Mulberry School inspires children to a life of learning and positive contribution to community. By weaving creativity and social learning into every day, we foster intellectual and social success for a lifetime.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Mulberry School is a non-profit 501(c) (3) corporation. The Board of Trustees provides strategic planning and makes school policy in accordance with Mulberry School’s Mission Statement. The Board also hires and conducts performance reviews for the Head of School (HOS). It is the HOS’s responsibility to hire and supervise staff, implement curriculum, oversee the facility, and implement Board policy. The Board meets regularly during the year. Every Mulberry parent is invited to attend the open portion of each meeting.
PARENT ASSEMBLY COUNCIL
All parents are members of Mulberry’s Parent Assembly Council and elect its officers. The role of the PAC officers is to oversee the elementary committees that are staffed by parent volunteers. PAC is also responsible for community building events. PAC meets monthly and all parents are invited to attend these meetings.
Mulberry is now in its 56th year!
Mulberry School was founded in 1963 as a one-room parent-cooperative nursery school. Local members of the American Association of University Women saw the need for a school that included parents as part of the educational process. In 1965, Mulberry School moved to Hamilton Avenue in San Jose.
Mulberry remained a parent participation preschool until 1983 when kindergarten was added. The school grew and continued to add classes. In 1994 fifth grade was added and in 2016 middle school. Mulberry School now offers preschool classes beginning at 2 years old, as well as junior kindergarten through eighth grade.
In fall 2005, we moved to our present location in Los Gatos. With a long-term lease, we have made many improvements to the property, including a new preschool yard, a performance stage, gardening areas for all grades, and kitchens in both the preschool and main building for cooking instruction and projects.
Experience the Joy of Learning at Mulberry School
Progressive Education: At the heart of great education, one finds students who are intellectually and collaboratively engaged learners. Mulberry students learn how to think critically and solve problems. We create a balance between integrated thematic projects, direct instruction and inquiry-based learning, providing each student with opportunities to become self-reflective thinkers through active, creative classrooms. No one educational perspective works for all students. Our faculty has the education, knowledge and flexibility to choose from proven methods and techniques, allowing us to meet the needs of a broad base of learners. Students are academically challenged at their own level, and always encouraged toward higher levels of personal excellence and achievement.
Social & Emotional Education: At the core of our instruction, Mulberry fosters social and emotional growth through the Positive Discipline model, giving time to class meetings, and supporting day-to-day interactions. We empower students to be nurturing and contributing members of the community, valuing not just the developing intellect, but the well-being of the whole child. Our students know who they are, express themselves with eloquence, and advocate for themselves and others.
Creativity: Creativity is everywhere at Mulberry School. The creative process is integrated throughout the curriculum at every grade level. Students master diverse media. Every child’s imaginative self-expression is nurtured through a combination of teacher led and free exploration activities.
Honoring Differences: Diversity is explored and celebrated, in its many forms, throughout our school program and school campus. We provide an environment where differences in culture, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, religion and family tradition are safely shared and respected. Students learn to appreciate their fellow classmates, both for their similarities and differences.
Community: As the foundation upon which our school is based, community enhances all aspects of the Mulberry program and student learning, with parents, teachers and the administration supporting children and one another. The rich community of Mulberry creates a sense of belonging and mutual respect across the generations. Furthermore, the collaborative process, which is prevalent throughout our school, develops students’ abilities to communicate comfortably with adults, creating people who function constructively in a system of democracy.
At Mulberry School, we value each member of our community, supporting one another in a life-long process of engaged learning.
STUDENT LEARNING GOALS (ESLRs)
By graduation, Mulberry students will be:
Lifelong learners…,/strong> Lifelong learners, who joyfully acquire new knowledge and skills. They will have a strong academic foundation and will be prepared for school beyond Mulberry in reading, writing, math, social studies, and the sciences. They will utilize a range of resources and technology to conduct research. Through real-world experiences, students will develop important life skills that will reinforce academic ideas and concepts. Our graduates will effectively reflect upon their own learning and will apply new knowledge to their lives and the world around them.
Critical thinkers… Critical thinkers, whose curiosity drives them to ask complex questions, will analyze, synthesize, evaluate, and apply information. Problems will be solved using logical reasoning, experience, and innovative, creative thinking.
Effective communicators… Effective communicators, who are confident speakers, active listeners, and expressive writers. They will communicate their ideas, feelings, interests, and knowledge through a range of creative media including art and music.
Socially responsible and conscientious citizens… Socially responsible and conscientious citizens, who are collaborative, respectful, compassionate, inclusive, and kind. They will resolve conflicts peacefully and demonstrate personal integrity.
Resilient, motivated students… Who take initiative and show perseverance. Our students will work hard toward achieving personal goals and take reasonable risks and will view mistakes as opportunities to learn. Through their efforts, they will gain an awareness of their own strengths, struggles and learning styles. Students will have acquired time management and organizational skills and have developed focus necessary to be successful in middle school.
Globally, environmentally, and culturally aware human beings… Globally, environmentally, and culturally aware human beings, who contribute to improving their school, their community, and the world. They will appreciate and embrace human diversity. They will begin to understand the impact of humans on global ecology and the crucial importance of sustainability.
Healthy balanced individuals… Healthy balanced individuals, who understand the importance of making healthy choices regarding food and physical activity to maintain a strong mind and body.
Discovery At Mulberry School, children experience an environment where their natural mode of learning is nurtured. Children are encouraged to try new skills, make guesses, and use their senses, and as such are constantly being taught that their natural curiosity opens fascinating doors to the world. Discovery is an ongoing process that continues every day, and because they practice this way of learning throughout their years at Mulberry, our students emerge as confident, curious learners. The world is there for them to explore.
Integrity A true indicator of personal integrity is the manner in which one handles him/herself when mistakes or errors in judgment are made. Children at Mulberry School integrate the idea that meaningful, deep learning cannot occur without such errors, and understand that through the challenge of mistakes, one must hold onto honest, humble attitudes and behaviors. Our students are young people of high character who display personal integrity in word and deed.
Collaboration Collaboration is present in every facet of our children’s experience, whether in the classroom or on the playground, and in the interaction with children and adults alike. Children’s skills in working together are constantly taught, modeled and practiced in getting tasks completed and problems solved. Students learn mastery of conflict resolution and the democratic process in regular examination of how to positively and productively work together.
Community We value each member of the extended Mulberry community, supporting one another in a life-long process of engaged learning. We define community as the students, families, alumni, teachers and administration, all of which combined is the foundation upon which our school is based. Families are involved in many ways. Since we began, parent participation has been an integral part of our program. Every family’s contribution is invaluable, creating and cultivating an enriched, supportive educational environment. Working together, community enhances all aspects of our program. What exists is a strong sense of belonging and mutual respect.
Engagement At Mulberry, our students are not passive receptacles of information, but drivers of their own learning. Assignments require they reach for personal excellence and meaning. With aspects of emotional intelligence built into the curriculum, students not only study math, science, language arts and social studies, but are also encouraged to understand their own personal growth as learners. Our children learn by doing, through experience and active problem solving. They participate in the education and development of others in many ways, as well; through our “buddy” system, with older students helping younger peers read or learn science; via social problem solving during class meetings; in learning and growing during group project work. In addition to our students, parents are actively engaged through participation on committees, in the classroom, or lending their special talents to help enrich the children’s experiences.
Self-Knowledge Our faculty understands the importance of developing in our students the skills associated with intelligent behavior, of which meta-cognition (knowledge about your own thoughts and the factors that influence your thinking) is a key quality. Children come to understand how they learn best, as well as how they know what they know. Furthermore, with Positive Discipline integrated into the very fiber of our school’s culture, our children are daily provided opportunities to resolve conflict in meaningful ways, as well as to question and reflect upon their responses to people and situations. From this critical set of experiences, students learn how their actions impact others, as well as how to positively act in the face of their own emotional response to another.
