Chapter 1: Day-to-Day Essentials

Safety and Security

School Security

All of our schools are secure and each has a security system. Outside cameras at entrances allow office staff to see anyone entering or exiting the buildings.

All visitors, including parents and volunteers, entering District 146 schools must check in directly at the office and receive a visitor badge. For classroom visits, please call the office in advance to make arrangements.

Safety Drills

Safety drills are conducted for the safety of students and staff in accordance with the Illinois School Safety Drill Act. Drills are designed and monitored in collaboration with local public safety officials. 

Fire and Disaster Drills

Fire and disaster drills familiarize students with the location of the nearest exits, the procedure for evacuating the building, and where to take cover in the building in case of a pending disaster, such as a tornado or crisis. 

Emergency Shelter Locations

Each school has a pre-designated primary and secondary relocation site. These are specific locations identified in the school crisis plan to provide temporary shelter in the event of a school emergency. In the event it is not safe to remain in a school building but it is safe to leave the school, students will be escorted to the relocation site. With this action, parents will be notified of an off-site reunification location. There will be a high level of security in allowing children to leave the site and reunite with their families. Although difficult to do, parents should remain calm and wait for information and direction from the District. 

Attendance

Attendance Overview

District 146 schools maintain a daily regular school schedule. An attitude that time schedules are important is a very valuable lesson for children to learn. Therefore, the District asks all families to help in emphasizing responsibility to children and the importance of keeping to schedules and being punctual. 

Regular attendance is essential to learning (School Code 105 ILCS 5/26.1 and 5.26.3b). Illinois law requires that whoever has custody or control of any child between 6 (on or before September 1) and 17 years of age (unless the child has already graduated from high school) shall assure that the child attends school in the district in which he or she resides, during the entire time school is in session.

Every minute of a student’s time in school is important. Students who are absent for even one day, or who arrive tardy to school, miss valuable instructional time and can easily fall behind academically. A district calendar and school newsletters remind parents/guardians of school schedules and attendance days. Please review the school calendar to avoid planning family activities on school days. Vacations are considered unexcused absences.  

Absences

Absences

To ensure the safety of all students and to remain in compliance with state law, parents are required to notify the school office if their child will not be in attendance. This notification must take place within the first hour of school. When reporting an absence, please call the school office anytime, day or night, to access the voicemail system. When calling, please provide: student’s name, date of absence, and reason for absence.  
School Phone Number
Central Middle School 708.614.4510
Fierke Education Center 708.614.4520
Fulton School 708.614.4525
Kruse Education Center 708.614.4530
Memorial School 708.614.4535

If notice is not received, District procedure is for the school office to attempt to make contact via all phone numbers provided to District 146. If unsuccessful, all emergency contacts will be called until confirmation of the absence is received. If all attempts are unsuccessful, a District administrator and/or designee will notify local law enforcement to ensure the safety and well being of the student.  

Reasons For Absence

Excused Absence: Acceptable reasons (verified by parental notification: note, phone call, or email) include illness, medical appointments, funerals, attending military honors to sound “Taps,” religious holidays, and court appearances. If a student is absent for four or more consecutive school days due to illness, a medical release signed by the student’s doctor is required.  

Unexcused Absence: Absences for any reason not described in excused absences; including truancy and vacations.

Absenteeism

Not meeting the excused absence criteria will result in the absence being unexcused. Every effort will be made by District 146 to remedy concerns of excessive absenteeism.  

Tardiness

When a student arrives late to school in the morning, he/she is to report to the office. The parent is to come to the office and sign-in the student. Excessive tardiness will result in student/administrator conference, parent/administrator conference and/or further disciplinary action.  

Truancy

Illinois School Code defines a chronic or habitual truant as a child who is absent for 10% of accumulated school days, which includes both excused and unexcused absences. District 146, therefore, monitors student attendance to ensure the attendance of students at school. To address high rates of unexcused absenteeism, a sequence of escalating interventions is followed leading to a Truancy Referral Form submitted to the Suburban Cook County Regional Office of Education. Cook County Regional Office of Education reserves the right to submit referrals to the Circuit Court of Cook County.  

