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Handbook – Preschool

The Dartmouth Campus

  • Open from 7:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M
  • 1501 Dartmouth Avenue, Austin, TX 78757
  • Phone: (512) 383-5708 Fax: (512) 459-1875 Website: paragonprep.com
  • For Preschool – 4th grades, the school day begins at 8:00 A.M. and concludes at 3:30 P.M.

The Koenig Campus  

  • Open from 7:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M
  • 2001 West Koenig Lane, Austin, TX 78756
  • Phone: (512) 459-5040 Fax: (512) 459-1875 Website: paragonprep.com
  • For 5th grade, the school day begins at 7:30 A.M. and concludes at 3:30 P.M
  • For 6th grade, the school day begins at 7:30 A.M. and concludes at 3:00 P.M
  • For 7th grade, the school day begins at 8:20 A.M. and concludes at 3:45 P.M
  • For 8th grade, the school day begins at 8:20 A.M. and concludes at 3:45 P.M

The Paragon Difference

Paragon provides a dynamic, fun, and stimulating environment in exchange for a student and parental commitment to excellence. It is this partnership that makes Paragon a success and an unforgettable experience for everyone involved. Paragon produces students who are well rounded, inquisitive, thoughtful, concerned for others, and devoted to (and knowledgeable about) democratic and entrepreneurial principles. Paragon strives to inspire students to become articulate, ethical, and eager for further learning.

School Philosophy

Our students strive for independence, acceptance, self-expression, and academic and personal success. The path from childhood to adolescence brings new struggles in all realms – academic, personal, social – and we provide guidance, support, and encouragement for our students to ensure that this productive struggle leads to desired outcomes. Paragon stresses student responsibility and teaches that self-discipline, goal setting, and teamwork are the keys to academic success. Paragon strives to help students master a core of essential knowledge; learn to think logically and independently; value honesty, self-reliance and respect for others; and apply their learning to real-world situations.

And now for the ABCs of Paragon Preschool

A is for Absences, Aftercare, Allergies, Arrival, and Attendance Absences

Students need to be in school as much as possible.  We are building language, working on auditory development, and using hands-on materials to enhance our learning. These activities cannot be duplicated for students who are missing.  Please view school as a priority, and see to it that your child attends every day except in cases of illness/emergency or you provide a good reason for their missing school. Excessive absences hinder a child’s progress.  If your child will be absent, tardy, if there will be a delay in picking your child up from school, or if someone new will be picking up your child please email notification to office@paragonprep.com

Aftercare  is a paid, after school homework assistance time that  runs from dismissal until 6:00 P.M. daily on the Dartmouth campus. Paragon charges $12 an hour for this service for drop-ins, or parents may register in advance for an all inclusive plan for $150 per month. Parents are billed monthly.

Allergies – If your child has any allergies please make sure that we are aware of them.  We especially need to know about food allergies and insect bite reactions.

Arrival– Students may arrive as early as 7:00 to wait with a monitor in the gym/hallway until they are brought to the classroom at 7:45.  

Attendance – A successful school experience is the responsibility of the child, the parents, and the school.  Your child’s progress, both academically and socially, is influenced to a great extent by daily participation.  Regular attendance without tardiness is critical.

B is for Backpacks, Bad Weather, Birthdays, Book Orders, Bucket Filling, Building Use and Movement, and Bullying

Backpacks – Backpacks help your child carry a binder, projects, water bottle, towel or blanket and books to and from school.  Your child will receive a MOAT notebook. This notebook will contain the class calendar, homework calendar, reading log, and instructional helper charts.  It will also be a place for us to share communication and completed work with you.

Bad Weather – On bad weather days, Paragon will always follow the decisions made by Austin I.S.D. regarding delays and cancellations. Paragon will never need to use its bad weather makeup days.  The Texas Education Agency requires schools to make up the first two days of school following bad weather closures while any additional days do not need to be recovered. Because two additional days of instruction are included beyond the days per year required by the state of Texas, Paragon bad weather makeup days will not be needed.

