Primary/Elementary Handbook


ARRIVAL AND DISMISSAL

LMS school hours:

  • Arrival begins at 8:15 a.m. The official school start time is 8:30 a.m.
  • Dismissal times are from 2:45 – 2:55 and from 2:55 – 3:05. Each family will be given a colored form for their vehicle indicating which dismissal time they are assigned to.

Arrival time can begin as early as 8:15. NO supervision will be available before 8:15 a.m. or after 3:05 p.m. so please have all students picked up no later than 3:05 p.m. After school child care options are available, please see the after-school section below.

An adult or student assistant will bring each student to and from the car for both arrival and dismissal.

ALL drivers and passengers must remain in their vehicles during the short but critical pick-up and drop-off times. If you need to come inside, please plan a time after 8:45 and prior to 2:30. Students will not be released for early pickup after 2:30. Early pickup should be reserved for emergency situations. Non-emergency doctor, dentist and other appointments should be scheduled outside of school hours.

We respectfully require that you do not walk your child into the school or classroom during arrival time or pick them up from the classroom at the end of the day. Too many unscheduled adults in the building at those times creates unnecessary difficulties for the teachers and staff who are either trying to establish morning routines or organizing for a prompt dismissal.

If your child arrives after 9:30 a.m. please make sure to bring a lunch as the lunch count is called in by 9:30 a.m.

Please contact our front office BEFORE 9:30 a.m. if you wish to change the transportation mode (bus to car, car to bus) for your child.

We will only dismiss a student to the parents or people who are indicated on the release list unless we receive specific, verifiable permission from a parent.

When you do enter the classroom, please do not engage teachers in impromptu conferences. The teachers’ first responsibility is to create and maintain an orderly environment, which requires supervision of all the students during class time. We encourage pre-scheduled classroom observations and parent/teacher conferences after the first few weeks of school.

ABSENCES AND TARDINESS

  • The official school start time is 8:30 a.m.
  • If your car has entered our parking lot by 8:30 a.m. we will make sure that your child is accompanied to the gate and is not marked tardy. If your child has not entered the parking lot by 8:30 a.m. please accompany your child to be signed in as tardy at the front desk.
  • If your child is a walker, they must enter the playground gate before it is locked.
  • If you need to walk your child into the front office, they must be in the office by 8:30 a.m. to be considered on time.

Too many late arrivals or absences will require a conference with the Principal and the implementation of a plan of action to correct the situation. A habit of late arrivals and absences (more than 15 tardies and/or more than 15 absences) could result in the student being asked to return to the appropriate district school.

LMS is responsible to see that students arrive on time and that absences are kept to a minimum. Florida’s mandatory attendance laws require this. Our goal is to meet 90% attendance. Please assist our efforts by making sure your child arrives on time, that you sign your child in, and that you send in a written note to excuse any absence.

BUSSING/TRANSPORTATION

Students in grades K-8 who live 2 to 5 miles from the school have access to the Polk County School transportation. For more information on exact pick up and drop off locations & times please contact our front office.

The school bus will not transport items other than students’ folders, books and lunch. This is for the students’ safety and space. The driver will have a very strict schedule so students can arrive timely and as scheduled. Please call the school to discuss any bus issues, as the driver is not permitted to have discussions at the bus stop. Our office is your transportation representative. Issues are to be addressed to the Principal who will seek assistance from the Polk county Schools transportation representatives.

AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAM

Lakeland Montessori offers an on-site before and after-school program.

View more information on our before and after-school program.

FOOD POLICY & BREAKFAST/LUNCH/SNACK PROGRAM

FOOD POLICY

Our program incorporates practical life exercises that include training in a healthy lifestyle and diet. To support this aspect of your child’s education, and to ensure that all of our students eat nutritiously and healthfully during their school day, we ask that you abide by certain guidelines for snacks and other foods that are brought to school.

In a place where learning is the overriding goal, we want to make every effort to keep sugar to an absolute minimum, and we hope you’ll help us whenever you send food to school. Please observe our rule that:

Soft drinks, gum, and candy are not allowed.

