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Student Handbook

Book with Cardinal

2023-2024

STUDENT HANDBOOK

Wateree Elementary School

A Title 1 School

 

424 Wildwood Lane

Lugoff, South Carolina  29078

Telephone:  (803) 438-8018

Fax:  (803) 438-5099

Web Address:  https://wes.kcsdschools.net

 

Shane L. Bagwell, Principal

Lindsay Christofaro, Assistant Principal

Amy Jordan, Assistant Principal

 

Our Mission: 

The mission of Wateree Elementary School, in collaboration with the school’s community, is to develop lifelong learners who have the academic, social, physical, and character skills necessary to lead productive and successful lives in the 21st century.

 

Our Vision: 

Our vision is to educate all students to be productive, contributing citizens in society.

 

Our Beliefs:

  • Parent, school, and community involvement are necessary for the total development of students.

  • Every child can learn and is entitled to be actively involved in a quality education.

  • Every child will be encouraged to reach his or her full potential, realize self-worth, develop self-respect, and have consideration for the rights and differences of others.

  • Education is the key component to a successful society and every child can make a positive contribution.

  • Each student has the right to learn in a safe, nurturing environment committed to self-improvement.

  • Every child will have experience with technology and the fine arts in order to be competitive in today’s world.

  • Data-driven instruction and frequent monitoring of student progress will help close the achievement gap.

 

A MESSAGE FROM THE PRINCIPAL, SHANE L. BAGWELL:

Dear Parents and Students, 

Welcome to Wateree Elementary School, home of the Cardinals! We are looking forward to the 2023-2024 school year with you! We are delighted to have you as a part of the Wateree Elementary “family,” and hope that being a part of our school is a positive experience you will never forget. 

Our students are the most important people in our building, and every day we strive to make the best and right decisions for all our students. Our primary duties are to keep our students safe so they can learn and provide them with quality learning experiences to reach their highest potential.  Also, we hope to have some fun along the way! 

This handbook has been designed to answer questions you may have and to provide the policies, procedures, and programs we have in place.  To succeed, our students and parents must be actively involved in the student's education. Parents can help their children at home by reinforcing our LIFESKILLS and Lifelong Guidelines and teaching them the value of education.  Students must be active listeners and participants in class while respecting their teachers and peers.  All of us working together can ensure your child’s success this year. 

We know communication between parents and the WES staff is of utmost importance.  We want our parents/guardians to feel comfortable sharing information and concerns with our teachers, administrators, and staff. Please call the office (803-438-8018) or email your child’s teacher or administration to arrange a conference with your child’s teacher or administration.

As this new school year begins, let us all renew our commitment to working together to help each child grow intellectually, physically, socially, and emotionally.  The 2023-2024 school year is sure to be a great one! 

Sincerely,

Shane L. Bagwell, Principal

Lindsay Christofaro, Assistant Principal

Amy Jordan, Assistant Principal

 

 

SCHOOL HOURS:

Student Arrival: 7:00 am - 7:30 a.m.  (Car rider drop-off becomes congested after 7:15)

School Day Begins: 7:30 a.m. ***Delayed Start Wednesdays: Tardy at 8:10 a.m***

Student Dismissal: 2:30 - 3:00 p.m.

 

Please do not drop students off before 7:00 a.m.  Supervision will not be provided, and front doors will remain locked for students who arrive before 7:00 a.m. 

Children not picked up by 3:00 p.m. will be sent to Be Great, the after-school program in our cafeteria, and charged the daily fee.

 

TARDIES

Students must be at school, in their seats, and ready to learn no later than 7:30 a.m.  Any student who arrives after 7:30 a.m. must have a parent walk them into the front office to obtain a tardy slip for admission to class. 

EARLY DISMISSAL

If it is absolutely necessary to get your child out before the end of the school day, please do so before 2:00 p.m.  Due to end-of-day procedures and traffic congestion, we cannot call students from class for early dismissals after 2:00 p.m.  

 

ATTENDANCE

For registration purposes, students must present a certified birth certificate, SC immunization certificate, and proof of residence in the WES attendance zone, which includes the correct and current address on a  driver’s license, the correct and current address on registration or tax document for the vehicle, check stub from current employer (showing current home address), and a mortgage or lease agreement verifying the current address or a legally notarized document from the landlord along with a copy of the landlord’s current utility bill. Anyone not having the proper documentation will be directed to the district’s residency officer.

