Bells Ferry Student Parent Handbook


Bells Ferry Student Parent Handbook


Bells Ferry Elementary School

Since 1962

Marietta Georgia

Learn- Lead- Leave a Legacy


Absences: Instructional time in an elementary school is structured sequentially. Family vacations should be planned with the school calendar in mind to prevent children from missing essential skills. When a student is absent, he/she must bring in a written, signed excuse upon returning to school. It is the principal’s responsibility to monitor student attendance, and excessive absences will be addressed. If a student has 7 or more absences, a letter will be sent home. This is required by the school district whether absences are excused or unexcused. Georgia law allows absences for:

           Student’s illness

           Family member’s illness or death

           Religious holiday recognized by student’s faith

           Order from a court or other government agency

           Conditions endangering student’s health or safety

Accidents and Illness: The clinic is open daily from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. Our clinic nurse is trained to treat minor emergencies and to dispense medications when needed. No medications will be dispensed in the classroom. Refer to the medication policy for more details.

A child who has been ill due to a communicable disease must provide written permission from a doctor or health officer upon returning to school (ex: head lice, conjunctivitis). If a child is suspected of having a communicable disease, parents will be called to pick up the child from the school and seek a physician’s diagnosis prior to returning the student to a classroom. This local school procedure is for the safety and best interest of all our students. PLEASE do not send children to school who feel ill or who have had a fever within 24 hours.

If a child is seriously injured during the day and requires immediate medical attention, he/she will be transported to an emergency room if parents cannot be contacted. Judgment in such cases is at the discretion of school authorities, and parents assume financial responsibility. Please keep updated medical information and phone numbers on file in the office and in the clinic.

Advanced Learning Program "ALP": Cobb County provides services for identified gifted students at all levels. The Advanced Learning Program is designed to meet the very specific needs of these students and extend competencies in the areas of cognitive skills, learning skills, research and reference skills, communication skills, and meta-cognitive skills in addition to the experience of the regular classroom.The Georgia State Department of Education governs the procedures for identifying and placing students in the gifted program. To be eligible for gifted services, the criteria must be met in three of the following areas:

1. Mental Ability: 96th percentile on a national normed test (99th in 1st grade)

2. Achievement: 90th percentile on Total Reading, Total Math, or Composite on a nationally normed test; OR

A superior student-generated product or performance

3. Creativity: 90th percentile on a nationally normed test; OR Superior rating on a standardized creativity rating scale; OR A superior student-generated product or performance

4. Motivation: Superior rating on a standardized motivation rating scale; OR A superior student-generated product or performance.

A student already participating in a Advanced Learning Program in Georgia will most likely be transferred into our ALP. However, the eligibility committee will review the student’s records and test data before a final placement decision is made. Students who transfer from out-of-state must meet Georgia requirements for placement in the Cobb County program. Test data from a previous school will be considered if the test results are less than two years old and if they meet the Georgia eligibility criteria. Referrals for transfer students are available from the Gifted Educational Specialist.

After School Program: The After School Program (ASP) is an extension of the instructional day and is open to all Bells Ferry students.

The program operates every school day from 2:20 - 6:00 p.m. beginning the first day of school. This includes Conference Week and scheduled early dismissals. Parents may pick up children at any time during these hours, but not later than 6:00 p.m. There is a charge of $1.00 PER MINUTE PER CHILD PAST 6:00 p.m. Children, whose parents are consistently late, may be removed from the program. The cost for a full 5 day week is $35.00 or $7.00 per individual each day. (Note: All prices are subject to change.) Payment is due the FIRST DAY A CHILD ATTENDS EACH WEEK. 

Payment should be sent in a school provided envelope. Monthly payments are encouraged.

 Pay online My Payments Plus 

 Make checks payable to “Bells Ferry After School Program” and include your child’s full name, teacher’s name and date of service on the face of the check.

 Do not include any other payments with the ASP check.

 Do not include notes to any teachers in the payment envelope. Attach any such notes to the outside of the envelope.

 A pattern of nonpayment or late payments will result in termination from the program.

Behavior expectations will be consistent with those of the regular school day. Parents will be notified concerning inappropriate behavior on the part of their child, which may result in suspension from the program.

