2021-2022 Family-Student Handbook

Letter from the Principal

Dear Parents, Guardians, and Students,

Welcome to St. Francis de Sales Catholic Academy and the 2021-2022 school year!  We are pleased to provide you and your children with a team of professionals dedicated to the highest standard of Catholic education and care of your child(ren). 

As parents/guardians of children enrolled in the Academy, you also serve as a partner in education.  As partners, parents, faculty, and staff will work together to ensure the academic, social, spiritual, and emotional growth of your children while they attend the Academy.  I trust that you are up to the task, and I welcome working with you to ensure the success of your child and all the students at the Academy!

In order to provide the best quality of education and safety, we ask that all parents/guardians and students adhere to the Academy’s policies.  This Parent-Student Handbook contains the Academy’s policies and is intended to provide you with a guide.  Please take the time to review this Handbook in its entirety.  I hope the Handbook will answer questions you may have regarding the policies of the Academy, although you may always reach out to me or the Board of Directors if you have any questions, comments, or concerns. 

This Handbook will be distributed as a hard copy upon request.  It will remain accessible to you on the school website. 

At the end of this Handbook are various documents for you to review and digitally sign, as well as an Acknowledgement of the Receipt of this Handbook.  Please sign and return all these documents by 9/17/21.

Thank you for your support and I look forward to working with you as we provide the utmost quality Catholic education to your children in a secure, safe, and nurturing environment.

Here’s to a terrific school year.

Christopher Scharbach, Ed.D

Principal

 

Introduction and School Overview

St. Francis de Sales Catholic Academy – Belle Harbor, New York

School Address

219 Beach 129th St

Belle Harbor, NY 11694

Telephone Numbers

School Office: 718-634-2775

School Fax: 718-634-6673

Web site: www.stfrancisacademybh.org

Mission statement

The St. Francis de Sales Catholic Academy family is committed to academic excellence, Christian service to others, and providing a Christ-centered, safe, and engaging environment where students can grow spiritually and academically towards a faith-filled future.

Parental Expectation of Adherence to School Policy

Discipline in the schools should reflect the spirit of Vatican Council II, as expressed in the documents on Christian Education and Religious Liberty. Therefore, discipline should be geared to assist a child to develop an understanding of self as being made in the image of God.

….Education is integral to the mission of the Church to proclaim the Good News. First and foremost every Catholic educational institution is a place to encounter the living God who in Jesus Christ reveals his transforming love and truth (cf. Spe Salve, 4). This relationship elicits a desire to grow in the knowledge and understanding of Christ and his teaching. In this way those who meet him are drawn by the very power of God to lead a new life characterized by all that is beautiful, good, and true; a life of Christian witness nurtured and strengthened within the community of our Lord’s disciples, the Church….Dear friends, I wish to conclude by focusing our attention specifically on the paramount importance of your own professionalism and witness within our Catholic universities and schools. First, let me thank you for your dedication and generosity. I know from my own days as a professor, and have heard from your Bishops and officials of the Congregation for Catholic Education, that the reputation of Catholic institutes of learning in this country is largely due to yourselves and your predecessors. Your selfless contributions – from outstanding research to the dedication of those working in inner-city schools – serve your country and the Church. For this I express my profound gratitude.

Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI to Catholic educators at the Catholic University of America, Washington, DC, April 17, 2008

Evidence of discipline exists in a school community when the students, teachers, administration, and parents/legal guardians work cooperatively to educate the whole child: spiritually, academically, socially, emotionally, and physically.

 

PURPOSE OF THIS HANDBOOK

This Parent-Student Handbook (“Handbook”) is designed to provide important information regarding rules, policies and procedures relating to the operation and safety at our Academy.  The Handbook summarizes policies and contains general guidelines and information.  To the extent that anything in this Handbook conflicts with applicable law, the applicable law governs.  Further, this Handbook may be changed from time to time during the academic year.  If you have any questions on this Handbook or otherwise, please contact the Principal. 

Parents/guardians are required to digitally sign a form stating that they have read the rules and regulations outlined in this Handbook and that they agree to abide by those rules and to ensure that their children abide by the rules. Students and Families in grades 5-8 must also sign the separate Code of Conduct form as well.  Failure to sign the form will not prevent the Academy from enforcing its policies but could result in disciplinary action being taken and/or the prevention of the student from enrolling in the school. .

In this Handbook, the term “parent” refers not only to a child’s natural or adopted parent but to a student’s non-parent legal guardian or to any person or agency authorized to act in place of a parent.

Finally, in light of the unique situations which may arise in the educational process, and because it is impossible to foresee all school issues, the Academy reserves the right to address and take appropriate action for any such situations not specifically referenced in this Handbook.  And, in light of the unique and essential religious mission of the Academy, the Academy may take actions in cases where moral offenses occur which reflect adversely on the Academy, the Diocese of Brooklyn, or the Roman Catholic Church, or which interfere with the ability of the Academy to perform its religious mission or to effectively maintain the intimate working relationship of the Academy and the community of Faith.

CATHOLIC IDENTITY

Catholic Identity

The mission of Catholic Education is to form children in the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ as celebrated in the Catholic Church while providing a comprehensive academic education that will help them reach their full human potential and contribute to the common good of our nation and the world. Ultimately, the mission of all Catholic education is to lead those entrusted to its care to find salvation in Jesus Christ. 

In Catholic Schools on the Threshold of the Third Millennium (#11) Saint John Paul II wrote that Catholic schools are “…the privileged environment in which Christian education is carried out.  Catholic schools are at once places of evangelization, of complete formation, of enculturation, of apprenticeship in a lively dialogue between young people of different religions and social backgrounds.” 

Diocesan academies and schools strive to emulate the words of Saint John Paul II by:

  • creating an evangelizing community, where people come to have a better and deeper understanding of Christ and His Church
  • recognizing the importance of multi-cultural, multi-faceted, academically sound educational programs that meet the needs of the poor and the rich, the Catholic and the non-Catholic, the wise and the not so learned
  • welcoming members to the school community regardless of culture, race, or religion and celebrating the diversity that exists within our communities, churches, and schools
  • creating an environment that encourages young people to grow, not separated from others, but as part of a larger community, as part of the family of God
  • not only promoting and encouraging academically sound individuals, but rejoicing with children who are spiritually, theologically, and liturgically enlivened and fulfilled

 Adherence to Catholic Doctrine

The Academy is a Roman Catholic school located in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn (“Diocese of Brooklyn”), and is committed to providing quality Catholic education for both Catholic children and those of other faiths who share our commitment to Gospel values and academic excellence.  Our goals includes teaching Christ’s truth and fostering the formation of the Academy’s students by conveying the values rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  As a religious organization of the Roman Catholic faith, the Academy, at all times, adheres to the doctrines, customs, tenets and teachings of the Roman Catholic church, and the curriculum guidelines in religion from the Diocese of Brooklyn.  All students and parents, including those who are Non-Catholic, must accept and adhere to the standards, values, and religious tenets of the Roman Catholic faith.  All parents/guardians are expected to support the Academy’s mission and commitment to Christian principles.

Inclusion of All Other Faiths

The presence of students from other faiths provides a wonderful diversity, and the Academy welcomes students and parents/guardians of other faiths.  However, as a Catholic school located within the Diocese of Brooklyn, the Academy is focused on the formation of children in the Catholic faith.  Parents/guardians must accept the intentional Catholic values and tenets that are the underpinning of our Academy.  All students, including Non-Catholic students, are expected to participate in the religious formation and education programs of the Academy, including, but not limited to, liturgies, religious functions, and religious classes.  It is also expected that Non-Catholic students and parents/guardians participate as fully as they can in the liturgical and prayer life of the Academy.  The teachers and administration at the Academy are also committed to teaching the fullness of revelation as it is taught by the Roman Catholic Church and the Diocese of Brooklyn.  While our teachers, administration, and staff value the presence of students from other faiths and respect other faiths, they always teach and model within the context of the doctrines and tenets of the Roman Catholic Church. 

 

ACADEMICS

Academic Expectations

The Academy expects its students to perform to the best of their ability.  Teachers evaluate students’ progress on a regular basis with quizzes, tests, homework, presentations, participation, behavior in the classroom, and class presentation.  After a test is graded, it will be sent home for a parent/guardian to review.  All grades are posted on the FACTS Family Portal. 

Curriculum & Assessments

NYS Testing

Students in grades 4, 6, 7, and 8 will participate in New York State Testing. Parents receive an Individual Student Report (ISR) which includes a breakdown of a student’s performance in different skill areas within ELA, Math and Science.  This helps parents understand where their child is doing well and in what areas he or she may need additional practice.  Parents can use these results to guide a discussion with their child’s teacher about additional supports or challenges that may be needed in the classroom, as well as ways to support learning at home. There are no negative consequences when taking state tests as the tests are considered diagnostic. The ELA and math test results are not recorded on student permanent record cards or report cards. New York State law forbids the use of state test results as the determining factor in promotion.

TerraNova Testing

Students in grades 3-8 will participate in TerraNova Testing in the fall. TerraNova testing is a nationally- normed, standardized testing program. This series of tests is issued to diagnose student performance and develop student learning goals.

Religious Education

Religion is part of all that we see, teach and do at the Academy, and is a crucial component of students’ academic learning.  The Academy adheres to the current Diocese of Brooklyn curriculum guidelines in religion.  Non-Catholic students are expected to fully participate in all religious education and formation programs, including, but not limited to, religion class, liturgies, and religious functions. 

Homework

Homework is an essential part of the Academy’s instructional program, as it reinforces learning and provides students with opportunities to practice what they were taught in class.  Homework can come in many forms, including, but not limited to, projects, reports, and independent reading.  Students are required to complete all homework, including when a student is absent.  Parent, guardian, or other adult assistance with homework is key to a student’s academic success!   

ALL students are expected to read independently for 10-30 minutes per evening based on grade level.

Please keep in mind that each child works at a different pace and the time frame for completing homework for one student may be different than that for another.

Homework must be done at home and may not be done at school, with the exception of students who attend the After School Program.

Grades

The determination of grades is the responsibility of each individual teacher. These expectations will be shared with you on Back to School Night.  Parents/guardians and students must know and understand how grades are determined and are encouraged to reach out to each student’s teacher or teachers. 

Protecting Instructional Time

Maintaining school schedules and structures is of the utmost importance during the school year. As academies make their calendar and schedules, their goal is to protect instructional time as much as possible. In protecting instructional time, parents are asked to refrain from removing their children during the school day for unnecessary activities. Appointments should be scheduled, when possible, before or after the school day in order to avoid disrupting student learning. Vacations and family trips should also be planned, when possible, for existing school vacation weeks. In the event of a necessary absence, parents should alert the school and classroom teacher as soon as possible. If an extended absence is known, parents should communicate with their child’s teacher to create a plan for making up missed work.

Progress Reports & Report Card Schedule

Parents/ legal guardians will receive report cards three times a year, at the end of each trimester. Parents/ legal guardians will also be able to see student’s grades via the FACTS parent portal. It is vital to a student’s progress that an open communication exists between parents/ legal guardians and their child’s teacher. Any concerns regarding a child’s progress should be addressed first to the child’s teacher.

Parent-Teacher Conferences

Parents/ legal guardians will have the opportunity to attend parent-teacher conferences at the end of the first and second trimester following receipt of student report cards. While these are formally scheduled conferences, parents are also encouraged to schedule meetings with teachers or other staff, when necessary, to discuss their child’s progress and learning goals.

Admission Policies

Roman Catholic schools in the Diocese of Brooklyn base their educational purpose and all their activities on the Christian teaching of the essential quality of all persons as rooted in God’s love. 

PRIORITY FOR ADMISSION

Students will be enrolled or added to a waiting list in the order of applications received based on the following criteria:

  1. Current student presently enrolled.

  2. A sibling of an enrolled St. Francis de Sales Catholic Academy N-8 student

  3. Transferring Diocesan Catholic School students
  4. Students of families who are registered, supporting, and active in Blessed Trinity or St. Francis de Sales Parishes. The family must be in good standing with regard to the participation, finances, and support of the parish. When the applicants are equal, the following will be taken into account: a) Longevity in Blessed Trinity or St. Francis de Sales parishes, b) Grandchildren of longtime parishioners, c) Results of any interviews deemed necessary by the principal.