In accordance with Board Policy JH, a student will be allowed no more than ten (10) general absences during the 180-day school year. All children are expected to attend each day unless they are ill.  Of course, situations do occur that prevent students from coming to school. School officials understand that these absences are necessary and, therefore, accept them as excused absences:

  1. Illness (both temporary and extended)

  2. Medical/dental appointments

  3. Serious illness or death in a student’s family

  4. Absences approved by the school administration

  5. Recognized religious holidays

If a student is absent for more than 5 consecutive days due to a medical problem, the parent may request homebound instruction.

General absences include:

  1. Absences for student health concerns that do not require the attention of a health practitioner (A parent note is required)

  2. Absences for non-approved out-of-town trips or activities (A parent note is required)

  3. Absences without acceptable cause or without parental permission. (Students are not allowed these types of absences)

Truancy:

Truancy is not permitted under any circumstances. Parents of students with excessive absences or tardies will be called for a Truancy Intervention Plan. They may be reported to the Kershaw County Mental Health Department and/or Family Court.

A note is required for all absences and must be submitted within (5) days from the date of return to school.  (It is recommended that these notes be submitted immediately upon return to school.) The note must be signed by a parent/guardian and state the reason for absence. Medical excuses must be legitimate documents provided and signed by a licensed/certified health practitioner. Parents are urged to schedule health appointments after school hours so as not to miss valuable instruction.

Examples of Notes Required From Parents/Guardians:

  • Notes to explain an absence

  • Notes to explain tardiness

  • Notes to request early dismissal

  • Notes to excuse the child from recess or physical education class

  • Notes to grant permission to attend field trips

  • Notes to allow the child to ride home in a vehicle with another child

  • Notes to change student’s mode of transportation

  • Proper form of taking medication

  • Notes to inform about an allergic reaction (should be accompanied by a doctor’s note)

State Requirements:  

Any student who checked out before 11:00 am Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and before 11:40 on Wednesday will be considered absent because your student missed more than ½ of their instructional day.

FIELD TRIPS/STUDIES
Students who leave the school for field studies represent Wateree Elementary School; therefore, exceptional student conduct is essential! To assist in maintaining the positive public image of Wateree Elementary School, students who have proven that they cannot consistently meet the expectations of good behavior in the school may not be allowed to visit places with less structure. Siblings will not be allowed to attend field trips or field days.
Chaperones may be needed on field trips. The grade level will determine the number of chaperones. An online Volunteer Application and $16.95 for a background check must also be completed for approval through the district office before the trip. All field trip chaperones must be on the Approved Level II Volunteer List. The online volunteer application can be found at www.kcsdschools.net/volunteer. No parent acting as a chaperone is allowed to drive separately from the school bus due to liability issues and to ensure the safety and supervision of our students. All children must ride the school bus.
Students who cannot attend a field study will remain at school in a structured learning environment and will work on a related curriculum. Likewise, students suspended from riding the school bus may be ineligible to participate in field trips if transportation for these trips is provided by Kershaw County School District or private tour buses.
Fees for field trips must be submitted by the deadline. Each child must have a completed permission form before leaving. No children can call home for permission slips or forgotten items.
No refunds will be issued for students who become ineligible (i.e., discipline) to attend or cannot attend a field study due to illness or family emergencies. 
We must have a current phone number for all children attending a field trip.
All children are asked to wear their school t-shirts on all field trips for safety and accountability.

 

SCHOOL BEHAVIOR EXPECTATIONS

Wateree Elementary students are expected to conduct themselves acceptably so that learning can occur throughout the school day.  Behavior that stops teachers from teaching or prevents students from learning is unacceptable. We continue encouraging our students through our LIFESKILLS, Lifelong Guidelines, and PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports).

 

CELEBRATING POSITIVE BEHAVIOR

Celebrations are held to reward students for their appropriate behavior. Students earn these incentives by meeting PBIS criteria and not receiving Level 2 office referrals.

These rules are taught and practiced during the 1st week of school, constantly reinforced during the school year, and posted in our hallways as visual reminders for our children. So that our students know the types of specific behaviors that are acceptable, the following list is provided. Please review these expectations with your child. 

  • Respect adults and peers

  • Respect personal space

  • Allow privacy

  • Clean up after yourself

  • Stay on task

  • Wash your hands

  • Bring only materials needed for school to school. Leave toys and other items at home that would distract you from your work.