For the safety and security of your child, it is imperative that ASP is notified PRIOR to 1:45 p.m. of ANY CHANGE in plans for your child’s attendance in ASP. 

To assure that all students are accounted for, please use the following steps:

1. If your child is to attend ASP for the day, send a note with the child’s first and last name on the morning he/she plans to stay addressed to the homeroom teacher and given to that teacher directly by the child.

2. If your child stays all week or on certain designated days, such as every Monday and Wednesday, send a note on the days that he/she is scheduled but will not be attending to the homeroom teacher.

3. For days that have special activities, i.e. Girl Scouts, etc., it is imperative that the office be notified of any change in your child’s scheduled attendance in the After School Program no later than 1:45 p.m.

4. If school closes because of inclement weather or any other reason, we need to know what you want your child to do. We will automatically send him/her home on the bus unless you let us know differently. 


Attendance: Regular school attendance is required by law for all children between the ages of six and sixteen. Regular attendance means actual attendance of a pupil during the entire day of school. We solicit your cooperation in planning appointments that do not interrupt school hours. A school calendar with marked holidays is incorporated in the handbook to assist in vacation planning. A student who attends a half day or more of school is counted present (e.g. 7:45 am to 11:00 am is a half day). A student arriving at school after 7:45 A.M. is counted tardy.


Academic awards are given at each grade level. They are based on academics, work-study skills, and behavior. Any student that receives a U in conduct and/or work-study skills will not be eligible for academic awards. Attendance awards are given to any student who has no absences and/or three or less days being tardy per the school year.

Balloons and Flowers

Bouquets, balloons and flower bouquets cannot be delivered to students at school. This Cobb County policy has been made due to concerns regarding the disruption of class and/or dangerous conditions on the bus caused by the student’s possession of these items.

Bandit Day

Fridays are Spirit Days. Students should wear their Bells Ferry shirt or school colors.

Birthday Guidelines

If a parent wishes to honor their child’s birthday you may send in miniature cupcakes to be enjoyed during the class’ recess period. These should be delivered at the beginning of the school day so that the teacher can distribute them at the appropriate time. This is a mandatory school procedure change beginning this year. All treats will be managed by the teacher. This is necessary due to the fact that we have many, many students with allergies. There were many “close calls” when a kindhearted parent that did not know shared a product that a student was allergic to eating. Therefore, parents may no longer distribute treats of any sort. Teachers will take that responsibility. County policy allows for one party per year for a class. This is done just prior to our winter holidays. Therefore, there must be no semblance of a “party” for birthdays. Please do not send napkins, plates, cups, balloons, etc. Thank you for helping us to adhere to county guidelines. It is helpful to your teacher to send in a note the week prior to the birthday snack so that the teacher will be expecting them. Additionally, we ask that you not send birthday party invitations to school unless every student in the class will receive one.

Books: Textbooks for the children are provided with county and state funds. In compliance with the textbook policy, all charges for lost or damaged textbooks must be paid in order to issue replacements. All textbooks issued to children will be their responsibility should the books be lost, damaged, or stolen. Only one set of textbooks is provided per student.

Buzz-in System: As part of Cobb County School District’s expanded efforts to keep our students and staff safe, the District has installed an additional safety feature at all elementary schools. We now have a ‘buzz-in’ door lock system installed at our main entrance. The front doors will remain locked throughout the school day; however the doors will unlock at 7:10 a.m. and stay unlocked until 8:10 a.m. for students entering the building.

The system includes a box that is to the right of the front door. This box contains a camera and a door bell. When a visitor rings the bell, a staff member in the front office will answer, asking who it is and the purpose of the visit. All visitors will be asked to show identification. Once inside the building, visitors must still sign in either at the welcome desk or in the office. Please note that this is an added responsibility to an already very busy front office. It would be of great help if you could put some procedures in place at home to help your child remember his/her lunch, assignments and all those other things that are delivered each day to school. If we can eliminate/reduce that type of visit, it will certainly have an impact on the number of buzz-ins each day.

Please note the time schedule below:

7:15—Doors open, students my not enter the building until this time. *Exception Athletic Club at 7:00

7:50—Tardy bell rings

8:00—Doors will automatically re-lock

1:45—No dismissal changes after 1:45

2:05—Announcements and dismissal

Communication: To communicate concerns with the school, contact the teacher by phone, in writing or e-mail. Phone calls and emails will be returned between 2:30 and 3:30 pm, or during planning if time allows. You can schedule a private conference with your child’s teacher any time during the school year. A conference among parent, teacher and administration is possible if further action is needed.

