Visitors to Schools
BH-BL has instituted more secure procedures for adult entry into any of our five schools during the school day, procedures that are similar to those used by many area school districts.
Adults who come to school during the day—for example, to pick up a student or to volunteer in a classroom—must enter via the main front door, show a form of photo ID (such as a driver’s license), be buzzed into the school by a staff member, and receive a temporary visitor’s pass to be worn while in the school.
Scheduled visits by parents are always welcome in the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Schools. Please do not visit other areas of the school unless you have a prearranged appointment. We ask that you travel only to the designated area for which you signed in at the main office. We appreciate your assistance in maintaining a safe learning environment for our students and staff.
Pets & Other Animals
Animals will be permitted in BH-BL Elementary Schools but on a limited basis in accordance with school guidelines. No animals are permitted in the building without the prior approval of the principal. Parents are expected to leave pets at home when visiting BH-BL schools.
The School Day
School begins at 8:45 a.m.
Dismissal is at 3 p.m.
Dismissal for walkers/student pickups is at 3:10 p.m.
Arrival & Dismissal
There is no supervision for children dropped off at school before 8:15 a.m. Children are not allowed in the building until monitors are prepared to supervise them. Students are to leave the building at dismissal, which is 3 p.m. or noon on half days. They are not to be in the building after these times unless with a staff member.
If a student is taking a bus to an other-than-usual location, he or she must have a completed bus pass. If a student is being picked up by a parent or other adult, the student must have a note from home. If you do not have a bus pass, please write a note including the date, child’s teacher, child’s name, phone number where parent can be reached, parent signature, name of family where your child will be dropped off, the families address, phone number and bus number or symbol. Additional bus passes are available at the main office. Requests for changes in transportation must be in writing and will not be accepted over the telephone.
All students must be signed out at the main office if they are being picked up during the school day. Students arriving after 8:45 a.m. are tardy. They must be signed in by a parent or guardian at the Main Office and receive a late admittance pass for the classroom.
It is each student’s basic responsibility as a member of the school community to be on time and attend all classes. Daily telephone calls will be made to parents or guardians to confirm unreported absences. Children who are absent from school are not permitted to attend educational activities at school that day after school or that evening.
The following reasons for student absences from schools are recognized as legal by the NY State Education Department. Any other absence is considered unexcused and illegal.
- Personal illness
- Illness or death in the family
- Impassable roads or weather making travel unsafe
- Religious observance
- Medical appointment
- Approved school-sponsored trips
- Required court appearances
The district will support and encourage a student’s efforts to maintain or improve school attendance. Every student has a right to educational opportunities that will enable the student to develop his or her fullest potential. Attendance policies are based on the principle that regular school attendance maximizes the student’s interaction with his or her teachers and peers and is a major component of academic success. Improved school attendance generally increases student achievement and reduces the drop-out rate. Therefore, attendance policies that provide for the early identification of attendance problems and effective methods to address them are most likely to succeed. Successful implementation of any attendance policy requires cooperation among all members of the education community, including parents, students, teachers, administrators and support staff.
The BH-BL elementary faculty urges parents to make children’s non-emergency medical and dental appointments either after school, on weekends, or during vacation periods. Most medical personnel are cooperative about this when you explain the importance of not disrupting your child’s education.
If your child will be absent from school or late to school, please notify main office staff before 9 a.m. on the day of the absence by either of these methods:
Phone: Call the school’s main office and leave a message at any time of the day or night.
Email: Go to www.bhbl.org and click on your child’s school link. Scroll down to “Absentee Call-in” and click where indicated to send us an email about your child’s absence.
New York State law requires a written excuse signed by the parent or legal guardian stating why a student was absent. You may use the form provided by the school or write your own note. The excuse must be turned into the classroom teacher on the day a student returns.
Illegal Absences & Vacations
We believe that children learn best in the classroom along with their peers. The school calendar allows many opportunities for families to arrange trips and activities so that normal school days need not be missed. Absences to attend a family vacation while school is in session are illegal under Education Law.
