School Handbook

Let it be known to all who enter Saint Mark School
That Christ is the reason for this school,
The unseen, but ever-present Teacher in its classes,
The Model of its faculty,
And the Inspiration of its students.

Mission Statement

Saint Mark Catholic School welcomes all students to a faith-filled rigorous academic environment. We are a center of evangelization that calls all to live fully the message of Jesus Christ. Our mission is to work together with parents and guardians to help our students grow both academically and spiritually, and to empower them to become caring and contributing citizens.


This handbook contains current policies and procedures of Saint Mark School. The school may change any of its policies and procedures and apply them as circumstances dictate. If you have a question about a particular policy or procedure, please contact the principal.

I. Administration Contact Information

Pastor: Father Dennis Mooney – (215) 788-2493
Principal: Mrs. Maria Sanson – (215) 785-0973
Administrative Asst.: Ms. Erin Melling – (215) 785-0973
Parish Office: (215) 788-2319
Business Manager(Tuition & School Finance): Mr. Fred Perazzelli – (215) 788-2319

School Website: stmarkbristol.com


II. Admissions & Registration
General Policies
No child will be denied admission to St. Mark Catholic School on the basis of creed, race, or ethnic origin.

Pre K to 8th Grade

Children must be 4 years old by September 1st to be admitted to Pre K.

Children must be 5 years old by September 1st to be admitted to Kindergarten.


Children must be 6 years old by September 1st to be admitted to First Grade.

All new students entering K-8 must have the following:

  • Birth Certificate
  • Baptismal Certificate (if not baptized in St. Mark Church)
  • Record of Immunizations
  • Registration Forms and fee

Re-Registration

Families registered in our school are required to re-register annually. All financial obligations must be current before re-registration can be processed. If financial obligations are not current and you have registered your child/children, the fee will be applied to your past due tuition.

Transfers

School and medical records will be forwarded to the child’s new school upon request from that school. St. Mark School may withhold Academic records if all financial obligations are not satisfied.

Tuition

The Smart Tuition Company provides the parents/guardians with information regarding the type of payments that are available. If there is a problem with Smart Tuition, please call the parish office at 215-788-2319 and ask for the Business Manager. All financial responsibilities must be satisfied in order for your child to receive his/her report card or attend class trips. Parents/Guardians may not attend Report Card Conferences if tuition is not up to date or arrangements have not been made with the Business Manager.

Legal Custody Issues

It is the responsibility of the parents/guardians to inform the school in writing when legal custody of the child/children resides with one parent/guardian. It is important for the school to have a copy of the legal custody decree. This will help school personnel make decisions should the need arise. Custodial parents/guardians are likewise asked to supply the school wit copies of any restraining orders.

A child will not be released to a parent/guardian that does not have physical custody, without the consent of the custodial parent/guardian. To determine the custodial parent/guardian, all separated or divorced parent/guardians of children enrolled in the parish school must provide the school with a copy of the court order or custodial agreement adjudicating that determination of custody. This Court Order/Custodial Agreement is placed in a confidential file.

Those individuals who have legal custody of the student may attend school meetings, participate in educational decisions and review educational records regarding that student. Persons who do not have legal custody (including those with visitation rights but not legal custody) have no such educational rights and may not participate in these matters.


III. Expectations for Student Behavior

Saint Mark students are expected to be courteous and respectful to all members of the school and parish community. Most infractions consequences are at the discretion of the teacher. Infractions may include:

  • Out of uniform
  • Discourteous, disrespectful, and uncooperative behavior
  • Chewing gum

Serious infractions may include:

  • Smoking
  • Vandalism
  • Deliberate disobedience
  • Striking another member of the school community

If a problem is serious enough that the principal and pastor’s attention is needed, suspension may result based on the seriousness of the incident. Suspension may lead to dismissal if a student’s behavior does not improve.


