Welcome to our Web-enabled Family Handbook. Parents and students are responsible for reviewing this document before attending St. Thomas More Catholic School. By registering a student, you are stating your agreement with all points within this document. Any changes during the year will be communicated to all families through primary contact information, and those changes will appear on the Revision History page. Before the first day of school, all families must review this information thoroughly and submit the electronic Handbook Agreement above.
St. Thomas More Catholic School is an integral part of the Catholic Community of St. Thomas More. We are first and foremost a Catholic school, embedding prayer, liturgy, catechesis and service into our regular programming. We maintain conformity to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Raleigh and its prescribed curriculum and, further, to all state requirements through the department of non-public instruction. We are fully accredited through AdvanceED.
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Schools in the Diocese of Raleigh, mindful of their primary mission as effective instruments of the educational ministry of the Church and witnesses to the love of Christ for all persons, shall not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, national or ethnic origin in the administration of educational policies, admission policies, scholarship programs, and other school administered programs. All information and relevant procedures regarding admission to St. Thomas More Catholic School can be found HERE. St. Thomas More Catholic School's admissions process is totally separate from any consideration of tuition or affordability. Therefore, applications for financial assistance will be done after a student is admitted to the school.
Current students’ families will be prompted to re-enroll each year beginning in February, but all admissions and financial assistance processes can be initiated and administered year-round.
St. Thomas More offers its students an excellent curriculum based on the Diocesan Curriculum Guides, the Standard Course of Study of the State of North Carolina, and the Common Core State Standards. For more information and detailed documents showing objectives and standards, go to www.http://dioceseofraleigh.org/offices/catholic-schools/curriculum
Major courses of study in grades K-5 include religion, English language arts, science, math and social studies. Special subjects are taught in physical education, technology, library, music, art and Spanish.
The Three-Year-Old Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten classes at St. Thomas More Catholic School are fully compliant with the guidelines established by the Diocese of Raleigh Early Childhood Curriculum: Scope and Sequence (2008) http://dioceseofraleigh.org/sites/default/files/files/PreKCurriculum.pdf and the Foundations Early Learning Standards for North Carolina Preschoolers http://www.earlylearning.nc.gov/PreKindergarten/preKIndex.asp . Our students also enjoy Religion, Music, Physical Education, Library and Art classes.
Major courses of study in grades 6-8 include religion, math, English language arts, social studies, science, and Spanish.
Math Placement - Each year, achievement data from standardized testing, teacher-made assessments along with observations from the classroom are used to determine student placement in math. At all times there is thoughtful consideration and flexibility exercised by the teachers and administration to ensure that each student is placed at the level where they will be appropriately challenged and able to achieve independent success. The math courses offered at each grade level are listed below.
6th grade: Common Core 6
7th grade: Common Core 7 or Common Core 7/8 (a compacted, accelerated course)
8th grade: Common Core 8 or Common Core I (a high school level course)
Middle school electives - In addition to their core courses, middle school students will select electives each semester. Electives meet two times per week and change either quarterly or by semester. Students are asked to complete specific “required electives” by the end of their middle school years which include one quarter each of art and music. Students will also be required to choose one physically active elective each year. An elective list will be distributed to families to assist in student choice. Parents are required to sign-off on student choices. Some electives, noted on the selection sheet, require a nominal fee to cover extraordinary costs of materials or learning experiences. These fees are billed through your FACTS tuition payment account and will appear as “incidental billing”.
Students will be place in electives in the following order:
8th graders according to the date the signed selection sheet was turned in
7th graders according to the date the signed selection sheet was turned in
6th graders according to the date the signed selection sheet was turned in
**selection sheets received after the due date will be processed regardless of grade in order of the date they come in.
Teachers will instruct students and parent volunteers on the safe use of playground equipment. Teachers and parent volunteers will supervise students on the playground. The playground is not open after school to children who are not enrolled in the After School Care Program.
State Law requires that fire drills be held monthly. In the event of a drill or actual fire, an alarm will sound.
WHAT WE TEACH STUDENTS
these phrases have been posted in all rooms and are taught to students.
St. Thomas More Catholic School maintains an emergency planning committee to continually update and review our crisis plan and emergency response procedures. Mr. Charles Hatcher is our security director and can be contacted with questions about school safety and protocol.
St. Thomas More Catholic School maintains a safe environment for students. The school has implemented the policies of the Diocese of Raleigh in accordance with the US Conference of Bishops Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People (http://dioceseofraleigh.org/sites/default/files/files/policies_procedures2010(1).pdf).
The guidelines include:
Any adult who becomes aware of a student they suspect has been hurt or abused by school or church personnel, or a volunteer has the responsibility to report the incident immediately and directly to the Principal or Pastor. All allegations of abuse should be made in writing and will be reported to civil authorities. In addition, the Bishop has established an office to investigate allegations openly and the Principal and Pastor will follow these guidelines.
In addition, the resources from the Diocese of Raleigh guide our anti-bullying protocol. http://dioceseofraleigh.org/offices/child-and-youth-protection/resources-for-families-schools-parishes
The linked page will give instructions on our health and medical support as well as counselling contacts. Important medical and emergency forms are also linked there. THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT SECTION OF THE HANDBOOK THAT ALL PARENTS/GUARDIANS MUST READ CAREFULLY.
Our teachers all have email accounts and many maintain other channels of communications as per individual arrangements with their students’ families. As partners in the education of your child, open and frequent communication is welcome and necessary. The links below cover all contact information you will need, how the school will communicate with you, and the proper protocols for contacting the school for different reasons.
Closings/Cancellations/Delays of School
School closing decisions are made with the approval of the Pastor.
Before 10pm, or no later than 6am, the AlertNow system will be used to announce schedule changes.
Once closing or delay decisions are made, the following media outlets will carry schedule changes for STM: WCHL (1360) Radio, WTVD News Channel 11, News 14 Carolina, WRAL News Channel 5
If there is a one or two hour delay due to weather, preschool children should be dropped off at the designated time and proceed directly to their classrooms. If there is a 3 hour delay, preschool will not be held that day.
Pickup and Dropoff
EVERY THING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT DROPPING OFF AND PICKING UP IS LINKED HERE. ANY ADULT THAT WILL BE PICKING UP YOUR CHILD(REN) MUST REVIEW THESE INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE COMING TO THE SCHOOL.
Altered Day Length
Occasionally throughout the school year there will be days that we will dismiss students 2 hours earlier than usual to allow the faculty and staff to engage in staff development, parent-teacher conferences and other school improvements. Dismissal on these days is at 12:45. Check the school calendar for the exact dates. Occasionally, the planned start for the day is 2 hours later than usual. Arrival on these days will be at 9:55. Check the school calendar for the exact dates.
In case of absence, parents/guardians must email the student’s teacher or call the school office by 8:30 am and provide the following information: name, student’s name, homeroom, and reason for absence. It also helps to email the teacher so that your child(ren) can be included in prayer intentions that day. Homework assignments, requested by 8:30 a.m., will be available for pick-up in the school office by 2:50 pm each day. Students are expected to attend classes every day unless sickness or family emergencies arise which make an absence necessary. The St. Thomas More Catholic School Administration reserves the right to re-evaluate a student’s eligibility for re-enrollment or promotion if absences exceed a total of 30 days during the school year.
Parents and students assume the responsibility for any work that is missed due to vacations or other personal absences. Teachers are not required to provide homework in advance for families going on trips during the regular school year. Students have one day, per day of absence, to complete and turn in assignments or make up quizzes. This policy applies to students who return from illness/family emergency/ vacation/or other personal absences.
The school day begins at 7:55 a.m. Students who arrive after 7:55 are tardy and must be walked into school by a parent. Parents should use the check-in computer in either of the school offices. The student can then walk to their classroom. Parents will be asked to meet with school administration if chronic tardiness is a problem.
Appointments are discouraged during school hours. When a student needs to leave early, written permission from the parent/guardian is required which should state the exact time the student is leaving and who is picking up the student. The request should be given to the office and/or the child’s homeroom teacher. The authorized adult should report to the office to sign the student out of school. The student will be called to the office to meet the adult.
Supplies and Materials
Books and Supplies
Part of each family's tuition amount covers school supplies, which are bought by the school in bulk and given to the students so that there is uniformity for organizational reasons. A backpack will need to be supplied by each family. Students who don’t purchase lunches should bring a sealable lunch container for using during lunch. All textbooks are supplied by the school. Once students have received their supplies, they are responsible for taking care of them. Any damage or loss will require families to promptly replenish needed supplies.
If there are specific classroom requirements or needs, for example a graphing calculator for middle school math class, those will be communicated through the classroom teacher at the start of the year.
Electronic readers (Nook, Kindle, I-Pad…) are able to be brought to school and used during the academic day for reading or other teacher-sanctioned academic functions. These are not mandatory. The school holds no replacement or repair responsibility for electronic devices that children choose to bring to school.
All devices brought from home are done so with the understanding that they are the sole responsibility of the student and that internet access is not available to outside devices until 3:30 each day. It is also understood that parents will bear full responsibility for any activities that their children engage in if they use cellular access with a wireless device without the expressed permission of their teacher.
During the course of the school year, students will have supervised access to the Internet. The Internet will be used to fulfill education objectives and/or for research related to coursework. Any use of the Internet that violates the spirit of Catholic ethics or school rules will result in disciplinary action.
The Acceptable Use Policy should be read and discussed by parents and their children.
The teacher will make the final decision on whether a child has intentionally entered an inappropriate web site. Parents are encouraged to monitor home use of the Internet, email, instant messaging, social network sites, and virtual reality sites. Children should be taught that the values expected of them in the “real world” are the same values that they are to live by in cyberspace.
Any student who uses the St. Thomas More School name or the names of students on the Internet in a manner that violates the school rules or principles of Catholic ethics will be subject to disciplinary action. Under no circumstances will a student use another student’s first and last name on the Internet.
St. Thomas More Catholic School recognizes that some families purchase rolling backpacks to use for school. We have made significant changes in how many books we require students to take home to “lighten” their load. If your student must use a rolling backpack, please understand that all backpacks must be carried once they are in the building. We do not have enough hallway space to accommodate students with trailing backpacks through the classrooms and hallways. ALL BACKPACKS MUST BE CLEARLY MARKED WITH THE STUDENT’S NAME.
Lost , found and forgotten
All personal and clothing items should be labeled with the student’s name. Found items that are labeled will be returned to the student. Items found that are not labeled will be placed in the Lost and Found bin which is in STM Hall in the elementary building and in the stairwell closest to the office in the middle school. On the 15th of each month, the contents of the Lost and Found bin will be given to a local charity. If a student forgets an item at home it should be left in the office and will be delivered to the classroom to avoid unnecessary interruption.
Toys from Home and “Loveys”: Please do not bring toys from home. There will be times throughout the year for the children to bring in objects to share that enhance our themes. During the first few weeks of school, it is fine for a child in the 3-year-old classroom to bring a special “lovey” from home (small stuffed animal, blanket, etc) if it will help his/her sense of security and make the transition easier. These special items should be small enough to fit in a cubby or backpack when not needed during the day. Parents are encouraged to leave the special “loveys” in the car or at home when your child does not seem to need them anymore. Sometimes a child can become more anxious or fear that someone may take away or play with his/her special item.
