Staff Handbook 2012-2013 - ConneXions School for the Arts

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ConneXions School for the Arts

Staff Handbook

2012
-
2013

Baltimore City Public Schools #325


2








3


Contents

Mission and Vision

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....................

6

Culturally Responsive Education

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...........................

6

Common Principles of African American Education

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.........................

6

The CES Common Principles

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................................
.

7

Learning to use one’s mind well

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.......................

7

Less is more, depth over coverage

................................
................................
...................

7

Goals apply to all students

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................................
................................

7

Personalization

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................................
................................
..................

8

Student
-
as
-
worker,

teacher
-
as
-
coach

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................................
...............

8

Demonstration of mastery

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................................
................................

8

A tone of decency and trust

................................
................................
..............................

8

Co
mmitment to the entire school

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................................
....................

8

Resources dedicated to teaching and learning

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................................
.

8

Democracy and equity

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................................
................................
......

9

Curricul
um, Grading, Assessment

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................................
...........................

10

ConneXions Academic Expectations

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...................

10

COMMON CORE

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..............

10

MD FRAMEWORK FOR COMMON CORE

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.........

10

BCPSS INSTRUCTIONAL FRAMEWORK

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10

Curricular Expectations

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.......

10

Assessment

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.........................

11

Homework

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..........................

11

Advisory

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..............................

11

Grading Policy

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.....................

11

The policy on
failing grades is as follows:

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.......

12

Progress Reports and Report Cards

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....................

12

Policy on undone/missed/late assignments

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...

13

Tutoring

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...........................

13

Field Trips:

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13

Portfolios and Exhibitions

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...

15

MIDDLE SCHOOL REDO

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...

15


4

HIGH SCHOOL

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15

Teacher Planning

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16

Connexions Discipline Policy

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..................

Error! Bookmark not defined.

Introduction

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....................

17

I. ConneXions Code of Conduct (adopted August 2009)
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18

II: Discipline System

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19

PART III: TEACHER TRAINING AND STRATEGIES

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..

22

Part IV: Documentation

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......

23

Part V: Socio
-
emotional and Behavioral Supports for Students

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23

Guidance

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2
4

Special Education

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24

Social wor
ker

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...................

24

Community Mediation (team referral)

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...........

24

Mental Health Services on campus

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.................

24

Advisory

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..........................

24

SST

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................................
...

24

Additional Notes on Disc
ipline:

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.......................

25

UNIFORM POLICY WHERE IS THIS NOW???

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................................
............

26

MIDDLE SCHOOL UNIFORM POLICY 2010

...............................

Error! Bookmark not defined.

HIGH SCHOOL UNIFORM POLICY 2010

................................
...

Error! Bookmark not defined.

Teacher Support and Evaluation

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26

Professional Development

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..

29

Introduction

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29

Teams

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..

29

Departments

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.......................

29

Mentoring

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...............

Error! Bookmark not defined.

Teacher Evaluation

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.................

30

Final words

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30

PROCEDURAL INFORMATION FOR STAFF

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32

Schedule

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32

Attendance:
................................
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.........................

32

Emergency Absenc
es

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......

32

Requesting Non

Emergency Leave

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32

Punctuality

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33

Cell Phones

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33


5

Leaving the Buil
ding

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33

Scheduled Duties

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33

Visitors

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34

Parent Contacts

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...................

34

Making Purchases

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34

Room Repairs

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35

MATERIALS

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35

Textbooks

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35

Technology

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36

ConneXions Teacher Participation Guidelines on Special Events

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.......

37

Back
-
to
-
School Night

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.......

37

Teacher Conference Guidelines

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37

Recruitment, Orientation, Performance/Exhibit and Other Events

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38

Parent Action Team Meetings

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38

ConneXions Sexual Harassment Policy

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...................

39

Abuse and Molestation Policy

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40

CONTACT INFORMATION

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43

Connexions School for the Arts Staff

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..................

45

Appendices

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46





6

Mission and Vision

Mission

ConneXions’ mission is to cultivate academic and artistic excellence, cultural identity,
and community awareness in our students. Our vision is an exemplary school that
accomplishes this mission through the tenets of Culturally Responsive Education, the
Te
n Coalition of Essential School Common Principles, and the primacy of arts education.


Vision

At ConneXions School for the Arts, students in grades 6
-
12 experience a rigorous
academic and visual/performing arts curriculum in a culturally relevant, safe, a
nd
respectful learning environment. ConneXions’ staff commits to working collaboratively
and creatively towards a student
-
centered pedagogy that embraces the whole child and
transforms students into artist scholars who excel in both academic and arts disc
iplines.
Artist scholars will emerge into the global community with cultural awareness, a
community
-
centered perspective, and the knowledge and skills necessary to confidently
succeed and compete in college, work, and life in the 21st century.


Culturally
Responsive Education


Geneva Gay, author of the text
Culturally Responsive Teaching
, defines culturally
responsive teaching as using the cultural knowledge, prior experiences, and
performance styles of diverse students to make learning more appropriate and

effective
for them; it teaches to and through the strengths of these students. In an attempt to
increase academic performance, artistic excellence, and enhance the lives of the
learning community Connexions
School

for the Arts has adopted the theories and

practices associated with Culturally Responsive Teaching. Recognizi
ng the cultural and
ethnic make
-
up of our students equips our diverse faculty with the to
ols needed to
develop a student
-
centered approach to teaching and learning.

Common Principles of Af
rican American Education


1. The educational setting must have components that reflect the political and

cultural dynamics of African American people.


2. The pedagogy must be relevant and reflect the African American experience.


3. The academic experienc
e must be rigorous enough to produce nothing less

than excellence.


4. Standard Edited American English should be taught without devaluing the

language spoken by students, if that language is not the standard. Teachers

must utilize the language of the cult
ure of power while in the presence of their

students.


5. The learning environment should nurture a positive self
-
image and a positive

attitude toward learning.



7

6. African and African American culture/history should serve as a foundation for

curriculum
development in all subject areas. Teachers of African American

students must immerse themselves in African/African American history and

culture.


7. In recognition of a higher spiritual being, the educational experience of African

American children must be

transformative.


8. Socialization must be recognized as a vital component of the educational

experience.


9. Th
e Arts must be used as an integral part of the academic experience.


10. This Educational Philosophy is understood as a broadening of
perspectives

not i
ndoctrination.

The CES
Common Principles

The CES Common Principles, based on decades of research and practice, are

a
guiding philosophy rather than a replicable model for schools.

This research and practice
reflects the wisdom of thousand
s of educators who

are successfully engaged in creating
personalized, equitable, and academically

challenging schools for all young people.

The
CES Common Principles describe the core beliefs and characteristics of Essential
Schools and work in tandem with

the
CES Benchmarks
, which describe resulting
practices that successfully bolster student achievement.


Learning to use one’s mind well

The school should focus on helping young people learn to u
se their minds well.
Schools should not be "comprehensive" if such a claim is made at the expense of the
school's central intellectual purpose


Less is more, depth over coverage


The school's goals should be simple: that each student
masters

a limited numb
er of
essential skills and areas of knowledge. While these skills and areas will, to varying
degrees, reflect the traditional academic disciplines, the program's design should be
shaped by the intellectual and imaginative powers and competencies that the s
tudents
need, rather than by "subjects" as conventionally defined. The aphorism "less is more"
should dominate: curricular decisions should be guided by the aim of thorough student
mastery and achievement rather than by an effort to merely cover content.

G
oals apply to all students


The school's goals should apply to all students, while the means to these goals will
vary as those students themselves vary. School practice should be tailor
-
made to meet
the needs of every group or class of students.


8

Personalization


Teaching and learning should be personalized to the maximum feasible extent.
Efforts should be directed toward a goal that no teacher have direct responsibility for
more than 80 students in the high school and middle school and no more tha
n 20 in the
elementary school. To capitalize on this personalization, decisions about the details of
the course of study, the use of students' and teachers' time and the choice of teaching
materials and specific pedagogies must be unreservedly placed in th
e hands of the
principal and staff.

Student
-
as
-
worker, teacher
-
as
-
coach


The governing practical metaphor of the school should be student
-
as
-
worker, rather
than the more familiar metaphor of teacher
-
as
-
deliverer
-
of
-
instructional
-
services.
Accordingly, a pr
ominent pedagogy will be coaching, to provoke students to learn how to
learn and thus to teach themselves.

Demonstration of mastery


Teaching and learning should be documented and assessed with tools based on
student performance of real tasks. Students not

yet at appropriate levels of competence
should be provided intensive support and resources to assist them quickly to meet those
standards. Multiple forms of evidence, ranging from ongoing observation of the learner
to completion of specific projects, shou
ld be used to better understand the learner's
strengths and needs, and to plan for further assistance. Students should have
opportunities to exhibit their expertise before family and community. The diploma should
be awarded upon a successful final demonstr
ation of mastery for graduation
-

an
"Exhibition." As the diploma is awarded when earned, the school's program proceeds
with no strict age grading and with no system of credits earned" by "time spent" in class.
The emphasis is on the students' demonstratio
n that they can do important things.

A tone of decency and trust


The tone of the school should explicitly and self
-
consciously stress values of
unanxious expectation ("I won't threaten you but I expect much of you"), of trust (until
abused) and of decency

(the values of fairness, generosity and tolerance). Incentives
appropriate to the school's particular students and teachers should be emphasized.
Parents should be key collaborators and vital members of the school community.

