School Policies and Procedures
Education is the heart of Jewish life. All our beliefs, practices, and goals radiate from education. The ambivalence which many people feel toward education can become a self-fulfilling prophecy of unsatisfactory results. We say this to underscore how important parental consistency and support are to the success of each child's education. We have found that the parents who are supportive of our efforts have children who are more interested and involved at Etz Chaim. Students and parents have the responsibility to help make the school the way they would like it to be. With your help, the school can be a happy and purposeful place. The following policies and procedures have been developed to insure the smooth operation of our program.
RELIGIOUS SCHOOL COMMITTEE
Our religious school is administered by our Educator, with the guidance of our Religious School Committee and under the supervision of the Senior Rabbi. Congregation members are encouraged to participate as members of the Committee or as visitors to its monthly meetings. School Committee meetings are generally held on the second Wednesday of each month.
REGISTRATION AND SCHOOL
A child may be registered to attend our religious school if he/she is three years old by September 1st of that school year. Each year parents are asked to register their children for school by August 1st. A school fee for each child is payable at the time of registration. This can be made in two payments, the first to accompany the school forms and the second in January. Parents who register their children after August 1st will pay somewhat higher fees unless they are new members who have joined the congregation after the August 1st deadline. Families must be members in good standing in order to register their children for school. No refunds will be given.
Reminder: First-quarter dues must be paid in order to register for school.
TEXTS AND MATERIALS
All Judaica and Hebrew texts are to be purchased by the family and are the responsibility of the students. Each student must bring his/her textbooks, pencils and other supplies requested by the teacher to each class
POLICY ON ACADEMIC PROGRESS
We want the religious school to be a place of learning and fulfillment for every student. Sometimes problems of communication, behavior, or attendance can arise and can impede student progress. In such cases we will observe the following protocol:
The teacher will speak to the student and the principal.
If necessary, parents will be called.
If additional communication is required, a parent/teacher and/or principal
conference will be held. So that the student can maintain progress, make-up work
or remedial work may be recommended.
In the event that the preceding steps do not result in a satisfactory change of behavior and the student fails a particular course, the following procedure will be followed:
A review board, made up of two teachers and the Educator, will be formed.
The review board, in meeting with the student and parents, will hear all pertinent information.
The review board will make a recommendation for action to be taken by the student.
The parents may appeal the recommendation. The religious school review board will make a final recommendation.
The student will do the work necessary to pass the course.
PROMPTNESS AND ATTENDANCE
Students are expected to be in their classrooms a few minutes before the beginning of class so that instruction may begin promptly when the bell rings. Those arriving five or more minutes late should report to the office before entering their classrooms. Students who are late five times will be considered absent one time.
All students are expected to remain on school premises while school is in session. Please call this to your child's attention. Parents are responsible for delivering and picking up children on time. Early dismissal from religious school is allowed only upon written parental request and parents MUST come in to pick up the children.
Regular attendance is a necessity. Any student absent 30% or more of the time will be required to do extra work to meet the obligation of the class. Remember, excessive tardiness will count as an absence.
Students are welcome to bring guests to classes. Such visits, however, should be cleared in advance by the teacher.
All students entering Hebrew school must have a Hebrew name. Parents are asked to provide their children’s Hebrew names on the religious school enrollment form. In case of doubt as to the name, please inquire with either Rabbi or with the Educator.
Tzedakah is one of the most important Mitzvot in Judaism. The concept that "all Jews are responsible for one another" is a vital part of our school program. In fulfilling this mitzvah, our students voluntarily contribute funds on a weekly basis (preferably from their own allowance or earnings) to be given to a deserving cause selected by each class.
We ask parents to cooperate with us in impressing upon their children that our synagogue, as well as Westlake, should be used as if it were our home. Since our school is a place devoted to the observance and study of Jewish tradition and ritual, it should command special respect and behavior. Running in the halls is not permitted. Students are not allowed to bring snacks or gum to class, except with permission of the teacher. Tables and chairs are not to be written on. We will require that each classroom be left as clean as or cleaner than when it was found. We require high-quality manners and conduct of our students. Borrowed books should be cared for and returned. Parents will be expected to compensate the synagogue or Westlake for damage caused by their children. Your support in these efforts is very much appreciated.
At the conclusion of each class the students are responsible for writing down any assignments for the following class. Many teachers will post assignments on the school web site.
ILLNESS OR INJURY
Should a student become ill while at religious school, the parent will be notified by telephone. If necessary, the parent is expected to pick up the child at the school. In case of an injury to a child, the parent will again be notified by phone. If the parent cannot be contacted and if, in the opinion of the school administration, immediate professional attention is necessary, the child will be taken to the nearest hospital emergency room.
Written report cards will be sent home at the end of each semester. You are invited to discuss the work and behavior of your child/children with the teacher(s) or Educator at any time.
We will do most of our communications via email. If you do not have email, let us know and we will send hard copies of mailings to you. In order for this to work well, you MUST let us know if your email address changes. The school form has a place for the family email; that is the address we will use.
CANCELLATION OF SCHOOL
Should weather demand it, notification of school cancellation will be announced on local radio and TV stations and on the temple answering machine. On Sundays people will receive a phone call via the phone tree. On Wednesdays we will try to reach everyone via personal calls. If you are at home on a Wednesday afternoon, we may ask you to assist us with these calls.
RESPONSE TO EMERGENCIES
FIRE: The building is covered by an automatic fire alarm system. The school administration has an evacuation plan should a fire occur in the building. This plan is evaluated periodically by conducting fire drills. Each classroom has a map showing which exit to use.
TORNADO: In case of tornado alerts, the students will be assembled in the safest portion of the building. A horn will be sounded to alert students to take cover.
Each classroom has a volunteer parent who is called upon from time to time for assistance. Room parents may be asked to help coordinate any special events for that class. We expect all parents to help out if called upon.
OTHER VOLUNTEER POSITIONS
There are many volunteers needed to keep our school running. Besides teaching, volunteers are needed to help with snack, set up for midweek programs, work as monitors on Sunday mornings, etc. If you can give the school one Sunday each month, or more, call the school office. Your services will be greatly appreciated. In addition, each family that does not have someone teaching will be required to work one or two Sundays in the parking lot, either at Etz Chaim or at Westlake.