Friends School Handbook

The information provided in this handbook is designed to give general yet necessary information and guidelines that are in place at Friends School of Minnesota (FSM). As a result, it does not cover, nor can it cover every possible situation, but it does communicate information that over the years has proved helpful to parents and students. Think of what’s included here as a compass rather than a map.

To learn more about our guiding principles, our approach to education and school governance, please click here.

Hours of Operation

School Office Hours

Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM when school is in session; 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM on release days.

Academic School Day

9:15 AM to 3:40 PM 

Snow Days and Weather Emergencies

FSM follows the decisions of the St. Paul Public Schools (SPPS) regarding school closings. WCCO (AM 830) is the besty place to listen for an announcement of closings or delayed openings. We also post a closing notice on this website, and, when possible, send notices via email, text and/or voice to families and guardians. 

Handbook Sections

Placement

Classroom placement decisions involve creating a balance of boys and girls, energy levels, and diverse academic and social abilities. Placement is a professional decision made by the FSM staff based on the academic and social good of all students involved.

Homework Policy

Homework helps students develop individual study habits and serves as a bridge between home and school, allowing parents to be involved in their child’s academic growth.

The amount of homework will fit within these guidelines:

Grade Time Spent on Homework* Frequency
Kindergarten 5 minutes per day 1 - 2 times per week
Grades 1-2 10-20 minutes per day 2 - 3 times per week
Grades 3-4 20-30 minutes per day 3 - 4 times per week
Grades 5-6 1 hour per day Subjects will vary each day
Grades 7-8 1.5-2 hours per day Subjects will vary each day
*Students should complete thirty minutes of being read to or quiet reading. Teachers will communicate homework assignments to families/guardians at the end of the school day.

Assessment As a Reflection of Our Understanding of the Whole Child

Our core commitment is to know and understand each student as a whole person, as well as a learner. Because of that we use portfolios, performances, tests, observation, written work, self-assessment, and reflection to assess student achievement. Twice each year, teachers write assessments of the whole child across academic, social, physical and emotional dimensions. These assessments are shared personally in formal conferences twice each year.

Lower School (K-4) Reports

FSM uses narrative reports at the end of each semester to communicate students’ progress to their families/guardians. 

Middle School (5-8) Reports, Benchmarks and Progress Reports

Students will receive narrative reports at the end of each semester. Along with narrative reports, 5th and 6th graders will receive benchmark progress reports for Humanities, Math, Science and Spanish. 7th and 8th grade students will receive letter grade reports for Math, Science and Spanish and a benchmark progress report for Humanities.

Benchmark progress reports are based on student work, including but not limited to: written assignments, projects, unit tests, small and large group discussions, group work, student self-assessments and reflections, and informal observations and conversations with students.

The collected work is used to measure each student’s proficiency and progress in particular skills and content knowledge. Teachers use rubrics for assignments that include specific learning targets or “I can” statements, that correlate to our benchmarks. This allows students to know and understand what skills or content they are or are not proficient in.

Subject 5th-6th 7th-8th
Math Benchmark Report Grades
Science Benchmark Report Grades
Spanish Benchmark Report Grades
Humanities Benchmark Report Benchmark Report

Middle School Grading Scale

Description Percentage Grade
Superior in initiative, original and thorough
100 – 99 A+
98 – 93 A
90 – 92 A-
Highly competent, clear, and concise
89 – 87 B+
86 – 83 B
82 – 80 B-
Satisfactory in meeting basic requirements
79 -77 C+
76 – 73 C
72 – 70 C-
Unsatisfactory. Barely meets requirements.
69 – 67 D+
66 – 63 D
62 – 60 D-
Unsatisfactory. Requirements not met. Below 60 F

Students who have year-end grades with two or more failing grades will be asked to leave FSM unless a faculty member can provide evidence of the student’s readiness for the next grade level.

Teachers collect student work, including but not limited to: written assignments, projects, unit tests, small and large group discussions, group work, student self-assessments and reflections, informal observations and conversations with students.

The collected work is used to measure each student’s proficiency and progress in particular skills and content knowledge. Teachers use rubrics for assignments that include specific learning targets or “I can” statements that correlate to our benchmarks. This allows students to know and understand what skills or content they are or are not proficient in.

Vocabulary

  • Benchmark:  A benchmark is a long-term learning objective for students, which clearly states what students should be able to know and do by the end of a particular grade level.
  • Rubric:   A rubric delineates the expectations for skills and content of a particular assignment and is used to assess how well a student has met those expectations on that assignment.
  • Learning Target:  A learning target is a short-term goal or objective of what the student should know or be able to do at the end of a lesson or assignment.

