Things to know about FMS

    • School Day/Schedule/CalendarStudents may arrive as early as 7:30 am (supervised in the gym until 8:00). There is no adult supervision prior to 7:30, so please do not drop students off before this time. Students are dismissed from the gym, to their classrooms at 8:00. The day officially begins at 8:00. This morning time is an opportunity for students to connect with their peers and their teacher, complete classroom jobs, read the morning message, hear the school-wide morning announcements, and settle into their day.  School-wide morning announcements occur at 8:10. Dismissal is announced at 3:00 pm. A reminder that students will be dismissed at 2:00 every Tuesday. Teachers will be participating in professional learning, at the school and district level, from 2:00-4:00 on these days. The school year calendar is posted on the EWSD website https://www.ewsd.org/

    • Extended Day Programs:
      • The YMCA program is available for after school care. Call the Y program at 862-9622 for more information.
      • After school opportunities are plentiful at Founders. Look for information to begin coming home at the start of the school year.
    • Responsive Classroom: We continue our work using a school-wide program called Responsive Classroom, which guides us in developing a sense of community and caring within each classroom and throughout the school.  You will see morning message boards in each classroom. You will hear about interesting greetings and activities that your child is doing to build community in their classroom, team, and school. You will hear about hopes and dreams children and staff have for themselves and for our school this year.  If you have any questions about what this overall school approach means, please contact your child’s teacher. You can also visit the Responsive Classroom website for more information https://www.responsiveclassroom.org/

    • Communication: We will send out newsletters on a regular basis, highlighting important news and events in the school. Teachers will send home letters discussing the specifics of their class and team. In addition, they post information about their class on their class/team websites. We encourage ongoing, two-way communication. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us. The easiest way to do this is through email. You can reach a staff member through email by using their first initial, followed by their last name, @ewsd.org.  We are always posting a variety of news, events, and learning on the school’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

    • Communication of Concerns: If you have a concern, you are encouraged to first address it directly with your child’s teacher, unless the concern relates to bullying, sexual harassment, or abuse - go directly to the Principal or Joe Arigo, our student management specialist.  If the concern relates specifically to special education, the parent should address the concern to both the student’s teacher and the case manager/special educator. If you feel the concern is not resolved, please bring the concern to the principal.  All teachers and administrative staff have email addresses and voice mail, so communication is easily accessible. Teachers are more than happy to return communications in a timely manner. Unless it is an emergency or a safety situation, we respectfully ask that you allow teachers 24 hours to respond.

    • Parking: Parents who are visiting the school or dropping off and picking up children should drop off or park in designated areas and drive safely and slowly at all times near EWSD schools. Please use the parking lot on the east side of FMS for parking.  For safety reasons, parents cannot park, even for a moment, in the fire lanes in front of the school at any time. This includes after school for pickups from the YMCA or enrichment and morning drop-off. Parking along the fence line in the East parking lot, near the cafeteria door, or in any non-designated parking spot are also not allowed. Please park in the main parking lot located between the two schools if there are no spots in the East lot.  In addition, please never park in the special needs/handicapped parking spots, unless you have the appropriate permit to do so. Thank you for helping us to keep everyone safe and maintaining accessibility for all.

    • Attendance: We strongly ask that parents have their children arrive to school for the 8:00 start time and have them remain until dismissal at 3:00.  Please call the school or fill out the online absence form before the start of the school day and state the reason for the planned absence. If you need to have your child regularly excused for reasons not related to “health, family emergency, bereavement,” you will need to petition the principal for these absences to be excused. Once absences reach five full days, we begin to communicate with parents about these absences and monitor further absences very closely. If you are taking a trip, please write to the principal, in advance, to request these days be considered excused. If your child is absent more than 20 days during the school year for any reason, then he/she may be processed in accordance with the Chittenden County Truancy Policy. Vermont law requires regular school attendance by students. Parents and guardians of students enrolled in school (regardless of their age) are required by law to ensure their children’s attendance at school. Per state law, school interventions shall occur after a student misses 10, 15, 20 days. Continued truancy shall result in reports being filed with appropriate State agencies.  Students who arrive to school late will need to sign in at the main office. The school will document the total late arrivals. The amount of instructional time missed will be added up and counted towards full days of absences. School personnel are always available to provide parents with strategies to assist them in getting their children to school on time.

