STAPLES HIGH SCHOOL MISSION STATEMENT
The Staples High School community inspires learning,
fosters integrity, and nurtures empathy.
WESTPORT SCHOOL SYSTEM AFFIRMS NON-DISCRIMINATORY PRACTICES IN EMPLOYMENT AND EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY
In compliance with Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, the Westport Public Schools do not discriminate in employment or in educational opportunity on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, marital status, race, color, creed, religion, national origin, age, ancestry, learning and/or physical disability or past or present history of mental disorder.
1. File complaint with principal; copy to coordinator (see right column).
2. If not satisfied with principal’s resolution, you may appeal to coordinator.
3. Next level appeal is to Superintendent.
4. Next level appeal is to Board of Education.
Title IX Compliance Officers, Staples High School:
|Patrick Micinilio||203-341-1492||Grade 9|
|Parthena Proskinitopoulos||203-341-1242||Grade 10|
|James Farnen||203-341-1284||Grade 11|
|Chase Dunlap||203-341-1282||Grade 12|
|Superintendent of Schools|
|Title VI and Title 504 Coordinator|
|Title VII and IX Coordinator:|
Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources and General Administration
Westport Town Hall
110 Myrtle Avenue
- PDF Version of the SHS Student Handbook
- Complaint Procedures
- SHS Past & Present
- Academic Integrity Policy
- Academic Programs and Supports
- Acceptable Use Agreement: Intranet/Internet Policy
- Accountabilities Policy
- Arts and Entertainment
- Attendance Policy & Procedures
- Calendar for Students
- Course Acceleration
- Daily Schedule
- Delay/Closing Announcements
- Dress Policy
- Drug and Alcohol Policy
- Email Guidelines
- Extracurricular Activities
- Feedback from Students to Teachers
- Field Trips
- Fire Drills
- Grade Point Average
- Grading System
- Graduation Activities
- Graduation Requirements
- Guidelines for Expelled Students
- Hazing Policy
- Homebound Tutoring
- Instruction/Course Levels
- Library Media Center
- Limited Open Campus
- Lost and Found
- Notification of Parents' and Students' Rights on Students' Records
- Off Campus Misconduct
- Parent - School Community Partnership
- Parking Regulations Policy
- Personalized Learning
- Report Cards
- Response to Intervention
- Schedule Changes
- School Bus Accident Procedure
- Security Cameras
- Senior Internship Guidelines
- Smoking Policy
- Staff-Student Non-Fraternization Policy
- Student Assembly
- Staples Collaborative Team
- State and Local Tests
- Summer Assignment Policy
- Technology in the Classroom
- Unassigned Period Policy
- Visitor Policy - Administrative Guidelines
STAPLES HIGH SCHOOL PAST AND PRESENT
Staples High School was originally built in 1884 by Horace Staples. Believing in the value of education, Horace determined Westport should be a progressive town and have its own high school.
As a young boy, Horace attended the local district school until he was 10 years old. At that age, farm boys were expected to forego schooling and go to work full time on the farm, though a determined boy might continue his studies during the four or five months of winter. Despite these limitations, Horace Staples completed his education and embarked upon a successful business and banking career.
Having unsuccessfully offered land for a school to the town of Westport, in 1866 Staples decided to build the school himself. Opening on October 31, 1884, Staples High School was a three-story red brick building on Riverside Avenue located on the land now occupied by Saugatuck Elementary School. Beginning with 60 students who paid an annual tuition of $16 to $20, the school had one high school classroom, one grammar school classroom, a library, and a laboratory. School lasted from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. as students studied a variety of subjects including English, German, Latin, Greek and algebra.
On June 24, 1887, the first graduating class of six young women was handed the first Staples’ diplomas. Made of genuine sheepskin, these diplomas bore a picture of the school’s donor, Horace Staples. On July 1, 1903, control of Staples High School was transferred from Staples’ estate to the Town of Westport. Fifty years after the first graduating class of six, 88 young men and women graduated.
In 1958, Staples High School was moved to its current location on North Avenue in order to respond to the expanding needs of the community. Today’s Staples includes an Olympic-size indoor pool and a radio station, WWPT-FM (90.3 FM).
Staples is a front-runner in the state and nation for its broad range of extracurricular activities, its rich curriculum, and its outstanding program of professional development for teachers and administrators. During the 2003-04 academic year, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges identified Staples as one of the top high schools in New England. The Wall Street Journal identified Staples as one of the "best high schools in the nation." The 2008-09 Connecticut Magazine named Staples High School as the #1 school in the state of Connecticut.
We have now entered a new phase in the history of Staples High School. A massive building and renovation project is complete, and we are enjoying a magnificent environment designed to enhance teaching and learning. With a wireless environment and appropriate technology, students and teachers can find information from whatever source is appropriate for the task.
ACADEMIC INTEGRITY POLICY
In accordance with our mission statement, we at Staples believe in the academic, social, and ethical well being of our students. We expect our students to submit original work. The following policy was developed in an effort to foster, teach, and encourage appropriate ethical behavior.
When a teacher has reason to believe that an incident of cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, or other academic misconduct has occurred, the following steps will be taken;
1. The teacher will investigate the matter with the student(s) involved.
2. The teacher will contact the student’s school counselor to a. Inform the counselor of the situation b. Determine if counselor support and/or intervention is appropriate
3. The student will meet together with the teacher, Department Coordinator, and grade level Assistant Principal. At this meeting, the attendees will
a. Review the incident of possible academic misconduct and teacher’s investigation
b. Discuss appropriate consequences and or remediation
c. The teacher, Department Coordinator, and grade level Assistant Principal will determine the appropriate course of action, and inform relevant school and subject area honor societies
d. Call the student’s parent/guardian together to review the incident
4. A form letter will be generated to document the incident
Teacher Guidelines for Academic Integrity and Distance Learning
Please adhere to the following guidelines as you create assignments and tasks for your students:
Discuss and re-post your expectations for academic integrity in each class and direct students to the Academic Integrity Policy located in the school handbook.
Be sure that each assignment clearly articulates and defines your expectations:
Is collaboration or peer discussion acceptable in any phase of the assignment/task (a good indicator for activities designed to model classroom or practice work); if so, is sharing a google doc or chatting acceptable?
Is copying/pasting specific evidence from a document acceptable for a given assignment?
Is summarizing or restating “in your own words” the expectation?
Is copying, pasting, and providing a citation acceptable?
Have students submit work to Turnitin.com (if you need access, please email Holly Sulzycki).
While explicit wording in each assignment is necessary and will prove helpful, should a violation occur, please follow the steps below from the Academic Integrity Policy:
The teacher will email the student(s) to offer a Google Meet discussion to further investigate and discuss the issue in question; inform the student that information on consequence will follow.
The teacher will email/call the AP (cc counselor) and set up a call to: discuss the incident; collaborate on possible consequences using the Range of Consequences listed below; agree on/arrange next steps for communicating with the parent and student.
The teacher will complete the Academic Integrity Letter and email it to the family, cc’ing both the AP and guidance counselor.
The teacher will continue to keep AP informed of any ongoing issues or work completion relevant to the agreement.
Range of Consequences (determined on a case by case basis)
A grade reduction on the assignment in question.
Redoing the assignment, with reduced or restored credit
A grade of zero (0) for the assignment in question with no opportunity to make up for that work in any way, including extra credit work.
If the severity of the situation merits it, the student may be given a grade of “F” for the marking period of the course in which the violation of academic integrity has occurred.
For every instance, a letter will be placed in the student’s file.
Previous incidents of academic integrity violations may lead to referrals for counseling or other restorative measures.
Repeated violations may also lead to increased severity of consequences.
If the student disagrees with the result of the meeting with the teacher, Department Coordinator, and Assistant Principal, the student may appeal to the Academic Integrity Panel. A written request for a hearing, specifying the scope of the investigation, will be submitted by the student to their grade level Assistant Principal, and forwarded to the chairperson of the Academic Integrity Panel.
The teacher will forward copies of all information and written work pertinent to the Academic Integrity Panel prior to the hearing.
Academic Integrity Panel
Upon receiving a student’s request for appeal, the Academic Integrity Panel will hold a hearing and investigate the charges.
● In order to assure a student’s due process rights, the counselor and parent/guardians of the student will be informed prior to the hearing.
● The student must appear and may be accompanied by a parent/guardian and/or counselor before the panel to shed light on the charges.
● The panel may interview other staff or students related to the inquiry.
● The disciplinary consequences and outcome of the hearing will be delineated in writing to the student, counselor, and parent/guardians by the chairperson of the Academic Integrity Panel.
● In all cases where a student has been found to have violated the academic integrity policy, a letter will be placed in the student’s file, describing the action and confirming the consequence(s) meted out by the school.
● The due process rights of students will always be ensured.
The Academic Integrity Panel will make the final decision concerning academic consequences on any case brought forward. The Panel may affirm the consequence resulting from the student conference with the teacher, department coordinator and assistant principal, or institute consequences with lesser or greater severity.
The panel shall consist of five members: An assistant principal from a grade level different from that of the student, one Department Coordinator from a department different from that in which the incident took place, and three classroom teachers, each teacher to be from a different academic department.
The panel shall be formed in the spring of every year to begin its service in the fall of the next school year. The three teachers, plus one alternate shall be named to serve for the full school year. The Assistant Principals and Department Coordinators will be determined as each case is presented to the panel.
Decisions of the panel may be appealed to the Principal within three school days and may be made only on the basis of new evidence.
Range of Consequences
1. A grade reduction on the assignment in question.
2. Redoing the assignment, with reduced or restored credit
3. A grade of zero (0) for the assignment in question with no opportunity to make up for that work in any way, including extra credit work.
4. If the severity of the situation merits it, the student may be given a grade of “F” for the marking period of the course in which the violation of academic integrity has occurred.
5. For every instance, a letter will be placed in the student’s file.
Previous incidents of academic integrity violations may lead to referrals for counseling or other restorative measures. Repeated violations may also lead to increased severity of consequences. Additional consequences may be administered under the Staples High School Code of Conduct.
Cheating and Plagiarism Definitions
Cheating: According to Funk and Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of the English Language, to cheat is “to deceive and act dishonestly.” Cheating includes but is not limited to the following examples:
1. Copying from others during an examination;
2. Collaborating on a test, quiz, homework assignment, or project with others without authorization [submitting individual copies of the assignment as one’s own individual work];
3. Using unauthorized materials to complete an exam or assignment;
4. Programming of notes, formulas, or other aids into an electronic device without prior authorization;
5. Using a communication device or the Internet to obtain unauthorized information during an in-class or take-home exam;
6. Attempting to represent someone else’s work as your own;
7. Taking an exam for another student or permitting someone else to take a test for you;
8. Allowing others to do research or writing of an assignment; e.g., a. Using the services of a commercial term paper company. b. Using the services of another person (family member, tutor, etc.) inappropriately. c. Having private tutors draft, dictate, or otherwise do work that the student should be completing herself
9. Submitting substantial portions of the same academic work for credit in more than one course without consulting the second teacher;
10. The use of invented information or the falsification of research, data, or other findings.
Plagiarism: According to Webster’s New International Dictionary of the English Language, to plagiarize is “to steal or purloin and pass off as one’s own the ideas, words, artistic productions of another; to use without due credit the ideas, expressions or productions of another.” Plagiarism includes but is not limited to the following examples:
1. Quoting another person’s words, sentences, paragraphs, or entire work without acknowledgment of the source;
2. Utilizing another person’s ideas, opinions, or theory without acknowledgment of the source.
3. Using resources on a task that is to be completed without resources.
Standard published sources used as guides to citation style include:
● Gibaldi, Joseph, MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 5th ed., 1999.
● McMillan, Vicky, Writing Papers in the Biological Sciences, 2001.
● Turabian, Kate, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 6th ed., 1996.
● Publication Manual of the American Psychologist Association, 5th ed., 2001.
● The Chicago Manual of Style, 14th ed., 1993
Staples High School is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc., a non-governmental, nationally recognized organization whose affiliated institutions include elementary schools through collegiate institutions offering post-graduate instruction.
Accreditation of an institution by the New England Association indicates that it meets or exceeds criteria for the assessment of institutional quality periodically applied through a peer group review process. An accredited school is one which has available the necessary resources to achieve its stated purposes through appropriate educational programs, is substantially doing so, and gives reasonable evidence that it will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Institutional integrity is also addressed through accreditation.
Academic support is provided through a variety of courses. These courses include: Academic Support classes as well as the Bridge Program, which is specifically designed to meet the needs of pre-selected freshmen and sophomores. These courses are offered each semester and are designed to strengthen student skills in the areas of reading, writing, and studying depending on the goals established between the student and teacher. These courses are taken on a Pass/Fail basis.
Independent Learning Experience
The Independent Learning Experience is a pathway for learners who want to accelerate their learning beyond the classroom setting. This pathway is available to students in grades 10-12 who exhibit a strong desire to work independently on an enriching project, coursework or independent study that is not otherwise offered at Staples High School. Through an Independent Learning Experience, students spend a semester or full year independently or collaboratively moving forward to bring that passion project to fruition, with the support of the Personalized Learning teacher and a faculty mentor. Students showcase and present their work at the conclusion of their studies. A review panel is assembled featuring content area specialists, the Personalized Learning teacher, administrators, as well as other school staff.
Credit and assessment for an Independent Learning Experience will be awarded in the following ways:
● 0.5 credit for semester independent learning;
●1.0 credit for full-year independent learning
Students are allowed to enroll in one full credit of independent learning per school year, which can be each semester for two different Independent Learning Experiences, or a full year for one extended Independent Learning Experience. If students wish to pursue more than one full credit of independent learning, they must receive permission from their school counselor, the director of guidance, and their grade-level assistant principal.
The drop deadline for an Independent Learning Experience is thirty days after the new semester begins, as is the case for all courses at the high school. If a student drops the Independent Learning Experience after the 30th school day of the term, the student will receive a W (Withdrawn) up to the last day of the 1st or 3rd quarter. At the beginning of the 2nd or 4th quarter, the student will receive a WP (Withdrawn Passing) if the student is passing the class at that time or a WF (Withdrawn Failing) if the student is failing the class at that time.
Students may only request to be a Teaching Assistant once their schedule has been created for the school year in which they would like to be a teaching assistant. If a student’s schedule aligns with a particular course in which they would like to be a Teaching Assistant, the request should be made directly to the teacher of this course. This teacher would then agree to be the student’s mentor and would be involved in overseeing the work of the teaching assistant. Each teaching assistant should have a clear plan for a project (or series of projects) that will be completed at the end of the semester, and should not rely entirely on a teacher mentor to direct and/or design the project. Students who are not interested in committing to the project component of the teaching assistant role should not apply for credit through an independent learning experience.
Students who wish to study for an additional AP course not already offered at the high school and take the test in May are welcome to do so at any time. This plan will not be considered as an artifact/outcome of an independent learning plan. If a student would like to study a particular topic or subject at a college level for credit, they should develop an independent learning plan that involves in-depth research or a real-world experience. Independent learning requests that only indicate an interest in preparing/studying for an AP course will not be approved by the department coordinator, school counselor, or other administrator.
Requests for Mentors
The teacher will take on the role of the mentor if they feel they have time in their schedule to balance supporting a student’s project and the needs of the students (extra help, writing conferences etc.) enrolled in their regular course load. Students engaging in any Independent Learning Experience must arrange a minimum of monthly meetings with their mentor outside of a particular course. In this way, mentors can ensure students are making progress with their Independent Learning Experience and can provide appropriate feedback and support.
Presenting Your Work
Independent Learning Plans should have a clear description of how the student plans to present his/her work during and at the culmination of the semester/year through learning artifacts and an end product. Students may be required to present their work to a panel of teachers and administrators.
The Staples High School Pathways Academy is a “School-Within-A-School” providing alternative educational opportunities for students experiencing academic, behavioral, and/or life challenges in the traditional school setting. The Pathways Academy enrolls approximately 25 students at the high school level with the intent of creating a small, supportive community of students. The Pathways Academy is designed to provide a place where all students feel safe and free to explore their academic interests and achieve their personal goals. A team of core teachers, an administrator as well as other team supports such as school social workers, psychologists, the school resource officer, and the student outreach counselor support the Academy. A team meets regularly to discuss the holistic needs of the students and develop new programs to enhance student learning and personal growth.
As for all students at SHS, Pathways Academy students must earn 25 credits to meet their graduation requirements. Pathways Academy students are expected to earn a minimum of two credits per semester or four credits per school year within the Academy program. Students may then enroll in electives, Health and Physical Education courses, World Language, community service, work-study, or internship opportunities from 10:45 a.m. through the end of the school day and beyond. The academic expectations of the Pathways Academy are the same as traditional core classes, and all Pathways classes are A-level. Pathways allows for more opportunities for students to earn course credits based on non-traditional learning methods such as individualized instruction, peer coaching, project-based learning, interdisciplinary projects, experiential learning, standards-based instruction and learning, and community service.
The alternative academic environment and personalized curriculum offered through the Pathways Academy comes with certain academic expectations for students. Each student must take ownership and be responsible for his/her learning plan, be able to maintain adequate progress, and demonstrate proficiency in graduation requirements. Our expectation is that students will apply their interests, talents, knowledge, and skills towards developing an academic plan to graduate and in doing so gain the confidence and skills to graduate from SHS prepared for their post-secondary world.
Students attend Pathways Academy classes during periods 1-4. During the first period of the day, there is a community meeting which allows for Pathways Academy teachers the opportunity to check in with students and confirm the plan for the day. Additionally, once per week our Student Outreach Counselor will work with students on the Reconnecting Youth curriculum. This curriculum is designed specifically for students who may be struggling with various elements of the teenage years and high school. There is an expectation that all Pathways Academy students will continue to attend, meet the requirements of, and pass their elective courses taken outside of the Pathways schedule, as these courses are not offered within the Pathways Academy.
For more information and to access the application for this program, students should see their school counselor.
Academic Learning Center for Math/Science (Room 2040)
The Learning Center is designed so that students can come for extra help and assistance in the areas of Math and Science or do school work at one of the desks/computers within the room.
Academic Study Hall (Room TBD)
Students are assigned to Academic Study Hall during what would otherwise be a free period in their day. This intervention is often helpful when students need to maximize their focus during the day. Students who are injured and cannot participate in P.E. may be assigned to the academic study hall. Students are expected to arrive on time and remain for the entire period.
Writing Conference Center (Room 2036 at front of English office)
Students seeking help with their writing can meet with teachers.
Assessment Make-Up Center (Room 2055)
The Assessment Make-Up Center is a quiet area of the building where students will come to make up quizzes and tests, or complete quizzes and tests started in class (i.e. for students who have an extra time accommodation).
Teachers are accessible for extra help according to a teacher’s schedule. Students are encouraged to communicate this need with each specific teacher
(HIGH SCHOOL & SUMMER SCHOOL)
Computing and information systems serve a large number and variety of users – students, faculty, staff members and outside clients. Every member of the school community has two basic rights regarding computing – privacy and a fair share of the resources. It is unethical for any person to violate these rights. All users are expected to use common sense and decency with regard to our computing resources. In addition, all who use our electronic resources such as email, threaded discussions, blogs, etc. will abide by district and school policies. The District reserves the right to monitor use to assure that the systems are being used responsibly and in compliance with Board policies.
I understand that the Westport schools provide electronic resources, including Internet access and storage space for students’ work, as an integral part of the curriculum. Behavior and language in the use of these resources should be consistent with classroom standards. I agree to the following responsibilities and restrictions:
1. I will use the electronic resources, including storage space, only for educational purposes related to work in Westport schools, and not for any personal, commercial or illegal purposes.
2. I will use the Internet only with the permission of the staff member in charge.
3. I will not use games or other electronic resources that have objectionable content or that engage me in an inappropriate simulated activity.
4. I will not give my password to any other user, nor attempt to learn or to use anyone else’s password, and I will not transmit my address or telephone number, or any personal or confidential information about myself or others.
5. I will not upload, link, or embed an image of myself or others to unsecured, public sites without my teacher’s permission and a signed parent/guardian permission slip.
6. I will not make statements or use the likeness of another person through website postings, email, instant messages, etc. that harass, intimidate, threaten, insult, libel or ridicule students, teachers, administrators or other staff members of the school community, make statements that are falsely attributed to others, or use language that is obscene.
7. I will not attempt to access, upload, or transmit material that attacks ethnic, religious or racial groups, or material that is pornographic or explicitly sexual in nature.
8. I will not violate copyright laws, damage or tamper with hardware or software, vandalize or destroy data, intrude upon, alter or destroy the files of another user, introduce or use computer “viruses,” attempt to gain access to restricted information or networks, or block, intercept or interfere with any email or electronic communications by teachers and administrators to parents/guardians, or others.
9. I will report any problems to the supervising staff member.
10. I understand that my use of the school system’s computers is not private, and that the district reserves the right to monitor use to assure compliance with these guidelines; violations may lead to revocation of computer access and/or other disciplinary measures.
11. I understand that the prohibited conduct described above is also prohibited off campus when using private equipment if it has the effect of seriously interfering with the educational process, and that such off-campus violations may lead to disciplinary measures.
I understand that the Westport schools allow me to bring my own devices such as phones, tablets and computers. In order to be permitted to bring my own device, I agree to the following responsibilities and restrictions:
1. I will follow all school rules while using my own device on school grounds and I understand that the rules outlined above regarding my use of school computer resources apply to my use of my own device on school property and that all11 above applies to my use of my device off school property.
2. I will not take photos or record video of any student, teacher or administrator unless I have that individual’s express permission to do so.
3. I will not use my device during class unless expressly instructed to do so by a teacher and I will immediately comply with a directive to turn my device off, to put my device away or to turn my device over to a teacher or administrator.
4. I understand that my device may be confiscated at any time and that a teacher or administrator may view content on my device including but not limited to, texts, emails or social media postings, if it appears that I may have used my device in violation of school rules or this Agreement.
5. I understand that the district is not responsible for theft, damage or loss of my device and I understand that I am not permitted to leave my device at school overnight unless it is secured in a locked locker.
Accountabilities include library fines, parking fines, lost books, lost uniforms, etc. When accountabilities are not settled promptly, the following actions may be taken until the account is settled: library sign-out privileges may be revoked, participation in extracurricular activities may be curtailed, participation in the graduation ceremony may be denied, and/or report card and class schedules may be withheld. Accountabilities are accumulated through the four years in high school.
One Act Play Festival
A three evening festival in January featuring 15 different 10-minute one-act plays directed by members of the Staples’ DIRECTING class.
This holiday concert is held in mid-December for 2 nights with 3 performances. The Staples orchestra, band, choir, chorus and Orphenians perform. This concert is a gift to the community, and tickets are distributed by request through the mail.
