or damage done to any bicycles.  Bicycle riders should exhibit courtesy and care when approaching walkers.  Please discuss with your child and your child’s teacher if there is to be any change in their standard dismissal plan on rainy day.

 

Car Riders:

Students should only be picked up or dropped off at the designated car rider zone. Please do not release students outside of the zone or instruct students to walk through the parking lot to your vehicle.

No parking or unattended vehicle is permitted in the designated pick up/drop off zone. All cars must use the Cypress Lake Subdivision South/Main entrance (closest to HWY 50) when turning into Columbia Elementary.  When exiting, all cars must make a right turn only onto Cypress Lake Glen Blvd.

 

Bus Riders:

OCPS is committed to provide safe transportation for all students, whether for a field trip or to and from home, students are expected to abide by the school bus standards as outlined in the Student Code of Conduct.  The OCPS transportation phone number is (407)317-3800. Video cameras have been installed on many buses.  Students may be filmed at any time during their ride.  The tapes may be utilized to determine violations of the Code of Conduct.  Violations or any action or behavior by a student(s) to substantially distract the driver and cause or has the potential to cause a safety hazard on a moving bus may be the basis for the suspension from bus/school and/or expulsion from bus riding privileges.  Under certain circumstances bus drop off and/or pick up could be delayed.  Transportation allows a 20 minute window from the scheduled bus time for the bus to arrive/drop off students. Parents will be notified by the School Messenger phone call system on bus delays.  Bus riders may only ride their assigned bus.  Parents are not permitted to ride the bus except when chaperoning a field trip.  Address changes MUST be provided to the Columbia Elementary front office to ensure proper bus routes.

 

Extended Day:

Morning Hours:           6:30-8:15; Afternoon Hours:   3:00-6:00 (2:10pm-6pm Wednesday’s)

Students may enroll for morning only sessions, afternoon only sessions, or morning and afternoon sessions for a minimal cost.  Please contact the Extended Day coordinator. (407)568-2921 ext. 3182230

 

No adult supervision is available for students arriving earlier than 8:15am or remaining at school later than 3:30pm (2:40 Wednesday's) unless enrolled in the extended day program.

 

District Guidelines for Attendance:

Regular attendance is an essential component of student learning.  Regular and punctual attendance at school is the responsibility of the parents.  Each parent and guardian of a child within compulsory attendance age (6-18) is responsible for the child’s school attendance.  The attendance policy for Columbia is based on Florida law as outlined below:

Absences will be reported as unexcused on a daily basis.
For truancy purposes 5 unexcused tardies will equal 1 unexcused absence.
A child must be in attendance for half the day (11:45; 11:15 Wednesday’s) to be counted present.
It is the responsibility of the parent or guardian to provide a written note within 24 hours stating the reason for the absence.  Emails are not acceptable.  We must have a signed note.
The Principal has the ultimate authority to decide whether an absence is excused or unexcused.  The school is authorized to require the parent or guardian to provide a written physician’s statement in order for excessive absences to be excused. 
A student will be reported to the principal when he/she has five (5) unexcused absences within a calendar month or ten (10) unexcused absences within a 90-calendar day period.  A child study team will develop and implement interventions to address issues of non-attending students.
The district school superintendent has the authority to file a truancy petition in the judicial circuit in which the student is enrolled if the school determines that a child has 15 unexcused absences within a 90 calendar day period.
Tardy students cause disruption to classes and often miss vital morning directions.  Habitual tardiness is a violation of Orange County Code of Student Conduct.

 

Prearranged Absences:
In order to qualify for an excused absence for a religious holiday, the parent or guardian is required to provide a notarized statement verifying that the student is a member of, or practices and observes the tenets of, an established religious group, church or denomination.  This statement must be provided prior to or with the first request for a religious holiday and will be kept on file.  Requests for religious holidays must be received no later than one (1) week prior to the holiday and should be treated as a pre-arranged absence.  “Take Your Child to Work Day” is considered a prearranged absence.  We discourage the practice of taking vacations during the school year that require a student to miss school days.  If necessary, you must provide a Prearranged Absence Note to the principal no less than 2 weeks before the planned trip.

 

Early Check-Out:

The superintendent strongly discourages early departure of any student during the last hour of the school day.  For truancy purposes five early departures from school will equal one unexcused absence.  The authority to apply accumulated early departure as unexcused absences is given to the School Board of Orange County pursuant to Section 1003.02(1)(B) Florida Statutes. NO STUDENT is permitted to leave campus during the school day without following these procedures:

Picture ID will be required before a student is released to an adult.
Students who are checked out before 11:45am (11:15 Wednesday's) will be considered absent for the entire day. If unavoidable circumstances arise, the student must be signed out through the office to the parent or legal guardian only.
No child may be checked out between 2:00-3:00pm(1:10-2:10 Wednesday's)
We will not change the way a child is to go home by means of a telephone call, fax or email.  You must send a note with your child if a change is necessary.
 

