Dear Rheem Team Parents:
Welcome to Donald L. Rheem Elementary School. This online handbook has been prepared to provide Rheem families with helpful information about our school.
Please refer to this handbook throughout the school year as a reference. It should provide the answers to most questions, but feel free to telephone us or stop in at school should you need more information.
We believe that your child's success in school is dependent upon good communication between school and home. We encourage your participation and invite you to express your suggestions or concerns. Our telephone number is (925) 376-4441.
Rheem School History and Background
Rheem Elementary School is one of three elementary schools in the Moraga school district. Our school began with one building in 1959 and over the years, four other buildings were added. With the passage of a bond measure in 1996, an extensive renovation to the campus was completed, including the addition of a multi-use room.
Rheem School currently serves approximately 400 students in grade kindergarten through 5. Students are grouped heterogeneously by classroom and combination classes are formed when enrollment requires them.
The school offers many programs in addition to its regular classroom offerings. A Visual and Performing Arts Program is offered to all students by credentialed art and music teachers. A computer lab with 32 student stations is available to 3rd through 5th graders on a regular instructional basis and the primary grades have the option of a drop-in schedule. All K-5 classrooms have at least one computer station as well. Also, a scheduled Library time is provided to all grade levels once weekly. Our special education staff consists of a full-time Resource Specialist and assistant, a School Psychologist two days per week, and a Speech and Language Specialist two days per week. Additionally, English as a Second Language is offered to those who qualify for this service.
The faculty and staff of Rheem School is committed to meeting the needs of all who attend by providing an effective instruction program designed to improve students' academic, social, emotional and physical growth. We are in full support of the mission of the Moraga School District to provide a supportive and challenging academic environment that encourages critical and creative thinking, maximizes individual students' strengths and motivates them to be lifelong learners and responsible citizens. This is accomplished through the cooperative efforts of educators, support staff, parents, community members, and students.
Attendance & Absences
Whenever your child is going to be absent from school, please call the school's attendance line to report his/her absence. Rheem School's attendance line is (925) 377-2086. Please indicate the reason for the absence when leaving a message.
Please be aware that excused absences no longer are counted for apportionment in California. In fact, all absences, both excused and unexcused, now result in a loss in funding. However, records are maintained to track "unexcused" absences for truancy accounting.
If your child will be absent from school for 5 days or more for reasons other than illness, please inform the teacher, and an independent study form will be prepared to provide education activities which your child can complete during his/her absence. This provides a continuing educational program for your child and avoids a financial loss for the school.
The staff urges parents to consider the possible loss of academic learning time as a crucial factor in deciding whether or not to take a child out of school.
Leaving School During the Day
If your child is to leave school during the day, please send a signed note to his teacher indicating when your child must leave class. Before leaving, you will be asked to sign out your child at the school office. If someone other than a parent is to pick up a child, please include that information in your note. For their safety, children are to be picked up by a parent or designated guardian and are not to walk home or to appointments during the school day.
If your child is late to school for any reason, he/she must check in at the office. For an "excused" tardy (medical appointment, etc.), the parent must accompany the child to the office and sign in. The student will be given a green "Pass to Class" by the school secretary to present to his/her teacher. No late student will be admitted to class without a pass.
Early Birds: 8:25 - 12:02Late Birds: 9:25 - 1:02
1st through 5th grades have a consistent Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday schedule with a "shortened Wednesday" as follows:
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday:
3rd - 5th Grades: 8:25 - 3:05
1st - 2nd Grades: Early 8:25 - 1:55, Late 9:25 - 3:05
Shortened Wednesdays:All 1st - 5th Grades: 8:25 - 1:50
Note: Playground supervision begins at 8:10 so students may not arrive at school before that time. Late Birds should arrive no earlier than 9:10.
The bell Schedule for Minimum Days is listed below in the section entitled "minimum days".
Bicycles, Skateboards & Roller Blades
Students may ride bicycles to school.The rules for bicycles are explained to students at the beginning of the year. These include walking bikes on and off the school grounds, wearing helmets, and locking bikes.
Students are not permitted to ride bikes, skateboards, roller blades, or wear "wheelies" (shoes with wheels) on the school campus at any time.
The Alternative “Birthday Treat”
Consider a truly “healthy” birthday alternative this year…
Let’s face it, sometimes a frosted cupcake or a glazed doughnut really hits the spot, but too many sugary snacks can be problematic. Also, the need to be alert to a variety of food allergies as well as nutritional preferences can complicate finding the perfect “one size fits all” edible birthday treat. So, why not find an alternative (and healthier) way to celebrate your child’s big day? At Rheem, it’s definitely OK to consider alternative birthday treats. Some options include:
- Have your child bring in a favorite book to share with the class. No one is allergic to books! Ms. Carl has several special book plates that can be used if a family would like to donate a book to the class or school library in honor of a child’s birthday.
- Everyone can use a new pencil or erasure now and then. Giving every classmate an inexpensive school tool that reflects your child’s interest (dinosaurs, soccer, dance, etc.) will be a welcome and useful way for your child to be recognized.
- Did someone say Glue Sticks? Imagine the thrill on the teacher’s face when your child presents the class with a set of brand new glue sticks (or sharpies, or colored pencils, etc.) in honor of his/her birthday! Now, THAT will put some extra spirit into the Happy Birthday song!
Get the idea? Please know that whatever a family chooses to do (or choose not to do), we will always help a child feel special on his/her birthday. We do ask that parents resist the temptation to provide elaborate goodie bags or bring in distractions like balloons or party favors. When in doubt, just ask your child’s teacher – she will be happy let you know what will be most appreciated by the class in the limited time available to celebrate birthdays. Thank you!
The following school bus rules are issued by the Moraga School District. These rules apply to both home-to-school-to-home transportation and to bus field trips.
Any action that provides a distraction to the bus driver is considered a safety hazard.