  5. Students of families who are registered in and supporting other Catholic parishes

  6. Non-Catholic students.

CONDITIONS FOR ADMISSION

All new students are accepted on a three-month probationary basis. Students must meet St. Francis de Sales Catholic Academy’s academic standards and expectations.

  1. A state-issued birth certificate, copy of a baptismal certificate if Roman Catholic, proof of medical exam, and record of immunizations must be submitted by all new students before school begins. Additional medical/dental/vision exam requirements may apply for certain grade levels.

  2. In order to be accepted into Kindergarten, a student must be 5 (five) years of age by December 31st, 2021.

  3. Students applying for our 3-year-old preschool must be 3 (three) years of age by December 31st, 2021. Students applying for pre-kindergarten must be 4 (four) years of age by December 31st 2021. All preschoolers must be potty trained.

Students registering for Grades 1 to 8 will be accepted only if their previous academic and conduct records are satisfactory. 

St. Francis de Sales Catholic Academy follows the policy of a maximum of 30 students in each classroom. Consideration for additional staff members due to full enrollment will be made at the discretion of the principal and the Board of Directors. Please note that due to COVID-19 class size guidelines may change. 

ADMISSION OF SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTS

Students with special needs shall be given the same consideration as all applicants. However, prior to admitting a student with diagnosed special needs, St. Francis de Sales Catholic Academy shall make a determination as to whether or not it feels it can provide an appropriate education for that child. Each child will be considered on an individual basis. St. Francis de Sales will consider:

  • The severity and degree of the learning disability;
  • The level of support needed from special services and any special equipment the student may require;
  • The number of students with disabilities currently enrolled in an assigned class;
  • The school’s resources, such as available support personnel, class size, and accessibility of school facilities;
  • The accommodations, if any are necessary, and the school’s ability to meet those accommodations;
  • The child’s individualized education plan (IEP) if one exists, and the school’s ability to meet the IEP.

Parents and/or the public school district in which the student resides shall be responsible for any additional special education services that a student may require.

St. Francis de Sales Catholic Academy will engage the services of the Office of Catholic Schools to assist in making a determination of whether a student’s educational needs can best be met in the least restrictive environment.

 

Choosing a school is a great challenge with so many offerings. It is our hope that whatever your final choice is, that you are happy and your children are successful.

For more information, please call 718-634-2775 or visit the office during school hours between 8AM and 3PM. During the summer please call the school for modified office hours.

The Catholic academies and parish schools within the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn welcome students of all backgrounds to share in the Catholic education experience. As parents of children who attend the Catholic academies and parish schools, you are encouraged to share in our Faith community. In accordance with the teachings of the Roman Catholic Faith, the Catholic academies and parish schools within the Diocese of Brooklyn admit students of any race, color, national origin, and ethnic origin. The  Catholic academies and parish schools do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, and ethnic origin in admission, policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.

Transfers and Withdrawals

If a parent/guardian wishes to transfer his or her child(ren) out of the Academy, a transfer request form must be obtained from the main office.  Before records are transferred to another school, all bills must be paid in full and all books must be returned. 

When a student transfers from one school to another or enters high school, the new school may request a copy of the permanent record and health card from the former school.  The Academy may disclose a student’s cumulative record (i.e. permanent record, attendance record, test results) to another school with a legitimate educational interest if a written request is made and when a parent/guardian has given written permission for the release of the child’s records.  Parent/guardian signature is required for release of a student’s confidential file, which includes special education records, psychological reports, disciplinary records, and reports by a school counselor.

At the discretion of the Principal, and in accordance with applicable law, the Academy has the right not to certify a student’s graduation or provide transcripts of the student’s academic record to third parties such as other schools, colleges, or employers, or to issue a diploma to the student, if there has been a breach of a material condition of the educational contract, such as failure to meet financial obligations, infractions against the school’s code of conduct, anti-bullying policy or violations of the policies of the Academy and those set forth in this Handbook.

The Academy reserves the right to request that a parent/guardian withdraw his or her child from the school.

Recommendation for Next Grade Level

The Academy takes the decision whether to promote or retain a student extremely seriously.  Sometimes, however, testing, diagnosis and actual performance may indicate that a student cannot follow the school’s complete course of study. In accordance with NYS Education Law, Assessment and Performance a student is being considered for retention at the same grade level, teachers will discuss the possibility with the Principal.  Although the teacher consults with the Principal, the final decision for retaining a student rests with the Principal.  Certain criteria the Principal and teachers may take into account as they consider a recommendation for retention includes that the student has failed to pass major subjects on each grade level and/or has not demonstrated acceptable progress toward mastery of standards, including failure to complete assignments, or repeated low scores in several areas on a report card.

A student who receives a final failing grade in religion will NOT be promoted.

If a student completes all requirements for promotion or graduation, and there has been no recommendation or approval to retain the student, a parent/guardian or family cannot self-select that the student be retained.

Graduation

At the discretion of the Principal, the Academy has the right not to certify a student’s graduation or to issue a diploma to the student, if there has been a breach of a material condition of the educational contract, such as failure to meet financial obligations, infractions against the school’s code of conduct, anti-bullying policy or violations of the policies of the Academy and those set forth in this Handbook.

Distance Learning

For the 2021-2022 school year the only time a child may be remote is for the following two cases:

1) The child has tested positive for COVID-19 via a Rapid and/or PCR Lab-based test. Please note the school will need a copy of the positive test to determine how long a child will be remote for.

2) The child is exposed in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19. When requesting remote instruction due to this please explain the contact, date of contact, and if your child hasany symptoms. All requests must come through the administration.

All other requests (child being sick for a day, vacation, dentist appointment, etc.), your child should be reported absent if they are not able to be in school and check in with their Google Classroom or Class page to see work that was missed. There will be no deviation from this policy. Please note that individual remote instruction will be a combination of synchronous (live) and asynchronous (not live) activities.

In case of a school-wide or class-wide closure classes will switch to full remote classes similar to

what was the case in the 2020-2021 school year.

 Extracurricular Activities

The Academy offers various extracurricular activities.  Like the After School program, students are expected to follow school policy while engaged in any extracurricular activity.  Participation in these activities is a privilege, and students are expected to fulfill their obligations in the classroom as a priority to any extracurricular activity. 

When participating in extracurricular activities, including sports or otherwise, students must at all times demonstrate Catholic values.  It is expected that students, coaches, and fans display respect, civility, and responsibility during all events, contests, and/or practices. 

Students who do not abide by the Academy’s policies will lose the opportunity to participate in any extracurricular activity.

Recess 

With the exception of school-wide events, which may include Mass, daily recess will be provided.  If weather permits, the students will attend recess in the schoolyard.   If a student has any physical limitation which may affect his or her ability to engage in all recess activities, the Academy must be notified in accordance with the Limitations of Physical Activity policy below.

Summer School

In accordance with NYS Education Guidelines, a student who has received a failing grade in reading, mathematics, and Social Studies, and/or Science in two of the three marking periods of the report card will be required to attend mandatory summer school in the low-performing content areas. Summer school may also be recommended due to poor performance on standardized tests or in the classroom.  Excessive absences during the school year may result in the child being required to attend summer school. The final determination as to whether a student must attend summer school rests with the Principal.

The summer school report card must be submitted to the Principal before August 20th.  Failure to attend summer school when required will result in retention at the same grade level or discharge of the student.  It is the parent/guardian’s responsibility to provide documentation that summer school has been successfully completed.  In cases in which tutoring is allowed for remediation, it must be undertaken by a qualified teacher and approved in advance by the Principal.

GENERAL INFORMATION

 Academy Calendar and Hours

New York State Law currently requires a school calendar to provide 177 days of instruction with 3 professional days and cites the following holidays when schools may not be in session:

Columbus Day                                                  Second Monday in October

Veterans Day                                                    Eleventh Day in November

Thanksgiving Day                                            Fourth Thursday in November

Christmas Day                                                 Twenty-fifth day in December

New Year’s Day                                               First Day in January

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day                  Third Monday in January

Memorial Day                                                  Last Monday in May

Juneteenth                                                       Nineteenth day in June

On the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, the feast of the patroness of the Diocese of Brooklyn, the Academy will be closed. All advanced school closings will be indicated in the school calendar. The Academic calendar can be found on the Academy’s website.  To the extent any changes are made, the website will be updated. 

School Hours

Nursery

1st session        8:00 A.M. – 10:50 A.M.

2nd session 11:30 A.M. – 2:20 P.M.

Pre-Kindergarten

Morning arrival between 7:45 and 7:55 A.M 

7:55 A.M. – 2:20 P.M.

Half-day dismissal time for Pre-Kindergarten students will be 11:50 A.M.

Grades Kindergarten to Eight

Morning arrival between 7:40 A.M. and 7:55 A.M.

Morning bell 7:55 A.M.

Dismissal 2:30pm

Half-day dismissal time for Kindergarten to Eight students will be 12:00 P.M.

Please refer to the school’s arrival and dismissal procedures that are distributed at the beginning of the year.

 After School Program 

The Academy offers an After School program.  This occurs Monday-Thursday.  The After School program is an extension of the school day, and students are expected to follow all Academy policies and procedures during After School.  Directors of individual activities during After School may also issue rules of behavior, which recognize the special nature of non-classroom activities.  In instances where students are picked up, parents/guardians are expected to make arrangements to pick up their children at the end of the program or activity.  Students will be released only to a parent/guardian or a person previously specified in writing by the parent/guardian.  After school program fees are expected to be paid in full upon being invoiced.  Past due balances will result in a student not being allowed to participate in the program until the account is brought up to date.

For more information on After School please click here. 

 Attendance

The Academy has developed our attendance policy in accordance with New York State Education Law.  This comprehensive attendance policy will help us uphold the philosophy and mission statement of our Academy.

Education Law of the State of New York mandates school attendance for all children between the ages of 6 and 16, but the responsibility for compliance rests with the parents/legal guardians.  The school is required to keep an accurate record of daily attendance, absence and tardiness in the register of attendance in a manner approved by the Commissioner of Education.

  • When a child has been absent, a written excuse is required from his or her parents/legal guardians. If a student is absent without an excuse, or if the school has reason to suspect the validity of the excuse, the principal will investigate the situation. 
  • When a student has been absent for five days without a satisfactory explanation, a report will be made to the attendance officer of the local public school district.
  • Continuing illegal absences, totaling five or more days, will also be reported to the attendance officer at the local public school district office.
  • Although each case is different, it should be noted that at 40 truancy days, retention is a strong possibility and principals will contact the local district office to alert the truancy officer.

Doctor or dental appointments should be scheduled for after regular school hours.  Family vacations should not be planned for days when school is in session.  Rather, students receive vacation time throughout the year.  Teachers are not required to give assignments in anticipation of family vacations and are not required to give make-up tests for absences due to vacation trips.

Lateness

A student who arrives after the time set by the Academy for the beginning of the day will be marked late.

Arrival and Dismissal Policy

Early arrival begins at 7:40 am.  Parents/guardians are to drop their children off at the entrance that has been said at the beginning of the year.  This is the safest place for children—with their peers and with an adult from the Academy present. We strongly encourage parents/guardians to drop their children off at early arrival time, as the additional time gives students more time to prepare for the day and socialize with their peers. For safety reasons, parents/guardians and visitors are not permitted to enter the building at the time unless it is an emergency. 

The Academy will not release a student to any adult that is not known to it as a parent, guardian, or custodian.  If a parent/guardian sends another individual to pick up his or her child, the parent/guardian must notify the Academy in writing at least 24 hours in advance. 

Students who proceed home on their own (Grade 5 and up), either by walking, bicycle, or otherwise, must do so as safely and directly as possible. They must obey all traffic and trespassing laws, and cross at designated crosswalks.  Students in grades 4 and below will not be permitted to travel home from the Academy without a parent, guardian or other authorized adult or another pre-arranged travel accommodation (such as a school bus).  In the case of a younger student traveling home with an older student, such as an older sibling, the Academy must receive written authorization from a parent/guardian. The Academy reserves the right to not release the student(s) to travel home on their own, either by walking or otherwise, if it deems that is not in the best interest of the students. 

Early Release

Students are expected to be in attendance for the complete session each school day.  If for any reason a student must leave the Academy before the regular dismissal hour, a parent/legal guardian or a person authorized by the parent/legal guardian must come to the Academy office to pick the student up and escort the student out of the building. Parents/ legal guardians must provide authorization for their child to be released to an individual other than a parent/ legal guardian.

