Section A of this handbook provides general guidelines for the operation of NISD elementary schools. The district supports parent and staff input into specific campus procedures. Each school will provide a supplement outlining specific or unique campus information.
See Section D for more information regarding attendance requirements.
When a child is absent or tardy from school, the parent or guardian should send a note to the school, within 3 days, explaining the reason for the absence upon the child’s return to school. All notes must include: the date of the note, the name of the child, the date of the absence(s) or tardy, the specific reason for the absence(s) or tardy and the parent’s signature.
Children are expected to attend school every day; however, parents should not send children to school when they are ill. If a child is absent for three consecutive school days due to illness, it is recommended that the parent seek medical attention for the child.
Attendance information on report cards
Absences are reported on the report cards, excused and unexcused. Tardy reports are optional by school.
Each elementary school which chooses to reward students for perfect attendance shall comply with the following guidelines:
Perfect attendance may be awarded to students at the end of each 9-week grading period that have not exceeded one tardy or one partial day absence during the 9-week period that is not categorized as a documented appointment with a health care professional.
Perfect attendance may be awarded to students at the end of the year that have not been absent. In order to receive perfect attendance awards at the end of the year, students may have no more than 4 tardies or 4 partial day absences during the year that are not categorized as a documented appointment with a health care professional.
Calendar Information – Significant Dates
Report card dates
Students in grades K-5 will have four grading periods. Report cards will be sent home according to the following schedule:
- Oct. 20
- Jan. 5
- March 22
- June 6
Other important dates can be found on the school calendar.
Registration for new students who are eligible for Kindergarten will be each year in January.
A child must be five years of age on or before September 1 to enroll in Kindergarten and six years of age on or before September 1 to enroll in First Grade.
Specific Homework Policies are set at each campus. Parents are asked to help their child by providing the time, place, cooperation and encouragement needed to complete assignments.
Children should be reminded to take their books, work and supplies to school each day. To promote responsibility children are generally not allowed to call home for forgotten work or supplies.
Please refer to individual campus information for homework information.
Registration of new students
To register your child in school you will need:
- An original or a certified copy of the child’s birth certificate. (Child must be five on or before September 1 for kindergarten and six on or before September 1 for first grade.)
- Child’s up-to-date immunization record.
- Proof of Residence - Acceptable documents for verifying address include current utility bills, sales or lease agreements, or other legal documents other than a driver’s license which does not require a verified address. Cell phone bills are not acceptable.
- Child’s social security card (optional).
See Section D for additional information on admissions.
The pre-kindergarten program in Northside meets state mandated requirements. The students are eligible if they are 4 years of age on or before September 1 and qualify through one of the following criteria:
1. The child is identified as limited in English proficiency (as determined by the Pre-Las 2000 and testing done at Student Placement Center).
2. The child qualifies based on being educationally disadvantaged (eligible to participate in the National Free/Reduced Lunch Program) and supported by proof of income.
4. The child of an active duty member of the armed forces of the United States, including the state military forces or a reserved component of the armed forces, who is ordered to active duty by proper authority.
5. The child of a member of the armed forces of the United States, including the state military forces or a reserved component of the armed forces, who was injured or killed while serving on active duty.
6. Have been in the conservatorship (foster care) of the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) (foster care) following an adversary hearing.
7. Be the child of a person eligible for the Star of Texas Awards as: a peace officer under Section 3106.002, Government Code; a firefighter under Section 3106.003, Government Code; or an emergency medical first responder under Section 3106.004, Government Code.
At the end of the Pre-K day, if there is no parent or designee at the stop to receive the child, then the Pre-K student will not be left at the stop and will be returned to the campus.
The district provides full-day kindergarten classes at every elementary school for children who are at least five years of age on or before September 1 of the current school year.
A child may be enrolled in the first grade if he or she is at least six years of age on or before September 1 of the current school year, or completed kindergarten in the public schools of another state prior to transferring to the district.
Underage transfer students who received instruction during the current school year as an eligible student in an out-of-state public pre-kindergarten or kindergarten program are eligible for enrollment without tuition. These students are ineligible for state ADA funding.
Assignment to classes
Students are assigned to a classroom by the school principal. The teachers group for instruction within the classroom as needed. The student to teacher ratio is 22 to 1 in grades K-4 and 26 to 1 in grade 5, unless a waiver is indicated.