- Remain in seat while bus is in motion
- Be respectful to the bus driver
- No scuffling, horseplay, or leaving your seat on the bus.
- Keep head and limbs inside the bus (not out the windows).
- Do not throw objects in or out of the bus.
- No unnecessary noise, abusive language or gestures
- Do not litter or damage the school bus
- Never walk behind the bus. Cross the street in front of the bus with an adult chaperone.
For information regarding how the bus system operates, contact the Lamorinda School Bus Program at (925) 299-3216 during regular business hours.
Although students are not encouraged to bring cell phones to school due to the possibility of loss, theft or damage, we understand that many families want their children to have a cell phone to contact parents before or after school hours.
Therefore, if a student chooses to bring a cell phone to school, it must be turned "OFF" during the school day and placed where it will not be accessed during the instructional day -- in a backpack, jacket, etc. It should not be visible to other students or staff during the day. If a student does not follow these rules and 1) uses the cell phone, or 2) the cell phone rings, or 3) the cell phone is visible to other staff or students during the instructional day, it will be confiscated and turned in to the office. Parents will be contacted to come to school and pick up the phone at their convenience.
We believe that this policy allows families the flexibility to use cell phones as needed, but will also protect the school day for teaching and learning. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding in this matter.
The process of making up classes begins in May. Our goals are to achieve academic, behavior, and boy/girl balance of classes, to make up satisfactory combination classes and to provide for individual student needs. Class placements are posted at the school site on the day before school begins.
Parent Information for Placement
Parents frequently have information concerning their children that they wish to have considered during the placement process. Parents with such information are asked to write to the school principal by May 1st, explaining their child's special needs.
Please remember to use good judgment when choosing appropriate cloths for your child to wear to school. Students' clothing should be safe for themselves and for the children around them. Therefore, the following guidelines should be considered:
- Casual, loose clothing that allows children to move and play comfortably is recommended.
- Shoes should be safe and appropriate for recess and PE. Close-toed shoes are best for school and are required for "PE days." Flip-flops, shoes without a heel strap, boots, "wheelies," dress shoes or shoes with high heels are not safe.
- Beach attire, such as halter tops, bare midriffs, strapless shirts or dresses, spaghetti strap shirts or dresses, see-through clothing, off-the-shoulder blouses and short skirts/shorts are not appropriate for school.
- In hot weather, students may wear shorts that are at least mid-thigh in length. Remember, however, that long pants protect knees better than shorts do! Pants and shorts must be worn at the waistline and must not expose undergarments.
- Clothing which displays vulgar language or symbols or promotes drugs, alcohol or other inappropriate or illegal messages are not permitted.
- Bracelets and other dangling jewelry can tangle in play equipment and cause injury.
Before your child walks out the door, please make sure he/she is wearing appropriate clothing for an elementary school. Students may be sent home to change clothing if their attire is inappropriate or disruptive to the educational setting.
Communicable Disease Notices
If your child is sick with one of the following communicable diseases, please give the office a call so notification can be sent to the other students in the classroom. This gives parents the information that their child may have been exposed so that proactive measures can be taken. The communicable conditions that require us to notify parents regarding possible exposure are:
· Chicken Pox
· German measles
· Hand, foot, and mouth disease
· Slap Cheek
· Streptococcal (scarlet fever and strep throat)
· Whooping Cough
· Head Lice
· Pink Eye
Communication between parents and school is vital. Any time you have questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact your child's teacher or the principal.The school number is (925) 376-4441. If you prefer, the school secretary can forward your call to the voice mail of any staff member. Also, voice mail numbers of all teachers are published in the PTA phone directory, and e-mail addresses for individual staff members are also available on the school's web site.
The school uses these methods to communicate with Rheem families:
- Weekly e-news regarding school activities
- Report cards and parent conferences
- Newsletters and/or e-communications from teachers to parents
- Sending home samples of student work
- Back-to-School Night and Open House
- Monthly PTA meetings
- "School Messenger" phone system
Teachers conference with all parents during November conference days. Conferences can be arranged at any other time during the year when/if they are necessary.
The curriculum at Rheem is based on the Common Core State Standards. The links below offer valuable information about these standards.
Parents’ Guides to Student Success (overviews of English/Language Arts and Math Standards by grade level)
For further information, please view the "Common Core-ner" archives found on Rheem's homepage.
Dogs and other Furry Friends
As a general rule, dogs and other animals are not welcome at school. Specifically, according to the state’s education code, dogs are prohibited from school campuses, whether or not the dogs are leashed. Several signs posted on campus note that “Dogs are not allowed.”
Therefore, if families are including a dog walk at the same time they are picking up or dropping off their child, we request that you meet or say goodbye to your child at the crosswalk on Laird, thereby not bringing the dog on campus. This precaution will help keep your pet from being overrun by well-meaning children and assure that our children are safe during the busy arrival and dismissal times. We have several students who are either afraid or allergic to certain types of pets, so this policy keeps our school environment safe and friendly.
If you notice a dog on campus, leashed or not, please inform the school office. It is our intention to keep our campus safe. Again, many thanks for your understanding of this school rule.
Drugs, Tobacco & Alcohol
Drug Use and Abuse
The administration of the Moraga School District shall practice the following procedures relative to student drug use and abuse on school property or whenever the student is under the jurisdiction of the District.
- No internal medication is to be administered by school personnel except as prescribed by a doctor. (cf.5141.21, Administering Medication)
- Dangerous and narcotic drugs which a student has on prescription and carries onto school property for ingestion as prescribed by a doctor must be in their original containers and kept in the principal's office.
- Whenever any staff member has reason to believe that a student may be under drug influence, that staff member shall immediately notify the principal, and the principal, if in agreement, shall notify the parent to come for the student and to remove the student to his/her home or to a physician or to a medical facility.
