Ooltewah Elementary School Handbook 2022-2023

Dear Ooltewah Students and Families,

Welcome to Ooltewah Elementary School. The students and staff are very proud of our school and the quality education that is available for all students.  

The learning environment is structured so all children have an excellent opportunity to be successful. It is a nurturing and safe environment where the goal for our children is to become life-long learners and to discover that education is the most powerful tool to improve the quality of their lives. The children are excited about learning because the curriculum is rigorous, relevant and provides the best possible opportunity to succeed academically and socially.

Parents are an integral part of their children's learning process. If we work together to build partnerships between home and school, children will be more successful academically, understand the value of working together and have a sense of belonging and being part of a learning community.

Please read the following Parent and Student Handbook and discuss the contents as a family. Our intention is to familiarize you with the policies and procedures at Ooltewah Elementary School.  Each student also receives a district “Student Code of Acceptable Behavior and Discipline” which provides a detailed explanation of policies set by our school board.

Have a safe and successful school year. Together we are expecting excellence, all in, and moving forward!

Ooltewah Elementary School
Phone:  498-6900
Fax:  238-4250

In order to prepare students to be life-long learners, we will empower a love of learning by engaging in student centered activities that cultivate the whole child.  We will develop trusting and respectful relationships with students, teachers, parents and the entire school community to foster a positive growth mindset.  We will set and maintain high expectations for all in order to advance the school’s mission. 

Ooltewah Elementary will develop a diverse community of life-long learners.  Students will achieve personal success in their learning and will become responsible and productive citizens.

In order to attend Ooltewah Elementary School, the parent or legal guardian of the student must provide 2 proofs of residency when requested.  Proof of residency must have the parent or legal guardian’s name and the address must be within the Ooltewah Elementary zone.  Proof of residency includes current electric, water, gas or cable bills within the last 30-60 days.  Proof of residency also includes current lease or mortgage statements and agency, government or court documentation.  Students without required, documented immunizations will not be allowed to register in school.  Proof of residency may be requested at any time by school staff.  

School hours are:  8:30 am - 3:30 pm
Students may be dropped off from 8:15 to 8:35 in the car rider areas.  Students arriving after 8:35 are tardy and must be signed in by a parent/guardian in the front office.

OES Transportation Information 2022-2023

Car Riders, Busses, and Walkers 

Teachers will find out from each student’s parent/guardian the primary mode of transportation for each child to and from school each day (bus number, car, or walker) on or prior to the first day of school.   Please note: if there is a change to a student’s mode of transportation on any day, the legal parent/guardian must send in a written note with their child on (or before) the morning of the change in transportation.  For safety reasons, transportation changes will no longer be made by phone or ClassDojo during the school day.   If a written note is not sent in with the student in the morning, we will send your child home using their primary mode of transportation previously provided to us.

Bus Transportation

Riding a school bus is a privilege extended to students by the school district.  For the safety of all students, proper bus behavior must be observed by all riders.  Failure to comply with bus rules may result in removal from the bus for a limited or permanent period of time.  All rules which apply to the school also apply to the bus.

Please let us know if you have any questions or if you need any help with finding the bus stop or route for your child. 
**Due to new HCS bus procedures and district guidance, we must now begin unloading buses at 8:05am for morning arrival.  Bus riders will sit in the gym from 8:05am (supervised by faculty/staff members who have signed up to volunteer during this time) until 8:15am until all faculty / staff members are on duty.

List of  Bus Routes to and from OES (Click HERE)  

HCS Bus Stop Locator (Click HERE

HCS Bus Stop Request (Click HERE)

Car Riders - Arrival - 8:15am - 8:35am

All cars will follow the yellow arrows to the green dot on the diagram shown below. 
From there, staff members will direct all cars to fill specific lanes. 
Students will wait in cars until directed by a staff member that it is all clear to exit.  
OES Staff will begin receiving students into the building at 8:15am each morning. 
When it is clear for students to exit, staff members will raise and wave both hands in the air,
and music will be played (over the loudspeaker) as a signal for students to exit cars and enter the building.
If parents would like to park and walk students to the front entrance of the building,
parents may park in the area highlighted in blue and walk on the sidewalk (red) as directed by an
OES faculty /  staff member.

