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Student Handbook

Welcome to

Prairie Norton Elementary School

Mike Gosztyla – Principal

Robin Gray – Secretary

Alexandria Horton – Secretary



           Our School

          Main Office                             801-8450

          Main Office Fax                      851-0298

          Attendance (24-Hour Line)     801- 8451


South-Western City School District

District Service Center            801-3000

Transportation Center             801-8550

Student Enrollment Center     801-6280




PNE School Day Schedule

7:55 a.m.   Bus Drop off at South Doors  - Breakfast is Open

7:55 a.m.   Car Drop off at East End Doors

8:10 a.m.   Last Chance for Breakfast Line

8:20 a.m.   Breakfast student go to class

8:20 a.m.   Tardy Bell – Parents must now sign kids in at the office

8:20 a.m.   Classes begin               

2:30 p.m.   Afternoon Announcements

2:35 p.m.   Buses depart


Inclement Weather Procedures – Calamity Days

We understand that the decision to keep schools open or close them in bad weather has a big impact on our families and staff.  We also know that our students are better served – both academically and socially – by being in school.  Please know that the safety of our students and staff is always our top priority in any decision of this sort.

WHO MAKES THE DECISION?: The superintendent of schools is responsible for the final decision, based on the factors listed below and recommendations from key staff members.

WHEN IS THE DECISION MADE?: We make every effort to make our decision by 5:30 a.m. or earlier so we can notify radio and TV stations and post the decision on our Web site (www.swcsd.us), Facebook and Twitter. If we wait longer to announce a closing, our buses are already on the road and many parents will have already left for work, leaving their children at home unsupervised.

HOW ARE PARENTS AND THE PUBLIC NOTIFIED?: Parents will receive a telephone call and/or e-mail through our parent notification system when the decision is made to close school. Please make sure your emergency contact information is up-to-date through the Infinite Campus Parent Portal (Contact Preferences) to receive your notification.

We will also continue to notify the media of all school closings. Parents can check our Web site for closing information (www.swcsd.us) and/or sign up for Facebook or Twitter notification through the Web site.  Many of our local television stations have immediate notifications that can be sent to your e-mail, cell phone or home phone.  Given the fact we have approximately 20,685 students, we ask that you not call the school or the district offices, unless it is an emergency.

For additional information about Calamity Days and a list of television stations, Web sites, and social media sites where closing information will be made available, please visit our Web site at: http://bit.ly/1GSwqRe


Student Dress Code

See Student Code of Conduct

Personal Belongings

Students are not permitted to bring toys or unapproved electronic devices (such as radios, headsets, portable game systems, etc.) to school.  These often interfere with learning and may get lost, stolen, or broken.  Any such items brought to school will be held in the office until a parent/guardian comes to school to retrieve the item.

Students may have cell phones in their backpacks for use outside the school day. Cell phones should be turned off except with the approval of a teacher or administrator. Cell phones that become a distraction during the school day will be held in the office until a parent/guardian comes to school to retrieve them. 

The school will not be responsible for lost or damaged equipment brought to school.

Toys may be brought to school for “share time” on the sharing day designated by the teacher.  These toys need to be kept in the student’s book bag until sharing time.  Students may not bring any items to trade with or sell to another student.

Gum chewing is not permitted at school.  We ask your cooperation in seeing that gum is left at home.


School bus transportation is a privilege.  The bus driver is in charge of the bus and its occupants at all times.  Failure to follow posted school bus rules will result in a write-up and/or suspension from the bus.  Questions concerning buses should be directed to the Transportation Department at (614) 801-8550.

To provide a safe environment, bus riders will have only one pick-up and one drop off location.  Students may only ride the bus to which they are assigned.  An exception may be permitted in the event of a special circumstance when the following criteria are met: 1) student has a signed note from a parent/guardian of each party involved, with date and specific information and signature of parents/guardian; and 2) when there is sufficient space available on the bus.  When students will be riding a bus other than their own, they are to bring their parental permission notes to the office at the beginning of the day. The office staff will authorize guest passes to notify the Transportation Department.

If a request to change a student’s transportation location is not put into writing by a parent/guardian and submitted to the school office first thing in the morning, the student will need to follow his/her regular method of transportation home. Emergency situations will be the only exception to this rule.