  • Walk- in the classrooms, hallways, and on the sidewalks.

  • Speak quietly and politely. Appropriate voices promote a positive atmosphere.

  • Our aim is for self-disciplined students. When a student refuses to follow school rules or cooperate with the teacher, disciplinary actions may include the following:

Classroom Actions

  • Verbal warnings

  • Loss of privileges

  • Opportunity to “reset”

  • Opportunity for a break

  • Time out/Isolation

  • Notes home

  • Parent contact/Conferences

  • Office referrals*

Administrative Actions:

  • Student conferences

  • Guidance referrals

  • Parent conferences

  • Suspension

  • Mediation

*In all cases of office referrals, a written report of the student’s misconduct is submitted by the teacher to the assistant principal. A copy is sent home with the student for parents to review, sign, and return to school the following day. When possible, a parent may be contacted by phone.

Bullying

Bullying will not be tolerated at BES. We take reports of bullying very seriously. Children are encouraged to report bullying incidents to a WES staff member. Records of all reported incidents are kept on file by our guidance counselor.

DRESS CODE

The responsibility for the dress and appearance of the students shall rest with individual students and their parents. You have the right to determine how the student will dress provided that the attire (1) complies with requirements for health and safety, (2) does not interfere with the educational process, and (3) is not destructive to school property.  You may refer to the Kershaw County School District Student Dress Code JICA for the entire dress code.

  1. Because of health and safety hazards, all students must wear shoes. 

  2. Students should not wear clothing with inappropriate printed language, symbols, tobacco, or alcoholic beverage advertisements.

  3. Pants must be worn at the waist. Belts should be worn at all times when pants have loops. No undergarments should ever be exposed. 

  4. No cut-off, half, or midriff shirts are allowed. At no time should a student’s midsection be exposed. No see-through shirts or blouses, spaghetti straps, or wear undergarments are showing are allowed.

  5. No bandanas may be worn or carried.

  6. Hats, hoods, and/or sunglasses should not be worn inside any building unless permitted in conjunction with a school-related activity or for medical reasons.

  7. Clothing should not be excessively form-fitting. Leggings should be adequately covered to maintain modesty. Shorts, skorts, skirts, and dresses must be worn at or below finger-tip length with arms extended.

 

STUDENT CELL PHONE USE

We understand the need some students have for cell phones after school. There is no need for cell phones during the school day, and if they are seen or heard, they will be taken and must be picked up by a parent. Photos, videos, and messaging during school hours are not permitted and are a violation of the district technology agreement.

 

TOYS AND ELECTRONICS
Collector’s cards (i.e., sports, Pokemon), fidget spinners, video games, e-readers, iPods/MP3 players, and other toy-like items are prohibited at school or on the school bus. Per Policy JICJ, if any of the above-mentioned items are seen at school or on the bus, the item will be confiscated and returned when a parent comes to claim the item.

 

CONTACT WITH TEACHERS

It is essential to build a relationship with your child’s teacher.  Communication is key!  Teachers may be contacted by sending a note, email, or calling the school office.  Please remember phone calls need to be made before or after school hours to protect instructional time. Please allow 24 hours for faculty/staff to respond. 

 

STUDENT INTERIMS & REPORT CARDS

Progress reports (interim) will be sent home at the midpoint of each nine weeks via email.  Report cards will be sent home quarterly via email. The teacher or school office should be notified if a report is not received. 

PROMOTION/RETENTION POLICY

Students must achieve passing grades and demonstrate mastery of grade-appropriate S.C. State Standards to be promoted to the next grade. The following shall be considered when determining promotion/retention:

Kindergarten

  • maturity (academic, social, emotional, and physical)

  • individual progress as measured by the state kindergarten standards and assessment test results

  • teacher, principal, school psychologist, parents, and district office instructional staff observation

Grades One and Two

  • classroom assessment results

  • work samples

  • teacher judgment

  • standardized or criterion-referenced test results

  • grades

  • parent input

Grades Three through Five

  • available standardized or criterion-referenced test results

  • documented progress on the academic assistance plan

  • teacher judgment

  • grades, work samples, parent input

  • Grade 3: State Read to Succeed guidelines

Parents will be invited to conferences frequently throughout the school year. It will be discussed at one or more of these conferences if retention is being considered. A letter from the teacher and principal will notify the parent of retention and the appeals process.

The Individual Education Plan (IEP) team will determine if alternatives to the promotion/retention policy are required for each student with a disability. The alternatives will be described in the IEP.

