Students and parents Handbook 23/24
- Welcome to Munger Mountain Elementary School
- School Communication
- Communication Procedures
- School Hours, Policies and Procedures
- Transportation Policies and Procedures
- Student Success and Support
- Teaching and Learning
- Health Services
- Annual Discrimination Notification
Dear Munger Mountain Elementary FamiliesWelcome to the 2023-2024 school year at Wyoming’s only full two-way dual immersion elementary school! We are so very proud to work with such an outstanding group of educators, who are all committed to our mission of preparing biliterate and bilingual global citizens who achieve academic excellence and practice equity and empathy in their daily lives. We are looking forward to seeing all of you and your students in the coming weeks. Our goal is to make this school year a safe, joyful, and engaging learning experience for all students.
MMES will send out a weekly update on Fridays through the month of September, and then switch to bi-weekly communications in October. Look for these newsletters in your email address listed in PowerSchool.
The MMES website will be updated with important information and links on a regular basis, you can visit the website at www.https://www.tcsd.org/9/home.
On behalf of the MMES staff, we warmly welcome you to this school year—a school year that holds the promise of countless new experiences, unlimited learning potential, and the joy that you should expect from watching your child excel.
Teton County School District has subscribed to the School Messenger service, which allows us to send important messages to parents via email, phone and text. This includes daily attendance notifications if your child is not at school and we have not heard from you, principal newsletters, and emergency/crisis information. There are opt-out options available, which can be activated once you begin to receive messages, but we do encourage you to use this efficient communication tool.
Expect regular communication from your child’s teacher about the happenings in the classroom, which include updates on curriculum, important dates, upcoming events, etc.
School-wide newsletters will also be sent to MMES families, to keep you apprised of events and important dates, highlights of MMES happenings and successes, an update from PTO, and helpful information from counselors and other staff. A weekly principal update may be sent if information is time-sensitive. All school communication can be found in the “Communication with Families” folder on the school website.
Student day hours: 8:05 AM warning bell, class hours are 8:10 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
School office hours: 7:45 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Supervision of students begins at 7:45 a.m., we ask that you not have your child at school before that time.
SCHOOL POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
Consistent, daily attendance is an integral part of a student’s learning experience and there is a direct relationship between attendance, academic achievement, and overall school success. Excessive absences can result in a significantly diminished school experience. Thank you for your support in promoting exemplary attendance for your child at MMES.
- Absences: If your child is absent from school, please call the school office at 733-3020 between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. If you are going to be out of town, please notify both the office and teacher of this absence in advance. To help ensure the safety of our children, School Messenger will automatically begin to call parents of absent students after 10:00 a.m. If you have not called before 9:00 a.m., you may receive a phone call. Parents must contact the office if their child will be absent. This will greatly reduce the number of phone calls our secretary has to make to follow up with student absences.
- Unexcused Absences: If your student misses school and you do not contact the school office in the morning, or after a School Messenger phone call is sent home, the absence will be considered unexcused. Per TCSD policy JE (linked here), we are required to contact you regarding each unexcused absence in writing, after three (3)unexcused absences we will require an in-person meeting, and after five (5) unexcused absences we consider a student to be habitually truant. We know that every parent and guardian wants nothing more than a successful school experience, and attendance is critical to this shared goal.
- Tardies: At MMES, we strive to have all students in their classrooms and prepared for class when the school day officially begins at 8:15 a.m. This enables the classrooms to promptly start learning with minimal interruptions. Your help in getting your child(ren) to school in enough time for them to get to class by 8:15 is much appreciated. If your child arrives at school after 8:15, he/she will be marked tardy. Please be sure that your student checks in at the office before going to the classroom.
- Early dismissal: Parents/guardians must call or check-in with the front office to sign students out early.
Procedure for changing a student’s after school arrangements
In order to ensure that all students are supervised and safe, parents must contact the office and their child’s teacher if they are making changes to their child’s regularly scheduled after-school plans. The school must be notified by 2:00 p.m. so we have sufficient time to deliver these messages.
If there are any circumstances that prevent your child(ren) from attending school or arriving at school on time, please contact the principal to discuss. Of course, if your child is ill, he/she should stay home. As much as possible, family trips should be planned during vacation time. I also encourage parents to consider the amount of afterschool and evening commitments their child is involved in, as they may exhaust a child and affect his/her ability to attend school.
Updating Parent and Student Information
In late August, you should have received an email, asking you to log into InfoSnap and update your student’s enrollment information. If you haven’t yet updated or completed your child’s InfoSnap profile, please be sure to complete this by the end of the first week of school. This is especially important if you have moved, or have a new phone number, email, or emergency contact. In the event of an emergency or if your child becomes ill, we need to be able to contact you quickly. If your address, phone number, email, or emergency contact information changes during the school year, please contact the school office so we can update our records.
Student Technology Expectations
Please refer to the following document to ensure students are following MMES’s technology expectations.
Student Dress and Appearance
To create and support an appropriate learning environment, students are expected to dress in a manner fitting for school. Please discuss the following guidelines with your child to be sure they are appropriately dressed for school:
Shoes must be worn at all times.
