Handbook for Families
1295 Middlefield Road, Palo Alto, CA 94301
650-469-3656 – email@example.com
Table of Contents
Communication Between Parent and School
Snack and Lunch
Drop off and Pick up and Extended Care
Visiting the Classroom
Rocks in the Basket
Guide to Participation
Playground Safety on Campus
Off Campus Playground
Incidents and Injuries
Medications and First Aid
Transferring to Another School
1. Welcome Message (2018)
We are glad to start the year with you as we celebrate and study Beginning through our integrative program. You will play an important role in helping our students understand where they come from and how their world came to be.
Please think about how you would like to support the growth of this unique school, for your own children and for many children in the future. With mindfulness practice, emotional awareness, and performance skills embedded in a project-based learning environment, we have a model of education that leads to greater confidence and connection to the world.
Tru exists that children know themselves and embrace their world.
Wisdom — the gathering of knowledge, intuition, tradition, and practical experience that leads to happiness
Caring — using our gifts to appreciate individuals, serve others, and make positive change in the world
Collaborative learning — valuing relationships as resources in listening, study, play, and celebration
Integration — connecting all aspects of experience: imagination and reason, academic and personal, school and life
Family — understanding different traditions, cultures, and lifestyles through family connections to school
Self-awareness —observing thoughts and feelings and the practice of conscious choices for balance in life
Tru began with the personal journeys of its founders, each of them concerned with what it means to learn and live as a fulfilled human being. Before taking responsibility for a classroom, these individuals deeply pursued the question of how to find happiness and mitigate suffering, in themselves and in others. Teaching children for them became a way to build a community that honors wisdom and connection.
As this creative program continues to evolve, our community of caring families is growing. We are constantly seeking ways to deepen those connections as our students follow their own path to success and happiness.
Tru admits students of any nationality, ethnic origin, religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities given to students at the school. It also does not discriminate on the basis of nationality, ethnic origin, religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, athletic activities, and other school-administered programs.
The school was originally founded and operated by Young Spirit Foundation, a tax-exempt 501c(3) corporation governed by an independent board of directors. In September 2014 the school incorporated separately as The Children's School of Art and Science with its own board of directors and in February 2015 received its own tax-exempt 501c(3) status (EIN # 47-1411854). In October 2016 the school's corporate name was legally changed to Tru.
Carolyn Elloumi, President
Dangsheng Liang, Director
Supratik Samanta, Director
Manpreet Singh, Director
Theodore Timpson, Head of School - firstname.lastname@example.org
Julia Timpson, Education Director - email@example.com
Sacha Chen-Schaab, Lead Teacher - firstname.lastname@example.org
Tanushree Samanta, Teacher - email@example.com
Ola Al-Baroudi, Communication Coordinator - firstname.lastname@example.org
Marcia Fitten, Fresh Air Lead Teacher - email@example.com
Rosalia Pacheco-Brunet, Fresh Air Teacher
Luis Brunet, Fresh Air Assistant
Sophia Timpson, Fresh Air Assistant
3. Daily Life
Communication between Parent and School
Our school constantly reviews its communication practices in order to help parents feel more informed and involved in their children’s lives. Please contact the School Administrator or your child’s teacher whenever you have questions or would like to know more about what is happening in school.
Parents, teachers, and other members of Tru make a concerted effort to engage in open, supportive communication, for the benefit of both children and adults. We agree and expect others to
- answer emails and phone messages within 24 hours, at least acknowledging receipt and promising a full answer later
- balance criticism with expressions of support
- value the partnership between parent and teacher
- communicate concerns honestly and quickly
- acknowledge disagreement and look for compromises
- assume good intentions
- remember the possibility of misunderstanding
This handbook is an important source of information about the school. Read it carefully to familiarize yourself with the routines and expectations in our community.
The website calendar lists all events for the school year. You can subscribe to the calendar on your computer or phone using Google Calendar, Apple’s iCal, or other software. The office sends a weekly email ("What's coming Trū") to all families containing upcoming events, requests, and details that parents should know, as well as articles and outside events that may be of interest.
Every two weeks parents can expect to receive Integrations, a comprehensive email describing the learning process in each classroom. It contains questions that students are investigating with relation to the Integrative Study of the year, particular skills that the students have been practicing, and a preview of what will be coming next. In the intervening weeks, parents will receive Snapshots, a brief reflection by students on school topics or activities they are excited about.
