St. Matthew’s Elementary School Parent Handbook

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Parent Handbook
16065-88th Avenue, Surrey BC, V4N 1G3
Phone: (604) 589-7545
Email: office@stmatthewselementary.ca
Web: www.stmatthewselementary.ca

1.0 Administration and Policies

St. Matthew’s Elementary School (SMES) opened it’s doors in September 2011 and serves to promote the growth and development of the spiritual, intellectual, physical, emotional and social attributes of each individual. This growth and development is closely linked with the thought that all students will eventually become responsible members of the Christian community, sharing their knowledge and love of God.

As outlined in the Policy Manual of the Catholic Independent Schools of the Vancouver Archdiocese (CISVA), the formal task of a school is defined as being not only an institution for education, but also as a place to outline the ethical dimensions for the precise purpose of arousing the individual’s inner spiritual dynamism and aiding in the achievement of moral freedom which alone can give meaning to the value of human life.

It is our task to provide a synthesis of culture and faith, and a synthesis of faith and life. We recognize this integration as a lifelong process of conversion and SMES must remain an active force during the systematic formation of our students’ developmental stages.

1.1 Catholic Independent Schools Vancouver Archdiocese (CISVA) Mission Statement

Catholic schools share in the mission of the Church to proclaim and build the Kingdom of God. The Catholic school, as a faith community, is committed to excellence in Catholicity and in all areas that promote the development of the whole child to his or her full potential. Catholic schools strive to develop Christian leaders, responsible citizens and life-long learners.

1.2 School Purpose Statement

SMES provides an excellent academic program in a Christ-centred environment. Parents, educators and the entire community collaboratively work together to foster spiritual, intellectual, emotional, social and physical growth in each student.

1.3 Core Values

REVERENCE RESPECT RESPONSIBILITY

At SMES Reverence, Respect and Responsibility are core values that are expected of all parties within the total community: children, parents and staff.

1.4 School Structure

SMES is a Roman Catholic school under the direction of the Catholic Independent Schools of the Vancouver Archdiocese and serves the educational needs of the children of St. Matthew’s Parish.

The SMES Parent Handbook is in compliance with, and is subordinate to, the policies and procedures of the CISVA. Please consult the CISVA website for designated policies that govern CISVA schools.

SMES is, by its origin, committed to the teaching of the Catholic faith according to the Doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church as outlined in the Archbishop’s Letter, “The Catholic School, Its Character and Mission”.

The Pastor of St. Matthew’s Parish is the Spiritual and Executive Director of SMES. He is supported in this mission by an elected Education Committee as provided under “The Guidelines for Structure of our School Administration under the CISVA”. These guidelines assign the responsibility of the day-to-day administration of the school to the Principal, who is the organizer of the school community.

1.5 Parish Education Committee

The primary role of the Parish Education Committee (PEC) is to support the Pastor in the running of the school. The PEC sees that Archdiocesan policies are followed, sets policy for the local school, manages the finances of the school and hires staff in consultation with the Principal. The PEC also supports the Principal in the general running of school programs and ensures the school has the resources needed to provide students with the highest quality education possible.

1.6 Snow Days

In the event of school closure due to severe weather, please listen to CKNW (980 AM) or visit the school website for details. As well, if the school is closed, an announcement (via an email blast to all families) will be made between 6:00 AM and 7:00 AM. Please do not call the school.

1.7 Unexpected School Closures

If the school needs to be closed before or during school hours due to any unforeseen circumstances such as power outages, extreme heat, flooding, etc. families will be contacted through an email blast.

1.8 Abuse Disclosure

As dictated by the BC Ministry of Education, the school and its educators have a legal duty and responsibility to report the reasonable grounds or circumstances of suspected child abuse.

This is not a responsibility that may be discharged by the educator reporting to any other person other than an appropriate delegate of the Ministry for Children and Families. These responsibilities cannot be assumed by school or Parish Education Committee personnel.

Any such reporting should involve the Principal and the Chairperson of the Parish Education Committee. Due to the seriousness of such action, it is imperative that action be expedited immediately to ensure the safety and welfare of the child involved.

1.9 Tobacco, Cannabis and Vapour Products Ban

On September 2, 2007 the Tobacco Control Act (Bill 10) came into force. The legislation prohibits all persons from smoking or using tobacco, or holding lighted tobacco in, or on school property. The smoking ban in and around school buildings is in effect 24 hours a day. As of October 2016, the Ministry of Education has asked that the use of vapour products (e-cigarettes) not be allowed on school premises 24 hours a day.

And as of October 2018, no cannabis products are to be allowed on school premises 24 hours a day.

1.10 Party Invitations

To remain sensitive to all children in the class, please distribute birthday or other party invitations only by phone or email.
In the event that all children in a given class are to be invited, a request can be made for the classroom teacher to send home the invitations with the student planner.

1.11 School Supplies

At the end of each school year, prepackaged kits for each of the school grades are ordered for the next school year. Parents pay for these kits in June . These prepackaged kits contain the necessary supplies to begin the new school year.

From time to time, supplies may need to be replenished by parents, depending on student’s care and use.

1.12 Photography/ Videography During School Presentations

For the annual Christmas, Spring and Talent Show Presentations, SMES will have an official photographer and videographer to take pictures and videos. Photographs and videos of these presentations will be made available to all families either for purchase or through the St. Matthew’s YouTube channel. Everyone’s courtesy and consideration will allow all audience members to be able to sit back, relax and fully enjoy the shows.

For those audience members who still wish to take pictures and/or videos of the presentations, an area of the gym will be sectioned off for that purpose. Audience members are not permitted to take pictures and/or videos of the performance outside of the “photography/video zone”, i.e. not from their seats or where the official photographer/videographer is stationed. Audience members not adhering to the above guidelines will be asked to refrain from taking pictures and/or videos.

1.13 Notices Home

Newsletters are available on the school website and are emailed to all parents on a weekly basis.

1.14 Personal Information Privacy Act (PIPA) Policy

SMES is committed to meeting or exceeding the privacy standards established by the BC Personal Information Act (PIPA). Safeguarding your confidentiality and protecting your personal information is of primary importance to SMES.

SMES will collect personal information that may include:

Student identification informationLegal guardianshipParents’ religion
Birth certificateCourt orders (if applicable)Parish and envelope number
Baptismal certificateStudent behavioural recordWork contact numbers
Immunization recordStudent academic recordEmail addresses
Health insurance number Parents’ occupationHome address

Any similar information needed for registration

This information is required in order to register your child at the school and will assist the school in making an informed decision for your child’s appropriate placement in the school. Student information is also available to the Fraser Health Authority. The school may prepare a family phone list for each class, to be distributed to school administrative personnel, teachers and one or more parents of your child’s class, for the purpose of contacting you in emergency and non-emergency school or parish related issues.

SMES acknowledges that there will be no disclosure of personal information to unauthorized personnel or third parties who are not directly involved in school management or the care, supervision and instruction of your child(ren) at this school, unless written authorization from a parent or legal guardian is provided to the school. The school will securely store electronic and hard copy parent and student personal information.

1.14.1 PIPA Complaint Procedure

If you have a concern or complaint about how your personal information is collected, stored or used, pass your concern on to the Privacy Manager (school Principal) verbally or in writing. Review a copy of the Personal Information Privacy Policy (a copy of which is located in the office). The Principal will review the policy with you and will investigate your concern in a timely, fair and impartial manner. If you are not satisfied, you may forward your concern to the Privacy Commissioner at the CISVA Superintendent’s Office at (604) 683-9331.

1.15 School Telephone

There is a great demand on the use of our school telephone and we try to keep it open for emergencies and access by parents. Students are allowed to use the phone for emergencies and to return messages from parents. Students are not permitted to have mobile communication devices on their person. If a student at school needs to be contacted the office will ensure that he/she receives the message. Students should arrange all after school plans ahead of time and will only be allowed to use the phone if a practice is canceled or something unforeseen happens at school. Learning to be responsible, to plan ahead, is a step towards independence and we ask parents for their support in controlling the use of the school phone by the students. We can also foster independence by encouraging students to remind their parents of early dismissals or after school practices and games.

1.16 Mobile Phones and Electronic Devices

The increasing prevalence of mobile communication and entertainment devices has created interesting challenges and dilemmas for the school environment. Many jurisdictions have dealt with this issue by declaring outright bans of these devices at school. Specific concerns include unsupervised phone, text-messaging and web access, potential violations of privacy (e.g. camera phones) and general disruptiveness to the learning environment.

On the other hand, mobile phone access for students traveling to and from school can provide a measure of safety.

SMES prefers that such devices not be brought to school. However, if it is critical that a student be in possession of a mobile phone or other portable electronic device at school, it must be powered off at all times during school hours and while under school supervision. Failure to do so will result in disciplinary action and confiscation of the device for the day.
The school office is open from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM and students needing use of a phone are able to inquire at the office.

