• Blackburn Elementary School Student Handbook


    This Student-Parent handbook has been prepared to provide essential information to the students and parents of Blackburn Elementary.  Please take a few minutes to review the contents.


    Message from the Principal

    Welcome to Blackburn Elementary School.  The staff and I are committed to providing you the finest educational experience possible.  It is our belief that continued, consistent use of this agenda will help your organizational skills.  Keeping organized is a very important characteristic that will make you better prepared in class.  This school year will be an incredibly exciting time full of opportunities to learn and grow.  Your teachers and administrators at Blackburn are dedicated to helping you reach these new levels of growth.  Parents, we encourage you to get involved with your child this year and enjoy the journey we will share.  Please ask them each day what they did at school and read with them daily!  You are always welcome at Blackburn.  This agenda contains very valuable information concerning academics, policies and general operations at Blackburn.  Please read this material and become familiar with your school. Understanding these rules and policies will help you this school year.  Your teacher and administrators are here for you.  Our goal is to make the 2017-2018 school year a positive and successful one.


    Catawba County Schools Mission Statement

    We engage, inspire, and empower tomorrow’s leaders




    Blackburn Elementary Mission Statement

    At Blackburn we

                                                                                                  Laugh, Learn, Love

                                                                                                  Embrace Diversity

                                                                                                  Attain and Maintain Focus on our Highest Proiority

                                                                                                  Decide to Attack Each Day with Positivity

               WE ARE BLACKBURN!!!


    Purpose of the Agenda/Planner

    Every student in grades K-6 has a student planner.  The planner is provided by the Blackburn PTO and has been customized by each grade level.  The purpose for this book is to help students understand expectations, create timelines, set goals, monitor progress and communicate between home and school.  The planner provides students with one place to record assignments in an effort to help them be prepared for class the next day.  We hope that through the use of this tool, we can all help our students at Blackburn Elementary reach their fullest potential.  Students are expected to bring their planner to school every day and take it home every night.  


    Daily Schedule

    7:00 am Teachers and Teacher Assistants are on duty.

    7:05am - Doors open and students go to homeroom upon arrival for class and breakfast

    7:30am - Tardy Bell – Any student arriving after 7:30 must go by the office with a parent or guardian and receive a tardy pass to get into class.  

    11:00am- This is considered the half day time.  (Students must be at school 3 ½ hours a day to be counted present.)  

    2:30pm - Bus riders are dismissed.

    2:33pm-    Car riders are dismissed.

    2:45pm - Teachers and Teacher Assistants off Duty.



    Staff supervision for students begins at 7:05 a.m.  Students arriving prior to 7:00 a.m. will need to make arrangements with the QUEST Program which is held in the gym. Any student who arrives before 7:00 a.m. will need to be supervised until the front door is unlocked. Please do not drop your student off prior to 7:00 a.m.   


    QUEST Before and After School Care

    Before and After School care is provided for parents.  QUEST program hours are from 6:00 am to 7:05 am and from 2:30 pm to 6:00 pm.  If you are interested in enrolling your child in either of these programs, please inquire at the school office.   Quest phone number - 828-466-7065 ext. 316430.



    Students who arrive after 7:30 am will be considered tardy.  Once the staff has placed the sign in the car rider line in the morning means the tardy bell has rung and all students after that point must report with their parent or guardian to the office to receive a tardy slip.  Parents are encouraged to have their children at school on time.  Be sure to allow enough time for the congested traffic that is often in front of the school in the mornings, as well as the inevitable difference in clocks.  Parents or Guardians are required to park and walk students into the building if they arrive after 7:30 am to sign the student in for the school day.  A student who arrives after 7:30 am will not be admitted to class unless an adult signs them in at the front office.  


    Early Dismissal

    Parents who wish to pick up a child early are required to come in the office and sign the child out of school.   Your child will be called to the office to be dismissed.  Parents are required to stay in the office until your child arrives to be dismissed.  Please do not go directly to the classroom or wait in the lobby.  In order for a child to be picked up by someone other than a parent, permission must be given by sending a note or making some other form of identifiable contact with the office staff.  Please do not be offended if we ask to see some form of identification.  This is for the safety of our children.  Please be aware that any student leaving school before 11:00 AM and not returning to complete a half-day will be counted absent for the day.  Any student arriving after 11:00 AM will be counted absent.  Please remember that time lost due to tardies and early dismissal can hurt your child’s achievement.  Parents are reminded that instruction and summative activities continue until the students are dismissed for the day.  Please try to schedule appointments so that students will not need to leave school before the end of the day.   Please do not be offended if you are invited to a conference due to frequently signing your child out of school early.