Use of School Grounds

Unless students are formally registered for before or after school programs, including Academy extracurricular activities, the school does not have staff available to supervise students present on the school grounds outside the general school hours.   

Dress Code

The Academy believes that clothes do not define a person. The wearing of a uniform allows everyone to be seen for who they are, not by what they have. The purpose of a uniform is a means of consistency in student dress, while keeping costs to a minimum.  It also reduces the problem of competitive dressing. Students, unless otherwise notified by Administration, will wear the school uniform.

All students are expected to keep themselves well-groomed and neatly dressed at all times.  A clean and healthy appearance is important. Any form of dress which is considered by the Administrations to be contrary to good hygiene or which is distractive or disruptive in appearance and detrimental to the purpose or conduct of the school will not be permitted.  All clothing must be clean, neatly pressed, and in good repair.  No ripped, torn, or defaced item may be worn.

For more information on our uniform policy please click here

Grooming Code

Hair must be its natural color, clean, neatly combed, not totally covering the ears or eyes.

  • Facial hair is not permitted
  • Hair must be a natural color.  Streaking, highlighting, lowlights, glints, etc. are not permitted.

Students are not allowed to wear make-up other than nail polish at any time. This includes eye make-up and acrylic nails. Only appropriate modest and safe jewelry is allowed.  One pair of small earrings may be worn by girls only. Necklaces must be tucked into the shirt. Tattoos and body piercings are not allowed.

Nothing in this policy is meant to prevent a student from attending school with an ethnic hairstyle in connection with his or her race, heritage, or national origin, including, but not limited to, braids, locks, or twists.  

Parents/guardians will be notified if a child comes to school consistently in an unkempt manner. If no improvement is noticed within a reasonable amount of time, an appointment with the parents/guardians and the Principal will be made.

Dress Down Days 

There may be occasions in which students are allowed to wear non-uniform attire. Students are reminded to dress with modesty. Students should adhere to the following attire:

  • Appropriate length skirt, shorts or dress – no shorter than 3” above  the  knees
  • No spaghetti strap tanks, midriffs, tube tops, etc.
  • No logo type T-shirts
  • No hats (unless specifically designated)
  • No loose/baggy pants or shorts
  • No hoop earrings or excessive jewelry

Field Trips

Written permission must be obtained from parents/legal guardians of students who wish to go on scheduled trips.   Information to the parents/legal guardians will include the date, purpose, and destination of the trip, the expense, the means of transportation, and probable time of return.

Adults who wish to chaperone must complete Virtus training and background checks prior to accompanying students.  Please see the section on Volunteering, Chaperoning & VIRTUS training for further information about this process.

Field trips are considered an extension of the school day and the code of conduct and anti-bullying policy will apply.  All disciplinary rules pertaining to students equally apply to students during school field trips.  Students who engage in poor behavior on field trips may be required to be escorted by a parent/guardian for future field trips or may lose the privilege of attending field trips.  Individual teachers in consultation with the Principal reserve the right to restrict or deny student participation on any field trip due to, but not limited to, poor academic performance, violation of the code of conduct or poor behavior, or violation of school policy.

All medications given on field trips must comply with the Administering Medication policy.  For a student with prescription medication and/or medical necessary related treatments, a trained individual needs to be present on a field trip.  This can include a parent/guardian, a designated family member to ensure care in the case of an emergency, or the school nurse if the nurse is attending the field trip.  Given the needs of the Academy, the Academy cannot guarantee that the nurse will attend the trip.  If a trained individual of the Academy cannot attend the field trip, it is the responsibility of the parent/guardian to provide a trained individual to accompany the student on the field trip.  Any adult accompanying the student must complete Virtus training and background checks prior to accompanying the student. 

The Academy reserves the right to cancel school-sponsored field trips at any time and for any reason, including inclement weather and safety risks.

Care of School Property

Students will be held responsible for the proper care of all books, supplies, devices, accessories or equipment furnished to them by the Academy.  Students who damage, lose, or deface Academy property shall be required to pay for the damage or loss. Any incident of vandalism could lead to a suspension or expulsion. 

Desks, lockers, and any other area on Academy property where students store items are Academy property and subject to searches by school authorities to protect the safety of all.

Books and Supplies

All assigned books must be properly covered.  Contact paper is NOT to be used to cover any books obtained under the New York State textbook loan.  Books that are not part of this loan and are soft-covered should be covered in contact paper.  Each child is responsible for keeping his or her books in good condition.  Books that are lost or defaced become the liability of the student and his or her parents.  Students are responsible for providing supplemental materials listed on the yearly supply list for use in the classroom.

Textbooks are used on a rental basis and must always be kept clean and covered with Book Sox or Book Covers. Book covers that are marked with drawings, etc., will be required to be changed. Any books that are damaged or lost must be replaced at the expense of the student responsible for the damage or loss. Workbooks should be covered in clear contact paper. The student, not the school, is responsible for supplying book covers. Books must be carried in some type of schoolbag in order to protect them. All textbooks are collected at the end of the school year and must be in good condition. Most of these books are on loan to us by the State and are, therefore, the property of New York State. Uncovered books will be confiscated.

Telephone Use to Call Parent/Guardian/Custodian

If a parent/guardian needs to reach a student, he or she must call the Main Office.  Similarly, if a student seeks to call his or her parent, the student must make the request to the Main OfficeUnder no circumstances should a parent/guardian or child call or text each other during school hours from a cell phone.

Personal Property

The Academy is not responsible for valuables that are lost or damaged. It is strongly advised that students do not bring valuables into the school building including electronic devices such as tablets, phones, etc.

Announcements

Informational announcements are handled through the Academy’s P.A. system or via daily videos.  Students must courteously listen when a message is presented over the daily video or P.A. system, especially when prayers are recited. 

Fliers and Informational Brochures

Students may, upon approval by the Principal, distribute, at reasonable times and places, unofficial material, including petitions, buttons, or other insignia.  However, all such material must be in accordance with the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.  Failure to comply will result in confiscation of the material and possibly disciplinary action.  Further, any such material may not be obscene, libelous, contain indecent or vulgar language or content, advertise a product not permitted to minors by law, constitute insulting or fighting words the purpose of which is to injure or harass other people, or present a high likelihood of causing a disruption at the Academy.  Further, parents/guardians may not distribute, either through their child or otherwise, any unofficial material.   

 

STUDENT EXPECTATIONS AND BEHAVIOR

Student Behavior and Code of Conduct

The Academy Student Code of Conduct is as follows:

Students are expected to be responsible, make good choices, and participate in St. Francis de Sales Catholic Academy community life in a mature manner. This positive behavior is reflective of their deepening faith and religious development, together with the guidance from their families/guardians.

Some of the expectations that demonstrate this progression are:

  • Being considerate and respectful of other students
  • Respecting class and school policies
  • Speaking to one another with respect and care
  • Speaking and acting respectfully to teachers and other families
  • Controlling anger at all times
  • Showing responsibility by doing homework each night and preparing for the day’s class
  • Arriving at school on time
  • Respecting school property, for example: keeping desks neat and clean; books, etc.
  • Keeping school grounds free of litter and graffiti
  • Looking neat and clean at all times

Members of the St. Francis de Sales Catholic Academy are taught to show the utmost respect to one another, in words and actions. Pushing, hitting or fighting are not acceptable behaviors. Failure to comply with this policy will result in the parent/guardian being notified, and a meeting set up to discuss a plan of action to improve behavior. Continued hitting or fighting with another student could result in the parent/guardian being asked to remove the child from the school. This is at the discretion of the principal.

In the past, certain behavior was considered harmless child’s play. However, in our world today, the same behavior can be seen as harassing. Any behavior that can be interpreted as intimidating, humiliating, or disrespectful, whether in word or action is absolutely unacceptable. This includes any behavior that causes undue trouble, worry or discomfort. The deciding factor is whether a particular phrase, gesture, behavior is unwelcome by the student or students receiving it or witnessing it.

All students are expected to thrive toward excellent behavior at all times.  Behavior problems include disrespecting authority, including teachers and staff, and other students, teasing, bullying, socially unacceptable behavior, or behavior contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church or the mission of the Academy.  If behavioral issues persist, the Academy may request a conference with the parent.  Failure on behalf of a parent/guardian to attend a conference may result in the child staying home until the parent/guardian and student attend the conference with the Academy.

5th-8th Grade Discipline Policy

Please see the 5th-8th Grade Discipline policy for the Academy’s handling of infractions to the code of conduct.

Anti-Bullying Policy

The school communities within the Brooklyn Diocese believe in the sanctity of human life and the inherent dignity of the human person.  We believe that all students, school employees and volunteers have a right to a safe and healthy school environment.  All members of the school community, in turn, have an obligation to promote mutual respect, tolerance and acceptance. Research shows that students who learn in a safe and supportive environment succeed academically.  Students have a right to learn in an environment free of any harassment that substantially interferes with their education.

Bullying, bias-based harassment/intimidation are intentional, repeated, hurtful acts (physical, verbal, written) committed by one or more persons towards another person or persons.  It usually involves an actual or perceived imbalance of power which can be physical, emotional or verbal. If not addressed, bullying can lead to the creation of a hostile, offensive or intimidating school environment and can affect a student’s educational opportunities. The behaviors include but are not limited to:

  • Physical: physical violence, stalking, threats, aggressive or menacing gestures, exclusion from peer groups which is intended to humiliate or isolate the target (relational bullying).
  • Verbal: taunts, teasing, derogatory language, derogatory jokes, name calling, slurs, spreading rumors
  • Written: written or graphic material including graffiti containing comments or stereotypes that are electronically written and transmitted via internet, social messaging sites, blogs, instant messaging, text messages, cell phone, webcams.  This would also include forwarding such messages if received.  This generally constitutes cyber-bullying. 

 Reporting Procedures:

  • The targeted student, parent/guardian of a student or other students in the school (bystanders), or any school staff who believe that bullying has occurred should report the incident to the principal.
  • The principal needs to conduct an investigation by interviewing all parties separately.
  • The parents of all involved students should be notified.
  • If it is determined that bullying has occurred the child who bullied is to be subject to consequences per the school’s disciplinary code.
  • Parents should be advised to contact the appropriate law enforcement agency if the situation warrants such a report.
  • Referral to counseling should be made for all parties if deemed necessary.
  • The principal must follow up to see that the offending conduct has stopped.
  • All students should be notified that retaliation against anyone who makes a report will not be tolerated and those that retaliate will be subject to disciplinary actions.

Anti-Cyber Bullying Policy

In accordance with New York State Law on Cyber-Bullying, inappropriate, defamatory, or content found to be injurious to an academy community member may result in disciplinary action, even if done outside of Academy premises or using devices not owned or controlled by the Academy. All instances of such behavior must be reported immediately to the administration, who will investigate the matter and enforce the consequences deemed appropriate.

Violation of this policy in whole or in part may result in any or all of the following and will be issued at the discretion of the Academy principal:

  • Loss of use/privileges of school/academy technology.
  • Disciplinary action including, but is not limited to, detention, suspension, expulsion, and /or legal action by the school/academy, civil authorities, and/or other involved parties.
  • Compensation for damages, both physical and punitive, incurred due to actions in violation of this policy

 Alcohol and Drug-Free Zone Policy

The New York City Tobacco Products Regulations Act of 1994 curtails exposure to tobacco use on school grounds.  For the purpose of this legislation “school grounds” means the “buildings, grounds or facilities, or any part thereof, owned or occupied by public or private institutions for the primary purpose of providing educational instructions to students at or below the twelfth grade level.”  Tobacco use is not permitted on school grounds at any time.  A “tobacco product” is any substance which contains tobacco including but not limited to cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, and chewing tobacco.  New York City regulations are far more stringent than the regulations promulgated by New York State.  However, schools subject to the rules of this municipality, as are the schools of the Diocese of Brooklyn, must follow the local laws.  Thus, smoking is prohibited on ALL SCHOOL PREMISES AT ANY TIME. For the safety of our students, alcohol is also prohibited from being consumed on school premises at any time when students are present.

