Parent | Student Handbook 2020-2021 - Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School 1946-2020 A Tradition of Excellence Centered on Jesus Christ for 74 years

Parent | Student Handbook 2020-2021 - Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School 1946-2020 A Tradition of Excellence Centered on Jesus Christ for 74 years
Parent | Student Handbook

  Our Lady of Sorrows
   Catholic School


A Tradition of Excellence
Centered on Jesus Christ
      for 74 years

                     1100 Gumwood Ave
                     McAllen, TX 78501
Parent | Student Handbook 2020-2021 - Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School 1946-2020 A Tradition of Excellence Centered on Jesus Christ for 74 years
Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School
                                      1100 Gumwood Ave
                                       McAllen, TX 78501
                            956.686.3651 (Voice) | 956.696.1996 (Fax)

Welcome to Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School! In choosing OLSS, you have demonstrated a
commitment to the values and philosophy of a quality Catholic education.

The Parent/Student Handbook reflects the policies of Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School for
the 2020-2021 school year. It is a resource for students and parents that outlines important de-
tails in regards to academics, discipline, and student life.

Please read this document carefully and sign the attached agreement at the end of this hand-
book. This agreement states that you and your child/children understand and intend to abide by
the policies and procedures of Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School during the 2020-2021 school

The priests, administrators, faculty, and staff of Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School look for-
ward to working in partnership with you to promote academic excellence and spiritual develop-
ment in the context of the teachings of the Catholic Church. Let us continually pray together
that God, who has begun this good work in us, may carry it through to completion.

                                   What greater work is there
                                    than training the mind
                                    and forming the habits
                                          of the young?
                                    - St. John Chrysostom

Mr. Israel Martinez, Principal
Mr. Hugo De La Rosa, Asst. Principal
Monsignor Gustavo Barrera, Pastor

Parent | Student Handbook 2020-2021 - Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School 1946-2020 A Tradition of Excellence Centered on Jesus Christ for 74 years

MISSION STATEMENT                                             uniqueness as a precious child of God
                                                             To provide a balanced teaching environment
Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School’s mission
                                                              that ensures educational excellence while
is to embrace Catholic faith, respect diversity,
                                                              nurturing each person's creativity, spontane-
promote community, provide a quality educa-                   ity, emotional stability and self-worth
tion for all, and prepare us for a lifetime of ser-
                                                             To create a safe and pleasant learning envi-
vice centered on Jesus Christ.
                                                             To provide opportunities for each person’s
VISION STATEMENT                                              total physical development and good health
We catechize the community of Our Lady of                    Our hope is that each member of our school
Sorrows to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ                community will be sent forth to love and
through a Catholic education to ultimately                    serve God and neighbor in imitation of Jesus
share in God’s everlasting happiness in heaven.

                                                          Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School prepares
   To empower each community member to
                                                          students spiritually, intellectually, physically,
    become a living example of Jesus Christ
    through prayer and worship, scripture, and            and socially to meet the challenges of the 21st
    the authentic teachings of the Catholic               century. With Christian values as the corner-
    Church.                                               stone, OLSS provides a learning environment
                                                          that builds self-directed learners, collaborative
   To provide a caring, loving environment
    built on trust, justice and peace where each          workers, and community contributors.
    individual is valued                                  OLSS parents, students, & faculty work in part-
   To foster a partnership based on mutual re-           nership to provide a strong Catholic communi-
    spect and understanding among the civic               ty as the platform from which all learning takes
    community, church, school and home                    place. This community recognizes the im-
   To develop life skills that will encourage            portance of all its members as teachers and
    each community member to become a ma-                 models of Catholic education. OLSS develops
    ture, responsible, and caring citizen of the          students to take their places in society with
    world                                                 strong Catholic values.
   To increase each person's level of awareness,         OLSS students pursue academic excellence
    sense of responsibility and respect for global        within their individual potential and are guid-
    ecology                                               ed to make decisions grounded in their Catho-
   To challenge each person to develop an                lic faith. Guided by the above philosophy,
    open, inquiring mind that allows an appreci-          OLSS supports and follows the Vatican Council
    ation and acceptance of each person's                 Declaration on Christian Education:

Parent | Student Handbook 2020-2021 - Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School 1946-2020 A Tradition of Excellence Centered on Jesus Christ for 74 years
Catholic schools are no less zealous than other schools in
  the promotion of culture and in the human formation of
young people. It is, however, the special function of Catholic
Schools to develop in the school community an atmosphere
  animated by the spirit of liberty and charity based on the
Gospel. It enables young people, while developing their own
 personality, to grow at the same time in the new life which
             has been given to them at baptism.
  II Vatican Council Declaration on Christian Education,
                        Section 8

Parent | Student Handbook 2020-2021 - Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School 1946-2020 A Tradition of Excellence Centered on Jesus Christ for 74 years

ACCREDITATION                                         school is the Pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows
                                                      Catholic Church. The pastor is responsible to
Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School is fully          the Bishop and has the final authority in school
accredited by the Texas Catholic Conference of        matters.
Bishops Education Department (TCCB ED) in
conjunction with the Texas Education Agency           Principal
(TEA) and the Diocese of Brownsville. The             The Principal is the Chief Administrator of
school also has dual accreditation with the           OLS School, and is appointed by and answers
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools          directly to the pastor. The principal adminis-
on Accreditation and School Improvements              ters policies set by the Diocesan Catholic
(SAC-CASI).                                           Schools Office and the accrediting agencies.
The last full TCCED state accreditation visit         The Principal, in partnership with the Dioce-
was held in February 2015. Our Lady of Sorrows        san Superintendent, works with the School
Catholic School received an excellent rating in       Advisory Council and all other Councils and
all seven domains and was accredited without          Boards of the school to achieve the Mission of
reservation.                                          Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School. The
The quality of the education offered at OLSS is       Principal has final responsibility for the educa-
enriched through membership in the Texas              tional and religious programs of the school,
Catholic Conference (TCCED), the National             long-range planning, as well as all aspects of
Catholic Educational Association (NCEA), the          the school’s general operation, financial man-
United States Catholic Conference (USCC),             agement and institutional advancement. The
and the Association for Supervision and Cur-          Principal has primary responsibility for articu-
riculum Development (ASCD).                           lating the mission of Our Lady of Sorrows
                                                      Catholic School to the public.
                                                      Assistant Principal
                                                      The Assistant Principal assists the Principal in
Pastor                                                the day-to-day operations of the school, which
Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School is an in-         may include curriculum and instruction, tech-
tegral part of Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic           nology, scheduling, discipline, and plant and
Church. The chief executive officer of the            facilities operations.