Student Conduct on the School Bus

Transportation is a service provided by the South-Western City School District Board of Education and should be regarded as a privilege by students and parents. It is expected that those who ride the school buses will observe classroom conduct at all times. Students and parents both must exercise these responsibilities. Failure to follow posted school bus rules will result in a write-up and/or suspension from the bus.  Questions concerning buses should be directed to the Transportation Department at (614) 801-8550.



1.       Students should follow directions the first time they are given.

2.       Students are expected to observe classroom conduct at all times while on the bus (see Discipline Code).

3.       Students should leave and board the bus at the designated stop unless they have a note signed by the building principal stating otherwise. This will be done only in emergencies, not for convenience.

4.       Students are not to cross the street to enter or exit the bus until the driver motions them across. Once on residence side, students are to gather at a designated place of safety where they must remain until the bus leaves the stop.

5.       Students must maintain absolute quiet at railroad crossings and other places of danger as specified by the driver.

6.       Students are not permitted to bring on the bus items larger than those which can be held on the lap. Animals, glass, or liquids are not permitted. (ORC 4511.76)

7.       Students may possess, but are not permitted to use, cell phones while on the school bus. (SWCSD Policy 5518)

8.       At no time shall the District be responsible for preventing theft, loss or damage to cell phones or electronic communication devices brought onto a school bus.



1.       Parents are responsible for the safety and discipline of students while going to and from the bus stop.

2.       Parents are urged to have their children at the bus stop five minutes ahead of time as buses operate on a schedule. This schedule will not permit waiting for tardy students. If your bus is more than 15 minutes late, call the Transportation Department at 614-801-8550.

3.       Parents will be monetarily responsible for any damage done to a bus by their children.

4.       The school does not enter into disputes involving parents and students prior to pickup or after return to the bus stop.

5.       Please do not discuss bus problems with the driver while he/she is on the route. This delays the schedule of the bus. Call the Transportation Department at 614-801-8550.



Arrival Times and Procedures

Students may not enter the building or be on school grounds unattended
until 8:00 a.m. on school days.  There is no supervision until that time.

Walkers/Car Riders:  Children who are walkers or car riders should arrive at school between 7:55 a.m. and 8:15 a.m.  No students are to arrive at the building before 7:55 a.m.  Staff members are not available to supervise students until 7:55 a.m.  In order to be on time to class car riders must be in the breakfast line by 8:10 a.m.


Morning Drop-off:  Curbside drop-off is permitted in the designated area only – East end doors. Cars waiting to enter the drop-off zone must remain in line and wait their turn.  Cars need to pull as far forward as possible to allow the greatest number of students to be dropped off at a time.  Students must be ready to exit the car when it enters the drop-off zone so traffic can continue to move.  If everyone pulls forward and students are ready to exit we will not have a traffic backup problem.  A staff member is on duty to supervise students entering the building and remind drivers to pull forward. 

Bus Riders:  Students arriving by bus around 7:55 a.m. will go to breakfast or their ELA areas and will proceed to their classrooms shortly after.  Bus riders arriving after 8:10 a.m. will go directly to their classrooms.

Dismissal Times and Procedures

Bus riders will be dismissed beginning at about 2:32 p.m.  Kindergarten students will be dismissed first followed by first and second graders then third and fourth graders. 

Walkers and car riders are dismissed at about 2:31 p.m. It is important to remember that the instructional day does not end until 2:30 p.m.; therefore, we ask that you do not pick your child up early unless there is an emergency. When waiting for your child at the end of the school day, please wait outside the school.  Students that leave early from school will be marked as tardy.


Occasionally, students inform us of a change in their dismissal routine. For example, they are to go home with another child, they are to walk rather than ride the bus, or parents/guardians/babysitters will be picking them up. Many times a student is confused about instructions. Any change of routine must be communicated to the office in person or on the phone by 1:30p.m. to allow time to properly prepare students and teachers about changes. Please do not leave messages or rely on notes. Call back and speak to a live person to ensure that your transpiration changes have been received. Without live parental notice, we will have the child follow his/her normal routine.

Early/Late Dismissal

Please try to schedule appointments (doctor, dentist, etc.) before or after school hours.  If this is not possible, please notify the teacher and office in writing as soon as possible of the appointment date and time.

Parents/guardians must come to the office to sign the child out of school. Please do not go to the classroom.  The office will call down to the classroom and notify the teacher of your arrival.  If the child returns later in the day, you must come into the office to sign in the child.