The school must be kept informed by parents of transportation arrangements for each child. Any change in these plans must be communicated to the school in writing if possible before noon of the desired change. See Section D for Transportation policies.
Cap/transfer cluster schools
Because of growing enrollment, state-mandated class size requirements, and not enough classrooms, some schools lack space. When the maximum number of students per grade level is reached, and if the campus has a vacant classroom, a new teacher may be added. However, because adding is expensive and disrupts classes, the decision may be made to close a campus and not add classes for the remainder of the year.
When this decision is made, newly enrolling students will be transferred to a nearby cluster school. Northside provides student transportation to cluster schools. It is therefore important that currently enrolled students reregister for the following year by the end of priority registration in April. Transfers usually affect only new students, not returning students, unless the returning students do not return preregistration materials by the April deadline or unless the returning students do not attend the first day of school of the new fall term. As enrollment stabilizes during the first week of school, and vacancies occur, transferred students have the option to return to their home campus. Transfer date determines priority for return.
Withdrawing from school
If it is necessary to withdraw a child from school, please notify the school at least 24 hours in advance by either sending a note or by calling the school office. Your child will have a withdrawal form, report card and personal belongings when leaving. Cafeteria charges and lost book charges should be cleared prior to the withdrawal of a student.
Cafeteria Operations – General Guidance
District Menus are determined by compliance, student preferences and cost considerations. Each year, Child Nutrition Services takes the prior year menu and compares high participation days as well as low participation days to determine what items to keep and delete. CNS then looks at industry culinary trends to determine acceptable products to maintain variety / participation in the 2 week menu cycle. Lastly, final menus are developed by the Student/SHAC (School Health Advisory Council) Taste Testing along with managers input. This year long process includes department dietitians, nutritionists and support personnel. For menus and more information, visit the Child Nutrition Department’s website.
Special dietary restrictions
Students requiring any changes or modifications to the regular cycle menu must have an updated Physician Order Form completely filled out. Please contact the Cafeteria Manager and the Campus Nurse.
Free & reduced meal program (Non community eligible provision schools only)
Free or Reduced Priced Meals are available to students who qualify based on federal guidelines. Applications must be filled out each school year. More information may be found in the District Policies & Procedures of the Student-Parent Handbook and the Child Nutrition Department’s website or by calling 397-4517.
Food items given or sold at all schools
Administration Regulations CAF- 01 and CAF-03 gives guidance on foods “Given” or “Sold” to students and is in compliance with the District’s Wellness Policy. More information may be found in District Policies & Procedures of the Student-Parent Handbook and the Child Nutrition Department’s website.
Note: A school may adopt a more restrictive rule, as local policy. Please contact your school for more information regarding designated days as well as restrictions regarding birthday recognitions at school. Balloons and/or flowers are not permitted for student birthday recognitions.
NISD charge policy & courtesy meal information
Child Nutrition Services has a fiscal responsibility to stay in compliance with Federal Guidelines. In order to meet this obligation, parents / guardians are responsible for purchases made by their student(s) in the cafeteria. It is not Northside Independent School District’s intent that children go hungry at school; however, it is the responsibility of parents or guardians to provide their children’s lunch or breakfast, or pay for meals provided by your school. More information can be found in the District Policies & Procedures of the Student-Parent Handbook and the Child Nutrition Department’s website.
Bad Weather Days
In the event schools are closed due to severe weather, the announcement of such closing will be made on local television and radio stations. The Superintendent of Schools releases this information to the stations early enough in the morning to alert parents of the school closing prior to children leaving home for school. Every school has established procedures to follow during severe weather if it occurs during the day.
Student Fees, Fines and Charges
Waiver of fees
Upon receipt by the district of reliable proof that a student and his or her parent or guardian are unable to pay a charge required by the school, such charge shall be waived.
Northside will comply with any travel advisories that are issued for this area by the city, state, or Federal Government. (For example: Weather alerts, security alerts or medical alerts that would prohibit student travel.)
Northside Independent School District believes in the power of education and its powerful positive influence on our community. We constantly strive to offer our students the best education possible. Research has proven that parental involvement in school is a necessary prerequisite to student success; therefore, a partnership between school and home must exist. You are encouraged to take an active part in your child’s education. There are many ways in which families can become involved in their child’s school.
Room parents assist with special classroom events as well as help in any other manner agreed upon by the classroom teacher and the room parent. Interested parents are encouraged to volunteer. Volunteers are expected to comply with the district volunteer guidelines which include a background check.
