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Jan 16, 2017
Charlton Heights Elementary SchoolPashley Elementary SchoolStevens Elementary SchoolO'Rourke Middle SchoolBH-BL High School

Elementary School Handbook

separating rule

Student Policies & Services

Vistors to Schools

BH-BL has instituted a more secure procedures for adult entry into any of our five schools during the school day, procedures that are similar to those used by many area school districts.

Adults who come to school during the day—for example, to pick up a student or to volunteer in a classroom—must enter via the main front door, show a form of photo ID (such as a driver’s license), be buzzed into the school by a staff member, and receive a temporary visitor’s pass to be worn while in the school.

Scheduled visits by parents are always welcome in the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Schools. Please do not visit other areas of the school unless you have a prearranged appointment. We ask that you travel only to the designated area for which you signed in at the main office. We appreciate your assistance in maintaining a safe learning environment for our students and staff.

Pets & Other Animals

Animals will be permitted in BH-BL Elementary Schools but on a limited basis in accordance with school guidelines. No animals are permitted in the building without the prior approval of the principal. Parents are expected to leave pets at home when visiting BH-BL schools.

The School Day

School begins at 8:45 a.m.
Dismissal is at 3 p.m.
Dismissal for walkers/student pickups is at 3:10 p.m.

Arrival & Dismissal

There is no supervision for children dropped off at school before 8 a.m. Children are not allowed in the building until monitors are prepared to supervise them. Students are to leave the building at dismissal, which is 3  p.m. or noon on half days. They are not to be in the building after these times unless with a staff member.

If a student is taking a bus to an other-than-usual location, he or she must have a completed bus pass. If a student is being picked up by a parent or other adult, the student must have a note from home. If you do not have a bus pass, please write a note including the date, child’s teacher, child’s name, phone number where parent can be reached, parent signature, name of family where your child will be dropped off, the families address, phone number and bus number or symbol. Additional bus passes are available at the main office. Requests for changes in transportation must be in writing and will not be accepted over the telephone.

All students must be signed out at the main office if they are being picked up during the school day. Students arriving after 8:50 a.m. are tardy. They must be signed in by a parent or guardian at the Main Office and receive a late admittance pass for the classroom.


It is each student’s basic responsibility as a member of the school community to be on time and attend all classes. Daily telephone calls will be made to parents or guardians to confirm unreported absences. Children who are absent from school are not permitted to attend educational activities at school that day after school or that evening.

The following reasons for student absences from schools are recognized as legal by the NY State Education Department. Any other absence is considered unexcused and illegal.

1. Personal illness

2. Illness or death in the family

3. Impassable roads or weather making travel unsafe

4. Religious observance

5. Medical appointment

6. Approved school-sponsored trips

7. Quarantine

8. Required court appearances

The district will support and encourage a student’s efforts to maintain or improve school attendance. Every student has a right to educational opportunities that will enable the student to develop his or her fullest potential. Attendance policies are based on the principle that regular school attendance maximizes the student’s interaction with his or her teachers and peers and is a major component of academic success. Improved school attendance generally increases student achievement and reduces the drop-out rate. Therefore, attendance policies that provide for the early identification of attendance problems and effective methods to address them are most likely to succeed. Successful implementation of any attendance policy requires cooperation among all members of the education community, including parents, students, teachers, administrators and support staff.
The BH-BL elementary faculty urges parents to make children’s non-emergency medical and dental appointments either after school, on weekends, or during vacation periods. Most medical personnel are cooperative about this when you explain the importance of not disrupting your child’s education.

If your child will be absent from school or late to school, please notify main office staff before 9 a.m. on the day of the absence by either of these methods:

  • Phone: Call the school's main office and leave a message at any time of the day or night.
  • Email: Go to and click on your child's school link. Scroll down to “Absentee Call-in” and click where indicated to send us an email about your child’s absence.

New York State law requires a written excuse signed by the parent or legal guardian stating why a student was absent. You may use the form provided by the school or write your own note. The excuse must be turned into the classroom teacher on the day a student returns.

Illegal Absences & Vacations

We believe that children learn best in the classroom along with their peers. The school calendar allows many opportunities for families to arrange trips and activities so that normal school days need not be missed. Absences to attend a family vacation while school is in session are illegal under Education Law.

Homework will not be provided in advance to students in these situations. Teachers will maintain a file of homework for students to complete when they return to school. Good attendance impacts learning. Attendance data will be analyzed periodically to identify patterns or trends in student absences. School officials will use this data to analyze and address any areas where students’ absenteeism appears problematic. Further actions may include letters, conferences with students and/or parents, and contacting county agencies.

Communications with Parents

District Calendar

The printed calendar that is mailed to all district households in mid August contains much more than school and district events. Please look through the last 10 pages too. There is much information here of value to parents.

Website & Social Media

Please check the district website at often, especially your child's school webpage. This is a great information source on all aspects of the BH-BL School District and on special events taking place at your child's school. Also please note that the website can be your best information sources in an emergency or unexpected situation since we can post updated details there as often as needed in an emergency or a changing situation. There is also a lot of information posted on the district and PTA Facebook pages, as well as the district’s Twitter account.

School Closings & Delays

The Superintendent of Schools may decide to cancel or delay the start of classes in the event of severe weather, hazardous road conditions or other emergency. Every attempt will be made so elementary school students will not be left without proper parental supervision.

School closings or delayed starting times will normally first be announced between 6 and 6:30 a.m. on the district website at as well as on local television stations, Facebook and Twitter. Announcements on the website may contain more details or be more up to date than the TV, since the website has no space limit and is under the district’s direct control.

Unless otherwise announced, all scheduled uses of school facilities are canceled on a day when school is closed. Parents are requested to avoid calling schools during poor weather; it is important to keep school phone lines open. If no report is heard, it can be assumed the schools are opening on time.

BH-BL “School News Notifier”

Parents are encouraged to sign up for the “School News Notifier” (SNN) service through the district website. You can sign up to receive automatic emails — at whatever email address(es) you provide — about Charlton Heights news or you can receive an email or a cell phone message when school is closed unexpectedly. Learn more about SNN or sign up.

Change of Personal Information

For emergency purposes, the school must have up to date information on each student. Please notify the school office of any changes of address. Also, please notify the school office of any changes in phone numbers including work and cell phones.

