Ithaca Seventh-day Adventist School

Ithaca Seventh-day Adventist School Student Handbook
Student Handbook
Revised, October 2007
The mission of the Ithaca Seventh-day Adventist School is to provide our students with an academic, physical and spiritual education that will help them to serve Jesus Christ as their personal, soon-coming Savior.
Seventh-day Adventists believe that their students are the children of God, and their teachers servants of God. Therefore, their schools are commissioned to follow after the mind and will of God, the knowledge of which is communicated by revelation.
“True education means more than the pursuit of a certain course of study. It means more than a preparation for the life that now is. It has to do with the whole being, and with the whole period of existence possible to man. It is the harmonious development of the physical, the mental, and the spiritual powers. It prepares the student for the joy of service in this world, and for the higher joy of wider service in the world to come.” Ellen G. White, Education, p. 13
The regulations of the school are based upon Christian principles of conduct as taught and practiced by the Seventh-day Adventist Church; supported by a program that promotes self-control, self-discipline, honesty, and modesty.
The financial obligations of the Ithaca Seventh-day Adventist School are met by the members of the Ithaca Seventh-day Adventist Church. We encourage all members to contribute to the combined budget to cover the costs of operating the school. Non-members will be admitted on a tuition basis and availability of classroom enrollment.
We receive no federal or state funding, and do not accept education vouchers.
The ultimate objective of education is the development of character. Right character is the result of forming good habits produced by self-control and self-discipline, governed by right principles. Therefore, whatever aids in teaching individuals to regulate their habits rightly and to govern themselves correctly, contributes toward their proper training. Government other than self-government is necessary only when individuals fail within themselves to conform to right standards. Discipline will then be necessary as a means of training for self-government.
Religious Objectives
·         To present Christ to each student as his or her personal Savior
·         To encourage Christ's lifestyle as a pattern
·         To teach the Bible as the express Word of God and as the basis of all truth
·         To enrich biblical teaching with the Spirit of Prophecy
·         To familiarize the student with the devotional and doctrinal truths of God's
          written word
·         To help students develop useful leadership qualities in God's service
Intellectual Objectives
·         To direct the student's attention to God as the source of knowledge and
·         To motivate in the student a desire to learn
·         To develop skills and tools that help them learn
·         To encourage the student to produce their highest quality work
Social Objectives
·         To teach students responsible behavior toward others, using Christ as their example
·         To teach students to practice and uphold the Christian guidelines of self-
discipline and self-control
Civic Objectives
·         To teach students to believe in civil government as ordained of God and,
therefore entitled to their respect and obedience, as long as its requirements do not conflict with the laws of God
·         To teach students to recognize the basic principles of the separation of church
and state
Physical and Mental Objectives
·         To assist the students in reaching a true understanding of the delicate
relationship between the mind and the body, and to aid students in the development of their
bodies as a living temple of God
·         To urge students to consume only such products as will contribute to their well-
being and to practice temperance and moderation in all aspects of life
·         To encourage students to engage in adequate daily exercise and to enjoy
wholesome recreation
·         To emphasize to the student the need to cooperate with divine power in
          developing positive and constructive attitudes
The Ithaca Seventh-day Adventist School has been established primarily for the youth of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. However, membership in the church is not a requirement for admission. Students who come from a non-Seventh-day Adventist background will be accepted if they pledge to abide by the standards of the Seventh-day Adventist Church during school hours and school functions. A student is expected to:
·         Uphold the Christian guidelines of self-discipline and self-control
·         Use language befitting a follower of Christ – this eliminates slang expressions, impure abusive language, taking God's name in vain, grotesque or inappropriate conversation
·         Be honest – refrain from stealing, deceiving, falsehood, fraud, or any act of dishonesty
School Admission -- Nondiscriminatory
"It is the policy of Seventh‑day Adventist schools, on elementary, secondary, and tertiary levels in the United States, to admit the students of any race to all rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school, and to make no discrimination on the basis of race in administration of educational policies, applications for admission, scholarship or loan programs, and athletic or extracurricular programs." (NAD 4310)
Special Needs Students
Although we endeavor to give each student the best education possible, our school is not equipped for special education.  When a special needs student seeks admission the school board will carefully assess the teacher’s skill and work load as to whether he or she is able to meet the needs of the particular student. In addition, the school board will consider test results from the local intermediate school district identifying the student as needing a special educational program. If the school board determines that the school cannot meet the academic needs of the child, and if the parent still wants to enroll the child, the parents must sign a Hold Harmless Form provided by the school. The school board will evaluate the situation after one grading period.