IV. Academic Progress
Homework
It is mandatory that all students complete all homework assignments. Homework is a part of the students’ grades, a reinforcement of the teaching presented in the classroom, and a preparation for class. Parents/guardians are asked to help their child/children to develop good study habits and assume responsibility for supervising their child’s homework. The Archdiocese of Philadelphia recommends:

  • Grades 1 and 2: 30 minutes
  • Grades 3 and 4: 60 minutes
  • Grades 5 and 6: 90 minutes
  • Grades 7 and 8: 120 minutes

Report Cards

Class participation and assessments, as well as credit for class projects and activities in various areas, are combined in order to obtain a report card average.

Report cards are issued three times a year to students in grades 1 through 8. Pre K and kindergarten students receive progress reports for each trimester. Each student is responsible for his/her own report card grade by satisfactorily fulfilling the following requirements:

  • Assessments
  • Quizzes
  • Oral and written reports
  • Independent classwork
  • Active participation in classroom lessons and activities
  • Projects
  • Homework Assignments

Honors Criteria

5th – 8th Grades

First Honors

  • GPA of 92 and above
  • 90 and above average in all subjects
  • 3’s and 4’s in all other areas and subjects

2nd Honors

  • GPA of 85-91
  • 83 and above average in all subjects
  • 3’s and 4’s in all other areas and subjects

Conferences

Parent/Guardian-Teacher Conferences are scheduled at the first trimester report card for Pre K to 8th grade. Conferences are only scheduled if teacher and or parent request the conference. 

Promotion or Retention

Student progress is monitored throughout the school year. At the first report card period, the parent/guardian is informed of the student’s academic, social, and emotional progress. The teacher will contact the parent/guardian of a student who continues to experience difficulty to discuss the possibility of retention and support services. If retention is indicated, the parent/guardian will receive an official notification, which must be signed and returned. Promotion or retention is at the discretion of the teacher in consultation with the administration.

Graduation

Eighth grade students who have completed the prescribed course of study and maintained a suitable discipline record are eligible for graduation if all financial obligations have been met. The administration and the eighth grade teacher determine procedures for graduation.

Participation in closing exercises is a privilege, not a right. The school has the right to deny any student from participating in closing exercises if, in view of the school, the student’s conduct, academic, or disciplinary record indicate that the privilege should not be extended.

Books and Materials

Each student must use a book bag. All lost or damaged books must be paid for in full. All books must be covered during the first week of school. Books must be covered throughout the year. If a cover is destroyed, the book must be replaced.

School Library

Students of grades Pre K – 8 have access to materials from the library. The students must observe the following rules when using the library:

  • All books must be returned within the prescribed time.
  • If a book is lost or damaged, it must be paid for by the parent/guardian.

V. Communication

School related information may be accessed through the school website: www.stmarkbristol.com

Change of Address, Phone Number, and Email

The school office must be informed in writing of any change in address or phone number. This also includes any emergency contact numbers. An emergency contact must be available during school hours.

Appointments and Conferences

If a difficulty should arise concerning your child’s conduct or academic work, please contact the teacher involved before bringing the matter to the attention of the principal. Parents/Guardians should write to the teacher to arrange a conference. Conferences with teachers must be scheduled before or after school. If held during school hours, it will be at the discretion of the principal.

Attendance

Regular attendance is expected of every student in order for the student to make regular progress in his/her studies. Regular attendance of the student is the responsibility of the parents/guardians.

Absences

Parents must call the main office in school by 7:45 a.m. to inform us that your child/children will not be in school. Your child’s safety and welfare are of great importance to us. Please remember to call the office at 215-785-0973 even if you have informed your child/children’s teacher of the absence. The main office is the primary contact to inform of absences.

The State of Pennsylvania requires a written note signed by the parent/guardian stating the reason and the date(s) of the absence. A doctor’s note is required for an absence of three or more days. In accordance with the state of Pennsylvania, after numerous absences, a conference with parent/guardian, teacher, and principal will be held to discuss the child’s illness.

If an absent note is not received from the parent/guardian within 3 days after the child returns to school, a “1” will be recorded on the child’s roll slip, which denotes parental neglect.

