New Family Information and Frequently Asked Questions
Welcome to Harrington! We know that you may have many questions about our school. The following are a few of the basic facts you may find helpful in getting started at Harrington. If you have any other questions, feel free to call 781-860-0012 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com Parent involvement both in the class and in school is very important. Please help in the classroom, join the PTA, and attend school events whenever possible.
Jackie Daley, Principal & Andre Pelletier, Assistant Principal
Q. What are the school hours?
At 8:30 students enter the classroom. At 8:45 attendance is taken. Students may come to school as early as 8:15, when we have staff coverage. No student should be dropped off before 8:15a.m.. We ask that students arrive at school as close to 8:30 as possible, so that they have time to transition into the day.
The school day ends at 3:15, except Thursday, when school if over at 12:15.
Kindergarten students who are picked up are dismissed from the main lobby. Parents and guardians of kindergarten students may wait in the lobby for kindergarten students. All other students are picked up outside the front of the building.
Q. How do I contact the teacher or principal?
Harrington School is committed to creating a culture of collaboration among school staff and families. The key to collaboration is open communication. Please do not hesitate to contact the school if you have a question, suggestion, or concern. To contact your child’s teacher, you can either send a note in with your child asking the teacher to call you, send an email, or leave a message with the office. Teachers have email and voicemail; however, please keep in mind that their priority is with the children, and they do not check these messages during the school day. For issues directly related to the classroom, please speak first to the teacher before contacting Ms. Daley. For school-wide issues or unresolved classroom concerns, please contact Ms. Daley. We welcome your comments and suggestions.You may call (781) 860-0012.
Q. Can I visit the school during school hours?
Visitation during the school day is limited to maintain safety and to prevent disruption to instruction. During school hours the building is locked and all visitors, including parent volunteers, will need to use the intercom system. All who enter the building must sign in and out at the main office. Volunteers (with current CORI on file) will be given a badge to wear while in the building. All other visitors will need to be accompanied by a staff member during schools hours.
Q. Is there a school newsletter, website, or listserv?
Yes, a school newsletter- “The Harrington Herald” is published monthly. It features PTA news, school information,dates, and updates about coming events. The most recent edition of the newsletter, along with other helpful information, is posted on our website at http://hrptsa.lexingtonme.org/heralds.html The directions for signing up for the listserv are also on the website. We encourage all parents and guardians to sign up. Last minute, time sensitive, or emergency information (such as early closing for a severe storm) are sent out on the listserv. Working parents may want to sign up to receive listserv messages at work.
Q. How do I purchase a Harrington School Directory?
The directory is available online on the Parent Teacher Association(PTA) website.There is a link to the PTA website on the Harrington School website. In order to have access to the directory, parents become members of the Parent Teacher Association(PTA). Membership is $20. Requests to become a member of the PTA may be made in writing and accompanied by check. If you would like a hard copy of the directory, you can pay an additional $5 when you join the PTA.
Q. What opportunities are there for volunteering and involvement?
Harrington has a strong tradition of parent involvement. Many opportunities exist for you as parents to share your gifts with the classroom. Teachers will often call upon you to help with class projects, chaperone field trips, and attend classroom presentations. There are day, evening, and weekend volunteer opportunities that exist, with both small and large time commitments, that can be conducted from the school and even from the home.
A way to share your gifts with the school at large is through the PTA. Harrington School PTA is a non-profit 501 (c)3, school based network of parent volunteers dedicated to the enrichment of our children’s education, health and welfare. The PTA works closely with Harrington administration and staff throughout the year. This vibrant organization has many committees and social events throughout the year. Be sure to join (only $20 and includes a copy of the School Directory) and attend meetings and find out how you can be involved. If you have any other questions about the PTA, please feel free to contact the PTA president(s), whose contact information can be found using the following link: http://hrptsa.lexingtonma.org/ptacommittee.html
Q. What is a CORI?
State Law requires all staff and volunteers who work with children to complete a CORI (Criminal Offender Record Information) form every 3 years in the presence of a CORI authorized employee (Principal and Secretary). This is information that is used to ensure student safety and is kept confidential. Please stop by the office to complete a CORI form if you have not done so.
Q. Is there a school newsletter, website or listserv?
Yes, a school newsletter-“The Harrington Herald” is published every other month. It features PTA news, school information, dates, and updates about coming events. the most recent edition of the newsletter, along with other helpful information, is posted on our website at http://hrptsa.lexingtonma.org/heralds.html
The directions for signing up for the listserv are also on the website. We encourage all parents and guardians to sign up. Last minute, time sensitive, or emergency information (such as early closing for a severe storm) are sent out on the listserv. Working parents may want to sign up to receive listserv messages at work.
Q. How do I drop off/pick up if I transport by car?
Drop off: Supervision is available for students who are dropped off beginning at 8:15 a.m. Students may not be dropped off prior to that time, as there is no supervision. Drivers may unload or pick up children only in the drop off/pick up lane on the side of the school closest to the Central Administration Building. Do not drop off children on Maple or Lowell Streets or anywhere along the access roadways. Children should ONLY disembark from the right side of the vehicle. Please do not move your car until your child is fully away from the car. In consideration of other families and to keep traffic moving, if your child/children need assistance getting out of the car, please park in the parking lot and walk your child to the school.
