Parent Handbook 2016-2017
Table of Contents
Letter from Head of School
School Introduction and Philosophy
Charter School Overview
Student Support Services
School Policies and Procedures
Disciplinary Policies and Procedures
Grievance Policy & Parent Concern Form
Letter from the Head of School
Dear Parents, Guardians, and Families of Global Community Charter School Students:
Welcome to Global Community Charter School. On behalf of GCCS, our staff and Board of Trustees, we welcome you and your child to the 2016-2017 school year. With your involvement, we are confident we will provide your child with an outstanding, rigorous, and engaging inquiry based education.
Thank you for trusting us with your child’s schooling.
We believe that parents and guardians are the first teachers of our students. Your knowledge and compassion make an important contribution to your child’s education while setting the stage for all learning experiences to follow. We look forward to developing a rewarding partnership with you over the next few years. We are sure that together we can provide your child with an education that will develop individual talents, provide a strong basis for academic and personal success in the future and help guide development as contributors to a more fulfilling life.
This handbook was put together in an effort to provide you with important information that you may need to refer to in order to understand and support our Mission, Goals and Expectations for this school year resulting in a safe, supportive and stimulating learning environment. Please read through this handbook carefully and talk to your child about Global Community Charter School. When you have completed reading the handbook, we ask that both parents and students sign the Student/Parent Handbook agreement form located at the end of the Handbook and return the signed copy to your child’s classroom teachers.
We look forward to an exciting and long, productive relationship with you and hope that this handbook is of use in developing that relationship. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call the school and we will do our best to answer them.
Phyllis Siwiec, Founder and Head of School
Board of Trustees of GCCS
The Staff of GCCS
NOTE: FRIDAY DISMISSAL IS AT 12PM ON THE FOLLOWING DAYS TO ALLOW FOR TEACHER PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT:
September 16, 2016
October 21, 2016
December 16, 2016
January 27, 2017
February 10, 2017
March 17, 2017
April 28, 2017
May 19, 2017
June 16, 2017
Global Community Charter School
2350 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10037
Phone: 646-360-2363 Fax: 646-390-6036
Main Office Phone - 646-360-2363 ext 100
Security - 646-360-2363 ext 105
Community Resource Developer - 646-360-2363 ext 303
Nurse - 646-360-2363 ext 800
Director of Teaching and Learning (3-5) - 646-360-2363 ext409
Operations Manager - 646-360-2363 ext 404
Director of Teaching and Learning (K-2) - 646-360-2363 ext 403
Supervisor of Student Support Services - 646-360-2363 ext 304
Chief Operating Officer - 646-360-2363 ext 412
Head of School - 646-360-2363 ext 500
Family Worker - 646-360-2363 ext 306
Global Community Charter School (GCCS) serves the communities of Harlem by providing students in grades K-5 with an education that is rigorous, inquiry-based, and that teaches students and their families to work successfully together across differences in language, culture, economic background, age, and nationality. Our school prepares students for admission to a challenging secondary education and to exhibit the courage and conviction to make a difference.
School Introduction and Philosophy
Global Community Charter School (GCCS) is designed to foster focused learning experiences for students with diverse backgrounds and languages to become inquirers, knowledgeable and supportive of each other. GCCS offers a learning environment that is engaging, relevant, challenging and significant in order to meet the diverse needs of our students. We use a balanced literacy and project-based approach to teaching. We employ a trans-disciplinary model, where themes of global significance frame the learning throughout the school. This means that students are encouraged to make connections between subject areas and traditional curriculum areas that are also used as lenses to help students’ inquiry into big ideas. Through inquiry, students are encouraged to question, wonder, doubt, speculate and generalize as part of their learning journey to construct meaning. We aim to meet the needs of the whole child by intentionally supporting their academic social and emotional needs.
Charter School Overview
Global Community Charter School has been approved by the New York State Board of Regents in compliance with the New York State Education Department as a charter school. A charter school is a public school which is established by an independent group of educators who hope to increase learning and achievement for students while providing parents with greater choice in the educational opportunities that their children receive. As a public school, charter school students do not pay tuition to attend. Any child who is qualified to attend public school is also qualified to attend charter school. To enroll in a charter school, students must submit an application. In the event that the number of applications for admission exceeds the school capacity for students, applications are accepted based on a random lottery selection process.
A charter school must meet all state standards and the requirements of all state and federal laws regarding health, safety, civil rights, and student assessment. Additionally, a charter school must comply with the specific academic goals and procedures set forth in their charter, which is a document approved by the state that allows the school to operate as a charter school. Thus, in exchange for an increased level of independence, charter schools are held to higher levels of accountability than traditional public schools.
After the state approves the goals and policies established by a newly formed charter school, a charter will be granted for a period of 5 years. At the end of this 5 year period, a review process is conducted to determine whether the charter school has attained the goals outlined in its original application.
Design Elements of Our Program: Students at GCCS will engage in a curriculum that focuses on language and skill development, while also integrating additional resources and programs to meet the needs of urban students. What is apparent to us is the reality that when young children are taught an organized, coherent, engaging curriculum, they will succeed in large numbers. However, extra time is needed to master skills, approaches, attitudes and internalize the ability to read, write, discuss, and think mathematically, scientifically, and critically. Our curriculum is aligned with the New York State Common Core Learning Standards. Most of our students achieve grade-level mastery and respond to challenges readily. We encourage teacher created collaborative units of study and lessons. Charter schools are constantly evolving entities that require a higher level of teaching experience and skill than a more traditional setting. To implement our model, additional features were selected to support our students, teachers and families.