Daytime performances for SHS students and faculty sponsored by the town-wide PTA Cultural Arts Committee. Funds for performances are raised by PTA and individual donations. Past performances include Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble, and the Young Artists Competition Winners. Free admission.
This concert features the younger Bands and Orchestras that do not participate in the Candlelight Concerts. There is no admission charge.
Fine Arts Night
Staples Art and Music Departments plan an evening to exhibit students’ work in these areas. Parents and the community are invited to attend for free. Spring Concerts Single evening performances are planned by the instrument and choral groups. Refer to the District Calendar and the PTA newsletter updates for dates for Orchestra, Band, Choir, Chorus, Jazz Ensemble, Chamber Orchestra and Orphenians. There is no audience admission fee.
Staples Players Production
The award-winning Staples Players offers two major productions per year in November and March. Previous performances have included “Guys and Dolls”, “Into the Woods”, “Hello, Dolly!”, etc. Auditions are held the second week of school and in late December or early January, and Players are required to stay for after-school rehearsals. There is an audience admission fee. Information on all Players events available at https://www.staplesplayers.com/.
Staples Studio Theater
These occur in the winter and spring, and are student-organized and directed performances open to the public. Directors are chosen from DIRECTING class. The performances are held in The Black Box Theater or Toquet Hall rather than in the auditorium. There is an audience admission fee.
Westport Band/Orchestra Festival
This is a March evening planned by all Westport schools’ music departments for the enjoyment of listening to the performance by children grades 6-12. In alternating years, the Festival is performed by the Bands or Orchestras
On July 8, 2011, Governor Dannel P. Malloy signed into law Public Act 11-136, An Act Concerning Minor Revisions to the Education Statutes. Section 18 of that act requires the State Board of Education to define “excused” and “unexcused” absences. On June 27, 2012, the State Board of Education adopted the required definitions.
Schools and districts are to use these definitions to judge if a student’s absence is excused, unexcused, or of a disciplinary nature for the purposes of carrying out the provisions of section 10-198a of the Connecticut General Statutes (Policies and procedures concerning truants), and for reporting truancy. This guidance document is designed to assist schools and districts in implementing these new definitions.
According to these definitions, the number of unexcused absences determines if the student is truant or at risk of becoming truant. According to Connecticut General Statutes section 10-198a, a “truant” means a child who has four unexcused absences in a month or 10 unexcused absences in a school year.
Please note that these definitions do not preclude districts from maintaining different local definitions of these terms for local uses. For example, a district can use its own definition of excused absences for grading purposes or eligibility to participate in extracurricular sports; these areas do not pertain to the truancy law and do not affect the reporting of truants to the state.
Definition of an Absence
A student is considered to be “in attendance” if present at his/her assigned school, or an activity sponsored by the school (e.g., field trip), for over half of the regular school day. (For example, a student will be considered "Absent/NOT In Attendance" if he/she is Absent from 3 or more periods on a regular, 6 period day, 2 or more periods on a 4 period, abbreviated schedule day, etc.). A student who is serving an out-of-school suspension or expulsion should always be considered absent.
According to this policy, a student who is not “in attendance” is considered absent.
|Level||Total Number of Days Absent||Acceptable Reasons for a Student Absence to be Considered Excused||Documentation Required within 10 Days|
|1||One through Nine||Any reason that the student’s parent/guardian or guardian approves.||Parent or guardian note Only|
|2||Ten and above||Student illness (Note: to be deemed excused, an appropriately licensed medical professional must verify all student illness absences, regardless of the absence’s length).
1. Student’s observance of a religious holiday.
2. Death in the student’s family or other emergency beyond the control of the student’s family.
3. Mandated court appearances (additional documentation required).
4. The lack of transportation that is normally provided by a district other than the one the student attends (documentation from parent/guardian is not required for this reason).
5.* Extraordinary educational opportunities pre-approved by district administrators.
|Parent or guardian note and in some cases additional documentation (see details of specific reason).|
*Note: The total number of days absent includes both excused and unexcused absences
It is important to note that while the first nine absences in a school year can be deemed excused for any reason the parent/guardian or guardian provides, the 10th and each subsequent absence establish a more stringent and specific set of reasons for the absence to qualify as excused. The flowchart below offers a visual tool to help determine if an absence is excused or unexcused.
In cases where a student’s extended absence crosses levels, the rules should be applied as if there were two separate absences, one under Level 1 and the other under Level 2. For example, if a student is absent for five days on a family vacation and those absences represent numbers seven through 11, absences seven, eight, and nine would fall under Level 1 rules and can be accepted as excused; absences 10 and 11 would fall under Level 2 rules and would not be considered excused.Parent or guardian notes and other documentation are central to determining whether a student’s absence is excused or unexcused. While a note from a parent/guardian or guardian will likely be the most common form of documentation, other methods of reporting a student’s absence are acceptable. For example, a parent/guardian or guardian can report the student’s absence in person to an authorized school official, such as an attendance clerk. Certain types of absences in Level 2 require additional documentation or verification. Absences due to student illnesses and mandated court appearances require this additional information once the student has accrued more than nine absences (entered Level 2). For students in Level 1, these additional requirements do not apply. For absences due to student illness, Level 2 students must either provide a signed note from a medical professional who has evaluated the student confirming the absence and giving an expected return date or have his or her school nurse verify the student’s absence with the medical professional treating the student. The medical professional who is treating the student can be the school nurse at the student’s school
One of the acceptable reasons for a Level 2 student to be absent is a death in the family or other emergency beyond the control of the family. For the purposes of the definition of excused absences, emergencies are generally significant events that are outside of the control of the student’s family. They are normally short absences consisting of a few days at most.
Examples of emergencies include:
● family member who is very ill and close to dying;
● student’s home is lost to fire or eviction;
● family’s home being quarantined;
● natural disaster;
● a student who is a parent/guardian and whose child needs to go to the hospital; or
● a family member’s military deployment or return from deployment.
Some unexpected absences will not qualify as an emergency. These include:
● staying home to meet the plumber or other tradesman;
● routine child care of a younger child by the student; or
● opportunity to work an extra shift at an afterschool job.
Extended absences would be considered an emergency only under extreme circumstances. For example, if an order of the community health department quarantined a family’s home for an extended period, such quarantine would be an extended emergency.
Absences due to family emergencies do not require additional documentation. A note from a parent/guardian explaining the emergency received within 10 school days is sufficient, but it is essential that the note explain the emergency so school staff can evaluate if the situation was indeed an emergency.
Extraordinary Educational Opportunities
From time to time, students encounter an exceptional opportunity for an experience of an educational nature. While these events may not be part of their schoolwork, they provide an excellent chance to further their education. Under certain circumstances, the days devoted to these opportunities can count as excused absences for Level 2 students.
To qualify as an extraordinary educational opportunity, it must meet the following criteria:
a. The opportunity must be educational in nature. It must have a learning objective related to the student’s course work or plan of study. Not all memorable and/or life experiences would be considered educational and, therefore, would not be available for this exemption.
b. It must be an opportunity not ordinarily available to the student.
c. It must be grade and developmentally appropriate.
d. The content of the experience must be highly relevant to the student. While some opportunities will be relevant to all students, others will contain very specific content that would limit their relevance to a smaller group of students. For example, a trumpet lesson from jazz great Wynton Marsalis would be very relevant to students who play trumpet, but not to others who do not play trumpet.
*Note: Criteria c) and d) above may mean that an exceptional educational opportunity exemption may be approved for one family member but not another attending the same event/opportunity. Some examples of extraordinary educational opportunities include:
● the opportunity to meet the president of the United States or a foreign head of state; or
● a behind the scenes tour of the Kennedy Space Center.
Some examples of activities that do not qualify as extraordinary educational opportunities include:
● family vacations; or
● going to a concert of a favorite pop star.
Best Practices for Extraordinary Educational Opportunities
It is important that the school, the student, and the student’s family all have a common understanding of the opportunity that is being requested and approved. To that end, the Department suggests that schools include the following elements in their plans and procedures for approving extraordinary educational opportunities:
a) Requests: All requests for approval of exceptional educational opportunities should be submitted in writing, bear the signature of the student and his or her parent/guardian or guardian, outline the learning objective of the opportunity, and detail how the objective is linked to the student’s coursework or plan of study, include additional documentation (where available), and be submitted prior to the opportunity.
b) Approvals: All approvals for opportunities should:
● be in written form;
● detail any requirements placed upon the student as a condition of approval; Connecticut State Department of Education, April 2013
● include the specific days approved for the opportunities; and
● include in the approval the caveat that the administration may withdraw its approval if the opportunity is canceled or the student fails to meet the mutually agreed on requirements of the approval.
c) Requirement to share: Schools should expect students to share their experience with other students and/or staff when they return. This will benefit the larger school community.
d) Approval not assured: Schools should inform parents/guardians that approvals are awarded on a case-by-case basis, are based on a number of factors, and that opportunities approved for one student may not be approved for another.
Explanation of the Attendance Policy
A Statement of Belief
It is our belief that there is a clear and positive correlation between student learning and consistent and prompt attendance in class. Much of what is presented in courses is sequential. Therefore, learning requires a continuity of attendance and effort. We also strongly believe that what occurs in class is vital to student learning. The richness of class discussions, the exchange of ideas with peers and teachers, the opportunity to defend one’s ideas, the viewing of films and videos mean that even if students make up the missed work, they have forever lost an opportunity for increased learning and skill development. In addition, a great deal of work in class is done cooperatively and a lack of attendance makes it difficult, if not impossible, for peers to successfully complete the work required. Lack of consistent attendance means that students will not get the full benefit of the courses offered at Staples High School and thus attendance should be and will be a significant factor in the determination of a student’s grade as determined by the individual teacher.
Please take into account the TOTAL number of days your child has missed a class or classes due to very legitimate reasons such as: driver’s license appointment, college visits, medical appointments, field trips, in-school field trips, etc. Mixed with illness and other unavoidable absences, the number of days out of class can interfere with learning.
Purpose of the Attendance Policy
The purpose of the Staples High School Attendance Policy reflects our desire to have each student attend all classes and arrive on time. Students and parents/guardians should familiarize themselves with the provisions and procedures of the policy. It is expected that parents/guardians will support the intent of the policy and encourage their children to have good attendance. The SHS Attendance Policy has been approved by the Board of Education and reviewed by the attorney for the Board of Education. Any questions should be directed to the administrators responsible for attendance.
The Attendance Policy
The number of absences permitted for each course before credit is lost is listed below:
● Full-year course: 20 absences
● Semester course: 10 absences
● Quarter course: 5 absences
● Special courses (other than above): Prorate absences
Absences beyond this number will result in loss of credit for the course or courses in which the student has been absent. For seniors, loss of credit in a course may result in failure to meet graduation requirements.
● A LOSS OF CREDIT MAY OCCUR THROUGH THE ACCUMULATION OF ABSENCES FROM ANY ONE OF THE FOUR TYPES OF ABSENCES LISTED BELOW, OR THROUGH ANY COMBINATION OF THE FOUR TYPES OF ABSENCES.
● EACH TYPE OF ABSENCE IS SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT IN ITS CONTRIBUTION TOWARD REACHING THE MAXIMUM ALLOWABLE ABSENCES IN A COURSE.
1) Excused Absences: (equals ONE absence per occasion)
● Student illness
● Death or critical illness in the family
● Response to a legal process
● Medical appointment (which cannot be scheduled outside of the school day)
● College visit beyond two (juniors and seniors only)
● Early dismissal or late arrival for other than school related activities
● An absence deemed “excused” by the administrator responsible for the student
● A verified visit to the Guidance Office to meet with a college representative. Juniors missing class to meet with a college rep will be charged with an unexcused absence.
2) Unexcused Absences: (equals ONE absences per occasion)
● All absences not identified above are considered UNEXCUSED
● Absences that are not explained by a Pre-Planned Absence form, a note and/or a telephone call from a parent/guardian within 48 hours after the student’s return to school from an absence, are considered UNEXCUSED.
● An absence deemed “unexcused” by the administrator responsible for the student. A teacher may determine if makeup work is allowed for class periods where a student has accrued an unexcused absence.
3) Unexcused Tardy: (equals .25 absence per occasion)
● Occurs when a student arrives up to 10 minutes late for class without authorization 4) Unexcused Late: (equals .50 absence per occasion)
● Occurs when a student arrives to class later than 10 minutes without authorization, but less than half way through the class.
● Students arriving more than halfway through the class without authorization will be considered absent.
Absences which do not count towards the loss of credit include, but may not be limited to, the following:
● School related activities
● Suspensions: in-school or out-of-school
● Homebound instruction
● “Special” absences
◊ Class meetings
◊ Field trips
◊ Sports or other school approved extracurricular activities
◊ Scheduled office and guidance appointments - Normally, scheduled office and guidance appointments should occur during non-class time.
● Religious Observance
● For Juniors and Seniors ONLY: 2 days for college visits. Students must fill out a Pre Planned Absence form available in the Assistant Principals’ Office prior to going on a college visit. Failure to do so will result in the visit being counted as an absence.
Communications from Parents/Guardians
● It is the responsibility of parents/guardians to communicate to the school the reason for all absences.
● Parent notes or telephone calls to excuse an absence must be received no later than 48 hours following the student’s return to school, or the absence will be classified as unexcused. All students, please call the Assistant Principals’ Office 24 hour Attendance Number (203) 341-1281. ● Parent notes to request an early dismissal must be presented to the attendance office before the student is dismissed in order for dismissal to be considered excused.
● Provide medical documentation for long-term absences, to include the nature of the illness, any limitations on the student, inclusive dates of medical condition, specific dates of absence covered.
Content of Parent Notes
All parent/guardian notes for any reason must include the following:
(1) the student’s name,
(2) the date(s) of the absence(s),
(3) the specific reason for the absence, lateness or dismissal,
(4) the signature of the parent/guardian
(5) a daytime phone number where a parent/guardian can be reached to verify the note.
“Blanket” notes covering unspecified dates of absences, tardies, etc. are not acceptable. (for example: “Please excuse my child from all absences in the months of April and May due to illness.”)
Communications to Students and Parents
Students and parents/guardians will be notified concerning absences by mail utilizing the following letters:
● Students and parents/guardians will have access to information concerning attendance via Powerschool .
● Excessive Absence Notification Letter: generated when one-half of the number of permitted absences has been accumulated in a class. The purpose of this notification is to inform the parent/guardian and the student of the possibility of loss of credit if the student’s attendance does not improve.
● Loss of Credit Letter: generated when a student loses credit in any course.
● Appeals Board Hearing Results Notification: used to communicate the decision of the Appeals Board to the student and parent/guardian when a student appeals a loss of credit.
Any anticipated absence, such as college visitations, family vacations, etc., which conflict with the school calendar, must be arranged in advance by a phone call or a Pre-Planned Absence form or the absence will be considered unexcused and make-up privileges will be forfeited.
Dismissal During the School Day
Once students have reported to school, they are expected to remain in school and attend classes all day. Under the following conditions, a student may have an excused dismissal:
Under rare or emergency circumstances, a written request from a parent/guardian must be presented or a phone call must be received by the Assistant Principals’ Office and/or Attendance Office prior to dismissal. A parent/guardian may come to the attendance office and personally request dismissal.
a. The student must sign out at the Front Desk.. If the student returns to school, the student must sign in at the Front Desk to verify the time of his/her return and provide appropriate documentation.
b. Students returning from any type of outside of school appointment: doctor etc., must present a note upon return from the appropriate office to the Front Desk.
Failure to meet the above two conditions will cause any class absences to be considered unexcused. Such absences will be counted towards loss of credit and make-up privileges will be forfeited.
Illness in School
● In case of illness while in school, the student must report to the health office.
● The nurse, with parental/guardian permission, will make the decision to dismiss the student from school.
● Once the nurse has obtained permission from the parent/guardian to dismiss the student, the student will be issued a dismissal pass.
● Students who become ill in school and report to areas other than the nurse’s office (cafeteria, restrooms, off campus) will be considered “unexcused” and may face disciplinary action.
Appointments with Staples High School Staff
● Upon arrival for an appointment, it is the student’s obligation to immediately inform the counselor, Assistant Principal, etc. if a test or major graded assignment is planned for that period.
● The student should then request that the appointment be rescheduled.
● Failure to do so will result in the absence being considered unexcused.
● Such an absence will count towards loss of credit and make-up privileges will be forfeited.
Monitor the number of absences in each class
● Throughout the school year, it is the responsibility of the student and parent/guardian(s) to monitor closely the number of absences, which have accumulated in each course.
● When a student anticipates an absence from school or from a particular class for any reason, it is very important that the student and the parent/guardian consider carefully the necessity of the absence, taking into consideration the current number of accumulated absences and their potential impact on loss of credit in the course.
Certification of Chronic Illness
● During an appeal for reinstatement of credit, the Appeals Board may request confirmation from a doctor to explain specific and frequent absences, which occurred due to medical reasons.
● Students and parents/guardians are advised to monitor the number of absences, which have accumulated because of medical reasons.
● When absences for medical reasons are frequent, it may be advisable to seek documentation from a doctor that a chronic illness exists.
● Presentation of verified information regarding chronic illness and specific dates of absence will strengthen a student’s case in an appeal for reinstatement of credit.
● Just as with parent/guardian notes, doctor’s notes need to specifically address dates of absences, and may not be “blanket excuses” for all absences which have occurred over a period of time. Such information must be presented on going and not at the end of a course.
Loss of Credit
● A student will lose credit in a course when the number of accumulated absences exceeds the number of permitted absences.
● The student will be instructed to attend class, and the procedure to appeal the loss of credit will be explained.
● When credit is lost, the student is expected to attend the class. In addition, consistent attendance following loss of credit strengthens a student’s appeals case.
● A letter grade will appear on the transcript even though credit is lost. All courses require a passing grade for the student to move to the next level.
Excessive “Class Cutting” following Loss of Credit
Students, who flagrantly disregard the intent of the Staples High School Attendance Policy and continue to cut a class(es) after loss of credit, may be removed from that class with a final grade of Withdrawn Failure (WF). The administrator responsible for the student, after consultation with the teacher, will determine under what circumstances this action will be taken.
Right of Appeal
The Attendance Policy is not designed to deny credit to students who, through no fault of their own, were unable to attend school or a class due to a legitimate illness or other condition beyond the student’s/parents’/guardians’ control. In January and June, students who have lost credit will have an opportunity to appeal to have credit reinstated. A student’s decision to appeal must take into consideration the student’s total attendance record. Any absences, other than excused absences will weaken the student’s appeal. Absences which remain unexcused and undocumented as well as chronic absences will also weaken the student’s appeal. Students wishing to appeal must follow the appeals procedure. If students do not have valid reasons for appealing loss of credit, they should contact their counselor to identify what options are available.
The Appeals Board
● Composed of four teachers and the administrator responsible for the student.
● Hears the student’s case and makes a decision on whether to reinstate credit.
● An Appeals Board decision is final.
● The decision will only be reviewed by the Principal as a result of the introduction of additional information, which was NOT presented to the Appeals Board.
● A request for review must state the intention of the review, and any new evidence in a written statement by the student and the parent/guardian(s).
● Students wishing to appeal to the Principal must do so within two (2) school days following the receipt of the decision of the Appeals Board.
● A student must appear in person before the Appeals Board. Failure to do so will be an automatic denial of restoration of credit.
“Fast Track” Appeals
Under extremely rare and narrowly defined circumstances, a student who lost credit in one or more courses may not have to appear before the Attendance Appeals Committee to appeal the loss of credit. Instead, the assistant principal will appeal the student’s loss of credit directly to the principal for adjudication. The assistant principal uses the following criteria, along with input from the guidance and/or pupil services staff, in determining which students to “fast-track”:
(a) documented illness
(b) total amount of absences barely exceeds the total number of absences required to lose credit.
(c) teacher recommendation
All absences are excused, with the vast majority of absences being caused by documented illness or condition that was beyond the control of the student.
The total amount of absences in a particular course barely exceeds the total number of absences required to lose credit
Calendar for Students 2021-22
Some of the dates listed below are approximate dates (i.e. End of Marking Period Dates, etc.), and thus this schedule is a tentative one. There will be some flexibility with this schedule if we have school closings, early dismissals, or unforeseen emergency days during the school year. Other dates (i.e. NO SCHOOL for a National Holiday, etc.) are fixed dates.
26, 27, & 30 NO SCHOOL for students, Staff Development
31 First Day of School for Students
06 NO SCHOOL, Labor Day
07 NO SCHOOL, Rosh Hashanah
09 Grades 9 and 10 Back-to-School Night
16 NO SCHOOL, Yom Kippur
23 Grades 11 and 12 Back-to-School Night
13 Early Release Day for Students/Professional Development for Staff
01 Last Day, Marking Period 1
02 NO SCHOOL for students, Election Day, Staff Development
03 First Day, Marking Period 2
24 Early Dismissal
25 & 26 NO SCHOOL, Thanksgiving Recess
24-31 NO SCHOOL, Winter Recess
11 Last Day, Marking Period 2, Semester 1
12 Review Day I/End of Semester Block (Periods 1, 2, 5 & 8 Meet)
13 Midterm Exams 1 and 5
14 Midterm Exams 2 and 8
17 NO SCHOOL, Martin Luther King Jr. Day
18 Review Day II/End of Semester Block (Periods 3, 4, 6 & 7 Meet)
19 Midterm Exams 3 and 4
20 Midterm Exam 6; Make-Up Exam Blocks
21 Midterm Exam 7; Make-Up Exam Blocks
24 First Day, Marking Period 3, Semester 2
18 NO SCHOOL for students, Staff Development
21 NO SCHOOL, President’s Day
21-25 NO SCHOOL, February Recess
02 PSAT 10
03 PSAT 8/9
23 Early Release Day for Students/Professional Development for Staff
24-25 Connecticut SAT School Day for all 11th graders
29 Last Day, Marking Period 3
30 First Day, Marking Period 4
15 NO SCHOOL, Good Friday
18-22 NO SCHOOL, Spring Recess
26-28 Connecticut SAT School Day Makeup for 11th graders
30 NO SCHOOL, Memorial Day
June: Tentative end-of-year schedule depending on weather or other emergencies/closing; students will complete 182 Days:
06 Last Day, Marking Period 2, Semester 1
07 Review Day 1/End of Semester Block (Periods 1, 2, 5 & 8 Meet)
08 Midterm Exams 1 and 5
09 Midterm Exams 2 and 8
10 Review Day II/End of Semester Block (Periods 3, 4, 6 & 7 Meet)
13 Midterm Exams 3 and 4
14 Midterm Exam 6; Make-Up Exam Blocks
15 Midterm Exam 7; Make-Up Exam Blocks
16 Graduation/ Last Day of School for Students (if there are no cancellations)
Professional Development Days: August 26-27, 30, November 2, and February 18. Early Release Professional Development days: October 13 and March 23. Students’/Teachers’ LAST DAY will be June 24th. If there are no snow/emergency days, students’/teachers’ LAST DAY will be June 16th. In the event additional make-up school days are needed, the District will use, in the following order: Monday, April 18th, Tuesday, April 19th, Wednesday, April 20th; Thursday, April 21st, and Friday April 22nd.
