Elementary School Handbook

Last modified July 2022


Academic Intervention Services is a required instructional support provided to students who do not meet the identified benchmarks on standardized testing as identified by the State Education Department and the Valley Central School District. Services will be provided during the school day by the reading or math specialists, classroom teacher, or another teacher. If your child qualifies for this service, parents will be notified in writing and will receive conference opportunities and progress reports three times a year.


The possession, sale, or use of alcohol, drugs, or any other controlled substance, on the school campus or buses, is strictly forbidden.


Regular attendance is critical to a student’s success in school. Most subjects are taught in sequence, requiring the understanding of each concept in the order of its presentation. Persistent absenteeism creates a genuine hardship for a student and is regarded as a very serious problem. The following circumstances are the only recognized excuses for school absence:

  • Personal illness
  •  Critical illness/death in the family
  • Recognized religious holiday
  • Required court appearances
  • Approved college visits
  • Quarantine
  • Impassable roads
  • Approved school-sponsored trips
  • Military obligations
  • Attendance at health clinics

If your child/ren will be absent from school, please contact the school prior to or on the day of the absence and provide us with a written note on the day the child returns to school.


Students are considered in attendance if they arrive at school. Students must be present in school for half a day or more, in order to participate in extracurricular activities.


Students will be considered an Early Dismissal if they leave school ten minutes prior to the end of the school day.


Prompt arrival to school is expected of all students. Lateness/tardiness disrupts the class and causes loss of instructional time. Any child who arrives at school after 9:15 a.m. is considered tardy. Tardiness is monitored and frequent tardiness will be reported to the attendance officer.


Books are loaned to the students by the school district, and it is expected that the books will be returned at the end of the school year in the same condition which they were given out. Students will be charged for the books that are lost or damaged.


The Valley Central School District contracts with the First Student Bus Company. If you have issues with Transportation, please contact our Transportation Dept., (845) 457-2400 ext. 18115 or email transportation@vcsdny.org


The following rules have been established in order to ensure the safety of all students who ride buses:

  • Follow the direction of the bus driver at all times
  • Stay in your assigned seat
  • Keep all parts of your body and all objects in the bus
  • No pushing, shoving, or fighting at any time
  • Talk quietly

These are district-wide guidelines, and it should be understood that each situation will be considered on its own merits. We are very concerned with safety on our buses! When students do not follow the rules on the bus, the following consequences will occur:

  • First and second offenses: The child will discuss the incident with the Principal/Assistant Principal. The parents will be notified and a conference may be scheduled. Appropriate school consequences will be implemented. In serious cases, the student may be suspended from school and/or the school bus.
  • Third offense: The student will not be permitted to ride the school bus for one day or more.
  • Fourth offense or more: The student will be suspended for an extended period of time. Parents of students who are not permitted to ride the bus must provide transportation.


Cancellation or early closing of school takes place only during extraordinary circumstances such as extreme or inclement weather, equipment failure, or public crisis. The Board of Education and Administrators are aware of the hardship which can be caused by abrupt cancellation. Therefore, school will not be canceled unless a significant safety risk has been created by unusual circumstances. Every practical means is used to notify parents of an impending cancellation, including radio, website, Facebook, phone answering system, and newspapers.

The following are the radio stations and TV station that will announce Valley Central School District cancellations: WGNY 1220AM, 103FM & 1340AM, WBNR 1260AM, 104.7FM, & WPDH 101.5FM, WEOK 1390AM, WZAD 97.7FM &WHUD 100.7, WTZA Channel 62 TV, beginning at 6 a.m.
Please listen to the radio or TV station listed above for delays or closings.

You may also call the main district number (457-2400) or visit our website, Facebook page to find out about delays or closings.
Sometimes it is necessary to dismiss school early as a result of inclement weather or an emergency. We will do our very best to contact you to inform you of the dismissal. It is imperative that we have accurate and updated phone numbers so we can contact you.