Pick up: Walkers: With parent permission, walkers may leave from the front door and walk home without adult supervision. Parents are encouraged to check out the following websites, which offer suggestions for how to walk to school safely.
- http://www.commute.com/downloads/Tool_Kit_Manual_041306.pdf (pages 57 & 58 of document)
- http://www.commute.com/downloads/WalkingSchoolBusKit.pdf (pages 11 & 12 of document)
Drive-up / Pick-up location: The front of the school has a designated student waiting area with adult supervision from 3:15-3:25. Parents may pick up their children directly from the student waiting area by pulling up to the curb in the drop off/pick up lane pulling as far forward as possible. When children see their car, they walk to the car door. Please be aware that idling of a vehicle for more than 5 minutes is considered illegal and signs are posted reminding drivers to turn off their vehicles while waiting.
Park & Greet: Adults meeting the children in person are requested to wait in front of the building, and escort their child(ren) to the car in the parking lot.
General Traffic & Parking Guidelines: To ensure the safety of everyone and to permit the flow of two-way traffic in designated areas, please observe all of the traffic flow and parking signs along the school roadway. Please do not park and leave your car in the drop off/pick up lane. This is for active drop off and pickup only with parents remaining in the car while dropping off or picking up children. If you wish to park and leave your car, you should park in the Harrington School parking lot in marked spaces.The staff has signs to help move traffic for the children’s safety; please stay alert and follow their instructions. DRIVE SLOWLY. Please drive no more than 10 miles per hour within the Harrington campus.
Q. What about walking or riding bikes to school?
Students may walk to school. There are sidewalks and crossing guards on Lowell St. and Maple St. Our school is located at a busy intersection and traffic during arrival and dismissal times is extremely heavy. As a result of these dangers, the school does not support or encourage bicycle riding.
Q. What about taking a school bus to school?
For school bus information, including sign up and routes, please refer to the following link to the transportation website: https://lps.lexingtonma.org/page/659 Please note, kindergarten students who ride the school bus must be met by an adult when dropped off at home.
Q. What is the procedure if my child is absent?
Whenever your child is absent from school, please call the office before 8:30 on the day of the absence or anytime before the day of the absence and leave a message with your child’s full name, the reason for the absence, anticipated date(s) of absence, and the teacher’s name. The voicemail is on whenever there is not someone in the office. Our number is 781-860-0012 (absent line). We will check teachers’ absence lists against parent calls. If your child has been marked absent but you did not call him/her in, we will make every effort to contact you or your emergency contacts. It is NOT necessary to send in a note once your child has returned to school.
Q. What is the procedure if my child is tardy?
Children who arrive at school after 8:45 must stop by the tardy desk in the foyer. If a child arrives to school after 9:00, a parent or guardian should walk the child into the main office to sign in.
Q. May I take my child out of school for a family trip when school is in session?
Family trips are considered unexcused absences. Unexcused absences are discouraged by the Lexington Public Schools and parents are asked to put information about an unexcused absence in advance in a letter to the school principal. Students cannot really make up what is missed during an elementary school day and teachers cannot be expected to provide homework in advance.
Q. What if my child needs to be dismissed early?
If your child is being dismissed early, please come to the front office. One of our staff members will call your child’s classroom and your child will come to meet you at the office. Please sign your child out before leaving the building. Please do not go directly to the classroom.
Q. What if we have a change in our dismissal plan?
While there should be a plan for dismissal that has been communicated to the classroom teacher, changes do happen.In case of an emergency or unexpected change (e.g. you are arranging for someone else to pick up your child),please call the office and speak to someone directly. For the children’s safety, we can only take changes in dismissal plans from parents or guardians. In addition, we may need to call you back at the phone number you have provided us to confirm parent or guardian identity.
If your child tells us there is a change in dismissal routine and we do not have a written note or phone call from a parent or guardian, we will make every effort to contact the parent/guardian before dismissal. If we cannot contact a parent or guardian, the child will be sent home via the listed dismissal plan for the day.
We realize that sometimes all lines are busy, but we ask that you do not leave a message about dismissal after 1:30, except in the case of an emergency; we may not be able to get to all messages before 3:15.
If your child is unsure about dismissal plans they should come to the office to call you. Children should not make dismissal plans with parents or anyone on cell phones.
Please note: Arrangements for play dates must be made at home and a note sent in by the parent.
Q. What is the procedure for checking in the building or delivering materials to my child’s classroom?
All visitors and parents coming to Harrington during the school day need to ring the buzzer, and wait for a member of the office staff to unlock the door. Visitors and parents must check in at the office, sign the register, and obtain a badge. If you have something to drop off for your child, please leave it with the office staff (labeled with your child’s name and teacher), who will see that it gets to your child.
Q. How do I find out about Extended Day Care?
The Lextended Day shares our space; however, they are a privately run organization and not part of the school system. If you are interested in the program, please call the director Ellen Grinder at 781-860-5821.