LUNCH PROGRAM

Option 1: Polk County School Lunch Program (K-8 students ONLY, PreK students must bring lunch from home)
The primary reason that we provide an option for school lunch to be purchased is to accommodate student access to free and reduced lunch. We encourage parents to have students bring their own nutritious lunch from home. Lunches will be provided by the Polk County School Board. A bagged lunch is provided with a sandwich, a fruit and/or vegetable item, a snack, milk and juice. The lunch provided meets the guidelines of the National School lunch program. Your child will have the opportunity to order lunch in class for that day.

Cost
Lakeland Montessori participates in the National School Lunch Program for grades K-8 and each family will be provided with the proper form to determine eligibility for free or reduced lunch.

Breakfast regular price: Same as Polk County School district

Lunch regular price: Same as Polk County School district

Polk County School Board meal payment guidelines-PLEASE DO NOT SEND CASH. You will need to prepay into your child’s account online (see front desk). Students on regular priced lunch will receive charge privileges of up to $7.00. Students on reduced priced lunch will receive charge privileges of up to $3.00. Slips will be sent home if your child’s meal account is empty. Per Polk County School Board policy, students that go over their charge privilege will receive a cheese sandwich until money is received.

Option 2: Pack your child’s lunch
Children are encouraged to bring their own lunches from home. If you prefer to pack a lunch, please select healthy foods with proteins and complex carbohydrates. In addition to prohibiting soft drinks, gum, and candy, we discourage the use of many prepackaged lunches like “Lunchables” because they lack the necessary nutrition and fiber necessary to maintain good health.

SNACK PROGRAM

Families are asked to participate in a rotating schedule for bringing healthy classroom snacks. We request that each student in all classes provide snack for their class approximately once per month (no more than one day per month). The snack must be pre-packaged and unopened. Bringing snack is not a requirement for grades K-6, however it greatly benefits the classroom community as students are provided with healthy nutrition during the morning work period – which aids in the success of their morning. Snack time also provides an opportunity for the students to contribute to their community and to share in practical life activities.

Snack quantities
3-6 classrooms: 25 students
6-9 classroom: 30 students
9-12 classroom: 30 students

Please follow these healthy snack guidelines when bringing snack for your child’s class:

  • REQUIRED:
    A store packaged pre-cut FRESH (not canned or dried) fruit or vegetable snack. Whole fruit may be sent as long as long as there is enough for each child to have their own whole piece of fruit.
  • OPTIONAL:
    In addition to the fresh fruit or vegetable item please consider providing a protein and/or whole grain item to complement the fresh fruit/vegetable. If the item is made with whole grains, at least one of the ingredients will have the word “whole” next to the type of grain and the majority of the time the package will state that it is made with whole grains. ALL optional items must have 3 grams or less of sugar per serving. Items with artificial sweeteners are not allowed.
  • ALL FOOD MUST BE STORE PACKAGED. Items that do not meet the guidelines above will not be returned.

The following lists are by no means comprehensive; they are provided to give you an idea of the types of foods that we recommend.

GOOD CHOICE EXAMPLES FOR REQUIRED ITEMS: 
Apple Slices
Apples
Bananas
Green beans
Carrots
Celery sticks
Peaches
Pears
Strawberries
Peppers: green, red, yellow, orange
Plums
Tomatoes: grape or cherry (6-9 and 9-12 class only)
Grapes (6-9 and 9-12 class only)

GOOD CHOICE EXAMPLES FOR OPTIONAL ITEMS: 
Cheese cubes
Cheese sticks
Wheat Thins
Whole wheat bagels with cream cheese
Multi-grain Ritz crackers
Vegetable Dip
Triscuits
Turkey Slices
NO NUTS

Peanuts & other nuts: VERY IMPORTANT

Because some children have potentially dangerous allergies to peanuts and other nuts, do not bring any foods for snack containing peanuts or peanut byproducts (such as peanut oil), or foods that may contain peanuts or any other types of nuts. Labels on processed foods are generally very explicit about the inclusion of peanuts and nuts.

