Welcome! Communication with parents/guardians is most important to us. This information is provided to help families better understand the ways in which the district can maintain good communication between parents/guardians, children, and the school staff.
Each staff member has an email address that you can use for contact. The protocol for Falmouth school staff email addresses (with a few exceptions) is first initial followed by last name followed by @falmouth.k12.ma.us. For example, Jane Doe = email@example.com. You may look up an email address in our staff directory on our website.
Periodically, an automated message service will be used to communicate with families via phone call, email, and/or text. In addition to notification regarding changes in the school schedule (i.e., snow day, delayed opening, early dismissal), it may also be used to announce upcoming events and school activities. The recipients of the messages are based on the emergency contact information collected at the beginning of the school year. Parents/Guardians need to notify the school office if the recipient of the message is incorrect.
Communications to the Nurse
Parents/Guardians need to contact the nurse if there are any changes in their child’s health, diagnosis, or medications; if their child has a contagious illness; or if they wonder if their child should attend school that day. Parents/Guardians should not hesitate to contact the nurse about any issues regarding their child’s health and safety at school. Please see the Health and Well-Being section of this handbook for more details.
The responsibility for the dress and appearance of the students will rest with individual students and parents/guardians.
They have the right to determine how the student will dress providing that attire is not destructive to school property, complies with requirements for health and safety, and does not cause disorder or disruption. The administration is authorized to take action in instances where individual dress does not meet the stated requirements.
This does not mean that student, faculty, or parent groups may not recommend appropriate dress for school or special occasions. It means that students will not be prevented from attending school or a school function, or otherwise be discriminated against, so long as their dress and appearance meet the requirements set forth above.
Drugs, Alcohol, Tobacco, and Vaping
In accordance with Massachusetts law, smoking, consuming alcohol, and possession of illegal substances is prohibited. This includes on school grounds, on school buses, and at school-sponsored events. A student shall not, regardless of the quantity, use or consume, possess, buy or sell, or give away any beverage containing alcohol; any tobacco product, including vapor/E-cigarettes; marijuana; steroids; or any controlled substance. Students will be referred to the School Resource Office for possible legal consequences. Appropriate penalties will be enforced.
Due process ensures that when disciplinary action is taken against a student, the student has the right to be treated fairly. The penalty that a student receives must be reasonably related to the regulation that the student has violated, and the student is entitled to certain procedural rights when discipline is possible and in appealing disciplinary action once it is taken.
The Supreme Court has established the minimal procedure that must be followed before a student may be disciplined or suspended for less than ten (10) days:
- The student must be informed of what rule the student has broken.
- The student will be given an explanation of why it is believed that they have broken the rule if the student denies it.
- The student will be given a chance to tell their version of what happened.
Ordinarily these procedures are followed before a suspension takes place. However, if the student’s conduct is dangerous to other persons or threatens to disrupt school, the student may be suspended immediately. In such cases, the due process must be provided as soon as reasonable.
When a suspension for a period longer than ten (10) consecutive days, or expulsion is being considered, the student is entitled to more formal due process protections:
- The student must be informed in writing of all the charges and the evidence.
- The student has the right to an impartial hearing. (The person who conducts the hearing will not be the one who seeks to impose the suspension.) The student and their legal representative/parent/guardian will be given adequate time to prepare for this hearing.
- The student has the right to be represented by a lawyer and/or advocate at the hearing. The student’s legal representative/parent/guardian has the right to confront and to cross-examine witnesses.
- The student will have the right to present a defense of their position.
- The student has the right to a written decision.
A legal representative/parent/guardian may appeal any decision by the Principal to suspend the student on a long-term basis or to expel the student pursuant to MGL c.71 §37H by sending a written request to the Superintendent within ten (10) days of the notice of suspension/expulsion.
Notwithstanding the above, the Principal may suspend or expel a student charged/convicted of a felony using the standards and procedures set forth in MGL c. 71 §37H1/2.
In all cases, the suspension/expulsion will remain in effect pending completion of the appeal.
- The student must be informed of what rule the student has broken.
School personnel may not accept individual gifts from parents/guardians or students valued at $50.00 or more in a calendar year. The $50.00 limit is per parent/guardian or student per year. In the case of a class gift, the total value for the year may not exceed $150.00, and the recipient may not know the names of the givers that contributed or the amounts given.
The Falmouth School Committee recognizes the right of all students to participate, through competition or open admission, in all clubs, activities, and sports programs, and, therefore, prohibits the practice of “hazing.” The full document regarding hazing is available at all school buildings and on the district website.