*A parent or guardian who knowingly and willfully permits a child to be truant may be convicted of a Class C misdemeanor, which carries a maximum penalty of thirty days in jail and/or a fine up to $1,500.

Truancy Letters 
1st Truancy Letter Issued by School
2nd Truancy Letter Issued by District
3rd Truancy Letter Issued by Suburban Cook County
Regional Office of Education
  • When it is determined that a child is truant, the parent(s) or guardian(s) are informed of their legal responsibilities, and the school will take appropriate disciplinary action. The Illinois Revised Statutes, Chapter 105, Section 5/26-1, provide grades 1 through 12, regardless of age, shall have the children in the public school in the district wherein he/she resides when it is in session during the regular school term unless:
  • He/she is enrolled in a private school or home schooled;
    Said child has a certificate of physical or mental disability from a competent physician; or
  • The principal of the school that he/she attends excuses said child’s temporary absence.  

Leaving School Early

If your child needs to leave school before the end of the day for a doctor’s appointment or other urgent matters, please contact the school office. Please enter the school building and sign-out your child at the school office at the appropriate time. If your child returns to school before the end of the day, he or she must sign in again at the office before proceeding to class.

Arrival

Elementary School

Instruction begins at 8:55 a.m. Students need to be present prior to 8:55 a.m., but not before 8:40 a.m. at which time staff supervision is available. The exception to arriving earlier would be if a student is involved in a teacher-sponsored activity or has made previous arrangements with a teacher or the principal.

Middle School

Instruction begins at 8 a.m. Students need to be present prior to 8 a.m., but not before 7:50 a.m., at which time staff supervision is available. The exception to arriving earlier would be if a student is involved in a teacher-sponsored activity or has made previous arrangements with a teacher or the principal.

Dismissal

Elementary School

The school day ends at 3:35 p.m. Students are expected to leave school premises upon dismissal. Students who remain for school-sponsored activities are to report to the designated staff member sponsoring the activity immediately following dismissal.

At 3:35 p.m., the dismissal bell rings. Bus riders will be escorted to the bus 
lane or buses. Please refer to individual school pages for specific arrival and dismissal locations.

Be sure to inform your child whether he/she is a walker, bus rider, or car rider. This designation determines where and how he/she exits at dismissal.

Middle School

The school day ends at 2:55 p.m. Students are expected to leave school 
premises upon dismissal. Students who remain for school-sponsored activities are to report to the designated staff member sponsoring the activity immediately following dismissal.

Early Learning/Morning Kindergarten

Early Learning Schedule

Morning Session – 8:55 to 11:25 a.m. Arrival is at 8:40 a.m. Please 
refer to individual school pages for specific arrival and dismissal locations.

Afternoon Session – 1:05 p.m. to 3:35 p.m. Students should not arrive at school prior to 12:55 p.m., at which time staff supervision will be available.  
Be sure to have all riders fastened in seat belts and/or car seats as appropriate for the age of the riders.

Morning Kindergarten Schedule

The half-day kindergarten program will only be available in the morning. Class begins at 8:55 a.m. and ends at 11:45 a.m. Arrival is at 8:40 a.m. Please refer to individual school pages for specific arrival and dismissal locations.

Breakfast and Lunch Program/Debit Card

Breakfast and Lunch Program

Students will demonstrate appropriate behavior while participating in breakfast and lunch. Frequent inappropriate behavior may result in parental notification, and/or possible disciplinary action. 

A monthly menu is available via the school website. Students use debit cards to “purchase” breakfast, hot lunch, and milk. They may choose this option on a daily basis. Teachers count participants each morning and forward that information to the school office.