Two teachers per classroom: Collaborative team-teaching is our model for inclusion classrooms with two teachers in every classroom. Team teaching enhances opportunities for professionals to share observations, knowledge, and experiences. At least one teacher per class has specialized knowledge of teaching in an inclusion setting and meeting the needs of children with Special Education services as well as English Language Learners. GCCS encourages teachers to work together to design tasks, to facilitate group work, to confer with individual students, and to differentiate ways in which students participate in class activities.
Multiple forms of evidence: GCCS uses performance assessments, including projects, portfolios, multimedia presentations, state mandated tests, and written tasks to inform instruction and measure progress towards learning goals. Teachers gather baseline data at the beginning of the year and will use this data to develop an Individualized Student Learning Plan. Teachers meet regularly throughout the school year to discuss data and make adjustments to each student’s individual plan. In addition to standardized tests aligned to NYS Common Core State Learning Standards, students are given opportunities to share their knowledge and growth in multiple formats based on benchmarks and goals established by teachers.
Visual and performing arts integration: The arts are an important area of learning, and as such, students will learn about the arts (the skills and processes involved) and through the arts (artists, perspectives, themes, and ideas using the arts). This approach helps to integrate the arts into the curriculum studied and places the arts inside the everyday life of the students. GCCS has art, dance and music teachers who collaborate with our classroom teachers to provide students with multiple opportunities to explore their own artistic abilities and to appreciate those of others.
Student Support Services
Identifying English Language Learners (ELL): GCCS seeks to enroll and support English Language Learners. Once a student has enrolled in GCCS, a family interview with a representative of the school meets with the family to determine whether a student might need ELL services. The family fills out a Home Language Questionnaire Form. Additionally, each student is assessed using BRIGANCE Early Childhood Screening Assessment to determine the students range of developmental, academic and physical skills. Teachers may also assess a student’s language capability through knowledge and observation. When a student is identified as having a Home Language other than English, the New York State Identification Test for English Language Learners (NYSITELL) is administered to determine the student’s English language skills.
Receiving English as a Second Language Services: The NYSITELL determines whether a student will be eligible for ESL services. Students who do not score at a Proficient Level or higher will be eligible for services. If your child is eligible for ESL services, an individual plan will be developed to determine how to best increase the students capability in language development. Each year, the student’s English performance will be assessed using the New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT) to determine progress and areas where additional support is needed.
English Language Learners Program: According to New York State Education Department guidelines, ELL students will receive at least 360 minutes of ESL services per week or 72 minutes of ESL services per day. In order to comply with time requirements, ELL students are served by the inclusive and/or small group instruction. GCCS desires to maximize the time ELL students spend with their mono-lingual English peers since modeling between peer groups have shown to be advantageous.
Additional Language Services: For students who show no need for ESL support, GCCS provides another type of language support. Students continue to develop their native language skills in our multi-lingual environment. Native language facilitation will be provided by teachers and staff who speak specific native languages.
Special Education Program: GCCS is committed to providing support for students with special needs in inclusion settings. We use an Integrated Co-Teaching Model, one teacher per classroom is certified in Special Education in addition to being certified in elementary education in order to provide services to Special Education Students (SPED) students. SPED students are supported through small group instruction, direct instruction, modeling and scaffolding. Our school can accommodate students with Individual Education Plans (IEP) that mandate a general education classroom and specialized education teacher support services. In order to comply with legal requirements, GCCS reviews all school records and evaluations, and will determine whether students require special education services.
Students with Disabilities: GCCS aims to comply with all procedures mandated by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act to ensure that all students receive the services they need. If parents or families have concerns about student accommodations, they should not hesitate to contact the Coordinator of Student Support Services.
School Policies and Procedures
Absences, Attendance, and Tardiness
New York state law requires parents/guardians to make sure that their children between the ages of 5 to 18 attend school regularly. Daily attendance is a factor in student success, thus any absence from school is an educational loss to the student. These policies are meant to minimize student absenteeism and create an environment for academic success. If a medical or dental appointment is unavoidable, a note from the doctor’s office must be submitted to the school upon the child’s return. Absences due to family trips during school hours will be considered unexcused.
Timely arrival at GCCS is a student and parent responsibility. Students who arrive after 8:15 will be considered late. After three marked tardies, the family and student will be required to discuss tardiness with the Family Worker to develop a plan to avoid further tardiness.
The GCCS student school day begins Monday- Friday at 8:00AM dismissal starts at 4:00PM.Students are expected to attend school during these hours. Breakfast will be served starting at 7:30AM Monday-Friday. All students who arrive prior to 7:55AM will go straight to the cafeteria. After 7:55AM students can report to their classrooms. We expect students to arrive on time to prepare and settle in for class activities by 8:00AM. Attendance is mandatory at GCCS on all scheduled school days.
The school is required to maintain proof of attendance and absences of students. This information is reviewed regularly by both the New York City Department of Education and by the New York State Education Department.
Chronic Lateness and absences are serious matters that will result in home visit by a Behavior Specialist. Action Plans will be developed to assist families with increasing frequency of on-time regular attendance. Lack of improvement in this area will result in involvement with school reporting to Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) for additional support.
If a child is unable to attend school for any reason, the school office must be notified of the absence by 9:00AM on the day of the absence. Students who are late or absent must provide the school with a note from their parents or the appropriate authority. Students who are not in school by 9:00 AM will receive a phone call home from a school official verifying the absence. Students who are chronically absent may be subject to home visits conducted by the Family Worker and the Behavior Specialist.
Any students who are not picked up by 4:15PM will have a Late Pick-Up Form filled out and a phone call made to parents or guardians. This notice will be have to be signed by the individual who is responsible for picking up the child. Continued late picks up will result in a conference with school administration.