Change in Transportation

The district provides student transportation to and from your home and/or one other location. Students will be dropped off at their scheduled stop unless the school is informed in writing. Questions about the school transportation program should be directed to the Transportation Department at 399-9141, extension 83523.

Please inform the school in writing when you:

1. Wish your child to walk or ride a bike home rather than the bus.

2. Wish your child to go to a baby sitter’s home. Please complete a bus pass and send both the original and duplicate to school with your student. More copies are available in the main office.

3. Wish for long term bus changes. Please use for a Bus Stop Change Form, which you can fill out at the main office or download. [STOP CHANGE FORM]

4. Wish your child to have a change in pickup.

Passes will not be issued that require bus rerouting, nor will they be issued for “socializing” purposes. All change requests must be in writing. For your child’s safety, we cannot accept verbal requests over the phone.

Field Trips

The Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake school district believes field trips are an important part of the educational program. By providing students with hands on experience and exposure to the larger community, field trips can greatly enhance a student’s educational experiences.

A signed permission slip from the parent or guardian is required for each child for each field trip unless it is to another school within our district (in which case, parents will be notified in writing). A child who does not provide a signed permission slip will be prohibited from participating and will be given an alternative assignment on the day of the field trip. Parents interested in chaperoning a field trip should contact their child’s teacher.

The classroom teacher will provide parents with specific instructions for lunch, appropriate dress, and arrival and departure times. If the weather is bad on the day of a scheduled field trip, parents should contact the main office to inquire about the status of the trip.

All students are expected to exhibit proper behavior on field trips. While field trips take place outside of school, school rules still apply. Students are expected to abide by the Charlton Heights Code of Conduct while on a field trip.


The overall safety of the proposed trip location and of travel conditions will be a key factor in granting approval for field trips. Should conditions change during the time between the approval of a trip and the actual date of departure, it may become necessary to cancel the trip. Also, the district follows the recommendations of the State Education Department related to Homeland Security Alerts, and parents should be aware that there is a possibility of trips being cancelled due to security concerns.

Report Cards & Conferences

Report cards and regularly scheduled parent/teacher conferences are planned throughout the year. Certain days have been established for parent/teacher conferences and staff development. Children in all elementary grades (K through 5) are dismissed early on these days. Please check the BH-BL School District Calendar for dates.

Parent/teacher conferences are held in November and December for grades K-5, at which time parents will learn about their child’s progress in class and will receive the first report card of the year. Kindergarten and first grade conferences are any time during the second semester, if necessary.

Report cards are also sent home in March and June for all students.

In addition, staff members are available to meet with you at intervening times to discuss your child’s progress or other school-related matters. If you wish to have a conference arranged, please call the classroom teacher for an appointment.

Homework Expectations

Expectations & Purposes of Homework

Individual abilities are contributing factors in determining how long a student will spend on any given task. Homework should make authentic use of students’ reading and writing skills.

Homework should be a meaningful experience, designed to develop independent work habits that will assist students during their years of study. Students need to learn to organize their work and budget their time, both for daily and long-range assignments. Charlton Heights provides all students in grades 1-5 with an individual Student Agenda Planner to help them learn how to organize their time and to facilitate home-school communication.

One important aspect of homework in elementary school is to instill in a student the idea that homework doesn’t always have to be written. Studying spelling words, reading independently, studying for tests, doing a science project, etc. all qualify as “homework.”

Homework should be seen as a reinforcement of skills learned at school, a way of practice and possible remediation or enrichment. In addition, it is an opportunity to complete unfinished class assignments if deemed necessary by the teacher.

Homework should provide a means of communication between the home and the school and an opportunity for parents to become involved in their child’s education.


The success of a homework program depends upon the cooperative efforts of students, parents, teachers and administrators.

Students - What are your responsibilities?

1. Think of your homework assignment as part of your learning experience. It is an opportunity to grow in your skill and knowledge and to pursue your interests.

2. Refer to your Agenda and collect the necessary materials.

3. Be responsible for completing the assignment on time and returning it to your teacher. Follow the expected standards of quality. With your parent, set up a suitable environment for homework time.

4. Carefully plan your activities and interests so that you will complete your homework assignment successfully.

Parents - What are your responsibilities?

1. Understand that homework is an important part of your child’s learning process that helps him or her accept the responsibilities of school life and develop and reinforce lifelong skill.

2. Provide your child with the time and space needed to complete assignments.

3. Show an interest by asking to see your child’s homework on a regular basis. This reinforces the importance of homework and provides an opportunity for you to keep informed about your child’s progress. Remember that homework is your child’s responsibility. You are not responsible for doing your child’s work, but should be concerned that he or she does it carefully and accurately. Be available to provide guidance and answer questions without doing the homework.

4. Encourage your child to have an organized approach to homework by providing requested materials such as notebooks, etc.

5. Work closely and cooperatively with your child’s teacher(s) especially if there have been difficulties with homework. Your child needs to see a connection between home and school, with consistent expectations coming from parents and teachers. This will be the most effective way to help children improve in their responsibility.

6. Check your child’s Agenda daily and sign if expected.

7. Contact your child’s teacher regarding any difficulties your child may be having with homework or projects. Contact may be made by:

  • Emailing the teacher. All teachers can be reached through the district email system, which uses the staff member’s first initial and entire last name and the extension with no spaces. For instance Jane Doe’s email would be:
  • Using the Agenda to write a note to the teacher.
  • Leaving a message at the school office asking the teacher to return your call.

8. Homework grades will be determined by individual teachers. Contact your child’s teacher if you have any questions.

Teachers - What are your responsibilities?

1. Establish homework assignments at the correct level for each student to ensure that skills taught in the classroom can be practiced and reinforced at home successfully.

2. Use the Agenda and check for signatures, notes, etc.

3. Establish acceptable standards of neatness and quality allowing for individual challenges.

4. Provide a rubric for all long-term projects, if graded.

5. Make sure students know and are capable of the basic study skill techniques appropriate for the grade level.

  • Using resource materials: glossaries, encyclopedia, etc.
  • Concentrating and developing self-discipline.
  • Listening.
  • Skimming.
  • Gathering, organizing, relating, and communicating data in their own words.
  • Making and using an outline.
  • Reading for main ideas, specific information and details.