Homework will not be provided in advance to students in these situations. Teachers will maintain a file of homework for students to complete when they return to school. Good attendance impacts learning. Attendance data will be analyzed periodically to identify patterns or trends in student absences. School officials will use this data to analyze and address any areas where students’ absenteeism appears problematic. Further actions may include letters, conferences with students and/or parents, and contacting county agencies.
Communications with Parents
The printed calendar that is mailed to all district households in mid August contains much more than school and district events. Please look through the last 10 pages too. There is much information here of value to parents.
Website & Social Media
Please check the district website at www.bhbl.org often, especially your child’s school webpage. This is a great information source on all aspects of the BH-BL School District and on special events taking place at your child’s school. Also please note that the website can be your best information sources in an emergency or unexpected situation since we can post updated details there as often as needed in an emergency or a changing situation. There is also a lot of information posted on the district and PTA Facebook pages, as well as the district’s Twitter account.
School Closings & Delays
The Superintendent of Schools may decide to cancel or delay the start of classes in the event of severe weather, hazardous road conditions or other emergency. Every attempt will be made so elementary school students will not be left without proper parental supervision.
School closings or delayed starting times will normally first be announced between 6 and 6:30 a.m. on the district website at www.bhbl.org as well as on local television stations, Facebook and Twitter. Announcements on the website may contain more details or be more up to date than the TV, since the website has no space limit and is under the district’s direct control.
Unless otherwise announced, all scheduled uses of school facilities are canceled on a day when school is closed. Parents are requested to avoid calling schools during poor weather; it is important to keep school phone lines open. If no report is heard, it can be assumed the schools are opening on time.
BH-BL School News Notifier
Parents are encouraged to sign up for the “School News Notifier” (SNN) service through the district website. You can sign up to receive automatic emails — at whatever email address(es) you provide — about Charlton Heights news or you can receive an email or a cell phone message when school is closed unexpectedly. Learn more about SNN or sign up.
Change of Personal Information
For emergency purposes, the school must have up to date information on each student. Please notify the school office of any changes of address. Also, please notify the school office of any changes in phone numbers including work and cell phones.
Change in Transportation
The district provides student transportation to and from your home and/or one other location. Students will be dropped off at their scheduled stop unless the school is informed in writing. Questions about the school transportation program should be directed to the Transportation Department at 518.399.9141, ext. 83523.
Please inform the school in writing when you:
- Wish your child to walk or ride a bike home rather than the bus.
- Wish your child to go to a baby sitter’s home. Please complete a bus pass and send both the original and duplicate to school with your student. More copies are available in the main office.
- Wish for long term bus changes. Please use for a Bus Stop Change Form, which you can fill out at the main office or download. [STOP CHANGE FORM]
- Wish your child to have a change in pickup.
Passes will not be issued that require bus rerouting, nor will they be issued for “socializing” purposes. All change requests must be in writing. For your child’s safety, we cannot accept verbal requests over the phone.
The Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake school district believes field trips are an important part of the educational program. By providing students with hands on experience and exposure to the larger community, field trips can greatly enhance a student’s educational experiences.
A signed permission slip from the parent or guardian is required for each child for each field trip unless it is to another school within our district (in which case, parents will be notified in writing). A child who does not provide a signed permission slip will be prohibited from participating and will be given an alternative assignment on the day of the field trip. Parents interested in chaperoning a field trip should contact their child’s teacher.
The classroom teacher will provide parents with specific instructions for lunch, appropriate dress, and arrival and departure times. If the weather is bad on the day of a scheduled field trip, parents should contact the main office to inquire about the status of the trip.
All students are expected to exhibit proper behavior on field trips. While field trips take place outside of school, school rules still apply. Students are expected to abide by the Charlton Heights Code of Conduct while on a field trip.
The overall safety of the proposed trip location and of travel conditions will be a key factor in granting approval for field trips. Should conditions change during the time between the approval of a trip and the actual date of departure, it may become necessary to cancel the trip. Also, the district follows the recommendations of the State Education Department related to Homeland Security Alerts, and parents should be aware that there is a possibility of trips being cancelled due to security concerns.