Impermissible Items

Students must conduct themselves, at all times, in a courteous manner in accord with Catholic principles.  To that end, and also in the interest of safety of the students and protection of the Academy’s property, the following items are NOT allowed at any time but not limited to the following:

  1. White-out or any type of permanent marker
  2. Spray cans, smoke bombs, stink bombs, powders/choking agents or chemicals or any kind.
  3. Alcohol or drugs of any kind, and matches or lighters, and drug paraphernalia
  4. Laser pointers, knives/box cutters, or any type of weapon
  5. Any type of toy weapon
  6. Nail files
  7. Energy drinks and coffee
  8. Extreme jewelry, more than two wristbands or bracelets, dangling earrings, or hoop earrings larger than the size of a dime

The presence of any of these items can lead to disciplinary action, up to and including suspension/expulsion.  The presence of alcohol, drugs, or weapons is a criminal offense and the police will be notified.

Discipline Policy

The Academy may need to involve disciplinary measures from time to time.  The purpose of disciplinary measures are to provide structure to students and for them to learn self-discipline, which strengthens and promotes the values incorporated in our Catholic faith.  Disciplinary measures should have as an end the development of the human person who respect’s oneself, other persons, and those in authority. 

At no time will corporal punishment be used against a child.  Any perceived acts of corporal punishment or reports from a child of corporal punishment should be reported to the Principal immediately by the student and/or the parent/guardian. 

By enrolling your child in the Academy, the parent/guardian agrees to be supportive of the rules and regulations that the Academy deems as critical in the spiritual, academic and behavioral growth of the child.

Teachers are the primary disciplinarians within the classroom and among students.  Teachers will discipline students for minor classroom disruptions, such as not completing homework, minor verbal disputes with other students, or not being in the complete uniform. To the extent a teacher finds it necessary, parents/guardians will be notified of classroom problems.  As partners in education, parents/guardians should work with the teacher to ensure that inappropriate behavior is changed. 

At times, however, teachers will refer classroom discipline issues to the administration of the Academy.  This is likely to include chronic minor problems listed above, or major problems, including chronic lateness, verbal abuse of a teacher, signs of disrespect to a teacher or another adult on the staff, fighting, vandalism, stealing, physical, sexual, or verbal harassment or bullying of a fellow student, violent behavior, smoking, or the possession of drugs, drug paraphernalia, cigarettes, lighters, matches, stink or smoke bombs, chemicals/irritants, alcohol, dangerous items or a weapon.  The administration will handle such matters in a variety of ways depending on the severity of the incident, up to and including suspension, police notification, and expulsion.

For serious acts of misbehavior, such as, but not limited to, fighting, stealing, vandalism and harassment, the student may immediately be suspended for a period of one to five days.  In cases of vandalism, the parent/guardian must pay the full cost of the repair or replacement of the item before the child may return to school.  In cases of theft, the item is either returned in good condition or the cost of replacement is borne by the parent/guardian before the child can return to school.

In cases where a child engages in a fight which causes injury to another child or adult, the police may be summoned and, then, the parents/guardians will be notified. Likewise, the possession of drugs or alcohol by a child may be reported to the police. The Academy reserves the right to expel the child due to such an offense.

In cases in which a child brings a weapon to school, the police are summoned, and then the parents/guardians are called. The Academy reserves the right to expel the child due to such an offense.

Police will always be called in the case of a weapon.

Individual-directed threats of violence or harm communicated directly or indirectly by any means, as well as building-directed threats of violence or harm communicated directly or indirectly by any means (e.g., shooting, bomb threats), or to harm students, employees, or visitors are taken seriously.  Upon knowledge of the threats, the Principal will notify the Office of the Superintendent and call the parents. The administration will determine the course of action to be taken up to and including calling law enforcement, requiring a mental health referral, and/or expulsion.

It is the expectation of the Academy that student behavior is exemplary both on and off school grounds. A student always represents the entire school community. Therefore, the Academy reserves the right to discipline students for acts such as, but not limited to: stealing, fighting, vandalism, bullying or any other type of threatening or inappropriate misconduct (personally, via telephone, or the internet).  Such misconduct could result in punishments including suspension and/or expulsion.

Lastly, a child’s arrest for a crime on or off of school grounds, within or beyond the vicinity of the Academy, at any time could result in the child’s suspension or expulsion. A child’s conviction of a crime on or off of school grounds, within or beyond the vicinity of the Academy, will likely result in a child’s expulsion.

Respect for Life

A fundamental belief and tenet of the Roman Catholic faith is that human life must be respected and protected from the moment of conception.  All students and parents are expected to live and follow gospel teachings and the Catholic faith in this area.  

 

EXPECTATIONS AND OBLIGATIONS OF PARENTS/GUARDIANS

 Parental Involvement

Home is the first place where a child learns to love and respect for God and neighbor.  Parents/legal guardians, in choosing a Catholic school to continue the education begun at home; have responsibilities as well as opportunities to share in the continuance of their children’s education.

Parental involvement consists of parents/legal guardians and staff meeting together because of common interests in the child.  It is expressed in many ways such as sharing in student supervision in the lunchroom or playground or serving as the library or teacher aide.  In some instances, parents/legal guardians may be asked to assist in advocacy in all areas that would benefit the schools, including programs that request government assistance, in consultation with the Office of the Superintendent.  The involvement of the total family is also a means of communicating the academy’s performance to the total parish community.

Parental support for the education of their children is of the utmost importance.  Parents and legal guardians are also expected to uphold the behavioral expectations set forth for students and staff within the Academy community. Failure of parents to act in a manner compatible with the values of the Academy may result in student dismissal.

Proximate Preparation for the Reception of Sacraments

Proximate preparation takes place during the Faith Formation year immediately preceding the reception of the Sacraments of Penance, Eucharist, and Confirmation. The Five (5) proximate preparation sessions offer the candidates and their families the opportunity to “deepen the life of faith, especially regarding knowledge of the sacraments of the Church.”

 “The ‘Year of Renewal’ begins with the core of the mission of Catholic education — to form children in the love and knowledge of Jesus Christ as celebrated in the Catholic Church. By investing in our children, we are investing in the future of the Church. Education isn’t just in the classroom or the religious education room. It begins and is nourished in the family. ‘Year of Renewal’ provides an opportunity to highlight parents’ roles as primary witnesses of the faith and educators in everyday life…This is just the beginning, and it’s meant to be a spark of awareness that will grow, year after year.”

These words describe the “Year of Renewal for Catholic Education.” This Renewal is a combined effort to enhance Catholic Academies/Schools, Faith Formation Programs, and Parishes. It reflects the missionary call to all God’s people to evangelize and renew the face of the earth.  In this Year of Renewal, it is most important that we, as parents and educators, once again familiarize ourselves with the Diocesan guidelines for the reception of sacraments.

“As a family of families, the parish remains the ideal home for Catholic families to join together”, to ensure the integrity of parish life, all constituents should review these guidelines and discuss the pastoral implications. Parents and children should be catechized as to the importance of returning to their home parishes for the reception of sacraments. It is the parish that confers a sacrament, not a Catholic academy or parish school.

Can. 913 §1 For holy communion to be administered to children, it is required that they have sufficient knowledge and be accurately prepared, so that according to their capacity they understand what the mystery of Christ means, and are able to receive the Body of the Lord with faith and devotion.

Can. 914 It is primarily the duty of parents and of those who take their place, as it is the duty of the parish priest, to ensure that children who have reached the use of reason are properly prepared and, having made their sacramental confession, are nourished by this divine food as soon as possible. It is also the duty of the parish priest to see that children who have not reached the use of reason, or whom he has judged to be insufficiently disposed, do not come to holy communion.

THOSE TO BE CONFIRMED

Can. 889 §1. Every baptized person not yet confirmed and only such a person is capable of receiving confirmation.

  • 2. To receive confirmation licitly outside the danger of death requires that a person who has the use of reason be suitably instructed, properly disposed, and able to renew the baptismal promises.

Can. 890 The faithful are obliged to receive this sacrament at the proper time. Parents and pastors of souls, especially pastors of parishes, are to take care that the faithful are properly instructed to receive the sacrament and come to it at the appropriate time.

Can. 891 The sacrament of confirmation is to be conferred on the faithful at about the age of discretion unless the conference of bishops has determined another age, or there is the danger of death, or in the judgment of the minister, a grave cause suggests otherwise.

SPONSORS

Can. 892 Insofar as possible, there is to be a sponsor for the person to be confirmed; the sponsor is to take care that the confirmed person behaves as a true witness of Christ and faithfully fulfills the obligations inherent in this sacrament.

Can. 893 §1. To perform the function of sponsor, a person must fulfill the conditions mentioned in can. 874. (Can. 874 §1. To be permitted to take on the function of sponsor a person must: 1/ be designated by the one to be baptized, by the parents or the person who takes their place, or in their absence by the pastor or minister and have the aptitude and intention of fulfilling this function; 2/ have completed the sixteenth year of age unless the diocesan bishop has established another age, or the pastor or minister has granted an exception for a just cause; 3/ be a Catholic who has been confirmed and has already received the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist and who leads a life of faith in keeping with the function to be taken on; 4/ not be bound by any canonical penalty legitimately imposed or declared; 5/ not be the father or mother of the one to be baptized. §2. A baptized person who belongs to a non-Catholic ecclesial community is not to participate except together with a Catholic sponsor and then only as a witness of the baptism.)

  • 2. It is desirable to choose as a sponsor the one who undertook the same function in baptism.

Parental Communication

Regular communication between the Academy and parents/guardians is a crucial component of your child’s school experience.  Scheduled parent-teacher conferences allow teachers and parents/guardians to discuss student achievement as well as to develop means to assist students in areas of difficulty.

Students benefit tremendously when an open line of communication exists between families and teachers. It is recommended that parents/ legal guardians communicate any concerns regarding their child. Parents/ legal guardians as well as teachers should always use Option C, school communication platforms (I.e. Google classroom), or a note sent directly to the teacher/ family. If needed, the parent/ legal guardian or teacher can schedule a follow-up meeting to address any further issue. It is also recommended that a parent communicates with a teacher regarding their concerns prior to involving the administration. Initiating open communication with the teacher first continues a positive relationship between families and teachers. It is strongly advised that parents and teachers do not use personal social media accounts or personal cell phones (texting) as a means of communication in regards to school-related concerns.

Email and Communication Etiquette Tips for Parents and Teachers

 St. Francis de Sales Catholic Academy strives to promote respectful, well-mannered, and Christian-like relationships between students, students and teachers, faculty members, teachers and administration, and of course with parents, parishioners and community members as well. We ask that the etiquette you receive is reciprocated when communicating with teachers. our office staff, our neighbors on Beach 129th Street, and each other. This etiquette should be in place during in-person communication as well as phone, email, notes to the teacher, SeeSaw, etc. Please be mindful to include a respectful tone and we will be sure to reciprocate the same through everything we do.

These guidelines can help parents use e-mail in ways that will be most beneficial to the student.

  • Never use e-mail for matters of controversy or real distress. When you have a really serious matter, it is always best to meet with the teacher directly.
  • Do not send multiple e-mails on the same topic. Generally, teachers will try to get back to you as quickly as they remember, they have many students and are concerned about all of them.
  • Never say anything by e-mail that you wouldn’t want
  • The rules for civility in the e-mail are the same as in face-to-face meetings. Convey a positive tone in your e-mails which can set the stage for a cordial working relationship with teachers and other school

Additionally, the Academy may communicate with the parent/guardian in many ways, including:

  • Email, SMS, phone messages and posts through the FACTS Family Portal
  • School Website and Social Media The Academy website can be found here:  https://stfrancisacademybh.org/  This website does not require a login and is accessible to the public.  Various announcements may be made on the school website, such as emergency school closing, snow days, and other important information.  The website will also contain various resources, such as the academic calendar. 
  • Information Sent Home With the Children: Occasionally, teachers or administration at the Academy will send hard copy information home with your children. Please check your child’s backpack daily to check for any information sent home by the Academy.

Respect

Our goal is to teach our students to respect one another and their teachers; therefore, we ask families to help us with this task by using a teacher’s proper title when speaking to the children. Miss, Mrs., Mr. is much more respectful than calling a teacher by his or her last name only.

Academy Family Association (AFA)

Every Academy is encouraged to establish an Academy Family Association. Its purpose is the educational enrichment of parents/legal guardians and teachers. The goal of the Academy Family Association is to foster a clearer understanding of the mutual responsibilities of parents/legal guardians and teachers regarding the education of the students.’

The mission of the Academy Family Association (AFA) is to support and enrich the academic, spiritual, and community programs of St. Francis de Sales Catholic Academy. Mirroring the traditions and teachings of the Catholic faith, parents work in partnership with the school to ensure students have the very best in education.