    • Free Lunch and Breakfast Programs:  Free meals are available for students if the family qualifies under federal guidelines. For families that qualify for reduced meals, they are now offered at no cost, with the State contributing to the “reduced” amount. Information regarding these programs will be sent home with students the first day of school. All information provided on these forms is kept strictly confidential. Please call the Child Nutrition Services Director at 879-5544 for more information. Applications can be filed at any time during the school year.
    • End of Day Pick Up:  Students will be escorted by their teachers to the gym at the end of the day, and then into the cafeteria if they are being picked up, walking, or attending the after school program.  If you need to pick up your child at the end of the day, please go to the cafeteria (side door - there will be signs), sign your child out, and wait for the teacher to deliver them to you in the cafeteria.  Please do not congregate in the lobby, in the hallways, outside classrooms or in alcoves, in the hopes of picking up your child as he/she comes through. This creates a significant bottle-neck and a safety hazard for the entire school. Parents are not allowed to pick up students from the bus line without first signing them out in the cafeteria with the school registrar.  We must always be diligent and know where students are at all times. We greatly appreciate your cooperation and understanding with this, as we safely and efficiently dismiss our roughly 420 students.
    • Early Dismissal  If your child has a doctor’s appointment or you need to collect your child early for some reason, please send in a note, or email the registrar, Kim Kedzierski at  kkedzierski@ewsd.org in the morning, indicating the time that you will pick up your child.  Letting us know in advance prevents us from needing to interrupt classroom instruction. The teacher will have your child ready to go and will send them to the office at the time you indicated. If you are picking up your child, you will simply go to the office, check in with the registrar, sign the clipboard that indicates that you have taken your child.  Please note, if you are picking your child up between 2:45 and 3:00, without advance notice, we will not be calling classrooms for students. Instruction is occurring up to dismissal and end of day routines can be very disruptive when multiple early pick-ups occur.  A reminder that early dismissals, like morning tardiness, are added up and counted toward full day absences. We ask that you do your best to have students remain in school for the full school day, until dismissal at 3:00.  The end of day routines are as important for students as the beginning of the day routines. Thank you, in advance, for honoring each important moment we have with your children to help them learn and grow, academically and socially. Every minute is important and purposeful.

    • Leaving and entering the building:  With the exception of evacuation drills and end of the day pick-ups, all parents/visitors must enter and leave the building through the front door, so our registrar is able to view you.  You must also check in with the registrar. This is per our school safety protocols.  The reason for this is we need to know that the other exterior doors are secured and locked at all times,. This also allows us to know who is in the building at all times. Should there be an emergency, this is critical information for school and emergency personnel.

    • In-School Visitation: We value all of our volunteers here at Founders!  Please be sure to pick up a Visitor’s Badge at the front desk, drop off your keys, and sign in, before you enter the rest of the school.  This ensures that we know who is in the school in case of fire or other emergencies. It also helps us keep our students safe, by knowing who is approved to be in the school. This is VERY important, and is non-negotiable. You should make prior arrangements with a teacher if you wish to visit the classroom. The teacher will let the front office know that he/she is expecting you. Dropping off keys ensures that we get our badges back and that you sign out when you leave. Go to https://www.ewsd.org/domain/175, call our front office, or ask your child’s teacher, to find out more about how you can volunteer.
    • School Safety:  In September, we will convene the FMS safety committee and conduct an updated in-house safety audit and review our safety protocols. We have monthly drills with students throughout the year, related to the different drill topics (fire, evacuation, secure the building, clear the halls).  Our goal is to be as prepared as possible, in order for us to handle a crisis should one arise, while at the same time not raising unnecessary alarm for students. If you ever have any concerns about safety, contact Wendy Cobb, School Principal.
    • Student Management:  Our school uses the principles of Responsive Classroom as the guiding philosophy around student management.  Essentially, we ask that students show RESPONSIBILITY, RESPECT, AND SAFETY in their interactions with each other and all adults here at school.  