The school business office, which includes the Bookkeeper & Registrar, is responsible for student
 applications, registration, student transcripts, tuition and other fee collections. It is located in
                                the main entry of the school lobby.
           Business office hours are 7:15 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. during the school year.
Parent | Student Handbook 2020-2021 - Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School 1946-2020 A Tradition of Excellence Centered on Jesus Christ for 74 years

SCHOOL ORGANIZATION, CONT’D                             The OLSS Parent-Teacher Organization
                                                        (PTO) provides a vehicle for communication
                                                        and support among parents, teachers, and stu-
The faculty is responsible for the academic in-         dents. The PTO sponsors a major fall fundrais-
struction of the students, the evaluation and           er, social events, and programs throughout the
grading of scholastic achievement, and the              year.
classroom management under the guidance of
the school administration, in accordance with
the requirements of accrediting agencies, the
Diocesan Catholic Schools Office, and the poli-
cies of Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School.
The OLS School Advisory Council is an ap-
pointed advisory body to the Pastor and Prin-
cipal for operating the facilities of OLSS. Its
duties are to help develop local school policies,
provide long range planning, oversee the
school budget, and promote the merits of
Catholic Education.


7:00—7:45 am         Supervision Available
7:40 am              First Bell Rings: Students Prepare for Prayer & Morning Assembly
7:45 am              Second Bell Rings: School Day Officially Begins for All Students
3:00 pm              Final Dismissal Bell Rings
3:00—5:30 pm         Afterschool Care Programs & Extracurricular Activities
5:30 pm              School Offices & School Building Locked

 For the safety of our school community, parents attending morning assem-
 bly or other on-campus events must enter through the front office entrance
 and obtain a visitors pass. Once the event or assembly is over, parents may
            exit only through the 11th St. or Hackberry gym doors.

Parent | Student Handbook 2020-2021 - Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School 1946-2020 A Tradition of Excellence Centered on Jesus Christ for 74 years
                               Section I

ACADEMICS/CURRICULUM                                  Handwriting: Students in Montessori use the
                                                      “Handwriting Without Tears” program; stu-
Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School follows           dents in 1st & 2nd grade use the D’Nealian
the Diocesan required academic curriculum             Printing and Cursive Program. Grades 3
standards, which are consistent with National         through 8 are expected to submit all handwrit-
Standards and the State of Texas Education            ten work in the cursive handwriting method,
Agency guidelines, in the teaching of all secu-       unless required otherwise by the instructor.
lar areas. Subject textbooks and programs are
chosen for their alignment to these guidelines.       Language Arts: Reading, English, Spelling,
                                                      Vocabulary, Composition, Library Skills, and
Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School offers            Appreciation of Literature. The Accelerated
students opportunities for growth in the fol-         Reader Program is part of the Elementary and
lowing subjects:                                      Middle School Curriculum.
Religion: Catholic doctrine and tradition,            Mathematics: Mathematics Skills, Pre-
Scripture study, Catholic Social Teaching,            Algebra, & Algebra I.
preparation for the reception of the Sacra-
ments of Reconciliation and Eucharist. The Re-        Advanced Math Pathway (7th Grade Alge-
ligion program provides each student the op-          bra 1 & 8th Grade Geometry): Placement is
portunity to develop and enrich their relation-       probationary & contingent upon ongoing ac-
ship with God.                                        ceptable performance in current year math as
                                                      well as advanced performance on the ITBS 6th
Holy Mass is celebrated weekly for the entire         grade math test & a passing score on the Math
school community. In addition, there is an            2 placement test. This is a high school level
OLS School Weekend Mass once a month at               pathway taken for high school credit with an
Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church where             elevated expectation of time and effort.
students are active participants.
                                                      Physical Education: Physical fitness programs
Students in Grades 5 and 8 take the ACRE Test         appropriate for each grade.
(Assessment of Children/Youth Religious Edu-
cation) each spring.                                  Science: General Sciences and Laboratory Ex-
Students in Grade 8 take Church History and
Theology of the Body.                                 Social Studies: History, Geography, Econom-
                                                      ics, State History, and Current Events.
Computer Literacy: Word Processing,
Spreadsheets, Intro to Coding, Digital Citizen-       Spanish: Grades 4th – 8th. Vocabulary, com-
ship (including appropriate and ethical use of        mon expressions, grammar, conversation, and
social media and the internet), and Integration       culture. Middle school students are separated
with Curricular Subjects.                             into Monolingual / Bilingual Spanish in 6th
                                                      grade and work toward Spanish high school
Fine Arts: Music / Choir & Art                        credit as 8th graders.

Parent | Student Handbook 2020-2021 - Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School 1946-2020 A Tradition of Excellence Centered on Jesus Christ for 74 years

The Montessori classroom is a prepared envi-           A student whose academic performance indi-
ronment which has a definite order and pur-            cates serious deficiencies may be placed on ac-
pose. The classroom curriculum includes reli-          ademic probation. Academic probation is for
gion, practical life, sensorial, language, math,       students who can learn, but choose not to
science, and cultural areas.                           learn. Grades are checked for academic eligi-
                                                       bility every three weeks by the Assistant Prin-
                                                       cipal. Students whose average is below 70 in
REPORT CARDS                                           any class are not allowed to participate in any
The academic year for PK3—8th grade is divid-          athletic, academic or afterschool activities,
ed into two (2) semesters, with two (2) nine-          meetings, practices or competitions until all
week quarters per semester.                            grades are passing (70% or higher) at the next
                                                       academic eligibility check. Please note that this
Report Cards with numerical grades are availa-         is not a punitive measure—the goal is to give
ble for family pickup every nine weeks for 1-8         students both time and motivation to focus on
grade students, generally the week after the           their studies.
quarter ends. Montessori students receive pro-
gress reports at that time as well. Iowa Assess-       A student failing two core subjects may not
ment results are mailed as available.                  be promoted to the next grade level at the
                                                       end of the school year. Retention is at the
Student grades are generally posted the week           discretion of the Principal and Teacher.
after their completion date and available for          Students may also be transferred to the
viewing on the FACTS Family Portal. Parents            next grade level but cannot continue at
are encouraged to check their child’s pro-             OLS School. 8th grade students must have
gress weekly; Jr. High students are encour-            21 credits at the end of middle school to re-
aged to check their grades as well.                    ceive a diploma and promotion.