All Staples students grades 9-12 are assigned to a Connections advisory group. Connections serves as an intentional time to: communicate school-related information, foster meaningful connections between students and staff members, and create a safe environment where students feel comfortable to hold open discussions throughout their Staples career.
Connections typically meets twice per week (Tuesdays and Thursdays) for twenty minutes, between the second and third periods of the day. Approximately 10-12 students are in each Connections group with one or two faculty members. Connections groups are assigned by grade level and school counselor, with 40 Connections groups per grade level. Students stay with the same Connections group and staff member for all four years at Staples.
Westport Continuing Education High School Academics
The Westport Continuing Education High School Academics provides opportunities for students to take a limited number of Staples High School classes during the summer for advancement or study subjects that time during the regular school year does not allow. Students should be aware of the following:
● Staples students seeking to enroll in a for-credit summer school course must obtain prior written approval from their school counselor and the department coordinator of the course to be taken through the Westport Continuing Education High School Academics Registration Form.
● The hours of class time required for credit will be equivalent to hours of instruction during the school year.
● Given the pace of the courses, perfect attendance and punctuality are expected. If a student misses more than two days of class for any reason, credit will not be granted for the course.
● Courses will follow the prescribed Staples High School curriculum and use prescribed Staples High School assessments.
● For Westport Continuing Education High School Academics summer courses taken during the high school years (starting with the summer between grades 8 and 9), credit will appear on the student’s Staples transcript for the upcoming school year, and the grade will be factored into the student’s grade point average. For Westport Continuing Education High School Academics courses taken during the summer between grades 7 and 8 or earlier, the course and grade will appear on the student’s Staples transcript for the upcoming school year, but no high school credit will be awarded and the grade will not be factored into the student’s grade point average.
● The deadline to drop a for-credit Westport Continuing Education High School Academics summer course without record and have the course removed from the student’s Staples transcript is the end of the fifth day of the course. If the student withdraws from the course after this date, the student will receive a W (Withdrawn) on their Staples transcript and no credit will be given.
● The deadline to request pass/fail grading in a for-credit Westport Continuing Education High School Academics summer course is the end of the fifth day of the course.
● No refunds will be given for withdrawals from for-credit classes.
Determination as to whether any for-credit summer school course will run will be made by Westport Continuing Education based on enrollment. There is no guarantee that any individual course will run. Students and parents will be notified as soon as a decision is made. In the event that a course must be cancelled due to lack of enrollment, a full refund will be offered. It is therefore recommended that students, after consultation with their school counselor and parent/guardians, enroll in as timely a manner as possible to ensure the best possible outcome.
If you have questions, contact Westport Continuing Education (http://www.westportcontinuinged.com).
Courses Through Other Educational Institutions
Any Staples student may choose to take an online course or course at another educational institution simply for his or her own enrichment and with the family bearing all responsibility for cost. If the student wishes for the course to fulfill a Staples graduation requirement or be used for accelerated advancement within a course sequence, school counselor and department coordinator approval must be granted prior to enrolling in, and then upon completion of, the course according to the process described below. The educational institution/online provider must be accredited and have the ability to deliver a transcript upon completion of the course; acceleration based solely on private tutoring is not permitted.
1. The student discusses the request with his or her school counselor, including the appropriateness of the course and its implications at Staples.
2. The student completes the Pre-Approval Form for Coursework Outside Staples High School, available on the SHS Guidance website (http://shs.westportps.org/departments/guidance/forms), attaching a copy of the course description/syllabus and instructor information. The deadline for requests is June 1 for summer acceleration courses.
3. The school counselor checks that course prerequisites have been fulfilled, then signs off on the pre-approval form if approved.
4. The appropriate department coordinator reviews the student’s pre-approval form and accompanying documentation, then signs off on the form if approved.
5. The student enrolls in and completes the course.
6. Upon successful completion of the course, and no later than August 15 for summer courses, the student provides his or her school counselor with an official transcript reflecting the final grade and credit awarded by the other educational institution.
7. To assure that the appropriate course standards have been met and for proper placement, the student will be required to take a comprehensive midterm exam, final exam, and/or other comparable assessment. (Note: This requirement may be waived at the discretion of the department coordinator.)
In accordance with school policy, only courses taken and grades earned at Staples High School, or through Westport Continuing High School Academics during the high school years, will earn Staples credit, appear on the student’s transcript, and be counted toward the grade point average. A grade report from the other educational institution may be attached to the Staples transcript upon request.
If the student does not obtain prior approval for a course, he or she may not accelerate and must enroll in the corresponding Staples course.
World Language Immersion Programs and Acceleration
Any Staples student interested in accelerated advancement within a world language course sequence or placement into a specific world language course must contact the World Language department coordinator to request an interview to be conducted by a department member. The placement process will consist of an interpersonal speaking skills assessment and evaluation of the level of writing skills, and may include other assessments deemed necessary by the department coordinator. The world language teacher and department coordinator will make a recommendation for appropriate placement based on the student's demonstrated proficiency. The recommendation is then communicated to the guidance department for enrollment, provided that there is availability in the course.
An Academic Day runs from 8:00 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. with 8 periods (1-8) of varying lengths based on a four-day cycle with days designated A,B,C,D. These schedules rotate each day of the week.
The year is comprised of four quarters with an assessment period after each semester (2nd and 4th quarters).
The fastest and most complete information on school closings and delays can be obtained by calling 341-1766. If schools are cancelled or delayed, that information is usually on the emergency line (203-341-1766) by 6:00 a.m.
The radio and TV stations listed below carry announcements of delayed school opening or closing. If the station is not listed, it received no information from the Westport Public Schools:
WKCI Hamden 101.3 FM
WEBE Westport 107.9 FM
WEFX Norwalk 95.9 FM
WELI New Haven 960 AM
WEZN Bridgeport 99.9 FM
WICC Bridgeport 600 AM
WKHL Stamford 96.7 FM
WNLK Norwalk 1350 AM
WSTC Stamford 1400 AM
WTNH Channel 8
WVIT Channel 30 Cablevision
The Westport Schools encourage students to dress in a manner that demonstrates pride in them and in their school.
The school system requires that attire be safe, appropriate to the activity, and not distracting or disruptive of the educational program.
A. The following guidelines apply to all regular school activities:
1. Shoes appropriate for school activities must be worn at all times. Footwear standards are maintained for the prevention of accidents and injury. High-heeled shoes or sandal styles that make walking, running or other activities less safe for students are discouraged.
2. Clothing and jewelry should be safe and free of writing, pictures, or any other insignia which are crude, vulgar, profane, or sexually suggestive or which advocate violence, racial, ethnic, or religious prejudice, or the use of drugs or alcohol.
3. Clothing, articles of clothing, or manner of wearing clothes that is inappropriately revealing is not permitted. Underwear should not be visible.
4. Clothing or jewelry which is distracting, or disruptive to the educational program, or which is gang-related, or which poses a threat to the physical well-being and safety of the student or others, shall not be worn on campus or at school activities.
B. The administrator and staff may establish additional dress and grooming regulations, when necessary, for regular school activities and/or for times when students are engaged in extracurricular or other special school activities.
C. Coaches and teachers may find it necessary to impose more stringent dress requirements to accommodate the special needs of certain sports and/or classes.
D. The Principal/designee may confiscate inappropriate attire and provide a suitable substitute if available, and/or phone home to inform parents/guardians that a change of attire must be provided.
E. Parents are advised to be sure that students have outerwear appropriate to the weather and to the activities they will engage in.
Appropriate dress DOES NOT include:
● T-shirts or other items displaying references or advertising pertaining to drugs or alcohol or cigarettes.
● T-shirts or other items displaying any form of gender objectification or obscenity.
● Any clothing, or lack of clothing, which may distract from the educational process. Halter tops and other revealing types of clothing are not considered acceptable.
● Gang-associated apparel.
As defined by section 21a-240 of the Connecticut General Statutes, our policy forbids students to possess drug paraphernalia, mood-altering substances, chemical solvents and other illegal substances, or to possess, use, distribute, intent to sell or be under the influence of alcohol and/or controlled drugs, anywhere on school property, on school buses or other vehicles, or at off-campus school or school-related activities such as proms, homecoming or athletic events.
The Westport Board of Education has approved the use of a breath alcohol tester as an option for students at all Staples High School dances and proms held during the school year.
The breath alcohol tester will be considered for use where, in the judgment of an administrator, there exists reasonable suspicion that a student has consumed an alcoholic beverage and then, only under the following circumstances:
1. Student denies to an administrator that he/she has consumed alcoholic beverages and wishes to establish his/her innocence. Should the student register a positive reading on the breath alcohol tester, consequences will be administered as outlined in the student handbook, the athletic handbook, or a contract governing student behavior at the above-listed events.
2. Student denies to an administrator that he/she has consumed alcoholic beverages and elects not to utilize the breath alcohol tester to establish his/her innocence. The judgment of the administrator will then be utilized to determine if the student has consumed an alcoholic beverage. In this instance, consequences will be administered as outlined in the student handbook, the athletic handbook, or a contract governing student behavior at the above-listed events.
Violations of the Drug and Alcohol Policy can lead to suspension, expulsion, arrest and prohibition from all school activities, including the graduation ceremony and other specific events.
The Westport Public Schools (“District”) provides electronic resources for students in grades 3-12, including Gmail accounts to be used to access the District’s Google Apps, which is an integral part of the curriculum. The District’s expectations for behavior and language in the use of these Gmail accounts must be consistent with classroom standards.
The guidelines listed below are intended to govern the use of District-provided Gmail account and Google Apps whether the account is accessed in or outside of the school environment or on school-owned, public, or personal computers.
Proper Use of District-provided Gmail
● Students should use their Email accounts to communicate with their classmates, teachers, or other school community members about school related topics only.
● While students can Email teachers throughout the District, they should not expect teachers to Email assignments to them or to provide private tutoring through Email.
● Students should not ask for or respond to Emails requesting personal information not related to a school project.
● Parents should not use their children's accounts as a way of communicating to their children’s classmates, teachers, or other members of the school community.
● All accounts will be accessible from both inside and outside the school network. All accounts will be password protected.
● Accounts for grades 3-5 will be "closed" accounts. Students with closed accounts can Email students and staff within the District, but they cannot receive or send Emails from outside the system.
● Students in grades 6-12 will have the option of forwarding school Emails to a personal account of their choice. It is the student's responsibility to maintain the personal account and password. It is also the student's responsibility to update the forwarding address if they change their personal account provider. Once a student forwards Email from their district account, the District is no longer responsible or liable for misuse of information, loss of confidentiality, or loss of information.
● The ability of the Westport Public Schools to protect privacy does not extend outside of District-provided accounts. Therefore, parents/guardians agree that the District is not liable for any threatening, defamatory, obscene, offensive, or illegal content received from any other party, nor is it liable for any infringement of another's rights that may occur.
● The District has no ability to retrieve or recover Email once it is forwarded outside of the District’s network.
● If a student chooses to respond directly from his/her personal account, the District is not able to, nor responsible for archiving the forwarded Email. Nor is the District responsible any longer for protecting the privacy of the student’s personal Email address.
● These accounts are provided as is, with size limits, attachment limits, and uniform features. The District reserves the right, at its discretion, to update the software or add additional features.
● All incoming email will be filtered for spam using a commercial spam filter. While the District has installed filtering software for all Email accounts, no filtering software is foolproof. There remains the possibility, however slim, that despite these safeguards, a student may access material that parents/guardians and/or District officials might find inappropriate.
● As the owner of the computer systems, the District reserves the right to monitor its computer systems to ensure that they are being used in accordance with the Acceptable Use Policy and related Administrative Regulations.The Superintendent reserves the right to terminate any individual's use of the District’s computer systems. Misuse of the computer systems resulting in violations of these guidelines will be treated in accordance with existing procedures, and the Board’s policy regarding Exclusion of Students.
● Students must understand that the District has reserved the right to conduct monitoring of these computer systems and can do so despite the assignment of passwords to individual students for system security. Any password systems implemented by the District are designed solely to provide system security from unauthorized users, not to provide privacy to the individual system user.
● Students are entirely responsible for the confidentiality of their Email accounts, passwords, personal information, and for any activities that occur in the use of their accounts.
● Students should have no expectation of privacy when using district-provided Email accounts.
● The student agrees to notify his/her teacher or principal immediately if any unauthorized use is made of his/her District-provided Email account.
● The student agrees to report immediately to his/her teacher or principal the receipt of any unwanted or inappropriate Emails from Westport School District employees.
● Most importantly, the District urges any student who receives any harassing, threatening, intimidating, or other improper message through the computer systems to report it immediately. It is the District's policy that no student should be required to tolerate such treatment, regardless of the identity of the sender of the message.
Please report these events!
● While Emailing, students are responsible for following all parts of the District Acceptable Use Agreement
Staples encourages its students to participate in the various extracurricular activities offered. Such participation assures the student’s emotional well being, while discovering new talents and developing the whole person.
Students must be in school for at least 4 hours or they may not participate/perform in any activity that is considered extracurricular. Extracurricular activities are any activity that takes place outside of the classroom for the purpose of enrichment, entertainment or sports. Examples of such activities may include but are not limited to: athletic events, in-school field trips, out of school field trips, performances (plays, concerts, radio show, talent/variety shows, etc.) and school sponsored evening events.
Athletics and Intramurals
Purpose: The purpose of the athletic program is to encourage boys and girls to develop mutual interests, promote motivations and improve their physical skills. Athletic contests involve considerable time for practices, games, strenuous physical effort and student travel. Each sport is a learning experience, and, as such, entails numerous responsibilities. Students who try out for any sport should be aware of these responsibilities and be willing to assume them.
The coaching staff must authorize overnight get-togethers. Athletic and club initiation rights practices connected with clubs or athletics are expressly prohibited by the school.
You are NOT ELIGIBLE:
1. If you are not taking at least six (6) (grades 10-12) and seven (7) (grade 9) units of work or the equivalent;
2. If you have not passed at least four (4) units or the equivalent at the end of the last regular marking period, with the exception of fall eligibility.* (Rule I.A.)
3. If you are nineteen (19) years of age before September 1; (Rule II.B.)
4. If you have changed schools without a change of legal residence; (Rule II.C. See complete Rule II.C. See complete Rule of exceptions.)
5. If you have played the same sport for more than three (3) seasons in grades 10, 11, and 12; (Rule II.B.)
6. If you play or practice with an outside team in the same sport while a member of the school team after the first scheduled game in any season; (Rule II.E.)
The exception to Rule II.E. shall be:
a. Participation in parent/guardian-child tournaments.
b. Swimming, tennis, gymnastics – a pupil may practice but not compete with a non-CIAC team during the season.
7. If you play under an assumed name on an outside team; (Rule II.F.)
8. If you receive personal economic gain for participation in any CIAC sport. *For fall sports – student must be a continuing student (eighth grade to ninth grade) or have received credit for four (4) units or its equivalent towards graduation at the conclusion of the school year preceding the contest. (Rule I.A.)
NOTE: Marking period grades (not semester grades) are to be used in determining scholastic eligibility, except for fall eligibility. You may consult your Principal or Athletic Director for other rules af ecting athletic eligibility.
Health Requirements for Athletic Participation
To participate in any sport, including tryouts, a student must have on file in the Nurse’s Office:
HAR 3 Annual health history and physical examination (blue form)
Form C SHS Athletic Emergency Information (two part form) to be verified by the nurses’ office staff
Student and Parent Concussion Informed Consent Form
Sudden Cardiac Arrest Awareness Form
Forms are available in Athletics, Nurse’s Office at Staples, and online – https://www.westportps.org/uploaded/site_files/www/health/HAR-2018.pdf.
The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference governs all competitive sports of member schools. The following is a partial list of its regulations:
● An Athlete shall not have reached her/his 19 th birthday prior to September 1 of the current year.
● An athlete shall have passed four (4) academic credits or the equivalent at the end of the last regular marking period and must be carrying at least four (4) academic credits in the current year. She/he must also satisfy any local eligibility requirements.
● An athlete may not participate on any organized outside sports team in which she/he will compete in school during the school season.
● All Games in which an ineligible player competes shall be counted as defeats for her/his team, regardless of the true results. Incoming Transfer Students: Upon entering Staples High School from another academic institution, Physical Education credit will not be awarded for any interscholastic athletics or extracurricular activities. Once a student is enrolled in Staples High School, they will be expected to complete the Physical Education and Health curriculum and graduation requirements from their point of entry. Questionable circumstances will be reviewed by the Director of Guidance and the Department Chair of Physical Education and Health to determine whether or not the student transcript satisfies any or all of the Staples Physical Education graduation requirements.
Participation is a privilege:
In order to participate in all extra-curricular activities, students must exemplify good citizenship. Participation in such activities is a privilege not a right. Violation of the school’s Code of Conduct regarding the use of drugs or alcohol will impact that privilege. In addition to receiving the disciplinary consequences as discussed in the Code of Conduct, violators of school rules may become ineligible to participate in all extra-curricular and school sponsored activities. A school sponsored activity includes, but is not limited to a prom, a graduation ceremony, an athletic event, and homecoming.
Athletic and club initiation rights, practices connected with clubs or athletics, are expressly prohibited by the school.
Violations of the Athletic Standards:
Violations will be treated with consideration for the individual, the team, the school and the family. Penalties for violations may involve temporary suspension, permanent suspension for the remainder of the current season or year, ineligibility for future teams and/or the cancellation of awards, and will be gone for a season, quarter, semester, year – whatever is warranted.
All teams, unless otherwise noted, participate in FCIAC (Fairfield County Interscholastic Athletic Conference) and CIAC (Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference) competition.
Physical Education Class Participation Policy For Athletes:
All athletes taking Physical Education during their season of performance on a team must have a change of clothing and participate in class activities.
No athlete is excused from Physical Education even on the day of a game. That includes Varsity, J.V., Sophomore and Freshman teams along with Cheerleaders.
National Honor Society Membership Requirements
A student must exhibit and demonstrate all of the following qualities:
1. Scholarship: Maintain an Academic/Weighted GPA of 3.90.
2. Character: Possessing the attributes of responsibility, good conduct, initiative, and desirable qualities of behavior, as assessed by the entire faculty.
3. Leadership; actively participating in clubs and activities and viewed as a leader, helping others, being active in discussions, etc.
4. Service: Rendering his/her service in and or out of school, having completed a minimum of 30 hours during the school year.
Students will be initially considered for membership if they meet the GPA requirement and the character assessment by the faculty. It is important to understand that students do not “apply” for membership in the National Honor Society, but rather they are selected by the faculty. As part of the selection process, students will be required to prove their leadership and service commitments. All information ascertained about students will be verified and will remain confidential. It is recognized here that the selection process contains both objective and subjective assessments.
A faculty council appointed by the principal annually is responsible for implementing the National Honor society selection process. Student selection will be made by a majority vote of the council.
National Language Honor Societies
Member selection and induction at Staples High School will take place during the Spring semester of each year. See the World Languages Coordinator for the specific requirements for French, German, Latin, Spanish, Italian, and Mandarin Chinese.
It is the policy of the school to furnish supervision for any groups that go to other schools or places to represent the school in competition or as guests, or on field trips or excursions.
All members of such groups are required to travel together under the supervision of a coach, faculty sponsor or a faculty representative of the school. Transportation is arranged and every member of the group is expected to go and return with the group.
For a field trip to be “authorized” as officially sponsored by the Westport Public Schools, transportation must be provided by a carrier whose insurance policy is approved by the school system. Students and parents/guardians may not drive their own vehicles for “authorized” field trips.
School sponsored field trips, excursions, athletic events or other activities are considered an integral part of the total school program and, as such, all school rules and student behavior codes apply to student participants and student spectators at these events. Misconduct at a school sponsored event or activity will result in disciplinary action.
Field trips are voluntary, however. Students may choose to attend or not to attend a field trip. Each student should consider carefully the number of days she/he has been out of school before making a decision to attend a field trip.
Fire drills are conducted under the supervision of the faculty and administration. Each student should become familiar with exit directions from each room scheduled during the day. The fire drill directions should be followed quickly and quietly. All students, faculty, and other adults must promptly leave the building and not return until an all-clear signal is given.
Inappropriate behavior during a fire drill or building evacuation can lead to serious disciplinary consequences. Students should realize that pulling a fire alarm without cause can lead to arrest.
Two cumulative GPAs are calculated: Unweighted GPA and Weighted GPA. All GPAs are calculated on a 4.0 scale.
Through the end of junior year, GPAs are calculated based on final grades for completed courses. Courses in progress are also listed on the transcript, without a grade. After the first semester of senior year is completed, a seventh-semester GPA is calculated for seniors only that is used for year-end awards and reported to colleges on the mid-year transcript. The seventh-semester GPA includes final grades for completed first semester senior courses and first semester grades for full-year senior courses in progress.
Grades from other schools are not included in the Staples GPAs.
Staples does not assign class rank.
Unweighted GPA: The Unweighted GPA includes grades in all courses taken at Staples, including academic, elective, and Health & Physical Education courses. Grades are not weighted and are assigned values according to the chart below:
Weighted GPA: The Weighted GPA includes grades in all courses taken at Staples, including academic, elective, and Health & Physical Education courses. Grades are weighted by their instructional level and assigned values according to the chart below:
● College Level Weight: Advanced Placement Courses, Dual Enrollment Courses, Differential Equations, Multivariable Calculus
● Honors Weight: Honors Courses
● College & Career Prep Weight: All other grades from all subject areas, including A, B, and C level academic, non-leveled elective, and Health & Physical Education courses
Note: Independent Learning Experiences and any other courses taken Pass/Fail are not included in the computation of GPAs.
Students earn a final grade in each of their classes. The final grade is listed on the student’s official transcript. Students also earn quarterly grades that are not listed on the student’s transcript, but serve as an interim report on the student’s progress in semester and full-year courses.
Grade Appeal Procedure
All appeals must be made in writing no later than one quarter after the grade is issued.
1. The primary responsibility to assess students and determine grades belongs to the teacher.
2. Should parents/guardians or students challenge the accuracy or fairness of a grade given by the teacher, they should contact the teacher first for an explanation of how the grade was computed. If unsatisfied, they should next contact the department coordinator.
3. If unsatisfied with the outcome of these meetings, the parent/guardian or student may appeal to the principal. The basis of the appeal should be made in writing. Upon receiving such a request, the principal will commence an investigation to determine the merits of such an appeal. (It is noted here that a change of grade is a very serious action and is done only under the rarest circumstances.) As part of the investigation, the principal will meet with the teacher and department coordinator of the department involved as well as other related staff if appropriate.
