Elementary School Parent Handbook
The Wissahickon School District elementary program is designed to provide a rich learning experience that builds a strong academic foundation for our students. Each facet of the program supports our students’ academic, social-emotional, and physical developmental needs. In addition to offering a rich and robust educational program, our schools make every effort to build students’ character, confidence, and self-esteem, both in terms of learning and in their relationships with fellow classmates and staff.
We encourage all families to review our Elementary Student/Family Handbook as it provides important information about our school, especially information about school routines and resources. In the event that you are looking for information not included in this parent handbook, please contact the main office of your child’s school.
- Important Phone Numbers and Addresses
- Birthdays and Birthday Invitations
- Books and School-Issued Materials
- Breakfast and Lunch School Meals
- Board of School Directors
- Class Placement
- Classroom Celebrations
- District and School Communication
- Dress Code
- Field Trips
- Health Services
- Infinite Campus
- Inclement Weather or Other Emergency Notifications
- Parent and Community Involvement
- Personal Items
- Resolving Concerns
- School Schedule
- School Spirit
- Student Behavior
- Student Progress and Assessments
- Student Records
- Student Safety
- Student Services
- Student Wellness
- Translation and Interpretation Services
- Title IX & Non-Discrimination Information
Important Phone Numbers and Addresses
- District: www.wsdweb.org
- Administrative Office: 601 Knight Road, Ambler, PA 19002
- Phone Number: 215-619-8000
- Blue Bell Elementary: https://www.wsdweb.org/schools/blue-bell-elementary
- Address: 801 Symphony Lane, Blue Bell, PA 19422
- Phone Number: 215-619-8102
- Lower Gwynedd Elementary: https://www.wsdweb.org/schools/lower-gwynedd-elementary
- Address: 571 Houston Road, Ambler, PA 19002
- Phone Number: 215-619-8100
- Shady Grove Elementary: https://www.wsdweb.org/schools/shady-grove-elementary
- Address: 351 West Skippack Pike, Ambler, PA 19002
- Phone Number: 215-619-8106
- Stony Creek Elementary: https://www.wsdweb.org/schools/stony-creek-elementary
- Address: 1721 Yost Road, Blue Bell, PA 19422
- Phone Number: 215-619-8108
Enrolled school-aged students are required to attend school regularly. The educational program offered by the Wissahickon School District values the presence of all students and requires continuity of instruction and classroom participation.
Attendance shall be required of all students enrolled in District schools during the days and hours that the school is in session. The following conditions constitute reasonable cause for absence from school:
- obtaining professional health care or therapy service rendered by a licensed practitioner
- family emergency
- recovery from accident
- required court attendance
- death in family
- observance of a religious holiday
- non-school-sponsored educational tour or trip
- other urgent reasons
In accordance with Board policy #204, Attendance, absences are treated as unlawful until the district receives a written excuse note explaining the absence, which is to be submitted to the school’s attendance clerk within three (3) days of returning to school from the absence.
There is a maximum of fifteen (15) days of cumulative lawful absences per school year verified by a written excuse note from a parent/caregiver, including all absences due to illness. Beyond fifteen (15) cumulative absences and when an absence due to illness is more than three (3) consecutive school days, the parent/caregiver must provide a written excuse note by a licensed practitioner of the healing arts. (e.g., medical professional).
The District shall require a Student Attendance Improvement Conversance when a student accumulates more than fifteen (15) cumulative lawful absences during a school year. The building principal may contact families to arrange an attendance improvement plan.
When a student accumulates ten absences, families will receive a written correspondence as a reminder of the district’s attendance policy and requirements. After fifteen absences, in order to prevent absences from becoming unlawful and requiring intervention, families will receive a notification.
Absence/Tardy Excuse Notifications
If your student is to be absent or tardy, you must call the attendance line or email the attendance office (email is strongly preferred). If you choose to send an email, an additional excuse note is not necessary. If you choose to call the office, an excuse note must be provided to the attendance office that your student attends within three (3) days of their return to school.
The email and phone call must contain the following information: date, student name, homeroom teacher and reason for absence.
Telephone Numbers and Email Addresses for Reporting Student Absences
- Blue Bell Elementary School: 215-619-8102 ext. 2099 or press 2; email@example.com
- Lower Gwynedd Elementary School: 215-619-8100 ext. 3099 or press 2; firstname.lastname@example.org
- Shady Grove Elementary School: 215-619-8106 ext. 4099 or press 2; email@example.com
- Stony Creek Elementary School: 215-619-8108 ext. 5099 or press 2; firstname.lastname@example.org
Students must be in the classroom by the defined start of the school day. If it is necessary for your student to be tardy, please call or email the Attendance Office. Upon arrival at school, a parent/caregiver should bring the student directly to the main office to sign in.
- Wissahickon High School: 7:37 a.m.
- Wissahickon Middle School: 7:35 a.m.
- Blue Bell and Stony Creek: 8:35 a.m.
- Lower Gwynedd and Shady Grove: 8:30 a.m.
If you are planning to take your student on a family trip while school is in session, WSD Board Policy #204 allows for up to five days of non-school sponsored travel per school year. Please be advised that travel during state testing periods will not be excused. Parents/caregivers planning such a trip should complete the Family Travel Acknowledgement Form and return it to the building principal. This form should be completed as soon as possible or at least two weeks prior to the scheduled trip. These five or fewer days count in the fifteen days of cumulative lawful absences as referenced in our Attendance section of this handbook.
Releasing Students for Medical Appointments and Emergencies
Students will be granted permission to leave school for medical appointments. However, every attempt should be made to schedule appointments outside of the school day. Parents/caregivers should notify the school in writing, giving the date and time of the student’s anticipated departure time. The parent/caregiver should report to the school office to pick up the student.
