Parent Handbook

The Parent Handbook is now in a handy, web-based format for easy browsing! From the ACDS mission and Expected Schoolwide Learning Results to how the school day unfolds and details on school uniforms, this publication is brimming with information parents need to know.

Use these quick links for information you might refer to frequently:

Table of Contents

Welcome from Dr. Olaf Jorgenson, Head of School

Welcome to Almaden Country Day School! Thank you for inviting us to join your student in the wonderful journey through childhood. You have great hopes for your child's future and have chosen Almaden Country Day School after very careful consideration. We take seriously the stewardship you have given us. We will employ every resource, talent and passion we have to help your child discover his or her gifts.

We enable today's student to prepare for tomorrow's world. Our caring environment is dedicated to the social, physical and emotional development of each individual child at ACDS.

Our philosophy has been successful for more than three decades. Respect the individual, cooperate with the group, and discover the unique gifts of each student and teacher. Here the friendships are formed, horizons expanded, and spirits challenged to excel, to reach out and grow.

We look forward to your participation in the Almaden Country Day School community with a spirit of welcome, service and friendship.

Introduction

Governing Values

We Value Childhood

Childhood is a great way to start life! It is a time of possibilities, imagination, friendship and play. Children first see themselves as an extension of their mother and father, their primary nurturers. They then discover themselves. They discover that they have their own body, their own thoughts, needs and wants, their own will. As they grow, children cycle through stages of dependence, sensing their vulnerability, to stages of independence, realizing they can venture out on their own. From infant to toddler, from child to adolescent, from teenager to adult, our children finally launch into life, caring, capable, and confident.

That is every parent’s dream, to help their child grow in confidence, character and competence. What a tremendous blessing and responsibility it is to be a parent!

Because we value childhood at Almaden Country Day School, we do those things that recognize, respect and protect the child in our students. We create opportunities for growth that are appropriate for a child’s current developmental stage. We create an environment that stimulates their curiosity while respecting their innocence. We allow them to take the risks necessary for growth by creating an atmosphere where it is safe to make mistakes.

We Value Learning in an Atmosphere of Respect

An Almaden Country Day School education demands an environment that is safe, stimulating, and respectful.

Children learn best in a high-challenge, low-stress environment; and when children feel valued and respected, they will feel free to take the risks necessary for growth. At Almaden Country Day School we present those opportunities for growth by focusing on learning and by helping children develop empathy and respect for their classmates while minimizing unnecessary competition and anxiety. We recognize, respect and celebrate differences as the key to new possibilities.

We Value Community, Cooperation and Good Citizenship

 

A child is most likely to receive an exceptional education when he or she is part of a community of students, parents and teachers working together. The Almaden Country Day School community is built upon the principle of good citizenship. We accept responsibility. We work hard and contribute our best effort. We cooperate. Almaden Country Day School is committed to helping children develop an intrinsic sense of responsibility to others. This is work parents begin at home and which we support at school. Partnering with parents, we empower our students with skills and attributes needed to enjoy their own lives and all the good that life has to offer. We also help them become other-centered people, rather than self-centered, using those skills and attributes to help those around them. We respect each other and the environment that we are in.

 

Guidelines and Applications

Resources

Serving You and Your Child

Our Administration is here to serve you and your child and provide you information you need to support your child’s success at school.

Contacting the Administration

All members of the Almaden Country Day School Administration may be reached via e-mail as follows:

[first initial][last name]@a-cs.org
i.e. Mary Jones: mjones@a-cs.org

Please contact members of the administration through the front office. The office staff can either transfer you to the requested voicemail or schedule an appointment for you. This allows you and other families the dedicated time drop-in visits prevent.

We encourage you to contact your teachers first with questions and concerns that pertain to your child. This includes curriculum questions, special learning needs, and behavioral and social concerns. Should your interaction with your child’s teacher prove unproductive, please contact the Assistant Head next. See the information below outlining the different roles of ACDS administrators.

Head of School

The role of the Head of School is to “set the course” for Almaden Country Day School. The HOS oversees all school programming, needs, and priorities, while focusing daily efforts on strengthening the school’s future through external functions such as fundraising, marketing, enrollment management, strategic planning, and program development. The HOS delegates the day-to-day operation of the school to the administrative team, primarily the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Assistant Heads. Parents should seek primary assistance with questions and concerns regarding classroom and curriculum matters with their child’s teachers, and then the Assistant Heads, prior to contacting the Head of School.

Assistant Head, Elementary and Early Childhood; Assistant Head, Middle School and Activities

The role of the Assistant Heads is to oversee the day-to-day operation of the school’s academic program, including issues related to teaching and learning, parent/school communication and relations, student life, faculty welfare, and crisis management. The Assistant Heads are accountable for the quality of our school’s curriculum, instruction, professional development, faculty evaluation, and parent relations. The Assistant Heads ensure congruency is maintained between the ACDS mission and the teaching and learning that takes place on campus, leading the faculty in implementing initiatives that foster continual school improvement, ongoing teacher development and growth, and exceptional learning opportunities for children. In addition, the Assistant Head of Middle School and Activities is the Emergency Coordinator for the school and oversees major school events, the calendar, after school programs and classroom budgets. Parents should contact their child’s teachers with questions or concerns relating to classroom matters prior to contacting the Assistant Heads.

