Please review the following information that summarizes school division policies, regulations, and procedures that directly affect middle school students. Additional information and direction can be found on the school division’s website, Code of Student Conduct, Secondary School Curriculum Student Guide for 2012-2013, transportation rules, Code of Virginia, and the Virginia Beach City Public Schools’ Policy and Regulations. Individual school rules are provided by each middle school. At the beginning of the school year, students will be given information and forms requesting acknowledgement and signatures. Students and parents are to return the completed forms following a review of the material. Students are required to carry their student planners on their persons whenever moving through a school building.
Academic Support Program
The Academic Support Program is designed to respond to the needs of students who have demonstrated a deficiency in the area of English/Language Arts or mathematics. Students must be enrolled in this course if they scored between 375-399 on the English or mathematics SOL test the previous year. In addition, students who earn a nine weeks grade of 69 or below in any core course must be removed from an elective course to participate in Academic Support. Additional information regarding this program may be obtained by contacting the school's School Improvement Specialist.
Acceptable Use Agreement (AUP) for Computer Technology
The School Board provides a computer system to promote educational excellence and prepare students to live and work in the 21st century. In order to use this system, students under the age of 18 must obtain parental/legal guardian acknowledgment of the provisions of the Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) which is integrated into the Code of Student Conduct. A Parent Acknowledgment Form will be forwarded annually and signed by the parent(s)/legal guardian(s) acknowledging that they have read and understand the AUP. Inappropriate use of the computer can result in disciplinary action taken under the provisions of the Code of Student Conduct and/or other School Board Policies and division regulations governing student discipline. Understanding the importance of Internet/computer safety, information on this subject will be made available to all students throughout the school year. Additionally, Internet/computer safety tips can be found on www.vbschools.com.
Access/Disclosure of Student Records
In compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and in accordance with School Board Policy (5-31) and Regulations (5-31.1 & 2), parents/legal guardians may review their children’s cumulative education records at the school office upon request. If student education records are inaccurate or misleading, the student’s parent or guardian may request an amendment by contacting the school principal. Cumulative records are treated as confidential material, and the privacy rights of parents and students are safeguarded. Except as provided by law, no outside agencies or individuals may have access to a student’s record without written consent of the parent/legal guardian. If records are copied, a minimal fee may be charged. Parents/guardians have the right to file a complaint with the Family Compliance Office, U.S. Department of Education for failure to comply with FERPA. Whenever a student transfers from one school or school division to another, the scholastic and discipline record or a copy of the scholastic and discipline record will be transferred to the school or school division upon request from the school or school division.
The School Board authorizes making Student Directory Information public as permitted under state and federal laws and regulations. Student Directory Information means information contained in an education record of a student which would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. School Board Policy 5-66 defines Student Directory Information as the following: name of student in attendance or no longer in attendance; address; date and place of birth; telephone listing; dates of attendance; participation in officially recognized activities and sports; height and weight, if member of athletic team; awards and honors received; and other similar information. Examples include release of student name, school, and grade for submission to the Virginia Beach Beacon for scholastic recognition and/or to elected officials contacting the school division to request student addresses for congratulatory purposes. School Board policy provides the Superintendent with the discretion of selecting which student directory information may be released.
Advanced Academic Programs
The Advanced Academic Programs developed by Virginia Beach City Public Schools represent an exciting expansion of curricular options for all students across the city. Recognizing that no educational program should adopt a “one size fits all” philosophy, the division developed the advanced academic programs to provide additional academic choices for our students. The Middle Years International Baccalaureate Program at Plaza Middle School is designed to offer students an all-around foundation in liberal arts education. The Middle Years IB Program not only encourages students to pursue an academic and rigorous curriculum, but also provides a natural progression to the high school IB program at Princess Anne High School. For additional information, contact the Office of Academy Programs at 757.263.1405.
Under Virginia law, it is unlawful for any person to manufacture, sell, distribute, possess with the intent to sell, give, distribute, or bring any controlled substance, imitation controlled substance, or marijuana on the property, including buildings and grounds, of public school property, within 1,000 feet of school property, on any school bus, or to any school-sponsored event. Violation is a felony; violators are subject to expulsion. A student will be recommended for expulsion for the use or possession of alcohol or drugs, or possession of paraphernalia used with drugs. A student accused of simple possession, a first offense, at the principal’s discretion, may be offered the opportunity to participate in the Substance Abuse Intervention Program (SAIP) in lieu of the recommendation of expulsion.