Releasing Students for Early Dismissals
If there is an emergency and you need to pick up your student early, please report to the main office at least thirty minutes before regular dismissal time. Early dismissals will end at 2:45 p.m. so that regular dismissal may occur. We ask the cooperation of all parents/caregivers to help us lessen the number of interruptions made to classrooms while instruction is taking place and during regular dismissal. Parent/caregivers will be asked to provide identification prior to the release of the student. Students will only be released individuals identified in Infinite Campus as household or emergency contacts unless a note is provided by the parent/caregiver.
Truancy, which is unlawful absence from school according to the Pennsylvania State Code, and other unexcused absences from school will not be tolerated. Truancy will result in the assignment of school discipline. Administration may request a parent conference to enact a Truancy Elimination Plan or other measures. Each case will be referred to the Home and School Visitor for appropriate legal action, which may include a parent conference, a court notice, a court hearing and possibly fines.
Birthdays and Birthday Invitations
Birthdays are special days for our students. Birthday recognitions are held at the discretion of the classroom teacher and should not interfere with the instructional program. Birthday treats and/or food items are not permitted to be a part of birthday recognitions. Small gift items/goody bags/bouquets of flowers/balloons are not permitted. Birthday party invitations may not be distributed at school.
Breakfast and Lunch School Meals
District students may purchase breakfast, lunch and snacks each day. Students and their families may view the school menus online: https://wsdweb.nutrislice.com/. The school menus include images and descriptions of the meals and nutritional information. School menus are also available on the district mobile app. Glass containers are not permitted in school for safety reasons.
Free breakfast for all Wissahickon students in the 2023-2024 school year! On August 3, 2023, Governor Shapiro announced that Pennsylvania will make it possible for all schools participating in the National School Lunch Program to provide free breakfast for all enrolled students. However, lunch is not free unless the school meal application is approved. Lunch costs $2.65 for all schools. For reduced-price meals, lunch costs $0.40 for all schools.
Free and Reduced-Price Meal Eligibility
We invite our families to apply for free or reduced-price school meals. A qualified application may provide additional federal program benefits. To be eligible for free or reduced meals, families need to complete an application unless they participate in a qualified benefits program (e.g., SNAP, TANF, or certain Medical Assistance). Click here to complete the application: https://www.schoolcafe.com/WissahickonSD
Each student has a cafeteria account that is accessible with the last four (4) digits of their student ID number. Families may choose to send their student with money to pay for lunch each day. Alternatively, families may periodically (i.e., weekly, monthly, etc.) send a check with their student to school to replenish their cafeteria account; or families may use MySchoolBucks to replenish their student’s account online. Checks are made payable to “WSD Cafeteria Account.” Please include your student’s name on the check. For MySchoolBucks, visit this website to learn more: https://www.wsdweb.org/departments/business/my-school-bucks
Board of School Directors
The Wissahickon Board of School Directors is governed by nine citizens elected at large by voters of the district. The Board operates under the authority granted it by the Pennsylvania Public School Code of 1949; Title 22, Education, of the Pennsylvania Code; and regulations of the State Board of Education. The Board's meetings are held in accordance with Act 84 of 1986 and Act 20 of 1993 of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
The Board of School Directors meets twice monthly for its public meetings. Please visit the School Board section of the district website to learn more: https://www.wsdweb.org/school-board
As the elected governing body of Wissahickon School District, the School Directors are responsible for:
Policy making for school district operations
- Designating the chief executive
- Planning, goal setting and appraisal
- Adopting an annual budget and appropriation measures.
- Exercising its taxing power to provide funds for the operation of the District.
- Considering and passing upon the recommendations of the Superintendent in all matters of policy, appointment or dismissal of employees, salary schedules or other personnel regulations, courses of study, selection of textbooks, or other matters pertaining to the welfare of schools.
- Informing the public concerning the progress and needs of the schools, and to solicit and weigh public opinion as it affects the schools.
The Board policy manual serves as an instrument to guide the decision-making process affecting all aspects of the Wissahickon School District organization. These board policies are designed to reflect culture, character, and values of the school community while meeting state and federal regulations. These policies are applicable to school directors, students, employees, families and community members. As such, these groups are charged with knowing, reviewing, and abiding by the policies set forth in this reference manual. Click here to review to Board policy manual: https://go.boarddocs.com/pa/wiss/Board.nsf/Public
Class placement is designed to benefit all students. Students are assigned to classes so that each classroom reflects a reasonable distribution of students with regard to gender, ethnicity, academic needs, and number. As a matter of philosophy, we encourage parent/caregiver input, and a form for such input is distributed to parents/caregivers in spring of the school year. The administration, however, reserves the right to determine final class placement in order to insure educationally appropriate placements for each student.
In addition to seasonal classroom celebrations, elementary schools may host grade level and schoolwide celebrations, all of which will be cleared in advance by building principals. If there are food options available at the celebration, teachers will communicate what the food options will be prior to classroom celebration. To ensure that all students can participate in classroom parties, consideration will be made in terms of food restrictions and food allergies. As a reminder, students’ birthdays are not acknowledged with classroom celebrations. Students will be recognized on their birthdays in other ways that do not involve food.
District and School Communication
The district communicates with students and their families through various channels, including but not limited to email, phone call, text message, website, mobile app, and social media.
In order to receive timely and effective communication, it is essential for parents/caregivers to maintain up-to-date contact information including email and phone numbers in the Infinite Campus Portal.