Middle School Considerations
6th-8th grade students will use their locker to keep their materials organized and ready to retrieve for each class. Students will unpack their backpack completely each morning. Locker decorations are limited to one magnet to hold a copy of their schedule and one/two shelves, which is necessary for all materials to fit. Locker shelves can be purchased at Target, Walmart or the like. Students will discover that after a couple of weeks in the routine, they will find a personal locker access schedule that works best for them. Some students find that getting the materials for each of their pre-lunch classes all at once works best, while others choose to access their locker more often. Part of middle school is discovering what works for themselves. The faculty are well aware that this is the first time the 6th grade students have used lockers and will allow plenty of time for students to get used to this new experience.
Sports Equipment - Large sports bags and golf clubs may be stored in the locker room in the school gym. This most typically applies to baseball, golf and lacrosse. Equipment may be left in the gym during arrival at school by dropping students off at the lower school building. If athletes have practice or a game away from campus, for which they will be traveling, students may wish to consider leaving it in their cars until they are picked up.
Cell phones & electronics - Middle school students may have a cell phone or music device for use after school. During school hours, all students must power off their cell phones and music so that there is no distraction from our primary purpose of education. Phones and other devices must be stored in either their locker or backpack. Students who disregard this policy and are found using their phones or other devices during the instructional day will have it taken away. Parents will be required to come to the office to pick up the device and students will lose the privilege of bringing it to school for one week after the first offense. If you need to contact a middle school student during the school day, please use the main office phone number. Under no circumstance should a parent tempt a student to use their cell phone during the school day by texting or calling them. We are able to locate students to give them a message or call them to the phone if necessary.
Library and media services are designed to support, complement, and enhance the religious philosophy, educational philosophy, goals and objectives of St. Thomas More Catholic School. Students in Kindergarten through 8th grade may check out books for one week at a time and may visit the library at any time allowed by the teacher. Overdue notices will be given out quarterly and an email will be sent to parents if the book is not returned within one week of the notice.
Lunch and Food at School
Information about our lunch program can be found on our school website in the Parents & Students tab. Contact our Lunch Coordinator, Melanie Ubil, should you have any questions.
Forgotten Lunches should be dropped off in the kitchen of STM Hall. Be sure all items are labeled with your child’s name. The school will provide a pb&j, sunchips, and applesauce to children who come to the kitchen stating they have forgotten lunch. When lunch is provided for a child, the cost will be $5.00, which will be added to the online account balance, and an email confirmation will be sent to the family.
Food Allergy Considerations
There is a table in the cafeteria that is designated for students with severe food allergies. Its surface is covered with a new plastic tablecloth daily and all children who request to sit there are educated by teachers as to the food precautions that must be taken at that table.
NO LOOSE CONTAINERS WITH NUTS ARE ALLOWED IN LUNCHES OR CLASSROOMS. The nut dust in those packages can provoke a severe allergic reaction in some of our students, even from a distance. If there is a student with a severe, life-threatening allergy to a food item in your child’s classroom, your teacher will inform you of that so that you can follow specific precautions.
This year, there is a severe nut allergy in the middle school that requires extra precautions. Therefore, please refrain from bringing ANY nut products into classrooms or to any events/activities/field trips where middle school students would interact informally. A nut-product free table is provided during middle school lunches. Children in the middle school are instructed to be extra vigilant with hand-washing and other hygiene practices after eating or handling food dut to a uniquely high sensitivity to nut residues.
Occasionally we will have special celebrations , such as birthdays and holidays. In the middle school, these are celebrated during advisory time in the morning or afternoon. ALWAYS coordinate any plan to bring in food with the supervising teacher.
Homework is assigned to reinforce concepts and skills that are taught in class. It is also valuable for learning self-discipline, personal responsibility, and time management. Homework will be assigned at the discretion of each teacher. In general, students should expect 10 minutes of nightly homework, plus 10 minutes per grade level.
1st grade = 20 minutes
2nd grade = 30 minutes
7th grade = 80 minutes
8th grade = 90 minutes
Extra time may be required for special projects.
Students should be able to complete homework independently. Additional reading is encouraged and vital to reading skills. Teachers will inform students and families of policies specific to their classrooms. School policies for all grades include the following:
Teachers are not required to provide advance work for upcoming, known absences. Students have one day, per day of absence to complete and turn in assignments once they have returned to school. If possible, students should keep up with their assignments via the Renweb Portal.
Special considerations for Middle School students
All assigned homework can be found via your family page on the RenWeb Portal. All assignments are due on the assigned due date. If a student chooses not to complete their homework and bring it to class, they will have the opportunity to complete the assignment the following evening. 10 points will be deducted for each day the assignment is not turned in after the due date. Assignments will not be accepted, for full credit, after the due date unless extenuating circumstances exist and have been approved by the classroom teacher.
Our students take field trips that are designed to coincide with teaching units and to enhance curriculum objectives. The goal is to provide students with an experience that cannot occur in the regular classroom setting. As such, field trips are a mandatory part of school programming and are not optional, unless otherwise stated. Faculty will sometimes add additional field trips to reach this goal as opportunities become available. Please submit ideas and/or suggestions for field experiences to teachers and the administration; great experiences are always welcome.
St. Thomas More Catholic School does not arrange transportation for any off campus activities such as field trips, clubs and athletics. In some cases, parents have the responsibility of coordinating carpools and transportation with guidance from teachers and coaches. When driving on a field trip, it is important to adhere to the schedule as directed by the teacher and not to make any other stops. Siblings are not to be brought on field trips as this distracts the parent chaperone from properly monitoring the children in their charge.
Fees associated with field trips will be billed via your FACTS account and will appear as incidental billing. Unless otherwise stated, field trips are an integral and mandatory part of the school program and are not optional. NO FAMILY WILL BE DENIED A FIELD TRIP DUE TO PERSONAL FINANCIAL ISSUES. Please contact the office if you are not able to pay for a field trip experience.
Any student involved in inappropriate behavior while on a field trip risks losing future field trip privileges. Students are held to the same behavioral expectations and consequences as if they are in the building.