Attendance at School
The school division has established residency rules and attendance zones for schools. Under Virginia law, parents/legal guardians who falsify address information may be found guilty of a class 4 misdemeanor. Parents/legal guardians shall be liable to the school division for tuition charges for the time the student was enrolled in such school division. At the discretion of the School Administration, students who are admitted to VBCPS or specific schools based upon false information may be disqualified from attending VBCPS or a specific school.
Regular school attendance is important to academic development and successful completion of required Standards of Learning and end-of-course tests; therefore, excessive or unexcused absences from school and specific classes can be detrimental. Virginia law requires that all persons who have not reached their 18th birthday must attend school in the city or county in which they reside. Failure to attend school regularly may result in a referral to the courts. Virginia law requires schools to develop plans of action when a student has five (5) unexcused absences for which the parent has provided no documentation. After seven (7) unexcused absences, schools must report these absences to appropriate authorities.
The school division has established reasons for which an excused absence can be granted. These reasons follow: personal illness, severe illness or death in the family, exposure to contagious disease, religious holidays, extremely inclement weather, or school-related activities for which participation has been granted by the school. Absences for other reasons, including out-of-school suspension, are considered unexcused absences.
Absence for any reason other than those stated above must receive prior permission from the school administration. Request for this approval should be written and submitted as soon as possible, but no later than twenty-four hours prior to the date requested. The reason for the request and length of the absence must be provided. In all cases of absence or tardiness, students must present a written excuse from a parent/guardian to the school stating the reason. With a tardy or late arrival, the parent must accompany the student to the school office to obtain a pass to class. Students taking credit-bearing courses (often called high school courses) must meet special attendance requirements. Students with more than twelve (12) class absences in a semester—excused or unexcused—receive a failing grade—63/N (N=failure due to absences) for that semester or the actual class grade, whichever is lower.
In credit courses where alternate day schedules or block scheduling are in effect, students with more than six (6) class absences, within a given semester—excused or unexcused—will receive a failing grade (63/N) for that course or the actual class grade, whichever is lower.
When extenuating circumstances exist, a parent/guardian should discuss extensive absences with the principal or his/her designee. Students who miss fifteen (15) consecutive days during the school year are withdrawn from the school.
Students having more than twenty-four (24) absences for the year are considered as having excessive absences. When a student’s absences number sixteen (16) or more, the school notifies the parents/guardians of the need to develop a corrective action plan for attendance. If attendance continues to be excessive, the student may be denied promotion by the principal.
At schools where bicycles are allowed, students must obtain permission from the school to ride to or from school. Bicycles must be secured on a bike rack with the student’s lock. Bicycles are not permitted in the school building and may not be ridden on sidewalks at the school. Students under 14 are required to wear helmets while riding bicycles and should obey traffic signals and signs to ensure a safe ride to and from school. The school assumes no responsibility for bicycles on school property. Skateboards and scooters are not allowed on School Board property and cannot be used for transportation purposes to and from school. In certain physical education classes, in-line skating is taught; students will be allowed to bring their own skates for this program.
Virginia Beach City Public Schools participate in both the National School Breakfast and Lunch Programs. Applications for free or reduced price meals can be obtained from the school office throughout the school year. Menus, current meal prices, and a complete listing of a-la-carte items can be found on www.vbschools.com under the category Lunch Menus. In addition to breakfast and lunch items, other items are offered for sale a la carte. Payments for meals can be made using one of three methods: cash; a computerized point-of-service system that allows individual student to have accounts for prepayment and payment at the time of service; and online using Visa, MasterCard, or a debit card. This online service – via www.vbschools.com – allows parents of students to prepay money directly into their child’s account, monitor their child’s food purchases, set up low-balance e-mail reminders, and schedule recurring payments.
In accordance with School Board Regulation 5-36.3, bullying is defined as negative behaviors intended to frighten or cause harm, which may include, but are not limited to verbal or written threats, or physical harm. Bullying will not be tolerated, and students shall be referred to the principal or assistant principal for appropriate disciplinary action, which may include suspension and/or recommendation for long-term suspension or expulsion. Detailed information on bullying prevention can be found on the school division’s website vbschools.com
Cell Phones/Electronic Devices/Portable Communication Devices
According to School Board Regulation 5-36.8, middle school students may use Portable Communication Devices for instructional purposes as defined by the classroom teacher or administrator. Students are responsible for ensuring that their devices are turned off and out of sight during the instructional day when not in use as directed by a teacher or administrator.