1.17 Computer Use

School computer use will be supervised at all times. Students must ask permission from the supervising teacher before accessing the Internet. Improper use of the Internet is prohibited (see Disciplinary Procedures). An Internet Use Policy will be signed by parents and students.

1.18 Admissions

Since parents have conferred life on their children, they have a solemn obligation to educate their offspring. Hence, parents must be acknowledged as the first and foremost educators of their children. Their role as educators is so decisive that scarcely anything can compensate for their failure in it
(Declaration on Christian Education, Vatican Council 11, No.3).

  1. Families shall read and sign the Statement of Commitment prior to being accepted into SMES.
  2. For the purposes of admission to the school “practicing Catholics” shall mean those individuals who are registered at St. Matthew’s Parish and attend Sunday Mass regularly. “Active in the Parish” shall mean those who support the parish by using envelopes (no minimum amount specified) and participate in the work activities required of them.

1.19 Priorities for Admission into SMES

Every spring the school shall review all applications for registration and re-registration for the following school year. Our priority of registration, including the acceptance of siblings, are as follows:

  1. Children presently enrolled in the school, if they and their families meet the expectations of the school.
  2. Siblings of children already in the school, whose families are practicing Catholics active in the parish.
  3. Children whose families are practicing Catholics active in the parish.
  4. Siblings of children already in the school, whose families are practicing Catholics active in other parishes.
  5. Children whose families are practicing Catholics coming into the parish, who have been attending Catholic school elsewhere.
  6. Children whose families are practicing Catholics active in other parishes.
  7. Children whose families are either not practicing Catholics or not active in their parishes.
  8. Non-Catholics.
    • Enrolment of more than 15% non-Catholics in Grades K-3, and/or Grades 4-7 must be reported to the Superintendent’s Office by October 1 of each year. Reasons for exceeding the 15% limit will be outlined by the school administration to the Superintendent’s Office.
    • Once accepted into the school, non-Catholics must meet the criteria expected of other students to be readmitted in subsequent years.
    • Siblings of non-Catholics cannot be given priority over Catholics.

2.0 School Day

2.1 Student Drop-Off and Pick-Up

2.1.1 Morning Drop-Off

Adult (parent volunteer) supervision of students begins at 8:30 AM. From 8:30 AM until the 8:45 AM bell, students will remain outside the school building under the supervision of the supervisors. Students are permitted to wait in the coned-off parking lot area close to the grass field.

Students are not allowed on the “Big Toy” structure before school due to safety concerns.

Students dropped off or arriving earlier than 8:30 AM are not permitted inside the school and no supervision will be provided to those dropped off before 8:30 AM.

Students are only permitted inside the school before 8:45 AM for the following reasons:

• If they are part of a sports team and/or club that holds morning practices
• In the event of heavy rain or other extreme weather conditions (to be determined by the Principal or a designate)

Students will remain outside in moderate or light rain and thus are asked to dress appropriately for the weather, e.g. hoods, jackets, umbrellas, boots, etc.

2.1.2 After School Pick-Up

All students are expected to be picked up on time when the school bell rings at 2:55 PM.

If students are not picked up by 3:05 PM:

  1. First occurrence:
    • A call will be made to the parent(s)/guardian(s)
  2. Subsequent occurrences:
    • A call will be made to the parent(s)/guardian(s)
    • A letter will be sent home with the child notifying the parent(s)/guardian(s) of the correct pick up time
    • Families of students that are frequently picked up late, may be subject to an additional charge

2.2 Recess

During recess students must go outside so parents should ensure that their child(ren) are dressed appropriately for the weather. Students must ask for a hall pass from the teacher supervisor in order to enter the school building before recess is over (e.g. to use the washroom).
Recess will be held indoors when there is extreme weather or for other special circumstances.

2.3 Lunch Routines

Students are expected to bring nutritious snacks and lunches. Parents delivering lunches must leave them at the office prior to the lunch bell.
If a student is to go home for lunch, parents must send a note to the teacher. Parents are to report to the office to sign out and meet their child.

2.4 Student Sign In/Sign Out Procedures

If a student arrives late or departs early between 8:45 AM and 2:55 PM they must sign in and out:

2.4.1 Sign In

  • Students must stop at the office to receive an admittance slip to be given to the teacher upon arrival at class

2.4.2 Sign Out

  • Parents must arrive at the office to sign out his/her child
  • The office will contact the classroom teacher to dismiss the student
  • The student will proceed to the office to meet the parent
  • Students will not be dismissed unless the parent signs his/her child out at the office
  • Students will not be dismissed to any other person other than the parent, unless the parent gives permission. In this instance, the office must receive prior written/verbal consent.

2.5 Health and Safety

The Ministry of Health provides access to a consultant school nurse (the nurse does not remain on school property) whose role is essentially that of a community health nurse. The school nurse may serve as a resource for teachers and other school authorities for questions that arise pertaining to the individual health of a student or the health of the school community.

2.5.1 Illness or Injury While at School

The school maintains a “Health Room” in the administrative office which is provided predominantly as a quiet room where a student may rest until the notified parent arrives to take the child home. Basic first aid may be administered (e.g. band-aids) but if additional medical care is required, parents will be contacted to pick up the child.

In an emergency situation, school staff will act in the child’s best interests and the parents will be notified as soon as possible. It is very important to have telephone numbers of two contact people, other than parents, in case of emergency.

All head injuries will be reported to the parents or designated contact immediately.

All accidents resulting in significant injury must be properly documented on an Accident Report Form.

2.5.2 Head Lice

Head checks are performed regularly on all children by parent volunteers to look for head lice. Please inform the school immediately if your child has been treated for lice so that other students can be checked if necessary.

2.5.3 Communicable Diseases

When students work and play together in groups, it provides an opportunity for the spread of a number of childhood diseases such as pink eye, chicken pox, etc. that can be passed from one student to the next. It is important that these diseases be prevented or, if they do occur, that they are recognized quickly and steps taken to stop them from spreading (Fraser Health website, 2006). The school should be notified immediately when parents are aware of any of these communicable diseases.

School staff will consult accordingly with the local Public Health Unit in regards to appropriate measures to prevent disease and control disease outbreaks.
In the event that a student at SMES is identified with a potentially serious communicable disease, specific direction will be sought from Public Health and the resultant information will be shared with parents in a timely manner.

2.5.4 Medications

If a student needs to receive medication at school it should be put in a plastic bag (with the child’s spoon, if required) and left with the secretary at the office. The secretary will supervise the student’s self-administration at the appropriate time with the parent’s written consent.

It is the parents’ responsibility to inform the school of any changes to the medication needs of their child. If necessary, parents must update the information contained on emergency forms kept on file in the school. As well, parents are responsible for ensuring that when their child is on a field trip, that they provide medication and review medication needs with the supervising teacher.

2.5.5 Administration of Medications

Except in emergency situations, the office staff will supervise the self-administration of medications to students only if the following conditions are met:

  1. The medication is required while the child is attending school.
  2. The parent has requested the school’s assistance and has signed a release concerning administration by the school.
  3. Written authorization has been received from an attending physician.
  4. The public health nurse has been informed so that a Medic-Alert Card can be completed.
  5. The staff has received adequate instructions from the public health nurse and parent concerning the administration of the medication.

In the interests of the health and safety of the student as well as the legal responsibilities of the school, complicated medicine administration schedules should be avoided even if this may require the child to be absent from school for a short period of time.

In the case where it is anticipated that a student may require a medication schedule for a prolonged period, both teachers and parents should be aware of this policy to allow adequate time to ensure compliance with this policy and proper instruction to supervisory personnel.

2.5.6 Potable Water Testing

Independent school authorities are responsible for ensuring the overall safety of their facilities, including the quality of drinking water within their systems and plumbing. Independent school facilities must comply with the enactments of British Columbia, including those relating to health, safety and water quality.
As required by the Ministry of Education, it is the responsibility of the local school authority to test its drinking water to ensure that its quality complies with water management best practices and the Drinking Water Protection Act. The drinking water supply will be tested every three (3) years by an accredited testing lab to ensure that it is safe and free of lead and other contaminants.

2.5.7 Pet Policy

Animals and pets of all shapes and sizes are not permitted on school property and during school related events without permission from the Principal. This is due to the risk for infection, injury and allergy concerns, and to ensure the safety of our students and all members of the school community. Service animals are permitted as needed.

2.5.8 Weapons

Possession of anything that is used for or designed to hurt someone or to put someone in a state of fear, on school property is strictly forbidden and will be considered Gross Misconduct in each case.

When the Principal has reasonable and probable grounds to believe that a student has a firearm, knife, explosive substance, facsimile of any weapon or any similar device, on his/her person, or in his/her desk or locker and has displayed it in a threatening manner or assaulted another person with such weapon, he/she shall:

  • Call the Surrey RCMP immediately
  • Notify the student’s parent/guardian
  • Begin suspension procedures

In addition to potential criminal sanctions, substantiation of the above will lead to expulsion from the school.

