Polaris is an arts integrated magnet school
that supports the unique intellectual,
social, emotional, and creative needs
of gifted students
in an atmosphere of respect for all.
This handbook provides important information about the Polaris Elementary School. If you have a question that is not addressed in this handbook please feel free to contact the school. Most questions can be answered by a member of the office staff, your child’s teacher, or the principal. Please read the following pages and become familiar with some of the basic information concerning our school community. Additional information can also be found on the Polaris website: https://polaris.dpsk12.org/. Topics are listed in alphabetical order.
410 Park Ave West
Denver, CO 80205
Attendance Line: 720-424-7863
Fax Number: 720-424-7885
Dps bus Dispatch: 720-423-4624
Adults on Campus
Your child’s safety is our number one concern. With that in mind, any non-staff adult on campus needs to sign in at the office and wear a volunteer name tag or a visitor badge. Whether you are coming to volunteer for several hours or just to drop off a lunch, please remember to come to the main office first. The name tag serves as a visual ID that lets any staff member know immediately who belongs in the school and it also reinforces our monitoring of people on our campus.
Any parent or guardian who is picking up their student, outside of the regular dismissal window, must be prepared to show photo ID. This safety measure allows front office staff to verify that the individual picking up a student is approved to do so, per the students information in Infinite Campus.
The school day begins at 8:40 a.m. for all students. Students’ arrival time is between 8:30 a.m. and 8:40 a.m. Please do not drop off your child prior to 8:30 a.m. as there is no supervision. Students go directly to the playground. If it is an inside day, due to weather, students go to the gym – not the classroom. Students are expected to arrive at school on time. Late arrival is an interruption to those already engaged in learning activities and results in a loss of instructional time for the tardy student.
Students arriving after 8:40 a.m. must report to the office before going to class. In addition, parents of students in all grades need to walk their child into the building if arriving after 8:40 a.m. to ensure the child’s safe passage into the office.
There is a moving drop-offlane (Kiss & Drop area on the parking map) on the side of Glenarm nearest the building. During drop off, please stay in your car with the motor running. If you must get out to assist your child, please do so quickly so that we can maintain the flow of traffic.
Children will enter the school from the foyer between the library and lunchroom. Staff will supervise along the sidewalk on Glenarm during drop-off and there will be a crossing guard at Glenarm and 22nd.
Attendance & Absenteeism
In order for students to receive the full benefit of their Polaris education, daily attendance is the first and most important step. The DPS school calendar is published and distributed before the commencement of the school year and parents are asked to schedule any travel within the dates that classes are not in session. Please notify the school if your child will be absent or tardy by phoning the school attendance line at (720)424-7863. This should be done each day a child is absent. It is helpful if you choose to communicate directly to your child’s teacher regarding the absence, but this does NOT take the place of calling the attendance line.
Polaris has an attendance and tardy policy in accordance with the Colorado School Attendance Law and Denver Public Schools’ “Denver Plan.” These guidelines allow for roughly 10 absences during the course of a school year. Every month, school personnel review student attendance and send letters to parents for those students whose absences are excessive. The definition of “excessive” changes throughout the school year based on number of school days but parents can expect to receive the first letter after 5 absences or 5 tardies.
Once a child’s absences have reached a level of concern, which is currently 10 absences/tardies or more (please note that this is outside of medical or family emergencies), an attendance contract must be completed with the school psychologist. This will outline attendance expectations as well as the additional requirement of a doctors’ note for any absence of two days or more.
If absences are chronic, excessive, unexcused, or otherwise of concern, a child and their family may be referred to truancy court. Excessive tardies and early withdrawals are also subject to truancy law.
If it is necessary to pick up your child from school during the school day, please go to the main office to sign out your child. Teachers are instructed not to release children from the classroom or playground without authorization from the office. This procedure is followed to protect your child and to hold classroom interruptions to a minimum. A child will not be released to anyone who is not on the emergency contact list in Infinite Campus, or to anyone under 18 years of age, unless the school’s office has been notified in writing by the parent. Please be prepared to show photo ID. This safety measure allows front office staff to verify that the individual picking up a student is approved to do so, per the students information in Infinite Campus.
Bus routes are set by the district transportation office and any questions concerning this service or requests for changes should be directed to routing at 720-423-4699 or http://transportation.dpsk12.org/. For the safety of each child, it is always a good idea to walk your child to and from the bus stops. Younger children should always be escorted or picked up by an adult or a responsible sibling. For information regarding late buses, or any other bus questions, call Dispatch at 720-423-4624. Please report any problems, concerns or questions to the school office. To order a replacement bus pass, please reach out to the school office.