Use of unauthorized electronic devices such as CD players, MP3 players, iPods, DVD players, laptop computers, games may result in disciplinary action during the instructional day as set forth in the Code of Student Conduct. School officials shall take possession of portable communication devices for twenty-four hours for any violation of this regulation, and parents/legal guardians must make arrangements with school officials to claim such devices. Confiscated Portable Communication Devices will not be released to students under any circumstances. In addition, students who violate this regulation shall be subject to discipline in accordance with the Virginia Beach City Public Schools Discipline Guidelines as specified in the Code of Student Conduct.
The school division recognizes that issues related to the legal and physical custody of students are complicated and can impact the student's educational experience. Parents and legal guardians of students are strongly encouraged to stay involved with their student’s academic progress. Unless a court order decrees otherwise, either parent or a legal guardian may view education records and attend school functions or school meetings regarding the student. Official notices and report cards will be sent to the parent or legal guardian with primary physical custody of the student during the school year. It is the responsibility of the parent or legal custodian with primary physical custody to provide current copies of court orders to the school. Child visitation and exchange of custody should not take place during school hours or on school property. The school division will assume no responsibility for enforcing visitation or custody orders and reserves the right to prohibit parents or legal guardians from entering School Board property if their conduct becomes disruptive to the school environment. Concerns regarding custody and visitation should be directed to the school principal.
The Virginia Beach City Public Schools maintain an active and continuing child find program designed to identify, locate, and evaluate those children in need of special services. Child find includes children who are migrant, homeless, attend private schools, or are home schooled. All new students in kindergarten through grade three are screened in the areas of speech, language, voice, fine and gross motor functions, vision, and hearing within the first 60 days of enrollment. Vision and hearing screenings are conducted by the school nurse for all students new to the division in grades four through twelve. Additionally, the school nurse conducts vision and hearing screenings for all students in grades three, seven, and ten.
Clinic: Overview of Health Services for Students
Each school clinic is staffed with a full-time Registered Nurse, along with trained clinic assistants in the larger schools. They provide health screenings, assessments for chronic and acute illness, and first aid. The registered nurse at each school is available to consult with parents as needed, regarding health concerns of students.
If a student has special health needs (medication, seizure precautions, catheterizations, gastric tube feedings, blood sugar checks, oxygen needs, or others), the parent/guardian is to schedule a time to meet with the school nurse to arrange for these needs to be taken care of during the student’s school day. All medications and treatments require both a written order signed by a physician, dentist, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant and a parent/guardian's signature. The school nurse will assist the parent/guardian by preparing a plan of care for the student and advising as to what supplies the student will need at school.
Administration of medications, especially short term, should be done at home whenever possible. However, if a student is required to take prescription or non-prescription medication during the school day, the following guidelines must be met:
- A Request for Administration of Medication in Hampton Roads Schools form must be completed and signed by either a physician, dentist, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant and include the parent/guardian signature. This medication form is available for your convenience in the school clinic and on www.vbschools.com.
- Medication must be in a container that has been labeled by the pharmacy and has the most current prescription date. Over-the-counter medication must be in a sealed, unopened new bottle.
- Parent /guardian must deliver medication to the school clinic, as students are not permitted to transport medication.
- All medicine must be picked up by a parent at the end of the school year. Medicine not picked up will be discarded.
In some situations, accommodations can be made for students with asthma or life-threatening allergies to self-administer their inhaled asthma medication or their auto-injectable epinephrine medication. The school nurse must receive either an Virginia Asthma Action Plan form , or Life-threatening Allergy Management Plan (Part 2 & 3) forms completed and signed by either a physician, nurse practitioner, or physician’s assistant. These forms can be obtained from your school clinic and on www.vbschools.com. Additional questions and concerns may be directed to the registered nurse at your school.
As per the Code of Virginia, the school division must comply with all requirements for immunizations of school age children. There are specific requirements for DPT, Polio, MMR, Hepatitis B, Varicella, & HPV immunizations which can be located on www.vbschools.com. Rising sixth graders are required to have a Tdap booster prior to entering sixth grade. In addition, new enrolling students in the 7th and 8th grades, that have not had the Tdap booster, must receive the vaccine. If a Tetanus containing booster has been given in the past 5 years (since September 8, 2006), the Tdap booster is not required. Documentation of a Tetanus containing vaccine may appear as DPT, TD, DtaP, DT and/or Tdap. Rising sixth grade girls in Virginia schools received HPV vaccine (Virginia Department of Health) educational material during their 5th grade year. After reviewing this HPV educational material, the parent/guardian may elect for their child not to receive the vaccine. The Registered Nurse at your school should be contacted if this HPV information was not received or your child is new to Virginia. Lack of compliance with vaccine requirements can result in students being excluded from school until compliance, or a plan for compliance is achieved.
