Attendance: Illness / Absences / Tardy Policy

In order to keep students safe, we verify student absences as early as possible each day. If your child will be absent from school, please call our 24-hour attendance line at 888-7043 to report the absence by 9:00 a.m.  Teachers can not verify an absence with our office.  If your child will be absent, please call our attendance line.

It is important that children be in attendance whenever possible. In addition to missing important classroom instruction, students are often frustrated by feelings of trying to catch up after an absence. As important as punctuality and attendance are to student achievement, children should not be sent to school ill. Children who come to the office with a temperature of 100 degrees or above will be sent home. On the third consecutive day of absence, homework may be requested by calling our office.

In order to foster student responsibility, minimize classroom interruptions, as well as avoid unnecessary embarrassment, students should arrive at school on time. If being late is unavoidable, please call the office and let us know that your child will be late. We have a formal tardy policy at Melinda Heights. A student is considered tardy if s/he arrives anytime after the final bell rings.  A student who arrives after the final bell must first check in with the office before going to the classroom.  A tardy is unexcused for any reason other than illness, medical appointment, or a late school bus.

Before and After School Supervision

Supervision begins at 8:00 a.m. After school supervision will end at 2:45 p.m. Students should not arrive on campus prior to 8:00 a.m., or stay later than 2:45 p.m. Students remaining on the sidewalks on Rancho Trabuco and Melinda Roads at 2:45 will be brought to the office. All students should leave campus at dismissal unless previous arrangements have been made with parents and teachers. No student will be kept after school without prior parent permission.

Bus Transportation

Due to budget cutbacks, home to school bus transportation has been significantly reduced. If you would like information regarding eligibility, bus routes, or fees, please check the SVUSD website for current information.

Bicycles, Skateboards, Rollerblades, etc.

Children in grades 3-6 may ride their bicycles to school. Each bicycle must be in safe working order and be equipped with a lock and be parked in the bike racks. California law requires that all children wear safety helmets when riding a bicycle or any other non-motorized vehicle with wheels. Children are expected to follow all traffic safety laws when going to and from school. School rules include walking bicycles when they are on school grounds. Riding a bicycle to school is a privilege which may be revoked if safety rules are not followed. A Bicycle Parent Consent Form must be picked up in the school office. The signed consent form for cyclists must be returned in September and kept on file in the office.  Students are not allowed to ride skateboards, “Heelies,” or roller blades to school or on the school grounds before, during, or after school, or at school-sponsored events.

Cell Phone and Electronic Device Policy

Student possession and use of cell phones or electronic devices on school grounds, at school sponsored activities, and while under supervision of school district employees is permitted under the specific circumstances listed below:

  • These devices must be turned off and kept out of sight while students are on campus, unless the student is otherwise directed by the teacher.
  • Unauthorized use will result in confiscation of the device by the staff. Items will be returned to the student at the end of the day.  Any subsequent offenses will require a parent to pick up the item from school.
  • Students may not photograph other students except by permission of the student and teacher, and only for educational purposes.

In order to keep our children safe and protect instructional time, parents are prohibited from photographing children other than their own. Room parents and yearbook staff may take photographs provided they have signed in at the office and wear a "Press Pass".  We respectfully request that all photographs be taken before the 2-minute warning bell, so that the students are ready to enter class on time.

Classroom Interruptions

The Melinda Heights staff makes a concerted effort to establish a learning environment that is conducive to the development of good study habits and uninterrupted academic learning time. We seek your cooperation and assistance in this effort. You can help us doing the following:

  • Send the teacher a note should you need to pick up your child early.  
  • Avoid calling school and leaving messages for your child, unless it is an emergency.  
  • Bring forgotten items (lunch, homework, books, instrument, etc.) to the school office. We will get it to your child at an appropriate time.

Classroom Observations

In order to limit the disruptions to our instructional day, all classroom observations will be limited to 20 minutes in length, and must be scheduled 24 hours in advance with the administration. In the interest of safety, we require all visitors to report to the office to sign in at the time of their appointment, and be accompanied by administration.  Observers will be issued a sticker to wear, indicating to the students and staff that they are authorized to be on campus. The principal or principal’s designee may refuse to allow a visit from anyone whose behavior or presence is judged to be disruptive to the normal operation of the school, threatens the health and safety of students or staff, or causes property damage. (California Penal Code 627.4).

Dress Code

We have found that there is a correlation between a student’s behavior and attitude, and his/her manner of dress. There is a wide range of available clothing styles that reflect a positive attitude and appearance. We ask that students attending Melinda Heights wear clothing that is comfortable, clean, and appropriate for an elementary school. Because our instructional program includes active play, students must wear clothing that allows them to run and jump. Clothing and other items our students wear must not disrupt the educational process, create safety concerns, nor create any distraction. All popular fashions may not be appropriate for an elementary school.

Inappropriate dress includes but is not limited to:

  • Clothing that does not fit reasonably
  • Clothing with logos, slogans, words, or pictures promoting or depicting alcohol, tobacco, drugs, vandalism, bigotry, violence, sexual connotations, or profanity. This includes clothing with phrases or pictures that have double meanings.  Families are strongly encouraged to send their children to school wearing respectful, motivational messages on their clothing.  Messages such as, “I’d rather be gaming”, or, “Blame my sister” are discouraged.
  • Clothing that is revealing or immodest or tops that expose bare midriff or undergarments. Examples include halter tops, bathing suits, sports bras, tube tops, razor back tops,spaghetti straps, and low cut tops.
  • Shorts, skirts, and dresses must be long enough that they reach the same point on the thigh as the bottom of a student’s closed fist when the arm is extended and resting on the thigh.
  • Earrings, chains, jewelry that dangles and could be dangerous when playing
  • Any make-up or adornment that causes a distraction in the classroom or on the playground
  • Hair that is distracting, extreme, or dyed an unnatural color
  • Shoes with open toes or excessive heels
  • Hats worn indoors or incorrectly

School personnel reserve the right to determine the appropriateness of hair, clothing, and make-up.  With the support and cooperation of our students, parents, and staff, Melinda Heights will be a positive and productive learning environment.

