Framework for Planning

Mission Statement

The Burnt Hills–Ballston Lake Central School District creates an educational environment that ensures opportunities for learning, personal growth, and social responsibility.

Core Beliefs

  • The BH-BL community values its children and the quality of their education.
    Comprehensive public education is available to all.
  • The district provides a variety of experiences to allow children to learn.
  • High academic achievement is a priority.
  • Students, staff, parents, and community members are partners, and all have a personal responsibility in the educational process.
  • Students and staff need to be challenged to achieve excellence.
  • Continuous improvement is essential.
  • Change is the result of thoughtful study involving students, staff, and community.
  • Learning is a lifelong process.
  • Quality education is worth the investment and requires sound fiscal management.

Key Expectations

For Students
All students will:

  • Respect and be respected.
  • Be prepared to learn to the best of their abilities.
  • Use opportunities available to set personal goals and make informed choices to accomplish those goals.

For Parents/Guardians
All parents/guardians will:

  • Provide nurturance of children’s health and basic needs.
  • Provide a home environment conducive to learning.
  • Support the belief that academics are essential.
  • Be informed and actively involved in the educational process.
  • Teach and model respect for all persons and property.
  • Teach and model discipline and their own values.
  • Provide open, honest, and timely communication with school staff and other partners in the educational process.

For Staff
All district employees will:

  • Create an environment in which children are safe, treated fairly, and are prepared for the future with quality instruction.
  • Strive for excellence by working hard, continuing to learn and grow, and being adaptable, qualified, and well prepared.
  • Respect and be respected by students, parents and community.
  • Work cooperatively and communicate openly with all partners in the educational process.
  • Demonstrate their accountability by: using school and community resources responsibly; setting, achieving, and assessing measurable goals; and participating in on-going, proactive supervision.

For the Community
The community will:

  • Value education.
  • Be committed, supportive, and responsive to the schools.
  • Share their expertise and resources.
  • Provide bridges between school and life.
  • Set high standards.
  • Communicate and listen.

Adopted by the BH-BL Board of Education, February 1997

People and Places to Know

Staff Directory
Main Office – The Main Office Staff is an excellent resource to use to seek help and information. If you have been absent, tardy or plan to leave school early, bring a written excuse from your parent or guardian to the attendance secretary in the main office before reporting to your homeroom.

Counseling Center – Guidance, psychological, and social work services are available through the Counseling Center. Services include assistance with educational planning, study help, career information, and social or academic issues.

Health Office – If you become ill or injured, inform your teacher, get a pass, and report directly to the Health Office. The nurse may administer specific medication only when the parent and the private physician have sent a written request (this includes all over-the counter drugs such as Tylenol, Advil, cough drops, etc.) Parents of students with severe allergies or other chronic medical conditions need to notify the nurse immediately so a medical safety plan can be implemented. For all immunization and physical exam information, please contact our school nurse at ext. 84035.

Cafeteria – The cafeteria provides a varied lunch menu each day. You may select the main lunch or choose from daily alternates and an ala carte menu to supplement a lunch brought from home. One lunch may be charged. Bring prepayments directly to the cafeteria manager. Prepayment will be accepted at any time. Make checks payable to the O’Rourke Middle School Cafeteria. All students will receive a student identification number consisting of 2 to 6 digits. As students approach the cashier, they will enter their ID number on the keypad. The student account on the computer screen is only visible to the cashier and will discreetly display the student status as being a recipient of free, reduced or full priced meals. Students should keep their identification number secure at all times.

Daily Procedures


  1. All students arriving by bus will immediately enter the building through the door by the girls’ gym or room 114.
  2. Students should proceed directly to the cafeteria (7th & 8th grade) or the library (6th grade) and remain there until dismissed by the attending staff.
  3. Students arriving by car will enter through the doors by the music room and proceed directly to the cafeteria (7th & 8th) or library (6th). The left lane is a thoroughfare for access to the parking lot. The right hand lane is a drop off lane. No students should be dropped off before 7:15 a.m.
  4. Bikers and walkers will enter through the doors by the Main Office and proceed to the cafeteria (7th & 8th) or library (6th). Students should not be in the school or on the school grounds until 7:15 a.m.

Morning Homeroom

  1. Students will arrive to their homeroom by 7:45 a.m.
  2. Students entering after the 7:45 a.m. bell should proceed to the attendance secretary.
  3. Students will remain silent throughout the announcements.
  4. Chronic illegal tardiness will be referred to administration and may result in consequences.

Daily Schedule 

  • School Begins: 7:45 a.m.
  • School Ends: 2:25 p.m.
  • Buses Depart:  2:25 – 2:30 p.m.
  • Academic Assistance Period: (Tuesday-Thursday) 2:25 – 3:15 p.m.

Afternoon Homeroom & Bus Dismissal

  1. All students should be in homeroom by 2:20 p.m. where they will sit at their desks until dismissal. Students must put chairs on desks as they leave, and see that their desk area is clean.
  2. Students that take their instrument home, should get their instrument after 9th period and before reporting to homeroom.
  3. Students must have a pass to be in the hall between 2:20 p.m. and 2:35 p.m.
  4. At the beginning of the school year, teachers form a list of students who take the first or second bus dismissal and those who walk to / from school. At 2:20 p.m., only first dismissal pupils should leave homeroom.
  5. The main office will announce 2nd and 3rd dismissals.
  6. At third dismissal, walkers, bicycle riders, students being picked up by automobile, and those staying for activities, sports, library, and detention may leave. Students should wait until all second dismissal buses have left before crossing Lakehill Road. Students need to have written permission from a parent/guardian on file in the Main Office if they are not riding the bus.
  7. Leaving on a different dismissal than the assigned one for any reason requires a parent note and/or a bus pass from the Main Office.