6. To ensure students understand how to study, encourage them to ask questions in class when they are not sure of something or do not understand. Also, go over and encourage them to read the student responsibility section of this guideline.

7. Set up a system for handling late or incomplete assignments and make certain the system is understood by students and parents.

8. When making long-range assignments, make sure students have guidelines for completing the assignments and understand the due dates. Make parents aware of long-range assignments so they can help their child budget time at home properly. Work with other teachers to assure there is not an abundance of homework.

9. Contact parents and seek their cooperation when you are unable to satisfactorily resolve homework problems with a student.

Requesting assignments for students who are ill

If your child is absent from school and you feel that he or she is capable of working on assignments during an illness, you may request work. When leaving a message on the Absence Calling number (399-0227), please include a message requesting homework and indicate how you will obtain the assigned work. (For instance, would you like it sent home with another child or will you pick it up at the main office after school?) The teachers will do their best to accommodate you. Please remind your children to bring their books back when they return to school.

Assignments for students on trips

Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake discourages the practice of taking children out of school for an extended period of time. Since homework is both an extension and a reinforcement of class work, it is not as effective when done as an isolated exercise. The educational benefits derived from discussions, presentations, and demonstrations cannot be duplicated by merely reading a textbook. Teachers also find it difficult to project accurately exactly what will be taught during a child’s extended absence. It is not an easy task to predict how concepts will be grasped and content understood by the group. For all these reasons formal homework assignments will not be prepared for these extended periods. General suggestions for reinforcing reading, math, and writing skills may be made in lieu of specific homework assignments. The specific assignments can be gathered during the period of absence and provided to the child when he or she returns to school.

Estimated Homework Times

  • Kindergarten: About 15 minutes per night including reading and writing with occasional special projects
  • Grades 1 - 4: About 30 minutes per night, including reading, math facts, and spelling practice with occasional special projects
  • Grade 5: About 45 minutes per night. Daily reading and math facts are not included in this time frame. (According to State and District expectations, all math facts should be mastered by the end of fourth grade.)

Typically, weekend homework is reserved for long-term projects only.

Student Council

The Elementary School Councils consists of an Executive Committee, one representative from each class in grades 2 and 3, and two representatives from each class in grades 4 and 5. The Council works with building staff to plan such activities as theme days, fund raisers, and school/community functions.

School Food Services

Providing children with the nutrition necessary for the healthy growth of their minds and bodies is an important way to help them perform better in the classroom. Elementary students can purchase a complete, nutritionally balanced lunch including milk for $2.50. Free and reduced price lunches are also available for those who qualify. Milk can be purchased separately for 50¢ for an 8 oz. carton.

Students will receive a monthly menu indicating the entree and options for each day. (The menu is also available on the website: BH-BL uses®, which is an online system that allows parents to set up a school lunch program account for your children, deposit funds into your children’s accounts, review purchases, check balances and more. You’ll even get an email poke when account balances are low. Additionally, there’s a mobile app that allows parents to view and replenish their child’s account using a smartphone. Another meal payment option is that students may deposit money into their student account for meal or snack purchases anytime the cafeteria is open. If paying by check, please make check payable to “BH-BL School Lunch Program.” Students at the elementary level should give the check to their teacher who will deliver it to the Food Service Department to deposit.”

Eligibility for free and reduced price meals is based upon the economic need of the family. Applications for this program are distributed each September and may be obtained at the main office throughout the school year. Parents must file a new application for the program each September. Families who fail to file a new application annually will be discontinued from the program by Oct. 1. For information, please call Food Service Director Nicky Boehm at 399-9141, ext. 85003.

YMCA-sponsored School-age Child Care

Through a cooperative arrangement between BH-BL and the YMCA, Y-care is available for elementary students before and after school. The YMCA also offers care on 1/2 days, as a separate program. Y-care is located before school at Pashley, and after school at all three elementary schools. For more information, contact the Greater Glenville Family YMCA Child Care Office at 399-8118, extension 3321.

School Citizenship

This section of the handbook is addressed to all the children of BH-BL. It is a joint effort of the teachers, staff and administration and is designed to help you understand and remember some important things about living and working together at BH-BL.

School is a place where children can learn the importance of following rules. By knowing what we should and should not do, all of us will have a safer and happier school life.

Your teacher or your parents will be able to help you if there are any ideas in this booklet that you do not understand. If you have any suggestions for making this guide better, let us know and we will consider those changes the next time the handbook is reviewed.

Prohibited Student Behavior

Students may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including suspension from school, when they engage in conduct that is:

1. Disorderly, including using language or gestures that are profane, lewd, vulgar or abusive, or engaging in any willful act which disrupts the normal operation of the school community.

2. Insubordinate, including failing to comply with the reasonable directions of staff members or otherwise demonstrating disrespect, tardiness, missing and/or leaving school without permission.

3. Disruptive, including failing to comply with the reasonable directions of school personnel in charge of students.

4. Violent, including committing an act of violence such as hitting, kicking, punching, biting and scratching upon a staff member or student; possessing a weapon; displaying what appears to be a weapon; threatening to use any weapon or what appears to be a weapon; and intentionally damaging or destroying school property or property belonging to another student or staff member.

5. Endangering the safety, health, or welfare of others, including (but not limited to) lying to school personnel, stealing the property of others, discrimination as a basis for treating another in a negative manner, harassment which is intended to be perceived as ridiculing or demeaning, making statements that put an individual in fear of bodily harm, cursing or swearing, smoking, wagering, possessing or consuming alcoholic beverages or illegal substances, using or sharing prescription and over-the-counter drugs inappropriately, indecent exposure, initiating a report warning of fire without valid cause, or discharging a fire extinguisher.

6. Misconduct while on school bus, including excessive noise, pushing, shoving, fighting, and actions prohibited in school.

7. Any form of academic misconduct, including plagiarism, cheating, copying, altering records, or assisting another student in any of the above actions.

8. Any form of bullying. See details on the next page.

Bullying Prevention

No form of bullying or harassment will be tolerated in the BH-BL Schools. Here is what we mean by “bullying” at BH-BL.
Definition: Bullying is a conscious, willful, deliberate activity intended to harm in which the bully uses power through actions or intimidation to cause pain and/or misery. It can be verbal, physical, electronic and/or relational. It can include as its focus, but is not limited to, a person’s actual or perceived:

  • Physical attributes,
  • Mental ability/disability,
  • Race,
  • Ethnicity,
  • Weight,
  • Religious practice,
  • Gender,
  • Sexual orientation,
  • Socio-economic status, &
  • Other differences (perceived or real).