Birthdays – Birthdays are very important to children.  In class, we will celebrate your child’s birthday in a special way: a crown, a card, a song, and a special surprise.  In addition, on a student’s birthday (or half birthday) he or she may:

  1. Check out and wear one of the Paragon Birthday Capes.
  2. Have their parents join us for lunch.
  3. Have their parents bring them an extra special lunch.
  4. Bring non-food treats for their classmates (e.g. pencils, bookmarks, erasers, stickers, etc.)

We will celebrate all summer birthdays right before school is out for the summer.

Book Orders – We will send home Scholastic book orders each month for you and your child to look over.  If you want to place an order, please order online at http://www.scholastic.com/bookclubswith this code: DXPHN

Bucket Filling – We are a bucket filling classroom.  I will send home more information about this wonderful kindness project soon.

Building Use and MovementStudents must be in supervised and designated areas at all times.  
No students in teachers’ lounge, kitchen, or storage closets.  Students should never open an external door of the school without teacher permission. Students should not be outside the building without a teacher. Students walking in the parking lot must be with a parent or teacher. Be careful on the stairs. Stay to the right, single file. Do not throw anything off the stairs.   Students must have a hall pass when moving through the building during class time.  Students should find the shortest and least disruptive route to the restroom or office. Students are only to be in rooms supervised by teachers.If you arrive late, you must check in at the front desk before going to class.  Students may only eat in classrooms with teacher permission and supervision.
There are designated restrooms for adults only. No running on campus, except in the gym and on the playground.

Bullying – Here at Paragon, we want to provide a safe environment where everyone supports positive social interactions, inclusiveness and prevents bullying before it starts. “Bullying” means unwanted aggressive behavior that involves a power imbalance. In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include these two characteristics:

  1. An Imbalance of Power: Kids who bully use their power—such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity—to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people.
  2. Repetition: Bullying behaviors happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once.

The three types of bullying:

  1. Verbal bullying is saying or writing mean things. Examples: name-calling, inappropriate sexual comments, taunting, threatening to cause harm.
  2. Social bullying, sometimes referred to as relational bullying, involves hurting someone’s reputation or relationships. Examples: leaving someone out on purpose, telling other children not to be friends with someone, spreading rumors about someone, embarrassing someone in public.
  3. Physical bullying involves hurting a person’s body or possessions. Examples: hitting/kicking/pinching, spitting, tripping/pushing, taking or breaking someone’s things, making mean or rude hand gestures

Where and When: Bullying can occur during or after school hours. Bullying can happen in the school building, on the playground, or the bus. It can also happen travelling to or from school, in your neighborhood, on the internet, or on a cell phone.

C is for Conferences and Clothing

Conferences – Parent/Teacher conferences are held in October and January.  We will discuss your child’s accomplishments, strengths and overall progress.  Please feel free to schedule additional conferences at any time throughout the year as needed.

Clothing – Children will be encouraged to independently button, fasten, and zip their own clothing, so it is important for their clothing to be manageable.  Please do not send your child in anything that buttons or snaps up the back or in the crotch area. Belts and overalls tend to be a problem for children to do by themselves.  Likewise, the clothing needs to be appropriate for indoor and outdoor activities such as running, jumping, and climbing. Also, please send in a change of clothing in case of accidents.  It is also very helpful to send your child in shoes that he/she can take off and put on by himself/herself. Velcro or slip-ons are the best and make teachers very happy. It is recommended that you either keep a light sweater or jacket in your child’s backpack or one that can be left in the classroom for their comfort!  Sometimes it gets cold in the classroom. Please label outside clothing such as coats, jackets and raincoats with your child’s name. PreK students do not have to follow the Paragon Dress Code for student in grades K-8.

