A-Z Guide to Our School

Dear Clear Springs Families,

Together, the children, staff and parents make Clear Springs an outstanding place to teach and learn. Our goal is to help each child realize his or her full potential. With your support, we can do it!

Open communication is an important factor in reaching this goal. If you have a question, comment or concern about school, please call your child’s teacher or me. We’re always happy to hear from you.

We hope this parent guide will answer many of your questions about daily life at Clear Springs.

Thank you for entrusting your child to Clear Springs School!

Curt Carpenter

Principal

Arrival Time

We have lengthened our arrival period to accommodate traffic during student arrival. You can drop-off your student beginning at 8:15 a.m. We will provide supervision for students in the lobby until students are allowed to go to their classrooms at 8:30 a.m. School begins at 8:40 a.m. Although teachers arrive earlier, their time is spent in team meetings, conferences with parents and lesson preparations. If you need to drop your child off earlier than 8:15 a.m., you might want to call the Explorers Club for information about childcare before and after school hours.

Art

The art teacher meets with K-5 students once every 5-day cycle for 50 minute lessons. The students at Clear Springs are introduced to art through the Discovery Art Curriculum that is based on the Disciplined-Based Art Education (DBAE) philosophy. The DBAE approach exposes children to four disciplines which make for a well rounded, exciting art experience. These disciplines are: Art History, Art Criticism, Aesthetics and Art Production. Clear Springs students also explore many media and areas of art production. These include; clay, paint, collage, printmaking, multi-media sculpture, charcoal, Cray-Pas and fabric arts.

Attendance

Part of your child’s responsibility as a student is to attend school whenever he or she is healthy. For the sake of your child’s education, please schedule family trips and medical appointments outside of school time if at all possible. The principal will contact parents when absenteeism becomes excessive.

REPORTING STUDENT ABSENCES

If your child is absent from school, please take the following steps.

  1. Call the 24 hour attendance line at 952-401-6954, prior to the start of school. Report the child’s name, grade, teacher’s name, the reason for absence and length of absence. Your cooperation helps us be sure of the safety and whereabouts of each of our children.
  2. If we do not hear from you and your child is absent, our nurse or health para will attempt to telephone you at home or at work. She may leave a message.
  3. If you are planning a family activity and or vacation, please complete the “Request Prior Approval for Excused Absence Status for Family Activity/Vacation” form available from the school office and submit it to the principal prior to the event, in order to have up to a yearly total of 5 days accepted as an excused absence.
  4. If a short-term family emergency arises and you cannot arrange for prior approval, the absence is unexcused but should not cause a truancy report provided the child attends school regularly.
  5. If a student comes to school after 8:40 a.m., the student is marked tardy for the morning and should stop at the office to receive a pass to class.
ATTENDANCE POLICIES:
  • Schools are required to keep daily attendance on all students and hourly attendance records on secondary students. This data is submitted to the state as part of the Compulsory Instruction law.
  • Schools are required to inform parents of what absences are excused and which absences are not excused. The law indicated that excused absences include medical and religious reasons as well as completion of the Graduation Rule requirements.
  • Schools are required to make reports of child neglect and or truancy to government agencies for students with 9 or more unexcused absences per year.

It is our intention to work cooperatively with families to document the reasons for a student’s absence. We know that families value other reasons beyond illness and emergencies, including vacations and celebrations. To that end, we established a process to allow up to a total of five days of family activities/vacations to be documented as an excused absence provided the parent/guardian complete a school form requesting prior approval from the principal for such absences.

Band and Orchestra

Band is an optional musical experience for fifth grade students and orchestra is optional for 4th and 5th graders. Students receive a 20-minute lesson once every five school days. The lesson time occurs during the school day on a rotating basis. Because of this rotating schedule, students do not miss the same 20 minutes away from their class more than twice in a quarter. Lesson times are emailed to parents and posted on a chart in the band/orchestra room as well as in each 4th & 5th grade classroom to remind students of their lesson time and days for the entire trimester.

Bell

What’s the story on the bell in the Courtyard? That bell called children to the original school that was built in 1867. It was located across County Road 101, where the district warehouse is now located. Our present school was built in 1958. To celebrate our nation’s bicentennial in 1976, a group of parents and students refurbished the bell. Our PTO hired Wilbert Marquardt to build the bell tower in which our bell now hangs. Look for the bell in our courtyard.

Birthday Parties

The PTO recognizes all student birthdays with a birthday book. Summer birthdays are recognized at the end of the school year. In lieu of a treat, students may bring a non-food item to share with the class, or as an alternative, a book or a rainy day game may be donated to the class. Please, no treats allowed for birthdays.

Bus / Transportation

A fee may be assessed for field trips to cover bus transportation or other costs. If a child is absent the day of the trip, we may not be able to refund the fee, because the bus cost per student is based on the number of children in the class. The PTO sponsors one grade level field trip per year.

No child should miss a field trip because of financial hardship. Please call the principal or social worker if the cost of a field trip presents a hardship for your family. We have scholarships available.

Making a student’s bus ride safe and pleasant is a responsibility we take very seriously. Bus Safety lessons are organized early in the school year. Students are taught bus safety procedures and consequences of breaking bus rules. The transportation director also conducts bus evacuation drills at the school. Video and audio monitoring are operational on every bus. It is the driver’s right to assign a seat to a student if needed. If a student misses the bus going home, office staff will call the parents for transportation or the principal will take the child home. Some buses are at capacity. For safety reasons we do not overload our buses. Please check with the school office before sending a birthday party group or scout group on a bus. This will ensure that seats are available.