In severe cases, if the parents cannot or will not come to the school, the principal is authorized to call an ambulance to remove the student to a hospital. Parents will be notified of this action and shall be responsible for the incurred expenses.
Upon reasonable evidence of drug use, the student will be suspended from school until such time as a doctor authorizes the student's return to school under stated conditions as recommended by the doctor.
The following procedures will be followed when there is reason to believe that a student is selling or is in possession of drugs improperly:
- The school administrator shall advise the local juvenile narcotics officer or law enforcement personnel. Juvenile authorities will make the decision as to whether they or the school will notify the parents.
- The school administrator will take the student to the school office, where the administrator will confront the student with the suspicion, or the administrator may notify the police before taking the pupil to the office. The student should be removed from a classroom in a drug case only by a school administrator.
It shall be the policy of the school to take positive action through education, counseling, parental involvement, medical referral, and police referral in the handling of incidents in the school involving the possession, sale, and/or use of behavior affecting substances. These substances shall include but not be limited to marijuana, LSD, glue, alcohol, and barbiturates.
School properties may be inspected by school authorities in the interest of maintenance, health, and safety. Inspections for the location of drugs, narcotics, liquor, weapons, poisons, and missing properties are matters relating to health and safety and may be regarded as reasonable purposes for inspection by school personnel so long as such inspections are conducted in accordance with constitutional requirements of applicable state law relating to searches and seizures.
The professional staff shall become expert in recognition of the symptoms of such use, and shall emphasize the dangers of such use wherever appropriate in the health education program and in other contexts.
(ED Code 48900, 48901, 48909, 51202, 51203, 51260) Governing Board Policy 714.5
The school's emergency cards are very important since they provide information for each child that might be needed in case of an emergency. The parents fill out these cards when a child is enrolled, but they may become out of date as a result of moves, job changes, etc.
To keep the cards up to date, we ask parents to fill out new cards at the beginning of each year. Also, we ask parents to fill out a new card if there has been a change in home or work phone or address, or a change in the person(s) you would like us to contact if you are not available. It is best to list people who are available locally, should your child become ill or injured and need to be picked up. Blank cards are available in the office.
Reporting Student Accidents/Injuries:
- Any student who complains of or sustains a back injury or receives a blow to the head will have parents called and a report filed with the District Office.
- Any student who receives a sprain or complains of internal pain in any limbs will have parents called and a report filed with the District Office.
- Any student who receives a cut or an abrasion which may require a doctor's attention will have parents called and a report filed with the District Office.
- Any student requiring the service of paramedics will have parents called and a report filed with the District Office.
- Any student who has an above normal temperature will have parents called.
- In the event of an accident which requires a report to be filed, the school employee who either witnesses the accident/injury or is supervising the student at the time of the accident/injury should give all pertinent information to the school secretary immediately.
- In all cases not covered by the above, the principal or designee will make a judgement in regard to parents being called and/or filing an accident/injury report with the District Office.
In addition to conducting fire, shelter-in-place, and earthquake drills, all schools in the Moraga District have prepared plans for dealing with a major community emergency. At Donald L. Rheem we have developed a plan which will insure your children are cared for in the event of a disaster.
The plan involves constant teacher supervision of children. The school is in a safe location, and it has a high priority for receiving emergency services. This means that the children will be in the best situation possible. We request that in an emergency parents not come to school to pick up students until asked to do so by emergency authorities. In any case, the school will release children only to parents or others whom the parents have authorized on the emergency card.
When a class field trip is planned, the teacher will send home a field trip permission slip. Permission slips may also be downloaded from the school website. The student must return the signed slip in order to participate. When parents use their vehicles to transport children on field trips, it is required that they have a minimum liability coverage of $100,000/$300,000 and indicate so on a signed, district form. Further, students may not be seated in the front seat of a vehicle with activated passenger side air bags.
Food Allergies Require Awareness, Compassion, and Attention
It’s hard to believe that the foods most of us eat and enjoy every day can be harmful to others. But, it’s true! A handful of Rheem students are allergic, and in some cases, seriously allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, dairy products, wheat and eggs. While we have plans in place to address the needs of these students, its important that our entire school community be aware of what causes allergies and what we can do to prevent allergic reactions, which for some children, can be a life-threatening incident.
We encourage parent support by asking you to join us in communicating the following messages to your children:
1) Never take food allergies lightly. Joking about it, teasing kids who have food allergies, or tricking someone into eating food are inappropriate and can be very dangerous.
2) Don’t share your food. This advice runs counter to the environment of “sharing” we like to enjoy. However, sharing food can be very dangerous to students who have food allergies. Also, many families prefer that their children only eat or be exposed to certain types of food – therefore, sharing food with students who don’t have allergies can have negative consequences as well. Therefore, students at Rheem have been told not to share food that their parents have packed with anyone.
3) Wash hands after eating. Washing hands after you eat is very important. Touching certain foods can cause an allergic reaction in some students. Therefore, it’s an good practice to clean off any food that is one your hands after eating. You’ll probably get fewer cold too.
4) Ask friends if they are allergic to foods and help them avoid it. Learning what someone is allergic to is easy (just ask them). Finding out if foods are safe to eat is more difficult. Even foods that have ingredient labels can be tricky, since food companies sometimes use scientific names instead of everyday names (for example, did you know that casein is milk?) some food items are also made on assembly lines which can retain previously handles food ingredients, to which children may be allergic. Usually, students who are allergic are very careful about what they eat, but it’s a good idea to remind friends who have food allergies to be extra careful of foods that are not brought from their own homes.
5) If someone becomes ill, get help from an adult immediately! Some symptoms of food allergies are vomiting, swelling of the face and lips, difficulty breathing, coughing, sneezing, watery eyes and skin that is bumpy, red or itchy. Please let us know if you have any questions about our school’s policies and practices regarding food and food allergies. Our goal is for all students to feel safe and protected in all situations at school. Websites such as www.fankids.org (for kids) and www.foodallergy.org are also excellent sites for additional information and to help teach your children about food allergies.