Students who are absent more that 25 days a year will be expected to complete assignments over the summer before entering the next grade. 

The school will make the decision of the required assignments that must be completed. The only exception is a serious health issue, documented by a doctor. In that case, the number of days absent is seen as “excused”.

Lateness

Late students must report to the school office for a late slip in order to be admitted to class. A record is kept of all lateness. Lateness impacts on a perfect attendance record and prohibits a student from receiving a Perfect Attendance Certificate at the end of the year. School begins at 7:35. Students will be marked late if they arrive after 7:35. Five late slips will result in a detention.

Excessive lateness – late more than 25 times over the course of the year will result in the student required to complete assignments over the summer. Principal and teachers will communicate with any child’s family when the need arises. Working together is the goal of our school to form life-long habits of punctuality.

Early Dismissal – Individual Students

Parents/Guardians or an authorized person must report to the school office to meet the student and to sign the student out. No student may leave the school building at any time without a parent/guardian or authorized person. 

Perfect Attendance Certificate

In order for a Perfect Attendance Certificate to be awarded, the student must be present and on time each instructional day.

Vacation Policy

  • Vacation during the school year is strongly discouraged.
  • Classroom teachers and school office must be notified in writing of a family vacation during the school year.
  • Teachers are NOT responsible to assign work before the rest of the class receives the assignment or is taught the work.
  • Any tests, projects or assignments scheduled during such an absence must be made up within a week of returning to school or forfeit the grade.
  • If a student fails such an assignment, it is due to the missed time and work. Therefore there is very little a teacher can do to assist the child in such circumstances.
  • If a family vacation occurs at the end of the school year, all assignments and tests must be completed before the final report card will be issued.

Standardized Tests

Students in grades K to 8 will be taking the standardized tests. If a student is on a trip during this time the student’s testing will be forfeited. Therefore, we ask that you do not make any plans during this time.

Telephone – School Office

The telephone in the school office is for school business only. If a child is detained at school for any reason without prior notification, permission will be granted to use the phone. Urgent messages for students may be relayed from the school office. Messages can be given to the school secretary when necessary and they will be given to the appropriate teacher. Please make sure your child knows his/her end of the day arrangements before arriving at school.

Cellular Telephone/Handheld Electronic Games/Smart Watches

The school is not responsible for any cell phones or electronic equipment. These items may not be used during school hours, must be turned off, and placed in the student’s school bag.


VI. Student Dress Code
Neatness and cleanliness in personal attire is expected. All students in grades K-8 must be in full uniform every day. There will be Dress Down Days throughout the year. A dress code for such days is included in this section.

Girls

Hair Styles and Grooming

  • Outlandish hairstyles/colors and bleaching are not permitted; natural hair color is expected.
  • Nail polish or artificial nails are not permitted
  • No makeup is to be worn
  • Hairbands – must be plain and simple, without ornaments.

Simple hair accessories are acceptable.

Jewelry

The following may be worn:

  • A necklace with a cross or religious medal
  • A watch (no smart watches)
  • One pair of small post earrings (no dangling or cartilage earrings)

Summer Uniform – Grades 1-8

  • Summer uniform may be worn until September 30th
  • Optional in October and in April
  • Must be worn beginning May 1st through the end of the year
  • Cuffed, khaki shorts or skorts (no cargo shorts)
  • Navy Short-sleeved polo shirt, embroidered (must be tucked in)
  • White socks
  • Sneakers (predominantly white, no colored laces)
  • No “hoodies” or non-regulation sweatshirt/sweater of any kind may be worn during class.

Winter Uniform – Grades 1-8

  • To be worn beginning October 1st
  • Optional in October and in May

Grades 1- 5

  • “Black Watch Plaid” tunic with a belt (no more than 3 inches above the knee)
  • Long or short-sleeved white oxford blouse
  • Only V-neck or Cardigan navy blue sweater, embroidered (must be worn). No vests.
  • Navy blue knee socks or navy blue tights
  • Navy blue or black shoes with rubber sole (no colored laces or slip on flats)
  • No “hoodie” or non-regulation sweatshirt/sweater of any kind may be worn during class.