2018-2019 Deposit and Tuition Payment Schedule
Payment Options Payment of annual tuition can be completed on the following schedules:
Option 1 1 payment of tuition in full paid in June 2018 (Receives 2% prepay discount)
Option 2 2 equal payments of ½ of annual tuition paid in June 2018 and in November 2018
Option 3 10 equal payments of tuition paid June 2018 through March 2019
2019-2020 Deposits, Fees and Payments
***To better align with other CAIS schools in Northern California, payment options for 2019-2020 will automatically begin in the month of April for the 2019-2020 academic year.
A deposit of $750 will be due January 15th, 2019 through FACTS and will be deducted from your first tuition payment in April. Re-registration enrollment gees of $250 are paid through RenWeb.
Withdrawal If you choose to withdraw from Mulberry School, please note that paid tuition or fees are not refundable or transferable. Please send an email to the Admissions Director to inform of your intent to withdraw.
Tuition Payments and Fees All monthly and annual tuition payments and fees are made through FACTS. Details can be found on RenWeb and when logging in to FACTS. Details are also available in the office.
Tuition Assistance (Elementary only) and Emergency Funds The goal of our tuition assistance program is to allow children to attend Mulberry School who might not otherwise be able to do so. Elementary families requesting tuition assistance must demonstrate financial need and have a strong commitment to the school. Enrolled students must be in good academic standing. All families applying for tuition assistance for the 2019/2020 school year must file the online Parents’ Financial Statement with School and Student Service for Financial Aid by early April 2019. The website is www.sss.nais.org. Additionally, emergency funds have been set aside to help families (elementary & preschool) in short-term financial crisis who are unable to pay tuition. All families applying for emergency assistance should also file the online Parents’ Financial Statement with School and Student Service for Financial Aid as the need arises. Tuition assistance may not only come in the form of money, but can include alternate payment arrangements, but with restrictions. Please contact the office for further details.
You can contact Mulberry School’s CFOO to obtain a copy of the tuition assistance policy.
Tuition and Extended Care Non-Payment When tuition and/or Extended Care payments become in arrears, FACTS and/or Mulberry will contact the family by email. A repayment contract will be established if necessary. Families with non-payment histories, or who break the repayment contract, may be subject to dismissal or denied enrollment.
If any outstanding balance is 30 days or more in arrears, Mulberry reserves the right to engage a collection agency. If non-payment occurs for 60 days, the CFOO may notify the parents in writing that the child may no longer attend Mulberry School. Past tuition payments are still the parents’ legal responsibility and Mulberry reserves the right to engage a collection agency, the costs incurred of which shall be the responsibility of the parents or guardian.
Returned Payments When a payment is returned, FACTS will notify the payee and assess a $30 fee.
Mulberry School Development
Every school has a unique culture of giving. At Mulberry, we strive to have a few major fundraising efforts spread out during the school year and we avoid, if at all possible, holding product fundraisers. We have two major fundraising initiatives each school year, one in Fall and one in the Spring.
1. Annual Campaign Mulberry’s annual giving campaign, The Magic of Mulberry, occurs each fall. While contributions are not required, we encourage every family to donate a month’s tuition per child if possible, as funds raised from this effort go toward supporting our program. You will hear more about this at Back to School Night.
2. Steppin’ Out Auction Contribution Steppin’ Out, our annual dinner-dance and auction gala, represents our largest fundraising effort each year. Every family and Alumni are invited to attend. Each family is required to donate or solicit one or more items with a minimum value of $75.
SCHOOL DAY INFORMATION
School Schedule Office Hours 8:00 – 4:30 pm
Preschool Schedule Regular Hours: 9:00 am – 12:00 pm or 9:00 am – 4:30 pm Before School Care: 8:00 am – 9:00 am
Elementary Schedule Junior Kindergarten 8:40 am – 12:00 pm Kindergarten 8:40 am – 1:00 pm Grades 1-2 8:40 am – 3:00 pm Grades 3-5 8:50 am – 3:00 pm
Middle School Schedule Grades 6-8 8:40 am – 3:00 pm
Extended Care Hours (Available for elementary and middle school students only.) 8:00 am – 8:50 am and 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Staff In-Service Days and Meetings On occasion throughout the year, there will be no school in order for the faculty to participate in professional development activities. Extended care will be available on in-service days at the rate of $12 per hour.
Arrival and Departure Procedures Since your child’s safety is our foremost concern, we have established the following drop-off/pick-up guidelines. We ask that all parents comply with these in order to ensure that your child is properly supervised at all times.
1. Drop off is available starting at 8:30 am every day. Please ensure that a Mulberry School staff member receives your child at the front curb. Never drop off your child to walk to class unescorted. Preschool children must be escorted to class by an adult. 2. You may also choose to walk your child to class. 3. Teachers will meet their children at a location designated for each class and will escort them into the classroom. 4. Never leave your child in a classroom without adult supervision. 5. Parents are responsible for arranging carpooling, and every adult is accountable for all children in her/his car. 6. Driving adults must escort each child to the appropriate classroom. For elementary or middle school, the driving adult can drop off students in the designated area at the front curb. 7. Any person picking up a Mulberry student must be designated by the parent as authorized to do so. Names may be changed on the Emergency Identification Forms by the parent/legal guardian at any time. Please make any such changes with the office staff.
Dropping Off Lunches, Clothes and Other Items If your child forgets to bring her or his lunch, clothes or any other items and you would like to drop them off, please do so in the office. This will minimize classroom interruptions and ensure the safety of everyone on campus.
Parking Parking is allowed in the Mulberry School parking lots and on the school side of Belgatos Road. Please do not park on Belvue Drive (the road next to preschool) nor on the opposite side of Belgatos Road, per agreements with the district and our neighbors. Extra caution is required when driving in the school parking lot. The speed limit is 5 mph.
Never park in the red fire lane in front of the school. This area is for the exclusive use of emergency personnel. If seen parking in the red zone, parents will be asked by staff to immediately move their vehicles.
Mulberry has placed NO PARKING signs in places where parking may cause safety concerns due to blocking entrance/exit lanes. Please do not park in areas where NO PARKING signs are posted. Since parking is at a premium at Mulberry, carpooling is encouraged. There is a sign-up sheet in the work area in the Hub to facilitate this.
Another way to alleviate parking congestion is to utilize drop off. Please see the drop off section in this handbook for details.
Learning Space All non-classroom areas on campus, including the playground, are considered “learning spaces” during regular school hours. Please respect our learning spaces by taking conversations to the courtyard. Only parents currently scheduled to work should be in learning spaces during the school day.
Telephones/Messages Classroom phones are for staff use and emergencies ONLY. If needed, parents may use the phone in the office. Cell phones must be turned off during parents’ work shifts. Ask callers to contact the office if they need to reach you. Please do not use your phone to text or email while you are working your shift.
Birthdays The teacher will inform parents of any special agreements made regarding birthday celebrations. Students are not required to celebrate their birthday in class, but if s/he chooses to do so, please speak with the teacher about what might be brought in for the festivities. Some children choose to bring in food items, while others give a book or game to the class in celebration of their birthday.
Clothing Since our students are encouraged to play actively outdoors, and participate energetically in PE, children should dress appropriately. For safety reasons, “Croc”-type shoes, open-toed shoes, slip-on beach shoes and dressy shoes and boots, as well as clothing with drawstrings or cords are not recommended. Sneakers are the most suitable footwear for Mulberry’s playgrounds. Clothing that is likely to be removed should be labeled with the child’s name. Children should bring a labeled change of clothing every day, in the event of water play, weather changes, or accidents. We expect that all children will dress in school appropriate manner. Bare midriffs, “short shorts”, and exposed backs are not acceptable.
Lost and Found Check the Lost and Found bin located in the parent workroom regularly. Unclaimed items will be donated to charitable organizations. An announcement will be made in the Mulberry Buzz each time a donation date approaches.