STUDENT TRANSPORTATION SAFETY POLICY

School Board Policy 709 states that certain acts or conduct by students are specifically prohibited while students are being transported in district buses or vehicles. Parents and students should be familiar with these policy rules. It would be helpful if parents would remind their children of the following rules, to insure safe riding and transporting of all our children.

PROHIBITIONS:
  1. Disobedient or impudent conduct toward the vehicle driver.
  2. Moving around while the vehicle is in motion.
  3. Sticking heads, hands or any portion of body, out of window.
  4. Throwing objects out of windows.
  5. Unusual loud talking or undo noise.
  6. Tampering with the vehicle or any of its equipment.
  7. Using tobacco products and/or controlled substance (alcohol, drugs).
  8. Scuffling or engaging in fighting on the bus or vehicle.
  9. Using obscene language.
  10. Littering the bus.
  11. Disturbing fellow passengers.
  12. Using the emergency exit in non-emergency situations.
  13. Assaulting another student or adult on the bus.
  14. Any other conduct that would tend to prohibit or affect the orderly and efficient transportation of students is a violation according to state law or local ordinance. Bus drivers are in contact with the principal about behavior on the bus.

If the driver reports that a child has misbehaved on the bus, these are the consequences:

  1. First report: If the problem is minor, the child receives a warning and parents are notified by mail. If the problem is serious, the principal will telephone the parent and the child will have an in-school suspension.
  2. Second report: The student will not be allowed on the bus for up to 5 days.
  3. Third report: The student will not be allowed to ride the bus for up 20 days.
  4. Fourth report: The student will not be allowed to ride the bus for the rest of the school year.

Busing Options for Open Enrolled/Parent Option Plan Students

Students who are open-enrolled or on the Parent Option Plan can bring their child to their nearest bus stop on any Clear Springs bus route. Alternatively, open-enrolled and Parent Option Plan families can drive their child to school and pick them up at the end of the day (see PICK UP/DROP OFF).

Bus Passes

If your child is going home on a different bus, you must send a note to school which states the student’s name, the student with which they are going home, bus number and bus stop. Have your child give this note to their teacher. The teacher forwards the note to the office and bus passes are written and delivered to the teachers by lunch time.

Chemical and Tobacco-Free Environment

Minnetonka School District 276 believes a tobacco-free environment should be provided for all students, employees and patrons. The tobacco-free environment in the Minnetonka School District shall apply in all school owned buildings and grounds, leased or owned, and within all school owned, leased, or contracted vehicles. Moreover, school sponsored activities such as field trips, wherever they occur, are encompassed within the tobacco-free policy. Drugs and alcohol are not permitted on the school grounds or inside of the building at any time. Violations will be reported to the police.

Communications

An open, healthy partnership between families and schools is one of the most powerful contributions we can make to our students’ lives. Conferences, Curriculum Night, report cards and newsletters are some of the formal ways you learn about your child’s school experiences.

Informal ways are equally important.

  • Set aside time each day to hear about what your child has learned in school.
  • Talk about the day’s happenings, friendships and feelings.
  • Look through Peachjar fliers.
  • Volunteer in your child’s classroom or for school projects, and become active in the PTO and parent meetings.
  • Keep open communication with your child’s teacher throughout the year, whether via email, written notes or phone calls.

We want to hear from you! Whenever you feel the need, contact your child’s teacher by phone or email. If you have questions, ask them. If you have a concern, pursue it. If you are happy with the progress your child makes, express your thanks.

Find staff contact information in our Staff Directory.

Conferences

In the fall and early spring, school will be dismissed to provide time for each teacher to meet with parents/guardians to discuss student performance and progress. Conferences are planned for days and evenings, to make them convenient for everyone. Sign up forms for each child will go home in late-September. In the event a conference is missed, the parents need to reschedule with the teacher.

The focus of the fall conference is to give input about the student and to set goals for the year. In the spring, these goals are revisited are progress is shared, in addition to any other relevant input.

Teachers look forward to conferences for a number of reasons:

  • We’re eager to meet you.
  • We want to share observations and information about your child.
  • We need to hear about any concerns you have.
  • We want to work with you to help your child have a successful school year.

Curriculum

The Minnetonka School District, parents and teachers have high expectations for all students. All teachers are trained to use the materials approved by the school district. They are also trained in best practices and know how to allow flexibility to ensure that all students achieve to their highest potential. At the elementary level students are instructed in language arts (reading, grammar, writing, spelling, handwriting, speaking and listening), mathematics, science, social studies, health, physical education, art, and music. Teachers use technology to accelerate the learning and skills of all students.

  • Language Arts: Houghton-Mifflin and Being a Writer
  • Social Studies: History Alive!
  • Math: Everyday Mathematics and Math in Focus
  • Handwriting: Zaner-Bloser
  • Health: Great Body Shop
  • Music: Spotlight On Music by MacMillan/McGraw-Hill
  • Art: Discipline Based Art Education
  • Science: Hands-on kits (either Foss and district-designed)
  • Physical Education: District-designed curriculum

A copy of each textbook is available in the school library/media center for inspection and check out by parents.

Materials are defined in School Board Policy M-4 as any print or non-print item with education content or function that is used for teaching/learning purposes. Required materials must be curriculum appropriate, content appropriate, and age appropriate. Educational suitability for student needs is the major criterion for selection of resources.

The instructor is accountable for understanding the content and application of these materials to the curriculum. Media center materials are selected on the basis of reviews, professional journals and professional recommendations; thus, the local professional may or may not know the entire content of particular materials. Complaints about materials used in Minnetonka Schools will be addressed in accordance with procedures found in Administrative Rules and Procedures policy.

