Frequently Asked Questions

Huntsville City Schools College Academy

1.  What will the College Academy diploma & transcript look like?

College Academy students will graduate with an Alabama High School Diploma from Jemison High School.  Their high school transcript will reflect all courses they took during high school, to include UAH courses.  In addition, College Academy students will have a separate transcript from UAH with all of the UAH courses they have taken.

2.  Will transportation be provided to the College Academy?

Yes.  College Academy students can ride the bus from their zoned high schools to Jemison HS and from Jemison HS back to their zoned high schools. (Note: Parents can drive their student to Jemison if they so choose.)  Also, transportation will be provided to and from UAH when College Academy students take courses on the campus of UAH.

3.  If a College Academy student is interested in playing sports, for what school would s/he play?

Currently, all high school students play sports for the school in which they are enrolled.  As students of Jemison HS, College Academy students would play for Jemison HS. (Note:  The current exception to this AHSAA rule applies to students attending New Century Technology High School as NCTHS does not have athletics.)  Students who did not attend McNair Junior High in the previous school year may have to sit out of sports for one year.  

4.  What extracurricular activities are available to College Academy students?

College Academy students have the same access to extracurricular activities as any other Jemison HS student (to the extent their academic schedule & personal time will allow).   Further, magnet students at all schools are encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities, take ownership in their school, experience the camaraderie of their peers, and fully enjoy their high school experience.

5.  What AP courses will be offered at Jemison HS?

All HCS high schools offer every Honors and AP course in the Huntsville City Schools Course Description Guide.  If a student requests an Honors or AP academic course but that course does not have enough requests to be scheduled (usually fewer than 4 students), HCS will provide a way for the student to take that course (e.g., ACCESS Distance Learning or provide transportation for student to take the course at a nearby HS thatdoes have that course scheduled). Remember, College Academy students will already have a rigorous curriculum that includes their college level courses.

6.  What elective courses will students have available to them at Jemison HS?

HCS high schools use a standard electives form from which students request their elective classes.  We schedule elective courses in our high schools based on the demand for those courses (i.e., the electives with the greatest number of requests end up being scheduled). 

7.  Will all classes be taken in the College Academy wing?

The majority of College Academy classes will be taken in the College Academy wing or at UAH (an option during the junior and senior years).  Other classes, such as electives (Band, PE, ROTC, Choir, Art, etc.), will be taken in other areas of Jemison High School.

8.  How will College Academy courses be computed in the GPA? Will they receive extra weight like AP courses?

Within Huntsville City Schools regular courses earn up to 4 quality points.  Therefore, an “A” in a regular course will earn 4.0 points.  Honors courses earn an extra 0.5 quality point (A=4.5 pts, B=3.5 points, C=2.5 pts, D=1.5 pts, F=0 pts).  AP courses earn an extra 1.0 quality point (A=5.0 pts, B=4.0 pts, C=3.0 pts, D=2.0 pts, F=0 pts).  All college level courses at the College Academy also earn an extra 1.0 quality point. 

9.  Are College Academy students obligated to attend UAH after graduating from high school?

College Academy students are not required to attend UAH after graduating from high school.   However, upon high school graduation and with an eligible GPA and ACT or SAT score, College Academy students will earn a four-year merit tuition scholarship at UAH.  Therefore, these students could complete a Master Degree at no cost at UAH. 

10.  What if my child falls behind or struggles with the coursework?

College Academy students will receive substantial support from faculty at both the high school and UAH.  In addition, they will have time during the school schedule to work and interact with instructors in both programs.  Should a student find the College Academy curriculum to be too challenging, his or her parent may request that the school system develop a plan to return the student to his or her home high school.

Magnet Programs 

1.  What are magnet schools?

Magnet schools offer specialized programs of learning with a focused theme that attracts a diverse population of students from throughout Huntsville City Schools.

What are the specific Huntsville City Schools magnet programs?