Toilet Training Preschool has no toilet training requirements. To enter Junior Kindergarten and Kindergarten, children must be fully toilet trained.
Nutritional Guidelines at Mulberry Mulberry encourages students to eat lunches and snacks that are healthy and nutritious. Good, healthy food provides the fuel necessary for students to learn their best throughout the school day. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy and protein are all good choices when considering what to pack for lunch. Encourage your child to choose low fat milk or water for proper hydration throughout the day.
Non-nutritive calories from sugar-filled snacks, drinks and other types of “junk food” are not recommended during school hours and are better left at home. Furthermore, as we do our part to protect the environment, please use recycled paper and/or reusable containers throughout the year. Working with your child to bring a healthy, “greener” lunch to school every day will benefit everybody. We ask parents to be mindful of how they pack their child’s lunch. Please use non-disposable items whenever possible.
EXTENDED CARE (Elementary and Middle School Students Only)
Available to our elementary and middle school students only, Extended Care provides childcare before and after school. Consistent with our educational program, Extended Care staff uses Positive Discipline to encourage students to self-regulate behavior, while providing a safe, respectful, fun environment. The daily schedule includes both indoor and outside activities, and the serving of a nutritious afternoon snack.
Parents considering Extended Care are welcome to come by and meet the aides. Please schedule a time to visit with the office beforehand. Feel free to direct any questions, comments or ideas to our Extended Care Lead or our CFOO, Laurel Maguire.
All children using Extended Care must be fully toilet trained.
Extended Care Hours: 8:00 am – 8:50 am and 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Signing In and Out of Extended Care Your child must be signed into and out of Extended Care each day by you or your designee. Failure to do so will result in your being charged for use until 6:00 p.m. that day. Picking up your child after 6:00 p.m. will result in being charged $1.00 per minute.
We reserve the right to not release your child to an unauthorized person, to anyone we strongly suspect is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or to one exhibiting inappropriate behavior. Photographic identification will be required of any person not known to the Extended Care staff.
Mulberry expects that children will behave in an acceptable manner while in Extended Care. If a child is unable to conduct himself/herself in an appropriate manner, it may be necessary to review the child’s behavior and set-up a corrective action plan.
Children who consistently ignore agreements related to appropriate conduct may be restricted to limited hours in Extended Care or may not be permitted to use the program.
Mulberry School’s attendance policy reflects our commitment to student safety. It ensures that all students are accounted for when they are on our campus. In addition, regular attendance and punctuality are important to each student’s academic and social success. Late arrivals and early dismissals are disruptive to the classroom and deprive your child of valuable teacher instructions and in-class discussions. Moreover, learning to be punctual is an important life skill.
Both tardiness and absences are recorded daily and appear on progress reports.
Absences In keeping with our school’s values and the Student Code of Conduct, all Mulberry students are expected to attend class daily. We understand that situations arise that may cause a child to be absent and, therefore, recognize the following as excusable absences:
• Illness or injury of the student. • An absence required by law, such as a quarantine under the direction of a county or city health officer or a subpoena or other order for the student to appear in court. • Appointments with healthcare providers, including medical, dental and optometry appointments. (We strongly encourage wellness and other non-urgent appointments to be scheduled after school hours.) • Attending the funeral services of a member of the student’s family, for a duration of time approved by the Head of School in his/her sole discretion. • Spending time with a member of the student’s immediate family who is an active duty member of the uniformed services and has been called to duty for, is on leave from, or has immediately returned from, deployment to a combat zone or combat support position, in an amount at the sole discretion of the Head of School. • Attending the student’s naturalization ceremony to become a United States citizen. • Observance of a religious holiday or other religious obligation of the student’s religion. • Any other justifiable reason, which may include, but is not limited to, a voluntary court appearance, additional time off related to the death of a family member, etc. The Head of School has sole discretion to determine whether a particular reason is justifiable.
Absences not listed above are considered unexcused. This includes family vacations and sporting/performance events. With adequate notice and approval, it is possible to arrange an independent study program to make up missed course work for extended absences through your classroom teacher and the student support faculty.
If your child is going to be absent for any reason, please email the Office by 9:00 a.m. Please also copy your child’s teacher on the email. Parents whose children are not in class by 9:00 a.m. will be contacted by the School.
In case of excessive unexcused absences, i.e., 5 unexcused absences per trimester, a meeting will be arranged between the parents, student (if appropriate), teacher, and student support faculty to discuss and create an attendance improvement plan.
In the event a student misses 5 or more excused absences per trimester, a meeting will be arranged between the parents, student (if appropriate), teacher, and student support faculty to discuss the impact of the absences on the student’s ability to fulfill the academic requirements of the program. If the excused absences are due to a disability or extenuating circumstances, the school will follow its reasonable accommodations policy by engaging in the interactive process with the family.
Tardiness A tardy is defined as a student arriving at school after 8:40 am for JK through 2nd grade and Middle School, and after 8:50 am for 3rd through 5th grades.
If your child is tardy, these steps must be followed to ensure that the administration can account for all children on campus in the event of an emergency:
● JK through 5th grade: an adult must check the student into the office to receive an attendance slip. School faculty or staff will accompany our youngest students to the classroom.
● Middle School: students must report to the office to receive an attendance slip and then proceed to class. Please note that the student will not be able to enter into the classroom without the attendance slip.
In case of excessive tardies, (3 tardies in a 2-week period) a meeting may be arranged between the parents, student (if appropriate), teacher, and administration. A written agreement for on-time arrival at school may be required by the school.
Early Dismissal If a student must leave class before the end of the day, the following steps must be followed to ensure that the administration can account for all children during an emergency. • An adult must go to the office to check the student out of school; and • School faculty or staff will go to the classroom and take the student out of class.
HARASSMENT AND BULLYING
Harassment and bullying are unacceptable conduct at Mulberry School. These behaviors occur when an individual is subject to treatment in the school environment that is hostile or intimidating. Harassment or bullying of any member of the Mulberry School community (students, staff and family members) by another member is prohibited and will not be tolerated. At Mulberry School all members of the community are treated with respect and dignity. This policy refers to incidents between students, between adults and students, or between adult members of the community.
Harassment can be directed toward an individual under conditions such as the following: ● Verbal harassment: demeaning comments, statements, slurs, name-calling, jokes, or anecdotes. ● Written harassment: suggestive, threatening, or obscene letters, notes, or invitations. ● Physical harassment: unkind, unwanted and/or unlawful physical touching, contact, assault, deliberate blocking movements, or any intimidating interference with normal movement. ● Visual harassment: leering, gesturing or displaying of sexually suggestive objects, pictures, cartoons or posters. ● Cyber harassment/bullying: sending or encouraging others to send abusive, hurtful, offensive or unwelcome messages via email, chat, IM, Facebook, text messages, etc.
Bullying involves: ● intentional behavior aimed at harming another, ● recurring incidents, ● a power differential, and ● strong need for power and dominance.
Sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to, • unwelcome sexual advances, • requests for sexual favors, and • other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.
Sexual harassment may take various forms, including verbal, written, physical, visual, or cyber harassment.
Students and/or adults who feel that they have been harassed may directly inform the person engaging in such conduct that it is offensive and must stop. In some circumstances, it may be easier for a student and/or adult to speak with their teacher or the HOS. Allegations of harassment or bullying will be treated seriously and will be reviewed, investigated, and acted upon in a prompt, sensitive and thorough manner.
STUDENT CODE OF CONDUCT
Mulberry School strives to provide a safe, nurturing, and innovative learning environment that is physically and emotionally safe for students and in which children may learn and grow successfully. Mulberry’s Code of Conduct is based on the school’s values of collaboration, self-knowledge, community, engagement, discovery and integrity. The staff and faculty are committed to modeling, teaching and guiding expected positive student behaviors. Courtesy, kindness, compassion, respect and problem-solving strategies are practiced and valued by faculty, staff, students, and parents.