Periodically teachers will reach out personally to each family by phone to hear parent thoughts about school and answer any questions. Three times per year the teachers hold a day of formal conferences with parents to discuss each child’s progress, look at portfolios, and consider skill development. Several performances during the year also give parents opportunities to see their children’s growth.
Welcome Picnic (Sep) - after the first week of school, families come together to make connections and talk about ways they can contribute to the school this year.
Community Day (various) - families gather at school for a potluck meal and conversation about topics of interest to parents. The first of these evenings is a presentation of plans for the year.
Parent Teacher Conferences (Oct, Jan, Jun) - a 30-minute meeting to discuss your child’s growth and development.
Masks and Magic (Oct) - a celebration during school hours on the day of Halloween, of identity and the imagination.
Giving Tea (Nov) - parents are guests at a festive semi-formal tea, with a brief children’s performance and a presentation about the school’s fundraising goals for the year.
Harvest Festival (Nov)- a special feast prepared and eaten by the children in school, with parents welcome!
Science on Stage (Dec) - a theatrical presentation of children’s explorations in science, including stories of great discoveries and demonstrations of their own experiments.
A Celebration of Love (Feb) - a short concert of songs sharing the many forms of love, performed by the children, followed by a card-making activity and refreshments.
Our Children’s Theater (Apr) - a beautiful story enacted on stage by the teachers and student body, involving costumes, drama, music, and dance.
Learning Exhibition (May) - each student prepares a 10-15 minute presentation on their work, challenges, successes, and learning from the year.
Reflections and Aspirations (Jun) - in a final farewell, teachers, parents, and children speak about meaningful moments in school and how they feel inspired to grow more.
Snack and Lunch
Parents provide a snack and a lunch daily. Each child needs a water bottle, which can easily be refilled at the water fountain. Children are asked not to share food with their friends, unless something is brought for the whole class. If a child habitually does not finish lunch, teachers may intervene to make sure she or he is getting enough nourishment. Please speak with a teacher if you have concerns about your child’s eating.
At present the school does not restrict any foods on campus. If a child enrolls who has a serious food allergy, the school may take steps to prevent a life-threatening reaction, including creating nut-free tables or eliminating particular foods from children’s lunches.
Drop off and Pick up and Extended Care
Students arrive by 8:30. Students arriving prior to 8:25 AM should have parental supervision. Please make every effort to bring children on time; late arrivals can cause children to miss important information, feel disoriented in class, and lose opportunities for learning. The parking lot at Trinity Lutheran Church should be entered from Fulton Street and exited on Middlefield Road. If you park, please use the spaces on the left if possible to avoid crossing traffic.
Pick up time is at 3:00 pm unless a child is in extended care, which lasts until 5:30 pm. At the end of the school day, children come to sit near the parking lot. One staff member is responsible for monitoring the children; another is responsible each day for checking students out as their drivers arrive or they enter extended care. When a driver arrives, the child must check with the staff member and receive permission to walk out and meet the parent. The school keeps a list of authorized drivers (other than parents). An email from a parent suffices to authorize a driver.
In order to facilitate a safe transition, parents are kindly requested not to engage staff in close conversation until 3:10 or until most children have left or entered extended care. If you have an important matter to discuss, it is helpful to make an appointment ahead of time.
Please inform the school if your child needs extended care, unless you have a regularly established schedule. The extended care program provides an opportunity for students to develop their own independent projects, let their imaginations fly high in unstructured playtime, or simply relax quietly with a friend. Story times occur daily.
Late Arrival Policy
School begins at 8:30 every day. After 8:45 a child's absence affects how well she or he can make the transition to school, and it results in missing significant activities and conversation. Bringing children on time honors the commitment we have made to each other to be present in school.
If your child will have a planned absence or late arrival, please contact the office to let us know. Frequent late arrivals (more than four in a month), will result in an email asking that parents make any possible adjustments to prevent children from missing school. We recognize the challenges that you face in managing transportation, and we also want to work with you to support the best student experience we can achieve.
When a teacher cannot appear due to illness or personal circumstances, arrangements are made for child supervision throughout the day. The school uses Swing Education, an outside provider of guest teachers. An administrator or another teacher can also take responsibility for the children. Every effort is made to create a consistent and supportive experience for all students.
Visiting the classroom
Parents are welcome in the school, and we encourage you to find ways to learn more about your child’s experience. Families are welcome to attend School Meeting on Mondays and Fridays at the beginning of the day. This is a time for the whole school to gather, practice mindful awareness, sing, greet each other, celebrate holidays, reflect on school events, and present student work. Volunteering in the classroom can also be a way to feel more connected to what is going on in school. (Volunteers should remember, of course, that they are primarily there to assist the teacher and support the whole class, not to observe or spend time with their own children.)
