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Valley Gardens Middle School
River East Transcona School Division

Student Handbook

VALLEY GARDENS MIDDLE SCHOOL

Mr. Kieran Hunter - Principal

Mr. Scott Harmacy - Vice-Principal

220 Antrim Road, Winnipeg, Manitoba R2K 3L2

Telephone: 204-668-6249

FAX: 204-668-9367

Website: http://schools.retsd.mb.ca/vg

Email: vg@ retsd.mb.ca

Mission Statement & Operational Philosophy

Valley Gardens Middle School is committed to ensuring that each person develop to his/her own personal best – in an environment of academic excellence, mutual respect, safety, co-operation, encouragement and caring.

Valley Gardens Middle School has adopted the Middle School approach to learning. Our approach recognizes that adolescents experience many physical, social, emotional, and intellectual changes and that these changes are signs of growth. We strive to nurture students in these areas and the following three principles are the core ideals of our school.

Respect Responsibilities Rights

Expectations of respect at Valley Gardens Middle School:

Everyone will respect:

others’ right to learn

others’ point of view

the property of others.

Personal Responsibilities at Valley Gardens Middle School:

Everyone will:

be at school and in class on time with the necessary supplies

complete their designated tasks

be an appropriate and active participant in all learning activities.

Individual Rights at Valley Gardens Middle School:

Everyone has the right to:

learn

a safe environment

be treated with respect.

Remember that you are entitled to Rights when you

Respect others and fulfill your Responsibilities.

VALLEY GARDENS MIDDLE SCHOOL INFORMATION

Entering the Building

Students enter the building through two entrances. The grade seven and eight students enter through the doors nearest the front end of the parking lot and the grade six students enter through the door nearest the flagpole. The school opens for students at 8:30 AM. Students must wait outside until that time unless they are participating in a club or have an appointment with a teacher.

Lates

Students are expected to be in the building at the opening bell at 8:30 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. Students are to be seated in their classrooms when the bell sounds at 8:40 a.m. and 12:20 p.m. Students who arrive late after Homeroom must register in the office and fill out a late slip to present to the teacher. Frequent late arrivals will result in loss of privileges. Parents may be contacted.

Absences

When a student is absent parents must call the school and leave a message. If the school does not receive a call by 9:15 a.m., we will ―Call Back‖ to ensure that the student is at home with parental consent. We will call your home or your place of employment. Vacations should be confined to school holidays.

Leaving School Grounds

Students must receive permission from the Principal or Vice-Principal to leave school property at any time during school hours, including noon hour. Students who have a medical or other appointment and need to leave the school early must bring a dated note indicating the time and the reason for their early leaving. Should a student become ill during the day, they must report to their classroom teacher before going to the office. Parents will be notified when it is necessary for a student to go home.

School Lunch

Students who live a kilometer or less from the school are encouraged to go home for lunch. They must go directly home and not loiter on streets or private property.

Students who stay for lunch include:

a. All students who live further than 1 km from the school.

b. Students who utilize the library to work on school projects or assignments.

c. Students who participate in a school club/activity (each staff member offering these activities will supervise the student).

d. Students identified as requiring busing to come to school.

The canteen (The Cave) will be open from 11:20 a.m. to 11:35 a.m. Students are to cooperate by waiting their turn and by not ordering for friends. Students will remain seated while they eat in the designated lunch rooms. At 11:40 a.m. students will leave the lunch room to go outside or directly to the gym or library as previously arranged. Students going outside must stay on school property where site supervision is provided.

Students who do not comply with lunch hour expectations will be removed from the lunch program.

Allergy Alert!

There are students and staff at VGMS who are seriously allergic to the following items:

Perfumes or any scented products, including hair spray, nail polish remover, aerosol deodorants, etc.

Peanuts and nuts.

Do not bring these items into the building. These allergies are life threatening.

Dress Code

Students’ clothing must be appropriate for school - neat, clean, and inoffensive. See-through shirts, halter tops, muscle shirts, tube tops, spaghetti strap tops, bandannas, chains and t-shirts with offensive language or pictures, are not allowed.

The River East Transcona School Division’s policy JICA Student Dress Code states:

1. Students shall dress in a manner that is appropriate for a learning and working environment. Parents and students are responsible for appropriate student attire.

2. In keeping with the division’s objective to make all students and staff feel safe, welcome and comfortable in the River East Transcona School Division, offensive images such as inappropriate slogans, racist, sexist or demeaning pictures and/or words on clothing, handbags, backpacks, etc. are not permitted.