4. If the principal feels that the appeal should be upheld, that decision will be communicated in writing to the teacher. The teacher may then have the opportunity to express in writing agreement/disagreement with the appeal outcome.
Again, the grade appeal process should not be executed lightly, and only rare and unusual circumstances would warrant such an action.
Grades that may be earned are: A+, A, A-, B+, B, B-, C+, C, C-, D+, D, D-, P, F
● P (Pass): any student may request up to 1.0 credit per school year in any course(s) to be graded as Pass (P) or Fail (F).
● I (Incomplete): a grade given if the teacher believes the student deserves additional time to complete an assessment(s). Incompletes must be satisfied within one quarter or the grade becomes an “F”. An end-of-year incomplete shall automatically become an “F” for a senior; an end-of-year incomplete for a student in grades 9-11 shall become an “F” at the end of the first marking period of the next school year.
● Grades of: I (Incomplete), F (Fail), W (Withdrawn), WP (Withdrawn Passing), and WF (Withdrawn Failing) receive no credit. Pass/Fail A student may elect to take up to 1.0 credit per school year in any course(s) to be graded as Pass (P) or Fail (F). In order to take a course pass/fail, students must complete the
Form from the SHS Guidance website and gain approval from their parent/guardian/guardian, teacher, department coordinator, and school counselor.
● Students taking a course pass/fail are still expected to meet all of the same course requirements as other students enrolled in the course.
● The request for pass/fail must be made by the 30 th school day of the term for full year or semester courses.
● Once this form is submitted, this grading option cannot be reversed.
● A grade of Pass is not included in the calculation of grade point average, but will receive credit. A grade of Fail is included in the calculation of grade point average and will receive no credit.
● If the student chooses to drop the pass/fail course, he or she must adhere to the course withdrawal policy.
● Courses taken pass/fail may still satisfy NCAA core-course requirements. However, the NCAA Eligibility Center will assign the lowest passing grade (D-) in its calculation of GPA.
Students who have extenuating circumstances due to health, learning, or other personal reasons may receive pass/fail grades for a marking period(s), mid-term, and/or final exam following the recommendation of a PPT, 504, or RTI team. The student may then earn traditional letter grades for subsequent marking periods, a semester grade, and a final grade. Typically in these cases, the numerical average earned in the pass/fail marking period/exam is not included in the calculation of the semester and final grades for the course; semester and final grades for the course are calculated based on grades earned in the marking periods/exams not graded pass/fail with the weight of each marking period/exam adjusted accordingly. Any exception from this practice should be done in consultation with the teacher, school counselor, department coordinator, and grade-level administrator.
Grading and Credit for Transfer Students
Students who transfer to Staples during the school year will be awarded credit and have the appropriate credit listed on the Staples transcript according to their time enrolled at Staples in each course as follows:
For a full-year course:
● Student enters during first quarter* = 1.0 credit
● Student enters at the start of or during second quarter* = .75 credit
● Student enters at the start of or during third quarter* = .5 credit
● Student enters at the start of fourth quarter = .25 credit
*When a student transfers to Staples and into a class in which they were not enrolled at their previous school, they must be enrolled in the Staples class for at least six weeks of a term in order to receive credit for that term.
For a one-semester course:
● Student enters at the start of second or fourth quarter = .25 credit
When a student transfers to Staples during a term and the student is placed in a corresponding class, the student’s grade-in-progress for that class from the sending school will be given to the receiving Staples teacher. That grade will be factored in with the student’s work in his or her class at Staples. If there is not enough time or assessments to determine a quarter, semester, or final letter grade, then the grade shall be entered as Pass or Fail. In order to be eligible to receive credit for a given term, the student may be required to make up missed work from earlier in the term at the discretion of the teacher.
Only courses taken and grades earned at Staples High School are included in the GPA and listed on the Staples transcript. As such, courses and final grades earned by students at other high schools will be attached as a separate transcript.
Grading and Credit for Students Who Withdraw During The School Year
Students who withdraw from Staples during the school year will be awarded credit and have the appropriate credit listed on the Staples transcript upon withdrawing according to their time enrolled in each course as follows:
For a full-year course:
● Student leaves after first quarter completed = .25 credit
● Student leaves at mid-year (second quarter completed) = .5 credit
● Student leaves after third quarter completed = .75 credit
For a one-semester course:
● Student leaves after one quarter completed = .25 credit
In order for a withdrawing student to be eligible to earn credit for a term, the student must have completed that term, including taking all assessments and the mid-term exam if withdrawing at the mid-year. If the student withdraws during a term without having completed the term and all required assessments, including the mid-term exam if withdrawing at the mid-year, they will only be awarded credit based on the previous terms completed.
The withdrawing student’s final grade for each course listed on their Staples transcript will be calculated based on grades from completed terms with the weight of each completed term adjusted.
Entering Grade Level for Transfer Students
When a student transfers to Staples, typically they will be placed at the grade level they have reached at their previous school. There may be an exception made, at the discretion of the Staples administration, if the student either (1) transfers in with an insufficient number of credits to progress toward graduation with their class or (2) has earned additional credits through repeating a grade level at their previous school. Students may not repeat a grade level at Staples already successfully completed at their previous school. Any requests to skip a grade level will be reviewed by the Director of Guidance, Principal, and Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning.
Credit Recovery Due to Failure of a Course or for Poor Attendance
Students who have failed or lost credit for courses required for graduation can make up the credit in the following ways. Availability and offerings will vary based on the program and enrollment in a given year. School counselor and department coordinator approval is required with each option.
1. Retake the course at Staples during the following semester or school year (no additional cost to family)
2. Retake the course online through PLATO (no additional cost to family)
3. Retake the course through Westport Continuing Education Summer School (family covers cost)
4. Retake the course through a different educational institution, online or in person (family covers cost)
Note: The educational institution/online provider must be accredited and have the ability to deliver a transcript upon completion of the course. The student must complete the Pre-Approval Form for Coursework Outside Staples High School, available on the SHS Guidance website (http://shs.westportps.org/departments/guidance/forms), attaching a copy of the course description/syllabus and instructor information.
A student who has completed all requirements for a Staples High School diploma may be allowed to graduate early with permission of the parent/guardian, school counselor, director of guidance, assistant principal, and principal. The student must submit the Early Graduation Application, available on the SHS Guidance website (http://shs.westportps.org/departments/guidance/forms), by June 30 of the junior year. The student’s school counselor will verify the student’s credit status and that the student is on track to meet all graduation requirements by the proposed graduation date. Students who graduate early may still participate in graduation exercises and other end-of-year class activities. A diploma will be provided at the end of the school year.
Students have the opportunity to graduate from Staples High School with “High Honors,” “Honors,” or “With Distinction.” In addition to other criteria noted below, Grade Point Average, calculated at the end of the first semester of senior year, is the determinant as to whether a student graduates with or without formal honors.
A student is designated as graduating with “High Honors” if his/her Weighted Grade Point Average, calculated at the end of the first semester of senior year, falls in the top four percent of the class, inclusive of Valedictorian and Salutatorian.
If the student has received a failing grade on a report card, he/she will not be eligible for High Honors (may be eligible for Honors).
A student is designated as graduating with “Honors” if his/her Weighted Grade Point Average, calculated at the end of the first semester of senior year, falls in the top ten percent of the class, inclusive of those students receiving High Honors.
Graduation with Distinction
A student is designated as graduating “With Distinction” if his/her Unweighted GPA, calculated at the end of the first semester of senior year, is 3.67 or higher.
The student with the highest Weighted Grade Point Average, calculated at the end of the first semester of senior year, is named Valedictorian. If there are two or more students with the same Weighted Grade Point Average, they are each named co-valedictorians and there will be no salutatorian. Students transferring to Staples after sophomore year will not be considered.
The student with the second highest Weighted Grade Point Average, calculated at the end of the first semester of senior year, is named Salutatorian. Students transferring to Staples after sophomore year will not be considered.
Students who do not successfully meet all graduation requirements are prohibited from participation in the graduation ceremony. When requirements are completed, they may participate in the next commencement exercise.
The Honor Roll is computed quarterly, based on the Unweighted GPA according to the following scale:
A+ = 4.33 B+ = 3.33 C+ = 2.33 D+ = 1.33 F = 0.00
A = 4.00 B = 3.00 C = 2.00 D = 1.00 WF = 0.00
A- = 3.67 B- = 2.67 C- = 1.67 D- = 0.67
GPA points are divided in half for any classes that meet twice per week.
Pass/Fail courses are not included in the computation of Honor Roll.
If a student has an Incomplete grade for the quarter, the student will not receive an Honor Roll calculation for that quarter.
First Honors is awarded to students with a quarterly Unweighted Grade Point Average of 3.67 or higher.
Second Honors is awarded to students with a quarterly Unweighted Grade Point Average between 3.17 and 3.66.
Awards are presented at an assembly in June. Some of the most prestigious awards are: Key Award, Book Awards, Principal’s Awards, and Staples Guiding Principles Awards.
This is an evening for seniors, their families, and the community to come together to celebrate the individual and collective accomplishments and talents of the graduating class. The Salutatorian and a selected faculty member are keynote speakers.
This is the ceremony held to award diplomas to those seniors who successfully complete all academic requirements. The class Valedictorian and class speaker speaks at graduation.
High Honors Dinner
This dinner is given in honor of students who graduate with an Weighted Grade Point Average that falls in the top four percent of the graduating class. Families and staff are invited to attend.
Students in the Class of 2022 must earn at least 25 credits across the following areas:
Subject Area Minimum Credits Required
English (1.0 each year) 4.0
All students must complete and pass a major research paper in grade 10.
Social Studies 3.5
● Global Themes 1.0
● U.S. History 1.0
● Civics .5
● Area Study .5
● Additional Course .5
World Language 2.0
Any one World Language in sequence
Health & Physical Education 3.0
Minimum .5 credits Fine Arts and .5 credits Practical Arts; remaining .5 credits either area.
● Art, Music, Theater
● 3-D Design & Engineering
● Academic Support/Bridge Program
● Advanced Journalism
● Career Exploration
● Community Service
● Computer Science
● Costume Design
● Creative Tech. Solutions
● Culinary Arts
● Engineering & Applied Physics
● Financial Decision Making
● Graphic Design
● Lifeguard Training
● Materials & Design Science
● Music Technology
● Personal Financial Management
● Psychology of Child Development
● Scientific Research
● Study Skills
● Technology Education
● Wellness Seminar
Note: Credit from a single course may count toward fulfilling the arts distribution requirement OR the requirement from a different subject area, not both. Costume Design, Graphic Design, Music Technology, and Stagecraft may count toward fulfilling the Fine Arts or Practical Arts requirement, not both.
Additional Credits 6.0
Credits earned in all subject areas beyond the minimum graduation requirement for that area.
Total Minimum Credits Required 25.0
Students in the Classes of 2023 and beyond must earn at least 26 credits across the following areas:
Subject Area Minimum Credits Required
● English 4.0
All students must complete and pass a major research paper in grade 10.
● Social Studies 3.0
● Global Themes 1.0
● U.S. History 1.0
● Civics .5
● Area Study .5
● Visual and Performing Arts 1.0
● Open Humanities 1.0
Any additional course(s) in English, Social Studies, Visual and Performing Arts, or World Languages
● Math 3.0
● Science 3.0
● Open STEAM 3.0
Any additional courses in Math, Science, Technology Education, or Media, or listed below:
● Advanced Journalism
● AP Macro/Microeconomics
● AP Music Theory
● Digital Foundations Honors
● Environmental Social Studies
● Graphic Design 1 & 2
● Introduction to Economics
● Music Technology
● Photography 1 & 2
● Understanding Psychology
● Visual Literacy: The Art & Narration of Graphic Literature
World Languages 2.0
Any one World Language in sequence
Health and Physical Education 2.5
● Health 1.0
● Physical Education 1.5
Mastery-Based Diploma Requirement 1.0
Additional Credits 2.5
Credits earned in all subject areas beyond the minimum graduation requirement for that area
Note: Credit from a single course may count toward fulfilling one distribution requirement only.
Total Minimum Credits Required 26.0
All courses are to be evaluated at the end of the semester in which the course is completed. Teachers will provide evaluation forms for all students in the class. The evaluations are used to improve curriculum and pedagogic strategies.
Course Load Requirements
Students must enroll in a minimum number of classes in each quarter as follows:
Grade 9: 7 classes each quarter.
Grades 10-12: 6 classes each quarter.
Courses Taken by Middle School Students
High school level courses taken by middle school students at the middle schools will appear on the high school transcript with a grade but will not be included in the GPA and will receive no credit. High school level courses taken by middle school students at the high school during the school year will appear on the high school transcript with a grade which will be included in the GPA and will receive credit.
Students serving an out-of-school expulsion are reported in attendance if they receive an alternative educational program. The students must remain active in Power School so the membership days and attendance will accumulate. The student’s attendance will be entered by the Attendance Secretary with the expelled code, “P”, for the dates of the expulsion stipulated. The Assistant Principal responsible for the expelled student will provide the Attendance Secretary with the dates of the expulsion to be entered.
Families are only contacted through Messenger regarding attendance when the student is coded “A”, absent unexcused. Expelled students will be coded “P” Expelled, and will not receive calls home.
Teacher Responsibilities for Attendance of Expelled Students:
Depending on the length of the expulsion, expelled students will remain on the class rosters for which they are receiving the alternative educational program. The teacher will not be responsible for entering attendance and will see the pre-coded “P” for expulsion entered on their daily attendance screen.
Grading For Expelled Students Who Are Tutored:
Teachers will not be responsible for teaching the curriculum or grading the students if the student is expelled from school beyond six weeks. The tutor(s) delivering the alternative educational program provided will be responsible for a grade.
Upon returning to school, if a student has not spent at least 7 weeks in class during that quarter, the teacher will continue to grade on a Pass/Fail basis for that quarter.
If there is a question about how to average the final grade for the course, the teacher should confer with the department chair.
Resolutions for unusual circumstances will be determined by the department chair and the principal.
Report Cards and Transcripts for Expelled Students:
Quarterly report cards will still be generated by Power School for students expelled beyond six weeks. The Staples report cards will include only classes in which the student is receiving their alternative program. The Staples report card will not contain grades or credit values.
A separate quarterly report card will be provided to the tutor(s) from the Westport Pupil Services Office for students expelled beyond six weeks. The tutor(s) will be responsible for grading students with either a P (Pass) or F (Fail) on the report card. The tutor(s) are responsible for turning in report cards to the Westport Pupil Services Office and providing the student and guardian(s) a copy.
A separate transcript will be generated and affixed to the student’s permanent transcript by the Guidance Office upon receipt of all final grades issued by the tutor(s) to the Westport Pupil Services Office. Westport P.P.S. will forward all final grades and report cards to the Director of Guidance at the end of each quarter or the end of the expulsion period should it go beyond six weeks yet culminate prior to the end of the school year.
Guidelines for Expelled Students in P.E.
For students in ninth, tenth, or eleventh grade:
● If expulsion occurs on or before the halfway point of the quarter, the course will be dropped from the schedule of the student, there will be no record on the transcript, and the student will not be eligible to receive .25 credit for the course. All classes will need to be made-up prior to graduation.
● Graduation requirements include: o Health Education-grades 9, 10 and 11 o Swimming- grade 9. o Credits- 3.0 credit hours of Health and Physical Education.
● If expulsion occurs after the halfway point of the quarter, the student will receive a “pass/fail” grade based upon performance up to the date of expulsion. Students who receive a “pass” will receive .25 credit for that quarter.
For students in twelfth grade:
An individual program will be designed by the Grade Level Administrator, Health & Physical Education Department Chair, and Director of Guidance to be presented to the Principal for approval.
Students unable to participate in Physical Education due to a medical issue:
Staples Physical Education Medical Excuse Policy
A. A student with an illness or injury which may require exclusion from physical education classes for more than 3 classes which may result in a loss of credit for a quarter course must:
● Present written documentation from his/her health care provider preferably using the Staples Physical Activity Restriction form that can be obtained from the school nurse and/or the Staples High School website under the student services-health services tab. Documentation must be completed to indicate the reason for exclusion from physical activity and the physical activities the student is restricted from participating in.
● Upon receipt of medical documentation, the school nurse will issue the student a pass to be excluded from physical education until further notice and/or as specified by the student’s health care provider. The school nurse will notify the student’s physical education teacher, guidance counselor and Physical Education/Health Department Chairperson of the restrictions and potential timeline for the restrictions.
B. The physical education teacher in consultation with the school nurse will:
● Keep the student in class for modified participation in the physical education class to tolerance per the direction of the nurse/health care provider.
● Allow the student to stay and observe class instruction and participate where appropriate when there is a strong possibility that the student will not miss more than 10 days of instruction or the student’s safety and well-being is not in jeopardy while in attendance.
C. In cases where extended illness and/or extended injury will require a student to miss more than 10 days of class:
● The student will be assigned to an academic study hall by their guidance counselor in lieu of attending his/her physical education class. This decision will be made after consultation with the school nurse, physical education teacher, and Physical Education Department Chairperson.
● The student may be assigned to one quarter of health class if possible in lieu of his/her physical education class if the extended injury/illness were to occur at the outset of a new quarter. Students will not be permitted to add health beyond 3 days of the new quarter.
● If the student would like to earn the opportunity to receive the .25 course credit for the physical education class for the quarter in which the extended illness or injury occurs, the student will meet with his/her physical education teacher to develop an alternative project in lieu of class participation that could be in the form of an independent study project or research paper for which they will be graded. It is the student’s responsibility to meet with his/her physical education teacher to collaboratively develop an alternative to attending class. Prior to departmental approval, both parent/guardian and student must confirm in writing on the Staples Physical Activity Restriction form that they acknowledge that it is the student’s responsibility to initiate the proposal and meet the departmental requirements established in the alternative plan. Final approval of all alternative to class participation projects/plans will be made by the Physical Education/Health Department Chairperson. Alternative assignments must be completed by the end of the quarter in which the extended injury or illness occurred. Any exceptions to the deadline will only be granted by the Physical Education/Health Department Chairperson with consultation of the school nurse. The student will be graded on a pass/fail basis.
● In the event the student’s physical activity restrictions extend into a new school quarter, the Staples Physical Activity Restriction form must be completed again for the quarter that the student is restricted. The student/parent/guardian must request the school nurse for a continuation of a medically excused pass for the new quarter as directed by his/her health care provider and the aforementioned policy will be adhered to for the new quarter.
● Students who have an extended illness or injury that require them to miss more than 10 days of class and select not to participate in the alternative, independent project, and/or do not satisfactorily meet the departmental guidelines authorized for the alternative project will have to make up the physical education class in a subsequent quarter(s) following the student’s extended illness or injury.
● Students who have a recurring illness and/or injury that causes them to miss more than 10 days, albeit non-consecutive days of participation in class will be required to complete an alternative to class participation project. Students who are still able to participate in more than half of the classes will be eligible to receive a grade and credit for the course. Students who are unable to participate in half of the classes will be eligible to receive credit for the class after successful completion of the alternative project and the grade for the course will be issued on a pass/fail basis.
Staples High School has a health services team of 3 nurses and a health assistant. The purpose of our students’ health services program is to support student learning and success. Individualized health services are provided for students who have acute and chronic health and mental health conditions.
Communicating with a School Nurse Regarding a Student’s Health
Please alert the school nurse if your child has a health condition that may require individualized planning for safety, emergency care, health care services, or evacuation.
The school nurse should be notified of changes in the student health status and of illness, injury, hospitalization or a change in treatment or medication.
● Parents/guardians should call the school attendance office, 341-1281, when their child is absent due to illness or injury.
● A doctor’s note is required to excuse a student from gym for more than three days.
● A doctor’s note is also required to resume participation after an injury when gym has been excused by a physician.
● Parents/guardians should consult the school nurse immediately if they anticipate that their child may be absent for medical reasons for more than three days. The school nurse will obtain the necessary medical information and initiate the process for school/team decision-making and planning, as indicated. Please contact the school nurse in advance of an absence of more than three days, if possible, or in an emergency, quickly thereafter.
Students with Special Healthcare Needs
Westport Public Schools are committed to ensuring that students who have special health care needs due to chronic and acute health conditions receive the supports and services necessary to remain safe and, to the extent possible, maintain their baseline health status during school.
“Students with special health care needs” refers to those students who have medically diagnosed chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, life-threatening food allergies, cardiac abnormality, juvenile arthritis, celiac disease, migraine headaches, seizures, or a significant acute illness or injury requiring treatment and a period of recovery, such as concussion, mononucleosis, Lyme disease, or fractured arm or leg. For students with such conditions, the school team collaborates with the family and student’s health care provider to identify school-based needs and develop an appropriate plan of care to meet those needs. That plan is called an “individualized health care plan” (IHCP). For students at high risk for a health or safety emergency in school, an “individualized emergency care plan” (ICEP) is developed as a part of the IHCP. Some students may also require an “individualized transportation plan” (ITP) as part of the IHCP. Parents who have a child with special health care needs are encouraged to speak with the school nurse regarding the appropriateness and process for developing an IHCP. These plans may be incorporated into a student’s individualized special education program (IEP) or Section 504 plan if eligible.
In accordance with Connecticut General Statutes, Section 10-206, the Westport Board of Education requires each ninth grade student to have a health assessment during the ninth-grade year. This mandated health assessment must be performed anytime from June 1 st of a student’s eighth-grade year through June 30th of the ninth-grade year, and must be performed by a legally qualified practitioner of medicine (M.D. or D.O.) who is licensed in this or another state, or by a qualified registered nurse or advanced practice registered nurse or physician assistant licensed to practice in this state. Ninth grade students who do not comply with this requirement will not be allowed to attend school in the 10th grade.
The health assessment must be documented on the State Department of Education’s required health assessment record (HAR-3) or “blue form,” and must include, but is not limited to, the following:
1. Review and update of state-mandated immunizations to ensure compliance with requirements (obtain information from the health office).
2. Hemoglobin or hematocrit, blood pressure, height and weight, vision, hearing, speech, postural and gross dental screenings;
3. Risk assessment for tuberculosis. If the student is in a high-risk group, a Mantoux test for tuberculosis sensitivity must be administered and the test results must be documented on the form;
4. Chronic disease assessment (newly added to the HAR-4 2012 form).
If a parent/guardian or legal guardian (or student who is 18 years old or an emancipated minor) objects on religious grounds to:
● the state-mandated health assessment, a signed statement to that effect must be submitted to the school nurse by May 15 th of the ninth grade year if a signed statement is not already in the student’s record.
● immunizations, a signed copy of the Immunization Exemptions and Exclusions-From-School form must be already on file or submitted to the school nurse along with complete HAR-3 form.
If a mandated immunization is contraindicated for medical reasons, a written statement from the health care provider, including the reason for continued deferment, must be submitted to the school nurse along with the completed HAR-3 form.