Sometimes parents would like to observe the classroom more formally. This is scheduled in advance and happens in the company of the Head of School, with a conversation afterward to discuss what was observed. The conversation may help parents understand the larger context of school activities, child development, long-range goals, and how classroom culture evolves over time.
Outside school visitors check in with the School Administrator, or are directed to the office by a teacher. If the visitor has an arrangement with a classroom, a staff member will escort the visitor to the right place. School tours and prospective parent visits are escorted by a staff member (or an older student) on brief visits to the classrooms.
Each child has the opportunity to celebrate a birthday at school. If a birthday falls during the summer months, the family may choose another time of year (such as a half-birthday) to be recognized. During School Meeting on the week of the special day, we offer a simple ceremony in which each child shares a heartfelt wish for their friend’s continuing growth and happiness.
We encourage children to associate celebrations with relatively healthy treats. Families are welcome (but not required) to bring a treat for the whole class. We accept sweet baked goods or fruit/nut dishes with a minimum of processed and artificial ingredients. Home cooking is especially encouraged! Cupcakes and other single-serving items are also easier to share than full cakes.
We are a small school and value a sense of social inclusion. When a child holds a private birthday party at home, we ask that the invitation include either one friend only, all the boys or girls, or the whole class.
At Tru, learning begins with attitudes toward oneself, toward others, and toward the world we live in. These attitudes shape our experience fundamentally. Knowledge and success are valuable when they bring happiness, contentment, or harmony into one's life. By asking our students to return every day to these habits of mind, we hope to deepen and broaden the many rewards of education.
Rocks in the Basket
Co-Founder Barbara Rabin developed the technique of Rocks in the Basket many years ago as a way of intentionally cultivating what is inherently good, cooperative, loving, kind, and relational in children. It is not a conventional behavior management technique and should not be confused with one. Instead it is a way that our community regularly reaffirms an attitude of appreciation and celebration.
Each classroom has a collection of about 100 rocks and a wicker basket large enough to contain them. When a teacher or student notices something happy, inspirational, successful, or enjoyable, she may suggest putting a rock in the basket as a way of marking that moment. The moments may focus on acts of friendship, engaging experiences, great ideas, happy thoughts, student achievement, or anything that creates an authentic sense of delight. The purpose of the activity is to encourage that feeling of appreciation, not to rate or compare anything, and certainly not to emphasize any negative judgment.
When all the rocks are collected in the basket, the class holds a special celebration, which may include treats, games, a special reading day, an outing, a movie, or anything else appropriate and appealing to the children. All the rocks are removed from the basket, and the process begins again.
Conflict is a regular part of anyone’s life, including a child’s. Our school provides opportunities to meet conflict with honesty, acceptance, and empathy, which are more likely to produce positive change, instead of blame, avoidance, and escalation. Our teachers are very comfortable using authority with children when necessary for safety or for fairness, but this is not the primary method of resolving conflict because it takes away from students the sense of responsibility for their situation.
When a physical or verbal conflict breaks out between children, the teacher intervenes with four basic steps: stop, look, listen, and agree. In the first step the teacher requires everyone involved to control their words and actions so that the conflict can be addressed through a process. In the second step, the students are asked to look at each other’s faces to establish a human connection, to see how hurt someone feels, and to emphasize the need for direct communication.
The third step involves each participant having an opportunity to speak authentically about what happened and what feelings it caused. The other person must show a clear understanding, even repeating the words if necessary, of what the speaker says. The last step requires the participants to make an agreement for the future to prevent further outbursts. This agreement may not bring the conflict to an end, but it allows children to affirm their desire to play together in a harmonious way.
5. Student Guidelines
Guide to Participation (for students)
The purpose of our school is to create a place where you, the student, feel safe, supported, encouraged, and challenged. We want school to be relaxing, exciting, and demanding. That means we will expect you to adapt your mind and body to the task of each moment.
1. Support your teachers. This means listening to their instructions, following them, speaking respectfully to them, and bringing problems to their attention. Your teachers are your best friends in school, even when they push you to work harder or stop you from doing what you want.
2. Control your body and your words. Sometimes this means being silent and sitting in one place. Sometimes it means going to another spot so you can concentrate. Shouting, running, throwing, climbing, and grabbing things are not usually allowed in the classroom. While you can be louder and faster on the playground, you still need to avoid dangerous or disturbing activities.