Allergy-aware areas are available as needed at all schools for students with identified peanut and tree nut allergies and students who choose to bring a peanut-free lunch. Peanut butter and other peanut products may be consumed freely by non-allergic students in each cafeteria.

To promote germ prevention, all cafeterias and designated eating areas have sanitizing gel available for student use.

While eating lunch, students will remain seated at their tables unless excused by a supervisor. Students should follow directions of the supervisor the first time given. Students will demonstrate appropriate manners while in the cafeteria. Throwing food or other items is never permissible. If a student spills or makes a mess, the student should clean up after him/herself. Students should keep hands, feet, all body parts, and objects to themselves at all times. Students should eat the food that has been provided for them by their parents. 

Breakfast/Lunch

Students in kindergarten through grade 5 are offered breakfast from 
8:40 a.m. –  8:55 a.m.

Students in grades 6-8 eat breakfast in the Cafetorium or designated area from 7:50 a.m. – 8 a.m. 

Students in grades K-8 eat lunch during a scheduled lunch period. Students may bring a lunch from home or purchase a hot lunch. Students are expected to sit in their seats while eating, return their trays to a designated area, and deposit paper and refuse in the recycling and waste containers provided. Staff members supervise all eating areas. Restrooms are available for use during lunch periods. Expectations for student behavior are the same during lunch as the remainder of the school day. Students who violate lunchtime rules may experience restriction of privileges and/or other disciplinary measures.

Debit Card

All students are issued a debit card that will allow them to purchase a breakfast/lunch on the days they choose. Debit cards must maintain a positive balance. Families will be notified when balances become low or negative. Debit cards are considered school property and defacing and/or destroying may result in purchasing a replacement card, appropriate fees, and further disciplinary action.

Food Delivery

Meal delivery for students by restaurants or delivery services (GrubHub, Uber Eats, etc.) is not allowed. Family members may drop meals off if a student forgets his or her meal, or extra hot meals will be available in the school cafeteria.

Recess

Elementary School

Daily recess provides the students with an opportunity to play organized games, to use the playground equipment, and to socialize. Outside recess restrictions include games of tackle, hardball games, “keep away,” “tag” / “it” games and snowball throwing. In inclement weather, the students will remain inside.

Students will demonstrate appropriate behaviors while participating in recess. Lack of cooperation and/or frequent or significant misbehaviors will result in parental notification, and/or possible disciplinary action.

Expectations on the playground:

  • Share and include others in games.
  • Take turns on equipment.
  • Use sportsmanlike conduct.
  • Use positive and respectful language.

Expectations on equipment:

  • Use only approved equipment and return items.
  • No walking on top of, jumping off, or hanging upside down from the equipment.
  • No ball playing, jump ropes or other toys are to be used in the playground/ wood chipped areas.
  • Only one person per swing.
  • Never flip the swing over the top bar.
  • Never jump off the swing.
  • Keep a safe distance from other children swinging.
  • On the slide, slide feet down first, get off, and walk away from the bottom.
  • Only sit on the slide, no standing.
  • Only one person may slide down at a time.
  • Do not run up the slide.

Cold Weather Conditions

Elementary students will not go outdoors for recess if the wind chill factor is 20 degrees or colder. All other times, students will go outside for recess and need to dress appropriately for the weather.

Winter guidelines:

  • Proper clothing is required to be outside (boots, coat, hat, mittens).
  • Never throw ice or snow, including snowballs.
  • Never push on the snow mounds.
  • Stay off the ice.

Student Dress/Appearance

The intent of the District’s Student Dress and Appearance Guidelines is to promote a good learning environment while honoring each individual’s self-expression.

Students are expected to dress and groom themselves in an appropriate manner that sustains a safe community that is inclusive of a diverse range of identities and that is reasonable and appropriate for the school setting.

