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Toronto Catholic District School Board

School Handbook
 
SCHOOL HOURS:
A.M. START TIME 8:30 a.m.
A.M. RECESS 10:15-10:30 a.m.
 
LUNCH 11:15-12:15 p.m.
P.M. START TIME 12:15 p.m.
P.M. RECESS 1:40-1:55p.m.
 
DISMISSAL 3:00 p.m.
Supervision is provided from 8:15 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Please do not drop off your child before 8:15 a.m. as there will not be a teacher on duty prior to this time.

TCDSB SCHOOL YEAR CALENDAR 2017-2018
Number of school days                                  194
Number of Professional Activity Days           7
Labour Day                                                     September 4, 2017
First Instructional Day                                    September 5, 2017
Thanksgiving Day                                           October 9, 2017
Christmas Break                                             December 25, 2017–January 5, 2018
Start of 2nd semester for high school             February 5, 2018
Family Day                                                      February 19, 2018
Mid-Winter Break                                           March 12–16, 2018
Good Friday                                                    March 30, 2018
Easter Monday                                               April 2, 2018
Victoria Day                                                   May 21, 2018
Last day of classes elementary school         June 28, 2018      
 

   
Seven (7) Professional Activity (PA) Days for ELEMENTARY schools:

 

October 6, 2017                      Provincial Education Priorities
November 17, 2017                Parent-Teacher Conferences
December 1, 2017                   Provincial Education Priorities/Faith Development
January 19, 2018                     Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting
February 16, 2018                   Parent-Teacher Conferences
June 8, 2018                            Assessment, Evaluation and Reporting
June 29, 2018                          Provincial Education Priorities 
 

 

*Seven (7) Professional Activity (PA) Days for SECONDARY schools:

October 6, 2017

November 17, 2017   

December 1, 2017

February 16, 2018

June 27, 28, 29, 2018

 

 

 

ATTENDANCE/PUNCTUALITY
The Education Act states that students must attend school regularly and punctually. Parents are to notify the school (416) 393- 5332 of a child’s absence or lateness. You may call any time and leave a message on the answering machine. The system requires full parental co-operation to be effective. The student shall bring a written note to the school (to be given to the classroom teacher) on the day. When a child returns to school, it is the student’s responsibility to find out what work was missed and complete it within a reasonable length of time. Extended absences, for reasons other than health, require notification to the office.
 
SAFE ARRIVAL PROGRAM
If a child does not arrive at school and a phone call, or note has not been received, there will be an attempt to alert parents by telephone at home, or at their place of employment. The purpose of this program is to provide a service for parents to check that their children have arrived safely at school. The program recognizes that the ultimate responsibility for the children rests with the parents. The board, or its’ employees, are therefore not liable by law in carrying out this service.
 
DRESS CODE
All students are required to be in appropriate attire and compliant with the Board’s Dress Code Policy at all times when attending school, or during school events and activities, unless otherwise directed.
The dress code for St. Mark School is as follows:
Tops – plain white (preferred)/plain navy blue
Bottoms – Navy Blue (NO DENIM JEANS)
White tops should be plain with no visible logos, stripes etc.  Pants are to be navy blue with no stripes, marking or logos.  It Is Board policy that every student must comply in order to attend our school.  We will have no option but to impose consequences if your child does not meet the Appropriate Dress Code requirements.  We ask for your ongoing support and cooperation so that your child fulfills the expectations of all students attending St. Mark Catholic School.
 
PHONE CALLS
Unless there is an emergency the students will not be allowed to call their parents during the day. If a parent needs to talk to their children, the secretary will call him/her down so that the parent can communicate with their child.
 
PERMISSION FORMS
A permission form with a parent/guardian signature shall be required for any trips. Verbal confirmation over the phone will not be accepted in its place. If students do not have a signed permission form, he/she will NOT BE ALLOWED TO ATTEND THE EXCURSION.
 