Benchmark Key

Assessment Mark Description
E Exceeds expectations
  • Exhibits deep knowledge and understanding of the skill and/or concept.
  • Can apply this knowledge in a variety of settings.
M Meets expectations
  • Shows a thorough knowledge, understanding and application of the skill and/or concept
P Progressing towards meeting expectations
  • Gaining an understanding of the skill and/or concept.
  • Needs to consistently demonstrate the learning independently.
  •  
S Not yet progressing towards meeting expectations
  • Starting to understand the skill and/or concept.
  • Needs consistent support.
0 Assignment(s) addressing this benchmark are not complete enough to assess progress.
X or blank Benchmark not assessed

Middle School Quality Standards

Middle School use the following descriptors to assess the quality of student work:  

  • Content: Work must meet the requirements of the assignment and all parts of the assignment must be completed.
  • Mechanics: All work should use appropriate sentence structures and follow the conventions of spelling, capitalization and punctuation.
  • Appearance: All work submitted should have the student’s name on it and should be properly labeled.  Work should be easily readable and paper should be in good condition. In grades 7 and 8, all final drafts must be typed.
  • On Time: Teachers will announcement a class policy on late work at the beginning of the year and will help students by regularly making sure the students’ homework planners are accurate.

Work that does not meet the quality standards will be returned to the students to be recompleted.

Additional Academic Support

Parents of incoming students or students newly identified with learning differences will be invited to meet regarding their student’s Learning Support Plan within the first six weeks of school. The purpose of this meeting is as follows:

  • To review agreed on accommodations and modifications and ensure that the channels of communication are clear.
  • To draft a Learning Support Plan that will be shared with parents/guardians. Assistant head of school, teachers, and teaching assistants will be invited to attend these meetings. The plan is placed in the student’s file and shared with all teachers involved with the student.

FSM offers limited support services for students with mild diagnosed learning differences. In consultation with families/guardians, we can provide a variety of limited accommodations and will consider slight modifications to course requirements on a case-to-case basis.

  • Students who qualify may have the option of pursuing support services through the Saint Paul public schools.
  • Middle School students can also work with teachers in small groups after school in our Homework Help Program.

Standardized Testing

Students in grades 6-8 take the Educational Records Bureau (ERB) achievement and aptitude tests (CTP IV) each year. Standardized tests are given to middle school students to achieve these outcomes:

  • Provide FSM with an additional tool to evaluate our programs 
  • Enable students to improve their test taking skills
  • Help FSM assess individual student achievement.

Gandhi Library

Lower School Library Program

Students from kindergarten through fourth grade may make weekly group visits to the library. After third grade students also use the library individually or in groups as needed to choose books related to classwork, to find books for recreational reading or to do research.

The number of materials that students may check out varies by grade level.

  • Kindergarten students may check out one book per week before winter break, and two books per week afterwards. The second book is a book to take home.
  • First through Fourth grade students may check out up to four books for reading and up to six additional books for research.
  • Middle school students may check out up to eight books. Additional materials may be checked out with special permission from a staff member.

Overdue Materials

Library materials can be checked out for two weeks. Students and families will be notified of any overdue materials. If a book is not returned by the end of the year, families/guardians will be charged to replace it plus a service change.

Birthday Books

FSM encourages families/guardians to purchase materials for the Gandhi Library through our Birthday Books program. Books that are purchased in honor of a student’s birthday have a bookplate added to commemorate the gift.

Behavioral Expectation

Part of our mission is to help children learn to balance personal freedom and communal responsibility. We aim to help children develop a strong sense of empathy and growing awareness of their choices affect others. These principles are the core of our relationships at FSM.

It is important to recognize that the school’s conflict resolution program is distinct from the school’s discipline policy. Conflict resolution most often involves differences in understanding and expectations in a community, while disciple has to do with clear infractions of established norms of behavior.

Students are expected and will be held accountable for following the directions of supervisory adults at FSM. Teachers and staff will explain expectation to their students and those they are supervising.

Consistent with our Quaker values students are not to bring any “war toys” or wear military style clothing—camouflage—or clothing with slogans/pictures that are insensitive to the inclusive, non-violent culture of FSM

Dress Code

Students dress informally at FSM, although the following guidelines are in place:

  • Students must always wear a shirt and shoes
  • Rubber-soled shoes that completely encase the foot must be worn during recess and physical education. Otherwise students will be asked to find a non-physical activity during those times.
  • Students must always wear shorts, skirts or other items that is at least mid-thigh in length.

Progressive Discipline: Suspension

Students who seriously violate school rules, regulations, or demonstrate unacceptable conduct may be suspended from school. Typically, a student will be suspended for the following reasons:

  • To give immediate feedback that the behavior in question is unacceptable, or
  • Because the behavior in question is such that the student’s return to the classroom would undermine or impair the school environment.

Unacceptable conduct includes, but is not limited to the following;

  • Physical attack of another student, whether provoked or unprovoked
  • Disrespectful behavior toward a staff member or other adult
  • Threatening/abusive language or physical aggression directed toward another community member
  • Conduct which creates a substantial and unjustifiable risk of serious damage to property or persons
  • Conduct which substantially impairs the discipline and order of the school environment
  • Leaving the building or other supervised area without permission.