Together, our goal at Mulberry School is to assure that each child has the opportunity to be a successful and contributing member of our community, and that all students learn to understand how their actions affect others. We believe that parents play the utmost important role in supporting and guiding their children in achieving these expectations.
Mulberry School’s Code of Conduct is based upon a philosophy of respect. We define respect as due regard for the feelings, wishes, rights or traditions of others.
We have: ● Respect for all human beings ● Respect for the earth and all living things ● Respect for all school and personal property ● Respect for the guidance provided by teachers, staff and parents ● Respect for our school community ● Respect for our neighbors and neighborhoods
If a student’s behavior falls outside the Code of Conduct, depending on the circumstances, parents may be notified and requested to meet with the Head of School or Assistant Head of School to discuss appropriate strategies and consequences, which may include development of a behavior plan.
Positive Discipline The Positive Discipline Parent Education and Classroom Management models are aimed at developing mutually respectful relationships. Positive Discipline teaches adults to employ kindness and firmness (at the same time) and is neither punitive nor permissive.
We generally follow these five criteria for Positive Discipline: ● Kind and Firm at the same time. (Respectful and Encouraging) ‘Firm’ means that the limit does not change. ● Help children feel a sense of Belonging and Significance. (Connection) ● Effective Long-Term. (Punishment works short term but does not effectively teach desirable behaviors and has negative long-term results.) ● Teach valuable Social and Life Skills for good character. (Respect, concern for others, problem-solving, accountability, contribution, cooperation) ● Invite children to discover how Capable they are and to use their personal power in constructive ways.
The tools and concepts of Positive Discipline include: ● Mutual respect. Adults model firmness by respecting themselves and the needs of the situation, and kindness by respecting the needs of the child. ● Identifying the belief behind the behavior. Effective discipline recognizes the reasons kids do what they do and works to change those beliefs, rather than merely attempting to change behavior. ● Effective communication and problem-solving skills. ● Discipline that teaches (and is neither permissive nor punitive). ● Focusing on solutions instead of punishment. ● Encouragement (instead of praise). Encouragement notices effort and improvement, not just success, and builds long-term self-worth and empowerment. https://www.positivediscipline.com
Please keep in mind that the School has sole discretion to determine whether Positive Discipline is appropriate under the circumstances, which means that in cases of serious or repeated misconduct, the School may decide that immediate dismissal is warranted.
Student Rights Every student has the right: ● to be treated with respect, including not being subject to bullying, or harassment on the basis of race, ethnicity, disability, gender, religion, or any other status protected by law ● to an environment free of distractions/disruptions that impede learning ● to be physically and emotionally safe ● to have a clear understanding of school rules and behavioral expectations and consequences ● to be taught school-wide classroom behavior ● to participate in making plans for changing problematic behaviors
Student Responsibilities Every student has the responsibility: ● to attend school on a regular basis (except due to illness) ● to arrive to school on time ● to be on task in the classroom, completing projects as assigned or agreed upon ● to follow the School Code of Conduct ● to respect the rights of other students, teachers and participating adults in the community ● to use appropriate language ● to respect and treat school property with care ● to be willing to resolve conflicts with others through discussion and problem-solving techniques ● to ask an adult for help if a situation becomes too difficult to handle independently
Process for Meeting the Student Code of Conduct
The following is the general process that the School has put in place to support students in meeting the Student Code of Conduct. However, it is important to note that each case is unique and, in some cases, in the sole discretion of the Head of School, none or not all items of this process may be followed before a decision is made to discipline a student, up to and including suspension or terminating enrollment.
1. Classroom Agreement
Each classroom teacher will have in place a classroom agreement created with the students at the beginning of the school year. These agreements, in addition to classroom management plans, equip teachers to consistently respond to student behavior in the classroom, on the playground and on field trips.
2. Individualized Behavioral Contract
In the event that additional support is needed, in many cases, the student may be referred to the student support faculty to implement an individualized behavioral contract, which may include some or all of the following procedures:
• A student is referred based on a behavioral choice or a series of choices that could not be addressed in the classroom. • A meeting is arranged between the parents, the student if appropriate, the classroom teacher, and the student support faculty, generally within 48 hours, if practicable. The school has discretion to deny the student the ability to return to class until the team gas met and a behavior plan has been implemented. • An individualized behavioral contract is created. This may include requests for more information, a plan to teach desired behavior changes and monitor the student’s progress, service learning, and/or alternate schedules. If necessary, an independent home study plan may be temporarily put in place to evaluate the child and the ability of the child to successfully return to the classroom at Mulberry School. If so, the independent home study plan will be overseen by the student support faculty in consultation with the classroom teacher. • A follow up meeting may be scheduled, generally for 3-4 weeks to check in on the student’s status. In general, the behavioral contract either ends because the behavior is corrected, continues for a specified time, or is modified as the situation warrants. • A second follow-up meeting may be set, generally for 2 weeks later. In general, the case is resolved, the time clock reset as appropriate, or a meeting may be scheduled with the Head of School as appropriate before an expulsion decision is made. • All timelines provided in this process are general, only, and the School may decide, in its sole discretion, to adopt different timelines depending on the circumstances.
3. Meeting (If Applicable) Before Termination of Enrollment Decision Is Made
In most cases, prior to making a decision to terminate enrollment of a student from the School, the School will notify the parents of its intent to terminate enrollment of the student and schedule a meeting with the parents, and if appropriate, the student. The purpose of the meeting will be for the parents and, if appropriate, the student, to provide any information that they might wish for the School to consider before the School makes a final decision on whether to terminate enrollment of the student. The School will consider the information provided by the parents and/or student before making its final decision. The decision to terminate enrollment is at the sole discretion of the Head of School and shall be final. The parents will receive written notice of the decision. In addition, as applicable and appropriate, recommendations for a new school placement may be given to the family.
Mulberry School reserves the right to terminate enrollment at any time and without completing any or all of this process if the Head of School determines, in his/her sole discretion, it to be in the best interests of the child/parents or the School community.
CLASSROOM SUPERVISION AND DISCIPLINE
Supervising Our Children Maintaining a safe and respectful school environment is critical to fostering nurturing, positive learning conditions for every student. While adults are asked to help enforce the school’s rules, one must remain mindful of the importance of applying common sense in all areas, even when specific rules do not exist.
Classroom As a school that follows the Positive Discipline Model, Positive Discipline Demonstration School, we teach our students to make responsible choices, helping everyone to feel respected and supported. All teachers are trained in the Positive Discipline model and facilitate parent education to support these practices. In addition to Mulberry’s Code of Conduct, each teacher works with students to create a classroom agreement. The teacher informs students and parents of agreed upon behavioral guidelines. In addition, the following guidelines are offered for both inside and outside of the classroom. 1. Every child gets a “clean slate” every day. 2. Corporal punishment is never used. 3. Never shame or blame. 4. Pick your battles. Before correcting a student, ask yourself if the situation really matters. If it does, briefly but firmly state your point and ensure that she/he follows through. If, on the other hand, it is not important, let it go. 5. Encourage verbal expression, especially when a student is frustrated or upset. 6. Encourage students to discover on their own, offering suggestions and helping when it is requested by the student. 7. Offer an explanation in lieu of just saying “no” whenever possible.
Your child’s teacher will discuss with you additional supervisory guidelines during class meetings. Never hesitate to ask questions.