Hats may be worn in the building unless they become a distraction to the educational environment.
Attire that depicts illegal or adult only products (i.e. alcohol) is not permitted.
Anytime snow is on the ground, all students are required to wear the BIG 5 (see below).
Inclement Weather Procedure
Our students are outside for recess every day unless it is below zero or raining heavily. When the temperature is zero degrees or colder, students will remain inside the school for recess. Throughout the year, please make sure your student has the proper clothing for the weather. At MMES, we require our students to have the BIG FIVE – coat, snow pants, snow boots, hat and gloves.
The school district’s policy states when the temperature reaches 25 degrees below zero in the morning at the school bus depot, the transportation director and superintendent will confer on the safety issues surrounding the decision on school closure or delay. Please listen to the local television and radio stations, or visit the district website to learn if school is closed.
Visitor Sign In
All visitors must enter through the main entrance at the front of the school. When entering through the office, visitors will be required to sign-in and wear a visitor’s badge.
Smoking and/or the use of any tobacco product, including electronic cigarettes, vaporizing or similar devices is prohibited on all School District property, which includes, building, grounds and school owned vehicles.
Fire drills, earthquake drills, intruder drills and bomb threat drills are scheduled periodically throughout the school year to ensure that our students know the proper procedures to be followed in any of these circumstances. In the event of an actual emergency, parents will be contacted via School Messenger with information about student reunification.
Student Cell Phone Use
Student cellular phones and smart watches are discouraged at MMES. If a student must bring a cell phone to school, we ask that it is kept in the backpack all day and is turned off. Instead of a cell phone, you are welcome to call the school office if a message needs to be relayed to your child.
TRANSPORTATION POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
Students are assigned to buses based on their home address. If you need to make any changes to a student’s bus assignment that occurs on a regular basis, such as getting off at a different stop or changing bus routes, you must contact the Bus Barn directly at 733-4943 or go to the transportation website to do so online. If you have a last minute change, please contact the school before 2:00pm so we can deliver the information to the classroom teacher. Bus drivers will only accept bus changes from school personnel. For safety reasons, proper behavior is expected of students, and students may lose bus privileges if their behavior is not acceptable.
Student Arrival and Dismissal
We encourage all families to walk, bike, or utilize the school bus routes for transportation to and from school. The bus is a safe and convenient way for children to get to and from school and reduces congestion in our drop-off lanes before and after school. If you must transport your child to or from school in a vehicle, parents (and/or authorized guardians) are asked to abide by the following rules:
Always stay in your vehicle while in the pick-up/drop-off lane. The pick-up/drop-off lane is designed to be a place for children to be quickly and safely dropped off.
Students are dismissed through their grade level designated doors; they may not wait in the bus lanes.
If a child needs to be accompanied to the front of the school in the morning, please park in the designated spots only.
To minimize congestion in the drop-off/pick-up lane, consider dropping your student off closer to 8:00 a.m.
Ensure your children are dropped off and picked up at curbside.
Refrain from using cell phones in the pick-up/drop-off lanes.
Bus Loading Area
School buses load and unload students on the north side of the school. For the safety of the students, please do not pick up or drop off students in this area.
All staff at MMES will work together to help all students reach their fullest potential. We view behavioral regulation as an ongoing process that allows students to grow through attaining positive control over their lives. This feeling is best created by trusting students to assume responsibilities and providing opportunities to make critical decisions as they are learning to self-regulate. Our ultimate objective in this process is to lay the groundwork for establishing high self-esteem and self-discipline in every student.
All our staff follow the school-wide Positive Behavior Intervention System (PBIS). PBIS is a proactive approach to establishing the behavioral supports and social culture needed for all students in a school to achieve social, emotional, and academic success. Its purpose is to systematically approach student behavior while at the same time establishing a positive school climate in which appropriate behavior is the norm (PBIS.org). This approach on teaching, modeling, and reinforcing positive social behavior plays an important role in developing the necessary learning behaviors that help students in reaching their academic goals. Teaching the expected social behaviors and rewarding students for following our expectations is a more effective approach than waiting for the misbehavior to happen and reacting with inconsistent consequences or processes. At Munger, our students are expected to follow these expectations:
Be a Global Leader
Every student has the right to a safe learning environment, physically and emotionally. Every child has the right to be respected as an individual by adults and peers.
Students will be responsible:
for getting to class on time and being ready for instruction.
for completing assigned work and making up missed work.
for displaying courteous and considerate behavior to adults and peers.
for their own possessions.
for respecting school property and the property of others.
for their own behavior in every part of the campus.
for the safety of themselves and all others in all school settings.
to know and understand school procedures and expectations.
Student and Family Support
Munger Mountain Elementary is fortunate to have a school counselor and a social worker to facilitate the positive academic, emotional, and social growth of our students and support the MMES families. They assist classroom teachers in delivering social-emotional curriculum, provide small support groups and individual counseling to help students as needed. Please contact our counselor, Lauren Leoni, or our social worker, Jose Rivas, at any time.