Curriculum Night

Curriculum Night is intended for parents to visit their child’s classroom, meet the teacher and find out what a typical day is like for their child. You will learn about what curriculum is taught in each subject area. You will be able to sign up to help in the classroom throughout the year, and gather other important information from your child’s teacher. This is a great time to ask questions! Curriculum Nights are typically held around the third week of the school year, and are divided over two nights and time shifts, to make it possible for parents with multiple children to attend each child’s class. This is a parent only event. Child care is not available for these nights.

Curvy Hallway

The Curvy Hallway is located on the east side of the school, near the new gym. The hallway runs along one side of the courtyard, and has a unique curvy design to the window area! Currently, the hallway is home to the Band and Orchestra room, the High Potential room, Speech & Language room, Primary Project Room, and other specialists.

Daily Schedule

  • 7:15 Office opens
  • 8:30 Buses arrive
  • 8:40 School begins
  • 3:20 School dismissal
  • 4:00 Office closes

Discipline

It is our intention that the focus of our school and each classroom within is to foster safe, challenging, and joyful places where all children can achieve their very best. Restitution: The Language of Discipline The restitution model at Clear Springs is established by having students and teachers develop a social contract (rules) that they believe will create an ideal classroom. Students take responsibility for their own behaviors and are allowed an opportunity in most cases to fix any problems they may be having in the classroom. The principal may be asked to help students problem-solve when difficulties occur in the classroom, bus, hallways, lunchroom, or on the playground.

RESPONSIVE CLASSROOM

The Minnetonka Public Schools have been using this approach to continue to enhance the classroom community. The approach uses practical strategies for bringing together social and academic learning throughout the day. The guiding principles of this approach are:

  • Social curriculum is as important as the academic curriculum
  • How children learn is as important as what they learn.
  • The greatest cognitive growth occurs through social interaction.
  • There are a set of social skills children need: cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, and self-control.
  • Knowing the children we teach-individually, culturally, and developmentally- is as important as knowing the content we teach.
  • Knowing the families of the children we teach and inviting their participation is essential to children’s education.
  • How the adults at school work together is as important as individual competence: lasting change begins with the adult community.

Bottom Line Behaviors: Clear Springs Elementary School, in compliance with Minnetonka Public School Policy and the state law will enforce a zero-tolerance policy for weapons, violence, and sexual harassment.

Dress

Children should wear clothes that are appropriate for school and for the weather. Students who wear shoes that are unsafe for physical education will be asked to sit out during class activity time. Please mark all student belongings with student's name or initials. Hats are not to be worn inside of the building except for special “hat days.” See Minnetonka District Policy 503 for more information.

Drop-Off and Pick-Up From School

When dropping off or picking up your child, please follow these guidelines:

  • Children should not arrive before 8:15 a.m., unless in Explorers Club.
  • Please pull all the way forward when dropping off or picking up at the curb.
  • School dismisses at 3:20 p.m. Please pick your child up by 3:45 p.m.
  • If you want to park and come into the school to pick-up, please park in the District Service Center parking lot to the northeast of Clear Springs.
  • Please note that the stop sign by the District Service Center is not a four-way stop. Please yield to incoming vehicles.
  • Safety is our first concern. Thank you for keeping your speed down.

Emergency Numbers

Emergency contact numbers are kept on file in the office. When your child brings the emergency contact form home in the fall, please verify all information is correct, update that which is not, and return it as soon as possible. It’s essential that this record be kept current. Please let the office know if there are any changes or additions during the year.

English Language Learner

ELL (English Language Learner) service in the Minnetonka School District is a federally mandated program and offered to those students who first language is other than English. On the elementary school level, it is a program which helps students adjust to the new culture and learn the English language so that they can function and succeed in the classroom as well as in the community as a whole.

Equal Opportunity

The Minnetonka School District does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status or status with regard to public assistance or disability in any of its educational programs, activities, or employment practices.

Explorers Club

Explorers Club provides quality before and after-school childcare for elementary-age children. The service is operated at Clear Springs before and after school by Minnetonka Community Education Services. Hours are 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, including school holidays. Tuition fees support the program. For more information, call 952-401-6832.

Field Trips

A fee may be assessed for field trips to cover bus transportation or other costs. If a child is absent the day of the trip, we may not be able to refund the fee, because the bus cost per student is based on the number of children in the class. The PTO sponsors one grade level field trip per year.

No child should miss a field trip because of financial hardship. Please call the principal or social worker if the cost of a field trip presents a hardship for your family. We have scholarships available.

Five-Day Cycle

Why are some classes and activities on a Five-day cycle instead of a weekly basis?

Rotating physical education, music, art and media center classes on a five day schedule means that no child misses these special activities because of holidays or emergency school closings.

Your child’s teacher will typically provide the next week’s cycle in each weekly newsletter.


Giving Programs

The PTO coordinates Box Tops for Education on behalf of the school. We receive 10 cents for every box top collected from qualifying General Mills and Land O’Lakes products. Students can bring box tops to school and put them in the labeled bins located in the front entrance.

Grading System

The Grading and Reporting system at the elementary level is designed to:

  • Reflect academic achievement
  • Contain meaningful feedback
  • Be honest, fair, transparent, credible, and user friendly
  • Be criterion-referenced
  • Align with the Minnetonka Public Schools curriculum
  • Reflect consistency within and among grade levels and schools

Students are assessed across their subjects with a (B)Beginning, (D)Developing, (S)Secure grading system.

Halloween

Halloween, October 31st, is a day celebrated by most children as a time to dress up, play games, and have some extra “treats”.

We host a Halloween Parade through the school and on the track behind the school (weather permitting) on Halloween Day beginning at 1:45 p.m., followed by classroom parties. If Halloween Day falls on the weekend, we will celebrate the previous Friday. The children may bring their costumes to school and put them on before the parade.