3. Show kindness toward others. People can enjoy themselves much more when they are being kind and receiving kind actions. We show kindness by including anyone in our games; you can't say you can't play. We also use words that make people feel good about themselves, and we try to think of what they want, not just what we want for ourselves. We make sure that everyone has a chance to be heard and listen with care before responding. If you are not able to show kindness sometimes (and it happens to all of us), teachers may separate you from other children for a while, until you can find your good heart again.
4. Care for our environment. You can do this by showing awareness and respect toward the materials we use and to all living things. Purposely breaking things or hurting plants and animals are very disturbing to the place we call school, and will not be allowed.
5. Speak the truth. People in school need to trust each other. You need to trust your teachers and friends, and they need to trust you. Everyone wants to know they can believe your words and you can believe theirs.
6. Be involved. In our school there are times when you can make your own choices. There are also many times when teachers make choices for you. To learn well, you need to be able to follow these planned activities most of the time. You can often make your own choice how to participate, but you may not simply avoid the project.
If you are sometimes not able to follow this guide to participation, the teachers will work with you and your parents until you can. If you do something harmful, you will be expected to repair the harm, both to the one who was hurt, and to the whole community. We know mistakes can happen; we should fix those mistakes as soon as we can.
Through the school rules and classroom practice, our staff always aim to take a positive and inspirational approach to guiding students and creating acceptable norms in their learning environment. We want children to benefit from all their experiences in school: physical exercise, play, free choice, independent study, team problem solving, silent concentration time, and teacher-guided instruction. Each of these learning experiences requires particular habits of mind that are valuable throughout their lives. Sometimes children need very consistent and sustained guidelines in order to develop these habits.
By getting to know students, following their interests, and showing an understanding of their feelings, teachers can reduce many behavior challenges in the classroom. When children show a lack of control or respect for their learning space, they need further support in taking charge of themselves. One of the first self-regulating techniques we teach is breath awareness. When students learn conscious diaphragmatic breathing, they discover a way to calm themselves, to gain self control and possibly to change their own fluctuating moods.
Giving children a place in the classroom and a short amount of time to calm their own energy, is generally known as “time out”. Children learn that the length of time they spend sitting apart is dependent only upon their ability to return to the class in a positive way. It is a helpful tool, not a punishment. Teachers emphasize the time when a student can happily join the group and make well-considered choices, even putting a rock in the basket to celebrate the event.
If after sustained effort some students are unable to adjust their behavior for a particular activity or for other students, the following plan may be implemented.
1. If a student speaks or acts disruptively despite a teacher's repeated intervention, the student may leave the classroom for a brief period with independent work to complete (supervised by another staff member).
2. If after returning the student continues to disturb the class, he or she will again leave the class and spend some later play time completing assignments.
3. If class disruptions continue on a frequent basis (three times within the same week), that student may spend an hour of extended play time in the conference room doing independent classroom work.
4. If a child’s behavior strains the ability of staff to respond, the parents may be called to remove the child from school for the day. Such circumstances include requiring sustained one-to-one adult attention for more than fifteen minutes, acts which endanger the safety of anyone, refusal to cooperate with staff members, and failure to curb behavior despite multiple interventions.
Although these experiences may be frustrating and emotional for children, we see them as very valuable for learning. The opportunities for independent work are both a reminder of the practice of concentration and a firm expectation that children learn to respect their social world.
Homework is a way for children to take more responsibility for their learning and to connect it with their lives outside of school. Different children and families have very different needs and expectations, and we as a school try to respond flexibly to each family's goals.
Tru values play as a learning experience, with its opportunity for imagining new things, acting spontaneously, and building social understanding. We encourage students and families to use their time at home in ways that are naturally satisfying. These may include an activity that looks like "homework," and they may not. Play is in essence what one freely chooses to do.
All students receive assignments that are designed to create integrative experiences between school and home. These may include family interviews, activities to share at home, parent participation in schoolwork, gathering of research information, shared readings, or other opportunities. These assignments do not follow a steady schedule, and they allow for families to participate according to their availability and interest.
During the primary years (5-8), children complete assignments and prepare for tests at school. If a child or family wishes to take additional work home, a teacher may make special arrangements by mutual agreement.
Our upper elementary students (9-12) have a limited schedule of assignments to enhance their work in particular areas. These assignments are not intended to exceed two hours per week.
Our early teenage students (13-14) receive homework assignments to gain knowledge and practice as well as to develop skills of organization and planning. These assignments will average about two hours per day for completion, but the actual time may vary greatly depending on student needs.
