PANOLA WAY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
" Home of the Mighty Panthers”
PARENT and STUDENT HANDBOOK
2170 Panola Way Court
Lithonia, Georgia 30058
School Mascot: Panther
School Colors: Blue and Yellow
I pledge today to do my best in reading, math and all the rest. I promise to obey the rules in my class and in the school. I’ll respect myself and others too. I’ll expect the best in all I do. I am here to learn all I can, to try my best and be all I am.
The Mission of Panola Way Elementary is to provide a safe, supportive, nurturing environment. Every child is regarded as a unique individual whose emotional, social, physical and intellectual needs are addressed through effective and creative
instructional programs. We strive to create a community of learners, which includes students, staff and families who work towards perfecting the vision of Panola Way.
A – Achieve academic excellence and equity through standards-based instruction by highly qualified teachers
C – Commit to improving client involvement and customer service
T – Teach through technology and resources to narrow the achievement gap
STUDENT CODE OF ETHICS:
All students are expected to adhere to the following code of ethics:
- I will be honest in my statements and actions.
- I will respect myself, the school staff, and fellow students.
- I will respect the property of others.
- I will respect the beliefs of others.
- I will display good conduct and sportsmanship at school, on the bus and at all school activities.
- I will work to the best of my ability.
- I will help keep the Panola Way School and campus clean.
POLICIES AND REGULATIONS
The following are the basic assumptions and guidelines under which we operate.
In spite of all precautions and supervision, accidents will occur. In case of an accident of any
kind, the parent will be notified when possible. Several staff members are certified in first aid
training and CPR. In case of a serious accident, action will be taken at the direction of the parents,
if they can be contacted. If not, the EMS will be called.
The following reasons for absences are valid:
1. personal illness
3. religious holidays
4. service as a page in the General Assembly
5. hazardous conditions
For each absence, a written explanation with a parent/guardian signature regarding the absence
must be brought to school on the following day. A student is marked absent if they are not in school by 11:00AM.
Chronic or persistent tardiness is a bad habit. Excessive tardiness and/or absences will result in
a referral to the school’s social worker. A student who is tardy must receive a tardy slip from the
office before he/she will be admitted to class. Five excused tardies will prevent your child from receiving the perfect attendance award.
Students are considered tardy at 8:00 am. Parents must bring their child into the front office
and sign them in. If your child is ill, has a fever and/or has a contagious disease, he/she
should be kept at home.
Parents may bring treats (cupcakes ONLY) during student’s lunch time only. Parents must
stay and serve the students.
School breakfast will be served from 7:10 am until 7:30 am daily. Car riders or walkers
need to arrive before 7:20 am to eat breakfast.
Parents of students have the responsibility of supervision until such time as the child boards
the bus in the morning and after the child leaves the bus at the end of each day.
PreK through 2nd grade students must have an adult standing at the bus stop
(not waiting in a car, on the home driveway or in the doorway of the home) to receive them
as they get off the bus. If no adult is present and there is no older sibling (3rd – 5th grade)
with the PreK-2nd grader, the student will be brought back to the school and it will be the parent/guardian’s responsibility to pick the student up from the school. If the student is
brought back to the school 3 times, the student will lose the privilege of riding the school
bus home. The parent will receive a letter notifying them of the loss of bus privilege and
will have to make arrangements for the student to either get home or go to a daycare f
or the remainder of the school year. Students must be picked up no later than 2:45 pm.
In view of the fact that the bus is an extension of the classroom, children are
required to conduct themselves on the bus in a manner consistent with established standards
for classroom behavior.
Children who become a serious disciplinary problem on the school bus may have their
riding privileges suspended. In such cases, the parents of the children involved become
responsible for seeing that their children get to school and are picked up safely and on time
(no later than 2:30).
In cases involving any damage to the bus, the child’s parents will be responsible for paying
for repairs or replacement. Failure to do so can lead to suspension.
SAFETY GOING TO THE BUS STOP
1. Dress properly to be seen on dark mornings.
2. Walk on the sidewalk if one is available.
3. Leave home on time so hurrying is not.
4. Walk on the left side of the road facing traffic
if a sidewalk is not available.