    Afternoon Departure

    Parents will not be allowed to “walk up” to the car rider area to pick up children in the afternoon.  Please remain in your car in order to assure safety and timely departures for all students.  If a parent “walks up” to the car rider line they will be required to go to the office to sign their child out of school.  For the safety of our children, no private vehicle traffic will be allowed in the bus parking lot at any time.  Car rider parents need to make arrangements with QUEST in the event they will be late to pick up their child.  Car rider line pick up ends at 3:00.


    Car Rider, Bus Rider and After School Care

    At the beginning of the school year, your child’s teacher will need to be made aware if your child will be a car rider, riding the school bus or will go to after school care on a daily basis.  NOTES MUST BE SENT IF THERE IS TO BE A CHANGE IN THE DAILY PROCEDURE.  Please make sure notes are sent on a SEPARATE SHEET OF PAPER and not written in the student planner. The child simply telling the teacher that a change is to be made cannot be accepted.  This is for the safety of the child.  If your child is to go home with another child at school, whether in a car or on a bus, a note from the parents of BOTH children is required.  If the request is to ride another bus and the bus is full, students who are not the regular riders will not be allowed to board.  It is requested that parents list an alternative plan on the note in case there is not available seating on the bus.  Students without notes will be dismissed according to the normal daily procedure that has been communicated to the teacher. Parents must provide the teacher with written notification of any change in the child's transportation with specific dates indicated.  Telephone calls, faxes or emails to report transportation changes are not accepted due to safety and verification reasons.  Without such notification, a child will follow his/her regular method of dismissal.  Parent notes to change what a child is to do after school, are carefully documented in the school office daily.  This documentation provides an accurate record of student dismissals.  In the absence of this information, the normal daily procedure that has been communicated to the teacher will be followed.  


    Student Illness at School

    Should a student become ill during the school day, parents will be notified.  We will request that you pick up your child if he or she has a temperature of 100 or higher or vomiting or diarrhea.  We will make every effort to determine if the child is sick before contacting the parent.  Once notified by the school, parents are encouraged to pick your child up as promptly as possible.  For this reason, please make sure that the emergency contact information for your child is accurate and is updated as needed.  Students should not return to school until they have been fever free for 24 hours without the aid of fever reducing medication and or no vomiting for 24 hours.



    Good attendance by students in school is a cornerstone of good academic achievement.  The children must be in school if we are to teach them.  The state of North Carolina recognizes the following as valid reasons for excused absences:

    1. Illness or injury to the student only
    2. Isolation by the Department of Health (quarantine)
    3. Death in the immediate family
    4. Emergency medical or dental appointment
    5. Subpoena as a witness
    6. Excused Absence to attend a religious event- (Request this form from the office)
    7. Excused Absence for educational travel- (Request this form from the office)

    All other absences are counted as “unexcused”.  Absences with no explanation after three school days are automatically coded as “unexcused”.  A written excuse does not guarantee a student’s absence will be coded as “excused”.  Some absences cannot be coded “excused” even with a parent note because they do not meet the criteria stated above.   Please note that if your child has a total of 10 absences from school, we may request parents to produce a doctor’s note in order for any other absences to be coded as excused.  

    Again, our goal is to have your child in school so they may benefit from the education that is being afforded them.  Please help us in this matter.


    Medication at School

    North Carolina General Statutes and Catawba County School Policy are very specific regarding the administering of medications to students at school.  No medication can be given to a student at school by a school employee, except under the following conditions:

    1. Students who need to take medication during the school day must provide an “Authorization for Medication” signed by the prescribing physician and the parent.   Prescribed medication must be in the bottle with the pharmacist’s label designating the patient’s name, instructions, name of the drug and the name of the physician.  (Many pharmacists will give an additional bottle that you can leave at school.)
    2. A record must be kept of all children receiving any medication.