3. School administrators will have the authority to address inappropriate attire in their schools.

As a school we suggest the following guidelines:

Midriffs must be covered at all times.

Outside jackets may not be worn in the classroom.

 

Headwear of any description, are not to be worn in the school.

Shoes must be worn at all times. In our applied arts programs (woods, graphics, foods and textiles), proper covered footwear must be worn at all times.

No jewelry may be worn during Physical Education.

Neckline needs to be appropriate for the school setting. While sleeveless shirts may be worn, the shoulder portion of the shirt must be of a three finger width.

Shorts must be of a length where the tips of the fingers touch the bottom of the shorts, when standing with arms at sides.

Should a student wear an article of clothing that is unacceptable, they will be asked to change the particular item. If the student does not have appropriate clothing at the school, parents may be asked to bring a change of clothes.

Accidents

Accidents to persons must be reported to the school office immediately. In the event of injury, first aid will be administered and the parents notified. Follow-up will be monitored as necessary. In the event of serious injury where the parents cannot be reached, the school may seek medical assistance and/or an ambulance at the parents’ expense.

Administering Medication

School staff is prohibited from administering any medication to a student without the prior written and dated authorization of the parent/guardian. Parents are to make every effort to make arrangements with the student’s physician to have medication taken at home. When this is not possible parents must:

a) Complete the Authorization for the Administration of Prescribed Medication to Students form (River East Transcona School Division policy code JLCD-E1)

b) Inform schools, in writing if medication is to be adjusted or changed.

c) Ensure that their child has received the necessary information and training if they are to be responsible for the self- administration of their own medication.

d) Ensure that an adequate supply of medication in the proper dosage is at school.

e) Pick up unused medication at the end of the year. The divisional policy containing more detail and forms are available at the school upon request.

The River East Transcona School Division outlines in policies JLCD, JLCD-R and JLCD-E1to E4 the procedures to follow in the Administration of Medication to students while at school.

Note: As per Divisional policy, we cannot administer over the counter drugs without a physician’s prescription.

School Lockers

Lockers will be assigned to all students by their homeroom teacher. Students are to use the assigned locker only. Locks on all lockers are assigned by the school and only school-assigned combination locks are permitted on lockers. If the lock is lost during the school year, there is a $5.00 replacement charge. Students are responsible for the lockers assigned to them and are expected to keep them in good condition. Lockers and locks are the property of VGMS and may be open/ searched by school administration at any time.

Textbooks

Students are responsible for the textbooks that they use. If a student loses or damages a textbook, they will be charged a fee for the damages or replacement of that textbook as outlined by the Manitoba Textbook Bureau.

GENERAL INFORMATION Electronic devices such as cellular phones, mp3 players and other portable electronic devices are strongly discouraged. Bring them to school at your own risk. The school and RETSD as per policy JICJ assumes no responsibility in any circumstance for the loss, destruction, damage or theft of any electronic communication or playing device. Students and families are responsible for locating such lost or stolen items. These devices are not allowed in class or school hallways at any time.

Do not bring laser pointers to school. They are not allowed and they will be confiscated.

Bicycles may be brought to school. Once at school, bicycles need to be locked on the bicycle racks.

Skateboards and Scooters are not allowed at school.

There are garbage cans available in the schoolyard for students to use. Help keep our school clean!

The school pay phone is available to students during lunchtime and before or after school only.

The office phone is available only for emergency use.

Winnipeg Police Service

The Winnipeg Police Service Constables support the school. They provide information to students and staff, they are available to meet with students or staff to discuss concerns, and they assist in enforcement of the rules. They can be contacted at 986-7684 or District #4 at 986-2860.

COMMUNICATION

Listed on the next page are a number of methods used to facilitate communication between the school and home:

Newsletters

Newsletters will be published approximately once a month and available on our school’s website, http://schools.retsd.mb.ca/vg

Reporting

The school will send home report cards in November and March and a final report card in June.

Student Led-Conferences

Parents will be invited to attend a student-led presentation of their student’s efforts during two of the reporting periods. Students will present a collection of work that is intended to demonstrate their learning, successes and areas that may still need effort. Through a process of reflection on their work students set goals and identify strategies they will employ to accomplish their goals. Teachers will be available to provide assistance and answer questions. Remember that the more involved you are in your child’s education, the more they will progress!