Playground All participating adults are directed to confer with the supervising staff whenever questions arise. What follows are some of the agreements that remain in place for children when on the playground, whether during morning recess or lunchtime. Please note that there are additional classroom agreements usually in place. Your class representative or child’s teacher may share these with you. 1. Students must remain seated while eating. 2. Climbing may occur only on those pieces of playground equipment that have an unobstructed fall zone (i.e., tan bark) beneath. Climbing trees, fences, buildings, or the uprights for the swing set is, therefore, not appropriate. 3. Students and adults are expected to be respectful in every interaction. 4. Bicycle helmets are optional on the school’s tricycles and scooters. 5. Children must remain in line-of-site at all times. 6. The maximum number of children to sit on the tire swing is 3. 7. Please help us take care of our wheeled toys by reminding children to not crash these. 8. Jump ropes may only be used for jumping. Please don’t use them to tie things together. 9. Agreements about behavior on the playground must be followed by all students, and supervising adults are expected to help enforce these. Confer with the playground supervisor if you are uncertain about a specific situation.
Preschool Transitions Starting school can be a challenging transition for many young children. We ask, therefore, that you come with your child the first couple of weeks, if you anticipate this will help. Some additional tips when the year starts are:
1. Avoid pushing your child to try new tasks. S/He will explore as comfort levels increase. 2. Remain in the background, but do not slip away without saying “goodbye.” Let your child know when you are leaving, reminding him/her that you will be back at the end of the school day. 3. Your child’s behavior may suddenly change during your first participation days (e.g., clingy, shunning friends, demanding parent attention). While this is a typical temporary reaction, be prepared to defuse these behaviors.
Preschool Guidelines In order to foster a consistent, safe environment for our preschoolers, parents are to follow and help enforce the following rules:
1. Indoor toys and equipment remain indoors. Those toys outside are to remain out-of-doors. 2. Children are discouraged from bringing toys from home. 3. Children are not to be lifted onto play equipment, but rather should be encouraged to climb only as high as they can comfortably attain on their own. Children can be helped down from equipment as needed. 4. The use of carpentry, gardening and science tools must be supervised at all times. 5. In helping children solve problems, use reflective listening and help children brainstorm alternatives, predicting likely outcomes from each option. Once agreements are reached, inform the teacher of these.
The health and safety of our children is our primary concern at all times. Mulberry maintains compliance with all city, county, state and federal environmental, health and safety regulations.
Enrollment Forms All required enrollment forms must be completed and returned to the front office before your child may attend class.
Vaccines Mulberry School complies with all county, state and federal immunization laws applicable to the School. For more details on the immunizations required, visit: www.shotsforschool.org
Contagious Disease Parents must notify the office within 24 hours if a doctor diagnoses their child or themselves (in the case of participating adults) as having a contagious disease. The office will notify the school community of exposure through email and/or posted notices. Examples include but are not limited to: ● Pink Eye ● Lice ● Strep Throat / Scarlet Fever ● Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease
Students and participating adults may return to school in accordance with the applicable Santa Clara County Exposure Notice.
Illness Students and participating adults must remain at home when ill. Additionally, to stop the spread of contagious illness, students and participating adults may not return to School and must be kept at home until they are free of fever, nausea, diarrhea, rash, sore throat, or other signs of illness for 24 hours, or 24 hours after starting antibiotic treatment, if applicable.
Procedures for Sick Children at School If your child becomes sick at School, you or a person that you have designated for emergencies will be called. A staff member will monitor your child and keep him/her as comfortable as possible until you or your designee arrives. Sick children generally must be picked up within one hour.
Medication Administered at School
We realize that it is sometimes necessary to give a child medication during school hours. The following procedures must be adhered to before the School can administer medications to children:
• All prescription and over-the-counter medications that need to be taken during the school day or school day must be registered in the School Office, where they will be stored and administered. Students are not allowed to have medication in their possession at School. Exceptions may be made if a medical need exists for the student to carry or self-administer medication in connection with a serious health condition or illness that cannot be reasonably accommodated by keeping the medication in the School Office.
• No medication, whether prescription or over-the-counter, will be stored in the office without the appropriate paperwork completed by the child’s physician and/or you. In order for the School to administer any prescription medications to students, an authorization form must be completed and signed by the student’s medical provider. This is true for both long-term and short-term prescriptions.
• For prescription medication, the Prescription Medication Authorization Form needs to be completed by you and your child’s physician. For over-the-counter medication, please complete the Over-The-Counter Medication Authorization Form. For each medication, whether prescription or over-the-counter, you must complete a separate authorization form.
• Additionally, for Epi-Pens you and your child’s physician must complete the Food Allergy Action Plan. In the case of Epi-Pens, asthma and other medication, Mulberry School’s Head of School or Assistant Head of School will meet with you to agree to a written Personal Health Plan for your child to ensure the health and safety of your child while on campus.
• All medications (prescription or non-prescription) must be delivered to the School Office by a parent in their original labeled container and with the proper paper-work. The School will only administer the medication provided by you. The School will administer the medication in accordance with the written instructions, as indicated on the container and the appropriate authorization form.
• Should you choose to administer medication to your child yourself during the school day, we ask that you check in at the office. Mulberry staff will bring your child to the office and you can administer any medication there.
• When medications are to be given for prolonged periods of time, it is the parent’s responsibility to maintain an adequate supply of medication and to inform the School of changes in dosage or frequency, as well as when it should be discontinued.
Once your child no longer needs to take the medication or at the end of the school year, whichever comes first, it is your responsibility to pick up and/or dispose of the medication. Similarly, should the medication expire during the school year, it is your responsibility to replace it. Mulberry staff will send a reminder prior to the expiration of the medication.
The School Office is unable to store medications over the summer.
Medications Administered on Field Trips All provisions of the Medication Administration at School policy must be complied with for medication to be administered on field trips. All medications for the field trip should be brought to the office prior to or on the day of a field trip. A school employee will administer medications on the field trip at the designated time.
First Aid Whenever a child is injured at school, the observing adult must come to the office to complete an injury report, providing a written record of the occurrence. A copy of the report will go in the student’s hanging file, injury report binder and student record.
Minor cuts and scrapes are treated by the staff or supervising parent, using the school’s first aid supplies. All staff members are trained in First Aid & CPR biannually. A staff member should be notified immediately when a serious injury occurs.
Red Emergency Backpacks Emergency backpacks, found in every classroom, must accompany the class at all times, whether to the playground or on a field trip. The backpacks contain a first aid kit, emergency procedures and protocols, a list of student allergies, and Epi-Pens (to be administered by staff) if prescribed for a student in the class. Please familiarize yourself with the contents and help ensure the backpacks go with the class.
Blood Borne Pathogens Exposure Control Universal precautions (gloves, eye protection, etc.) are observed at Mulberry in order to prevent contact with blood or potentially infectious materials. Please follow universal precautions outlined in the emergency procedures, located in each emergency backpack.
Head Lice Policy Mulberry School works diligently to reduce the stigma associated with lice in our community through education and frank dialogue. Lice do not cause disease nor are they a health threat.
Mulberry School follows the lice policy of the Santa Clara Health Department.
Mulberry School strives to provide an educational environment that is healthy for all students, including those with life-threatening allergies to peanuts and/or tree nuts. Accomplishing this requires a partnership and clearly defined the responsibilities of the School, parents/students, and the School community. With this in mind, Mulberry School sets forth the responsibilities of each to minimize the exposure of students to peanuts/tree nuts or peanut/tree nut products, and to other foods that represent life-threatening allergies within our student body.
Life-Threatening Peanut and Tree Nut Allergies:
Mulberry School is designated a “nut sensitive” school. This means that we will take reasonable steps to minimize the exposure of students to peanuts and tree nuts and peanut and tree nut products at school. However, despite the School’s reasonable efforts, the School cannot guarantee an environment free of peanuts and tree nuts or peanut and tree nut products.
While the FDA recognizes coconut as a tree nut, coconut is not a botanical nut; rather it is the seed of a drupaceous fruit. Mulberry School does not include coconut under its peanut and tree nut allergy policy. Should a student be allergic to coconut, Mulberry School’s policy covering life-threatening allergies to other foods will apply.
We have created the following list to clarify responsibilities related to life-threatening peanut and tree nut allergies:
• Students must not share foods brought from home for snacks or lunch.