The primary purpose of our adoption of this procedure is to protect the sanctity of the class lesson. Additionally, in light of the evolving technology of cell phones and the ability to photograph and record video, it is our goal to protect the privacy of our students and staff alike. Students shall be permitted possession of cell phones/smart watches  on school grounds. However, it must be powered off and neither visible nor audible. Should a student be found in violation of this procedure, she/he will be directed to the office. There the phone/watch will be confiscated and held until an administrator meets with the student and/or parent/guardian to retrieve it. Should a situation warrant the use of a phone/watch during the school day, she/he may request of a staff member to use a school phone. On field trips, teachers carry their personal cell phones which will be used in case of an emergency. Administration reserves the right to return cell phones/watches at the end of the school day, hold for parent/guardian to pick up, or for repeat offenders hold for 30 days.


It is very important, for emergency and administrative reasons, that every student maintain an up-to-date address and phone number at the school office. Notify the school immediately if you have a change of address and/or phone number during the school year.


Please see the Plain Language Summary located at the end of this handbook. The complete Valley Central School District Code of Conduct can be found on the District homepage. Copies are available in the Main Office.


Clothing which is considered by school authorities to be dangerous, indecent, or unduly distracting will not be permitted in the schools as described in the Code of Conduct. We ask parents to see that their children are sent to school dressed in a modest manner appropriate to the education process.


All electronic devices are considered distracting and interfere with the academic operation of the school. Considering the potential for distraction, theft and the associated problems, it is expected that such devices remain at home. Any student observed with such devices within the school day will be directed to the office where the device will be confiscated and stored for the day. Repeat offenses require parent/guardian retrieval of said confiscated item. Schools are not responsible for the loss or theft of these items should a student bring such items to school.


 Emergency drills are practiced so that teachers and students are aware of what is expected of them in an emergency. Emergency drills are conducted 12 times a year. Detailed escape routes are posted inside the door of each classroom, cafeteria, office area, etc.


 In case of an emergency, each student is required to have emergency information on file. A validation form will be sent home on the first day of school and should be returned promptly with any changes denoted. Please remember that if there is a change in any emergency contact information, including changes in custody, please notify the school immediately. It is very important to keep this information accurate and up to date.


Students must be present in school for half a day or more, in order to participate in extracurricular activities that evening.


The cost of a student breakfast and lunch varies on a yearly basis. You will be informed of the price at the beginning of the school year. Lunch and breakfast must be paid for each day or in advance. My School Bucks is used for the purchasing of meals.  There are several ways to apply funds to students’ accounts: Check (made payable to VCSD Cafeteria), send in cash or use a credit card to apply funds to the myschoolbucks.com account.  Charging should be reserved for emergency purposes only and must be paid the following school day.


Homework is an extension of the learning that takes place in school. Homework can provide practice that reinforces classroom learning and can provide opportunities for independent study, research, and creative thinking. Parents can help their children by arranging a quiet and comfortable place to work and by seeing that assignments are completed. If your child is sick and you would like to request homework, please make the request by 12 noon of the day the homework is wanted. The work will be available by 3:30 p.m.

What can parents do?

  • Cooperate with the school in making homework effective
  • Provide suitable study conditions for good concentration
  • Encourage the child, but avoid placing undue pressure upon him/her
  • Help establish a feeling of responsibility toward homework
  • Help organize study time
  • Recognize homework as an aid to independence and self-discipline
  • Give help which is appropriate to the goals of homework
  • Consult the school when problems with homework arise


Students should leave school and school grounds promptly after classes or activities are dismissed. There is to be no unnecessary “hanging around” before, during or after school.


Each year children lose valuable personal items. The school is not responsible for items belonging to students, including musical instruments stored at school. In order to help prevent the loss of  items, please mark all your children’s belongings with his/her name. Each school maintains a lost and found should your child have lost an item. Please feel free to check it periodically.



The school nurse’s office is located down the hall from the main office of the school. The nurse is responsible for the maintenance of health records, routine health checks, evaluating illness, parental contact concerning health problems, care of minor injuries, assistance in health teaching, as well as vision, hearing and scoliosis screenings. Please be sure to contact the nurse if your child has any unusual health conditions. Also, please call the school nurse if your child is absent from school due to a communicable disease.