The teacher will be responsible for setting up such a meeting.

Students are not allowed to use cell phones or other electronic communication devices at school during the regular school day.

Custody of Children: School personnel are bound by law to release children to either of their natural parents unless we have on file a copy of a court order which grants custody to one parent or the other, or a third party. We do not enter into cases of court litigation unless subpoenaed by a court to appear as a witness. Therefore, if you are divorced or separated and the custody of your children has been awarded to you by the court, you must provide a copy of the court order to be placed on file at the school.

Developmental Guidance and Counseling Program: The School Counselors incorporate state guidelines into weekly classroom lessons and facilitate small group discussions on pertinent issues such as changing families, anger management, social development, loss and grief. They also offer activities for newcomers, and develop leadership opportunities for students. Our school counselors are always happy to consult with parents, teachers, students, and community organizations. Just call for an appointment.

Discipline: No student will be allowed to interfere with another student’s right to learn. Therefore, students are expected to respect one another and all adults and to behave appropriately in class and while on school property. School property includes, but is not limited to, 

(a) the land and improvements which constitute the school; 

(b) any other property or building including school bus stops, wherever located, where any school function or activity is conducted;

(c) any bus or other vehicle used in connection with school functions and activities including, but not limited to, school buses, buses leased by the Cobb County School District, and privately-owned vehicles used for transportation to and from school activities. The Cobb County School District Code of Conduct provides uniform discipline guidelines, but each teacher establishes his/her own classroom management strategies within these guidelines.

Dress: Every child at Bells Ferry is encouraged to observe a standard of grooming and dress consistent with the level of formality of the school situation. Clothing or ornamentation displaying or advertising substances illegal for minors is prohibited. Children may not dress or groom in any manner that detracts or interferes with the instructional process. Administrators and teachers shall enforce the dress code policy, and the principal or her designee shall be the final judge as to the appropriateness, neatness, and cleanliness of the wearing apparel, or whether or not apparel is disruptive, or in violation of the dress code.

The required standard of dress for students shall be as follows:

A. All students shall be required to maintain the level of personal hygiene necessary to ensure a healthful school environment and to refrain from any mode of dress which proves to contribute to any disruption of school functions. 

B. All students shall maintain the following minimum standard of dress:

          1. Appropriate shoes shall be worn.

          2. Midriffs shall be covered

          3. Appropriate undergarments shall be worn and may not be visible.

          4. No strapless or spaghetti strap tops shall be worn.

          5. No flip-flops; lace up shoes are preferred.

          6. Appropriate shorts must be long enough so that the student can touch the bottom of the shorts when                     his/her hands are at their sides.

          7. No caps, hats, bandannas nor hoods covering the head are to be worn in the school buildings during the                  school day unless there is a special activity during which they are deemed appropriate by the school                           administration.

          8. Clothing or ornamentation that does any of the following is prohibited:

                              -Displays or advertises substances illegal to minors.

                              - Displays suggestive phrases, designs, markings or profanities

                              - Advocates, promotes, or suggests illegal activity.

C. Parents or students who have specific questions about a garment’s appropriateness should review the list above and/or contact the Bells Ferry administration.

Early Checkout from School: If you need to pick up your child early from school, come to the school office and complete the sign-out form. Do not go to your child’s classroom for your child. Your child’s protection is our concern, and we solicit your cooperation in following this procedure. In order to maintain an orderly dismissal for ALL students, we require that students are not picked up between 1:45 p.m. and 2:15 p.m. Parents arriving after    1:45 p.m. will be asked to wait in the lobby until 2:15 p.m.. Keep in mind that afternoon dismissal is our most dangerous time of the day as we move our 700 students safely to a variety of locations. This makes strict rules and procedures a nonnegotiable. All early checkouts must be made prior to 1:45 pm. The front office closes at 1:45 as we begin dismissal and reopens at 2:20.

Parents arriving at/after 1:45 will have to wait in the lobby until 2:20.