Parents/guardians are encouraged to keep the school nurse informed of significant health concerns and diagnoses for their children. It is essential that the clinic staffs have current work, cell, home phone numbers, pagers, and any other means whereby parents/guardians can be contacted should the need arise. Emergencies can occur at any time. It is imperative that each student’s school be able to reach parents and caregivers during the school day. Collaboration and communication with parents, guardians, and physicians are necessary in order for complete and effective care to be provided to students.
Credit-Bearing Courses/Grade Removal
Currently, Virginia Board of Education regulations allow middle school parents/guardians to submit to the principal a written request that a final grade from a credit-bearing course be omitted from the student’s transcript and that high school credit not be earned. The parent/guardian of a middle school student taking a high school credit-bearing course(s) may request that the grade for such course or courses be purged from the student's transcript and that the student not earn high school credit for the course. The request must be presented for consideration no later than August 1 after the completion of the student’s 8th grade year. EXCEPTION: In a sequential program such as a foreign language where one course must precede the next, students who choose to purge or expunge the credit from a lower level course after successfully completing the higher level(s) of the course will not be permitted to do so without expunging all subsequent courses in that sequence.
Discipline/Code of Student Conduct
Every student is expected to maintain self-discipline. If the student is unable to behave appropriately, he/she may be referred to an administrator. Disciplinary actions may include detention, suspension, or recommendations for long-term suspension or expulsion. Parents/legal guardians must attend conferences following suspensions. Refer to the Code of Student Conduct for additional information. Parents/legal guardians and students must review these rules and procedures annually and sign an acknowledgment of support of the Code of Student Conduct. School personnel may interview students regarding school matters without prior notice or consent of the parent/legal guardian. The School Board requires all principals to make recommendations for expulsion when the following incidents occur.
- Arson or attempted arson
- Assault and battery on an employee or student
- Possession, use, or sale of a firearm or dangerous weapon
- Use, possession, being under the influence of, selling, bringing, giving, distributing or passing to another individual or possessing with intent to sell, give, or distribute alcohol, marijuana, controlled substances or imitation controlled substances, and inhalants
- Extortion, attempted extortion, robbery, burglary, motor vehicle theft, and/or larceny
- Sex offenses: Sexual battery, inappropriate sexual behavior, obscene phone calls, and sexual assault
- Hazing: Initiation of another student through abuse and humiliation so as to cause bodily injury
- Kidnapping or other serious criminal violations
- Possession, use, distribution, sale, lighting or discharging of explosive devices
- Malicious wounding of an employee or student
- Other good and just cause as determined by the Superintendent
Dress guidelines are designed to promote a standard of appearance that complements the learning environment; each middle school will provide guidelines. All students are expected to wear dress appropriate to the occasion; extreme or ostentatious apparel or appearance is to be avoided. Any article of clothing or accessory that advertises alcohol, or an illegal substance, depicts lewd graphics, displays offensive or obscene language, or is gang-related is forbidden. Disciplinary action will be taken against any student taking part in gang-related activities that are disruptive to the school environment, which include the display of any apparel, jewelry, accessory, or tattoo, by virtue of its color, arrangement, trademark, or any other attribute, denotes membership in a gang that advocates illegal or disruptive behavior. If there is doubt about a particular item of apparel, the student should contact a school administrator for a decision prior to wearing the clothing to school. If the item is deemed inappropriate and the student does not modify the attire, entry into class may be denied by an administrator. Students must also wear appropriate attire to participate in physical education classes. For convenience, schools sell shorts and t-shirts.
Environmentally Sustainable Practices
The School Board of the City of Virginia Beach recognizes the critical importance of environmental sustainability in today’s changing world and is committed to fostering the principles of environmental, economic, and social stewardship through the incorporation of sustainable practices throughout the school division. The intent of this policy is to provide a healthful learning/working environment which contributes to protecting, conserving, and enhancing the nation’s environmental resources while providing long-term savings to taxpayers through lower operating costs.
Students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of after school activities, including intramural, athletic, academic, and club activities. The school’s Student Activity Coordinator (SAC) can provide information regarding the individual programs. Students in good standing may participate in intramural, interscholastic, and club activities.