Suspension from school results in the student being unable to participate in all after school activities

Before a child is readmitted to school, a reinstatement conference must be held with the child, parent, and a designated administrator to outline a plan to change the behavior that led to the suspension. In addition, a conflict resolution conference is often arranged between the appropriate parties. 

FSM reserves the right to determine whether immediate suspension is necessary. The Head of School or designated agent uses reasonable discretion in determining when and under what circumstances such action is appropriate.

Progressive Discipline: Expulsion

Expulsion is under the full discretion of the Head of School. Expulsion will be considered if:

  • The student is involved in one extreme infraction of school rules and policies,
  • After multiple attempts by the school to correct repeated infractions.

Student Non-Return Policy

It is sometimes necessary for a child to leave FSM after the close of the academic year. Only the Head of School may make this decision.

If the school cannot meet the academic or behavioral needs of a child, and/or a child’s behavior has an undue negative effect on other children or the school in general, the expulsion process will be initiated. This process includes dialog between the family and FSM. The Head of School is responsible for maintaining contact with the family throughout the process and documenting each stage.

Lunch and Recess

Students should pack a snack with their lunch. Teachers make time for a snack in the daily schedule. Students bring a bag lunch. We will not heat or refrigerate bag lunches. Students are expected to follow the directions of the lunchroom/recess supervisor to ensure appropriate order and safety.

Schedules

GRADE LUNCH RECESS

Kindergarten

TBD by Classroom Teacher

12 p.m. – 12:25 p.m.

1/2

11:30 a.m. – 11:58 a.m.*

12 p.m. – 12:25 p.m.

3/4

12 p.m. – 12:25 p.m.

11:35 a.m. – 12 p.m.

5/6

12:35 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.

1 p.m. - 1:25 p.m.

7/8

1 p.m. – 1:25 p.m.

12:35 p.m. – 1 p.m.

Wednesday – All School Lunch & Recess

11:35 a.m. – 12 p.m.

12 p.m. – 12:25 p.m.

*Employees remain with students in the hallway until the first recess employee arrives.

FSM’s Conflict Resolution Program has been in operation since the school opened in 1988. Drawing on Quaker commitment to nonviolence, staff developed the program to help students and all community members learn how to make peace rather than resort to violence. The program uses three elements that are integrated into the daily life of the school.

  • Conferences—meetings to address misunderstandings and conflicts between two or more individuals. One half-hour is set aside each day for conferences.
  • Group gatherings—meetings to address issues affecting an entire group. Individual classrooms have regular group gatherings, which focus on community problem solving.
  • Modeling by adults is integral to the program. When the entire community is using the same program, it permeates the behavioral and ethical life of the school.

Conflicts are best handled by those directly involved. For example, if your child is upset with another child, the two students need to talk. Please encourage your child to make use of this process when conflict, a natural dimension of human interactions, arises.

Conflict Resolution and Problem Solving by Adult Community Members

Quaker values and practice guide the way all of us at FSM—students, staff and parents—practice communicating, problem solving and resolving misunderstandings and conflicts. We do so by attempting to communicate clearly, simply and respectfully.

Instead of listening only to evaluate and react, we try to listen to hear and respond appropriately. In other words, we want to ensure the process of conflict resolution we teach children at FSM also guides the way adults in our community communicate with each other.

Misunderstandings and conflicts naturally arise whenever people interact, and, given that inevitability, we want to commit ourselves to handling these kinds of issues directly at the level at which they occur and with the people directly involved in them.

For instance, if a parent has a problem or conflict with a teacher, our expectation is that the staff member and parent(s) will attempt to resolve it cooperatively.

If an issue cannot be satisfactorily resolved at that level, it may then be brought to the Assistant Head of School for resolution. The decision of the Assistant Head of School in these matters should ordinarily be considered final.

An issue of this nature, however, can be brought to the Head of School if and only if only the Assistant Head of School and the parent(s) involved mutually agree to do so and both parties agree to be part of the conference and abide by any further decision reached mutually and respectfully

Arrival

FSM takes very seriously its responsibility to provide for the orderly and safe arrival and dismissal of our students.

  • Students should be dropped off no later than 9:10 am so students can be in classrooms and ready for a 9:15 am start
  • Unless students are in Extended Day or are participating in a before-school activity, they may not be dropped off at the school before 9:00 am
  • Students dropped off before 9:00 am and not enrolled in the Extended Day Program will be taken to Extended Day and billed at the drop-in rate.
  • With the exception of Extended Day students, students should enter through the front door
  • Do not give your child dismissal instructions which conflict with the school’s procedures.

If you plan to park your car and accompany your student into FSM, please do not park in the following locations: the bus zone on the north side of Englewood or the drop-off zone on the east side of Albert between Englewood and the school parking lot.

