This handbook contains useful information for both parents and students regarding the daily operations of Virginia Beach City Public Schools’ fifty-six elementary schools. You will find information highlighting some of the school division’s policies and guidelines that are necessary for the safety, welfare, and well-being of our students. Please keep this handbook throughout the 2012-2013 school year. You are encouraged to review the contents of this handbook and share appropriate information with your child. As a parent or guardian, your interest and involvement with your child’s education will promote a positive attitude toward learning and academic achievement. Should you have any questions about the contents of this handbook or Virginia Beach City Public Schools, please contact your school principal.
Christopher Farms Elementary offers a Foreign Language Partial Immersion Academy designed to offer students a foreign language experience in the elementary school setting. Students are selected through an application process, which is open to any rising first-grader at Christopher Farms Elementary.
A Mathematics & Science Academy at Linkhorn Park Elementary offers students a program of study that is fast-paced and combines instruction in core subjects with enriched coursework in science and mathematics. Students will have the opportunity to learn through a hands-on laboratory experiences to develop their problem solving and higher order thinking skills. Students must apply to the Mathematics and Science Academy for admission.
Only students who attend Alanton, Birdneck, Cooke, John B. Dey, Linkhorn Park, Seatack, and Trantwood elementary schools are eligible.
For additional information on both academy programs, please call the Office of Academy Programs at 757.263.1405 or visit our website at vbschools.com and select the category Academy Program found on the homepage.
Access/Disclosure of Student Records
In compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and in accordance with School Board Policy (5-31) and Regulations (5-31.1 & 2), adult students, parents and legal guardians may review a student’s education records at the school office upon request. If student education records are inaccurate or misleading the adult student, parent or legal guardian may request an amendment by contacting the school principal. Education records are considered confidential and the privacy rights of parents and students are safeguarded. Except as provided by law, no outside agencies or individuals may have access to a student’s education record without written consent of the adult student, parent or legal guardian. If records are copied, a minimal fee may be charged.
Whenever a student transfers from one school or school division to another, upon request, a copy of the student’s scholastic and discipline record will be transferred to the new school or school division.
The School Board authorizes making Student Directory Information public as permitted under state and federal laws and regulations. Student Directory Information means information contained in an education record of a student which would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. School Board Policy 5-66 defines Student Directory Information as the following: name of student in attendance or no longer in attendance; address; date and place of birth; telephone listing; dates of attendance; participation in officially recognized activities and sports; height and weight, if member of athletic team; awards and honors received; and other similar information. Examples include release of student name, school, and grade for submission to The Virginia Beach Beacon for scholastic recognition and/or to elected officials contacting the school division to request student addresses for congratulatory purposes, yearbooks, event programs, and awards ceremonies.
School Board policy provides the Superintendent with the discretion of selecting which student directory information may be released. Adult students, parents or legal guardians may “opt out” of release of directory information by providing written notification to the school. In accordance with 20 U.S.C. §7908, as amended, the School Board provides directory information to military recruiters unless the adult student, parent or legal guardian opts out of release of Student Directory Information. Detailed information on FERPA is available on the school division’s website at vbschools.com.
Adult student, parents or legal guardians have the right to file a complaint with the Family Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education for failure to comply with FERPA.
Acceptable Use Agreement for Computer Technology
Virginia Beach City Public Schools provides Internet access and e-mail accounts (collectively, the “System”). In order to use the System, students under the age of 18 must obtain parental/legal guardian acknowledgment of the provisions of the Acceptable Use Policy which is integrated into the Code of Student Conduct. A Parent Acknowledgment Form will be forwarded annually and signed by the parent(s)/legal guardian(s) acknowledging that they have read and understand the policies and regulations. (Policies 6-62 and 6-64; Regulations 6-62.1 and 6-64.1) Inappropriate use of the computer can result in disciplinary action taken under the provisions of the Code of Student Conduct and/or other School Board policies and division regulations governing student discipline. Any violation will be handled in accordance with School Board Policy 5-21 and its implementing regulations. Understanding the importance of Internet/computer safety, information on this subject will be made available to all students throughout the school year. Additionally, Internet/computer safety tips are available.
Attendance/Tardies/Leaving School Early
Regular and prompt attendance is necessary for a student to maintain satisfactory progress. Excessive absences and tardiness from school are detrimental to the educational process. With our hands-on, cooperative learning, regular attendance is crucial. Parents should plan vacations and trips which do not conflict with the school's instructional calendar. When students arrive late or must leave early, they miss valuable information and are at a disadvantage.
Late arrivals and early dismissals can be very disruptive to other students and to the teacher. When possible, please try to schedule appointments so they do not conflict with school hours.
Sickness, severe illness or death in the family, exposure to a contagious disease, religious holidays or extremely inclement weather are considered legitimate excuses for absences or tardiness.
If a student is to be absent, parents are urged to inform the school in advance. Students having more than twenty-four (24) absences for the year may, on the authority of the principal, be denied promotion.
The school division contracts with authorized insurance carriers for voluntary scholastic accident and dental accident insurance programs. This insurance is available to all students for the 2012-2013 school year. Fee information, application forms and information on full-time scholastic accident coverage, school-time only scholastic accident coverage, and dental accident insurance are sent home with students at the beginning of the school year.