The goals of the AFA are to: Support the spiritual events and create opportunities to develop a strong and meaningful Christian community for students, families, faculty, and administration, provide a vehicle of communication between parents and the school, and offer interesting and informative programs that are relevant to students and the school community

An added responsibility of the Academy Family Association will be to assist in the fundraising efforts of the Academy. In the school, this is done in coordination with the administration. In an academy, it is done in coordination with the board of directors of the academy.  All financial transactions must be approved by the academy board of directors.

Homework

As a partner in education, parents’ role in homework is vital.  Parents/guardians or another caretaker should remain available to assist students with homework and ensure that all homework is completed. 

Fundraising

Fundraising activities are beneficial to the Academy and are often a quality way to involve students in furthering their school community.  Any fundraising program should have the approval of the Principal, and should be organized and executed so that the Academy program is not interrupted. 

Volunteering, Chaperoning & VIRTUS Training

Parent volunteers and chaperones are an integral part of the school community. All parents/ legal guardians/ other adults, must complete VIRTUS training, sign a Code of Conduct, and complete a background check.

  • The VIRTUS program for adults is a three-hour live awareness session that instructs adults of the Church that to protect children you must have continuous awareness and vigilance. This awareness session helps trainees understand signs of child sexual abuse, the methods and means by which offenders commit abuse, and five empowerment steps to prevent child sexual abuse.
  • The Code of Conduct is a document that acknowledges the importance of legal, professional and responsible conduct of all who work with children and young people. All clergy, employees and volunteers are required to read the Code of Conduct and to sign a Statement of Acknowledgement Form. The Code of Conduct is distributed at all VIRTUS sessions.
  • All employees and volunteers are also required to have a criminal background screening completed before they start their employment or service. These forms are also distributed at all VIRTUS sessions. As of May 2010, all background screenings (employees and volunteers) will be done through the Safe Environment Office. The searches are done through LexisNexis (volunteers) or HireRight (employees). All information is kept confidential and if a positive result is returned, the pastor/administrator will be notified and appropriate steps will be taken. Background searches will be rerun every 3 years for employees and 5 years for volunteers

Custody and Guardianship Orders

Parents must provide accurate custodial information to be kept on file at the Academy.  Non-custodial parents do have rights.  The law protects non-custodial parents and maintains that parents do not cease to be parents when they no longer have custody of their children.  The Academy abides by the provisions of the Buckley Amendment with respect to the rights of non-custodial parents.  In the absence of a court order to the contrary, the Academy will provide the non-custodial parents with access to academic records and other school information regarding his or her child.  If there is a court order specifying that there is to be no information given, it is the custodial parent’s responsibility to provide the school with a court-certified copy of the court order.

Contacts with Media

Throughout the academic year, the Academy may take pictures or videos and release personal information about students for promotional purposes.  This might include:

  • where a special event or program at the Academy is covered by a newspaper or television station, resulting in student interviews and pictures;
  • award-winning students who may have their names and photos published in a local newspaper; or
  • if the Academy posts pictures of school activities on web pages and social media.

Parents/guardians have the right to exclude their children from videotaping, audio recording, school pictures, other photography or participation involving printed materials or on the internet.  If a parent/guardian chooses to exclude their child, the parent/guardian must provide written notification to the Main Office.

Parents/guardians who do not object must fill out the media authorization release form, attached at the end of this Handbook.  Please be advised that, if a parent/guardian does not fill out this form, the child may be excluded from certain group photographs or otherwise taken in connection with the school day or other Academy functions.

HEALTH AND WELLNESS

 Medical Requirements

The New York City Department of Health requires that all new students entering nursery through grade 12 show proof of having received a complete medical evaluation.  Children who transfer from one school to another in New York City are not considered new students.  These requirements may change from year to year.

New York State Law states that all students in Grades Nursery through 12 must be immunized as directed by the New York State and New York City Departments of Health. New students may enter school provisionally with documentation of an initial series of immunizations.  Once admitted provisionally, a student has a certain amount of time to continue and complete the medical requirements.  Students who fail to complete the necessary requirements within the appropriate time frame must be excluded from school.  Parents must provide records of immunization to be kept on file at the Academy. Any exemptions to the immunization requirements must be approved by the Academy with documentation being kept in the student’s health records. Only medical exemptions are permitted per New York State Law. Religious exemptions are no longer permissible.

For Nursery, Pre-k, and UPK Programs–Between July 1 and December 31 of each year, all children between the ages of 6 months and 59 months and attending a group child care or school-based child care program must receive one dose of influenza vaccine.

Health Services

St. Francis’s school nurse can be contacted at 718-474-4276. If there’s no answer, call the main office number: 718-634-2775

Illness and Medical Conditions

The following provides an overview of various medical conditions and illnesses, the Academy’s policy on how it handles such illnesses and conditions, and parent/guardian requirements.  This list is not meant to be exhaustive but rather explanatory.  In the case of any other illness or medical condition, or if there are any questions, please contact the Principal.  The policies in this section may be altered or superseded by policies in light of COVID-19. 

Parents are reminded of the NYC Department of Health Core Practices for reducing illness in school:

  • Keep your child home if they are sick
  • Practice good Hand Hygiene (wash hands )
  • Practice good Respiratory Hygiene (cover coughs and sneezes)

Allergies: Parents/guardians must notify the Academy of any documented allergies that a student may have.

Policy on nuts and other allergens: 

We Are a NUT Aware School! Unfortunately, our school cannot guarantee a nut, milk, or “allergen-free” environment. The risk of exposure is always present. Instead, we have an “allergy aware” policy, which empowers everyone. Children with allergies become aware of what they can and cannot eat, and school staff is alert and careful about each student’s allergies. As we have students with SEVERE LIFE THREATENING ALLERGIES, we ask all families to avoid bringing in items such as nut butter, Nutella, or any other nut-based products. We ask that you be very aware of any items brought into our school which: may contain nuts/may have been processed or manufactured in a facility that uses/contains nuts. Finally, please remind your children to never share snacks, food, or drinks with anyone.

Asthma: Parents/guardians are required to notify the Academy of the medical needs and protocols of any student who has asthma or a related condition.

Clearance to Return:  In certain instances, the Academy may require medical clearance for the child to return to the Academy.  If requested, the medical clearance note must specifically state that the child may return to the Academy and resume all activities including gym and playground.  Clearance notes will likely be required for severe illness, including hospitalizations and ER visits, surgical procedures, head injuries, cardiac/respiratory concerns, fractures, sprains, or significant changes in a child’s health state which may impact physical activities.

Contagious Illness:  To the extent a child has a contagious illness, please notify the Academy as soon as possible so that we may alert others who came in contact with your child.  We also may be required to notify the Department of Health.  A student with a contagious illness should not arrive for school.  This applies even if the parent/guardian has not received confirmation that the child’s illness is contagious, but the child is exhibiting signs of a possible communicable disease, such as a suspicious skin rash, suspicious open wounds, redness of the eyes with intense itching/burning and a thick drainage, painful, reddened sore throat, and a constant cough accompanied by other symptoms.  Students with a contagious illness should remain home from school until a doctor advises that he or she is no longer contagious and can resume normal activities.

Diarrhea/Vomiting:  Students who are exhibiting vomiting and/or diarrhea should not arrive for school.  Rather, they should stay home until they are free from symptoms for at least 24 hours.

Epinephrine:  Severe allergic reactions leading to anaphylaxis are a life-threatening and time-sensitive medical emergency.  Therefore, and in accordance with New York State and City Departments of Health recommendations, Academies will work with local health providers to receive training on the administration of epinephrine.  For more information, see the administering epinephrine policy below.

If a child is at risk of anaphylaxis, the parent/guardian MUST notify the school and inform it of the risk.  Additionally, the parent/guardian must 1) inform the Academy whether the student can self-administer epinephrine, 2) supply the Academy with two epinephrine devices in its original packaging; and 3) replace the devices when it expires, has been used, or shows any other signs of defect, such as discoloration.

Fever:  If your child has a fever of 100 degrees or over, he or she must stay home.  Your child may not return to school until they are fever free without Tylenol, Motrin or Advil for at least 24 hours.

Lice:  To the extent, a student contracts head lice, he or she must stay home from school until the parent/guardian has treated the condition in accordance with the New York City Department of Health Regulations.  This is to protect the health and safety of all students and staff given the high likelihood that others can also contract head lice.  In any cases where a student is infected, a letter will be sent out to the entire class.  The student’s name will not be revealed.  If a parent/guardian becomes aware of a lice infection at home, do not send your child to school.  Please inform the school via telephone.  The Academy does not pay for lice treatment regardless of where exposure may have occurred.

Mobility:  As a matter of safety, and in accordance with all applicable laws, the Academy may not be able to accommodate in-person learning for a child who is immobile, such as a child who is utilizing crutches or in a cast.  The Academy will endeavor to provide a reasonable accommodation whenever possible, but must ensure the safety of the student and all other students and be in accord with fire safety laws.  Distance learning may be provided as an alternative solution.      

Administering Medication

School nurses may administer over-the counter-prescription drugs to students with written consent and medical authorization from a parent or legal guardian. School nurses may administer prescription medication that has been prescribed by a physician but must be provided with:

  • Medical authorization from the parent or legal guardian consenting to administer the medication
  • A medical plan developed by the child’s parents and health care provider detailing the proper administration of the medication, details regarding the child’s medical concerns, and other pertinent details.

The Academy reserves the right to call 911 in any case of a medical emergency.

Administering Epinephrine

Parents or guardians will supply their own epinephrine auto-injector and must provide written consent and medical authorization for its use. The Academy must have an up-to-date medical statement on file for each child in care. For a child with identified allergies or with special health care needs, the Academy must have a copy of an individual health care plan developed by the child’s parents and health care provider. Parents must make program staff aware of the individual health care plan on their child’s first day at the program.

It is the responsibility of the parent/guardian of the student who is at risk of anaphylaxis:

  • to notify the school that the child/student is at risk of anaphylaxis and is in need of the presence of epinephrine on school premises
  • to indicate to the school if the child/student is capable of self-administration of the epinephrine device
  • to supply the school with the epinephrine device* in its original packaging as received from the pharmacist
  • to replace the epinephrine device when it expires, discolors, or has been used

*It is recommended that two epinephrine devices be supplied, the second functioning as a backup in case of malfunction or if an extra dose is necessary for accordance with medical documentation.

Administering Epinephrine on Field Trips

In the event of a school trip or school event conducted outside of the school premises, it is the responsibility of the parent (or a designated person who appears on the child’s emergency contact list) to attend with the child/student for the purpose of epinephrine administration, if necessary.

 City & State Health Services

The Education Law of New York State mandates that students attending nonpublic schools receive the same health services provided to students attending public schools.

Accommodations

Students requiring medical accommodations throughout the school day (including physical education, dietary conditions, physical limitations, and medical interventions) must submit a statement from his or her licensed medical provider stating the need for such accommodation each academic year.  The Academy will attempt to provide the accommodation in accordance with all applicable laws and will inform the parent/guardian if it is unable to do so.  If the Academy is unable to do so, it may withdraw the child’s enrollment in accordance with the law.    

Emergency Services in the event of a Serious Injury

In the event of a serious injury, the Academy may call 911 and an ambulance may take the child to the hospital.  The ambulance staff will determine the hospital-based upon the severity of the emergency.  A staff member will accompany the child in the ambulance and the parent/guardian will be notified to meet the child at the hospital.  The Academy, its staff, and the Academy officials shall be held harmless from any liability, costs or expenses associated with any emergency services and such costs or expenses shall be the responsibility of the injured party or, if a student, the student’s parents/guardians. 

Limitations of Physical Activity

Students at the Academy will be enrolled in physical education classes.  To the extent a student has a physical disability or issue which may impair his or her ability to engage in the class, or which may make the class unsafe, the parents/guardians must notify the Academy at the beginning of the school year or as soon as the issue arises. A written doctor’s recommendation may be required.  Further, a student will be required to attend the physical education class for the instructional component and observation, and to complete an alternative assignment or to complete missed activities when physically able to participate.

Counseling Services

St. Francis de Sales Catholic Academy offers counseling services through the Program for Development of Human Potential (PDHP)

Wellness Policy

The Academy meets minimum federal and state standards for goals of physical education, nutrition and healthy environments in schools. 