  • Pre K through 8th grade:

Academy for Academics and Arts www.aaamagnet.org

Theme: Creative and Performing Arts

 

The Academy for Science and Foreign Language www.asflmagnet.org

Theme: International Baccalaureate (IB), Science, Foreign Language

 

  • 6th-8th Grade:

Academy for Gifted & Talented at Williams Middle School www.williamsmiddle.org

Theme: Gifted Education

 

  • 9th-12th Grade:

Columbia High School –Grade 9/10 International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program (MYP)

Columbia High School-Grade 11/12 International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (DP)

Columbia High School-Grade 11/12 International Baccalaureate Career-Related Programme (CP)

Theme: International Baccalaureate (IB)

               

Jemison College Academy   www.jemisonhigh.org

Theme:  College

               

Lee Creative and Performing Arts  www.leemagnet.org

Theme: Creative Writing, Dance, Orchestra, Theatre Performance, Technical Theatre, Video Broadcast, Visual Arts, Photography, Vocal Performance

               

New Century Technology High School  www.newcenturytechnology.org

                Theme: Biomedical, Computer Science, Engineering

 

2.  Who can apply to a magnet school?

Student applicants must live within the Huntsville City Schools district.  Magnet programs accept students from all Huntsville City Schools district school zones. 

3.  How do I apply to a magnet school?

Applicants for Jemison College Academy and Academy for Gifted and Talented may obtain an application online and submit it to huntsvillecityschools.org/magnet during their open application window.  Applicants for all other programs can apply online during the open application window.

4.  Where can I obtain an application for a magnet program?

Applications for Jemison College Academy and Academy for Gifted and Talented can be found on the magnet website during the open application time period.  Applicants for all other programs can apply online.  A link to the online application will be found on the Huntsville City Schools websitethe magnet website, and all of the magnet school websites.

5.  If a College Academy student is interested in playing sports, for what school would he/she play?

College Academy students are enrolled at Jemison High School and are eligible to participate in sports at Jemison High immediately upon enrolling in ninth grade.  This is allowed due to a ruling from the Alabama High School Athletic Association (AHSAA) that magnet students enrolled in the College Academy at Jemison or the Lee High School Creative and Performing Arts Magnet Program are eligible for athletics in their magnet school.

6.  When can I apply for a magnet program?

  • The initial magnet application period will be open from October 3- November 4, 2016.  Students who apply during this time period will be eligible for selection for any open seats in all magnet programs in 2016/17.
  • A second “Late Application” period will be open in the spring of 2017 for any students who did not apply in the earlier application period. Applications will be available only for programs that have an opening where there are no students on a wait list. 

7.  Do I need to submit an application if my student is currently enrolled in a magnet program?

Students currently enrolled in a magnet program who wish to remain in the school/program for the following year, within the program/grade configuration (PreK-8, 6-8, 9-12), do not need to submit a magnet application to remain in the school/program.  For example, 5th grade students at AAA or ASFL do not need to apply for the 6th grade program at their school.  They will automatically be accepted into the 6th grade program.

8.  If I apply on the first day of the application period, will I have a better chance of being accepted at my choice of school?

No.  There is no advantage to applying on the first day.  The application window is open to everyone.  Selection will not be based on date of application.  A lottery system or other eligibility criteria will be used to select students for available spaces if more eligible students apply than spaces are available.

9.  Can I submit multiple applications for the same application window?

No.  The system will only allow for one application per student based on the student’s ID per application window.

10.  How will I learn the results of my student magnet application?

Parents will learn the results of the magnet program selection process via email (if provided by the parent) or via letter sent via US Postal Mail to the address provided in the application.

11.  What will happen once I accept a placement in a magnet program?

Your exiting school will receive an email notification that your child will be transferring from their school.  It will instruct them to withdraw your child from their current school for next year and send your child’s cumulative file to the magnet school.  You should complete the HCS Online Returning Student Registration Process for SY 2016/17 using the magnet school as your student’s next school when registration begins.

12.  Does my student who currently attends a magnet middle school have priority in getting into a magnet high school program?

  • Eighth grade students who attend AAA and want to attend the Creative and Performing Arts at Lee High School will need to apply for this program.  These AAA students will have a priority in the application process for Lee.
  • Eighth grade students who attend ASFL and want to attend Columbia do not need to apply for Columbia.  Students will need to inform their counselor that they intend to attend Columbia High School.
  • Eighth grade students at Williams Technology Middle School who want to attend New Century Technology High School will need to apply for this program.  These Williams Middle students will have a priority in the application process for New Century.