                                       GRADING POLICY

94—100 = A 86—93 = B         75—85 = C     70—74 = D        69 and below = F (failing)
Grades are weighted in 3rd—8th grade as follows:
      Tests               50% of Academic Grade
      Classwork/Quiz      40% of Academic Grade
      Homework            10% of Academic Grade

Class projects may be counted as a test, quiz, and/or classwork grade at the teacher’s discretion.

Parent | Student Handbook 2020-2021 - Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School 1946-2020 A Tradition of Excellence Centered on Jesus Christ for 74 years

HONOR ROLL                                               also given to foster habits of independent
                                                         study and to meet growth needs of individual
Honor Roll recognition is granted per quarter,
                                                         students. Assignments are expected to be neat-
based on the following criteria:
                                                         ly written and completed when due. Elemen-
   “A” Honor Roll: grades for all subjects, in-         tary teachers strive to not assign homework on
    cluding electives, must be 94-100.                   Wednesday nights—Jr. High students, due to
   “A/B” Honor Roll: grades for all subjects, in-       block scheduling, may receive homework every
    cluding electives, must be 86-100.                   evening.
   Students with excessive unexcused ab-
    sences (more than 6 per quarter) or who
    received more than two (2) disciplinary              MAKE-UP WORK AND TESTING
    infractions per quarter, are not eligible            It is the responsibility of the student (grades 4-
    for honor roll recognition, though it is             8) to arrange time and place for make-up work
    noted on their report card.                          with the teacher. Parents of students in grades
                                                         1-3 are responsible for contacting teachers for
                                                         make-up work. Students are given one day per
                                                         each absence day to make up missed work or
Homework is an important part of the stu-                tests. Students who do not make up work dur-
dent’s educational experience. It is given for           ing the allotted time or dates receive a grade of
reinforcement and enrichment purposes. It is             zero (0%) credit for missed work.

                       HOMEWORK GUIDELINES (1ST—8TH GRADE)

   Homework is due the day following the given assignment, unless otherwise noted by teacher.
    It is checked and returned in a timely manner by the teacher.
   Guidelines call for approximately 10 minutes of homework each night per grade level. This
    does not include any classwork not finished or special projects.
   Parents are notified by note, phone call or email if homework is not consistently returned.
    This inconsistency may also be noted on report cards.
   Students who are absent are given a day for each absence to make up their missed homework
    and assessments. Homework should be turned in a rolling basis (first missed work due the day
    after student returns, then following work is due), with all work being turned in as soon as
   When advanced notice is given for a long-term assignment, no excuse is accepted for lateness.
    It is our goal to help each child develop responsibility in completing their assignments.
   Parents may contact the front office to request homework for students out more than one day.
    Requests must be made by 9 am and picked up after 3 pm.
Parent | Student Handbook 2020-2021 - Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School 1946-2020 A Tradition of Excellence Centered on Jesus Christ for 74 years

Work missed during out-of-school suspension               PROMOTION / RETENTION
receives at most (70%) credit, as this is an un-
                                                          A student is promoted to the next grade level
excused absence due to disciplinary action.
                                                          if, considering his/her academic abilities, he/
Students are expected to complete missed as-
                                                          she has satisfactorily completed the work for
signments and assessments to remain current
                                                          the current grade level and adhered to the at-
with coursework.
                                                          tendance policy. Retention is decided on a case
Testing of students may include the following:            by case basis by teacher, team leader, and / or
   Assessment of Children / Youth Religious              administrators. Specific regulations for promo-
    Education (ACRE) Level 1 (5th grade) & Level          tion include:
    2 (8th grade).
                                                          Kinder 5 yrs.
   Iowa Assessments administered as a limited
                                                          A student must have completed the require-
    benchmark during the Fall semester and as a
    full battery of tests during the Spring semes-        ments for the Kindergarten Montessori pro-
    ter, including the CogAT (Cognitive Abilities         gram and have the social maturity to move on
    Test) to measure problem-solving skills.              to the next grade level.
   Classroom testing (weekly / quarterly) for            Grades 1-5
    student performance assessment.
                                                          A student must have passing grades in all ma-
   Requests for services/special academic needs          jor core subjects: Religion, Language Arts,
    testing is done by the appropriate agency or          Math, Science, and Social Studies.
    school district in which the child resides.
                                                          Grades 6-8:
                                                          A Middle School student, according to accredi-
ACADEMIC RECOGNITION: HIGH                                tation requirements, must earn a minimum of
ACHIEVING STUDENTS                                        7 credits per year, with a minimum of 21 total
                                                          credits required for the three years.
Students who have attended and completed
the entire three (3) years of 6th, 7th, and 8th
grades at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School             SUMMER SCHOOL
or another diocesan Catholic school qualify for
consideration as Valedictorian / Salutatorian.            Middle School students who fail major courses
                                                          must sign up and successfully complete a Sum-
Valedictorian is conferred on the student with            mer School Program in order to be considered
the highest grade point average for all three             for promotion. Upon completion, the highest
combined middle school years in all classes.              grade awarded to the student will be a grade of
Salutatorian is conferred on the student with             70 for the course. If OLSS does not offer such a
the second highest grade point average for all            course, families must make arrangements with
three combined middle school years in all clas-           their zoned public school for course comple-
ses. Ties for each position are permitted.                tion.


ACADEMIC INTEGRITY                                          Plagiarism in any submitted coursework
                                                             (copying another person’s work / words and
Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School places                   turning them in as if they were original
high value on academic integrity. It does not                work)
permit any form of dishonesty or deception
                                                         Students who choose to violate these guide-
that unfairly, improperly or illegally enhances a
                                                         lines face a failing grade, detention, in or out of
grade on an individual assignment or course
                                                         school suspension (ISS / OSS), and / or expul-
                                                         sion at the discretion of the teacher and ad-
This includes, but is not limited to:                    ministration.
   Cheating on exams, homework or classwork
   “borrowing” or “sharing” answers on tests
    and exams, classwork or homework
   Taking tests for other students

           We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are con-
          nected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these
           sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and re-
                  turn to us as results. - Herman Melville