    In addition, the school cannot administer any non-prescription medications such as aspirin, upset stomach medicine, cough syrup, etc., for use during the school day without a doctor’s authorization.  If authorization is received and non-prescription medication is sent to school, it must be in the original labeled container


    North Carolina State Law requires the following minimum doses to enter school:

    1. 5 DTP, DtaP , or DT doses ( if the 4th dose is after 4th birthday, 5th dose is not required; DT requires medical exemption)
    2. 4 Polio Vaccine doses (if the 3rd dose is after the 4th birthday, 4th dose is not required)
    3. 1-4 Hib doses (series  is complete if at least 1 dose is given on/after 15 months and before 5 years of age; not required after 5 years of age)
    4. 3 Hep B doses (children born on or after July 1, 1994 are required to have 3 doses)
    5. 2 Measles doses (at least 30 days apart; 1st dose must be on/after 12 months of age)
    6. 2 Mumps doses (on/after 12 months of age and one before entering school)
    7. 1 Rubella dose (on/after 12 months of age)
    8. 2 Varicella doses  (on/after 12 months of age and one before entering school)




    Parents are invited to visit the school as their schedule permits.  However, please be aware that ALL VISITORS ARE REQUIRED TO SHOW PHOTO ID TO ENTER THE BUILDING AND CHECK IN THROUGH THE OFFICE PRIOR TO VISITING ANY OTHER AREA OF THE SCHOOL OR BEFORE PICKING YOUR CHILD UP FROM SCHOOL.  All visitors should enter and exit through the front doors only.  If the purpose of the visit is to deliver items you will be asked to leave them in the office to be delivered by staff.  This is for the security of our campus and the safety of your child.  


    Escorting Students to Class

    Parents are encouraged to allow children to develop independence by letting them walk unescorted to class in the mornings.  If a parent needs to speak with a teacher, please leave a message at the office, and we will have the teacher call you.  Mornings are very busy times for the teachers and their time to speak to you is very limited.  Please understand that this is not a good time for any type of conference or chat.  If you would like to conference with your child’s teacher, we ask that you make an appointment.

    *All Parents are allowed to walk students to class on the first day of school (1st-6th)

    *All Kindergarten Parents are allowed to walk their child to class on their staggered entry day and the first full day of school for all kindergarten students


    Smoking Policy

    Please be aware that Blackburn Elementary is a smoke-free campus.


    Library Policies

    Students in kindergarten are allowed to check out two books at a time and students in first - sixth may have 3 books checked out.  Students have daily access to the Media Center for returning and checking out books. The loan period for student books is 10 school days (book must be brought to the library to renew if more time is needed). 

    Field Trips

    Parents may be invited to chaperone field trips for their child’s class, as needed.  We encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity if asked.  While on the trip please keep the following things in mind:

      1. We ask that all parent chaperones realize that they are on the trip to care for all the children assigned to them and not simply their own child.  
      2. We ask that parent chaperones remember that while on the trip, the entire group is representative of Blackburn Elementary.  
      3. When parking your vehicle on campus, do not park in the bus lot at any time. (Refer to the Afternoon Departure section stated earlier in the handbook)
      4. Report all incidences to the teacher immediately.  


    • Chaperones are not allowed to bring other siblings on the trip.  Field trips are meant to be an extension of the curriculum rather than a family outing.


    1. If you are not selected as an official chaperone for a particular field trip, please understand that you cannot be considered part of the Blackburn School group.
    2. All chaperones must have a current background check (please see your child’s teacher)


    Also, please keep in mind that all deadlines for submitting field trip money and field trip permission forms will be enforced.  If your child does not have the needed permission form signed and/or trip money returned by the stated deadline, by the tardy bell, he/she cannot be allowed on the trip.  He/she will be cared for in another classroom for the day.  Thanks for your understanding and helping us with this.


    Student Insurance

    In order that students are adequately covered for accidents which may occur while at school, each child should be covered by some type of insurance.  If the student is not covered by a family policy, an optional school policy is offered.  A student insurance agency approved by the Catawba County School Board will provide insurance for interested families.  The premium information is sent home at the beginning of the school year.  Parents have two weeks to enroll.  All students are required to report accidents to their teachers immediately, regardless of how slight the accident may seem.


    Student Progress

    Evaluations are made periodically through teacher-made tests and observations, basic reading and mathematics tests, county assessments, and Standardized Achievement Tests.  Teachers try to keep parents informed of student progress through parent notes, student planners and mid-quarter progress reports.  Report cards are sent home each nine weeks. (Kindergarten will receive their first report card  at the end of the second nine weeks). No grade will be changed once placed on permanent records unless an error has been made.  The principal will determine from the facts available whether an error has been made.