The Moraga School District Governing Board meetings are held on the
The Moraga School District Governing Board meetings are held on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month in the Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School Auditorium at 7:30 P.M. unless otherwise noted on the posted agenda. Agendas are posted at each school site, the Post Office, and the District Office at least forty-eight hours in advance of the meeting.
Board packets will be available for perusal prior to the meeting at the District Office and at the back of the room at school board meetings. Packets and/or minutes may be ordered in advance for a nominal fee to cover labor and printing costs.
Public input is an important part of the District's decision making process. To facilitate public comment and input and the orderly conduct of business at school board meetings, the Governing Board has adopted the following procedural policies, all of which are within the guidelines of the Education Code and the Brown Act.
GOVERNING BOARD MEETING PROCEDURES
A. Procedure for Handling Public Input
1. The public may address agenda items "as they come up" during the meeting. In order to assure orderly decision making and fair access for all members of the public, the Board President may, when deemed appropriate by the President, take some or all of the following actions:
a. Specify times during the discussion of an item when public input will be permitted.b. Limit the time allowed for each speaker.c. Limit the number of times a speaker may comment on a particular agenda item.d. Limit comments to the item being considered.e. Limit the total time for discussion of an item.f. Require "Request to Speak" forms be submitted. If required, the form will be provided for the public to fill out and be given to the Bard secretary. The President will recognize only those speakers who have submitted a "Request to Speak" form.
B. Procedure for Placing an Item on the Agenda
2. The President or Vice President and the Superintendent will attempt to confer at least three working days prior to the next Board meeting. The agenda is scheduled using the annual agenda calendar and input from the administration, staff, board members and the community.
a. A request by the public for an item directly related to school district business to be placed on the agenda should be made in writing to the Superintendent at least five working days prior to the next Board meeting.The Superintendent and the President will decide if the business or curriculum meeting is more appropriate for the item.
C. Procedure for Subcommittee Appointment
1. The President may appoint a subcommittee consisting of less than a quorum of Board members as needed to investigate or study a topic and report back to the Board.
The Public Comment section of the Board meeting is the appropriate time for the public to speak to items not on the agenda. The statements must be related to school district business. The Board is not required to respond to public comment. The Board's intent is to answer in appreciation for the input and, if possible, to direct the speaker to the person best qualified to respond at a more appropriate time.
Personnel performance and evaluation will not be placed on the open session agenda or discussed during the open session of the meeting. A closed session meeting to discuss problems regarding personnel will be held if all other administrative avenues have failed.
We hope that this information will clarify any questions regarding school board meetings and procedures. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact a Board member or write a letter. Community input and support are most appreciated.
Rheem School’s homework policy and practices align with the Moraga School District Governing Board Homework Policy (BP 6154) which “recognizes that homework contributes toward building responsibility, self-discipline and life-long learning habits, and that time spent on homework directly influences students’ ability to meet state and district subject area content standards.” Therefore, the Moraga School District and Rheem School “expects students, parents/guardians and staff to view homework as a routine and important part of students’ daily lives.”
Homework is defined as any required schoolwork completed outside of the instructional day. The goal and purpose of homework is to provide practice in skills that have been taught and/or to deepen understanding of concepts presented in class.
The board-approved guideline for a student’s time spent on homework per grade level is reflected on the chart below. Also listed below is the percentage of overall support (on average) we believe is required of parents to ensure a successful homework experience. Of course, these amounts vary depending on an individual student’s abilities:
Amount of Time Per School Day*
Average % of Parental support
10 - 20 minutes
Parent involvement is necessary to complete all activities.
20 – 30 minutes
Parents are expected to help their child, as needed, complete the homework and to check it for accuracy and assist in correcting mistakes.
25 – 40 minutes
Parents provide assistance (clarifying directions, getting started, etc.) for students to complete homework as independently as possible. Parents should check the accuracy of the completed homework.
25 – 45 minutes
Parents provide encouragement and guidance, as needed, for their child to complete homework independently and verify that it was completed.
30 – 55 minutes
Parents are aware of homework assignment and support its completion by providing guidance as needed and initialing the homework log.
35 – 60 minutes
Parents are aware of homework assignment and initial the homework log. Students take full responsibility to record, get assistance as needed, and turn-in homework assignments on time.
*If your child consistently requires much longer than the time indicated above to complete his/her homework, please contact your child’s teacher. It is possible that some modification to the homework load is needed for your child and/or a homework “contract” should be designed to support your child’s best efforts.
To ensure that homework is an effective part of the educational process, we believe that open communication among teachers, parents, and students is critical. Below are listed ways in which teachers, parents, and students can best support this collaborative effort:
Suggested Guidelines for Teachers to Support Student Success:
- Share specific classroom expectations for homework with both students and parents early in the school year
- Design homework assignments that directly relate to the classroom instruction and consists of clear, purposeful, and engaging activities
- Teach skills necessary for the students to complete the homework and become successful independent learners
- Provide appropriate and timely feedback regarding homework completion
- Encourage a partnership between home and school that supports families in the homework process
Suggested Guidelines for Parents to Support Student Success:
- Provide a quiet, well-lighted study area with a desk or table and chair.
- Keep a supply of “study tools” available: pencils, pen, paper, ruler, and dictionary.
- Establish a regular time for homework during which the child can work with a minimum of interruptions.
