MARS ACADEMY POLICIES

The following are draft policies and are subject to change.

ATTIRE

For information about the different attire required at Mars Academy,
(Standard Attire, Formal Attire, Modified Formal Attire, and Free Choice Attire), please visit the Attire page.

Lunch

Rule Reason
a) Lunches are not to be shared. a) Different families have different dietary requirements/preferences.
b) Minimize disposable items, (e.g., lunch bags, containers, utensils, etc.). b) We should try to help the planet as much as we can!
c) An advance-order lunch program will be coordinated and information will be provided. Even if not advance-ordered, last minute lunches can be purchased, but that might be simply PB&J or instant soup if extra of the advance-ordered lunch is not available. c) Some parents/students prefer not to have to pack lunch, find that it is easier to have the school provide it, and are pleased to know that an enjoyable, healthy, conscious lunch is being provided. If not advance-ordered, however, we can not guarantee that there will be enough for those wanting it last minute. In order for children to never go hungry, last minute options will still always be available.
d) Any and all food served by Mars Academy is made from enjoyable, healthy, conscious ingredients.
d) While we are not telling you what you should eat or should not eat at home, we believe in being consistent with all that we do at Mars Academy and the corresponding messages we send. It is important for our students to learn that even what they eat does make a difference.
e) No lunches, snacks, etc. made from animals are to be brought onto the school property. e) As part of our contract with the synagogue from whom we are leasing space, we are not to bring in animal products, enabling them to keep their facility kosher. This also is quite congruent with our commitment to healthy, conscious foods.

Visitations

Rule Reason
a) Please schedule school visitations in advance. a) It is better to limit the number of visitors in any class at any time. Your visitation is indeed, though, welcome!
b) When at school, please sign-in when you arrive
and sign-out when you leave.
b) It is important for us to keep track of who is on campus at any given time.
c) When at school, please wear a name tag. c) Those who may not recognize you will know who you are.

Absences

Rule Reason
a) Please avoid unnecessary absences. a) Our teachers are here to educate your children, and we do not want your child to miss out.
b) If, though, your child is sick, and might be contagious, then please do not send your child to school. b) We want your child to properly recuperate, and we do not want other children or staff to get sick.
c) If there is a last minute illness, please call the school office and tell the receptionist, or leave a message. c) The teacher can then be informed and not be wondering or worrying.
d) If you know, in advance, that your child will be absent, then please send a note to the front office as early as you know. d) From an administrative standpoint, it is helpful for the front office to know, and the office will inform the teacher.
e) If your child is planning to be away for more than a day, then the teacher will put together a package of work for your child. e) We care about your child's education, and we do not want him/her to fall behind on what s/he could/should be doing.
f) In the event of a particularly extended absence, (for injury, illness, special family plans, an on-location assignment, etc.), a meeting will need to be scheduled with the teacher and the director. f) By enrolling your child in Mars Academy, you have entrusted us with your child's education. We take that responsibility quite seriously. We want to make sure that we are doing everything we can to optimize your
child's educational growth and development.
g) We may require private tutoring to make-up for the instruction missed in school, perhaps by the teacher or perhaps by another approved educational professional. g) Again, we want to optimize your child's educational growth and development.

Late Arrival

Rule Reason
a) Please try to avoid late arrivals. a) We do not want your child to miss any opportunity for learning. We do not want your child to disrupt anyone else's learning. The start of the school day is usually a very important group interaction time
b) In the event of an unavoidable late arrival, and if it seems that it will be more than half an hour, then please call the school office. b) Attendance is usually taken during the first half hour of the day.
c) If you know in advance that your child will be late, then please send a note to the office in advance. c) Advance notice helps the school office administratively, and the office will let the teacher know as well.
d) If a last minute late arrival is on a field trip day, then please call as soon as you find yourself running late. d) We do not want to leave without a student registered for the trip, (although we may have an appointment to keep and have no choice). We might need to ask you to meet us somewhere other than at school.

Early Departure

Rule Reason
a) Please try to avoid early departures. a) We only have so much time in school with your child, and we plan to use that time well to optimize your child's educational development and growth.
b) In the event of a planned necessary early departure, please send a note to the school office as early as you know of such plans. b) Advance planning is helpful administratively, and the office will inform the teacher for his/her planning as well.
c) In the event of a last minute necessary early departure, please call the school office as soon as you know of such need. c) Even a small amount of advance notice would be better than just showing up. The office can inform the teacher and student to get ready.
d) Please schedule regular medical examinations and other such appointments for afterschool hours or days off from school. d) Mars Academy does not load a child's afternoon with homework, and thus the afterschool hours are available for such appointments. The school hours, however, are essential for us to optimally educate your child.