                                                             Child has some understanding of the English
REQUIREMENTS                                                 Admission is subject to space availability and
Nondiscriminatory Policy                                      interview process
Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School exists                   Child must meet September 1st Texas man-
primarily for Catholic students, and sec-                     dated age requirements
ondarily for students of any other denomi-                   Approval by school principal
nation who choose a Catholic School. Our
Lady of Sorrows Catholic School does not
discriminate on the basis of gender, race,                Grades 1-8
color, national or ethnic origin in the ad-                  Standardized test scores of “50 percentile” or
ministration of its admissions, academic,                     better on Reading Total, Math Total, Lan-
athletic, or tuition assistance programs.                     guage Total, and Battery Composite OR Suc-
                                                              cessful completion of entrance exam (cost of
                                                              the exam is $10.00)
The application process begins with an online                Children entering first grade must meet Sep-
application form and an enrollment / registra-                tember 1st Texas mandated age requirements
tion fee. If a student is not accepted or space is
                                                             Submission of all required documents
not available at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic
School, the registration fee is refunded. After              Passing grades of C or better in all subjects
enrollment is completed and the student is                   Behavior ratings of satisfactory or better
officially accepted, the registration fee and tui-           Two (2) recommendations from current
tion payments are non-refundable. Consuma-                    school
bles and textbooks are included in the tuition
                                                             Admission is subject to space availability and
                                                              interview process
                                                             Approval by school principal
The criteria for enrollment are as follows:
Montessori Program: Pre-Kinder and Kin-                   OLS School does not accept new 8th graders
dergarten (3, 4, & 5 yrs.)                                unless they are coming from a diocesan school
   Submission of all required documents                  or have attended Catholic schools in 6th & 7th
                                                          grades and have requisite credits. Approval by
   Child must be toilet-trained
                                                          principal and superintendent required.
   Child is emotionally and socially ready for a
    school environment
   One (1) evaluation form from previous Pre-
    school or Day Care Director, and one (1)
    evaluation from parent must be provided

ADDITIONAL CRITERIA: ADMISSION                             ing the United States to study must hold pass-
                                                           ports with a U.S. student visa. Authorized per-
OF NON-CATHOLIC STUDENTS                                   sonnel will complete all information required
The non-Catholic applicant should:                         using the Student and Exchange Visitor Infor-
                                                           mation System SEVIS registration. Our offices
   Understand, accept, and actively support the
    philosophy and goals of the school                     must conform to all policies issued by SEVIS
                                                           and all student information must be accurate
   Relate responsibly to the members of the
                                                           and kept current. Once families receive the SE-
    school community, whether adults or stu-
                                                           VIS issued I-20, it must be taken to the consu-
                                                           late to have it validated. It would expedite the
   Cultivate personal talents and abilities to the        procedure if this is done on the same day it is
    extent that he/she is able
   Attend religion classes
   Attend church service and/or liturgy at the
    school and understand the reasons for invi-            ENROLLMENT BLOCK
                                                           The school reserves the right to dismiss or
   Participate in the school’s service projects           block re-enrollment of a student for the follow-
                                                           ing reasons:
REENROLLMENT                                                  Repeated violations of the Discipline & Be-
                                                               havior Policies
For the convenience of our families, Our Lady
of Sorrows Catholic School implements rolling                 Violations of specific policies
registration each year. Any family who does                   Excessive unexcused absences or tardiness
not advise the front office of their desire to not
                                                              Excessive non-compliance with academic
enroll for the next school year by January 22,                 requirements
2021 is automatically re-enrolled on February
                                                              Continued non-compliance with tuition pay-
12, 2021 for the 2021-2022 school year. Accounts
                                                               ment policy
are automatically charged the $300 reenroll-
ment fee; that may be broken up into three                    Continued uncooperative / non-supportive
monthly payments by contacting the business                    behavior on the part of the parent, including
                                                               disrespectful treatment of faculty & staff
                                                           Because it is impossible to foresee all issues
                                                           which may arise, this clause empowers the
IMMIGRATION                                                administration to block enrollment for any
Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School complies               repeated behavior which violates the spirit
with Immigration and Naturalization Service                & philosophy of Our Lady of Sorrows Cath-
(SEVIS) requirements regarding non-                        olic School even though not specified
immigrant, F-1 students. Such students enter-              above.


WITHDRAWAL/ TRANSFER POLICY:                                No records are sent to transferring schools
                                                            of students whose financial commitment is
   Notice of withdrawal of a current student
                                                            in arrears.
    during the school year must be made by the
    parent verbally or in writing to the principal.
   An official withdrawal form must be com-                PROBATIONARY PERIOD
    pleted by the school along with the parent.
                                                            (ALL STUDENTS PK3 – 8TH)
   If a student withdraws during the school
    year, reimbursement of any monies applied               If a student is admitted to Our Lady of Sorrows
    to tuition are determined by the administra-            Catholic School, a probationary period of nine
    tion and finance office if applicable.                  weeks exists during which time a decision is
   No records are sent to transferring                     made whether the school can continue to meet
    schools of students whose financial com-                the academic and behavioral needs of the
    mitment is in arrears.                                  child. Parents are informed by the principal of
                                                            the need to enroll the child elsewhere if the
STUDENT RECORDS                                             school is not able to meet the needs of the stu-
   Records of students transferring to other               dent or the child is unable or unwilling to ac-
    schools are sent directly to the other school           climate to the culture of OLSS. This decision
    only after an official request is received from         may be based on academics, attendance, and /
    the new school by the registrar or admin-               or disciplinary infractions. For our Montessori
    istration as they are official and legal doc-           students, this time is usually considered a peri-
    uments.                                                 od of adjustment where they will demonstrate
   A student’s permanent student file is kept in           readiness for school.
    a secured area and contains academic tran-
    scripts, testing scores, grades, earned credits,
    sacramental certificates, and promotion in-
   Health records are kept in the nurse’s office.
Requests for student records / transcripts /
recommendations are filled within three busi-
ness days. All forms must be submitted direct-
ly to the OLSS Front Office for distribution.
Completed forms are sent via U.S. Mail or elec-
tronically directly to the requesting institution.
Forms are not given to students or family
members. Special handling may require that all
postal fees be paid by the parents.


