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School Policies

1. Attendance

Attending school every day is required for student academic success. In fact, even having a 90% attendance rate means a student is missing 18+ days of school. That’s a month of missed instruction and puts a student at risk of dropping out. That is simply unacceptable. That is why our goal is to help every student reach 100% attendance.

An Absence Defined
A student who is not in school for at least one instructional period is marked absent for the day. Attendance is recorded daily for each period of scheduled instruction.

Excused Absence
An Absence is unexcused if it is unexplained. An excused absence includes students unable to attend due to illness/injury, religious observation, family emergencies or pre-arranged appointments. Excused absences will not be counted when attendance is calculated for school attendance recognition, or for eligibility in sports (PSAL) or other school activities. Families are expected to notify the school whenever a student is unable to attend school, either in advance of the absence (preferred) or following the absence.

Unexcused Absences
Without explanation of a reason, an absence is considered unexcused. When a student is unable to attend school due to lack of appropriate immunizations the absence(s) are considered unexcused. Families should plan vacations and trips are also considered unexcused. Families should plan vacations and trips when school is not in session. If students do miss school, families must work with the school to develop plans for take-home and make-up work.

Students are considered late if they are not in their first period class by 8:00am. Lateness can be excused for the same reasons mentioned before.

Notification of Absences & Lateness
Every family of a student who is not in school by 10am will be notified by an automated phone call, email or text message. After two consecutive days absent, school staff will call the student’s family. Even if families provided a documented reason and the absence is considered excused, a phone call may still be made.
Every month a digital postcard will be shared with parents that show absences for the month. Additionally, families can also check student attendance online with a NYC School Account (NYCSA).

Leaving Early
Leaving school early must be arranged in advance. A student who is leaving school early can be released to the family or a person who has been identified on the Digital Blue Card and verified as authorized for pick up by the school secretary. Anyone picking up a student must come to the main office and provide a photo ID. Students over 18 must have their families speak with the school secretary before the student can sign out. Students under age 18 may not leave school early without an adult authorized for pick up.

2. Grading

At Bushwick Leaders’ High School we believe that it is critical to the academic success of students that grades accurately reflect mastery of standards & skills, that they motivate students to learn and that they are non-biased. For these reasons we have adopted a research-based approach to grading that ensures the grades students and families receive meet these three expectations.

Grading Practices
Below is our grading policy organized by our three expectations shared above.

Ensure Accuracy

  • 100% of a student’s report card grade will be based on assessments. An assessment includes exams, quizzes, essays, presentations, individual projects and any other type of assessment that measures a student’s mastery of standards and skills at the end of a unit of study. Homework, classwork and group projects are still important, but they are the means (how we learn) to the end (what we’ve learned). As such, only assessments that measure what students have mastered at the end of a unit of study will be included in a report card grade. Students will still receive a grade or feedback on any assignment but only assessments will be included in a report card grade
  • A student’s grade will be based on individual assessments only. For example, a grade from a group project will not be used to determine a student’s grade since a group grade does not accurately reflect what an individual student knows or doesn’t know.
  • The most recent assessment information will be used to determine a student’s grade. For example, if a student performs well on a new assessment that measures standards and skills from an older assessment, the information from the new assessment will be used to determine a student’s grade.
  • An assignment or assessment cannot be given a zero. Including a zero from an assignment or an exam in a student’s grade does not accurately reflect what a student knows and does not motivate learning. Instead of a zero the student will be given a grade of “No Evidence” or a 55.
  • Extra-credit cannot be included in a grade. Any work that does not measure mastery of standards and skills cannot be included in a student’s grade. Any opportunity to assess mastery of standards and skills should be provided to all students and be mandatory, not optional.

Spark Motivation

  • Retakes and Redos are allowed. Students will be given an opportunity to retake an assessment or redo an assignment to demonstrate their mastery of standards and skills. However, students must receive support needed to be successful when they retake/redo an assignment or assessment. This includes completing outstanding assignments needed to master standards and skills as well as participating in tutoring when needed.
  • More written feedback will be provided. Students will be provided with written feedback as often as possible to explain what standards and skills they have mastered and to provide clear and actionable steps they need to take to improve their academic performance.
  • Students will be provided with information that clearly explains what they know and don’t know. This can be done through the use of rubrics for example and checklists that are directly tied to standards and skills students are expected to master.

Remove Bias

  • Soft skills will not be included in a student’s grade. Soft skills include things like effort, how responsible you are, ability to meet deadlines, how collaborative you are and how much you participate in class. Although soft skills can help students succeed in college and careers, they do not reflect what academic standards and skills a student has mastered and often penalize students for things outside of their control (e.g. home environment). Assessing a student’s soft skills can also introduce bias into a student’s grade because it is subjective.
  • An alternative approach will be taken when managing academic dishonesty. We know students don’t always make the right decisions. We also recognize that some students (e.g. male, Black, brown, students with special needs) have been disproportionately subjected to very punitive consequences that further puts them at a disadvantage. Therefore, we believe it is important to take restorative (non-grade) approaches to helping students understand the consequences of their action, most importantly, how their learning is affected and get them back on the right track. Our approach also includes enlisting parents and families in getting the support students need to be academically successful. Failure is not an option.

Grading Scale
For the 2021-22 school year we will maintain the 0-100 Point System as our grading scale for report card grades. Refer to the table below for a translation of grades from one scale to another.