For your child’s safety, we will only release him/her to you or other persons you have identified on the child’s emergency medical form and in Infinite Campus, unless you notify the school otherwise.  A child coming to school after 8:20 a.m. is to be signed in by the parent/guardian. Please do not send the child in alone.  If you come to pick up your child and find he/she is out on the playground, please sign in and get a visitor’s badge from the office before picking up your child.  The teacher on duty will not release a child to an adult not having a visitor’s badge and being identified as having permission to pick up the child.


Procedures for counting tardies is a district-wide policy.  School begins at 8:20 a.m. and ends at 2:30 p.m.  Students who arrive after 8:20 a.m. in their classrooms will be counted tardy (unless their bus is late).  Any child who is absent from school for less than 60 minutes will be counted tardy, whether in the a.m. or p.m.  If the child is absent from school for more than 60 minutes, he/she will be counted one-half day (1/2 day) absent. Students who are regularly tardy are missing out on important instructional time that sets up the whole day.

Planned Absences

A planned absence form must be completed if you plan for your child to be absent, regardless of length of time.  You may pick up a form in the office or call to have one sent home with your child.  Please give the school as much advance notice as possible.  Please remember that family vacations are NOT excused absences.  Vacations should be scheduled during the school breaks.


Building Security

THE most important goal for all of us at Prairie Norton is the safety of our children. Please follow these procedures to help keep our children safe and secure at school:


·         Adults must report directly to the office upon entering the building. Doors will be locked after 8:20 a.m. During all hours, Parents/guardians are to enter through the front door, and report to the office for assistance.

·         Parents and visitors may not enter hall or classrooms without a visitors badge and notice given to the principal. The office may choose to bring the child to a parent or guardian depending on the circumstances of the classroom that day.

·          A Parent/guardian must sign children out and/or in when picking them up before the end of the school day or dropping them off after school has started. No person’s make pick up or remove a child from class who is not pre-approved by the legal guardian. Proper identification is required for pick-up in  many situations.

·         The office and the teacher need to be notified in advance if there is a change in routine. We cannot release children to people other than parents/guardians, to ride a different bus or walk home instead of riding the bus without permission from the parent/guardian in advance.

·         Everyone must follow fire, tornado, and emergency safety rules while they are in the building. These procedures are meant to protect all who are in the building.

·         All parents/guardians must wait outside to pick up their child at dismissal. This rule is for the safety of all children in the building.


Please help us keep our students, staff and school safe by following these simple rules.



If your child is injured at school, we will make him/her comfortable.  If the injury is serious, the office will notify the parents/guardians immediately. If you cannot be reached, we will attempt to contact someone at the emergency number listed on the student’s emergency medical form (and/or in Infinite Campus).

We will call the emergency squad, if necessary.  Please keep the office informed of changes in any information listed on this card (and in Infinite Campus).  It is extremely important that the names and telephone numbers on the emergency cards (and in Infinite Campus) are accurate and up-to-date in case of emergency.

Safety Drills

By law, schools are required to have a certain number of safety drills (fire, tornado, lockdown, etc.) during the school year. Tornado drills are held during the months of March through July while school is in session.  Lockdown drills are to be conducted under the supervision of the local police department.



Any medication taken by students must be in its original container and must be accompanied by a form (available from the office) to be completed by the physician and signed by the parent/guardian.  This includes “over the counter medicine” (for example:  aspirin, cough drops, Benadryl, etc.).  An adult must bring all medications to school.  Do not send medicine to school with a student.  Students may carry an inhaler with them if parent/guardian and physician paperwork is completed.  A medication administration form must be completed and the physician has to have agreed that the student has the knowledge and ability to carry an inhaler on their person.  The school nurse must be notified (by completed paperwork) that the student is carrying an inhaler.


Student Expectations

We ask that you discuss with your children the importance of, and the need for, good behavior and a good attitude while at school and on the bus. Along with rules, it is necessary to inform children of consequences should they choose to break school rules. Examples of consequences that may be given, depending on the circumstances are:

Loss of a privilege                           Problem solving with a staff member    Staying in an assigned area

Call to the parent/guardian               Behavior Forms                                     Suspension


Parent/Teacher Communication

Reports to Parents/Guardians:  Reporting forms will be sent home with the children at NINE-WEEK intervals.  In addition, parents/guardians will receive other communication from the teacher, some stating what curricular areas the class is covering and others detailing how their student is progressing.

Parent-Teacher Conferences:  Please feel free to contact the teacher at any time during the year if you have questions or concerns about your child’s learning experience, or if you would like to talk with the teacher about anything concerning your child.  You can call the office to leave a message for a staff member or send a note to school with your child.  Please do not show up at the beginning of the school day or end of the day expecting to have a conference with your child’s teacher.  Both of these times are extremely busy for staff as they make preparations to begin or end the school day.

Breakfast and Lunch

Applications for free and reduced breakfast/lunch will be mailed to each eligible family.  Only those who wish to apply need to return the forms.  When filling out a form, please make sure to check all of the appropriate boxes.

Breakfast:  Walkers, who wish to eat breakfast, are to be at school by 8:10 a.m. and come into the cafeteria to eat breakfast before going to their classroom.  Bus riders who eat breakfast will do so as soon as they arrive at school.  Breakfast is $1.00.  Some students may qualify for reduced prices.

Lunch:  Student lunches cost $2.45 (includes milk) per day.   Additional milk is available for 0.50 cents per carton. Each student has a PIN number that is input when they purchase a lunch.  Parents/guardians may deposit money in their student’s lunch account, which is accessed via the students PIN number.  The account is debited and parents/guardians are notified when the account is getting low.   Adult prices for lunch are slightly higher than student prices.  We cannot accommodate parents inside the school who wish to eat with their child. If you sign your child out to lunch then please stay within the time frame of lunch and recess to avoid a school tardy.


The South-Western City School District has the ability to provide a safe and convenient way for parents and guardians to prepay for student meals online.  PayPAMS allows parents/guardians the opportunity to pay for their child’s meals from the convenience of home; view their child’s account balance; schedule automatic payments based on account balance; receive low balance e-mail reminders; and view a report of daily spending and cafeteria purchases.

For more information on PayPAMS, please visit the following area of the District Web site and take a tour of the system and/or read the helpful tips and answers to frequently asked questions:   http://bit.ly/1Cwv7sg

Food Consumption at School

(In the Interest of Student Wellness and Safety)

Schools are facing a growing issue with student wellness and nutrition, as well as with children who have specific food allergies. Food allergies can be a life threatening situation for some children, and the State of Ohio recently made new food allergy safety recommendations for schools. Some children with allergies are affected not only by the food itself, but by the smell of the food. It is with all children’s wellness and safety in mind that South-Western City School District implemented the following changes and precautions.

While we are pleased to celebrate the gift of your child on his/her birthday, all SWCSD elementary schools will NOT accept cupcakes, cookies or any other birthday party foods to be distributed during class time.

·         The office will recognize your child’s birthday in a personal way through the school announcements.

·         You are welcome to send in small non-food items to be shared with classmates, and YOUR child may enjoy a special treat at lunch, that you may send/bring for him/her.

·         Balloons or other arrangements larger than your child’s backpack are not appropriate for school and are not allowed on the school bus.

For the safety of all students, we will also NOT be accepting food donations from home for any events during the school day unless they are specifically asked for and reviewed by school staff. Each school’s principal will work in conjunction with the PTA and teachers to develop a process for providing food for all classroom parties sponsored by the school (ie: Harvest, holiday, Valentines’ Day parties, etc.)

Working together, principals, teachers, and parents/guardians will provide direction for helping students know how to celebrate with compassion and concern for each unique participant.

Please notify your school office about any known student allergies, using the student medical form, so that teachers and staff can do their best to meet each student’s needs and keep them safe.


Recess Rules and Procedures


1)      Students will be provided the opportunity to use the restroom before the lunch/recess period and must stay outside until recess is over.  A child may only re-enter the building with a pass from the staff on duty.  

2)      Students must remain on the playground area (blacktop and field).  They must play away from the doorways and windows.  They must not trespass on any adjoining private property.

3)      No throwing of stones, asphalt, mulch or other materials is permitted.

4)      No softball or football games are to be played unless under the direct supervision of staff.  No hardballs of any kind are permitted.

5)      There is no tolerance for fighting. Students are encouraged to find other ways to solve problems and will be given assistance by staff when difficulties arise.

6)      Equipment usage:

¨       Students must sit, not stand, on all movable equipment.

¨       Toys and balls from home are not permitted.

¨       SLIDE:  Students must sit facing forward as they slide down on their bottoms.  One child at a time may come down the slide.