AFTER SCHOOL CARE PROGRAM                                 7:45 a.m. in the gym. Students arriving after
                                                          that time should enter through the front office
The After School Care Program at OLSS pro-                and report to the cafeteria; they are marked as
vides a safe environment until 5:30 pm on cam-            tardy. Students arriving after 9:45 am or leav-
pus for children of working parents when                  ing before 10:15 am & not returning are marked
OLSS is in session. Due to state regulations, a           absent.
limited number of students per age group are
accepted on a first come, first served basis. Pri-
ority placement is given to families with
both parents working. Drop-ins are not al-
lowed and this is not a babysitting program.                 All parents must follow Dismissal Site in-
                                                              structions provided by the school with the
Students enrolled in ASC who are picked up                    first emailed newsletter of the year.
from school before or at dismissal time may
                                                             No student is allowed to wait in the office
not return to ASC on the same day.
                                                              area or outside the school building without
A completed enrollment form must be submit-                   supervision while waiting to be picked up.
ted before students are accepted into the pro-               Parents must notify the school in writing
gram. Payment for this service is due with the                when a student is allowed to go home with
tuition payment at the first of the month, pay-               another student or adult not on the parent’s
able by the 15th of the month. Failure to abide               designated pick-up list. Students report to
by all school policies may result in removal of               their normal dismissal areas; vehicles
the student from the program. More infor-                     must pick them up there.
mation is available in the After School Care                 Custodial parents must communicate with
Program Handbook.                                             each other and work out schedules in ad-
                                                              vance (in accordance with any legal direc-
                                                              tives) so students know who is picking them
                                                              up daily.
                                                             Because of the disruption it causes during
The school gym opens at 7 a.m. to accommo-
                                                              our dismissal and to eliminate hurt feelings,
date working parents. Do not drop off your                    no limousines or similar vehicles are permit-
child earlier than 7 am. Please ensure your                   ted to pick up students from school.
child has entered the building before leav-
ing if outside staff are not on duty yet. After
7:20 a.m. students may enter the campus
through the 11th street gym entrance, the Gum-
wood driveway entrance or through the Mon-
tessori entrance with siblings.
The school day officially begins with morning
prayer & assembly for all students promptly at

ATHLETICS PROGRAM                                          In the event that a student fails to attend the
                                                           required 164 days, the parent or guardian is
Students in grades 6, 7, and 8 are eligible to try
                                                           required to meet with the school Principal be-
out and participate in the interscholastic
                                                           fore May. Parent or guardian must furnish rea-
sports program offered by the school. Other
                                                           sons for the absences, including medical verifi-
grade levels are permitted to participate based
                                                           cation, before credit is given for the school
on the Athletic Director’s discretion. Contin-
ued participation is determined by academic
performance and / or behavior. Refer to the                Acceptable reasons may include the following
Athletic Handbook for more details regarding               as "extenuating circumstances" for the purpose
eligibility and participation, especially in refer-        of granting credit: personal sickness, sickness
ence to maintaining passing grades and to fol-             or death in the immediate family, quarantine,
lowing all policies and procedures in this                 or participation in approved, school sponsored,
Handbook.                                                  extracurricular activities.

                                                           A written statement giving reasons for an ab-
                                                           sence must be brought within 3 days to the
In compliance with the Texas State Education               student’s teacher upon the student’s return in
Law and the Texas Catholic Conference Educa-               order for the absence to be marked Excused.
tion Department (TCCED, accreditation agen-                These notes / letters (preferably on the attend-
cy), Our Lady of Sorrows School follows com-               ing physician’s letterhead) are retained in the
pulsory attendance laws. Therefore, a student              office for one year. Should absence for any rea-
in PK3-8th grade who is enrolled in school                 son other than illness seem imperative, parents
must meet the legal attendance requirements.               must consult with Administration and present
A school calendar provides a total of 180 in-              a written reason for the absence.
structional days. A student who does not at-
                                                           Please note that ill students may not return to
tend school for a minimum of 164 of those days
                                                           school until they are symptom free for 24
or misses more than 18 days (10%) of the
                                                           hours and be cleared by their doctor to return
school year may be retained for loss of aca-
                                                           to classes (including, for example, cases of fe-
demic instruction. The school calendar is pub-
                                                           ver, pink eye, lice, etc.). Parents are called to
lished prior to the beginning of each school
                                                           pick up their children if they exhibit signs of
year and provided with this handbook. Par-
                                                           any infectious / contagious condition.
ents / guardians are expected to honor this cal-
endar when planning vacations and appoint-                 Students have one day to make up work for
ments, as regular attendance is essential for a            each day they are absent from school. Work
continuous, uninterrupted program of instruc-              turned in after that deadline receives only par-
tion as a basis for academic success.                      tial credit. Assignments not turned in by the


second class day after they’ve had time to                EARLY DEPARTURES
make up the work must still be finished, but
                                                          A written note is required for a student to
students receive no credit (0% entered into the
                                                          leave school before the regular dismissal time.
gradebook) for their work. For example, a stu-
                                                          The note is presented to the teacher in charge
dent who is absent three days is given three
                                                          at the time of departure, and the student re-
school days to complete the missed work;
                                                          ports to the office at the designated time for
please note, however, that work must be
                                                          pick up by the parent who signs out the child.
turned in sequentially, that is, the work missed
                                                          Class is not interrupted to call a student to
on the first day is due the first day after coming
                                                          the office. The school does not release a child
back to school; students should not wait to
                                                          to anyone other than the parent, legal guardi-
turn in all missed work at the very end of their
                                                          an, or adult listed on the school record. A stu-
allotted make up time.
                                                          dent may not be released early on a contin-
Teachers do not prepare material ahead of                 ual basis. Patterns of early departure or con-
time for pre-planned absences (such as,                   sistent appointments made at the same class
but not limited to, vacations during nor-                 time will result in a conference with admin-
mal school days).                                         istration. The school encourages all doctor and
When a student is absent for two or more days             dental appointments be made after 3 pm when
due to illness, a parent may call the school              the instructional day has ended. Students are
office before 9:00 AM to arrange for homework             not allowed to leave early between 2:15—
assignments. Assignments may be picked up at              3:00 pm.
the school office from 3:00 – 4:00 PM that
same day. Requests placed after 9:00 a.m. are
                                                          EXCUSED / UNEXCUSED ABSENCES
available the next normal school day after 3:00
pm in the front office.                                   Excused absences are granted for illness, death
                                                          in the immediate family, or any other unusual
For short absences, students should make ar-
                                                          and unexpected events which must be cleared
rangement with classmates regarding assign-
                                                          by the school principal.
ments. Students may also receive missed as-
signments from their teacher when they return             Pre-planned absences, such as vacations, are
to school.                                                counted as “Unexcused” and are discouraged.
                                                          Teachers do not accommodate parents by out-
Arrangements for classroom tests missed be-
                                                          lining lesson plans in advance and no assign-
cause of an absence are to be made with the
                                                          ments are given in anticipation of the vacation.
individual teachers. These tests must be taken
                                                          Teachers do not give make-up tests or assign-
no later than one week of the original test date.
                                                          ments for absences due to vacations; a grade of
                                                          zero (0) is entered into the gradebook. A meet-
                                                          ing is required with administration and the fi-
                                                          nal decision is left at their discretion.