Point System Letter Grade Grade Point Average Standards/Mastery-Based
95 A 4.0 Exceeds Standards
85 B 3.0 Above Standards
75 C 2.0 Meeting Standards
65 D 1.0 Approaching Standards
55 F 0.0 No Evidence/Below Standards

3. Dress Guidelines

We acknowledge that students are individuals who have the right to express and affirm their varied identities (e.g. race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression) by determining their own dress. We also recognize the importance of providing students with a safe and welcoming learning environment where high quality teaching and learning takes place. To this end we have devised dress guidelines that seeks to maintain the right of students, promotes equity, and ensures the security of our students and staff.

Please note that Bushwick Leaders High School reserves the right and final authority to decide what is deemed appropriate. If clothing is dangerous, interferes with the learning process, identified by law enforcement as promoting unlawful activities and does not follow the guidelines below we will take appropriate action.

What to Wear

  • School swag. Although there is no uniform, we encourage students to show school pride every day.
  • Wear pants, skirts, and dresses that come above the hips and reach down to the student’s longest fingertip when arms are extended and down at their sides.
  • Wear shirts, blouses, dresses with necklines that are at or above the top of the armpits and cover the midriff or abdomen.
  • Wear shoes that have at least one strap over the back of the foot.

What Not to Wear

  • Clothing that exposes undergarments and/or are see through.
  • Clothing that mentions drugs, tobacco, alcohol, weapons and vulgar/obscene/profane captions.
  • Any article of clothing, accessory or paraphernalia that is used to signify gang affiliation.
  • Any accessory, object or ornament that is capable of being used as a weapon or for storing and/or consuming drugs, tobacco and alcohol.
  • Any clothing item or accessory that covers or obscures your eyes.
  • Bandanas, curlers, scarves (unless it is connected to deep religious beliefs).
  • Hoodies with hoods worn over the top of head. Hoodies can be worn if the hood is always worn down.

Non-Compliance and Discipline
Failure to comply with the dress guidelines above will be dealt with in a way that maintains the dignity of the student, minimally disrupts their education and is proportional to the frequency and severity of the student’s non-compliance. However, if the clothing worn by a student interferes with the learning process or poses a threat to the safety and security of students and staff they will be removed from class until the dress violation is remedied or the student’s parent/guardian can pick them up from school. For a list of all possible non-compliance measures see the list below.

  • Written Warning
  • Written Assignments
  • Restorative Conferences
  • Removal from the learning environment
  • Parent contact by a staff member
  • Parent Pick-Up
  • Parent Conference
  • In-School Suspension
  • Out-of-School Suspension

4. Use of Electronic Devices

Bushwick Leaders’ High School has an “Away for the Day” policy on the use of electronic devices, including cell phones. Although students are permitted to bring electronic devices to school as per Chancellor’s Regulation A-413 they must be powered down and put away as soon as they enter the building for the duration of the school day. More specifically, cell phones and other electronic devices cannot be used in classrooms, hallways, bathroom, gymnasium or cafeteria or any other location in the building.

Cell Phone Storage Process
At the beginning of the school year, every student will be assigned a personal Yondr Pouch, similar to being assigned a textbook. While the Yondr Pouch is considered school property, it is each student’s responsibility to bring their pouch with them to school every day.

Building Entrance
As students enter the building, they will:

  1. Turn their phone off.
  2. Unlock their empty Yondr Pouch using an Unlocking Base at the Building Entrance(s).
  3. Place their phone inside the pouch, securely close it and store it in their backpack.

Each student will maintain possession of their cellphone inside their Yondr Pouch for the duration of the school day.

Building Exit
As students exit the building at the end of the school day, they will:

  1. Unlock their pouch using an Unlocking Base at a Building Exit(s).
  2. Remove their phone from their pouch.
  3. Securely close their empty pouch and place it in their backpack for the next day.

Exceptions to the Away for the Day Policy
Students may be permitted to use cell phone or other electronic devices in the following situations:

  • The student’s parent/guardian has requested in person that the student be permitted to use their cell phone or other electronic device during the school day.
  • During field trips, with explicit permission by school staff.
  • During non-academic extracurricular activities with explicit permission by school staff.
  • During PM school with explicit permission by school staff.

Non-Compliance and Discipline
Below is a list of potential student violations.

  1. Physical damage to the pouch in an attempt to circumvent its intended purpose. (Ex:Discoloration, pen marks, bent pin or stripped lock inside the pouch).
  2. Forgetting or losing the pouch.
  3. Using a phone during school hours.

Each of these violations will result in the following:

  1. The student’s phone and/or Yondr pouch will be confiscated, and the parent/guardian will be notified immediately.
  2. The student’s parent/guardian must come to the school to pick up their child’s phone and a replacement pouch may be assigned at a cost to the student.
5. COVID-19

In order to maintain the health and safety of all students, staff and visitors, the following protocols will be implemented until new guidance is shared by the NYC Department of Education.

  • Everyone must pass a daily health screening to enter the building. We encourage all families to have their students complete the screening before they leave home each morning.
  • Everyone must wear a mask while on DOE property. The mask must cover the mouth and nose. This mandate will be strictly enforced.
  • Ten percent of all consented, unvaccinated students will be randomly tested twice a month. Parents can provide consent through their student’s NYSCA account.
  • Strict protocols are in place to isolate and assess anyone displaying symptoms of COVID – 19. Parents will be asked to pick up their children as soon as possible and encouraged to get them tested.

We also highly encourage students, staff and visitors to do the following:

  • Stay home when feeling sick.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Get vaccinated.
  • Practice social distancing when possible.
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