We want everyone to have a fun day. Please keep in mind that we have very young children at Clear Springs, and costumes that are “scary” are not appropriate. We would like to suggest that the children consider dressing as storybook characters, historical characters, animals, pumpkins and other things that are fun and interesting. We strongly discourage any costume that would be violent or cruel in nature (i.e. Freddy Krueger). Also, please keep the toy guns, swords, and knives at home for the nighttime festivity.

Everyone is invited to see the parade, which has been a huge success for years, and then to join the fun of your child’s classroom party.

High Potential

A full-time High Potential Teacher and a part-time instructional paraprofessional provide three levels of service at Clear Springs.

Level 1 Services provide intellectually gifted students with the following services:

  • WINGS Classes - In grades one through five, small groups of high potential students meet at least once every six days. Four interdisciplinary units are taught throughout the year within the regular school day by the H.P. teacher. Academic Enrichment classes are provided for students who qualify in grades K and
  • Clustering - H.P. students are clustered in groups of 4-7 students within a mixed-ability classroom in first through fifth grade. Selection for this service requires a teacher and parent observation checklist, achievement scores, and an intelligence test score. Referrals may be initiated by parent or teacher.

Level 2 Services are designed to provide enrichment for students with specific areas of talent. These opportunities are provided in cooperation with the classroom teacher.

Special interest classes are coordinated with the cooperation of the classroom teacher and parent volunteers. Accelerated Math for 4th and 5th graders is offered at this level. The Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM) provides an opportunity for independent study by students mastering a curricular area or topic. Students "rotate" into the H.P. Enrichment Room for this opportunity. Selection for Level 2 services is by teacher request.

Level 3 Services are opportunities available to all teachers and students. The H.P. teacher goes into the regular classroom, as requested, to teach critical and creative thinking skills to all students. Enrichment materials and newsletters are provided to all classroom teachers. Examples of additional program services that are available to any interested student are: Imagination Fairs, Continental Math League, and Destination Imagination.

Parent volunteers are vital partners in providing Level 2 and 3 services. Please call our H.P. teacher at 952-401-6992 if you have questions about program services or would like to volunteer. For additional information, please visit the High Potential web page.

Human Sexuality Curriculum

Instruction about family life and human sexuality is part of the Minnetonka Schools curriculum in grades K-12. The coordinated program gives students an understanding of physical, mental and emotional growth processes, and the development of relationships with family and friends. Parents will be notified about the dates and content of classes. All will be invited to preview the 5th grade curriculum materials. Contact the principal if you wish your child to be excused from certain classes. Please contact the principal you would like to preview the curriculum.

Homework

Homework is appropriate for primary aged children as long as it can be completed independently and is a reinforcement of what is learned in school. The research done on effective schools tells us that homework should be assigned on a regular basis, should be reinforcement or practice instead of new material, and is never to be used as punishment.

At Clear Springs we follow these guidelines:

  • Homework can be assigned for completing unfinished work at the student’s ability level.
  • Homework can be an enrichment activity that extends classroom activities such as research or making a science project.
  • Spelling practice lists are considered homework.
  • Teachers regularly assign practice activities such as math or vocabulary flash cards.

Insurance

The Minnetonka Schools offers student accident insurance. Forms for participation will be sent home during the first week of school. There is no obligation to participate.

Leaving School Early

The last period of the day is an important instructional and evaluation time for your child. Please make your best effort to plan appointments after the school day ends. Parents must sign children out in the office if the child is being picked up early and sign the child back in if returning before the end of the school day. When picking up your child at the end of the day, check in at the school office. The secretaries will request the child from the classroom. Parents should wait for their child in the Main Office.

Lost and Found

The lost and found for clothing and lunch boxes is located in the back hallway near the Media Center. Jewelry, money, wallets and purses and other small items can be claimed in the office. You can help your child retrieve lost clothing more easily by labeling items with his/her name. Please label lunch boxes, too.

Unclaimed items are displayed for at least a week in the lobby of the school twice a year. Any items unclaimed after that time will be donated to a local charity.

If your child leaves something on the bus, it can be claimed when he/she rides the bus again. Items are kept on the bus for approximately one week and then put in the First Student Bus Company lost and found.

Lunch

Lunchroom Rules:

  1. Please take a full and healthy lunch.
  2. Sit at your classroom table until you are excused.
  3. Talk in a classroom voice.
  4. Keep your hands on your own food.
  5. Be responsible for keeping your area clean.

Hot lunches are served daily and menus are available online. You can also download the Nutrislice app for quick access to menus. See the Nutrition Services website for details.

You are welcome to visit school to eat lunch with your child. If you plan to eat a hot lunch on your visit, please notify the school at 952-401-6931 by 10 a.m. for planning purposes.

Clear Springs has a computerized lunch accounting system. The system allows parents to make prepayments into the family's lunch account. Students will use their own PIN (Personal Identification Number) to pay for their lunch each day. Each time the PIN number is used by the child or cashier for lunch or milk purchase, the cost will be deducted from the child's account.

Lunch Account Payments:
  • Separate checks made out to Minnetonka Nutrition Services are necessary for each child in family. You may also make a payment online, via Skyward Family Access (see SKYWARD).
  • Free or reduced-price lunches are available for children from low-income families.
  • Information about this U.S. government program is sent home in a mailing. If your family develops financial need during the year, call the Minnetonka Schools’ food service supervisor, 952-401-6800. Names of children receiving lunch aid are kept confidential. For further information, please visit the Nutrition Services page.

Make-Up Work

Homework Due to Illness In the case of incidental illness (1-3 days) your child may need to make up the work missed. The child will have the same number of days they were absent due to illness to make up the school work missed (i.e., if they were out for 2 days, they will have two days after their return to school to make up the work).