Minimum age Entering School
The minimum age for admission into kindergarten will be five years on or before December 1, and first grade will be six years on or before December 1 of the current school year.
Academic Placement
Appropriate academic placement of the learner is a fundamental principle of education.
This principle includes consideration of the learner's social, physical, mental and
emotional readiness. Academic achievement, skills, abilities, and actual performance
are other factors to be studied.
In order to facilitate academic placement, the following factors are to be considered to determine appropriate academic placement of students new to the school without current records of achievement.
·         Chronological age
·         Emotional, physical, and social development
·         Scholastic achievement as determined by:
Ø      Standardized achievement
Ø      Informal teacher observation and evaluation
Ø      Placement test
Any child transferring from another school will be required to present their record file from the last school attended. A child transferring from a home school will be required to present some form of documentation of their child’s work in the form of a portfolio, etc. 
New Student Probationary Period
New students with approved admission will be accepted on a probationary basis for one marking period. A review of the students' progress will be made at the end of that time. The school board has the final authority on all applications for admission.
Medical Examinations and Records
A physical examination shall be required of all students entering a Michigan school for the first time. 
The student shall be immunized against Hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, poliomyelitis, and measles. (A waiver may be signed by the parent or legal guardian refusing the immunization upon religious convictions.  See Michigan Compiled Laws 329‑521.)
The student may participate in the local County Health Department's vision screening and hearing test as provided.
The school health records shall include a copy of each physical examination, immunization records, results of vision and hearing testing, and any recommendations from the parents or from a physician to the school regarding student activities or special needs.
Privacy of Student Records Policy
With increased sensitivity to privacy concerns in all areas, these “Best Practices” are recommended by Risk Management. Following these “Best Practices” demonstrates a concern for family and student privacy.
·         Separate medical information from academic information when feasible.
·         All medical and health-related documents should be stored in a locked file cabinet.
·         Covered documents include student medical forms, immunization records, health-screening results, TB tests, consent to treat forms, etc.
·         Only appropriate staff should have access to medical and/or healthcare related information.
·         For off-campus activities, consent to treat forms should be in a sealed envelope and given to the person with first-line responsibility for students, and opened only if an incident occurs.
Michigan Conference Computer Acceptable Use Policy
School computers are for educational purposes only. Since the network isprovided for students to conduct research and communicate with others, access is given to students who agree to act in a considerate and responsible manner. Parental permission is required. Access is a privilege--not a right. Access entails responsibility. School staff may review files and communications to maintain system integrity and ensure that users are using the system responsibly.
Students will adhere to Christian principles and will:
·         be responsible and courteous in all communications
·         be responsible with all computer hardware and software
·         keep their passwords to themselves
·         respect the confidentiality of folders, work and files of others
·         learn about and observe copyright laws
·         comply with the Michigan Acceptable Use Policy
·         not attempt to access or alter unauthorized areas of a computer system
Any activity not in compliance with these rules may result in a loss of access as well as other disciplinary or legal action.
Internet Policy
The following are technology related policies for the Ithaca Seventh-day Adventist School:
·         The school provides filtering software for each computer that is connected to the internet within the school.
·         Before a student is allowed to access the internet an Acceptable Use Policy Statement must be filled out and signed by the student and a parent. 
·         It is also the responsibility of the classroom teacher to supervise and control the computer usage within the classroom at all times.
·         Only educational software and games are installed, played, downloaded, etc., on school owned computers.
Administration of Medication to a Pupil
A school administrator, teacher, or other school employee designated by the school administrator, who, in good faith, administers medication to a pupil in the presence of another adult pursuant to written permission of the pupil’s parents or legal guardian and in compliance with the instructions of a physician is not liable in a criminal action or for civil damages as a result of the administration except for an act or omission amounting to gross negligence or willful and wanton misconduct. 