Emergency: If an emergency occurs, parents will be notified by the Cobb County School District via text and voice messaging. It is important that all your contact information be current. CCSD also has a Twitter account you may follow. Please see the CCSD website for more information.

Field Trips: A field trip is defined as “a planned educational experience directly related to and correlated with a particular unit of study or a specialized function of the school.” Donations are solicited to cover expenses. Failure to receive sufficient donations will result in the cancellation of the trip/program. Students will not be allowed to attend a field trip without written parental permission. In-House field trips also require a signed permission form to ensure that parents are aware of the activity.

Instructional Time: The cooperative goal of home and school is to provide the best educational experience possible. Therefore, we solicit your cooperation in guarding valuable instructional time. Do not “drop in” to the classroom to visit or to pick your child up early. Parents who drop in the classroom to visit or check in on a student cause disruption in the learning of all students. Parents must come to the office to pick up their child or to set up an appointment to talk to their child’s teacher. Teachers will be glad to return calls and emails during their planning time or at the close of their instructional day. 

Lost And Found: PLEASE label jackets, caps, sweaters, lunchboxes, and water bottles as these are easily lost. The lost and found items will be located at the ASP Door. Articles not claimed will be sent to local charities at the end of each month.

Lunches: Good nutrition plays an extremely important role in your child’s academic success. We offer a healthy and nutritious lunch to your child each day. For current prices and menus, go to MENUS. If a child has a food allergy, parents may discuss his/her needs with the Food and Nutrition Service Manager. Please ensure that you send lunch money each day. Click HERE for lunch payment information.  Parents are welcome to have lunch with their children after the first 2 weeks of school. Please sign in and get a visitor’s badge in the lobby when you arrive. Also, please do not bring ‘outside food’ (McDonald's, etc.) in for your lunch or your child’s lunch.

Free and reduced lunches will be provided for those families who qualify and complete the proper federal application form. The applications are given to each student at the beginning of the school year. All applications are confidential. Additional applications are available at anytime during the school year and may be obtained either through the café manager or our front office.

Medication: In order for medication to be administered by the school nurse, parents must complete an "Authorization to Give Medicine at School" form, available at school or online, for each medication (prescription or over-the-counter). All medication must be in the original container and labeled. Medications sent in plastic bags or unlabeled containers will not be administered to the student. Please send an extra empty pharmacy bottle to be used for field trips and ASP. Pharmacists will provide two labeled bottles for this purpose. Parents must inform the school of any medication changes. New medication or different doses will not be given unless the parent completes a new authorization form. The information on the prescription bottle label must match the new authorization form. Medications must be brought to school by parents. Over-the counter medications may be given for up to 10 consecutive days with written parental permission. A doctor's note is required for over-the-counter medication to be given for more than 10 consecutive days. The school does not supply over-the-counter medications.

Over-the-counter vitamins and dietary supplements, including minerals and herbs, will not be given. All medications not picked up by parents by the last day of school will be destroyed. Students may carry inhalers, Epipens or insulin with a completed "Authorization for

Student to Carry a Prescription Inhaler, Epipen or Insulin" form on file in the clinic.

In the event a medication needs to be brought to school for administration by a parent/guardian (or designee with parental permission), the student will be called to the clinic and the medication will be administered in the clinic. This is for the health and safety of all Bells Ferry students.

Parent Volunteers: There are many areas in which parents may give their time to better our school, such as the Art room, the Media Center, after school clubs, special programs, and others. Please do your part to become more involved in your child’s education. We invite you to volunteer; we need you!

Performing Arts: A Performing Arts program is provided for all Cobb County students. Parent donations cover the transportation and program costs.

Personal Items: Students are not to bring in any personal playthings, novelties, pets or equipment to school unless given prior permission by a school staff member. Personal cell phones must remain in a student book bags unless the teacher is directing an activity in which they can be used. Failure to follow these guidelines will result in an administrative referral.

Physical Education: Participation in physical education is required by law except for health reasons. Absence from P.E. necessitates a note from the parent or a physician explaining the reason for and expected duration of the absence. Everyday school dress is accepted for participation in P.E. All activities require flat, rubber-soled shoes. The shoe requirement is strictly enforced to avoid ankle injuries.

Pictures: Individual school pictures will be taken in mid-August. Class pictures will be taken in February. Parents may purchase these according to the directions sent home. Parents must sign and submit to the school the county an "OPT OUT" form in order to keep children's photographs, video images, or audio clips from being shared or published by the school or school system.

Policies: All Cobb County policies can be found on the district website at www.cobbk12.org. You may wish to refer to sections governing areas of specific interest, such as Attendance, Student Behavior, Suspensions, Weapons, and Sexual Harassment. Should you need clarification of any policy, please contact an administrator.

Private Invitations Or Correspondence: Invitations to private parties or other personal correspondence cannot be distributed at school. The practice of passing out invitations at school can cause both hurt feelings and class disruptions. Gift items, such as balloons or flower arrangements, singing telegrams, candy, etc., cannot be delivered to students while at school.

Progress Reports: Progress reports are distributed at the half way mark of the grading period at the teacher’s discretion. Typically they are used for students struggling with academic or behavioral goals.

Report Cards: Report cards are distributed every nine weeks. Parents will receive regular communication regarding student progress throughout the nine week period. Progress reports are issued only as needed at the midpoint of each grading period.

Safety Plans: Annually, we are required to conduct a certain number of fire, tornado and Code Red/Yellow drills throughout the school year to prepare students for potential emergencies that could occur. Beyond the first drill under each category, the rest are unannounced so that staff and students can be trained and reminded of proper protocol. Two fires drills and one Code Red drill will be conducted during the first two weeks of school. The following is a description of drills and plans.

Code Yellow is a term used to alert staff and students that an emergency/crisis exists to or near a CCSD facility. It requires all students to be accounted for and remain under supervision. The doors leading into our building will remain locked and office staff will closely monitor the security cameras before allowing new visitors into the building. Visitors already in the building will be allowed to leave. Class will continue as usual if it is deemed safe to proceed with our normally scheduled programs.

Code Red is a term used to describe an emergency/crisis at a CCSD facility alerting staff that imminent danger exists inside or outside of the building. This will require moving to an immediate lock down mode. Teachers are instructed to move students away from windows or doors and to huddle together quietly until they are told the dangerous situation no longer exist. Parents will not be allowed in the building. 

Parent/Child Reunification Plan is a term used to describe the procedure for re-uniting parents and their child(ren) if students need to remain at school beyond the school day. Reunification sites will be announced through all available communication mediums (call out, e-blasts, etc). Please follow school district personnel directions upon arrival at the site. You or anyone you designate on your emergency sheet will be allowed to pick up your child(ren). You MUST have a picture ID to pick up your child(ren). If the emergency requires that we must leave our campus, parents will be notified by District personnel and public safety officials via the callout system as to the parent/child reunification location.

School Closings: Cobb County posts information about inclement weather closings at www.cobbk12.org and notifies radio and TV

stations by 6 A.M. Radio stations announce school closings right after the headlines on the hour and frequently thereafter. The media will

also be notified if school must close early due to weather. Parents are required to complete, sign and return an inclement weather form in

August which gives directions in case school closes before normal dismissal. If school closes, there is no After School Program.

School Council: The A+ Education Reform Act (House Bill 1187) established school councils in Georgia to “bring communities and schools closer together in a spirit of cooperation to solve difficult education problems, improve academic achievement, provide support for teachers and administrators, and bring parents into the school-based decision-making process.” Bells Ferry School Council is comprised of parent representatives at each grade level, teacher representatives and school administrators.

All members of the school council must:

 Maintain a school-wide perspective on issues

 Regularly participate in council meetings

 Participate in information and training programs

 Act as a link between the school council and the community

 Encourage the participation of parents and others within the school community

 Work to improve student achievement and performance

School Hours/Tardiness: For the safety of our students, the building will remain locked until 7:15 a.m. Please do not drop your child off before that time. There is no adult supervision available. School hours are 7:50 a.m. to 2:20 p.m. Please instill the importance of punctuality in your child. Tardy students disrupt instruction. Any student arriving after 7:50 a.m. must report to the office to be signed in by a parent and receive a tardy slip. It is strongly recommended that car riders arrive by 7:40 a.m. to allow adequate time for the student to get to their classroom.

School Parties: In compliance with school board policy, Bells Ferry permits one party per year on school time, which is during the last week of school before winter holidays.