Dismissal

Families are asked each year to complete a Dismissal Transportation Plan form for each child. It outlines how children will return home each day and helps FSM ensure student safety.

Students Who Are Picked Up By Car

  • Option 1: Line up along Albert Street. Do not block the intersection at Englewood. A staff person with a walkie-talkie will meet your car before you reach the school’s parking lot entrance. Drivers tell the staff person who they are picking up. And students will then be dismissed from inside the building. Students going home this way wait in the building near the north doors.
  • Option 2: Park avoiding the bus zone, carpool pick-up line and parking lot. Your students will be waiting for you at the rear parking lot doors. You may meet them there either by entering the front or rear doors. Please do not give your child dismissal instructions which conflict with the school’s procedures.

Students Who Walk or Bike Home

Students may walk or bike home alone by indicating authorization on the appropriate Dismissal Transportation Plan form.

  • Bikes must be locked in the rack outside of the building. Students will not be able to store bikes inside the school if they do not have a lock.
  • Students walking or biking home may not return to the school or school grounds by themselves, including the playground, after they have left for the day.
  • FSM provides neither crossing guards nor other support for students walking or biking.

Students Using SPPS Buses

Students who take the St. Paul public schools school bus home will report to the front entrance at the end of the day, where FSM staff will supervise boarding. Students are to observe the following:

  • Wait for the bus to come to a complete stop when entering and leaving.
  • Take a seat promptly, remain seated and keep your voice quiet so the driver can hear traffic.
  • Never put your head, arms, feet, or any object out the window.
  • Remember that fighting, inappropriate language and horseplay are forbidden
  • FSM students are bound by the behavioral expectations and disciplinary procedures of the SPPS while using public school buses.
  • If you need to change your bus stop, please call the front office to make arrangements. Also call the Front Office with any other bus-related questions or concerns.

Changing Dismissal Plans

If your regular dismissal plan changes in any way on any day, you must contact the Front Office by 3 pm so that faculty and students can be appropriately informed. If we do not have a note or other contact from a child’s parent prior to 3 p.m. the student will be dismissed according to their dismissal plan. s

Early Dismissal

  • If you pick up your student prior to the end of the regular school day, please notify your student’s teacher and sign out in the Front Office.

Minnesota law requires children attend school regularly. As a result, a child who accumulates more than three unexcused absences from school is defined as a chronic truant. In the case of ten or more unexcused full or partial days, FSM is required to make a referral to the County Attorney for possible educational neglect by parent(s).

  • Please contact school before 9:10 am if their child will be absent or late.
  • The decision to travel while school is in session needs to be considered carefully. If there are compelling reasons why a family/guardians trip must take place while school is in session, the family/guardians should contact the Assistant Head of School with as much notice as possible to develop a plan for making up missed work.
  • Parent/teacher conferences missed because of a family/guardians trip will not be rescheduled.
  • Excused absences include illness, religious observance and emergencies. Any absence for which families/guardians do not notify the school office is unexcused. In some cases the school may require documentation to excuse an absence.
  • It is the school’s responsibility to designate an absence as excused or unexcused.
  • Any illness that lasts longer than three (3) days will require a doctor’s letter before students will be readmitted.

The following protocols are in effect regarding attendance problems:

  • Three unexcused absences: Families/guardians will receive both a phone and written documentation urging better attendance.
  • Seven unexcused/excused absences: A conference with the families/guardians, teacher and the Assistant Head of School.
  • Ten unexcused/excused absences: County Truancy officials will be contacted.

Our Extended Day Program enables us to provide childcare before and after the school day. What follow are FAQs about the program 

When is Extended Day available?

  • 7:30 a.m.-9:00 a.m. on regular school days
  • 3:45 p.m.-6:00 p.m. on regular school days
  • 8:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m. on all-day release days
  • There is no extended day during holidays when the school is completely closed.

How is Extended Day Priced?

  • Regular school days: $7.50/hour, billed on the half hour
  • Drop-In: $8.00/hour, billed on the half hour
  • Release Days: $7.50/hour, billed on the half hour

All snacks, activities, and materials are included in the contract and drop-in rates. There are no additional fees unless a special activity is scheduled; all such activities are optional.

What about Release Days?

Release Days are clearly indicated on the School Calendar.

  • Pre-registration is required for Release Days; no-drop in service is available unless indicated on a student’s Extended Day contract
  • If you need to cancel your release day contract, you will get a refund if you cancel within twenty-four hours of the release day
  • Cancellations later than that will not receive a refund. Only FSM students may use Extended Day Program.

Do I need to pre-register for extended day, or can I use it on a drop-in basis?

A contract is required to use Extended Day regularly. If, however, you use Extended Day only occasionally, your child is welcome as a drop-in, space permitting. Please call the front office for availability and to register your child at least one day before drop-in service is required.

If I don’t usually use extended day but am serving as a volunteer or on a school committee, may I use it as a drop-in?

Yes, space permitting. You will not be charged, but please call the Front Office to reserve a spot.