The HAR-3 form is reviewed by the school nurse and filed in the student’s confidential school health record. If you have questions or confidentiality concerns, please speak with the school nurse.
Screenings: School nurses provide the following screenings for high school students, as required by CT General Statutes, Section 10-214 if not already screened by a legally qualified practitioner of medicine.
Vision: Students in Grade 9
Scoliosis: Students in Grade 9
The parent/guardians/guardians of students who need further evaluation by a physician will be notified. Parents should return the referral form to the school nurse after it has been completed by a physician. Please notify the school nurse if you do not wish your child to participate in these screenings.]
Leaving School Because of Illness
The school nurse will ask a parent/guardian/guardian to pick up any student who becomes ill during school hours or who has an illness or injury that, in the professional judgment of the school nurse, needs to be observed at home or assessed by a medical doctor.
Students must not leave school because of illness without authorization, and must be signed out by a parent/guardian.
9-1-1 will be called in a health or mental health emergency for immediate transportation of a student to the hospital.
Staying Home Due to Illness
To safeguard the health of all students, we ask parents/guardians to monitor their children for possible communicable diseases and to keep their children home when they are ill or contagious.
For students who must take medication during school hours, including medication prescribed by a physician for short-term use (e.g., antibiotics, daily medication, medication needed only occasionally, over-the-counter medication, and medication for emergencies such as Epipens and inhalers) parent/guardians/guardians must provide the school nurse with written permission and the written medical order of an authorized prescriber (physician, dentist, advanced practice registered nurse, or physician’s assistant) authorizing the nurse to administer the medication. The permission and order must be in writing on Westport Public Schools’ medication form and must include:
● Name, strength, and dosage of the prescribed medication;
● Reason for the medication (medical diagnosis);
● Directions for administering the medication;
● Time the medication is to be administered;
● Duration of the order;
● Potential side and untoward effect;
● Authorization for self-administration, if appropriate.
Medication forms are available in the nurse’s office and on the school website. Medication must be delivered to the school nurse by a responsible adult. Do not send any medication to the school with a student. The medication must be in its original container, clearly labeled with the student’s name, authorized prescriber’s name, prescription number, the date it was ordered, the name of the medication, its strength, and directions for administering the prescription The nurse cannot keep more than 90 days’ supply of medication at the school at any one time. Parents should notify the nurse concerning any changes in the prescribed dosage. A new form is required annually.
The parent/guardian or a responsible adult must pick up unused medication within one week of its completion or by the last day of school, or it will be disposed of by the school nurse.
Self-Administration of Medication
High school students are not permitted to carry any medication in school, (including over-the-counter drugs), unless they have the written authorization of the student’s physician, parent/guardian/guardian and school nurse to self-administer rescue medications, such as EpiPens and asthma inhalers. Such medication should also be available in the nurse’s office as a backup in case of a medical emergency. Self-administration of other non-controlled drugs may be approved depending on the circumstances. A medication plan for self-administration must be developed and on file in the health office before a student may carry his or her own medication. Students found with any medication, over-the-counter or prescription, without a self-administration plan in place are subject to disciplinary action. Students who have a self-administration plan to carry their own rescue medications must keep them on or with their person at all times. It is not safe or appropriate to leave them in a locker or car.
Medication on Field Trips
The same state regulations and school policies apply to medication on field trips as in school during the school day. Students who have a self-administration plan must carry their own medication on a field trip, just as they do during the school day. These requirements include over-the-counter medications. It is best to speak with the school nurse well in advance of a field trip to make sure that your child will have access to appropriate medication and assistance, if needed, during a field trip.
Medical Clearance for Sports Eligibility
Student athletes must have a yearly physical CHAR-3BLUE FORM to be eligible for sports participation. All physicals must be delivered to the nurses’ office prior to sports tryouts. Please contact nurses’ office with questions.
The practice of hazing is expressly prohibited by the Staples High School Code of Conduct.
Hazing is defined as: an activity whether on or off campus, that recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental health or physical health of a student for the purpose of initiation or admission into or affiliation with any organization or activity sanctioned or authorized by the Westport Public Schools, for any other purpose related to the Westport Public Schools.
a. “Endanger the mental health” shall include, but is not limited to activities which would subject an individual to extreme mental stress such as prolonged sleep deprivation, forced exclusion from social contact, forced conduct which would result in extreme embarrassment, or any other forced activity which could adversely affect the mental health or dignity of the individual.
b. “Endanger the physical health” shall include, but is not limited to any brutality of a physical nature such as whipping, beating, exposure to the elements, forced consumption of food, alcoholic beverages, drugs or controlled substances, or any physical activity which would adversely affect the physical health or safety of an individual.
The ”a” and “b” above are only meant to list examples of endangering the mental health and endangering the physical health of an individual, and these examples are by no means exhaustive.
No student organization or member of a student organization shall engage in hazing any member or prospective member of any organization or activity authorized or sanctioned by the Westport Public Schools. The implied or expressed consent of any victim of hazing shall not be a defense in any action brought under the Staples High School Hazing Policy.
Upon receipt of a complaint or a report of hazing, the school administration shall undertake an investigation. If a hazing violation is deemed to have occurred, appropriate disciplinary consequences shall be administered against the individual or individuals responsible for the hazing.
Any extra-curricular activity not under the direct supervision of a Staples staff member of designated adult will be viewed as a non-school sponsored activity and is unauthorized.
A student may be referred for homebound services under the following circumstances:
1. Section 504/IEP: When a Section 504/IEP team recommends homebound services either pending or following an appropriate evaluation for Section 504 or special education eligibility.
2. Medical Only: When it is expected that, for medical reasons, a student will be out of school for at least three consecutive weeks, or has been out of school for 15 consecutive days, and a Section 504/IDEA eligibility evaluation is not indicated. Both a physician’s written recommendation and approval of the nursing supervisor are required.
3. Administration Only: When a student is in expulsion proceedings and is referred by a building administrator.
Homebound Tutoring Grading Policy
● If a student is out of school for more than 6 weeks (for a semester or full year course), the tutor is responsible for teaching the curriculum and evaluating the assessments. The tutor is also responsible for a grade.
● Upon returning to school, if a student has not spent at least 7 weeks in class during that quarter, the teacher will continue to grade on a Pass/Fail basis for that quarter.
● If there is a question about how to average the final grade for the course, the teacher should confer with the department chair.
● Resolutions for unusual circumstances will be determined by the department chair and the principal.
In general, course levels will differ in terms of content, rigor, pace, and assessment.
AP Level – AP (Advanced Placement) courses are college-level courses designed for high school students seeking to earn college credit or to take a more challenging course. Classes are available in a variety of subjects and typically end with a rigorous examination at the end of the year. Students who successfully pass AP exams may be granted college credit or admission to advanced classes at some universities. The Advanced Placement program is run by College Board.
Honors Level – Honors-level (accelerated) courses are characterized by the depth of abstract, critical, and original thinking required, as well as the amount of independent work. This course level is designed to serve those students whose ability and effort require additional challenge.
A Level – A-level (advanced college preparatory) courses challenge a student’s ability to exert purposeful effort in order to develop as a critical thinker.
B Level – B-level (college preparatory) courses support students to develop as learners who exert purposeful effort.
C Level – C-level courses provide support and structure to students. Courses are scaffolded for students who need more assistance.
Open: Monday to Friday – 7:30 am to 2:10 pm. During the 2020-21 School Year, the LMC will be used for quiet study halls. When students have a free period, 9th grade and 12th grade students will use the LMC as their assigned study hall.
The Staples High School Library Learning Commons provides students, staff and community members with access to extensive information for research, literature, and technology resources. Our staff, which consists of two full time Library Media Specialists, and three full time paraprofessionals, is committed to ensuring quality information services and instruction. Through this instruction, students become confident and competent learners and researchers, which enables them to select and manage the information available today. The online catalog, databases, eBooks, selected websites, and print items make for easy access of research and reading materials both in the Library Learning Commons and remotely - anytime, anywhere.
Students are not required to be on campus until their first class of the day, and they may leave campus only after their last class of the day. Exceptions must be approved in advance by the Administrator and require a pass. Leaving at any other time without permission will result in at least a Saturday detention. Once present on campus, students are not permitted to leave without authorization. Students, who have one or more consecutive free periods at the end of the day and wish to leave campus, may acquire a by-semester permanent pass from their respective Grade Level Assistant.
Federal Government Legislation regarding Privacy Rights of parents/guardians and students require each school system to annually inform parents/guardians of information on our student records policy. We are taking this opportunity to let you know some basic aspects of our student record-keeping procedures and policies.
Type Of Education Records Maintained - Who Has Access - For What Reasons:
The Westport Schools maintain three general types of records on students:
This record includes identifying information, academic achievement (report cards), grade level attained, attendance records, and a record of schools and others to whom transcripts have been sent. These must be stored in a lockable file.
These records are maintained for special purposes and include health records, disciplinary records, counselor’s records (including standardized aptitude and achievement test scores), social work case studies, school psychologist’s reports, Planning and Placement Team records, Individualized Education Programs, and records outside agencies.
Teachers keep records of the academic work of the students in their classes.
School officials who have legitimate educational reason have access to these records.No other person or agency may have access to a student’s record without written consent from the parent/guardian having custody, legal guardian, or student who is over 18. When a parent/guardian is divorced or separated, both natural parents/guardians have rights of access to a student’s record.
Permanent records only are transferred when a student enrolls in a school outside of Westport. Non-Permanent records transfer requires a release from parent/guardian.
Students are entitled to see and obtain, in a timely fashion, a copy of graded test papers administered by Staples teachers, unless the test is a closed, standardized, national or state examination.
Custodian, Procedures For Parental Access To Records, Cost of Reproduction, Location Of Policies:
The principal of each school is the legal custodian of all records in that school. The principal may be contacted regarding access by parent/guardian to their child’s records.
In most cases, the counselor will be the person to contact to review the Permanent Record and Non-Permanent Student Record. It is customary to set up an appointment in advance to review the records. Parents are entitled to copies of their child’s records. If the record is extensive, there will be a charge for copying the records (actual reproduction cost).
Federal, State and Westport policies regarding student records are available at the Curriculum Center, on Myrtle Avenue, as well as the Guidance Office.
Policies for Reviewing and Expunging Records (by School Officials):
All Permanent Records are reviewed thoroughly at transition from one level to the next, at graduation and/or a student/s withdrawal from school. They are updated yearly. Permanent Records are maintained fifty years after a child has graduated or withdrawn from the Westport Schools. All Non-Permanent Records are reviewed yearly. They are maintained until three years after a student’s class has graduated from the Westport Schools. At that time, they are destroyed.
Special Education Records are maintained six years after a student’s class has graduated from the Westport Schools and are then destroyed.
Policies For Challenging The Contents Of Records:
Parent, legal guardian, or student, 18 years or older, may ask for correction or deletion of any incomplete, inaccurate, or inappropriate information in the student’s records. If the designee disagrees, the parent/guardian, legal guardian, or student, 18 years or older, has the right to appeal the decision.
A formal appeal procedure exists if a disagreement over the content of a record cannot be resolved. The steps include:
● Custodian of the records (the principal in each building);
● Appropriate Assistant Superintendent for that level (Assistant Superintendent for Pupil Personnel Services and Special Education is available for consultation and is the System Custodian of Records);
● Superintendent of Schools and Board of Education attorney;
● A Hearing Panel appointed by the Superintendent with the approval of parent/guardian. (Detailed Hearing Rights are available at the Pupil Personnel Services and Special Education Office.)
If the resolution by the Panel is that the information is accurate and should remain in the file, the parent/guardians may insert an explanation into the file portraying their opinion.
If a parent/guardian is still aggrieved following a Hearing Panel decision, he/she may appeal the decision to the Court of Common Pleas.
If you have any questions on Westport’s records policy or your child’s records, please contact your school principal or your child’s counselor.
Students may face disciplinary action for of -campus conduct that both violates a publicized Board of Education Policy and is seriously disruptive of the educational process.
“Seriously disruptive of the educational process” may include among other factors, the following:
1. Whether the incident occurred within close proximity of a school
2. Whether other students from the school were involved or whether there was any gang involvement
3. Whether the conduct involved violence, threats of violence or the unlawful use of a weapon as defined in C.G.S. Section 29-38
4. Whether the conduct involved alcohol or drugs
5. Online bullying
Students are subject to arrest for any action that violates local, state or federal laws while on school grounds or at school related activities.
The home and the school, as partners, share the responsibility to foster constructive communication. Through written reports, conferences, and calls, schools share information about children’s successes and alert parents/guardians to concerns and problems. Similarly, we encourage parents/guardians to communicate promptly; often problems can be averted through early intervention.
A group of parents/guardians and faculty meet throughout the year to identify school and student needs, identify goals, and plan for implementation. All members of the school community are invited to participate or volunteer for specific school improvement projects.
1. You may wish to encourage children to try to resolve some matters without your direct intervention. Often, discussing a problem with a parent/guardian can help children see possible solutions and increase their ability to cope. If the nature of the problem does not lend itself to this approach, by all means call before it intensifies, using lines of communication described below.
2. Your first contact should always be with the teacher if you have questions about your child’s academic progress or about something in a particular class.
3. Academic problems at Staples should be discussed with the teacher and then with the department chairperson if the problem is not resolved.
4. For issues that cut across several classes, or that concern social or emotional adjustment to a school situation or a disciplinary problem, contact your youngster’s counselor, or Assistant Principal at Staples.
5. Special education problems should be discussed first with the mainstream teacher, then with the program manager, and finally with the Special Ed Coordinator.
6. For issues not settled at an earlier level, or if you have a complaint about a school staff member, you should contact the principal.
7. Problems not resolved at the school level may be referred to the Assistant Superintendent, and if necessary, to the Superintendent.
8. The Board of Education, while not directly involved with day to day operations, has the authority to consider appeals from decisions of the Superintendent.
1. Requests for change at your school should be discussed with the principal.
2. To suggest changes with broader curriculum impact, contact the Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum. 341-1213
3. For system-wide policy issues contact the Assistant to the Superintendent. 341-1012
4. To discuss other system-wide issues or procedures contact the Superintendent. 341-1025
5. The Board of Education ultimately determines system-wide policy. You are encouraged to attend Board meetings. The agenda provides the opportunity for parent/guardian and community input on matters before the Board.
Note: The school is not responsible for damage to or theft from cars.
Since student parking at Staples is very limited, the rental of parking spaces is a senior privilege. Students are not permitted to take their cars off campus until after their last class for the day. Campus security monitors student parking and traffic. Students are to park in designated student parking only or they will be ticketed. Automobiles and the parking lots are not loitering areas for students. Irresponsible use of a motor vehicle while a student is under school jurisdiction results in (at least) immediate loss of parking privileges and possibly suspension.
Parking Fees & Regulations
Parking Protocol and Consequences for Parking Violations 2019-2020
You may only park in the space that you have been assigned. You may not transfer your parking sticker to another student. When parking on campus, please park directly between the two white lines which delineate your assigned space.
Student spaces have white numbers, staff spaces have yellow numbers. Visitor spots in the front of the school are marked with a “V”.
Student parking stickers should be displayed in the lower corner of the passenger’s side of the windshield.
IF YOU ARE ISSUED A PARKING STICKER BUT PARK IN A:
1. staff parking space
2. space assigned to another student
3. handicapped space
4. visitor space
5. maintenance space
6. other unauthorized areas
Student will receive a parking violation fine
Student will receive a parking violation fine and Student will be given an after school detention
A vehicle immobilization boot will be placed on your vehicle and unless an emergency situation exists it will not be removed until after the regular school day has ended and a fine of $50 will be assessed.
If a vehicle is parked in your space:
· Obtain the vehicle details including the make, model, color and license plate.
· Park in a visitor spot, NOT IN ANOTHER NUMBERED SPOT, and
· IMMEDIATELY proceed to the front desk in the main lobby and report the vehicle details in the Parking Complaint Binder.
If you transfer your permit you may lose parking privileges for a portion or the remainder of the school year.
Park your vehicle in one of the visitor’s spots in the front of the school and proceed to the assistant principal’s office IMMEDIATELY – Do not park in another numbered spot.
If You Park on Campus Without Purchasing a Parking Sticker
● FIRST OFFENSE: Student will receive a parking violation fine
● SECOND OFFENSE: Student will receive a parking violation fine and Student will be given an after school detention
● THIRD OFFENSE: A vehicle immobilization boot will be placed on your vehicle and unless an emergency situation exists it will not be removed until after the regular school day has ended and a fine of $50 will be assessed.
If you leave campus without proper authorization during the school day, your parking privileges will be revoked for a period of two weeks. A subsequent offense may lead to permanent revocation of campus parking privileges.
You are not allowed to transport other students off campus during the school day.
If there is any reason to believe that your vehicle may contain any substance, item or material prohibited by Board of Education policy or the Connecticut General Statutes, you will be asked to consent to a search of the vehicle. Failure to comply will result in immediate suspension of the student’s parking privileges, possible police involvement and other disciplinary consequences.
It is advisable to lock your vehicle at ALL TIMES. You will be held personally responsible for ALL items in your vehicle. Possession of any contraband items in a vehicle will be construed as possession by the driver/owner of the subject vehicle and may result in suspension, loss of driving privileges and referral to the Westport Police Department.
Staples High School embraces a personalized approach to learning and the ability for students to pursue off-campus educational programs, including online courses, college courses, and other opportunities to learn beyond the traditional classroom setting. Staples High School is committed to providing a variety of educational opportunities to students which will allow them to meet graduation requirements while supporting their individual needs. Students wishing to take part in these opportunities should work with their school counselor to develop an appropriate program of study.
Students are eligible to earn credit for community service they have completed (.5 credit for 60 hours). Credit may only be earned for community service conducted while enrolled as a Staples student and outside of the school day, starting with the summer between grades 8 and 9. Students may earn no more than .5 credit for community service per school year. For the classes of 2021 and 2022, community service credit counts toward fulfilling the practical arts graduation requirement. For the class of 2023 and beyond, community service credit counts toward fulfilling the electives/additional credits graduation requirement. Community service does not count toward the number of courses a student is required to take each semester in order to be considered fully enrolled. Students receive a grade of Pass for community service, which is not calculated in the grade point average. Students must complete the Community Service Credit Form describing their service experience and provide a signed letter from their supervisor that verifies the activity and number of hours completed.
Norwalk Community College High School Partnership (HSP) Program
The NCC High School Partnership program is designed for highly motivated, academically qualified students. Juniors and seniors with a 3.0 or higher grade point average are eligible to apply for this program. NCC covers the cost of tuition and registration fees; the student must purchase books, supplies, and any lab fees if necessary.
Interested students must complete the Accuplacer Test to determine their eligibility for college-level courses. Students may take up to two HSP courses per semester, outside of regular school hours; summer courses are not available through HSP, but may be taken at the student’s expense. Students earn college credit for a successfully completed course that can be used toward a degree or certificate at NCC or transferred to another college. (Note: Some colleges will not accept transfer credit for a college course taken while in high school.) A student may apply an HSP course toward the minimum 6 courses required for full-time enrollment status at Staples.
For the Class of 2021, the HSP course and grade will not appear on the student’s Staples transcript, and the grade will not factor into the Staples grade point average. However, the NCC transcript may be attached to the Staples transcript upon request.
Starting with the Class of 2022, in addition to the college credits earned, students will also earn 1.0 Staples High School credit for an HSP one-semester course, which counts toward the student’s high school elective graduation requirements. The course name, letter grade assigned by NCC, and high school credit will appear on the Staples transcript. The grade will be weighted at the college course level in the GPA.
PLATO Online Courses
Online courses carry benefits to students with the independence, motivation, and interest to succeed. Westport Public Schools is contracted with the Edmentum learning platform to deliver PLATO online courses. PLATO provides the appropriate content and level of critical thinking expected of students, along with the flexibility to customize courses to the expectations Staples holds in high regard. As the board-sanctioned provider of online educational services, the cost of approved PLATO coursework will be covered by the school system.
A PLATO online course may be taken by Staples students in order to serve the following purposes:
● Exploration of an area of interest through an elective-based course
● Retaking a required course for credit recovery due to failure or loss of credit for poor attendance
● Supporting progress in a current Staples course, remediating skills and/or content knowledge, or serving as an alternative educational program during a formally-approved extended absence, as determined by the RTI, Section 504, or PPT team
The following stipulations apply to elective-based PLATO online course enrollment (enrollment for other purposes is at the discretion of the RTI, Section 504, or PPT team or school administration):
● Only students in grades 10-12 are eligible to take elective-based online courses.
● The student must be in good standing in terms of academics, behavior, and attendance and demonstrate fit for the rigorous, independent demands of an online learning environment.
● All prerequisites must be met in order to take the course.
● An approved PLATO course may count toward the six required courses each semester for a student to be considered fully enrolled.
● Online elective course enrollment cannot exceed 1.0 credit per school year.
● Online elective courses must be started and completed during the school year.
● Online elective courses may be used to fulfill elective credit requirements only, not to fulfill specific subject area graduation requirements.
Enrollment in PLATO courses must be approved through the RTI, Section 504, or PPT team or by a building administrator (grade-level assistant principal or director of guidance). For credit recovery or elective-based courses outside of the realm of formal student intervention teams (i.e., RTI, 504, PPT), the student will discuss the potential course with his or her parent/guardian and school counselor, then the school counselor will request approval from the grade-level assistant principal and/or director of guidance. The school counselor will work with the Personalized Learning Teacher to enroll the student in the PLATO course. The student must complete, and will be held to, a contract outlining specific course standards and expectations.
Students engaging in PLATO courses for elective purposes should be taking the course with the intent of new learning that is not offered by Staples. If a student is enrolled in a course that then indicates a strong prior knowledge, the student will not be eligible for course credit. Prior knowledge will be determined by the amount of 52 exemptions a student has in a module based on the pretest assessment. If a student is exempt from 30 percent or more of the class material, it will be considered ineligible for credit.
PLATO courses will earn Staples High School credit and appear on the student’s transcript along with the designation (online). Unless otherwise specified by the RTI, Section 504, or PPT team, the student will receive a letter grade for the course, and the grade will be factored into the grade point average as an elective course (no level weight). For students considering college athletics, Staples PLATO courses are not currently approved as core courses by the NCAA.
Regional Center for the Arts
The Regional Center for the Arts is a part-time public inter-district magnet high school for Fairfield County students interested in the performing arts. Currently, 245 high school students in grades 9-12 attend. Programs include Creative Video, Dance, Music, Musical Theater, and Theater. RCA’s student body reflects racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity of the Greater Bridgeport Region. Students who feel a passion for performance with or without professional training are welcome to apply to the program. Students attend Staples in the morning and the Regional Center for the Arts in the afternoon from 1:30-4:45 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Transportation is provided by the school district. Based on 450 instructional hours from September to June, Staples students attending RCA are eligible to earn 3.0 credits per school year, which count toward their Staples graduation requirements. Credits are listed on the Staples transcript along with the letter grade assigned by RCA. The grade will be factored into the grade point average as an elective course (no level weight).