5. Walk beside the road, not on it, if possible.
6. Obey traffic signs and signals.
7. Do not step between or in front of parked cars.
8. Look for traffic in both directions before crossing the street.
SAFETY AT THE BUS STOP
1. Be at the stop 5 minutes before the designated pick up time and be ready to board the
bus with the least possible delay.
2. Do not bring pets to the bus stop.
3. Stand well back from the roadway while waiting for the bus.
4. Do not cross the street before the bus arrives. Wait for assistance by the bus warning
flasher system and extended arm.
SAFETY ON THE BUS
1. Stay in your seat while the bus is in motion.
2. Do not operate the bus door or tamper with the emergency door.
3. Conduct yourself in an acceptable manner at all times and avoid loud talking and rowdy behavior.
4. Remain quiet when approaching a railroad crossing.
5. Do not put hands, arms, or head out of the bus windows at any time.
6. Do not block the aisle or emergency door with your feet or personal belongings.
7. Do not use the emergency exit except in case of an emergency.
8. Help the driver keep the bus clean.
9. If the bus is crowded, sit three per seat.
Students are NOT permitted to have cell phones during school hours. Cell phones will
be confiscated and held by an administrator. Parents must come to the school to sign for
and pick up the confiscated cell phone. At no time are students to have cell phones turned
on in the school building or on the bus.
Parent-Teacher Conference dates have not been determined at this time. When the dates
are scheduled, you will be notified in writing and through the calling post. To assist in
conducting a productive conference, the following guide is available for your use.
Before the Conference
1. Decide what you want to ask the teacher. Discuss the forthcoming conference with your
child to see if there is anything he/she would like you to talk about with the teacher.
Discuss concerns with your spouse. Ideally, both parents should attend the conference.
2. To make certain all concerns are addressed, parents are encouraged to bring personal
notes relating to the conference, if desired.
3. Determine what you want the teacher to know about your child. The teacher sees only one side
of your child. There may be things you know about your child that could help the teacher better
4. Be on time. Write down the time of your appointment and arrive promptly. The teacher may
have other appointments after yours.
The Individual Conferences:
The following questions can serve as a guide to areas you may wish to discuss:
1. What is my child’s aptitude for learning?
2. What level is he/she on?
3. How is he/she doing in mathematics, reading, science, etc.?
4. What books is he/she reading?
5. Has he/she shown any special interests or abilities?
6. Does he/she get along well with his/her classmates? Does he/she participate in group
activities? Has he/she shown any leadership qualities?
Be ready to answer questions from the teacher, such as:
1. What is your child’s reaction to school?
2. How is his/her emotional health?
3. How does he/she spend his/her time after school? What are his/her hobbies, special
interests, or abilities?
4. What are his/her home study habits?
5. What is his/her response to rules and responsibilities?
6. What type of discipline works best with him/her at home?
The most important part of your role in the conference begins now. Discuss the
conference with your child. First, point out his/her strengths, and then talk about
the areas that need improvement.
A summary sheet of all deficiency reports, 4.5, 9, 13.5 and 18 week reports and discipline
actions, will be kept on file in the assistant principal’s office each semester.
The rating scale used for academic work and the specials is as follows:
A (90-100) Excellent
B (80-89) Good Progress
C (71-79) Fair Progress
D (70) Passing
F (below 70) Failure
MUSIC, ART, PE & BUS CONDUCT
N Needs Improvement
X No Evaluation
This rating code is definitely for the child as an individual as he tries to improve in light of
his/her own maturation rate, abilities, interests, experiences, problems, and his/her own
changes. It should not match him/her against any other individual in an unhealthy competition.
The rating code encourages the child throughout the formative years of elementary school.
Report cards are issued at the end of each semester. Progress reports are issued each 4.5, 9
and 13.5 weeks and deficiency reports, if necessary, are issued at this time.
No student can be allowed to interfere with a fellow student’s right to learn. Therefore, each
student is expected to respect all adults and fellow students and behave appropriately in class
and throughout the school. While the primary responsibility for a child’s conduct rests with
the parents, the school will establish rules and hold students responsible for their actions.
Each student will receive a Code of Student Conduct, Rights and Responsibilities handbook
and will have the opportunity to review and discuss the content with the teacher and parent. A Discipline Test will be administered to every student making sure they understand the rules and consequences outlined in the Code of Student Conduct.