We invite you to visit our website to learn more about our district: www.wsdweb.org
News and Calendar Alerts
Set up email and/or text alerts to receive district and school-specific news and calendar events that are posted on the WSD website. Alerts can be customized by district and school news and events. Read WSD News and subscribe to receive customized news & calendar alerts
SchoolMessenger is the district's notification software used for emergency information (e.g. weather-related or other), school news, student and staff accomplishments, upcoming events, current issues affecting WSD families and other district/school communication. Family contact information entered into Infinite Campus is automatically uploaded to SchoolMessenger allowing e-news to be shared via phone, text and email.
The WSD mobile app provides on-demand access to the most important information and resources. Search Wissahickon School District in your App Store to download the free mobile app to your mobile device. The app provides access to:
- School calendars
- Athletics calendar
- Lunch menus
- Access to Infinite Campus, Schoology, and MySchoolBucks
- WSD staff directory
- Important news and notifications
Our social media sites keep families and the community updated on school news and provide a forum for connecting and sharing accomplishments, photos and videos of our students, staff and school community. Below are the official social media accounts for the district and our schools.
- Facebook - http://facebook.com/wissahickonschooldistrict
- Twitter - District/School News @WissahickonSD
- Instagram - @WissahickonSchoolDistrict
- YouTube - Watch us on YouTube (read how to subscribe to our YouTube Channel)
Search our Hashtags
- #WissLearns (classroom/learning highlights)
- #WissCares (community service/character education)
- #WissPride (staff, student, school achievements)
- #WissNation (athletics and district-wide news & achievements)
Wissahickon Television (WTV)
Wissahickon Television, WTV, is a collaborative effort between the Wissahickon High School, Middle School TV programs and the District Communications Office. WTV is broadcast on Channel 28 on Comcast and Channel 41 on Verizon.
It is important that students come to school with the intention of doing their best. The way a student dresses usually reflects the student’s preparedness for learning and actions in school. We ask that students refrain from wearing shorts that are not at least fingertip length, tank tops and tops that expose the mid-section, see-through clothing and flip-flops or open-toed footwear. Our students enjoy an active day at school, including lunchtime recess and physical education classes on some days. For this reason, sneakers are the expected footwear at school.
Change of Clothes
Please consider sending a change of clothing (undergarments, socks, etc.) to be kept in your student’s cubby.
As part of our educational experience, students have the opportunity to participate in one field trip experience during each school year. These field trips are curricular-based and extend the learning from the classroom. We view these field trip experiences as a valuable part of our learning experience.
In addition to the one grade-level field trip, students in third grade participate in a field experience to a nature preserve located in our school district, and students in fourth grade participate in a trip to Evans-Mumbower Mill. Both of these field trip experiences build upon learning in the classroom.
Families are required to complete and sign permission forms in order for students to participate in field trips that are outside the district boundaries. These forms are sent home in advance of the trip and will include specific information about the trip. For those trips within the school district community, parents will complete an “Intra-District Field Trip” form at the beginning of the school year, and this will satisfy the parent permission requirement. Teachers will notify parents when these in-district field trips occur.
Students not participating in field trips still must attend school on the day of the trip. During the time of the field trip, they will be placed in another classroom with appropriate class work. Staying home during a field trip (if not ill) will be considered an unlawful absence.
Students and parents/caregivers are reminded that field trip attendance is a privilege. Inappropriate behavior will be a reason to have the privilege rescinded.
State required school immunizations are required within the first 5 days of school or your student will not be able to attend school. Any single dose vaccines (Tdap and Meningitis), are required by the first day of school.
In order to protect our school students from serious and sometimes fatal diseases, the Pennsylvania Department of Health regulations require that all students entering school for the first time must be immunized.
All the required doses of immunizations must be completed and verified by your health care provider prior to the student’s entry into school. We ask for your cooperation with your school nurse in the process of providing a proper record of any immunization already completed and in securing those that are lacking. The only current exemptions to the regulations for immunizations are medical reasons and religious beliefs with proper documentation from your health care provider submitted to school. Please note that if your student is exempt from immunizations, he/she may be removed from school during a communicable disease outbreak.
State-Mandated Physical and Dental Exams
The Pennsylvania School Health Law requires all students upon original entry to the district and when entering sixth grade or eleventh grade to have a physical examination.
Dental Examinations are required for all students upon original entry to the district and when entering third grade and seventh grade.
All examinations must be completed within one year prior to the new year for which the examination is required. Families are encouraged to have these examinations performed by the student’s own health care provider.
Please visit the Health Services web page to download and print these forms: https://www.wsdweb.org/departments/health-services If necessary, you can also contact your school nurse to secure these forms. The completed forms must be returned to the school nurse by October 15th or no later than two months after your student enters the Wissahickon School District.
State-Mandated Health Screenings
Each student will have state mandated screening which includes growth (body mass index), and vision. Hearing is tested in kindergarten, grades 1,2,3,7 and 11 and those in special ungraded classes. We will report deficiencies to you in these tests. These reports should be rechecked by your family health care provider and returned to the school nurse when problems are corrected.
Medical Care in School
Medical care in the schools is limited to first aid for accidents and illness until the parent can be contacted to take the student home or to their personal health care provider or hospital. Emergency information completed by you will give us the information to locate you when needed. It is important to keep this information updated each school year. School nurses are permitted by law to perform only those services written on the Standing Orders of the consulting school physician. Do not expect the school nurse to diagnose or treat illnesses. This is the proper function of your family health care provider.
Absence Due to Illness
Please encourage your student to practice good health habits that will contribute to growth, development, and well-being. These should include a balanced diet, adequate sleep, regular exercise and study. When there are signs of illness, your student should stay at home. After a student has accumulated fifteen days of absences, a physician's note is necessary after three consecutive days absent from school.