Breakfast/Lunch Program

During lunch, whether in the classroom or, if the case may be, a lunchroom, each child is expected to remain in his or her seat until dismissed.  Each child is also responsible for keeping his or her area clean.  Respect and obedience are to be shown at all times to those who are supervising lunch. 

Accident Policy

If a student is seriously injured, the parent/guardian will be notified by the Academy as soon as reasonably possible, taking into consideration such factors as the apparent severity of the accident/injury and the priority of providing assistance to the student.

If an accident results in a medical condition/injury, the Academy is authorized to render reasonable first aid if such direct medical assistance would, in the opinion and judgment of the Academy, minimize the severity of the student or injured person’s condition.  The Academy may secure a professional diagnosis and/or treatment if such action, in the opinion and judgment of the Academy, appears to be reasonably warranted.  The Academy, its staff, and the Academy officials shall be held harmless from any liability, costs, or expenses associated with any treatment of first aid provided (including, but not limited to the cost of transportation), and such costs or expenses shall be the responsibility of the injured party or, if a student, the student’s parents.

TECHNOLOGY

 Acceptable Use Policy

The use of technology is permitted on school premises under limited conditions as authorized by the Principal for the sole purpose of enhancing academic achievement while respecting the dignity and safety of all members of the Academy community.

In using the information and technology in safe, legal, and responsible ways, the following conditions of being a digital citizen within the Diocese of Brooklyn are expected:

Respect One’s Self

  • Public names should be appropriate
  • Be mindful of any and all content you post including photos, personal views, comments, personal information, etc.
  • Avoid seeking out and/or viewing inappropriate content
  • Do not engage in potentially harmful activities such as communicating with persons unknown to you or internet challenges

 Respect Others

  • Be mindful of comments, posts, photos, or any content directed toward or including others
  • Refrain from engaging in inflammatory, harassing, or any other such disrespectful behavior
  • Do not perpetuate inappropriate content by sharing it with or sending it to others
  • Warn others of potentially disturbing or harmful content that should be avoided

Protect One’s Self and Others

  • Report any and all cyber-abuse committed against you or others to parents, teachers, and/or administrators
  • Keep groups with friends private to avoid potentially inappropriate or dangerous content and communications from unknown sources

 Respect Intellectual Property

  • Cite sources when using any content not originally authored by you

 Members of Catholic Academy communities must remember that when telecommunicating with individuals, groups, or institutions, you are doing so as an individual. You should not represent yourself, your views, ideas, questions, or actions as representing the Catholic Academy you are associated with without the expressed permission of the principal.

Security of Technology

The schools and academies of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn assume no responsibility for the theft, loss, repair, or replacement of any technology devices that are brought onto school/academy property, whether it is lost, stolen, damaged, or confiscated.

Security on any computer system is a high priority. If you believe you can identify a security issue, you must notify a system administrator, principal, or teacher and not disclose the problem to others in any way. Although there are safeguards in place to protect all users from inappropriate content, we are not responsible for failures in filtering that result in a bypass of our program and/or access to objectionable content. If any inappropriate content bypasses these safeguards, any parties involved should turn off the monitor and report the security breach immediately to a system administrator, teacher or the principal. Additionally, members of the school/academy community shall not:

  • Use another’s credentials for any reason
  • Gain or attempt to gain unauthorized access to Diocesan or school/academy computers or computer systems.
  • Download or install any software application without prior authorization.

Administrative Rights (To monitor the use of technology)

The school/academy reserves the right to monitor both student and employee use of technology and computer-accessed content. Due to the evolving nature of technology, the Catholic Schools and Academies of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn reserve the right to amend or add to this policy at any time without notice.

Personal use of Social Media (Teachers, Students)

This section refers to the personal use of social media. This includes, but is not limited to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, Snapchat, or any other such medium. All references to school/academy personnel, students, and/or any member of the school/academy community in technology-related mediums such as web pages or email which is deemed to be conduct injurious to the moral tone of the school or academy are violations of this policy.  Any communication with current students by faculty, staff or administration is strictly forbidden on any personal social networking site. Personal posts must use appropriately respectful speech and refrain from harassing, defamatory, abusive, discriminatory, threatening, or other inappropriate communications.

Representation of the school/academy in whole or part on any personal posts and/or communication is prohibited.

Parents/guardians for all students must sign this Acceptable Use Policy which effectively gives permission for their child to use the internet and the Academy’s technology resources for educational purposes and also understands and accepts the Academy’s guidelines. 

The acknowledgment of the Acceptable Use Policy to be signed by parents/guardians and, where applicable, students. 

FACTS Family Portal

The FACTS Family Portal will be your one-stop destination to view student academic information, school announcements, school calendar, and your FACTS payment plan and incidental billing information. You will conveniently be able to access all this information in one centralized location, eliminating the need for multiple log-ins. Once the FACTS Family Portal is set up your child(rens) school will notify you with some simple instructions on creating log-in credentials. Once you create your user profile, you will be able to access the FACTS Family Portal from any device, including your smartphone whether it is an Apple or Android device.

Communications with Teachers

Students benefit tremendously when an open line of communication exists between families and teachers.  It is recommended that parents/ legal guardians communicate any concerns regarding their child. Parents/ legal guardians, as well as teachers, should always use FACTS, school communication platforms (I.e. Google classroom), or a note sent directly to the teacher/ family. If needed, the parent/ legal guardian or teacher can schedule a follow-up meeting to address any further issues.  It is also recommended that a parent communicates with a teacher regarding their concerns prior to involving the administration. Initiating open communication with the teacher first continues a positive relationship between families and teachers.

Parents and teachers should not use personal social media accounts or personal cell phones (texting) as a means of communication in regards to school-related concerns.

Electronic Devices

Electronic devices, although useful and helpful tools in many ways, must only be used appropriately by faculty, administration, staff, and students.  The use of electronic devices by faculty, administration, staff and students must be appropriate to the educational setting, and may not distract the student, other students, or the class as a whole during the course of the school day and after school. (i.e., cell phones, iPads, iPhones, Smart Watches, and other personal electronic devices). In the event, an electronic device, including a student cell phone, is believed to contain evidence of a violation of Academy policy and/or a threat to the school community, the individual possessing the electronic device is obliged to grant the administration of the Academy access to the device and the information on the device to ensure compliance with policy and the safety of the school.

Inappropriate use of any electronic device may result in serious consequences.

Schools are not responsible for the loss, theft or damage to electronic devices.

SAFETY

Commitment to Safety

The safety of the students is the Academy’s number one concern and we maintain a high standard of safety.  This requires that the Academy complete periodic drills and exercises and that all members of the community are trained in our safety standards.  In order to maintain a safe environment, the Academy requires cooperation across the board including the administration, teachers, staff, and, of course, parents.  We must ensure safety is practiced in hallways, when passing during class, while on staircases, when using restrooms, during recess and physical education, during after-school programs and extracurricular activities, when outside the school building, during arrival and departure, and in connection with parent parking.

Emergency Drills

Per New York State laws, academies are required to conduct twelve emergency drills over the course of the school year. Four of these drills must be lockdown drills. Students are expected to follow all directives provided to them by school teachers and staff. Failure to comply or act appropriately during emergency drills will result in disciplinary action.

School Closings

The Diocese of Brooklyn will base their closings on the New York City Public School System.  If the New York City school system closes due to inclement weather, the schools within the Diocese of Brooklyn are closed.  Local academies may also make decisions to close their individual schools based on inclement weather or other hazardous conditions (infrastructure issues, flooding, property damage, etc.). Parents will be notified as soon as possible. In the event of a closure during the school day, proper provisions will be made for students to return home or to be cared for in other premises until usual dismissal time.

Crisis/Emergency Information

Should a crisis require evacuation from the school building, the students will be brought to a safe place located at St. Francis de Sales Church and parents/guardians should meet them at that location.  The Academy utilizes the FACTS Parents Portal to notify parents/guardians directly about the crisis.  

Reporting Concerns Regarding School Safety

Students, parents/guardians, and staff must report all dangerous and potentially dangerous situations and/or events directly to an administrator at the Academy. 

Visitors

All visitors must be admitted to the building by school staff. Visitors should proceed to the main office to sign in and receive a visitor designation (lanyard, sticker, etc.) if available. Visitors to the school are asked to remain in the office until they have confirmed their destination within the school. For the safety of staff and students, visitors should not walk about the school but should travel to their intended destination within the school.  Prior to leaving the school, visitors should return to the main office, sign out, and leave through the main doors. Visitors should not exit through side doors to ensure that building security is maintained.

During COVID-19, we ask all parents and legal guardians to visit the Academy only when necessary as well as to keep any visits as brief as possible.

Video Surveillance/Photographs

Academies within the Diocese of Brooklyn are authorized to use video camera surveillance on Academy property to monitor the health, welfare, and safety of all staff, students, and visitors to the property, and to safeguard facilities and equipment. Video cameras may be placed in locations as deemed appropriate by the designated school administrators.

Violations of Diocesan policies, administrative regulations, building rules, or laws that images, video, and audio capture through surveillance may be used as evidence that may subject students, staff, and visitors to appropriate disciplinary and legal action, including, but not limited to, disclosure to law enforcement.

Data from video surveillance is typically retained for a year.  Data related to a known incident that involves injury to students, staff, or members of the public or property, or which involves any potential violation of the law or Diocesan policies will be kept with reports of the incident until the incident has been appropriately resolved.

 The Academy recognizes that parents/guardians will often want to document their student’s life at the Academy, including by taking pictures or video recordings.  The Academy asks parents/guardians to exercise caution, however, and be mindful of not taking pictures of other children without the express consent of those children’s parents/guardians.  Parents/guardians and students are not permitted to take pictures or video recordings on school grounds without the express consent of the Principal.

SAFE ENVIRONMENT

Safe Environnent Protocol & VIRTUS training

All teachers, staff, and volunteers must complete VIRTUS training and a background screening which is administered by the Diocese of Brooklyn. 

There are additional steps parents/guardians can take to keep their children safe, which we recommend parents/guardians consistently and regularly review with their children.  This includes:

  • Students should never go home with a stranger
  • Students should never talk to stranger
  • Students should never take things from stranger
  • If students are approached by strangers and are still near the Academy, they should be encouraged to return to the Academy and immediately inform a staff member
  • Young students should be escorted to and from school
  • Older children should be encouraged to walk/travel to school in groups whenever possible.

The teachers at the Academy will also remind students of the importance of not responding to strangers and actions each child should take if approached by a stranger, including reporting it to responsible adults.

Child Lures Prevention Program

The Child Lures/Teen Lures Prevention programs are presented to the children and youth who attend each Academy. This program is tailored to different age groups and covers topics such as staying healthy and safe, kindness and respect, trusted adults, my body belongs to me, child luring, choosing grown-ups to help, children are special, and abuse is never a child’s fault (topics will vary based on age level appropriateness).  For older students, topics include sexual assault, harassment, dating violence, bullying/cyberbullying, sexting, identity theft, online luring, suicide and human trafficking with the goal of facilitating authentic conversations to bring awareness to the topics. 

Each program provides teachers with the resources to facilitate appropriate conversations.  Parents/legal guardians will also be provided with a link to access parent guides digitally to continue the conversations within their homes.

Child Abuse Laws

Under NYS law, teachers are all mandated reporters and are legally required to report any suspected case of child abuse or neglect to the proper agency.  The teacher will make a judgment that the child may be presenting signs of abuse or neglect.  If the mandated reporter makes such a judgment and suspects abuse or neglect, in addition to reporting to the proper agency, the reporter must also notify the Principal. 

Confidentiality

There is a professional, legal and moral ethic that requires all persons to safeguard all student information of a privileged nature.  However, if a teacher learns of something that could impact the health or safety of a student or any person, the teacher has the responsibility to share the information with the Principal.  Further, school officials are required to report when they have reasonable cause to suspect that a child coming before them in their professional or official capacity is an abused or maltreated child. 

Sexual Harassment

The Academy is committed to providing for its students an atmosphere and school zone free from sexual harassment.  Sexual harassment is defined as any unwelcome sexual advances, unwelcome physical contact of a sexual nature, or unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.  Sexual harassment is a direct violation of the Catholic faith as it signifies a lack of respect for other persons.