Breakfast: Breakfast is provided free of charge for all students before school. Students eating breakfast at school may be in the cafeteria starting at 8:15am. Students who are not eating breakfast may not be on school grounds before 8:30am. (See Arrival)
Lunch: Students have the option of bringing their own lunch to school or purchasing a hot lunch. Milk can also be purchased separately for those bringing lunch. Our food is delicious! Many items are made from scratch right in our kitchen. We also offer a beautiful fresh fruit and salad bar daily. Lunch will be available for $2.45 (less for students who qualify for free or reduced lunch. See application at https://www.myschoolapps.com/Application ).
Payments: Parents may access their student’s account by logging into https://www.myschoolbucks.com/. You will need to know your child’s student ID number. Checks should be made payable to Polaris Lunchroom. Each child is responsible for his/her own lunch money. If the money is lost or forgotten, a lunch will be provided but the child must repay the lunchroom manager the following day. A child is only allowed 2 charges before an alternative meal will be served. No credits are allowed the last two weeks of the school year.
Additional Info: Please write your child’s name on their sack or lunch box. Students are expected to eat a healthy, balanced breakfast and lunch. Soft drinks are not allowed in the lunchroom. For menus and nutritional information see: http://foodservices.dpsk12.org/ . In our cafeteria we separate trash from recycling and compost. Monitors are on hand to direct students to the appropriate disposal bins. Students are expected to maintain a clean eating environment and pick up after themselves. Students who are repeatedly asked to take care of their trash may be asked to stay in from recess and assist in general clean up.
Cancellation of School
Denver Public Schools will make a decision in the early morning about closing schools or putting the Delayed Start Schedule into effect. Listen to the local television and radio stations for the announcement. KOA 850 or KBNA 1220 are the official announcement stations for school closing information. Information is also posted on the DPS homepage: www.dpsk12.org. A delayed start means that Polaris will start 2 hours later than usual. Bus pick up times will also be delayed 2 hours in the morning. In the unusual circumstance where school must be canceled during the school day, parents and/or guardians will be notified immediately. The information on file in Infinite Campus will be used, and administrators and teachers will determine that all students have satisfactory transportation before releasing them from school. Please make sure your emergency contact numbers are kept up to date to ensure we may make timely contact with you during the school day. Changes and updates can be made via your Parent Portal account.
Class Placement Process
Polaris seeks to hire and retain the best teachers in the district. Children will be placed by staff according to individual and class balancing needs. Assigning students to classes is most effectively done by our classroom teachers who have been working with the students daily in an educational setting. Teachers consider the learning styles and academic needs of returning students and assign them to the different classes at the next grade level. This process is done with care and the utmost consideration of each child’s academic and social emotional needs. It takes careful consideration of many factors to create equitably balanced classrooms in terms of academic needs, behavior, gender, ethnicity, and number of students. If you have information about your child’s needs for an upcoming school year, please share that with your classroom teacher. He or she will take that into consideration with other factors. Requests for specific teachers will not be taken. Class lists are subject to change by the administrative staff.
The Collaborative School Committee (CSC) is an advisory group that consists of representation from parents, community, faculty, administrators and classified staff. CSC meetings are scheduled, advertised, and open to the public. The meetings are open to parents/guardians and the community. Actions of the committee are communicated with the school via website and bulletin board posted agendas and minutes.
- To enhance student achievement and school climate by engaging the school community in collaborative efforts supporting the school and District’s goals.
- To provide strategic direction in support of the school’s mission and vision as stated in the Unified Improvement Plan (UIP). The UIP, with the school’s program design, should serve as the strategic plan for the school.
- Works collaboratively with the school community that includes the building principal, teachers, staff, students, parents, civic and business leaders, service and neighborhood representatives, and other community members.
- Focuses on the School Improvement Plan as its primary responsibility at the school.
- Establishes relationships with parents, community members, civic, service and neighborhood organizations to increase involvement in the school and provide a forum for community input.
The CSC invites you to send your suggestions regarding the school budget or any other input you have to representative members listed at http://polarisprogram.dpsk12.org/parent-resources/csc
All parents and students need to sign an Acceptable Use Agreement governing computer use at school. (This is done via the Annual Family Update on Parent Portal.) Failure to comply with any or all of this policy may result in a loss of any or all computer use privileges.
Polaris is a respectful and caring place of learning. In order to achieve this purpose, high standards of conduct are expected. These standards are based on mutual respect and responsibility for oneself, toward classmates, adults and for property. Adhering to high standards of conduct will enable students to develop self-discipline, self-esteem and problem solving skills. Students must be responsible and accept consequences for their behavior. At the beginning of school, all students will be provided with specific information about behavior expectations, including information on bullying. They will have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss expectations to ensure they understand what is required to be a respectful and caring community.