Because of our hands-on teaching practices, it may not be possible to complete all class work. You may contact your teacher to coordinate picking up homework during your child’s illness.

Homework Due to Vacations

The Clear Springs staff encourages families to plan vacations during our regularly scheduled breaks. However, if a vacation is taken during the regular school calendar, makeup work will be assigned when the child returns.

Math Specialist

The Math Specialist works in many ways to promote math and helps children become successful learners:

  • Gives diagnostic tests to new students
  • Consults with staff and parents
  • Teaches small groups of children to support their learning
  • Extends learning with enrichment activities

Media Center

The goal of the Media program is to ensure that all students become effective users of ideas and information. The following Learner Outcomes will be covered through co-planned and co-taught lessons with the classroom teacher. Many Media lessons support and enhance the Language Arts Curriculum.

Kindergarten
  • Orientation and usage of the Media Center
  • Literature appreciation
  • Book care
  • Parts of a book and location of books in the Media Center
First Grade
  • Orientation and usage of the Media Center
  • Literature appreciation- Focus on specific authors and illustrators, Caldecott books
  • Book care
  • Parts of a book and arrangement of books in the Media Center
  • Identify fiction and nonfiction books
  • Dictionary skills
  • Use of electronic search stations
  • Accessing, evaluating and applying electronic information
Second Grade
  • Orientation and usage of the Media Center
  • Literature appreciation
  • Booktalks
  • Identify fiction and nonfiction books
  • Location and use of magazines and newspapers
  • Use of electronic search stations
  • Use of reference sources as keys to finding information
  • Accessing, evaluating and applying electronic information
Third Grade
  • Orientation and usage of Media Center
  • Literature appreciation - Caldecott, Newbery and other honor books
  • Book talks
  • Use call numbers and shelf labels to locate materials
  • Identify fiction and nonfiction books
  • Location and use of magazines and newspapers
  • Use of electronic search stations
  • Accessing, evaluating and applying electronic information
Fourth Grade
  • Orientation and usage of Media Center
  • Literature appreciation - Caldecott, Newbery and other honor books
  • Book talks
  • Use of reference sources as keys to finding information
  • Identify fiction and non-fiction books
  • Demonstrate understanding of Dewey Decimal System
  • Locate and use magazines and newspapers
  • Use electronic search stations
  • Accessing, evaluating and applying electronic information
  • Ethical use of information
Fifth Grade
  • Orientation and usage of Media Center
  • Literature appreciation - Caldecott, Newbery, Maud Hart Lovelace and other honor books
  • Book talks
  • Use of reference sources as keys to finding information
  • Identify fiction and nonfiction books
  • Demonstrate understanding of Dewey Decimal System
  • Locate and use magazines and newspapers
  • Use electronic search stations
  • Accessing, evaluating and applying electronic information
  • Ethical use of information

Medications

Any medications that need to be administered during school hours must be kept in the health office. Neither the school nor any staff member can give a child medicine except under the direction of the child’s doctor.

If your child must have medicine during the school day, or if a drug to counteract an allergic reaction must be kept on hand, please ask for a release form. The parent and the physician must sign the release form. The prescription must be brought into the health office by an adult and be in the original container. The container must have the student’s name and correct dosage on the label. When at all possible, we would appreciate your asking the doctor to schedule medication times so you can give prescription medicine at home. These rules also apply to over the counter medications. Please direct and further questions regarding medications at school to the Health Office at 952-401-6954.

Health Services

Our Licensed School Nurse and/or paraprofessional give first aid in emergencies, contact parents of sick children, keep health records and do health screenings. There are only a few circumstances in which the health paraprofessional will give prescription medications to children (See Medications). Minnesota law requires that every child attending school be immunized against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio, measles, mumps and German measles. We cannot allow your child to attend school unless you return the form verifying that your child has had these shots.

Minnetonka Immersion Parent Network

Please request membership to our Facebook Group page by going to "Minnetonka Immersion Parent Network". You will find a helpful community of parents who can help answer questions and direct you to resources.

Music

The music teacher meets with students in grades K-5 for a total of 75 minutes every five-day cycle.

Student Objectives:

  • Music education is a sequential educational program that teaches students how to:
  • Enjoy singing.
  • Identify characteristics of the five elements of music: melody, harmony, rhythm, tone color and dynamics.
  • Develop skills in singing, listening, playing instruments, and movement.
  • Gain an appreciation and understanding of the various styles and kinds of music.
  • Experience music as a means of self-expression through performance.
  • Create a basis for lifetime enjoyment of music both as a performer and a listener.
  • Sing in a choral setting in fifth grade.

Newsletter

You will receive newsletters periodically from the school, PTO and other staff. Classroom newsletters are sent home weekly to promote the events in the classroom and keep communication with parents. The newsletter is only one type of communication. You can use email, written notes or phone calls as well. We believe communication with each family is critical to the success of our elementary school program.

Non-Discrimination

In compliance with Federal laws such as Title IX of 1972 and Title VI of 1964 and various state statutes, School Board Policy A-15 sets forth Minnetonka School District's policy of non-discrimination on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, age marital status, disability or status with regard to public assistance in its educational programs, activities and employment policies. Complaints relative to the provisions of this policy should be referred to the Minnetonka School District Affirmative Action Officer, 5621 County Road 101, Minnetonka, MN 55345.

Order for Staff Contacts

If you have a concern about school, involving just your child or a wider issue, please let us know about as soon as possible. Here is the order in which to talk to people.

  1. Teacher - First line of communication 952-401-6950
  2. Principal: Curt Carpenter 952-401-6953
  3. Superintendent: Dr. Dennis Peterson 952-401-5004
  4. School Board Members (See School Board)

Offensive Behavior Policy

Creating and maintaining a safe, challenging, and joyous place for children to learn, play and grow is one of our primary goals. To that end, we will work hard helping students problem solve challenges that occur. However, there are situations that are dangerous or harassing to others. In those cases we follow School Board policy and procedures. Students in the Minnetonka Schools have the right to learn and grow in an environment that is free from religious, racial or sexual harassment and violence. Offensive behavior toward others is not tolerated and will result in disciplinary action. It is not enough for the student to avoid offensive behavior himself/herself. The student has a responsibility to remind others who demonstrate offensive behavior that such offensive behavior should end.

Any student who believes he or she has been the victim of offensive behavior-that is, unwelcome behavior related to religion, race or sexual harassment and violence-or any person with information about conduct involving students or adults which may constitute offensive behavior should report the alleged acts immediately. You can report improper conduct to his/her teacher or to the building principal.

Parent Option Plan

A Minnetonka Public Schools parent may choose to have his/her child attend a school other than their neighborhood school. This request is most often made when a language immersion option of your preference is not offered at your neighborhood school. Your principal can help you with the application for this program.

Parties

Each classroom will have three parties throughout the year:

  • Halloween Party – October 31st
  • Winter Party – the week before Winter Break
  • Valentine’s Day – February 14th

The parties are planned by the teacher and the room parents, but ALL parents are encouraged to help or attend the parties.

A $5 cash donation may be collected at the beginning of each school year by your teacher or the Head Room Parent. This money is used for classroom parties.

Party Invitations

Unless all the boys or girls in your child’s room are invited to a party in your home, please do not send invitations to school for distribution.

Payments to the School

For Field Trips and other School Events:

Please make checks payable to Clear Springs Elementary School

Classroom Book Orders:

Please make checks payable to the individual book clubs (i.e Scholastic Book Club)

School lunches:

Please make checks payable to Minnetonka Nutrition Services

PTO Sponsored Events:

Please make checks payable to Clear Springs PTO (see PTO EVENTS).

Classroom Parties:

A $5 voluntary donation will be collected by each class at the beginning of the school year to be used for the three class parties.

Permission Slips / Bus Passes

You must send an email to school or send a written, dated and signed note with your child for the following circumstances:

  • Your child is going to someone else’s home after school.
  • Your child is riding a different bus or getting off at a different bus stop.
  • You want your child to stay in during recess, or to miss physical education class (if the cause lasts longer than three days, we need a note from your doctor).
  • Your child will leave school early, or will leave and return during the day.
  • Once children get to school, they cannot leave the school grounds without written permission from a parent or school staff member. They must also sign in and out in the school office.

Pets

We know that pets are important members of the family and we want to celebrate them with you. However, due to allergies, we do not allow pets in school.

Physical Education

In Minnetonka, our elementary education program provides the opportunity for students to make physical demands on themselves, to explore and experiment, to learn to cooperate with their peers and to become aware of their own capabilities. Children are encouraged to work on personal goals for improvement. Clear Springs Students meet with a Physical Education Teacher for a total of 100 minutes during the 5 day cycle.

Physical Education is a sequential educational program that teaches students how to:

  • Perform the basic motor and ball skills, and build upon these for more enjoyable and rewarding participation in physical activities.
  • Understand how their bodies move in different directions, at different speeds and patterns, and how balance and weight shift affect movement.
  • Understand and participate in vigorous physical activities that can assist in developing and monitoring physical fitness throughout their lives.
  • Understand and improve their sports skills along with recognizing the value of good sportsmanship, cooperation, and respect for individual differences.
  • Enjoy using their skills and knowledge as an advantage in establishing a healthy lifestyle.
  • Incorporate safety skills and habits while participating in games, sports and lifetime fitness activities.
  • Enjoy various rhythmic experiences.

Playground Rules

  1. Use the equipment appropriately.
  2. Take turns.
  3. Sit and face forward on the slide.
  4. Jump only from low areas of the equipment.
  5. Dress appropriately for playing.
  6. Be courteous to others.

Psychologist

The school psychologist assists teachers in meeting the individual needs of students. The psychologist is in charge of testing to determine whether a child is eligible for special education or High Potential services. No testing can be done without the parent’s written permission in advance.

PTO

The Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) is a vital part of the Clear Springs community. Our parents provide important support in the form of fund-raising for school events and equipment, parenting activities, teacher support and many volunteer services.

Your active involvement is needed, not only for what you can contribute to the PTO and the school, but as a statement to your children that their education is a priority for your family.

The Clear Springs PTO page is full of information on the PTO Board, Events Calendar, Meeting Minutes, Committees, and more. Please visit the PTO web page for more details.

The following is a partial list of our events:

  • Back to School Open House: Held the week before school, this event allows you and your child to meet your teacher, see your classroom and drop off your school supplies.
  • Scholastic Book Fairs/Literacy Fairs: We hold one book fair in the Fall and one in the Spring. Proceeds are used to purchase books for the Media Center, build classroom libraries (through Teacher Wish Lists) and fund PTO events.
  • Pancake Breakfast: This is a great school community event. It has traditionally been our “Dad’s Event” with dads volunteering to cook pancakes and sausage for Clear Springs families. Event traditionally held on a Saturday morning in mid-November.
  • Winter Party: This is another great school community event. Held on a Friday evening in January or February, it is a night full of both indoor and outdoor activities for the entire family!
  • Talent Show: Held in early Spring, this is a showcase of our Clear Springs students! Strictly on a volunteer basis, students sign up to perform a variety of talents. Event is held at Excelsior Auditorium.
  • Parent Night Out - Silent & Live Auction: This is another major fundraiser for the school, typically held on a Friday night in the spring. It is a parent and staff only event. It is a casual, fun evening, with silent and live auction offerings, as well as raffle drawings and games! This event is typically put on to fund a specific need (i.e. one year it went toward renovating the Courtyard, one year to purchase more books for the library, one year to renovate and stock the Book Room).
  • Art Show: this is a wonderful event, designed to showcase the artistic abilities of all the students at Clear Springs. One piece of artwork from each child will be on display throughout the entire school. The artwork stays up for several weeks, but we dedicate one night that parents and families can come to school and walk the halls that have been transformed into an Art Gallery!
  • Spring Fling: This is the last school-wide event of the year. Bring the whole family and enjoy a meal and a musical celebration on the back hill of Clear Springs! Each grade level will perform a musical selection, selected and directed by our music teacher. It is a WONDERFUL way to end the year!

