Cherokee Parent Handbook
MORNING ARRIVAL PROCEDURES
Our student day begins at 8:15. In order to keep our students safe, we expect all families to follow these procedures:
- Students may begin entering the building at 7:45. Between 7:45 and 8:15, students in the building may eat breakfast or they will participate in fitness walking in the gym. Kindergarten students will sit outside their classroom until 8:15, supervised by teachers and the safety patrol.
- All bus riders will enter through the front doors.
- ALL students who are car riders should exit cars at the gym car circle. Students will not be allowed to exit a car at the intersection or on the theater side of the building. Cars should enter from Cherokee Road and follow the circle. Staff and our student safety patrol will assist in the car circle. If a parent must come inside, he/she should park in the front parking lot and check in through the office.
- Please allow enough time for your child to get to their classroom on time. We have a full thirty minutes allowed for drop-off time.
TARDIES AND EARLY DISMISSALS
We expect our students to be in class at 8:15. If your child is tardy, you must come in with your child to the office to sign in and get a tardy slip. Only doctor or dentist visits (verification required) are excused; all other tardies are unexcused.
Upon the 3rd UNEX tardy and/or early dismissal in a grading period, the student will be subject to a consequence to make-up missing work (e.g. loss of recess or lunch detention). The school principal has the authority to implement “time for time” procedures that would allow students to make up time missed for school due to tardiness/early dismissals.
We encourage parents to try to schedule doctor and dental appointments after school hours. We realize however that sometimes there are circumstances where a student must leave school early. Try to keep these times to a minimum and inform the office staff if you want your child dismissed early and then wait in the office for your child. Parents must sign the early release form in the office when a child leaves before the regular dismissal time of 3:15 PM.
When a child is absent, the office should be contacted by 9:00. Upon returning to school, notes explaining absences should be brought to the office. Per guidelines of Johnson City Schools, after five hand-written notes, further absences will only be excused with a doctor’s note. Excused absences may include sickness, death in the family, family emergencies, etc. Johnson City allows three days a year to be excused for family leave. Please let the office know ahead of time when you plan on using family leave days. When a request for an absent child’s homework is made, please call by 9:00 and work will be available after 3:30. A child must be in school for 3 hours and 31 minutes to be considered present for the day.
AFTERNOON DISMISSAL PROCEDURES
With as many as 175 car riders, our afternoon dismissal is quite a challenge. The cooperation of all parents, students, and staff is crucial to ensure a safe dismissal. Please adhere to the following dismissal rules:
- If you live within the Cherokee school zone, we urge you to use the services of Johnson City Transit. All of our bus riders load from the front of the school and are usually off the school property by 3:30. If you have any questions about bus routes, call Transit at 929-7119.
- Please make sure that your child knows his/her method of afternoon transportation. Last minute calls and changes can be very confusing for staff and students. We ask that changes in afternoon transportation be called in by 2:30.
- Do not come inside to pick up your child unless you have a legitimate reason for an early dismissal. Students who are walkers that meet their parents at the school need to meet them outside the front doors.
- DO NOT park on the theater side of the building to pick up your child. This area needs to be reserved for staff parking and bus dismissal. ALL CAR PICKUPS MUST GO THROUGH THE CAR CIRCLE.
- The car line opens at 3:00. We do not have adequate personnel to open it any earlier. If the line backs up to block Cherokee Road, it creates a very hazardous safety issue and violators can be ticketed. Once you are in line for dismissal, do not leave your car unattended. Follow the directions of the staff on duty regarding moving your car up in the line.
- Post your windshield tag every day to speed up our dismissal. All car riders are going to be dismissed from the gym and it will be VERY important that your tag is visible for radioing names to the gym. We use the same numbers from year to year so please keep your tag.
- We allow thirty minutes (3:15 to 3:45) for all car riders to be picked up. If your child is not picked up by 3:45, we will call parents for pick-up from the office. If late pick-ups become an issue, the student will need to enroll in Educare.
SCHOOL ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENTS
- It is essential that each student be present every day school is in session. Research indicates there is a direct correlation between school attendance and success in school. We believe it is important to expect and to assist students in being in school and on time. Students who are present at school derive maximum benefit from the instructional program and develop habits of punctuality, self-discipline, and responsibility.
- Appointments should be scheduled outside of the school day, when possible, and vacations during the appointed breaks.
- The implementation of the progressive truancy intervention plan will begin after three (3) unexcused absences:
- Tier I- a student having three (3) or more unexcused absences will result in a parent and/or student meeting with a school official.
- Tier II will be implemented if unexcused absences continue- a review of the student’s absences will be made by school officials.
- Tier III will be implemented if unexcused absences continue- parents/guardians will be referred to juvenile court for a meeting with the court’s Probation Officer, a DCS representative, a representative from the school, and the Attendance Supervisor for Johnson City Schools.
- If attendance does not improve after the above meetings, a truancy petition WILL BE filed in court and a report WILL BE made to the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.
- A student must be in school for 3 hours and 31 minutes to be considered present for the day.