APPOINTMENTS/AND EARLY DISMISSAL
It is strongly recommended that appointments not be made during school hours. If this is not possible the student will require a note signed by the parent/guardian and submitted to the secretary upon arrival to school in the morning.
Parents must come to the office and sign their child out. If the child returns to school before the end of the day the parent must come to the office and sign the child back in. Please do not instruct your child to meet you in the front of the school as your child will not be allowed to leave unless the parent/guardian signs the child out in the main office. If someone that is not familiar to the office comes to sign out your child the office will attempt to reach you with the phone numbers we have on file. It is important that these numbers are up-to-date. We will not sign out your child until we have spoken to the parent and he/she can verify that the person that is here to pick up the child is here so under your direction and knowledge.
 
BUSSING
All pupils are to be at their bus stop punctually. Students are to travel only on their designated bus. Pupils are to remain seated while the bus in in motion. Any activity that may distract the driver is not permitted as it endangers the safety of all.  Pupils must be especially careful when leaving the bus.  It is very important that the driver is able to see students.  Transportation privileges will be revoked for any student whose behavior poses a threat to the safety of others.  Bus drivers will document and report to the offices students failing to act safely on the bus.
The bus is an extension of the school and thus the same rules apply.  Students sign up for bussing and if they do they must take the bus every day.  They cannot pick and choose when they want to take the bus or walk home.  They will not be allowed to get on or off at different stops.
 
LUNCH
During lunch pupils are not permitted to leave the school grounds unless they have been signed out and are accompanied by a parent/guardian.
Pupils are to eat their lunch in designated seats in the assigned classroom. 
Please note:
a) If behavior becomes a consistent problem with any child we will ask parents to make other arrangements for lunch time;
b) If a student leaves the school grounds without permission and knowledge of school personnel, consequences will be an immediate suspension.  At St. Mark safety is our primary concern and will remain a priority.

 

Only tennis balls and nerf balls are permitted on school property.  Hard soccer balls, racquets, hockey sticks, bats, skateboards and roller blades, etc. 
ARE NOT PERMITTED.  Soccer balls are allowed in the soccer pitch area only.
 
Physical contact is NOT permitted on school property.  Children must keep their hands and feet to themselves.  If a child becomes involved in a conflict with another student, words must be used to tell the other person to stop.  If the conflict continues the child must be go to the teacher on duty.
 
 
VISITORS
All visitors must report to the main office upon their arrival.  When picking up your children early you must report to the office and we will call down your child and then sign him/her out.  Visitors must sign in and wear a visitor badge while in the school.  Parents are not permitted to come into the school yard.  If you need to speak to your child, you must report to the office and we will then call your child for you.  This is done for safety reasons so that only staff members are interacting with the students when outside at recess/lunch.
 

CATHOLIC SCHOOL COUNCIL (CSPC)
The St. Mark Catholic School Council is an advisory group offering recommendations and advice to the school principal on various aspects of the school.  The main purpose of the school council is to enhance student achievement and improve accountability through active participation of parents in all aspects of student life.  St. Mark Catholic School has a most active and dedicated council.  Regular meetings are scheduled and noted in the monthly calendar.  An Annual General Meeting as well as an election for School Council executive members is held in the fall.  Notices and other important information are posted on the bulletin board in the main foyer.  Council also communicates with parents via e-mail should you wish to receive information in this manner.  School-based fundraising is carried out under the jurisdiction and supervision of the principal and is a joint project with CSPC.  Participation of students in fundraising activities are prepared and presented to the community at the regularly scheduled CSPC meetings.
 
ELECTRONIC DEVICES
Students are to leave all valuables at home.  This includes cards, collections, radios, Ipods, cell phones and other electronic equipment.  Please see the acceptable use policy below for policy regarding cell phones and other electronic equipment. 
 
AFTER SCHOOL ENTRY
Please note, the caretakers have been instructed not to open class room doors after school and let parents/students in to pick up homework. 
 
 
SCHOOL SAFETY
Catholic Expectations of Students
It is a fundamental expectation that students in our Catholic Schools will follow the ethic of our Catholic faith, where empathy, care for others, and respect for life dominate, by adhering to the following principle:  “If you are aware that a student or group of students is in a dangerous situation, then you should tell a caring adult in the school community immediately
 
BILL 157(KEEPING OUR STUDENTS SAFE AT SCHOOL)
MANDATORY REPORTING IN SCHOOLS (CODE OF CONDUCT)
 