How long is the contract period? Can I change my contract once I’ve signed up?

Your contract is in effect for the entire year, unless you cancel or change it. You may change your contract twice during the year at no charge, with a $10.00 fee assessed for additional changes.

To make a change simply download a Contract Change form our website or request one in the front office. Your new extended day schedule and new rates will go into effect on the first day of the month after you make your change.

What if I don’t use part of my contract? Will I be reimbursed for unused services?

No. You must pay for contracted services until they have been officially changed or canceled.

If I pick my child up at 6:00 p.m., but s/he actually leaves extended day from 4:30-5:00 p.m. for music lessons, do get a discount for that half-hour?

No. The extended day staff is still responsible for your child during this time and will also be sure that they get to their lesson and back to Extended Day.

Do I change my contract if my child is participating in a sports program or club? Will I be billed for this change?

If your child is participating in any extracurricular program, you will receive partial credit for contract time that your child is not in Extended Day. If you have a contract, your space in extended day will be held when your child is in extracurricular activities. 

Will I be charged if I’m late picking up my child?

If your child is registered until 4:45 you will be charged $4.00 per half hour (or any portion of a half hour) for pick-ups past that time. Pick-ups after 6:00 p.m. are charged at $2.00 per minute.

Is financial aid available for extended day?

If you receive tuition aid, you get the same percentage of aid for extended day. Some families are also eligible to have their extended day charges covered by the county they live in.

May I use the automatic payment plan for extended day?

FSM strongly encourages the use of the automatic payment plan. Contract amounts will be withdrawn from your account on the 30th of each month. If you currently use this plan for tuition payments, you are automatically enrolled for extended day and your contract payments will be deducted on the 30th. There are no additional fees for the extended day automatic payment plan.

How is the billing done for extended day if I do not use the automatic payment plan?

When you have a contract, you make your first payment when you submit the contract. In October, you will begin to receive monthly invoices for the amount of your monthly payment. This amount will not change unless you change your contract. Fees are due within fifteen days of the invoice date. Fees sixty days overdue will result in loss of the use of extended day. If you have any questions about billing issues, please contact the Business Office.

How is the billing done for extended day if I use drop-in service, or if I have late fees?

If you use extended day on a drop-in basis or incur late fees, you will be invoiced in the next month for the time you’ve used. For example, if your child dropped in for six days in September, you will receive the invoice for those days at the end of October.

Fees are due upon receipt of invoice. Fees sixty days overdue will result in loss of the use of extended day. If you have any questions about billing issues, please contact the Business Office.

What will my child’s extended day schedule be?

Regular Mornings 7:30-9:30 am

7:30 Extended day opens in the multi-purpose room. Parents must bring their child to the room in person and sign in with their name and arrival time.

7:30-8:00 Cereal bars and juice available if students haven’t had breakfast. Students may do homework, read, play board games, or color and draw.

8:30-9:00 Playground or gym available, weather/schedule permitting.

9:00 Students dismissed to classes.

Regular Afternoons 3:45-6:00 pm

3:45 Lower school students check in to the multi-purpose room; middle school students check in to their designated room. Snack is served.

3:45-6:00 Students may do homework, read, play board games, draw and color, use outdoors/gym (weather/schedule permitting), or watch sports events.

4:45 Middle-school students go to Multi-Purpose Room for remaining Extended Day time.

4:00-6:00 Students must be signed out in the Multi-Purpose Room. Parents/others picking children up must sign their children out in the multi-purpose room. Please remember to sign both your name and your actual pick-up time.

How is the program staffed?

We have at least one adult for every ten children in extended day.

What activities are available in extended day?

Extended Day is not a continuation of the school day. We provide opportunities for children to relax, play, and socialize. They have free but supervised time for board and card games, coloring, drawing, puzzles, books, and chatting with friends.

Children who want to do homework have quiet space available if they need it. We offer outdoor and gym time mornings and afternoons, weather and schedule permitting, and time in the library on most afternoons. During the winter when outdoor time is not possible we may occasionally offer an appropriate DVD as one of our options. We provide similar activities during release days, in addition to special projects.

What kinds of snacks are available?

Morning extended day provides cereal bars and juice for children who arrive before 8:00 a.m. if they have not had breakfast. Juice and other child-friendly snacks are available in the afternoon from 3:45-4:00 p.m. We offer a small snack at 5:30 p.m. for students who are still with us.

What are the expectations for student behavior in extended day?

All guidelines which apply during the regular school day apply to Extended Day.

What does extended day expect of parents?

There are two important things parents can do for extended day. The first is to remember to sign in in the morning and sign out in the afternoon. Even if staff sees you, it’s your signature that verifies that your child has been dropped off or picked up, and that ensures your child’s safety. The second is to let us know when your plans have changed. If you are picking your child up instead of using your scheduled Extended Day time, please call the front office or extended day.

