Rochelle School of the Arts Handbook

Dear Families,

Welcome to another exciting year at Rochelle School of the Arts! You have chosen to participate in the wonderful academic and fine arts programs offered at our school. Parents and students are responsible for reviewing this handbook to ensure students are prepared to meet the academic, fine arts, and behavior expectations at RSA. Your signature on pages 2 & 8 of the agenda means that you and your child understand the guidelines. Rochelle School of the Arts will adhere to the Polk County Public Schools’ Code of Student Conduct, found online and issued to each student at the beginning of the school year and signed by all families. Your support allows us to continue providing high quality academic and fine arts experiences while maintaining a safe and orderly learning environment. Thank you for your partnership in education!

Julie Ward, Principal

Each Family is provided with a copy of the RSA Contract. The contract must be signed by the parent and it outlines the expectations for each student to have a successful year.

Rochelle School of the Arts’ students are expected to:

  • Master the Florida State Standards in each grade level.
  • Participate in class and put forth their best effort.
  • Make progress toward the goal of becoming self disciplined, self-directed learners, and problem solvers.
  • Bring necessary materials to class.
  • Complete and turn in assignments on time.
  • Promptly return weekly reports and/or agendas, signed by parents.
  • Maintain a minimum of “C” average (or 2.0 Grade Point Average) in all subjects.

The student agenda is a valuable tool to support each student’s organization of upcoming events, homework, tests, or reminders. The monthly PAW Stamp card or ROAR card should be kept in the agenda’s plastic sleeve. Parents and teachers can send written communication in the agenda to facilitate home-to-school communication. Elementary parents need to sign the agenda nightly. Teachers will check for a parent signature each day to ensure parents are seeing important information in the agenda.

  • School attendance is directly related to school achievement.
  • Families have the responsibility to make sure that students attend school every day, arrive promptly, and remain throughout the scheduled day.
  • Instruction occurs from bell-to-bell, so prompt arrival and remaining for the full instructional day prioritizes learning.
  • All absences are classified as excused or not excused.
  • Excused absences include:
  1. Illness
  2. Family Funeral
  3. Religious holiday
  4. Family emergency (as described in the Code of Conduct)
  • Absences for other reasons must be submitted to the principal for prior approval. All unapproved absences are defined as unexcused.
  1. Ten parent/guardian notes will be accepted as excused per semester; after which a doctor’s note is required for the absence to be classified excused.
  2. If a student is absent due to illness for at least 2 consecutive days, the parent may call the school office to request make-up work.
  3. Teachers must be given a 24-hour notice to prepare make-up work.

We request that Rochelle School of the Arts’ families:

  • Make every effort to schedule medical and dental appointments after school hours or during holidays.
  • Send a note to school following a student absence. The note must include the date, reason for the absence, signature of parent/guardian, and phone number.
  • Send a written request to school in advance if a student needs to leave during the school day. A parent/legal guardian or those authorized on the student’s emergency card must sign the student out from the office. The person signing the child out must be prepared to produce a picture I.D.
  • Student check-outs after 2pm are discouraged.
  • Make-up work should be completed within the same number of days that the student was absent.
  • Please understand that although some assignments can be made up, valuable classroom instruction time cannot be made up and may affect your child’s success.

Tardy Policy: All students must be in class at 7:55am. When a student arrives after the tardy bell at 8:00am, the student must be signed in through the office before the child will be admitted to class. Poor attendance or persistent tardiness may result in poor academic performance. Three unexcused tardies and/or unexcused early dismissals will be recorded as one unexcused absence as per the Code of Student Conduct.

  • There is no supervision for students before 7:30am. Do not drop off children any earlier.
  • Students must be in their classroom when the 8:00am tardy bell rings. Otherwise, they will be counted tardy. After that, all students are tardy and must go to the office with their agenda.
  • Students eating breakfast may enter the cafeteria beginning at 7:30am. Students not eating breakfast will wait on the bus or car area benches until 7:35am when dismissal to the classrooms begin.