University of Connecticut Courses Through Early College Experience (ECE)
UConn Early College Experience is a concurrent enrollment program for motivated high school students. Students can take UConn courses at their high school for both high school and college credit for a fraction of the cost of normal college tuition. The UConn ECE courses at Staples High School are:
Teachers for these courses have been certified as UConn ECE Affiliate Faculty through UConn. Upon completion of the course with a passing grade, enrolled students will receive college credits from UConn. These credits are accepted at 87% of colleges and universities across the country. Starting with the Class of 2022, ECE courses will be designated on the student’s Staples transcript along with the UConn ECE grade weighted at the college course level in the GPA. Visit the UConn ECE web site for more information (https://ece.uconn.edu/).
ALTERNATIVES TO STAPLES HIGH SCHOOL
Academy of Information, Technology, & Engineering (AITE) The Academy of Information Technology & Engineering is an inter-district, public, magnet high school located in Stamford. With a maximum enrollment of 700 students, AITE draws students from throughout western Fairfield County. AITE offers a dynamic college preparatory environment that integrates 21st century learning expectations, world language acquisition, emphasis on global competencies, advanced information technology skills and knowledge, introductory courses in pre-engineering and architecture, and service learning. The learning environment includes extended time classes in a block schedule with a focus on student-centered, project based learning. All students and teachers are provided with wireless laptop computers that promote inquiry, creativity, and collaboration. Honors, Advanced Placement, college credit, and virtual high school courses are offered and available to all students. Admission is based on an application and lottery system.
Agriscience Program – Westhill High School
The Agriscience Program at Westhill High School in Stamford is a college preparatory program that focuses on animal and plant related sciences (referred to as agriscience). Students graduate from the program very well prepared for college, and many times have already obtained credit for introductory college classes through involvement in the UConn Early College Experience program. In addition, students learn skills they can use in their post-college career pathway. Interests of graduates include horticulture, vet science, aquaculture, traditional farming, and floral design. The competitive and intellectual advantage the students gain makes the agriscience program a good choice for any student wanting to study animal or plant related sciences.
Center for Global Studies – Brien McMahon High School
The Center for Global Studies is a magnet school-within-a-school committed to preparing students to become citizens of our global society. Our 290 students learn Arabic, Chinese, or Japanese, study the cultures and history of Asia or the Middle East, read literature from around the world, and travel on two-week study tours to broaden their understanding of the world. We are proud to expand our program to include the rigorous International Baccalaureate Diploma Program. The IB mission is simple--by educating students we can create a better world. The IB learner profile expresses the IB mission statement in action. The CGS is located within Norwalk’s Brien McMahon High School, a comprehensive high school that was completely renovated in 2005. The result is a beautiful building that is home to a diverse student population of more than 1,700 students. CGS occupies a section of the west wing of the building, and classrooms are equipped with Smartboards and chromebooks. There is a large community room for cultural events and a working kitchen where students cook international foods. Students choose to come to CGS from all over Fairfield County. They study language, literature, and history in the CGS, and they enroll in global studies-themed math, science, art, gym, health, and other electives through Brien McMahon HS.
JM Wright Technical High School
At Connecticut Technical High Schools, new and exciting educational experiences are happening. Talented and creative academic and technical teachers at Connecticut Technical High Schools are working together to develop applied and integrated lessons. Academic and technology projects are requiring students to engage in real life problem solving, increasing the variety of texts read, and developing their oral communication skills and writing skills. Research is proving that students learn better and retain concepts longer when they are educated using an applied and integrated curriculum. The development of this unique and rigorous curriculum prepares graduates of Connecticut Technical High Schools for immediate employment, or entry into apprenticeship programs, admission to two-year and four-year colleges, and lifelong learning. Students in Westport have access to programming at JM Wright Technical High School in Stamford.
The Sound School
With sweeping views of New Haven Harbor, The Sound School prepares students for college, careers, and life in a maritime-focused environment. Coupled with rigorous academics and a dedicated faculty, The Sound School has become Connecticut’s premier aquaculture/agriculture science and technology education center (ASTE). The Sound School is the first full-time ASTE center to concentrate on the study of aquaculture and marine trades in the state of Connecticut. The comprehensive academic program prepares students for a post-secondary life, which may include college, technical school, the military, or entering employment upon graduation. The curriculum includes extensive exposure to on-the-water and water-related activities and coursework such as nautical drafting, marine research, aquaculture production, and vessel handling and safety at sea.
Report cards are available via the Powerschool Student/Parent Portal approximately one week after the end of each quarter for students not owing an accountability.
Student Responsibility After Report Cards Are Issued:
● If a grade indicates academic difficulties, the student should see the teacher and ask what he or she can do to improve his or her work in the class.
● The student should initiate, with the teacher’s advice, a plan to improve which could include extra time on homework, studying, and extra help sessions with teachers.
● The student may also see his or her counselor for assistance in approaching a teacher, developing an improvement plan, or exploring issues or pressures that may be affecting his or her performance. It is your responsibility as high school students, to actively seek to improve your school performance.
● It is important for parents/guardians to view the report card when it is available.
● Parents should review the report cards with their child. If progress is less than satisfactory, talk to your child about what is happening with that class and what his or her plans are to improve their performance. Encourage your child to talk with his or her teacher. Follow up on what the teacher conference determined as a plan to improve.
● If your child needs your support or you have a serious concern, please contact the teacher for suggestions for a plan for improvement.
● If a second report indicates no progress, please contact the teacher. You may also want to contact your child’s school counselor for advice, particularly if there is a difficulty in more than one class.
● It is important that you are aware of your child’s academic performance and maintain a dialogue with your child and school staff as appropriate
A parent/guardian will verify the residency of their student the summer prior to the student beginning their 9th grade year. If a parent arrives to Staples with residency verification papers for their children in other schools, those packets are to be sent to the appropriate school via interoffice mail.
Parents should review the current student information sheet provided in the binder and sign that they can confirm the information is accurate and make any necessary updates or changes.
Category 1: Residency Documentation (one of the following)
○ Contract to Purchase
○ Signed Month-to-Month Lease signed by tenant & landlord including landlord phone number
○ Mortgage Statement
○ Real Estate Tax Bill
○ Signed Rental Lease
Category 2: Photo Identification (one of the following)
○ Current Driver’s License
○ Current Passport
Category 3: Utility Bills (two of the following)
○ Cable, water, gas, oil, electric, propane (not cell phone)
○ Bills must be copies of the originals or printed from online bill pay (must show address/name)
Each of the forms presented from each category are to be photocopied at home and provided to the school. Upon receipt of the 3 categories a representative of the school will log the information into PowerSchool.
For unusual situations, please contact the Superintendent’s office at 203-341-1010.
Intervening to support student’s academic, social, emotional and behavioral needs.
The Westport Public Schools and the Staples High School community believe in the success of all students. The Response to Intervention (RtI) structure at SHS works to ensure all students are provided an appropriate and supportive program that meets the needs of all students. It is expected that Tier 1 interventions would have been attempted in the classroom prior to referring to the RtI team unless otherwise referred by another staff member.
The Response to Intervention team meets 1 time in the 4 day cycle during period 2 on a A day. The team consists of members of the Academic Support Department, a special education teacher, school psychologist, school nurse, reading specialists and the student’s school counselor as well as an assistant principal who chairs the meetings. The intent of the meeting is to be responsive to family, community and teacher concerns regarding a student's academic progress or social/emotional interactions within the classroom or in regards to the Staples community.
A student may be referred to the Response to Intervention team by any member of the school community, by parents/guardians or through conversations with other concerned students. Once the student is referred via the online form completed by a staff member at Staples High School, the student is placed on the agenda for the following team meeting. Cases are reviewed in counselor order as the counselor is the staff member designated to provide the student’s case file and review their findings. Based on preliminary information the team reviews the student's file and makes recommendations as to how to proceed. Examples of next steps may include:
● Further detailed file review.
● Gathering of teacher reports from student’s current teachers.
● Communication with home, parents/guardians/guardians.
● Academic inventory such as a Qualitative Reading Inventory or Aleks math screening assessment.
● Social/emotional inventory such as rating scales in specific areas.
The student will then be reviewed at the following meeting or when the teacher reports are submitted and inventories (if appropriate) have been completed. Once the student’s case is reviewed classroom supports may be recommended as well as further interventions which may include:
● Observation of student.
● Close monitoring of student attendance.
● Course recommendations.
● Executive functioning strategies.
● Classroom management strategies.
● Differentiation strategies.
● Further assessments.
● Meeting with the student’s parent/guardian(s)/guardian(s)
The student’s school counselor will communicate the plan with the student, the student’s current teachers and parent/guardian(s)/guardian(s). The team will draft a plan to add to the student’s file.
From this point on the student’s case will be reviewed every 4-8 weeks or as necessary to determine if the interventions are successful or if amendments to the plan need to be made.
In addition to the weekly RTI team Staples also organizes student supports in Consult Teams. These teams consist of guidance counselors, a social worker, a psychologist and RTI team member. When there are concerns regarding a student often the interventions may begin here by recommending close monitoring of student behavior or academic progress. Additionally, a student may be introduced to a school social worker or psychologist or may begin weekly, bi-weekly or monthly check-ins with their guidance counselor. When concerns are not able to be addressed through the consult teams further examination may be necessary through the RTI team.
Once schedules are released, there is a set time window for students to make a very specific set of permitted schedule changes:
|Permitted Schedule Changes||Deadline|
|Change as a result of successful completion of an approved summer acceleration course||Start of the upcoming school year|
|Change as a result of a failed course from the previous year||Start of the upcoming school year|
|Correction to a course scheduled in error by the school||Start of the upcoming school year|
|Change needed to meet a Staples graduation requirement or specific, documented college or post-secondary institution’s requirements (e.g., NCAA, UK, California state university)||Start of the upcoming school year|
|Add a course to fill an incomplete schedule or insufficient number of credits||Start of the upcoming school year|
|Drop a course to take a free period with parent/guardian permission||End of the 30th school day of the current term (see course withdrawal policy below)|
|Add a course during an unscheduled period if there is space available and doesn’t require another change in the schedule||End of the 4th school day of the current term|
|Change to a lower level in a course with parent/guardian permission and teacher recommendation (i.e., from AP to Honors, Honors to A, A to B, or B to C of the same course; note: many AP courses do not allow for level changes, as there’s no similar course at the Honors or A level)||No set deadline (see guidelines below)|
|Change to a higher level in a course with parent/guardian permission, current teacher recommendation, and department coordinator approval (i.e., C to B, B to A, A to Honors, or Honors to AP of the same course)||No set deadline; only considered in rare circumstances and after a reasonable time window has passed for current teacher to fairly assess student|
There will be no other schedule changes permitted once the school year starts, including changes to electives and changes for second semester. Staples, Coleytown, and Bedford counselors meet individually with every student and often have follow-up conversations with students and parents/guardians. Teachers spend considerable time making thoughtful, individualized recommendations for each student in their classes. Budget and staffing levels are determined in the spring for the following school year based on student course selections. In return for the time and effort devoted to developing individual programs for each student and constructing and funding a master schedule based on student requests, students and families are trusted to put significant thought into the decisions that are made during the allotted course selection period and make a commitment to following through on these requests.
Students are urged to make thoughtful decisions when selecting their courses, challenge themselves appropriately, balance out-of-school commitments responsibly, persist in the face of challenges, and take advantage of available school resources. Staples school counselors, administrators, and faculty are committed to assisting students with developing the skills and strategies necessary to be successful as well as the resilience to handle academic difficulties that arise.
Dropping or changing levels in a course should, therefore, be viewed as a last resort. Nevertheless, there may be times when, despite a full effort from the student, a particular course placement proves to be beyond their abilities or they may feel overwhelmed by their overall course load. There is no deadline to make a level change in a course (i.e., from AP to Honors, Honors to A, A to B, or B to C of the same course).
There is no deadline to make a level change in the same course (i.e., from AP to Honors, Honors to A, A to B, or B to C of the same course). Please note, however, that many AP courses do not allow for level changes, as there’s no similar course offered at the Honors or A level (e.g., AP English Language, AP European History, AP Environmental Science). Should a student in an AP course without a similar course offered at the Honors or A level find the course to be too difficult once the deadline to add a new course has passed, he or she would need to drop the AP course altogether and add a replacement course for a future term (see course withdrawal policy below).
To facilitate a level change in a course, the student should consult with their teacher, school counselor, and parent/guardian. After demonstrating that all other options have been exhausted, if the student still wishes to make the level change, written permission from the parent/guardian to the school counselor is required, along with a recommendation from the teacher to make the change. The school counselor will then attempt to make the schedule change with the least amount of disruption to the student’s schedule while keeping class sizes balanced.
Students and parents/guardians should be aware, however, that level changes are subject to space availability, as the needs of the individual student have to be balanced with the needs of all students who could be impacted if a change were made. In some cases, it is impossible to change levels due to schedule or space limitations so that the student may have to cope with an inappropriate course for the entire year, or a change can be made that necessitates changes to other courses in the student’s schedule.
When a level change is made, all grades earned from the previous level class will be carried over and combined with grades earned in the new class to arrive at the final grade (grades are not adjusted for level). The final level appearing on the transcript, as well as credit earned, will reflect the course in which the student is enrolled after the level change.
The deadline to drop a course altogether without record and have the course removed from the transcript is the end of the 30th school day of the term for full-year courses, first-semester courses, and second-semester courses. Students dropping a course after the drop deadline will adhere to the following policy:
Police, school system representatives and bus company representatives respond to ALL bus accidents no matter how MINOR they are. Fire and emergency medical services respond to all accidents when necessary. A complete assessment of any possible injury is done at the scene by medical services’ personnel. Investigation of the accident is done by the police, fire and public safety Personnel.
PLEASE REMAIN AWAY FROM THE ACCIDENT SCENE, SO ROADS REMAIN PASSABLE FOR EMERGENCY VEHICLES AND PERSONNEL!
PARENT/GUARDIAN: YOU NEED TO REMAIN AT HOME TO RECEIVE INFORMATION AND INSTRUCTIONS, IF IT IS NECESSARY.
All parents/guardians/guardians of children on the bus(s) involved in an accident will be notified by the principal and transportation coordinator as soon as possible.
Parent’s/guardian’s) of children transported to a medical facility will be notified immediately. No child will be released to anyone but a parent/guardian/guardian or written specified designee. Students who proceed to school after a minor bus accident:
● Parents/guardians of all children on the bus will be notified by the principal and transportation coordinator.
● All students will be medically assessed by the school nurse. The nurse will notify the parent/guardian/guardian of those children in need of further medical treatment or at home observation.
Children will be medically observed throughout the day in consultation with their teacher(s).
Protocol for Communicating Classroom Assignments to Students
Staples High School has implemented the use of Schoology as the Learning Management System to communicate important information related to classwork, homework, assignments, projects, and assessments. The full functionality of this system allows for teachers to input this information along with corresponding documents into the system so that students may use this resource as a way to organize their work and maintain consistent communication with their teachers while also allowing parents/guardians and support staff access so they may support their children.
Teachers are expected to post all assignments, homework, and due dates to Schoology. Optimally, teachers should also be using the system to post classwork, class notes, and reading materials discussed or used in class as well. One of the best features of Schoology is that it allows a student seamless access to their classwork when they are absent from school to aid in supporting students who may be sick or have family obligations or other events which may cause them to miss school.
Any other system, such as Google Classroom, used in classrooms to foster collaboration, turn in assignments, or word process is secondary to Schoology. One of the original intents of adopting Schoology as the k-12 learning management system for the Westport Public Schools was access and functionality for all stakeholders. The following protocols are in place to support the goal of transparency and foster communication among all stakeholders for the success of every student:
● Assignments will be posted on Schoology with due dates using the Assignments category, and all assignment details must be in the assignment post or attached to the assignment.
o Assignments/homework will be posted on Schoology by 4pm on the day the assignment/homework is announced/assigned.
o Google docs may be linked to an assignment on Schoology; however, they need to be shared so that anyone with a WPS login can view.
o In the assignment description, teachers will indicate how the assignment will be turned in: Schoology, shared folder, in class, etc.
● The following does not meet the guidelines for posting on Schoology:
o Posting an assignment as an update or event.
o Linking assignments to other systems, sending an email or alternative applications, such as a link to Google Classroom.
● The due date for an assignment will be announced in the classroom by the end of the class period if the assignment is to be due the following day/next class (posting to the whiteboard or overhead would also be acceptable).
● The titles of assignments, classwork, projects and other materials must be the same on Schoology, PowerSchool, and Google Classroom.
● If a teacher chooses to use other methods of collecting work and communicating with students, those methods will be clearly defined in the teacher’s syllabus. This does not change the school expectations for posting to Schoology.
The Staples High School Senior Internship program is a privilege extended to qualified seniors, in order to enable them to engage in a meaningful learning experience in an area of interest outside of the constructs of the formal school program. By helping to foster independence and decision-making skills, the program provides students with an opportunity to make a smoother transition from high school to college, career, or wherever life may take them. By working in our community, students have a chance to gain a hands-on understanding of their long-term goals. Perhaps more importantly, this opportunity allows seniors a chance to give back to businesses and organizations that have supported them throughout their years in Westport.
It is important for students to understand that while participating in the Senior Internship program, they are an ambassador of Staples High School to the community. In order to qualify for the privilege of participating in the Senior Internship Program, all of the following conditions must be met:
● has satisfactorily met all credit requirements for graduation.
● has met the civic and social expectations of the school.
● has met the conditions set out by the Code of Conduct, and has not been suspended for a violation of the Code of Conduct during senior year.
o the Principal will review any suspensions (OSS and/or ISS) from first semester
o there shall have been no suspensions (OSS and/or ISS) during second semester
● has not lost credit in any class during senior year due to attendance.
● has cleared their accountabilities prior to the start of the internship period.
● must maintain the school’s standards of behavior while participating in their internship, and meet all expectations set out by the internship contract
o If a student fails to meet these expectations, the student will lose the internship privilege, and return to the normal school program. If a student is arrested during senior year before or while on their internship, they will no longer be eligible to participate in the Senior Internship Program.
If a student is participating in the internship at the time of their arrest, their internship will be terminated, and the student will return to school as a full time student. The reason for the arrest will be reviewed by the administration to determine if further disciplinary action is necessary.
If a student is expelled from school at any time during their senior year, they will not be eligible to participate in the Senior Internship Program.
A student who has not met the above conditions may appeal to the Principal for restoration of the internship privilege. The Principal has sole discretion over the decision whether to restore the internship privilege.
Seniors may not intern at a previous or present place of employment, consistent with Connecticut labor statutes. Students may not intern with a member of their immediate family.
Smoking is banned, at any time, by students, visitors or other adults in the school building, on school grounds and in school vehicles. Smoking is also prohibited in personal vehicles on school property. This policy is in effect twenty-four hours a day. Also banned is possession by students of tobacco products or non-tobacco smoking products (including but not limited to chewing tobacco and herbal cigarettes). Smoking is not permitted at any school function (including dances, proms, extra-curricular activities and athletic events.) Failure to follow this policy can lead to barring a student’s offender from school activities where such an infraction has occurred.
Definition: “smoke” or “smoking” means the lighting or carrying of a lighted cigarette, cigar, pipe or similar device, however, based on administrative investigation, a student may be determined to have been smoking based on a preponderance of other evidence (such as being in a restroom stall with smoke rising out of the stall, etc.). Visible cigarettes found on students while in the school building will be confiscated to promote our smoke-free environment.
The use or possession of electronic smoking devices of any type.
Adults who have contact with children and adolescents through school activities have the responsibility not to betray or misuse their privileged position. Students develop a special trust in school staff by virtue of the school system’s authority and the important role the school plays in their lives. Adults must never take advantage of students’ vulnerability or of their confidence that adults in school will behave appropriately in relationships with them. It is the policy of the Westport Board of Education to prohibit any sexual relationship, contact or sexually unwanted behavior or communication (verbal or non-verbal) between a staff member and a student, while the student is enrolled in the school system. The prohibition extends to students of the opposite sex or the same sex as the staff member, and applies regardless of whether the student or the staff member is the initiator of the behavior and whether or not the student welcomes or reciprocates the attention.
Staff Members: part-time and full-time employees, substitutes, consultants,coaches, tutors, bus drivers, bus monitors, student-teachers, interns, volunteers, and others who work with or have contact with children under the auspices of, or through contract with, the Board of Education.
Prohibited Behavior: includes, but is not limited to: flirting and bantering with sexual overtones, dating, courting or engaging in a personal relationship on or off campus that is sexually motivated or unwanted, having any physical sexual contact or sexual intercourse with any student.
Complaints: should be reported to the principal, who will investigate to determine whether a violation has occurred. The principal will inform the Superintendent that the investigation is being conducted.
Violations: will result in disciplinary action up to and including dismissal. Employees’ due process rights will be safeguarded. The principal: will consult with the assistant superintendent for pupil personnel to determine whether any alleged violation falls into the category of sexual harassment and/or child abuse or sexual abuse; if so, it might need to be addressed according to those policies and/or also reported to the police or another agency.
Procedures: procedures for filing complaints and for conducting investigations will be developed by the Superintendent.
The Staples Student Assembly has as its primary purpose the promotion of student affairs and interests and has its own budget. It serves as the student voice for the Collaborative Team and the school. There are 40 members, ten from each class. Elections are held in the spring, except for the 10 Freshmen, who are chosen in the fall. The Assembly meets twice a month.
The Collaborative Team is composed of the principal, administrators, teacher representatives from each department, the president and vice president of Student Assembly, and the co-PTA presidents. This group meets weekly to develop policy, create school improvement goals, and make decisions on important aspects of school life. One of the major objectives of the group is to foster faculty leadership and broaden collective problem solving in the school community.
PSAT/SAT Tests - 2021-2022
Connecticut In-School SAT for JUNIORS ONLY- March 24-28, 2022
PSAT - TBD
Next Generation Science Standard Assessment for JUNIORS ONLY May 2022 (Actual dates TBD)
Advanced Placement Tests
AP tests are administered each May for students enrolled in AP classes. There is a fee involved. Students are responsible for payment of the administration fee.
1. AP course teachers may assign a reasonable amount of summer work. Summer assignments will be deemed reasonable by the appropriate department chair.
2. Summer assignments will be allowed in the following non-AP courses:
Future additions to this list will be determined by a Collaborative Team vote following a presentation of compelling reasons by the appropriate department chair and further discussion by the team.
3. Two summer reading books of the students’ choice OR of teacher’s selection may be assigned for grades 9-12.
4. All sections for a particular course must give the same summer assignment with the same set of expectations and the same rubric.