The use of computer technology has become an increasingly essential part of almost any activity in personal and professional life around the world. Skills in the use of that technology and knowledge of its applications will give students far more access to opportunity as they advance through school and into their careers.
At the same time, the drive to place students in front of computers as early as possible can have detrimental effects. Our knowledge of child development suggests that physical activity, manual exercise, sensory stimulation, face-to-face social interaction, and work with concrete materials are a fundamental part of learning in early childhood and beyond. Connection with the natural world can also give children many physical and emotional benefits. Computers are ill equipped to provide these kinds of experiences and should be used only to enhance them, not replace them.
It is the general philosophy of Tru to use technology only where it provides skills suited to children's developmental stage. Learning experiences that can come as well or better without the use of technology should be preserved as they are.
In the early elementary years (5-8) the school emphasizes interactive and sensory experience without much use of computer technology. Children draw, paint, write, build, and move around to form strong connections in their minds and bodies. In the upper elementary years (9-12) the school uses computers as tools for the kinds of activity that children are ready to learn but cannot do easily in other ways: typing skills, photography, revised writing, email communication, research, and visual presentations, for example. In early adolescence (13-14), students may be ready for more sophisticated uses of computers, such as online courses, image and video editing, data collection and analysis, and collaborative publishing, to name a few.
All use of technology during school hours, including communications (such as phones), is under the supervision of the teachers and administration. Students are not permitted to use phones and video games except under special circumstances. Students who bring these devices to school may be asked to leave them with the teacher until the end of the day. We ask and expect parents not to communicate directly with students during school without first contacting the teacher.
The use of technology at home is of course each family's decision. Our school strives to give children equal access to learning, so if a family chooses to restrict computer use in a way that may interfere with a child's participation (or does not have technology available at home), an agreement should be made about how the school can provide additional support for the child to succeed. We are committed to making sure that the educational experience at school is healthy, consistent, and supportive of family life.
In a media-saturated culture, our school encourages a very moderate and conscious approach to the use of media with children, including television, internet, movies, and video games. We support parents in establishing healthy guidelines and limitations on children’s exposure to video content.
In the classroom, teachers may use audiovisual materials (such as brief Youtube videos) to instruct, entertain, or inspire students. These will be screened for their age-appropriate, educational value. Occasionally the school may show feature films for entertainment. In choosing such films, teachers will follow the age guidelines on Common Sense Media. A list of school-approved films is shared with parents; any other films will be announced with at least two days notice in case parents opt for their children not to see them.
Playground safety on campus
One teacher always remains present on the playground, circulating to different areas and keeping good visual contact with both the play structure and the asphalt, with attention to the areas where children are gathering. If a child is hurt or needs special attention, the playground supervisor may send a buddy with the child to find help from other staff or send a child to notify another staff member.
The play structure and all playground equipment have associated guidelines for use, agreed upon by staff and communicated clearly to the children on an ongoing basis. (For example, jump ropes can be used for jumping and some imaginative play, but never to drag items or wrap around students.) When students repeatedly do not follow these guidelines, they are removed from play for a time until they show willingness to stop.
If scooters or other fast-moving toys are used on the playground, students are required to wear protective helmets, either provided by the school or personally by the parents. Parents may opt to provide additional padding as well. Scooters are kept to a restricted area to allow space for other playground activities.
Off campus playground
During many lunch playtimes, children will be escorted to Rinconada Park. During the first half hour, children are limited to the table area and the play structure area. During the second half hour (when all children have finished eating), they can enter the field, remaining on the near side of the tree in the middle. Walkie-talkies will be used for immediate communication with the school office in case assistance is needed. An emergency pack and cell phone are also kept on hand.
Tools are an important part of education, and learning to use them well makes children more confident and efficacious in the work they aspire to do. Some of these tools pose hazards. While many schools may choose to avoid the risk of injury completely by eliminating such tools, the philosophy of Tru sees that risk also as an opportunity for learning. Learning to control one’s movements to avoid injury is a part of growing up. At the same time, we prioritize children’s safety.
The hazardous tools that children may encounter at school include sewing needles, hot glue guns, small sharp kitchen knives, wood carving tools, hammers, screwdrivers, and saws. We do not use power tools, which offer less benefit to children’s physical development. The tools are presented with clear guidelines for use and warnings about the risks involved. A particular focus is given to new students who may have less familiarity with te tools.