• Mulberry School will instruct all parents in writing, both globally (through policies) and individually (through classroom communications), not to send any peanuts/tree nuts, or products containing peanuts/tree nuts (based upon product labels), to be eaten as snacks or lunches at school.
• Parents must review food labels including store-made food labels while packing daily lunchboxes, omitting foods that contain peanuts/tree nuts or traces of peanuts/tree nuts. Since children are not supposed to share food brought to school for personal consumption during lunch and recess, simply providing food that is peanut/tree nut free based on the ingredients label is adequate.
• For student lunches, parents must also exclude homemade foods that contain peanuts/tree nuts or traces of peanuts/tree nuts. Parents must also make reasonable efforts to minimize exposure to foods made at home on equipment shared with peanuts/tree nuts by not using shared equipment whenever reasonably possible and thoroughly cleaning shared equipment and shared surfaces before making nut-free food. It must be understood, however, that many homes do prepare foods that contain peanuts/tree nuts, and that foods prepared in these homes, even if nut-free food, may be prepared on surfaces or with equipment that contains trace amounts of peanuts/tree nuts even with reasonable efforts to clean these shared surfaces. Families at the School are not required to make their homes peanut/tree nut free and nut-free foods produced in these homes using the above pre-cautions may be provided at School.
• Similarly, Mulberry School will require and instruct parents/guardians that food served at all-school events or for cooking projects or classroom celebrations must be free of peanuts/tree nuts or peanut/tree nut products as reasonably possible. Such food cannot have been processed in factories in which peanuts/tree nuts may have been processed (based upon product labels) or prepared from products processed in those factories (based upon product labels). Parents must also make reasonable efforts to minimize exposure to foods made on equipment shared with peanuts/tree nuts by not using shared equipment whenever reasonably possible and thoroughly cleaning shared equipment and shared surfaces before making nut-free food. It must be understood, however, that many homes do prepare foods that contain peanuts/tree nuts, and that foods prepared in these homes, even if nut-free food, may be prepared on surfaces or with equipment that contains trace amounts of peanuts/tree nuts even with reasonable efforts to clean these shared surfaces. Families at the School are not required to make their homes peanut/tree nut free and nut-free foods produced in these homes may be provided at all-school events.
• Mulberry School will provide a “super clean zone” where tables will be wiped down before and after use, if deemed necessary to meet the needs of particular student(s). In addition, students who eat at these tables will be required to wash their hands before and after eating at the tables.
• Mulberry School, other than as set forth herein, does not have the capacity to minimize exposure to peanuts/tree nuts in non-cooking areas of our program (e.g., painting, gardening, our outside areas and inside of buildings).
• Mulberry School, with appropriate, signed releases from parents, will provide each teacher with a list of students in their classroom who have allergies, including those with a life-threatening allergy to peanuts/tree nuts. This list will also be kept in the office and will be updated by the office as required.
• Parents are required to notify the school in writing of their child’s life-threatening allergy to peanuts/tree nuts. Notification must include confirmation from the child’s physician. Parents will need to grant permission to their child’s doctor to release information regarding their child’s allergies to Mulberry staff, so that we may work to provide an environment that minimizes exposure, while creating appropriate responses in case of exposure. Mulberry only needs information necessary to understand the functional limitations associated with any allergy and what things it might do to reasonable accommodate the allergy.
• Parents of children with life-threatening allergies to peanuts/tree nuts will work with Mulberry School and the child’s physician to identify any additional reasonable accommodations specific to the needs of the student. If it becomes necessary to implement additional accommodations, and if the additional reasonable accommodations offered by the school are agreeable to both parties, these will be clearly described in a “Personal Safety Plan” created by the school.
Life-Threatening Allergies to Other Foods:
Mulberry School will strive to meet the needs of children with life-threatening allergies to any foods in all classroom cooking projects, and in other areas as can be reasonably accommodated. We have created the following list to clarify responsibilities related to life-threatening allergies to other foods:
• Students must not share foods brought from home for snacks or lunch.
• Mulberry School will require and instruct parents/guardians that food served to children via classroom cooking projects or classroom celebrations will not contain, to the extent reasonably possible, any food to which a child in that classroom has a life-threatening allergy. This will be an accommodation made in the specific class of that child only and will be written into a “Personal Safety Plan” created by the school. “Reasonably possible” means: (1) parents must exclude foods that contain the identified food or that were prepared from products (based upon product labels) that were processed in factories in which the identified food may have been processed; and (2) parents must make reasonable efforts to minimize exposure to foods made on equipment shared with the identified food by not using shared equipment whenever reasonably possible and thoroughly cleaning shared equipment and shared surfaces before making foods. It must be understood, however, that many homes do prepare foods that contain the identified food, and that foods prepared in these homes, even if meant to be free of that food, may be prepared on surfaces or with equipment that contains trace amounts of the identified food even with reasonable efforts to clean these shared surfaces. Families at the School are not required to make their homes free of the identified food and foods produced in these homes using the above pre-cautions may be provided at School.
• Mulberry School will provide a “super clean zone” where tables will be wiped down before and after use, if deemed necessary to meet the needs of particular student(s). In addition, students who eat at these tables will be required to wash their hands before and after eating at the tables.
• Mulberry School, other than as set forth in this section, does not have the capacity to minimize exposure to life-threatening allergens in non-cooking areas of our program (e.g., painting, gardening, our outside areas and inside of buildings).
• Parents are required to notify the school in writing of their child’s life-threatening allergies. Notification must include confirmation from the child’s physician. Parents will need to grant permission to their child’s doctor to release information regarding their child’s allergies to Mulberry staff, so that we may work to provide an environment that minimizes exposure, while creating appropriate responses in case of exposure. Mulberry only needs information necessary to understand the functional limitations associated with any allergy and what things it might do to reasonable accommodate the allergy.
• Parents of children who cannot be exposed to certain foods (other than nuts) will work with the school and the child’s physician to identify reasonable accommodations necessary to meet the needs of the student. If it becomes necessary to implement additional accommodations, and if the additional reasonable accommodations offered by the school are agreeable to both parties, these will be clearly described in a “Personal Safety Plan” created by the school.
Food Preferences and/or Intolerances That Are Not Life Threatening:
Mulberry School distinguishes food allergies, preferences and/or intolerances from life-threatening allergies, the latter of which may create a serious medical condition (and must be confirmed by the treating physician). We cannot guarantee that non-life-threatening food allergies, preferences and/or intolerances will be accommodated for classroom cooking projects or celebrations.
Parents of children with food preferences and/or intolerances may wish to work with the teacher to have substitute foods on hand, in the event that a cooking project or food brought in for a celebration includes food that you do not wish you child to consume for these reasons.
Medications Related to Life-Threatening Food Allergies:
Mulberry School recommends that parents provide Epi-Pens and/or other medications related to life-threatening food allergies for the child’s classroom, the School’s office and extended care, as deemed necessary and appropriate by the child’s physician.
Mulberry School requires that all medications be accompanied by written instructions from the student’s physician. This information is generally part of an Allergy Action Plan provided by the treating doctor.
Mulberry School requires that parents provide written authorization if they wish for the school to assist their child in the administration of, or to administer the Epi-Pen.
In addition, all provisions of the Medication Administration at School policy must be complied with for allergy medication, including the Epi-Pen to be administered at School.
Reporting Responsibilities in Suspected Cases of Child Abuse All concerns regarding suspected abuse of a Mulberry student should be immediately reported to the child’s teacher or HOS. Furthermore, any alleged inappropriate behavior on the part of a teacher, staff member, administrator, participating adult or student should be immediately reported to the HOS.
Hazards Any safety hazards discovered during the course of the day that cannot be remedied immediately must be reported to the teacher or the office for corrective action.
Visiting Animals With prior approval from the teacher, a pet may visit the classroom. Visiting animals are never to be left at school overnight or on holidays. All pets must be leashed or contained. Parents dropping off or picking up a student should note that dogs may not enter school buildings at any time.