Administration of Medication to Pupil; Liability (Michigan The School Code of 1976, Updated through Public Act No. 328 of 1994) Section 380.1178.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church believes that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit (2 Cor. 6:19) and that they do not belong to us (1 Cor. 6:20). We therefore choose to follow the principles laid out in the scriptures* also abstaining from harmful substances**. We ask that you please follow these guidelines while preparing your child’s lunches.
* Leviticus 11 describes unclean meats; for example pork products, seafood and any others listed in this chapter
** caffeine and excessive doses of sugar as well as tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs
School Attire
Students are expected to dress neat and clean, to be well groomed, and modest. Jewelry, sleeveless attire, mini attire, sheer or clinging fabric, open midriff, conspicuous make-up, colored nail polish, extremes in hair style, and objectionable lettering and pictures on clothing are inappropriate.
All skirts and shorts must be no shorter than the top of the knee when the child is standing up straight. 
Please be sure that your lunch bags, book bags and school supplies, as well as clothing for school, do not have superheroes, or cartoons that are involved with violence, witchcraft, or magic, on them. This also applies to all music groups, or their symbols, or any words that put another person down including sexual wording like “hottie” or wording that expresses an “un-Christ-like” attitude. 
Our purpose is for people to see Jesus in us, rather than to draw attention to ourselves.
Parent-Teacher conferences are formally scheduled the first and second quarters. Report cards are sent home every 9 weeks. Parents are invited to request a conference with their child’s teacher at any time throughout the year.
The regular school schedule is as follows: 
8:00 am to 3:00 pm Monday through Thursday
8:00 am to 1:30 noon on Friday. 
Early dismissal days will end at 12:00 pm.
Please make every effort to have your children picked up promptly after school, in respect to the teachers’ other responsibilities. 
Snow Days
School closings for snow or bad weather will be communicated by the One Call Now Phone System.
A school’s commitment to provide students with a quality education must be matched by the student’s and parent’s commitment to regular and punctual attendance. The value of our academic program is greatly diminished for the student who is habitually late or absent from school.
Students depend upon their parents to get them to school on time. Thus the responsibility of student attendance is a shared responsibility between student and parent. The school must, by law, monitor and track attendance. However, the ultimate responsibility for school attendance rests with the parent.
Absences and Tardiness
Absences from school are classified as excused or unexcused. Only absences due to illness, medical appointment, or the death of a family member may be classified as excused and only after a written note is sent to the school by the parent. All other absences are classified as unexcused, even when there may be legitimate reasons or prior arrangements made for the absence. In the case of absence from school the teacher should be notified as soon as possible.
When absence and tardiness becomes excessive the following guidelines should be followed:
·           After three days in one marking period, the teacher will notify the principal of the problem.
·           After five days in one marking period, the principal will send a letter to the parent outlining the concerns.
·           After seven days in one marking period, the school board will be notified and decide what course of action should be taken.
·           If the attendance problems continue, the school board may request the appearance of the parent at a meeting of the board. At that time the school board will determine if they will continue to work with the situation or if dismissal from school is warranted.
An absence does not relieve the student from the duty of making up the school assignments missed.
During school hours the student is expected to remain on school grounds unless they have permission from the principal or parent to leave.
Contagious or Infectious Disease
Any pupil believed to be suffering from a recognized contagious or infectious disease shall be sent home and not permitted to return until the school authorities are satisfied, or upon a statement from their physician that such contagious disease no longer exists. 
Any child running a fever, vomiting, or with a disruptive cough, or sinus drainage should remain at home. When the child has been without fever and vomiting for 24 hours they may return to school. When the cough has settled, and the need to continuously blow the nose is at a point where it will not disrupt the classroom, then the student may return to school.
All visitors must check in with the school principal to be on the school premises. The school does not recommend visitors showing up unexpectedly. Out of courtesy to the continuity of the school day and the teachers, any visit by parents for volunteer* activities or otherwise should be cleared with the teacher before showing up. 
*All volunteers must clear a background check if you plan to spend time on the school premises. 