Parent Teacher Association
All parents are encouraged to join the Parent Teacher Association in the school(s) where their child attends, since this is a common meeting ground in matters of mutual concern to all.
Parents, grandparents and community members provide instructional support to the classroom teacher in many ways; tutoring students one-on-one, listening to students read, preparing instructional materials, assisting in the Book Fair, Bike Rodeo, Publishing Center, etc. At the beginning of each year, orientations are held to match individual teacher needs to parents’ interests and skills. The support provided by the parents to the school is invaluable, and serves to strengthen the bond between school and home. Interested parents are encouraged to volunteer.
Mentors are community/business members who volunteer their time to help individual students be more successful in school. Volunteers who wish to participate in campus mentorship programs should contact the school administrator. Volunteers are asked to complete an application and profile. Volunteers are expected to comply with the district volunteer guidelines which include a background check. Parent permission is required for students to be served.
School-based decision-making is a process to improve student learning at every school campus. Every campus has a School Advisory Team (SAT), comprised of administrators, campus staff, parents and community representatives. The SAT reviews performance of all students, determines goals and strategies, and ensures that strategies are implemented and adjusted to improve student achievement. For information as to how you as a parent can provide input into your school’s educational program, please contact the school principal.
Parents/Guardians are welcomed to visit their child's classroom with advanced approval by the school administration so long as their duration or frequency does not interfere with delivery of instruction or disrupt the normal school environment.
Visitors must follow the school procedures regarding proper identification and check-in.
Because the safety of all students is a top priority, the District has implemented a district-wide visitor and volunteer badge system.
All parents/guardians, visitors, or volunteers who come to a campus will be asked to present a valid government or state-issued identification, such as a driver’s license or military I.D. The I.D. will be scanned and a badge will be printed. All visitors will then wear the badge while on campus and return it at the end of the visit.
All visitors must comply with the school’s visitation procedures and are expected to demonstrate the highest standards of courtesy and conduct.
Northside Independent School District is a Drug-Free, Smoke-Free and Gun-Free District. Visitors must refrain from smoking anywhere on district grounds.
After School Programs
After school childcare is available at all Northside elementary schools. NISD elementary schools offer the Learning Tree After School Enrichment Program run by the NISD Adult & Community Education Department.
Program hours are from 2:55 p.m. until 5:30, 6:00 or 6:30 p.m. depending on the campus.
For specific information about registration, fees, and curriculum, please visit the website or call (210) 397-8102.
Arrival and Dismissal
Children should not arrive at school before 7:15 a.m.
School begins at 7:45 a.m. Children arriving in the classroom after 7:45 a.m. are tardy. Should the parent be unable to take the child to the office, the child must go to the office with a note from the parent explaining the reason for his/her late arrival.
A child who is not present at 9:00 a.m. is counted absent for the day. A child who arrives after 9:00 a.m. must be accompanied by the parent and the school should be provided with a written note explaining the reason for the absence. The school shall determine whether or not the absence is excused according to the guidelines in Section D.
Pre-K students who attend the afternoon session are considered absent at 1:00 p.m.
School is dismissed at 3:00 p.m. If your child must leave school before 3:00 p.m., please send a note with him/her on the day he/she must leave early. The parent must go to the school office, show a picture ID and sign the child out. Parents may not go directly to the classroom. For the welfare of our students, teachers cannot release students to anyone without office authorization. Office authorization will be given only to parents and other adults listed as an emergency contact on the student registration. It is the parents’ responsibility to update the emergency information as changes occur.
Parents who transport their children after school should arrive promptly at dismissal time. Teachers and other staff members have other responsibilities and/or assigned duties and cannot be expected to supervise students until parents call for them. Certainly, if an emergency occurs, the child will be allowed to wait in the office until someone can come for him/her. The school office should be notified if there is an emergency. The office closes by 3:45 p.m.
Northside’s Student Code of Conduct is found in Section C. This code describes behavior expected of all Northside students, elementary as well as secondary. School discipline plans use the Student Code of Conduct as a framework.
Each elementary school has a discipline management plan which is developed by the principal and faculty of the school. Parents are informed of school rules and the consequences for inappropriate behavior as well as rewards for good citizenship. Students who are behaving in such a way as to disrupt the learning of others or jeopardize other students’ safety will be given consequences for their actions. Disciplinary action will be based upon the seriousness as well as frequency of offenses. Conferencing, time-out, in-school suspension and suspension are actions that may be taken by the elementary school. Corporal punishment is not used in Northside schools.