5. Departments need to provide extremely clear instructions and expectations for all summer assignments.
6. Exemplar summer assignments will be posted on the web for student use when applicable, as determined by department heads.
7. The course description book will specify which courses include a summer assignment.
8. All summer assignments with rubrics, will be linked to the SHS website.
Westport Public Schools understands that technology is an important and integrated part of our society. However, research has shown that continual access to social media through technology increases anxiety and has detrimental effects on learning. In order to use technology mindfully and purposefully for enhancing learning, we will implement the following policy for its use in our classrooms.
Upon entering class, students will store their personal device, including smartphones, smart watches, headphones, and similar devices, in the classroom organizer. All items must be powered off.
Teachers may provide alternative means of storing personal technology, including a bin, table, or in students’ backpacks.
When the teacher determines that personal technology will be beneficial to the purposes and activities of a class, students will access and use their devices for that specific purpose or activity.
Students should understand that all technology used in the classroom environment is for work and learning related purposes and that at no time during class is it appropriate to use personal technology, including BYOD laptops and tablets, for non-academic purposes (e.g., exchanging messages, using social media, or playing games).
If students are unsure if they are using technology appropriately in the classroom, they can ask themselves the following:
1. Is this directly in support of my class work and learning responsibilities?
2. Does the way I am using technology adversely impact my productivity or the productivity of others?
3. If someone observed me doing this, would it give the impression that I was not on task?
*See Consequences below**
There is a clear expectation that staff, students, and parents will support this policy. In the event that a student is not compliant with the classroom technology policy, we will implement the following interventions:
1. If a student uses a personal device, including their BYOD laptop, tablet, smartphone, smartwatch, headphones, etc. without the express direction of the teacher, the teacher will remind the student of the policy, and:
a. ask him/her to store the device, or
b. if the device is required for class, redirect the student to return to the task.
2. If the student requires repeated reminders within or across class periods, and continues to use a personal device, including their BYOD laptop, tablet, smartphone, smartwatch, headphones, etc. in a manner that is not consistent with the policy and class expectations, then:
a. at the teacher’s discretion, the teacher will confiscate the device, send the student to the assistant principals’ office, or notify the student’s assistant principal after class.
b. The student will meet with an assistant principal to review the technology policy, discuss their choices, and determine solutions to help them follow the policy moving forward. The student’s parent/guardian(s) will be notified of the discussion by the assistant principal.
3. If the student continues to use technology inappropriately after their meeting with the assistant principal, then:
a. the assistant principal may require that a parent/guardian must retrieve the device.
b. Repeated misuse may also result in further disciplinary action or restrictions on the student’s access to personal technology and will require a meeting with the student, parent/guardian(s), and assistant principal, where additional supports and consequences will be decided upon and put in place in accordance with the Staples High School Code of Conduct.
When students are not assigned to a class, they are expected to be in the Cafeteria, library, courtyards, Academic Centers, Language Lab, Technology Lab or working with a faculty member. Students are not permitted to roam in halls, the parking lot or around entranceways to the school, during class periods. Students are not permitted to leave campus during unassigned (“free”) period in the middle of their school day without the prior approval of their parents. A parent must inform the proper Grade Level Assistant. Consequences of such infractions will be given, including, but not limited to the loss of parking privileges.
Adopted by Principals/TSO Administrators, 4/28/98. Modified 2/25/02
Rationale: The school system recognizes the need to balance an open and welcoming atmosphere with the need to assure stability and continuity, to safeguard against disruption of the educational process, and to ensure the security of the school. The principal has the authority to make decisions about all visitors to schools and classes, using the following guidelines:
Adults/not Parents of Resident Students
The School System Information Office at the Board of Education office in Town Hall School Office provides extensive written material about the system, and the assistant to the superintendent is available to meet briefly with potential residents to answer general questions. School staff members’ time should not be occupied responding to non-parent/guardian adult visitors or potential students, except under rare and carefully controlled circumstances.
1. We do not provide tours of schools or meetings with principals for parents/guardians of potential residents.
2. Guidance counselors and other staff members are fully occupied with professional responsibilities and cannot meet to describe the Westport program or to discuss specific programs for students who are not yet Westport residents.
3. Because of the need for security at all of our schools, we do not encourage visitors to enter the school or walk around after school hours.
Parents of Current Students:
We orient parents/guardians to the curriculum and program through many means, including curriculum and course description materials, PTA meetings, special programs, regular written communications from the school system and Back To School Nights at every school.
The purposes of implementing a prescriptive student code of conduct are to:
1. Effectively communicate a clear set of expected student behaviors, infractions and consequences to the Staples students, parents/guardians, and staff, in an easily understood, concise format.
2. Allow for consistent and predictable resolution of behavioral infractions.
3. Reinforce the Staples High School Core Values:
● Cherish the attainment of academic excellence
● Act with respect and speak with kindness to one another
● Respect each person’s right to a safe and productive learning environment
● Protect personal and school property The Staples Student Code of Conduct is based on the need to:
● Balance the rights of the individual and the rights of the entire Staples school community.
● Maintain a safe and orderly environment for the entire Staples community.
● Respect personal and public property.
● Respect oneself and others.
● Communicate a high standard of student conduct.
● Have fair and consistent treatment of all students.
● Accept personal responsibility.
● Establish a progressive set of consequences for repeat offenses.
Within the scope of this policy, it is recognized that traditional consequences have not always brought significant changes in behavior for all students. Within the confines of this policy, it is recognized that latitude and discretion may be necessary in affecting change with certain students.
While it is impossible to categorize all behaviors that are disruptive of the educational process, the Staples Student Code of Conduct stipulates the most common behavioral infractions, and establishes a range of consequences for each.
When anyone’s rights are violated or someone is not acting according to school rules and regulations, the school administration will take firm action.
Students who are accused of committing an infraction have the right to an informal hearing; be informed of reasons for disciplinary action; and be given an opportunity to explain the situation. In the event of an emergency, the informal hearing shall be held as soon after the suspension as possible. Parents will be notified of the suspension and cause as soon as feasible.
Breaches of discipline generally fall into four broad categories depending upon whether the behavior:
1. Disrupts a teaching-learning situation,
2. Injures oneself or others
3. Damages personal or public property, or
4. Violates school regulations and/or state/federal laws.
These categories are not mutually exclusive since the same act can conceivably fall into all four areas. Infractions within each category can range from very minor to very serious.
- Bullying Prohibition Policy
- Code of Conduct frequently used terms and definitions
- Definition of Disciplinary Consequences
- Prohibited Student Conduct
- In-School Suspension
- Title IX and Sexual Harassment
The Westport Board of Education is dedicated to promoting and maintaining a positive learning environment where all students are welcomed, supported, and feel socially, emotionally, intellectually and physically safe in school.
A. Bullying is prohibited on school grounds, at a school-sponsored or school- related activity, function or program whether on or off school grounds, at a school bus stop, on a school bus or other vehicle owned, leased, or used by a local or regional board of education, or through the use of an electronic device or an electronic mobile device owned, leased, or used by the local or regional Board of Education.
B. Bullying is also prohibited outside of the school setting if such bullying results in the following:
● creates a hostile environment at school for the student against whom such bullying was directed
● infringes on the rights of the student against whom such bullying was directed at school
● substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school
C. Any form of discrimination and retaliation against an individual who reports or assist in the investigation of an act of bullying is strictly prohibited. If acts of bullying are verified, disciplinary action may be taken against the perpetrator, consistent with his/her rights of due process.
In accordance with state law, it is the policy of the Board of Education that any form of bullying behavior, whether in the classroom, on school property or at school-sponsored events, is expressly forbidden.
Students who engage in bullying behavior shall be subject to school discipline up to and including expulsion in accordance with the Board’s policy on student discipline.
The detailed Board Policy and Administrative regulations can be accessed online at: http://www.westportps.org/behave.htm
DEFINITIONS USED IN THE CODE OF CONDUCT:
A. “Bullying” means
(1) the repeated use by one or more students of a written, oral, or electronic communication, such as cyber-bullying, directed at or referring to another student attending school in the same school district, or
(2) a physical act or gesture by one or more students repeatedly directed at another student attending school in the same school district, that:
(a) Causes physical or emotional harm to such student or damage to such student’s property,
(b) Places such student in reasonable fear of harm to himself or herself, or of damage to his or her property,
(d) Infringes on the rights of such student at school, or
(e) Substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school. Bullying shall include, but not be limited to, a written, oral, or electronic communication or physical gesture based on any actual or perceived differentiating characteristic, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, socioeconomic status, academic status, physical appearance, or mental, physical, developmental, or sensory disability, or by association with an individual or group who has or is perceived to have one or more of such characteristics.
B. “Cyberbullying” means any act of bullying through the use of the Internet, interactive and digital technologies, cellular mobile telephone or other mobile devices or any electronic communications.
C. “Mobile electronic device” means any hand-held or other portable electronic equipment capable of providing data communication between two or more individuals, including, but not limited to, a text messaging device, a paging device, a personal digital assistant, a laptop computer, equipment that is capable of playing a video game or a digital video disk, any piece of technology with internet capability or equipment on which digital images are taken or transmitted.
D. “Electronic communication” means any transfer of signs, signals, writing, images, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature transmitted in whole or in part by a wire, radio, electromagnetic, photo-electronic, or photo-optical system.
E. “Hostile environment” means a situation in which bullying among students is sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the school climate.
F. “Out of the school setting” means at a location, activity, or program that is not school related, or through the use of an electronic device or a mobile electronic device that is not owned, leased or used by a local or regional board of education.
● For purposes of this policy, “school-sponsored activity” shall mean any activity conducted on or off school property (including school buses and other school-related vehicles) that is sponsored by the Board of Education.
● Public Act No.02-119 AND 06-115
● Connecticut General Statutes Sections 10-233a through 10-233f
Administrative Procedures The district’s commitment to addressing bullying behavior involves the promotion of a school atmosphere in which bullying will not be tolerated by students or staff. Students who are determined to have engaged in such behavior are subject to disciplinary action, in accordance with school system policies on student conduct and discipline. The prohibition against “bullying” shall be publicized annually to parents/guardians and students.
I. DEFINITION: While the determination that conduct does not constitute “bullying” does not restrict the right of the district to impose appropriate disciplinary consequences for student misbehavior, for acts to be defined as “bullying” under state law and board policy, the following characteristics must be present:
Repeated misconduct. The behavior must be “repeated against the same student over time.” An isolated incident, however egregious, is not “bullying” under state law and board policy. Similarly, numerous acts of misconduct against dif erent students do not constitute “bullying” under law and policy. (Single incidents of misbehavior, however, will still be dealt with under usual disciplinary procedures.)
Ridicule, humiliation, and/or intimidation. As defined by law and policy, “bullying” is more than misconduct, such as aggression. “Bullying” behavior is marked by the intent to ridicule, humiliate or intimidate the victim. In evaluating whether conduct constitutes “bullying”, special attention should be paid to the words chosen or actions taken, whether such conduct occurred in front of others or was communicated to others, how the perpetrator interacted with the victim, and the motivation, either admitted or appropriately inferred, of the perpetrator.
Types of conduct that could constitute “bullying” include, but are not limited to: ● Physical violence and/or attacks;
● Verbal taunts, name-calling and put-downs, including taunts based on appearance, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, handicap, etc.;
● Threats and intimidation;
● Extortion or stealing of money and/or possessions;
● Exclusion from peer group
II COMPLAINT PROCEDURE
Students and/or parents/guardians may file written reports of conduct that they consider to be bullying. The reports should be specific as to the action giving rise to the suspicion of bullying, including time(s) and place(s) of the conduct alleged, the number of such incidents, the target of the suspected bullying, and the names of any potential student or staff witnesses. To assure completeness, it is suggested that the complainants use the applicable district report form (see appendix). A report may be filed with a teacher, administrator, guidance counselor, school nurse or other staff member, who shall refer it to the principal for review and action in accordance with Section IV. Complaint forms are available in the Assistant Principals’ Office, the Guidance Office or the Nurses’ Office at Staples High School.
Students may make an informal complaint of conduct that they consider to be bullying by a verbal report to a teacher, administrator, guidance counselor, school nurse or other staff member. The complaint should be reasonably specific as to the actions giving rise to the suspicion of bullying, including time and place of the conduct alleged, the number of such incidents, the target of such suspected bullying, and the names of any potential student or staff witnesses. Any school employee who receives an informal complaint shall complete a written report form, including the information provided, and shall forward the reports to the principal no later than the following school day.
Students who make informal complaints may request that their name be kept confidential. In such cases, the principal or designee shall meet with the student to review the request for anonymity and the impact that maintaining anonymity may have on the investigation of the complaint and/or possible remedial action. At this meeting, the student shall be given the choice as to whether to maintain the anonymity of the complaint. Anonymous complaints shall be reviewed and reasonable action will be taken to address the situation, to the extent such action (1) does not disclose the source of the complaint, and (2) is consistent with the due process rights of the accused student(s).
III DISPOSITION OF COMPLAINTS: Staff Responsibilities
Witnesses: A staff member, who witnesses acts of bullying, as defined above, shall promptly notify the building principal or designee of the events and file a written report form no later than the following day.
Recipients of Complaints:
Formal complaints: A staff member who receives a written complaint shall forward it immediately to the building principal or designee.
Informal complaints: Staff members receiving informal (verbal) complaints from students shall fill out a written report form and forward it to the principal or designee immediately (no later than the following school day). Staff members who receive verbal complaints from parent/guardians or other adults should request the informant to fill out a formal report.
IV HANDLING OF COMPLAINTS: Administrators’ Responsibilities
All complaints shall be investigated promptly under the direction of the building principal or designee, and a written report prepared when the investigation is complete. The report shall include findings of fact, a determination of whether acts of bullying were verified, and, when acts of bullying are verified, a recommendation for intervention, including disciplinary action if appropriate. Where appropriate, written witness statements shall be attached to the report. However, when a student making an informal complaint has requested anonymity, the investigation of the complaint shall be limited as is appropriate in view of the anonymity of the complainant. Such limitation of investigation may include restricting action to a simple review of the compliant, subject to receipt of further information and/or the withdrawal by the complaining student of the condition that his/her report be anonymous.
Follow-up: Remedial Action
Verified acts of bullying shall result in intervention by the building principal or designee that is reasonably designed to assure that the prohibition against bullying behavior is enforced, with the hope and expectation that any such bullying behavior will end as a result.
Bullying behavior can take many forms and can vary dramatically in its seriousness, and its impact on the victim and other students. Accordingly, there is no one prescribed response to verified acts of bullying. While conduct that rises to the level of “bullying” as defined above may warrant disciplinary action against the perpetrator, in accordance with the school system’s normal disciplinary procedures, whether and to what extent to impose disciplinary action is a matter for the sound discretion of the building principal.
Reporting and Record-Keeping Obligations
A. Report to the parents/guardians of the perpetrator
If after investigation, acts of bullying by a specific student are verified, the building principal or his/her designee shall notify the student’s parents/guardians in writing of that finding. If disciplinary consequences are imposed against such student, a description of such discipline shall be included in such notification.
B. Report to the victim and his/her parents/guardians
If, after investigation, acts of bullying against a specific student are verified, the building principal or his/her designee shall notify the parent/guardian or guardian of the victim of such finding. In providing such notification, care must be taken to respect the statutory privacy rights of the perpetrator. The specific disciplinary consequences imposed, as reflected in the perpetrator’s educational records, shall not be disclosed to the parents/guardians of the victim, except as provided by law.
C. Record of List of verified acts of bullying
The principal of each school shall maintain a list of the number of verified acts of bullying in the school, and this list shall be available for public inspection upon request. Given that any determination of bullying involves repeated acts over time, each report prepared in accordance with A and B above that includes verified acts of bullying shall be tallied as one verified act of bullying unless the specific actions that are the subject of the report involve separate and distinct acts of bullying
Throughout the Staples’ Student Code of Conduct, the following terms shall mean as follows:
(With the exception of “Monitored Study” and “Detention,” the definitions utilized are derived from Connecticut General Statutes Section 10-233a)
(a) “Exclusion” means any denial of public school privileges to a pupil for disciplinary purposes.
(b) “Removal” means an exclusion from a classroom for all or part of a single class period, provided such exclusion shall not extend beyond ninety minutes.
(c) “In-school suspension” means an exclusion from regular classroom activity for no more than ten consecutive school days, but not exclusion from school, provided such exclusion shall not extend beyond the end of the school year in which such in-school suspension was imposed.
(d) “Suspension” means exclusion from school privileges or from transportation services only for no more than ten consecutive school days, provided such exclusion shall not extend beyond the end of the school year in which such suspension was imposed.
(e) “Expulsion” means an exclusion from school privileges for more than ten consecutive school days and shall be deemed to include, but not be limited to, exclusion from the school to which such pupil was assigned at the time such disciplinary action was taken, provided such exclusion shall not extend beyond a period of one calendar year.
(f) “Emergency” means a situation under which the continued presence of the pupil in school poses such a danger to persons or property or such a disruption of the educational process that a hearing may be delayed until a time as soon after the exclusion of such pupil as possible.
(g) “School” means any school under the direction of a local or regional board of education or any school for which one or more such boards of education pays eighty per cent or more of the tuition costs for students enrolled in such school.
(h) “School-sponsored activity” means any activity sponsored, recognized or authorized by a board of education and includes activities conducted on or off school property.
(i) “Monitored Study” indicates that a student reports to a supervised study room in the Assistant Principals’ Office, rather than be allowed to utilize his or her free period.
(j) “Detention” is a one-hour, after school supervised study hall, which is usually held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:15 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.
DEFINITION OF OTHER DISCIPLINARY CONSEQUENCES:
1. “Monitored Study”: Assignment of a student to a supervised study room during some or all of unscheduled school time.
2. “Detention”: A one-hour period of time after school. Detention will be held twice weekly from 2:10 to 3:10 PM. Any student arriving after 2:20 will not be admitted and will report to the Assistant Principal on the following day.
● Failure to report to a scheduled detention will result in additional consequences including two additional detentions or in-school suspension
● Students will be given a 24 hour notice of a detention in order to arrange for transportation home, as applicable
● Students are responsible for their own transportation from detention.
3. Saturday Detention
● Students must serve the entire four (4) hours in order to receive credit for having attended Saturday Detention
● Students who have accumulated four (4) Saturday Detention in a single school year will be suspended for all subsequent offenses that would normally warrant assignment of a Saturday Detention.
● Students are responsible for transportation to and from Saturday Detention. The school district will not provide transportation.
● Absence because of illness should be reported and verified by the parent/guardian or guardian directly to the Attendance Secretary on the Monday following the assigned detention. Students will automatically be assigned to serve the detention at the next available date.
● Students who arrive late (8:15) will be assigned an additional Saturday Detention.
● Students who arrive late (8:15), cut, refuse to attend, or are dismissed from detention will receive one day of Out Of School Suspension.
● All students are expected to bring enough work to stay on task independently for the duration of the detention. Students who fail to bring sufficient work will be dismissed.
● No talking, radios, electronic devices, sleeping, or non-curricular materials are allowed.
● The use of computers, personal digital assistants, and cellular telephones is exclusively prohibited.
● Students will not have access to vending machines in the school.
● Water brought from home will be allowed.
● No snacks or food of any kind will be allowed.
● Students are not allowed to access their lockers – all study materials must be brought at the time of the detention.
● Students who are uncooperative or disruptive will be asked to leave by the detention monitor.
● Lack of transportation, oversleeping, working, athletic competition, and recreational activities are NOT legitimate excuses for missing Saturday Detention.
The following are not allowed in monitored study or the detention room:
● Food or beverages of any kind
● Radio or entertainment devices
● Use of phones or lockers
Any type of inappropriate behavior may result in dismissal from detention. Any student who is dismissed from detention is to report to the Assistant Principal on the following day. Any student dismissed from detention is subject to further consequences including an additional 2 detentions or suspension.
Work, team practices and games, club meetings and activities, among other things, are not valid reasons for missing detention.
Detentions may not be rescheduled unless a valid emergency arises.
Students not in school on the day they are to serve a detention will be automatically scheduled for the next scheduled detention.
SUSPENSION/EXPULSION OF SPECIAL EDUCATION STUDENTS:
School officials may suspend a special education student for up to 10 consecutive school days if the student’s inappropriate conduct is unrelated to the student’s disability. In such a case, the student may be suspended in accordance with the procedures established for non-disabled students and the student’s individual education plan (IEP). A proposed suspension beyond 10 days requires a determination by the Planning and Placement Team (PPT) as to whether the misconduct is caused by the student’s disabling condition, in which case the PPT shall re-evaluate the student for the purpose of modifying the IEP to address the misconduct and to ensure the safety of others in the school. If the conduct is unrelated to the student’s disability, the student may be suspended or expelled in accordance with regular policy, except that the Board of Education will continue to provide a free appropriate education.
DISRUPTION OF THE EDUCATIONAL PROCESS: Disciplinary consequences for other serious disruption of the educational process not covered above will be determined by administrative decision.
DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURES: Disciplinary procedures used at Staples High School range from an informal conferencing to expulsion from school. The procedure to be used depends upon the seriousness of the violation, the specific circumstances of the situation and the individual’s overall pattern of behavior. A series of minor infractions committed by the same student can also constitute a major infraction; as in time it has a demoralizing effect on the general student body and staff. In addition to the usual school procedures, criminal infractions must also be reported by the school administration to the police.
Students are prohibited from being on campus during the entire period of an out-of-school suspension. Students serving an out-of-school suspension who are found on campus are subject to arrest for trespassing. In addition, students serving either an in-school or out-of-school suspension are prohibited from attending or participating in any school-sponsored extracurricular activities for the entire duration of the suspension. This includes, but is not limited to, attendance at any home or away athletic event.
Periods of suspension that are missed due to school cancellation or student illness will be made up beginning on the next scheduled school day, or on the day the student returns to school from an illness.
Prohibited student conduct generally falls into one of the following broad categories or “Tiers”:
Tier I: Conduct that is violent and endangers the safety, morals, health, or welfare of others.
Tier II: Conduct that is not considered violent, yet endangers the safety, morals, health or welfare of others.