Notify the School Nurse
It is important to contact the school nurse for these special circumstances.
- If there are restrictions caused by a recent illness, if there are any continuous restrictions on your student’s school activities, or if your student is on daily medication.
- If your student has an allergy to foods, medicines or insect bites. Provide the school nurse a written plan completed by your physician with your approval signature outlining the directions to follow in case of an incident.
- As soon as possible if your student has a confirmed communicable disease to protect the safety and well-being of others.
If your student needs to take medication during the school day, the medication must be brought to the school nurse. Controlled substances must be brought directly to the nurse by a parent/caregiver. All medication must be in its original, properly labeled container with a written prescription by the licensed physician or advanced practice nurse. The prescribing physician/advanced practice nurse must indicate the reason for the medication, dose, time and route, and possible side effects.
Epi-Pen Opt Out
The Pennsylvania Public School Code, Section 1414.2 (g) allows parents/caregivers to request an exemption to the administration of an epinephrine auto-injector for their student. In order to request this exemption, contact the school nurse to make an appointment to discuss this decision, review and sign the opt-out form.
Physical Education Exclusion
Students who are to be excluded from physical education classes (or recess) for medical reasons must bring a note from the parent/caregiver stating the reason for that exclusion. In cases involving exclusion for more than one physical education period (or recess period), a medical doctor’s statement with the reason for exclusion and the anticipated length of exclusion must be provided. The student still will attend physical education class and be expected to participate within the constraints delineated by the medical doctor. A physician’s note must be provided to the school nurse before the student returns to full physical education activities without restriction.
The study of holidays is a significant way in which students learn about the importance of culture. Traditions are highlighted and the similarities and differences in cultural practices are recognized. The communication of historical, cultural, religious and patriotic events with ceremonies or festivals is common across cultures. Therefore, it is natural for teachers to recognize and teach about these events as part of the planned curriculum or because of the expressed interest of students.
As members of a classroom community, our students will have the opportunity to learn more about the variety of cultures and customs of their classmates. We acknowledge holidays as members of families and citizens of their local, national, and international communities.
Excusals from Recognizing and Teaching About Holidays and Holiday Celebrations
One of the primary objectives of public institutions of education must be to educate a student without either promoting or curtailing religious beliefs. Wissahickon School District tries to protect the rights of all parents/guardians to decide what is appropriate for the education of their students. Therefore, parents/caregivers may ask that their students be excused from classroom discussions or activities related to particular holidays. Excusal requests should be submitted by the parent/caregiver in writing to the classroom teacher who will present the request to the building principal. The building principal in cooperation with the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction will be responsible for granting or denying the request for excusal. Alternative activities will be provided for students excused from classroom activities.
Homework is an aid to learning and an integral part of the school program. The aims of homework in the Wissahickon School District are:
- To have students practice learned skills and reinforce learning
- To have students develop research and problem-solving skills
- To have students develop independent work-study habits
When Your Student Asks for Help
Homework is explained to the students in class before it is assigned. If a student cannot do the work, is having difficulty or is taking an excessive amount of time to complete it, your student should stop working on the assignment. The parent/caregiver should send a note or e-mail to the teacher to let the teacher know. The teacher will work to resolve the matter.
Homework During School Absences
If your student is absent from school for one day of school, the teacher will work with your student upon their return. If a student is absent for multiple days and he/she is well enough to complete work at home, contact your student’s teacher to arrange for any missed class/homework.
Homework Procedures for Student Absence from School
In addition to completing the family travel acknowledgment form, parents/caregiver are expected to contact a student’s teacher to acquire any work that can be completed during the absence. Any other missed work will need to be completed upon return for the student’s absence. Computers will not be issued to students during approved family travel.
All parents/caregivers are asked to set up their Infinite Campus Parent Portal account. Your family's contact information in Infinite Campus is used to communicate urgent notifications such as weather delays, closings or emergencies. It is essential for parents/caregivers to maintain current contact information including preferred email and phone numbers. Infinite Campus is the district's web-based student information portal that contains family contact information and includes various student information including:
- attendance and discipline
- report cards
- health information
- teacher assignments and class schedule
- other school activities (middle and high school)
Inclement Weather or Other Emergency Notifications
In the event of inclement weather or a school emergency that results in early dismissal, late arrival of students or the closing of schools, the district notifies the community via:
- School Messenger phone call, text message and email (For families with students who currently attend Wissahickon schools only)
- WSD Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
- Pop-up message on the district homepage
- Push notification via the WSD mobile app (please allow push notifications from the WSD mobile app)
- TV Stations 3, 6, 10 and 29
- KYW NewsRadio - School Closing Number 314
Please note schools are open unless otherwise notified via the methods above. Periodically, review your contact information (phone and email) listed in Infinite Campus as this information is used for School Messenger - our school notification system.
Calling the School’s Main Office During Emergency Conditions
It is extremely important that telephone lines to the school office be kept open for emergency use only. Students and parents/caregivers are asked not to call the school office at times of emergency conditions.
The Librarian provides on-going instruction, conducts read-aloud, facilitates book exchange, and makes available a wide range of learning resources. Technology and multi-media resources are also used to further enhance the educational program. The library also provides all K-5 students with the opportunity to engage in STEM activities. Students may select books and materials to take home and share with parents/caregivers. Students are to return all borrowed items by the date due. Parents/caregivers are responsible for replacing damaged and lost items.
