Regular attendance is vital to the process of Jewish education. Our educational goals and our goal of creating a cohesive community can only be accomplished through consistent participation in the program. Parents play a major role in ensuring that students attend regularly, are prepared for class and keep up with any necessary make-up work. Our best chance of success depends on students’ ability to view religious school as a serious and worthwhile commitment. Your support in creating this attitude is crucial and greatly appreciated. The School Committee has established the following attendance standards:
Students are expected to be on time and to arrive prepared for class (e.g., with appropriate materials). When a latecomer does enter the classroom, the interruption is disruptive to the other students and the latecomer has to struggle with “jumping in” to the middle of the day’s lesson. On occasions when a student cannot avoid arriving late, he/she needs to sign in at the main office. If a student is late several times in a school year, you may receive a phone call from the teacher or Director of Education asking you to renew your efforts to get students to school on time.
Similarly, students are expected to remain in class until dismissal, except under unusual circumstances. Should special circumstances require you to pick up your child prior to the end of school, please come to the office first. Whenever possible, please send a note to the teacher as advanced notice of a planned absence, tardy or early dismissal.
Students are expected to attend a minimum of 80% of all classes and complete all school work. When a student is absent the teacher may send home a make-up assignment. These assignments are designed to enable the students to keep up with their classes. The assignment is due when the student returns to the next class.
In addition to providing make-up work, we will contact you following three consecutive absences. This contact is an expression both of our concern for the students' well-being and for the quality of the educational experience. Whenever possible, please call the temple office in advance to notify us that your child will not be attending religious school.
If students miss an excessive number of classes, the Director of Education will arrange to meet with the family to discuss whether successful completion of the school year is possible. At that time, the Director may also recommend what steps would be necessary to ensure successful completion of the curriculum. Tutoring may also be recommended.
We realize that students have demanding schedules. While teachers limit the amount of homework, some work time out of class is necessary. This is particularly true for the acquisition of Hebrew language skills. Hebrew School students are expected to practice reading for 10 minutes each night. When homework is given in Sunday school, teachers are encouraged to give creative assignments that involve parents -- with the goal of enhancing family connections through Jewish learning. Please check with your child regarding assignments and help to see that they are completed. Your assistance is greatly appreciated. Homework will not be assigned during school vacation weeks (December, February, and April).
It is our hope that communication between teachers and parents will be ongoing. We encourage our teachers to be in touch with you, both about the class and about your child, through email, regular mail, and by phone. At the beginning of the school year, all teachers send home a letter of introduction, which includes their contact information. Some teachers include a home phone number with their contact information. Please use this number as necessary, with discretion, but please do not call teachers on Shabbat. If there is an important occurrence in your child's life (e.g., family illness, birth of a child, etc.), it would be helpful for us to know about it, especially if it has the potential to affect your child's functioning in school. We want to be of assistance if we can.
Should you have concerns about your child's progress, speak with the teacher or the Director of Education. The earlier we can identify and discuss any problems, the more likely we are to be able to find a constructive and successful solution. In other words, even if your concern is over something small, call! Better to deal with the concern when it is still small. Of course, it is also wonderful to hear from parents who have positive feedback to offer!
Please notify us at the beginning of the year if your child has any learning disability or other special needs that we should be aware of so that we may plan appropriately for your child. There is a form for this information. Also, please let us know throughout the year if there are any changes regarding your child’s needs - new developments or diagnoses. We can't help or respond appropriately if we don't know.
Teachers will keep you up-to-date about what is happening in the classroom with regular emails or newsletters. Please look for them! In addition, we will mail out a written progress report two times during the year—at the conclusion of first semester and at the end of the school year.
BETC SCHOOL FOOD AND ALLERGY POLICY
At Beth El Temple Center Religious School, we recognize that food is an important and enriching part of our Jewish tradition and can play an exciting role in creative teaching. We try to honor this positive role of food in our curriculum and community celebrations, while maintaining as our top priority the need to keep safe our students with food allergies and intolerances. Please understand that our concern is founded in facts:
=> According to a study released in 2013 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food allergies among children increased approximately 50% between 1997 and 2011
=> Peanuts and tree nuts are the leading cause of fatal and near fatal food anaphylaxis***
=> Beth El Temple Center currently has several students with known food allergies, many of which are potentially life threatening
For these reasons we adhere strictly to the following food policy:
***Adapted from F.A.C.T.S c2003 Theresa Normile
BETC RELIGIOUS SCHOOL BEHAVIOR POLICY
Our behavior policy is guided by a commitment to kavod --the basic respect due both to teachers and to other students. In addition, we are keenly aware that we will only achieve our education goals if there is mutual respect and cooperation between teacher and student.