Commitment to the entire schoo
l


The principal and teachers should perceive themselves as generalists first (teachers
and scholars in general education) and specialists second (experts in but one particular
discipline). Staff should expect multiple obligations
(teacher
-
counselor
-
manager) and a
sense of commitment to the entire school.

Resources dedicated to teaching and learning



9

Ultimate administrative and budget targets should include student loads that promote
personalization, substantial time for collective
planning by teachers, competitive salaries
for staff, and an ultimate per pupil cost not to exceed that at traditional schools by more
than 10 percent. To accomplish this, administrative plans may have to show the phased
reduction or elimination of some se
rvices now provided students in many traditional
schools.

Democracy and equity


The school should demonstrate non
-
discriminatory and inclusive policies, practices,
and pedagogies. It should model democratic practices that involve all who are directly
affec
ted by the school. The school should honor diversity and build on the strength of its
communities, deliberately and explicitly challenging all forms of inequity.


**From the CES website,
www.essentialschools.
org



10

Curriculum, Grading, Assessment


ConneXions Academic Expectations

ConneXions’ vision for teaching and learning revolves around two complementary practices:
the Coalition of Essential Schools’ Common Principles, and the tenets of culturally responsive

teaching.

Common Core

There are Common Core Standards for English/Language Arts, Mathematics, and for Literacy
in Social Studies, Science, and Technical subjects.
ConneXions is participating in the City Schools
efforts at adopting the Common Core Curricu
lum over the next three years.
This year, we have
opted in to the Agile Mind curriculum in grades 6
-
9 and to use of LDC modules in ELA, Science,
and Social Studies.
Much more information and
hands
-
on use of these standards will be a major
part of our work
this year.

Teachers are expected to be working with the Common Core as part of their individual
development, in addition to our work collectively.

MD

Framework For Common Core

The state of Maryland is providing tools for this shift to Common Core over th
e next two
years. The first tools are the Maryland Framework for the Common Core, which is available for
ELA and Math subjects. A toolbox of useful documents and protocols will be available shortly.

BCPSS

Instructional Framework

BCPSS has
revised the
Instructional F
ramework that defines
highly effective teaching for City
Schools
. For the
2012
-
2013

school year, this Framework continues to act

more as a tool for
reflection and growth than as an evaluative tool.
The Instructional Framework is a
potentially
invaluable tool for helping us develop our practice. All teachers are encouraged to make use of
this tool part of their ongoing self
-
reflection.

Curricular Expectations

As

ConneXions teachers you are responsible for planning for, and reflecting

on, the
following:



the academic and intellectual
development of all your students.
Whereve
r students are
currently, we would like to give them the tools and support to move towards their
fullest potential and excellence.




h
ow you, in your classes, will b
egin aligning your planning and instruction to the
Common Core standards

and PARCC assessments. The PARCC assessments will be first
given in 2014
-
2015, 2 years away.



the engagement of students in meaningful, rich activities.
We all
need multiple ways of
g
etting and p
roducing learning, and

absorbing, authentically interesting and engaging
activities.



preparing students for MSA,

HSA
, and related benchmarks, where necessary
.



culturally responsive instruction.



CES principles
.


11


Assessment

There are multiple
measures of assessment used at ConneXions. These include:



MAP from NWEA*



HSA and MSA



Benchmarks for HSA and MSA classes



Exhibitions/portfolio



RISE and other diagnostic testing for literacy and math



Multiple measures of classroom assessment, including both
summative and
formative measures. This should include pre
-
and post
-

assessments and student
folders.

*
This year we will add the MAP assessment created by NWEA (http://www.nwea.org/products
-
services/assessments/map%C2%AE) so that we can measure student gro
wth in reading and
math throughout the year.
This is a computer
-
based adaptive assessment that all students will
be taking. This will give us a recognized way to measure growth uniformly and demonstrate our
instructional effectiveness.


We would like to f
ocus attention this year on
formative

assessment that can better drive our
classroom practice. We should be able to demonstrate what our students are learning on
individual and group levels. We should also be able to better diagnose when and why students
are not learning so that we can adjust

our work. Teachers will need to demon
strate student
learning using student work that measures in
-
class growth.


Homework

ConneXions teachers are expected to give homework nightly
.


Homework may extend,
reinforce,
or
develop skills where deficiencies
have been shown. Homework should be part of
your overall instructional strategy

and should be intentional and strategic rather than
busywork.

Advisory

Advisory is an important part of our curriculum at ConneXions. The fundamental aspect of
advisory is tha
t it acts as a smaller “family” within the larger ConneXions community. Purposes
of advisory include:



Give families a liaison with the school



Give students a home base in which they feel known



Provide academic advising for students



Provide time for teamb
uilding and
activities that build students’ self
-
knowledge,
social, and leadership skills.



(HS) Time in gender
-
specific groups to discuss relevant issues


Grading Policy

ConneXions will be using the BCPSS Grading Policy, adopted by the School Board in Jun
e
2011. The policy allows a great amount of autonomy for ConneXions teachers in determining

12

grading for their classes, while standardizing GPA calculation, absence procedures, etc. in a helpful
way.

The secondary grading scale is
:


A+ = 97
-
100

B+ = 87
-

8
9

C+ = 77
-

79

D+ = 67
-

69

F = 59 or below

A = 94
-

96

B = 84
-

86

C = 74
-

76

D = 64
-

66


A
-

= 90
-

93

B
-

= 80
-

83

C
-

= 70
-

73

D
-

= 60
-

63


The policy on failing grades is as follows:

Failing Grades: If a student receives an F as a marking period
grade, the numerical
equivalent of that grade cannot be lower than a 50 when used to calculate the student’s
final grade. If a student failed a marking period by earning a 51
-
59 that score should remain
unchanged when calculating the student’s final grade.

This requirement is meant to allow a
student to improve their grade through diligent work in subsequent marking periods in
order to pass the course.

NOTE: Teachers MUST maintain good communication with students and student
families, especially in the even
t of failing work in a class. Teachers are responsible for this
communication IN ADDITION TO progress reports and report cards. Please keep a parent
contact log so that you can demonstrate this communication. A failing grade should not be a
surprise to a p
arent or student.


The policy on absences is:

City Schools is committed to providing students with a rigorous and engaging education.
Attendance in class is not only critical to learning content and skills, but also to satisfy full
participation in
classroom activities. City Schools follows the guidelines set forth by the
Maryland State Department of Education regarding attendance and credit earning. In City
Schools absences will not be used as an element of a student’s grade; however, poor
attendanc
e is likely to hinder a student’s ability to succeed in class. Students who are absent
will have the opportunity to make up missed assignments. Teachers will provide makeup
work within three (3) school days of the student’s absence and students must turn i
n
assignments within seven (7) school days after it is provided by the teacher. The time period
allowed for makeup work may be extended on a case by case basis for extenuating
circumstances.


CONNEXIONS POLICY:

Please DO NOT GIVE EXTRA CREDIT or “MAKEUP PA
CKETS” at the last minute for
students who are attempting to pass a course. Please hold students responsible for
completing all the learning experiences and assessments you have created for them to show
mastery in a class.


Progress Reports and Report
Cards


It is extremely important that all grades are submitted on time so that progress reports and
report cards are accurate and ready for parents. Deadlines will be communicated to you at the
beginning of the year, with reminders going out in a timely fa
shion. These are professional

13

responsibilities. In addition, progress reports are given out in the afternoon of half
-
days for
students; the afternoons are reserved for parent conferences.

All teachers need to use the Engrade online gradebook this year.
www.engrade.com

is the
URL.

AGAIN:
Regular updating of parents regarding student progress is required. Report cards
alone do not serve as regular updating. Phone calls and conferences help immensely. Your
student work
folders, in addition to helping you document growth and learning, are great tools
to use in conferences
.



Policy on undone/missed/late assignments

The BCPSS policy gives guidance on missed work due to absence. Students must be allowed
to make up missed w
ork but should abide by your guidelines, informed by the policy.

Each teacher has autonomy over their policy on undone/
incomplete/
missed/late
assignments

other than that resulting from absence, with the exception of the
NO MAKEUP
PACKETS

rule. IE, students

may not accumulate a quantity of late or missing work over the
course of the grading period and then be given a “makeup packet” which is easier, shorter,
compressed, etc. Pay your assignments the respect they are due. Also…maintain excellent
parent contac
t in those situations. Parents need to know that their child is not turning in work.

Tutoring

Teachers should schedule regular and public opportunities for extra help for students. This is
usually called “Coach Class” and can happen after school or at oth
er times convenient for
teacher and student. This should happen at least once per week and can be used for extra help,
make
-
up work, missed assessments, etc.


Field Trips:

Field trips should be

an essential component of the ConneXions curriculum.

All teachers should be scheduling
at least

one field trip per year. Field trips can be viewed
not only as experiences unto themselves but also in terms of data
-
collection; students then use
the data collected off
-
site for analysis and synthesis, perhaps as

part of a project. Field trips
should be well
-
integrated into your curriculum and should involve sufficient preparation and
debriefing for students to really learn from the experience. Field trips are an excellent way to
bring experiential learning to stu
dents.


Field trips are an important part of the curriculum at ConneXions and should be treated as
such by students and parents.