Parent and Community Involvement
The Wissahickon School District recognizes the importance and value of interest and involvement by citizens of the school community in the programs of the district. Many residents have readily volunteered their services in assisting with programs and projects that have helped to enrich the educational experience of our students. As opportunities arise, principals will use their discretion to utilize volunteers. To ensure the safety of our students and staff and to comply with Public School Code, all volunteers must comply with the district policies and procedures, including required disclosure forms, clearances, and training.
Home and School Associations
Each school has an active and supportive Home and School Association (H&SA). The H&SAs coordinate school and classroom activities and events and provide funding for school programs (i.e., activities, events, and assemblies). Families are encouraged to become members of their school’s H&SA. As members, families may participate in monthly meetings, volunteer in the school and classroom, and serve as a room parent. All room parents should report to the school office each time they enter the school building. Room parents should confer with their teacher prior to planned activities to clarify the room parent’s role during given activities.
Wissahickon School District values the contributions that volunteers make to the educational programs of our schools and encourages parents and community members to volunteer.
Families and community members who are interested in volunteering in our schools are invited to review the procedures and requirements as outlined below. For the safety of our students and staff, all persons who are interested in volunteering in our schools are required to comply with these volunteer eligibility procedures in accordance with applicable state and federal laws. Volunteers who do not comply with these requirements are not eligible to volunteer.
As always, thank you for your contribution of time, talent, resources and support. We appreciate your willingness to volunteer in our schools and hope you know how much your efforts mean to our staff and students! For specific questions, please contact the main office of your student's school. Click here for more information about the volunteer procedures in the Wissahickon School District: https://www.wsdweb.org/parent-hub/volunteers
Step #1: Complete and submit the required documentation. All volunteer documentation is submitted to the main office of your student's school. Any costs associated with procuring these clearances are the responsibility of the volunteer.
WSD Volunteer Disclosure Statement (required for new and returning volunteers, annually)
Act 34 State Police Clearance (required for new volunteers; must be renewed every five (5) years)
- Complete this clearance online and download/print your results immediately. Please save the Control Number provided.
Act 151 Child Abuse Clearance (required for new volunteers; must be renewed every five (5) years)
- Complete this clearance online and download/print your results immediately. You may also receive your results by mail within 14 days.
Act 114 FBI Fingerprints (required for new volunteers; must be renewed every five (5) years)
Note: if the person has resided in Pennsylvania for ten (10) consecutive years prior to the date listed on the Volunteer Disclosure Statement, then the person does not need to submit the Act 114 FBI Fingerprints clearance. There is a check box at the end of the Volunteer Disclosure Statement to indicate residency.
- Enter your service code (1KG6Y3 for Volunteering)
- Complete registration process
- Select a location & appointment time.
- Print the pre-enrollment form to take to your appointment.
Tuberculosis (TB) Test (required for volunteers with direct contact with students for 10 or more hours per week)
- The tuberculin test shall be performed by a physician of the volunteer's choice. The volunteer shall provide the school with a report/physicians’ note showing that the test was administered. Testing must occur before serving as a school volunteer and within three (3) months of submitting volunteer documentation to the school.
Step #2 - New Volunteers Only: Once the volunteer documents are received and reviewed by the district, the volunteer will receive an email with instructions and information to complete the required online training through the Global Compliance Network (GCN). This email will contain step-by-step instructions, username information, and a direct link to complete the training. The volunteers will need approximately 20-30 minutes to complete this online training.
All visitors must enter the building through the main entrance and proceed directly to the office; visitors will sign in, show identification, and receive a visitor's pass. This pass must be worn in a prominent place at all times while in the building. At the end of the visit, please return to the office, sign out and return the pass. At no time are parents or visitors to enter the school building and go directly to their student's classroom or any other area of the building. We value the health, safety, and welfare of our students. Therefore, in an effort to protect our students, all staff members will be required to ask anyone they see in the building for the visitor's badge. Staff members will respectfully direct any person without a badge to the office.
Parental interest in the educational process is the lifeline of school performance. Occasionally, a parent or guardian may request the opportunity to visit the classroom. These visits must be arranged in advance with your student’s teacher and school principal.
In addition, it should be understood after 8:30 AM that no visitors may interrupt the instructional process by taking a teacher's attention away from the students while classes are in session. Security of the building and the safety of our students are our top priority.
- Visitors shall sign the visitor log located in the main office area and receive a visitor’s badge which must be always worn in a visible location at all times while the visitor is present in a district building. Wissahickon requires all visitors to provide a photo ID (e.g., driver’s license) for entrance into the building.
- Visitors should turn off all cell phones while inside the building.
- Infants and young students are not allowed into the classroom during a visit as this can be disruptive to the learning process.
- Visitors should enter the classroom quietly and take a seat as suggested by the teacher.
- Visitors should not attempt to communicate with the teacher or the students during instructional time. It is important that classroom activities continue as planned by the teacher.
- Visitors should not view student work such as journals, logs, folders, etc. unless the work is authored by their own student. This is to protect the confidentiality of all students in the classroom. Visitors shall report to the Main Office area and sign out on the visitor’s log before leaving the district building.
Bicycles, Scooters, Skateboards, and Rollerblades
Because of the danger inherent in situations where there is automobile and bus traffic, students are not permitted to ride bicycles, scooters, skateboards or roller-blades to and from school without parent/guardian supervision.
Electronic Devices, Cell Phones, Smartwatches, & Toys in School
We believe that students should primarily focus on learning when they are in school. No electronic games, electronic tablets, trading cards, toys, or special possessions of students should be brought to school. This list is not all-inclusive. Occasionally some of these items are costly, look the same, and are easily broken, lost, or stolen. This can result in anger, accusations, or disappointment. Unfortunately, even putting items in one's backpack or desk does not ensure security. With their many duties, teachers cannot be expected to guard students' belongings.