Car Riders - Dismissal - 3:30pm - 3:45pm

All cars will follow the same traffic pattern as the morning car rider line (indicated by the yellow arrows on the diagram above.)

For the safety of OES staff and in order to maximize the efficiency of the car dismissal process,
we ask that all drivers display their student’s car tag on the driver side window (inside the car facing outward).
OES Car Tags are required in order to dismiss students through the car line. 
If you do not have a car tag prior to dismissal, please park in either of the parking lots highlighted in blue
, and go to the front office to pick up a car tag for your child.  All parents/guardians will be asked to provide a valid ID in order to receive a car tag from the office.

 Walkers (McKenzie Farms Residents only)

Please click HERE for the procedures for all “walkers”.

Due to our school’s geographical location, only students residing in McKenzie Farms subdivision (adjacent to OES property) are permitted to walk home from school.  OES staff will escort these students to the top of the steps leading to McKenzie Farms.  It is the responsibly of each student’s guardians to take responsibility of their child from this point on.

This is a before and after school day care program at OES.  Before school care begins at 6:00 AM and continues until the school day begins.  The afternoon session begins when the school day ends and remains open until 6:00 PM.  Children may be enrolled in morning or afternoon sessions, or both.  SACC is available daily or weekly and operates during the school year including, Fall Break, Winter Break, Spring Break and Summer Break at various school locations.  All payments made for day care are paid directly to the program director and not the school office.  Report Cards may be held until a student’s SACC account is fully paid.  More information is available in the front office.

Any change of your student’s transportation must be made in writing and submitted to the homeroom teacher before the start of that school day.

Students are required to go directly home after school unless the student is involved in a school approved activity.  Students need to bring a note from home if they are not going home in their usual manner.  When the request involves bus transportation, the note must be signed by the Principal or designee and delivered to the bus driver by the child.

Regular and punctual attendance is essential for the optimum growth and development of students.  Please see The Hamilton County Department of Education Attendance Policy at the back of this handbook.  Additionally, all unexcused absences, tardies and early dismissals will be entered in our database and monitored by school administration and the department of education.

Students are tardy when arriving after 8:35 AM.  Parents must sign their student in at the front office when their student is tardy.  When a student leaves early, it counts as a tardy. Missing more than 3 ½ hours in a day is an absence.  A note from the doctor will excuse the tardy. Teachers are not authorized to release students to parents who come to the classroom.  All students taken from the building during the regular school day must be signed out at the school office.  Whenever possible, dental and medical appointments should be made for non-school days and/or after the regular school day ends.  
Students will not be dismissed through the front office after 3:00pm.

When students are absent from school for one or more days, the following guidelines are to be followed:

1.  Students will be allowed to do make-up work (tests,   homework, class work) when absent.
2.  Students will pick up make-up work from their classroom teacher ON THE DAY THE STUDENT RETURNS TO SCHOOL.  Parents are asked not to phone the school for work during absences.
3.  Students will have five (5) school days from the day of return to complete and return work to their teachers.  If work is not turned in on or before the fifth day, students will not receive full credit for incomplete work.

Many times during the school year, parents will need to be notified of various school activities and events.  School staff will notify parents as early as possible.  The school system will also be using an automated phone system called “SchoolMessenger”.  These will be recorded phone messages or e-mails to notify parents and school staff of school events or activities.  If you do not receive these messages, please contact the school with your contact information.

A 2022-2023 school calendar for Hamilton County Schools is included in this handbook, and it is linked HERE bit.ly/HCScalendar22.  Emergency dismissals during adverse weather will be announced on local radio and television stations and via “SchoolMessenger” messages.  Please be sure your email address and  phone numbers are current in our office.  Please be aware: if our school drive is impassable due to road conditions, it may be necessary to walk students down the hill to vehicles or buses.  Please be patient during these occurrences.  In most instances when school is dismissed early, SACC will not be available.  

Students may need to bring money to school to pay various fees during the school year.  Although fees cannot be required to attend a public school, the supply fee (for all grade levels) is $40.00 and may be paid early in the first month of school or throughout the school year.  An explanation of what items the school purchases with your supply fee money can be obtained from the teacher.  Unless specified differently, checks should be written to Ooltewah Elementary School (OES).  Please write separate checks for each activity or item.  Online School Payments can be made using the following link:  bit.ly/OESosp  Checks for school lunches are written to OES Food Service and checks for SACC are written to HCDE.  Any checks returned for insufficient funds must be paid in cash prior to a student receiving a report card.