We also ask that when you’ve picked your child up, you leave in a timely way. Please do not plan to stay in extended day with your child so that s/he can continue playing with your supervision.

Parents must reserve childcare space prior to the event and a nominal fee may be changed for the service. Any employee involved with an event offering childcare is responsible for ensuring that the following guidelines are followed:

  • All events with childcare will have a designated coordinator—staff member or parent
  • All childcare providers must be at least eighteen years of age; younger teenagers are assistants only
  • Childcare is usually available only for FSM students
  • Childcare may occasionally be available for non-FSM siblings with approval of designated coordinator
  • Childcare is never provided for non-student, non-siblings
  • Childcare personnel hired by the school will have undergone a criminal background check as required by state law.

During classroom parent meetings, childcare is typically held in the child’s classroom while the meeting takes place. Parents typically arrange for childcare for parent meetings and may ask FSM parents, teaching assistants, or regular extended day staff to supervise students.

Guidelines for Student Supervision at FSM Events

  • FSM students may attend events when accompanied by a parent or other responsible
  • Students must remain in supervised areas; if not in a supervised childcare area, a child must be with a parent or responsible adult.
  • Students may not leave the building unless supervised by a parent or responsible adult.

Sports Events

Students may watch middle school league games after school provided when accompanied by a responsible adult. Students may also (space allowing) utilize the drop-in policy of Extended Day to watch games.

The Middle School offers a variety of extracurricular activities open to all students. Registration forms for these activities are available in the front office and on our website.

Sports

FSM typically offers soccer in the fall, basketball in the winter and volleyball in the spring. All sports are coeducational. The goals of our sports program include the following:

  • To teach teamwork, commitment and fitness
  • To teach lifelong skills
  • To foster development of self-discipline, cooperation, sportsmanship, mutual respect and self-image.

All students have equal opportunities to participate. Students need to learn that joining a team involves personal commitment, including practice. If a student must miss a practice/game, they should let the coach know as soon as possible.

  • We expect coaches, players, and families/guardians to demonstrate good sportsmanship by supporting our teams and being courteous and respectful to all players, referees, and coaches.
  • Families/guardians are important role models in acknowledging effort and being respectful of players and referees on all teams.
  • FSM explicitly bans derogatory comments toward any student athletes of either team as well as comments directed to or about an official or coach.

Students and families/guardians are encouraged to communicate directly with coaches on sports-related issues. The Athletic Director is also a source of information about sports. Schedules and game location directions will be given directly to participants during each season but can also be found in the online Newsletter.

FSM is part of the League of Independent Sports Teams (LIST), which includes similar-sized schools with a like approach to sports. We usually schedule one game per week with other co-ed teams.

Transportation

Whenever possible, the school will transport students to away games using FSM buses. Vehicle malfunction or unavailability of licensed drivers may require families/guardians to transport their own students. If this should happen, families/guardians will be notified. FSM, however, does not coordinate transportation between families/guardians and will not commission parents to be drivers of our students.

Clubs

A variety of clubs for grades 5-8 are usually offered every year. Any middle school student who is interested in starting a club may talk to his or her advisor or the Activities Director. If an adult staff person is willing to serve as sponsor and if there is sufficient student interest, new clubs can be created.

Children Who Become Sick at School

Children who are sick or slightly injured will be sent to the Front Office. Where staff will take temperatures, apply ice packs and notify parents. If a child is going home because of illness or injury, they will not be returned to class but will remain in the Front Office until picked up by a responsible adult.

If a child has been injured to the point where a parent should be notified, our faculty and staff will implement the following protocols:

Injured but not requiring an accident report, but severe enough to contact parents:

  • Treat child
  • Email family about what has happened and treatment and treatment provided

Injured and requiring a report but not requiring additional care:

  • Treat child
  • Have adult supervising situation complete an accident report
  • Email family about what has happened and the treatment

Injured and requiring a report and requiring additional care:

  • Treat child – or call 911 as the case dictates.
  • Contact family by phone (using emergency card order)
  • Have adult supervising situation complete report
  • Contact both head & assistant head of school.

Illness and Return to School

  • If a student has a fever of over 100 degrees, s/he is sent home and should return to class 24 hours after the fever has broken and without being on any fever-reducing medication.
  • If a student has been diagnosed with strep throat or like disease, s/he may return to school 24 hours after being on an antibiotic.
  • Keep your child home if she/he has vomited or had diarrhea during the night or in the morning.
  • If a student has a rash that may be caused by disease or if the cause is unknown, check with your family physician before sending your student to school
  • Lice and pink eye only require treatment for immediate return to class. Click here for advice on treatment of lice.

If your student is home sick, parents must call school to report the type of illness and reason for absence. This is required in order to minimize the spread of illness within the school.

Parents must notify the school if their child has one of the following but not limited to:

  • Vaccine-preventable diseases such as mumps, measles, chicken pox, etc.;
  • Highly communicable diseases such as strep throat, ring worm, head lice;
  • Significant respiratory distress that makes it difficult for a child to participate in school activities.