2.6 Anaphylaxis Policy

2.6.1 Introduction

The SMES anaphylaxis plan is designed to ensure that students at risk of anaphylaxis are identified, that strategies are in place to minimize the potential for accidental exposure and that staff are trained to respond in emergency situations.

The anaphylaxis plan must be read and implemented in conjunction with the CISVA Anaphylaxis Policy. All members of the school community are required to read and adhere to the CISVA Anaphylaxis Policy #434, which includes the following mandated items:

  1. A process for identifying anaphylactic students.
  2. A process for keeping a record with information relating to the specific allergies for each identified anaphylactic student.
  3. A process for establishing a student emergency procedure plan, to be reviewed annually, for each identified anaphylactic student to form part of the student’s record.
  4. Procedures for storing and administering medications, including procedures for obtaining preauthorization for employees to administer medication to an anaphylactic student.
  5. An education and communication plan to inform the whole school community of their roles and responsibilities with respect to creating an allergen-aware environment.

2.6.2 Anaphylaxis Triggers

It is important to be aware of the common sources of anaphylaxis triggers in allergic children. These can include:

Foods which are common sources of anaphylactic reactionOther possible sources in prepared foods
Non-food sources
• Peanuts/peanut butter/peanut oil; the most prevalent among students
• Tree nuts: hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews
• Sesame seeds & sesame oil
• Cow’s milk and dairy products
• Eggs
• Fish
• Shellfish
• Wheat
• Soy
• Bananas, avocados, kiwis and chestnuts for children with latex allergies
• Cookies
• Cakes
• Cereals
• Granola bars
• Candies
• Play dough (may contain peanut butter)
• Scented crayons and cosmetics
• Peanut-shell stuffing in “bean bags” and stuffed toys
• Wild bird seed, sesame
• Insect venom (bees, wasps, hornets, yellow-jackets)
• Rubber latex (gloves, balloons, erasers, rubber spatulas, craft supplies, balls)
• Vigorous exercise
• Plants such as poinsettias for children with latex allergies
• Perfumes and scented products

While not all anaphylaxis triggers can be avoided at all times, SMES strives to create an allergy-aware environment in light of the particular needs of our students with respect to these triggers.

2.6.3 Student Emergency Anaphylaxis Response Plan

Through the use of the Student Emergency Response Plan, the school will identify students at risk, keep records with information relating to each student with anaphylactic allergies and ensure there is a plan in place to support that student in the event of an anaphylactic reaction.

At the time of registration (annually), all parents will be asked to identify whether their child has any anaphylactic allergies. Parents of children with anaphylactic allergies will be required to complete the Student Emergency Response Plan which requires the signature of the child’s physician.

A copy of this Emergency Response Plan will be kept in the Principal’s office as part of the student’s permanent school record. Additional copies will be given to the student’s teacher to be kept in the classroom for access by all those with supervisory care of the student, including occasional teachers. Finally, copies of each child’s Student Emergency Response Plan will be available next to any location where auto-injectors are stored in the school.

Parents must advise the Principal of any changes in their child’s health that would impact any of the information provided in the Student Emergency Response Plan, at which time Response Plan must be updated to reflect that new information. It is the parents’ responsibility to communicate this information to the Principal in a timely manner.

2.6.4 School Emergency Anaphylaxis Response Plan

In addition to each individual child’s Student Emergency Response Plan, the school has a broader School Emergency Response Plan to ensure an appropriate and timely response in the event of an anaphylactic reaction. That plan includes the following items.

2.6.4.1 Storage and Provision of Medications

Students at risk of anaphylaxis will carry an auto-injector with them at all times and have a back-up available in the school. Students should carry their auto-injector with them while they are in the classroom, in gym/music classes, at the church, outside at recess, at a sports/club event or offsite at a field trip. Parents of students who do not have their auto-injector with them at all times will be phoned for the auto-injector to be brought to school.

Students without their auto-injector will not be permitted to attend field trips and/or sports events.
The school will keep the back-up auto-injector stored in the school office.

Posters that describe the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis and how to administer an auto-injector will be placed in relevant areas (classrooms, office, staff room, lunch room) and will always be placed next to the auto-injector itself.

Additional auto-injectors will be brought on all field trips, along with copies of students’ Student Emergency Response Plans.
Twice-yearly, the Principal (or designate) will check all stored auto-injectors on school property to ensure the medication has not expired. The Principal will keep a record of these twice-yearly checks.

2.6.4.2 Training

The Principal will ensure that an annual training session on anaphylaxis and anaphylactic shock will be held for all school staff and persons reasonably expected to have supervisory responsibility for students and children (e.g. food service staff, volunteers, bus drivers, custodians).

Experts (e.g. public health nurses, trained occupational health & safety staff) will be consulted in the development of training policies and the implementation of training. Training will be provided by individuals trained to teach anaphylaxis management.

Specifically, training will include the following elements:

  • Symptoms of anaphylaxis
  • Procedures when a reaction is occurring, namely:
    • Administer the Epi-Pen without hesitation
    • Have someone call 911
    • The student should rest quietly and should not be sent to the office
    • Help the student to remain calm and breathe normally. An adult must stay with the student.
    • Call the parents/emergency contact
    • Observe and monitor the student until the ambulance arrives
    • If symptoms persist, administer a second Epi-Pen 10-20 minutes after the first, to a maximum of 3 doses
    • How to administer auto-injector
    • Protocol for calling 911
2.6.4.3 Incident Debriefing

Following treatment for an anaphylactic reaction, the staff will debrief and review the school’s response. The school will also report to the CISVA Superintendent’s office in aggregate form the number of anaphylactic incidents (e.g. the number of students with anaphylaxis, the number of students where epinephrine was administered and who administered it).

2.6.5 School Communication Plan

The entire school community is responsible for ensuring that we maintain an allergen-aware environment. In order to ensure all members of the school community are aware of the importance of ensuring the safety of all students with allergies, the school has a communication plan.

All letters and notices sent pursuant to this communication plan will include the following elements:

  • A request that parents and students make respectful choices
  • Information educating parents and students on the potentially lethal outcomes of severe allergies and the specific allergens known to be a concern at the school
  • A focus on the importance of hand washing
  • A request to discourage teasing

The communication plan may include the following items:

1. Posters/Signage

  • “Allergy-Aware” posters in the school informing school community of known anaphylaxis allergies (listing the specific known allergens)
  • Classroom-specific “Allergy-Aware” posters posted in classrooms of students with known anaphylaxis allergies (listing the specific known allergens)
  • Posters throughout the school reminding all students to be safe, not share food, wash their hands before eating, only allow their own food on their desks and clean up their spills

2. School Principal Messaging

  • The Principal will send letters/messages home to the parents at regular intervals throughout the school year reminding them of the presence of anaphylactic children in the school and requesting they refrain from sending known allergen items to school with their child
  • These letters/messages will also emphasize the importance of clearing any food brought for special occasions with the Principal to ensure no allergens are present and/or students with special dietary restrictions are accommodated
  • Prior to school-sponsored special events, the Principal will work with the parents of students with known allergens to ensure there is minimal exposure to those allergens

3. School assemblies/classroom instruction

  • Students will be educated about anaphylaxis in both classroom and school-wide settings as appropriate
  • Such education will emphasize the importance of washing hands, not sharing food and showing respect for all students

2.6.6 Roles and Responsibilities

We acknowledge that anaphylaxis management is a shared responsibility that includes all members of the school community; the allergic children, their parents/guardians, teachers and staff, the school principal and all students. SMES strives to fulfill our respective roles and responsibilities as outlined in the CISVA anaphylaxis policy, and together aim to increase awareness of life-threatening allergies with the goal of avoiding any serious incidents so that all students can be safe at school.

2.7 Emergency Procedures

2.7.1 Fire Safety and Drill

SMES follows the fire drill protocol as dictated by the Office of the Fire Commissioner, Ministry of Attorney General, Section 31 (h) of the Fire Services Act. Six fire drills are required per school year.

The Principal instructs all employees in fire drill procedure and in turn each teacher instructs the students in their class of the approved fire drill procedure.

The Principal shall check all exits daily to ascertain that doors are free to open and that no obstructions exist.

The Principal must notify the fire department immediately should a fire occur in the school, regardless of how small the fire may appear to be.

2.7.2 Fire Drill Procedure

When the fire alarm is sounded all instruction and activity shall cease, machinery should be shut down and the students remain still and quiet to await further instructions.
The teacher shall give the command “Stand”. Students will stand in the aisles facing the door, remaining silent. The teacher shall then take the class record of attendance, to keep in possession until the end of the drill.

The teacher will open the classroom door, determine the route to be taken and supervise the class out of the building in an orderly manner to a predetermined point of safety. Students will remain in formation until dismissed by the Principal or person in charge.

Students outside the classroom, but still in the building, shall go to the nearest corridor and join with any class, or, if close to an exit shall leave the building reporting to their particular class outside the building. The teacher shall check the number of students and the names against the register and if any are missing, shall report same to the Principal or person in charge, or to a member of the fire department, giving the name of the child, the classroom number and the location.