Activity Period
Students may stay for activity period if they wish to participate in intramurals or clubs, to meet with a teacher or to work in the library.

  1. Activity period starts at 3rd Dismissal (approximately 2:35 p.m.) on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoons only.
  2. Students arriving late for their activity must have a pass.
  3. Students must remain under pre-arranged teacher supervision until 3:20 p.m.
  4. Students who remain for activity period should obtain a bus pass from the teacher in charge of the activity or they will not be allowed to board the bus home.
  5. Students should check with their homeroom teacher to learn the symbol of their activity bus. Activity bus symbols and regular bus symbols are not necessarily the same. Activity bus runs are posted outside of the main office.
  6. Bus transportation home is provided starting at 3:20 p.m. and lasting until approximately 4 p.m.

Sports/Activity Study Hall
All student athletes who are not under the supervision of an academic teacher until 3:20 p.m. must attend sports study hall during activity period. All students are expected to work quietly in sports study hall. Only those students participating in a school sponsored afternoon sporting practice/event are allowed to be present in sports study hall.

Procedures for Getting Out of School Early
If it becomes necessary for a student to leave school early to go to an appointment, the student must:

  1. Bring a signed note from a parent/guardian to the attendance office before morning homeroom period. (A note is also necessary if walking to a local doctor’s office and the note needs to indicate that the student is walking.)
  2. Teachers will be notified electronically of students who will be absent from their classes.
  3. Leave class at the excused time and wait in the Main Office. A parent/guardian must come into the Main Office to meet and sign out the student.
  4. Students will only be dismissed as “sick” through the Nurse’s office and at the request of the Nurse.
  5. Students are only released to approved persons as designated on our prescribed emergency information sheet and/or any legal document(s) provided by the student’s parent/guardian.

Making up Homework/Work Request
If a student has been absent from school with an excused absence, the student will be expected to make up the work missed. For absences of one or two days, students should obtain homework by calling a student from the same class at home, or accessing other available homework resources, websites, etc.

In cases of extended absences, requests for a list of missed assignments should be made by calling 518.399.9141, ext. 84000. Requests will be sent out to the teachers after the 3rd, 5th 7th, etc. consecutive days absences. A 24-hour notice is needed in order to collect books and assignments. Homework can be picked up in the Main Office 24 hours after you request it.

Work Requests for Students on Vacation

Teachers are not required to provide homework in advance of a family vacation that is scheduled during school. Absences from school deprive a student of the classroom interactions, practice, and opportunities for additional assistance necessary for academic growth. Much of the learning in today’s classrooms involves group discussions, independent writing with peer and teacher conferencing as part of the process, group problem solving, cooperative learning, experiments and demonstrations. It is the parent/guardian’s responsibility to have their children present for instruction except in cases as listed above (see excused absences). Unexcused absences are defined as illegal according to State Education Law. In the event of an unexcused absence, the student’s teachers will collect assignments and tests given during the absence and determine an appropriate amount of time for completion upon a student’s return to school. Students need to be in attendance to complete the required state and final exams on the dates prescribed.

Drill Procedures

Fire Drills
As mandated by New York State law, schools are required to facilitate regular evacuation drills. The purpose of these drills is to practice safe and orderly emergency procedures.

  1. At the fire drill signal, everyone should cease working and leave the room with the teacher in an orderly manner.
  2. Students who sit by the windows are responsible for closing the windows.
  3. The classroom door should be closed by the adult in charge of the class when exiting the room to be sure all students have left the room.
  4. No talking or running is allowed during the entire emergency evacuation or reentry.
  5. In every classroom there is a sign posted explaining the route of evacuation. Students should remain with their teacher at all times unless otherwise indicated. Should a student become separated from their teacher, the student should notify the closest adult and remain with that person.

Other Drills
The school conducts an emergency “go-home” drill each year to prepare for any situation in which students might need to be evacuated and sent home early, such as loss of heat in the building or a chemical spill in the area of the school. Students will be informed of the date of this drill, and their teacher will explain the procedure at that time.

Three security drills will be performed (Lock-Down, Lock-Out and Shelter In Place). The purpose of the drills is to simulate the procedures warranted during a variety of emergency situations that may occur in a school building. In addition, three bus drills will also be conducted during the school year to inform the students of the safety devices in the bus and their use in case of an emergency. Students will practice exiting the bus through the emergency door.

Phone Use

At the discretion of the teacher, students may use either the classroom phone or be issued a pass to use the main office phone. Appropriate use of the phone includes:

  • Parent/guardian requested a return call.
  • Notifying parent/guardian of staying after school for help or detention.
  • Notifying parent/guardian of a cancellation.

Calls for forgotten items or to make personal visitation arrangements are discouraged.

At no time are students to use their cell phones during school hours or activities.


A sign-in procedure is necessary for school safety and security. All visitors must sign in as soon as they enter the building. All visitors will be required to sign the visitor’s sheet and will be issued a visitor’s pass, which must be worn at all times while in the school or on the grounds. Parents who need to drop off lunch money, clothes, musical instruments, etc. to school, must bring them directly to the main office. Please have all items marked with your child’s name and grade. The office staff will make all reasonable attempts to let your child know that an item should be picked up from the main office. Parents must not interrupt classrooms at any time.

Student Visitors

In order to maintain an academic atmosphere for all students, student visitors are discouraged.

Lost & Found

If you have lost any article in the school building, check the lost and found bin (located outside of the cafeteria), then check the Main Office. If you should find an article, such as jewelry, electronics, etc., please bring it to the Main Office, so that the owner may claim it. Unclaimed items may be donated to charity periodically throughout the year.