Teachers limit the number of hazardous tools in use at one time, and prepare the environment to minimize the chance of accidents. Work areas are designated with sufficient space to avoid unintentional bumping. Tools are kept out of children’s hands except when in use. When introducing a tool, the teacher explains guidelines carefully to all students, then works individually with each one to determine whether the child is able to continue safely alone. The teacher remains close until the child has demonstrated good manual control. A child who has repeatedly used a tool responsibly and who demonstrates general maturity may become “certified” to use a tool more independently, but always with a teacher in supervision.
Incidents and injuries
When a child is hurt, attention is given to both physical and emotional needs. Children are encouraged to remember to breathe and stay calm. Other children are encouraged to soothe and support their friends who are hurt.
If the injury is a noticeable wound (beyond a small scrape or cut) or involves a blow to the head, parents are notified by phone, but the child may remain at school until normal pickup time.
If the injury is severe and may require medical attention, parents are notified to pick up the child and obtain care.
If a child is unconscious or unable to move without risk of further injury, staff will keep the child constantly attended, call 911 for an ambulance, and then immediately notify parents.
In cases of deliberate aggression, unsafe activity, or attempts to control other children, immediate action is taken to stop the behavior. Teachers then engage students, individually and in groups in conversation about the damaging effects of such actions on everyone. The parents of all children involved are notified of the incident.
Any time parent notification is required, a written record is kept of the date, time, student, nature of incident, and steps taken.
Practice drills are regularly held to ensure that students will be safe in the event of a disaster, including earthquake, fire, and police lockdown. Staff also review the steps to take in a medical emergency. Emergency procedures are accessible in each classroom with relevant checklists.
Medications and First Aid
School first aid kits contain bandages, antiseptic wipes, and other necessary supplies to care for small wounds. An ice pack can be obtained from the freezer in kitchen storage. All staff are required to have CPR certification, renewed every two years.
If a student is taking any kind of medication, staff should be informed about the reason for the medication, signs of any problems, and possible side effects. Children are not allowed to administer their own medications during school; a designated adult should be monitoring. Medication kept on site should be stored in the office.
The school conducts regular trips to museums, parks, performances, and other sites related to topics of study. These trips are for the purpose of exploring the world itself as a learning environment, and all students are expected to participate. Sometimes the destinations are typical sites for children's visits, such as science museums, and sometimes they are more in the category of "field research," such as a grocery store. Children often find these trips very memorable; the visits give unexpected detail, perspective, and sensory experience to a study that cannot be achieved so easily inside a classroom. The teaching staff collaborates to determine what trips will happen during the year. Our goal is to offer one offsite trip per month, within budget limitations.
No student may participate in an offsite activity without prior permission from parent/guardian. Parents have the option either to give blanket permission for their child to attend field trips that the school or class undertakes, or to require specific signed permission for each trip. Any trip with special circumstances (such as overnight stay or strenuous activity) will always require signed permission in advance. Parents will also have the option to require pre-approval for specific drivers to transport their children. If a parent withholds permission for a trip, the child may not be able to attend school.
The school will give a minimum of one week's notice of any field trip. If an unforeseen opportunity arises for a class to attend an event, a teacher may request parent permission on shorter notice, but the teacher will be responsible for making alternative arrangements for students who cannot attend. Children whose parents have required signed permission for each individual trip will not be allowed to join a trip without such permission.
All students will take part in frequent walking trips around the neighborhood and Rinconada Park and visits to the Junior Museum, Children's Library, and Art Center. These trips will occur within a mile radius of the school and are considered part of the core curriculum. Any such trip that is not routine will be announced at least two days ahead of time. Permission to participate in these walks will be obtained via the basic attendance agreement signed by parents upon enrolling in the school.
2. Transportation Procedures
The school will often reserve a fully insured charter bus with paid driver for field trips. In other cases, staff may transport students in their own vehicles. Volunteer drivers may also be used. All staff and volunteer drivers are required to provide a copy of the driver's license, proof of insurance, and a signed affirmation that they have spent the last three years free of at-fault accidents. Each family must provide a child safety seat as required by state law. A staff member will inspect each child’s safety seat before departure and return to ensure that seats and seat belts are worn appropriately.
Drivers will each be provided with a map and directions to the destination. They will also have a written list of students in their care and a list of contact numbers. Drivers are expected to carry a mobile phone and remain at all times within sight of another school vehicle. Students will not be left unsupervised in a vehicle. They will leave the vehicle together at the destination and stay within reach of an adult chaperone as they proceed to the entrance and return to the vehicle.