Identification of Adults All participating adults must wear a preschool work card or working parent badge. This allows children to know which parents are working, while helping to identify unfamiliar adults. All observers, including Mulberry parents who are observing in a classroom, must sign in at the office and wear a guest badge for the duration of the visit. All guests must call ahead to schedule observations and tours. Report any unidentified adults to the office immediately.
Emergency and Disaster Preparedness A completed emergency form is required for each student and must be submitted every year. Please ensure that your contact information is kept up-to-date with the school, as well as the names of those authorized to pick up your child. In case of an emergency, students will be released only to a person designated on that list. Your child will need to be signed out by you or your designee before leaving campus in such a circumstance.
In the event of a major disaster, do not attempt to call the school, as phone lines must be left open. Mulberry uses an emergency notification system for just such circumstances. RenWeb stores phone numbers and upon notification from us that we are in the midst of an emergency, immediately and simultaneously calls all stored phone numbers. Parents will see “411” on their caller I.D. when receiving a RenWeb emergency call.
Following a major disaster, come to school only after you have a safe and comfortable place to take your child, whether at home or an alternate shelter. School personnel have been fully trained in emergency preparedness procedures, and the school is equipped to provide food, water and first-aid care for 24-hours and can provide these for an additional 48 hours to approximately ½ of the students and faculty, should this become necessary.
Communication of Class Configurations The week before the start of the new school year, class configurations will be announced by email.
Progress Reports and Parent Conferences Preschool conferences are held in January and include a written teacher’s assessment.
Elementary and Middle School students receive progress reports three times per year. Every fall and spring, parents participate in a formal conference with the teacher. In Grades K-8, spring conferences may be student-led. The third progress report will be given to you by your child’s teacher at the end of the school year.
Meeting with Teachers Parents are strongly encouraged to email the teacher to schedule a meeting whenever concerns or questions arise. While it may be tempting to try to squeeze in a quick conversation before, after, or even during class, this creates an unsatisfactory experience for the parent and teacher and interrupts the teacher’s preparation time. Please contact your child’s teacher by email to arrange a convenient time to meet. Teacher email address are available on our website.
Mulberry Buzz The Buzz is sent via RenWeb to all Mulberry families each week during the school year, and contains a summary of upcoming events, committee reminders, and other information of interest to the school community. Parents may submit pieces to the Buzz by sending their entry via email to the Director of Enrollment Management (firstname.lastname@example.org) by Friday of each week. In this case, submissions must be received by the day prior to the last day of that week’s school. If you would like to be removed from the distribution list for the Buzz, please email email@example.com.
School Bulletin Boards Any person or group wishing to post a flyer on school bulletin boards, or around the grounds, must have it approved by an office administrator beforehand. Please use only blue painters tape when posting on wall or poles.
Communicating Concerns/Grievances Should you develop concerns about a classroom issue, curricular matter, a child, or the work of another parent, speak directly with your child’s teacher. A parent must never communicate any type of concern about a student to other parents nor that child’s parent. Respectful and appropriate communication is expected of all members of the community at all times.
If no resolution is reached in working with the classroom teacher, schedule an appointment with the HOS to address your specific concerns. You may be asked to draft a letter outlining the incident of concern and your desired resolution. Information will be culled from all involved parties, and resolution will be sought as quickly as is reasonably possible. The HOS’s decisions are final in such cases.
Parent participation is at the heart of the Mulberry educational experience. We understand that involved parents support the growth of student learning. Parents at Mulberry are expected to contribute and participate by being directly involved in a variety of programs at the school.
Mulberry parents have an unparalleled opportunity to be part of their child’s educational growth. We learn to understand our own developing child in the context of developing peers. We build our own parenting skills by observing and practicing Positive Discipline techniques as modeled in the classroom. And, just as the children do, we form relationships that last a lifetime.
We recognize that participation can come in many forms, and all are valid ways to enhance the learning experience for our students. If you choose classroom support, we strongly encourage working in the classroom every week up to three hours per week. Teachers work hard to develop a weekly curriculum and rely on weekly parent support to offer one-on-one and small group learning.
ELEMENTARY AND MIDDLE SCHOOL PARTICIPATION REQUIREMENTS
Classroom Level Participation – Elementary/Middle School
1. Classroom Support Each teacher/class at Mulberry School has unique needs. Teachers develop a schedule of when parents are most needed to assist in the classroom. They also have flexible roles for parents that can be completed outside regular classroom hours. In the first weeks of the school year, teachers contact parents with classroom hours/jobs. Parents can sign up to help inside or outside the classroom. Parents who choose to work directly with children in the classroom, must complete the Parent Adult Training (PAT) offered in September of each school year.
2. Field Trips Field trips are an important part of the curriculum and generally range from three to eight trips per year. Field Trips at Mulberry require parents to drive. Depending on the class, number of students, and parent availability, driving on all or most field trips can serve as your parent participation. This is considered on a case-by-case basis and through arrangement with your teacher. Field trip driving also requires parents to take the PAT Training.
3. Participating Adult Training (PAT) (Elementary/Middle School families) Within the first year of attending Mulberry’s elementary or middle school program, participating adults are required to take our 6-week Positive Discipline class. Non-participating parents are also encouraged to take the class. Cost of the class is $150 per person. Parents who miss two or more classes will not receive credit for completion of the course, cannot participate in the classroom and will be required to retake the class the following year. No refund will be given.
4. Class Meetings (Elementary/Middle School) Approximately quarterly, parents meet as a group with the teacher to discuss curriculum, classroom logistics, etc. Attendance is strongly encouraged. These meetings are critical, as they allow for community building, and the cohesion of class culture.
School Level Participation – Elementary/Middle School
1. One Committee Job per Family Work supporting the school community is done by parent committees, with each family contributing. Assignments are for the school year. Families are welcome to sign up for additional committees if they wish to help in this way. You will be invited to sign up for a committee online.
2. One 4-Hour Event Support per Family Each Mulberry family commits to working a maximum of 4 hours at one All School Event. This is in addition to your Mulberry Committee assignment. These are community-building events, meant to provide opportunities for Mulberry families to come together. Your 4 hours will be spent helping with set-up, activities, or clean up. You will be invited to sign-up for a 4-hour event support position online.
3. Elementary and Middle School Back to School Night Each Elementary and Middle School family attend the annual Back to School Night. Non-mobile infants may be brought but other children should not attend.
4. Annual Campaign Mulberry’s annual giving campaign, The Magic of Mulberry, occurs each fall. While contributions are not required, we encourage every family to donate a month’s tuition per child if possible, as funds raised from this effort go toward supporting our program. You will hear more about this at Back to School Night.
5. Steppin’ Out Auction Contribution Steppin’ Out, our annual dinner-dance and auction gala, represents our largest fundraising effort each year. Every family and Alumni are invited to attend. Each family is required to donate or solicit one or more items with a minimum value of $75.
Occasionally, extenuating circumstances arise for a family, and the participating parent may need to request flexibility for the school-level participation.
Process for requesting school level participation flexibility (Elementary and Middle School):
1. Parent goes to the HOS or AHOS to request flexibility regarding committee work.
2. The HOS/AHOS will then examine what arrangements can be made to accommodate the parent’s needs.
3. Decisions regarding granting such requests will be based on the needs of the committee and the best interests of the program.
4. The HOS/AHOS will deliver a final decision, sending an email to the PAC president and the parent who is requesting flexibility.
PRESCHOOL PARTICIPATION REQUIREMENTS
Classroom Level Participation (Required, can be parents, grandparents, etc.)
• You may choose one of two ways to participate in the classroom:
(1) Aide in child’s class once a week; or (2) Aide in child’s class two times per month and sign up for a small volunteer job.