Transfers:

If it becomes necessary for your child to transfer to another school, a withdrawal form is required in order to register at another school.  Please notify Columbia’s registrar immediately to ensure all withdrawal procedures are completed.  Student records are not released to parents, but are sent directly to the receiving school.

 

Student Records:

A cumulative folder is maintained on each student registered in our school.  Parents have the right to review these folders upon request.  A legal description of the cumulative folder access is contained in the CODE OF STUDENT CONDUCT.

School Security and Visitors:

Please help us maintain a safe environment for your child by using the front office entrance and signing in appropriately. In an effort to protect our students and to maintain maximum instructional time, school board policy states that:

  • All parents and visitors must sign-in through the school office with their photo ID.
  • All visitors are required to wear a visitor’s identification badge provided by the front office.
  • Teachers are unable to conference with parents during instructional time.
  • If you need to see your child’s teacher, please remember to make an appointment.
  • Any visitor without a badge will be asked to sign-in at the front office in order to remain on campus.
  • Parents should wait for their children on the sidewalk on the south side of the building.
  • To maintain student safety, please refrain from remaining in and around the front of the school and the car line.

 Emergency Information- Change of Address, Telephone or Guardianship:

For the safety and well-being of your child, it is extremely important that the school records regarding your child’s emergency information be updated and maintained throughout the school year.  Please notify the front office on any changes with the following information:

  • Telephone numbers
  • Home Address
  • Email Address
  • Emergency contact information (This includes anyone who can be contacted in your absence such as a neighbor or relative.)
  • If there is any change regarding legal guardianship of your child, please let the office know immediately.
  • The school will need a copy of any court documents that involve the custody of your child.

 Emergency Plan:

The safety of your child is one of our greatest concerns.  Fire and various other emergency drills are held regularly to teach students how to respond in the event of an emergency.  When the alarm is sounded, students are to walk single file to the designated exit.  There should be NO TALKING and students should move quickly without running or pushing.  Upon completion of the drill, an all-clear signal will be sounded, at which time students will return to their classes in the manner in which they exited.  In case of severe weather, listen to the local news and radio stations for information.  Please keep in mind that our school phone lines will be very congested or possibly out of service.  When SEVERE WEATHER INCLUDES LIGHTNING, there are specific safety procedures which are used:

  • The 30/30 Rule states that if the seconds between seeing lightning or hearing thunder is 30 seconds or less, seek shelter immediately.  After hearing the last thunder, wait 30 minutes before leaving shelter.
  • Parents must come into the office to sign out their child during severe weather storms.
  • We advise waiting until the storm passes before signing out your child.

 School Messenger

Orange County Public Schools utilizes the School Messenger system to keep families informed through automated phone messages and emails.  School administrators have the ability to send messages to parent and legal guardians on upcoming events, schedules and emergencies.  The system uses information parents provide to the school during registration.  It is important that parents maintain accurate contact information with the school to ensure proper delivery of these messages.

 Telephone Voicemail Messages

All teachers have their own telephones with extensions and voicemail.  If you need to contact your child’s teacher, please leave a voicemail message.  Teachers check their messages throughout the day and will return calls within 24 hours.  In case of an emergency, please contact the front office.


Conduct and Discipline Policies

In order to maintain a safe, positive and receptive learning environment students have the right to feel safe from crime, violence, intimidation, bullying, harassment, racism, and other discrimination in the school.  It is the responsibility of all students to maintain appropriate behaviors that enhance a positive learning environment.  Florida law outlines the rights and responsibilities of students.  Columbia Elementary adheres to the Orange County Public Schools Code of Student Conduct.  A copy of this guide is given to each student every year.  It is very important that you review the contents of this guide with your child and return the signed portion to your child’s teacher.  According to the Code of Student Conduct all level 1-4 offenses may result in a discipline referral.  Please refer to the Code of Student conduct for more details.

Columbia Elementary has adopted a new school wide discipline plane, Students That Act Responsibly (STAR).  Students earn “Shuttle Bucks” if they demonstrate any of the following behaviors:

  • Keep hands and feet to yourself
  • Follow directions
  • Demonstrate good manners
  • Walk in a straight line with your class
  • Exhibit acts of kindness

 Bullying Prevention

In accordance with the Florida Statue Section 1006.147, titled “Bullying and Harassment Prohibited” and School Board Policy (ADD), titled “Bullying and Harassment”, the school board of Orange County, Florida is committed to protecting its students, employees, and applications for admission from bullying, harassment or discrimination for any reason and of any type.  The school board believes that all students and employees are entitled to a safe, equitable, and harassment-free school experience.  Bullying, harassment or discrimination will not be tolerated and shall be just cause for disciplinary action.