Report Cards & Conferences
Report cards and regularly scheduled parent/teacher conferences are planned throughout the year. Certain days have been established for parent/teacher conferences and staff development. Children in all elementary grades (K through 5) are dismissed early on these days. Please check the BH-BL School District Calendar for dates.
Parent/teacher conferences are held in November and December for grades K-5, at which time parents will learn about their child’s progress in class and will receive the first report card of the year. Kindergarten and first grade conferences are any time during the second semester, if necessary.
Report cards are also sent home in March and June for all students.
In addition, staff members are available to meet with you at intervening times to discuss your child’s progress or other school-related matters. If you wish to have a conference arranged, please call the classroom teacher for an appointment.
Expectations & Purposes of Homework
Individual abilities are contributing factors in determining how long a student will spend on any given task. Homework should make authentic use of students’ reading and writing skills.
Homework should be a meaningful experience, designed to develop independent work habits that will assist students during their years of study. Students need to learn to organize their work and budget their time, both for daily and long-range assignments. Charlton Heights provides all students in grades 1-5 with an individual Student Agenda Planner to help them learn how to organize their time and to facilitate home-school communication.
One important aspect of homework in elementary school is to instill in a student the idea that homework doesn’t always have to be written. Studying spelling words, reading independently, studying for tests, doing a science project, etc. all qualify as “homework.”
Homework should be seen as a reinforcement of skills learned at school, a way of practice and possible remediation or enrichment. In addition, it is an opportunity to complete unfinished class assignments if deemed necessary by the teacher.
Homework should provide a means of communication between the home and the school and an opportunity for parents to become involved in their child’s education.
The success of a homework program depends upon the cooperative efforts of students, parents, teachers and administrators.
Students – What are your responsibilities?
- Think of your homework assignment as part of your learning experience. It is an opportunity to grow in your skill and knowledge and to pursue your interests.
- Refer to your Agenda and collect the necessary materials.
- Be responsible for completing the assignment on time and returning it to your teacher. Follow the expected standards of quality. With your parent, set up a suitable environment for homework time.
- Carefully plan your activities and interests so that you will complete your homework assignment successfully.
Parents – What are your responsibilities?
- Understand that homework is an important part of your child’s learning process that helps him or her accept the responsibilities of school life and develop and reinforce lifelong skill.
- Provide your child with the time and space needed to complete assignments.
- Show an interest by asking to see your child’s homework on a regular basis. This reinforces the importance of homework and provides an opportunity for you to keep informed about your child’s progress. Remember that homework is your child’s responsibility. You are not responsible for doing your child’s work, but should be concerned that he or she does it carefully and accurately. Be available to provide guidance and answer questions without doing the homework.
- Encourage your child to have an organized approach to homework by providing requested materials such as notebooks, etc.
- Work closely and cooperatively with your child’s teacher(s) especially if there have been difficulties with homework. Your child needs to see a connection between home and school, with consistent expectations coming from parents and teachers. This will be the most effective way to help children improve in their responsibility.
- Check your child’s Agenda daily and sign if expected.
- Contact your child’s teacher regarding any difficulties your child may be having with homework or projects. Contact may be made by: Emailing the teacher. All teachers can be reached through the district email system, which uses the staff member’s first initial and entire last name and the extension @bhbl.org with no spaces. For instance Jane Doe’s email would be: email@example.com. Using the Agenda to write a note to the teacher. Leaving a message at the school office asking the teacher to return your call.
- Homework grades will be determined by individual teachers. Contact your child’s teacher if you have any questions.
Teachers – What are your responsibilities?
- Establish homework assignments at the correct level for each student to ensure that skills taught in the classroom can be practiced and reinforced at home successfully.
- Use the Agenda and check for signatures, notes, etc.
- Establish acceptable standards of neatness and quality allowing for individual challenges.
- Provide a rubric for all long-term projects, if graded.
- Make sure students know and are capable of the basic study skill techniques appropriate for the grade level: Using resource materials: glossaries, encyclopedia, etc.; concentrating and developing self-discipline; listening; skimming; gathering,; organizing; relating and communicating data in their own words; making and using an outline; and reading for main ideas, specific information and details.