Please keep your child home if they exhibit any of the following:

  • A fever of 100 degrees or more during the previous evening or in the morning.
  • Have vomited or had diarrhea during the night or in the morning.
  • Have a rash that may be caused by a disease or if the cause is unknown, check with your family physician before sending the student to school. 

Medications

FSM follows the medication policy of the St. Paul public school district. Prescription and nonprescription medications required by a student should be administered by a parent at home or by the student’s medical provider whenever possible. Parents should make every effort to have medication times set for time periods other than school hours.

When this is not possible, Friends School staff may assist in the administration of medications during school hours, subject to the following guidelines

Written Authorization

Any medication to be administered to students must be accompanied by written authorization. This written authorization is valid for the school year during which it is received, and is kept in the front office.

  • There are two different forms for written authorization to allow FSM to dispense medication, both available in the front office and on our website.
  • Prescription medication to be given for two weeks or less is considered short term and parents may fill out the authorization form.
  • Prescription medication to be given for more than two weeks is considered long term and requires written authorization by the child’s physician.

Original Container

Both prescription and over-the-counter medication to be given to students during the school day must be in their original bottle with the student’s name on the label. All medication must be brought to the front office.

Check-In Procedure

The Front Office staff records the date medication is brought in, ensures that the required authorization is on file, and notes the number or amount of medication in the Medication Records book kept in the front office. A separate medication check-in sheet is maintained for each student.

Changes to Prescription

It is the parents’ responsibility to notify the school of any changes to an original prescription. A new pharmacy label and container, along with new written authorization, must be submitted with any change. It is the student’s responsibility to come to the office at the appropriate times for medication.

Self-Medication

Students cannot administer any medications to themselves except when a physician, the Head of School, the parent/legal guardian, and the student agree in writing that it is necessary.

  • The student must demonstrate proper administration of the medication and must inform the front office staff when the medication is taken.
  • Staff will record when and what time the medication was taken in the Medication Records book. The student may carry just one day’s dose of the medication in its container with the original label.
  • Lower school inhalers are kept in the front office and include more than one day’s dose. Please send your child’s inhaler in a Zip-loc bag with his/her name on it.
  • Middle school students are permitted carry and administer their own inhalers with parental permission.

Documentation

The Front Office staff keeps a separate medication administration record for each student that includes the student’s name, medication, dosage, times to be given, and the initials of the person administering the medication; it also has a form for other information to be recorded, such as any observed reaction to the medication. These records are a permanent part of the student’s file and are confidential, unless they need to be shared with other staff.

Non-Prescription Medication

Friends School follows the same guidelines for over-the-counter medication as for prescription medication. Non-prescription medication must be kept in the front office in its original bottle, labeled with the student’s name and dosage. The written authorization form used for short-term prescription medication must also be filled out for non-prescription medication. The taking of non-prescription medication is also documented.

School staff keeps all medication in a secure, clean, and locked cabinet at all times.

The following safety and security measures are in effect. During extreme emergencies we refer to our Crisis Plan, which is available online via the Community Portal.

Building Access

The front entrance is the primary entrance for families between 7:30 am and 4:00 pm and is monitored by Front Office staff.

  • The back door is accessible between 7:30 am and 8:45 am for Extended Day students only and during dismissal (3:45-4:00 pm) for carpool and student pick-up.
  • Families/guardians may use the after-hours parent code to enter the back door between 7:30 am and 8:50 am and both the front and back doors between 4:00 and 6:00 pm. Codes may not be given to non-families/guardians/caregivers.

Sports

  • Utilize the back door only between 4:00 and 6:30 pm.
  • An FSM staff person will be present during those hours to greet guests, control access to main building and monitor the area for safety
  • The doors between gym area and other parts of the building will be locked during sporting events.

Evening meeting access

  • Use the code given to you for regularly scheduled meetings
  • No doors may be propped open (unattended) at any time.

Safety Drills

In accordance with state laws, FSM will annually conduct:

  • Five fire drills
  • Five Lock Down drills
  • One Severe Weather drill

Weapons

The possession or use of handguns or other weapons while on FSM property is strictly prohibited. Please report any suspected violations to a school representative. If you believe someone’s safety is immediately at risk, call 911 or seek other emergency help.

Field Trips are learning opportunities that cannot be provided in the classroom. We define a field trip as a learning opportunity that takes place more than ten miles from campus and lasts longer than three hours.

Families/guardians will be notified about the destination, date, anticipated time of departure and return, and mode of transportation of field trips at least one week in advance. During field trips we typically maintain an adult to child ratio of 20:1.

Overnight Field Trips

Beginning in first grade, each grade will participate in an overnight field trip in order to help to build classroom community and support specific goals within the curriculum.