GCCS believes that school attendance is essential for students’ growth and development. Your cooperation in scheduling appointments or other events around the school’s schedule is important. Family vacations must abide with the school calendar.
After School Program
GCCS has a voluntary after school program that runs from Monday through Thursday from 4:00PM-5:45PM. Students are able to participate in this program for free. We hope that many parents will involve their students in this program. If you are interested, forms will be available on the school website on the first day of school. The after school form must be filled out in its entirety and submitted via the school website prior to the first day of attendance to the program. All applications are taken on a first- come, first –serve basis. There are 25 available seats per grade, all together a total of 150 students will be part of the program.
Those who do not make the first round of selections will be put on a wait list and will be contacted as space becomes available for that particular grade.
All participants are expected to be picked up at 5:45PM by the parent, guardian, or chosen individuals as listed on page one of the GCCS After school application. Parents are responsible for arranging transportation for their children at the end of the program each day. Failure to do adhere to this may result in the suspension of that child from the after school program. Any problems or concerns should be reported directly to the after school Coordinator in advance.
Each child’s birthday is marked in some special way at school. Our celebrations are simple and quiet, with no decorations or candy bags. Parents are invited to come to school and bring a special snack, such as small muffins or cupcakes for the birthday celebration. The teacher will contact families to plan for birthday celebrations during the last 30 minutes prior to dismissal.
Cell Phones, Electronic Devices, and Toys
If a parent chooses to have a student carry a cellular phone, it must be turned off and stored out of sight during the school day, including after school activities. Electronic devices will not be allowed on any school field trips or at recess. Cell phones, tablets, and other devices will be collected by the teachers and stored in a locked cabinet for the day. If a cellular phone is seen or heard by any adult, the student will be asked to turn in the phone immediately. A parent or designee must come to school to retrieve the cellular phone that is confiscated.
If a student needs to make a phone call while in school, the student may ask for permission to use the phones in the main office for emergencies only. Students will not be permitted to use those phones on a regular basis. Families should be sure to make arrangements each day before students leave for school.
Toys or electronics are not permitted while students are in school, except in the case where written or verbal permission is given by the classroom teacher to use the device in connection with the academic curriculum. GCCS does not take responsibility for valuables left unsecured in the building. If toys or electronic devices are brought to school or used during the school day without permission, the item will be confiscated and a parent must come to school to retrieve the item.
GCCS Uniform Policy
The purpose of the GCCS School Uniform Policy is to provide opportunities for safety, to improve the school culture, to create a sense of responsibility to the families and encourage them to be part of the GCCS community. It will also reduce school clothing costs.
The GCCS uniform consists of the following polo shirt colors.
- Kindergarten (K) - Royal Blue
- First Grade (1) - Kelly Green
- Second Grade (2) -Teal
- Third Grade (3) - Purple
- Fourth Grade (4) - Navy Blue
- Fifth Grade (5) - Black or White
All students must wear their grade color polo shirt with the GCCS logo. These are to be purchased from the school vendor. Parents may purchase dark gray pants or jeans for boys. Girls may wear dark gray skirts, leggings, or pants. Students’ attire should be seasonally appropriate, comfortable clothing that allows students to move safely and easy. Children should wear sneakers or other rubber-soled shoes. Any color shoes and socks are permitted.
- High heels
- Backless shoes
- Mini skirts
- Excessive Jewelry
- Hats and outer garments of any kind unless used for religious purposes
- Nail Polish can be worn but cannot be applied at school
As a courtesy, all students who attend school without the GCCS uniform will be asked to change in to a uniform shirt provided by the school. GCCS will contact the family to inquire about missing uniform and remind them of the GCCS uniform policy. Exceptions can be made in the first 2 weeks of school if it’s related to vendor issue, but parents need to provide evidence of their order.
If the school is not aware of any significant reason for the student to not have their uniform, families will be required to bring in the proper clothing. Students who break the uniform policy consistently (more than 3 times within the school year) will be subject to a mandatory parent meeting.
Financial Assistance: Families experiencing financial hardship may qualify for financial assistance for school uniforms. The school will offer a payment plan, or other incentivized options as provided by the school by going to parent workshops or volunteering at the school. Please contact the school Family Worker or Community Resource Developer for more information.
Emergency Closing/Weather Closing Information
In the case of weather emergency, or any emergency that would result in the decision to close or delay school: If conditions become severe enough we will take closing the school in to consideration for the travel safety of staff, students and their families. In the case that we should decide to close school, you will be contacted by the school the night before.
Parents/Guardians can tune in to ABC, CBS, and CBS RADIO for announcements on school closing, delays, and early dismissals. Parents/Guardians can also visit the school web site at www.globalcommunitycs.org or call the school directly at 646-360-2363 for a recorded message that would specifically indicate that we are closed for the day. The school will also send out an email, text, and automated phone message. If the New York City mayor announces that ALL PUBLIC SCHOOLS ARE CLOSED, WE ARE ALSO CLOSED AS RESULT.
If you do NOT receive a phone call, text message, email message from the school automated system, see the announcement on the previously mentioned TV stations, see it announced on our website or in a recorded message assume that we are open.
Students are expected to adhere to honesty, trustworthiness, and personal integrity at all times. Cheating, plagiarism, or any form of academic deceit will not be tolerated. Students who cheat or provide answers to others will not earn any credit on the assignment, project, or exam. Repeated infractions of academic dishonesty will result in a parent conference and could lead to suspension.