Before- & After-School KidzQuest Programs
Offered by the Virginia Beach Department of Parks and Recreation during the school year, the KidzQuest before-school program is available at selected “A” elementary schools from 6:30 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. and at selected “B” elementary schools from 7:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. The KidzQuest after-school programs operate from 2:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at “A” schools and from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at “B” schools. Parks and Recreation also offers the RISE After-School Enrichment Program at all Title I schools. For information on registration, payments, and space availability, call the Virginia Beach Department of Parks and Recreation at 757.385.0400, the City of Virginia Beach at 757.385.3111, or visit vbgov.com/parks.
Virginia Beach City Public Schools participates in both the National School Breakfast and Lunch Programs. Menus are planned to meet the nutrition goals when averaged over a school week for Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA), student’s calorie needs, and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The menu planning system provides students approximately 1/4 of the RDA for key nutrients for breakfast and approximately 1/3 of the RDA for key nutrients for lunch. Current prices for breakfast, lunch, and a la carte items can be found on vbschools.com.
Each school uses a computerized point of sale system which allows students to have individual accounts for pre-payment or payment at the time of service for their meals and a la carte purchases. This system lessens the need for students to bring money to the cafeteria each day. Student accounts are used for full-price, reduced-price, and free meals, and a la carte items.
Payments for meals can be made using one of two methods:
- Cash/check at time of purchase
- Online using Visa, MasterCard, or a debit card. This online service allows parents of students to prepay money directly into their child’s account; monitor their child’s food purchases; set up low-balance e-mail reminders; and schedule recurring payments.
Applications for free or reduced price benefits can be obtained from the following sources:
- School office
- Returning students will receive an application through the U.S. Postal Service during the summer.
- Office of Food Services: 757.263.1101
Menus are posted on vbschools.com and broadcast on VBTV (channel 48).
For more information on Lunch Menus/Food Services, call the Office of Food Services at 757.263.1101, or call your school’s cafeteria manager.
- Practice good manners and socialize quietly.
- Leave the table and surrounding area clean and orderly.
- Return trays and utensils to wash area.
- Put trash in proper containers.
Cell Phone Use
Elementary school students may use Portable Communication Devices for instructional purposes as defined by the classroom teacher or administrator. Students are responsible for ensuring that their devices are turned off and out of sight during the instructional day when not in use as directed by a teacher or administrator. Detailed information on the school division’s new initiative Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) to school can be found on the school division’s website vbschools.com.
Use of unauthorized electronic devices such as CD players, MP3 players, iPods, DVD players, laptop computers, games may result in disciplinary action during the instructional day as set forth in the Code of Student Conduct. School officials shall take possession of portable communication devices for twenty-four hours for any violation of this regulation, and parents/legal guardians must make arrangements with school officials to claim such devices. Confiscated Portable Communication Devices will not be released to students under any circumstances. In addition, students who violate this regulation shall be subject to discipline in accordance with the Virginia Beach City Public Schools Discipline Guidelines as specified in the Code of Student Conduct.
The school division recognizes that issues related to the legal and physical custody of students are complicated and can impact the student’s educational experience. Parents and legal guardians of students are strongly encouraged to stay involved with their student’s academic progress. Unless a court order decrees otherwise, either parent or a legal guardian may view education records and attend school functions or school meetings regarding the student. Official notices and report cards will be sent to the parent or legal guardian with primary physical custody of the student during the school year.
It is the responsibility of the parent or legal custodian with primary physical custody to provide current copies of court orders to the school. Child visitation and exchange of custody should not take place during school hours or on school property. The school division will assume no responsibility for enforcing visitation or custody orders and reserves the right to prohibit parents or legal guardians from entering school board property if their conduct becomes disruptive to the school environment. Concerns regarding custody and visitation should be directed to the school principal.
Child Find/Notice of General Screening
Virginia Beach City Public Schools maintains an active and continuing Child Find Program designed to locate, evaluate, and identify children who are in need of special education and related services. Child Find includes children who are migrant, homeless, attend private schools, or are home schooled.
Any child, whether enrolled in public education or a private school, who is suspected of having a disability, should be referred to the special education administrator or designee. Referrals may be made by any source including school staff, parent(s), and other individuals who have knowledge of the child. For children of school age, the special education administrator or designee at the neighborhood school will initiate the process for determining eligibility for special education and related services.
Children between the ages of two and four as of September 30, 2011, who are suspected of having a disability, should be referred to the Preschool Assessment Center at 757.263.2800. Children between the ages of birth and three should be referred to the Virginia Beach Infant and Toddler Connection at 757.427.4400.
As part of the Child Find Program, the division conducts a general screening of new students who have not previously been identified as having a disability. The following areas of development are screened as indicated. Parents are notified by the school if their child fails one or more parts of the general screenings that follow.
The vision and hearing of students in grades kindergarten, 3, 7, and 10 will be screened within 60 business days of the opening of each school year. In addition, vision and hearing screenings are conducted during the school year for all students new to the division in non-mandated screening grades after the mandated grade requirements are completed.
Scoliosis educational information will be provided to the parents of students in grades 5 through 10 within 60 days of the opening of school each year.