- Provide a healthy balance between homework, extra and co-curricular activities, and family commitments
- Encourage student responsibility and independence
- Contact the teacher if a child is not consistently able to do the homework within the time guidelines, or if challenges or questions arise
Suggested Guidelines for Students to be Successful
- Make sure you are aware of assignments and corresponding due dates
- Make sure you understand the homework assignment before leaving school
- Ask for clarification from your teacher if you have questions
- Bring home all necessary materials
- Do your best to stay focused and manage your time
- Put forth your best effort to produce quality work
Homework During Illness:
If you wish to request homework for a child who is ill, please contact the school office by 9:00am on the day you wish homework to be ready. This will give the teacher sufficient time to prepare your child’s assignments, which may be picked up in the office after 3:15 pm on the day that you phone and every day thereafter throughout the duration of the illness.
Unfortunately, children will be affected by illness from time-to-time. There are common illnesses such as colds and the flu. Also, there are communicable diseases that may affect children at school. First and foremost, use common sense and good judgment when making a decision about your child’s attendance at school relative to illness. Children should not attend school if:
- They have a fever. Students may return to school when they are 24 hours fever free without the use of fever reducing medicine (even if they feel better).
- They are vomiting.
- They have a communicable disease (see list under Communicable Disease heading).
Parents are responsible to keep their child home until the child is no longer contagious. Parents must also notify the school if their child is diagnosed with a contagious disease.
Lice are not strangers to school campuses. Although lice do not carry disease, they are tenacious, bothersome, and easily spread from one person to another. Help your children to avoid coming in contact with lice by encouraging them not to share combs, hats, hair ribbons or other personal items.
If lice or eggs (called “nits”) are found on a student, parents are notified and the child is sent home with information regarding treatment. Siblings are also checked, and if two or more students from one class have lice, all students in the class are checked for infestation. Following detection of lice or nits, a notice is sent home to all students in the class alerting parents to the possibility of infestation (Ed. Code 48213)
Please be aware that we have a “not nits” policy in the Moraga School District. That means that even after treatment, all nits must be removed from the hair in order for the student to return to school. Head “re-checks” are conducted 10 days after a child returns to school as an extra precaution.
During the 1998 school year, Rheem School began a "Lifeskills Program," which provides opportunities for all students (K - 5) to practice 16 specific "lifekills," through a direct, systematic and positive focus. The goal of the program is to empower students to become positive and productive members of their school and community by improving social relationships, fostering mutual cooperation, and developing a sense of self to make healthy life choices. The 16 lifeskills that are embraced by the whole school through this program are: respect, integrity, initiative, flexibility, perseverance, organization, sense of humor, effort, common sense, problem solving, responsibility, patience, friendship, curiosity, cooperation, and caring.
The Living History Program is organized by the Rheem School PTA and the district. The program is designed for children in third through fifth grades. Volunteers are trained to conduct nature walks and craft demonstrations and to lead discussions to give the students a historical perspective. Third graders attend Native American Day; fourth grade students participate in Rancho Days; fifth graders participate in a Life at Sea program.
Medication at School
Student medication is discouraged at school. Often, medication can be administered at home just before and after school. However, if it is necessary for your child to take medication during the school day, these district medication procedures must be followed:
- All medications will be kept in the school office under the supervision of the school secretary, including "over the counter" medications. Pupils may not have medication in their possession or in the classroom without a specific doctor's written statement on file in the office to that effect.
- All medications must be in the original containers - this includes Tylenol-type medications, throat lozenges, etc. Prescription medication must have the original pharmacy label, showing the name and telephone number of the pharmacy, the student's name, the name of the physician, the dosage, frequency, and method of administration.
- A signed School Medication Authorization Form is needed for any medication (prescription or "over the counter") that your child may need at school. This form is available in the office or may be downloaded from the school's website. This form must be signed by both the parent and the child's doctor.
- The administration of all medications will be supervised by the school secretary or other designated school personnel.
We realize that the requirement for a physician's signature and written directions may be burdensome, but this will help assure proper administration of any and all medications for students.
When a minimum day is scheduled, all students, K - 5th begin school at 8:25. The minimum day bell schedule is:
- K: 8:25 - 11:50
- 1st 1st through 5th grades: 8:25 - 12:12
The office hours at Donald L. Rheem are 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Our phone number is (925) 376-4441 and our FAX number is (925) 376-3248.
Parent Teacher Association (PTA)
Each of the four schools in the Moraga School District has an active PTA. The Rheem School PTA does an excellent job of providing many benefits for our children and encourages close relationships between teachers and parents. The meetings and programs for parents are informative and current. PTA meetings are usually held on the third Wednesday of every month and are listed on the school website. Many fundraising activities provide important enrichment materials and opportunities for the schools. Further, there are many volunteer opportunities for parents through the PTA. Please contact the school office for further information about how to get involved.
A parent teacher conference offers a special opportunity to share information about a student. The best conferences end with both the parents and teacher felling they have learned something about the child and with a clear action plan of how to best support the child going forward. Parent- teacher conferences can be scheduled anytime throughout the school year. However, one week in the school calendar is set aside annually (usually, in mid-November) for all parents to meet with their child’s teacher. Shortened minimum days are scheduled during this week to allow time for these important meetings.
It is our school’s practice to hold one parent conference per student during the November Parent Conference week. We cannot schedule separate conferences to accommodate special circumstances such as work schedules, divorce, etc. In addition respecting the time and energy of our teachers, the most significant benefit of holding one conference is assuring that each parent gets the same information. By keeping the focus on the student’s progress and growth, our teachers are able to manage the one conference practice well. However, the one parent conference can be scheduled to include the principal, if either the teacher or the parents feel that would be helpful.
Parking and Traffic Procedures
Click to view and print our parking and traffic rules.
The bus circle is reserved for buses only.Therefore, it is closed to cars for drop-off and pick-up at any time of day. This closed area includes all red zones by both parking lots; the buses need this full area to maneuver. Please do not drop-off and/or pick-up your children on any part of the red bus circle. Follow the proper drop-off and pick-up procedures described below.