Field trips are an important component of instruction and a memorable and valued part of the teaching and learning processes. Field trips are used to enrich and extend classroom instruction. Field trips may also be used to reward student achievement. All students will have an equal opportunity to participate in school field trips; however, students with chronic behavior or attendance problems may be excluded. While on field trips students will be held accountable for all of the rules and regulations found in the GCCS student handbook. A signed permission slip must be submitted before leaving for any field trip requiring transportation. A “walking” permission slip will be kept on file for each student, which will be valid for all field trips originating at GCCS and that do not require transportation (for example, trips to the public library or playground across the street).
Fire and Emergency Drills
GCCS is required to conduct fire and emergency drills throughout the school year, in a variety of weather conditions. It is imperative that students understand the seriousness of the fire drills and behave accordingly. We expect students to move quickly, silently and in an orderly fashion under the direction of faculty to assigned assembly points during these drills. Talking, failing to follow adult’s directions, or otherwise acting inappropriately during a fire drill will result in restitution and a phone call home.
School Lockdown and Evacuations
The Charter School-Wide Safety Plan is distributed to all staff members each year. Planned and practiced responses to emergency/crisis situations occur regularly so that school personnel are prepared the following situations: fire, bomb threat, environmental threat, extraordinary event/crisis, school security (violence, weapons, and intruders), drugs and alcohol, child abuse, medical emergencies, and death in the community. Such emergency drills occur as both planned and unplanned practices at various times of the day and are recorded each year.
Training, drills, and exercises are reviewed annually in coordination with the local fire and police department to assess the viability of the procedures for each type of emergency situation. All drills are timed by the Operations Manager to assess improvement over time. The drills are reviewed by the School Safety Team to assess timing, coordination, and performance of key personnel. The Operations Manager is responsible for monitoring duration and efficacy of each drill. The Operations Manager interacts with other School Safety Team and Emergency Response Team members.
Review and conduct of drills - In accordance Section 155.17(e) (1) (xv), Global Community Charter School shall hold and evaluate fire drills (12), emergency evacuation drills (2), intruder drills (2), and other drills as deemed necessary to ensure that all students, faculty members, and other staff are familiar with each drill so that it can be activated and accomplished quickly and efficiently. These drills will be held at regular as well as inopportune times, and will utilize a variety of blocked exits, as appropriate, to take care of almost any situation. Each member of the faculty shall take his/her attendance register or class record when a drill is conducted. Immediately upon arrival at a prescribed point, the faculty member shall check the students to see that all students are present. A report of absentees shall be made immediately to the Head of School or her designee. Drills will involve and be coordinated by local emergency responders:
NYC 32nd Police Precinct
34 W 134th St, New York, NY 10037
Phone: (212) 690-6361
The evaluation of all drills will be conducted after each and every drill. Evaluation records will be kept for each drill, including the times for the evacuation of the facility, in order to ascertain whether or not the drill is running in a timely manner and according to plan. Administrative staff and other observers will be placed to evaluate the student and staff participation in order to make recommendations for the improvement of these drills.
During certain conditions, the nature of the emergency may demand that classes be dismissed or cancelled. The nature of some events may include that students and staff be evacuated from the building. They will be housed temporarily in the evacuation site:
Address: 646 Malcolm X Blvd, New York, NY 10037
Phone: (212) 368-8400
Evacuation Procedures / Sheltering Sites (internal and external)
In the case of tornado or national emergency, or other type of emergency requiring persons to stay in the building, the Head of School shall initiate the necessary actions upon notification that her school is threatened. Students, faculty, and other employees at the school will go immediately to their designated stations previously assigned. During certain conditions, the nature of the emergency may demand that students and staff be evacuated from the facility. They will then be moved to and housed in another alternate location, such as the evacuation site.
In certain circumstances, evacuation may mean only going outside, away from the building and waiting for danger to pass. The following is the procedure that will be followed:
The Head of School or her designee will make the decision to “Evacuate”.
The Head of School or her designee will notify the local police and fire departments and the Emergency Response Team, if and as appropriate.
The Head of School will then evacuate the building.
Teachers will walk all students to the evacuation site.
Each member of the faculty shall take her/her attendance register.
Students will line up in an orderly fashion and attendance will be taken.
School personnel will be dispatched to the alternate site to prepare receiving areas.
The Head of School will notify the area media to inform the parents of the evacuation, of the site location for student transportation or pick up, and of the timetable for dismissal. Upon arrival at the alternate site, students will be directed to a specific location. Each teacher will take attendance and forward the record to the Head of School or her designee. If conditions permit, the children will be returned to the school for a normal dismissal.
• Dismissal from the Alternate Site
If parents arrive to pick up their children, they will give the name and grade of their child to the staff member assigned to monitor the entrance of the alternate site location and then be directed to the correct area for pick up.
Food Service (Please reference Wellness Policy)
Students will eat breakfast, lunch, and healthy snacks at school. GCCS is committed to offering students high quality food while at school. Each student must submit a completed lunch form to determine eligibility to participate in the free or reduced lunch program at reduced or no cost. Breakfast will be served at 7:30AM in each morning. Lunch will be served at various times in the cafeteria. Students will also receive a healthy snack in the afternoon. Students should not bring candy, gum or unhealthy snacks or lunches to school
New York State Education Law requires a medical examination for every child who enters nursery school and kindergarten, students entering grades 1, 3, 7, 10 and students entering any grade when transferring from another school. The health examination must be documented on New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Form CH 204 and must be signed by the student’s health care provider. All students attending GCCS must meet the immunization requirements set forth by New York State Law, and all immunizations must be properly documented.
Students who require medication during school hours must file a (504) Medication Administration Form, completed by the student’s health care provider, with the GCCS nurse. Prescriptions or over-the-counter medications that require daily or multiple-daily doses must be brought to the GCCS nurse practitioner in its original container, and only the nurse will be able to dispense the medication during the day.