13.  Do my student’s special education needs affect his or her magnet eligibility?

All students who are assigned to general education classrooms are eligible to apply for a magnet program.  Some special education students have Individual Education Plans (“IEP”) that require services in a self-contained special education classroom.  For pre-kindergarten students, these special education classes are called “Kid Skills” classes.  Due to their special education needs, students needing services met by self-contained or Kid Skills classrooms are not eligible to apply for a magnet program.  If a student is accepted to a magnet pre-kindergarten program but is later identified as needing the services of a Kid Skills program, the student will be placed in a Kid Skills class instead of his or her magnet program.  However, the student may be admitted to his or her magnet program for kindergarten the following school year if the student’s IEP at the end of his or her year in the Kid Skills program does not require services in a self-contained special education classroom.

14.  How does the selection process work?

How does the selection process work?

  • Pre-Kindergarten – 5th Grade Applicants:  If the number of applicants exceeds the number of seats available the selection will be made by a lottery that is weighted by race and that considers the composition of the home/zoned schools of applicants. 

  • 6th-8th Grade Applicants:  All applicants must participate in the “Next Step” process in order to be eligible for selection.  The “Next Step” is dependent on the magnet program and may be an audition or essay response.  Upon committee review of the next step a score is entered for the student.  Students with a qualifying score will be eligible for selection.  If the number of eligible applicants exceeds the number of seats available the selection will be made by lottery that is weighted by race and committee score. 

  • 9th-12th Grade Applicants: 
    All applicants must participate in the “Next Step” process in order to be eligible for selection.  The “Next Step” is dependent on the magnet program and may be an audition or essay response.  A holistic review of the student’s grade average and next step score will determine the overall score.  Students with a qualifying score will be eligible for selection.  If the number of eligible applicants exceeds the number of seats available the selectin will be made by lottery that is weighted by race and committee score. 

Columbia High School 9th and 10th grade applicants are selected based on available seats.  If the number of applicants exceeds the number of seats available the selection will be made by lottery that is weighted by race and that considers the composition of the home/zoned schools of applicants.  8th grade students from ASFL do not need to apply to be accepted into the program.

15.  What happens if my child is placed on a wait list?

Eligible applicants who are not offered a seat in the initial selection process will be placed on a wait list.  If openings occur in the grade/program, selection will be made by lottery that is weighted by race and committee score.  This may occur as often as seats become available.  Students on the waitlist will remain on the list until either of two events occur:  1. He/she is selected for an open seat in the lottery process or 2. The wait list expires at six weeks after the start of the school year.

16.  What kind of notification will I receive regarding my child’s application status?

All applicants will receive notifications regarding the status of their application. Notification will be made by email and by posted letter.  There are four types of notifications that an applicant may receive:

  1. Awarded: This notification indicates that your student has been approved for selection.  Applicants who receive this notification must accept the offer either by going to the online link or by calling the Magnet Office at 256-428-6864.  If the applicant does not respond by the designated date and time, the magnet offer will be automatically declined.

  2. Wait List:  This notification indicates that your student has not be selected for the applied program(s) but will be placed on a wait list until an available seat is offered or until six weeks after the start of school.

  3. Denied:  This notification indicates that your student did not meet the required criteria for selection and is not eligible for the applied program.  Eligibility is based on committee review scores for applicants in grades 6-12.

  4. Inactive Due to No Transcripts:  Student applicants in grades 9-12 who are not currently in the Huntsville City Schools system must provide grade transcripts prior to the close of the application process.  Students who did not submit transcripts in the required time period are not eligible to continue in the application process. 

Majority-to-Minority Transfers

1.  Who is eligible for a Majority-to-Minority transfer?

Rising Kindergarten through the 12th grade students are eligible for a M-to-M transfer if:

  1. The student's race is in the majority at the student's zoned school, and majority means that over 50% of the students at the school are the same race;

  2. The student's race is not in the majority at his or her desired school, meaning that less than 50% of the students are the school are the same race as the student; and

  3. There is space available at the student's desired school, as defined by the Proposed Consent Order. 

2.  How do you apply for a M-to-M transfer?

  • Online using the M-to-M Application Link
  • Using a school district computer at the Merts Center (200 White Street)
  • On a paper application made available at the Merts Center or at your child's school

3.  What is my child's Student State ID, and where do I find it?

Each child is assigned a Student State ID (SSID) upon enrollment in school.  This is NOT your child's social security number. You may obtain your child's Student State ID at your child's school.  Due to FERPA laws, the Student State ID may not be given over the telephone; it must be obtained in person with valid identification.