Each teacher is expected to establish and maintain an educational environment in which the teacher can teach and the students can learn. Each individual is to be treated with dignity and respect. The ultimate goal is for the students to gain self-control, self-reliance, and submission to God’s will.
Harassment Policy
Harassment of any student or other person is not acceptable and will not be tolerated in the Ithaca Seventh-day Adventist School. School personnel will take seriously and act on any reported incidents of sexual harassment, bullying, hazing, violence, threats, or intentional humiliation. 
Weapons at School
Students are prohibited from bringing any firearm or weapon to school or to a school-sponsored activity. A student who possesses, carries, exhibits, or displays any weapon or any object which can be mistaken as a weapon, or any item apparently capable of producing bodily harm in a manner which, under the circumstances, manifests an intent to intimidate another or warrants alarm for the safety of others shall be subject to immediate discipline up to and including suspension or expulsion. Parents and the appropriate law enforcement agencies shall be notified. Appropriate counseling is required before the student returns to school.
Exceptions for Historical Artifacts
This policy is not intended to preclude the occasional special display or use of historical artifacts or other appropriate props for a valid educational purpose even if the artifact or prop in question falls within the definition of a weapon, provided advance written approval for the display or use is obtained. Such approval is required from the school principal or head teacher. The parent should be responsible for transfer of said item, and it should remain in the teachers’ possession throughout the day.
Parent and child will replace or repair any damage done to the school property by their child.
Suspensions and Expulsions
Attendance at a Seventh-day Adventist school is a privilege as opposed to a right. It is conditioned on acceptance and conformance to the rules of the school.
Suspension is the removal of a student from school or class when there is a serious infraction or when other disciplinary measures have failed. The principal in conjunction with the school board chair/designate is authorized to suspend a student for up to three consecutive days. When suspension takes place the school board will be notified within 24 hours. The length of suspension should be commensurate with the behavior. All suspensions, whether in-house or out-of-school, will be communicated to the school board. In situations of serious misconduct, the school board may choose to extend the suspension beyond three consecutive days.
A student may be suspended for repeated offenses when other procedures have not been effective. 
It is the goal of Seventh-day Adventist education to attempt to meet the needs of every student enrolled in our schools. However, the school board reserves the right to remove any student from continuance in school when it determines the student does not meet with the school’s mission of behavioral, academic, social or spiritual expectations.
Subject to immediate suspension or board approved expulsion (discontinuance of a student from enrollment) is presumed for, but not limited to, the following:
  • Intentionally causing serious injury to another not in self-defense.
  • Possession at school of a firearm, dangerous chemicals, or an explosive.
  • Sale, distribution, or use of a controlled substance at school.
  • Robbery
  • Assault or battery upon any school employee.
  • Sexual assault or battery.
  • Waving a weapon at another person.
  • Severe or repeated sexual harassment of other students at school.
  • Persistently advocating atheism or ideas that are destructive of Christian principles or the moral teachings of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
  • Viewing, possessing, creating, or sharing pornographic and other sexually offensive materials.
  • Major or repeated theft at school
  • IIntentionally causing serious damage to school property or other personal property.
  • Committing an obscene act or engaging in habitual profanity or vulgarity.
  • Disrupting school activities or willfully defying the valid authority of school personnel.
  • Intentionally threatening or intimidating school personnel or students. The threats or intimidation cause reasonable fear of life or well-being or materially disrupt the school environment.
  • Bullying or hazing.
  • Civil and or legal infractions
Eighth‑Grade Diploma: The Office of Education issues the eighth-grade diplomas and certificates upon the request of the school. Diplomas are to be issued to all students who have passing grades in core* subjects outlined for grade 8. A "passing grade" is at least a "D" year‑end average in each individual subject.
In order to satisfy the requirements for Eighth-Grade Diploma, students must present evidence of having successfully completed:
       Bible*                  Physical Education
       Fine Arts              Reading*
       Keyboarding         Science-Health*
       Language Arts*    Social Studies*                               
Eighth-Grade Certificate: An Eighth-Grade Certificate may be issued to students who have regularly attended required classes but have
  • received a year-end average grade of “F” in one or more subjects.
  • completed a modified, special needs program.