Rochelle follows a school-wide Positive Behavior Support structure of behavioral expectations. Staff members provide instruction to positively introduce students to our Rochelle Core Values, which include Respect, Safety, Active Learning, Unity and Creativity. In elementary school, the Core Values are reinforced through our “PAW” Stamp Card system, where students have monthly goals for earned stamps. When those goals are met, students are rewarded with special privileges, activities, or treats. If behavioral expectations are not met, possible consequences will include communication from the teacher, written intervention forms, or office discipline referrals. The Polk County Public Schools’ Code of Student Conduct will be followed should disciplinary consequences become necessary. Middle school students utilize a ROAR card (Respect Others, Act Responsibly)

Birthday parties, for students in 1st – 8th grade, may not be celebrated at school. Only Kindergarten students may have commercially prepared cookies, cupcakes or brownies delivered to the office to be eaten during a snack time in class. These events should be coordinated in advance with the classroom teacher. Gifts, flowers, and balloons will not be delivered to the classroom as they are disruptive to academic instruction. These items are also not permitted on the bus. Please do not bring or have these items delivered to the school. Please remember that this policy applies to all holidays.

  • To help us set a proper example for our students, parents and visitors should dress appropriately when visiting or volunteering at Rochelle School of the Arts.
  • All visitors, including parents, must check in at the office to receive a visitor’s badge. This includes times before, during, and after school if students are on campus. Visitors will be required to present a government-issued ID.
  • When a student arrives after the tardy bell, the guardian must escort the student to the office before the student will be admitted to class. Poor attendance or persistent tardiness will show itself in poor academic performance.
  • Only adults authorized on a student’s emergency card may pick up that child. Everyone checking out a child will be required to show identification. No exceptions. If you are personally known to the office staff, the ID requirement may be waived. This is for the safety of your child.
  • During school hours, all students going to the office, clinic, media center, etc. will go in pairs.

Elementary classroom parties can be held twice a year, around the end of each semester per the discretion of the classroom teacher.

The school will utilize many means of communication to keep families informed during the year.

  • Monthly email and/or paper newsletters
  • Email messages
  • Text messages via Remind101
  • School marquee
  • School website
  • School messenger phone and email system (with parents’ permission)
  • Social Media (Facebook and Instagram)
  • Remind messaging

Food items must be commercially prepared and individually wrapped by a commercial supplier to protect students against food borne illnesses. Beverages should be purchased ready to serve. Home prepared foods are not permitted.

  • For special events, invitations or notices are sometimes mailed through the postal service. Several of these communication methods require that emails, phone numbers and mailing addresses are kept current and accurate with the school office. Parents can view the contact information on file through Parent Portal (see pg. 6) or by coming in to the school office.
  • All walkers must cross the street at the designated Polk County Sheriff’s crossing guard location at 10th Street and Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave.
  • For a student to make a change in his/her normal transportation home (for example: changing from bus to car rider or going home with a friend), a note must be written and brought to the school in advance for administrative approval. For security reasons, all transportation changes require written notification from a parent. A guest bus rider must get approval 2 days prior from PCSB transportation department through school administration to be allowed on the bus.

Bus Riders

  • Bus students go to assigned areas. Please refer to the PCSB Bus Guidelines. Students violating these rules will be reported by the bus driver to administration.

Car Riders

  • Car rider families should utilize the car rider tag daily.
  • Car rider tags will be issued at Orientation. After the school year begins, car rider tags will be issued by the office staff.
  • Car riders go to the loading area, sit on benches or sidewalk areas, and look for their car.
  • Loading and unloading students is permitted only in the car rider line. Parents may not use the bus area or staff parking area to deliver or pick-up students.
  • Students should exit through the passenger side only. Only RSA students should be outside the vehicle.
  • Parents should not park and exit the vehicle when in the car rider line, as this prevents the flow of traffic.
  • Students in the car area should remain seated on the benches or sidewalk in their designated area until their name or number is called.
  • There are two car rider drop-off and pick-up areas:
  1. Elementary – south end of campus
  2. Middle School – north end of campus, on the track
  • For the safety of students, please do not stop on the side street or MLK to load or unload.
  • The elementary car rider line gates close promptly at 7:55am for morning drop off.
  • The RSA uniform is worn as a symbol of school pride and unity. Not only does this uniform help to unify us, it also helps to identify our RSA students for safety purposes. In order to retain and enhance the integrity of the dress code, please refer to the Uniform and Dress Code. Uniforms are required every day, except in cases of class or school special events.Uniform shirts can be purchased from:
    • Risse Brothers
    • another vendor and brought to the school office to make payment and arrange for an approved seamstress to complete the approved embroidery of the logo on the shirts Uniform bottoms can be purchased from Risse Brothers or any other vendor.