Students in kindergarten and students new to the division will be screened within 60 business days of the opening of school in the areas of:
- speech, voice, and language skills; and
- gross and fine motor functions
Students new to the division enrolled after the start of the school year will have these areas screened in a timely manner, but no later than 60 days after their first day of enrollment in the division. All general screenings for speech, voice, language, gross motor, and fine motor are completed by the general education classroom teachers. Results of the general screenings in all areas are confidential and are maintained as a part of the student’s scholastic record.
(NOTE: No general screening procedures are considered to be an evaluation for eligibility for special education and related services. General screenings do not require parental consent, but do require parental notification such as the notice included in this handbook.)
Clinic: Overview of Health Services for Students
Each school clinic is staffed with a full-time Registered Nurse, along with trained clinic assistants in the larger schools. They provide health screenings, assessments for chronic and acute illness, and first aid. The registered nurse at each school is available to consult with parents as needed, regarding health concerns of students.
If a student has special health needs (medication, seizure precautions, catheterizations, gastric tube feedings, blood sugar checks, oxygen needs, or others), the parent/guardian is to schedule a time to meet with the school nurse to arrange for these needs to be taken care of during the student’s school day. All medications and treatments require both a written physician’s order and a parent/guardian's signature. The school nurse will assist the parent/guardian by preparing a plan of care for the student and advising as to what supplies the student will need at school.
Administration of medications, especially short term, should be done at home whenever possible. However, if a student is required to take prescription or non-prescription medication during the school day, the following guidelines must be met:
- A Request for Administration of Medication in Hampton Roads Schools form must be completed and signed by either a physician, dentist, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant and include the parent/guardian signature. This medication form is available for your convenience in the school clinic and on vbschools.com.
- Medication must be in a container that has been labeled by the pharmacy and has the most current prescription date. Over-the-counter medication must be in a sealed, unopened new bottle.
- Parent/guardian must deliver medication to the school clinic, as students are not permitted to transport medication.
- All medicine must be picked up by a parent at the end of the school year. Medicine not picked up will be discarded.
In some situations, accommodations can be made for students with asthma or life-threatening allergies to self-administer their inhaled asthma medication or their auto-injectable epinephrine medication. The school nurse must receive either an Virginia Asthma Action Plan form, or a Life-threatening Allergy Management Plan (Part 2 & 3) forms completed and signed by either a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant. These forms can be obtained from every school clinic and on vbschools.com. Additional questions and concerns may be directed to the registered nurse at each school.
As per the Code of Virginia, the school division must comply with all requirements for immunizations of school age children. There are specific requirements for DPT, Polio, MMR, Hepatitis B, Varicella, & HPV immunizations which can be located on vbschools.com. Lack of compliance with vaccine requirements can result in students being excluded from school until compliance, or a plan for compliance is achieved. In addition to these requirements, girls in the 5th grade will receive HPV vaccine (Virginia Department of Health) educational material near the end of their 5th grade year. After reviewing this HPV educational material, the parent/guardian may elect for their child not to receive the vaccine.
Parents/guardians are encouraged to keep the school nurse informed of significant health concerns and diagnoses for their children. It is essential that the clinic staffs have current work, cell, home phone numbers, pagers, and any other means whereby parents/guardians can be contacted should the need arise. Emergencies can occur at any time. It is imperative that each student’s school be able to reach parents and caregivers during the school day. Collaboration and communication with parents, guardians, and physicians are necessary in order for complete and effective care to be provided to students.
The Department of Curriculum and Instruction produces the Parent/Student Course Information Guides for students enrolled in kindergarten through fifth grade. These guides, available on vbschools.com, provide insight into the instructional program and learning expectations for every child to thrive as 21st century learners, workers, and citizens. This helpful publication also contains a list of the grade-level instructional objectives that include the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL).
Guidelines are established to promote a standard of appearance which enhances the learning environment while allowing for reasonable comfort and individuality of all students.
Students are expected to wear clothing appropriate to the school setting: extreme or outrageous apparel or appearance is to be avoided. Current “fads” involving appearance or clothing that disrupt the instructional process will not be allowed. Specific dress code standards are given below:
- Appropriate shoes are required; either hard-soled or tennis shoes are acceptable. For student safety, rubber-soled shoes are required for physical education.
- Shorts of an appropriate length and style are acceptable.
- Clothing which overexposes the body is unacceptable.
- Lewd or suggestive attire may not be worn.
- Apparel which advertises, glorifies, or symbolizes any illegal substance or substances illegal for use by minors may not be worn.
- Apparel that is gang-related may not be worn.
- Any item of jewelry or clothing that might create a hazard to a student’s safety may not be worn.
- Any questions regarding "appropriateness" will be determined by the principal.
Early Dismissal/Leaving School Grounds
When leaving school prior to dismissal or being picked up at dismissal, students must report to the office to be signed out by a parent/guardian or an adult the parent/guardian designates. This requirement is to ensure the safety and well-being of your child.
Environmentally Sustainable Practices
Virginia Beach City Public Schools understands the importance of conserving resources and protecting our environment. In support of this, VBCPS is committed to fostering the principles of environmental, economic, and social stewardship through the incorporation of sustainable practices throughout the school division.
Besides recycling paper and plastic products, each of the school division's 85 schools has an appointed Sustainable School Liaison, tasked with increasing sustainability awareness throughout the school division. Through their leadership, many of our elementary, middle, and high schools have developed programs or clubs to promote awareness and address the issue of sustainability.