The Principal or person in charge shall make every effort to see that no student remains in the school.

In the event of a fire, all teachers having knowledge of the presence in, or about, the building of hazardous commodities or chemicals, shall notify the Principal or person in charge and the fire department of the nature of the hazardous commodity or chemical and the location of its storage.

2.7.3 Earthquake Safety and Drill

SMES follows the outline for earthquake drills as published by the Ministry of Education, Province of British Columbia, September 1987. Three earthquake drills are required per school year.

A comprehensive Handbook on Emergency Preparedness has been issued through the CISVA Administrators’ Association and a copy of this guidebook is available in the Administration Office and should be consulted for further detailed information.

All teachers shall familiarize themselves with this handbook which outlines precautions and drill procedures before and after the occurrence of an earthquake.

Much of the evacuation procedure is similar to that of a fire drill except certain precautions which must be taken during the actual earthquake itself.

Most of these instructions refer to the “crash position”, described as “on knees, head down and hands clasped on back of neck or head, covered with book or jacket, to avoid any debris that may be flying about the room.”

After the earthquake, itself usually lasting less than sixty seconds, the drill procedure is followed with re-assembly outside the school structure.

Much of the discussion in the guideline manual refers to the evaluation of risk areas about the school premises and organization of communication with parents following the earthquake in a disrupted community.

2.7.4 Parents’ Roles and Responsibilities

After an earthquake, fire or any emergency requiring evacuation of the school, these procedures shall be followed:

  • DO NOT attempt to phone the school. If the phone lines are open, they may be needed for emergencies.
  • When parents (or an alternate caregiver) arrive at the school to pick up their children, they will be assembled either in the playground or in the school.
  • If on the playground, report to the Release Station at the small gate in the corner of the playground in the Church Parking lot.
  • If students have re-entered the school, report to the Release Station at the gathering area in the gym.

BE PATIENT AND CALM – RELEASING STUDENTS WILL TAKE TIME. WE WILL ALL BE ANXIOUS AND IF WE WORK TOGETHER EVERYONE WILL BE SAFE.

When parents get to the Release Station, report (one at a time) to the designated and identified staff member. They will send a runner to bring the child(ren) out.

PARENTS WILL NOT ENTER THE PLAYGROUND UNLESS THEIR CHILD IS INJURED.

In the case of an injured child, the parent will be taken to that child. Other children will stay in their team assembly area until the family is ready to leave.
When a child is brought to the Release Station, a designated and identified staff member will have parents sign a Master Release Form before being allowed to leave.

3.0 Student Life

3.1 Student Code of Conduct

Students are expected to:

  • Look for the presence of Jesus in everyone by treating others with kindness, understanding, dignity and respect
  • Be attentive and involved in all learning opportunities and respect the learning environment of others
  • Respect others and treat them fairly and equally
  • Respect and value the personal property of self and others, and the school
  • Practice empathy and self-control

Students should come to school with a sense of purpose and an expectancy of achievement. Students are expected to:

  • Adhere to all school rules and regulations
  • Arrive at school punctually each day
  • Be prepared with all necessary books and materials (e.g. gym strip) and homework
  • Wear the required school uniform with pride

Behaviour Expectations in the Hallways:

  • Walk respectfully and responsibly
  • Main entrance is reserved for adults and the general public between 8:30 AM and 3:30 PM

Behaviour Expectations in the Classroom:

  • Active student participation in school activities is expected
  • Students must care for their personal belongings; label personal items with his/her name
  • Students will assist with maintaining a tidy workspace and classroom

Behaviour Expectations in the Washrooms:

  • Students should use facilities during regular classroom breaks
  • Students should keep facilities tidy

Behaviour Expectations on the Playground:

  • Verbal/physical harassment of any kind is prohibited
  • Out of fence = out of bounds
  • No skateboards, roller blades or Heelys allowed on school grounds
  • No electronics such as mobile phones, MP3 players, etc. Reference
  • Approved helmet must be worn while riding bicycles (link) to and from school Reference

Behaviour Expectations in the Gym:

  • Students must not enter the gym without a supervisor
  • Gym shoes and gym strip are required

3.2 School Uniform

The uniform requirements are as follows:

BoysGirls
Navy blue dress pants (double knee). No cords, cotton pants or jeans.Tartan tunic (primary, K-3), not more than 3” above the knee or 1” below the knee.
White polo shirt with “St.Matthew’s” embroidered on sleeve.Kilts (intermediate, 4-7), not more than 3” above the knee or 1” below the knee.
Navy blue socks.Girls navy blue pants (optional). No cords, cotton pants or jeans.
Green school pull-over sweater or vest (mandatory).White polo shirt with “St.Matthew’s” embroidered on sleeve.
Summer uniform (optional): blue walking shorts. May be used from September to October 15th and from May 15th to the end of June.Navy blue knee-high socks or navy tights or leotards.
Black shoes. See below for details.Green school cardigan sweater (mandatory).
Black shoes, heels no higher than 1”. See below for details.

In order to keep the uniform consistent, all uniform pieces must be purchased from Neat Uniforms, 1050 Boundary Road, Burnaby, BC, Phone: (604) 205-7560, Fax: (604) 205-7556.

The school uniform is worn at all school sponsored events.

3.2.1 Gym Strip

  • Crested mesh navy blue shorts
  • Grey crested t-shirt
  • Indoor runners (non- scuff)
  • White athletic socks (optional, for PE only)
3.2.1.1 Athletic Wear

Athletic wear such as sweatpants and hoodies are optional and may be worn for outdoor gym class on cold days, outdoor athletic team practices, to and from sports games and tournaments, etc. If a student wishes to use athletic wear, it must be purchased from the school. Orders will be placed twice per school year and details will be sent home at the appropriate times.

3.2.2 Shoes

Two types of shoes may be worn with the school uniform:

  • Black leather dress shoes
  • Black non-leather shoes, provided all the following criteria are met:
    • Both the sole and the upper must be solid black; no patterns are allowed
    • Logos/decorations must be black and discreet; colourful logos/decorations are not allowed.
    • High tops and boots are not allowed
    • Laced shoes must be tied; loose laces are not allowed

3.2.3 Outdoor Recess

  • Non-gym runners may be worn at recess
  • There will be days when only boots will be acceptable outside wear
  • On hot sunny days and cold days the use of hats is encouraged

3.3 Uniform Accessories and Grooming

Only navy, green, white or discreet hair coloured hair bands, barrettes and accessories are acceptable. No jewelry except for simple watches and small earrings (girls only) and small simple chain necklaces are permitted.

Nail polish and make-up are not permitted and hair colour must be natural. Girls’ and boys’ hair must be neat and tidy. Boys’ hair must be kept short and neat, above the collar and eyes and ears must be visible. Extreme styles are not acceptable.

3.4 Enforcement of Uniform and Personal Appearance

There are clear consequences for chronic and significant non-compliance with policies concerning the uniform, cosmetics use and hair presentation. Specifically, a note will be sent home by the Principal to the parents of non-compliers, indicating the nature of the infraction(s) and the expected date for remediation. If this responsibility is not met, or there are repeated incidents of non-compliance, the student will be required to stay home from school until the appropriate corrective action is taken.

If a student is out of uniform the parents will be sent a note asking for the situation to be corrected. Parents will be asked to return the note signed as acknowledgment.

3.5 Bicycle Safety

Students must wear a CSA approved bicycle helmet at all times while riding a bicycle to and from school, while on school property and during school related activities. Students arriving on bicycles without helmets will not be permitted to ride a bicycle on or away from school property. The bicycle will be safely secured until it is retrieved by an adult or the student obtains an approved helmet.

3.6 Curriculum

3.6.1 Academics

The academic programs of each grade are determined by the BC Ministry of Education in conjunction with the guidelines established by the Archdiocese of Vancouver. This involves instruction in the areas of Religion, Social Studies, Science, Language Arts, Mathematics, French, Health and Career Education, Information Technology, Physical Education and Fine Arts.

3.6.2 Religious Curriculum

SMES follows a structured catechism program recommended by the Archdiocese of Vancouver. This program, titled “Call to Faith”, is scheduled for 150 minutes per week. Additional programs endorsed by the Archbishop of Vancouver include a Child Abuse Prevention Program, “I’m a Gift from God”, and is taught in Grades Kindergarten to 3 both at home and in the classroom. Human

Growth and Development is taught in Grades 4, 5, 6 and 7. This programs deals with sexuality education.

The catechism program is structured along the liturgical year and feast days are incorporated into the curriculum.

Non-Catholic students enrolled at SMES are required to participate in the religious curriculum. Students are encouraged to follow the precepts of their own faith according to their denominational standards and attend church services regularly.

3.6.3 Sacramental Programs

Students in Grade 2 prepare for their First Reconciliation and First Communion and Grade 7 students prepare for Confirmation. Preparation for these Sacraments is run in conjunction with our Parish Religious Education Program (PREP). This involves scheduled meetings as well as celebrations for the students and their families. Parents are called to meetings so that they will be able to participate more fully in this process of faith development. Since parents have the option to decide whether their child is to be prepared for the sacraments, they may make a commitment to a program presented by the Parish.