 Student Appearance – Dress Guidelines

Cleanliness and good grooming are expected standards for everyone at school.  It is important that clothing is safe, modest, and does not distract from learning.  Please ensure that your child wears appropriate clothing to school.  If your child’s clothing does not meet the OCPS guideline, he/she may be counseled regarding proper clothing or asked to change before being admitted to class. If acceptable clothing is not available in the clinic, you will be called and asked to bring your child appropriate clothing. Specific guidelines are listed in the OCPS Code of Student Conduct.

 School Property

Students are responsible for the proper use of school facilities, property and books.  Improper use, which results in damage or loss, could result in fines and public service.

 Cell Phones

These are permitted at school; however, they must be turned off.  Text messaging, digital photography and videoing is prohibited during the school day (first bell to last bell and while on school sponsored transportation).

 Animals

The following Orange County Public School Policy outlines the responsibilities of staff, students and visitors with respect to dogs and other domestic animals on OCPS property:

  • This policy prohibits trespassing of domestic animals.  No dogs/domestic animals are permitted on OCPS property whether leashed or not.
  • No pet owner/keeper shall permit their animal to trespass on OCPS property without proper authorization from OCPS Safety Department.
  • The presence of pets on OCPS property is restricted except for worker dogs (i.e. police, search, guide companion dogs and dogs in training) where necessary and provides equity of access to people with disabilities.
  • No animal is allowed to run unrestricted in the OCPS property.  If there is an unleashed animal on school grounds, contact Animal Services at (407)836-3111 to remove the animal.
  • OCPS will NOT be responsible for any cost incurred by an animal owner/keeper in retrieving their pet from Animal Services.

Breakfast and Lunch Program

Breakfast (8:15-8:40) and lunch are served daily. The menu is available on the ocps.net website on a monthly basis.  School meals are prepaid at www.schoolpay.com.   Advance payments are encouraged for convenience and to eliminate money being lost by students who purchase daily.  Please place a check or cash in an envelope labeled with the child’s name, teacher name, date and amount enclosed.  Any monies not used will be rolled over for the next year.  We encourage all families to complete a Meal Application at the beginning of every school year to ensure all students can receive a school meal.

 Eating Lunch with Your Child

Parents are permitted to eat lunch with their child, but must adhere to the following procedures:

  • Check in at the school office prior to your child’s scheduled lunchtime.
  • Meet their child in the cafeteria and sit at the designated guest tables in the café with their child only.

 Columbia Café Rules:

In order to maintain a safe and orderly environment, Columbia Elementary students follow the “Silver Spoon” cafeteria behavior plan.  To ensure an enjoyable breakfast and lunch for all students, please review these rules with your child:

 Staying in your area

Practice self-control (by walking and keeping your hands and feet to yourself)

Only eat your own food

Only use inside voices

Neat and tidy tables, benches and floor space

Please help us enforce better manners and behavior in the cafeteria by reminding your child to:

  • Remain seated and keep their hands and feet to themselves and out of aisles.
  • Raise their hands for assistance.
  • Use the restrooms only in an emergency.
  • Remove trash from the table and under the table and deposit all of it in the trashcan.
  • Eat only their own food (no trading or sharing).

 Students who do not follow the rules or create a behavior problem may be separated from their class. Repetitive behavior will result in discipline referral.

 Parties and Celebrations:

In an effort to maintain maximum instructional time for all students, school board policy states that elementary school classes may have a maximum of two parties per year.  These parties are designated to precede our winter break and the end of the school year.  Please remember, parents who sign up to volunteer with class parties are not permitted to bring student siblings to these events.  Parents are not permitted to video tape or photograph classroom activities as it may infringe on the rights of other students.  Parents who wish to attend classroom parties must be an approved ADDitions school volunteer.

Parents should not plan to have birthday celebrations in the classroom as this disrupts the instructional time.  On birthdays, parents may choose to provide a “treat” for the class during their regularly scheduled lunchtime.  The following are the Orange County Public School guidelines for bringing food to school:

  • All foods given to students during normal school hours must come from an identifiable source and are presented in a sealed container with the manufacturer clearly identified so that OCPS has established a responsible party for the preparation, handling, and transportation of food item.
  • Food prepared in homes may only be given by the parent/guardian to their own child and not shared with other students.