Morning Drop-Off for all students
Parents are to drop off students in the yellow loading zone at the top of Laird Drive only. Please wait in line to drop-off your child. Do not pass other cars (even if there seems to be room ahead). Once a series of cars has dropped off their charges and moved forward, another line of cars can come forward. The extra few seconds it takes to follow this procedure could prevent a tragic accident. After you drop-off your child, you may proceed cautiously around the bus circle, following bus circle rules (see above).
NOTE: You can greatly assist in an efficient drop-off procedure by making sure that your child is ready to exit the car with lunch, backpack, jackets etc. packed and ready! If your child needs your assistance to exit, please find parking along Laird Drive; do not get out of the car in the drop off zone.
If you want to accompany your child onto campus in the morning, you must legally park on Laird, and then walk onto campus using the crosswalk. Do not use the staff parking lot for drop-off!
Afternoon Pick-Up (1st - 5th)
Parents should arrange to pick-up children in the loading zone on Laird Drive. This process works similarly to drop-off. Once a group of cars picks up students and moves forward around the bus circle, another group of cars can move forward and do the same. For safety reasons, children are not allowed to walk past the end of the benches to be loaded into cars unless a supervisor permits them to do so. Do not pick-up your child "at the flagpole." Again, the bus circle is reserved for buses and through traffic only.
If parents have arranged to meet their child at the playground benches after school, they must park on the street (not in the staff parking lot!) and then walk onto campus using the crosswalk. Parents and students returning to their cars must also use the crosswalk.
NOTE: This is the one and ONLY exception to the bus circle rules!
At Kindergarten dismissal times (12:02 and 1:02), parents may form a queue in the bus circle (there are no buses at this time). Children will be loaded into cars by school staff at this time.
Sidewalks & Crosswalks
Parents and children are to stay on the sidewalks and within crosswalk lines when walking to and from the loading zones. Do not walk through the parking lots or across the bus circle.
The parking lots are reserved for staff during school hours and/or volunteers/visitors who are on campus for an extended period of time. Parking lots are not for drop-off or pick up of students.
All procedures explained above remain in effect for rainy days.
Definite No No's
- Do not make U-turns at the top of Laird Drive. Cars must proceed around the bus circle in order to go back down.
- Do not use red Bus Circle zones for pick up or drop off . Use Laird Drive loading zones.
- Do not use parking lots to drop off or pick up children. Use Laird Drive loading zones.
- Do not pass other cars in loading zones. Wait for the traffic to move forward.
What's the Word? RESPECT!
Teachers and staff serve as supervisors to insure the safety of your children. Please be respectful of their directions; they are here to help. Thank you for your consideration of and attention to these policies and procedures. Your support is appreciated!
Ascot Drive Parking and Traffic Alert!
Many Rheem students and parents use the Ascot Court “stairs” to enter or leave school. Although this area is not school-district property and is not supervised by school personnel (the “official” school entrance and exit is Laird Drive), we understand that the Ascot Drive stairs are conveniently located for access to Roadrunner Club.
However, both the Rheem School Office and the Moraga Police Department have received many complaints from our neighbors on Ascot Drive regarding parking and traffic issues resulting from this access area. Please be advised that police department will give citations for speeding and/or illegal parking (double-parking, parking in private driveways, etc.) on Ascot Drive.
Please be aware that supervision is provided both before and after school at the loading zones at the top of Laird Drive. Although parking is tight, it is more readily available along Laird Drive than on Ascot. Further, systems are in place to bring students to the
office if parents are running late at pick up time. For everyone’s safety, families are encouraged to use the Laird Drive entrance and exit to school.
Let’s all continue to be good neighbors who follow all safety and traffic guidelines.
Parents and students are not allowed to bring party invitations to school and/or distribute them through the backpacks. Also, the office cannot provide students addresses or phone numbers to parents or students. Each year, a directory may be purchased through the PTA with this information. This rule not only protects the feelings of students not invited to parties, but also insures that our office and communication systems are used exclusively for educational purposes. top of page
Office phones can be used for medical emergencies or with teacher permission. There is no pay phone on campus. As a way of teaching responsibility, students are discouraged from phoning home for forgotten items such as homework, musical instruments or tennis shoes.
Please see "cell phones" for information specific to this topic. top of page
Playground equipment has been provided for students to play upon, and we are very proud of these additions to our campus. All students are expected to use common sense and to play safely while enjoying the playground structures. Students are advised to use the "One Word and Three Rules" to make good choices: The one work is "RESPECT!" The Three rules are "Be safe. Be kind. Think!"
In addition to these over-arching school rules, general playground rules include:
- No running or tag games in tan bark areas
- Jumping on or off any apparatus is not allowed
- Play is not allowed when equipment is wet or icy
- Equipment is to be used only in the manner it was intended (for example, the slide is for sliding down, not for climbing up)
Rules Assemblies are held at the beginning of the school year so that all students are aware of expectations. Rules and issues are also reviewed, as needed, at Spirit Assemblies and through the Kids' Bulletin.
At the beginning of each year the following playground rules are presented to students:
- Students are to stay/play within "Safe Spaces" (designated playground or field areas only). Students are not to play on the hillside adjacent to the school, nor are students to play in front of the school. Students must remain in view of supervisors at all times, and may not play behind or between buildings and storage areas.
- Students are allowed to run on grass only (or within an organized game on the blacktop). Students are not allowed to run on the hillside, within the play structure, on walkways or in hallways.
- Students are not to play in or around the bathrooms.
- Students are to remain seated at the benches while eating outdoors during recesses.
- Students are allowed in Library during recesses only if they have been given a Library Pass by their teacher.
- Students are not allowed to take/give "cuts" in line.
- Students are not allowed to climb poles (tether ball, corridor, etc.)
- Students are allowed to play wall ball on wall ball walls only (not on sides of buildings).
- Students are to follow the recess supervisor's directions upon the first request.
- Students are not allowed to visit or play around "Time Out" benches.