Middle schools provide the opportunity for students to participate in interscholastic competition. Students at all grade levels may participate on any competitive team once selected for the team. Interscholastic competitive activities include: academic challenge, boys’ baseball, boys’ and girls’ basketball, cheerleading, debate, girls’ field hockey, football, forensics, one-act play festival, girls’ softball, boys’ and girls’ soccer, boys’ and girls’ track, girls’ volleyball, and wrestling. Students must meet the following eligibility requirements:
- A student must be enrolled in no less than five subjects and passed five subjects for the previous year for first semester participation and passed five subjects in the first semester for second semester participation.
- A student must have achieved a 2.0 grade point average in the preceding semester.
- A student must have a current middle school league participation form and permission for emergency care form properly completed and signed.
- A student must not turn 15 years of age before August 1 immediately prior to the start of the current school year.
- From the time a student first enters the sixth grade, he/she is eligible to compete in Virginia Beach Middle School League activities for a total period of six consecutive semesters. If the student continues in middle school past six semesters, he/she would no longer be eligible to participate.
Firearms/Dangerous Weapons, Including Laser Lights
Carrying or possessing firearms, pneumatic weapons, or other dangerous weapons, including look-alikes, is prohibited. Using, distributing, selling, lighting or discharging an explosive device, including fireworks, on school property violates Virginia law and School Board policy. Legal authorities may impose imprisonment and/or fines for guilt. Possessing and using laser lights to potentially cause harm, injury, or irritation violates the Code of Student Conduct. Expulsion recommendation and police notification are mandatory for these offenses.
Regular emergency evacuation drills are conducted at the direction of school staff. When a fire alarm sounds, students must evacuate the school quickly in an orderly fashion. At the direction of staff, students must follow evacuation routes noted on diagrams posted throughout the school. Students must follow all staff directions regarding movement to other locations and return to classrooms. It is essential to be quiet during drills and evacuations. Specific procedures will be outlined by each middle school for all other emergencies.
The middle school gifted program serves students through a cluster/resource model or a full-time gifted school. Students may apply for admission to the gifted middle school, Kemps Landing Magnet, or students may choose to remain in their home schools and receive gifted instruction through the collaborative works of cluster teachers and the gifted resource teacher. Either option allows gifted students to work to their potential through curricular opportunities emphasizing differentiated instruction, specialized programs, and the use of strategies designed especially to raise levels of thinking and learning. For additional information, contact the Office of Gifted Programs at 757.263.1405.
The School Board adopted a modified 10-point grading scale, effective with the start of the 2010-2011 school year. All grades earned through August 2010 will remain on the old grading scale. Information on the new grading scale can found at http://www.vbschools.com/gradescale2010. The modified 10-point grading scale follows:
- RANGELETTER GRADEPOINT VALUE
- Below 64E0.0
A “W” is given when a student has withdrawn from a class; “I” indicates incomplete work that must be turned in to the teacher prior to the end of the following nine weeks. “N” indicates excessive absences and loss of credit.
There are specific requirements for graduation from high school. The Virginia Board of Education and the Virginia Beach School Board establish these requirements. Middle school students may take high school courses. Specific course requirements and course descriptions are provided in a student guide published annually through the guidance department and available on www.vbschools.com. It is the responsibility of the student, with family support, to meet all requirements for graduation. This can be accomplished by staying in touch with your student’s assigned guidance counselor during his/her academic careers.
Guidance Counseling Program
Each middle school offers a comprehensive and developmental counseling program that is an integral part of the total educational program designed to promote the academic, social, and career development of all students. As an essential part of the instructional program, school counseling helps to build a foundation for student learning and academic success. Certified school counselors provide a variety of services, including classroom guidance, crisis intervention, individual and group counseling, consultation with parents, teachers, and administrators, and coordination of services with outside agencies.
Parents/legal guardians may arrange conferences by calling the school. On a space available basis, student schedules may be modified. Students may elect to add a year class to their schedule prior to the end of the fifteenth school day. Students may add a semester course only during the first eight days of the semester. Students may add a nine-weeks course during the first four school days of the grading period.
Family Access to Medical Insurance Security (FAMIS) is available for children (ages birth to 19 years) of families who qualify based on income. FAMIS is Virginia's health insurance program for children. It provides access to quality health services for children of working families.
For additional information, you may call 1.866.873.2647 or visit their website at famis.org. Your school nurse can also assist you with obtaining information on this program. Should there be any changes to the health insurance offered to students, this information will be made available on www.vbschools.com by selecting the category Student Health Services on the homepage.