School Website

Please check the school website often for updates, information and access to teacher websites. http://schools.retsd.mb.ca/vg

24 Hour Phone Help Lines:

Ala-teen 204-943-6051

Child and Family Services 204-944-4288

Crisis Pregnancy Center (Crisis Line) 204-772-2828

Klinic Crisis Line 204-786-8686

Klinic Sexual Assault Line 204-786-8631

Mount Carmel Clinic 204-582-2311

Operation Go Home 1-800-668-4663

Pregnancy Distress Center 204-775-2877

Street Peace 204-945-GANG

Teen Touch Help Phone 1-800-563-8336

VALLEY GARDENS MIDDLE SCHOOL PARENT ADVISORY COUNCIL

The parents of Valley Gardens Middle School have formed a parent advisory council. Valley Gardens Middle School Parent Advisory Council is a group of parents and community members who together with staff and students and other interested parties consult with the principal and school officials. The mandate of the Parent Advisory Council is:

To act as an advocate for children within the educational community and to obtain the best for each child, according to his or her physical, mental, social and spiritual needs.

To give parents an understanding of the school and its programs and to assist in interpreting the school in all its aspects to the rest of the community.

To work as a team of parents and school personnel to ensure effective use of school facilities in today’s changing system.

To confer and cooperate with organizations other than schools that concern themselves with the care, protection and education of children and youth in the home, in the school and in the community.

VALLEY GARDENS MUSIC PARENTS ASSOCIATION

The Valley Gardens Music Parents Association is a sub-group of our main Parent Advisory Council. It will conduct at least two fundraising events over the course of the school year in order to help offset the costs of trips and clinics. For each fundraiser, 60% of the profit will go to the student’s individual band fundraising account and 40% will go to the general Music Parents Association account. The general account is used to subsidize costs for trips and other events that can carry a high price tag. The Music Parents Association administers this account. All parents of students enrolled in the band program are automatically members of the Music Parents Association and are encouraged to attend its monthly meetings that are held at the school.

A student’s individual account money may only be used to pay for band trips and events. When a student graduates from the Valley Gardens Middle School band program and enrolls in another band program within RETSD, their individual account balance will be transferred to the Music Parents Association of that school. If a student transfers out of band or leaves the school, their individual account balance may be transferred to a younger sibling. If there is no younger sibling, the student’s individual account balance will be transferred to the general Music Parents Association account. There are no exceptions.

RIVER EAST TRANSCONA SCHOOL DIVISION CODE OF CONDUCT

River East Transcona School Division Mission Statement

To fulfill our purpose and in our journey toward our vision, River East Transcona School Division is committed to providing relevant, progressive educational programming and supportive services in a safe, stimulating learning environment.

Introduction

The purpose of the Code of Conduct is to promote a healthy school culture where high levels of achievement occur within a positive school environment. River East Transcona School Division believes that everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and respect.

River East Transcona School Division schools, parents/guardians, students and community will promote the development of beliefs and attitudes that promote a safe and caring learning environment.

• An active student voice will be encouraged in all schools. • Community school initiatives will be encouraged. • A continuum of supports and services will be utilized to address the unique academic and behavioural needs of students. • Problem-solving and conflict management skills will be developed. • Parents will initiate dialogue regarding their child through the classroom teacher or school administration. (1)

Roles and Responsibilities

The Division believes that all staff, parents and students have a responsibility to maintain a safe, caring and respectful environment.

Staff will:

• provide relevant learning experiences based on the diverse needs of the students. • approach the education of students in a respectful manner. • provide a classroom environment that is safe and respectful. • participate in creating a positive school culture. • communicate information about student progress, attendance and behaviour to students, parents/guardians and administration. • respect and demonstrate consideration for other cultures. • respect confidential information about students and staff. • support and implement proactive and reactive intervention strategies offered through a continuum of supports and services.

Students will:

• be polite, respectful and cooperative to all people within the school community. • develop self-discipline. • resolve interpersonal conflicts and difficulties through discussions or by seeking assistance from school personnel. • demonstrate and support a safe, respectful and caring school environment. • respect that fellow students have a right to a school environment that is free from violence. • respect school property and the personal property of others. • dress appropriately for classes and for activities.

Parents/Guardians will:

• instill in their child:

- the desire to work to the best of his/her ability; - an understanding of the importance of education; - a recognition of the authority of the school staff to provide a safe, respectful and caring environment; - respect for the rights of others; - respect for property and resources.