Grades 6-8

  • “Black Watch Plaid” kilt skirt (no more than 3 inches above the knee)
  • Long or short-sleeved white oxford blouse
  • Only V-neck or cardigan navy blue sweater, embroidered (must be worn)
  • Navy blue knee socks or navy blue tights
  • Dark blue, black, or brown shoes with rubber sole (no colored laces or slip on flats)
  • No “hoodie” or non-regulation sweatshirt of any kind may be worn during class.

Boys

Hair Styles and Grooming

  • Hair must be neatly trimmed and cut above the shirt collar, ears and eyebrows.
  • Outlandish hairstyles/colors and bleaching are not permitted; 

natural hair color is expected.

Jewelry

The following may be worn:

  • A necklace with a cross or religious medal
  • A watch (No SMART watches)
  • Boys may not wear earrings

Summer Uniforms

  • Summer uniform to be worn until September 30th
  • Optional in October and April
  • Must be worn beginning May 1st through the end of the year
  • Khaki shorts (no cargo shorts)
  • Black or brown belt
  • Navy short-sleeved polo shirt embroidered
  • White socks
  • Predominately white sneakers, no colored laces
  • No “hoodie” or non-regulation sweatshirt/sweater of any kind may be worn during class.

Winter Uniform

  • To be worn beginning October 1st
  • Summer uniform is optional in October

Grades 1-5

  • Khaki slacks (no cargo pants)
  • Long or short sleeved white embroidered polo shirt
  • Brown or black belt
  • Only V-neck or cardigan navy blue sweater, embroidered (must be worn)
  • Brown, white or navy socks
  • Dark blue, black, or brown shoes with rubber sole (no sneaker type shoes)

Grades 6-8 

  • Khaki slacks (no cargo pants)
  • Long or short-sleeved white oxford button down shirt
  • Uniform tie
  • Brown or black belt
  • Only V-neck or cardigan navy blue sweater, embroidered (must be worn)
  • Brown, white, or navy socks
  • Dark blue, black or brown shoes with rubber sole (no sneaker type shoes)

Kindergarten Uniform
Kindergarten students wear the summer or winter gym uniform each day.

Gym Uniform – Girls and Boys

Summer Uniform

  • Summer uniform to be worn until September 30th
  • Optional in October and April
  • Must begin wearing May 1st until the end of the school year
  • Solid navy blue mesh shorts
  • Gray T-shirt with silk screened logo
  • White socks
  • Sneakers (predominantly white, no colored laces)

Winter Uniform

  • To be worn beginning October 1st
  • Summer uniform is optional in October and April
  • Navy blue sweatpants
  • Navy blue sweatshirt with silk-screened logo
  • White socks
  • Sneakers (predominantly white, no colored laces)
  • No jewelry may be worn on gym day

Pre-K

  • Students may wear play clothes dressed for the season
  • Sneakers should be worn daily
  • No flip flops may be worn

Flynn and O’Hara Uniforms

Flynnohara.com

10905 Dutton Road

Philadelphia, PA 19154

215-637-4600

St. Mark logos and embroidery are also available at:

Great ID’s By Anne

255 Radcliffe Street

Bristol, PA 19007

215-785-2350

Dress Down Day Guidelines for K-8th

  • Pants – Appropriate fitting/no ripped jeans
  • Yoga and biker shorts are not acceptable
  • Leggings are not acceptable unless covered by appropriate length (mid-thigh) top, skirt or dress
  • Skirts/skorts no more that 3 inches above the knee
  • Sneakers or flat rubber healed shoes/boots only, no flip flops

VII. General Supervision on School Grounds

Arrival

Each child must go directly to their classrooms between 7:15 a.m. and 7:35 a.m. Students are to walk on the sidewalk beside the parking lot.

The school is not responsible for students on the premises during unsupervised times.