Bullying includes all forms of hazing and cyberbullying that may have an effect on our school environment. It can be and often is continuous and repeated over time, but does not have to be. Once is enough to constitute bullying.
BH-BL has invested much time and energy into improving anti-bullying procedures and staff training, and ensuring that our schools were ready to meet the additional requirements of the NY Dignity for All Students Act, which took effect on July 1, 2012.

BH-BL is committed to providing an educational and working environment that promotes respect, dignity and equality for all students, staff and parents. Our policies condemn and prohibit all forms of discrimination, such as harassment, hazing and bullying on school grounds, on school buses, at school bus pick-up sites, and at all school-sponsored activities, programs and events.

The district needs not only staff but also parents and other students to speak up when they see bullying taking place. As our children grow, mature, and learn to understand the impact of their words and actions on others, they need to receive a consistent message that certain words and certain behaviors are not acceptable.

Our schools cannot effectively address bullying if incidents are not reported. Anyone (including students) who feels that he or she has been bullied or harassed, who wants to report an incident of someone else being bullied, or who has questions on this topic should contact the school Anti-Bullying Coordinator in your child's school, which is the principal. [MORE INFORMATION]

Bully-Free Promise

1. I will not bully others.

2. I will help students who are bullied.

3. I will include students who are left out.

4. I will tell an adult at school and at home if someone is being bullied.

Classroom Rules & Consequences

The classroom is the prime learning center of the school. It is a pupil’s responsibility to put forth his or her best effort every day and all day. Students should know the expected behaviors and rules for their classroom set forth by their teacher. These rules assist students in making classrooms a good place to learn and a happy place to be.
Each teacher will address age-appropriate rules with his or her class. If you wish to discuss classroom rules, please inform your classroom teacher.


The consequences for inappropriate conduct were developed to help make our elementary schools safe, clean, and happy places to learn, work and play together. The rules apply everywhere in our school including the playground, cafeteria, bus and after school functions.

If a child chooses not to follow these rules, some consequences are:

1. Students may lose their free time.

2. Students may lose their playground time.

3. Students may lose a privilege at a special event.

4. Parents may be notified of the problem.

5. Students may have to stay for after school detention.

6. Students may have a meeting with the principal or administrative assistant.

7. Parents may have a meeting with the principal.

8. Students may have an in-school suspension.

9. Students may have a short or long-term suspension from school.

School Charge

1. I will be respectful of myself and others.

2. I will be responsible for my behavior.

3. I will actively participate in learning.

4. I will follow adult directions and use good manners.

Academic Integrity

Academic = having to do with school and learning

Integrity = being honest and ethical (doing the right thing)

Academic integrity means for you to be honest and ethical in all of your school work—the work you do in class, your homework, quizzes and tests — and in the way you use information for your school work. Here in Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Schools, we value academic integrity and expect our students to develop and practice good information ethics.

How can you practice academic integrity?

Make sure:

1. Your work is your work. Academic integrity means that your work is your own work, your own answers. You do not copy someone else’s work (or let them copy yours). Copying someone else’s work is stealing, and stealing anything is wrong.

2. Your words are your words. When you use information from a book or a website, you do not copy it word for word. Copying text from a book or website is called plagiarizing, which means stealing someone else’s words or ideas and presenting them as your own. Instead of copying text, you take notes and then put the information into your own words.

3. If you use it, give it credit. During your research, when you use information or images from books and websites, you give credit to your source. You make a list of those books and websites as part of your research report. This list is called a Bibliography (or Works Cited).

What happens if you don’t practice good information ethics?

1. Re-Teach: Your teacher or librarian re-teaches the lesson in note taking or bibliography to you.

2. Re-Do: You re-do the assignment.

3. Re-Grade: Your work is re-graded by your teacher or librarian.

Additionally, the principal and your parents will be contacted to let them know what happened. If this happens to you more than once, you may face more serious consequences.

Student Dress Code

Students and their parents have the primary responsibility for acceptable student dress and appearance. A student’s dress, grooming, & appearance shall:

1. Be safe, appropriate, and not disrupt or interfere with the educational process. (Belly buttons should be covered, and skirts should be at an appropriate length. Hats and/or bandanas should not be worn unless on special days or with special permission by classroom teachers. Students should not use non-permanent hair dye or face paint.)

2. Ensure that underwear is completely covered with outer clothing.

3. Include footwear at all times. Footwear that is a safety hazard—such as flip-flops, crocs without a back, and retractable roller blade sneakers — will not be allowed.

4. Not include items that are vulgar, obscene, libelous, or denigrate others on account of race, color, religion, creed, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.

5. Not promote and/or endorse the use of alcohol, tobacco, or illegal or violent activities.

We request parents’ assistance regarding appropriate student attire so that no one is put in an awkward situation.
Our school can get extremely warm in the early fall and spring. However, there can be a balance between comfort and appropriateness. It has been our experience that parents are very good judges of their child’s attire. If you have ANY suspicions that what your child is wearing may not be suitable for school, you can rest assured we would most probably agree and would strongly encourage you to persuade your child to choose something else.

Please discuss this situation, review what he or she is wearing to school daily, and make a logical decision accordingly. (Another helpful tip: sometimes students leave home looking perfectly fine, but when the weather warms up in the afternoon and the sweatshirt, sweater or over-shirt is removed, the undergarment is questionable.)
Our goal is for students to be able to concentrate on what they are really here for: receiving the best education possible.

Each day, weather permitting, there is an outdoor recess. Please make sure that your youngster wears appropriate clothing, including foot gear, hat, gloves, warm jacket and snow pants. Please label all outerwear with your child’s name so that lost items may be returned to the student. Even in early autumn and late spring, the mornings can be chilly or even cold—please be sure your child has a jacket.

Students are encouraged to keep a change of clothes and socks in school for slushy, messy days. The Health Office keeps a small supply of clothing for children who have accidents or spills. If your child needs to borrow clothing from the Health Office, please wash and return these items as soon as possible so that they are available for others to use.