Bill 157 amends the provision in the Education Act.  The current safe school provisions came into force on February 1, 2008 with the introduction of Bill 212.
Bill 212 emphasized transparency, accountability and procedural fairness.
Bill 212 contained protections regarding the rights of an alleged perpetrator.
Bill 212 did not address the rights of the victim or providing information to parents of a victim of the nature of activity, which resulted in harm and steps taken to protect the victim’s safety.
Bill 157 came into effect February 1, 2010.
These changes will require every board employee to play a role in addressing issues of inappropriate student behavior to improve school climate and support victims (Duty to Report).
Bill 157 requires principals to contact patents of a victim of such incidents unless:
1) Victim is over 18
2) Victim 16-17 years of age and has withdrawn from parental control
3) In the opinion of principal, doing so would put the victim at risk of harm from the parent.
 
Bill 157 permits a principal to delegate his or her power under Part XIII of Education Act to a vice principal or teacher employed in the school.
 

REPORTING TO PRINCIPAL
Section 330.2 of Education Act, requires all employees of the board (teaching and non teaching) who become aware that a student may have engaged in an activity that must be considered for suspension and expulsion, to report the incident to the principal as soon as reasonably possible (must report no later than end of the school day)
 
These activities include incidents that occur: 1) while at school; 2) at a school related activity or; 3) or in circumstances where the activity will have a negative impact on the school climate.
 
Service providers such as bus drivers must also report such matters to the principal.
 
 
HOW TO REPORT
A Safe School Incident Report Form 1 is completed and given to the principal.
After the report is submitted to the principal he or she will provide a written acknowledgment or the receipt of the report (Safe Schools Incident Report Form II).
Form II identifies if action has been taken or no action is required.
If no action is taken, the report should be destroyed.
If action is taken, the form and documentation must be kept in the student’s OSR for a minimum of ONE YEAR unless the board requires a longer period.
 
 
PROGRESSIVE DISCIPLINE POLICY
Progressive Discipline is a whole school approach where the focus is on helping students to learn to respect themselves, others, work and play cooperatively and solve problems peacefully are important parts of an educational experience. The staff and students at St. Mark along with the parental involvement will work towards a Progressive Discipline approach that encourages positive behaviour. Students need and will be engaged in activities/events that reflect desirable characteristics. Our progressive discipline model will include the following three elements; 1) positive emphasis on rehabilitation rather than punitive; 2) corrective, helping students change their conduct and; 3) Progressive, increasing with severity of the discipline imposed for persistent misconduct.  The following progressive discipline process has been developed to ensure the fair and equitable treatment of all students. Mitigating circumstances play a significant part in the application of discipline procedures. Each situation will be dealt individually. Communication with parents is a vital element of the discipline process. This policy will be used for both classroom and school-wide behaviours. Our Progressive Discipline Policy will also follow the guidelines set by Toronto Catholic District School Board and the Ministry of Education.
Student Behaviour Interventions
Some of the interventions we use at St. Mark include:
  • Review school/classroom rules (social skills practice)
  • Student conference with principal (consequences by principal (loss of privileges, conferences)
  • Principal or teacher contact with parents (note, call home, conferences) or class meetings
  • Written or verbal apology by student or behavior report sent home
  • Classroom consequences by the teacher (loss or privileges, call home, or parent conference)
  • In-house time out and/or a formal suspension from school
  • In cases of serious misconduct, immediate suspension as required by law, will supercede the progressive discipline approach
 
TCDSB Acceptable Use Policy
The TCDSB Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) governs the proper use of technology and electronic communication in our schools.  The purpose of the AUP is to provide students and their parents with a set of guidelines that outline the safe and appropriate use of technology within our Catholic School system.  Included in the AUP is a definition of electronic communication to include social media, website publishing, and the use of personal electronic devices (PED’s).   In addition, it addresses expectations surrounding the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policy effective as of September 2012.  While these devices are not mandatory for classroom activities, they may be included when there is a clear educational purpose that has been identified by the teacher.
 
Definition:  Electronic communication includes but is not limited to Internet use, e-mail, and social media, browsing, publishing or posting on web sites, downloading, accessing or storing files and use of personal electronic devices.

The use of an electronic communication system within the Board has an educational and professional purpose. The term educational and professional purpose includes classroom activities and limited high quality, self-discovery activities. 
 