Q. How do I pay for field trips?
We use an online payment system called MCC: the website is located here.
You will need to create an account and add the student(s) for your family. You will need a student ID# which you can obtain from the main office at Harrington or calling 781-860-0012 to request the ID#. Once you set up the account you can receive email alerts when new fees are created. This account will also be used in middle and high school.
If you cannot pay online you can send in a check for the field trip fee payable to the Town of Lexington. All insufficient funds/bounced checks are subject to a mandatory $25 fee under Mass. General Law, Chapter 60, section 57A. Interest penalties of 14% may also be charged on insufficient funds/bounced checks.
According to the Lexington Public School’s Field trip policy, no child shall be excluded from participating on a trip due to financial constraints. If your child is in need of partial or full assistance, please contact Ms. Daley in writing in order to make the necessary arrangements.
Q. What about breakfast and lunch?
Students may purchase breakfast at school, which is provided by Whitsons, the district cafeteria service, and is served in the cafeteria from 8:30-8:45 each day. In order to participate in the breakfast program students must submit a signed permission slip from a parent or guardian, which can be obtained from Ms. Brewer in the office. Once permission is given, a menu explaining the daily offerings and price information will be sent home with your child. Students may bring a lunch from home or purchase a lunch and/or drink from Whitsons. A menu comes home monthly and is also posted on our website.In the cafeteria, students are to eat only food provided by their family or purchased in the cafeteria per district policy. Students may not give one another money, trade, share, or buy one another food. Families of students with allergies must inform the school nurse of the condition and provide protocol information in order to ensure student safety.
Q: How do students pay for breakfast and lunch?
There are two methods to pay for breakfast and/or lunch.
You can create an account online through Schoolbucks. you can keep track of your child’s balance and add funds as necessary. To learn about this or review your child’s lunch account, go the Whitson’s website.
You can send in either a check(payable to Town of Lexington) or cash in an envelope marked with your child’s name. You may drop money off in the office or your child may bring their money to school in their homework folder. Payments made to the office are delivered daily to Whitsons and entered the same day into the Whitsons payment system.
Every child has a Whitsons account with a pin number. When a student provides this pin number, money is debited from his or her account.
Q. May I bring food or treats to share with my child’s classmates?
No, food items are not allowed to be shared in the classroom setting. Please refer to the Lexington Public School policy for Life Threatening allergies:https://lps.lexingtonma.org/site/Default.aspx?PageID=1107
Q. May I send party invitations to school to be distributed to students?
No, party invitations may not be distributed in school.
Q. May I send toys or electronic devices to school with my child?
Students should not bring toys or other items that are a distraction to the learning environment. This includes Pokeman cards or other objects that could be traded or shared with peers. students are prohibited from buying, selling, or trading personal property at school.
If electronic devices like ipods, cellphones, MP3 players and electronic games come out during the school day, these electronics will be taken from the student and held by the teacher or the office. You may be asked to come to school to pick up electronic devices your child uses in school.
Q. How do you deal with medications & health issues?
We are fortunate to have a full time nurse, Pam Vaughan, on our staff. Please note that all medications (even over-the-counter such as throat lozenges and Tylenol) must be dispensed by the nurse and require a doctor’s note per state law. Please plan to bring any medications in personally. Per state requirements, all kindergarteners must have a physical exam and updated immunizations prior to entering school. To access all health forms, refer to: http://teacherweb.com/MA/LexingtonPublicSchools/LexingtonSchoolNurses/apt8.aspx
Q. What are the guidelines for knowing when to keep ill children at home?
- Temperature of 100 degrees or more within the past 24 hours
- Vomiting or diarrhea occurring within the past 24 hours
- Undiagnosed rash
- Untreated lice (pediculosis) infection
- Suspected conjunctivitis (pink eye)
- Strep Throat- if awaiting culture results or less than 24 hours of antibiotic treatment
- If recovering from an illness and still unable to fully participate in school
Q. How do I find out about the curriculum?
Each grade level holds a back to school curriculum night early in the fall for parents. You may contact the teacher if you have a specific question, and teachers may send out information about classroom studies and activities as well.In addition, the district publishes grade level expectations for each grade, which are available at the following site:https://lps.lexingtonma.org/domain/636
Q. What if my child needs a special service?
As part of our regular education program, we have a Counselor, English Language Learner Teacher, and Reading and Math Specialists. If you have concerns in these areas, talk with your child’s teacher. Teachers may also consult with curriculum coordinators in the other curricular areas. Students with disabilities may be eligible for one or more of the following special education services: speech and language, occupational therapy, adaptive physical education, or specialized instruction from one of the resource teachers. If you have concerns about your child’s success at school, the first step is to speak with your child’s teacher. The teacher may consult with our Teacher Support/Child Study multidisciplinary team, who will recommend specific strategies for your child and/or additional assessments.
Q. How can I give feedback to the school?
We are interested in your ideas! The School Council meets on a monthly basis and helps set goals for the coming year. Ms. Daley is available to meet with any parent to discuss questions or issues. She can be reached at (781)860-0012 and firstname.lastname@example.org