3.6.4 School Masses

The importance of the Mass is recognized as a way of increasing the student’s faith and helping in the building of a Christian community. Attendance at, and participation in, the Parish Sunday Masses is taken to be an essential feature of our school families’ lives. Masses are regularly offered for the whole school. Students are given an opportunity to share in the preparation of the Masses and parents are invited to attend. Non-Catholic students will receive a special blessing at Communion.

3.6.5 Learning Resources Policy

3.6.5.1 Definition of Learning Resources

Learning Resources are texts, videos, software and instructional materials that teachers use to assist students to meet the expectations for learning defined by provincial and local curricula.

This policy is specific to learning resources which form the core program collection of resources.

Learning resources used in the classroom will be evaluated and approved by SMES with consideration given to curriculum fit, pedagogy, social considerations, age and developmental appropriateness, as well as the school authority’s philosophical, cultural and/or religious values.

3.6.5.2 Learning Resources Approval Process

This section should be read in conjunction with CISVA Learning Resource Policy #433. SMES will encourage teachers to utilize education media that have been formally evaluated before being used in the classroom. The evaluation process involves a minimum of two school authority representatives, one of whom is a practicing teacher with at least three years’ experience, preferably in he grade level and subject area for which the resources are to be used. The recommended scope of professional learning resources for review include Primary (Gr K-3) and Intermediate (Gr 4-7).

The evaluation criteria used in determining appropriate learning resources for the school will include, but are not limited to:

  • Supporting the learning standards and outcomes of the curriculum
  • Assisting students in making connections between what they learn in school and its practical application in their lives
  • Addressing developmental and age appropriateness
  • Having effective instructional and technical design
  • Meeting the requirements set by copyright and privacy (PIPA) legislation
  • Suitability based on the pedagogical, social, philosophical, cultural and/or religious values of SMES.

3.7 Special Education

3.7.1 Special Education Funding Criteria

The Ministry of Education provides Special Education funding to Independent Schools. Schools may apply for students who fall into the following categories:

  • Level 1 – Physically Dependent
  • Level 2 – Moderate to Profound Intellectual Disability or Impairment
  • Level 3 – Intensive Behaviour Interventions/Serious Mental Illness

All other Special Education funding is included in the regular per student grant. Under the current Special Education Grant Criteria for Independent Schools the following services do not qualify for additional funding:

  • ESL
  • Learning Assistance
  • Speech and Language Service
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Mild Intellectual Disabilities

Students requiring any services that are not covered by Special Education Grants will be assessed and evaluated by the school-based Special Education team comprised of the classroom teacher, the Learning Support Teacher and the Principal. An action plan and Individual Education Plan (IEP) will be developed, in conjunction with the parents, to support the students’ educational needs.

3.7.2 Student Support Services

Teachers at SMES strive to meet the educational needs of all learners.

3.7.2.1 Identifying the Potential Learning Disability Student

The identification of a student with a potential learning disability generally occurs in the setting of a regular classroom. Upon identification of the student, further testing and correction of the learning disability requires a close and cooperative communicative dialogue with learning support teacher, teacher, Principal and the parents of the particular student.

3.7.2.2 Diagnostic Services (Procedures and Resources)

Upon referral to the learning assistant, the student’s learning difficulties are assessed using informal tests. If further formal testing is necessary, then the student is referred to appropriate resource agencies outside the school.

In consultation with parents, teachers, the Principal, Learning Support Team and any involved resource personnel, a plan for remediation is developed. This plan, or IEP, records the program and progress of each student with special needs.

3.7.2.3 Referral Services (Procedure and Available Agencies)

The learning support team will contact resource personnel such as reading consultants, mental health agencies, psychologists, audiologists, speech therapists, health nurse (Fraser Health Unit) and social workers (Ministry of Children & Families) if further information is needed.

If the student needs a specialist, the parents are consulted and in cooperation with the learning assistant, a referral is made.

3.7.2.4 Counselling and Guidance

Counselling and guidance are offered through community agencies including mental health, Ministry of Children & Families and Catholic Family Services. All fees for services performed by other than SMES staff are the responsibility of the parents.

3.8 Homework Expectations

Homework can be assigned Monday through Friday. If, however, an assignment is given with lengthy notice of due date a student may choose to do work during the weekend. The definition of homework includes:

  • Ongoing independent study
  • Long term projects

Homework does not include work not completed during class when reasonable class time has been provided. This work is expected to be completed at home and returned the next school day.

Primary students may be assigned practice work to be done at home. Reading is a cornerstone of learning and it is expected that students read a minimum of 15 minutes every evening. Parents of kindergarten students are encouraged to read to their children 15 minutes every evening.

Parents concerned about the time their child spends on home study should contact the classroom teacher for clarification of assignments.

3.9 Field Trips

A field trip is a curricular or extracurricular program, which may refer to a course of study or activity that is provided or organized by, supervised by or sponsored by an authority of SMES.
Field trips will:

  • Generally tie into the school curriculum
  • Be adequately planned in advance
  • Have followed the normal procedures for notification of field trips to parents and receipt of completed forms from parents prior to scheduled field trip date
  • Have adequate number of supervisors accompanying students on the field trip
    • Primary grades (1 to 3): one adult supervisor to five students
    • Intermediate grades (4 to 7): one adult supervisor to eight students

3.10 Extracurricular Activities

3.10.1 Sports

SportMinimum GradeGender
Cross Country2 and upBoys and girls
Track and Field3 and upBoys and girls
BasketballBoys and girls
VolleyballBoys and girls

3.10.2 Arts and Cultural Activities

  • Spelling Bee
  • Choir
  • RC Challenge
  • Art Club
  • Photography Club
  • Yearbook Club

3.11 Disciplinary Procedures

This policy is based on CISVA Policy #426 Student Expulsions/ Suspensions and should be read in conjunction with the information that follows. CISVA Policy #426 outlines an appeals process that includes the role of the provincial Ombudsperson.

3.11.1 Minor Misconduct

Many common sense rules must be established to maintain an orderly environment for the students; they must be in class on time, move quietly about when classes are in session, put things away in an orderly fashion, etc. Occasional infractions in this area are not viewed with great alarm. Usually, only a mild reminder about appropriate behaviour or a brief reprimand is all that is required. Where a student shows a pattern of consistent disregard for these common sense regulations, his or her conduct may be viewed with concern and considered in the category of “Major Misconduct”, even though each incident may not be severe in nature.

3.11.2 Major Misconduct

Behaviour that endangers or is potentially harmful to self or other students cannot be tolerated. Parents have a right to expect that their children will be safeguarded from malicious damage to their person and to private or public property.

Rude and abusive behaviour and defiant refusal to perform assigned learning tasks requires immediate and firm attention. Such conduct is considered very serious and the consequences for some major misconduct are listed below. Since every possible violation cannot be anticipated, the list is not to be considered exhaustive, but rather illustrative, of the general manner in which disciplinary action is undertaken. In serious cases, a copy of a disciplinary letter to the parent will be filed immediately. Following a third disciplinary notice the student will be suspended from school.

Re-admission to school will be requested by the student at a meeting with the Principal, parents and student.

After a second suspension, the student and parents must come before a sub-committee of the Parish Education Committee. At this time the parent and student will be notified that an additional suspension will result in probable expulsion from the school.

In case of vandalism resulting in property damage, reparation in full will be expected and required.

In incidents resulting in physical harm to another student, the students involved will be suspended from the play field for the remainder of the day on which the infraction occurred, as well as one day following the infraction.

All incidents resulting in formal disciplinary action must be documented in an appropriate Disciplinary Notice and placed in the student’s file for the remainder of the school year.

3.11.3 Gross Misconduct

Where a student is responsible for serious misconduct, appropriate disciplinary action will be taken, designed to impress upon the child the seriousness of the infraction.

Any student who steals, is flagrantly disrespectful to teachers, willfully injures another or acts in a way that would be considered a serious misconduct will appear before the Principal. The Principal will take the appropriate remedial or disciplinary action and may, if deemed necessary, acting on behalf of the Parish Education Committee, impose a suspension or expulsion.

If the magnitude of the misconduct is such as to warrant suspension or expulsion, the Principal must communicate to the Chairperson or designate, the pertinent details leading to the administrative action. This formal communication is required in recognition that such an administrative action is an executive privilege carried out by the Principal on behalf of the Committee, but essentially remaining a responsibility and obligation of the Parish Education Committee. In all cases of serious misconduct, school authorities will communicate with the parents.