If an absence excuse is not submitted within                  16 Absences (excused or unexcused) may re-
the required 3 days, the absence will be                       sult in academic retention or blocked enroll-
marked Unexcused and will count against the                    ment for the following school year as per
limit of unexcused absences allowed by                         TCCED mandate. Exclusion from extracur-
TCCED For that reason, any unexcused ab-                       ricular activities (as above) for remainder of
                                                               the school year is additionally implemented.
sences are strongly discouraged.
For school approved trips, such as academ-                 ASBESTOS MANAGEMENT PLAN AND
ic or athletic competitions, excused absenc-               GAS PIPE TESTING PLAN
es are counted for one day of travel before
                                                           In compliance with the U.S. Environmental
the event and one day afterwards. Any oth-
                                                           Protection Agency’s (EPA) Asbestos Hazard
er days are counted as unexcused.
                                                           Emergency Response Act (AHERA) enacted in
TARDINESS                                                  1986, all schools—public or private—are re-
                                                           quired to have an inspection of all buildings for
Promptness is an indication of good self-
                                                           asbestos-containing building materials (ACBM)
discipline. Habitual tardiness seriously dis-
                                                           by accredited asbestos-trained personnel. All
rupts the educational process of other students
                                                           Catholic School facilities of the Diocese of
and affects the school performance of the stu-
                                                           Brownsville were inspected in 2016, including
dent who is tardy. It is the responsibility of the         Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School in
parents to make sure the student is punctual               McAllen, TX. The Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic
to school. Habitual tardiness will require a               School campus was inspected for ACBN by per-
conference between the parents, student, and               sonnel from EFI Global, Inc. (EFI), an environ-
Principal.                                                 mental consulting firm located in Houston,
                                                           Texas. EFI is accredited and licensed by the
EXCESSIVE ABSENCES / TARDINESS                             Texas Department of State Health Services
                                                           (TDSHS) to perform asbestos condition assess-
The following consequences are in place to ad-
                                                           ments of all suspect and identified ACBM.
dress excessive absences and tardiness:
                                                           Building materials at Our Lady of Sorrows
   8 tardies equal 1 day of absence per 9 week            Catholic School were observed to be in undam-
    quarter.                                               aged condition and/or present minimal haz-
   18 tardies (maximum for full year) may result          ards, if any, to building occupants. Periodic sur-
    in blocked enrollment, and results in elimi-           veillance is also conducted semi-annually by
    nation from extracurricular activities                 campus personnel.
    (athletics, academic competitions, after
                                                           This management plan assures that students
    school dances, etc.) for the remainder of the
    school year at the administrations discretion          and personnel are free from any exposure to
                                                           asbestos containing material. The inspection
   8 Unexcused Absences – elimination from
                                                           findings, both current and previous, and man-
    extracurricular activities (as above, per quar-
                                                           agement plan are on file in the administrative

office. These are available for review upon re-           at school and includes response procedures,
quest at any time during normal school hours.             emergency numbers, and other pertinent in-
                                                          formation. The Crisis Plan is available for re-
In compliance with the mandate from the Rail-
                                                          view in the school office.
road Commission of Texas, Our Lady of Sor-
rows Catholic School undergoes Gas Pipe Test-
ing every two years.
                                                          CELL PHONES / ELECTRONICS
                                                          Cell phones and other personal electronic
BACKPACKS                                                 devices are not allowed on campus. Stu-
                                                          dents may not bring or use cell phones, smart
Rolling backpacks are not allowed:
                                                          watches, fitness trackers, ebook readers, tab-
   Companies manufacture and sell ergonomic              lets, laptops, Mp3 players, cameras, hand held
    backpacks that support the back and waist             video game systems, radios, or any other elec-
   Many student books are consumable work-               tronic devices onto school grounds. These
    books and pages may be removed and sent               items are confiscated and turned in to the
    home in the case of homework, eliminating             principal’s office if brought to school and / or
    the need for books taken home                         used by a student.
   Many hardback textbooks are accessible
                                                          If a student is found with electronics during
    online to students allowing for student cop-
                                                          the school day (whether having been used
    ies to remain at school unless there is no
    computer access for student                           or not) the student’s device is confiscated for
                                                          two days and a parent must retrieve the device
   Accidents / injuries of students tripping over
                                                          from the principal. In addition, the student
    long-handled rolling backpacks
                                                          will receive a discipline mark in FACTS to track
   Limited space in classrooms for rolling back-         the infraction. Further violations of this policy
    packs being brought to school                         will result in a student receiving a day of in-
   Students bring rolling luggage as a backpack          school suspension (along with a fee to parents
   Often, when staff inspect backpacks, unnec-           to offset the cost of the ISS supervisor).
    essary items such as multiple sweaters, mul-
    tiple library books, toys, extra notebooks,
    etc. are found; parents are urged to periodi-         CLINIC AND SCHOOL NURSE
    cally clean out their child’s backpacks               Immunization Records
                                                          All immunizations must be up-to-date within
CAMPUS CRISIS PLAN                                        30 days of entry into school. Failure to comply
OLSS adheres to all regulations contained in              will result in the child’s removal from school.
the Campus Crisis Plan issued by the Diocese
of Brownsville Catholic Schools Office. This
Crisis Plan covers emergencies that may arise

Religious Beliefs Exemption                                  Name of the medication
The Catholic Bishops of the US and Catholic                  The prescribed dosage of the medication
moral and ethical theologians have concluded                 The time(s) and exact dates of administra-
that the use of vaccines is not morally wrong,                tion of the medication
therefore, no exemptions are granted in the
                                                             In the case of prescription drugs, the full
Diocese of Brownsville on the basis of religious              name of the doctor prescribing the medica-
beliefs.                                                      tion
Medical                                                      The signature of the parent or legal guardian
If for medical reasons, an exemption requires a              Medications must be prescribed by a U.S.
written statement signed by the child’s physi-                physician and come from a U.S. pharmacy.
cian (MD or DO), duly registered and licensed
to practice medicine in the US that, in the phy-          Returning after Illness or Condition
sician’s opinion, the vaccine required is injuri-
                                                          Ill students may not return to school until they
ous to the child’s health or poses a significant
                                                          are symptom free for 24 hours and be cleared
risk to the health and well-being of the child.
                                                          by their doctor to return to classes (including,
Unless it is written in the statement that a life-
                                                          for example, cases of flu / fever, pink eye, lice,
long condition exists, the exemption statement
                                                          etc.). Parents are called to pick up their chil-
is valid for only one year from the date signed
                                                          dren if they exhibit signs of any infectious /
by the physician. This document must be sub-
                                                          contagious condition.
mitted to the principal prior to the child at-
tending school and will be reviewed annually.
Texas State law forbids the dispensing of                 COMMUNICATION / CONFERENCES
medications by school employees without                   The lines of communication should always be
the written request of the parents or legal               open and positive between student, teacher,
guardians. The designated school employ-                  parent, and administration. Therefore:
ee at the school is the nurse.
                                                             Students are encouraged to approach their
A student with severe health issues such as di-               teachers first in the event of any concerns or
abetes, epilepsy, asthma, etc. needs a note                   questions in regards to academics, school
from their doctor summarizing the condition,                  policies, extracurricular activities, or events
to be kept in the student’s emergency file.                  Parents are encouraged to keep in close con-
If your child requires medication during school               tact with their child’s instructors. Although
hours, this medicine must be sent to the clinic               teachers strive to maintain contact with eve-
with a note containing the following infor-                   ry parent, the reality is that, due to instruc-
                                                              tional demands, this is not always done in a
                                                              timely manner. Do not wait for that teacher
   Name of student                                           phone call or email if you have concerns.


