Welcome! Communication with parents/guardians is most important to us. This information is provided to help you better understand the ways in which we 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 = firstname.lastname@example.org. 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 (snow day, delayed start, 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. Please notify the school office if the recipient of the message is incorrect.
Communications to the Nurse
Contact the nurse if there are any changes in your child’s health, diagnosis, or medications; if your child has a contagious illness; or if you wonder if your child should attend school that day. Don’t hesitate to contact the nurse about any issues regarding your child’s health and safety at school. Please see the Health and Well-Being section of this handbook for more details.
The appearance of any young person is primarily the responsibility of the individual and their parents/guardians. However, should a student’s dress violate health or safety standards, the school reserves the right to require the student to make all necessary changes. Parents/guardians will be called to bring in appropriate clothing, or the student will be sent home to change. Metal link chains attached to wallets or hanging from clothing as well as spiked or studded leather bands or necklaces may not be worn. Clothing that exposes inappropriate anatomical regions (e.g. abdomen) is unacceptable. The wearing of outdoor clothing such as hats, caps, coats, and heavy hooded sweatshirts within the school building is prohibited without special permission. Clothing that has words or graphics that promote violence; drugs, alcohol, sexual activity, gender and/or racial biases are unacceptable. Students may not be barefoot. “Heelys” or other roller shoes are prohibited. Very loose trousers, jeans, or shorts will be worn at an acceptable belt level at all times.
Drugs, Alcohol, and Tobacco
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. 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 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 M.G.L. 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 M.G.L. c. 71 §37H1/2.
In all cases, the suspension/expulsion will remain in effect pending completion of the appeal.
Teachers may not accept individual gifts from parents/guardians or students valued at $50.00 or more. 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 teachers may not know the names of the students or families that contributed or how much each contributed.
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 our website.
Lost and Found
If your child has lost something, your 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, we recommend that all valuable items be kept at home. Try to have your child’s coats, boots, and other personal belongings marked with your child’s name so that lost items may be returned to your child easily. You may not wish to use your last name as a safety measure.
Meetings with Staff Members
Parent/Guardian/Teacher conferences are scheduled once a year to discuss your child’s performance in school. Appointments can be made at other times of the year, as well. Staff members such as your 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 you informed about what is going on at the school, periodic notices from the school principal, your child’s teachers, or the Parent Teacher Organization will be sent home along with your child’s work. Check with your 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 your 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 your child, please include the name of that adult. If your 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 you find it necessary to change your child’s dismissal plan during the school day, please call the school office and communicate the changes before 2:30 p.m. We respectfully request that no phone call changes occur after 3:00 p.m.
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 process. 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 or 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 you may learn more about the school and have opportunities to give your 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 your school 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 you want to visit the school, contact the principal at least 48 hours before your planned visit. This is not necessary if you are joining your child for lunch, but you must sign in and obtain a Visitor’s Pass in the office before going to the cafeteria. If you wish to visit your child’s classroom, please make arrangements with your child’s teacher at least 48 hours before your 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.