    Homework Policy

    Homework is meant to be a natural extension of the learning that begins in the classroom.  It may be assigned to reinforce skills that have already been taught. Also, homework can be used as preparatory work as is the case when studying for a test.  Homework is not given as punishment or to keep the students busy.   Work that is not completed during the allotted class time may be assigned as homework.  However a student’s total homework should not consistently exceed one hour daily.  If a child is sick and you would like to pick up his/her work at school, simply contact the school office and make arrangements with the teacher.  Assignments and materials will be placed in the office for parents to pick up.  Please, do not go to the classroom to pick up assignments.  This disrupts the classroom and takes instructional time away from the students.

    School Lunch

    Our cafeteria manager uses a computer program to keep track of meal accounts.  Parents may send a check or cash to be deposited into their child’s account or enroll in www.lunchprepay.com to view student charges and make convenient online payments. The money/check should be in an envelope with the amount, child’s name, lunch number and teacher’s name on the front. You may complete a permission form that will allow your child to purchase “extras” with money in the account.  If you deny such privileges, your child may pay cash for such items at the time of the purchase.  If students’ parents have denied them the right to have extra items then it is a student’s responsibility not to take extra items. If your child takes these items anyway, the parent will be responsible for paying what is owed for them.  If a student picks up any item they will be charged for the item.  Once an item is touched it can no longer be placed back in the cafeteria line for purchase.  Children who forget their money will have their lunch charged.  Money should be paid the next day.  The cafeteria is a self sustaining operation.   Student lunch is $2.70 for full paid and $0.40 for reduced lunch.  If a child owes money the following actions will take place:

    • Parents will be contacted through letter and/or phone call that their child owes money to the cafeteria.  
    • Supplemental items such as cookies, ice cream, etc. cannot be charged.
    • Parents are required to pay for ANY amount owed.


    School Buses

    The safety of students during their transportation to and from school is a responsibility, which they and their parents share with bus drivers and school officials. Please understand that riding a school bus in the state of North Carolina is a privilege and not a right.  If conditions warrant, and after due process, that privilege can, and will, be taken away.  Please reference the Catawba County Board Policy 4.3600-Code of Student Conduct for further information. Students who fail to observe these rules will be subject to immediate disciplinary action, since their failure to do so may affect the safety of others.  The administration of the school will determine if the offense warrants parent notification.  Parents of a student who has been approved by the Board of Education to attend a school outside his/her district must provide transportation.  Exceptions may include some exceptional children and day care services.  Blackburn is fortunate to have very skillful, caring bus drivers.  They use their many years of experience to make going to and from school both pleasant and safe. They need 100% cooperation from EVERY BUS RIDER AND THEIR PARENTS.


    School Wide Discipline Policy

    The following behaviors will be handled by the classroom teacher/staff member

    1. Non-participation in class activities
    2. Minor Peer Conflict
    3. Mild Disrespect of staff and students
    4. Horse Play
    5. No Class Work
    6. Inappropriate Use of Cell Phones


    The following behaviors will be handled by a school administrator

    1. Habitual/repetitive offenders
    2. Fighting: this includes physical confrontation between two or more students causing INTENTIONAL bodily harm through pinching, biting, punching, kicking, gouging, pulling or utilizing any object as a weapon to cause injury.
    3. Causing blood shed
    4. Cursing faculty/students
    5. Weapons
    6. Tobacco
    7. Destruction of School Property
    8. Bullying

    Bus Riding Conduct

    The following conduct is specifically prohibited and may result in temporary or permanent suspension from school transportation services:

    1. Be at your bus stop on time. Do not attempt to board the bus until it has come to a complete stop and all lights and stop arms are operating. No running to the bus. If your child misses the bus in the morning, do not your child to another bus stop. You will need to take them to school.
    2. Once on the bus, go immediately to your assigned seat and be seated, facing the front of the bus with your feet in front of you.
    3. Stay seated at all times while the bus is in motion. Change seats only when directed by the driver.
    4. Pay attention for your stop at the end of the day. When unloading the bus, move away from the bus immediately and go toward your home. All student must unload at their authorized stop. No running from the bus. Do not attempt to go back toward the bus for any reason.
    5. Keep your voice at a normal, inside speaking level. Please do not shout out. It can distract the driver which is unsafe for all riders.
    6. There should be no talking while the bus is backing up at a turn around. There will be other times when the driver may have to place the bus on silence.
    7. There should be no eating on the bus, including gum or candy. Empty all water bottles.
    8. All riders are expected to keep personal items in their bookbag at all times. Work hard to keep the bus clean and safe.
    9. Keep all hands and feet to yourself and inside the bus at all times.
    10. Follow any other rules that may not be covered in this list. This includes any other violation of the school-wide discipline policy and the Catawba County Code of Student Conduct.