Extended Day Kindergarten
Students who need additional language arts and mathematics support may be selected to participate in the Extended Day Kindergarten (EDK) Program. All parents of students selected to participate in EDK are required to attend an orientation meeting at their child’s school. Parents will receive notification of specific dates and times for this important opportunity to learn how EDK will help their child succeed in school. The EDK program will begin no later than September 30, 2012.
Gifted students may choose to apply to a centrally located full-time gifted elementary school, Old Donation Center, or students may remain in the neighborhood school and receive services via the resource-cluster program. Both models provide opportunities for gifted students to benefit from learning challenges offered through the differentiation of curricula, the incorporation of strategies designed to raise the level of learning, and the availability of specialized programs.
For additional information on gifted education, please call the Office of Gifted Education at 757.263.1405 or visit our website at vbschools.com and select the category Gifted Program on the homepage.
Guidance and Counseling Program
Each elementary school offers a comprehensive and developmental counseling program that is an integral part of the total educational program designed to promote the academic, social, and career development of all students. As an essential part of the instructional program, school counseling helps to build a foundation for student learning and academic success. Certified school counselors provide a variety of services, including classroom guidance, crisis intervention, individual and group counseling, consultation with parents, teachers, and administrators, and coordination of services with outside agencies.
Health Insurance for Children
Health insurance is important for every child to ensure they have access to the resources needed to grow up healthy. Health insurance is available for children of families who qualify, based on income, through Family Access to Medical Insurance Security (FAMIS). FAMIS provides access to quality health services for children who do not have health insurance.
There are no monthly or yearly costs to your family with FAMIS. For children enrolled in FAMIS only, there are small co-payments ($2 or $5) for certain medical care. Services covered under FAMIS include: doctor visits, hospital and emergency care, well-child and well-baby checkups, shots, prescriptions, tests and x-rays, vision and dental, care, mental health care, and more.
Children may be eligible for FAMIS if they: live in Virginia; are under age 19; meet certain income criteria; and are U.S. citizens (some non-citizens also qualify). A parent’s citizenship is not considered.
Applying for FAMIS is quick and easy.
- Call toll-free 1.866.87FAMIS (1.866.873.2647). Interpreters are available. Representatives will connect you with someone who speaks your preferred language.
- Apply online at www.famis.org
- Contact your school nurse or school social worker
- Apply at your local Department of Human Services at 757.437.3610.
Help Us Keep the Flu Out of School
Typically, flu season occurs in the fall and winter months. With this in mind, our health services staff suggests that parents remind their children that one of the most effective flu-fighting strategies is regular and thorough hand washing. Follow these steps to ensure a thorough approach:
- Wet hands with warm water.
- Lather both hands with soap.
- Scrub fingertips, wrists and between fingers.
- Scrub hands for at least 20 seconds.
- Rinse hands thoroughly under running water.
- Dry hands on a clean paper towel or let hands air dry if no towel is available.
- Encourage all family members to cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when they cough or sneeze.
- Vaccinate your child for seasonal flu when the vaccine becomes available in the early fall to protect against flu illness.
- If any family member has flu-like symptoms such as fever, cough, and sore throat, please contact your health provider. (Additional symptoms may include headache, chills, fatigue and body aches).
- Should your child display any flu-like symptoms while at school, he or she will be referred to the school nurse. For the safety of others, students and staff with flu-like symptoms will not be able to stay in school. Should a student display flu-like symptoms, his or her parent/guardian will be contacted.
- Please watch for any signs of the flu. Students with flu-like illness should stay home until at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever or signs of a fever. This should be determined without the use of fever-reducing medications (any medicine that contains ibuprofen or acetaminophen).
Additional Information on the guidelines school nurses will follow to minimize the impact of seasonal flu can be found on the school division’s website vbschools.com by selecting the category Student Health Services found under Quick Links.
High School Graduation Requirements
The Virginia State Board of Education establishes graduation requirements for all students in public schools. Virginia Beach City Public Schools bases its requirements on the Virginia State Board of Education requirements. To determine graduation requirements, students and parents must consider both the type of diploma sought and the year the student first entered ninth grade. Specific diploma requirements are distributed separately from this document in the annual Notice of Graduation Requirements . It is the responsibility of the student, with family support, to meet all requirements for graduation.
Homework is a vital part of the total learning process. Grade-level practices are communicated to students during the first week of school. The following list serves as a reminder about the importance of homework:
- provides essential practice in needed skills
- trains students in good work habits
- affords opportunities for increasing self-direction
- enriches and extends school experience
- helps students learn to budget time
- promotes growth in responsibility
- brings students into contact with out-of-school learning resources
Honor Roll & Principal’s List
For students in grades 3, 4, and 5, a Principal’s List and Honor Roll are established after each nine weeks to recognize those who achieve excellence in academic performance. The guidelines to qualify for either the Principal’s List or the Honor Roll follow:
- Principal’s List: Principal's List: A student must earn all "As" and have satisfactory ratings for work habits, citizenship, music, art, and physical education. If a student receives an "A-," he or she is not eligible for the Principal's List.
- Honor Roll: A student must earn a "B" average with no grade lower than a "C". In addition, a student must have satisfactory ratings for work habits, citizenship, music, art, and physical education. If a student receives a "C-," he or she is not eligible for the Honor Roll.