Earthquakes

Rule Reason
a) In school, we will have earthquake drills and preparedness education. a) In the event of such an emergency, we want to be prepared.
b) At a Parent Education program, we will also offer preparedness education. b) We want you to be well prepared at home for such a possible emergency.
c) In the event of a minor earthquake, after a thorough safety check and brief follow-up assembly, we will get back to our normal day. c) We want to be able to process with the students, make sure that they are all at ease, and not build a situation into more than it needs to be.
d) In the event of a more than minor earthquake, we will fully follow the appropriate safety plan. Details of this plan will be provided at parent orientation. d) We will be well prepared to assure the safety of your children.
e) In the event of a more than minor earthquake, we will immediately make every effort to contact our partner school in Washington, DC. Contact information will be provided to you at parent orientation. e) During serious earthquakes, it is often difficult to make successful connections on local telephone lines.
f) If telephone reception permits, we will initiate our parent telephone tree to contact every one of you. f) Communication, if feasible, will make us all feel more comfortable.
g) If your child has his/her own cellular telephone with him/her, then s/he will be permitted to call you, and you will be permitted to call him/her, but your child's ears must first and foremost be focused on any instructions being given by the school staff. g) The safety of your children is our first concern, but we understand that you and your children will want to be speaking with each other as soon as possible. [Please, though, as we will go over in parent orientation, explain in advance to your children that they must listen to instructions at school first, and that they may not be able to reach you, or you them, but that does not indicate any problem other than telephone reception.]

Electronic Gadgets

Rule Reason
a) Students are allowed to have cellular telephones, iPods, and other electronic gadgets at school, if they are not seen or used during school hours, (other than emergencies). a) Such items should not disrupt anyone's education or positive social interaction. We also do not want some students to be led to feel jealous of others.
b) Mars Academy is not responsible for any such items you allow your child to bring to school. b) If your child is responsible enough to be permitted to bring such items, then s/he should be responsible enough.
c) If your child uses one of these items during school hours, (other than emergencies), then it may be confiscated by a staff member and given to the director, who will return it to you the parent in a scheduled meeting. c) In the event of such an infraction, we will need to discuss the situation together.

Drop-Off Procedure

Rule Reason
a) Either, please patiently follow the drop-off line and sign your child in with the staff member with the clipboard at the front of the line, or please park appropriately and walk your child in to school and sign him/her in on the clipboard in the office. a) Safety is again of top concern, and we also do not want to negatively impact our neighbors, who have allowed us to have our school here. Knowing who is signing children in and out, and when, is critical to the safety of our children and our program.

Pick-Up Procedure

Rule Reason
a) Either, please patiently follow the pick-up line and sign your child out with the staff member with the clipboard at the front of the line, or please park appropriately and walk in to school pick-up and sign him/her out on the clipboard in the office. a) Again, at Mars Academy, we take the safety of your child quite seriously. We will only allow your him/her to be picked-up by someone authorized by you on your Emergency Form, (or on a signed addendum). Our accurate records of who picks-up your child, and when, are for your and your child's benefit.

Illnesses

Rule Reason
a) If your child is sick and might be contagious, then please do not send him/her to school. a) We want your child to properly recuperate, and we do not want other children or staff to get sick.
b) If we find your child to be sick while at school, then we will call you to discuss the situation. b) We want to look out for the best interests of your child and everyone here at Mars Academy.
c) We will not administer any medication without your signed permission. c) Again, we are looking out for your child's best welfare, and being consistent with your preferences.
d) If a child needs to be sent home, and we can not reach you, then we will contact others that you have listed on the Emergency Form. d) We want your child to be in the care of those who you have carefully chosen.
e) If there are any health issues of concern, (e.g., lice, Chicken Pox, etc.), then we will send you communication accordingly. e) You have every right to know about anything of concern to which your child may have been exposed.