In elementary, middle and high school, an Honor Roll and Principal’s List are established after each nine weeks to recognize students who achieve excellence in academic performance. To qualify for the Honor Roll at the middle and high school levels, a student must earn a “B” average, with no grade lower than a “C.” If a student receives a “C-,” he or she is not eligible for the Honor Roll. To qualify for the Principal’s List, a student must earn all “As” and must be enrolled in five classes or earning five credits. If a student receives an “A-,” he or she will not be eligible for the Principal’s List. To be eligible for both the Honor Roll and Principal’s List a student must be enrolled in five classes or earning five credits.
At the elementary level, the same grades must be earned as in the middle and high school to be eligible for the Honor Roll and Principal’s List. In addition, a student must have satisfactory ratings for work habits, conduct, music, art, and physical education.
Inclement Weather and School Closings
In the interest of student safety, federal and local agencies are consulted prior to making a decision to close, delay, or dismiss schools early due to inclement weather. Parents will be notified via phone and/or email about school delays or cancellations using the rapid notification system AlertNow. An official notice will also be posted on the homepage of the school division’s website vbschools.com. Each school has an Emergency Response Plan for use in the event of early closings and other emergencies. Parents should make sure they have plans in place since students will be transported home earlier.
Investigating School-Related Incidents
If an allegation is made that an employee was exhibiting poor performance and/or engaging in misconduct (which could include an allegation of child abuse/neglect), a VBCPS Human Resources Employee Relations Specialist or other administrator could decide to interview one or more students to obtain pertinent information. In appropriate circumstances an interview(s) may be conducted jointly with the Department of Human Services and/or law enforcement personnel. Although, Division administrators are not legally obligated to obtain parental permission before interviewing a student. However, as a general rule the principal or his/her designee will make a reasonable attempt to notify a parent or guardian that an interview was conducted. Virginia law permits law enforcement personnel and/or child protective service workers to interview any child suspected of being abused or neglected and/or siblings without first obtaining parental consent.
Leaving School Grounds
Students must remain on school grounds after arriving on school premises. Students are released to parents/guardians or designated adults listed in the student database who have presented photo identification. Students are dismissed to older siblings when parents/guardians submit prior authorization. Written parental approval is necessary prior to leaving school grounds for field trips or special visits to specific schools or work sites.
Students who receive excused absences will be allowed to make up all assignments that affect the course grade and will be made aware of these assignments. It is the student's responsibility to make up assignments within a reasonable amount of time. Students who receive unexcused absences may make up assignments at the discretion of the teacher, subject to the requirements communicated (provided) by the teacher at the beginning of the course. It is the student's responsibility to be aware of established guidelines and to follow those guidelines to make up the assignment. Students who are under the penalty of Out-of-School Suspension (OSS) will be provided class work and homework material if requested by the parent/guardian and/or student, so the student may remain current with school instruction as long as enrolled in school.
Minute of Silence and Pledge of Allegiance
The Virginia General Assembly has mandated a daily minute of silence and the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance. The Code of Student Conduct addresses disruptive behavior during these daily activities.
Monitoring Student progress/VBCPS Parent Portal
Parents and guardians of students have access to theVBCPS Parent Portal. The VBCPS Parent Portal is a powerful online resource that provides parents the opportunity to monitor their child’s progress in school and view historic academic and enrollment information dating back to the 2004-2005 school year. All parents and guardians of middle school students are encouraged to use this resource to help their child succeed academically. To learn more about the VBCPS Parent Portal, to login to your account, or to set up an account, go to the home page of any middle school website or the school division’s website.
News Media Coverage
From time to time, news reporters may use photos or videotape of students in incidental news coverage. A parent/legal guardian who objects to a student’s image being used should notify the school at the beginning of each academic school year. If a student is to be interviewed on school property by the news media, a signed parental consent form is required (Parental Release for Interviewing, Photographing, and Videotaping/Audio-recording of Students Form) and is available in each school office.
Parent Acknowledgement Form and Supporting Documents
Each parent will receive a Parent Acknowledgement Form during the first week of the school year. This form is for parents/legal guardians of all minor students or for students who are eighteen years of age or older enrolled in Virginia Beach City Public Schools. The Parent Acknowledgement Form must be signed and returned to the student’s teacher in order to verify that the parent/legal guardian has received these important documents. A complete list of documents is available on the school division’s website by selecting the category Schools/Centers on the homepage.
Middle school students are promoted to the next grade on the basis of criteria requiring final passing grades in the four core subjects (English, math, science, and social studies) and a final passing grade in either health/physical education or the equivalent of a full-year in exploratory/elective course(s). SOL test results are a part of the criteria utilized to determine promotion.