Invitations to private parties may not be distributed at school unless every member of the class is invited to the party.

 Lost and Found

Lost articles are collected in the school cafeteria.  Please label any materials or clothing and encourage your child to look weekly.  Unclaimed articles will be given to charitable organizations.

Media Center Procedures

Our media center has a wide variety of literature available for students to check out.  It is up to the homeroom teacher to provide time for their students to visit the media center and check out books.  Please take care of our books and treat them with care so that they remain in good condition and may be enjoyed by all.  The following are our checkout procedures:

  • Students in K-1 may have ONE book checked out at a time.
  • Students in grades 2-5 may have TWO books checked out at a time.
  • The circulation period for all books is two weeks.  After this time, the book becomes overdue.
  • If at any time a book becomes overdue, the account will be frozen until book is returned or renewed.
  • Any lost and/or damaged books must be paid for before a student will be allowed to check out anymore items.

 School Clinic

The clinic is staffed with a Health Care Assistant.  The Assistant is trained to provide first aid only.  Please do not send your sick child to school.  Students who become ill or injured at school will be sent to the clinic.  If the nature of the illness/injury is such that a student should go home, parent will be notified.        Students will not be released to anyone except a parent or another person designated on the student’s emergency card.  In the event of a serious injury or illness, school officials will notify parents and/or the paramedics via 911.  The child will be taken to a hospital emergency room if such action is deemed necessary.  It is important that the Emergency Student Information Form is completed.  The school needs your most current home, work, cell or emergency numbers.  It is the responsibility of the parent to keep this information current. In the event a child visits the clinic but is well enough to return to class, a notice from the clinic or classroom teacher will be sent home with the child.  Please sign this notice and return it to the school.  Please notify us in writing of any allergies, including food allergies, handicap, illness or special dietary problems that might affect your child’s school routine.  This information will be shared with the appropriate personnel and kept on file for reference if necessary.

 Medication

  • If your child requires medication during school hours parent must fill out a form provided by the school.
  • Parents must deliver the medication to the clinic in the original containers with directions from the physician.
  • Medications will be kept in the clinic unless physician’s directions define otherwise.
  • Over the counter medications such as cough drops, aspirin, Chap Stick, etc… may not be brought to school unless followed by the proper procedures outlined above.
  • Children are NOT allowed to transport medication.  After the above procedures have been followed, the child will be sent to the clinic for medication as directed.

 Head Lice

Head lice problems arise among school children due to close contact with each other.  Every effort is taken to control this problem in our school through periodic screenings.  If a child is found to have lice or nits, parents are notified and expected to take the child home for proper treatment of the condition.  Instructions will be supplied to parents of afflicted children in order to minimize loss of class time and to maintain the child’s self-esteem.  Students with head lice will be allowed a total of 4 excused absences for the year.

 Parent Teacher Conferences

The staff recognizes conferences are essential for effective communication between home and school.  Conferences help us better understand the needs of your child.  At the end of the first nine weeks, there is a designated conference night to discuss your child’s progress.  However, we strongly encourage on going communication with your child’s teacher throughout the year.  If at any time you would like to discuss your child’s progress, please feel free to contact your child’s teacher via voicemail or email to set up an appointment.

Parent Access Documents

Each year, parents are required to complete consent forms through ProgressBook for: Consent Given for Internet Use; Consent Given to Generate Online Acct; Consent Given to Use Social Media; Consent Given for Photo/Video (including- having their picture in the yearbook or being taken for class pictures); Child’s Directory Info Released.  If your student does not have these forms signed, he/she will not be allowed to use school computers, have school pictures taken or be in the school yearbook.

 Reporting Student Progress/Progress Book

Orange County Public Schools desires to provide its students and staff with access to technology tools and information which improve student performance.  In keeping with this goal, ProgressBook has been implemented.  ProgressBook is an online classroom information tool for teachers, students and parents.  You and your student now have access to homework, attendance, and grading information for your student.  ProgressBook is accessed through its website (www.parentaccess.com) or download the app to your smartphone.  Students receive report cards four times each year at nine-week intervals.  In addition, during the fifth week of each marking period, students are given an interim progress report. Students are graded on their academic progress and personal growth.  If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your child’s teacher to schedule a conference.

 Grading Scale

A - 90-100                                           S – Satisfactory                                              AL- Above Grade Level

B - 80-89                                             W - Working on Skill                                       AT - At Grade Level

C - 70-79                                             N - Needs Improvement                                 BL - Below Grade Level

D - 60-69                                             U - Unsatisfactory

F - Below 60                                       

 

Homework

Homework is used to reinforce taught skills in core content areas.