Any money brought to the school by a student should be placed in a sealed envelope.  The following should be written on the envelope:  Student’s name, Teacher’s name, and reason for money, i.e. field trip, lunch money, etc.

Birthdays of students will be recognized in the classrooms. Birthday celebration deliveries (flowers, balloons, etc.) are discouraged. Should a delivery arrive, it shall remain in the office until the end of the school day. Parents should arrange for their child’s transportation home if the delivery is too large to be taken onto the bus.  Invitation to birthday parties outside of school may be sent to the class only if all students in the class are invited.

Parents and all family members are invited to join Ooltewah Elementary in supporting students through active membership in the Ooltewah Elementary PTA.  This cost is $10.00.  Checks for the PTA should be written to OES PTA.  Education is a team effort, and we are proud to work with parents through the PTA.  A special thank you is extended to our PTA for the participation and funding of many items and activities throughout the school year.

The Ooltewah Elementary staff and PTA encourage parents, grandparents, guardians, and other interested community members to volunteer their time and talents to the students of Ooltewah Elementary.  There are many opportunities to support the school, and your involvement is greatly appreciated.  If you would like to volunteer at OES, please click the following link for more information.   bit.ly/volunteerOES Also, volunteers need to sign in at the front office upon arrival.  Please be prepared to show ID which will be scanned in our Raptor visitor system.

Lunch Visitors
safety of all students and to ensure we have a seat available for you and your student, we ask that all guests to OES wishing to eat in the OES cafe, please do the following:
Sign up for a lunch time / lunch reservation using the following link bit.ly/OESreservations

Please sign up for a seat for every guest. 
It is not necessary to sign up for the student -
as this will be one of the questions asked during the sign up.  
We are working on a way to add more seating for guests/visitors if needed. 
The sign up sheet will be updated if more seating becomes available. 

Upon arrival to OES, please sign in to the front office, pick up a name badge,
and wear the name badge while you are in the school building.
When it is your child’s lunch time, someone will walk you to the cafe
where you will meet your child, and someone will seat you in the designated
family dining area.  Because all student tables are seated to capacity during lunch,
we will have additional designated seating for guests and their student.  

After the student’s lunch, students will rejoin their class and walk back to their classroom
from the cafe with their class. Guests/visitors please walk back up to the front office to
“check out” / notify office staff that they have left the building.  


During the school year if changes are made in employment, telephone number, cell number or alternate contacts, please call the office (498-6900) or send a note with the student so that the emergency form can be updated.  It is important that emergency forms be completed entirely.

The school clinic is located near the main office.  We have a full-time nurse on duty during regular school hours. If a student becomes sick or injured, the school nurse will contact the parent or guardian.  Parents may be requested to come and pick up a student at that time.  Students with a fever will not be allowed to remain at school.  If sickness or minor injury occurs near dismissal time, the student may be sent home on the bus, but every attempt will be made to notify the parent or guardian.  Emergency information forms are to be filled out each school year and will be on file in the office.  If in the event of serious illness or injury parents or guardians cannot be informed and the illness/injury is thought to be of such a nature to require the services of a doctor, the child will be taken to a designated hospital (located on the emergency card) for treatment.  This action in no way implies that the Hamilton County School Board personnel or the school assumes financial responsibility for the illness/injury.

The principal and nurse should be advised of students who require immediate or special attention for conditions such as hemophilia, diabetes, epilepsy, heart condition, life threatening allergies, bee stings, or any other physical condition.  It is imperative that students have an up-to-date and accurate Emergency Plan on file in the office/classroom at all times.

Students required to take medicine at school must have a Hamilton County “Medication Consent Form” completed by the parent and physician, on file in the school office.  Only adults may deliver medications to the school clinic.  The school nurse will administer the medicine to the student.  No over-the-counter medicines will be given at school.

At the beginning of the school year, a nurse will work with parents to ensure that student immunizations and certified birth certificates are in compliance with state law.