Any student who believes that he or she is being sexually harassed or a parent/guardian who was informed by their child that the child was sexually harassed shall immediately report this information to the teacher and to the Principal.  A student/parent who is uncomfortable reporting the alleged harassment to a teacher or Principal may report it directly to the Office of the Superintendent.  Any information shall be treated as confidential, to the extent permitted by law.  All claims of sexual harassment will be investigated in an appropriate manner under the supervision of the Office of the Superintendent.  No student will be subject to any retaliation or disciplinary action on the part of the Academy for reports of sexual harassment made in good faith.  

No student is to sexually harass another member of the school community.  Any student who engages in sexual harassment shall be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion.

Child Reporting Abuse to Parents

If a student reports any form of abuse at the Academy to his or her parent/guardian, the parent/guardian must notify the Principal.  Any information shall be treated as confidential, to the extent permitted by law.  This will permit the Principal to investigate the situation and will ensure that the alleged abuse or harassment does not occur to other students.  If a parent/guardian is uncomfortable going to the Principal, he or she may go directly to the Office of the Superintendent. 

SIGNS OF SUICIDE (SOS) PREVENTION PROGRAM

SOS Signs of Suicide (SOS) is a universal, school-based prevention program designed for middle school (ages 11-13) and high school (ages 13-17) students. The goals of this program are:

  • Decrease suicide and suicide attempts by increasing student knowledge and adaptive attitudes about depression
  • Encourage personal help-seeking and/or help-seeking on behalf of a friend
  • Reduce the stigma of mental illness and acknowledge the importance of seeking help or treatment
  • Engage parents and school staff as partners in prevention through “gatekeeper” education
  • Encourage schools to develop community-based partnerships to support student mental health
  • Raise of awareness of self-harm behaviors, such as cutting and burning

Through a video and guided discussion, students learn to identify warning signs of suicide and depression. At the end of the session, students complete a seven-question screening for depression (anonymous or signed – the school can decide) to further encourage help-seeking and connect students at risk with trusted adults. The curriculum raises awareness about behavioral health and encourages students to ACT (Acknowledge, Care, Tell) when worried about themselves or their peers. 

TUITION AND FINANCES

School Tuition Policies

The success of our Academy relies on the commitment of our families to make Catholic education a financial priority. The Academy has full-year contractual and financial obligations that must be met, such as teacher salaries, utility bills, building maintenance and improvements, and other expenses. Families that seek enrollment are required to satisfy the annual tuition by specified due dates.

These policies are not intended to deprive anyone of a Catholic education.  It is our desire to maintain a fair approach to collection of tuition and to provide a sound financial policy for the overall welfare of our families. We encourage all responsible parties to maintain open communication with the business office to ensure a complete understanding of each family’s financial obligations. The goal of our academy is to provide a Catholic education to every student who desires one, but only by mutual cooperation can we make certain that this goal is met.  Parental non-payment or delinquency in meeting financial obligations creates an additional burden for the Academy.

  • Tuition contracts specifying a payment schedule will be published and shared with families. All families must sign an enrollment contract that guarantees the family will be responsible for the full payment of tuition for the academic year.
  • Academies will arrange for all tuition and fees to be collected through FACTS Tuition Management.
  • The tuition payment schedule will follow the most appropriate schedule for the academy and parents:  monthly, one payment, or three installments.
  • A Tuition Assistance Committee will be in place at every Academy

Tuition and Other Fee Schedules

The Academy will collect tuition and fees over a ten-month period. This ten-month period will typically extend from August to May. Tuition collection will begin prior to the start of the school year.

Please click here for the 2021-2022 tuition rates

Academies reserve the right to place severely delinquent accounts in the hands of a collection agency or its attorneys for collection.   It is not our desire that any family should incur unnecessary legal fees or suffer further embarrassment or inconvenience in this regard.   Again, we encourage prompt communication with the academy in an effort to avoid litigation.

In order to withdraw a student, the parent must submit written notice to the principal in advance of the withdrawal date. This enables the academy to prepare the necessary information and settle accounts.  No student records will be forwarded to another academy or school until all accounts have been settled.

Following the terms of the enrollment contract, refunds will be made only in accordance with the stated guidelines and/or at the discretion of the administration. The refund must be requested prior to the start of the period for which payment would be made.

  1. Resources for Tuition Assistance

Catholic education is meant to be available to every Catholic family. Every family desiring a Catholic education for their child(ren) will participate to the extent capable in the cost of providing that education.

Each family in need of tuition assistance must complete a scholarship application through Futures in Education, which may currently be found at: www.futuresineducation.org/scholarships . The one exception is families returning to the Teddy Forstmann program coordinated by Children’s Scholarship Fund.

If the family requests additional assistance beyond the awarded amount, the request will be forwarded to the Tuition Assistance Committee.  The review will be completed as early as possible.

  1. Tuition Assistance Committee

The Tuition Assistance Committee is an essential advisory body to the pastor/board chair and principal.  It has a two-fold purpose.

  • The Committee will have the responsibility of direct involvement in the monitoring and collection of tuition arrears from the families of its respective school or academy.
  • The Committee will be empowered to recommend when needed a partial deferment of tuition for families that have demonstrated true financial need or face unforeseen extraordinary circumstances. Such a deferment will establish a fair and just tuition rate that will allow students to remain enrolled when even scholarship assistance is not enough.  This discernment must be guided by an approved process that is fair, transparent and reasonable.  Any recommendation made by the Tuition Assistance Committee must be approved by the respective pastor of a parochial school and the Board of Directors for an academy.

Should there be a concern regarding the tuition assistance process or if an appeal for discernment is requested, parents/guardians should present their concerns in writing.  In the case of a Catholic academy, the letter should be addressed to the chairperson of the Board of Directors.  The response from the pastor or chairperson would be final.

FACTS

FACTS is a tuition management company designed to make tuition collection simpler for families as well as academies. There will be one FACTS record per family, and each student must be listed separately.  This provides valuable detail about the charges and discounts each student is receiving. In turn, this provides the academy better reporting. A major benefit of FACTS is the ability to process automatic drafts of the payer’s bank account or credit card. There is a 2.85% convenience fee on credit card transactions. FACTS does offer an invoicing option as well. With this option, FACTS will send an invoice to the payer (via email or postal mail) 20 calendar days prior to the payment due date. The payer must then initiate payment either by using a credit card or bank account online, over the phone or by mailing a check directly to FACTS. Families are encouraged to pay via an automatic draft. FACTS also allows for flexible payment options. Common options are monthly payments, two trimester payments, and payment in full.

Tuition Delinquency

By standard practice, FACTS will send payment reminders prior to any due date, returned payment notices in the case of a failed payment, and will make automated phone calls to delinquent payers. Payers who fail to communicate with the academy and resolve the delinquency through a payment schedule approved by the academy will result in the suspension of services for the student.

Students will not be permitted to attend class at the start of the trimester should any balance be past due. 

No student will be permitted to begin an academic year unless all registration and other required fees are current.  Registration and other required fees are paid through FACTS Tuition Management at enrollment.  Enrollment for students whose families are not currently in the registration or other required fees by June 30 may be canceled at the discretion of the academy. In no event will students be permitted to attend class at the commencement of the academic year unless the delinquency is paid in full.

In order to participate in graduation activities, all debts for eighth-grade students must be cleared by the third Monday of May. Eighth-grade transcripts will not be released to the high schools if the financial obligations have not been met.

For all grades, in order to participate in school activities and field trips, all financial accounts are to be current and up to date.

All fees must be paid in full before records or progress reports will be processed. It is the sole discretion of the academy to withhold trimester exams, report cards, transcripts, records, and diplomas until all financial obligations are satisfied in full.

TRANSPORTATION

Bus Procedure

While students are being transported to and from the Academy, it is expected that they will uphold the behavior expectations of the Academy as well as rules set forth by the bus driver or bus company.  Students who continuously disregard bus procedures and rules are at risk of losing their access to bus transportation.

Each bus company must hold an evacuation drill at least once a year.  Students are expected to follow all instructions as given by the bus driver or other adult facilitating the drill.

Use of Other Vehicles

Only a licensed public carrier that is fully insured should be used to transport students. Teachers or administrators are not permitted to transport students in their personal vehicles.

The Academy does not assume liability for transportation not operated by it, such as Ubers, car service, private buses or van services. 

Parents/ legal guardians must provide authorization for their child to be transported by someone else. This includes transportation for dismissal as well as extracurricular activities.

RECORDS

Change of Information

For student safety, it is imperative that parents/ legal guardians alert the Academy to any changes in address or phone number.  Parents/ legal guardians must also provide the Academy with an adequate number of emergency contacts (with up to date information).

Educational Records Request

In the event of a student transferring to a different academy, parish school, or public school, the school will provide student records to the school of transfer. Requests can be made in writing by the parent/ legal guardian or by the school that the student will be transferring to. The school office is responsible for sending student records directly to the school of transfer. If records are not provided in a timely fashion, parents or legal guardians may contact the Office of the Superintendent to receive further assistance in this matter.

Authorization to Release Records

Academies may not release the records of students without the written consent of the parents/legal guardians to any individual, agency or organization other than the following:

  • Other academy or parish school officials who have legitimate educational interests.
  • Officials of other academies or parish schools in which the student intends to enroll.
  • Officials of the courts with the lawfully issued judicial process, i.e., subpoena, court order, etc.
  • Please note health records are the property of the Department of Health.

Review of a Child’s Official Records

Parents/legal guardians have the right to inspect any and all material that is part of their child’s permanent record.  Academies require parents/legal guardians to provide a written request prior to when they wish to examine their child’s permanent record.  At the time of inspection, the academy administrator, or qualified delegate, will be present.

 

COVID-19

*All health-related policies and procedures have been adopted from the regulations published by the CDC, NYC DOHMH and NYS DOHMH NYC. (August 2021)

 

Hygiene and Health Requirements

 Face Coverings

In accordance with the NYS DOHMH order, all Students are required to wear face coverings when in the school building and maintain appropriate social/physical distancing. Students should bring an appropriate face covering from home. The school will have surgical masks available for students as needed. Students’ cloth face coverings should be clearly identified with their names or initials, to avoid confusion or swapping. Students’ face coverings may also be labeled to indicate top/bottom and front/back. Non-disposable mask should be washed daily.

All visitors to the school for any reason will always be required to wear a face covering while on school grounds or in the school building. Faculty and Staff are also required to wear masks

All masks for faculty, staff, and students are subject to approval by the principal and Office of the Superintendent of Schools. Masks should be plain and free of any objectionable statements or support for any group, product, political view, and so on, other than the name of their Parish School or Catholic Academy.

Students will be provided opportunities for short breaks to remove masks throughout the day, while social distancing, in addition to removing them while eating.

There is no outdoor NYS DOHMH face mask policy currently.

Social Distancing

Because of the importance of in-person learning, schools will implement physical distancing to the extent possible within their structures but should not exclude students from in-person learning to keep a minimum distance requirement.

Classrooms and other school areas will be set up to ensure social distancing between students. Students will also be required to maintain social distance when they are not at their desk. This is particularly important when students are not wearing face coverings such as while eating or during mask breaks.

In general, CDC recommends people who are not fully vaccinated maintain social distance of at least 6 feet from other people who are not in their household. However, several studies from the 2020-2021 school year show low COVID-19 transmission levels among students in schools that had less than 6 feet of physical distance when the school implemented and layered other prevention strategies, such as the use of masks.

Based on studies from 2020-2021 school year, CDC recommends schools maintain at least 3 feet of physical distance between students within classrooms, combined with indoor mask wearing to reduce transmission risk. A distance of at least 6 feet is recommended between students and teachers/staff in classrooms. Outside of the classroom setting  a distance of six feet social distance should be maintained between students and between students and teachers/staff.

Some extracurricular activities such as contact sports, playing a wind instrument or singing may require a social distance of 12 feet.

Cohorting

Students are assigned to a cohort. Cohorting means keeping people together in a small group and having each group stay together throughout an entire day. Cohorting can be used to limit the number of students, teachers, and staff who come in contact with each other, especially when it is challenging to maintain physical distancing, such as among young children, and particularly in areas of moderate-to-high transmission levels. The use of cohorting can limit the spread of COVID-19 between cohorts but should not replace other prevention measures within each group.  