When misbehavior occurs, the Denver Public Schools Discipline Matrix is followed. For minor infractions we try to focus on identifying the cause of the misbehavior and using restorative approaches which could include apologies, community service, and mentoring. Minor misbehavior may also be addressed through gentle reminders which, if not heeded could result in time out, loss of privileges, and/or community service. Gentle reminders and specific behavior learning opportunities are part of our learning community.
For more serious or repeated misbehaviors, consequences also become more serious, including loss of privilege, behavior contracts, suspension and in rare cases, expulsion. Our discipline policy has been designed to help our students learn self-control and discipline in a constructive way.
Bully behavior has serious and lasting consequences for both the offender and the victim. The following definition comes from Stopbullying.gov:
Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems. In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include:
- 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.
- Repetition: Bullying behaviors happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once.
Bully behavior will not be tolerated at Polaris. If your child is being bullied, please help him or her report it immediately. It is best to report it when it occurs and to the adult in charge of that setting. However, sometimes the situation requires a different approach to reporting. Regardless of how or to whom, please be sure to report.. This is for the good of all students involved. We will work with your child, the other student, and the other student’s parents to remedy the situation. However, student privacy laws stipulate that we may only discuss a student’s behavior with his or her parents. As the parent of the victim, information about the other student and any consequences will be limited.
If your child is engaging in bully behavior, we will confidentially address the situation respectfully and with the attitude that all our children are learners. You will be contacted to partner with us in helping your child identify and learn more positive and productive ways of interacting with peers.
Contacting the School
The school telephone number is 720-424-7860. A secretary is on duty from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Outside of these hours, messages are recorded to a voicemail box that is checked each morning. There is also a box outside the office where you may leave correspondence if the office is locked. Secretaries can also be emailed at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org .
If you are calling to report an absence, please use the attendance line: 720-424-7863.
If you are calling about a meal related matter please contact the café manager, Lori Brooks: 720-424-7866 or email@example.com .
If you are calling about Discovery Link, please contact Shavon Glasper: 720-692-7987 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
School is dismissed at 3:30pm. All students must be picked up or on a bus by 3:40pm. At that time, any remaining children will be escorted to the office and their parents contacted. We are required to contact social services at 4:00pm if we have a remaining child and parents cannot be reached.
There is a moving pick-up lane on the side of Glenarm nearest the building. Pull as far up as possible in the loading zone, in order to make room for others. During pick-up, please stay in your car with the motor running. If you must get out to assist your child, please do so quickly so that we can maintain the flow of traffic.
Children will exit the school from the foyer between the library and lunchroom. Staff will supervise along the sidewalk on Glenarm during pick-up and there will be a crossing guard at Glenarm and 22nd.
Children are NOT allowed to wait on the playground or in the hallway/entry for their parents. There is no supervision in these areas. Even if you intend to park and walk into the school after dismissal, plan to meet your child on the Glenarm patio.
Buses drop-off and pick-up on Tremont, just outside the blue gates. Please leave the bus lane empty for the buses. NO PARKING or drop off is allowed in the bus zone on Tremont. Please do not make u-turns on Tremont. This results in an unsafe situation in and around the bus zone. If you are parking on or near Tremont, please be sure to use the crosswalks.
Children riding the bus will exit the playground gates and go directly to buses on Tremont. Teachers and paras will be on duty to assure that children board buses safely.
Sometimes in the beginning of the year, riding the buses can be challenging. Rest assured that together with the DPS Transportation Department we are ready to help! In the event that a student does not get off at the appropriate stop, as soon as we are aware, we are working with the transportation department to locate the child and get him/her to the right place. DPS is able to talk directly with every bus driver in the fleet to determine the location of a child. Our transportation is safe and efficient.
It is strongly recommended that all appointments and extracurricular activities be scheduled outside school hours as the loss of class time is detrimental to the student. In the event that the occasional appointment cannot be so scheduled, a note should be sent to school with the student requesting early dismissal for that day and giving the time that the parent will pick up the student. Parents will sign their child out at the office. Any parent or guardian who is picking up their student, outside of the regular dismissal window, must be prepared to show photo ID. This safety measure allows front office staff to verify that the individual picking up a student is approved to do so, per the students information in Infinite Campus.
Students are responsible for handing in all work due in the classes they will miss, and for completing any assignments for the following day.
Should early dismissal become necessary because of an illness or accident in school, the nurse/office will contact that parent or appropriate designee in Infinite Campus. A parent or emergency contact person will sign the student out of school as outlined above.
Friday afternoons at Polaris are something special! Students have the opportunity to choose two different forty-five minute elective classes each quarter. It’s a great chance for students to get a taste of new subjects, art, sports, languages, etc. Each quarter is unique as classes are taught not only by the teachers, but also by volunteers and parents who step forward to share their skills.
Without exception, every student at Polaris looks forward to Friday afternoon electives. This unique program serves to invigorate and motivate students while also expanding their experience beyond the standard classroom topics. Previous classes have been bread-making, tae kwon do, knitting, book-making, acting, and many more. If you are interested in helping with electives, please email our electives coordinator: email@example.com .
Electronics & Toys
Toys from home are distracting to the learning environment and we do not allow toys from home to come to school,unless they have been requested by a teacher.
Many students have cell phones, e-readers, and ipads. All should remain turned off at school unless a teacher has given permission to use them in the classroom. Other than with the teacher’s permission, such items should not be used, seen or heard at school.
If you choose to allow your child to bring an electronic device, please note that the school is not responsible for that item should it be lost, stolen or damaged. Inappropriate use of electronic items can result in that student losing the privilege of bringing the item to school.
Emergency Information is kept online in Infinite Campus for all DPS students. Please notify the school office if there is any change in address, telephone number, or emergency contact person so that we may be in contact with you at any time if necessary. It is very important for the safety and well being of your child that you keep this information current. When a parent or responsible adult cannot be contacted, the school may call the Denver Police and/or Office of Social Services.
Homework is considered an integral part of the educational program through which students are encouraged to become independent learners. Whether practicing a concept or skill learned in class, doing research for a project, having time to think and write creatively, assimilating new material on an individual basis, or reading a book of choice, the work should be done carefully and to the best of one’s ability. It is beneficial to your child’s education to show an interest in his/her studies by reviewing materials and assignments brought home. In the event of an absence, all homework and class work is expected to be completed in a timely manner.
Field Trips & Excursions
Classroom learning takes on a whole new meaning when put in the context of professional performance, first hand discovery, and experiences shared with experts. Field trips are a way of taking the classroom into the community and are therefore regarded as an integral part of the educational experience. These trips also serve to heighten community awareness, involvement, appreciation, and commitment. Students of all ages travel to museums, theaters, farms, historical sites, government buildings, and/or concert halls. Parents are often asked to act as chaperones, especially for outings involving the younger students. Please be aware that there may be times when the school may ask for a nominal fee for your child to attend the excursion. Often times the venue of which the grade level or class is attending needs to have the money in advance. Please be prompt in sending the money. Talk to your child’s teacher if there is a question or concern.
We are proud to offer Discovery Link at Polaris. Their highly trained staff provide a creative, safe and caring environment for children before and after the regular school day.
Discovery Link is a licensed child care program offered at select Denver Public Schools to children ECE (age 4) through 5th grade (age 14). Discovery Link is staffed with qualified professionals trained in the areas of CPR, First Aid, activity planning and behavior management. Discovery Link operates Monday-Friday with the following program components and hours of operation:
- Early Risers: 6:30 a.m.-School begins
- After School: School Dismissal-6:00 p.m.
- Dismissal Days/Break Camps: Discovery Link may offer special programming on Denver Public Schools’ dismissal days and extended vacations for an additional fee. Children participating will enjoy field trips, special guests or theme days.
For questions, please visit the following website: http://discoverylink.dpsk12.org/.
Lost & Found
If missing any items, check the lost and found area that is located in the cafeteria foyer. Please put your child’s name on coats, mittens, gloves, lunch-boxes and water bottles. All lost items will be bagged and donated at the end of each semester.
Parents are essential to the success of our school. Parents enrich our school with their ideas, interests, talents, and resources. Please fill out a DPS volunteer background check application in order to be eligible to volunteer with students at Polaris. Once approved, volunteer checks are good for 2 years. http://volunteerservices.dpsk12.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Non-fingerprint-Background-App.14-15.pdf
Just as we have high expectations for our staff and students, we have the same expectations for parental involvement. One of the most important aspects of involvement is communication between the school and the family. As a parent, it is your responsibility to read and manage communications from the staff and room parents. Each Thursday, teachers provide a weekly correspondence about classroom activities, important dates, and needed classroom help. Periodically, you will receive messages from your room parent letting you know about upcoming classroom events and needed help. We want to make sure you have all the information needed to participate fully in your child’s education and in the Polaris Community. If you have questions about anything Polaris, please contact your child’s teacher or your room parent.
