Policies & Procedures

ATTENDANCE

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:

 

Tardiness

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.

 

Excessive Absences

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.

 

 

HOMEWORK

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).

 

 

COMMUNICATION/EVALUATION

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:

  •  Aside from regular snack provided by the school, food may be offered in the K-9 classroom in conjunction with curriculum, or used selectively for celebrations and rewards.  Teachers must have the advance approval of the Director of Education in order to serve food.  If your son or daughter has a known food allergy, which you have indicated on his/her medical form, the teacher will contact you in advance of any class activity involving food.  Parents are responsible for ensuring that our records on food allergies and other important medical issues are updated, both when registering students annually for school, and throughout the year, as they become aware of any changes in a student’s medical status.  There is a form for this information.
  • In a classroom where there is a child with a life-threatening food allergy, there must be no food containing that allergen in the classroom.
  • When a food label states “may contain..” or “processed in a facility that also processes…”, it is assumed that the allergen is present.
  • Teachers are trained in the use of an epi-pen and have an action plan to implement if they suspect a possible allergic reaction.
  • Parents of students with food allergies are asked to provide an allergy action plan, with six copies of your student’s photo attached, to the Director of Education at the start of the school year, or as soon as possible after the condition is diagnosed.  Copies are kept in the two student medical records binders, in substitute folders, and in each of the student’s classrooms.  Parents are also asked to personally notify their teachers of the food allergy.
  • Substitutes, upon their required check-in to the Director of Education’s office, will receive a substitute folder containing records of student allergy plans and other relevant student medical information.
  • Committees and other groups meeting in classrooms are asked to wipe down tables with soap and water if serving snacks (filled spray bottles and paper towels are kept in every classroom, the library, the downstairs meeting room, the upstairs meeting room, and the bride’s room).
  • Parents should assume that food may be present at school and family education events where parents are expected to be in attendance with their kids.  On such occasions the event sponsor will make every effort to create a safe environment (making food labels available when possible, asking for food providers to avoid nuts and nut oils), however, ultimately, the nature of our vibrant and well-used space means that we can’t prevent all exposures. We ask for the support of our community, but parents are responsible for the safety of their own students at such events.

 ***Adapted from F.A.C.T.S c2003 Theresa Normile
References:  The Peanut Allergy Answer Book, Michael C. Young, M.D.
American Academy of Asthma, Allergy and Immunology

 

 

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.

  • Students have a responsibility to conduct themselves in a manner that is in the best interest of Beth El Temple Center and its students.
  • Parents have a responsibility to help students develop positive attitudes toward study and behavior.
  • Teachers have a responsibility to develop and encourage positive behavior through teaching and classroom management.
  • The Administration and the School Committee are committed to supporting the behavior policy.

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:

 

  1. The teacher will remind the student of the rules.
  2. The teacher will take steps to resolve the situation in class.
  3. The teacher may ask the student to stand outside of the room for a brief time out. The teacher will contact the parents if s/he deems it appropriate.
  4. The student will be asked to leave the class and report to the school office.   The teacher or Director of Education or Rabbi-Educator will contact the parents.
  5. In cases where disruptive behavior continues, the Director of Education and/or Rabbi-Educator will meet with the parents and the student to discuss the situation further.  Parent(s) may be asked to attend the class with the student for one session and/or a behavior contract will be created for the student.
  6. The Director of Education will have the right to remove the student from class for a day.  During that time, the student will be expected to complete assigned work.  The expectation is that the child will return to class as a productive and positive member of the class.
  7. The Director of Education and the Rabbi in consultation with the Chair of the School Committee will have the option of removing the student from the class.

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.

 

Bullying

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:

  •  An explicit statement of what is being requested including how long the parent wants to sit in the classroom in a given period and over how many class periods.
  • A clear rationale for the request – Why does the parent think this will be helpful?  What is the parent hoping to get out of the opportunity?
  • A brief comment on how the parent thinks the child will view the observation – if the child is uncomfortable with having the parent sit in the classroom, what is the strategy for managing this?
  • A clear statement of what the parent plans to do after observing the classroom (e.g. Writing a description of what was observed, what remaining concerns are, or how to address the concerns that have come up thus far.)
  • A brief comment of what a satisfactory outcome might look like

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.

 

 

GUESTS

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.

 

 

EMERGENCIES

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.

 

 

SCHOOL CLOSINGS

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.

 

Sunday School:

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:

  •  Enter the parking lot only from Blanchard Street and exit only onto Concord Ave.
  • When driving in the parking lot, obey a speed limit of 5-10 m.p.h.
  • Do not park in the spaces closest to the building or in front of the playground.
  • Dropping students off may be done either by stopping briefly at the front ramp or by parking and accompanying students into the building.