• recognize the authority of the school staff to provide a safe, respectful, and caring environment. • communicate regularly with school and advocate for their child’s success. • ensure regular, punctual attendance and contact the school when their child is absent. • support and work collaboratively with school personnel to ensure their child’s success and appropriate behaviour. • encourage the peaceful resolution of conflict and discourage disrespectful, violent or aggressive behaviour to solve a problem.

Proactive Intervention Strategies

The teaching and learning of expected student behaviour forms the cornerstone of a proactive, preventative approach. The following are the key components in promoting a positive school climate:

• Schools will participate in creating a positive school culture. • Staff and parents/guardians encourage participation in activities that promote a safe, respectful and caring environment. • School plans will reflect outcomes related to positive school culture. • Schools will implement a continuum of school-wide behavioural supports. • Schools will develop, maintain and strengthen their working relationships with parents, community members and organizations. • Schools will employ active supervision. • Schools will implement validated prevention and intervention programs.

Reactive Intervention Strategies

The Division believes that effective student management teaches students appropriate behaviour and incorporates an appropriate range of consequences. The division will apply a wide range of consequences for behaviour that interferes with safety, learning and work. Which consequences are applied will depend on the severity of the incident, the diverse needs of the student, and the frequency of the behaviour. The following is a list of some options available when working with students regarding their behaviour:

Informal Interview

School personnel talk with the student to reach an agreement regarding the student’s behaviour. The parent/guardian will be contacted as required.

Parental Involvement

Contact is made with the parent/guardian to discuss the specific behaviour of the student and steps that are necessary to change behaviour. The nature of contact could vary from a telephone conversation to a formal conference at the school with parent/guardian, student and school personnel.

Formal Interview

A conference is held with the student, the school team and the parent/guardian to develop a plan for changing the student behaviour.

Support Personnel Involvement

The school support team may consult with divisional support personnel when developing a behaviour intervention plan (BIP). Parents/guardians will be involved.

Detention

The student is detained at school for inappropriate behaviour. When such detention exceeds 15 minutes beyond the regular school hours, or causes a student to miss a school bus, the parent/guardian must be informed.

Withdrawal from Classroom Setting

When inappropriate behaviour is deemed to have a negative impact upon the classroom environment, the student is temporarily removed to an alternate supervised location to complete his/her assignments.

Removal of Privileges

Privileges are removed under certain circumstances. These can include access to the playground, library, cafeteria or lunchroom or participation in extracurricular activities.

Restitution

The student and/or parents/guardians are required to compensate for damages caused by the student.

Behavioural/Performance Contract

In some instances, the student may be required to meet specific behavioural outcomes that are identified in a written contract. Such expectations are developed and agreed upon by the school, the parent/guardian and the student. Such an agreement is documented, with copies provided to all concerned parties.

Student Support Clinical Unit and Student Services Department

Student Support Clinical Unit and Student Services personnel may become involved to assist in developing appropriate proactive and reactive approaches for unacceptable behaviour. Such involvement may include placement in an alternate or treatment centre if deemed appropriate.

Outside Agency Involvement

In some circumstances, the student’s behaviour may involve the violation of the law (e.g., drugs, theft or assault) and police involvement will be required; parents/guardians will be informed immediately of any such action. Other circumstances may require a referral to Child and Family Service workers. In all circumstances, the safety of the student and others will be the key factor for determining such action.

In-School Suspension

School administrators may assign a student to an in-school suspension. Teachers will provide students with appropriate work during the in-school suspension. Parents/guardians will be contacted when such action is taken.

Out-of-School Suspension

Suspension is the temporary stopping of a student’s right to attend school classes. When a student’s conduct is deemed injurious to the welfare of the school or injurious to the school’s educational purpose, suspension is sometimes necessary to ensure the safety of other students in the school. Suspensions are applied when other disciplinary measures have been found to be ineffective or when the student's behaviour disrupts the learning of others, endangers fellow students, teachers, or school officials or damages property.

Expulsion

Expulsions are applied when a student’s behaviour has been a serious danger to other students, teachers, school officials or school property, or when the behaviour has been shown to be habitual. Expulsion is a function of the Board of Trustees.

Threat Assessment

The purpose of the threat assessment process is to use the best knowledge, skill and experience available to assess high-risk threatening behaviours so that appropriate interventions can be identified to protect individuals from harm and to ensure a climate of safety in schools and the community.