In the middle and high school, to qualify for the Honor Roll, a student must earn a "B" average, with no grade lower than a "C." If a student receives a "C-," he or she is not eligible for the Honor Roll. To qualify for the Principal’s List, a student must earn all "As" and must be enrolled in five classes or earning five credits. If a student receives an "A-," he or she will not be eligible for the Principal’s List. To be eligible for both the Honor Roll and Principal’s List a student must be enrolled in five classes or earning five credits.
Inclement Weather/School Closings/Make-up Schedule
In the interest of student safety, federal and local agencies are consulted prior to making a decision to close, delay, or dismiss schools early due to inclement weather. Parents will be notified via phone and/or e-mail about school delays or cancellations using the rapid notification system AlertNow. An official notice will also be posted on the homepage of the school division’s website vbschools.com.
Each school has an Emergency Response Plan for use in the event of early closings and other emergencies. Parents should make sure they have plans in place since students will be transported home earlier.
Investigating School-Related Incidents
If an allegation is made that an employee was exhibiting poor performance and/or engaging in misconduct (which could include an allegation of child abuse/neglect), a school division Employee Relations Specialist or other administrator could decide to interview one or more students to obtain pertinent information. In appropriate circumstances, an interview(s) may be conducted jointly with the Virginia Beach Department of Social Services and/or law enforcement personnel. Division administrators are not legally obligated to obtain parental permission before interviewing a student. However, as a general rule the principal or his/her designee will make a reasonable attempt to notify a parent or guardian that an interview was conducted. Virginia law permits law enforcement personnel and/or child protective service workers to interview any child suspected of being abused or neglected and/or siblings without first obtaining parental consent.
Keeping in Touch with Your Child's School
As a parent of an elementary level student, keeping in touch with your child's school and teacher is important to the academic success of your child's education.
Parents are always encouraged to communicate with teachers about their child's progress. This can be done by participating in back-to-school and orientation programs scheduled at each school, arranging a meeting with your child's teachers and school counselor to monitor their progress, and contacting teachers using email or telephones. Email addresses of all teachers are posted on every school's website.
Another convenient way for a parent to stay in touch with school activities and news is through MySchool Mail – an email subscription service used by schools to distribute announcements and news.
Each school uses the AlertNow parent notification system to contact parents about important school information and events, testing schedules, report card distribution, open houses, delayed buses, field trips, and more. Messages will typically be delivered to your home phone.
All parents have access to the VBCPS Parent Portal. The VBCPS Parent Portal is an online tool that allows parents the opportunity to monitor their child’s progress in school. The VBCPS Parent Portal can be accessed from the home page of every school’s website.
Students arriving at school late must report to the office to be counted in attendance before going to class. A note from the parent explaining the reason for late arrival is required and an adult must sign the child in at the main office.
News Media Coverage
At various times during the school year, news media representatives may photograph or videotape students in incidental news coverage. If a student is to be interviewed on school property by the news media, a signed parental consent form is required (Parental Release for Interviewing, Photographing, and Videotaping/Audio-recording of Students Form). This form is included in the Registration/Emergency Data Form and is also available in each school office. If a parent objects to their child being interviewed or photographed, this should be indicated on the Parental Release for Interviewing, Photographing, and Videotaping/Audio-recording of Students Form and returned back to their child’s teacher.
Parent Acknowledgement Form and Supporting Documents
Each parent will receive a Parent Acknowledgement Form during the first week of the school year. This form is for parents/legal guardians of all students or for students who are eighteen years of age or older enrolled in Virginia Beach City Public Schools.
- Code of Student Conduct, including Regulations for Passengers Riding School Buses, Anti-Tobacco Use Program, and Acceptable Use Agreement (for computers)
- About Student Records: Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
Note: Any parent who objects to the release of any directory information must notify, in writing, the principal of the school where the records are kept.
- Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) Note: Included in Elementary Parent/Student Handbook
- Graduation Requirements
- Parent/Student Handbook (Elementary, Middle, or High)
- Parent/Student Course Information Guide (K-5), online access
- Section 504
- Parental Responsibility and Involvement Requirements
- Compulsory Attendance Law
Parents are encouraged to have periodic conferences with teachers. For a conference at any time other than on a regularly scheduled school conference date, please call the school for arrangements to meet with the teacher.
Partners and Volunteers in Education
Virginia Beach City Public Schools encourages and values community involvement to strengthen students’ opportunities for success. To effectively accomplish the goal of meaningful community engagement with our schools, we collaborate with the Virginia Beach Council of PTAs and the community as a whole. Over 22,000 partners, volunteers, and parents serve our schools annually to expand and enrich learning opportunities for students by contributing their resources, skills and special talents. Volunteers serve as mentors, tutors, school and classroom assistants, participate on curriculum committees and school planning/advisory councils as well as provide workforce readiness skills/experiences and internships. You don’t have to be a parent to get involved. We welcome partners and volunteers from throughout the community including military, businesses, civic organizations, faith-based groups and churches, and area schools and universities. Seniors and retired citizens are encouraged to volunteer through the school division’s Golden Circle Program. To volunteer, contact the school of your choice, or call the Office of Community Engagement at 757.263.1337.
The physical education program is an important part of the elementary education experience for students. If a health condition prevents a student from participating in physical activities over an extended period of time, a note from a doctor indicating the limitation is required. For a student to be excused from physical education for a short period (up to three days) due to a temporary illness or physical condition, a written request from a parent is sufficient.