Learning Support Coordinator

The Learning Support Coordinator works with teachers to help identify students needing greater support or challenge, and collaborates with parents and the administration to develop strategies and identify appropriate resources for support. S/he supports teachers in developing differentiated activities and lessons to meet the wide range of academic needs among their students. The LSC works with the Assistant Heads to strengthen professional development opportunities for teachers and staff. S/he acts a liaison between parents, teachers, and outside professionals during the SST process.

Advancement Office: Admissions, Development, Marketing and Registrar

The Advancement Office staffs the outward facing activities of Almaden Country School, and chiefly its admissions, development, and marketing operations. Most parents interact regularly with the registrar to update immunizations, supply various forms and prepare for the transition to high school. Both the Admissions Office and the Development Office actively recruit parent volunteers to help with Enrollment Open Houses, New Family hosting, Auction and Peer to Peer Solicitors for the Annual Giving Campaign. The Marketing Office works with all offices on campus plus the Parent Service Auxiliary to gather and communicate news and timely information to the ACDS Community.

Director of Technology

The Director of Technology works with the faculty to design age appropriate uses of technology in support of the curriculum. S/he is responsible for the devices used in classrooms and administrative offices. In addition, the Director of Technology manages the refresh cycle for devices, including running pilot projects to determine the best educational choice for each refresh cycle in middle school and elementary classes.

Chief Financial Officer

The role of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is to work with the HOS and the Board of Trustees to maintain the financial integrity of Almaden Country School. The CFO oversees employee compensation, facilities use and management, and all campus infrastructures such as technology, food service, and housekeeping. In conjunction with the HOS, the CFO approves budget requests from faculty and the administrative team. The CFO serves on the Board’s Finance Committee. Parents should contact the CFO with questions regarding tuition, financial aid or other financial matters.

Office Staff

The Office Manager supports the school administration and faculty by maintaining an efficient and effective office. The Office Manager coordinates appointments, teacher substitutes, daily facilities needs, orders and manages general school supplies, and acts as a liaison for community service volunteers, event coordinators and the lunch program.

The role of the Administrative Assistant is to warmly welcome all who visit the school, whether they come by the front door or the phone. The Administrative Assistant will provide general information, direct visitors to the appropriate personnel or department, and schedule appointments with administrative personnel. All visitors to campus are required to check in with the Administrative Assistant.

The office staff are trained and qualified to administer basic first aid to students. The office staff will notify parents as necessary when a child reports to the office with sickness or injury requiring immediate parental attention beyond first aid.

Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees at Almaden Country Day School is made up of volunteer members whose role is to “keep the school’s future in trust.”

ACDS trustees have four primary responsibilities:

  • Oversee the long-term financial stability of the school.
  • Hire, support, and evaluate the Head of School (HOS).
  • With the HOS, develop, monitor, and continually re-evaluate the school’s long-range strategic goals.
  • Offer time, talent, resources, and relationships to the service of the school, including support for the school’s fundraising and marketing efforts.

Parent Service Auxiliary (PSA)

The Parent Service Auxiliary (PSA) was established at Almaden Country Day School to provide a way for parents to give meaningful service to the school. By enrolling at Almaden Country Day School, all parents automatically become members of the PSA. The PSA is a volunteer group of dynamic, dedicated parents who share in the community spirit of Almaden Country Day School.

The mission of the PSA is to provide memory-making activities to the children and to support the ACDS administration. The PSA works closely with school administration in designing and implementing these memory-making activities, including the Fund Run, Pumpkin Carving, Thanksgiving Feast, and more, that will benefit the students and the school. The Apple Seed is a weekly communication generated by PSA volunteers and circulated to all ACDS families with notes and news about upcoming events and campus life.

We encourage all parents to get involved wherever possible and become part of the PSA school network. Parents can contact the PSA by email at psa@a-cs.org.

ACDS Directory

The ACDS Directory is available to parents on the ACDS web site. All households are listed in the directory unless a specific request for non-inclusion is made on the enrollment form. First-time users of the online directory will need to register on the site prior to gaining access to directory information. This procedure ensures that only members of the ACDS community have access to the directory. The directory is solely for the private use of ACDS and its families. All information is confidential and is not for distribution or commercial purposes.

Families are able to manage the information they provide that is visible to other parents by logging in to Parent's Corner on the website and and modifying their preferences under their profile.

ACDS Calendar

A calendar for the school year is available on the ACDS web site. All holidays, in-service and minimum days, and special events are listed on the calendar. The Apple Seed is a weekly digital newsletter that communicates updated calendar information for any events or date changes. Back issues of the Apple Seed are available on the website as well. The office staff will notify parents by “Special Notice” email when unforeseen calendar changes are necessary. Parents are also encouraged to check the web site and read both the Apple Seed and classroom newsletters regularly.