In the event that such a situation arises, the resulting investigation will be extensive in scope and may include the involvement of agencies such as the Child Guidance Clinic, the police, and others.

Any child who poses a high risk to self-harm or who threatens harm to others will undergo an intense investigation. All high-risk behaviours will be taken seriously and high-risk students will be assessed accordingly.

When a high-risk threat to self-harm or to harm others occurs, it is essential to assess safety, to put in place the required interventions to ensure safety, to analyze appropriate next steps, and to determine appropriate consequences. No student who has posed a threat of harm to him/herself or to others will be permitted to attend school until safety is assured.

This document serves as fair notice that incidents of threat to self-harm or to harm others will be actively investigated. Because of the serious nature of such incidents, the investigation will continue even if the parent/ guardian cannot immediately be contacted. Continued efforts will be made to contact the parent/guardian.

Safe Schools Charter

The RETSD Code of Conduct is consistent with the Safe Schools Charter of Manitoba.

The Safe Schools Charter (3) (Province of Manitoba, S.M. 2004, c. 24) sets forth several guidelines that apply to students and staff regarding behaviour. Behaviors that will not be tolerated in schools and that will be dealt with immediately include but are not limited to the following:

• Bullying or abusing physically, sexually, or psychologically—orally, in writing, or otherwise. • Discriminating unreasonably on the basis of any characteristic set out in subsection 9 (2) of The Human Rights Code. • Using, possessing or being under the influence of alcohol or illicit drugs at school. • Gang involvement on school sites. • Possessing a weapon as ―weapon‖ is defined in Section 2 of the Criminal Code (Canada).

ALCOHOL AND OTHER DRUG USE BY STUDENTS

The use or possession of alcohol and/or any other drug prior to or at school or any school-sponsored activity is prohibited.

The following substances are included in this policy:

 alcohol;

 restricted drugs (misused prescription or over the counter drugs, including steroids);

 illegal drugs (including steroids);

 pills or other substances which are misrepresented and sold or distributed as restricted or illegal drugs;

 products misused for the purpose of mind-altering affect (aerosols, solvents).

The following actions are included in this policy:

 attempting to secure or purchase

 using or having used

 possessing

 intending or attempting to sell or distribute

 selling or distributing

 being knowingly present when used, possessed or consumed

 possession of paraphernalia

Students who are in possession of five or more individually wrapped packages of illegal drugs will be considered to be in possession for the purpose of dealing or trafficking in these drugs. Students who give or sell any amount of alcohol or other drug to a student at school, on any school or division property or at any school activity or function will be considered to be dealing or trafficking in illegal drugs.

Consequences

For the first and second offense other than trafficking:

 minimum five day out of school suspension;

 parents/guardians notification of action taken procedure for re-entry ;

 students may be suspended for up to six weeks;

 students will be required to complete an alcohol/drug assessment;

 the incident may be referred to police for legal action.

For the third offense other than trafficking:

 the student will be suspended indefinitely pending a discipline review by the superintendent and the board;

 parents/guardians will be informed of the board decision and conditions for appeal;

 the incident may be referred to the police for legal action.

Trafficking

In the event of trafficking/dealing in drugs or being in possession of five grams or five individually wrapped packages or more:

 the student will be suspended for a minimum of 5 days pending a review by the superintendent or designate;

 the incident will be referred to the police for legal action;

 the superintendent:/designate will review the case and may recommend expulsion to the board.

(refer to RETSD Policy JICH and JKD)

Search (Refer to RETSD Policy JIH and JIH-R)

The River East Transcona School Division policy on searching students and/or their personal effects is based on the need to maintain order and provide a safe environment for all of our students. There are specific guidelines to be followed when school administrators (or designate) intend to conduct a search. School administrators must have reasonable grounds to suspect that a student is in violation of a Board Policy, or poses a threat to the proper order and discipline of the school, before performing searches. Lockers and desks are school property and as such are subject to inspection by school authorities at any time without notice, without student consent and without a search warrant, whenever a school authority has reasonable cause to believe that such a search is necessary. Student vehicles parked on school property are also subject to the same inspection. Student’s personal effects may be searched and students can be required to empty their pockets or remove their shoes and socks. Staff will not directly search the student and only the Principal or designate may authorize a search of a student’s clothing or possessions. School authorities will assign such disciplinary consequences or law enforcement involvement as deemed appropriate by the results of the search and within the context of Board Policy.