Our Lost and Found bin is located in the cafeteria. Please encourage your child to check it when an item has been lost.


Backpacks are a useful way for children to transport materials to and from school each day. It is important that your child can carry the backpack on his or her back or arms safely and comfortably. Bus aisles and school hallways can be crowded at times, particularly during dismissal. For this reason, backpacks with wheels are discouraged.

Students & Weapons in School

In accordance with district policy #5535, BH-BL does not allow students to have in their possession on school property or on buses weapons, facsimiles of weapons, or models of toy weapons. Prior approval of the building principal is required for any project or learning activity involving weapons or potentially dangerous items.

Students Searches & Interrogations

School lockers, desks, and other such equipment are not the private property of students but the property of the school district, and as such may be opened and subject to inspection from time to time by school officials.

Under special circumstances, school officials may search students and/or backpacks, particularly if there is reasonable suspicion that a student possesses illegal matter, for example, a dangerous weapon or illegal drugs. Students should be aware that such items are forbidden both on school property and at school-related activities.

Bicycles, Electronics & Toys on School Property

Students may ride their bicycles to school; however, they must walk their bicycles on school sidewalks. As soon as students arrive at school, they should park and lock their bicycles in the appropriate area. The school is not responsible for stolen or damaged bicycles.

Skateboards, roller skates, sneaker skates and roller blades are NOT allowed on school property. If a student brings these items to school, they will be confiscated and held until a parent comes to school and picks them up.

Cell phones, beepers, flashlights, laser lights, electronic games, portable music devices, other electronic equipment and trading cards all detract from a suitable academic atmosphere and are prohibited. Such items will be confiscated and turned in to the main office. Items will be returned to the student or a parent as determined by an administrator.

Toys and hobby materials coming to school also present a number of problems, including loss, breakage, theft, and most important, disruption of the educational process. We would prefer that parents discourage children from bringing toy and hobby items to school. The school district is not responsible for any lost, stolen or damaged items. Your child’s teacher may permit certain types of toys, games, or equipment to be brought to school in certain circumstances. Please follow your teacher’s instructions.

Student Conducts in the Hallways

For the safety of all, students in Charlton Heights hallways are expected to:

1. Remain silent and walk in a straight line.

2. Keep your eyes forward and your hands to yourself.

3. Maintain your personal space.

Student Contact in the Cafeteria

To make lunch time more enjoyable for everyone at school, the cafeteria/lunchroom staff asks that all students:

1. Respect the staff.

2. Walk in the cafeteria.

3. Talk in quiet, conversational voice.

4. Eat food in an acceptable manner.

5. Keep hands and feet to yourself.

6. Clean up area after eating.

7. Keep uneaten food on trays and empty trays carefully.

8. Remain seated until dismissed by the staff.

For safety purposes, no glass containers are permitted in the cafeteria.

Students who misbehave during lunch time will be reminded of the rules after their first offense. Students who continue to misbehave will have their parents contacted and may be disciplined under the district’s Code of Conduct.

Student Conduct at School Assemblies

A good citizen attends all school assemblies and:

1. Sits where an adult in charge instructs, and remains seated during assemblies. If a need arises, the student leaves only with permission from the supervising adult.

2. Watches and listens politely to performances and speakers.

3. Claps after performances and at other appropriate times to show appreciation. Whistling, cheering, screaming, feet stomping, booing or other noise making is not an appropriate way to show appreciation.

4. Leaves at the end of the assembly in an orderly fashion, following the directions of the adult in charge.

Recess & Playground Rules

Students may be given the privilege to go outside for recess throughout the school year. It is important that students are dressed appropriately for the weather conditions.

For the safety and enjoyment of all pupils at recess, students are expected to:

1. Stay on designated playground or area with their teacher/monitor.

2. Respect others, take turns, share and allow others to play.

3. Maintain a safe distance from playground equipment while it is being used by others.

4. Refrain from throwing snowballs, playing King of the Mountain, or throwing objects (sticks, stones, dirt, rocks, etc.).

5. Stay away from icy areas.

6. Refrain from using foul language, offensive names, or put-downs.

7. Refrain from roughhousing and keep hands to themselves.

Failure to follow playground rules can result in a loss of playground privileges and disciplinary measures consistent with the school’s code of conduct.

Student Conduct on the Bus

Students are expected to:

1. Always listen to the school bus driver, who is in charge of getting students to school and home safely.

2. Show respect. No “horseplay,” talking back, or any form of defiance is allowed on the bus or at the bus stop, including abusive language, fighting, yelling, whistling, or throwing snowballs.

3. Keep heads, hands, feet and property inside the bus windows. Students will sit properly and use the seat belt. They will also open or close windows only with the driver’s permission.

4. Keep hands, feet and belongings out of the aisle while on the bus.

5. Keep the inside of the bus clean. Damaging the bus in any way will not be allowed.

6. Not eat or drink on buses.

7. Never tamper with the emergency windows or door.

8. Remain seated without pushing, changing seats, or throwing things in the bus or at the bus stop.

9. Wait to cross the road until the driver signals that it is okay. Cross far enough in front of the bus so that he or she can make eye contact with the driver.

10. Wait for the bus without standing too close to the road. Stand 10 feet back from the edge of the road. Wait until the bus stops completely before getting on or off.

Discipline problems will be referred in writing by the bus driver to the Building Principal. The penalty for continued misbehavior may range from suspension from riding the bus to suspension from school. All school rules apply while students are riding the buses. All students riding school buses are expected to maintain good conduct while traveling.
Students should not bring anything on the bus that is bigger than they can hold. Parents should arrange to transport very large musical instruments, school projects, and so forth. This is important for the safety of all children on the bus. It is also extremely important that students do not eat on the bus due to the growing number of children with severe allergies.

New York State law prohibits passing any school bus with flashing lights. Please be mindful of this requirement at all times, especially when you are in the school driveway.

Physical Conduct/Restraint

Corporal punishment as a means of discipline shall not be used against a student by a teacher, administrator, officer, empplyee, or agent of the school district per Board of Education Policy 5300.55.

However, if alternative procedures and methods which would not involve physical force do not work, then the use of reasonable physical force is not prohibited for the following reasons: self protection, protection of others, protection of property, or restraining/removing a disruptive student.

Whenever a school employee uses physical force against a student, the school employee shall, within the same day, make a report to the superintendent describing in detail the circumstances and the nature of the action taken.