Proceeds from School Pictures Sales
Each school schedules photography sessions for all students in the fall and spring of each year. Funds generated from this activity benefit school projects, which can include but are not limited to, purchasing supplementary instructional materials and equipment, outdoor equipment/signs, and supporting student activities that benefit students.
Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment, 20 U.S.C. § 1231 (H)
The Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) 20 U.S.C. § 1231 (h) requires that the School Board notify parents/legal guardians and obtain consent or allow parents/legal guardians to opt their student out of participating in certain school activities such as student surveys, analyses, or evaluations that concern one or more of the following areas:
- Political affiliations or beliefs of the student or student’s parent;
- Mental or psychological problems of the student or student’s family;
- Sexual behavior or attitudes;
- Illegal, anti-social, self-incriminating or demeaning behavior;
- Critical appraisals of others with whom respondents have close family relationships;
- Legally recognized privileged relationships such as with lawyers, doctors, or ministers;
- Religious practices, affiliations, or beliefs of the student or parents; or
- Income, other than as required by law to determine program eligibility.
- This requirement also applies to the collection, disclosure or use of student information for marketing purposes, and certain physical exams and screenings.
The School Division will publish a schedule of activities requiring parental notice and consent or opt-out for the upcoming school year.
Reporting Student Progress
All students are issued progress reports every nine-weeks grading period. The dates when progress reports and report cards are issued can be found on the school division calendar included in this handbook and on www.vbschools.com. In addition, parents can view students' grades and attendance online anytime via the VBCPS Parent Portal link found on the home page of each school website or at www.vbschools.com/schoolnet. Students earning a grade of 69 or below in any core subject on a report card will be placed in a mandatory Academic Support class
Safe Schools and Emergency Procedures
Virginia Beach City Public Schools is committed to providing a safe environment for students, staff, and visitors. The school division conducts annual safe school audits of all school facilities in accordance with Virginia State Code. The audit process provides a comprehensive overview of the school division’s security and emergency preparedness. As part of our commitment to safety, students and visitors may be subject to unannounced electronic screening for weapons.
We work closely with national, state, and local safety officials – police, fire, emergency medical services, and public health – in order to ensure our schools are well prepared for an emergency. Together, we have developed a comprehensive Emergency Response Plan that covers a wide variety of emergencies that serves as a guide to help staff and our public safety partners respond swiftly should a crisis occur in our schools.
Should a school emergency occur, parents will be notified and updated by phone and/or email using the school division’s rapid notification system – AlertNow. Prior to reporting to your child’s school during an emergency, it is critical for parents to follow directions communicated via AlertNow. Should a school be evacuated, each school has a procedure for helping parents locate their child. Parents will be directed to a specific location where they will be required to show proper identification. Remember, a student can only be released to an adult who is documented as an emergency contact. If you are a non-custodial parent, you must be listed with your child's emergency contact information as a guardian and show proper identification.
In addition to being notified via AlertNow, parents are able to receive information about the school emergency by:
- Calling the school division’s Emergency Hotline at 757.263.1000
- Visiting the homepage of www.vbschools.com
Additional information on school emergencies and important terms that are used during an emergency, such as internal/external lockdowns, are available at www.vbschools.com.
The school division contracts with authorized insurance carriers for voluntary student accident and dental insurance programs. This insurance is available yearly to all students. Fee information, application forms, and information are sent home with students at the beginning of the school year.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities. The statute ensures that a qualified student with a disability receives reasonable accommodations necessary for that student to access education or school-related programs and activities. A student suspected of needing a Section 504 Plan can be referred by any source. Upon referral, the process for determining whether the student meets the qualifications under this federal law will be initiated. For more information on Section 504, please contact the 504 Coordinator at your child’s school. A complete description of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is available on www.vbschools.com.
Special Education is specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of a student determined eligible for services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004). The referral of a student for a suspected disability that may require special education services can be made by any source. A comprehensive evaluation is conducted to determine the student’s eligibility and to assist in planning to meet the student’s unique educational needs.
A student who has been found eligible for special education will receive supports and services as identified through an Individualized Education Program (IEP) that is planned and designed to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE). Further information and referrals may be made to the administration of the school where the student is enrolled. Additional information may be obtained through the Virginia Beach City Public Schools’ Parent Support and Information Center at 757.263.2066 or online at http://www.vbschools.com/curriculum/ParentSupportCtr. The Director of Special Education for the Virginia Beach City Public Schools can be reached at the Office of Programs for Exceptional Children, 757.263.2400, Laskin Road Annex, 1413 Laskin Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23451.