Prices Lunch Breakfast
Paid: $3.00 $2.00
Reduced: $  .40 $  .30
Visitor: $5.00 $3.00
Holiday: $5.00   N/A
Extra Milk: $  .50 $  .50

Report cards may be held for lunch account debt.  

Breakfast is available between 8:15-8:35.

Parents are asked to refrain from sending FAST FOOD or soft drinks with their student.

Students shall not bring toys, trading cards, athletic items, electronic equipment, phones, or non-essential personal items onto school property, unless authorized by a staff member.  School administration reserves the right to confiscate any personal item that is suspected of being used inappropriately.  Ooltewah Elementary is not responsible for lost or stolen items.

Ooltewah Elementary teachers plan field trips away from school that support curricular objectives.  Each grade level will plan their own field trips each school year.  A permission slip must be signed by a parent or guardian before a student is allowed to go on the trip and funds must be paid by the due date.  In the event that insufficient funds are received, a field trip may be cancelled.  A limited number of parent chaperones may be asked to accompany the class on the trip.  Chaperones should refrain from bringing siblings, follow school rules and accept the responsibility of following the procedures set by the teachers.  T-shirts in grade level colors are encouraged to be worn on field trips.  Students are expected to exhibit excellent behavior as they represent Ooltewah Elementary away from school.

Parent-Teacher conferences are encouraged.  If the teacher feels a conference is necessary, the school will contact the parent.  If for any reason a parent wishes a conference with the teacher, the parent should contact their child’s teacher.
When parents have concerns or issues to discuss, they are encouraged to discuss the issue with the classroom teacher first.  If the situation is not resolved, parents may address the issue with the Assistant Principal for that grade.  Teachers, principals, and parents share common goals of creating the best learning experiences for students.

Telephones in the building are for school business only.  Students are allowed to use the phone only in the case of an emergency.  No student will be called from class to answer a personal phone call.

All found items will be placed in the lost and found boxes in a designated location.  The school cannot assume responsibility of students’ losses.  Proper marking of personal property can reduce these losses.  Please mark all items such as coats, jackets, sweaters, sweatshirts, lunch boxes, etc.  All items remaining at the end of year will be donated to charity.

Ooltewah Elementary has Fire Drills once a month and 3 safety drills (tornado and/or intruder) per year according to state and local regulations.  Teachers will review designated safety routes with students and emergency evacuation routes.  Each classroom will have routes and procedures posted.  It is asked, that parents not dismiss students during drills, regardless if the drill is authentic or practice.  If parents are in the building during a drill, they will be asked to follow procedures with students and staff.

For the safety and security of students, faculty, parents, public and the building, Ooltewah Elementary is monitored using video and audio recording devices.  Due to confidentiality, only school officials are permitted to view security footage.

The responsibility for development and maintenance of this self-discipline falls to the combined effort of students, parents, teachers, administration, and the community that established the value system we accept.  When self-discipline fails, regulations for management of school behavior is outlined in the Hamilton County “Student Code of Acceptable Behavior and Discipline” handout provided to each student at the beginning of the school year.  This handout is required to have parent’s/student’s signature and returned to the teacher when school begins.  

OES faculty, students and families are encouraged to review and become familiar with S.O.A.R., our school wide positive behavior plan.  Ooltewah Elementary students are safe, organized, responsible, and respectful.  This includes traveling to and from school.

The OES Bully Policy follows the guidelines stated in the Hamilton County Schools “Code of Acceptable Behavior and Discipline”.  Although all bullying cannot always be seen or heard, the OES faculty and staff have been trained to better identify bullying situations.  Parents and students also have the ability to report anonymous tips on the HCDE.org Quick tip link.  Students are also encouraged to report any bullying to any staff member for assistance.  

Our dress code is designed to encourage modesty, while still allowing for individuality, comfort, and practicality. This freedom still allows for personal expression, while promoting an environment that is conducive to work and academic achievement. In order to achieve this level of excellence, all children must be neat and well groomed in appearance.  If a student’s dress becomes a distraction to the educational environment, it will be dealt with on an individual basis.  Any clothing/accessories/etc. that is not identified below, and creates a distraction in the educational environment will be handled at the discretion of the administration.

The following guidelines for dress and appearance are to be observed by all students.

