Blanton Parent Handbook
Absences and Attendance
Students are expected to attend school regularly and be on time for classes in order to benefit from the instructional program and to develop habits of punctuality, responsibility, and self-discipline. Students who have good attendance are generally more successful and enjoy school to a greater degree.
Attendance policies are not at the discretion of the building but are state law. State law states that any child enrolled in school is considered truant if 3 or more unverified absences/tardies occur during a 4-week period or if 10 or more unverified absences/tardies occur within a 6-month period. School begins at 7:40 a.m. Students that are not in school by this time are considered tardy. The district recognizes the following absences as verified as long as the parent/guardian sends a note within 72 hours of the absence:
- Personal illness. On the 5th consecutive day, a doctor’s note will be required along with the parent note
- Religious holy days;
- Required court appearances;
- Activities related to obtaining United States citizenship;
- Service as an election clerk;
- Documented health-care appointments for the student or a child of the student, including absences for recognized services for students diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders.
- A note from the health-care provider must be submitted upon the student’s arrival or return to campus; and
- For students in the conservatorship (custody) of the state,
- Mental health or therapy appointments; or
- Court-ordered family visitations or any other court-ordered activity, provided it is not practicable to schedule the student’s participation in the activity outside of school hours.
Please note that the list of verified absences does not include any kind of family vacation. Family vacations/trips will be treated as unexcused absences.
When a student is unable to attend school, parents should call the Blanton front office (940)369-0700. Always include the following information: student’s name, grade, teacher’s name, name and relationship of the person leaving the message, and the reason for the absence. Voicemail will pick up 24 hours a day. Please note that this call does not replace the written excuse required for documentation when your child returns to class. If your child has missed 1-4 days, please send a signed written note which includes the days absent and the reason. If you prefer to email the information, it can be emailed to email@example.com. If your child misses 5 days or more, a doctor’s note which states the days the child is absent and the reason, must be sent along with the parent note. All notes are due within 72 hours of the absence.
If a child must be absent a portion of the school day due to a medical appointment, the child may be counted present if the parent brings a note from the medical office. In addition, parents who take their children out of school early without a documented reason are subject to consequences for truancy in accordance with state attendance laws. Early dismissal from school without documentation is considered to be missed parts of days and can count as a loss of instructional time (LOSIT).
The Blanton Attendance Committee will review all absences. If a student has established a questionable pattern of absences, the school Attendance Committee may also require a physician’s or clinic’s statement of illness after a single day’s absence as a condition of classifying the absence as one for which there are extenuating circumstances. In these cases, a parent note will no longer be accepted as documentation.
Absence makeup work may be requested through the classroom teacher. Teachers will make every effort to provide the work for students who are absent. The student has the number of days absent plus 1 to complete the work. Requests can be made through a note, verbal request by the student, or through the teacher’s voicemail or email.
Arrival and Dismissal Procedures
We have a new traffic pattern for arrival and dismissal at Blanton this year. Information is listed below and a video is posted to YouTube if you would like a visual. You can find it listed as Blanton/Harpool Traffic Patterns (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWVjaJrVhlw&t=4s).
- Student drop-off is in the front of the school. Parents are to enter the Harpool entrance on the northeast side of the school.
- Bus/Day Care drop-off is in the front of the school.
Students may not arrive at school before 7:15 a.m., as there are no adults to supervise until this time, and they will not be permitted to enter the building. Students arriving by bus/day care will enter through the front doors. Students arriving by car between 7:15 a.m. – 7:40 a.m. are to enter through the front doors at the front entrance of the school.
All students should report to the following designated areas if they arrive prior to 7:30 a.m.:
- Students eating breakfast should go to the cafeteria.
- All other students should report to the gym or the computer lab to wait until the start of the school day.
Staff members will provide student supervision in the cafeteria, computer lab, and gym until 7:30 when students will be dismissed to their classrooms.
Car riders - Dismissal is at 3:00 p.m. and will be in the cafeteria circle behind the school. Please enter through the drive off Stacee Lane on the side of the school. Car riders will be held in the cafeteria until their car tag number is called. We ask that you remain in your car. Staff members will walk the students to the cars as they arrive at the loading zone. Please do not park your car in the driveway or in the parking lot and come to get your child. Students will only be released to those in vehicles and with visible car tags.
Bus Riders, Daycare and Extended Day – Bus riders and daycare students will be picked up in the front of the school. Dismissal begins for bus, day care and Extended Day students at 3:00 p.m. Students may not ride home on the bus unless they are registered for bus transportation. In addition, students are only permitted to ride the bus to which they have registered.
Walkers- Walkers will be dismissed on the playground side of the building. Parents who are meeting their children may do so at the crosswalk area on Stacee Lane. Staff members will escort students across the crosswalks.
Any changes in dismissal procedures for a student must come via a phone call or note from the parent. It is best to send a note to the child’s teacher and make a phone call to the front office. Calls for changing dismissal must come in to the front office (940-369-0700) by 2:15 p.m. to ensure that we can call into your child’s classroom before they begin dismissing into the hallways. As a safety precaution, school personnel will NOT take a child’s word for dismissal changes. Without notification from you, your child will go home via their “normal” mode. Teachers check their email and phone messages during their conference period or after school. For this reason, we ask that you call the office for ride changes.