If public transportation is used, at least two adults will travel together with no more than six children per adult. Children must be seated during the ride, unless an exception is made by the trip leader for space reasons. If the group must travel in separate vehicles, a meeting point will be chosen at the destination.
3. Chaperones and Supervision
A staff member will be designated trip leader. This person will have phone numbers for all other adult chaperones. Each chaperone will have written information detailing travel routes, addresses, the school phone number, and phone numbers for all adults on the trip. Each student will wear a name tag with the school phone number and have a designated adult to keep in sight at all times. When students are in a public park or building, they may go to bathrooms with an assigned buddy.
On trips, the adult/student ratio will not exceed 1:6 (for museums and performances) or 1:15 (for playgrounds and parks). The students will walk in pairs when on streets, keeping to sidewalks whenever possible, minimizing street crossings, and using crosswalks. The trip leader will use a school whistle to gain attention if needed.
4. Emergency / First Aid
The trip leader will be responsible for bringing the school's first aid kit and binder of emergency contact forms. In case of medical emergency, the trip leader should call 911 for a rescue team and then immediately notify the School Administrator or other designated school official. The school official will gather details, contact parents, and determine further action needed. In a nonmedical emergency, the trip leader should call the School Administrator or other designated official to report on the situation and determine necessary steps.
5. Protocol for Missing Child
Upon arrival at the trip destination, a meeting place will be identified, and all children will be instructed to proceed there if they become separated from an adult. When a child is missing, the trip leader should immediately be notified. If the child cannot be located within 15 minutes, the trip leader will contact (in this order) a local authority, the police, and the child's parents. The school's emergency binder will contain photos of each child to assist in finding a missing child if necessary.
6. Offsite Pickups
Children will return to school to be picked up by parents or other authorized person unless specific written arrangements are made with the school administration. An email will satisfy the requirement for written communication.
7. Family Responsibilities
Our contract with families is a binding agreement to pay tuition for the entire school year in order to support the salaries and other expenses incurred by the school for the benefit of our students. The contract automatically renews for all students in K-5 unless a parent notifies the school by January 31 of the intention to withdraw. Tuition payments and renewal contracts follow this calendar:
May - January — nine payments collected by electronic funds transfer on the first of each month
January — renewal reminder issued
February 1 — $2500 deposit collected to reserve child’s place next year
Parent is responsible for ensuring availability of funds for payments. If a payment is not collected due to insuf cient funds, Tru will reprocess the withdrawal in 72 hours, including any bank fees as well as a $50 administrative fee. If the second collection attempt is also denied due to insuf cient funds, Parent will be required to make payment immediately. Any additional bank fees plus $50 plus $25 per day (until payment is made) will be charged to the next month's payment.
The school offers need-based financial assistance, allowing for greater diversity of families to join our school community. We use Schools and Student Services (SSS) an online resource provided by the National Association of Independent Schools to calculate recommended financial awards based on income, assets, education expenses, and cost of living. Our school uses the calculation to make awards of financial aid at the discretion of the financial aid committee. Everyone is eligible to apply for aid, and award decisions will be made on the basis of family income and net worth. Of course, our total award are also limited by the school's expected revenue.
We hope all families will contribute as much as they can to our school's financial stability. If after receiving an award you find yourself able to offer more to the school, please consider making a donation to build funds for future development.
To access the online system, visit the website at http://sss.nais.org/parents/. You will need to create your own account with password. When you select our school in the system, please note that there may be other schools with similar names listed. Our SSS code is 176059.
Transferring to Another School
Sometimes for various reasons parents make plans to transfer to another school before sixth grade. We wish to support this process in a straightforward and transparent way, and we ask that parents keep the school fully informed as they consider other options. Private school deadlines come early, usually by January. Therefore if your child requires a teacher evaluation for another school, we prefer to receive that by December 15. Once a student has a known destination for the next year, we make efforts to understand the expectations of the new school and prepare the child to meet them well.
We encourage parent involvement and often look for help in the following areas:
Typing and printing children’s original stories Taking photos of student’s work for their portfolios Sewing dress up for imaginative play and costumes for the exhibition and theater Making programs for Science exhibition, The Harvest festival cookbook, The Love Concert, The Children’s Theater Finding program sponsors Checking out books for the teachers every month Reading a story at the end of the day Office help Attending one open house/ year
Classroom parents are core members of the Parent Circle and represent the parent community in regular meetings with a staff liaison. They receive requests for assistance from the teacher and then work with the larger school community to fill the need. Examples: Recruiting volunteers to provide snacks for parent meetings or school-wide celebrations, coordinate holiday treats (such as the halloween masks and magic event), creating a schedule for help preparing classroom for after hours use, reserving tickets for a school social outing, coordinating a small fundraiser, scheduling guest visitors from community organizations, collaborating with other parents to prepare an enrichment activity (ex: Lunar New Year celebration).