DISCLAIMER: Our facilities and activities are NOT peanut free.

FIELD TRIPS

Lakeland Montessori School’s community outreach and extended classroom activities include various field trips for educational, cultural, physical and humanitarian experiences. The following are an example of the places we may visit during the school year:

Polk County
County Public Libraries, Museums and Parks
Recreational facilities of Polk County and its cities
Community services facilities of Polk County and its cities
Phosphate mine
Lakeland Center
Bok Tower Gardens
Time Warner
Polk County district schools and colleges
Explorations 5
Cypress Gardens
Fantasy of Flight
Restaurants for etiquette demonstrations
Publix supermarket and warehouses
Convalescent homes
Humane Society

Outside Polk County
Green Meadows Farm
Thornhill Farms
Lowry Park Zoo
Florida Aquarium
Seminole Indian properties
Walt Disney World
MOSI museum
Strawberry field
Sea World
Busch Gardens

Some of the trips may require fees. Good manners, exceptional behavior and full compliance with our uniform code are mandatory for field trips. Each student represents our school. Exceptional behavior is expected on the bus and at our destination.

Some trips are invitational or limited by our host to students and teachers only. Other trips may include opportunities for parents (approved volunteers) to accompany us.

CELEBRATIONS/EVENTS/BIRTHDAYS

Families will receive email flyers concerning upcoming events and celebrations at the school as we will need parent participation for planning and implementation. As we are a small community and we will be teaching and modeling acceptance and respect of diversity, school celebrations and events will be planned so that they can include and be participated in by people regardless of their religious, cultural and/or ethnic backgrounds. LMS school policy is based on the First Amendment Center document “Religious Holidays in the Public Schools” located here. Celebrations and events such as the LMS annual Friendship Feast, the LMS Art shows, the LMS Family Tea, First Friday chorus events, Explorations V Children’s Festival, Mayfaire by the Lake, International Children’s Day, Earth Day, Multi-Cultural Festivals such as a festival with Chinese cuisine, art, costume, etc. will be planned throughout the year by the PAC Special Events Committee.

In recognition of the day a child is born, we gather at group time and tell the child’s life story as they hold a globe and “orbit the sun” provided that we receive the Milestones Form (available on the school Yahoo group in the Files section) with your child’s information. You are welcome to join us for this activity. We are unable to accommodate birthday party type activities during classroom time.

Party Invitations-If you wish to invite children to a party, please use the section of the Google group that contains names and addresses of the students in order to send the invitations by mail delivery.

CLASSROOM OBSERVATION

Parents are encouraged to observe their child at work. Observations will begin in October. If you would like to formally observe a class, please notify the office in advance.

PARENT/TEACHER COMMUNICATION

Teachers report formally to parents four times per year on the same dates as the other Polk County public schools. Parent conferences take place for all students during the first quarter of each school year. Additional parent-teacher conferences may be scheduled at any time at the request of either teacher or parent. Teachers are also readily available via email communication.

First quarter reports provide an opportunity to set goals for the remainder of the semester as well as to discuss academic, social, or emotional concerns that need to be addressed. The evaluations at the end of each quarter are also comprehensive reporting periods and are a record of the student’s progress through the three-year cycle of our Montessori curriculum.

STANDARDIZED TESTING

VIEW OUR OUTSTANDING STATE OF FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION TESTING SCORES.

LMS has taken the steps to make sure our students are prepared for the required standardized testing, which tests students on their annual progress. Formative progress monitoring assessments are administered to all students in grades K-8. Assessment scores indicate whether the student is on grade level for Reading and Mathematics and gives comparative data on our students.  All Florida Department of Education FSA and FCAT tests are also administered to students in grades 3 through 8 during the State of FL DOE testing windows. In order for our school to remain open, all students must take the state required assessment tests.

Reading takes place at the school during all subjects and students will be evaluated for growth and comprehension often. In addition to an enriched academic advancement, it is important to remember that character education, community service, self-esteem, leadership training, time management, and organizational skills are essential life-long skills that are part of our program.