- Use common sense when no rule seems to apply. When in doubt, do the safe thing.
- Students are to listen for "Freeze" bell, then WALK to classroom line at whistle signal.
The overall goal of playground activities is to give the children maximum opportunities to exercise and explore. Another important goal is to have adults present to act as a deterrent to any inappropriate or unsafe activities and to offer if immediate assistance is needed. To reach those objectives the following policies are followed:
- All adults assigned to this duty are to be prompt or even one or two minutes early when possible.
- All play equipment will be regularly monitored by custodians and maintenance crew on structural integrity and for any possible safety hazards. Appropriate reports and repairs will be made.
- All playground rules will be reviewed each year by all staff. Designated areas of play are determined. Behavior on the playground is regulated by both in class review of the rules and by yard monitors (supervisors) on an ongoing day-to-day basis.
- During rainy days, rules and procedures are established for before school, A.M. recess and at lunchtime. These rules are governed by each teacher who established in class procedures, which are then monitored by assistants and other staff during implementation. Infractions are reported directly to the teacher.
- Playground rules and procedural violations are handled by any adults who directly observe an infraction. In the early stages of implementation (at the start of the school year, for example) a clear directive is given to the child regarding the rationale behind a rule when a first infraction is committed. Second and /or repeated infractions are handled by a written citation system (a "blue slip")All blue slips are turned into the school office and are reviewed by the principal.
- Any equipment used for games or play that is not provided by the school is subject to school office approval before it is to be used on the playground.
- In the event of an injury, the child, if it is reasonable to do so, is to be brought to the office. Once there, properly established procedures are to be followed to administer aid to the child. In the event it is not reasonable to take the child to the office, an adult will send another adult or a child to the office to ask for assistance. In the event of serious injury, the child is to be made as comfortable as possible and the Paramedic Unit is to be called and parents notified immediately.
- Parents are to be notified annually that supervision of playground is not provided before the 15 minutes preceding the official start of school for both early and late students. Further, supervision ends at 15 minutes past the scheduled end of the school day or until the last scheduled bus leaves.
The Roadrunner Club is an on site extended day program. The Roadrunner Club is run by paid staff who supervise students in various activities. It is open from 7:00 A.M. to 9:30 A.M. and from 12:00 noon to 6:00 P.M.Students may attend on a regularly scheduled or drop-in basis. An initial registration fee is charged in addition to hourly rates. For information, please contact the director at (925) 376-3012.
Rules (School and Classroom)
Positive School Environment
The school and its classrooms have in place a code of conduct that is conducive to learning and is consistent and mutually agreed upon by staff, students and their families. Adults at the school model appropriate behavior, which both demonstrates and creates and enjoyable, positive climate for learning. Discipline is reasonable and appropriate.
School rules and procedures are reviewed periodically through the year so that expectations are clear. Student and teachers are aware that an underlying attitude of "Respect" should inform all codes of conduct.
General School Rules
- Violation of playground rules
- Disruption to teaching or learning
- Discourtesy or defiance of school adults
- Abusive language towards others
- Abusive physical actions towards others
- Classroom consequence (according to individual classroom system)
- Blue Slip (office referral)
- Conference with principal
- Parent Contact
- Denial of privilege or individual assignment
- Behavior contract
- Suspension by Principal (in accordance with Ed Code 48900)
The staff uses assertive discipline guidelines in order to maintain an appropriate classroom learning environments. Specific rules and expectations may vary according to the grade level behavioral expectations and will be explained to parents at Back to School Night.
Discipline & Reward System (Blue & Gold Slips):
In an effort to acknowledge and encourage positive behavior as well as to promote consistency in dealing with inappropriate behaviors, a school-wide "Blue Slip/Gold Slip" system is in place. Students who are "caught being good" by a school adult are given a Gold Slip. Gold Slips are collected in the classrooms until two are chosen at random during monthly Spirit Assemblies to win a prize. Conversely, students receive Blue Slips when a school rule is broken. Blue Slips are reviewed by the principal and dealt with according to the individual infraction and circumstance with parent cooperation and support.
School Site Council
The Site Council's purpose is to identify and provide for areas of improvement and enrichment in the existing educational program. It also provides a means for the development of new courses of study for the benefit of the school community. Its fund currently supports the school's instructional aides.
The Site Council is composed of equal representation from the faculty and the parent community, and meets throughout the school year (generally, on the third Tuesday of every month) for the planning and review of programs sponsored by the School Improvement Plan.
Parents are invited and encouraged to attend any of the Site Council meetings. Further inquiries about the program are always welcome.
Sexual Harrassment (Summary of Board Policy 083)
It shall be the policy of the Moraga School District that sexual harassment is deemed unacceptable conduct and will not be tolerated. This policy shall include anyone engaging in a school sponsored activity or engaged in an activity on school grounds.
All individuals are entitled to a work and academic environment free from all forms of discrimination, including sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is a form of personal misconduct that undermines the integrity of employment and academic relationships. No individual, either male or female, should be subjected to unsolicited and unwelcome sexual overtures or conduct, either verbal, physical or visual.
Sexual harassment does not refer to occasional compliment of a socially acceptable nature. It refers to behavior that is not welcome, that is personally offensive, that lowers morale and that, therefore, interferes with work or academic effectiveness.
Complaints and Resolutions -- Students
Step One: Students who feel aggrieved because of conduct that may constitute sexual harassment should, if the offender is a student, directly inform the person engaging in such conduct that such conduct is offensive and must stop. If the student does not feel comfortable doing this or is unable to do so, or if the other individual involved is an adult, he or she should proceed directly to Step Two below. A parent may register a complaint on behalf of his/her child.
Step Two: If the offensive behavior does not stop, students alleging sexual harassment shall make their concerns known to a school counselor, assistant principal, or the principal, or other certificated employee.