Health Policies

If a student or staff members displays symptoms of COVID-19 during the school day, the following procedures will be followed:

  • Each building will have a designated Isolation Room for students or staff who display symptoms
  • A student showing symptoms of COVID-19 will be escorted to the Isolation Room by a staff member wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • The area where the student was showing symptoms will be immediately cleaned and disinfected.
  • The student will be evaluated by the nurse/health professional in the Isolation Room.
  • A family member or guardian will be contacted by a staff member and asked to pick up the student.
  • Upon pick up, the nurse/health professional and school staff will strongly advise the family to visit a doctor and get the student tested for COVID-19
  • Any student placed in the Isolation Room will be adequately supervised by a staff member during this time until the ill student can be picked up.

Health Screenings

Parents/ legal guardians will be asked to monitor and screen students for flu like symptoms prior to their arrival to school grounds. Any student displaying a cold, allergy or flu like symptom should stay home until a healthcare provider submits a note that the student can safely return to in person instruction.  

Symptoms of COVID-19 are:

  • Fever of 100.0°F or higher or chills
  • Cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing,
  • Fatigue,
  • Muscle or body aches,
  • Headache,
  • Loss of taste or smell,
  • Sore throat, congestion, or runny nose,
  • Nausea or vomiting,
  •  

Daily Health Screening Questionnaire

Parents/legal guardians will be required to complete for each of their children the Daily Health Screening Questionnaire each day. Students who do not have a completed Daily Health Screening Questionnaire will be kept in a supervised location until their parent/legal guardian can complete the Daily Health Screening Questionnaire or pick up the student from school.

Students who have a YES answer to any of the Daily Health Screening Questionnaire questions are to stay home.

Students Excluded from In-Person Learning

School-based staff and students cannot report to school if they have:

  • Been knowingly in close or proximate contact in the past 10 days with anyone who has tested positive through a diagnostic test for COVID-19 or who has or had symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Tested positive through a diagnostic test for COVID-19 in the past 10 days.
  • Experienced any symptoms of COVID-19, including a temperature of greater than 100.0°F, in the past 10 days.
  • Traveled internationally or domestically without being incompliance with the NYS DOHMH Travel Advisory.

 

Contact and Trace Protocols:

  • Principal or School Designee will confirm that the individual has tested positive for COVID-19 (molecular or antigen) and not a COVID Antibody Test.
    • Parents/ legal guardians or Faculty/Staff are asked to send a copy of their positive test result through a secure method to the appropriate school administrator.
  • The Principal or School Designee will send the COVID Report to Tom Chadzutko and Joan McMaster
  • Principal or School Designee will confirm that the individual was in school during the infectious period.
    • The infectious period is two days before the onset of symptoms or two days before the positive test date if no symptoms.  (Not the date of receiving the test results)

For Example: If an individual has symptoms and/or tests positive without symptoms on September 4, the infectious period begins on September 2.

  • Principal or School designee will Identify the students, faculty and staff who had close contact with the person with COVID-19 during their infectious period. Both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals are to be included in the identification of close contacts.
    • In school settings, a close contact is someone who has been within 6 feet for 10 or more minutes over a 24-hour period of someone who has COVID-19 during their infectious period, regardless of face mask use or the presence of plexiglass or other barriers. Exception: Per CDC guidance, in the classroom setting, students sitting 3 to 6 feet from a student with COVID-19 do not need to quarantine if they and the student with COVID-19 wore masks correctly and consistently. This exception applies only to students and not to staff.

Please Note:

  • All students in a Nursery, Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten class will be considered close contacts and subject to quarantine protocols.
  • During classroom Mask Breaks, if students are less than 6 feet social distance, for more than 10 minutes, from a COVID positive individual they are considered a close contact and subject to quarantine protocols.
  • During Lunch or Snack Time, if students are less than 6 feet social distance, for more than 10 minutes, from a COVID positive individual they are considered a close contact and subject to quarantine protocols.
  • During some sports, singing and the playing of wind instruments, if students are less than 6- 12 feet social distance, depending on the activity, from a COVID positive individual they may be considered a close contact and subject to quarantine protocols.
  • All students riding the school bus with a COVID positive individual are considered close contacts and are subject to quarantine protocols.
  • Principal or School designee will call the Deputy Superintendent to review the infectious period, close contact identification and the next steps for notifications and reporting of positive COVID-19 cases.

 

Notification of Close Contacts:

  • Close Contacts are only to be notified by the Office of the Superintendent-Catholic Schools Support Service communication letters issued by the Deputy Superintendent.
    • We respect the privacy of our students, faculty, and staff, and do not disclose the identity of the person who has tested positive for COVID -19 or other identified close contacts
  • Close contacts who fall into one of the quarantine exception categories (fully vaccinated or having had COVID-19 in the last three months) do not need to quarantine and can come to school provided they have no symptoms or tested positive for COVID-19. (Exception: positive cases within the same household)
  • Close contacts who do not fall into one of the exception categories must quarantine for 10 days after the date they last had contact with the person who has COVID-19 or on Day 5 of their quarantine, the person may take a lab-based molecular COVID19 test (PCR test), and with a negative result, return to attending school in person after Day 7. PLEASE NOTE: If a whole class/cohort/pod are required to quarantine the Day 5 PCR Testing Option would not apply.
  • Close contacts who are not fully vaccinated and reside in the same household as a positive individual if the positive individual cannot self-isolate are required to quarantine for 10 days from the last date of contact. Last date of contact for non-vaccinated individuals residing in the same household as a positive individual is defined by the NYC DOH as 10 days from the symptom onset or date of the positive test.

Example: Symptom onset or positive test date is September 1, add 10 days until September 11. Add 10-day quarantine until September 21, individual can return on September 22.

Quarantine for Students and Staff Identified as Close Contacts to Someone with COVID-19

  • In the event there is a positive case in a classroom, students or staff identified as close contacts may be asked to quarantine due to exposure to COVID-19. Students or staff who are:
    • At least 12 years old, fully vaccinated* and not showing symptoms may continue to attend school in person. Out of an abundance of caution, these students are encouraged to take a COVID-19 test three to five days after exposure.
    • At least 12 years old, fully vaccinated* and showing symptoms will be directed to quarantine for 10 calendar days.
    • Unvaccinated will be directed to quarantine for 10 calendar days. On Day 5 of their quarantine, students or staff may take a lab-based molecular COVID-19 test (PCR test), and with a negative result, return to attending school in person after Day 7. Schools should verify negative test results. (Unless the entire class/cohort/pod is out for quarantine)
    • Fully recovered from laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 in the past three months and show no symptoms of COVID-19 since the current exposure may continue to attend school in person. Three months is measured from the date a person first had COVID-19 symptoms or, if they had no symptoms, the date of their first positive diagnostic test.
    • An individual is fully vaccinated two weeks after a single-dose vaccine or second dose of a two-dose vaccine, where the vaccine has received emergency approval from the FDA or World Health Organization.
    • All individuals identified as close contacts to someone with COVID-19 must continue daily symptom monitoring through Day 14. If symptoms occur, they should isolate themselves, contact their health care provider, get tested for COVID-19 and must not attend school.
    • It is recommended that schools require proof of vaccination or previous (recent) positive test from individuals who are exposed but exempt from quarantine. This information should be collected using the same standard protocols that are used to collect and secure other immunization or health status information from students

Submit Positive Case and Close Contact Information to the NYC DOHMH

  • Principals or School Designee are to Submit information on all positive cases to the NYC Health Department and NYC Test & Trace Corps using the COVID-19 Facility Exposures form. https://nyc-prd.redcapcloud.com/survey.jsp?code=0yiapA9YCekebdd4
    • If there are no close contacts just the positive case information is submitted using the COVID-19 Facility Exposure Form
    • If there are identified close contacts both the positive case and close contacts information  are submitted using the COVID-19 Facility Exposure Form.
  • Principals or School Designee are to Submit information on close contact information to the NYC Health Department and NYC Test & Trace Corps using the COVID-19 Facility Exposures form. https://nyc-prd.redcapcloud.com/survey.jsp?code=0yiapA9YCekebdd4
    • The contact list for the individual who has COVID-19 should include people’s first and last names, phone numbers, and date of last contact with the person. Dates of birth and addresses may be helpful but not necessary to include.
    • If the Principal or School designee has trouble submitting the contact list using the COVID-19 Facility Exposure form, contact the NYC Health Department for help at facilities@health.nyc.gov.
    • Fully vaccinated individuals who are considered close contacts should be included in the close contacts spreadsheet.

Returning to School After Isolation, Quarantine or Calling Out Sick:

If DOHMH or NYC Test & Trace Corps determine the individual is considered a close contact of a positive case, the individual can only return to school when all the following are met:

 

For Reference:

Isolation refers to individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 through a molecular or antigen COVID-19 test.

Quarantine refers to individuals who have been identified as close contacts by the NYC DOHMH or NYC Test & Trace Corps.

 

  • A person who has completed quarantine does not need a doctor’s note to return to school if they show no symptoms of COVID-19 and did not test positive for COVID-19.
  • A person who has completed isolation does need a doctor’s note stating they can safely return to in person instruction. The NYC DOH does not recommend a negative COVID-19 test after isolation as an individual can continue to test positive for many weeks or months after infection even though they are no longer contagious
  • A person, faculty, staff, or student, who has called out sick with COVID-19 symptoms is required to submit proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test in addition to a doctor’s note indicating they can safely return to in person instruction.
  • A person, faculty, staff, or student, who has called out sick for any reason other than COVID-19 symptoms is required to submit a doctor’s note indicating they can safely return to in person instruction.
  • Contacts of someone in quarantine do not need to stay home unless the quarantined person develops symptoms of COVID-19 or tests positive for COVID-19 (becomes a case).

 

School Closures

Academies and parish schools within the Diocese of Brooklyn will continue to work to provide in-person learning if it is safe to do so. Academies and parish schools will follow guidance from city and state health agencies to ensure student safety.

 

If there are multiple confirmed cases of COVID-19 in different classrooms, the school administration will follow the NYC DOHMH guidance on excluding any students, faculty or staff who meet the definition of a close contact. The cases are likely to be independent introductions of COVID-19 to the school from the community, rather than due to COVID-19 transmission within the school. Schools considering whether to close will first discuss options with Deputy Superintendent, Office of the Superintendent~ Catholic Schools Support Services who will consult with the NYC Health Department, which will work collaboratively with the school to keep schools open for in person instruction whenever possible.

 

The decision to close a school is based on various factors including the number of cases over time and their distribution across grades and classrooms, the size of the school, the ability of the school to exclude people who need to be isolated and quarantined in a timely manner, adherence to NYC Health Department guidance, and cooperation with the NYC Health Department.

Distance Learning

Distance learning that is facilitated by a Catholic Academy or Parish School within the Diocese of Brooklyn is bound by all parts of the Acceptable Use Policy. As distance learning requires the use of other mediums such as teleconferencing platforms, virtual classrooms, digital file transfer and online work, there are other factors that need to be addressed.

  • Device Usage – The use of school/academy or personal devices for distance learning is allowed. It is recommended that all school/academy issued accounts only be used for schoolwork purposes and that those accounts are signed out of after work is completed. All usage is governed by this policy.
  • Video/Audio Conferencing – Video or audio-conferencing platforms may be used to facilitate class meetings and communication between teachers and students for teaching and group work. When using these platforms, participants must remember to conduct themselves in a professional manner commensurate with behavior expected in a physical classroom. Entering meetings other than those you are explicitly invited to by the coordinator (teacher, principal, etc.) is strictly prohibited. Trying to circumvent the security of a meeting, “hijacking” a presentation or displaying any objectionable content during a meeting is a direct violation of this policy and subject to the disciplinary actions contained within. Recording of video/audio conferences is also prohibited.
  • File Transfer/Submission – The transmittal of files may be required at times for teachers to provide and students to submit work. The willful transfer of objectionable material, malicious content or any other such transmissions is a violation of this policy.
  • Learning Platforms – The use of learning platforms such as ThinkCentral, Learn360, Mathletics, Microsoft 365, Google Classroom, and others is for the sole purpose of supporting and furthering the education of students. Any use of these platforms for any other reason may be considered a violation of this policy.
  • Any use or misuse of the technology provided for distance learning that interferes with the education of students or the operations of the school/academy is a violation of this policy.

Distance Learning should be made available to students who have been identified as close contacts by the NYC DOHMH, NYC Test and Trace Corps and are subject to quarantine protocols.

Please check with the School Principal for the Distance Learning Policy at your school.

                      

Please Note: These guidelines, policies and protocols are subject to change as information is received from the CDC and city and state health agencies.