Early Dismissal / Parental Custody

Children leaving campus early must be signed out by the parent, legal guardian, or other adults listed on the child’s Emergency Card. Photo I.D. is required. Please come to the office to sign out your child, rather than going directly to the classroom. After you have identified yourself and signed your child out, we will call the classroom and have your child sent to the office. If there are specific limitations related to the release of a child to the custodial parent, please be advised that the most recent legal custody documents must be on file in the office. The custodial mother or father can sign out their child from school at any time, unless a court order is on file indicating otherwise.

Homework

Homework is provided to review and practice concepts which have been introduced in class. Homework is to be assigned as stated in SVUSD District Policy on the following basis:

  • Grades 1-3  20 minutes to 1 hour
  • Grades 4-6 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours

Homework is intended to be an independent activity. Parents are encouraged to contact their child’s teacher if the amount of time typically spent on homework differs significantly from the above, or if your child requires a significant amount of assistance in order to complete his/her homework.

Lunch Program

Hot lunches and milk are available for students in grades 1-6 and kindergartners in TLC. Current menus, pricing for lunches, and information about buying lunches is available online by clicking here.  You can purchase lunches online at this site using a credit card, or in our school office. Make checks payable to SVUSD.  Students may also choose to bring lunch from home. We ask that students do not bring anything from home in glass or breakable containers, and that all containers are clearly marked with the student's first and last name.

Medication

The Education Code allows school personnel to administer medications only if the following steps are taken:

  • Physician’s request form is completed and submitted to the office annually
  • Parental release form is on file in the office
  • The pharmacy container with the medicine is labeled with name of the child, name of the medicine, dosage requirements, and physician’s name
  • Medicine is brought to school or taken home only by the parent

Parent Volunteers and visitors

We require our parent volunteers and visitors to sign in and out at the office upon arrival and departure from school each day. Volunteers and visitors must also wear a sticker easily visible on the upper body to identify them as authorized to be on campus.

At the beginning of each year all classroom volunteers must fill out a Saddleback Valley Unified School District Volunteer Form I. This form can be obtained online or from our office or the classroom teacher.

Personal Toys and Electronic Devices

Personal play equipment, such as toys, balls, games, and  devices, such as iPods, MP3 players, CD players, Game Boys, etc. should not be brought to school unless special permission has been granted by the teacher or principal. These items will be collected and held in the office until after school.

Pets and service animals

Pets are not to be on campus unless special permission has been granted by the administration. Once permission has been granted, all pets must remain in an appropriate cage or enclosure so that both the pets and our students are kept safe from injury or allergic reactions.

Please be aware that, pursuant to Orange County Ordinance 41.46, dogs, except service animals, are not to be on school grounds at any time. Should you choose to bring your dog when walking your child to and from school, please wait for your child outside the gate, off school grounds.

Student Drop Off and Pick Up

In an effort to improve campus safety and maximize instructional time, we respectfully request that you remain on the blacktop if you bring your child on to campus at the start of the school day.  You may also choose to use our student drop-off zone at the front of the school.  Students are not to be on campus before 8:00 a.m. or after 2:45 p.m. (1:30 on Wednesdays), unless participating in a supervised extra-curricular activity.  At the end of the school day, please wait on the blacktop until the bell rings, then proceed to the classroom to pick up your child.  In order to reduce congestion and foster student independence, we strongly encourage families of students in grades 3-6 to allow their children to enter and exit campus independently.

Textbooks / Library Books

Textbooks and library books are school property and are loaned to students. Students are responsible for their safekeeping. All hardcover textbooks must be covered. Students are responsible to pay for lost or damaged books.

The Learning Connection

The Learning Connection (TLC) is a positive alternative for working parents in need of child care.    The Melinda Heights Learning Connection is located in the three buildings on the west side of the campus. Hours are from 7:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. If you would like additional information, including fees, please call 768-0981, Ext. 2

To and From School / Parking

Due to our large enrollment, it is important that parents utilize all available entrances located on Rancho Trabuco, Melinda Road, and at Altisima Park.

When using the parking lot, please park only in spaces marked "Visitor".  Students should be dropped off and picked up at the curb in the area in front of the kindergarten building. Students will NOT be allowed to walk through the parking lot without an adult. Parking is not allowed along any red or white curb in the parking lot, the bus loading zone, or on the streets adjacent to Melinda Heights. This means that parents may not leave their car next to any red or white curb, even for a short time. White curbs are for loading and unloading only. Violations can result in tickets from local law enforcement.

If your child will be walking or riding his/her bicycle to school, please discuss the safest route with your child. Bicycles and pedestrians are not to walk or cycle up the driveway, as there is no sidewalk.

To insure student safety, we ask that all parents use courtesy and caution when driving near our school campus.  The posted speed limit on city streets when children are present is 25 MPH.  The speed limit on campus is 5 MPH.