The Beth El Temple Center Religious School strives to provide a positive climate in which all our students can thrive. While we emphasize classroom learning, there are additional goals of building a community through kavod and derech eretz- respect and treating people in the correct manner. Our teachers are committed to treating all students with dignity and respect. Our expectation is that students will treat their teachers and classmates in the same manner. This serves to put Jewish values into action at all times - not just in the classroom. Effective learning results when students, teachers, and parents are working together to implement these policies.
Positive behavior will be encouraged and reinforced in each classroom. Teachers, along with their students, will set up basic classroom rules to develop a positive community learning environment. If a student interrupts the learning process and does not demonstrate the honor and respect that is expected, the teacher will take steps to help the student conduct himself/herself properly. Parents will always be notified and involved in the process. If a student violates this established policy, the teacher or Education Director will take corrective actions in the following sequence:
As appropriate, the Director of Education and/or School Committee reserve the right to skip steps and respond more directly or strictly to a more serious disruption or offense.
Because the BETC Religious School greatly values our positive, inclusive, and caring learning environment, we treat bullying as a serious offense. Students have the right to learn in a safe and sensitive environment at all times. Bullying in all its forms, whether verbal, physical, or psychological, is completely unacceptable. We encourage parents and students to speak with us at any time concerning bullying issues.
Parent/Guardian Requests to Observe in their Child’s Classroom
Parents and volunteers are welcome in our school. Classroom visits by parents are allowed with prior approval by the Director of Education. After an initial consultation with Beth Goldstein, the parent(s) will be asked to submit a written request containing the following information:
Once the request has been submitted and approved, the parent(s) will be required to sign a confidentiality agreement before being allowed to observe. The Director of Education reserves the right to deny any parent observation/visit to the classroom.
BOOKS AND MATERIALS
Books and materials will be distributed in class at the first session (or, as appropriate during the year). Students are expected to bring all books and materials to class each week. Some books belong to the students and are theirs to keep while others are used as classroom sets. Hebrew students receive a CD in kitah Bet (4th grade) which covers prayers to be chanted in Bet, Gimmel & Dalet. Please keep your child’s CD in a safe place throughout his/her Hebrew School years and encourage the use of this important audio recording for practice in learning how to chant and sing specific prayers. While we can replace lost CDs, replacements become costly, so there will be a replacement fee of $3.00 for each additional copy.
At times, it is fine for students to bring guests to class. Permission from the teacher and the Director of Education and/or Rabbi-Educator must always be received ahead of time.
Working in conjunction with the Belmont Police Department and the BETC House Committee, the Religious School has developed emergency protocol in response to fire, natural disaster, hazardous leaks, or the presence of an intruder in the building. Each classroom has a laminated “Rapid Response” emergency card, posted by the classroom door. The card 1) describes the warning signal (such as 3 bells or a fire alarm) that would sound to alert teachers and students of an emergency and 2) the immediate steps to take in the case of each specific type of emergency. The cards cover both evacuations and lock-downs. Note that, should we need to evacuate to another safe location, our designated shelter is the Sancta Maria Hospital, 799 Concord Ave, diagonally across the street from BETC.
In case of inclement weather or other potential reason to cancel Sunday or Hebrew School, please listen to announcements made over the following radio stations:
· News Radio WBZ 1030 AM and Channel 4 (CBS) (Sundays only)
· WHDH-TV – Channel 7 News (NBC) and Talk Radio WRKO AM 680
· WCVB-TV-- Channel 5 News (ABC)
· If Belmont has no school on a weekday, there will be no Hebrew School. (If you are not a Belmont resident, please listen for Belmont school closings carefully as the office becomes inundated with calls).
RELIGIOUS SCHOOL DISMISSAL POLICY
Hebrew School (Wednesday):
Our first and most important concern is for the safety of all our children.
Parents are asked to park, come inside, and pick students up directly from the classroom at the end of Hebrew School. Teachers will release students to a parent or guardian only at the classroom door. Sixth and seventh graders are an exception to the rule and may be released to the lobby, but are not to go outside without a parent. In the case of a carpool, families may agree upon a designated “pick up classroom” by making a standing arrangement with the classroom teacher. The students can congregate in the designated classroom until the carpool parent arrives to pick up the group.
On Sundays, younger students (3rd grade and under) need to be picked up at the classroom. However, older students (grades 4-7) do not need to be picked up at the classroom door; they may meet parents in the foyer or outdoors. Our Sunday policy differs from Wednesdays for various reasons: it’s light outside, parking lot traffic is less condensed, and we are more prone to hallway bottlenecks.
PARKING LOT GUIDELINES: