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What every parent needs to know

BY JOHN WHITLOCK

 

As the days continue to tick down to the start of the 2018-2019 school year, Fayette County School District Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk said communication and unity of purpose will help all students learn and grow.

In a statement to parents, Caulk said safety is one of the paramount concerns to the staff and faculty in the district.

back view of child with backpack“Before we can meet our mission of helping all students achieve at high levels, we must first ensure that our school campuses are safe places for all students to learn. Here in the Fayette County Public Schools, we are committed to building and maintaining the strong partnership with our students, families, staff and communities to reach our shared goal of keeping students safe,” Caulk said in the statement.

Caulk said preparing students for the future is always the goal.

“Academic and social success go hand in hand. Ensuring a safe and respectful learning environment and setting clear and high expectations for every student are critical first steps,” Caulk said in his statement.

To help students succeed, Caulk said the Fayette County Board of Education has streamlined the student code of conduct.

“Just as families set rules for their children at home and teachers set clear classroom expectations for student learning, the Board of Education has adopted a series of policies for student behavior. The purpose this Code of Conduct is to present district policies related to student behavior in a single, explicit document.”

A copy of the Fayette County School District’s code of conduct can be found at www.fcps.net.

“I encourage every family to read through and discuss the Code of Conduct. Students should be aware of the specific rules contained in the document, and should also understand their rights and responsibilities in matters of student conduct.”

 

Here is an overview of the rules and regulations for students and parents of the Fayette County School District:

Enrollment and registration

To sign up a new, first-time student for the 2018-19 school year, families may begin the process online at www.fcps.net. A parent or guardian may also go straight to the school their neighborhood is assigned to and fill out a registration packet. To determine your child’s school, which is based on home address, use the SchoolSite Locator tool at www.fcps.net.

Registration for Fayette County schools will be July 24 – Aug. 15 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays.

Classes begin Aug. 15.

 

Parents and guardians are asked to bring the following to registration:

  • Child’s birth certificate or other reliable proof of identity.  Among the acceptable alternatives are adoption records; a valid passport or other federal government identification like a Social Security card; a military identification or immigration card; a valid Kentucky driver’s license or permit; prior school records identifying student by name and date of birth; or providing a statement that reads  “At this time, I am unable to provide the school with one of the acceptable forms of proof listed above. I understand that this constitutes written notice that Kentucky state law requires that I provide the certified birth certificate or one of the above-listed items to the school within 30 days of student enrollment.”

You can get a birth-certificate application from the assigned school or from the Fayette County Health Department, 650 Newtown Pike or by calling 859.252.2371.

  • Two proofs of residence, such as a property deed or current lease agreement in your name and a secondary document such as a current utility bill or a current tax bill or receipt
  • Proof of child’s recent preventative health care exam. You may register without these two documents, but your child may not attend school until they are on file with FCPS.
  • Up-to-date Kentucky immunization certificate.
  • Proof of an eye exam (due by Jan. 1)
  • Proof of a dental exam (due by Jan. 1)
  • Court documents pertaining to your child, if applicable.

To attend Fayette County public schools, parents or guardians must provide proof of certain health requirements including examinations, immunizations, and forms for students entering the district. Those requirements include:

  • A current Kentucky immunization certificate.
  • A physical examination completed within one year prior to or 30 days after entering school.
  • A Kentucky eye examination completed by a licensed ophthalmologist or optometrist by Jan. 1 of the academic year of enrollment.
  • A Kentucky dental examination completed by a licensed dentist or dental hygienist. This is required for all 5- or 6-year-olds enrolled in public school.

 

Kindergarten

Under state regulations, any child who turns 5 years old on or before Aug. 1 is eligible for enrollment in full-day kindergarten.

Kindergarten focuses on early-learning and engaging activities as young students are being prepared to continue their education.

Students and their guardians can begin the kindergarten registration at www.fcps.net/register. For questions or additional about enrollment, call 859.381.4130.

The birthday cutoff for enrolling in kindergarten is age 5 on or before Aug. 1. Also, families may apply for preschool if their child turns 4 on or before Aug. 1 and is income-eligible. Three- and 4-year-olds who have a special need may also apply for preschool in the Fayette County program.