¨       PLAYGROUND BALLS:  All balls are provided at school.  No balls are to be brought from home.

¨       Blacktop is limited to basketballs in the basketball area or 4-square.  Other balls are confined to the grass.

8)      Students should not bother those having a “time out.”

9)      Students will line up promptly and quietly at the signal of the bell.

10)   When coming into the building, students will enter quietly in a line.



When students must be inside for recess due to bad weather, they must follow these rules:

1)      Students need to be seated in one area with an approved activity.

2)      Use quiet voices.

3)      No throwing objects of any kind.

4)      Hands and feet must be kept to themselves.

5)      Students must stay in the designated area, not in the doorway or hallway.

6)      Put games away neatly.  Clean up at the end of the time or at the direction of the staff on duty.


Cell Phones and Electronic Devices

A student may possess a cellular telephone or other electronic communication devices in school, on school property, at after school activities and at school-related functions. Cell phones and other electronic communication devices shall be turned off and stored out of sight during school hours. Use of cell phones and other electronic communication devices during school hours is prohibited unless authorized by a school administrator.

When directed by an administrator, coach or staff member, cell phones and other electronic communication devices shall be turned off and stored out of sight during school activities outside of the school day.

The use of cell phones and other electronic communication devices is prohibited at all times in locker rooms and restrooms.

A student may possess a cellular telephone on a school bus. Student cell phone use is prohibited on school buses unless authorized by the driver, an administrator or staff member.

A student may possess and use other electronic devices on a school bus unless the device causes a disruption or interferes with the safe operation of the vehicle. When directed by the driver, an administrator, or staff member, other electronic devices shall be turned off and stored out of sight.

Possession of a cellular telephone or other electronic communication device by a student in school or on a school bus is a privilege which may be forfeited by any student who fails to abide by the terms of this policy, or otherwise engages in misuse of this privilege.

Violations of this policy may result in disciplinary action against the student including confiscation of the cellular telephone or electronic communication device.

The student who possesses a cellular phone or electronic communication device shall assume responsibility for its care. At no time shall the District be responsible for preventing theft, loss or damage to cell phones or electronic communication devices brought onto its property or a school bus.


Network and Computer Use

Students are responsible for good behavior on school computers, just as they are in classrooms or school hallways.

Network access is a privilege, not a right.  Access requires responsible and lawful use.  The network should be used for educational and legitimate business purposes only. See Student Code of Conduct.

School Fees

Each student attending the South-Western City School District is required to pay a $20.00 instructional fee.  This fee helps to cover the cost of consumable items (art supplies, writing paper, crayons, pencils, markers, copy paper, classroom printer cartridges, etc.), which are used by students during the school year.  We realize that some children prefer to bring some of these supplies on their own but, there are supplies provided by the school during the year.

Fees can be paid by sending money, check or money order made payable to Prairie Norton Elementary.  If fees are included for more than one child, please send a note with each child’s name and teacher.  In addition, if you still owe instructional fees for the previous year, please make sure to indicate by note for what year you are paying.  You may also stop by the office between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. to pay instructional fee.  All fees collected from our students stay within our school and are used to purchase supplies for our students only!

Some students may qualify for a waiver of school instructional fees.  Fee waivers are determined by free lunch status.  If your child qualifies for free lunch, they should also qualify for a fee waiver.  Please make sure that you check the box on the free lunch form indicating your permission to share your child’s free lunch status with the Treasurer’s Office.  If your child qualified last year, this does not mean that she/he qualifies for the current school year.  Please call the school secretary for more information.

Please be aware that beginning with the end of the 2nd grading period, your child’s report cards will be held in the in the office if his/her instructional fees have not been paid in full.

Online Payment of School Fees

As a convenience to parents, the South-Western City School District is now offering an online process for the payment of school fees. Visit http://bit.ly/22Anjhh and follow the steps to pay the school fees online.

Student Information Forms

During the first week of school, your children’s teachers will send home Emergency Medical Forms for you to complete.  Having this information returned promptly and correctly is of the utmost importance.   A record of this information is kept in the school clinic in case a parent/guardian needs to be contacted.  Please remember to put the name and telephone number of at least two people who can be contacted in case you cannot be reached.  The more telephone numbers, the better.  Please notify the school in writing immediately if you change your address or telephone number(s) during the school year or if emergency persons contact information is changed.