Home Learning Activities
We believe that home-based activities are an integral part of learning. Home Learning Activities are directly related to the subject matter for which it is assigned. These assignments should be clear with a specific goal in mind and take into consideration individual student differences and be in accord with the objectives in Individual Education Plans where appropriate.
Home Learning Activities will:
● Supplement and enrich work done in the classroom
● Encourage individual interests
● Promote competency in a subject matter
● Help students learn to budget time
● Foster individual learning, self-reliance and independence
● Develop study skills
● Arrive to school on time at 8AM each morning
● Be present on all GCCS school days
● Wear complete uniform
● Complete all assignments on time
● Ask for clarification when needed
● Make your best effort to complete the assignment fully and correctly
● Read independently or with parents every night
● Ensure that students are present in school and on time at 8AM each morning
● Ensure that students are picked up at the designated dismissal time
● Notify school of any changes (phone numbers, addresses, emergency contact numbers) and reasons for absences
● Ask to see daily assignments and insist that the assignments are completed
● Encourage students to read on a daily basis
● Review progress on a long-term basis
● Maintain a connection with the school regarding your child’s progress by attending Parent Teacher Conferences, PAPA meetings, PAT meeting, and taking advantage to volunteer
Students who feel ill should notify the teacher and obtain a pass to report to the main office. Students will be allowed to rest for a short period of time and then will return to class. If a student is seriously ill and cannot remain in school, a parent/guardian will be called to pick up the student. Students who are contagiously ill should not come to school without medical clearance from their healthcare provider.
Students are required to read at home each night for at least 20 minutes in addition to regular homework assignments. Parents are expected to monitor students’ independent reading at home and are encouraged to participate by having the child read aloud to family members or by having “family reading time” each night. Research demonstrates that the only way students can improve their reading ability is through practice. As the ability to read well impacts on every academic area, as well as on life in general, it is important that students practice reading as often as possible. Having students read at home every day (including weekends, vacations, and summer months), in addition to the time spent reading in school, gives students the greatest opportunity to become fluent readers.
Lost and Found
Students should make every effort to keep track of their possessions, including those borrowed from the school. Items that are found and not claimed immediately will be stored at the lost found bin. If a student finds something, he/she should turn it in to the main office. If a student has lost something, he/she should check the lost and found bin located in the lobby area. The school does not take responsibility for valuables left unsecured in the building. Items that are not permitted in school may be confiscated and held until a parent can pick those items up.
Upon return from an excused absence, students will make-up all missed classwork in accordance with school policy. Students needing assistance with completing the work should inform their teachers that help is needed and arrange for a time before or after school to receive that assistance.
Non-Discrimination, Abuse, and Harassment Policy
GCCS is a diverse community. We are committed to maintaining a school environment free of harassment based on race, color, religion, national origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, or disability. Harassment by administration, certified and support personnel, students, vendors, and other individuals at school or at school-sponsored events is unlawful and strictly prohibited. GCCS requires all employees and students to conduct themselves in an appropriate manner with respect to their fellow employees, students, and all members of the school community.
In general, harassment includes communications such as jokes, comments, innuendos, notes, display of pictures or symbols, gestures, or other conduct that offends or shows disrespect to others based upon race, color, religion, national origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.
By law, what constitutes harassment is determined from the perspective of a reasonable person with the characteristic on which the harassment is based. What one person may consider acceptable behavior may reasonably be viewed as harassment by another person. Therefore, individuals should consider how their words and actions might reasonably be viewed by other individuals. It is also important for individuals to make it clear to others when a particular behavior or communication is unwelcome, intimidating, hostile, or offensive.
Any employee, student, or member of the public who believes that he/she has been subjected to harassment should make a complaint immediately to the school director or the Board.
Complaints will be investigated promptly and corrective action will be taken where appropriate. No member of the school community will suffer retaliation or intimidation as a result of using the internal complaint procedure.
REGULATIONS REQUIRING POSTING OF THE CHILD ABUSE HOTLINE TELEPHONE NUMBER AND DIRECTIONS TO ACCESSING THE NEW YORK STATE OFFICE OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES WEBSITE
- School districts and charter schools are now required to post in English and Spanish the toll-free telephone number (1-800-342-3720) operated by the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) to receive reports of child abuse or neglect, and directions for accessing the OCFS website http://ocfs.ny.gov/main/cps/.
- Questions may be directed to the Office of Student Support Services at StudentSupportServices@nysed.gov or by calling (518) 486-6090.
Progress reports will be completed and sent home once every Trimester (see calendar for dates). It is required that progress reports be signed by parents/guardians and returned to the school. The purpose of these reports is to keep parents up to date on student progress. Additional reports may be sent home as needed. The school will follow up on students who do not return completed progress reports.
Families will receive three progress reports per year outlining the student’s progress in the areas of literacy, math, other academic areas, work study skills, and social skills.
In order to move successfully from grade to grade, students must demonstrate proficiency in the core subjects. Though many children find the demands of school to be challenging, at GCCS, the structured environment, individualized instruction, the system of continuous ongoing assessment and timely intervention, extra time and supports are all designed to ensure that all students have the opportunity to acquire grade level skills. For this reason, GCCS expects that all of its students will achieve academic success each year.
Promotion will be based on students meeting grade-level knowledge and content standards, and will be determined by assessment information, teacher recommendation, and Head of School approval. The school reserves the right to make a decision for promotion even when standardized test scores do not match previous student achievement as seen through year-long classroom assessments or when a child demonstrates potential for continued progress with additional supports.