Regulations

Entry is not permitted into the school building before school, at recess or lunch, or after dismissal at any time, unless a member of the school staff gives explicit permission to do so. Students are not permitted to open the school doors.

No student may leave the school premises at any time without permission. No student may be left alone in a classroom. A violation of these regulations may result in automatic suspension. Every student must stay within the established boundaries when outdoor for lunch recess.

All visitors must report to the school office and sign in.

Dismissal

Students are dismissed from their classroom by their teachers at 2:00. Pre K students are dismissed at 1:55. Students are to walk on the sidewalk beside the parking lot. No child may leave the building prior to dismissal without the principal’s permission.

If a child is not picked up by 2:00 p.m., he/she will be placed in CARES, and parents/guardians will be assessed a fee.


VIII. Health

School Nurse

The school nurse is employed by the Bristol Borough School District and provided to Saint Mark School by the Bristol Borough School District, based on the enrollment, on days and times selected by the district.

Illness or Injury during school hours

Teachers are trained and certified in CPR and the use of the AED machine, which is located in the gym. Care given in the school is limited to first aid in accidents or illness until the parents/guardians can be reached to take the child home, to the doctor, or to the hospital. If the parent/guardian cannot be reached, the school will call the paramedics if deemed necessary by the administration.

The school nurse is here to handle situations that occur during the school day while she/he is here. The school nurse is NOT here to treat lingering illnesses that have been noticed at home.

No faculty, staff, or administrator may administer medication at any time to a student. 

Medical Records

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has mandated that all parents of students entering kindergarten or first grade present documented proof that immunizations have been received.

After the basic series of three Oral Polio Vaccine, Diphtheria and Tetanus are due between four and six years of age. A Diphtheria-Tetanus booster should follow this between 14 and 16 years of age with a subsequent booster every ten years. Each child is required to have a Tuberculin Time test within a three-month period prior to entering school.

Please inform the school nurse, in writing, when boosters are given. Other immunizations may be required. Failure to provide records will result in a dismissal from school until records are received.

Emergency Contact Forms

The school requires the parents/guardians of each student to complete two emergency contact forms (per child) provided by the school. It is important that the information on these forms is accurate and up to date, so that the school can contact the parent/guardian in the event of an emergency. An emergency contact is someone who must be able to pick up your child due to an illness or emergency. Please notify the school if any of this information changes at any time. Please note any special directives regarding call order, otherwise primary guardian will be called first.

Medication

It is generally recommended that prescription medicines be given to the student before and or after school, in accordance with the physician’s directions. In those rare instances where the medication must be given during the school day, it should be given directly to the teacher by the parent. The teacher will then give the medication to the school nurse. Medication must be taken by the student in the presence of the school nurse. If the school nurse is not available other staff cannot administer the medication. The parent/guardian will be notified in such a situation. No medications should be placed in lunch boxes or school bags of students. Students may NOT self-administer medications.

It is not recommended that students carry a full prescription bottle to be taken back and forth daily. Prescription and non-prescription over the counter medications must be in the original container with a note from the parent/guardian and physician to include:

  • Name of medicine
  • Dosage
  • Time of administration
  • Dates to be given
  • Reason for medication

If your child has a specific medical problem, please notify the classroom teacher and the nurse in writing of the problem, including frequent trips to the bathroom. Medic-Alert bracelets are strongly recommended for any child with a medical problem (asthma, diabetes, seizures, and other chronic illnesses).


IX. Transportation

Before the school year begins, parents/guardians complete a form identifying their child/children’s transportation arrangements. Any change in these arrangements must be made in writing, even if it is a change for only one day.

Bus

The local public school districts provide bus transportation for students who reside at a distance greater than one mile from the school. Please Note: Bristol Borough does not provide bus transportation.

Students who ride the school bus are expected to behave in a safe and orderly manner at all times. Failure to do so will result in their being denied the privilege of riding the bus. Students must ride the same bus both morning and afternoon as assigned to them by the school district.

Bus riders are not permitted to walk home unless the parents/guardians send a not to the teacher and the principal asking permission for this exception.