Shirts and blouses:
Shirts should be proper fitting, and long enough to cover undergarments and stomachs.  Bare midriffs are not permitted.
Shirts with spaghetti straps, halter-tops, mesh, and see-through material are not allowed.
Items with inappropriate language or logos and/or items with tobacco, alcohol or drug advertisements are not allowed.

Pants and jeans:
Pants and jeans should be neat and size appropriate. They should not be frayed or excessively worn.
Pants and jeans should not be baggy, oversized, skin tight or expose undergarments.

Shorts and skirts:
Shorts and skirts should be neat, loose fitting, and must reach the tips of the fingers. 
Mini-skirts and short-shorts are not allowed.
It is suggested that girls wearing dresses or skirts wear shorts underneath for modesty.

Tennis shoes are required for PE and suggested for all other times. Shoes should be neat, clean, and not excessively worn.
Shoes with laces should be tied.
Sandals are permitted only if they have a back strap.
Flip-flops, strapless sandals or high-heeled shoes are not allowed.

For safety reasons, students should not wear hoop or dangling earrings.
Make-up and jewelry of any type should not be excessive or distracting.
Baseball caps and winter hats may only be worn outside or on the playground.

Hair should be clean and neat in appearance.

For safety reasons, wheeled backpacks are not allowed.

All backpacks, coats, sweaters, sweatshirts, etc. must be labeled with the child’s name.

2018-2019 Hamilton County Department of Education 
Attendance Law/HCDE Policy/Procedures

Attendance Law Explained 
According to the law (Tennessee Code Annotated 49-6-3001(c)) every parent, guardian, or other person residing in this State having control or charge of any child between the ages of six (6) and seventeen (17), both inclusive, shall cause such child or children to attend a public or non-public school, and in event of failure to do so, shall be subject to the penalties hereinafter provided.

Any child who is habitually and unlawfully absent from school must be reported to the appropriate judge having juvenile jurisdiction in that county, the child to be dealt with in such manner as the judge may determine to be in the best interest of the child. The judge may assess a fine of up to fifty dollars (50.00) or five (5) hours of community service against the parents or legal guardians of Kindergarten through grade twelve (K-12) children if the child is absent more than five (5) days during any school year. (Tennessee Code Annotated 49-6-3007(f)).

Hamilton County Department of Education Board Policy (6.200)
The following are legal reasons for excusing a student from attending school:
Personal Illness- Students are excused who are sick and whose attendance would be detrimental to their health and the health of other students. A physician’s statement may be required.
Death in Immediate Family- Students may be excused for three days in the event of a death in their immediate families including mother, father, step-parent, brother, sister, or grandparent. Extenuating circumstances may require a longer period of excused absence.
Family Illness- Students having an illness in the family which requires them to give temporary help will be excused from attendance after receipt of a physician’s statement concerning the necessity of the student’s assistance. 
Religious Holiday- Students shall be excused on special or recognized religious holidays regularly observed by that particular faith. Prior approval is required should these days occur while school is in session. 
Personal- Students who are absent for a good cause (doctor or dental appointment which cannot be scheduled at times other than school hours, court appearances, etc.) may be excused upon proof of appointment. Prior approval by parent or guardian, and the principal or his designee is required. 

Approved School-Sponsored Activities- Students shall be marked present when participating in a school-sponsored activity away from the school building.

HCDE attendance procedures for 2018-2019 are as follows:
By law students must attend school daily. It is the parent's responsibility to report all absences to the school.  HCDE will allow parent/guardian excuses to serve as documentation for three (3) personal illness days only. After three (3) parent/guardian excused personal illness days, parents must provide medical services documentation for the following: personal illness, family illness, or personal (as defined above).  To avoid student absences being recorded as unexcused, a written statement signed and dated by the parent/guardian and any medical documentation should be presented to the appropriate school official within five (5) days of the student returning to school.  HCDE will not begin legal actions until after a student is absent for more than five (5) days without adequate legal excuse (as defined above.)

If the following conditions apply, a referral will be made to the school social worker:
After ten (10) or more unexcused absences: 
Parent/guardians will be notified via legal notice indicating that their child has become truant and a petition may be filed with Hamilton County Juvenile Court. If unexcused absences continue after the Informal Truancy Hearing at Juvenile Court, parent/guardians will be petitioned to attend a Formal Hearing before a Juvenile Court Judge at which time fines and community service may be assessed.



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