4.  What is the timeline to apply for a M-to-M transfer for the 2016-17 school year?

  1. The M-to-M application window opened on November 15, 2015 and will close on January 15, 2016.
  2. Applications received during this time will be placed in a computerized lottery system. 
  3. There is no first-come, first-serve for applications received during this window.
  4. Late M-to-M applications will be taken from the end of the application window until midnight on July 15, 2016.
  5. Applications received during this time will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis after all students in the lottery have been processed.

5.  How is my child selected?

All applications are placed into a computerized lottery system.  The lottery has two rounds.  

Round 1 of the Lottery:

The lottery system will select students from the applicant pool based on the student's lottery numbers.

For each student selected, the lottery system will determine whether either of the student's two preferred schools (in order of preference) have available space. 

The lottery system will repeat the process until either no available seats remain or no applications remain, whichever occurs first.

Within 10 calendar days of running round 1 of the lottery, the District will inform parent/guardians of students who have been offered a M-to-M transfer, using email and U.S. Mail.

Parents/guardians will have 10 calendar days from the post-marked date of the offer letter to accept the offer for their child. 

You may accept online or by phone.

**Failure of a parent/guardian to inform the District within 10 calendar days of the post-marked date of the offer will be treated as having declined the offer.**

 

Round 2 of the Lottery:

M-to-M spaces that remain at the end of Round 1 of the lottery, will be available for Round 2 of the lottery.

The District's computerized lottery system will run a second round of the lottery.

Within 10 calendar days of running Round 2 of the lottery, the District will inform parent/guardians whether their child has been offered a M-to-M transfer.

If your child is not offered a M-to-M transfer, he or she will be placed on the waitlist of his or her first choice school.

The waitlist will expire on July 15, 2016.

Parents/guardians will have 10 calendar days from the post-marked date of the offer letter to accept the offer for their child. 

**Failure of a parent/guardian to inform the District within 10 calendar days of the post-marked date of the offer will be treated as having declined the offer.**

6.  Are there any grandfathering provisions for existing M-to-M transfer students?

Students Grandfathered Through the Twelfth Grade:

Students who were granted M-to-M transfers for school years prior to the 2014-15 school year may remain in the school to which they were granted a M-to-M transfer and it's feeder pattern, as defined by the Proposed Consent Oder, through the completion of the 12th grade. 

These student will not need to and should not reapply for their transfer each year or when advancing to a new school in the feeder pattern. 

Students Grandfathered Through the Highest Grade at Their M-to-M School: 

Students granted M-to-M transfers for the 2014-15 school year and thereafter may remain at the school to which they transferred through the highest grade offered at that school only. 

Upon completion of the highest grade offered by their schools, students may apply for a M-to-M transfer to attend the school serving the next grade levels in the feeder pattern, as defined by the Proposed Consent Order.

  • These students will get priority over new applicants for a M-to-M transfer at the next school;

  • If the school does not have space available for all priority M-to-M transfers, the District will use a computerized lottery to grant transfers;

  • Upon completion of the highest grade offered by their schools, students may also apply for a M-to-M transfer to attend a school outside of the student's feeder pattern. 

  • The student will not receive a priority for these transfers. 

7.  How do I accept my offer?

There are three possible scenarios that could occur for your child:

Scenario 1: You receive an offer for your first choice school.  You will be sent an offer letter for your first choice. If you accept, then your child will be enrolled in their first choice school for the 2016-17 school year. 

Scenario 2:  You are waitlisted for your first choice, but receive an offer for your second choice. You will be sent an offer letter for your second choice.  You will be given the option to accept the offer for your second choice or to be place on the waitlist for your first choice. You cannotaccept an offer and be placed on a waitlist.  If you select the waitlist option and if a spot in your waitlisted school becomes available, your eligibility for the new spot will be based on your lottery number. 

Scenario 3:  You are waitlisted for both choices. You will be placed on the waitlist for your first choice only. If a spot in your waitlisted school becomes available, your eligibility for the new spot will be based on your lottery number. 

8.  Do M-to-M transfers receive priority over other transfers?

Yes, M-to-M transfers receive the highest priority of any transfer in the District.