Class
-
related field trips are mandatory for students. Parents will
be informed of the nature of the trip, time, transportatio
n arrangements and other necessary
information before the trip and will sign and return a permission slip. If a permission slip is not
returned, or if a student is not allowed to go on the trip, a student is still required to attend
school and will complet
e an alternative assignment. Students will be required to wear uniforms
on trips unless okayed by the office and otherwise specified on permission slips.
Any student
who displays behavior that violates school rules and procedures will be required to rema
in at
school during field trips.



14

Parents may be invited to attend as chaperones of field trips and will receive parent
volunteer hours in return for doing so.


There is a field trip planning form for you to complete and discuss with your co
-
director in
the forms section of this handbook. Please be aware that each bus/van needs to be accompanied
by 2 ConneXions adults, at least one of whom is a full
-
time ConneXions employee. All teachers
going on trips will need to arrange coverage for their duties at sch
ool.


15


Exhibitions

The following list of “Frequently Asked Questions” is intended to help explain the exhibition
process at ConneXions. This is the core of our academic program and therefore it is essential
that the entire community become familiar with it
.

MIDDLE SCHOOL


What is an exhibition?

An exhibition is an opportunity for students to demonstrate their understanding and
mastery of content. In January, students will participate in an in
-
class exhibition.


At this time,
students will exhibit before their peers.


This provides the opportunity

for students to become
familiar with the process and receive feedback from their peers and teachers in preparation for
their exhibition in June.


In June, students will exhibit before a panel of ConneXions staff
members and at least one family member.


Th
e exhibition is designed to allow the student to
present their work in the way they want it interpreted, as well as to allow the panel to ensure
that the work is genuine and the understandings are deep.


While the exhibition should be an occasion for cele
bration, it is serious and promotion may
depend on it. Students should be ready for difficult questions from the panel, about their work
and about other aspects of the course material and their lives as students at ConneXions.

When do exhibitions take pla
ce?

The exhibition at midterm will be presented in class.


Their peers will serve as the
panel.


This will provide students with an opportunity to practice and use feed back to refine
their presentation skills.


At the end
-
of
-
the year exhibition, students
will present their work
before their teacher, parents and a community member. ConneXions students WILL NOT BE IN
SCHOOL during end of the year exhibitions.


Students should only report on the day that they
present that week except for their exhibition time

and that of any students they are serving on
the panel for.

What if my child doesn’t pass?

Promotion for ConneXions’ middle school students is decided on a case
-
by
-
case basis. A
student who is

clearly not ready for the next grade will not be promoted. A
student who is
showing growth but not yet meeting expectations may be retained until they meet
expectations, promoted with an academic contract, or offered additional support during the
next school year.


HIGH SCHOOL

How do students earn credits?

Credits a
re awarded with the successful completion of a class.
Students must earn a 60% or
better on their final grade in order to get a credit for the class. Final grades
for yearly courses
are an average of the two semester grades. Semester grades are composted o
f each quarter’s
average (40%) and the exhibition gr
ade (20%). Cumulative exams may

be given at the midterm
and final periods
of each semester and will count, if given,
as a substantial part of each quarter’s
grade.




16

What is an exhibition?


Exhibitions

a
re presentations of student work given by students to three

panels, one for
humanit
ies, one for foreign language,
and one for math/science.
The exhibition is
designed to

allow the
school to ensure that student understanding of content and skills is deep
. Exhibition
tasks are based on LDC tasks for ELA, Social Studies, and Science, and Shell/Noyce tasks for
Mathematics.

Students present their exhibition tasks to the panels in formats designed by the classroom
teachers. These presentations must allow for
rich, deep conversation and for the panels to
evaluate the students’ grasp of various levels of thinking, per Marzano’s taxonomy.

Teachers grade the exhibition tasks as part of the course grade.
Exhibition
presentation
grades are awarded by the teacher pa
nelists, not by the teacher of the class. Exhibition grades
are according to a rubric and are final.


When do exhibitions take place?

End
-
of
-
course exhibitions

will take place
at the end of each semester

in the last week of
January and the first week of J
une
. ConneXions students WILL NOT BE IN SCHOOL th
ose
week
s

except for their exhibition time and that of any students they are serving on the panel for.


What happens if a credit is not granted for a class?

Students have several options and will make thei
r choice in conversation with their parent
and advisor. These options include attending summer school through BCPSS

(which is very
expensive for charter school students)
, taking a computer
-
based course

through BCCC ($100)
,
and re
-
taking the course
in a fut
ure semester.


How is this different from ConneXions middle school?


In high school, students pass or fail each individual class. At the middle school level, they are
promoted or retained in the grade as a whole.


What about promotion?

Students are
required to have 21 credits in order to graduate. The state of Maryland
requires 4 credits, including English I, for a student to be considered a 10
th

grader. We will NOT
be putting students without the appropriate number and type of credits in their “righ
t” grade
until they earn the credits. This means students without the proper credits will not participate in
class activities such as trips, prom, etc.

Teacher Planning

Teachers need to have

a syllabus,

unit plans
,

and daily planning evident and

availabl
e in
their classrooms during the year.


The yearly syllabus and unit plans should be on the ConneXions templates for those
documents. Daily planning can be in the format of the teacher’s choice and should reflect the
emphasis on backwards planning, format
ive assessment,
needs of students with IEPs,
and rigor
that is emphasized in the longer
-
term documents.


17

School

Culture and Climate

Introduction


ConneXions’ discipline policy implies a powerful role for and collaboration between each adult
in t
he
building. As a “teacher
-
empowered
” school, we want each teacher to be a strong and
empowered guardian of both
school and classroom culture. This is in contrast to a more typical
arrangement in which power and responsibility flow downward from a “principal.



However, in order for this more distributed power, leadership and responsibility to be
successful, several factors come into play:



Teachers, staff, parents and students must all understand that ALL adults in the building
are responsible for creating a
climate conducive to learning. There is no such thing as
“you’re not MY teacher, you can’t…” or “I’ll do
it if the principal makes me….”
Teachers
are empowered to enforce all school and classroom rules, and to recommend
disciplinary action.



Adults in the b
uilding must create opportunities for learning and support so that all
adults become excellent custodians of culture.



Adults in the building must hold themselves and each other accountable for creating
school and classroom culture.



The school community m
ust create an effective structure for the promotion of culture
(both in terms of “discipline” and in terms of the creation of a positive, engaging
environment).


This document is an attempt at articulating an effective structure.

The components are:

I.

The
ConneXions Code of Conduct

II.

A discipline system composed of an interlocking system of interventions

III.

Teacher Training and Strategies

IV.

A coordinating system of documentation for both classroom and school

V.

A description of the supports that are available to students to address issues they may
be having that are impacting academic and social achievement


Finally, to have integrity, this system must rest on an overall academic, artistic, and social
culture th
at promotes excellence and engagement for staff and students alike. This culture is
created and maintained on school and classroom levels through the composite of our programs,
including the instructional program in each classroom, the arts, after
-
school o
pportunities,
advisory, various tutoring programs, etc.





18

I.
ConneXions Code of Conduct (adopted August 2009)




I respect myself and others.

o

I am positive.

o

I respect personal space.

o

I am open
-
minded.




I am accountable.

o


I am accountable for
my actions

o

I am accountable for
my learning

o

I am accountable for
my attitude.




I am ready.

o

I am punctual.

o

I am have all necessary supplies




I work hard.




I take ca
re of my environment.

o

I take care of
school property

o

I take care of
my own belongings

o

I take care of
common spaces




I am responsible for the well
-
being of this community.




I will not quit
--
because I expect success!




19


II
: Discipline System


The ConneXions Discipline System is based on City Schools’ Code of Conduct and its system of
leveled interventions.


Staff Role
s in School Culture and Discipline

Classroom teachers

Classroom teachers play
an

essential role in establishing a positive learning environment in
their classrooms. In addition, they have complete discretion over level I issues in their
classrooms (see below) as well as a collaborative role in the handling of other levels.

Advisors

Advisors are the central component of the ConneXions approach to a healthy school climate
and culture. Since our opening in 2002, advisors have played an important role as the
designated liaison between home and school, and as the person designated to know

and
advocate for his/ her advisees.

ConneXions Support Center


Chris Transou is

our Conne
Xions

Support Specialist
.
Dean of Operations, Sidney “Coach” Brooks

assists with this area as well. T
he C
SC is the home of In
-
School Suspension,
however, the
Support

Specialist is

also a source for teachers of expertise on behavioral issues, support in the
classroom and halls, and the clearinghouse at ConneXions for discipline documentation. All
discipline referrals go to them in the CSC

do not send students and/or pa
perwork to the main
office.

Dean of Operations

Sidney “Coach” Brooks is the Dean of Operations
.
He handles oversees student support,
Family and Community Engagement, working closely with parents and culture/climate in
conjunction with Mr. Chris, Ms. Pam,
and others, works closely with the CSC and SST. Coach
Brooks also serves as the facilities manager and Athletic Director

Co
-
Directors


Cynthia Wilson
-
Shirley and
Kia Harper
are
the Co
-
Directors of the school. Co
-
directors help
create, monitor, and impleme
nt structures to support a positive school climate and effective
discipline system at ConneXions.



Purposes of the Discipline System


The
purposes

of discipline and documentation at ConneXions are fourfold:



Address behavior problems in the short term
that are causing disruptions to the learning
process



Address underlying longer
-
term issues that are contributing to behavior problems by referral
to appropriate interventions


20



Send a message to the school community that reinforces community expectations and

norms



Document and support: a tiered plan of interventions that can justify increased levels of
support from outside the school if our interventions are not working for a student
.

Leveled System


“Levels
” imply the seriousness of the incident and the corr
esponding “level” of intervention.
All incidents and interventions

can

include the teacher involved or reporting, however, the level
of support

from school
-
wide personnel varies

according to the situation.



Level

Description

Level I

Level I situations are those that are handled at the classroom level, by
teachers.

Level II

Level II situations
are referred to the CSC for school
-
level support
within the building.


Level III

Level III situations involve school
-
level support and usual
ly include out
-
of
-
school suspension.

Level IV

Level IV
situations usually require out
-
of
-
school support (School police,
Office of Student Support at North Avenue, etc). and usually require a
proposal for long
-
term suspension


These ar
e guidelines. Seriou
sness and
chronic nature of offenses may affect these
designations.


LEVEL I


Level I incidents include:



Disrespectful behavior



Classroom disruption



Class cutting (but must also be reported to the CSC)



Academic dishonesty



Profanity



Bullying (less serious
forms)



Physical aggression (less serious forms, not an actual fight)



Uniform violation



Portable electronic use at unauthorized times



Minor property damage

(graffiti on desks, for example
)



Lateness to class. We suggest the maintenance of a late binder. Students late to
class should sign in the binder and then quietly integrate themselves into the class’s
activity. We suggest that after three lates, a detention is issued.


Level I incidents
are handled first by the classroom teacher. A suggested system of steps of
intervention includes:



21



Warning (often integrated into the classroom activity)



Isolation (ask the student to step outside, change the student’s seat, etc.)



Private consultation wit
h student (speaking to student one
-
on
-
one)



Detention with parent notification

o

Each teacher will be responsible for handling their own detention. Teachers
must clearly communicate the assignment of detention to students, should
notify the parent or guardi
an, and should have a structure for detention. If
the student does not show for detention, the teacher must call the parent
to notify them and offer a “courtesy” make
-
up (which can be longer if
desired). If the student misses the second detention after the

phone call,
the student may be referred to the CSC.



Parent conference

o

In addition to routine parent phone calls/emails/texts and letters home, a
parent conference should be scheduled by a teacher if the concerns are
serious. Strong relationships
between

teachers and parents are necessary
to

promote excellence in your classroom.



Written referrals to ISS can and should be issued if a teacher has gone through this
cycle of classroom
-
based interventions and has not seen an improvement in student
behavior.


Level II


Level II is a more serious incident, or a chronic instance of a Level I incident that has not
responded to the teacher’s interventions. Referral of originally level
-
I incidents to the ISS room
MUST be accompanied by a referral documenting the cycle of teac
her interventions, including a
parent conversation.

Incidents which start at Level II must be referred by the classroom teacher to the ISS Room
immediately

these are not incidents that may be left up to the teacher’s discretion. Teachers
should continue t
o be involved in these situations, however. These include:




Drugs/Alcohol (under influence)



Attack on another student



Serious bullying



Fighting



Gambling



Serious harassment



Sexual harassment



Threat against school personnel



Theft


ConneXions’ supports to dea
l with Level II and chronic Level I issues include parent
conferences, In
-
School Suspension, d
etention
, student contracts, community service and
restitution.




22

Chronic Discipline Problems

Students who frequently violate the ConneXions Code of Conduct, have

severe behavioral
issues, or develop a pattern of discipline problems will be considered to need special attention.
After other efforts, have not worked, we will:



Hold a parent/student/teacher/administrator conference to discuss solutions



develop a behav
ior contract



conduct weekly reviews of progress on contract goals



either remove the student from the contract after a period of success
or



work wi
th student and parent to find

a more appropriate educational placement for
the student.

Level III


Level III incidents will also be reported to the CSC Room immediately and are incidents
eligible for out of school suspension. Most Level II incidents may also be considered Level III
incidents, if they are on a more serious end of the continuum or did not

respond to Level II
interventions.




Attack on student with bodily injury



Use or sale of drugs or alcohol



Extortion



Sexual activity/misconduct



Theft



Trespassing


Level III incidents will be handled by CSC staff and Co
-
Directors using BCPSS guidelines for

short
-
term suspension, which include mandatory conferences with parents and students.


Level IV


Level IV incidents will be reported to the CSC room immediately, and in turn reported to the
office for report to School Police. Level IV incidents are eligi
ble for proposal for long
-
term
suspension and/or proposal for expulsion.




Bomb threat



Distribution or sales of drugs or inhalants



False activation of fire alarm



Fire setting



Attack on school personnel



Serious bodily injury



Sexual assault



Any possession of

weapons, firearms, or explosives



Part III: Teacher Training And Strategies


23

We will spend more time this year on strategies for creating an effective classroom climate
and culture. One thing must be emphasized: do not put kids out of your classroom without
following this discipline policy. The CSC folks will be offering profession
al development on this
topic: please follow their guidance.
Students should never be “put out” without documentation
and a clear place to go; teachers must do their part, as well, before sending students to CSC for
further work.


Many teachers have experim
ented with a “buddy system” which works for them. When you
have a particularly challenging situation with a student, but do not want to send her/him to the
CSC, you would send your student to your pre
-
arranged “buddy” teacher, following your agreed
-
upon pr
ocedures. You would do the same for your buddy when they need some relief.


Part
I
V
: Documentation


Documentation of student behavior is necessary for student support. Teachers should keep
good classroom records and use the forms provided for communicatio
n with the CSC. All forms
are the same for middle and high school, though they are labeled middle or high for record
-
keeping purposes.


Forms suggested for teacher use in the classroom include the
weekly classroom
documentation chart
and a
parent contact l
og.

Teachers may use their own versions of these
logs but must have some sort of documentation system. These formats are recommended.


Forms that must be used for communication with the CSC include the
referral form

and the
anecdotal

reporting

form
.


The referral form is completed by the teacher and sent to the CSC to request some sort of
school
-
level action. This is referral for action, not reporting for data collection. This form should
be handed to one of the CSC people directly so that a conversati
on about further action can be
held. CSC personnel will confer again with the referring teacher before the student comes back
to class, if necessary.


The anecdotal form is for reporting: record
-
keeping and data collection. It may trigger
conversation but

does not by itself trigger an action.

All teachers should keep a binder of
classroom level
anecdotal. This documentation will be used during consulta
tion with the Dean
of Operations


Part V
: Socio
-
emotional and Behavioral Supports for Students


The disc
ipline processes described in this document are designed to provide guidance and
support for students through short
-
term interventions. These would include re
-
orientation to
the learning process through conference with student and/or parent, time out to co
ol down
from situations, brief problem
-
solving assistance, brief conflict mediation, etc.

Longer
-
term and more in
-
depth interventions are available through ConneXions as well.
These include the following.



24

Guidance

Ms Pamela Watkins
is the ConneXions Gui
dance Counselor
. In addition to multiple essential
academic advising and procedural responsibilities,
she does

student counseling. Students are
encouraged to re
ach out to Ms Pam on their own;
however, teachers are also welcome to speak
with them about stud
ents who may need assistance. The guidance office
is located in the main
office.



Special Education

The special education team focuses on aca
demic matters for IEP students;
however, since
some social, emotional, and behavioral problems have roots in learn
ing problems, they are
excellent resources for those concerns as well and can offer advice, support, and suggestions for
direction.


Social W
orker

Our social worker consults mostly
with Special Education students;

however, she is an
excellent resource for teachers with questions about students’ social and emotional health and
wellbeing.


Community Mediation (team referral)

For students having interpersonal problems with each other or other community members,
the C
ommunity Conferencing Center has been extremely helpful in the past. We usually try our
own conferencing, but for intractable problems, talk with your team or the co
-
directors about a
referral to this group.

Mental Health Services on campus

This year we wi
ll have a .5 Mental Health Professional at ConneXions. Referral processes and
more details are forthcoming.


Advisory

Advis
ory is an integral part of ConneX
ions program.
Advisory,
should

offer social and
emotional support to students.
Advisors should

include extensive team
-
building, discussion
opportunities, problem
-
solving techniques, etc.

Advisors will participate in professional
development to introduce selected lessons from the Faces of Change advisory model that was
adopted in 2010.
In additio
n advisors are encouraged to collaborate with experienced advisors
to discuss best practices.

SST

The Student Support Team is a formal process for getting additional help and support to
students. The process involves extensive documentation and follow
-
up a
nd should be used
whenever a more formal process is necessary, for example, when teacher and team
-
based
solutions have not yet worked. The SST is not used for special education students; those
students should have concerns brought to the IEP Team if necess
ary
.


25


Additional Notes on Discipline:

Gang Policy

ConneXions will contact BCPSS School Police immediately to address any suspected gang
activity or affiliation. This will occur without warning. This includes handshakes, hand signs,
writing on personal or s
chool materials or repeated verbal references. This is one of the few
areas where ConneXions has a ZERO TOLERANCE policy.

Please note that community awareness and education regarding gang issues is seen as a
priority at ConneXions and will occur regularly
.

Classroom Procedures

Students are expected to follow the procedures set by each teacher for entering and exiting
the classroom, for bathroom use, etc. The procedure should be communicated to students,
modeled, and posted. It is helpful if teams establis
h common procedures at the beginning of the
year.

Dealing with Discipline in the Classroom



Consider that the most respected teachers in the building are those who set high
professional standards for themselves. Teachers who arrive on time to work and
clas
s, stand by their word, are well prepared for lessons, return student work with
feedback on time, are fair and equitable in discipline, and communicate well with
parents are accorded respect for their integrity. Such teachers have an easier time
with disci
pline.



A well
-
thought out lesson is more likely to result in engaged students behaving
appropriately than a disorganized, poorly planned lesson. Students should be
challenged by the level of the work, supported in their efforts to master it, and
guided in

a developmentally appropriate way through the experience.



Treat students with respect



Insist on respect from students.



Build relationships with students and families



Be stricter rather than looser…you can loosen up later if you choose



Enforce school policies…don’t be the weakest link. Not enforcing school policies is
damaging to our attempts to create a single, strong school culture, and in the end it
makes you look weak as a teacher. Remember “collective efficacy.”



Students need to fo
llow your rules. Make them reasonable but enforce them.



Developing a teacher persona that works takes time. Ask for help if you need it,
from peers,
Dean of Students,
Co
-
Directors, behavior specialists in the school, etc.

Food, Candy and Beverages


No gum
, seeds, soda, candy, or snacks are allowed in school unless provided by school staff;
such items found in classrooms should be confiscated. Food items should not be brought in from
outside the building unless they are for lunch. Lunch food must be eaten
in the cafeteria only.
Students may not miss any of the class after lunch to finish eating; plenty of time is provided for
lunch. Students may not eat outside. Students
are

encouraged to bring water bottles to school.


26

UNIFORM POLICY



THE FOLLOWING
INFORMATION APPLIES TO BOTH MIDDLE AND HIGH SCHOOL UNIFORM
POLICY. SEPARATE SECTIONS ON SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS FOLLOW.


Herman’s Discount


Herman’s Discount



SuperKids

3106 Greenmount Avenue

2223 East Monument Street


Security Mall

Baltimore, MD 21218


Ba
ltimore, MD 21205



(410) 597
-
8181

(410) 662
-
9626


(410) 342
-
6616




(we will be discontinuing



this location)


Hours:



Monday
-

Saturday




10:00 a.m.
-

9:30 p.m.


Sunday




12:00 a.m.
-

6:00 p.m.



All uniforms should be purchased at Super Kids. The
Super Kids staff understands the
parameters set forth in the ConneXions uniform policy. They will be able to help you choose the
proper attire and accessories. Please contact Super Kids. Allow adequate time to ensure
uniforms will be in before the start of

school.


RATIONALE

ConneXions Community Leadership Academy is a uniform school. The primary
objective for adopting a uniform policy is to promote a safe and disciplined learning
environment in which students are focused on high academic and artistic achievement.
The uniform
will allow for the easy identification of all ConneXions’ students, as
ConneXions is the sharing the school building with several other schools. The
implementation of the uniform policy will encourage self
-
respect and self
-
esteem,
promote school spirit and

pride, enhance school discipline, and set the daily tone of
belonging to a school community. Above all else, uniforms will help students to narrow
the focus on success in the classroom and the earning of distinctions through
intellectual and artistic acc
omplishment and expression.


Students must enter and exit the building in uniform and remain in
uniform for the entire school day
.
Students will be checked at the front
door each day for uniforms. Students who violate the uniform policy will
receive a pr
ogressive series of consequences ranging from detention,
phone call, parent conference, to exclusion from special events and
activities.




27


MIDDLE SCHOOL UNIFORM

HIGH SCHOOL UNIFORM


SHIRT

Grey short or long sleeve
shirts with the ConneXions Logo
embroidered on the front top left

Gold long or short sleeve oxford
with ConneXions logo must be
embroidered on the front top left

PANTS

Khaki pants, long shorts, or
skirts

Khaki pants, long shorts, or skirts

SHOES

Comfortable shoes that can
get dirty in
the event that we are
outside doing field activities

Comfortable shoes

-

Heeled shoes
may be no higher than 1
½
” and no
steel
-
toe boots


STUDENT APPEARANCE:




Should not disrupt the learning environment




Should not be a threat to health or safety




Should be tasteful and unable to be viewed as provocative or obscene




Should reflect practices of good hygiene and cleanliness


SCHOOL UNIFORM:



All students MUST comply with the uniform policy



Students must be neatly groomed and dressed appropriately

for all school
activities



All hairstyles must be neat and complete


SHIRT:



No images other than the school logo shall be on uniform



Shirts must be the appropriate size and will be worn tucked in



White undershirts can be worn under uniform shirt



No shi
rts with images that can be seen through uniform shirts



Under shirts may not have sleeves longer than uniform shirt



Shirts must be buttoned, top button may be left unfastened


PANTS:



No cargo pants or shorts with pockets at/on the legs



Pants may not be
excessively baggy or excessively tight



Pants may not be worn below the waist



No images, rips, or holes in pants



Undergarments must not be visible when standing or sitting



No sweat pants and/or jeans



No pants under uniform pants


SKIRT:



Khaki skirts that a
re knee length may be worn


28



No jean skirts or low
-
rise attire



Skirts may not be excessively tight fitting



No visible pants under skirts


SHOES:



No open
-
toe, open
-
heeled shoes



Heeled shoes may be no higher than 1
½




No steel
-
toe boots



Footwear for
physical education and team sports will be brought to school and
placed in student’s own locker until the time of use


ACCESSORIES:



No large earrings, pendants,
beaded necklaces

and/or medallions



No accessory allowed that reasonably could be perceived as,
or used as a
weapon (chains, spikes, etc)



No gang
-
related clothing, accessories, symbols or intimidating manner of dress
as identified by local law enforcement agencies




No hats, bandanas, sunglasses shall be worn inside school buildings




No hairpins, sc
arves, rollers, etc



No coats, hoodies, or jackets can be worn over uniform








29

Teacher Support

and Evaluat
io
n

Professional Development

Introduction

Professional Development takes place on Wednesday afternoons and on the PD days built
into the BCPSS calendar.




PD will take the form of
Cycles of Professional Learning

this year. (See
http://www.omdatelkkindteltinzuidoost.nl/media/files/workshops/110413_ms_joa
nne_quinn/lastingimpression_copy.pdf

for a short, helpful article on Cycles of
Professional Learning.) Traditional big
-
gr
oup presentations will be used to present
new strategies, concepts, etc.
The bulk of the work of the Cycles will take place in
smaller professional learning communities and provide opportunity for practice,
peer and administrative observation, reading, rev
iewing data (largely student work)
and reflection pursuant to the close of the cycle. The cycles will focus on the
priorities approved by the Steering Committee during the summer and included as
part of our SPP, or School Performance Plan.



Compensation is

dependent on

on
-
time

attendance and active participation, and
sign
-
in sheets will be kept. Monthly after
-
school staff meetings, held on Wednesday
afternoons, are allowed by the contract and are not compensated.




PD focuses on all instructional teachers (
academic, arts, special ed
ucation
, Title I,
etc.) but will occasionally include full staff. Please ask if you are not sure if you
should attend.



Expanded options for new teacher support.

Strongly suggested participation in BCPSS’ Works program, which meets

on
Thursday afternoons
or
Saturday mornings (from 9
-
11am; schedule available). These programs include work with
curriculum and content, best instructional practices, using assessment data effectively, Core
Curriculum, etc. Most importantly, perhaps, Works

sessions are great opportunities for
networking with educators from all over the city in your subject area.


Professional Development this year, in addition to Looking at Student Work, book study, and
work on specific issues of interest, will include Ed
ucational Rounds. Based on
Instructional
Rounds in Education

(City, Elmore, et al), rounds are designed to help us develop a “shared
understanding of what high
-
quality instruction looks like” and to support the creation of such
instruction across the schoo
l.


Teams


Grade
-
level teams will be formed, meeting during Wednesday professional development
times. Given the number of constraints on our schedule, it was not possible to schedule team
planning time during the school day.



Departments


30

We will also be using a departmental structure for curriculum work. We will be striving to
collaborate on common vocabulary and expectations and charting a multi
-
year path for student
learning. Our hope is that this will help us develop this multi
-
year con
ception of learning for kids
in each subject so that our work builds on that of our colleagues more powerfully.

New Teachers

See the attachment on New Teacher Induction at ConneXions.

Teacher Evaluation

ConneXions adheres to the BCPSS
Performance Based Ev
aluation System (PBES)

fo
r teacher
evaluations. We will have a PD in September outlining the PBES system and provide all
educators with copies of the relevant parts of the PBES handbook. The entire PBES handbook is
available in the office or electronicall
y.

Cynthia
Kia
are qualified observers who will be
conducting the observations for all teachers.
Helen Atkinson, the Executive Director of the
Baltimore Teacher Network, is a principal
-
level employee who will be assisting with the
evaluation process and wi
th feedback for teachers.

Final words


1
. At ConneXions,
we pay the utmost respect to all our community members
.
Under no
circumstances should staff be disrespectful to students, parents, or colleagues. Disrespect
includes making assumptions about people’s child
-
raising skills, students’ intellectual capacity or
motivation to learn, cultural and class differences, go
ssip, etc.
Staff needs to model the grown
-
up, mature

behavior we expect to see in
others.