 

GRADING SCALE

A 90 -100

B 80 - 89

C 70 - 79

D 60 - 69

F 0  - 59

 

GRADING POLICY

Students will have 10 school days to turn in missing or late assignments. After 10 days, the work will not be accepted for a grade. Late work will have a 10-point total deduction. If a student is absent from school, he/she will have 48 hours to turn in the missing work. 

 

CONTACT INFORMATION

Please provide current contact information.  We must have a working telephone number to reach a parent or guardian in case of an emergency. Please remember to update student records when phone numbers or addresses change.

 

TEXTBOOKS / WORKBOOKS / CHROMEBOOKS

As a part of the educational program, students are provided the textbooks and workbooks needed at their particular grade level. All students will be issued a Chromebook.   Students are expected to carefully use all books and technology so that wear will be kept at a minimum. If textbooks, workbooks, or Chromebooks are lost or damaged, an assessment fee will be charged.  Separate technology guidelines and permission forms will be sent home. 

 

TRANSPORTATION CHANGES

Please advise the teacher in writing if there is a change in how your child regularly goes home.  Do not email teachers; they do not always check their email throughout the day as they are busy teaching.  Call the school if you need to change your child’s transportation after the school day begins. If no notification is received, your child will follow his/her regular transportation method. 

 

VOLUNTEERS/PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT
We invite parents and community residents to assist in the instructional programs by volunteering their time to work in classrooms, the media center, and the office. All visitors must sign in at the front lobby using their driver's license or state-issued ID and receive a visitor or volunteer pass.
All volunteers must complete the Kershaw County School District volunteer application and be approved by the district office.
*Level I volunteers are those persons who interact with students under the supervision of a KCSD employee, field day volunteers, classroom helpers, etc.
*Level II volunteers are those persons who may have unsupervised interaction with students, such as field trip chaperones, tutors, or mentors. Level II volunteers must complete the online application and submit it with $16.95 for a background check. The online volunteer application can be found at www.kcsdschools.net/volunteer.

 

VISITORS: 

You are encouraged to visit our school for observations, conferences, or as a volunteer. As a visitor, you must inform our office personnel of your presence on campus. Our district-wide computer system requires all visitors to scan their driver’s license or state-issued ID on the computer in the front office, and they must wear a visitor’s sticker at all times during their visit. Visitors are not permitted on our playgrounds during the school day. Parents and friends are welcome to attend all school functions and programs noted on the school calendar. Please make an appointment to confer with teachers and administrators.   We cannot permit parents or visitors to interrupt a class to speak to the teacher or drop items off.  Every minute is valuable learning time! Due to safety concerns, small children and siblings who do not attend Wateree Elementary should not interrupt the instructional day at school, nor are they permitted to attend field trips or field days.

 

SCHOOL LUNCH AND BREAKFAST PROGRAM

Wateree Elementary’s cafeteria provides nourishing and well-balanced meals for students, visitors, and staff.  While students are encouraged to eat the school lunch provided, they may also bring lunches from home. Glass containers, candy, and sodas are discouraged.  

Breakfast is served in the cafeteria from 7:00 to 7:30 each morning.  We ask that children do not bring fast-food breakfasts or lunches. 

LUNCH APPLICATIONS/LUNCH ACCOUNTS

The district’s food service department determines meal prices based on budgetary demands, which the Kershaw County School Board approves.  Free and reduced meal benefits are available as the National School Lunch Program outlines. Applications are available at school registration, through the office, cafeteria, or online at any time during the school year.  Parents are encouraged to complete the online application by going to www.kcsdschools.net and clicking the Free, Reduced Meal Benefits information link.  Please note that these applications must be completed every year.  After two weeks, students will be charged full price for breakfast and lunch.

Parents may deposit money into their child’s lunch account by accessing www.myschoolbucks.com or our school webpage.  Parents can also check the balance in their child’s account anytime.  Students may also pay for their meals in cash, or parents can deposit cash or checks into their child’s account.  Please include a note with any money that is sent to the school.

 

CELEBRATIONS (Birthdays or Holidays)

All food items for any celebration must be STORE BOUGHT due to the increasing number of students with food allergies.  Please do not send party invitations to the school for birthdays for distribution.  Please contact your child’s teacher if you plan to bring treats.  Birthday parties cannot take place during the school day.  