Honor Roll Policy

Honor Roll is a school-wide motivational program promoting school attendance and the pursuit of good grades. Students in grades 2-5 are eligible for the following: Principal’s Honor Roll and A/B Honor Roll.

 Parent Teacher Association (PTA)

The PTA is a vital part of our school program.  We encourage parents to support PTA by becoming PTA members.  A successful school needs the services of the PTA.  Meetings are held September thru May on the fourth Monday of each month (subject to change due to school closures).

 School Advisory Council (SAC)

The School Advisory Council (SAC) consists of teachers, parents and education support personnel who are elected annually by their peers, and other citizens representative of the ethnic, racial and economic community served by the school to assist in formulating the annual School Improvement Plan.  The plan is designed to achieve the state education goals and student performance standards.  Meetings held throughout the school year.

 ADDitions (School Volunteers)

ADDitions play an important role at Columbia Elementary.  All volunteers must be registered and approved by OCPS.  Registration must be done yearly.  We encourage parents or any community member to become an active volunteer at our school.  You may fill out an application online at https://volunteer.ocps.net.  You must attach yourself to an opportunity; such as, field trip chaperone, classroom volunteer, or media center assistant.  Your time is greatly appreciated!

 Field Trips

Throughout the school year, each grade level plans for educational field trips.  To attend a field trip, parent permission is required.  Columbia Elementary encourages parents to return field trip permission slips and any fees as soon as possible.  Chaperones may be requested for field trips.  All chaperones must be an ADDitions approved volunteer and attach themselves to their class opportunity on the online site.  

District Guidelines for Attendance:

Regular attendance is an essential component of student learning.  Regular and punctual attendance at school is the responsibility of the parents.  Each parent and guardian of a child within compulsory attendance age (6-18) is responsible for the child’s school attendance.  The attendance policy for Columbia is based on Florida law as outlined below:

  • Absences will be reported as unexcused on a daily basis.
  • For truancy purposes 5 unexcused tardies will equal 1 unexcused absence.
  • A child must be in attendance for half the day (11:45; 11:15 Wednesday’s) to be counted present.
  • It is the responsibility of the parent or guardian to provide a written note within 24 hours stating the reason for the absence.  Emails are not acceptable.  We must have a signed note.
  • The Principal has the ultimate authority to decide whether an absence is excused or unexcused.  The school is authorized to require the parent or guardian to provide a written physician’s statement in order for excessive absences to be excused. 
  • A student will be reported to the principal when he/she has five (5) unexcused absences within a calendar month or ten (10) unexcused absences within a 90-calendar day period.  A child study team will develop and implement interventions to address issues of non-attending students.
  • The district school superintendent has the authority to file a truancy petition in the judicial circuit in which the student is enrolled if the school determines that a child has 15 unexcused absences within a 90 calendar day period.

Tardy students cause disruption to classes and often miss vital morning directions.  Habitual tardiness is a violation of Orange County Code of Student Conduct.

 

Prearranged Absences: In order to qualify for an excused absence for a religious holiday, the parent or guardian is required to provide a notarized statement verifying that the student is a member of, or practices and observes the tenets of, an established religious group, church or denomination.  This statement must be provided prior to or with the first request for a religious holiday and will be kept on file.  Requests for religious holidays must be received no later than one (1) week prior to the holiday and should be treated as a pre-arranged absence.  “Take Your Child to Work Day” is considered a prearranged absence.  We discourage the practice of taking vacations during the school year that require a student to miss school days.  If necessary, you must provide a Prearranged Absence Note to the principal no less than 2 weeks before the planned trip.

 

Early Check-Out:

The superintendent strongly discourages early departure of any student during the last hour of the school day.  For truancy purposes five early departures from school will equal one unexcused absence.  The authority to apply accumulated early departure as unexcused absences is given to the School Board of Orange County pursuant to Section 1003.02(1)(B) Florida Statutes. NO STUDENT is permitted to leave campus during the school day without following these procedures:

  • Picture ID will be required before a student is released to an adult.
  • Students who are checked out before 11:45am will be considered absent for the entire day. If unavoidable circumstances arise, the student must be signed out through the office to the parent or legal guardian only.
  • No child may be checked out between 2:15-3:00pm (1:15-2:00pm Wednesday’s)
  • We will not change the way a child is to go home by means of a telephone call, fax or email.  You must send a note with your child if a change is necessary.

 

Transfers:

If it becomes necessary for your child to transfer to another school, a withdrawal form is required in order to register at another school.  Please notify Columbia’s registrar immediately to ensure all withdrawal procedures are completed.  Student records are not released to parents, but are sent directly to the receiving school.

 

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