Please pay careful attention to the kinds of
information you are discussing with colleagues. Confidential information should be kept
confidential and under no circum
stances should children or adults without “need to know”
status be included or able to overhear.


2
. People usually don’t do well under constant threats. Figure out your relationships to
students so that you are not constantly saying “I will suspend you i
f…” “You’ll get detention if…”
etc. We place a HIGH priority on working with the students we have and on keeping them IN
school. This is obviously not always easy, when students are challenging. However, while they
are in our care they are our responsibili
ty, and that means building relationships that work.


3. Roland Barthes (
Improving Schools from Within
) writes that
congeniality

is about “People
enjoying each other’s company and getting along” and that every organization needs it. We
adults at ConneXion
s are for the most part very good at congeniality. However, Barthes says
that in order to develop as a healthy school, Judith Little’s definition of
collegiality

needs to
come into play in the form of 4 behaviors (the following are quotes):

Adults in schoo
l talk about practice. These conversations about teaching and learning are
frequent, continuous, concrete, and precise.

Adults in schools observe each other engaged in the practice of teaching and administration.
These observations become the practice to
reflect on and talk about.

Adults engage together in work on curriculum by planning, designing, researching, and
evaluating curriculum.


31

Adults in schools teach each other what they know about teaching, learning, and leading. Craft
knowledge is revealed,
articulated, and shared.

All this means sharing not just the good stuff but also the constructive criticism and honesty that
will make our school better.
The new Instructional Framework and
Instructional Rounds will be the
specific tool
s

we are using th
is year to move towards communal professional practice and
collegiality.


32

PROCEDURAL INFORMATION FOR STAFF


Schedule


Students

Teachers

Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri

7:50
am to 3:30pm

7:45
am to 3: 40
pm

Wed.

7:50
am to 12:30pm

7:
45
am to 12:40
pm

Wed. PD


Afternoon

professional
development is scheduled for varying
groups; details forthcoming (this is
optional, compensated time for
professional development and staff
meetings)


Attendance:

ConneXions historically has wonderful staff attendance from the vast majority of our staff
members. We’d like to continue that trend.
ConneXions will follow the BCPSS Attendance
Reliability Analysis document (see appendix). Please read the analysis careful
ly as it contains
guidelines

for absence and lateness which we will follow.

Emergency Absences

If you need to be out for an unplanned absence, please call
Cynthia or Kia

on their cell
phones as soon as yo
u are aware of the need, by 7:00
am at the latest. Please call rather than
text so that we can discuss needed coverage (classes as well as additional duties
for that day)
.


All teaching staff should have 3 days worth of Emergency Sub Plans on file in the office for
use in such situations
. These should be general (review is good), so that they can be used at any
point in the school year.
Two notes:



DO NOT include technology equipment in your plan

it may not be available on
such short notice.



If your plan requires individual copies for the

students, please include them in the
folder left with the office!


Requesting
Non

Emergency
Leave

Approved absences do not count towards the Attendance Reliability policy. Such absences
include jury duty, educational conferences, etc. and must be approved

by one of the Co
-
Directors

ahead of time
. A
ll types of leave place additional stress on the school
family

from
students to co
-
workers. Therefore, it is necessary that we follow a specific procedure for all
types of leave.



F
ill out the attached Leave Requ
est Form.



Submit your request

via email
at least a week in advance.


33



Co
-
Directors will arrange a meeting to discuss
the approval status/details of your
request




Sub Plans

for this non
-
emergency absence

need to be clear, meaningful and easy to
implement.



Sub

Plans should include enough work to fill the entire period.

Include too much
rather than too little!


Punctuality
:

The building will be open at 7am each day. All planning and preparations for class need to
be made prior

to student arrival time at 7:50
am.


All teachers and staff members should sign in upon their arrival. The sign
-
in book in t
he
office will be removed at 7:
5
1
am and you will sign in the late book after that time. Chronic
lateness will be documented and dealt with by co
-
directors
accordin
g to the Attendance
Reliability policy

(see Appendix).


Cell Phones

All adults in the building should keep their cell phones on “vibrate” during the school day.
Cell phones should only be answered in emergency situations during instructional time.

If a cal
l
needs to be answered due to an emergency, staff should step out of the class momentarily to
answer the call and then, if necessary, find someone to substitute while the situation is being
dealt with. Emergencies include illness of a family member, an imm
ediate child
-
care issue, etc.


Leaving the Building

You are expected to be in the building throughout the entire school day. If you find it
necessary to leave the building briefly

, let the office know that you will be out of the building
and when you exp
ect to return. This can only be done during non
-
instructional time and at
times when you are not responsible for a particular group of students.
Students should never be
left in your room in your absence and your door should be locked.

It is absolutely nec
essary that
you return in plenty of time to assume your next scheduled responsibility. It is also expected
that this type of leave is not a daily occurren
ce

(planning time is to be used for on
-
site planning,
for example)
. Please remember that we all

share

custodial responsibility for our

students
throug
hout the entire

school day.


Scheduled Duties


You are expected to be on time and focused on the task throughout any collaborative duties
in the school. It is not acceptable to be a few minutes late. Please plan accordingly. This means
that on a scheduled day you may need to have your class clean up ea
rly or leave home early so
that you are available and ready to assume your responsibility. Do not leave your colleagues or
children for whom you have custodial care hanging.





34

Visitors

All visitors

need to sign in at the office, including friends of staf
f members.
Visitors to the
building, for the most part, should have some educational mission. It is also acceptable to have
family members or friends visit. However, extended (multi
-
day) visits by anyone who is not
serving an educational purpose is not acc
eptable.


Parent Contacts

Communication is a major key to our success. You should expect to make phone calls,
emails, and/or texts and meet with parents frequently. Back
-
to
-
School nights and progress
report conferences are pre
-
scheduled; please encourage c
hildren to invite their parents. You are
welcome to set up conferences at any time, on your own, with your team, or with any invited
school personnel (for example, our guidance counselor).
Parent contact logs must be kept to
document your communication wit
h families, and will be reviewed as part of your evaluation
process.


If a parent reaches out to you, it is imperative that you return the contact promptly, within
24 hours at the most.


Please approach your work with parents as a collaborative effort to
help their child to
succeed, academically, artistically, and socially. Contact parents with positive feedback as well as
to pre
-
empt any problems you see arising.


Making Purchases

We have budgeted money for limited purchases during the year for classroom

instructional
purposes. Please fill out a

“request to purchase” form:



ELA, Math, Social Studies, Science teachers should submit to Academic Dean to be
reviewed by Co
-
Directors and ordered by Office Manager



Arts teachers should submit to Arts Director to
be reviewed by Co
-
Directors and
ordered by Office Manager



Coaches should submit to Athletic Director to be reviewed by Co
-
Directors and
ordered by Office Manager


F
illing out
and submitting
the form does not guarantee a “yes.”
Order is subject to editing
upon review by Co
-
Directors


REQUESTS FOR REIMBURSEMENT MUST BE PRE
-
APPROVED. Do not purchase anything and
expect to be reimbursed without specific prior approval. Once approved, get a reimbursement
request form and fill it out completely, attaching the re
ceipt.


There are also grant opportunities available:



For classroom sets of novels or other trade books, the Children’s Bookstore
Foundation awards at least one grant per teacher per year. Each child gets a copy of
the book to take home after the unit. The

website is
http://www.thecbstore.com/foundation.html
. There is a short application and
you’ll need a supporting letter from Cynthia or Dana.


35



DonorsChoose.org for purchase of classroom supplies for

teachers is a great
resource. Several staff members have experience with this and can give advice.



There are many other grant opportunities available for classroom teachers

please
research and share any information you get with colleagues.


Room Repairs

If you need a repair in your room, please
complete one of the “room repair request” forms
and email to the facilities manager.


MATERIALS

Textbooks

Textbooks are expensive!
Two things need to happen before students can be issued
textbooks, novels, and an
y other school materials to take home.


A Textbook Contract MUST be on file in the office. Textbook contracts will go home on the
first day of school and we will keep you updated as to who has not returned them. Advisors will
be tracking this. Plan to iss
ue textbooks no earlier than the second week of school so that
students have had a chance to return them. After that date you may assign homework using
these materials and students are responsible for completing it.


You must issue a book receipt for EACH book or item. These need to be kept on file
by you

until the student returns the item in good condition. Make sure the receipt includes the specific
number of each book/item so that we you can track their return.


Ot
her notes:




Make sure all items are stamped with the ConneXions stamp and numbered or
identified in some way. If they are not, get the stamp from the office and stamp
them.




Make sure students know that they should keep books covered. They need to be
returned in good condition or students will be charged as if the book was lost.




At the end of the year, you are responsible for collecting the books/items back from
students in
a timely fashion. DO NOT RELY ON EXHIBITIONS to do this for you

there is too much going on at the same time. For any item you are unable to collect,
you will make home contact and then turn in the list and signed receipts to the
office.




Make sure student
s know that
THEY

are responsible for keeping all books, novels,
etc. issued to them SAFE and in good condition or they WILL be asked to pay the
replacement cost.
This includes theft from an unlocked locker and similar situations.
The student is responsible
.