Special Curriculum Programs & Services


Art instruction begins at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake schools in kindergarten, where students receive a forty-minute class each week. In grades three to five instruction is increased to fifty minutes each week. Instruction is based on the New York State Learning Standards for the Arts as well as Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Fine Arts and Humanities Learning Standards.

In elementary school children experience a wide variety of art forms including painting, drawing, print making, weaving, three dimensional construction and ceramics/clay. Students are also exposed to the historical and social aspects of the visual arts and learn the critical components involved in art appreciation. The elements of art and the principles of design serve as the foundation for all instruction in elementary through high school.

Elementary art classes are involved in many school-wide projects such as mural construction, hallway projects, interdisciplinary units, and Arts in Education experiences. Some students also participate in the BOCES art show and may enter other local and regional exhibits and contests. To contact the Fine Arts Department, you can call 399-9141, ext. 83182 or 83183.

Character Education

A positive attitude is one of the most important attributes each student can bring to class every day. Students with positive attitudes will find school to be exciting, challenging and rewarding.

The BH-BL Central Schools work in partnership with parents to maintain a learning and working environment that supports positive student attitudes and the character development of its students. Character development will reflect and reinforce character and civic values such as honesty, integrity, responsibility, hard work and respect for others.

Parents, students and the school community will work together to teach, promote and model ethical behavior reinforcing community values. Our schools will reflect and reinforce positive character traits that embody community values and promote principles of fairness and justice.


Using Computers and Computer Networks

Computers and the Internet are valuable tools for learning and research. Therefore, our school expects that students will use computers to access the school district’s file servers and the Internet to help perform academic work, explore educational topics, and conduct research projects.

Teachers, assistants and aides will instruct students in the proper use of computer technology. Most elementary school computer activities and projects will be limited to using materials stored on the district’s file servers (the BH-BL Intranet). In other words, students will be able to access only materials previewed by staff and determined to be appropriate. In some instances, students will also be allowed to access the world wide web (the Internet) with supervision for teacher-led projects. Elementary students will not have e-mail or “chat” capabilities at school. Projects requiring correspondence will be carried out solely at the teacher level.

Parents should discuss the following rules with students. Students who break these rules risk various consequences, including losing the privilege of using the school computer network and being suspended from school.

Rules for Proper Use of Computers by Elementary Students

1. School computers and computer networks may be used only for educational purposes that are in keeping with the school district’s mission and goals. No student shall use any computer without prior approval from a teacher or administrator.

2. Students should remember that information stored on school computers is not private and may be viewed or traced at any time by authorized personnel.

3. Students should learn how to use computers and other equipment properly. Students who try to harm or destroy any district equipment or the data of another computer user on our system or any connected computer system will face appropriate consequences. Harming the computer system includes, but is not limited to, uploading or creating computer viruses.

4. Students should not read, delete, copy or modify someone else’s computer files without that person’s permission.

5. Students should not copy personal software on files or onto the district’s computers or computer network unless their teacher specifically gives them permission.

6. Each year students may be given an account on the district’s computer network. Students will receive a log in name and a password. Students are responsible at all times for the proper use of their computer network account.

7. Students should not share their computer password with anyone else unless they have written permission from their teacher or the computer coordinator.

8. Students should not log on to the computer network using someone else’s name or password.

9. Students should not copy or share any computer files or software in violation of school district policy or local, state or federal law.

10. Any building or classroom web pages students create or display must follow the district’s web page guidelines and must be approved by their teacher.

Library Media Center

The ability to read and access information is the key to academic achievement and lifelong learning. Students visit the school Library Media Center both with their class and independently. They receive instruction in literary appreciation and research skills. Students may borrow from an extensive collection of library materials in multiple formats. Library materials are selected to support the grade-level curriculum and provide age-appropriate literature for recreational reading.

The BH-BL Library Media curriculum correlates to the NY State Standards of Learning and with the National Information Literacy Standards. A sequenced program of information literacy skills begins by introducing primary students to the format of books, the enjoyment of reading, and the development of responsible book-borrowing habits. With primary students, the emphasis will be on reading for pleasure, finding books of interest, and using a library card, as well as the cycle of borrowing, returning, and borrowing again. They will learn how a library is organized, and explore seasonal themes, authors and illustrators.

Intermediate students will focus on information seeking, or research, as an integral part of the library program. Students will learn about many different sources for reliable information and strategies to record and organize information. Many of these lessons will be taught as the students complete their classroom assignments and projects. We also practice using the Dewey Decimal system and explore different types of literature for children.

Rules for Proper Use and Care of Library Materials

1. Students will return library materials in a timely manner. Students with overdue library materials may not be permitted to borrow additional materials. Materials that are overdue for an extended period of time will be presumed lost and parents will be billed for replacement cost.

2. Students are expected to care for and protect library materials from loss or damage due to water, food, pets, siblings or otherwise. Students will be held responsible for the replacement cost of library materials lost or damaged beyond repair. The replacement cost and the extent of the damage will be determined by the Library Media Specialist.


Beginning in kindergarten, all children have the opportunity to experience music through classroom instruction and concert performances. Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake music students enjoy a high level of success in competition, college entrance, and individual musical achievement.

All students begin music instruction in kindergarten with two general music classes each week. This study grows and expands as children progress through grades one, two, and three. In 3rd grade students are introduced to playing the recorder in anticipation of their selecting a band or orchestra instrument in 4th grade. In the second half of 3rd grade students are exposed to live demonstrations of various instruments. Students may sign up for instrumental study at the end of 3rd grade at our annual recruitment night.

Fourth grade students who have elected to participate begin instrumental instruction in small group lessons held during the school day. Lessons times rotate so that the same period of classroom instruction is not missed each week. Most instruments are rented by parents outside of school; however, larger instruments such as string bass, baritone horn, and French horn are available for rental through the school. If parents are unable to afford instrument rental, certain instruments are available from the school on a limited basis. Contact the Fine Arts Department to find out how to obtain an instrument from the school.

Elementary band and orchestra meet at school one morning each week at 7:30 am. Parents drop off their students for rehearsal (many carpool), and students then continue with the regular school day. In their first year, most elementary instrumental students will participate in one or two evening concerts, which are held in the high school auditorium. (See the district calendar for dates.) Students also perform for classmates at a daytime assembly in their own school.