 

SEAGUL (Gifted and Talented Program)
Students who qualify for the district’s gifted and talented program will be served in the Seagul program at Wateree Elementary School. Seagul students will meet during a 50-minute enrichment period, Monday through Friday. Seagul teachers worked hard revising and developing new units of study for each grade level and look forward to working collaboratively with classroom teachers to meet the individual needs of the GT students as we implement the new South Carolina state standards.

 

HEALTH ROOM SERVICES

Wateree Elementary has a Registered Nurse assigned to the school. She coordinates the school health program and liaises between school personnel, community organizations, and medical resources. We have a well-equipped Health Room staffed by the school nurse and/or health room assistant. The Health Room is set up to assist students with minor first aid and minor illnesses. The nurse reports students' illnesses to parents and follows the school district policies and the DHEC exclusion policies for South Carolina schools and daycares regarding whether a student should go home due to illness or injury. Students with a temperature of 100° or above will be sent home. Before returning to school, all students must be fever-free for 24 hours without Tylenol, Motrin, etc. In addition, any student who is vomiting will be sent home.

 

For student safety, we must have your current address, phone number(s), and another emergency number on file. The health room is also where any medication that needs to be taken during the school day is stored. The school nurse/health room assistant is trained to assist students with medication during the school day in accordance with the school district’s policy (JLCD-R) for assisting students with medications (Effective 9/6/2006).

The school district medication permission form must be completed by a parent/guardian, and the physician’s signature is required for all medications taken to school. This includes all medications (over-the-counter and prescription). All medications (prescription and over-the-counter, including cough drops/lozenges) must be in the original pharmacy-labeled container and must be brought in by an adult. Please do not send any medication with students. The parent/guardian must be responsible for informing school personnel of any changes in the medication routine or the student’s health status.

TRANSPORTATION

  • CAR RIDERS

    • ARRIVAL PROCEDURES - Students CANNOT be dropped off in the front parking lot or grass area.  All students must come through the car rider line.  When exiting the car, students must exit from the right side of the vehicle closest to the school building.  The front parking lot will not be used for arrival.

    • DISMISSAL PROCEDURES - All parents must remain in their car during afternoon dismissal.  The parking lot will not be used for pick-up. Failure to follow this procedure could result in being placed on school trespass.  Students will only be loaded on the right side of the car. ALL CARS MUST HAVE A CAR SIGN visible in the front window with the names of all children being picked up. Cars without signs will be directed to the front parking lot so an adult can enter the front office to sign out their child(ren). 

 

  • WALKERS

    • DISMISSAL PROCEDURES - Students who walk home to our neighboring subdivisions must have completed a “Walker Permission Slip” signed by the parent.  The form must be on file with the front office before walking home on the first day of school.  Parents walking their child home cannot park on school property - This means you are a car rider and should be in the car rider line.   

 

  • BUS

    • School bus transportation is a privilege that may be withdrawn for inappropriate behavior. We have excellent drivers who work with students before a referral is made to the school’s administration for assistance. If discipline problems occur on the bus, the driver will complete a disciplinary report and submit it to the school for appropriate action in accordance with the Kershaw County School Bus Discipline Code. A copy of the school bus referral will be sent to the parents via the student or mail, and/or the parents may be phoned regarding the incident. If the problem persists, students may be suspended from riding a bus. If your child is suspended from the school bus, you must send a change of transportation note indicating how your child will go home and with whom.

    • Make sure you have made prior arrangements with the Lugoff Bus Transportation Office.  Their contact number is (803) 438-8017. The bus supervisor is John Clinton, john.clinton@kcsdschools.net.

    • Rules for Safe Bus Riding

  1. PBIS/School rules are enforced on the bus.

  2. Board the bus in an orderly manner and remain seated. If seats are assigned, sit in your assigned seat.

  3. Remain seated while the bus is in motion.

  4. Keep arms, hands, feet, and other body parts inside the bus and to yourself.

  5. Do not throw things on the bus or from a bus window. Keep the bus clean and sanitary.

  6. Keep books, packages, coats, and other objects in your lap and free from the aisle.

  7. Be on time at your designated bus stop. Buses are unable to wait for children.

  8. If no one is at the bus stop to receive children, they will be returned to school and sent to the after-school program until they are picked up. Parents will be charged a daily fee.

  9. Do not bring onto the bus large objects (i.e., science fair projects) or any other items prohibited by district policy.

(Please note this is a guide, and information is subject to change.)