If a report is made to someone other than a principal, assistant principal, or counselor, the report will be immediately presented to one of them.
The school counselor, assistant principal, or principal shall consult the Superintendent and notify parents about the complaint and the results of the investigation prior to taking any corrective action.
If the complaint is not resolved at Step Two above, it shall be so stated in writing within ten (10) school days of the decision rendered at Step Two, signed by the complainant and submitted to the Superintendent as part of this procedure.
The Superintendent shall hear the complaint within ten (10) school days after receipt of any written complaint properly filed with the Superintendent's office and shall render a decision in writing within ten (10) school days after such hearing. The decision shall contain the findings and disposition of the complaint, including corrective action, if any, the rationale for such disposition, notice of complainant's right to appeal the decision, and procedure to be followed for initiating an appeal to the State Department of Education.
Both complainant and the accused shall be afforded a full and fair opportunity to present evidence relevant to the facts and to the issues raised by the complainant and may be represented at the hearing.
State Department of Education
A complainant who is dissatisfied with the decision of the Superintendent may appeal her/his decision to the State Department of Education within fifteen (15) school days of the decision.
The school counselor, assistant principal, or principal shall inform the Superintendent and then shall investigate the complaint, Where investigation confirms the allegation, prompt corrective action will be taken.
Copies of the complete Board Policy 083 are available at the school offices.
Special education services are provided for all students meeting state qualifying criteria. Qualifying student receive special help on a regular scheduled basis, according to his/her Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
Split Schedule (Early Birds and Late Birds)
All K-2 classes at Donald L. Rheem are on a split schedule. This schedule has the effect of reducing class size since it allows the teacher to spend the first hour of the day with half the class (the Early Birds), and the last hour of the day with the other half (the Late Birds)
For the first few weeks of school all students come as Early Birds to allow the teacher to decide upon the most appropriate groupings. Parents are notified when the split schedule is ready to start.
Rheem School annually participates in California's Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) program. Rheem students in grades 2 through 5 take the California Standards Tests in both Language Arts and Mathematics during the district's designated testing period, generally the first two weeks of May.
In addition to the California Standards Tests, 5th graders will be taking a Science Test based on the California science standards. These scores, combined with the California Standards Tests in Language Arts and Mathematics for all 2nd – 5th grade students, factor into Rheem’s API score, which compares our school to others in the state.
Individual student results are provided to parents for review. At Rheem, these results are used to meet individual and group needs as well as to inform our instructional goals.
An elected Student Leadership Team provides leadership opportunities to 5th grade students by inviting them to serve in a variety of "team" efforts, including recycling programs, managing PE equipment, providing communications, and general service to the school such as the raising and lowering of the flags. The Leadership Team students hold regular meetings to make decisions regarding school spirit activities and fundraising opportunities.
Also, non-elected leadership opportunities are available to all 5th graders such as Cross-Age tutoring and Conflict Managers.
Supervision Before and After School
Supervision before school does not begin until 8:10 a.m. (for students starting at 8:25 a.m.) or 9:10 a.m. (for students starting at 9:25 a.m.). Students arriving prior to supervised times will be brought to the office or sent the Roadrunner Club (which may result in a charge). There is no supervision before 8:10 a.m.
Supervision after school is provided for 15 minutes after the dismissal bell rings (see Bell Schedule for dismissal times). Students not picked up within 15 minutes will be brought to the school office. Any student not picked up within 20 minutes after their dismissal will be sent to Roadrunner Club (which may result in a charge). See also Traffic and Parking Procedures for where and how to drop-off and pick-up students on Laird Drive.
Visitors MUST check in at the front office before going to classrooms or playgrounds. All visitors will be identified by staff and students by wearing a yellow "Visitor Pass". Adults not wearing these passes will be asked by school personnel to check in at the office or leave campus.
Below are listed guidelines and helpful hints for classroom volunteers. Please read these guidelines carefully so that your volunteer experience can be comfortable and rewarding for you, your child, and the classroom as a whole. The following suggestions are the result of guidance from parents and staff. Understanding how grateful we are for parents’ time and support, please accept the following guidelines with our thanks!
When serving as a classroom volunteer, please:
- Complete the district volunteer requirement procedure prior to volunteering for the first time.
- Sign in at the office when working at school. There is a “Volunteer Binder” on the front counter in the office for this purpose. This is a school safety measure as well as a PTA requirement.
- Wear a “Volunteer” badge while on campus. Badges are available in the office and must be worn by all visiting adults as a safety measure. If volunteering on a regular basis, please ask to have a “permanent” badge made for reuse. Badges are stored in alphabetized containers on the side counter in the office.
- Arrive on time to the classroom. Therefore, give yourself a few extra minutes to check-in at the office. Your scheduled time indicates the time you are expected in the classroom.
- Find a substitute if something has come up (as things do). Most teachers have provided lists of other parents who are available to volunteer. Finding a substitute allows the classroom activity to proceed as planned.
- Make alternate arrangements for pre-school siblings. It’s best that your hands and attention are free to interact with the students in the class. Many parents “swap” babysitting so they can fully enjoy special time in their child’s classroom.
- Use the cell phone golden rule…Turn it to off or on “vibrate” when you are working in the classroom.
- Model “problem-solving” for the students. Handle unexpected situations with common sense and good judgment. However, we recognize that some situations require teacher intervention. When in doubt, defer to the teacher.
- Model school rules and procedures – including stopping and listening while the teacher is speaking.
- “Clean up” before leaving. This facilitates transitions between activities and better and more effective classroom management—thereby creating a better learning atmosphere!
- Have fun! Enjoying yourself while in the classroom also facilitates a safe and nurturing learning environment for all students.
- Remember to sign-out and to put your badge away when leaving campus.
The entire staff at Rheem Schoolappreciates the time and effort you provide for all students. Thank you for your positive contributions to the great learning community at Rheem.