Transportation Behavior Expectations
Identified eligible students who receive bus transportation in the district to and from school during school hours are expected to follow all transportation rules and regulations. Students who do not comply with the communicated expectations (See Section D), will be subject to disciplinary action which could result in losing transportation privileges. These behavior expectations apply to field trip transportation as well.
Safety - Bicycles
Students may ride bicycles/scooters to and from school. They must walk their bicycles/scooters across the street at designated crosswalks. Students may not ride bikes/scooters on school property. It is essential that all bicycles be equipped with proper safety equipment and a lock. Individual campuses have guidelines for parking procedures and location for bicycles and scooters during the school day. The use of safety helmets is strongly encouraged.
Safety - Walkers
In order to assure children’s safety going to and from school, it is helpful if they learn the best way to reach the school, to obey the Student Safety Patrols, and to avoid talking to strangers on the way to and from school. If a stranger approaches, children should report any incident to parents, teachers and/or the principal as soon as possible.
Safety - Traffic patterns
Each individual campus has its own unique plan for automobile and pedestrian traffic control. Be sure to adhere to the specific policies of your child’s school, as they are designed for the safety of your children. Bus and fire lanes are clearly marked, and must be observed.
Safety - Patrols
Upper grade students, carefully selected on the basis of grades, character, and citizenship, have the privilege of becoming Student Safety Patrols.
Their duties are from 7:15 a.m. until 7:45 a.m. for morning patrol and from 3:00 p.m. until the traffic clears for afternoon patrol. In order for students to serve on Safety Patrols, they must have written parent permission and they must maintain academic and citizenship standards.
Student Education Records
The school district maintains student education records at each elementary, middle, high or special school. An education record generally includes: applications for enrollment; standardized achievement test scores; grades; attendance dates; scores on standardized intelligence, aptitude, and psychological tests; interest inventory results; health data; family background information; teacher or counselor ratings and observations; reports on behavior patterns or disciplinary actions; and graduation dates.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) afford parents and students over 18 years of age (eligible student) certain rights with respect to the student’s education records. They are:
- The right to inspect and review the student’s education records within 45 calendar days of the day Northside Independent School District receives a request for access. Both parents, either married, separated or divorced (unless evidenced by court order, state statute, or legally binding document related to separation, divorce or custody revoking these rights) have access to a student’s education records until the student becomes 18 years of age and is no longer a dependent student as defined in section 152 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1964. After the student becomes 18 years of age and he or she is no longer a dependent student, then the student retains sole access to his or her education records. A person having the right to review education records should submit to the school principal (if student currently enrolled) a written request that identifies the record(s) they wish to inspect. The principal will make arrangements for access and notify the person making the request of the time and place where the records may be inspected. If the student is no longer enrolled at Northside Independent School District, the request must be made to the Office of the Superintendent.
- The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the parent or eligible student believe is inaccurate or misleading. Parents or eligible students may ask Northside Independent School District to amend a record that they believe is inaccurate, misleading or in violation of the student’s rights of privacy. They should write the school principal, clearly identify the part of the record they want changed, and specify why it is inaccurate, misleading, or a violation of the rights of privacy. If Northside Independent School District decides not to amend the record as requested by the parent or eligible student, the District will notify the parent or eligible student of the decision and advise them of their right to a hearing regarding the request for amendment. Additional information regarding the hearing procedures will be provided to the parent or eligible student when notified of the right to a hearing. Although improperly recorded grades may be challenged, parents and eligible students are not allowed to request amendment of a grade given for a student’s performance in a course.
- The right to consent to disclosures of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception which permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with legitimate educational interests. A school official is a person employed by the District as an administrator, supervisor, instructor, or support staff member (including health or medical staff and law enforcement unit personnel); a person serving on the School Board; a person or company with whom the District has contracted to perform a special task (such as an attorney, auditor, medical consultant, or therapist); or a parent or student serving on an official committee, such as a disciplinary or grievance committee, or assisting another school official in performing his or her tasks. A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the official needs to review an education record in order to fulfill his or her professional responsibility. Upon request, Northside Independent School District will disclose education records, without consent, to officials of another school district in which a student seeks or intends to enroll.
