The following information is intended to serve as a helpful guide for Birchwood families. If you are looking for additional information, we invite you to contact our main office.

Visiting Birchwood

We love having family members visit and volunteer at Birchwood School!  For the safety of our students, all visitors need to check in at the office upon entering school. We ask that you enter through the main office where you will be asked to sign into the visitor’s book and take a visitor’s badge. Please also remember to sign out as you leave.

In order to keep interruptions to the classrooms at a minimum, we ask that you leave snacks, lunches, lunch money, birthday treats, instruments, or other items forgotten at home in the office. We promise to deliver them in a timely manner.

Absences/Tardies

The school doors open at 7:45 am each morning. Announcements begin at 7:55 am. If your child arrives after 7:55 am, he/she will be marked tardy. The number of absences and times tardy will be documented on each of three report cards which are distributed in November, March and June.

When a child has reached an excessive number of days on which they have been tardy or absent, we will reach out to you to work as a team in an effort to improve the attendance.

If your child is going to miss school, please call the school at (518) 344-2910 and press three for the nurse’s office. Please leave a message stating your child’s homeroom teacher, the date and time and the reason for the absence.

Dropping off your children if he/she is not taking the bus in the morning

In order to drop off your child in the morning, enter the driveway, and drive through the parent drop off loop. Please do not drop off students before 7:40 am, as there is no supervision before that time. DO NOT drive into the bus loop during drop off. This is reserved for buses only!

Picking up your child during the school day

If a student is being picked up early for an appointment or by someone other than his/her parent, please send in a dated and signed note in the morning. In order to sign your child out during the school day, you will need to come into the office.

Bus dismissal

Most children use district transportation to and from school. Children in grades K and 1 are escorted to the buses at approximately 2:08 pm. Grades two to five are called by announcement following the 2:10 pm bell. Buses typically depart the school grounds between 2:15 pm and 2:20 pm.

Walkers

Children who live in the neighborhood of Birchwood School, and who do not need to cross any major roadways, are permitted to walk to and from school. These students must have a note signed by a parent designating which days of the week are days for walking. Walkers are dismissed after the buses leave the property.

Parent pick ups

Parents who pick up their child at dismissal should send a note indicating who will pick up the child. If a non-custodial adult is to pick up, that person must show ID. Please bear in mind, you yourself may be asked to show ID.  This is not meant to offend; we ask this only to ensure your child’s safety. If you did not send a note, we will need direct confirmation from you by telephone before we release your child to someone other than yourself.

To pick up your child, please come through the main entrance. A staff member will oversee the check out process of signing out your child in the front foyer.

Students will dismiss to the main office. Please do not pull your child from the line outside the building, as the teacher will ask that you proceed to the main office to meet your child there.

Students should be picked up from the main office at 2:10 pm.

Please note: Students who are picked up are not necessarily considered to be walkers, even if they walk home. “Walkers” are allowed to walk without the escort of a parent/adult.

Kids Time dismissal

The JCC’s Kids Time program is housed in the cafeteria. Kids Time students are called by announcement to the cafeteria a couple of minutes before the 2:10 pm dismissal bell.

Students Who Go to Daycare After School

When your child is not going to daycare either because of illness or he/she is visiting a friend, please remember to call the daycare and let them know so they don’t worry when your child doesn’t arrive with the other Birchwood students.

Bus Passes

Bus passes should be sent in whenever your child’s afternoon routine is going to change. As an example: your child is going to a friend’s house or going to an alternate location for the day. Bus passes are available from your child’s teacher or in the main office. When we receive a bus pass from your child, one copy stays in their classroom and the other copy is sent to the office. Your child will give a copy of the bus pass to the bus driver. Students will not be permitted on another bus without a bus pass or note. It is important that these arrangements are taken care of at the beginning of the school day.

Snack/Lunch

In every grade there is time for snack. Please remember to pack your child a healthy snack each day. Water bottles are also encouraged, especially in the warm months.

All students have between a twenty to twenty-five minute lunch, along with a similar recess period. Children may buy lunch or bring one from home. To prepay for lunches, send in a check made payable to “Birchwood Cafeteria”. Put the check in an envelope labeled “lunch money” along with your child’s name on it.  You can also prepay for lunches at www.myschoolbucks.com. Every child is assigned a code and one can simply key in the code to pay for lunch. If they forget their code, the cafeteria workers will look it up for them.  Cash is also accepted for individual lunch purchases.

Children may also buy “snack/dessert” at lunch. The cafeteria carries a line of snacks that are available to purchase after all lunches are sold. Students need to eat their lunch before a snack can be bought. Parents can limit snacks purchases by various criteria, including: no snack ever, no charging a snack, no snack without cash, no snack “drink,” and limited days of the week on which snack may be purchased. Contact our cafeteria manager for details on how to limit your child’s snacks.

For the most part, students sit with classmates by homerooms in the cafeteria. (Exceptions occur at the discretion of the cafeteria aides.)

Our school nurse works closely with classroom teachers and cafeteria supervisors with regard to students and snack. There is a “nut free” table for children who are allergic to nuts for each grade. Only students having lunch with no nuts or peanut butter will be able to sit at this table.

Playground Rules and Going Outside

At Birchwood, weather permitting, students go outside to play. We value the opportunity for students to get fresh air and physical activity during their recess break. Please remember to dress your children for the weather.  When it’s cold they must have hats, mittens and winter coats. If you have an additional pair of snow pants and boots available, your child can leave them at school during winter months. We encourage you to label all clothes with your child’s name.

There are some temperature guidelines, which help us to determine whether students stay in or go out for recess. If the temperature feels like it is below 15 degrees F, it is unlikely that students will go outside. It is important to remember that these are guidelines, not hard & fast rules. The principal makes the final determination.

During the first week of school, students are reminded of the rules for the playground. These rules are discussed with students by teachers, CAs and TAs. The rules are listed below.

Please use the equipment in a way that is safe to you and others!

Remember to:

  • Sit and only go down the slides.
  • Use the swings for swinging. Please don’t jump off of them.
  • Climb on the areas that are for climbing, not the outside of the ramps.
  • Balls and sports equipment should stay on the field and blacktop areas only.
  • Lacrosse balls, softballs, and baseballs should not be used at recess time.
  • Proper footwear is required on the playground.

Recess assistants frequently remind students of the rules during recess. A loss of playtime may result if a student is consistently not following the rules and/or being unsafe.

Birthdays

Birthdays are announced during the morning announcements by our fourth grade students. Students may come to the main office to receive birthday pencil. Summer birthdays are announced throughout the month of June.

Your child may bring in a special snack to share with the class on his/her birthday. Please check with your classroom teacher in case there are students with allergies or other food restrictions.

We discourage birthday invitations being distributed at school, unless the entire class is being invited. Birchwood Directory is available each fall, thanks to P.T.O. volunteers. The directory provides parents with the contact information of students. This should assist with setting up play dates and sending invitations from home.

Chorus

Chorus is offered to all fourth and fifth grade students, and is scheduled into the regular school day.

Orchestra and Band

Orchestra is offered to fourth and fifth grade students. Band is offered to fifth grade students. Lessons occur during the instructional day. It should be noted that children miss class for lessons.

What is A.S.E.P.?

A.S.E.P. is our After School Enrichment Program, organized and run by the P.T.O.  Two different sessions run during the school year – one in the fall, one in winter/spring. ASEP classes run from 2:15-3:00 pm. The fee for ASEP classes varies depending on the class for which your child enrolls. ASEP catalogs come home with students before each session. The catalog has descriptions of all classes, days of the week the classes are offered and registration information/fees.

PTO

We are very fortunate to have such a wonderful P.T.O.! The P.T.O. sponsors a variety of activities throughout the school year including A.S.E.P., listed above.  They will have a great deal of information available at the Back to School Night and there will be an opportunity to sign up to volunteer at P.T.O. events, to provide treats for classroom parties, as well as to sign up to be a member of P.T.O. and receive your Birchwood School Directory. P.T.O. meetings for the 2017-18 school year are listed in the online district calendar and in the online PTO-sponsored Backpacker that is sent every Thursday.