In case of illness or injury, a child will be cared for temporarily by the school nurse or a member of the school staff. School personnel will render first aid treatment only. If emergency medical treatment is necessary, the parents will be contacted. If parents are not available, the child will be taken to an emergency room. Remember, an emergency telephone number where parents can be reached and the name and telephone number of the student’s family doctor must be on file at the school. Parents will be requested to pick up their child if the child:

  • Has a temperature of 100 or over
  • Is vomiting
  • Has been injured and possibly has a fracture or other serious condition
  • Has a rash and is suspected to be contagious
  • Requires special attention regarding his/her health and welfare which cannot be addressed at school


State Law requires that every child who is admitted to public school must have evidence of a successful vaccination for diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, measles, mumps, rubella, and polio. Children born on or after January 1, 1993, must be immunized for Hepatitis B. Children born on or after January 1, 1994 must be immunized for Varicella (Chicken Pox).


All children entering school with casts, crutches, stitches, or other serious medical conditions are to come to the nurse’s office before school on the first day of return for evaluation by the school nurse. Please alert the nurse if your child has any allergic reactions to medications, bee or wasp stings, or food.


If your child is excused from physical education due to medical reasons, the doctor must provide the school with the reason and duration in writing prior to the physical education class for which he/she is to be excused. Because physical education is a mandated subject, your child will be provided with alternative instruction as allowed by your physician. If your child may participate in modified physical education activities, the doctor must provide the school with that information.


According to New York State Law, there is a procedure for the nurse to follow before any medications can be given to a child in school. The law requires the following:

  • The school nurse MUST HAVE WRITTEN ORDERS by the DOCTOR stating:
    name of medication
    reason for giving
    dosage to be given
    time to be given
    number of days to be given
  • All medications MUST HAVE A PROFESSIONAL LABEL. This also includes all nonprescription medications.
  • Medication MUST BE BROUGHT TO SCHOOL BY AN ADULT IN ITS ORIGINAL CONTAINER. Under no circumstances is a child to bring the medication to school. Although most youngsters are responsible, there is also a chance for consumption of the medication by another child.
  • The parent/guardian MUST submit a WRITTEN request to the school nurse to give the medication as directed.
  • The medication will be destroyed seven days after the final dosage is given. Unused medication may be picked up by the parent/guardian within this time.
  • If you have any questions regarding the medication, contact the school nurse.
  • f your child/ren is taking medication that may affect school learning or behavior, please contact the school nurse.


Physicals are required for students in grades K, 2, 4, 7, 10, and any student who transfers into the district. New York State Law requires that the physical examination be conducted by a New York State licensed physician certified to practice medicine, a nurse practitioner, or a physician’s assistant. Please be reminded that all physical examinations shall not be completed more than twelve months prior to the commencement of the school year in which the exam is required.


Physical Education contributes to the broad goals of education through the development of personal living skills. Personal living skills are those skills that assist a student in becoming a healthy, productive, self-disciplined person. The Valley Central Physical Education Program, at the elementary level, seeks to develop each student’s personal living skills by offering a wide variety of physical activities. During PE class, students have experiences in outdoor activities, fitness improvement, and self-expression, while promoting cooperation, leadership and respect in each student.


Progress reports are sent home five weeks into each quarter at the discretion of the classroom teacher.


Promotion and retention are based on an evaluation of academic, social, and emotional growth. Retention is usually considered as a more positive alternative during Kindergarten, first or second grades. Parents can assume their child/ren will be promoted unless the alternative of retention has been discussed during the school year. Parents will be involved in any retention decisions but should understand that the final decision concerning retention is that of the principal.


We encourage students to be active and will send them outside at every opportunity. Weather permitting; students will go outside if the temperature, considering the wind chill factor, is 20 degrees or warmer. Please make sure students come to school dressed appropriately for recess.


Report cards are issued following the completion of each ten-week grading period. Please carefully review your child’s progress. District coordinated parent/teacher conferences are scheduled following the completion of the first 10 week grading period. The parent’s attendance at conferences is very important. A parent may request a conference with a child’s teacher at any time during the school year. Please call the school for an appointment if a conference is desired. A teacher may also find it necessary to request a special conference with a parent. Please make every effort to meet with the teacher if you receive such a request.