Standards of Learning and Adequate Yearly Progress
Standardized testing will also be administered to students to gather additional information about student progress. Virginia Standard of Learning (SOL) objectives will be assessed by criterion-referenced tests. Students and parents or guardians receive results of the SOL testing in the following areas: English: Reading (Grades 6, 7, and 8), English: Writing (Grade 8), mathematics (Grades 6, 7, and 8), science (Grade 8), history and social science (Grades 6, 7, and 8). Students enrolled in Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra II/Trigonometry, or Earth Science are required to take SOL end-of-course tests. Students enrolled in Advanced Science 7 and/or Advance Math 7 must take the appropriate grade 8 SOL test(s). Students interested in taking an Earth Science class who are not enrolled in advanced classes must meet division standards by passing a locally developed test or enrolling in a Physical Science 8 summer school course.
The Virginia Beach City Public Schools continues to support the federally mandated No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) for the benefit of all students in grades K-12. This legislation requires students in grades 3-8 to be tested annually in reading and mathematics and to meet certain benchmarks under Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). AYP requires schools to meet annual student performance benchmarks and a 95% student participation rate on statewide tests in reading and mathematics. AYP applies to all students and to the following subgroups of students: students with disabilities, limited English speaking students, economically disadvantaged students, and students in major racial/ethnic groups. All students are expected to participate in state assessments as required. By 2014, the expectation is that every student will pass every test.
Students Charged with or Convicted of an Offense
If a court petition or warrant is filed against a student, or a student is found guilty or not innocent of a crime, the School Board may require that the student attend an alternative education program. Students who have been expelled or suspended for thirty days from another public or private school may be required to attend an alternative education program.
Many elementary as well as all middle and high school students have access to the Student Portal, an online resource that supplements coursework and promotes student proficiency in the use of online collaboration tools. Each student is provided a student site which provides permanent file storage space for the duration of their enrollment in VBCPS. The Student Portal also provides teachers the opportunity to extend the physical classroom through the use of class sites. The Student Portal can be accessed from school, home, or any Internet connected computer. Students are encouraged to use this resource for their electronic file storage needs and as a means of interaction with teachers on class Websites. To learn more about accessing the Student Portal, go to the home page of your school’s website and click on Student Portal.
The school division provides textbooks and sometimes CDs free of charge to students for use during the school year. Students are expected to care for books and CDs they receive. Fees are assessed for damaged or lost books/CDs. Virginia law authorizes local school boards to take action against students who fail to return property owned by the school division. In addition, most of the division's textbooks can be located online. Please contact your child's teacher for the web address, username, and password for online access.
Tobacco Possession and Use
Students possessing or using tobacco products are subject to disciplinary actions as described in the Code of Student Conduct. Based on the number of offenses, students could receive recommendations for various interventions and short- or long-term suspensions. Under Virginia law, the Virginia Beach Police Department must be notified when a student 18 years or younger is suspended for a tobacco related offense.
Bus transportation is provided for Virginia Beach City Public Schools’ students to and from school, based on each school’s transportation zone. Students riding a bus to school must be at their stop no earlier than five minutes before regular pickup time. The Code of Student Conduct outlines the conduct for all students while riding a school bus. Bus routes, pickup times, and safety tips are posted on www.vbschools.com and are available at every school prior to the beginning of the school year. Students must ride their assigned buses. Extenuating circumstances requiring a bus change must be submitted in writing with a contact telephone number and approved in advance by the administration.
Visitation to Schools
Students may not visit other Virginia Beach middle schools during the school day. Parents/legal guardians may visit classrooms following advanced consultation and approval from building administrators. Other specific guidelines may be established by middle schools.
Visitors are welcome in the Virginia Beach City Public Schools. Parents/legal guardians visiting their student’s school should make arrangements in advance in order to be assured that school personnel will be available to meet with them.
All persons entering the school must receive authorization to move through the school. The visitor must wear an identification badge while in the school. Outside of regular school hours, it is unlawful for any person, without authorization, to enter school grounds, premises, or property for any purpose other than to attend an event/meeting held at the school. Violators may be charged. Persons failing to conduct themselves in a lawful and orderly manner may be banned from School Board property.
Withdrawal from School
Students withdrawing from school during the school year must present a written or electronic note from a parent/guardian stating the reason for the withdrawal, the withdrawal date, and the student’s destination, so that the transfer process can be completed. Withdrawing students must return all textbooks, library books, and instructional materials assigned to them. All financial obligations must be cleared.