- If a student is not feeling well, they are allowed five (5) absences per year, without going to a doctor. A written parent note is required upon the student returning to school.
- After the allowed five (5) parent note days, a doctor/dentist note is required for additional absences.
- Parents should call the school by 9:00 a.m. when their child will be absent. After an absence, our policy requires that a written excuse from the parent or a doctor excuse, be sent to the office the day the child returns to school.
- A student is allowed three (3) parent request days per year. Parent request days must be approved by the principal.
- Johnson City School Board Policy 6.200 states “Upon recommendation of the principal, students in grades K-8 who are absent more than twenty (20) days may not be promoted to the next grade. All absences, excused or unexcused, are counted in the maximum number of days that may be missed during a session or school year”.
Parents and visitors are welcome at Cherokee, but we do have some security measures in place to ensure the safety of students and staff. As part of the National Safe Schools Healthy Student Initiative (locally known as HEROES), all Johnson City Schools are equipped with security cameras. Only one front door is designated for entrance; all other outside doors are locked. Students arriving before 7:45 must enter through the cafeteria Educare entrance. ALL visitors and volunteers must enter through the front door and may be asked for ID before being buzzed in. Upon entering the school, all visitors are required to scan a government-issued picture ID to receive a visitor badge if the person is going anywhere beyond the office. After a visitor’s ID has been initially scanned, he/she can check in at the office computer on all subsequent visits.
Sometimes school is delayed or closed due to snow or inclement weather. If this should occur, it will be announced on all local radio and TV stations by 6:00 AM. If the road conditions are really bad, school will probably be canceled for the day. However, there is a possibility that school may open on a delayed schedule. This means school would start an hour or two hours later. If school starts at a later time the bus schedules will be adjusted accordingly. The bus may run on a "snow route" which means that they will only run on streets that are clear and not dangerous. This will also be announced over the broadcast media and sent through the system text system. Please listen for announcements about "Johnson City Schools.”
Please do not call the school for this information. We learn of the closing or delayed schedule from the news reports and often you may hear it before we do. A school messenger system is available to receive this information through a phone call, text, or email.
If, during the day, the weather should turn bad and school has to dismiss early, announcements will be made over the radio and TV stations. Parents should make plans and be sure their child is familiar with the plan. Normally the buses will run, but depending on the severity of the weather, may be unable to run on the regular route.
The curriculum of Cherokee Elementary School is one that seeks to provide the experiences a child needs to live in today's society. We believe that each child is an individual and should be given the opportunity to achieve his or her potential.
Most of the teaching time is devoted to the teaching of reading, language, and math. In grades three and four, there is some subject departmentalization.
In addition to the academic curriculum, the following support services are available:
- Weekly P.E., music, art, and library classes for every grade.
- Counselor who teachers classes and assists students individually.
- Therapeutic counseling services by Frontier Health personnel.
- Resource teacher, speech teacher, and diagnostician to assist with special education needs
- RTI intervention in the areas of reading and math
- ESL services
- Computer lab
- Cherokee Second Edition – after-school tutoring and remediation for 3rd and 4th grade
Our school is a place of academic and social growth. In certain respects, we are one large family working together for the good of all students. We will recognize the students who show examples of appropriate behavior. Those students who do not conform to our school rules will have certain privileges removed from their daily program.
Questions concerning extreme discipline problems may be answered in the Student Code of Conduct adopted by the Johnson City Board of Education. Each student will receive a copy at the beginning of school. Parents and students should become familiar with the code.
Riding the bus is a privilege and it is expected that all Cherokee students adhere to the rules of Johnson City Transit. Violations of bus rules will result in suspensions from bus service and can lead to a one year expulsion from bus privileges.
Before and after school day care (Educare) is available to all students. Educare is open from 7:00 – 7:45 AM and from 3:15 – 6:00 PM each day. It is open on a limited schedule during Christmas, before and after national holidays, and other days when school is closed. A full-time summer program is also available. Information about the services may be obtained through the school office.
INJURIES – Parents are called immediately if their child sustains a head injury. Appropriate action will be taken if a serious accident occurs. It is important that emergency phone numbers be current on the emergency card. An accident report will be filled out and kept in the office.
SICKNESS – The clinic is open for the duration of the school day every day. Parents will be called if your child is too sick to remain at school. Reasons for calling may include fever of 100 degrees or higher, vomiting, head lice, or any time that a child is not well enough to complete school activities. Students should be well and fever-free for 24 hours before returning to school.
MEDICINE – There must be a completed medical form on file in the office for any medicine that is given to students. Staff members are not allowed to dispense ANY medicine (including OTC medication such as cough drops, eye drops, etc.) without a signed parent form. All medicine must be sent in the original container and forms for prescription meds must be filled out by a doctor. No students should have medication of any form with them in the classroom.