 

Attending a school out of your neighborhood

In some instances, students are permitted to attend a different school than the one they would normally be assigned.  Although not every school open to out-of-area requests because of class-size limitations, parents and guardians may apply for a child to attend an eligible school. The criteria for applying is limited and because of class and school size concerns, students are encouraged to attend their assigned schools.

To determine where a student would be assigned, go to www.fcps.net and check out the the School Site Locator tool.

The out-of-area online application for the following school year is available after spring break. Requests for changes in placement are usually reviewed in June and July, but might come later for schools with high student enrollment.

District rules on moving from assigned school:

  • Students in grades 6 through 12 who attend a school other than the assigned school determined by home address will not be eligible for any interscholastic sports for 36 school weeks following approval unless eligible for a senior waiver.
  • The student’s parent or guardian will be responsible for transportation to and from school.
  • The student is expected to demonstrate acceptable behavior, make academic progress, and be in regular attendance.

For more information, go to www.fcps.net/outofarea

 

Home schooling policies

Parents or guardians who wish to home-school a student must notify the Fayette County School District superintendent in writing that  a home school has been established for the student. The statement must include the names, ages, and place of residence of each child being home-schooled.

Home-school requirements:

In Kentucky, the school term is no fewer than 170 six-hour instructional days a year. A pupil personnel representative from the Fayette County school district periodically may visit a home school to ensure that quality instruction requirements are met. For additional information, got to the Kentucky Department of Education website at www.education.ky.gov or call 502.564.3791.

Rights of the parent:

Under the Commonwealth of Kentucky Constitution, parents have the right to choose the formal education for the child including the home-schooling of their child.

If home-schooling is chosen, the parent or guardian takes complete responsibility for educating the child. The parent/guardian selects the curriculum and educational materials.  There is no state financial assistance for families who choose this option.

For details on Kentucky laws regarding homeschools, go to the Kentucky Homeschool Information Packet  at www.education.ky.gov.

 

Records

All home schools are to keep attendance records and a portfolio containing samples of each student’s best work. This record may be used to document the existence of the home school or if the child transfers to a different educational setting. A record of courses taken and grades received is also required. The home-school supervisor  must keep a legal birth certificate or other official proof of birth date, a Kentucky certificate of immunization, and a copy of a medical exam on file for each child.

For details on Kentucky laws regarding homeschools please refer to the Kentucky Homeschool Information Packet.

 

Fayette County attendance policies

Fayette County Public Schools students are required to attend regularly and punctually the school in which they are enrolled. Holidays and other non-attendance days are noted in the FCPS instructional calendar.

Unexcused absence

Any student absences except those with permissible excuses are unexcused absences. Make-up work may be permitted for a student with an unexcused absence if the principal, after consultation with the teacher, approves the make-up work. For a student with an unexcused absence due to a suspension, work shall be given appropriate credit.

Excused absence

An excused absence or tardiness is one for which work may be made up, such as:

  • Death or severe illness in the student’s immediate family.
  • Illness of the student.
  • Religious holidays and practices approved in advance with the principal.
  • Medical and dental appointments (with times and dates verified by the physician’s signed statement).
  • Family emergencies requiring immediate attention (limited)
  • One day for attendance at the Kentucky State Fair, per state law.
  • Three visits to colleges or universities approved in advance by the principal; documentation required.
  • Court appearance requiring the student’s attendance.
  • Departure or return of parent/guardian on military duty or visit to parent/guardian on leave.
  • Up to 10 school days to pursue an educational enhancement opportunity, preapproved by the director of Pupil Personnel.

Other valid reasons will be determined by the principal.

Please contact your school for an “Educational Enhancement Opportunity” form.

Tardiness

If a student arrives after the designated school start time or leaves before the end of the instructional day, they are considered. A parent , authorized adult or guardian must check students in or out of school. Late arrivals or early dismissals will be counted as an absence or tardy according to the arrival/departure time.

Truancy

A student who has been absent from school without valid excuse for three days or more, or tardy without valid excuse on three days or more, is considered truant.

 

This article also appears on page 13 of the August 2018 print edition of Hamburg Journal. 

For special events and dates happening in August, check out HJ’s kids calendar.

For more Lexington, KY, Hamburg area news, subscribe to the Hamburg Journal weekly digital newsletter.

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