    All parents are requested to give their full support in aiding all bus drivers, administrators, and others in seeing that rules and regulations to promote safety, efficiency and economy are carried out by their children.  Please be aware that it is a violation of North Carolina Public School Law for a parent to board a school bus or harass a bus driver.   Should there be a situation that needs to be addressed, please do so by contacting the school office.


    School Dress

    To maintain an orderly environment for education, clothing of any type that distracts from learning should not be worn.  Examples are: bandannas/hats, items advertising drugs/alcohol, items with gang or drug symbols, crop tops, spaghetti straps, shorts/dresses/skirts that do not reach the fingertips, “heelies”/wheeled shoes, see-through items, or items with profane language. For safety reasons, no flip flop sandals will be allowed. It is highly recommended that students wear athletic shoes to school each day rather than any type of sandal or high-heeled shoe due to safety concerns. Students with inappropriate clothing will be asked to change.  The decision as to whether or not an item is appropriate will rest with the school.  The Catawba County School System has addressed the school dress code in Policy 4.3600 CODE OF CONDUCT.

    Electronic Devices Policies

    (Laptops, iPads, Kindles, Nooks, Tablets, etc.)

    1. Use of the electronic devices is for instructional purposes only.  Do not use your device for entertainment and/or non-instructional purposes, unless otherwise instructed by a staff member.
    2. Protect yourself.  Do not share personal, identifying information over the internet.  
    3. Do not use social networking sites or share photographs of students during the school day.
    4. Facebook is authorized for users age 13 or older.
    5. Be seated near a charging station and be careful when moving around them.  Do not leave your device unattended.
    6. Only access age and school-appropriate sites.
    7. Comply immediately with all staff directives to close or put away any device.
    8. No sending or receiving of personal emails outside of Google and their school Gmail accounts during class.
    9. The use of authorized electronic devices is for the purpose of extending the scope of our learning community; there should be NO CYBER BULLYING OR HARASSMENT!
    10. The Student Code of Conduct applies to all electronic interchanges.  
    11. Adhere to (follow) the CCS internet access policy.
    12. No sharing of devices is permitted at anytime during the school day.  

    At any time classroom teachers or administration may use their discretion regarding bringing or excluding devices as they see fit for their classrooms.  


    Consequences for Violation of above Policies:

    Device will be confiscated by administration and must be picked up by a parent/guardian.

    Repeat offenders will be disciplined according to the appropriate Catawba County School policy.


    Honor Roll

    Students will be honored for “A” or “A/B” Honor Roll at the end of the year in grades 3rd-6th if they received all “A’s” or “A’s/B’s” each of the four nine weeks throughout the year.  


    School Picture Days

    Fall Picture Day - Monday, October 16, 2017

    Make-up Pictures and Club Picture Day - Tuesday, November 28, 2017

    Class Picture Day - Thursday, February 1, 2018

    Spring Picture Day - Friday, April 13, 2018


    Progress Report Dates

    Thursday, September 28th

    Thursday, December 7th

    Monday, February 26th

    Wednesday, May 9th


    Report Card Dates

    Monday, November 6th

    Monday, January 29th

    Thursday, April 12th

    Friday, June 15th

    Educational Acronyms for Parents


    BLT - Building Leadership Team

    CCS - Catawba County Schools

    DEP - Differentiated Educational Plan

    EC - Exceptional Children

    ELL - English Language Learners

    ESL - English as a Second Language

    GSD - Get Stuff Done

    IEP - Individualized Educational Plan

    ISS - In-School Suspension

    MTSS - Multi-Tiered System of Support

    OSS - Out of School Suspension

    PAC - Parent Advisory Council

    PTO - Parent Teacher Organization

    RTA - Read-to-Achieve

    RTI - Responsiveness to Instruction

    SIP - School Improvement Plan

    TLIM - The Leader in Me



    Student Handbook