3.11.4 Appealing a Suspension or Expulsion

When an appeal of a suspension or expulsion is brought to the education committee, an appeal sub-committee will be appointed to hear the case. The decision to overturn the expulsion must be based on one or more of the following points:

  • Did the student commit the infraction he/she is accused of?
  • Is the infraction covered by policy and does the policy require or allow expulsion?
  • Is the policy being applied properly (the wording in some policies is intentionally broad, e.g. gross misconduct. Was this infraction intended to be considered gross misconduct)?
  • Has the school followed its own and CISVA’s policy regarding the handling of the expulsion (proper notification in writing, due process, procedure and documentation, time lines, etc.)?
  • At the appeal, the Principal and the appellant will present their case addressing the above mentioned points in writing with the necessary supporting documentation.
  • The parents or guardians may choose, but are not required, to ask a lawyer to assist them in their appeal process. The cost of such legal assistance will be the sole responsibility of the parents or guardians. If parents or guardians decide to have legal representation, they must communicate this to the Principal or his or her representative seven days in advance of filing an appeal. This notification will provide the school with the opportunity to seek its own legal representation during the process.

3.12 Treatment of Peers

We endeavour to provide, at all times, a safe and positive learning environment within which the dignity, respect and self-esteem of all individuals is upheld. Every student has the right to a school environment free of harassment, bullying, abuse and violence.

In order to deal with concerns of peer maltreatment in a timely and effective manner, students and/or parents are encouraged to notify school personnel (teachers/Principal/support staff) about any issue of concern that is affecting them or others. The following principles and procedures will be applied:

  • The concern will be promptly investigated by the staff member who has been approached. Serious or recurrent incidents will be documented in written form and reported to the Principal in a timely manner.
  • It is the responsibility of the Principal to further investigate all complaints of maltreatment in a confidential, impartial and timely manner.
  • Appropriate action will be initiated by the Principal. If required, the Principal will assign consequences and create an Action Plan for corrective, educational and/or disciplinary purposes. All parties will be informed if action has been taken. The Action Plan will be time bound and subsequently reviewed. Upon review, the Principal’s discretion will determine whether continued time or further action is needed, or if the offending student’s continuing enrolment in the school is to be evaluated by the Parish Education Committee.
  • If the Principal’s resolution is not accepted by one or more of the parties involved, the matter may be appealed to the Parish Education Committee.
  • Decisions of non-re-enrolment and expulsion are ultimately made by the Parish Education Committee and can be appealed to the CISVA Superintendent.

3.12.1 Harassment and Bullying Prevention Policy

3.12.1.1 Rationale

SMES recognizes that every student has a right to be in a school environment free from bullying, discrimination, harassment, abuse and violence; one in which the dignity of every individual is upheld. Every student has a right to be in a community that strives to provide a safe, caring and orderly environment. Bullying/harassment/personal grudges will not be tolerated on or off school premises.

3.12.1.2 Definition of Bullying

Bullying is a repeated act of aggression, causing embarrassment, pain or discomfort to someone. It can take a number of forms; physical, verbal, making gestures, extortion, using digital media and exclusion. It is an abuse of power. It can be planned and organized, or it may unintentional. It may be perpetrated by individuals or by groups of students.

3.12.1.3 Principles
  • Students have a right to learn free from intimidation and fear
  • The needs of the victim are paramount
  • SMES will not tolerate bullying behaviour
  • Bullied students will be listened to by staff members or a peer mediator
  • Reported incidents will be taken seriously and thoroughly investigated

Forms of Bullying include:

  • Physical violence such as: hitting, pushing, hair pulling, spitting, unwanted touching
  • Interfering with another student’s property, by stealing, hiding or damaging it
  • Using offensive names when addressing another student
  • Using racial or cultural slurs, threats, inappropriate jokes
  • Teasing or spreading rumours about another student or his/her family
  • Belittling another student’s abilities and achievements
  • Writing offensive notes or graffiti about another student
  • Excluding another student from a group activity
  • Ridiculing another student’s appearance, way of speaking or personal mannerisms
  • Misusing technology (internet or digital devices) to hurt or humiliate another person
3.12.1.4 Responsibilities of Stakeholders

SMES staff will:

  • Foster in our students: self-esteem, self-respect and respect for others
  • Demonstrate by example the high standards of personal and social behaviour we expect of our students
  • Discuss bullying with all classes, so that every student learns about the damage it causes to both the child who is bullied and to the bully and the importance of telling a teacher about bullying when it happens
  • Be alert to signs of distress and other possible indications of bullying
  • Listen to students who have been bullied, and take what they say seriously
  • Report suspected cases of bullying to administration (Principal/head teacher)
  • Follow up any complaint by a parent about bullying
  • Deal with observed instances of bullying promptly and effectively
3.12.1.5 Responsibilities of Students

Students are expected to:

  • Adhere to the student code of conduct
  • Refrain from becoming involved
  • Intervene to protect the student who is being bullied, unless it is unsafe
  • Report to a staff member any witnessed or suspected instances of bullying
  • Anyone who becomes the target of bullies should speak to a staff member immediately
3.12.1.6 Responsibilities of Parents

Parents are asked to support their children and the school by:

  • Adhering to the Parent Code of Conduct
  • Watching for signs of distress or unusual behaviour in their children
  • Advising their children not to retaliate but to instead report any bullying to a staff member
  • Co-operating with the school, if their children are accused of bullying
3.12.1.7 Procedures for Dealing with Incidents of Bullying Behaviour
  • All instances of reported bullying will be investigated and documented by school administration
  • The parents/guardians of all parties concerned in the bullying incident will be contacted by administration
  • If after the investigation bullying has been confirmed, the Principal will assign consequences and create an Action Plan for corrective, educational and/or disciplinary purposes
  • All parties will be informed of the Action Plan
  • At the Principal’s discretion, the Action Plan may be reviewed
  • Relevant professionals (counsellors, behaviour consultants) may be recommended to the individuals involved

3.13 Playground Guidelines

Students are expected to play outdoors and enter the school only with a supervisor’s permission. Exceptions will be made if a student provides a written note from the parents noting the reasons for excuse from outdoor play. In the event of inclement weather, students will play indoors in their respective classrooms. Games may be provided and play must be appropriate.
Students are not permitted to leave the playground area for any reason without permission.

3.13.1 Playground Conduct

Consideration and respect for others is the key to maintaining a responsible society. Conduct on the playground is accordingly expected to reflect these qualities.

When the bell ending the period of play sounds, all play should cease. Students are to proceed to their respective lines and enter the school, quietly and in an orderly fashion. To avoid injuries, running in the hallways and classrooms is not permitted. All students are expected to respect staff, program supervisors, visitors and each other on the playground as well as in the school.

Students are to stay within the playground boundaries, including marked play areas on the parking lot. Venturing into the parking lot or beyond the fenced areas is prohibited.

3.13.2 Playground Structure Rules

All play on structures must be in the presence of a supervising adult.

The Big Toy is closed in the mornings for several reasons, but most importantly for safety. A staff supervisor will perform a thorough check of the Big Toy area in the morning to ensure that any dangerous objects or garbage left behind can be cleared away. Secondly, the Big Toy surfaces can be wet first thing in the morning and thus slippery. The school organizes the play schedule for the Big Toy and is subject to change.

3.14 Care of Books and Property

Proper care of all books, whether the property of the school or of the student, is an important part of every child’s education. Cooperation from parents is requested in seeing that all books are treated with respect while in the possession of your child. All texts should be returned to school each day. Compensation will be expected for any lost or destroyed text or library book. Please see that your child has a book bag in which to carry his/her books.

3.15 Library

Students have the privilege of using the school library for enhancing their reading pleasure and to gain further knowledge. In order for the library to be maintained in an orderly fashion the following guidelines are to be followed:

  • Library items are expected to be returned on a weekly basis
  • Currently, two books are allowed out of the library at a time
  • If a student does not return library books on time, he/she will not be permitted to take out another item until the overdue items are returned
  • If items are not returned within a month, a letter will go home and a fine will be levied
  • If books are damaged, students/parents will also be asked to pay for the cost to replace the book

4.0 Parent Responsibilities

Since parents are the primary educators of their children, it is important that a spirit of cooperation and trust exist between parents and teachers.
It is the responsibility of parents to:

  • See that Christian attitudes and religious practices are continued in the home
  • See that the child attends school regularly and is on time
  • See that the child is prepared with the proper school supplies
  • Ensure that the school uniform and gym strip meet the uniform policy
  • Assist the child with homework or extra work needed to catch up
  • Check and sign their child’s planner each night
  • Check and sign their child’s Progress Reports
  • Participate in school functions and attend scheduled meetings

4.1 Parent Code of Conduct

Parents are expected to (but not limited to):

  • Be examples of Catholic witness (those parents who are Catholic) by attending Sunday Mass
    (proclaiming and building the kingdom of God – see Family Statement of Commitment)
  • Be respectful of the Mission of the Catholic Church and respectful of the religious educational programs of the school
  • Respect those in positions of rightful authority
  • Respect the rights and dignity of all persons in the school community particularly in times of heightened disagreement
  • Refrain from participating in or promoting any behaviour that would threaten, intimidate, verbally assault (use of abusive language) or cause harm to any person
  • Refrain from using any technology/media device to defame the character or cause harm to the character of a school community member
  • Show an active interest in their child’s school work and progress as well as attend required meetings (Sacramental meetings, Human Growth and Development Meetings, student progress interviews/conferences etc.)
  • Ensure that their child attends school regularly, is on time and prepared
  • Work cooperatively with teachers in all areas of their child’s school life including disciplinary issues; work towards the common good of all children
  • Be familiar with their school’s codes of conduct and regulations (i.e. uniforms, internet use, traffic safety on school grounds, etc.)
  • Take concerns to the appropriate person(s). Follow the complaints procedure as provided in CISVA policy
  • Avoid involvement in rumours and dissemination of rumours
  • Build bridges of acceptance and understanding among the different cultures represented in the school community

The Pastor/Archbishop’s Representative has the right and duty to provide for the spiritual welfare of the students and families within the school and the parish. He works toward this end with parental cooperation. Parents who do not practice the faith regularly cannot expect parish subsidy support.