  • It is a privilege, not a right, to use the Board’s network and devices.  Privileges may be restricted or taken away if the AUP is violated.
  • Students must use their own student account and keep it private when using the board network or devices. 
  • Students must use the network and electronic communication for educational purposes only.
  • All students and their parents must sign the "Student Access Agreement" before they will be allowed to use the Board’s network and devices.
 
Personal Safety & Privacy:
  • A student should tell the school Principal or teacher immediately if they feel uncomfortable or not safe because of a message they received from an electronic communication such as an email, text message or photo.
  • Parents should discuss with their children the importance of protecting their personal information and privacy when using any electronic communication such as the internet. 
Password Management:
  • TCDSB student logins grant access to WiFi, school computers and devices, and educational third-party services e.g., Google Apps for Education (GAFE). 
  • Password management is very important and students must personally create their own password and it must be a strong password.
  • Students must keep their password secret, and never disclose or share a password.
  • When creating a password, we recommend that you make it easy to remember, but hard for others to guess. Avoid using personal information such as your name, email address, or mailing address.
     Password creation checklist:
     8-16 characters   
     At least 1 upper-case letter
     At least 1 lower-case letter
     At least 1 number
     No space
     No accented characters
 
 
Unacceptable Activities:
  • Trying to access or “hack” parts of the Board network or any other computer network is prohibited.
  • Purposely breaking, destroying and intentionally abusing Board computers, network, hardware, software, or electronic devices.
  • Installing, accessing or sharing unauthorized equipment, software or media files such as games.
  • Engaging in any bullying or threatening behaviour such as cyberbullying, making threats, or posting inappropriate material about another student to a social media site is unacceptable and will be dealt with according to the Education Act or school codes of conduct.
  • Impersonation or using a false identity.
  • Any use of inappropriate language (obscene, profane, threatening, harassing, bullying, racist or disrespectful) posted publically, privately, or on any websites.
 
Plagiarism and Copyright Infringement
  • Students must not plagiarize and must obtain permission for any copyright materials they use. 
Bring Your Own Computer / Personal Electronic Device (PED):
  • The student use of PEDs is a privilege, not a right and can be removed if it interferes with student learning
  • Students can bring Personal Electronic Device (PED) such as cell phones and laptops to school, but are not allowed to use them during class time unless allowed by the teacher.  Students are responsible for securing their own devices and MUST turn them off and put them away during regular school hours.  
  • The teacher may send a student to the office if a PED is used inappropriately during class time.  The administrator may confiscate the device and store it securely until the matter is resolved.
  • The school Principal may decide when and where PEDs are allowed in the school.
  • Students can use PED’s to connect to the school network for internet access only. PEDs are NOT permitted in examination rooms, unless the teacher has granted permission.
  • Board Technical support won’t be provided for any hardware, software or connectivity issues, & users may not install any Board/Ministry licensed software, unless the software has been licensed for home use
  • All student PEDs must have anti-virus protection on them before they can connect to the Board’s network
  • Students cannot take pictures or capture video with their PEDs in private areas such as washrooms or change rooms. 
  • Any pictures or videos published electronically and taken on school property or at a school event must have the permission of the individual(s), their parents or the principal/designate.
  • Any images or video that negatively impact the school climate must not be captured, transmitted or posted under any circumstances.
  • Accessing TCDSB Wi-Fi Network with a Personal Device
  • The TCDSB provides students with Wi-Fi access on their personal devices for educational purposes only. Students must restrict their use of Wi-Fi to this end.
  • Access to Wi-Fi with a personal device is restricted to the TCDSB-Guest network.
  • Any personal device connected to a Wi-Fi network other than the TCDSB-Guest (including but not limited to TCDSB-Misc) will be identified and banned from all TCDSB Wi-Fi networks.
 
Disciplinary Consequences:
  • In the event that a student violates this policy, the student (and parent, where applicable) will be provided with a notice of violation and will meet with a school administrator/designate.
  • A school administrator/designate may deny, restrict or suspend a student’s access to the Board’s network upon any violation of this policy or other rules of the school.  Appropriate legal authorities will be contacted if there is any suspicion of illegal activities.
  • The Board will cooperate fully with legal authorities in any investigation relating to illegal activities conducted through the Board’s system.