    Please label student’s name in all RSA apparel, preferably in several places with a permanent marker, as it is very difficult to distinguish identical uniform clothing that is not labeled. The Uniform Dress Code does not allow for clothing with colored trim, stripes, embroidery, tears, decorations, etc. It also does not provide for overalls (overalls with pants or shorts), sweat pants, knit pants, leggings, etc. Repeated dress code infractions will result in lower grades on the personal development portion of the report card or possible disciplinary referrals.


    All students should have a neat and clean appearance. Students should come to school with clean bodies, clean and combed hair, and brushed teeth. No visible tattoos, real or fake, may be worn at school.


    Hair may not cover the face. Sweatbands, curlers, picks or other headgear such as hats, bandanas, scarves, and stockings are not permitted. Hair must be a natural color; no colored hair or hair braids (green, blue, pink, etc). No numbers, writing or designs may be shaved into the hair. Hair must not be distracting to the learning process. Girls’ headbands, hair clips, etc. should be functional and not oversized or distracting.


    Students’ earrings should be small (no larger than a dime). Only prescription glasses may be worn. Jewelry must be modest and should not distract from the educational focus.

    Boys may not wear headbands.

    Cold Weather

    Please refer to the Uniform and Dress Code for information on Cold Weather Dress.

    • Temperature can be verified at 7am, by calling (863) 688-8118. RSA uses this source for official temperature determination. When it is below 50⁰, PE will be held indoors.
    • Layering is a great option instead of wearing a heavy jacket. For example, turtleneck, RSA shirt, RSA sweatshirt, RSA zip jacket.
    • Outerwear worn during the school day must be solid black, grey or navy blue.
    • Outerwear with an attached hood is allowed, but hoods may not be worn during the school day, inside the building.
    • The School Messenger and/or Remind notification systems will be used to notify parents of cold-weather jeans days.
  • Students are permitted to have electronic devices at school as long as they follow the school expectations for usage. Please see the Code of Student Conduct for a comprehensive explanation of the expectations and responsibilities of students bringing these devices to school. The student is responsible for maintaining possession of the device throughout the day and securing it safely while at school. Examples of electronic devices include cell phones (with or without internet or photography capabilities), tablets, laptops, smart watches, and listening devices such as headphones and ear buds.
    • Electronic devices may be used on the school bus if the driver permits.
    • Devices may be used prior to 7:55am and after 3:00pm on campus, when students are not in class.
    • Devices should be turned off and put away from 7:55am – 3:00pm, unless the teacher has given permission for use of devices to aid in the instructional time.
    • Devices may not be used in between classes (middle school), during lunch, in the bathrooms, or at other times during the school day.
    • Use of electronic devices during school, district, or state assessments is strictly prohibited, as well as using devices to record others without their permission or record an altercation or fight with the intent of posting or sharing via electronic means. Not following district and school policy on electronic devices may result in the device being held in the office for parent pick-up or disciplinary consequences depending on the infraction.
  • During the school year, classroom experiences may be extended with trips in the community. All trips will be related to the grade level state standards. Please remember that field trips are a privilege and are dependent on appropriate grades and behavior. Students not attending a field trip will be provided with similar educational content that meets the academic standards presented to those who attend.
    • Permission forms signed by a parent/guardian and money will be due at least four weeks before a trip.
    • We will not allow telephone calls at field trip time for students who do not have the signed form.
    • There is a notary in the office for out-of-county field trip forms.
    • Younger siblings may not accompany parents on field trips.
    • Adults may not smoke on field trips.
    • Parents may not ride on Polk County School Board school buses.
    • Parents must be approved volunteers to chaperone field trips.
  • The primary purpose of homework, in addition to reinforcement, is the experience it gives students to work on their own. Students must do their own work to benefit from the additional practice. Homework is assigned at all grade levels. Teachers will try to coordinate projects to avoid excessive homework.Homework at Rochelle School of the Arts:
    • Will be meaningful
    • May be written or unwritten
    • Is an extension of class work
    • Should be reviewed by parents upon completion
    • Should be neat and completed on time according to teacher directions
    • Is the student’s responsibility and should be completed and returned as assigned