D is for Discipline and Dismissal

Discipline – At Paragon, students are expected to act in accordance with the Paragon Honor Code. Classroom discipline is the responsibility of each teacher and the majority of classroom disruptions are handled at the classroom level. We spend a lot of time modeling the correct behavior that is expected at school.  Your child will receive a sticker on their calendar to let you know they’ve followed the rules that day. If necessary, notes will be sent home to describe areas that your child struggled in that day. Calls will be made for severe or consistent behavior issues. Children will be rewarded for positive behavior, individually and as a class.   If a student’s continued disruptions interfere with the continued progress of the class, a meeting will be arranged with the parents to discuss the student’s behavior and disciplinary action. Please note that a student’s (or parent’s) disregard of the rules or personnel of the school may be deemed sufficient cause for dismissal. Nothing in this handbook limits the school from dismissing any student at any time for any reason that the school deems worthy.

Dismissal – Students not staying in aftercare will dismiss at 3:30 in front of the school.

E is for Email

Email – Ms. Young can be reached by email at crystal@paragonprep.com.  She checks her email several times throughout the day. If you have to relay an urgent message, please call the school office at 512-383-5708.

F is for Field Trips, Fire Drills and Food Policies

Field Trips – Field trips are a great way to extend learning.  Our class will go on a few field trips throughout the year.   We encourage a parent, grandparent or other adult family member to volunteer.  Bus transportation will be provided for most field trips. There may be a time when parents may be asked to drive.

Fire Drills – Fire drills are held throughout the year.  All students will participate and are expected to walk quickly and quietly to our designated exit.  We will practice and become familiar with procedures before our first scheduled drill.

Food Policies – Students are responsible for coming to school prepared with lunch, snacks, and a Paragon Official Water Bottle full of water, every day. Students may bring a lunch from home and/or order from Paragon’s Fast Food Friday program on Fridays. If a student comes to school without a lunch, the student’s parent will be called by their child. Paragon teachers and staff are not responsible for providing students with lunch or snacks.  Students must supply themselves with adequate snacks for the day. A snack break is scheduled each morning, but snacks will not be provided. K12 students also have an afternoon snack time. Healthy snacks are highly recommended: fruit, crackers, protein, trail mix, veggies etc. Candy, for example is not considered an acceptable snack. Students need to bring a Paragon Official Water Bottle (POW), full of water, to school each day. Students are responsible for keeping track of their water bottle and staying hydrated. Please label the water bottle. Additional POWs are available for $3 from the front desk. Only water is permitted in academic classes and PE. Only water or milk may be drunk at lunch or with snacks.  Sharing food or water bottles is not allowed. Students may not share their food of any kind because of possible food allergies and parent preferences. Wasting food is not acceptable. Students may not throw away packaged and unopened food unless it is past the expiration date. Students are expected to take home leftover food that may be eaten later. Microwave ovens are available to warm students’ lunches. Students should bring meals that require 1 minute or less of heating time, as we all have to take turns. Liquid lunches such as soup or chili should be sent to school in a thermos or plasticware of some sort. Cans of liquid with pull-off metal lids should be avoided due to the dangers of spills and cuts.

G is for GoNoodle, Google Classroom, Grades and Grievance Policy

GoNoodle – We use a free website called GoNoodle in our classroom to stay active, get our wiggles out, reduce stress, stay motivated and much more!  GoNoodle’s 3-5 minute videos are the perfect break between lessons, after lunch or for indoor recess.

Google Classroom – We will use Google Classroom as a way to share information, notes, announcements and pictures of life in PreK.  Please sign up once you’ve been invited and check it each day so you can be in the know!

Grades – Grades will be in the form of a checklist which will be sent home on a regular basis. Portfolios, which contain authentic samples of the children’s progress and achievements will be maintained throughout the year and can be shared with families as well.

Grievance Policy– If a parent or student has a grievance with a particular teacher about a specific item or event, he or she should contact that teacher to resolve the issue. If the issue cannot be resolved with the teacher alone, parents and students should contact one of the school administrators – Paul Benton, David McGrath or Mark Hathaway. Any grievances that are not with a particular teacher about a particular item or about a particular class should be addressed to one of the school administrators.

H is for Homework and Honor Code

Homework – A monthly homework calendar called Heart to Heart will be given out at the first of the month.  This calendar will be sent home in the MOAT notebook. When you complete an activity with your child, draw a heart around the activity.  These activities do not have to be done on the exact day listed, you may skip around. Also, the homework activities do not need to be turned in.  I will collect the calendars at the end of the month and award prizes according to how many homework activities were completed.