School uniforms are mandatory and are expected to be worn Monday – Friday.
Uniforms are: Tops – White, Yellow, Light Blue, Navy Blue or Panola Way Spirit Shirts; Bottoms – Khaki or Navy Blue Pants, Shorts, Skorts, Skirts or Jumper. Young men are required to wear belts. Panola Way observes the “pull and tuck” philosophy. Parent may request a School Uniform
Waiver but must meet with principal first for compliance.
There will be consequences for those students not complying with the mandatory
school uniform policy. Consequences will be as follows:
1st offense – teacher will contact parent as a reminder of the uniform policy
2nd offense – teacher or counselor will contact parent to bring school uniform to school for
the student to change
3rd offense – required parent conference and student to serve detention
4th offense and all other occurrences after 4th offense – student will serve in-school suspension.
No headscarves or bandanas of any kind will be allowed at school. This applies to boys
and girls. Exceptions for religious reasons will be made on an individual basis. Hats are not to
be worn in the building. Students will not be allowed to wear heavy coats in the classroom.
Students are not allowed to wear open toed shoes or flip flops for safety precautions. It is r
recommended that students wear closed toe shoes preferably tennis shoes.
No student can be checked out after 1:15 pm. In the event a student must leave after 1:15
and prior to 2:15 p.m., an administrator must approve the early release. All dismissal changes
must be presented in writing no later than 1:00 pm on the date the change is needed. We
DO NOT accept phone changes. This is for your child’s protection. You may fax a signed written
note to us but you must have a photocopy of your picture ID, your signature and a phone number
that we can contact you if we have any questions. If the dismissal change is not presented in writing,
your child will be dismissed according to what is on the registration form, or the last written
change that we have received. Persons checking out students will be asked to show a picture ID.
NO CHILD WILL BE DISMISSED TO ANY INDIVIDUAL DIRECTLY FROM THE CLASSROOM.
Students must be checked out from the front office.
EDUCATIONAL FIELD TRIPS
Properly supervised and planned educational field trips are an important part of the
instructional program. A signed permission form from a parent or guardian is required for
all field trips which is located in the registration packet or sent home by the teacher.
EMERGENCY TELEPHONE NUMBER
Please be sure to list an emergency number on your registration form. Should this number,
your home, cell or work number change during the year, please notify the school immediately.
Also notify the office if there is a change in family relationships. It may affect your child and
we want to assist him/her in any way possible.
Fighting will not be tolerated at school. Fighting is defined as physical contact that is to harm
another individual. Both students who are involved in a fight will be held responsible for
their actions. STUDENTS WHO FIGHT WILL BE SUSPENDED FROM SCHOOL.
Students are encouraged to take steps to resolve conflicts without fighting.
We suggest the following:
1. Talk first.
2. Ask for conflict mediation.
3. Report problems to the teacher.
4. Talk with the school counselor.
5. Report problems to the office.
FIRE, INTRUDER ALERT AND TORNADO DRILLS
Every precaution will be taken to insure the safety of your child during school hours.
One safety measure practiced is periodic fire, intruder alert and tornado drills. Schedules, exits,
and method of procedure are part of this important phase of school.
No walkmans, Ipods, Tablets, Ipads, MP3 players, radio, electronic games, toys, etc. are
to be brought to school. These items will be collected and held for parents to sign for and pick up.
GUIDELINES FOR CLASSROOM OBSERVATION
1. The DeKalb County School District is an open system and encourages parent
participation and involvement.
2. To maintain an optimal learning environment, parents should arrange classroom
visits with the principal or assistant principal in order to avoid testing days, field trips
or other similar preplanned group activity. However, it is not required to schedule an
observation in advance.
3. To assure safety of all students, parents are required to sign in at the office upon arrival
at school and notify the secretary of the request to observe in a classroom.
4. While visiting in a classroom, parents should avoid activity which would distract
students, such as walking about the room, talking to the teacher during class or talking
with students. This is a classroom observation not conference time. The rights of all
students to privacy and to a proper learning environment must be strictly observed.
5. Classroom visits should not exceed twenty minutes in length between 9:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
6. When appropriate, the principal or assistant principal may choose to sit with the parent during
7. If, at any time during a visit, the principal considers the parent’s activities to be other
than in the best interest of the student or teacher being observed, he/she may terminate the
8. Only parents or guardians can observe the class (no other children or relatives will be allowed).
9. Teachers are unable to honor conference requests during the instructional day.
10. Teachers are not permitted to stand outside their doors to have a brief conversation
with visiting parents.