Each student should learn the relevant grade level subject matter before promotion to the next grade. Each student shall take and be expected to achieve a passing score on the Standards of Learning (SOL) tests for the student’s respective grade. Schools shall use SOL test results as part of a multiple set of criteria for determining promotion in grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 as set forth in more detail in School Board Policy 5-27.
Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA)
The Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA)requires parental consent before students are required to submit to a survey that concerns one or more of the following protected areas (“protected information survey”) if the survey is funded in whole or in part by a program of the U.S. Department of Education (ED):
- Political affiliations or beliefs of the student or student’s parent;
- Mental or psychological problems of the student or student’s family;
- Sex behavior or attitudes;
- Illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, or demeaning behavior;
- Critical appraisals of others with whom respondents have close family relationships;
- Legally recognized privileged relationships, such as with lawyers, doctors, or ministers;
- Religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student or parents; or
- Income, other than as required by law to determine program eligibility.
PPRA also applies to the collection, disclosure or use of student information for marketing purposes as well as certain physical exams and screenings. Parents will receive notice and an opportunity to opt their child out of the following:
- Any other protected information survey, regardless of funding;
- Any non-emergency, invasive physical exam or screening required as a condition of attendance, administered by the school or its agent, and not necessary to protect the immediate health and safety of a student, except for hearing, vision, or scoliosis screenings, or any physical exam or screening permitted or required under State law; and
- Activities involving collection, disclosure, or use of personal information obtained from students for marketing or to sell or otherwise distribute the information to others.
Parents may inspect the following before the school administers or uses:
- Protected information surveys of students;
- Instruments used to collect personal information from students for any of the above marketing, sales, or other distribution purposes; and
- Instructional material used as part of the educational curriculum.
The rights stated above transfer from the parents to a student who is 18 years old or an emancipated minor under State law. Virginia Beach City Public Schools (VBCPS) has developed and adopted policies, in consultation with parents, regarding these rights, as well as arrangements to protect student privacy in the administration of protected information surveys and the collection, disclosure, or use of personal information for marketing, sales, or other distribution purposes. VBCPS will directly notify parents of these policies at least annually at the start of each school year and after any substantive changes. VBCPS will also directly notify, such as through U.S. Mail or email, parents of students who are scheduled to participate in the specific activities or surveys noted below and will provide an opportunity for the parent to opt his or her child out of participation of the specific activity or survey. VBCPS will make this notification to parents at the beginning of the school year if the school division has identified the specific or approximate dates of the activities or surveys at that time. For surveys and activities scheduled after the school year starts, parents will be provided reasonable notification of the planned activities and surveys listed below and be provided an opportunity to opt their child out of such activities and surveys. Parents will also be provided an opportunity to opt their child out of such activities and surveys. Parents will also be provided an opportunity to review any pertinent surveys. Following is a list of the specific activities and surveys covered under this requirement:
- Collection, disclosure, or use of personal information for marketing, sales or other distribution.
- Administration of any protected information survey not funded in whole or in part by ED.
- Any non-emergency, invasive physical examination or screening as described above.
Parents who believe their rights have been violated may file a complaint with:
Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-5901
Inappropriate Use of Social Networking Tools
Social networking tools provide students easy access to share news and events with each other. However, using these communication tools in an inappropriate manner can have negative consequences—especially if unkind words or threats are used with the intent to hurt others. Any authorized or unauthorized use in school or out of school of computer software, computer networks, telecommunications devices, information technology, and related technologies, which disrupts or interferes with the educational process in any manner is prohibited and may result in suspension up to 10 days (K-grades 5).
As a reminder, most social networking tools do not permit children under 13 years of age to access their sites.
Reporting Student Progress
A formal report on a student's progress in school is sent to parents or guardians at the end of each nine-week grading period. Progress reports are issued at various times throughout the school year. These dates are included on the school calendar. At the end of the third, fourth, and fifth grades, parents also receive their child's scores on state-mandated Standards of Learning (SOL) tests. Parents of fourth graders will also receive their child's test scores on the Stanford 10 Test.
- 4Exceeds grade level expectations
- 3Meets grade level expectations
- 2Experiences difficulty meeting grade level expectations
- 1Does not meet grade level expectations
- NENot evaluated at this time
- XArea of concern/needs additional attention
A modified 10-point grading scale is used for students in grades 3-12.
- RANGELETTER GRADE
- Below 64E
The following scale is used in evaluating citizenship, work habits, art, music, health, and physical education for studentgs in grades K-5.
- NNeeds improvement
- NENot evaluated
- XArea of concern/needs additional attention
Safe Schools and Emergency Procedures
Virginia Beach City Public Schools is committed to providing a safe environment for students, staff and visitors. The school division conducts annual safe school audits of all school facilities in accordance with Virginia State Code. The audit process provides a comprehensive overview of the school division’s security and emergency preparedness.
We work closely with national, state, and local safety officials -- police, fire, emergency medical services, and public health -- in order for our schools to be prepared to prevent and respond to an emergency. Together, we have developed a comprehensive Emergency Response Plan that covers a wide variety of emergencies that serves as a guide to help staff and our public safety partners respond swiftly should a crisis occur in our schools.