Lost and Found
If a child has lost something, the child should check the designated lost and found area in the school. The school is not responsible for replacing lost or stolen articles. For that reason, the district recommends that all valuable items be kept at home. Parents/Guardians should try to have their child’s coats, boots, and other personal belongings marked with their child’s name so that lost items may be returned to your child easily. Parents/Guardians may not wish to use their last name as a safety measure.
Meetings with Staff Members
Parent/Guardian/Teacher conferences are scheduled once a year to discuss a child’s performance in school. Appointments can be made at other times of the year as well. Staff members such as a child’s teacher(s), the principal, the assistant principal, and the adjustment counselor are available, if needed, for phone conferences or to meet in person.
To keep families informed about what is going on at the school, periodic notices from the Principal, teachers, or the Parent Teacher Organization will be sent home along with children’s work. Parents/Guardians should check with their child daily to ensure that you are receiving this information. Some schools use electronic communication as a regular way to communicate with families. Please check email regularly as well.
No invitations are to be given out at school unless all children in the individual classroom receive one. Excluding some children is a very hurtful experience both for those excluded and those invited. The best approach is to mail invitations.
Permission Notes for Changes in After-School Routines
A note to the child’s teacher should communicate an occasional change to a student’s regular or daily dismissal on the day of the change. The note should include the date, the student’s name, and what will be different that day. If someone different will be picking up a child, please include the name of that adult. If the child is riding the bus home with a friend, the note should include the name of the friend as well as the bus number. If a parent/guardian finds it necessary to change their child’s dismissal plan during the school day, they must call the school office and communicate the changes before 3 pm. The district respectfully requests that no phone call changes occur after 3 pm.
Pledge of Allegiance and Moment of Silence
In accordance with Massachusetts law, each school will recite the Pledge of Allegiance and will observe a moment of silence at the start of the school day. School personnel will not require students participate during the Pledge of Allegiance and/or the moment of silence. In addition, students will not be required to provide a reason if they choose not to participate nor will disciplinary action occur.
A student must be a resident of Falmouth to attend Falmouth Public Schools with the exception of students who attend from outside of the town of Falmouth via the School Choice program. Within Falmouth, there are four distinct elementary school districts. If a student’s residency within the town changes during the course of the school year to another elementary school district, parents/guardians who want to maintain enrollment in the present school are expected to follow the procedures contained in the “Exceptions to School District Attendance” policy.
Public Meetings: PTO, School Council, School Committee
There are several public venues where families may learn more about the school and have opportunities to give input. There is a Parent Teacher Organization at each elementary school that meets periodically to discuss activities. Each school also has a School Council, which acts as an advisory committee to the Principal. Many topics that affect schools are discussed at the School Council meeting. The Falmouth School Committee meets twice per month and deals with issues impacting the entire school district.
Returned Check Policy
This local policy refers to checks that are made out to the Town of Falmouth or any group sponsored by the Town of Falmouth, including the Falmouth Public Schools. Checks are subject to a $25.00 surcharge if the checks are returned as an overdraft.
School Visits by Visitors/Parents/Guardians
When entering the school, all visitors must enter the main entrance and check in at the main office. All other doors will be locked during the school day. Parents/guardians are invited to visit the school as long as it does not interfere with the normal school or class routine. If a parent/guardian wants to visit the school, they must contact the principal at least forty-eight (48) hours before their planned visit. This is not necessary if a parent/guardian is joining their child for lunch, but the parent/guardian must sign in and obtain a Visitor’s Pass in the office before going to the cafeteria. If a parent/guardian wishes to visit their child’s classroom, they must make arrangements with their child’s teacher at least forty-eight (48) hours before their planned visit. Individuals visiting the school to volunteer need to preregister with VIPS.
Sharing Information Regarding Tragic Events
If a tragic event occurs during school hours, students will not receive any information from the school. We will not use Internet or television that confronts students with such disastrous events as they are taking place or in the immediate aftermath. Principals and administrators are responsible for monitoring these situations. In all schools, when such tragedies or disasters stimulate emotional reactions on the basis of national origin, race or religion, or any categorical grouping, the schools will take appropriate steps to discuss the dangers of stereotypical statements. All schools will work to assist parents/guardians with information on how to help respond to students’ reactions.
Telephone Use/Personal Electronic Devices/Cell Phones
The main office telephone is available to students for emergencies only. Use of personal electronic devices, such as cell phones, laptops, iPods, SMART watches is not permitted during regular school hours unless under the direct instruction of a teacher or an IEP accommodation is being met and the device is being used for instructional purposes. Students bringing such devices to school for the above stated purposes do so at their own risk, and the school is not responsible for attempting to retrieve lost or stolen property.
Families moving out of the community or school district shall notify the school secretary at least three (3) days before leaving. Upon registration at their new school, families will sign a records release form. At that time, student records at Falmouth Public Schools will be released to the new district.