Reading Specialist

The Bilingual Reading Specialist and the English Reading Specialist work in many ways to promote language arts and help children become successful learners:

  • Give diagnostic tests to new students.
  • Coordinate state and standardized testing.
  • Consult with staff and parents.
  • Teach small groups of children to support their learning.
  • Promotes reading for pleasure.
  • Organizes incentive programs.
  • Extends learning with enrichment activities.

Registration

Parents can register their children at the District Service Center anytime during the year. We encourage parents to visit the school in person and bring their children, so that we can give everyone a warm welcome and a tour of the school. If a personal visit is inconvenient, the forms can be mailed. School office hours are 7:15 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Report Cards

The Minnetonka school year is divided into four quarters. Report cards are available electronically at the end of each quarter. The report card includes progress on the whole child, including progress in academics, behaviors, effort, and habits. Also included in the report card is attendance information.

Room Parents

Room Parenting is an excellent opportunity for you to get to know other students in your child’s classroom, the teacher and to be involved in your child’s school life. You may volunteer in any or all of your child’s classes. Please contact your child's teacher if you are interested in being a lead room parent, room parent or helper.

Lead Room Parent Responsibilities: duties vary between teachers. Generally be the main contact for the teacher, be in charge of classroom party money, help plan parties and help with various tasks.

Room Parent Responsibilities: duties vary between teachers. Generally help plan parties, be a contact between teacher and parents and help with various tasks.

Room Helper Responsibilities: duties vary between teachers. Generally help teacher with projects, help with parties.

Safety

Fire Drills

Fire drills are held during the year in order to make quick evacuation of the building a familiar routine. There are maps in each classroom showing the route to take outside.

Lock-Down Drills

Lock-Down Drills are held 5 times throughout the school year.

Tornado Drills

A tornado drill is held annually in April.

Bus

Early in the school year a bus evacuation drill is held.

School Board

The Minnetonka School Board sets educational policies and budgets for all the Minnetonka Schools. The board meets at 7 p.m. each first and third Thursday of the month, usually at the Service Center, 5621 County Road 101, Minnetonka, MN.

The public is welcome at all meetings. The open forum leads off the first meeting of the month. During open forum, the public is welcome to speak to board members about any issue involving education or local schools. Visit the School Board web page for more information.

School Closures

In the event that school will need to be cancelled or postponed, you will receive an automated message at each phone number on file with the school. You can also listen to WCCO-AM (830) and KSTP-AM (1500) for announcements of school closings or late starts.

It’s important, too, that you and your child have a plan in case school dismisses early because of an approaching storm or a power outage. The plan could be to go to a designated neighbor’s house. This plan may be necessary in case you are inadvertently detained downtown or experience another emergency and cannot get home before your child. Be sure your child knows where to go if you are not home. The school office will send home a form each year with instructions on what the school should do with your child in the event of an unexpected early school closure.

Schoology

Schoology is an online resource for all families in the Minnetonka School District. Each child will receive a unique login and password to access the system at the beginning of the school year from the district. Schoology contains information on the classes your child is enrolled in, assignment information, classroom news and pictures (usage varies by teacher) and great resource links to educational websites.

Skyward Family Access

Skyward is an online program available to all parents/guardians in the Minnetonka School District. Parents each receive an individual login and password to access Skyward at the start of each year.

Skyward gives you access to:

  • Your child/children’s personal and health information
  • Contact information for parents
  • Emergency contact information
  • Attendance records
  • Food Service information
  • Test Scores and grade book (for Middle and High School levels)

You can access Skyward from the website by clicking My SSO at the top of any page.

Snow and Cold Temperatures

Clear Springs students spend up to 25 minutes on the playground each school day. The only exception is when the wind chill or actual temperature is -10 or colder. Please make sure your child is properly dressed for the weather.

Social Worker

Social work services are directed at strengthening ties among the school, home and community. By consulting with parents and school staff, the School Social Worker can help assess the particular needs of a student and coordinate efforts so the family and school can provide more consistent direction and programming for the student. The functions include, but are not limited to:

  • Collaborating with students, parents, staff to implement early intervention and support strategies for students.
  • Providing parent education and resources to students and families as needed.
  • Advocating for children and families.
  • Teaching classroom lessons to address specific needs within the classroom as requested by the teachers.
  • Working with parents and students when there are issues relating to family changes.
  • Facilitating small groups such a Family Changes, Friendship, Newcomers, MultiCultural Group with children.
  • Collecting family history in preparation for Special Education Staffing meetings.
  • Consulting with the Child Study Team and providing direct services to Special Education Students.

Special Education

If teachers and/or parents believe that a student might have a learning or behavioral disability, that child must be evaluated to see if he/she needs special education services. No testing or service can be given without the parent’s permission. Testing results are always shared with parents and parents share in the student’s program planning. These special education services are provided in the Minnetonka Schools: prekindergarten program, developmental classroom, learning disabilities program, speech and language therapy, educable mentally handicapped education, adapted physical education and emotional/behavior disorders program (EBD).