36

Technology

ConneXions’ Acceptable Use Policy is included in the Forms section of this handbook.
Students and parents must sign a document indicating that they accept the terms of the AUP at
the beginning of the year. The AUP lists guidelines for the tre
atment of school technology
equipment as well as for using email and the internet safely. Given that teachers are the
custodians of both children and equipment, it is our responsibility to make sure that student
technology use is appropriate during classes
, after school, etc.



Laptop Carts

ConneXions has laptop carts for classroom use that can be used during any class under your
direct supervision.
Do not allow students to take individual laptops from the carts; the cart
goes as a unit to your location.

S
ign out procedures will be explained with a PD at the beginning
of the year.


Digital Projectors and TVs

Sign
-
out procedures will be explained in a PD at the beginning of the year.


Desktop Computers

Desktop computers are repaired by the BCPSS IT departme
nt. Fill out a repair request form
if you need a repair so that we can submit them. The repair request must include your
workstation number and room number.


Establish a computer
-
use policy at the beginning of the year for your classroom computers,
and stick to it. You should require students to explicitly ask permission before using a computer,
and they
must

be monitored while using our equipment.




37

ConneXio
ns Teacher Participation Guidelines on Special Events



Back
-
to
-
School Night

Back to School night is an essential part of our communication with parents. Back to School
night serves to:



Allow parents to meet their child’s teachers



Allow teachers to share t
heir expectations with parents clearly and in
-
person



Allows parents to meet and talk to other staff members (co
-
directors, guidance
counselor, paras, etc.)



Give parents an opportunity to feel comfortable and welcomed into the building



Allows parents to
meet and network with other parents


While it takes place in the evening outside of school hours, Back to School night is a once
-
per
-
year activity and is considered part of teachers’ professional responsibility.


Teachers should plan on:



Attending Back to

School night, arriving on time



Having a course description or syllabus ready for parents



Having any other materials necessary for your class available



Make sure your classroom is inviting, attractive, and focused on children!


If you cannot attend Back to

School night, you must tell your co
-
director as early as possible
prior to the event.
Please have materials left for parents to take and a sign
-
in sheet so you are
aware who visited and whether they would like a phone call from you.

These can be posted on

your door or prominently displayed in your room.


Back to School Night for this year is on
:

S
eptember 5, 2012

at 6pm


Teacher Conference Guidelines

Like Back to School Night, teacher conference times are important venues for
communication and feedback. Since they occur during the school day (or are substituted for
school time) they are
MANDATORY

parts of the day and part of teachers’ professional
resp
onsibilities.


Please make sure that you:



Are available during the conference times, either in your room or the most appropriate
place for parents to see you



Have accurate, up
-
to
-
date information on student progress ready to share with parents



Make sure
your room is inviting, attractive, and displays student work



Meet with all parents who want to see you. If a parent needs an extended conference
time, please schedule a time for a follow
-
up conference.



38

If you cannot be present for teacher conferences, sp
eak with your co
-
director well ahead of
time. You will need to leave a sign
-
in sheet for parents and make arrangements for conferences
with anyone who needs one!


Recruitment, Orientation, Performance/Exhibit and Other Events

Recruitment and orientation ev
ents are designed as introductions to ConneXions’ program.
Some have specific focuses (arts, for example) and others are more broad. Planners of such
events will share information with you ahead of time and invite you to attend. All staff are
always welcom
e at such events. Please understand that the more wonderful adults we have
present at such events, the better our school looks to students and parents we want to recruit.
As we strive to become an arts school with committed students, the faculty is a big p
art of such
decisions to students and parents.


Student performances and exhibitions, sports events, and competitive events such as
debate are a significant part of the educational program we offer. In addition, participation in
these activities is very i
mportant to individual students. Your presence at such events is
tremendously important to them

it shows them you support THEM and the school. Please
consider attending at least one event per month. In addition to giving energy back to staff, these
student
-
centered events help you forge relationships with students. They notice and remember
who shows up far more than you may realize!


Parent Action Team Meetings

Parent Action Team meetings are held on the first Wednesday of every month at 6pm.
Parents REALLY

like to see teachers at these PAT meetings and it benefits the school immensely
to present a united and committed front. Please consider attending the PAT meetings! The first
one of the year is on the same night as Back to School night and will be a combi
ned event
.





39

ConneXions Sexual Harassment Policy


C
onneXions’

position is that sexual harassment is a form of misconduct that undermines the
integrity of the employment relationship. All employees have the right to work in an
environment free from all forms of discrimination and conduct which can be considered
hara
ssing, coercive, or disruptive, including sexual harassment. Anyone engaging in harassing
conduct will be subject to discipline, ranging from a warning to termination.


What is sexual harassment? Sexual harassment is defined as any unwanted physical, ve
r
bal
or visual sexual advances,

requests for sexual favors, and other sexually oriented conduct which
is offensive or objectionable to the recipient, including, but not limited to: epithets, derogatory
or suggestive comments, slurs or gestures and offensive

posters, cartoons, pictures, or
drawings.


When is conduct unwelcome or harassing? Unwelcome sexual advances (either verbal or
physical), requests for favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute
sexual harassment when:


-
submission to such conduct is either an explicit or implicit term or condition of employment
(e.g., promotion, training, timekeeping or overtime assignments)

-
submission to or rejection of the conduct is used as a basis for making employment
decisions (hi
ring, promotion, termination) the conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering
with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work
environment


What is not sexual harassment? Sexual harassment does not refer t
o occasional
compliments of a socially acceptable nature. It refers to behavior that is not welcome, that is
personally offensive, that debilitates morale, and that, therefore, interferes with work
effectiveness.


What should you do if you are sexually ha
rassed? If you feel that you have been the
recipient of sexually harassing behavior, report it immediately to a director. It is preferable to
make a complaint in writing, but you can accompany or follow up your written complaint with a
verbal complaint.


If your director is the source of the harassing conduct, report the behavior to the
P
resident,
A
ndy Basoco (abasoco@bcps.k12.md.us
) of the Baltimore Teacher's Network. Your identity will
be protected and you will not be retaliated against for making a co
mplaint.








40

Abuse and Molestation Policy


PURPOSE

The purpose of this policy is to reduce the liability risk and related negative publicity,
expense, and trauma to
C
onneXions

and of course the children we serve. The likelihood of such
can be reduced by
making the environment unsuitable for the sexual predator and/or

abuser.


DEFINITIONS

Child Abuse:

Verbal abuse (ridicule or put
-
downs), physical abuse (any hurting touching or excessive
exercise used as punishment), emotional abuse (threats to perform
unreasonable tasks), and
sexual abuse.


Sexual Abuse:

Refers to a wide spectrum of interactions including rape, physical assault, sexual battery,
unwanted physical sexual contact, unwelcome sexually explicit or offensive verbal
communication, coercive or e
xpletive sexual contact, verbal sexual harassment, and/or
sexualized attention or contact with a minor.


Volunteer:

Citizens who perform various functions at ConneXions without pay.


POLICIES ON CHILD ABUSE/MOLESTATION

Limit One On One Contact: It is
C
onn
eXions’

policy that no activities shall take place
involving one on one contact between a staff member or volunteer and a child, if such activities
can be practically avoided. Instead, a “buddy system” is encouraged where two (2) adults should
always be pr
esent at all times in all school related situations.


Touch Policy: Touch is acceptable only if it is “respectful and appropriate”. Some experts
have adopted a no touch policy, but most experts believe that “no touch” is an over
-
reaction
and is ultimatel
y damaging in itself and not practical.


Verbal Conduct Policy: Inappropriate comments of a sexual nature and suggestive jokes are
prohibited.


Take Home/Pick
-
Up: Take home/pick
-
up of students by staff is strongly discouraged
because of the difficulty in

limiting one on one contact between adult and child (remember the
Buddy System).

Parent(s) should provide transportation for their own children to and from scheduled
events. The school will clearly outline the expected start and end time for all events and
communicate this with all parent(s). Parent(s) should be instructed to make ba
ck
-
up plans in
the event they can’t provide transportation. If parent(s) can’t provide transportation they must
communicate with
C
onneXions

staff the name of the person(s) who are authorized to pick up
the child. Such policy will help to protect against
potential abductions or being thrust into the
middle of any custody dispute.



41

Child Abuse Prohibition: All forms of sexual, physical, verbal and emotional abuse are
prohibited.


Name Distribution: The distribution of directories/rosters with names, phone

numbers,
addresses, and pictures should be limited to persons on a “need to know” basis.


EXAMPLES OF ABUSE/MOLESTATION

Emotional Abuse: Yelling or making the following

statements:


• You’re stupid;

• You’re an idiot;

• You’re an embarr
assment;

• Shut up


Also, Please refrain from
:

• public predictions of future success based on

current behavior

• “cracking” on particular physical characteristics of

students


Physical Abuse: Besides the obvious examples of a

staff
member or volunteer hitting,
kicking, throwing equipment, or shaking a student, watch out for the following:


• Behaviors that seem violent versus disciplinary;

• Training practices become abusive

• Fighting is encouraged or ignored;



Illegal moves, often associated with injuries are

encouraged;

• Instructors, teachers or staff teach improper

techni
ques or encourage conduct which


violates safety

rules;

• Staff members allow students to become physically or

verbally ab
usive;

• Behaviors result in injures to students; etc.