In addition, 4th and 5th grade students have the option of participating in the mixed chorus and performing in the two concerts each year. To contact the Fine Arts Department, call 399-9141, extensions 83182 or 83183.

Physical Education

Every student who attends school must take part in physical education. Grades K-3 are scheduled for physical education three times a week for 30 minutes each. These grades work on motor skills, manipulation, perceptual skills, an introduction to physical education equipment, and various eye-hand and eye-foot coordination activities. Included also are games and folk dance.

Grades 4-5 have physical education twice a week for an hour and are required to change into appropriate attire. Students work to advance the above activities and are introduced to square dancing and team sports. Grade 4-5 students also take a district-created Physical Fitness Test, called Ultra Fit.

For information on being excused from physical education due to illness or injury, see Physical Education on page 32.
Students are expected to dress appropriately in order to participate in physical education classes. All students are required to wear sneakers for safety and performance reasons. More information on appropriate attire is described in the Physical Education Department’s pamphlet on this topic.

Other Instructional Programs & Services

A variety of programs is available for students with special education needs such as remediation or enrichment. There are also support programs, such as physical and occupational therapy and psychological and social work services, for students who qualify. Parents who desire more information should contact their student’s teacher or building principal.

Student Health & Safety

A child’s ability to learn is influenced by his or her health. The school nurse provides both health assessment and health information to enhance the quality of education and the quality of life for the student.

Accident Prevention & Safety

These rules are to ensure the safety of students and employees of the district while on district property. All students & members of the school community must:

1. Immediately report any conditions involving equipment or buildings that may be dangerous to student or employee health or welfare;

2. Immediately report any unsafe practices by anyone in the building or on the grounds; and

3. Observe the 15 mile per hour speed limit on school grounds.

First Aid

First aid is given to students throughout the school day by the school nurse or authorized personnel for injuries that occur during the school day. Medical treatment of a previous injury or condition can occur only with orders from the student’s physician along with parent permission. Students should not be sent to school for diagnosis and/or treatment of an injury sustained during non-school hours.

In all cases where an illness or an injury appears serious, the parent will be contacted if possible and instructions followed as per the most recent emergency information available. In extreme emergencies, transport of a student via EMS to an emergency medical facility may occur even if the parent or guardian has not yet been reached.


If you suspect your child may be ill, please do not send him or her to school. We are not equipped to manage a sick child at school for any extended period of time. Some considerations:

  • A child’s temperature should be normal without medication (Tylenol or Advil) for 24 hours before he or she returns to school.
  • Children who have a strep throat infection should take the antibiotics for a full 24 hours before returning to school. It takes 24 hours of an antibiotic regimen before the child is no longer contagious.
  • Your child’s physician is the best source of information and advice in regard to your child’s health or illness. You are also welcome to call the Health Office with any questions.


Medications can be administered by the school nurse under the following guidelines:

  • Written permission from BOTH the parent or guardian and physician is required for the school to administer medication as per New York State Education Law. The Permission for Medication form can be obtained in the school health office. All medications including over the counter preparations, such as Tylenol, cough drops, and topical ointments, require permission from both the physician and parent/guardian.
  • The doctor’s order needs to include the name of the student, the name of the medication, doses, route, and time to be administered during the school day.
  • An adult must bring the medication to school in the original container. The container must be properly labeled with correct name of student, name of medicine, dose, time to be administered, etc. A child cannot transport medication back and forth to school due to the danger of loss or accidental misuse of the medication.

If your child is taking a medication at home that may impact his or her school performance or wellness, please notify the Health Office.

Physical Education Excuses

Physical education and physical activity are important parts of a student’s school experience and total health. If you feel your child is unable to participate in Physical Education due to accident or illness, you must request that your child be excused from the day’s PE class in writing. A doctor’s note is required for a child who must be out of gym class for an extended period (more than one week.) For a child who has been excused from PE for an extended period of time, a physician’s note is also required in order for the student to return to physical education classes. Children who cannot participate in physical education classes cannot go out of doors for recess. For children with limitations to their physical activities, parents should contact the Health Office for a Modified Physical Education form to be completed by the child’s physician.

Emergency Information Forms

It is most important that the school have accurate and up to date information in the event of an emergency illness or injury that may occur at school. Please complete the Emergency Information Form and send it back to school as soon as possible. Update any information related to your child’s health, limitations, allergies, etc. If changes occur in the information, please call the Health Office as soon as possible.

Control of Communicable Diseases & Conditions

The school nurse is constantly alerted to communicable diseases and strives to prevent their spread. This takes cooperation from parents and students. From time to time, the nurse may send notices home alerting parents to specific classroom or grade level illnesses, such as head lice, scabies, MRSA, strep infections, and chicken pox. Please take the time to read these notices and follow any directions pertinent to your child.

Head Lice (Pediculosis)

Our school has a comprehensive set of procedures to prevent the spread of head lice. Much more information on this topic can be found in the Health & Wellness section of the district website (

Here are key parent responsibilities to prevent the spread of head lice:

1. Teach your children not to share personal items such as hair brushes, combs, hair clips, hats and smocks.

2. When a letter or email from the school comes home saying that a case of head lice has been confirmed in your child’s grade level, please follow the instructions in the letter carefully. These will tell you how to check your child for lice and nits, how to remove these if found, and how to prevent their transmission to others.

Student Physicals & Immunizations

State Education Law requires that students have a physical exam (preferably given by their primary health care provider) when they enter the school district and when they enter grades 2, 4, 7 and 10. Physical forms are available from the school nurse (or the district website) for the family physician to fill out. If a completed form is not returned to the school nurse, the school nurse will notify the parent/guardian that the school physician may perform their child’s physical after a 15 day grace period from notification.

In accordance with law, the nurse will conduct vision, hearing, and scoliosis screening. Blood pressure, heights and weights are also assessed as indicated by state guidelines.

Students must receive proper immunizations for diphtheria, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, and Varicella prior to entering or being admitted to school. Parents will need to submit proof of required immunizations which consists of documentation of immunization dates signed by a physician. For more information, contact the school nurse.

School Safety Plans & Practices

The BH-BL School District has adopted a district-wide school safety plan plus building-level emergency response plans for each school. These plans are intended to define how the district and each school building will respond to acts of violence and other disasters.