- The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the District to comply with the requirements of FERPA. The name and address of the office that administers FERPA is:
Family Policy Compliance Office U.S. Department of Education 400 Maryland Avenue, SW Washington, DC 20202-5920
A person who requests copies of a student’s education records shall pay the actual cost of reproducing the records. Reproduction cost is $.10 per page, exclusive of mailing costs. One transcript of a student’s grades will be provided without charge, at the time of graduation, with additional copies provided for $5.00 each.
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), a federal law, requires that Northside ISD, with certain exceptions, obtain your written consent prior to the disclosure of personally identifiable information from your child’s education records. However, Northside ISD may disclose appropriately designated “directory information” without written consent, unless you have advised the District to the contrary in accordance with District procedures. The primary purpose of directory information is to allow Northside ISD to include this type of information from your child’s education records in certain school publications. Examples include:
- A playbill, showing your student’s role in a drama production;
- The annual yearbook;
- Honor roll or other recognition lists;
- Graduation programs; and
- Sports activity sheets, such as wrestling, showing weight and height of team members.
Directory information, which is information that is generally not considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if released, can also be disclosed to outside organizations without a parent’s prior written consent. Outside organizations include, but are not limited to, companies that manufacture class rings or publish yearbooks.
If you do not want Northside ISD to disclose directory information from your child’s education records without your prior written consent, you must notify the District (the principal of the student’s school) in writing within two weeks after initial enrollment each school year. Northside ISD has designated the following information as directory information: student’s name, address, telephone listing, electronic mail address, photograph, date and place of birth, major field of study, dates of attendance, grade level, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, degrees, honors, and awards received, and the most recent educational agency or institution attended.
A ‘Parent Information Release Authorizations’ form is included towards the end of this handbook. If you do not want Directory Information to be released for your child you must complete the form and return to your child’s campus. Keep in mind that you have two weeks after initial enrollment to return the form.
Rights Under the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA)
PPRA affords parents certain rights regarding our conduct of surveys, collection and use of information for marketing purposes, and certain physical exams. These include the right to:
- Consent before students are required to submit to a survey that concerns one or more of the following protected areas (“protected information survey”) if the survey is funded in whole or in part by a program of the U.S. Department of Education (ED)
- Political affiliations or beliefs of the student or student’s parent;
- Mental or psychological problems of the student or student’s family;
- Sex behavior or attitudes;
- Illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating, or demeaning behavior;
- Critical appraisals of others with whom respondents have close family relationships;
- Legally recognized privileged relationships, such as with lawyers, doctors, or ministers;
- Religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student or parents; or
- Income, other than as required by law to determine eligibility.
- Receive notice and an opportunity to opt a student out of –
- Any other protected information survey, regardless of funding;
- Any non-emergency, invasive physical exam or screening required as a condition of attendance, administered by the school or its agent, and not necessary to protect the immediate health and safety of a student, except for hearing, vision, or scoliosis screenings, or any physical exam or screening permitted or required under State law; and,
- Activities involving collection, disclosure, or use of personal information obtained from students for marketing or to sell or otherwise distribute the information to others.
- Inspect, upon request and before administration or use –
- Protected information surveys of students;
- Instruments used to collect personal information from students for any of the above marketing, sales, or other distribution purposes; and
- Instructional material used as part of the education curriculum.
These rights transfer from the parents to a student who is 18 years old or an emancipated minor under State law.
Northside Independent School District will directly notify parents of students who are scheduled to participate in the specific activities or surveys noted below, and will provide an opportunity for the parent to opt his or her child out of participation of the specific activity or survey. Parents will also be provided an opportunity to review any pertinent surveys. If you wish to review any survey or instructional material used in connection with any protected information or marketing survey, please submit a request to your child’s campus principal. The principal will notify you of the time and place where you may review these materials. You have the right to review a survey and /or instructional materials before the survey is administered to a student.
Following is a list of the specific activities and surveys covered under this requirement:
- Collection, disclosure, or use of personal information for marketing, sales or other distribution.
- Administration of any protected information survey not funded in whole or in part by ED.
- Any non-emergency, invasive physical examination or screening as described above.
Parents who believe their rights have been violated may file a complaint with:
Family Policy Compliance Office U.S. Department of Education 400 Maryland Avenue, SW Washington, D.C. 20202-5920
Cost of Providing Copies of Records
A person who requests copies of district records for a purpose other than the transaction of the official business of the district shall pay the actual cost of reproducing the records. Reproduction cost is $.10 per page, exclusive of mailing costs. One transcript of a student’s grades will be provided without charge.