Honor Code – The Paragon Honor Code plays an important role in maintaining an optimum environment for learning and enjoying school. Students are obligated to memorize and uphold the Paragon Honor Code:

  • I will be respectful of school personnel, fellow students and parents. I will keep all rules as set by the class, teacher and administration. I will not ridicule, ostracize or demean others. I will not do anything to harm other students or the staff.
  • I understand that all students have the right to a quiet and orderly school environment. I will respect this right.
  • I will respect the property rights of all. This means that I will not deface, vandalize or in any way damage the property of fellow students, the staff or the school. I will help keep the classrooms, bathrooms, and outdoor areas clean and orderly.
  • I will be in attendance each day unless sick or specifically excused by the administration. I will complete all homework and class assignments missed due to absence. I understand that I will not be allowed to make up exams missed due to unexcused absences.
  • I will make good use of class time for all academic work. I will complete all homework and class assignments in a timely manner.
  • I will arrive at and depart from school as authorized by my parents or school administration.
  • I will be honest with others and with myself. I will do my own work. I will not copy from other students nor allow others to copy from me. I will not plagiarize or cheat in any way.
  • I understand that chewing gum is not allowed at any time on campus.
  • I will abide by the Paragon dress standard (except PreK).
  • I will strive for excellence in all things at all times.

I is for Illness

IllnessThe question of when to keep your child home from school is often a difficult one, especially when decisions must be made first thing in the morning.  It is important, however, to keep your child home if he or she is ill. This helps to make them more comfortable and prevents others from becoming ill.  If a child feels ill during the school day, he or she should notify a Paragon Staff Member, and then the school will contact the parents. If a child vomits or develops a fever at school, they will need to go home.  Students should only return to school when they have been fever and vomit free for 24 hours.

J is for Journals

Journals – Your child will be using journals for language arts, math and science throughout the year.  We will use them to communicate a thought or an idea, to work on specific skills or to record observations. Most of the time you will just see drawings in their journal.  We will be working to put writing, whether it be scribbles, letters, invented spellings or actual words into our journals as well.

K is for Kindness

Kindness – Students in our classrooms are encouraged and expected to treat all members of our class, as well as others in society, with kindness and respect.  Bothering others, bullying, and interrupting learning will not be permitted. We want all the children to become “Bucket Fillers”.

L is for Lice and Lost & Found, and Lunchroom

Lice – Neither Paragon teachers nor staff will be checking students on an individual or school wide basis.  Parents/Guardians need to make lice screening a part of their family routine. Parents should check their child’s head each week. If lice are detected, the hair must be treated with a topical medicine before the student returns to school. If the student is treated with a lice comb only, all nits must be removed since untreated nits will hatch into lice.

Lost & Found – We have several lost & found bins.  Please check them often to see if there are any items belong to your child.  This is why it is a good idea to label all personal items that your child brings to school, especially his or her lunch box, backpack, water bottle and outerwear.  Found personal items will be placed into the lost & found bins.  We will make every effort to connect you with your items.  Items that remain unclaimed will be donated to charity.

Lunchroom – PreK will eat lunch in the classroom with a teacher.  All other students eat in the gym.

Paragon Lunch Rules:

  • All Honor Code Rules must be followed.
  • Students should remain seated while eating.
  • No throwing food, climbing, or standing on seats/tables.
  • Students must clean up after themselves.

M is for Medicine, Mindfulness and MOAT Books

Medicine – Students must receive an annual Physical Exam by their physician. Parents are to submit completed copies of the Health Screening Form, Immunization Record, PE Participation Waiver, and the Student Emergency Information Form by August 1st of each year. Students required to have an emergency inhaler or EpiPen should carry these devices at all times on their person and bring two of the devices and directions for their use to leave at school. First aid and medical care will be administered by Paragon personnel or medical personnel that they select when they reasonably believe it to be required. Other than the emergency administration of inhalers or EpiPens, Paragon personnel will not administer medications to students.  Parents are required to come to school to administer medication to their children.