The Principal in law has the discretionary right to prohibit or remove any person on school property who is deemed to be an immediate threat (in deed or word) to the safety of students, employees and/or any other member of the school community. The Principal will inform the Education Committee, Pastor and Superintendent’s Office when such action is taken.

The Education Committee, in consultation with the principal, reserves the right to determine consequences for non-compliance.

4.2 Behaviour and Demeanour

The moral obligation of instructing children in a Christian lifestyle rests first with the parents. The responsibility of SMES is to provide an extension and training ground to parental training in the practice of these life skills. The teachers and staff of the school will be dedicated to finding the best means of guiding and teaching the children and in this way reinforce the example set by the parents of our enrolled students.

In order to carry this directive into the school and classroom, it is extremely important that the child be thoroughly convinced that the parents stand behind the school and that they will demand an accounting of their behaviour in the school. Without such an understanding, the child can come to think that home and school are unrelated areas of authority. For this reason, parents and teachers are encouraged to communicate their common goals to the children and encourage the child’s respect for his or her peers within the school and in the community as a whole.

4.3 Cold and Rainy Days

Ensure that students come to school dressed appropriately in cold or or rainy weather (boots, raincoat, mittens, etc.). Students need fresh air and will play outside if it is drizzling or if there is snow on the ground.

4.4 Nutrition Breaks and Schedules

Students are expected to bring their own lunches from home. The nutritional supervision of students’ lunches remains with the parents; however, candy, pop and gum are not permitted.

4.5 Conflict Resolution

If a parent/guardian has a concern regarding any aspect of a student’s life at SMES, the following procedures should be implemented as soon as possible:

  • Make an appointment to meet the student’s teacher. Many problems, concerns and misunderstandings can be resolved by effective communication at this level. Do not hesitate to contact the teachers; they are dedicated and willing to assist you and your child.
  • If the matter cannot be resolved with the teacher alone, make an appointment to meet with the teacher and the Principal together.
  • If the matter cannot be resolved at the Principal’s level, document your concerns and efforts toward resolution to the Parish Education Committee.

It is important to remember that parents are the primary educators of their children and the school staff is here to assist in this awesome responsibility. SMES does not want to approach our interaction in opposition but, rather, in cooperation and Christian fellowship. While we will not always agree, we must be willing to face each other openly and respectfully. With Christ as our Centre and Mary as our Model, our challenge to lead our youth to become saints and scholars will be an easier one.

4.6 Parent Participation Program

SMES would not exist without the active participation of parents. The involvement of parents in all aspects of the school’s operation ensures that many labour costs are reduced. Most importantly, parent participation makes enrolment at SMES a ‘family affair’. SMES believes that education is very much a family responsibility. When parents show an active interest in various Parent Participation projects, the children notice. We therefore encourage all parents to actively participate in the school and parish community. We understand that some families may not be able to participate with hours and therefore, have pay in lieu options to assist. It should be noted that involvement in the Parent Participation Program should not be confused with volunteer activities, in which families will also be encouraged to contribute their time and talents. These include school and parish activities such as field trip chaperoning, some fund-raising activities, and other events (e.g. Fun Day). Such volunteerism is a fundamental value of SMES and contributes greatly to Catholic solidarity and community spirit. It can be an intrinsically rewarding experience for those involved.

4.6.1 Participating Families

As active school community members, parents/caregivers are required to participate in one or more areas as needed by the school (see below). Further details are provided with the annual
(re)registration package. A minimum of 40 hours per year (as defined by a yearly cycle beginning on July 1 preceding the school year in question) is required from each family for fulfillment of the Parent Participation Program responsibility. Completed hours are recorded on a regular basis via the OnVolunteer management system. Please note that regardless if the minimum required hours have been completed, each family PPP assignment is designated to be fulfilled for an entire school year.

If 40 hours are still not complete by the end of the school year, one’s account will be debited for hours not fulfilled.

Payment in full of any outstanding Parent Participation Program penalty will be a necessary condition for re-enrolment in the upcoming school year. Furthermore, students will not receive classroom placement(s) in August until this obligation has been met.

4.6.2 Areas of Participation

Hot Lunch ProgramSportsSpecial Events
SupervisionRecyclingSoup Kitchen Assistance
Office HelpMedia TeamParish Education Committee
Head ChecksPREP (Parish Religious Education Program)

Once assigned to an area, families will be contacted by the Area Coordinator to work out a schedule and to answer any questions. It is important to understand that once a schedule has been made up and work areas assigned, families are expected to remain committed to that area; you are responsible to find your own replacements. Should the need arise to change your area of participation during the year, contact the Area Coordinator immediately. The school cannot guarantee that a position in another area will be available. Failure to meet your obligation will result in reassignment to the ‘pay in lieu’ category requiring an additional $800 fee. A comprehensive Parent Participation Registration Form will be distributed at the time of registration/re-registration.

Forty hours of participation per family is required, but this is used as a guideline only (additional hours are much appreciated). If short on hours, the responsibility falls on individual families to make up those hours in order to avoid paying the balance of hours in lieu at a rate of $20 per hour. Contact the Area Coordinator for assistance.

Please note that in order to ensure the safety of students and their families, it is required that all families do four mandatory supervisory shifts per year (before and after school).

4.6.3 Pay In Lieu Options

We understand that some families may not be able to participate through hours. For these families, the following options are available.

  • Pay In Lieu Option: An $800 payment (either one cheque dated September 1st or two cheques for$400 each, dated September 1st and March 1st)
  • Goods & Services in Lieu Option: Families can propose to offer the school and/or parish goods and/or services in lieu. For this option, please contact the PEC chairperson or the school principal.

4.7 Criminal Record Check

Every person that will be working with children inside or outside the school for their Parent Participation hours or otherwise, is required to complete a Criminal Record Check through their local RCMP detachment every five years. A volunteer letter and the appropriate forms are available on the school website and at the school office.

4.8 Annual General Meeting

It is mandatory for all parents/guardians to attend the SMES Annual General Meeting, usually held in February/March. At this meeting, important information about the progress of the school is given. This is also an opportunity to ask questions or to offer constructive input. Lastly, at this meeting the re-registration packages are given out. Those parent(s)/guardian(s) who are not able to attend the Annual General Meeting will need to make an appointment with the Principal to obtain their package.

4.9 School Fees

As members of the St. Matthew’s community, we have the privilege of participating in both a vibrant parish and an excellent school. It is through the commitment of the time, talent and treasure of parents, staff, priests and parishioners that our Roman Catholic school can maintain its excellent standards and continue to build our Catholic community.

It is in the spirit of community building that all parents are expected to be participating members of the parish. Participation not only includes weekly use of offertory envelopes, but also participation in the various ministries of the parish.

School fees are paid on a Parishioner, Non-Parishioner or Other basis. Families that are not using offertory envelopes on a regular basis and have not spoken to the pastor will be assessed Non-Parishioner or Other fees. All information concerning contributions is held in confidence by the Pastor.

4.9.1 Parishioner Definitions

Category 1 (Parishioner)

  • Member of the parish
  • Authorized by the pastor to attend the school

Category 2 (Non-Parishioner)

  • Not a member of the parish. Member of another Catholic parish
  • Authorized by your own pastor to attend this school

Category 3 (Other)

  • Not a member of any Catholic parish

It is hoped that all parishioners will gladly share their time, talents and resources as we continue to build our Catholic community.

Parish schools within the Archdiocese serve the parish to which the school is affiliated. Each year, the parish subsidizes the school financially to balance the school’s budget.

4.9.2 Payment Terms

A family chooses one of the following tuition payment plans:

  1. Pre-authorized debit dated September 1st to June 1st.
  2. One advance payment by cheque, dated September 1st with a 2.5% discount of total tuition.

All payments must include the proper names of the students on each cheque or pre-authorized debit form.

4.9.3 Insufficient Funds

If a NSF cheque is returned to the school by the bank, a $25 NSF fee will be levied to the family.

Parents are responsible for paying the government grant if the school does not receive the grant due to the child being enrolled in another government recognized school (e.g. Montessori Kindergarten).