    Call the front office and a message will be           FACTS FAMILY PORTAL
    forwarded to the teacher or a parent confer-
    ence will be set up. You may also email facul-        OLSS contracts with FACTS, a hosting commu-
    ty members through FACTS or the school                nications company, to develop and maintain
    website                                               direct electronic communication between OLS
   Teachers have designated parent / teacher             and families, including email, online grades,
    conference times. If these times are not con-         and online homework / classwork postings at
    venient, accommodations are attempted, in-  
    cluding before and/or after school hours
   All conferences should be conducted in a              SCHOOL WEBSITE
    professional, confidential manner, and in an
    appropriate setting. Hallways, dismissal              The OLSS website ( is a
    time, sports or school events, personal               good source of information and support that
    events and chance meetings in public are              includes a copy of the handbook, menus, cal-
    not appropriate settings                              endar, events, and much more.
   Conferences are limited only to the parents’
    child and to the issue at hand; other stu-
    dents’ behavior is not discussed                      SOCIAL MEDIA
   The teacher has the right to stop the confer-         Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School main-
    ence if a parent becomes verbally or physi-           tains an official digital presence at the follow-
    cally abusive; the parent will be asked to            ing social media sites: Facebook, Instagram,
    leave the building                                    LinkedIn, and Twitter.
   A parent asking to meet with the principal or
    assistant principal in regard to student con-
    cerns must first meet with the teacher. It is         EMAIL / REMIND APP
    in the spirit of open communication that we           Teachers have school email accounts & parents
    support resolving issues at the root                  may communicate with them through these
   If a parent and teacher cannot resolve an is-         accounts, always remembering to be profes-
    sue, a counselor or the assistant principal is        sional in their correspondence. Staff will re-
    asked to step in and mediate                          spond within 48 hours. Staff are discouraged
   The principal will step in when all other me-         from communicating with parents through
    diation is exhausted                                  personal accounts or apps such as Facebook,
                                                          Twitter, Whatsapp, Messaging / Texts, etc.
                                                          The Remind App may be used to communicate
                                                          immediate assignment changes or send re-
                                                          minders / field trip information. The teacher
                                                          will instruct parents on how to join.


TELEPHONE CALLS                                           Permission slips must be signed by a parent
                                                          or guardian and returned to the teacher
Teachers are given the message to respond to
                                                          along with applicable fees. Permission by
parent telephone calls by having said messages
                                                          fax or email is accepted in lieu of an official
placed in their teacher boxes. Teachers gener-
                                                          written permission slip. Verbal permission
ally check their boxes at the beginning or end
                                                          is not accepted due to liability issues.
of the day. If the concern is urgent, the recep-
tionist will attempt to let the teacher know              Students not participating in the trip must at-
without interrupting instructional time.                  tend school. Students who are participating in
                                                          the educational outing must ride the bus to
Students are not called out of class to answer a
                                                          and from the field trip with their class. School
parent phone call. In an emergency, the phone
                                                          staff may dismiss a student to their parent at-
call is directed to an administrator.
                                                          tending the field trip at the end of the event
Telephone calls requesting a student be                   but the parent must sign off on the permission
told of a change in transportation, After                 slip release that the school is not liable.
School Care, etc. are discouraged and ac-
                                                          Medications (including an EpiPen, if applica-
cepted only if done before 2 pm and only
                                                          ble) and a copy of the student’s Emergency
for emergencies. Relaying these messages is
                                                          Health Care Plan must accompany the student.
very disruptive to the learning process, as well
                                                          The adult carrying the EpiPen will be identi-
as to the front office staff’s duties.
                                                          fied and introduced to the student as well as
                                                          the other chaperones.
CONFIDENTIALITY                                           All educational outings are a privilege, not
School staff, including teachers, counselors,             a right; thus, participation can be denied if
and administrators, will keep confidential in-            a student fails to meet academic and/or be-
formation entrusted to them as long as no                 havioral requirements.
one’s life, health, or safety is at stake. Parents
will be notified promptly if there is an immedi-
ate concern.
                                                          EMERGENCY CONTACT
EDUCATIONAL OUTINGS                                       In order to assure our ability to make contact
                                                          in case of emergency, parents must update
All off-campus educational trips are related to           Emergency Contact information as changes are
some aspect of the curriculum. Educational                made to home addresses, home phone, cell
outings are initiated by the teacher, approved            phone numbers, or emergency contact per-
by the principal and must be completed before             sons.


EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES                                basis, putting up and taking down the outdoor
                                                          flags daily, recording school activities, and set-
Students participating in extracurricular activi-
                                                          ting up AV equipment for presentations. This
ties are evaluated every three weeks on Fridays
                                                          is an 8th grade only organization, and students
at 2 pm based on their current grades in
                                                          are selected the year prior to their service. Ms.
FACTS. A student receiving a failing mark in
                                                          Camarena is the faculty advisor.
any subject is ineligible for extracurricular ac-
tivities (meetings, practices, games, tourna-
ments, performances, dances, weekend events,              Legion of Mary
etc.) until the next check-in period three weeks          The Legion of Mary seeks to enhance the
later. Parents & students should periodical-              school through prayer and service. Members
ly check their grades in FACTS to see if                  meet to pray together and plan service projects
there is improvement. Continued participa-                for the school and parish community. Students
tion in any activity is contingent on academic            in 3rd—8th grade are eligible to participate
performance, behavior and compliance with all             and continued membership is determined by
procedures and policies in this Handbook and              academic performance and behavior. Ms. Flo-
the Discipline Policy. Grounds for removal                res is the faculty advisor.
from an activity can include, but are not lim-
ited to: serious violation of the Discipline Poli-
                                                          Liturgical Choir
cy, excessive tardiness and / or absence, behav-
ior contract, excessive discipline slips, deten-          The purpose of choir is to provide students the
tion, and / or suspension.                                opportunity to express themselves musically,
                                                          learn to perform, and to compete. Choir is an
                                                          expansion to our music education department.
Altar Servers
                                                          The activity benefits each student in many
Students in 5th—8th grade may join this par-              different areas. Students learn about breathing
ish and school organization. Altar Servers are            and vocal techniques that are necessary for be-
responsible for serving all parish and school             coming a good singer; learn to use sight-
weekday and weekend Holy Mass celebrations,               reading and rhythm skills to follow along the
including wedding, funeral and special Holy               music; and learn to work as a team. Choir is
Masses for the school and parish. Students may            beneficial for the student that wishes to con-
join at any point during the school year by               tinue music education, music performance or
speaking with Scott Henry at the parish.                  learn to compete in high school. Most im-
                                                          portantly, the self-confidence and personal sat-
                                                          isfaction that the student experiences in learn-
Camera Crew
                                                          ing to sing in front of an audience and together
Camera Crew is responsible for setting up all             in harmony is extremely rewarding. 4th—8th
AV equipment for morning assembly on a daily              grade students may audition at the beginning


of each school year for inclusion. Ms. Avalos is        grades, essay, citizenship, teacher recommen-
the faculty advisor.                                    dation, and parental consent. Once selected,
                                                        continued membership is determined by aca-
                                                        demic performance and behavior. Students ap-
National Junior Honor Society
                                                        ply and are selected the year before their ser-
Our Lady of Sorrows School is a participating           vice begins. Ms. Lee is the faculty advisor.
member of the NJHS. This organization is part
of the National Honor Society, the oldest and
                                                        8th Grade Camp Eagle Experience
most respected organization for recognizing
the academic accomplishments of young                   The 8th grade class takes an annual spring trip
scholars in America. Any student in the sev-            to Camp Eagle in Rocksprings in central Texas.
enth and eighth grade who meets the challeng-           In order to qualify for this experience a student
ing academic standards set forth by the organi-         must maintain a passing yearly average for all
zation’s Charter is eligible for selection and          classes as well as be passing all subjects during
possible induction. Selection, discipline, and          the quarter the trip is taken. The student must
dismissal are reviewed and recommended by               also be in compliance with behavior require-
the Faculty Council as set forth in the NJHS            ments. A student is ineligible for the trip if
Constitution. Ms. Fuentes and Ms. Turbay are            they have faced multiple disciplinary actions
the faculty advisors.                                   during the year, including, but not limited to:
                                                        detention, academic or behavioral contract,
                                                        probation, or suspension. Final decision as to a
Student Council
                                                        student’s attendance is made by the principal.
Student Council is a service organization that
plans activities for the student body, and
works with the PTO, the Athletic Program, fac-          FAMILY/CUSTODIAL SITUATIONS IN
ulty, and staff to promote school spirit and
                                                        RELATIONSHIP WITH THE SCHOOL
unity. Student representatives are elected at
the beginning of the school year. Once elected,         Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School is finding
continued membership is determined by aca-              an increasing number of families experiencing
demic performance and behavior. Ms. Daly                transitions in parental custodial relationships.
and Ms. Fulwider are the faculty advisors.              For this reason we find it necessary to clarify
                                                        and restate the usual procedures followed by
                                                        the administration and faculty in dealing with
Worship Committee                                       parents in such situations.
Worship Committee’s primary purpose is to               In two parent families it is assumed that both
enhance the religious climate of the school.            parents are living at the same address unless
Students in grades 6, 7, and 8 may submit an            we are notified otherwise. Our Lady of Sorrows
application for membership. The final selec-            Catholic School personnel will, therefore, send
tion of members is determined by academic

home notices, communications, etc., with the              will, unless instructed by a Court Order, re-
child. It is assumed that both parents are com-           lease such records upon request to the non-
municating regarding the child and that all in-           custodial parent. "Records" include official
formation is shared by and between the par-               transcripts, report cards, health records, refer-
ents. This information includes, but is not lim-          rals for special services, and communications
ited to, conference appointments, report cards,           regarding major disciplinary actions. It does
discussions with school personnel, tuition                not include daily classwork and papers or rou-
statements, and extracurricular activities.               tine communications sent home through the
                                                          child to the home of residence. In these cases
In families experiencing separation of parents,
                                                          the custodial parent is asked to cooperate with
or ending in divorce, the above information is
                                                          the school and share this information directly
sent home with the child to whichever parent
                                                          with the non-custodial parent. This avoids
currently has care of the child. It is assumed
                                                          time-consuming duplication of services.
that this information is shared by the parents
and between the parents. Since this situation             Further, you should realize that unless restrict-
frequently impacts on a child's achievement               ed by Court Order, any non-custodial parent
and interaction at school, parents are asked to           has the right to attend any school activity of
inform both the principal and teacher of this             their child which includes sports activities and
fact so that appropriate support can be given             class programs. Parents should keep each other
to the child. Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic                informed as to these activities to avoid duplica-
School personnel cannot proceed on hearsay,               tion of communications and to allow the
rumors, or demands of a parent, but only with             school to better attend to the duty of teaching
the appropriate documentation detailed below.             your children.
In cases of an actual divorce decree involving            In cases of "joint" custody (shared parenting
clear custody by one parent, the principal is to          agreements) entitling both parents access to
be informed by the custodial parent of this               school personnel and activities, it is assumed
fact. A copy of the first page of the decree bear-        that one copy of communications and infor-
ing the case number, the pages referring to               mation will be sent home with the child and
custody and the relationship with the school,             that this will be shared by and between the
and the final page bearing the judge's signature          parents.
are to be submitted to the principal. Unless the          Regarding parent conferences in all situations:
decree indicates otherwise, school communica-             it is preferred and will be the general proce-
tions will be sent home to the custodial parent.          dure that one conference appointment be
Custodial parents should understand, however,             scheduled “jointly” if both parents wish to be
that unless the divorce decree specifically lim-          present. It is assumed that parents are able to
its the non-custodial parent's right to access to         set aside differences and to come together on
records, the non-custodial parent has a right to          behalf of their child for this time. A joint con-
the same access as the custodial parent. We               ference further insures that both parents are

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