Should a school emergency occur, parents will be notified and updated by phone and/or email using the school division’s new rapid notification system – AlertNow. Prior to reporting to your child’s school during an emergency, it is critical for parents to follow directions communicated via AlertNow. Additional information is available on vbschools.com.
Should a school be evacuated, each school has a procedure for helping parents locate their child. Parents will be directed to a specific location where they will be required to show proper identification. Remember, a student can only be released to an adult who is documented as an emergency contact. If you are a non-custodial parent, you must be listed with your child's emergency contact information as a guardian and show proper identification.
In addition to being notified via AlertNow, parents are able to receive information about the school emergency by:
- Calling the school division’s Emergency Hotline at 757.263.1000
- Visiting the homepage of vbschools.com.
Should an emergency situation occur at your child’s school, it is important that parents are familiar with these terms.
Internal lockdown: all school interior doors are locked, students are confined to their classrooms, and no entry or exit of the school is allowed. This takes place if there is a threat or possible threat inside the school. During an internal lockdown, the main entrance doors will be locked and a sign will be posted on the front door indicating that the school is in an internal lockdown. If there is no admittance to the building you will be referred to the VBCPS Emergency Hotline at 757.263.1000 for information regarding this incident.
External lockdown: all school exterior doors are locked. This takes place if the threat is outside of the school. If the situation allows, parents could be admitted into the school with proper identification. If it is deemed safe for you to enter the building, you will need to show a proper form of identification such as a driver's license, military I.D., VBCPS school I.D. or other valid photo identification.
Shelter-in-Place: means selecting small, interior rooms in the school, with no or few windows, and taking refuge there until it is safe to release students. This is a precaution aimed to keep our students safe from hazardous materials that may have been released into the atmosphere. (This is not the same thing as going to a shelter in case of a storm.) This procedure is implemented if it is determined that evacuation or dismissal could possibly place students at risk.
Fostering school safety is everyone’s responsibility – staff, students, parents, and the entire community. Please report any safety concerns you have to your school principal.
VBCPS Parent Portal
All parents and guardians have the opportunity to monitor their child’s progress online via the VBCPS Parent Portal. This powerful tool can be accessed from any computer connected to the Internet – 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Parents are able to view important current school year information such as:
- Attendance records
- Student assignments
- Missing assignments
- Notes from your child's teacher about assignments
- Standardized test scores (Example: SOL, Stanford 10)
- Sign up for emails notifying parents when their child has an unexcused absence or receives a certain class grade; detailed attendance reports, detailed assignments, reports, and grade summary reports.
Parents are also able to view historic academic and enrollment information dating back to the 2004-2005 school year.
To access this resource select the VBCPS Parent Portal link found on the home page of each school’s website and vbschools.com.
The school division arranges with a local photography studio to have individual and class group photos taken. Funds generated from this activity are used to buy various supplementary materials and equipment for the school.
School Planning Council
Each school has a School Planning Council consisting of staff, parents, and community members who meet several times a year. The council's mission is to develop and assess school improvement initiatives.
Guidelines have been established to maintain an effective learning environment and to provide for the safety and well-being of students. School regulations apply in the school building, on the school grounds, while traveling to and from school, and at any event where the school is represented.
- For the safety of students, fund-raising activities which involve door-to-door solicitations by elementary and/or middle school students are prohibited.
- Students are to ride assigned buses unless special permission has been requested and granted. Students are to comply with the Code of Student Conduct. Disruptive behavior on buses or at bus stops may result in loss of bus-riding privileges and/or other disciplinary measures.
- Students may not bring personal items such as toys, radios, tape recorders, televisions, microphones, etc., to school without permission from the teacher. Responsibility for loss, damage, or theft cannot be assumed by the school if permission is granted.
- Chewing gum is not allowed on school property.
- Animals, other than animals used to assist individuals with disabilities, may not be brought on school property.
- Unauthorized use of computer technology will result in students being disciplined in accordance with the Virginia Beach City Public Schools’ Code of Student Conduct.
School Visitors and Employees
Visitors are welcome in the Virginia Beach City Public Schools. For the safety and protection of students, all persons entering any school must sign in at the school office and wear an identification badge while in the school. This includes school staff and other School Board employees, parents, and visitors. Trespassers are subject to legal action. School buildings and grounds are smoke-free at all times.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities. The statute ensures that a qualified student with a disability receives reasonable accommodations necessary for that student to access education or school-related programs and activities. A student suspected of needing a Section 504 Plan can be referred by any source. Upon referral, the process for determining whether the student meets the qualifications under this federal law will be initiated. For more information on Section 504, please contact the 504 Coordinator at your child’s school. A complete description of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is available on vbschools.com.
Student Conduct/Disciplinary Consequences
The school system’s Code of Student Conduct is distributed separately during the first week of school. It contains specific information concerning behavior which will not be tolerated, disciplinary consequences, and expectations and rights of students. Both parents and students should read and understand its contents thoroughly. Disruptive students who interfere with the educational process and/or do not comply with regulations and procedures are subject to administrative action.