Electronic devices such as cell phones may not be used at school during the school day, which also includes bus transportation. These devices must be turned off and kept in backpacks during the school day and on bus transportation.
Watches that act as communication devices (i.e. smartwatches) are permitted to be worn for time purposes, but they are not to be used during the school day as a communication device (i.e. texting and making calls).
If a student uses an electronic device during the school day, the teacher will remind the student to turn it off and place it in their backpack. If the student is found to use the device again, the device will be held at the main office of the school until the parent/caregiver may pick it up.
If a parent/caregiver needs to communicate with their child during the school day, the main office should be notified. Parents/caregivers are asked to avoid contacting their child during the school day through a cell phone or smartwatch.
The school is not responsible for any lost, stolen, or damaged cell phones. All electronic devices are brought to school at their own risk.
There may be an occasion when a student might be given permission to bring one of these items to school for a specific educational purpose. In this instance, the teacher will discuss this with the student and/or parent/caregiver. Your support is appreciated. The building principal has discretion over the safety and appropriateness of all items.
Lost and Found Articles
Check the “Lost and Found” regularly for any lost items. Found articles will be displayed periodically so that students may make claims. Helpful hint: All personal articles belonging to your student should be marked or labeled on the inside with the student’s name. This includes book bags, wallets, lunch boxes, and articles of clothing such as sweaters, jackets, hats, etc. Unclaimed items will be donated at the end of each trimester.
Money and Valuables
Students should not carry large sums of money or other valuables to school. If it is necessary for a student to bring money or other valuables to school, the student should arrange for safekeeping with the teacher. The school is not responsible for lost, stolen, or missing items.
Recess is a time when our students take a break from learning in the classroom. However, we are well aware of how much there is to learn on the playground as well. Clearly, recess supports the development of social skills and the overall health and well-being of our students. It is the time of the school day when students engage in unstructured play and make choices, develop rules for play, and practice important social skills such as sharing, taking turns, being a good sport, cooperating, listening to others, and solving conflicts, to name a few. Recess/lunch aides supervise students during this time of the school day.
The Wissahickon School District has adopted a recess before lunch schedule; recess is approximately a fifteen-minute experience. After much consideration and research, the district chose to position recess before lunch. This has proven to have several benefits: students tend to make healthier choices about what they eat, the students eat more and drink more fluids, less food is thrown away, and there are fewer visits to the school nurse and playground injuries. A second recess is an approximate ten to fifteen-minute experience in the late afternoon and monitored by the classroom teacher.
The classroom teacher is the initial contact in situations concerning your student. The principal should be contacted if the parent/caregiver cannot resolve the concern with the classroom teacher or in matters dealing with general school policies.
Contacting Classroom Teachers
The school urges parents/cargivers to be in touch with their student’s teacher if questions about school arise. Do not wait too long to discuss concerns. Please call or e-mail the teacher to set up a time to ask questions or discuss concerns. During instructional times, all phone calls will go directly to voice mail and messages will be picked up as soon as possible. Calls of an urgent nature should go directly to the main office, including last-minute changes to a student’s dismissal. Unscheduled meetings on the playground or in the halls are not appropriate times for any discussions. Privacy is important in order to provide you and your student with undivided and professional attention.
Contacting the Principal
If you have a question or concern that warrants administrative attention, please contact the building principal by phone or e-mail to set a time to discuss the matter. To schedule an appointment, please contact the school secretary.
School Start and End Times
For the 2023-2024 school year, these are the school start and end times for students.
- Blue Bell: 8:35 AM to 3:15 PM
- Lower Gwynedd: 8:30 AM to 3:10 PM
- Shady Grove: 8:30 AM to 3:10 PM
- Stony Creek: 8:35 AM to 3:15 PM
On early dismissal days, elementary students will be dismissed at 11:50 AM unless otherwise noted on the district calendar. On these days there is no lunch or recess, but breakfast is available.
Students Remaining After School
When students are dismissed, they are expected to go directly home. If a student is to stay at school for a school-related reason, school personnel will obtain permission from the parent/caregiver in advance.
Please note that students may not re-enter the building after school is dismissed due to a need for security and the fact that the custodians should not be pulled from their duties to supervise those who forgot their books or assignments. Students must take an active role in these responsibilities. Concerns or questions relating to homework assignments should be directed to your student’s teacher.
- District (and middle and high schools)
- Mascot: Trojans
- Colors: Blue and Gold
- Blue Bell Elementary
- Mascot: Blue Sharks
- Colors: Blue and gold
- Lower Gwynedd Elementary
- Mascot: Leopards
- Colors: Blue and gold
- Shady Grove Elementary
- Mascot: Bulldogs
- Colors: Blue and gold
- Stony Creek Elementary
- Mascot: Owls
- Colors: Blue and red
Self-discipline and the acceptance of individual responsibility are stressed throughout school life. A fair, consistent discipline policy is an integral part of our sound educational program. A major goal of the school program is to maintain the best possible environment for learning. To reach this goal it is important that all members of our school family respect the basic rights of others. All students are to attend school free of physical or verbal abuse and to feel secure with their own property. Click here to review the Code of Student Conduct: https://www.wsdweb.org/parent-hub/code-of-student-conduct
Student Progress and Assessments
The system of reporting student progress has three formal phases: progress report cards, parent conferences and standardized testing.