At dismissal, students who have been enrolled in Aftercare report to the STM Hall to the adults supervising those children in academics, art, sports, and other activities. It is a rich, recreational and social environment. Learn more about this additional opportunity at the Aftercare Page.
St. Thomas More School has established a uniform policy to identify us as a community, focus our attention on the inner qualities of students, and to contribute to a climate of discipline and modesty. There is a daily uniform as well as a PE uniform that is to be worn for the whole school day on the day of the week that a student’s PE class is scheduled. If students arrive at school out of uniform, they will remain in the office area until their parents can bring them their uniform clothing. This is disruptive to both parents and the student’s education, so please ‘proofread’ your student before they leave for school.
Lands' End is the only approved retail option for St. Thomas More Catholic School uniforms and can be accessed via their website at www.landsend.com. Five percent of all uniform sales at Lands' End return to the school to fund faculty development and continuing education.
Uniform Guidelines (see additional guidelines for PreSchool and Middle School below)
Students who are out of uniform or inappropriately dressed down will have to change into clothes borrowed from the uniform resale bins. If appropriate sizes or pieces are not available, the parents will be notified to bring the appropriate clothing to school.
Students wearing make-up, nail polish, inappropriate jewelry, etc. will be required to remove the violations. If jewelry is involved, the items will be held in the school office until the end of the school day when a parent/guardian may pick up the item. Any student will lose the privilege of participating in Dress Down Days for repeated violations of the uniform dress code.
Dollar-Dress-Down Days (DDD)
On announced days, students will participate in Dress-down Days. Dress-down Days are sponsored by the STM Student Council and students wishing to participate must bring $1 to school on the morning of the dress down day in order to support the Student Council’s efforts to improve our school. Dress-down days are a privilege that gives students the opportunity to wear clothing of their choice for the school day. Choices that students make about their own clothing should reflect modesty and follow the rules outlined below.
Clothing deemed inappropriate for dress-down days includes:
If a Dress-down Day falls on a PE day, athletic shoes must be worn.
Additional Guidelines for PreSchool Students
PreSchool students do not have a prescribed school uniform. Please accept the following guidance:
Change of Clothes: Accidents and spills do happen and we would like to be prepared in order to keep your child feeling dry and comfortable. Please send in a full change of clothes (shirt, pants, socks, underwear) that will be kept in the classroom. Place the clothing in a Ziplock bag that is clearly labeled with your child’s name. Also be sure to label each article of clothing as well. These clothes will be returned home as needed for seasonal updating.
Additional Guidelines for Middle School Students
Support and Enrichment
Saint Thomas More is committed to ensuring that all admitted students succeed. A brief beginning of the year diagnostic test provides teachers with an overall picture of student abilities in core subjects. Differentiated classroom instruction allows additional support or enrichment to reach each child.
In the event that a learning style difference is identified through a psychological-educational evaluation by a licensed psychologist, STM will make all reasonable accommodations for the student. Student Services teachers will work with classroom teachers to provide appropriate instructional methods in the classroom setting. Students who require specialized instruction individually or in small groups may leave the classroom for a short period of time and work with a resource teacher.
In addition to the student services provided at STM, the school maintains professional working relationships with, and makes referrals to, a number of psychologists and psychological services in the area. Assessment and speech services offered by the Chapel Hill-Carrboro School System are available free of charge.
The STM administrators and admissions team will collaborate with the parents/guardians of the students with identified special needs. St. Thomas More is unable to provide services for students for whom English is a second language, students who require an aid to remain with them throughout the day (unless agreed upon and provided by the family) or students who require specialized instruction beyond 45 minutes per day in a resource classroom setting. If STM is unable to provide adequate services for a student, we will inform the family and make every effort to assist the family in transitioning to another educational setting.
Accessing Educational Services
Parents of students at Saint Thomas More who have received an educational evaluation that indicates a need for student services should contact Kathy Sullivan, Director of Student Services. A meeting time will be scheduled to review the evaluation and discuss appropriate accommodations and modifications for the student’s instruction.
Students who do not have an educational evaluation on file, but who are having difficulty with the curriculum may be referred to the Student Assistance Team by a parent, teacher or other faculty member. The Student Assistance Team (SAT) is comprised of the parents, student services coordinator, teacher and administration. The SAT will review the student’s records, and gather information useful in developing a plan of support for the student. The plan will be put in writing and carefully followed in the regular classroom for approximately six weeks. At the end of six weeks, the SAT will convene to discuss one of the following options: the success of the plan, the need to make changes to the plan or the need for further evaluation.
Educational evaluations, should this become necessary, are available through Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools after the above described SAT process has been completed. An educational evaluation completed through a private practice does not require the SAT process.
Saint Thomas More Catholic School believes that high performing students need enhanced rigor, complexity, and depth in what they learn. These students benefit from engagement with intellectually challenging materials, topics, and concepts. Students will work independently or in enthusiastic collaboration with their peers.
The goal of the STM Enrichment Program is to provide options for self-motivated learners as an extension of grade level curriculum. This environment nurtures creative reasoning, problem solving, and non-traditional thinking and learning. The Enrichment teacher supports, facilitates, or enhances students’ knowledge, skills, or habits.
Eligibility for consideration as a participant in this program will consist of both academic qualification and teacher recommendation as follows:
The enrichment teacher may work both in the classroom (push-in) and/or in small groups outside the classroom (pull-out). Students are eligible for attendance (approx. one period per week) by semester or by a full school year. The enrichment teacher will not assign homework. Students will not be graded or formally assessed but will gain skills in various curriculum based concepts.
The classroom teacher will keep enrichment students updated and current with any regular classroom instruction or missed assignment which may require attention while attending Enrichment.
Students and their parents will be notified of student selection for the STM Enrichment Program following completion of testing in early October. The STM Enrichment Program is available for students in grades 1-5. Students will be selected initially based upon data and teacher recommendation requirements from the student’s previous school year and updated by semester as additional data or recommendation becomes available.