PARENTAL INVOLVEMENT / VOLUNTEERING

Click for volunteer guidelines page.

GROUND RULES AND DISCIPLINE POLICY: FREEDOM WITHIN LIMITS

Montessori education is based on empowering the student to make appropriate decisions about behavior in an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust. There is no place for corporal punishment or emotional intimidation in a Montessori environment.

One goal of our school is for the children to be self-disciplined. There is a wide age span within the range of “normal” for the development of self-discipline. To encourage self-monitoring of behavior by our students, we control the environment instead of the child as much as possible. We want it to be easy for the children to behave appropriately.

Appropriate behavior is taught when children are not in a stressful situation. Then children can learn by role-playing acceptable alternatives to hitting, screaming, biting, scratching, name-calling, etc. These lessons are given individually and at group time throughout the year as needed. We use peer problem solving whenever possible when children have disagreements. Children who are out of control stay with a teacher or sit alone until they can control themselves. Whenever possible, children are allowed to experience the natural and/or logical consequences of their actions. For example, when you throw a puzzle, you pick it up and then find other work that can be handled more appropriately. For more serious situations such as biting, hitting, or refusal to cooperate – parents will be called to pick up their child.

In keeping with Montessori philosophy, we redirect the following behavior patterns:

  • Unbecoming behavior (i.e. nose-picking)
  • Behavior destructive to the environment (i.e. throwing work)
  • Behavior destructive to others or their work (i.e. disturbing another’s work)
  • Unproductive behavior (i.e. walking aimlessly through the room)

In a serious situation, such as a physical fight between children, the following steps are followed:

  1.  Check that everyone is safe
  2. Remove those not involved
  3. Describe what is happening in a non-judgmental way
  4. State the appropriate ground rule
  5.  Separate the child from the situation as gently as possible
  6. Preserve self-dignity
  7. A parent will be called to pick up the child.

Children may be required to sit at a table by themselves and work will be provided for them. They will lose their freedom of movement for a period of time according to their development. This could range from a short amount of time to an entire work period. If a child’s behavior (for example: temper tantrum) is disruptive to the classroom the child will be taken out of the classroom. Parents will be notified of these situations either by email, phone call, and/or incident report.

If the student repeatedly needs office support to deal with his or her behavior, the parent will be called to take the student home. There will be a conference with the parent before the student returns to the classroom.

If the situation cannot be rectified in a timely fashion, especially if the behavior presents a danger to other students or faculty members, our out of school suspension or dismissal procedures, consistent with the LMS Parent Contract and the Polk County Code of Student Conduct, will apply. The final step is that the student is reassigned to the appropriate district school.

Admission to LMS is by choice, not mandate. LMS does provide services for ESE students as required by Federal law and our philosophy is to give children a chance to improve. However, under the terms of our charter application with the Polk County school district, LMS is not obligated to retain any student who cannot progress to and maintain minimum standards of behavior appropriate to an integrated classroom environment.

Lakeland Montessori will also utilize the Polk County School Board Code of Conduct to handle discipline matters that occur at the charter school. LMS reserves the right to create its own code of conduct in subsequent years if the governing board and school staff feel this is appropriate.

Click to view the Polk County School Board Code of Conduct 
(PDF format: Acrobat Reader is needed to view this document)

POLK COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD BULLYING POLICY

In order to access information and forms related to the Polk County School Board bullying policy please click on this link:

http://www.polk-fl.net/parents/generalinformation/bullying.htm

UNIFORM POLICY

Lakeland Montessori uniforms promote school unity, establish a level playing field, increase safety, and reduce distraction during the school day. In order to retain and enhance the integrity of the dress code, the following expectations have been established:

  • Uniforms are required every day. Specific exceptions (Example: the end of the year party) will be announced on the school Google group by Administration.
  • LandsEndThere are two authorized vendors: 1) Lands’ End School Uniform Catalogue – for all of our uniform items 2) Target Uniform Section online and in store – for bottoms only (Target labels must read “Cherokee Uniform”, “French Toast”, “@Class”, “Classroom”, or “School Colors”. Regular Target clothing is NOT acceptable). These vendors are the ONLY authorized vendors. Lands’ End is the preferred vendor as they carry higher quality, longer-lasting clothing. See the Authorized Vendor section below for specific ordering and contact information.
  • Uniform Shirts – shirts and blouses may be short or long sleeved – with collar – of any solid color (no stripes, designs, multiple colors, or multi-color banding) and must be long enough to be able to be tucked in. Shirts must be tucked in at all times. Shirts with the old LMS logo may be worn indefinitely as long as they are free of holes, frays and stains. Jumpers MUST also have a logo.
  • Uniform Shirts for cool days – On cool days, we prefer that students wear a long sleeved LMS logo uniform shirt. However, if absolutely necessary students may wear a plain, white turtleneck or plain white long or short sleeved shirt under their short-sleeved LMS uniform shirt. Plain is defined as plain white fabric that has no stripes, designs, multiple colors, multi-color banding, ribbing or other embellishments. The white shirts can be purchased from any vendor as long as they remain within the guidelines. Students will be asked to remove any shirts that are worn under their uniform shirts that do not follow these guidelines.
  • Field Trip Shirt- on field trip days all students must wear a Chambray Blue (light blue) uniform polo shirt for safety purposes. Students will only be allowed to attend a field trip if they have a field trip shirt.
  • Chorus members-all off campus chorus performances require that chorus members wear a Chambray blue (light blue) uniform polo shirt with the NEW logo and a pair of pants (full-length pants, no shorts or capris). Students not in their chorus uniform will not be allowed to perform at the event. If the event is a field trip, students will remain at the school.
  • Outer garments- All outer garments (Example: cardigan sweater, pull-over sweatshirts, and light jackets) that are worn inside the school must have a LMS logo. Authorized selections are listed on our Land’s End dress code list. Items with hoods are not allowed. Items worn only outside do not need a logo and do not have to follow any guidelines.
  • Bottoms – ONLY bottoms from authorized vendors are permitted. Bottoms may be any Khaki UNIFORM shorts, skirts, skorts, slacks, or jumpers (no sweatpants). Jumpers MUST have a logo. All bottoms must be Khaki official uniform bottoms and no more than 2″ above the knee. Shorts must be worn underneath skirts and jumpers (purchasing skorts will eliminate the need for shorts). (Target labels must read “Cherokee uniform”, “French Toast”, “@Class”, “Classroom”, or “School Colors”)
  • Preschoolers-Land’s End school uniforms start in size 2T and Target school uniforms start in size 3T. If you are in need of sizes smaller than 2T, please consult with the Director about appropriate items to be ordered before ordering. All items that are sent in as a change of clothes must be approved uniform items.
  • Belts with a buckle must be worn if the bottom has belt loops and the student is in first grade or higher (any color or design is fine as long as there are no characters and the belt has a buckle).
  • Tennis shoes or rubber-soled shoes must be worn with the uniform. All shoes must have closed toes and heels. Boots, crocs, and shoes with wheels are not allowed due to safety and storage concerns. Socks and stockings can be any color or style, however they must be free of holes and runs and tights/stockings must be footed.
  • No makeup, visible tattoos or fake fingernails. Earrings must be small-no hoops. Fake tattoos will be removed if they are visible.
  • Hair styles – no numbers, writing or designs, no unnatural color (green, blue, ….), no picks, hats, sweatbands, curlers or other head gear.
  • ALL items must be free of frays and holes. In the event an item has a hole in it a parent will be called to bring a replacement or the student will be loaned an item for the day.
  • If a family is in need of financial aid, Lakeland Montessori will purchase two uniform bottoms for each child. We will also provide free access to any donated shirts or bottoms we have on hand. Financial need is based upon qualifying for free lunch using the Polk County School Board Household Application for Free and Reduced Priced Meals. Please see the front office to obtain an application.
  • STUDENTS FAILING TO WEAR ANY PART OF THE LAKELAND MONTESSORI SCHOOLHOUSE UNIFORM WILL RECEIVE A UNIFORM INFRACTION. Four uniform infractions will result in a parent conference being scheduled with the principal to discuss the best course of action. Parents new to the school after the school year begins will be given two weeks to obtain uniform items.