Tier III: Conduct that is disorderly/disruptive and/or insubordinate
CONDUCT THAT IS VIOLENT AND ENDANGERS THE SAFETY, MORAL, HEALTH OR WELFARE OF OTHERS
|BEHAVIOR||RANGE OF POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES 2|
|Striking or assaulting a student, members of the school staff or other persons.||One (1) to ten (10) days ISS/OSS, police referral, and/or recommendation for expulsion.|
|Possession of any weapon; weapon facsimile; deadly weapon; martial arts weapon 3; electronic defense weapon; pistol; knife 4; blackjack; bludgeon; box cutter; metal knuckles; pellet gun; air pistol; explosive device; firearm, 5 whether loaded or unloaded, whether functional or not, or any other deadly weapon 6 , dangerous object or instrument 7 .Possession and/or use of any object or device that has been converted or modified for use as a weapon is also prohibited. Possession of any ammunition for any weapon described above or possession of an electronic defense weapon 8||Ten (10) days OSS, police referral, and mandatory recommendation for expulsion.|
|Possession of a deadly weapon, dangerous instrument, martial arts weapon or a firearm as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 921 on school grounds or at a school sponsored activity.||Ten (10) days OSS, police referral, and/or recommendation for expulsion.|
|Possession or ignition of any fireworks, combustible or other explosive materials, or ignition of any material causing a fire. Possession of any materials designed to be used in the ignition of combustible materials, including matches and lighters except with prior written permission from the principal or his/her designee and consistent with applicable law.||One (1) to ten (10) days ISS/OSS, police referral, and/or recommendation for expulsion.|
|Unlawful possession, sale, distribution, use, or consumption of tobacco, electronic nicotine delivery systems (e.g., e-cigarettes), vapor products, (or any facsimile of or any item represented to be tobacco, including being under the influence of any such substances or aiding in the procurement of any such substances) on school grounds, at any school sponsored event or on any school-provided transportation 9||
Possession/Use First Offense:
|Verbal, written, or online blackmailing, threatening or intimidating school staff or students (or acting in a manner that could be construed to constitute blackmail, a threat, or intimidation, regardless of whether intended as a joke), or making an untrue statement of fact about a staff member and/or student with malice or reckless disregard for the truth.||One (1) to ten (10) days ISS/OSS, police referral, and/or recommendation for expulsion.|
|Sale, distribution, or consumption of substances contained in household items; including, but not limited to glue, paint, accelerants/propellants for aerosol canisters, and/or items such as the aerators for whipped cream; if sold, distributed or consumed for the purpose of inducing a stimulant, depressant, hallucinogenic or mind-altering effect.||One (1) to ten (10) days ISS/OSS, police referral, and/or recommendation for expulsion.|
|Being under the influence, unlawful possession and/or use of drugs or alcohol or any item represented to be drugs 10 or alcoholic beverages/Sale, purchase or distribution of drugs or alcohol on school grounds, at any school-sponsored activity.||One (1) to ten (10) days OSS, police referral, and/or recommendation for expulsion.|
|Use, possession, sale or purchase, distribution or attempted sale, purchase, distribution of drug paraphernalia 11||One (1) to ten (10) days ISS/OSS, police referral, and/or a recommendation for expulsion.|
|Possession of personal prescribed drugs, except where permitted under state law 12||One (1) to ten (10) days ISS.|
|On or off school grounds in offering for sale or distribution of a controlled substance as defined in Connecticut State Statutes, Section 21a-240(9) 9 .||Ten (10) days OSS and mandatory recommendation for expulsion.|
|Off-campus possession of a firearm in violation of Connecticut General Statutes Section 29-35 – Carrying of pistol or revolver without permit prohibited or possessed and used a firearm as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 921, a deadly weapon, a dangerous instrument or a martial arts weapon in the commission of a crime under chapter 952 of the Connecticut General Statutes.||Ten (10) days OSS and mandatory recommendation for expulsion.|
|Fighting||Three (3) to ten (10) days ISS/OSS, police referral, and/or recommendation for expulsion.|
|Physical abuse, pushing shoving of another student to include deliberately pulling a chair out from under an individual.||One (1) to three (3) days ISS and/or detention.|
|Arson, initiating a false fire alarm, bomb threat, deliberately setting of a fire. Making false threats (e.g. bomb, fire, gun violence) to the safety of students, staff members, and/or other persons.||Ten (10) days OSS, police referral, and/or recommendation for expulsion.|
|Inappropriate physical contact with a teacher and/or another student.||One (1) to three (3) days ISS, detention and/or referral to Title IX Compliance Officer.|
|Unauthorized and/or reckless and/or improper operation of a motor vehicle on school grounds or at any school-sponsored activity.||One (1) to three (3) days ISS and/or loss of parking privileges.|
|Hazing 13||One (1) to ten (10) days ISS/OSS, police referral, recommendation for expulsion and/or removal from extracurricular activities for up to one year.|
|Throwing snowballs, rocks, sticks and/or similar objects, except as specifically authorized by school staff.||One (1) to three (3) days ISS and/or detention.|
|Bullying, including cyberbullying. 14||Varies depending on severity, but up to and including recommendation for expulsion.|
2The school reserves the right to impose greater punishment based on the severity and/or frequency of misconduct.
3 For purposes of this policy, “martial arts weapon" means a nunchaku, kama, kusari-fundo, octagon sai, tonfa or chinese star.
4 Any knives of any kind are banned from school property and school-related or school-sponsored activities, including but not limited to, switchblades, gravity knives, any knife which opens mechanically by use of a button, spring, or pressure on the handle, or any pocket knife, or martial arts weapon.
5 For purposes of this policy, “firearm” means (A) any weapon (including a starter gun) which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive; (B) the frame or receiver of any such weapon; (C) any firearm muffler or firearm silencer; or (D) any destructive device. Such term does not include an antique firearm.
6 For purposes of this policy, “deadly weapon” means any weapon whether loaded or unloaded, from which a shot may be discharged; or a switchblade knife, gravity knife, billy, blackjack, bludgeon, or metal knuckles.
7 For purposes of this policy, “dangerous instrument” means any instrument, article or substance which, under the circumstances in which it is used or attempted or threatened to be used, is capable of causing death or serious physical injury, and includes a “vehicle” as that term is defined in this section and includes a dog that has been commanded to attack, except a dog owned by a law enforcement agency of the state or any political subdivision thereof or of the federal government when such dog is in the performance of its duties under the direct supervision, care and control of an assigned law enforcement officer.
8 For purposes of this policy, “electronic defense weapon” means a weapon which by electronic impulse or current is capable of immobilizing a person temporarily, but is not capable of inflicting death or serious physical injury, including a stun gun or other conductive energy device.
9 For purposes of this policy, the following terms are defined as follows: 1) "electronic nicotine delivery system" means an electronic device that may be used to simulate smoking in the delivery of nicotine or other substance to a person inhaling from the device and includes, but is not limited to, an electronic cigarette, electronic cigar, electronic cigarillo, electronic pipe or electronic hookah and any related device and any cartridge, electronic cigarette liquid or other component of such device; (2) "vapor product" means any product that employs a heating element, power source, electronic circuit or other electronic, chemical or mechanical means, regardless of shape or size, to produce a vapor that may or may not include nicotine that is inhaled by the user of such product; (3) “sale” or “sell” means an act done intentionally by any person, whether done as principal, proprietor, agent, servant or employee, of transferring, or offering or attempting to transfer, for consideration, an electronic nicotine delivery system or vapor product, including bartering or exchanging, or offering to barter or exchange, an electronic nicotine delivery system or vapor product; and (4) “give” or “giving” means an act done intentionally by any person, whether done as principal, proprietor, agent, servant or employee, of transferring, or offering or attempting to transfer, without consideration, an electronic nicotine delivery system or vapor product.
10 For purposes of this policy, “drug” includes, but shall not be limited to, any medicinal preparation (prescription and non-prescription) and any controlled substance whose possession, sale, distribution, use or consumption is illegal under state and/or federal law.
11 For purposes of this policy, “drug paraphernalia” includes any equipment, products and materials of any kind which are used, intended for use or designed for use in growing, harvesting, manufacturing, producing, preparing, packaging, storing, containing or concealing, or injecting, ingesting, inhaling or otherwise introducing controlled drugs or controlled substances into the human body, including but not limited to items such as "bongs," pipes, "roach clips," vials, tobacco rolling papers, and any object or container used, intended or designed for use in storing, concealing, possessing, distributing or selling controlled drugs or controlled substances.
12 Refer to “Self-administration of medications” under the Health section of this Handbook.
13 For purposes of this policy, “hazing” means an activity whether on or off campus, that recklessly or intentionally endangers the mental health or physical health of a student for the purpose of initiation or admission into or affiliation with any organization or activity sanctioned or authorized by the Westport Public Schools, for any other purpose related to the Westport Public Schools. For more information, please refer to the Staples High School Hazing Policy.
14 For purposes of this policy, the following terms are defined as follows: (1) “bullying” means the repeated use by one or more students of a written, oral or electronic communication, such as cyberbullying, directed at another student attending school in the same district, or a physical act or gesture by one or more students repeatedly directed at another student attending school in the same school district, which: (a) causes physical or emotional harm to such student or damage to such student’s property; (b) places such student in reasonable fear of harm to himself or herself, or of damage to his or her property; (c) creates a hostile environment at school for such student; (d) infringes on the rights of such student at school; or (e) substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school; and (2) “cyberbullying” means any act of bullying through the use of the Internet, interactive and digital technologies, cellular mobile telephone or other mobile electronic devices or any electronic communications. Bullying includes, but is not limited to, repeated written, oral or electronic communications or physical acts or gestures based on any actual or perceived differentiating characteristics, such as race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, socioeconomic status, academic status, physical appearance, or mental, physical, developmental or sensory disability, or by association with an individual or group who has or is perceived to have one or more of such characteristics. Westport Board of Education Bullying Prevention and Intervention Policy may be found online at: https://www.westportps.org/uploaded/site_files/www/5131.911-Bullying_2014.09.08-Final_SP.pdf .
CONDUCT THAT IS NOT CONSIDERED VIOLENT, YET ENDANGERS THE SAFETY, MORALS, HEALTH OR WELFARE OF OTHERS
|BEHAVIOR||RANGE OF POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES 15|
|Creating a public disruption, and/or creating/promoting an unsafe environment. Acting in any manner that creates a health and/or safety hazard for staff members, students, or the public, regardless of whether the conduct is intended as a joke||One (1) to three (3) days ISS.|
|Initiating a food fight in the cafeteria. Throwing food or garbage in the cafeteria.||One (1) to three (3) days ISS.|
|Theft/Possession of stolen goods.||One (1) to ten (10) days ISS and/or police referral.|
|Theft/Possession of stolen goods.||One (1) to ten (10) days ISS and/or police referral.|
|Trespassing on school grounds or appearing at a school-sponsored activity on or off-school grounds while on out-of-school suspension or expulsion. 16||Increase in days of suspension and/or police referral.|
|Unauthorized entrance into any school facility or portion of a school facility or aiding or abetting an unauthorized entrance. Presence in the parking lot without prior administrative approval. Being in an unauthorized area (e.g., locker rooms when not scheduled for PE, auditorium, storage areas, utilizing unisex restrooms for any reason other than their intended purpose).||One (1) monitored study (or detention, if no free period); One (1) day ISS.|
|Inappropriate displays of public affection of a sexual nature and/or sexual activity on school grounds or at a school-sponsored activity.||Warning — three (3) days ISS.|
|Vandalism, graffiti, willful destruction of school or personal property.||One (1) day ISS — ten (10) days OSS, police referral; and/or recommendation for expulsion.|
|Possessing or transmitting child pornography by a minor 17||Five (5) to ten (10) days ISS/OSS, referral to police, and/or recommendation for expulsion.|
15 The School reserves the right to impose greater punishment based on the severity and/or frequency of misconduct.
16 Students are not allowed on campus or at any school sponsored activity during a period of suspension or expulsion. Such conduct is viewed as trespassing, and may be cause for a police referral. All students serving an in-school suspension are not allowed to participate in any school-sponsored activities and must leave school grounds immediately upon dismissal for the school day.
17 If a student over 18 is in possession of child pornography, all pertinent Connecticut State Statutes shall apply.
CONDUCT THAT IS DISORDERLY/DISRUPTIVE AND/OR INSUBORDINATE
|BEHAVIOR||RANGE OF POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES 18|
|Use of obscene or profane language or gestures, the possession and/or display of obscenity or pornographic images or the unauthorized or inappropriate possession and/or display of images, pictures or photographs depicting nudity. Lewd exposure such as “mooning” on school property or at a school-sponsored event.||One (1) detention — five (5) days ISS.|
|Defiance of school rules and the valid authority of teachers, supervisors, administrators, other staff members and/or law enforcement authorities. Insubordination Refusal to obey a reasonable request or directive from any member of the school staff, law enforcement authorities, or school volunteers 14.||One (1) detention — three (3) days ISS|
|Refusal by a student to identify himself/herself to a staff member19 when asked, misidentification of oneself to such person(s), lying to school officials or otherwise engaging in dishonest behavior.||One (1) detention — one (1) day ISS.|
|Profane language or gestures directed toward any staff member.||One (1) to three (3) days ISS|
|Inciting a disturbance, student walkouts or “sit-in” in a classroom or on school grounds. Participating in a disturbance, walk out or “sit-in”.||One (1) to five (5) days ISS.|
|Possession and/or use of a laser pointer on school 20 grounds or at a school-sponsored activity unless the student possesses the laser pointer temporarily for an educational purpose while under the direct supervision of a parent/guardian/guardian, teacher or other responsible adult.||One (1) to five (5) days ISS.|
|Leaving school grounds without proper authorization21 or leaving school transportation or a school-sponsored activity without authorization.||One (1) Saturday detention — three (3) days ISS and/or loss of parking privileges for a period determined by grade-level administrator.|
|Cutting class||First Offense: One (1) monitored study Any Subsequent Offense: One (1) detention to two (2) days ISS.|
|Failure to serve monitored study.||First Offense: One (1) detention Second Offense: One (1) day ISS|
|Unauthorized leaving of a classroom.||Monitored study to one (1) day ISS.|
|Failure to serve detention.||First Offense: Two (2) detentions Second Offense: One (1) day ISS|
|Failure to report to the Assistant Principal’ office when instructed to do so by any staff member. 22||First Offense: One (1) detention Second Offense: One (1) day ISS|
|Falsifying signatures, excuses or other school documents or making any deliberate false statement||One (1) detention — ten (10) days OSS|
|Bus misconduct||Warning — three (3) days ISS.|
|Posting or distributing libelous, obscene or defamatory materials or literature.||One (1) to five (5) days ISS.|
|Video or audio recording or taking or distributing pictures of any student without permission.||One (1) detention — three (3) days ISS.|
|Engaging in a plan to stage or create a violent situation for the purposes of recording it by photographing, audio, or video; or recording by photographic, audio, or video acts of violence for purposes of later publication.||One (1) to five (5) days ISS, police referral, and/or recommendation for expulsion.|
|Video or audio recording of any teacher or staff member without permission. 23||One (1) to three (3) days ISS.|
|Unauthorized absence from school.||First Offense: One (1) day ISS Second Offense: Two (2) days ISS|
|More than 4 days of unexcused absences in one month or 10 or more unexcused absences per school year.||Referral to Juvenile Review Board and/or Youth Service Bureau.|
|Cheating and Plagiarism Use of or copying of the academic work of another individual and presenting it as the student's own work, without proper attribution; or any other form of academic dishonesty, cheating or plagiarism.||Refer to Academic Integrity Policy.|
|Gambling, forgery||One (1) to ten (10) days ISS and/or police referral.|
|Unauthorized use of or tampering with any school computer, computer system, computer software, Internet connection or similar school property or system, or the use of such property or system for inappropriate purposes. Using computer systems, including email, instant messaging, text messaging, blogging or the use of social media, or other forms of electronic communications, to engage in any conduct prohibited by this policy24.||One (1) to ten (10) days ISS/OSS, police referral and/or recommendation for expulsion.|
18 The School reserves the right to impose greater punishment based on the severity and/or frequency of misconduct.
19 The term “staff member” includes part-time and full-time employees, substitutes, consultants, custodians, coaches, bus drivers, bus monitors, tutors employed by the Westport Board of Education , student-teachers, interns, security guards, volunteers and others who work with or have contact with students under the auspices of through contract with the Westport Board of Education.
20 For purposes of this policy, the term “laser pointer” means a hand-held device that emits a laser light beam and is designed to be used by the operator to indicate, mark or identify a specific position, place, item or object.
21 Staples High School has a “Limited Open Campus” policy. Students are not required to be on campus until their first scheduled class of the day, and may leave only after their last scheduled class of the day. Leaving during any free period requires both parent/guardian permission and the authorization by a building-level administrator.
22 When a student is asked to leave a classroom by any teacher, the student must report to the appropriate grade-level Assistant Principal regardless of how much time is left in any class period or if the teacher does not explicitly tell the student to report to the Assistant Principals’ Office.
23 the position of the Staples High School administration that picture and recording devices can pose a threat to the privacy of both students and staff members. These devices can also be used to transmit academic information the It is position of the Staples High School administration that picture and recording devices can pose a threat to the privacy of both students and staff members. These devices can also be used to transmit academic information s (pictures of tests, quizzes, standardized tests) to other students, compromising the integrity of academic programs. These devices can also be used to alter photographs and videos and post these recordings to social media sites in order to threaten, embarrass, intimidate or bully or blackmail other students or teachers. Accordingly, the use of the camera and audio recording function of any cell phone or other electronic device is expressly prohibited on school grounds. Students who violate this provision may have their cell phone confiscated and returned only to a parent/guardian. In addition, students may face additional disciplinary consequences, up to and including expulsion from school if the violation is severe enough.
24 Refer to the Westport Public Schools Acceptable Use Agreement: Intranet/Internet Policy: https://www.westportps.org/uploaded/site_files/www/hidden/Final_Acceptable_Use_15-16_MS-HS_updated_2.12.2016.pdf.
In-School Suspension According to the Children’s Defense Fund, in-school suspension(ISS) has been used since the 1970s as an alternative to out of school suspension of students. ISS is an alternative to school exclusion often associated with an out of school suspension. During an ISS students continue to have access to various school resources, course materials and assignments. In some cases students will also have access to academic supports if available. Additionally, Staples High School supports the idea that while ISS is a punitive consequence, the ISS model also allows an opportunity for the student to dialogue about the issue(s) leading to the ISS with Pupil Services Support staff. The ISS model ideally combines the ideas of punitive consequence, academic support and social/emotional/behavioral supports. The time in ISS can be used to take a break from the social nuances of school, serving as a cool-down period, can allow the student time in the day for specific academic interventions as well as flexibility in scheduling counseling supports. The goal of ISS is to keep students learning while at the same time holding students accountable to the guidelines in the Staples Handbook and Student Code of Conduct.
Guidelines: Students will have access to a computer for educational purposes only, for this reason, students will be issued a school Chromebook for academic work. Cell phones will be checked in with the secretaries in the assistant principal’s office. Students will be offered lunch from the cafeteria or they may bring their own. Students will continue to be supervised while having their lunch.
A student needing to use the restroom will go to the nurse’s office. Students are not permitted access to other areas of the building unless approved and escorted by a member of the SHS staff.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”) prohibits discrimination based on sex, which includes sexual harassment and sexual violence, in educational programs that receive federal funds.
Further under the Staples High School Guiding Principles, it is the belief of the school that sexual harassment devalues all students, undermines students physical safety, impedes students’ ability to learn, and reinforces social inequality. Westport Board of Education Policy 5145.5 prohibits sexual harassment of students at school or at school sponsored or school-related activities. The policy also prohibits retaliatory behavior or action against any person, who reports, files a complaint or testifies about, or otherwise participates in an investigation alleging sexual harassment.
The Staples High School Administration strongly encourages any student who feels that he/she is being or has been sexually harassed on school grounds or at a school-sponsored or school-related activity by another student or an adult to immediately contact his/her teacher, the principal, or any other available school employee. Preferably, complaints should be filed within thirty (30) days of the alleged occurrence. Timely reporting of complaints facilitates the investigation and resolution of such complaints, and facilitates the school’s efforts to effectively support the needs of students. Any school employee who receives a report or observes an incident of sexual harassment shall notify the principal or a building Title IX Compliance Officer.
In accordance with Board Policy 5145.5, the school will:
1. Take prompt steps to investigate complaints of sexual harassment
2. Consider whether any interim measures may be appropriate to protect the alleged victim and implement such measures, if appropriate
3. Where sexual harassment has been found, take steps reasonably calculated to end the harassment, take corrective and/or disciplinary action aimed at preventing the recurrence of the harassment, as deemed appropriate by the Superintendent or his/her designee, and take steps to remedy the effects of the sexual harassment.
On Campus Conduct vs. Off Campus Conduct
Sexual harassment is prohibited on school grounds and at all school-sponsored programs and activities. Consistent with Title IX and Board policy, the school will consider whether alleged sexual harassment occurring off-campus creates a hostile school environment. Sexual harassment creates a hostile environment if the conduct is sufficiently severe or pervasive that it interferes with or limits a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the school’s program. To that end, the school will investigate complaints of sexual harassment occurring off-campus or outside of school-related or school-sponsored programs or activities, and any prohibited conduct will be regarded as sexual harassment in violation of district policy provided such conduct has a continuing effect on or creates a hostile school environment for the complainant or victim of the conduct.
Sex discrimination occurs when a person, because of his or her sex, is denied participation in or the benefits of any education program receiving federal financial assistance.
Sexual harassment: In a school setting, sexual harassment is conduct that 1) is sexual in nature; 2) is unwelcome; and 3) denies or limits a student's ability to participate in or benefit from a school's educational program. Sexual harassment can be verbal, nonverbal or physical. Sexual violence is a form of sexual harassment. Sexual harassment creates a hostile environment if the conduct is sufficiently severe or pervasive such that it interferes with or limits a student's ability to participate in or benefit from the school's program. Although not an exhaustive list, the following are examples of sexual conduct prohibited by this policy:
1. Statements or other conduct indicating that a student's submission to, or rejection of, sexual overtures or advances will affect the student's grades and/or other academic progress.
2. Unwelcome attention and/or advances of a sexual nature, including verbal comments, sexual invitations, leering and physical touching.
3. Display of sexually suggestive objects, or use of sexually suggestive or obscene remarks, invitations, letters, emails, text messages, notes, slurs, jokes, pictures, cartoons, epithets or gestures.
4. Touching of a sexual nature or telling sexual or dirty jokes.
5. Transmitting or displaying emails or websites of a sexual nature.
6. Using computer systems, including email, instant messaging, text messaging, blogging or the use of social media websites, or other forms of electronic communications, to engage in any conduct prohibited by this policy.
7. Graphic verbal comments about an individual’s body, unwanted sexual comments or questions, or overly personal conversation.
8. Spreading sexual rumors.
9. Massaging, grabbing, fondling, stroking, or brushing the body.
10. Touching an individual’s body or clothes in a sexual way.
11. Impeding or blocking an individual’s movements or any physical interference with school activities when directed at an individual on the basis of sex or gender expression.
12. Sexual assault, sexual battery, or sexual coercion.
13. Sexual violence which is the perpetration of a sexual act on a person without their affirmative consent. Sexual violence refers to physical acts that are sexual in nature, perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent due to the victim’s use of drugs or alcohol.