The Board Liaison is a Parent Circle member who will attend monthly Board meetings regularly.
The Parent Circle aims to host a minimum of one social activity per month. Ideas include camping trips, park playdates, potluck dinners, movie outings, etc. The person in this role will not plan every outing, but will plan the first event of the school year, solicit input from the parent community around future activities, and "promote" planned events.
Emergency Supplies Coordinator
The School stores the necessary emergency supplies on site. Families may choose to supplement these by providing a one-gallon plastic bag with a "comfort letter", a family photo, and/or ready to eat food such as granola bars, dried fruits, canned pop-top vegetarian chili, or vacuum sealed tuna or salmon. The Coordinator will inform families of the option and the strict requirements for supplementing, collect the bags provided by parents, and then be responsible for returning the supplemental supplies to families at the end of the school year, as access will only occur in case of emergency.
Field Trip Organizer
Upon request from the teacher, coordinate classroom or all-school field trips. Make reservations with venue. Arrange bus transportation or assist with special transportation plans (picking up or dropping off at a field trip site, school parents transporting students back to school after a field trip, etc.)
Field Trip Driver and Chaperone
Many of our field trips use charter buses, but occasionally a trip may require driving help. We also sometimes need help supervising children during visits. All volunteer drivers are required to provide a copy of the driver's license, proof of insurance, and a signed affirmation that they have spent the last three years free of at-fault accidents.
Some of the annual school events (Science Exhibition, Spring Play, Gathering Picnic, etc.) may take place off campus. This volunteer will make venue reservations on behalf of the school.
Harvest Festival Host
The School has a tradition of preparing and enjoying a Harvest Festival meal together right before school closes for the Thanksgiving holiday. A school family traditionally hosts this event in a family home, though all school families contribute the needed food items and supplies.
Afternoon Tea Organizer
Meet with teachers about what is needed for the Annual Giving Tea. Coordinate volunteers who will wash and ready supplies ahead of time (including tea cups and plates already owned by the school), supply tea sandwhiches and cookies, set up & clean up the room.
Refreshment Coordinator (Science Exhibition and Play)
Email parents asking for volunteers to bring individually wrapped treats and water bottles to be sold at the refreshement table during intermission and after the event. Determine price of each item (generally easiest to go with a consistent rate per item- ususally $1). Let volunteers know where and when to drop off items. Supply collection of $1 and $5 bills to be used as change (can be refunded later from the money that was brought in.) Make sure there are napkins, plates and utensils if needed (though it is easier if plates and utencils are not needed) and a basket for donations. Recruit volunteers to be at the table when items will be sold. Coordinate clean up effort.
Celebration of Love Concert Organizers
Meet with teachers prior to event. Purchase craft supplies (reimbursement available) for the children to make Valentine's Day cards after the concert. Coordinate volunteers who will wash and ready supplies ahead of time (including tea cups and plates already owned by the school), supply refreshments, set up & clean up the room.
The school uses EventBrite for online ticket sales. We need a minimum of two volunteers to work at the door to each ticketed event to check people in and sell last minute tickets. These volunteers should arrive 30 minutes prior to the event start time to prepare the space.
Reflections and Aspirations Organizer
Meet with teachers about what is needed for the event. Direct set up and clean up.
Kindergarten Play Dough Provider
Provide a double batch of colorful home-made playdough for use in the kindergarten classroom.
Food/Nutrition/Cooking Presentations (as need arises)
Provide supplies, ingredients and recipe for monthly cooking projects. Past projects have included butter, mayonnaise, ranch dressing, Gummies, pizza, macaroni and cheese, hot cider, strawberry shortbread and cream. We have had presentations on Honey and Chocolate. The school has a large toaster oven, double electric burner, and mixer. Further ideas include growing/using herbs and growing new plants from 'garbage' (celery, onions, lettuce, pineapple, ginger, garlic, etc...)
Library Book Collector (as need arises)
Teacher will provide the monthly author/artist list for the school year. Each month you go to the library to return the previous month's books and to locate/checkout as many related books as possible to drop back off in the classroom. The teachers are good about keeping library books together, the only occasional issue is City Library books getting mixed with County Library Books. Note: It is very helpful to look for the books online and put a hold on them so that you can just go in and pick up vs. scouring the racks.