Authorized Vendor Information:

FOR BOTH VENDORS, PLEASE ORDER WITH PLENTY OF TIME TO RECEIVE ITEMS BEFORE THE START OF SCHOOL.

  • Lands’ End School Uniform Catalogue – www.landsend.com. Items must be SCHOOL UNIFORM items. Our preferred school number is 900095167. Don’t forget to check the overstock section for special deals on uniform items! The quality of the shirts and other uniform items are excellent and the service is outstanding. Items are delivered to your doorstop with the logo completed. If you have any problems placing an order, or if you have questions about an existing order, please call 1-800-469-2222. Items can be returned by mail or any local Sears, Kmart, or Sears Essential store for a full refund.
  • Target Uniform Bottoms – available online at Target.com and at your local store. Target labels must read “Cherokee Uniform”, “French Toast”, “@Class”, “Classroom”, or “School Colors”. Items that only say “Cherokee” are NOT acceptable. 

WHAT EACH STUDENT NEEDS AT SCHOOL

Please do not purchase a backpack for your child. Your child will be asked to leave it at home. The only exception to this is for students that ride the bus. This feature of our “safe school” policy eliminates hiding places for unwelcome items of both intentional and unintentional natures. The policy also saves money and space. All homework and educational items will be easy to carry without a backpack. Toys and electronics are not allowed at school. Unlabeled lunch boxes and clothing items that are left at school will be disposed of or given to charity.

School supplies are provided by LMS through the school supplies donation fund. The donations are used by the teachers for items needed in the classroom. You do not need to purchase pencils, scissors, paper, or other consumable items for your child. The student’s family is responsible for the cost of replacement of take home items along with the cost of any items that are broken in a destructive manner.

Students are not allowed to bring in toys, electronics, or games from home unless they are educational in nature and special permission has been granted by the teacher. Trading cards, pocket computers, compact disc players and portable radios are also prohibited on campus. We are not responsible for items that are brought into the school.

Weapons, play or real, are not permitted. LMS follows the NO TOLERANCE policy of Polk County Schools, which mandates suspension or expulsion from school if drugs or weapons are brought onto school property.

Recognizing the important link between home and school, we do encourage students to bring in objects of interest with an educational value related to ongoing projects in the classroom.

HOMEWORK

Students in grades 1-5 will be asked to do occasional homework that relates to specific specific classroom projects. Students in preschool and Kindergarten will not be given homework.

We strongly encourage you to read with your child 20 minutes per night. Let your child hear the sound of your voice as you read to them. Hold them close or put them on your lap. With older children, take turns reading to them and have them read to you. Whatever the subject matter, allow your nightly reading to be for pleasure. We suggest that you do not force children to read to you if they don’t want to or are not ready to do so. Let them know you value reading by doing it together every night. Even if your child cannot read the words himself/herself, hearing you read aloud stories like Gulliver’s Travels, Journey to the Center of the Earth, the Magic Treehouse series, Amelia Bedelia, or the Biscuit series will light up a child’s imagination and motivation to read for themselves.

MEDICAL CARE

PLEASE DO NOT BRING YOUR CHILD TO SCHOOL IF THEY ARE EXHIBITING SYMPTOMS THAT ARE CONTAGIOUS TO OTHERS. Your cooperation in this matter will help us keep absences of other students and staff members to a minimum. We will call you anyway to take your child home if symptoms such as fever at or above 100.4, vomiting, and diarrhea are present.

In an emergency, we will call the numbers and persons listed on the student emergency card. It is VERY IMPORTANT that you call us with any email address or phone number changes throughout the year.

No medications of any kind (including cold, aspirin, and vitamin products) can be administered at school unless there is an Authorization for Medication form for the treatment on file. All medication must be transported to and from school by adults only.