Homework is a necessary part of a school’s instructional program. It is reinforcement of a learned skill, unfinished class work, or special projects. Homework is a natural outgrowth of classroom activity; it is a continuation of learning through out-of-school experiences.
When a child is absent and needs homework assignments, please telephone the school office at (678) 676-9302 before 9:00 a.m. and plan to pick up the assignments after 3:00 p.m. but before 4:00 p.m.
Parents are asked to provide a quiet place for students to work. Set aside the same time each day for doing homework.
ALL ILLEGAL DRUGS ARE PROHIBITED. ANY STUDENT WITH DRUGS ON SCHOOL PROPERTY OR SCHOOL BUS WILL BE
SUSPENDED AND BROUGHT BEFORE THE STUDENT EVIDENTARY COMMITTEE. THE POLICE WILL BE CONTACTED.
The following immunizations are required for entry into a Georgia school:
5 – DTP
4 – OPV/IPV
2 – MMR (2nd dose of Mumps)
3 – Hepatitis B
2 – Hepatitis A
2 – Varicella (Chicken Pox) – Proof of having had the Disease (4 digit year) or proof of
having had the vaccine (month/date/year)
House Bill No. 704, Act 644 requires all students to have adequate immunizations prior to
being admitted to school. This proof must be on the forms issued by the Georgia Department of
Human Resources, available either through a local private physician or through the DeKalb County Health Department.
All rising 6th grade students must have a second MMR and second Varicella shot before entering 6th year.
People who live in the Greater Atlanta area are well aware that certain kinds of severe weather can
and does bring normal operations to a standstill. Winter may bring sudden paralyzing ice or snow; spring can bring the threat posed by heavy thunderstorms or tornadoes. When severe weather creates hazardous conditions, regular school scheduling may be suspended. Decisions are made as listed:
1. DeKalb Night Security Specialists monitor reports of existing weather hazards from several sources: the U. S. Weather Bureau, the DeKalb Police Department and the Georgia State Patrol.
2. DeKalb’s Transportation Director sends school system personnel on-scene between 4:00
and 5:00 a.m. to assess weather conditions.
3. The school superintendent makes the final decision for school closing.
4. The director of communications receives the decisions by 6:00 am. He/She, in turn, contacts the
media who announce any change in normal school operations.
5. Announcements are normally broadcast between 6:00 and 6:15 a.m. via local news TV channels and/or radio stations.
6. It is the parent’s responsibility to monitor news reports or to contact the local school to find out about school closing or changes.
F, IN THE PARENT’S JUDGEMENT, WEATHER CONDITIONS REPRESENT A THREAT TO
THE CHILD’S SAFETY, THE PARENT SHALL KEEP THE CHILD AT HOME.
During inclement weather, listen to the local TV or radio station for DeKalb County School closings.
All DeKalb Schools operate as closely as possible to the same instructional format. Classroom and
grade level assignments are made by the Assistant
Principal for Instruction. Requests for certain teachers cannot be honored. All teachers are
highly qualified professionals and will work with your child to the best of their ability.
LOST AND FOUND
Any articles of clothing or books lost at school are taken to the Lost and Found area. All
unclaimed articles are given to charitable organizations in
December and at the end of the year. Because of this, parents are urged to clearly label all
personal possessions of their child and to check periodically for lost items. When an item is found,
it should be taken to the office and turned in.
After proper identification, the owner may claim any article in the Lost and Found.
LOST TEXTBOOKS AND MEDIA MATERIALS
The policy of the DeKalb School Disrtict is:
1. Students who lose, destroy, or otherwise damage textbooks or library books shall be required
to reimburse the DeKalb County Board of Education for the replacement value of the items.
2. Students who return books that exhibit wear in excess of what could be attributed to normal use
shall be assessed for damages. The charge for books damaged will be left up to the discretion of the school.
3. Students who do not pay for lost, destroyed, or damaged books shall not be issued another book
with the same title or allowed to check out books from the library.