In the extreme case of a student who the school considers may be incapable of dealing with the demands of the next grade, there will be an initial conversation with the family in January, and a second conversation in March about the possibility of retention. All students who are candidates for retention will have a Support Plan. The school will provide additional academic support, and will monitor the student’s progress closely. If a student must be retained, then the classroom teacher, Head of School, and family will meet to discuss how the upcoming year will offer the student different and sufficient supports to ensure the student’s success.
The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) requires the school to protect a student’s privacy. The school will not disclose any information from the student’s permanent records except as authorized pursuant to FERPA, or in response to a subpoena, as required by law. The parent or legal guardian of a student under 18 years of age, or a student 18 years of age or older, is entitled to access the student’s school records by submitting a written request to the building principal. Further information concerning the disclosure of student information and limitations on such disclosure may be found in FERPA and school district policy adopted pursuant thereto.
We respect any family of our school who wishes to fulfill a religious obligation while school is in session. When possible, it is the family’s responsibility to inform he teacher of the upcoming absence.
Report cards are issued three times per year at the end of each trimester. Parents/guardians are invited to meet with their child’s teachers to assess progress and to discuss goals and student products at the time when report cards are distributed. Parent/Guardian feedback and insights are encouraged as part of the student evaluation process.
Students will have snack offered to them once a day, provided by the school. These will be nutritious, satisfying and low in calories to help our students develop alternatives to sugary, unhealthy treats. We encourage families to provide healthy snack alternatives to students to have throughout the school day.
Textbooks, School Resources and School Property
GCCS invests a significant amount of money to provide students with supplies that will contribute to their learning. Students are responsible for maintaining these items in good condition throughout the year.
Supplies given by the school to the students are also expected to be used appropriately. Students who misuse school supplies will lose the privilege of having access to those materials. If materials or books are damaged, the parent/guardian may be held responsible for the replacement or repair the item.
Student Internet Safety
1. School Responsibilities
The school will provide curriculum about appropriate online behavior, including interacting with other individuals on social networking websites and in chat rooms, and cyberbullying awareness and response.
The school will work to protect the safety and security of minors when using electronic mail, chat rooms, and other forms of direct electronic communications.
As appropriate, the school will provide students, staff and parents with guidelines and instructions for student safety while using the Internet.
2. Students Using the School Internet Systems
Students must not reveal personal information about themselves or other persons on social networking sites, in chat rooms, in emails or other direct electronic communications, or any other forum over the Internet. For example, students must not reveal their home address, or telephone or cell phone number. Students must not display photographs of themselves, or the images of others.
Students must promptly disclose to their teacher or other school employee any message or other activity they receive that is inappropriate or makes them feel uncomfortable.
Students should not use school computers to save their passwords.
3. Teachers using the school Internet Systems, including Social Media for class activities
Teachers should educate students about appropriate and safe online behavior, including interacting with individuals on social networking websites and in chat rooms and cyberbullying awareness and response. Teachers should refer to the educational Internet safety resources made available by the school.
“Social media” means any form of online publication or presence that allows interactive communication, including, but not limited to, social networks, blogs, Internet websites, internet forums, and wikis. Examples of social media include, but are not limited to, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Google+, and Flickr.
Schools use a variety of online web-based interactive communication technologies to enhance students’ education and learning. Social media sites must be used only for educational and school related purposes, in connection with lessons and assignments and to facilitate communication with teachers and other students.
Although students generally will be supervised when using the schools Internet System on school property, it is not practicable for the school to monitor and enforce a wide range of social values in student use of the Internet. Parents are primarily responsible for transmitting their particular set of family values to their children, and discussing with their children what material is and is not acceptable for their children to access through Internet Systems.
Parents are exclusively responsible for monitoring their children's use of the Internet when accessed from home or a non-school location.
Prohibited Uses of the School’s Internet Systems
Users may not engage in any of the activities prohibited by this policy when using or accessing the School’s Internet Systems.
If a user is uncertain whether behavior is prohibited, he or she should contact a teacher, supervisor or other appropriate school personnel. The school reserves the right to take immediate action regarding activities that (1) create security and/or safety issues for the students, employees, schools, network or computer resources, or (2) expend school resources on content used for educational purpose, or (3) the school determines are inappropriate.
Below is a non-exhaustive list of examples of prohibited behavior:
Causing harm to others, damage to their property or Department property, such as:
Using, posting or distributing profane, lewd, vulgar, threatening, or abusive language in e-mail messages, material posted on school web pages, or professional social media sites;
Accessing, using, posting, information or materials that obscene, advocate illegal or dangerous acts, or advocate violence or discrimination. If users inadvertently access such information, they should immediately disclose the inadvertent access in a manner specified by the school; intentionally seeking information about passwords belonging to other users;
Accessing, posting or distributing harassing, discriminatory, inflammatory, or hateful material, or making damaging or false statements about others; sending, posting, or otherwise distributing chain letters or engaging in spamming; damaging computer equipment, files, data or the schools Internet System in any way, including spreading computer viruses, vandalizing data, software or equipment, damaging or disabling others’ electronic property, or engaging in conduct that could interfere or cause a danger of disruption to the schools educational or business environment.
In general, parents are responsible for ensuring that students are at school during school hours. Students who live more than ½ mile from the school may be eligible to receive daily transportation as determined by the Office of Pupil Transportation. Parents must inform the school of any changes to their child’s transportation or scheduled pick up by 2:00PM the day of the change. We can’t guarantee that we can accommodate all transportation changes and it is the parents’ responsibility to make arrangements according to the school schedule.
It is expected that students will conform to the rules set forth in this handbook when traveling to and from school. Incidents of inappropriate behavior while using school transportation to and from school may result in disciplinary action.
In providing these services to our families we do hold ourselves and our parents accountable for the supervision of rules and regulations when it comes to picking up students at the school and at their designated bus stops on time.