- To ensure students understand how to study, encourage them to ask questions in class when they are not sure of something or do not understand. Also, go over and encourage them to read the student responsibility section of this guideline.
- Set up a system for handling late or incomplete assignments and make certain the system is understood by students and parents.
- When making long-range assignments, make sure students have guidelines for completing the assignments and understand the due dates. Make parents aware of long-range assignments so they can help their child budget time at home properly. Work with other teachers to assure there is not an abundance of homework.
- Contact parents and seek their cooperation when you are unable to satisfactorily resolve homework problems with a student.
Requesting assignments for students who are ill
If your child is absent from school and you feel that he or she is capable of working on assignments during an illness, you may request work. When leaving a message on the Absence Calling number, 518.399.0227, please include a message requesting homework and indicate how you will obtain the assigned work. (For instance, would you like it sent home with another child or will you pick it up at the main office after school?) The teachers will do their best to accommodate you. Please remind your children to bring their books back when they return to school.
Assignments for students on trips
Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake discourages the practice of taking children out of school for an extended period of time. Since homework is both an extension and a reinforcement of class work, it is not as effective when done as an isolated exercise. The educational benefits derived from discussions, presentations, and demonstrations cannot be duplicated by merely reading a textbook. Teachers also find it difficult to project accurately exactly what will be taught during a child’s extended absence. It is not an easy task to predict how concepts will be grasped and content understood by the group. For all these reasons formal homework assignments will not be prepared for these extended periods. General suggestions for reinforcing reading, math, and writing skills may be made in lieu of specific homework assignments. The specific assignments can be gathered during the period of absence and provided to the child when he or she returns to school.
Estimated Homework Times
- Kindergarten: About 15 minutes per night including reading and writing with occasional special projects
- Grades 1 – 4: About 30 minutes per night, including reading, math facts, and spelling practice with occasional special projects
- Grade 5: About 45 minutes per night. Daily reading and math facts are not included in this time frame. (According to State and District expectations, all math facts should be mastered by the end of fourth grade.)
- Typically, weekend homework is reserved for long-term projects only.
The Elementary School Councils consists of an Executive Committee, one representative from each class in grades 2 and 3, and two representatives from each class in grades 4 and 5. The Council works with building staff to plan such activities as theme days, fund raisers, and school/community functions.
School Food Services
Providing children with the nutrition necessary for the healthy growth of their minds and bodies is an important way to help them perform better in the classroom. Elementary students can purchase a complete, nutritionally balanced lunch including milk for $2.75. Free and reduced price lunches are also available for those who qualify. Milk can be purchased separately for 60¢ for an 8 oz. carton.
Students will receive a monthly menu indicating the entree and options for each day. (The menu is also available on the website: www.bhbl.org). BH-BL uses MySchoolBucks.com®, which is an online system that allows parents to set up a school lunch program account for your children, deposit funds into your children’s accounts, review purchases, check balances and more. You’ll even get an email poke when account balances are low. Additionally, there’s a mobile app that allows parents to view and replenish their child’s account using a smartphone. Another meal payment option is that students may deposit money into their student account for meal or snack purchases anytime the cafeteria is open. If paying by check, please make check payable to “BH-BL School Lunch Program.” Students at the elementary level should give the check to their teacher who will deliver it to the Food Service Department to deposit.
Eligibility for free and reduced price meals is based upon the economic need of the family. Applications for this program are distributed each September and may be obtained at the main office throughout the school year. Parents must file a new application for the program each September. Families who fail to file a new application annually will be discontinued from the program by Oct. 1. For information, please call Food Service Director Nicky Boehm at 518.399.9141, ext. 85003.
YMCA-sponsored School-age Child Care
Through a cooperative arrangement between BH-BL and the YMCA, Y-care is available for elementary students before and after school. The YMCA also offers care on 1/2 days, as a separate program. Y-care is located before and after school at all three elementary schools. For more information, contact the Greater Glenville Family YMCA Child Care Office at 518.399.8118, ext. 3321.