Mindfulness – We will practice mindfulness activities in our classroom on a daily basis.  Research shows that being mindful can help children calm down when upset, make better decisions and improve their cognitive focus, along with the ability to relate to others and one’s self with kindness, acceptance and compassion.

M.O.A.T. Books (Monitoring Our Assignments as a Team) – The MOAT Book is a three-ring binder that your child will use every day to develop organizational skills and learn responsibility.  Our goal is to eliminate lost notes and newsletters as well as keep parents and students informed of important events and academic progress.  Please make sure your child brings this binder back to school daily.

N is for Newsletters and Nurse

Newsletters – We will send home a newsletter every week to keep you informed of the happenings in our classroom.  This is a great way to stay abreast of our curriculum, classroom news, special activities and upcoming events. Please check the Paragon website to see school wide activities.

Nurse – Because we do not have a full time nurse at Paragon, minor hurts, such as scratches and scrapes are taken care of in the classroom.  Parents will be notified if further attention is needed. Please be sure to send in any changes of contact numbers in case we need to get in touch with you.

O is for Outside Time and Open Lines of Communication

Outside Time – The children will be going out for recess every day unless it is raining.  Please send your child with a coat when the weather turns cooler. Dressing in layers is also helpful no matter what the weather.  Please label your child’s sweaters, coats, etc. with his/her name. Coats will be eventually sent to lost and found if they are not labeled and no one claims them as their own.  Please send in a pair of rubber slip on shoes with holes, such as Crocs that your child can easily put on and take off. These will stay at school for us to use when we play outside in the gravel pit and water table.

Open Lines of Communication – Please let us know if you have ANY concerns or questions regarding your child throughout the year.  It is our job to work together as partners to help your child have a successful year. If you have an urgent message and are unable to get a hold of us by cell phone, please call the school office, 512-383-5708, and they will be sure that we get your message.

P is for Parent Involvement and Play-Based Learning

Parent Involvement – We love parent involvement!  Please be involved in your child’s Prek year as much as you can. Your support of school activities makes your child feel important and sends the message that you value school!  We are always happy to have your help for special activities in the classroom. We will try to let you know at least one week ahead of time if we need help. Requests for help will be published in the newsletter. I hope that you can come and join in the fun!

Play-Based Learning – We believe learning through play is a very important part of a child’s social, emotional, physical and cognitive development (the whole child.)  Because of this, I will provide ample opportunities for your child to play throughout the day with meaningful teacher-child interactions in a classroom environment that supports learning.

Q is for Quiet Time

Quiet Time – The children rest each day.  The children must lie quietly and rest, but they are not expected to go to sleep.  Your child may bring a towel or small blanket for rest time, but it must be small enough to fit in his/her backpack when it’s time to be sent home to be washed (every Friday.)  No pillows, toys or dolls allowed. If your child can independently remove as well as put on their shoes, they will be allowed to remove them for rest time, socks will remain on.

R is for Reading, and Restrooms

Reading – Read to your child daily and let your children see you reading daily.  Reading to your child is the single most important thing you can do for your child’s school success.  It not only encourages them to want to become good readers, but it gets them excited about the world that awaits them through books.  Please read with or to your child for 20 minutes a day. Your child will receive free books when he/she fills up his/her reading log, which is in your child’s Moat Book.

Restrooms – Unfortunately, accidents happen and I will make sure that your child gets into dry, clean clothing, if you make sure to send in a change of clothing for him/her.  If soiled clothes are sent home, please be sure to send in another set of clothes the next day. Please send socks, underwear, pants and a t-shirt (this should be good for most of our Texas weather.) Students are responsible for helping keep our restrooms clean. Students are responsible for cleaning up after any messes or trash that they leave in the restroom.