Students with disabilities will have access to appropriate public and supplemental transportation options as needed.
Any visitors to the school must be signed in at the security office and escorted to their destination by a school official. Visitors should have valid ID and will be required to wear a school visitor tag. Students are generally not permitted to have guests visit the school. Written permission from the Head of School is required prior to a guest’s visit.
Disciplinary Policy and Procedures
Code of Conduct/Behavior Expectations
1. Students will contribute to maintaining a safe and orderly school environment that is conducive to learning and to show respect to other persons and school property.
2. Students will be familiar with and follow all school policies, rules and regulations dealing with student conduct.
3. Students will attend school every day unless they are legally excused and be in class, on time, and prepared to learn.
4. Students will work to the best of their ability in all academic and extracurricular pursuits and strive toward their highest level of achievement possible.
5. Students will respond to direction given by teacher, administrators and other school personnel in a respectful, positive manner.
6. Students will develop skills to cope with stressful situations.
7. Students will ask questions when they do not understand and seek help in solving problems that might lead to referrals and discipline.
8. Students will follow the school dress code.
9. Students will accept responsibility for their actions.
10. Students will conduct themselves as representatives of the community when participating in or attending school-sponsored extracurricular events and will hold themselves to the highest standards of conduct, demeanor, and sportsmanship.
Behavior Intervention Procedures
Each classroom must have clarity of expectation and consequence in order to provide the consistency that young children need to feel safe and comfortable in their environment. Along with this aspect, continual positive communication with parents is also essential to building a community of support.
To ensure that an environment is created where teaching and learning can flourish, GCCS has developed a series of expectations that address proper student behavior, maintenance of order within the school and while people are engaged in school activities, and a statement of student rights and responsibilities. Parents will be informed of our expectations that a positive and productive classroom environment will be maintained in our school.
Our code will set forth the school’s policy regarding how students are expected to behave when participating in school activities, on and off school grounds, and how the school will respond when students fail to behave in accordance with these rules. In all disciplinary matters, students will be given notice and will have the opportunity to present their version of the facts and circumstances to the staff member imposing sanctions. Depending on the severity of the infraction, disciplinary responses include suspension (short or long term), detention, exclusion from extra-curricular activities, and expulsion.
GCCS will develop a strong, positive and supportive school environment that encompasses students, staff, parents and the community. It will also build structures that encourage communication and understanding between home and school. Finally, it will prepare a clear outline of this process to be followed and consequences when safety and order are disrupted.
GCCS will make every effort to work with families and students to prevent an out of school suspension. However, GCCS may suspend a student at any time for any of the following behaviors, or if the school administration and teachers determine that suspension is an appropriate consequence for a student action:
● Verbal or physical abuse
● False bomb threat or emergency alarm
● Use of drugs, alcohol, or tobacco
● Leaving school grounds without permission
● Repeated conduct which disrupts school or classroom activities
● Conduct that endangers the health, safety or welfare of students or staff
● Repeated violations of minor behavior infractions
Expulsion from GCCS is an extreme consequence for inappropriate student behaviors. However, the following behaviors may result in a recommendation by school officials for student expulsion:
● Selling, using, or possessing fireworks or contraband
● Selling, using or transferring alcohol, drugs, or controlled substances
● Possession of a weapon
● Commission of a felony
● Any other act which school officials reasonably conclude warrants expulsion
A student who has been suspended three or more times may be recommended for expulsion. Prior to expulsion, a hearing will be held by school officials to determine whether the student will not be allowed to attend GCCS any longer.
Due process will be followed for all disciplinary actions consistent with federal case law pursuant to Goss v. Lopez (419 U.S. 565). The student will have the opportunity to present his/her version of events to the Head of School in person. Before imposing a short-term suspension, the Head of School shall immediately notify the parents or guardian in writing that the student may be suspended from school. This notice will be in their dominant language and provide a description of the incident(s) for which suspension is proposed. It will inform the parents or guardian of their right to request an immediate informal conference with the Head of School. The parents or guardian of the student and the student shall have the opportunity to present the student’s version of the incident and to ask questions of the complaining witnesses indirectly through the teacher or the principal. The Head of School’s decision to impose a short-term suspension may be challenged by the parent(s) or guardian in accordance with the school’s complaint process. Before any expulsion, the Head of School will consult the Board and immediately notify the student's parent(s) or guardian(s) in writing, in their dominant language. Long-term suspensions or expulsions will only be imposed after the student has been found guilty at a formal hearing. The hearing shall include the Head of School, staff members involved with the incident, and the student with his/her parent(s) or guardian(s). The student shall have the right to be represented by counsel, question witnesses, and present evidence.
Federal and State law require the expulsion from School for a period of not less than one year of a student who is determined to have brought a firearm to the school, or to have possessed a firearm at School. The Principal may modify such expulsion requirement for a student on a case-by-case basis, if such modification is in writing, in accordance with the Federal Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994 (as amended). “Weapon,” as used in this law means a "firearm," as defined by 18 USC§8921, and includes firearms and explosives. (New York Education Law §3214(3)(d) effectuates this federal law.) The Principal shall refer a student under the age of sixteen who has brought a weapon or firearm to school to a presentment agency for a juvenile delinquency proceeding consistent with Article 3 of the Family Court Act.
Discipline Provisions for Students with Disabilities
If a special education student violates the school’s Disciplinary Code and is being considered for a suspension or removal, the school will ensure due process protections in accordance with Sections 300.530-300.537 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). The school will make the provisions described below for students with special needs who engage in extreme behaviors meriting suspension or expulsion. Furthermore, a student who has engaged in behavior that violated the school’s Disciplinary Code who has not been determined to be eligible for special education services but qualifies under 34 CFR 300.534 as a student suspected of having a disability may request to be disciplined in accordance with these provisions.