Multiple Children at Mulberry
Multiples in Preschool Only: Parents are asked to work one and a half classroom shifts each week. Teachers may request parents of multiples in preschool to work extra time based on the needs and best interests of the children and the educational program.
Multiples in Preschool and Elementary: Parents are asked to work one and a half classroom shifts each week. The full shift is worked in preschool.
• Parent Education Meetings Attendance at 5 parent education meetings is required. Each year there will be approximately 10 to choose from. These meetings are critical, as they allow for community building, cohesion of class culture, and a calm environment for parents to learn their roles related to participation. At the beginning of the school year you will receive a calendar listing all of the meetings that will be eligible for fulfilling this requirement.
School Level Participation
• Steppin’ Out Auction Contribution Steppin’ Out, our annual dinner-dance and auction gala, represents our largest fundraising effort each year. We ask every family to donate or solicit an item for the school’s annual auction. A $75 value is suggested.
• Annual Campaign – Magic of Mulberry Mulberry’s annual giving campaign occurs in November. Contributions are not required, but we encourage every family to donate if possible. Funds raised from this effort go toward supporting our program.
Other Opportunities to Participate Throughout the school year there will be many other ways to participate in preschool. There are events (Thanksgiving Feast, Valentine’s Day, etc.) that will need extra volunteers, as well as classroom tasks that the teachers will identify. Watch for sign-up sheets in the classrooms if you’d like to help out.
ADDITIONAL PARTICIPATION INFORMATION
Maternity/Medical/Adoption Leave Mulberry realizes that family circumstances may arise that require extra attention. We make every effort to be flexible and grant at least six weeks leave of absence for maternity or adoption, or as needed for a medical issue for yourself or a member of your family. At the classroom level of participation, the participating parent will inform the teacher in writing of the request for leave and the teacher will determine arrangements based on the needs of the class and students.
For elementary families requesting leave from all-school committee jobs, the participating parent will inform the HOS in writing of the request for leave, and arrangements will be made at that time.
Parent Aide Substitutes If you cannot meet your participation commitment, it is your responsibility to arrange for a substitute. Please follow these procedures:
1. If you know in advance, contact other parents in your class to arrange to trade workdays. Be sure to provide whatever learning material will be necessary, and let the teacher and office know of the change. 2. If you are unable to trade, you may be able to find a paid substitute at the rate of $15.00 per hour (parents make this arrangement). A list of paid substitutes is posted in the Mulberry Buzz. 3. If you are unable to find a substitute, please notify your teacher and the office. 4. Substitutes must be a current parent or individual familiar with our program and must have a current TB test on file.
If you are interested in becoming a paid substitute, please contact the office.
Sign-In and -Out Procedures
Preschool: Preschool parents sign in at the preschool classroom prior to beginning their shift. Preschool work schedules are found on class bulletin boards.
Elementary: Elementary parents sign in at the office prior to the beginning of their shift. This log also provides a record of which parents are on campus in case of emergency.
Participation Reminders 1. Teachers are in charge of classroom discipline and curriculum. Although teachers are open to ideas and suggestions, it is not appropriate to discuss these during instructional time and never in the presence of children. Send the teacher an email or ask for a conference outside of class. 2. Be positive when working with and talking to children, staff, and fellow volunteers. Encouraging words help everyone feel more confident in accepting challenges and taking risks. 3. Give children a “clean slate” every day. 4. Let children settle their own conflicts whenever possible. 5. Turn off cell phones when working in the classroom or on the playground. Avoid leaving the classroom to make phone calls. Give the office phone number to any callers. 6. If you have observations or concerns about a child, relay those to the teacher in private with no other child or parent present. Never discuss a child’s performance or behavior with another parent. 7. Parents should inform the teacher of any changes in participation scheduling. 8. Please be aware that participating adults are never permitted to bring infants or any non-participating children during classroom shifts.
Driving on Field Trips 1. Your first responsibility is to the safety of the children in your vehicle. 2. All field trip drivers must be 25 years or older and must provide the school with copies of the following: a. Valid driver’s license b. Insurance declaration page ($100K/$300K minimum recommended) 3. Never use a cell phone while driving even if it is “hands-free”. 4. Drivers must follow all posted speed limits. 5. Children may never be transported in the front seat. 6. Children may only be placed in seats where both a shoulder harness and lap belt are available. All car occupants, including the driver, must always wear a shoulder harness and lap belt while the car is in motion. 7. Parents must drive directly from school to the field trip location and must return to school directly after the field trip. The only exception is if directed by a preschool teacher, parents and children may drive directly to the field trip destination without meeting at Mulberry first. 8. Parents may not make any stops en route except for fuel or in case of emergency. Please do try to make every effort to have plenty of fuel before embarking on the field trip. 9. Parents must provide a car seat or booster for their child as required by law. 10. Siblings are not allowed on field trips. 11. Chaperones must stay with their assigned group at all times and are expected to enforce all school rules. 12. Required medications must only be dispensed by a paid Mulberry staff member.
All Mulberry students are invited to use our school library. Junior Kindergarten and Kindergarten are allowed to have one book checked out at any given time. 1st – 8th grades are allowed two. Books are lent for one week. If books are not returned within one week, the child will not be able to check out another book until they have been returned.
We make every effort to find lost books before payment is requested. If you have lost or damaged a book, you will be asked to either replace it or to pay the cost of replace it. A refund will be issued if a lost book is later found and returned in good condition.
TECHNOLOGY POLICIES (3rd – 8th Grade)
We are pleased to offer students at Mulberry School access to the computer network for Internet access. To obtain Internet access, all students must obtain parental permission and must sign and return this form to their classroom teacher. Access to the Internet will enable students to explore thousands of libraries, databases, and bulletin boards while exchanging messages with Internet users throughout the world. Families should be aware that some material accessible via the Internet may contain items that are illegal, defamatory, inaccurate or potentially offensive. While our intent is to make Internet access available to further educational goals and objectives, students may find ways to access other materials as well. We believe that the benefits to students from access to the Internet, in the form of informational resources and opportunities for collaboration, exceed any disadvantages. Ultimately, parents and guardians of minors are responsible for setting and conveying the standards that their children should follow when using media and information sources. Individual users of the school’s computer networks are responsible for their behavior and communications over those networks. It is expected that users will comply with the school’s values and will honor the agreements they have signed.
Acceptable Use of Technology Agreement for Mulberry School The technology system for Mulberry School includes access to computers and computer support equipment (printers, scanners, projectors, etc.), the network resources and the Internet. The opportunity to use this equipment comes with many responsibilities for both the student and the parent/guardian.
The most basic responsibilities presume that the students agree to: • Be good stewards of the school’s equipment. • Be accountable for any breakage of or tampering with school equipment. Students will not be granted access to school equipment until the student and parent accept the terms of this agreement. This policy is subject to annual review.
The following are not permitted: • Sending or displaying offensive messages or pictures • Using obscene language • Harassing, insulting, or attacking others • Violating copyright laws • Trespassing in another’s folders, work or files • Use of Mulberry School computers for illegal activities • Using another’s password
Internet Usage At Mulberry School the Internet is used to find information and provide interaction with teachers and staff. Students will understand, through their classwork, the term URL and be prepared to account for sites they visit. Students found visiting questionable sites will be found in violation of this contract and may result in a loss of access as well as other disciplinary or legal action. 3rd 4th and 5th grade students will only be permitted to search the Internet at the direct instruction and specific guidance of the teacher(s). The following rules apply to Internet usage on campus: ● Usage must be for an education or research project assigned by a Mulberry Staff member. ● Students are not allowed to download files from the Internet or other external source. Mulberry reserves the right to monitor any computer usage at any time. Network storage areas may be treated like school lockers. Network administrators may review files and communications to maintain system integrity and insure that users are using the system responsibly. Users should not expect that files stored on school servers will always be private. Within reason, freedom of speech and access to information will be honored. During school, teachers of all elementary students will guide students toward appropriate materials.