The Board of Education recognizes that harassment of students and staff on the basis of sex, gender and/or sexual orientation is abusive and illegal behavior that harms victims and negatively impacts the school culture by creating an environment of fear, distrust, intimidation and intolerance. The Board further recognizes that preventing and remedying sex-based harassment in schools is essential to ensure a healthy, nondiscriminatory environment in which students can learn and employees can work productively. You can access the entire Board of Education Policy on the District website and copies are available in the office.


Special education provides specially designed services and programs for children with educational disabilities. It is intended to meet individual needs and enhance strengths. Students and parents are introduced to special education in various ways. Some disabilities can be identified when children are very young while others are not identified until children show difficulty in regular school programs. Special education programs and services are designed to ensure that children with disabilities receive the appropriate and equal opportunities for educational growth up until the age of twenty-one.


Under Section 504, students may be considered if they meet the definition of a “qualified handicapped person,” which is a person who has or had a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits a major life activity or is regarded as disabled by others. Major life activities include: walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, working, caring for oneself, and performing manual tasks. The disabling condition need only substantially limit one major life activity in order for the student to be eligible. If a student feels that he or she has a question or grievance related to his or her disability, or feels that he or she has been a victim of harassment based upon his or her disability, that student should contact Michael Bellarosa, Assistant Superintendent.


Our Central Registration Office is located in our District Administration Building, 944 State Route 17K, Montgomery, New York, located behind Berea Elementary School.


Children entering kindergarten are required to be five years old on or before Dec. 1 for the school year in which they are enrolling. Pre-registration takes place in the spring. Parents are required to bring an original birth certificate, proof of residence, and immunization records.


New registrants to the Valley Central School District must contact our Central Registrar at (845) 457-2400, Ext. 18130 to schedule an appointment to begin the registration process.


A parent who has sole, joint, or physical custody of a child must make this fact known by presenting legal documentation of such custody to the Central Registrar at the time of registration. A parent/guardian who obtains custody or guardianship after the student is registered must also submit legal documentation to the school. Upon a change in custody, legal papers must be presented.


All Elementary Schools students enter the building: 9- 9:15 a.m.
*Elementary School children are not to be on school grounds before 9 a.m.
Instructional program: 9:15 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Middle School: 8:03 a.m. – 2:50 p.m.
High School: 7:15 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.


Smoking is strictly forbidden at all times by students and adults in school or on school grounds. Students are not to carry or use tobacco products of any kind.


A parent can help his/her child/ren be aware of skills and techniques which make learning easier and more enjoyable. The following are suggested practices for achieving good study habits:
• Come to class with pencils, paper, and other necessary materials;
• Be an active participant in class. Listen well and take part in class;
• Ask questions to clarify problems; • Plan your day and schedule time for homework;
• Use what is learned and apply it to new situations;
• Strive to do the very best work possible. Just “getting by” is not a worthwhile goal.


Suspensions are reserved for the most serious infractions or repeated offenses. It signifies that the child’s behavior has been so disruptive that the only reasonable way to deal with the situation is to remove the child from the school environment. If your child is suspended from school, we request that you meet with the Principal or Assistant Principal before reinstatement.


The office telephone is a business phone and is not to be used by students except in an emergency. Students are not allowed to use the phone to make personal arrangements (such as requesting permission to go to another child’s home after school).


Common sense and consideration are the best guides in determining whether or not to bring personal possessions to school. Students are not permitted to bring toys or unusual items to school unless they have permission from the teacher or principal. 


The staff cannot be responsible for valuables that students bring to school. It is recommended that students leave all valuables at home.


All of the facilities of the school district are provided through public funds including local taxes. Any damage done to any school property affects all of us. Parents are asked to impress upon their children the importance of proper care of all school facilities, equipment, etc. Students or others who damage school property on or off campus are expected to pay for such damage.


The safety of our children, even while in school, continues to be a prime concern in today’s society. All visitors are expected to follow the established procedures, which will include signing in and out of the building, providing identification, and wearing a visitor’s badge at all times. Access to our buildings for visitors is through the main entrance only and all appointments with teachers or administrators should be arranged ahead of time (per Board Regulation 1240-R).


If a student is withdrawing from school, the parents must notify the main office of their intentions and complete a student withdrawal form. Teachers and staff will summarize the student’s progress and prepare the student’s file for forwarding to his/her next school of enrollment.