For a student whose behavior merits suspension or expulsion and who is either identified as a student with special needs under 20 USC §1400 et seq. or qualifies as a student suspected of having a disability under 34 CFR 300.534, the school will:
● Provide a free and appropriate education in accordance with 20 USC §1400 et seq. to students who are suspended or removed for disciplinary reasons for more than ten school days (as defined in 34 CFR 300.536);
● Address behaviors that result in suspensions or removals for more than ten school days (as defined in 34 CFR 300.536) by providing functional behavioral assessments and behavioral intervention plans in accordance with 34 CFR 300.530;
● Conduct a manifestation determination review in accordance with 34 CFR 300.530 to determine the relationship between the behavior and the student’s disability when a suspension or removal would result in a disciplinary change of placement;
● Provide the parent of the student a copy of the procedural safeguards notice in accordance with 34 CFR 300.530 and 34 CFR 300.504;
● Expedite the resolution of disagreements between parents and the school regarding certain disciplinary actions;
● Ensure protections for students who qualify under 34 CFR 300.534; and
● Expedite evaluations of students suspected of having a disability during the suspension period.
The school will work closely with the Committee on Special Education to establish clear guidelines for communication and decision-making on disciplinary matters. The school will maintain written records of all suspensions and expulsions of both general education students and special education students. These records will include the name of the student, a description of the behavior, the disciplinary action taken, the names of staff members involved in the incident, and the number of days a student has been suspended or removed for disciplinary reasons. Student records will be stored in locked cabinets and a record access log will be maintained listing all persons who reviewed the information and when such information was reviewed.
Alternative educational services. GCCS will ensure the provision of alternative educational services to any student who has been suspended or expelled, to the extent required by applicable law. Instruction for suspended students shall be sufficient to enable them to make adequate academic progress, and shall provide them with opportunities to complete assignments, learn the curriculum and participate in assessments, and it will take place in a suitable site. For a student who has been expelled, the school will provide alternative instruction to the extent required by applicable law for suspended students, until the student enrolls in another school or until the end of the school year, whichever comes first.
Communication with Families
We hope to keep parents and guardians involved in the academic progress of their children. GCCS has implemented several procedures to ensure that families are aware of their student’s progress, including sending periodic progress reports home from class, report cards, open houses, an open door policy, and parent-teacher meetings.
Open Door Policy
At GCCS we have an open door policy in which we encourage parents and guardians to visit their child’s classroom. It is best practice to contact the school office and/or your child’s teacher prior to a classroom visit. We want to ensure that school visits do not cause a distraction or disruption in the classroom. The school may limit visitation to classrooms during times of test preparation and assessments. For the safety of the children, we have to keep all doors locked throughout the day. All parents and visitors alike must be allowed access, show proper ID, and are required to wear a visitor tag while in the building.
We encourage parents to be fully involved in their children’s total educational experience. If at any time a parent or guardian would like to meet individually with a school director or a teacher, an appointment should be made through the main office.
Parent and Guardian Participation/Parents As Partners Association (PAPA)
Parents will participate in school governance in several ways. In place of the more traditional Parent-Teacher Association (PTA), GCCS will develop Parents as Partners Association (PAPA) made up of one representative from each classroom to serve on a Parent Advisory Team (PAT) that will meet regularly with school leaders to directly address issues and concerns that arise as the school year unfolds. In addition PAT will oversee the PAPA monthly meetings at which agenda will be developed to further address concerns, present informational issues, guest speakers and activities whose topics are generated by parent surveys that will be administered at the beginning of the school year. Subcommittees will be created to plan and carry out specific projects to support the school, such as family outreach projects and community involvement. At least one seat on the Board of Trustees will be reserved for a parent of a child enrolled in the school as a voting trustee. This parent will be elected by the vote of PAPA and his/her term of office will be one year.
We ask that GCCS parents volunteer their service to the school if possible, either in the classroom, at school events, or as an ambassador for the school. Parent involvement is an integral part of a successful child’s education. We hope to offer many opportunities for parents to serve in the school, and parents should feel free to make suggestions of ways they can get involved to GCCS staff.
Frequent communication between teacher and parent is essential for ensuring that the best possible learning situation is afforded to every child. Parent-Teacher communication is essential to academic success.
● Teachers will hold office hours each week in which they are available to meet with parents/guardians in order to discuss academic progress.
● Parent-teacher conferences will be held three times a year over several days.
● GCCS will hold an open house at the beginning of the first trimester. This open house will allow parents to come to school to meet their child’s new teachers and familiarize themselves with the school day and expectations.
Under Ed. Law §2855 (4) , any individual or group that has a complaint against Global Community Charter School, alleging a violation of the Charter Schools Act, the Global Community Charter or any other provision, may bring a complaint before the Board of Trustees. All formal complaints must be in writing and include a statement detailing the nature of the offense including persons involved, time, date and locations of the issue. The complaint should also detail what relief is sought and what actions to date have been taken to address the issue.
Any complaint against a Global Community employee should seek redress from the Head of School to allow the issue to be resolved before involving the Board. If the complainant is dissatisfied with the Head of School’s resolution, he or she may bring complaint to the Board for review. The Board reviews decision on appeal from the Head of School and those that directly involve the Head of School. The Board must provide a response in writing within 30 days of receiving the complaint or by the next scheduled Board meeting. If the complainant is still dissatisfied, he or she may file a complaint with the Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education and ultimately the Commissioner of Education, as delegate to the Board of Regents, who will investigate and respond to the complaint.