Parent-Teacher Organization (¡DALE Munger! PTO)
One of the most important factors that ensure success in school is parent involvement. We love to have parents volunteer in the classroom, so please communicate closely with your child’s teacher. You are already a member of our PTO, we hope that you will consider participating in events that support our school. Contact dalemungerPTO@gmail.com for more information!
SECOND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION
Dr. Kathryn Lindholm-Leary, one of the country’s leading experts on dual immersion programs defines them as:
"[In dual immersion programs] English-dominant and target-language-dominant students are purposefully integrated with the goals of developing bilingual skills, academic excellence, and positive cross-cultural and personal competency attitudes for both groups of students." (Lindholm-Leary, 2001 pg. 30)
At MMES, all students are language learners and working towards our Dual Immersion Program Goals:
- At or above grade level in all content areas.
Biliteracy and Bilingualism
High levels of reading, speaking, listening, and writing proficiency in both Spanish and English.
The ability to communicate in a language appropriately, situationally and culturally. It is the knowledge of customs, rules, beliefs and principles of a given society.
In addition, characteristics of two-way dual immersion programs include:
English learners are included in mainstream instruction and not socially isolated from their classroom peers.
Research-tested instructional strategies such as cooperative learning enable diverse students to help and learn directly from one another.
Both language groups are equally challenged in their second languages and can identify with each other instructionally and emotionally.
Friendships can develop across language and social class barriers.
Both language groups can be “experts” when the instructional lesson is in their home language.
Students develop positive attitudes towards themselves as learners.
Students develop very positive attitudes about students of other language and cultural backgrounds and/or
Students develop very positive attitudes about their heritage language and cultural background.
Well documented cognitive benefits associated with being bilingual.
For our English language learners, participating in a dual language program provides the opportunity to develop additive bilingualism.
Additive Bilingualism - Munger’s dual language immersion program is considered a model of additive bilingualism. In a traditional school setting, a student typically learns a new language (English) at the expense of their native language. At Munger, we strive for:
A student’s first language continues to be developed and first culture valued while the second language is added.
Using what one knows about their first language to support the development of a second language.
Allow the use of a student’s common underlying proficiency to demonstrate competency in a subject area.
Cummins, J. (1994) The Acquisition of English as a Second Language, in Spangenberg-Urbschat, K. and Pritchard, R. (eds) Reading Instruction for ESL Students Delaware: International Reading Association
Most importantly, acquiring a second language takes time. “It’s important to understand that it takes an average of six years for groups of students to reach grade level achievement in their second language.” Long term dual language programs (at least K-8, and preferably K-12) completely close the gap and keep it closed in the secondary years” (Collier & Thomas, 2009; Thomas & Collier, 2012).
School Improvement Process
MMES has a building leadership team with representatives from all grade levels and departments. This team develops school improvement goals and monitors student performance against those goals throughout the year. A professional development plan that aligns with the school improvement goals is established at the start of the school year and presented to the board of trustees. All school improvement plans are closely aligned with the Teton County School District strategic plan. Input from parents is always welcomed.
Our curriculum and instruction is aligned with Wyoming state standards in all subjects and at all grade levels. The curriculum is continually reviewed by grade level teams to ensure excellent instruction for our students. District-wide assessments have been developed to measure achievement of the standards.
The Wyoming state assessment is called Wy-TOPP. Wy-TOPP assessments are designed to measure student proficiency on standards in literacy, mathematics, and science, and MMES students in grades K-5 will take them. Please look for more information from school administration or your child’s teacher about Wy-TOPP assessments during the school year.
All MMES students take the DIBELS 8/Lectura assessment, which measures the acquisition of early literacy skills in both English and Spanish from kindergarten through fifth grade. This screener provides critical information about your child’s development as a reader and influences the type of reading instruction your child will receive throughout the school year.
LAS Links is another district assessment to determine a student’s Spanish language proficiency level, which is administered in the Winter.
There is more information about DIBELS 8/Lectura, LAS Links and Wy-TOPP at www.tcsd.org. Please contact your child’s teacher or principals if you have additional questions about these assessments.
MMES reports academic progress two times during the school year. A progress report is sent home after the first semester in February. The final progress report is sent home at the end of the school year.
Parent/teacher conferences will be scheduled in November and February, so families can communicate directly with teachers about student progress towards year-end goals. Parents will be notified and scheduled for individual conferences with their child’s teacher. At MMES, a strong home-school connection is important; therefore, we strive for 100% parent/guardian participation at conferences.
Library Media Center
Overdues: While there are no fines for overdue books at the Munger Mountain Elementary School Library, we request that books be returned (or renewed if you need more time) in one week’s time. Your child must return his/her library book before another book can be checked out.
Damaged or Lost Books: Please follow the Book Care Guidelines on the Media Center webpage to keep books safe.
There is a nurse’s office located at MMES. If your student is ill, they should report to the office. MMES has two school nurses: Kristin Wright and Christine Houlton (firstname.lastname@example.org), and they will notify the parents as needed. In an effort to keep our students healthy, we ask that you keep your child home when he or she is ill. If your child has the following symptoms, he/she should not be in school:
Fever over 100 degrees
Vomiting or diarrhea
"Pink eye" symptoms - irritated, itchy eye, tearing, white part of eye looks pink or red.