    Parents are expected to:

    • Provide a suitable amount of time and a routine place for homework
    • Model and encourage reading daily
    • Monitor homework quality and completion Since reading is an integral part of your child’s educational development, we encourage parents to read with younger children for 20-30 minutes every day. In addition to the time for reading, students and parents should budget the following amount of time for homework each day:
    • Kindergarten – 2nd grade: 15-20 minutes
    • 3rd – 5th grade: 20 minutes
    • 6th – 8th grade: 1 hour
  • Please write student’s names clearly in all removable apparel and lunchboxes.
  • Please check with the classroom teacher first for any missing items.
  • All found articles are taken to the Lost and Found area, in the cafeteria.
  • Unclaimed clothing will be donated to a charitable organization at the end of the semester.
  • As part of the Community Eligible School Provision, all Rochelle students receive free breakfast and lunch. Students who bring a lunch from home may purchase milk, if desired. Adults may purchase breakfast (a la carte) and lunch ($3.10). Families and other visitors are welcome to eat lunch at Rochelle School of the Arts. To help us ensure a safe environment for our students, county policy requires that all families and visitors sign in at the office and wear a visitor’s badge. Visitors who are not wearing a badge will be asked to return to the office to get one. Families and visitors need to dress appropriately when visiting Rochelle. Families are welcome to join their children for lunch at school. When dining with us, please follow these guidelines:
    • Families and other visitors must be listed on the child’s emergency card to visit the student for lunch.
    • Families joining their child for lunch should eat at the back booths, set aside for families and visitors, or the outside picnic tables.
    • Families may eat only with their child. Students are not permitted to eat with another students’ family; families are not permitted to eat at the class table with other students.
    • Families are responsible for the behavior of their child while they are eating.
    • Please leave the area clean and free of litter.
    • Outside meals are discouraged in the cafeteria but may be enjoyed at the outside picnic benches.
    • Families must be prepared to leave the lunchroom and students must rejoin their class at the end of the lunch period.
    • Rochelle does not accept food from meal delivery services for students.

Rochelle School of the Arts Media Center welcomes students, parents, and the community to the Media Center. The Media Center has an ample supply of reference materials as well as library books for the Accelerated Reading program and AR testing. Parents are able to check out additional books to support reading at home.

Students requiring medication must have a copy of the Polk County Authorization for Medication form signed by their physician on file. No medicine will be administered without this form.

  • Medicine must be in the original labeled container.
  • All medicine will be kept and given in the clinic.
  • No medicine may be kept by the student, including cough drops or medicated lip balm.

The Parent Portal is an online system that has important information for all the students and parents. Instead of visiting several different websites, making telephone calls, or visiting the school to access records or information, the parent may access them all from any Internet-connected computer. PIN numbers can be obtained in the school office. Please visit this website for additional information:

Students (per PCSB policy) are not allowed to bring medicine to school or take home any medicine. Adults must transport medicine.

All elementary students will participate in Physical Education every day and follow the curriculum adopted by  Polk County Public Schools.

Attire – socks and closed-toe & closed-heel shoes are required. Shoes with soft or rubber soles are preferred.

Attendance – If a student needs to miss a day of physical education, a note from the parent is required. Those students who will miss 3 or more days will need a note from a physician.

Families are encouraged to become approved volunteers and connect with an area of service that works for their schedule. Families are asked to complete a minimum of 5 volunteer hours per school year.

Opportunities to volunteer are available within our PTA, during the school day and before or after school hours (athome projects, supporting arts program events and performances, and special one-time a year events). Log all Volunteer Hours throughout the year on the office computer or by visiting to help us maintain a record of the support given by our families.

It is our goal for all students to have a meaningful and successful academic and arts-based learning experience while at Rochelle School of the Arts. To provide the additional opportunities within the Arts, it is critical that classroom learning time is maximized for academics. Students must maintain consistent attendance, appropriate behavior throughout each day, and use their class time efficiently to stay current with the learning and pacing of the instruction. Failure to follow these expectations could result in the student being placed on Probation for Attendance, Behavior, or Academics. If improvements do not occur in the probation area, a return to the zoned school may be the next step.