To insure that the rights of all students are protected, the following will not be permitted: 

Modes of dress or appearance which are clearly disruptive and disturbing to the progress of the educational program or fail to cover a student’s genitals, nipples, buttocks, or undergarments; Dress which displays messages or images that are clearly disrupting or disturbing to the progress of the educational program, including but not limited to:
  1. Modes of dress which display drug or alcohol related language and/or advertising;
  2. Modes of dress which display gang symbols or paraphernalia; 
  3. Modes of dress which display sexually explicit or suggestive images; and
  4. Modes of dress which display obscenities, falsehoods, innuendoes, or other expressions either harmful to the normal development of the younger and less mature students, or offensive to the reasonable sensibilities of students, faculty, or other school personnel. 
School administration makes the final interpretation of the dress guidelines. When a student is dressed inappropriately as defined above, school administration will coach, counsel, support, and teach those involved in a non-punitive manner. A second event will result in a non-punitive meeting with parents. Discipline will be considered only on and after a third incident. This falls under the “social” part of social/emotional learning. District 146 is committed to high levels of social/emotional learning for all students.

To ensure effective and equitable enforcement of the guidelines, school staff will enforce the dress code consistently and in a manner that does not reinforce or increase marginalization or oppression of any student or group of students based on race, sex, ethnicity, religion, cultural observance, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, household income or body type/size.

Physical Education Requirements

Elementary school

Athletic shoes, which cover the whole foot, are required to participate in physical education classes.

Middle school

Students change into uniforms (t-shirt and shorts) purchased by parents. Athletic shoes, which cover the whole foot, must be provided and kept in the student’s locker. Gym uniforms are purchased through the physical education classes.

Waiver of Student Fees

In accordance with School Board Policy 4:140, the Superintendent will recommend to the School Board for adoption what fees, if any, will be charged for the use of textbooks, consumable materials, extracurricular activities, and other school fees. Students will pay for loss of school books or other school- owned materials.

Fees for textbooks and other instructional materials are waived for students who meet the eligibility criteria for fee waiver contained in this policy. In order that no student is denied educational services or academic credit due to the inability of parents/guardians to pay fees and charges, the Superintendent will recommend to the Board for adoption what additional fees, if any, the District will waive for students who meet the eligibility criteria for fee waiver. Students receiving a fee waiver are not exempt from charges for lost and damaged books, locks, materials, supplies, and equipment.

Eligibility Criteria

A student shall be eligible for a fee waiver when:
  1. The student currently lives in a household that meets the free lunch or breakfast eligibility guidelines established by the federal government pursuant to the National School Lunch Act, 42 U.S.C. §1758; 7 C.F.R. Part 245; or
  2. The student or student’s family is currently receiving aid under Article IV of The Illinois Public Aid Code (Aid to Families with Dependent Children).
The Superintendent or designee will give additional consideration where one or more of the following factors are present:
  • Illness in the family;
  • Unusual expenses such as fire, flood, storm damage, etc.;
  • Seasonal unemployment;
  • Emergency situations;
  • When one or more of the parents/guardians are involved in a work stoppage.

Verification

The Superintendent or designee must follow the verification requirements of 7C.F.R. 245.6a when using the free lunch or breakfast eligibility guidelines pursuant to The National School Lunch Act as the basis for waiver of the student’s fee(s).

When using a District-established or other independent verification process, the Superintendent or designee may not require verification more often than every 60 calendar days. The Superintendent or designee shall not use any information from any independent verification process to determine free lunch or breakfast eligibility pursuant to The National School Lunch Act.

Determination and Appeal

The Superintendent or designee will notify the parent(s)/guardian(s) promptly as to whether the fee waiver request has been granted or denied. The denial of a fee waiver request may be appealed to the Superintendent by submitting the appeal in writing to the Superintendent within 14 days of the denial. The Superintendent or designee shall respond within 14 days of receipt of the appeal. The Superintendent’s decision may be appealed to the Board. The decision of the Board is final and binding.

Questions regarding the fee waiver request process should be directed to the school principal.
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