We expect Cherokee students to dress modestly and appropriately for their age. If the principal, counselor, or a teacher judges that a student’s attire is offensive or immodest, the student will be provided other clothes or parents will be expected to bring a change of clothing. Guidelines to follow include:
- Appropriate length of skirts and shorts (at least one inch below fingertip length)
- No short tops that expose the stomach
- Straps on tops should be at least two inches in width
- No suggestive or offensive writing or logos on T-shirts/sweatshirts
- No hats, bandanas, or other head coverings
- Lipstick and other forms of makeup are not appropriate at the elementary level.
All schools that house K-8 students must abide by Tennessee state nutrition and wellness requirements. These guidelines have been formed to combat the growing rate of childhood obesity and to promote a healthy group of active students.
BREAKFAST – A hot breakfast is available every morning from 7:45-8:10 in the cafeteria. The price is $1.50 full price with free and reduced price ($0.30) available for those students on fee waiver.
LUNCH – We serve a hot lunch for $2.50 that meets National School Lunch program guidelines. Menus are sent home with students and available online. Applications are available to apply for free or reduced pricing ($0.40). Payment for lunches may be made each day or paid in advance through the cafeteria. Make checks payable to Cherokee Cafeteria. If a student chooses to bring lunch, we ask that it be nutritious and not full of empty calories. No carbonated beverages or glass bottles are allowed in the cafeteria.
Parents are welcome to join their child for lunch, but we do not allow restaurant food in the cafeteria. Parents bringing outside food may eat with their own child at the hallway table or outside picnic table.
SNACKS – Some teachers may allow their students to have a daily snack, but the snack must meet nutritional guidelines. Below is a list of acceptable snacks:
Beverages – Water, non-carbonated calorie-free flavored water, low-calorie sports drinks (8 oz. or less), 1% or skim milk, juices that are 100% juice
Foods – fresh fruit, veggies, cube or string cheese, pretzels, low-fat popcorn, graham crackers, animal crackers, low-fat pudding and yogurt, low-fat breakfast or granola bars, Nabisco 100 calorie pack, baked chips, nuts, sunflower seeds
PARTIES – The teacher will designate two holiday parties per year. Individual birthdays are not celebrated, but parents can bring a class snack on the designated day with prior permission from teacher. We strongly discourage homemade snacks because it is hard to determine the nutritional content especially in regards to food allergies.
Report cards are distributed at the end of each nine weeks grading period. The report cards will be distributed on Wednesday following the last day of the nine weeks. Grades K-2 have a checklist with a rating scale. Grades three and four are graded using A, B, C, D, or F. The cards are to be signed by the parent and returned to the classroom teacher.
The citywide grading scale adopted by the Board of Education is as follows:
A = 94 and above Excellent
B = 86 through 93 Above Average
C = 75 through 85 Average
D = 70 through 74 Below Average
F = 00 through 69 Failing
MIDTERM PROGRESS REPORT
Halfway through the nine-week grading period, a midterm report will be sent home. The report provides parents with a snapshot of how their child is performing; as well as, alerting parents to problems that need correcting such as unfinished assignments, schoolwork to be made up, behavior issues, etc. The midterm should be signed and returned.
All school-wide correspondence and notices will be sent home on Wednesdays and many teachers will also send graded work home on that day. Please check your child’s backpack on Wednesday so you can keep up with school events.
We value your input as a Cherokee parent. If you need to set up a meeting with your child’s teacher or the principal, please call the office to schedule it. Calls to teachers will only be put through to the room during planning time in order to minimize classroom disruption. All teachers will schedule conferences at the end of the first nine weeks and are available for more if necessary.
The Johnson City Schools website is also a great way to find out information about our school. Go to www.jcschools.org and you can then link directly to the Cherokee website. Please contact the school office if you have a change in address or phone numbers or the list of who is allowed to pick up your child.
We are very fortunate to have an active PTA that provides many things for our students through their fundraising efforts. Grades K, 2, and 4 present a musical program for monthly meetings and there are other various events sponsored by PTA. The PTA also sponsors two major fundraisers each year. There is always a need for PTA volunteers in several areas. If you are interested, please fill out a volunteer form and we will find a place for you.
TEXTBOOKS AND MATERIALS
Textbooks and library books are provided for the use of students. In return, students are expected to care for those books and to pay for all lost and damaged books.
A charge is made annually for the purchase of materials not otherwise furnished to the child. The suggested fee this year is $25.00 and checks should be made out to Cherokee Elementary School. A standard supply list for each grade is on the Johnson City schools website. Teachers will post wish lists for other items that they would like to have donated to their classroom.
TRANSFER AND TUITION
First priority for enrollment at Cherokee goes to students who live with their parents/legal guardians in the Cherokee school zone. Students who live outside our zone but still in Johnson City are considered transfer students, and those who live outside of Johnson City are considered tuition. Continued enrollment for transfer and tuition students is considered on a year-to-year basis and can be denied because of high in-zone enrollment, excessive absences, or excessive tardies. All students who are transfer or tuition must provide their own transportation and cannot use Johnson City transit. Falsification of address can also result in immediate dismissal if not living in the Cherokee zone.
*TN state assessment time lengths https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/education/testing/tst_tcap_assessment_times_2018-19.pdf