The best way for your child to transfer schools is to use the M-to-M process if your child is eligible. 

9.  What happens if I apply for a M-to-M transfer after the close of the application window?

All students who apply after the close of the M-to-M application window are considered "late applicants." You cannot complete a late M-to-M application if you already completed a M-to-M application during the regular application window.  In other words, you cannot apply twice.

Late applicants are place in a school only if there is space available following the regular M-to-M process.  This means that regular applicants get priority over late applicants.  If there is no space available in the late applicant's school of choice, the student will be placed at the end of the waitlist on a first-come, first-serve basis. 

10.  If I accept a M-to-M transfer, will the district provide transportation?

The District is committed to transporting its M-to-M transfer students to and from their M-to-M transfer school, for students whose parents/guardians chose to accept District transportation. 

Pick-up and drop off points:

The pick-up and drop-off points for each student will always be the student's zoned school.  For example, if a student who wants District transportation is zoned for Chapman P-8, his or her parent/guardian will need to drop off and pick up the student at Chapman P-8 each day.  Approximate pick-up and drop-off points will be posted before the start of the school year. 

Transportation back to the student's zoned school is not provided for students who stay late for after-school activities. 

Pre-Kindergarten Program

1.  When and how do I apply for Pre-Kindergarten?

  • The application window will open April 4-8, 2016.  The online application will be available on the Huntsville City Schools website and Pre-K webpage.  If you are not able to access the online application, computers will be available at each elementary school site.
  • The application process will reopen on July 11, 2016, when schools open for the upcoming school year.  Applications will continue to be accepted until February 28, 2017.
  • For information about the magnet schools (AAA, ASFL) Pre-K application window, please refer to the magnet school website at www.huntsvillecityschools.com. 

2.  What are the eligibility requirements?

  • Child must be four on or before September 1, 2016.
  • You must reside in Huntsville and are only eligible to apply for the school zone in which you live.  
  • If your child has an IEP (Individualized Education Plan), you must contact the special education department for assistance (256-428-6872).

3.  How does the selection process work?

  • Huntsville City Schools uses a computer program to select students for the Pre-Kindergarten Program.  
  • The program gives priority to children based on their financial need and other risk factors identified by Huntsville City Schools (e.g. single-parent household, foster family, etc.).

4.  What happens if my child is selected?

If selected, parents will be notified via U.S. Mail and email of provisional acceptance within two weeks after the application process closes.  This acceptance will be contingent upon the verification of all eligibility/required documents and attendance at the mandatory orientation.  All documents must be brought to the school by the date specified on the acceptance letter.  The date for the mandatory orientation will be on your provisional acceptance letter as well.   The child is considered fully enrolled after the parent attends the mandatory orientation meeting.  The parent will then be able to complete INFOSNAP registration.

5.  What documents are required if selected?

  • Age verification document (such as: birth certificate, passport, official medical document, or official document from another country)
  • Two (2) proofs of residence (such as: a signed lease, copy of a deed, utility bill, cable bill)
  • Immunization Record (Blue Card, most current)
  • Parent/Guardian Photo ID
  • Proof of Temporary Guardianship (if applicable)
  • Proof of Legal Custody (if applicable)
  • Additional documents may be requested

6.  What happens if my child is placed on the wait list?

  • If you have not received an acceptance letter by the end of April, your child will be automatically placed on the wait list. 
  • If a vacancy occurs in a Pre-K classroom, an applicant will be selected and offered the available slot.
  • The wait list will remain active throughout the school year.  

7.  How does the selection process work for typical students being placed in a Pre-Kindergarten KidSkills class?

  • KidSkills is a blended class that includes children with special needs (identified with an IEP) and typically developing four year olds.
  • Typical students must be screened for placement in order to determine the developmental level in regards to readiness for school as a model peer.
  • Typical children will be chosen from the wait list to be screened, depending on the parents pre-approval on the application.
  • Parents will be notified of screening dates, times, and locations. Immediately following the screening process, you will know if the child meets the criteria for acceptance, as well as next steps. If the child does not qualify, he/she will be placed back on the wait list.
  • Screening will take place during late April and early May.
  • If your child has an IEP (Individualized Education Plan), you must contact the special education department for assistance (256-428-6872).  