Progress reports are issued three times a year. The purpose of the progress report is to communicate to students and their parents/caregivers the student’s progress in the school program during the marking period. Parents/caregivers view and print student progress report cards at the Infinite Campus Community Portal. Parents/caregivers without internet access are welcome to contact their student’s school’s main office to request that a paper copy of the progress report card be sent to them.
Parent/caregivers conferences are scheduled in the fall and spring for every elementary student. Conferences provide a personal opportunity for information and “feedback” about the student’s growth, performance and behavior. Parents/caregivers are strongly urged to attend. Conferences will be offered in-person and virtually to meet the needs of all families.
Assessment of Student Progress
Standardized testing is administered to students to provide a continuing record of each student’s academic progress in comparison with national norms. Parents/caregivers will receive information regarding their student’s progress following standardized test administration.
All official student records (roll books, progress reports, cumulative folders, test data sheets, concert programs, etc.) must list students by their legal names only. This means the name that appears on the birth certificate or other legal document. At no time is it permissible for any school authority to use any other name on official student records, for example, a nickname or a surname of a stepparent where the student’s name has not been legally changed.
Change of Student Information
Parents/caregivers are responsible for reporting to the school office any change of address, telephone number or other pertinent information that may occur during the school year. As soon as such a change occurs, the school should be notified. We must have current information in order to notify you should an emergency occur.
Students of Divorced Parents/Caregivers with Custody Decree
At registration time, the parent/caregiver must present the custody document to the school principal. The school district will follow the terms of the custody decree specifically. A copy of the document will be maintained in the student’s school file. It is the responsibility of the parent(s)/caregiver(s) to ensure that the custody agreement language is clear so that the administrator is able to understand the expectation.
Students of Single, Separated or Divorced Parents/Caregivers with No Custody Decree
Both parents/caregivers will be allowed equal access to the student as well as to all data pertaining to the student: educational and health records, the right to attend parent/guardian conferences and school activities. The parent/caregiver with whom the student is living will routinely receive all communications regarding their student. The nonresident parent/caregiver may request in writing the same information. This request should be addressed to the building principal. The district will make reasonable efforts to comply with such requests.
Parents/caregivers will be notified and urged to attend meetings pertaining to special education placement, discussions pertaining to promotion or retention, suspensions, expulsions or other serious disciplinary matters. Therefore, it will be the parents’/caregivers'’ responsibility to keep the school information of their current addresses and phone numbers.
The parent/caregiver with whom the student is living will be notified in the event of serious accidents. If this parent/caregiver is not available, the person(s) listed in the student information system will be contacted based on the listed emergency priority. The nonresident parent/caregiver may request in writing that he/she be notified in the event of a serious accident. The district will make reasonable efforts to comply with such requests.
Safety on School Grounds
It is essential that parents/caregivers and others driving onto or around school grounds be mindful of school area speed limits, parking designations, common driver courtesy, school buses, traffic regulations – and especially – students. The safety of students is paramount.
Photographs/Video of Students and Social Media
Out of respect for the privacy and safety of our students, parents/caregivers are not permitted to post photographs or video clips of our students during school-sponsored activities on any of the current social media sites.
Student Abuse or Neglect
To ensure the safety and well-being of every student, whenever there is reasonable cause to suspect student abuse or neglect, all school staff are required by law to report to the appropriate county and/or local authorities. They are considered mandated reporters.
“Abused Student” means a student under 18 years of age who exhibits evidence of serious physical or mental injury not explained by the available medical history as being accidental.
The Wissahickon School District has an extensive array of regular and special education programs and services that provide the opportunity for all students to achieve the ultimate benefit from their educational experience, including:
- Social Work Services
- Psychological Services
- Clinical Support Counseling
- Speech and language, occupational, physical, vision and hearing therapies, as well as assistive devices, provided to eligible students
- Services for students receiving support through a Section 504 Service Agreement
- Services for students receiving support through specially designed instruction via an Individualized Education Plan (IEP)
- Services for students receiving support through a Gifted Individualized Education Plan (GIEP)
We ask that you review these points and keep them in mind when planning classroom and school activities. Please contact your school nurse if you would like a list of non-food items that can be used as rewards, need a list of safe snacks, or have any other questions regarding your child’s health and well-being.
- Consideration shall be given to promoting health and reducing childhood obesity when offering food during the school day
- Fundraising projects shall be encouraged to be supportive of healthy eating and student wellness
- The use of food as a reward (or punishment) is discouraged
- Classroom parties can include fresh fruits and vegetables, water or non-fat milk, low fat frozen yogurt or low fat ice cream as an alternative to regular ice cream, and a selection of peanut/tree nut-free snack choices (there may be times for various reasons that a classroom may not be able to have food items at a classroom party. The classroom teacher will notify their classroom families in such cases)
- Foods containing potentially life-threatening allergens (peanuts, tree nuts, etc.) will be clearly marked
- Non-food items are suggested as an alternative to food
- Follow serving sizes
Translation and Interpretation Services
The Wissahickon School District offers free language assistance services to limited English proficiency parents/caregivers. Translation and interpreter services are available by contacting the principal of your student’s school. If you have not already completed a Home Language Survey, the Home Language Survey is available from the District’s Registrar and, upon request, a hard copy or interpretation of the Home Language Survey may be obtained in the language that you can understand. If you have any questions or concerns regarding parent/caregiver communications or access to interpreter or translation services, please contact your student’s building principal.
Bus transportation to and from school is available for all elementary students who reside within the district boundaries and live beyond one mile of their school of attendance or to students living within one and one-half mile if they walk along or cross a state identified hazardous route.