Sexual Harassment: It is the policy of the Cobb County Board of Education that its employees shall be able to enjoy a work place free from all forms of discrimination, including sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is unlawful under federal law and is specifically prohibited by the Board of Education and will not be tolerated. All Cobb County policies are available for public review in the local schools.


Bus: Bus Transportation is provided to all students who live more than one half (1/2) mile from Bells Ferry Elementary. Bus stop locations may be found at Bus Route Finder Students in grades K-2 must have a parent or adult guardian meet them at the bus stop, otherwise the students will be brought back to school.

Bus Conduct:

1. Students must show proper respect to the driver at all times and obey all driver instructions.

2. Large toys, insects, glass bottles, animals, plastic bags, straight or safety pins, skateboards or objectionable and

dangerous items are not permitted.

3. Tobacco, illegal drugs, alcohol, and weapons or look-alikes are prohibited.

4. Students will keep their arms and heads inside the bus at all times.

5. Nothing is to be thrown in, out or from the bus.

6. The use of obscene language or gestures is prohibited.

7. Unnecessary noise is prohibited.

8. Students may not use any electronic devices on the school bus

9. Destruction or defacing school property is prohibited.

10. Food, gum or drinks cannot be consumed on the bus.

11. Drivers are required to assign seats to elementary and middle school students.

12. Students must be seated at all times unless otherwise directed by the driver.

13. Students must be quiet at railroad crossings.

14. When crossing a street is necessary, students will wait for the driver to signal to cross the street and then cross in front of the bus in full view of the driver.

15. The emergency door, windows and hatches are to be used only at the direction of the driver.

16. Students are to be at the bus stop five minutes prior to the scheduled time and are to wait in an orderly manner. The bus is not considered late until five minutes past the scheduled time.

17. Students may be allowed to disembark at a bus stop other than that assigned for their residence provided the

parent/guardian submits a request in writing to the principal for approval.

18. Any other disruptive behavior will be referred to the principal as deemed necessary to insure safe transportation of students.

Car Riders: Parents may drop off their children from 7:15 until 7:45. Please drop off at the side entrance. Parents, who pick up their children in the afternoon, must have a car rider number. Each family may pick up a car tag at Sneak A Peek or from the front office prior to 1:45 pm. Replacement or additional car tags.

Walkers: Students who walk home in the afternoon will be dismissed near the front office. All walkers will walk together to Bells Ferry Road, cross with the crossing guard. Students in must be picked up by a parent or adult guardian. Walkers must have a walker number. Each family may pick up a walker number from the front office.

Transportation Change for Dismissal: A note from a parent is required any time a student wishes to change their normal routine for getting home from school. For safety reasons, facsimiles and e-mails cannot be accepted UNTIL you call the school. All dismissal changes need to be made prior to 1:45. 

Tobacco Policy From The Board Of Education: No tobacco products may be used at any time on any school system property.

Traffic Safety: All precautions are taken at the school to ensure safe crossings. There is a crossing officer at the school entrance. All student crossings must occur at this point. For the safety of your children, please do not allow your child to enter or exit your car on Bells Ferry Road or in the parking lot. All student drop-offs and pick ups must occur at the front entrance where staff supervision is provided. If your child is eligible for bus transportation, we encourage you to use this service.

Toys, Electronics and Personal Items: Students are not to bring playing cards, toys, novelties, pets, sports equipment, radios, electronic games, etc. to school unless given prior permission by a member of the school’s staff.

Visitor Badge: It is important to us at Bell Ferry to provide a safe and secure environment for all students and to ensure that students have the uninterrupted instructional time to which they are entitled. To help us achieve these two goals we ask that each visitor obtain a visitor badge before entering the classroom or dining area. “Drop In” visits to the classrooms are not allowed. We DO ENCOURAGE scheduled conferences and welcome your role as a Bells Ferry volunteer! We believe that home/school communication helps create a positive educational environment. This can best be accomplished during non-instructional time. We appreciate and thank our many volunteers!

Weapons Policy: It is unlawful for any person to carry or possess any type of a weapon on school property. “Look-alike” objects that take on the appearance of any weapon are subject to the same penalties as an actual item. No weapons shall be used by students in an exhibit, presentation or activity in a classroom or school sponsored event.