    • School-Wide Expectations

    • Take care of yourself.
    • Take care of others.
    • Take care of our school.
    • Take care of our world.

      Teams will work with students at the start of the year to determine what these expectations look like and sound like. They will set classroom and team expectations that directly connect to the above-mentioned school-wide expectations. Adults will model, practice with students, and review these expectations at the start of the year and in an ongoing manner throughout the school year.

    • Discipline: As part of Responsive Classroom, all classes will be using the same series of consequences for students.  If a classroom expectation is not met by a student, the teacher will give the student a friendly reminder of the expected behavior.  If the behavior continues, then the student will be directed to move into a “take a break” area of the room. If the behavior continues, the student will have a timeout in another, pre-designated classroom. The next step would be administrative intervention. Some behaviors (e.g. physical aggression, harassment, bullying) will be “fast-tracked” to administration and are subject to in-school or out-of-school suspensions.  Your classroom teacher will be communicating with you if behavior is an ongoing concern, and we will be working together to develop a plan to help the student be more successful.

    • Physical Aggression and Unsafe Behavior on the School Bus  The number one priority for students is safety. Kindness and respect towards others is the expectation at FMS. Like any other area of the school, all students have the right to feel safe on the school bus. Aggressive behavior on the bus is taken very seriously, just as it would be at school. When aggressive, threatening, or unsafe behaviors are reported, the principal and the student management specialist will review video footage of the day and time in question. Bus suspensions will be implemented if the video reveals students are being physically aggressive, threatening to others, or unsafe. Depending on the severity or number of infractions, transportation privileges may be suspended for a short period of time or for the remainder of the year. Parents are responsible for arranging alternate transportation for their child if this occurs.  All buses are equipped with video cameras to ensure that drivers and administration have access to objective and real-time evidence related to student behavior. Parents will not be allowed to view video recordings based on federal student privacy laws. Only the administration and designated school personnel are allowed to view the video footage, for confidentiality reasons.

    • Hazing, Harassment, & Bullying: The EWSD School District is committed to providing all of its students with a safe and supportive school environment in which all members of the school community are treated with respect. We take all reported incidents of bullying, hazing, and harassment very seriously.  Each school campus has at least two designated employees that are charged with receiving and investigating reports of hazing, harassment and bullying. Any person who believes they have been the victim of hazing, harassment and/or bullying or the victim of retaliation by making a complaint of such behavior, or any person with knowledge or evidence of conduct which may constitute hazing shall report the alleged acts immediately to Wendy Cobb (principal) or Joe Arigo (student management specialist). For a more detailed outline of HHB policies and procedures, see the parent handbook.
    • Founders T-Shirts:  We will be taking orders for Founders T-shirts until Friday, September 21. Order forms will be sent home on the first day of school. You may leave your order at the front office or with your child’s teacher. There are scholarships if you need support in getting a shirt for your child. Confidentiality is assured. We want to make sure every student gets a school t-shirt.

    • Electronic devices are encouraged to be left at home. The only exception is when the teacher gives students specific permission to use the electronic device for specific reasons directly related to learning.   If devices are used inappropriately and violates our acceptable use guidelines, the office will be contacted and the student may lose the privilege. All students are instructed early on in the year, and throughout the year, on the acceptable use of technology and they are subject to a loss of technology privileges if they violate expectations.  If students must bring a cell phone to school, they are expected to leave it in their backpack with it turned off. They are not allowed to use devices during lunch or on the playground, and they should not be taken out on the bus. The use of camera functions is strictly prohibited. See the parent handbook for a detailed outline of the acceptable use policy.

     

    • Walking and Biking to School:  Bus transportation is provided to students at Founders. Bus route information will be posted to the EWSD website soon.  If your children bike to school, we strongly encourage them to wear helmets. In addition, please take time with your children to carefully review safety protocols for crossing streets. We suggest walking or biking with your child, in advance of the first day of school, to review these important safety rules.