Resident elementary students will be required to attend the elementary school designated for their area of residence. Requests of parents/guardians for a student to attend an elementary school outside the area of residence due to educational needs must be submitted in writing to the superintendent of schools. If the request is granted, it will be with the understanding that the parent/guardian provide transportation to and from school. If the school district recommends that a student attends an elementary school outside his/her area of residence on the basis of educational needs, the district will provide transportation to and from school for that student. Bus information is posted on the district website for your reference.
Questions concerning bus transportation should be directed to the Transportation Department, 215-619-8114.
Expectations for Riding the School Bus
The school staff will review the following regulations with their students. It also is important that this information be reviewed by the parent/caregiver with the student if the student rides a school bus:
- Students are expected to show the same respect to bus drivers as that afforded to their parents/caregivers and teachers.
- Students should not eat or drink on the bus or chew gum. Younger students are seated toward the front of the bus, and all students are to remain seated with hands and feet out of the aisle.
- The bus driver will familiarize your student with the bus rules. Students should recognize however that the bus and bus stop are still considered to be part of their school day and are therefore subject to the expectations and consequences listed in the Student Code of Conduct. Bus drivers have bus incident reports that are issued to the principal in the event that the behavior is serious in nature, and at that time, parents/caregivers will be contacted, and the principal will issue consequences to the student accordingly.
- Students may ride only that bus to which they are assigned. Riding another student’s bus for social purposes will not be permitted (i.e., play dates).
- Standing, switching seats or moving around on a moving school bus is not permitted. These actions may interfere with the driver’s performance.
- Student misconduct on buses will be reported to the bus coordinator or the principal. Bus transportation is a privilege. Repeated infractions of the bus rules may necessitate temporary or permanent denial of bus privileges.
- Students should wait for the bus in a safe place, well off the roadway.
- Students must form lines to board the bus.
- The WSD Board Policy # 810.1 governs the use of video and/or audio recording on school vehicles. Most school buses have video camera systems.
Parent/Caregiver Pick-up and Drop-off
Students should not arrive before 8:15 AM (Lower Gwynedd and Shady Grove) or 8:20 AM (Blue Bell and Stony Creek), because supervision is not available prior to that time. The instructional day begins at 8:30 AM at Lower Gwynedd Elementary and Shady Grove Elementary and at 8:35 AM at Blue Bell Elementary and Stony Creek Elementary.
Student dismissal time is 3:10 PM at Lower Gwynedd Elementary and Shady Grove Elementary and 3:15 PM at Blue Bell Elementary and Stony Creek Elementary. If the student is leaving school before the normal dismissal time, the parent/caregiver must come to the school office to sign the student out. If an emergency arises making it impossible to pick up the student at normal dismissal time, please notify the school so that transportation arrangements for the student can be made.
Change of Mode of Dismissal
Changes to dismissal after 2:30 PM may make it difficult to communicate to classroom teachers and students; therefore, it is expected that the parent/caregiver will provide any change to dismissal as early in the day as possible. In the event of an emergency after 2:30 PM, parents/caregiver are expected to contact the main office directly.
If a parent/caregiver wishes to change a student’s mode of dismissal (i.e., walker, bus rider, parent/caregiver pick up, etc.), it is necessary to write a note or send an e-mail to the classroom teacher and copy the principal’s secretary indicating the change. All notes will be kept on file in the main office.
Requests for students to change buses to visit friends after school cannot be honored since most of our school buses are at or near capacity and should not be used for social play dates. However, if they will be picked up as car riders or walkers, a note will be needed from both sending and receiving parents. Parents/caregivers are reminded that students may ride only that bus to which they have been assigned. We thank you in advance for your cooperation and support.
Any individual, to whom students may be dismissed, must be identified in the student information system. Please be sure to keep your information in the student information system updated. If for any reason someone will pick up your student other than who is listed in the system, the parent/caregiver must send a dated note to the office of this change.
Title IX & Non-Discrimination Information
The Wissahickon School District affirms that no person shall, on the basis of sex, disability, race, color, age, creed, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, ancestry, veteran’s status or genetic information be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination in any educational program or activity. In addition, no person shall, on any of these bases, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination in employment, or recruitment, or consideration, or selection, therefore, whether full-time or part-time, under any educational program or activity operated by the district. The district shall make reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities upon request.
Anti-Harassment/Anti-Retaliation Statement: The district does not tolerate sexual harassment. Any individual who believes they have been subjected to sexual harassment is strongly encouraged to make a report which will be promptly and thoroughly investigated. Retaliation against individuals who file complaints about sexual harassment, or participate in the investigation of such complaints, is strictly prohibited.
Students or staff found to have engaged in sexual harassment or retaliation will be promptly disciplined, and such discipline may include, if circumstances warrant, suspension, expulsion and/or termination. Students, parents and staff are encouraged to work together to prevent sexual harassment.
Notice of Non-Discrimination: Pursuant to Title IX of the Education Amendment Act of 1972, the district does not discriminate on the basis of sex in the education programs or activities that it operates. This requirement not to discriminate in the district’s education programs and activities extends to employment with and admission to the district.
Designated Title IX Coordinator: In compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendment Act of 1972, the district has a designated Title IX Coordinator who should be contacted regarding any inquiries as to the application of Title IX or filing a harassment complaint.
Please contact Keziah La Torre, Director of Equity and Cultural Responsiveness and Title IX Coordinator/Compliance Officer by phone (215) 619-8000 ext. 1120.
In addition to contacting the district’s Title IX Coordinator to file a report of harassment, all students and parents may report allegations of harassment to the applicable building principal. Please refer to Board Policy 103 Nondiscrimination in School and Classroom Practices; and Board Policy 104 Non-Discrimination in Employment Practices.