If a student is leaving early for a medical or dental appointment, the parent must provide a note from the doctor or dentist verifying the appointment upon their return to school. Office staff members have the obligation of asking for the reason why a child is being picked up before 3:00 p.m. due to the fact that attendance policies apply to students who leave early without any medical documentation.
Students who are checked out through the front office will be allowed to leave only with those individuals listed as guardians or emergency contacts. Proper ID will also be checked with those who are unfamiliar to the front office staff. Both parents/legal guardians will have the right to pick up their children unless the school has legal documents that designate otherwise.
Our cafeteria provides breakfast and lunch for students daily. Each student has an individual lunch account. Money may be placed in a child’s account by sending cash or checks made out to the Blanton Elementary Cafeteria, or by paying online through the Denton ISD Home Page www.dentonisd.org (For Parents Tab). As part of the online registration process, the option to fill out a Free or Reduced Lunch application was provided. If you did not complete one and would like additional information about the Free or Reduced Federal Lunch Program, applications can be accessed through the Denton ISD Home Page www.dentonisd.org (For Parents Tab).
Additional helpful cafeteria information:
- Breakfast begins at 7:15 a.m. and ends at 7:40 a.m.
- Students should not bring drinks in glass bottles.
- Students are discouraged from bringing soda/soft drink type beverages to the cafeteria.
- Ice cream will be available for purchase on select days
- Students who bring their lunch may not share their food with others due to the risk of germ spreading and food allergies.
We want the cafeteria to be a safe and pleasant place for everyone to enjoy. You are always welcome to come and have lunch with your child but we do ask that you and your child eat at the Parent Tables that are provided. Spaces at the student tables are limited and are assigned to certain classes/grade levels. If you come to enjoy lunch with your child, additional students will not be allowed to come up on stage and join you. In addition, due to health and allergy concerns, parents should not bring in food for additional students during lunch other than their own.
Cell Phones and Electronic Devices
Several of our students own cell phones and utilize them to communicate with parents before and after school hours. As a result of this, cell phones are allowed to be in the building with students. However, during instructional time, they are to be turned off and placed into backpacks unless the teacher has chosen for them to be used educationally during a lesson. Electronic devices such as I-pods, portable games, and/or laptops are not to be brought to school unless there has been a pre-approved instructional reason communicated to you by the classroom teacher. These items can be damaged, lost or stolen and it is best they stay at home. Further information can be found in the DISD Student Code of Conduct via the Denton ISD Home Page www.dentonisd.org (For Parents Tab).
Change of Address, Telephone Numbers or Emergency Contacts
It is very important that every student maintain an up-to-date address, telephone number and emergency contact list in the front office. The names you list during registration are the ones you are authorizing to pick up your children from school. If information changes, you MUST notify the front office immediately, so the appropriate items can be updated to reflect change. The phone numbers you provide are the only way we have of contacting you in case of an emergency. It is your responsibility to make sure we have the most current information. If you move, you must provide a new proof of address or complete a transfer application, should your new address be located outside the Blanton attendance zone.
There will be three classroom parties during the year: Winter Holiday, Valentine’s Day and End of Year. Classroom parties are under the direction and discretion of the classroom teachers. There will be no in-class birthday parties at any grade level. If students wish to provide treats for classmates as a birthday celebration, please clear it with the classroom teacher ahead of time. Balloon bouquets, flowers, birthday baskets, etc, are discouraged and will not be delivered to the classroom in order to not disrupt the learning environment.
Because we believe frequent, positive communication is vital to the success of our students, parent/teacher conferences are encouraged! A parent may schedule a conference with their child’s teacher at any time during the school year. You may call a teacher on their voicemail or send an email with your request. If you would like to schedule a conference with a teacher, we ask that it be held before/after school or during the teacher’s daily conference period. Holding impromptu conferences as students arrive can cause the learning of the day to be delayed for the students.
Any court documents pertaining to educational rights, custody or visitation rights of a child must be provided to the front office. Without official documents on file, we will not be able to enforce any portion of the orders.
It is the goal of the Blanton staff that our school be a positive learning environment. Students are awarded “S.T.AR. (Stop, Think, Act Right) slips” for positive behaviors that are exhibited throughout the building. In addition, students in each grade level can be recommended for the Noble Knights based on outstanding behavior, practicing the three R’s – Respect, Responsibility and doing what is Right, academic performance, improvement throughout the school year, and/or continuous maintenance of excellence. Our staff members also implement a school-wide behavior management program called CHAMPS. Through this program, students will have universal expectations for behavior and teachers will utilize common language so that students clearly understand what the expectations are across settings (classroom, cafeteria, special areas, etc.)