8.  What is "Meet Your Teacher Day?"

This event will take place before the start of the new school year.  The teacher will notify parents of the date and time.  Students will be able to visit the classroom, tour the school, and meet the principal. It is important that students have an opportunity to become acquainted with the teacher and new school environment prior to the first day of school.

9.  What is Staggered Start?

  • August 3, 2016, is the first day of school.  Half of the students will report on August 3, 2016, and the other half on August 4, 2016.  
  • The teacher will let parents know what day the child will report on, either August 3, 2016, or August 4, 2016. 
  • All students will report on Friday, August 5, 2016.       

10.  Is the program a full day and is there a cost?

  • The Huntsville City Schools program is held 6.5 hours a day, and there is no cost
  • Start times may vary depending on the grade level structure:   Pre-K-5, Pre-K-6, Pre-K-8

11.  Is attendance mandatory?

Once students are accepted into the Pre-K program, daily attendance is mandatory.  We follow the Huntsville City Schools’ Attendance policy.  

12.  How many students per class?

Each class will have up to 18 students with a certified lead teacher and a highly-qualified instructional assistant.  (KidSkills will vary, but will have one certified teacher and two instructional assistants.)

13.  Is transportation provided by the district?

  • Parents are responsible for transporting students daily. 
  • Students must be signed in and out daily by a parent or an adult guardian.

14.  Is there an afterschool program?

Appleton Learning extended day is available at some sites. Contact the schools for more information.

15.  Is there a curriculum?

  • Huntsville City Schools uses Opening the World of Learning (OWL), a Pearson research-based program.
  • The OWL curriculum is aligned with Alabama Developmental Standards for Pre-School students.

16.  Are there Head Start classes available?

Huntsville City Schools houses Head Start classes in several of our elementary schools.  This program accepts three and four year old students.  For more information about Head Start, please contact Community Action Partnership of North Alabama atwww.northalabamacommunities.org.

Student Discipline/Positive School Climate/Classroom Management

1.  What is the Positive School Climate Program?

Huntsville City Schools (HCS) established the Department of Behavioral Learning to coordinate and to supervise implementation of the District-wide positive school climate program. This program will employ practices that have the demonstrated capacity to foster the development of a strong school climate for learning and student development.  The program is designed to teach students appropriate behaviors that promote a positive school climate.  Additionally this program will develop students’ social and emotional skills for success in the modern workplace.  We expect the positive school climate program will teach and reinforce positive student behavior and will provide teachers with effective strategies to decrease inappropriate behaviors.  

2.  What is the PASS Program

The Positive Aid for Student Success (PASS) program allows a student with disciplinary issues to remain in school contingent on the student adhering to a positive support program.  Over a specified period of time the school system will assign a professional staff member to provide focused support to a student with regard to positive behavior. Student participation in the PASS Program will not normally exceed 18 weeks.

 Our goals are to:

  • Improve school climate for all students

  • Improve student achievement

  • Teach all students expected behaviors

  • Reduce the necessity for discipline referrals

  • Reduce the necessity for students suspension and/or expulsion     

3.  What can I do if my child is being bullied?

Bullying, harassment, or intimidation are serious acts and will be addressed in all schools and should be reported immediately to classroom teachers.  School counselors are an additional resource for students and parents who need assistance.  Parents may also complete an incident form to report alleged bullying, harassment, or intimidation that occurred on school property; at a school-sponsored activity or an event off school property; on a school bus; or on the way to and/or from school, in the current school year.  If you wish to report an incident of alleged bullying, harassment, or intimidation, complete the bullying form found on the HCS website and return it to the school office.  

4.  How is Bus Discipline being handled?

The District’s Code of Student Conduct and Positive School Climate Program apply to student conduct on buses.  Schools will employ a progressive set of responses for violations of the Code of Student Conduct while they are on a school bus. The 2015-2016 Code of Student Conduct contains specific references to behavior on the bus.  For example, when a student commits a 1.01 offense on a bus, the school will use the following disciplinary responses:

1st Referral: Conference between a school leader and the student

2nd Referral: Conference between a school leader, the student and the parent or guardian.  The parent or guardian may participate in person or by phone

3rd Referral: Loss of school bus privileges

5.  What are the differences in last year’s Code of Student Conduct (CSC) and the CSC used for the 2015-2016 school-year?