Special note to volunteers: One of the challenges of our school being in an urban environment is parking. Most parking near the school has a two hour limit. You may be required to walk a few blocks to park, and Denver does enforce parking limits in the neighborhood! Unfortunately, we do not have available parking in the staff lot. Please do NOT park in the lot even if you see a space. We have more staff than spaces, and someone may be returning to that spot.
The purpose of the Polaris Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) is to help Polaris students thrive and excel through family involvement, staff support, strong community and fundraising. At other schools, the PTO is usually a fee based organization with members. At Polaris, the PTO consists of every member of the Polaris community. The officers and committees serve to help organize the combined efforts of all of us.
If you’re wondering what the PTO does in more concrete terms, here are some of the things that the PTO helps bring about: back to school meet and greet social, Jog-A-thon, the school directory, the ePost newsletter, website, school safety committee, school environment, classroom parents, electives, Community Dinners, the end of year gala, science fair, field day, Polaris Night at Bookies, and the Electives program. See the website for more information.
Students go outside every day for recess. Please make sure that they are dressed appropriately to be outside for up to 30 minutes at a time. We are all aware of how fast the weather in Colorado can change so students should always have access to a hat, pair of gloves and boots in their backpack. The sun is also very intense in Colorado; please make sure your student has sunscreen applied before coming to school. We check the temperature/wind chill and generally will go out if students will not get wet or it is 18 degrees or higher.
Fire drills are required by law and are an important practice in the event that an actual emergency should occur. Students learn the evacuation path established for each room they occupy. Conduct rules during these safety drills are strictly enforced. All building occupants must move silently and in an orderly fashion to a specified area where they remain until instructed to return to the building. All schools practice at least one fire drill a month and a lockdown and shelter in place each semester.
In case of an off-site evacuation, Polaris students will walk to the Emily Griffith Campus at 1860 Lincoln St., Denver, CO 80203 or the Cleo Parker Robinson Theater at 119 Park Avenue West, Denver, CO 80205. Identification will be required to pick up students and the name of the person picking up the student must be listed as an emergency contact in Infinite Campus. Please keep your information up to date.
During a crisis, the safety of our students and staff is our number one priority. We will provide pertinent information as we are able. Please do not call the school during any crisis. You will be updated about the situation and pick up procedures via voicemail, email and/or text. Please keep your information up to date in Infinite Campus.
Our school day begins at 8:40 and ends at 3:30pm. Students are not to arrive before 8:30 a.m. unless they are here for breakfast. There is NO supervision for students or a place for them to wait until 8:30 a.m. Students must be picked up promptly after the 3:30 p.m. dismissal bell. They may not stay and play on the playground unless a parent or guardian supervises them.
School Health Office
A school nurse is in the building one day a week. Five days a week there is a health tech para to administer medicine and attend to immediate needs. If a child becomes ill or injured at school, he/she will receive temporary care and first aid, and the parent will be notified immediately in case the child needs to be picked up. Please be sure an accurate emergency phone number is on file.
In accordance with state law, Denver Public School Policy states that medication may be administered with physician and parent/guardian authorization at school. The parent must provide the medication in a separate prescription bottle that stays at school. Approved DPS paperwork must be signed by a physician and accompany the medication. The bottle must have a prescription label clearly stating the student’s name, doctor’s name, name of the medication, dosage and time(s) to be taken. Medication requiring three doses a day should be given before school, after school and at bedtime. Medication requiring four doses a day may necessitate giving one dose at school. Over the counter medications need to be in the original container and marked with the student’s name.
Medications must be turned into the office and not carried around by students. Exceptions to this are under the discretion of the school nurse and parent, and only pertain to inhalers and Epi-pens. Medications will be stored and locked in the school office and administered by delegated school staff. The student is responsible for going to the office to obtain his/her medication.
Some classes have a designated snack time. Nutritious snacks are preferred. Please do not send foods high in fat or sugar content. If your child has a medical need for a snack, you will need to provide a statement from your doctor and the teacher will help your child work out a routine.
No snacks should require preparation, cutting, peeling or the use of utensils.
• Fresh fruit, ready/prepared
• Fresh vegetables, ready/prepared
• Granola bars
• Yogurt sticks
• Cheese sticks
• Rice crackers
We welcome visits from parents during the school day! In order to ensure the safety of our students, our school doors will be locked during the school day. In order to access the building after morning drop-off and before pick-up, you will need to use the front doors on Park Avenue near the corner of Glenarm. After ringing the bell and identifying yourself, you will be let into the building. At that time, you must come straight to the office to sign in and get a visitor tag. Thank you for adhering to this procedure!