S is for Show and Tell, Social Emotional Learning, and Star of the Week

Show and Tell – Children can bring in items from home to share with his/her classmates during their star of the week time or as a chosen reward for good behavior.   This item will be shared and then put back in the backpack for the rest of the day. This is to prevent any mishandling and quarrels over the “treasure”.  Toy guns, weapons or action figures that promote violence are NOT allowed.

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) – Two of the most important skills your child will learn in PreK will be 1) how to manage emotions, thoughts, and behaviors (self-regulation) and 2) how to cooperate with others, form positive relationships and make responsible, ethical decisions (social-competence.)  We will use The Second Step Early Learning program to increase your child’s school readiness and social success by building their social-competence and self-regulation skills. The weekly lessons will focus on; empathy and compassion, emotion management, friendship skills and problem solving, and skills for learning.  Equipping your child with these Second Step skills helps ease their transition to kindergarten and sets them up for success in school and life.

Star of the Week – Each child will have a chance to be the featured student when it’s his/her turn to be the Star of the Week.  During your child’s special week, your child may bring 3 to 5 pictures of themselves/family, share a favorite book, toy, game or talent with the class.  Each child will complete a Star of the Week poster, which will be sent home and then proudly displayed in the classroom.

T is for Toys and Transportation

Toys – Please keep all toys at home unless it is a designated show and tell day or your child is the Star of the Week.  Also, try to limit jewelry, as it often breaks, upsetting the child, or they misplace it. These items are better left at home because they quickly become a distraction at school.   Also, please keep a look out for small toys from our classroom showing up in your child’s pockets or backpack. Sometimes things accidently get put into pockets while we are playing and sometimes they are just too tempting and the children want to have them for themselves.  Please help us keep our learning materials here at school. If you are unsure if it is a prize or a classroom item, please contact me.

Transportation – If transportation changes, we must have a note or a phone call from a parent.  Please do not have your child tell the teacher. If we do not receive a note or a phone call, we will follow what what is written in the records of how the child should go home.  When calling, please call the office early in the day or email us at office@paragonprep.com.  Thank you for helping with this.  I want to make sure that every child gets home safely every day.

U is for Unique

Unique – Each child in our class is unique and wonderful.  In PreK, we learn about how we are unique and special, and we celebrate our differences and similarities.  We also learn about the different cultures within our class. Please share with me any holiday or observances that you do or do not want your child to participate in.

V is for Visitor

Visitors – Paragon has a policy that all guests (including familiar faces) are required to sign in at the front desk.  It is important to remember that while this may seem inconvenient to frequent visitors, it is the goal and responsibility of the school to create a safe learning environment.

W is for Website

Web Site – Please visit the Paragon website for additional information concerning procedures, forms, etc.  www.paragonprep.com

X is for X-tra Special and eXciting!

X-tra Special and eXciting Preschool is such an eXciting, magical year!  Each child is eXtra special to me and I will guide them gently and consistently all year long.  Thank you for sharing your child with me!

Y is for You and Younger Siblings

You! – Please remember that YOU are your child’s first and most important teacher. No one can influence your child’s life in the way that you can! You can help to make your child feel successful this year by discussing their school day with them.  Ask questions like, “What did you learn today?”, “What did you work the hardest on?”, “What was the best part of your day?” or “What are you getting better at?” These questions cause children to reflect on their learning which in turn helps them remember new information.  Don’t let them tell you “nothing.” Ask your child about centers, story time, reading, or math work. The way your child perceives your feelings about his/her school and teachers will have a direct effect on how he/she feels about them.

Younger Siblings – It is in your child’s and the program’s best interest to have our parent volunteers available without younger children when in attendance for classroom parties, activities and field trips.  Thank you for making child care arrangements.

Z is for Zero the Hero and Zzzzz’s

Zero the Hero – is a superhero that comes to our class every ten days to help us count to 100.  He brings a special “zero” treat each tenth day!

Zzzz’s – Your child should get plenty of rest each night.  Prek students require 10-12 hours of sleep per day. Set a bedtime and be consistent. Setting and keeping a bedtime is a wonderful gift you can give to your child.  It will help them to be attentive and prepared to learn each day! Don’t forget to read a book before bedtime!