Please do not request permission, written or verbal, from the principal or teacher for a student who is a non-rider to take the bus to any location on a given day. The school is not in a position to grant such a request. If you wish to pursue such a change, you must call the transportation office of the local public school district.

Bus stops and times are usually sent by postcard or posted on the respective school district’s website. St. Mark School is not responsible for arranging times and bus stop locations. That is at the discretion of the school district providing busing. If you have a question or concern about a location or time, please contact the transportation department of your school district.

Bus Safety

It is extremely important that all students realize their individual responsibility toward the safe transportation of students to and from school on the bus. For this reason, the following regulations, and any others instituted by the school district, will be enforced:

  • No student may stand while the bus is in motion
  • No student may throw anything from the window of the bus, nor may a child extend his/her head, arm or leg out the bus window
  • No student may deface the bus property in any way
  • No student may raise his/her voice on the bus above the tone used in normal conversation
  • Each student must answer the bus driver and student safety in a respectful manner at all times

Failure to follow the rules of the bus may result disciplinary action including loss of the privilege of riding a bus to/from school.

Car Riders and Walkers

Everyone’s safety is our concern. Everyone must cross at the crosswalk when crossing the street. Parent/guardians are NOT permitted to drive into the front schoolyard to drop off or pick up your children before or after school. This creates a hazardous situation and jeopardizes the safety of our students. 

Crossing Guards

Crossing guards are provided by the Bristol Borough Police Department. They are not employees or under the direction of our school. The school is not responsible for the conduct of crossing guards or for insuring that crossing guards are posted as scheduled.


X. CARES Program - Children Are Receiving Extended Services

After school child care is available every day school is in session (including half days). Services are available until 5:45 P.M. There is a fee for this program.

XI. Emergency Drills

Shelter-in-Place, Lockdown, Evacuation and Fire Drills are practiced throughout the school year.

XII. Emergency Closing

Please visit our website, www.stmarkbristol.com, check emails, listen to phone messages, television scrolls for school closings, late openings and early dismissals.

Any time there is a possibility of emergency closings, late openings of school, or emergency early dismissal, parents/guardians must check the website and listen to the phone message. 

Please inform your child/children as to where they should go if an emergency closing should be necessary during school hours, especially if you are working parents/guardians. They should be aware of some prearranged destination.

It is the parent’s/guardian’s responsibility to set up an emergency plan for their child if there is an unexpected closing of any kind at St. Mark School.

Field Trips

Field trips supplement class instruction and are most worthwhile. A faculty member assisted by other adults must accompany the students on any field trip. Signed permission slips and information slips are required from each pupil who goes on the trip. A complete information slip will have a plan for students in the event they return to school after dismissal.

A class trip is a privilege, which can be taken away if a teacher deems it appropriate. Students who are not permitted on a field trip either by their parents/guardians or by the teacher must report to school, as that day is not a school holiday.

Home and School Association

The Home and School Association of our parish school has set as its objectives the advancement of Catholic education and the welfare of all of the school’s students. Opportunities are provide for parents and teachers to work together for the good of the students. The Association promotes parent-school activities to increase members’ interest in education and civic affairs, and conducts fundraising activities. Members of the Home and School Association can be contacted through the school office.

The Home and School Association has always and continues to play an important role in raising funds to support school programs and provide for equipment, renovations, and educational materials.


XIII. Volunteers

The assistance of volunteers is greatly appreciated and encouraged. We recognize the valuable assistance given by our students’ families, which helps in building a strong learning community. Volunteers assist in some of the following ways:

  • Chaperones
  • Classroom helpers
  • Home and School events

All volunteers must report to the school office to sign in.

Volunteers must have updated Criminal and Child Abuse Clearances. All volunteers must also have FBI Clearance, and take the Standards for Ministerial Behavior Course.


XIV. Lunchtime

The lunch period if from 11:00 to 12:30

The Nutritional Development Program provides all students with a free breakfast and lunch should they want to order it. Soda, juices high in sugar, fast food, or candy is not encouraged.