PARENT-TEACHER ORGANIZATION (PTO)
The PTO is a vital part of our school program. A successful school needs their services. We
encourage parents to support the PTO by becoming ACTIVE members. Meetings are generally scheduled on the 2nd Tuesday of each month and begin promptly at 6:00 p.m. The Panola Way PTO Newsletter is published and sent home prior to each meeting.
Teachers are available each afternoon (except Mondays and Wednesdays) from 2:45 p.m.
until 3:15 p.m. for conferences. The secretary will transfer your call to the teacher’s voice mail or
place a message in the teacher’s mailbox to call you and establish a mutually agreeable time for a conference.
Physical education is an integral part of the instructional program. All children will be
required to participate unless a note or excuse is provided. A daily excuse will be satisfactory for
three (3) consecutive days. After that time, a doctor’s statement is required.
REPORTING TO PARENTS
DeKalb County School District and Panola Way utilizes four regular reporting periods per semester.
4.5, 9, and 13.5 week Progress Reports are sent home for all students, regardless of grades. A conference is required for all students doing failing work. Report Cards are sent home at the end of
each semester. All reports should be signed and returned to the homeroom teacher. In special instances, students with special needs may receive a DAILY progress report in the area of
academic or behavioral need. This is at the teacher’s discretion and on a temporary basis.
A school clinic is provided for students who become ill at school. You will be contacted to pick up
your child if he/she becomes too sick to remain at school or is running a temperature of 100° or more.
School hours are from 7:45 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Please have your child at school no later
than 7:45 a.m. each day. All students are tardy at 8:00 a.m. Every child is expected to arrive on time daily.
NO PUPIL WILL BE ALLOWED IN THE BUILDING BEFORE 7:00 AM.
Dismissal time: 2:15 Nursery Riders
2:15 Walkers/Car Riders
2:20 Bus Riders
Supervision cannot be provided for students before 7:00 a.m. and after 2:35 p.m. unless they are participating in a supervised activity.
Breakfast and Lunch will be served on a daily basis. Panola Way Elementary has been chosen as a “free” school for 2017-2018. All students will eat meals free this year. Extra milk is $.80.
Students are not allowed to bring carbonated drinks of any kind into the school. Students
who are allergic to milk will be provided fruit juice. A statement from a doctor is required for any food or dairy allergies.
Each child is expected to have at least paper and pencils at school daily.Parents are
provided a supply list by the grade level or individual teachers during the first week
of school or at registration.
A student will be allowed to use the telephone in the classroom only for an emergency. Except
in case of an emergency, please do not ask us to deliver messages to your child during the school day. This is an interruption of the instructional program.
You may access the teacher’s direct line to leave a voice message.
Under no circumstances will medication be administered that was brought to school by the pupil.
All medication must be brought to school and picked up by the parent. Only prescription medication will be administered. No over the counter medication can be given to a student at school.
A physician’s statement will be required every three months for the long-term administration of medication. This form may be obtained from the school.
Due to the numbers of children having medication administered during the day, we are requesting morning medications be given at home before school hours. The school will administer medication during the middle of the school day. This procedure will allow more time to be utilized
for your child’s academic needs.
The DeKalb School District provides free transportation for students living 1.5 miles or more or
across a major road from the school. All bus routes, schedules, stops, and drivers are the direct responsibility of the Transportation Department.
PLEASE DO NOT PARK IN OR BLOCK THE BUS LANES IN FRONT OF THE SCHOOL.
1. Parents are asked to write a permission slip for students who are riding with friends or anytime
there is a change in how a child commutes home.
2. If your child does not have written permission, they will be required to ride home per the student registration form.
NO EXPLOSIVES, KNIVES, OR OTHER WEAPONS ARE ALLOWED AT ANY TIME ON SCHOOL PROPERTY OR SCHOOL BUSES. Possession of such weapons is a suspending offense. Students will be brought before student evidentiary and the police will be contacted.
When you know that your child is going to be withdrawn from school, please request a withdrawal form giving us at least 24 hours notice. We will need the following information:
1. The last day the student will attend our school.
2. The name and address of the new school.
3. The new home address
Please make sure that all textbooks and media center books are returned. In addition, clear
all charges, if any, for lost or damaged books.
The parent must come in to the school to sign the withdrawal form. Only the parent that registered the student may withdraw a student.