Tax receipts will be issued for a portion of the tuition fee paid.

4.9.4 Non-Payment/Late Payment of Tuition

While prompt, on-time payment of tuition is expected, SMES understands that occasionally families may run into unexpected financial difficulties. The first priority of the St. Matthew’s community is to support families though such difficult times and thus will work privately with those affected. Families in financial hardship are asked to request a meeting with the Pastor in order to discuss the situation and any help that the parish may be able to provide. As an example, help may be in the form of a modified tuition payment plan. All conversations are kept strictly confidential.

If tuition has not been paid for an extended period of time:

  1. A PEC representative will contact the family via phone and/or email, with the intention of starting a confidential conversation about how the parish may be of assistance
  2. If, after several attempts, contact cannot be made a series of letters will be sent via registered mail
  3. Consequences of non-responsiveness towards the efforts to start a conversation include withholding the student’s registration for the following year and referral of the outstanding invoices to a collection agency
4.9.4.1 Financial Assistance

If your family is experiencing financial hardship, you should contact the Pastor to confidentially discuss financial assistance to help meet your tuition payments. The Pastor, on a case-by-case basis, will determine the assistance to a family in need.

4.9.5 Other fees that will be paid over the course of the year

UniformsMay
School SuppliesJune
Parent Participation FeeJuly
Activity Fees, Workbooks & Equipment, Recorders, Earthquake KitsAugust

4.10 Early Withdrawals

Written notification is required one month prior to the date of termination of student attendance and no later than the 1st of the month, i.e. for November termination, notice should be received by October 1st. If written notification is not received within this timeframe, tuition will not be refunded.  Please note that registration fees are non-refundable.

4.11 Re-registration (Current Students)

Re-registration of current students (and their siblings even if new to the school) occurs within the following guidelines:

  1. Registration forms are typically distributed in February.
  2. All required forms must be returned to the school office within one week of the forms being sent.
  3. All outstanding fees must be paid with the return of the forms.
  4. A non-refundable registration fee for the new school year must be paid at the same time as the forms are returned.
  5. Tuition payment (see section 4.9.2 Payment Options) for the upcoming school year must be submitted along with the completed forms.

If siblings of enrolled students do not submit their applications at the time, they lose their priority status. Siblings of non-Catholics cannot be given priority over Catholics.

4.12 Application/Re-registration Fees

For families new to SMES a $50 application fee per family is charged and is non-refundable. Application fees will be applied towards the $75 registration fee, with the remaining $25 payable upon acceptance.

A $75 registration/re-registration fee per family is charged and is non-refundable.

4.13 Outstanding Fees or Materials

Any and all outstanding fees owed to SMES must be paid in full. SMES reserves the right to withhold acceptance of registration for the coming school year until these matters are settled, i.e. outstanding tuition, fees, equipment, school and library books, Parent Participation fees and loss or replacement of damaged goods.

4.14 Registration (New Students)

Following the re-registration of current students in March of each year, applications from new students will be reviewed. When an Application for Admission is received an interview with the Principal, Pastor and a PEC member will be arranged. At the conclusion of the interview, the Principal, Pastor and PEC member will make decisions regarding acceptance and non-acceptance.

Successful applicants will have one week from the date of notification of acceptance to complete the registration.

Completion of registration requires that:

  1. All registration forms be returned.
  2. Registration fees be paid in full.
  3. Tuition payment (see section 4.9.2 Payment Options) for the upcoming school year must be submitted along with the completed forms.

Completion of all documentation for new registrants will be acknowledged by email or phone. Unsuccessful applicants will be notified by email as soon as possible.

4.15 Absence and Lateness

Parents should make a sincere effort to have their children attend classes regularly to avoid interruption of teaching programs and to ensure that their children are on time for school in the morning. It is the parents’ responsibility to ensure that children arrive at school on time. Perpetually late students are in breach of the student Code of Conduct and parents are in breach of their Family Statement of Commitment. If there are issues that arise which create chronic tardiness, parents must contact the Principal to discuss the matter further.
If a child will be absent due to any medical or dental appointments, a note is required on the day of the appointment or earlier to advise the teacher. Parents must come to the school office to have their child excused from class.

4.16 What to do if your child is absent or late

The office must be notified before 9:00 AM by phone, written note or email if your child(ren) will be absent or arriving late for any reason. Students are considered late if they are not in their line-up by the 8:45 AM bell. Parents must either email the school or phone the office and follow up with a written note or email to notify the school of the reason for the absence.
If notification is not received, the secretary will begin calling the homes of all students not at school. This Early Alert System will ensure the safety of the children and cooperation of the parents is requested.

4.17 Visitors

During school hours, parents and visitors must report to the school office. Individuals who are volunteering in the school need to sign in at the office and pick up a Parent Volunteer tag to wear. Visitors must sign out and return the tag prior to leaving. Lunches, uniforms, forgotten work or supplies must be left at the office with the student’s name and grade.
The main student washrooms are out of bounds for parents and visitors during school hours and events. After reporting to the office, parents and visitors will be directed to an available alternate washroom upon request.

4.18 Holidays During School Time

Absences for reasons other than illness must be kept to a minimum, so please try to schedule holidays during school breaks. Loss of school time may jeopardize the child’s year and usually results in missing new concepts taught during his/her absence. Formal permission to take a child out of school should be sought from the Principal before arrangements are made.

It is the responsibility of the parents to ensure that any class assignments missed during your absence are attended to upon your return. Further, it should not be expected that the teacher provide study materials prior to your holiday.

In order to receive the government grant a student must be in attendance for a specified number of days during the year. If a student were to miss too many days due to holidays this could jeopardize reception of the grant, in which case the parents will be responsible for paying the balance.

4.19 Parking Lot/Traffic Flow

Please study the parking lot procedures carefully and ensure that anyone who is responsible for dropping off and picking up children are aware of the procedures in order to ensure maximum safety for everyone.

4.19.1 Parking Lot Procedure

SMES understands that there are times when someone other than a parent or guardian picks up your child. Please ensure they are aware of the following guidelines.

  • For morning drop off:
    • Westbound traffic on 88th Avenue can enter via the west gate directly into the school parking lot
    • Eastbound traffic on 88th Avenue can enter via the main entrance to St. Matthew’s Church at the traffic light at 161 Street
  • For after school pick up:
    • All traffic enter via the main entrance to St. Matthew’s Church at the traffic light at 161 Street
    • Please avoid entering the school parking lot; parking spaces are usually unavailable and there will be heavy pedestrian traffic.
  • Obey all posted traffic signs, speed limits and volunteers on traffic control duty
  • Parking is not permitted in drop off zone in front of the school entrance (drop off or pick up only)
  • Please do not idle your vehicle in the school parking lot

4.20 Labeling of Personal Belongings

Please ensure that every item your child wears or brings to school is carefully labeled. We suggest you stitch your child’s name into the sweater label as ink wears off with use and washing. All personal belongings that are brought to school, such as toys, must be labeled.

No trading of toys is permitted.

Unlabeled items that remain in the Lost and Found will be donated to charity at the end of each term.

4.21 Communicating Student Learning – Progress Reports and Parent/Teacher Communication

The formal communication events and schedule is as follows. These meetings/reports serve to allow the student an opportunity to share his/her learning with their parents.

EventSchedule
Parent/Teacher ConferencesNovember
Progress ReportsDecember and June
Celebration of Learning EveningFebruary
Student-Led ConferencesApril

Informal communication between parents and teachers is encouraged throughout the school year. Teachers will respond to emails between 8:15 AM and 4:00 PM Monday to Friday.

4.22 Transportation of Students

Where privately owned motor vehicles are used to transport students to and from a field trip, it should be ensured that such vehicles have a minimum third party liability of $1 million and that the private motor vehicles meet all the current requirements of the Motor Vehicle Act and Regulations.

With respect to transportation of students, all parents driving vehicles in which students are passengers have an automatic $10 million individual driver’s liability insurance provided by school insurance carriers.

All persons transporting students, other than their own children, must complete a ‘Driver Authorization Form’ annually, which is held on file at the school office.

The CISVA has provided in their yearly budget an Excess Third Party Liability policy to cover privately owned vehicles that are used in the course of a school activity. “This policy is with the Insurance Corporation of BC and gives protection to each teacher, parent, office or other volunteer (or their spouses) while driving their own vehicle in the course of a school activity and with the authority or approval of the school board. A coverage of $2,000,000 is in excess of the limit specified on the Owner’s Certificate of Insurance.”

Note that coverage is limited to 24 hours per day on school days and also covers days when the student is involved in extracurricular activities sponsored by the school. THERE IS NO COVERAGE FOR WEEKENDS, HOLIDAYS, SUMMER BREAK, ETC.

4.23 Changes to Contact/Personal Information

It is extremely important that the school be notified of changes of address, place of work or emergency contact numbers. If banking information changes before the pre-authorized debits are to be cleared on the 1st of the month, please provide an updated pre-authorized debit form with a new void cheque to the school office.