Grade Overnight Field Trip
Kindergarten No overnight field trips
Grades 1 and 2 Spring - A one-night overnight to Camp Courage, Camp Voyageur, Camp Ihduhapi, the Bell Museum, or other exterior organized program
Grades 3 and 4 Spring - A one to two-day camping trip, possibly with an organized camping program
Grades 5 & 6 Fall - A two to four-day overnight camping trip
Grades 7 & 8

Fall - Five day trip to Wolf Ridge (7th & 8th)

Spring - Five day trip to Boundary Waters

(8th grade only)

Outings

Classes will occasionally take shorter neighborhood outings either by foot or school bus. Families/guardians may not be given notice of these trips ahead of time; however, whenever students are not in school, information about where they are is available in the Front Office.

Transportation

Students typically ride in school busses to attend field trips. Licensed bus drivers and approved staff drivers may transport students in the FSM bus or in their personal vehicles. Students under the age of thirteen must be placed in the back seat. Students in kindergarten, first, and second grades must ride in booster seats during field trips. Parents are not permitted to transport students in their own vehicles.

Students are expected to follow school rules and the rules of the establishment on all field trips. Students who demonstrate difficulty with following established expectations may be removed from the current trip and will be required to stay home on the subsequent field trip.

Non-Alumni Minor

Non-alumni minor visitors may visit classrooms for one day if the following conditions are met:

  • Requests are made to the teacher/advisor and submitted to the Assistant Head of School one school week in advance
  • The visitor is appropriate for the grade being visited (Preschool visitors are not allowed)
  • Emergency phone numbers are provided for the visitor
  • The visit is not being used to preview the school for application for admission
  • Non-alumni minors may not accompany students on field trips.

FSM reserves the right to decline any visitor.

Alumni

Alumni and former students may visit middle school classrooms during the advisory period, lunch or recess after checking in at the Front Office. Alumni must contact the school in advance with the Assistant Head of School. FSM reserves the right to decline a visit if it will interfere with the leaning process.

Adult and Minor Visitors

We seek to maintain a welcoming climate that is safe for everyone. Therefore:

  • Visitor procedures are posted at entrances.
  • Visitors must sign in and out in the visitor log in the front office.
  • Visitors must wear “Visitor” ID badges while in building.
  • Contractors and vendors are required to check in at the front office and to wear visible IDs and/or Visitor ID badges while in building.
  • Staff will monitor visitors to be sure ID badges are visible. If badges are not visible, faculty and staff are expected to politely ask the visitor to sign in.

Parent Visits

We value parent involvement at FSM. We are not, however, able to accommodate drop-in visits by families/guardians. Classroom teachers and our volunteer coordinator will communicate with families/guardians about great ways to be involved in school life (such as reading with students during DEAR time, or helping with an open lab activity).

Pets

Only service animals are permitted in the building and on school property. For issues of allergies and safety, please keep all other pets inside of your car.

Smoke-Free Environment

FSM’s building and grounds are smoke-free.

FSM does not tolerate harassment in any form, including unwelcome conduct based on a person’s race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression, disability, age, marital status, or status with regard to public assistance. A copy of the school’s full policies and procedures is kept on file in the Head of School’s office and is available for review there; suspected incidents of harassment should also be reported to the Head of School.

FSM recognizes the value that film can bring to learning. We also recognize the need to be thoughtful about its use. As a result, the following protocols are in place:

  • Teachers/staff will preview all materials to be show to students
  • In addition to the preview, staff will reference reviews, using a reputable screening tool like commonsensemedia.org
  • Parents will be notified (no less than one week ahead of time) about the movie options, including a description and links to reviews of material
  • An alternative option to watching the film will always be provided
  • Time will be allowed for post-viewing student/adult feedback.

Materials that are relatively straight forward, such as the science kit videos, PBS materials and music performances, for instance, will be shown in the classroom without parent notification.

All computer technology at Friends School will be used in a responsible, respectful manner. Students will bring any questions or concerns about appropriate use to an adult. All student activity on any technology used at Friends School can and may be monitored and/or reviewed by an adult.

All personal, portable technology, including but not limited to, cameras, cell phones, music devices, and videogame devices, will remain turned off and inside of backpacks while at school (including Extended Day) unless otherwise directed by an adult.

The Internet will be used for educational purposes only. It will not be used to

  • Give out personal information
  • Conduct financial transactions
  • Meet someone online
  • Conduct non-educational communication
  • Play Internet computer games unless proposed by a teacher for educational purposes
  • Visit inappropriate websites.

Students should immediately report to school personnel if should encounter a person and/or sites, which attempt to meet them outside of school, asks for personal information, or makes them feel uncomfortable for any reason.

Cell Phone Use

Students in grades 3-8 and their families/guardians/guardians sign the Technology Use Policy early on in the school year. Using cell phones for calling/texting during the day is strictly prohibited. Cell phones and/or electronic handheld games must be turned off and kept in book bags while on school property. Sighted and/or ringing cell phones will be confiscated and returned to parents only.