Speech and Language Services

When students have difficulty communicating, assessments may be done to see if the students are eligible for Speech and or Language Services.

The areas of communication that are assessed include: articulation, language, voice and fluency. These special services are offered for children who may need assistance producing correct speech sounds, those needing vocabulary/grammar/comprehension and verbal expression support, those learning to master speech rhythms, and children who need teaching and practice to control their vocal productions.

Speech and language services are available to individuals from birth to 21 year of age in all Minnetonka schools from licensed Educational Speech and Language Pathologists.

Student Placement

Teachers will begin to develop class lists for the following school year in May. The makeup of the class is an important step in planning your child’s education. Teachers use several criteria in placing students in order to create the optimal learning situation for all students. The following partial list highlights some of the criteria:

  • Balanced class composition of males and females.
  • Clustered gifted students and grouped high achievers.
  • Matched special education student needs, teacher style and caseload.
  • Spread of ability ranges in each homeroom.
  • Matched student personalities.
  • Parent requests based on special circumstances or concerns.

It is not in the best interest of the students as a whole to develop class lists based only on parent requests for a specific teacher. To do so discounts other important criteria and the overall class composition. Parent Input Forms are available in the office if parents want to communicate their child’s particular needs and learning styles.

Two-Hour Late Start

If we announce a “two hour late start” that means that your child’s bus will arrive 2 hours late. School will end at the usual time.

Testing and Assessment

Minnetonka Public Schools Testing and Assessment program incorporates state-wide testing, local standardized testing, and classroom assignments and observation to provide a complete profile of student achievement and curricular strengths and weaknesses. Compared to both national norms and state-wide test results, Minnetonka students perform exceedingly well.

Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments

The MCA is an assessment taken by Minnesota students in the Spring of each year which gives parents, educators, administrators, and state education officials an indication as to how students are performing in math, reading and science. This allows us all an accurate assessment of how our students are performing and gives us the opportunity to take the steps necessary to improve student achievement.

NWEA Tests

Minnetonka students in grades K - 8 participate in District-wide tests in the fall and spring. The fall tests measure what children already know in math and reading and what a child still needs to learn. The spring tests assess each child's academic growth during the year.

Students take the tests on a computer. The questions automatically adjust to the child's appropriate level of learning, based on the child's responses. In essence, each test is customized to the student to pinpoint each student’s appropriate instructional level. Students who have traditionally found standardized assessments to be too challenging, and therefore frustrating, find a better balance of comfortable and challenging questions. Students who have traditionally breezed through standardized assessments find more challenging questions. With this testing system, high ability students find there is no longer an artificial ceiling in testing their academic achievement.

This technology allows a student’s academic growth to be measured more precisely and more efficiently. The assessments are shorter than traditional standardized assessments and use less class time while still receiving detailed, accurate information about your child’s academic ability and growth. Each child spends a total of about three hours in the computer lab completing these assessments during the three week window. Following the assessments, parents receive a report showing their child’s baseline score for this fall. On subsequent tests (each spring and fall), parents will also see a growth score to help monitor whether each child is achieving a year’s growth in a year’s time. Each report also provides a scale of scores in relation to grade level norms and a Lexile score.

Results of both these tests for your child will be shared with you at parent/teacher conferences or sent home to you in the mail. You can also access them through Skyward Family Access.

Minnetonka teachers also assess reading and language arts with:
  • Benchmark testing in the fall, winter and spring.
  • Unit testing

Teachers use a wide variety of other assessment tools. Tests, student observations, self-assessments, individual rating sheets and interviews, group work, work samples, skills checklists, and portfolios are just a few of the assessment tools used.

Visitors

For the protection of all children and staff in our school, all visitors and parents are required to check in and out at the office and to wear a visitor badge while in the building.

Visiting Your Child at School

Parents are welcome to visit their children’s classrooms or have lunch at school. Please call the morning you want to visit to check with your child’s teacher. Reservations for lunch should be made by 10 a.m.

Volunteers

We are thrilled to have the help, support and presence of our volunteer parents. In order to provide a safe environment, where children are our first priority, we need to adhere to following procedures:

  • Check-in procedure: It is essential that all volunteers in the building sign in and use visitor badges provided by the school.
  • Confidentiality: Educators recognize the importance of confidentiality. Everyone is more secure in an environment where the privacy of the child and the child's family is respected. We expect the same commitment to confidentiality from our volunteers as we do from ourselves.
VOLUNTEERING IN THE CLASSROOM

Parents are encouraged to volunteer in their children’s classroom. Teachers will typically have classroom volunteer opportunities available at Curriculum Night and will communicate other volunteer needs throughout the year.

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES – PTO

We have a strong tradition of volunteering at Clear Springs. Parents, guardians, and family members are involved in so many aspects of our children’s education. We hope every parent can find at least one way to help each year. All PTO Volunteer opportunities (with descriptions) are posted on our website at the beginning of each school year. You can access and sign up for these opportunities year round. Computers are set up in the school lobby during Curriculum Nights for you to use to sign up, as well. Throughout the year, various committees may also send home volunteer request forms in the Friday Folders.

Weapons Policy

All weapons and objects, which have the appearance of a weapon, are prohibited within all school environments and anywhere near school grounds. Please see the Discipline section for more information.

Xylophones, Yaks and Zephyrs

OK, we don't really have information about Xylophones, Yaks and Zephyrs. We just wanted to finish our alphabet!

Thank you for reading our Parent Guide! Please contact our main office if you have any questions.