In consultation with our school leaders, the Department of Justice, and behavioral experts. we reclassified infractions of behavioral standards within the Code of Student Conduct so as to add greater clarity in identifying proscribed behaviors, to reduce the variability across schools and students in the application of consequences for these behaviors, to consolidate proscribed behaviors that happen very infrequently with other behaviors so as to streamline our Code and thereby enhance student and staff understanding and implementation of the Code.

  • We will no longer use out -of-school suspension for Class I offenses;

  • We reviewed Class II and III offenses and reclassified and reclassified some to lower level offenses. In some cases we eliminated the use of out-of-school suspension for certain Class II offenses.

  • In rare cases the District may discipline a student for off-campus behavior where this behavior presents an identifiable serious threat of physical harm to the District, District student(s) or District employee(s).  Otherwise we will only discipline students for conduct occurring on school property or at school activities.  

  • The Code is designed to establish a system of progressive consequences that remove students from learning environments after we determine that other measures prove ineffective or when their presence in that environment impairs the learning of other students or creates an unsafe situation.  

6.  What will the CSC to be used for the 2016-2017 school-year look like?

This year, with input from teachers, school leaders, parents, students, and our experts, we will refocus much of the Code of Student Conduct on interventions rather than offenses with the objective of providing teachers and school leaders with strategies to develop positive student behaviors and soft skills. 

We will use restorative justice principles and employ consequences that remove students from learning environments when other measures fail to elicit appropriate behaviors or when student behavior impairs the learning of other students or creates an unsafe situation.  Additionally we will recraft the Code into separate Codes of Student Conduct for elementary and secondary students.

7.  Will principal, teacher, parent, and student input be used in creating the CSC used for the 2016-2017 school-year and beyond?

Yes.  In May of 2015 we convened a team of secondary and elementary school principals and teachers to revise our existing Code. Meetings of this committee were held and significant dialogue helped create the basic framework.  The Desegregation Advisory Committee (composed of parents and students) will be assembled for input in the coming weeks to help develop our CSC for the 2016-17 school year and beyond.

8.  Have teachers been punished for sending “too many” students to the office for misbehavior?

Teachers have not been punished for sending students to the office.  Rather, we are in the process of training our teachers on the new CSC.  Teachers are encouraged to use solid classroom management.  HCS expects teachers to seek help when there are behavior issues that they cannot readily control.  We also expect school leaders to support teachers with behavior management in the classroom so as to create a positive school climate and learning environment.  Additionally, the school system has a key role to play in supporting the development of positive school climate.  This role includes development of the Code of Conduct, development and provision of professional development for teachers and leaders that supports development of positive school climate, provision of mentors as needed to support teachers and leaders, and provision of technologies and security professionals to create safe school environments.

9.  Will efforts to keep kids in the classroom hurt instructional time?

Teaching our students appropriate behaviors and reinforcing these behaviors will actually protect instructional time.  As part of teaching and reinforcing these positive behaviors it may be necessary to remove students from classrooms when interventions are unsuccessful or safety is jeopardized.  Indeed, our CSC anticipates and provides for such instances.  However, we know that learning takes place in the classroom and that removal of students from the classroom may prove counterproductive over the long-term as it undermines student achievement. 

10.  What kind of resources does HCS offer teachers who may need help with classroom management?

We provide teachers with support in the classroom, at the school level, and at the district level.  Classroom support includes coaching, modeling, and mentoring by the principal, curriculum experts, counselors, or consultants.  School level support includes professional development requested by the school or provided by the school system.  This year such professional development includes Culturally Responsive Training, differentiation strategies, Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS), and training on the CSC throughout the year.  The school system provides ongoing support in the form of expert consultants to work with school leadership and teacher teams, focused professional development to address individual needs of teachers, learning labs, and enhanced data support to reduce the administrative burden associated with CSC reporting and analysis to focus the provision of professional development and other resources.   Importantly, the school system has also made significant investments in the use of technology to enhance student supervision and the management of student behavior in common areas and while in transit on buses.

11.  How may I help with this transition?

Parents can support our efforts to foster strong learning environments by working with their school PTA, school leaders, and teachers to reinforce positive student behaviors.  You may also share your insights as we seek input from parents, students, teachers, school leaders and experts as we develop the Code of Student Conduct for the 2016-17 school year.

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