The following offenses will result in automatic recommendation for expulsion by the principal:
- Arson or attempted arson
- Assault and battery on an employee or student
- Possession, use or sale of a firearm or dangerous weapon
- Use, possession, being under the influence of, selling, bringing, giving, distributing or passing to another individual or possessing with intent to sell, give, or distribute: alcohol, marijuana, controlled substances or imitation controlled substances, and inhalants
- Extortion, attempted extortion, robbery, burglary, motor vehicle theft, and/or larceny
- Sex Offenses: sexual battery, inappropriate sexual behavior, obscene phone calls, and sexual assault
- Hazing: Initiation of another student through abuse and humiliation so as to cause bodily injury
- Kidnapping or other serious criminal violations
- Possession, use, distribution, sale, lighting or discharge of explosive devices
- Malicious wounding of an employee or student
- And other good and just causes as determined by the Superintendent
When expelled, a student is denied access to all program offerings in the school division. When suspended, a student is not allowed on school grounds, to attend classes or to participate in school activities for the duration of the suspension. Parents or legal guardians are responsible for complying with the compulsory attendance laws and may be subject to referral to the court system for failure to comply. Students with disabilities should consult the Office of Programs for Exceptional Children for educational service options.
Students may be suspended for up to five school days by the school principal, assistant principal or designee and for up to an additional five school days with the concurrence of the Director of the Office of Student Leadership. Students may be suspended out of school in excess of ten school days after a hearing before a Hearing Officer or a Discipline Committee of the School Board. (School Board Regulation 5-21.1)
Elementary school students have access to the Student Portal, an online resource that supplements coursework and promotes student proficiency in the use of online collaboration tools. Students with access to the Student Portal are provided with a student site which offers permanent file storage space for the duration of their enrollment in Virginia Beach City Public Schools. The Student Portal also provides teachers the opportunity to extend the classroom through the use of class sites. The Student Portal can be accessed from school, home, or any Internet connected computer. Students are encouraged to use this resource for their electronic file storage needs and as a means of interaction with teachers on class websites. To access the Student Portal, go to the home page of your school’s website and click on Student Portal.
Social Security Numbers
Virginia law requires that a student must present a Social Security number upon enrollment. Virginia Code §22.1-260 requires that a student present a federal social security number within ninety days of enrollment. Parents who are unable or unwilling to present a federal Social Security number may request that the school division provide an alternative identification number. No student will be denied enrollment or services based upon not providing a Social Security number.
The school division provides free textbooks for use during the school year. If parents prefer to buy new texts for students in grades one through five, order forms are available in the office upon request. The school does not sell or buy used texts. Students are expected to care for the books they receive. Fees may be assessed for damaged or lost books.
Parents of students withdrawing from school should contact the office at least two days prior to the last day of attendance. This allows time for completion of records, return of books, and completion of the transfer form. Parents may pick up the transfer form from the office on the student's last day or it may be sent home with the student upon request. All accounts with the school should be settled prior to the transfer.
Bus transportation is provided for Virginia Beach City Public Schools’ students to and from school, based on each school’s transportation zone. Your school principal will assist you with determining if your child will be riding the bus to school. Students riding a bus to school must be on time. It is recommended that students be at their stop no earlier than five minutes before regular pickup time. The Code of Student Conduct, distributed to all parents at the start of the school year, clearly outlines the conduct for all students while riding a school bus. Parents are encouraged to remind their children of acceptable behavior on a school bus.
Bus routes and pickup times are available on the school division’s website vbschools.com just prior to the beginning of the school year. Please be reminded that students must ride their assigned buses unless the parents or their designee will be transporting the child.
Extenuating circumstances requiring a bus change must be submitted in writing and approved by the principal. This notice must be given to the teacher upon the student's arrival at school. Note: We must have a name listed on the information card filed in the office or a note signed by the parent in order to release the child to anyone other than the parent/guardian.
Safety Tips for Students Riding the Bus and Walking to School
Bus transportation is provided to and from school for students enrolled in Virginia Beach City Public Schools and is based on each school’s transportation zone. The school principal will assist you with determining if your child will be riding the bus to school.
As a parent, you can help ensure our students arrive to and from school safely each day by practicing a few simple, but essential school safety tips.
- Talk to your child’s teacher frequently. Together you are a team for your child’s academic success.
- Provide a quiet place and a consistent time to do homework. Support your child in homework efforts but refrain from doing the homework.
- Help your child learn to follow directions. Give one- and two-step directions and see that the task is completed.
- Teach your child to show respect for others by using polite phrases such as “please,” “thank you,” and “excuse me.”
- Model and reinforce appropriate behavior.
- Help your child learn his/her address and telephone number.
- Guide and monitor your child’s television viewing.
- Listen to your child and encourage your child to talk about new experiences.
- Explain the meaning of new words to your child.
- Encourage your child to succeed by encouraging his/her best work, but do not expect more than your child is capable of doing.
- Involve your child with reading and writing activities.
- See that your child gets a good night’s sleep and has a nutritious breakfast.
- Write your child’s name on all personal items brought to school such as coat, hat, gloves, boots, sweater, lunch box, etc.
- Refrain from sending to school a sick child or one who has had a fever within the past 24 hours. This precaution will help preserve the health of other children.
- Please telephone the school when your child will be absent. Your child will need a written excuse upon returning to the classroom.
- Dress your child according to the weather; outside activities will take place when the weather permits. A note from you will be required if your child should remain inside because of a physical condition.
- Provide the teacher with a correct telephone number where parents or a family friend may be reached during the school day, in case of an emergency.
- Discuss with your child what to do and where to go in the event you are not at home when he/she arrives.