The best thing for parents to do in an emergency is to check the district website ( for updates or listen to the TV or radio. If a situation should arise in which students need to be evacuated to another building, parents will be notified.

Safety Drills

The principal is responsible for conducting fire drills in order to instruct students and staff in exiting the school building in an emergency in the shortest time possible and without confusion and panic. State law requires that schools hold 12 safety drills each year, including fire drills and lock-out and lock-down drills. In a lock-out, all exterior school doors are secured so that no one may enter or leave the building temporarily while classes and activities go about as usual inside. In a lock-down, hallways are emptied. Everyone (both staff and students) goes into the nearest classroom, locks the door, and listens for further instructions on the public address system. This is designed to move everyone out of harm’s way while a suspected threat—for instance, from an intruder—is evaluated. All students are expected to cooperate with staff members during fire drills, and to leave the buildings in a quiet and orderly manner. The exit route is posted in each room. Students must stay with their teacher. Distracting behavior will be subject to either teacher or administrative discipline, and may merit a consequence.

Students also have an annual “go home early” drill where they practice exiting their bus through the vehicle’s rear emergency door.

Automated External Defibrillators

The BH-BL school district maintains at least one functional automated external defibrillator (AED) for use during emergencies in each school. At Charlton Heights, the AED is located in the hallway next to the Library Media Center.

Other Information for Parents

Pupil Admissions & Swing Areas

For All Grades: Registration of new residents is a two-step process. Parents must first see the Superintendent’s secretary, Jackie Martini, to establish that they are residents of the BH-BL School district. She can be reached at
399-9141, ext. 85002. After documenting residency and receiving a registration ticket from Mrs. Martini, parents can register their child at their specific school.

Keeping class sizes as small as reasonably possible has long been a priority in this school district, and it is the Superintendent’s responsibility to assign pupils to specific schools so that class sizes will be as balanced as possible across the district. When elementary class sizes are larger than desired, the Superintendent may use “swing areas” to reduce this problem. Swing areas are neighborhoods served by school buses for more than one elementary school. Families with elementary children who move into a swing area will be assigned to the school with the smaller class sizes.

As new housing developments are built and our community continues to grow, balancing class sizes across the district becomes a growing challenge as well. Neighborhoods that previously attended one elementary school may shift to being served by a second school (i.e., may become a swing area). Also streets that were already a swing area may change from one year to the next for incoming pupils. This flexibility is designed to provide smaller classes and the best balance in class size for ALL district children.

For Kindergarten: BH-BL follows the recommendation of the State Education Department that a child must be five years old on or before December 1 of the year he or she enters kindergarten. While no exception is made to this rule, a child does not have to begin school until the following year.

Kindergarten registration is held in early March for the incoming class of pupils. Parents are invited to an evening orientation session and will receive a evening appointment to register their child the next week — see the district calendar for specific dates in March. Rick Evans, the principal of Stevens Elementary School, is responsible for kindergarten registration and can be reached at 399-9141, ext. 83500. All families should be aware that the Superintendent will assign no kindergarten pupil to a particular elementary school until AFTER kindergarten registration is completed in April.

Family Educational Rights & Privacy Provisions

The BH-BL school district complies with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Parents and 18-year-old students may inspect official records relating to them including progress reports, grades, aptitude and achievement test scores, psychological tests, and teacher evaluations. A record may be challenged by parents or 18-year-olds when they believe it to be inaccurate or misleading. The principal may remove designated material if in agreement with the challenge. If the principal does not agree, the parent may appeal to the Superintendent either to have it removed or to add explanatory comments to the record in question.

Individual student records are confidential and are not released to colleges, employers, or elsewhere without written permission subject to the following exceptions. District schools may forward educational records to other schools that have requested them and in which a BH-BL student seeks or intends to enroll. What the law refers to as “directory information” may be made public for school purposes unless a parent informs us in writing that they do not want this information made public. Directory information that we may make public includes: a pupil’s name, address, phone number, grade level, honor or award received, dates of attendance, photograph, age, membership in a school athletic team, activity or club, and (for athletes only) height and weight. Directory information is primarily made public so that students’ accomplishments can be included in various publications such as a concert program, yearbook, or honor roll.

Parents and 18-year-old pupils have the right to opt out of the disclosure of directory information by contacting their school principal. Parents should also inform the Superintendent if they do not wish their child’s likeness to be included on the District website or in occasional photos or film taken by the media or district staff for school-related purposes.
Also in accordance with the federal Protection of Pupil Rights amendment, the district hereby notifies parents that our schools may occasionally conduct student surveys that touch on topics such as political affiliation, income, or beliefs or religious practices of the student. In such cases, a letter will be sent home outlining parent rights to opt a child out from such a survey before it is conducted.

Parents also have the right to request and receive information about the professional qualifications of their child’s classroom teachers and teaching assistants. All BH-BL elementary school teachers are “highly qualified” as defined by federal No Child Left Behind legislation.

Questions about school policies in connection with any of the above laws or parent rights can be addressed to the school principal or the Superintendent.

Some Ways Parents Can Help Their Children Succeed in School

  • Read to your child, and listen to your child read.
  • Play games with your child.
  • Help your child get a library card. Go there often, and help pick out interesting books. Find out about the library’s activities for children.
  • Give your child his or her own space to keep books.
  • Write notes to your child.
  • Allow your child to write creative stories. Pictures, scribbles and inventive spellings are acceptable. Help your child form letters and words when asked.
  • Limit your child’s television watching and video game playing. Turn the television set on for selected shows and turn it off immediately after the show is over.
  • Read and discuss your child’s schoolwork. Provide a designated quiet place for your child to routinely complete school work.
  • Give your child a calendar for writing down special events and marking off each day.
  • Give your child specific duties to perform on a regular basis at home. Let your child help you prepare dinner.
  • When traveling, read road signs with your child. Discuss what they mean. Traveling can also provide a great time to review basic math facts for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.
  • Provide counting experiences for your child. Show your child how to count change.
  • Give your child a special place (box, dish pan, etc.) to hold items he or she must take to school each morning. This ends the last minute searching for library books, papers, keys, and homework that can make kids late for school.
  • Allow your student to be creative artistically using clay, puzzles and scissors to develop fine motor skills.