Questions concerning this program should be addressed to:
Saint Thomas More will make every effort to provide an appropriate education to every child. Learn more about services available at St. Thomas More Catholic School at the Student Services page.
Academic Support in the Middle School
Students with diagnosed learning differences will be able to utilize accommodations that have been deemed necessary for them to fully access their education. Student Accommodation Plans for middle school students are documented by Brittany Browning, resource teacher for the middle school, and carried out by all faculty members who work with the students. Parents may contact Brittany Browning at any time to set up an appointment to discuss student needs.
Faculty members are available to assist students with difficulties in particular subject areas. Teachers are available, by appointment and according to their schedule, in the morning beginning at 7:30, during recess and afterschool until 3:15 on days when they do not have meetings. The goal is for students to recognize their struggle, advocate for themselves and make contact with their teachers to gain assistance. Until students achieve this goal, parent emails to the subject-area teacher are welcome.
A student whose academic performance indicates serious decline, and is not attributed to a learning difference, will meet with teachers and their family to develop a plan to improve, which will include efforts both at home and at school. At the end of the two-four week plan period, the student’s academic progress will be assessed. A student whose grade average is in the below average (D) or failing (F) ranges will not be allowed to participate in any sport, extra-curricular activity or academic competition until the grade has improved to a C average. Exceptions to this policy will be decided by school administration. Please visit the sports webpage on our school website for more specific information.
Parent referrals for academic or other concerns
Social, academic or other concerns should first be discussed with your child’s teacher. In addition to the twice yearly scheduled parent-teacher conferences you may contact any teacher through the school email system or via a note sent with your child. Teachers will respond within 24 hours to discuss the concern or set up a meeting time.
School staff resources available to both teachers and parents include the school counselor, the school nurse, resource/enrichment teachers, the director of student services, and the administration. Additionally both principals are available by appointment to discuss any concerns that have not been otherwise resolved by the above steps.
Assessment, Grading, Reporting and Records
PreSchool progress reports
We consistently assess the students in our care. Assessment data using the guidelines and tools from the Diocese is presented to parents in the form of:
In addition, we give parents "informal" updates and feedback on their children's strengths and ways to develop lesser established skills.
The grading scale in Kindergarten through third grade assesses the student’s ability to perform certain skills. It is an expression of the current state of a student, not a longitudinal history or a prediction of future results. Students will receive the following codes for different skills:
Consistently Exceeds Expectations (EE) – The student consistently exceeds expectations on standards as demonstrated by a body of evidence that shows depth of understanding and flexible application of those skills/concepts.
Meets Expectations (ME) – The student consistently meets expectations on standards as demonstrated by a body of evidence that shows independent understanding and application of grade-level concepts.
Approaching Expectations (AE) – The student performs just below what would be expected on standards as demonstrated by a body of evidence that shows incomplete/inconsistent understanding and application of grade level concepts. Positive progress is evident.
Does Not Meet Expectations (DE) – The student performs far below expectations on standards as demonstrated by a body of evidence that shows limited understanding and application of grade-level concepts.
If an ‘X’ is marked next to a skill, that means that the teacher had drawn attention to that learning area, and the parent will coordinate a plan with the teacher to build and reinforce that skill/concept.”
Students in grades 4 through 8 receive letter grades for assignments, quizzes/tests, social growth and work habits in core courses (Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Religion and Spanish). Letter grades will be earned as follows:
Letter Grade Point Scale
A 100 – 90
B 89 – 80
C 79 – 70
D 69 – 60
F 59 or below
Middle School elective grading and other considerations
Elective teachers will assign participation/conduct grades in each elective course.
Additionally, each middle school core class has weighted percentages assigned to varying types of tasks. Teachers will communicate these weights to students and they are available for viewing via the RenWeb parent portal once school begins.
Access to Student Grades
Each year, families and students in grades 4 through 8 receive a username and password that allows them to login to the Renweb database, via a school website link called “RenWeb Parent Portal.” Grades are updated weekly on Renweb.
Parents are encouraged to be involved in their child’s education and to establish communication with their child’s teachers. Formal conferences are held twice yearly, during the first and third quarters. Parents are required to meet with their child’s teacher during the 1st quarter conference. 3rd quarter conferences are optional and may be scheduled at the discretion of the teacher or by parent request.
Conference requests at other times of the year may be made by parents via email or a note to the teacher sent with their child. The teacher will contact the parent within 24 hours to discuss the concern or set a meeting time.
Please avoid using the car-line at dismissal to discuss specific concerns about your child. Please send a note/email, or phone call to set up a time to talk.
Assessments and testing
IOWA Testing: The IOWA Test of Basic Skills is administered in grades 3 through 8 each fall. The Cognitive Abilities Test is also given to students in the 5th grade as part of the IOWA testing. The results of these tests are used by faculty for instructional planning. They are kept in the students’ academic record, and shared with the family.
Gesell - Students entering Kindergarten are assessed using the Gesell Developmental Observation tool for direct observation of a child’s growth and development, as well as some measures of achievement.
Aimsweb is a probe and progress monitoring tool used in grades K-5. Students are assessed three times per year in reading and math. For the purpose of measuring incremental growth, our school employs a variety of tools and assessments in order to inform our instruction and differentiation.
Math Test: NC State-mandated End-of-Course exams will be taken at the end of the year for students in the high school level math course, Common Core I. This affords our students the records necessary for use in their math placement in high school. Cardinal Gibbons Catholic High School does not require these scores in order to place students in the next, natural math level in their freshman year.
Middle School Mid-term and final exams:
Each year, dates for mid-term and final exams are available on the school calendar.
6th Grade: students in 6th grade will have a final exam during the last week of school in their core courses, but do not take mid-terms.
7th and 8th Grades: students in 7th and 8th grades will have a midterm exam at the end of the 2nd quarter and a final exam during the last days of school in each of their core courses
Classroom tests and quizzes are scheduled by individual teachers. For grades 4-8, dates are posted on RenWeb so that students can plan their study time. Teachers communicate with one another each week so that a developmentally appropriate number of tests and projects can be scheduled without overwhelming the students’ capacity. No student will have more than two tests, quizzes or projects due on any one day.
Progress for students in grades 1 – 5 can be viewed online via the Renweb portal. Kindergarten students receive four reports; progress reports November and March, and report cards in January and June.
Report cards for grades 1 through 5 are posted on Renweb four times a year and are available to view shortly after each quarter concludes. A paper report card will be mailed home for grades 1 through 5 each quarter and for all grade levels at the end of the year.
Progress for students in grades 6 – 8 can be viewed online at any time via the RenWeb portal.
Grades 6 through 8 report cards are posted on Renweb four times a year and are available to view once grades have been posted shortly after the quarter concludes. A hard-copy of the final report card will be mailed home for all students at the end of the year.
A permanent record is kept on file with St. Thomas More Catholic School indefinitely of every attending student. This confidential file contains end of year grades and promotion information. All other records are only active for one calendar year.
When a student transfers from St. Thomas More Catholic School, including matriculation into high school, a written request to share those records must be presented to the school office. A copy of the student’s records are then mailed to the new school. Please contact Mrs. Beth Ferrel with questions.
Under the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Raleigh, the St. Thomas More Catholic School is at liberty to make reasonable rules for governing the conduct of member students and their guests in support of the school’s mission statement. All students are considered to be under the jurisdiction of these rules while on the school premises or while participating at any school-related activity. In some instances, student behavior and activity outside of school may be covered by this code of conduct.
All individuals in the St. Thomas More Community are called to be Christ-like and conduct themselves according to the Code of Conduct. God created us all. We are, therefore, precious and valuable in His sight. He expects us to show respect for all people and love one another with mutual affection (Romans 12). It is the school’s covenantal responsibility to love and care for the children in our classrooms.
Our school partners with families to promote Christ-like behavior in children. The chart below is not comprehensive, but gives a broad view of some of the ways we praise positive and admonish negative behaviors.
Praising positive behaviors
Admonishing negative behaviors
This Christian conduct guidance is not intended to be simply a legalistic definition of right and wrong. It does not propose to set up the school as a “policing” agency. Rather, its purpose is to help students and to allow them to be unhindered in their pursuit of knowledge, personal growth and spiritual maturity (Hebrews 12:1-3).
Classroom rules for PreSchool students
Below is a list of classroom and school rules for PreSchool classrooms.. These will be useful in encouraging your child to make “good choices”. Once the children are settled in their new surroundings, we will be incorporating a visual guide to help them make appropriate choices. Along with the children, parents are expected to learn the phrasing and emphasis of these rules so they can be appropriately reinforced in the home.
Conduct reporting and recording for grades K-5
Children in primary grades are evaluated for correct behavior as a part of their academic reporting. In the upper elementary through middle grades, students are graded on academic achievement separately from their compliance to rules and behaviors, but conduct ratings will appear on report cards. The conduct grade is a reflection of the student’s overall behavior for the past 9 weeks. The rating system is shown below with examples.
4 – Exceeds Expectations – Students will sometimes lead their peers to exceptional achievement, service, and/or contribute to their school community.
3 – Meets Expectations – This is the model STM student, the level that all students must maintain in all classes.
2 – Partially Meets Expectations – These behaviors often have a negative effect on others. As soon as a person drops to a ‘2,’ something is wrong and must be corrected. A student cannot remain at this level and remain at STM. See Consequences for Level 2 Behavior below.
1 – Unsatisfactory – Interventions and consequences are immediate and far-reaching. Consequences include expulsion.
Consequences for level 1 and 2 behavior
At the point a student reaches five behavior infractions (at level 2), parents will be contacted to formulate a plan of action with the school. Until the behavior plan is in place, the student will be removed from all extra-curricular and school event privileges. If five more level 2 behaviors occur, administration will be in contact with the parents. Level 1 behavior for elementary children is often an indication of serious issues that cannot be managed within the current support structure of the elementary program and may lead to the student’s unenrollment and subsequent placement in a school with more intensive behavioral support resources.
Conduct reporting and recording for grades 6-8
The classroom expectations and consequences for grades 6-8 are posted in each classroom. These levels have been promoted in grades 6-8 through a “Knights Know How” campaign. Click here for a poster that you can print and hang in your home to support the conduct code.
Arrive to class on time
Arrive to class with all materials
Be in Uniform
Do not disrupt the class's learning
Do not be disrespectful to adults or other students
1: Verbal warning
2: Name on the board
3: Name is circled, student remains after class to talk with teacher and sign a behavior slip
4: Name is checked and student is sent to the office; phone call home
We are reintroducing detention into our consequences and reinforcing our reasonable classroom expectations. Students who receive 3 behavior slips in one week will be asked to attend lunch/recess detention in order to reflect on their choices. Students who choose more than three Level 2 behaviors in one week will face short-term suspension.
For grades 6–8, an online reporting tool and grading scale is utilized through Renweb with the aforementioned 4-1 ratings. Students and parents will have access to any conduct reporting online. Teachers will use this system to enter events when students exceed conduct expectations, or to describe the types of behaviors that mark deviation from expectations. Report cards will contain a conduct grade. The conduct grade is a reflection of the student’s overall behavior for the past 9 weeks.
Consequences for level 1 and 2 behavior
If a student consistently chooses level 2 behaviors, their parents will be contacted to formulate a plan of action with the teacher. While the behavior plan is in place, the student will be removed from all extra-curricular and school event privileges. Administration will become involved if the behaviors continue, despite the plan. Administration reserves the right to remove students from the school for a period of time.
Level 1 behaviors are particularly disruptive and harmful to students and the school community, and some are addressed specifically below. Students involved in level 1 behavior face serious consequences that may include suspension and/or expulsion.
Specific Conduct Definitions
Bullying, cyber-bullying and internet entries
St. Thomas More School attempts to provide a safe environment for all individuals. Verbal or written threats made against the physical or emotional well-being of any individual are taken very seriously. Passive forms of bullying are just as harmful, and can include leaving other students out, ignoring someone’s presence, or talking about someone else with the intent to gain advantage over that person.
A comprehensive anti-bullying program exists at St. Thomas More Catholic School entitled
'Not in God's House' and involves student, staff, and family awareness education, direct lessons in all grade levels throughout the year, and a progressive, incremental intervention and consequence plan for students having relational problems. Students engaging in any bullying activities (seriously or in jest; in person or online) can risk detention, suspension and possible expulsion. Please read about this program below.
In the classroom, if verbal or social bullying occurs:
The key thing to express when a student reports bullying to you is praise for reporting. Most bullies do not act in front of adults and most victims won’t report. If it is the victim reporting, reiterate the difference between reporting and tattling and the importance of letting of someone know so that they can be supported and protected. If it is an upstander reporting, reiterate the importance of standing up for others and protecting someone like Jesus would.
Consider your classroom and how a student could confidentially let you know they need to speak with you privately. Put this into action and let the students know about it.
Once a victim or upstander has reported bullying behavior to you, begin to investigate. Take notes (use attached reporting form) on when and where it happened, what actions occurred, who else witnessed this. Interview anyone involved as a bully, victim or witness/bystander. Ensure that interviews are private and individual, allowing students to speak freely, honestly and without fear of repercussion.
Separate to Prevent
If it is clear that bullying took place, students involved must not participate or be around others in similar situations until they are able to try again with corrected behavior. For example:
Bullying happened during lunch, then the bully eats alone for a period of time
Bullying happened at recess, then bully does not participate in recess for a period of time
Bullying happened while in a line or moving between buildings, then bully must be supervised or travel separately from the group for a period of time
Bullying happened in the classroom, then bully must sit apart from the group for a period of time
Reflect and Apologize
The bully should complete a reflection sheet (attached) and write a letter of apology that includes what they did, how it affected the other person, how they feel about their actions, and a promise not to do it again.
It is important to have a class meeting to generally discuss the situation, reiterate commitment to the pledge and policies, as well as the promise of support and protection, and encourage students to forgive and move on.
Call the Parents, Inform Administration
Parents of both the victim and the bully should be contacted. Information should be delivered in the form of facts about what happened and how you have responded to the incident. No student names should be used in talking with the parents, other than that parent’s own child’s name. Send an email or talk with administration so that they are aware of the situation.
Check Back In
Within a couple of days of the incident, check back in with both the victim and the bully to see how they are doing. Stay alert to uninvolved students continuing to talk about the incident and step in to stop this.
Repeated Bullying Behavior
2nd clear offense: Meeting with parent and counselor, behavior plan must be developed with continued follow-up from counselor
3rd clear offense: Administrative referral
For third offense, physical or cyberbullying incidents (these require immediate admin. referral):
|Elementary Consequences for Administrative Referral|
|Least Intensive (this would be used for students who have valid, extenuating circumstances that are reasonably know to be affecting their behavior)||Parent phone call
Conference with student
Silent lunch, sit out at recess
Student and parents are contacted by counselor
|Assignment of bullying project
Conference with parents, student
Loss of privileges
|Behavior plan with outside provider
|Suspension for a period of time|
|Most Intensive||Long-term suspension with outside provider care
|Middle School Consequences for Administrative Referral|
|Least Intensive (this would be used for students who have valid, extenuating circumstances that are reasonably known to be affecting their behavior)||Parent phone call
Conference with student
Silent lunch, recess detention
Student and parents are contacted by counselor
|Assignment of bullying project
Conference with parents, student
Loss of privileges
|Behavior plan with outside provider
|Suspension for a period of time|
|Most Intensive||Long-term suspension with outside provider care
The key to successfully preventing bullying is to all have the same knowledge as to what bullying is, what it isn’t, and how to respond when it occurs. The term all refers to teachers, staff, students, parents and administration. Additionally, all adults must commit to responding promptly to bullying that they witness, or that is reported to them.
Any actions or words that result in singling out a group based upon race, religion, gender, orientation, ethnicity, age or disability, and result in creating an unwelcome environment for any member of that group, is a serious offense to our community. When these actions persist it can result in a student being asked to leave our school community.
Academic dishonesty of any type will not be tolerated. Plagiarism involves a student submitting work and representing it as their own or copying the work of another person and representing it as their own work. Students who choose to misrepresent what work they do or help others do the same, will face a failing grade, detention, suspension, and/or expulsion.
Students involved in the possession or transmission of inappropriate photos on their cell phones or other electronic devices are sexting. This is not only a violation of school rules, but a matter of local law enforcement.
Items such as, but not necessarily limited to, gum, questionable books/pictures, knives, guns, matches/lighters, cigarettes, cell phones during the instructional day, laser lights, CDs, or anything detracting from the learning environment are not allowed on school grounds. Items taken away from students will be returned to the parent/guardian.
Damaging or destroying school property
The parents of a student who intentionally destroy or damage any furniture, equipment, buildings, or anyone’s personal property will be obligated to pay the full amount of repairs, labor, and/or replacement.
In the event that a child’s presence at school has a predictable harmful effect on the learning environment or safety of the community, the school reserves the right to suspend that students attendance itinerantly, temporarily, or indefinitely. Due process procedures are utilized when investigating situations that could result in a suspension or expulsion from school.
Students in grade 4 and older are eligible to sign up for band. Private strings instruction can be made available on campus after school. There are choirs for elementary students and singing groups for middle school students. Inquire with Ms. Gunn for more details.
Many afterschool programs are supported by the Home and School Association (HSA). Information on these activities is available on the school website, HSA Page. Parents and teachers interested in developing new clubs and extra-curricular opportunities are encouraged to contact the HSA Academic Enrichment Coordinator.
Battle of the Books is facilitated by Mrs. Williams, our librarian. Students read books and compete against other schools to answer questions about their reading in a game show type of format. Saint Thomas More often ranks high in the competition!
Science Olympiad is facilitated by our science teachers for students in elementary and middle grades. If you have an interest in all things science, this team is for you.
Drama is facilitated by Mr. Middlesworth. Middle school students participate in all aspects of a spring drama production with the help of Mr. Middlesworth and the music teacher.
Chess Club is facilitated by Mr. Mazur and is open to all levels of skill and high levels of interest in mastering this strategic skill.
Students in grades 4 through 8 have the opportunity to serve on the Student Council as classroom representatives. The Student Council meets twice per month during lunch/recess periods and is supervised by Ms. Angela Blum and Mrs. Colleen O'Brien in the elementary and Dr. Ashton in the middle school. In the fall of each year, homeroom classes in grades 4 through 8 will elect a representative and an alternate to the Student Council. The executive body for each student council is elected each spring.
Sports and Booster Club
St. Thomas More School participates in the Triangle Catholic School Athletic Conference. Students in grades 6 through 8 are eligible to participate in sports programs. Information will be sent home with students regarding team formation. The following sports teams or clubs are available: boys and girls soccer, girls volleyball, boys lacrosse, boys baseball, boys and girls basketball, co-ed cross country, and co-ed golf.
Students participating in athletics, and their parents, are required to read, consider and agree to abide by the expectations, rules and responsibilities specified in the Athletic Policy found on the Athletic page. Student athletes should submit an up-to-date yearly physical prior to participating in a sport. The Athletic Physical form can also be found on the Athletic page.
The St. Thomas More Catholic School Booster Club exists to help promote the development of student athletes and the school’s athletics program. The Booster Club holds an annual golf tournament each spring as their main fundraiser with proceeds going to the support and development of the school’s teams and facilities. For more information about how you can be a part of the Booster Club, please contact Mr. Tyll, Athletic Director and Physical Education teacher. http://stmboosterclub.com/
What is “Child of the Week”?
In early education, there are often celebrations of the individual child that are called “Child of the Week.” These events often have a list of different activities and preparations necessary for them. Please follow the instructions of the teacher very closely so that all children will have a special experience for their “week.”
Birthdays are special events for children of all ages. STM teachers honor the birthday child day in many different ways. A child might provide a morning snack for the class, bring a favorite book for the teacher to read, or provide cupcakes at lunchtime. Teachers will provide their preferred method of celebrating in the beginning of the year communications.
School policy prohibits birthday invitations distributed at school. Parents can find classmates’ addresses in the family directory.
Students who have attended the Middle School for more than one semester, participate in service to others and maintain a grade record of all A's and B's are eligible to apply for this honor society. It's mission is to increase personal service and exemplary discipleship in the school.
Students and/or adults are welcome to propose new activities and clubs after school. Lego club, bird club, flag football, tennis, and other activities have all been initiated by interested adults and students in the past. If you have an adult advisor, a good mission, and student interest, bring the idea to the administration for approval.
An adult's commitment to being a part of our school community goes far past paying tuition and getting students to and from school. Our students reach their highest potential when their parents are engaged and active in the school and its many activities. All parents/guardians are automatically a part of the Home and School Association and every family whose child participates in athletics is a member of the Athletic Booster Club. Additionally, any family, Catholic or not, is welcome to join in any of the Liturgy, Service, and other aspects of Parish life in the Catholic Community of St. Thomas More.
Volunteers are the backbone of what we accomplish at our school. Your time and work are valued and truly make a difference for our students and faculty. We welcome parents into our school and are happy to help connect families with volunteer opportunities. Each family is asked to contribute a minimum of 20 hours of volunteer time to our school community. The Home and School Association provides guidance and support on how to sign up and track volunteer hours through their “Parent Stewardship” program (see HSA website) . (It is understood that households with one parent may find 20 hours cumbersome, so a requirement of 10 hours applies). Please contact the principal if you experience unforeseen circumstances that interfere with your volunteer commitment.
All volunteers are required to complete and submit a Diocesan, Level C, background check form which can be obtained via the Parent Portal on the school webpage. Volunteers must also attend one Safe Environment Training workshop which is offered throughout the year. To obtain a current listing of dates and time for upcoming training sessions please visit the Parish website. The training and background check must be updated every five years.
All Volunteers and Visitors will:
Volunteers should not:
Informative and/or formational workshops, seminars, and guest speakers are available throughout the school year. All parents/guardians are encouraged to attend, and new families are required to attend one of these workshops.
Parish Pride Day
Twice a year the parish opens the campus to volunteers to spruce up, repair, install, and clean the parish property. Anyone who wants some exercise and loves the look of fresh flower beds and a good paint job should look for this on the calendar in the fall and spring.
Private donations have made a significant difference in the history of the school. The endowment that supports capital projects, teacher salaries and tuition assistance has been critical in maintaining a tradition of excellence and robust programming. Many families have only been able to attend through the generous contributions to this endowment and private benefactors. The superior gym floor and outdoor vegetable garden are examples of private foundation work and personal donations. Please contact the administration if you are interested in making a personal contribution to a project or tuition assistance.
Monsignor Gerald Lawrence Excellence in Teaching Award
The Lewis Award is an honor designed to recognize, promote and encourage excellence in teaching in the Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Raleigh. Nominations are submitted by individuals, groups, schools and parishes for classroom teachers deemed exceptionally skillful and dedicated and who possess the respect and admiration of their students, parents and colleagues.