• Physical consequences for non
-
physical (or academic)

classes


Sexual Abuse: An adult may not improperly sexualize touch by fondling instead of hugging
(with permission), kissing, or sedu
ctive stroking of various body parts. On the other hand
appropriate touching can be used when a young child needs comfort, reassurance, and support.
Appropriate touch is respectful of a person’s personal boundaries and comfort level, public
(done in font

of others and not secretly), and nurturing (not sexualized).




Misuse of power and authority;



Misuse of love and affection;



Manipulation or tricks:

o

This is love;

o

This is what you need to be a part of the team;

o

This is what we do for initiation



Grooming: desensitization that begins with appropriate touch, then the touch changes.



Examples:

o

You liked the touch before;

o

What’s wrong? Don’t you trust me?; or

o

courting (gifts, time, attention);


42

o

romancing (talking of love or attraction);

o

line (you’re

special, I don’t usually do this sort

of thing, you’re so mature, you’re
so attractive); or

o

secrets (this is our special secret, others wouldn’t

o

understand, you or I would get in trouble)


WARNING SIGNS OF ABUSE/MOLESTATION

With some forms of abuse, there

maybe physical indicators (examples: with physical abuse,
bruises, welts, broken bones) or with sexual abuse venereal diseases, genital swelling/soreness,
difficulty sitting or walking, pain or itching when urinating or defecating, stomach aches,
pain/itc
hing in genital area, and frequently unexplained sore throats. But most often the effects
of sexual abuse are less obvious. For example, sudden shifts in behavior or attitudes when
outgoing child suddenly builds a protected, closed wall or a generally ha
ppy child becomes
aggressive and angry or a trusting child becomes fearful may be an indication of abuse. In
sports, this can show up as losing interest or wanting to drop out of sports or a sudden decline
in ability or functions.


Please note that no ind
icators or symptoms are absolute. Many of these could be indicators
of problems other than child abuse. However, if some of these things are going on, consider
them to be a red flag. One difficulty is that some signs are ambiguous. Children may respond

in
different ways and some may show no sign at all. Some indicators include:


• Disclosure by child. Most children won’t just come

out and say they have been abused,


but instead, may

hint at it.

• Observations, complaints, concerns, or al
legations

about staff members.

• Attitudes/behaviors expressed on the part of a
n

adult that may be ass
ociated with


inappropriate or

abusive behavior (racist, poor sense of student

development, raging


temper, extremely controlling,

jealous, hy
persensitive, poor sexual boundaries,



bullying, intimidating manner, unrealistic or

inappropriate training practices

and risks,


etc.)

• Unexplained/unlikely explanation of injuries.

• Extreme fear of a staff member or volunteer;



Extreme low self
-
esteem, self worth;

• A child’s attachment to a staff member to the point

of isolation from others;

• A staff member or volunteer with an interest beyond

c
aring concerns, special interest


in a child (time,

gifts, att
ention, obsession, unrealistic expectations)

• A child’s desire to drop out without a clear

explanation, or
without one that makes


sense;

• A child that misses a lot of practices or games with

suspicious explanations or excuses.


Despite increased sensitivity to abuse, there is still a tendency to blame the victims instead
of holding the person(s) accountable who:


• lost their temper;

• got a little out of control;

• were just having a dispute;

• misinterpr
eted the touch;

• is really a wonderful person; etc.


43


Listen to what the student is saying.


ALLEGATIONS OF ABUSE/MOLESTATION AND OTHER POLICY

VIOLATIONS


Point of Contact: A Director is the appropriate person to whom all reports of child
abuse/moles
tation should be reported. In the event that a Director is the alleged
abuser/molester, the report should be made to the President of the Baltim
ore Teacher’s
Network, Andrew Basoco
.


The Director must take the appropriate action depending on where the sit
uation falls in the
above mentioned categories.


Information Gathering:

Upon receipt of a disclosure of child/sexual abuse or of a policy violation the Directors will
gather all pertinent facts in a fair, respectful, and confidential manner and review with

both the
accuser and accused. All such disclosures must be brought to the attention of the Baltimore
Teacher’s Network


The Directors will immediately report to the authorities when there is reasonable cause to
believe that physical abuse or sexual abuse

has occurred. At this point, the Directors will never
investigate, as this is the role of the law enforcement authorities. Furthermore, allowing the law
enforcement authorities to investigate helps to shield the CCLA against potential lawsuits for
defama
tion of character.


Suspension/Termination:

The findings of the Directors will be reported to the Baltimore Teacher’s Network, and all
proceedings will be confidential. Any single act violating the guidelines above could result in a
verbal or written repr
imand, suspension without pay or termination of employment
.





CONTACT INFORMATION

School

ConneXions
School for the Arts

2801 N. Dukeland Street

Baltimore, MD 21216


Phone: 443
-
984
-
1418, 1419
, 1420

Fax: 410
-
669
-
4418


Please visit our website at
www.csfta.org



44

Co
-
Directors

Cynthia Wilson
-
Shirley
, Middle School

cpwilson@bcps.k12.md.us


Kia Harper

kjharper@bcps.k12.md.us

410
-
200
-
8174


Academic Dean

Dana Polson

dpolson@bcps.k12.md.us

443
-
226
-
1312

Dean of
Operations/Facilities Manager/Athletic Director

Sidney “Coach” Brooks

sabrooks@bcps.k12.md.us

443
-
813
-
4877

Arts Director

Ernest Shaw

eeshaw@bcps.k12.md.us

ITA (Special Education Coordinator)

Dwayne Smart

dsmart@bcps.k12.md.us

Operator

ConneXions is operated by the Baltimore Teacher Network, a

local non
-
profit that operates
ConneXions and another charter school, Independence Local #1 in Hampden.

The Board of the Baltimore Teacher Network meets monthly. The schedule
for meetings
and
other

information about the BTN can be found on its website at
www.baltimoreteachernetwork.org


The BTN’s Executive Director is Helen Atkinson. She can be reached at
hatkinson@bcps.k12.md.us

and through the school. Her office is located in Room 214.

The BTN’s Board President is
Andrew Basoco
. He can be reached at
abasoco@bcps.k12.md.us.





45

Connexions School for the Arts Staff

Abdunafi, Sabourah
-

Title 1



Akintilo, Oluwatoyin
-

Special Educator

Anderson
, Kevin
-

School Police

Supervisor

Atkinson, Helen
-

Executive Director, BTN

Baluch, Ejaz
-

6
th

and 7
th

Grade Social Studies

Barnes, Marie
-

Cafeteria Manager

Bohorquez, Michael
-

Special Ed and MS Spanish

Brook
s, Sidney
-

Dean of Operations, Athletic Director, Facilities Director

Brostrom, Sara
-

6
th

and 7
th

Grade Science

Brown, Gail
-

Custodian

Bryan, Imani
-

Health

Chavis, Brenda
-

6
th

and 7
th

Grade Language Arts

Dawkins, Diedre
-

Graham & West African Dance

Dodge,

Peter
-

AP English/ English III/ English IV

Douthitt, Carl


School Psychologist
Faye, Jodi
-

English II

Foreman, LaCrystal
-

English I

Gandy, Martrice
-

Special Educator

Garcia, Geneve
-

Geometry/Algebra II

George, Carol
-

Social Worker

Ginersan
, Liezel
-

Special Educator

Gold, Sarah
-

7
th

and 8
th

Grade Science

Green, Shanya
-

Lifeskills

Harper, Kia


Co
-
Director/Physics


Ibn Ali, Ismail M
-

Chemistry
/Computer Tech/Webmaster

Jenkins, Bresean
-

Theatre

Johnson, Duane
-

Lifeskills

Jung, Misun
-

Algebra I

Juwara,

Kutia
-

Dance

Kandel, David

-

Calculus
, Discrete Math

Langley, Matthew
-

Special Educator

Loughran, Esperansa
-

Spanish and French

Love, Dayvon
-

African American Studies/ Debate

Lumumba, Loci Imani
-

Martial Arts


Maghirang, Ruby
-

7
th

and 8
th

Grade Math

Marcelino, Hazel
-

Algebra II/ Pre
-
Calculus

Oxenhandler, Julie
-

7th and 8
th

Grade Language Arts

Polson, Dana
-

Academic Dean

Pompey, Nikki
-

Office Manager

Rose, Carlos


Day Porter

Shaw, Ernest
-

Visual & Performing Arts Director

Smart, Dwayne
-

Special Educ
ation Coordinator

Stiver, Chrisine


Visual Arts


46

Tengella, Renee
-

6
th

and 7
th

Grade Math

Urquhart
-
Transou, Chris
-

Behavior Specialist

Watje, Jayla
-

Psychology/World History/American Government

Watkins, Pamela
-

Guidance Counselor

Whalen, Jennifer


Speci
al Educator

Winder, Dante


School Police Officer

Wilson
-

Shirley, Cynthia
-

Co
-
Director

Yahudah, Menes
-

West African Drum



Appendices


Yearly Syllabus Template

Unit Plan Template

Forms

Discipline

Repair/Technology Repair Request

Leave Request

Purchase
Request

Teacher
-
Leadership at BTN Schools: Roles, Responsibilities, and Protocols

New Teacher Induction at ConneXions

Attendance Reliability Document

BCPSS

Grading Policy

BCPSS

Marzano’s New Taxonomy: an Overview