Accidents

Rule Reason
a) In the event of unfortunate accidents at school, staff are carefully trained to appropriately handle such situations. a) We are looking out for the best interests of your children who you have entrusted into our care.
b) Accident reports are completed by any and all staff members who viewed the situation and who helped handle the situation. b) We want to learn from unfortunate circumstances to do what we can to keep such things from happening again. We also want to have records for any needed follow-up.
c) If it is an accident that needs professional medical attention, then we will contact you immediately. If we can not reach you, then we will contact others that you have listed on the Emergency Form. c) We want to make sure that matters are handled according to your preferences.
d) If we can not reach anyone on your Emergency Form, then we will seek professional medical attention as indicated on the Emergency Form. d) While we do want to make sure that matters are handled according to your preferences, we do ultimately want to make sure that matters are handled as necessary. Your child's welfare is always of key concern.

Communication

Rule Reason
a) Written communication is often preferred over spoken communication. a) With written communication, there is always a record to which to go back.
b) Teachers usually prefer e-mail messages. b) Teachers may sometimes be able to check e-mail messages during school hours, but it is more difficult for them to have opportunity to receive and follow-up on telephone messages during school.
c) Signed notes are needed for a variety of official matters, (e.g., adding/removing emergency contacts, adding/removing anyone authorized to pick-up your child, absences, late arrivals, early departures, etc.) c) These are important matters requiring your official authorization, for which we need your signature.
d) When leaving telephone messages, please try to keep them to the point. d) We want the school staff to receive any needed messages, to handle them appropriately, and to be able to have equal time to help other parents as well.
e) When speaking with the receptionist, a teacher, the director, etc. on the telephone, please keep the conversation brief. e) It is important to be respectful of the staff member's time and other responsibilities. If the matter requires more attention, then it would be better to schedule an in-person meeting.

Homework

Rule Reason
a) Mars Academy does not assign homework as most schools do. a) We believe in getting the work done at school, where the teacher is there to guide and assist.
b) Not all students receive the same assignments. b) Assignments are given based on a student's individual needs, not based on some preprogrammed plan.
c) It is, though, expected that all students read at least five nights a week, and keep reading logs to go along with their reading. c) Children should be reading for pleasure regularly; reading should be a joy and not a chore.
d) Studying of specified material will be assigned as needed. d) Often, students do need reinforcement of learned material, (e.g., vocabulary meanings, math facts, etc.).
e) Research project work will also be assigned over a long period of time. e) Independent research is a valuable skill. While this work will be guided in school, it can be easily continued at home and it may be appropriate and beneficial to research at libraries, etc.
f) Additional work may need to be assigned for a particular student who is not using his/her time wisely in school. (In the event of such a situation, a parent conference will likely also be required.) f) Mars Academy is designed for students to efficiently use their time at school; using their time well at school, meeting their individual needs, students will learn far more here than in other environments. For students who want to be here and put forth the necessary effort, Mars Academy will be a learning and growing environment like no other.

Birthdays

Rule Reason
a) We look forward to celebrating each child's birthday in class. a) Birthdays are a time for celebration, and every child has and deserves his/her special day.
b) If a child's birthday falls during the summer, then we will celebrate on that child's half birthday. b) There is no reason for children born during the summer to miss out on celebrating at school.
c) If a child's birthday falls on a weekend or on a vacation, then we will celebrate just before or after. c) Again, there is no reason for a child to miss out on this special sharing celebration.
d) Please do not, though, send in food treats for the birthday. d) There are a variety of dietary choices, as well as allergies, that lead us to a no-outside-food-sharing policy at school.
e) We do, though, ask that you send in a special home-created birthday poster, which will be hung on the classroom wall for your child's birthday. The poster can include pictures, writings, and creations of your child, showing his/her interests, trips, friends, family, etc. e) We want to recognize your child and give him/her a chance to share his/her outside of school life with us at school.
f) In class that day, the class will also make a card for your child, giving each member of the class an opportunity to share his/her warm wishes with your child. f) At Mars Academy, we are truly a community who cares about each other, and we want to send our warm and wonderful wishes to each other.
g) If your child is going to have a birthday celebration outside of school, to which s/he wants to invite classmates, then we ask you to please: either i. invite the entire class, and then your child is welcome to discuss it in class or ii. invite half of the class or less, and then do not discuss it at school at all. g) We understand that not every child becomes equally friends with every other child, but we do not want anyone to feel left out. Being conscious of the feelings of others is very important to us here at Mars Academy.