Blanton has a Bully Buster Program (located on our website). Bullying happens when someone continues to hurt others over and over again through words or actions. It is unfair and not right. Our Bully Buster Program does work if and only if we get reports. It is crucial that if your child is being hurt by another child during his or her school day there must be a report made. Please call the teacher, the counselor or the principals. The program works only if reports are filed. There is a Bullying Allegation Form located on our website as well. We cannot help your child if we do not know about the hurtful behaviors.
Every classroom has general expectations for student behavior. If a student is disrupting the learning environment on a regular basis or exhibits inappropriate behavior, this may result in an office referral. Repeated violations for misconduct could result in larger consequences such as in-school suspension, out of school suspension, or mandatory removal from campus to an alternative campus. Further information can be found in the DISD Student Code of Conduct via the Denton ISD Home Page www.dentonisd.org (For Parents Tab).
If a student is improperly dressed, he or she will call home for a change of clothes. If a change of clothes is not available, the school nurse will provide a change of clothes, if possible. Otherwise, a student may be sent home for improper attire. Denton ISD has determined that the following items are considered to be inappropriate to wear:
- bike pants or bare midriffs
- halter tops or tank tops see-through apparel short shorts/skirts mesh/net clothing
- saggy/baggy pants
- strapless dresses/blouses
- unnatural hair color
- display of undergarments
- shirts open at the sides (excessively large armholes)
- flip-flops (except in high schools, or as determined by administration on all campuses)
- ragged or intentionally cut/torn clothing as determined inappropriate by the campus principal or designee
- garments containing offensive or obscene words or phrases, pictures, symbols, or images
- garments which promote or advertise alcohol, tobacco, or other prohibited products
Further information can be found in the DISD Student Code of Conduct via the Denton ISD Home Pagewww.dentonisd.org (For Parents Tab).
Dropping Things Off for Students
If a parent needs to drop something off for a student, we ask that you bring it to the front office, place a post it note on the item with your child's name and teacher. A staff member will notify the child of the delivery. If you are bringing a lunch after the lunch periods have begun, a staff member may ask you to check in and take it to the table outside the cafeteria where your child can retrieve it. You will need your driver’s license to check in to our system.
Blanton Elementary will follow the DISD Guidelines found in the district Emergency Management Plan that requires regular drills for student safety. Regular drills will include fire, weather, lockdown and evacuation.
Regular communication between home and school is essential. Information for parents is sent home every Friday in the “Friday Newsday Folder.” Each teacher/grade level is also required to inform parents of upcoming curriculum and events. Classroom teachers have websites with beneficial information for both parents and students. Parents may also access school information via the
Lost and Found
Lost and found articles such as clothing and lunchboxes will be placed in the lost and found in the cafeteria area. Items that are personal in nature such as glasses, keys, phones, wallets/purses and jewelry will be brought to the front office.
All medications administered by school personnel must be accompanied by a doctor’s order including all prescription and over-the-counter medicines. You must come to the nurse’s office and fill out a medication form for the file in the nurse’s office. If you have questions about a medication your child takes, please contact our school nurse Tracy Barnett at (940) 369-0710.
Visitors may park in any spot available in the large parking lot in front of the school. Parking is not permitted in the fire lane areas in front of the school or in the back circle drive. Visitors will not be able to enter the building from the back parking lot area. All visitors must come in the school via the front door only.
Progress Reports/Report Cards
Report cards for all grade levels are generally issued the Wednesday following the close of each six-week grading period. All students will receive a standards-based report card each six-week period with progress information related to mastery of skills. Parents may also access their child’s grades at any given point by registering for the online monitoring system (HAC). If you have not registered for a HAC account, information may be obtained through the Denton ISD Home Page www.dentonisd.org (For Parents Tab).
Our PTA is a very involved and essential component of the Blanton Elementary community. They provide services and support to students, parents and staff. We encourage each family to become members of this organization. The PTA holds regular meetings throughout the school year so that parents can be active in decision making to benefit our school and student body.
Prompt arrival at school is expected of all students. Late arrival causes a loss of instructional time for our students. Any student who arrives at school after 7:40 a.m. is considered tardy and must enter through the front office and receive a tardy slip. Tardiness falls under the Compulsory Attendance Law and will be reviewed by the Blanton Attendance Committee for further action, as it is subject to state attendance laws and guidelines.
Visitors are always welcome at Blanton Elementary. All visitors must enter through the front office, show proper ID, sign in and obtain a visitor sticker/badge before going to other areas of the school. We ask that you let Mrs. Messerle know if you are visiting/volunteering in a classroom so she can ensure the teacher is available and expecting you.
Visitors may eat lunch with their child at the provided parent tables. Other students will not be allowed to join adults who are not their own parents. Please note, however, no visitors are allowed on the playground area with the students.
We are indebted to our volunteers at Blanton Elementary. As a safety precaution, background checks are to be completed each school year for any parent/guardian who wishes to volunteer in the building, chaperone field trips (or camp) or participate in classroom parties and celebrations. If you have not completed your online background check, or if you have other relatives who want to volunteer on campus, the online volunteer form may be completed via the Denton ISD Home Page at www.dentonisd.org (Community Involvement/Volunteer Program).