Student + Family Handbook

100.0 -- Registration and Enrollment Information

The following information is required to enroll a student in a Florida school.  Please note that the student may not attend class until all documents are received.
  • A certified birth certificate, which may be requested online from your birth state's health department.
  • A Florida Certificate of Immunization, Form 680 (blue card), completed by a Florida physician or by a Florida county health department.
  • Florida Statute §1003.22 requires any child entering a Florida school for the first time to present documentation of a physical examination performed within one year prior to enrollment (registration date). This exam must include a review of all body systems (heart, skin, respiratory, etc.) performed by a licensed medical provider. The exam should indicate any condition which would warrant special considerations for the student at school. The physical exam form must be readable (health department personnel can only accept exams in English), signed, dated and stamped by the provider, practicing physician or the county public health department.
  • Official documentation that the parent(s) or guardian(s) is a legal resident(s) of the school district attendance area.
 

100.1 — Immunizations Requirements for the Current School Year
Florida Statutes §1003.22 and §402.305 and Sarasota County School Board Rule 7.104 require that prior to admittance to or attendance in a public or non-public school, each student shall present or have on file with the school a Florida Certificate of Immunization (DH 680 form) from a licensed practicing physician or the county public health department. Student must have all required shots for the entering grade level.

For a list of immunization requirements for school, please visit the following website  www.sarasotacountyschools.net/schoolhealth

No-cost immunizations are available to eligible children through the federally-funded Vaccine for Children program at Sarasota County Health Department. Call 941-861-2900 in Sarasota or 941-861-3864 in North Port for locations and hours of operation. Please take your child’s shot records when you go for immunizations.

 

100.2 — Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) 
Florida’s Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) Program has a separate set of enrollment and attendance requirements, which are not included under the authority of public K-12 compulsory school attendance laws. The law allows a parent to voluntarily enroll an eligible child (four years old by September 1 and residing in Florida) in a free VPK program. (Note: A new law takes effect July1, 2016. Four-year-old children with birthdays from Feb. 2 through Sept.1 will be eligible to enroll in VPK that year or postpone it to the next year.)

Sarasota County Schools intends to hold VPK classes at select schools during the summer of 2017. The program will total 300 hours of instruction focused on the Florida Standards for four-year-olds.  (Please note: school bus transportation will not be provided.)

For additional information regarding VPK, including application procedures and dates to apply, please visit Florida’s Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) Program website through the Office of Early Learning at www.floridaearlylearning.com

If you have questions regarding the Sarasota County Schools VPK program, please contact Elementary Education.
 

100.3 — ESE Pre-Kindergarten  
The Pre-Kindergarten Exceptional Student Education Program for children with disabilities is operated by the Sarasota County School District. In addition to therapy services and classrooms at selected elementary schools, the school district contracts with several community agencies. Eligible students transition from the Early Steps program to Pre-K ESE programs upon their third birthday. Other potential students are referred through Child Find. These programs operate during regular school hours and follow the school calendar. Extended School Year (ESY) services are available during the summer for students that meet federal and state criteria.  School bus transportation is provided to the assigned school. To learn more about the Pre-Kindergarten program for students with disabilities, call 941-927-9000, ext. 31271.

   

100.4 — Kindergarten  
Florida law (§1003.2 1(1)(a)2 Fla. Stat.) specifies that children who have attained the age of five years on or before September 1 of the school year in question are eligible for admission to public kindergarten during that school year based on rules prescribed by the school board. Students are eligible for kindergarten attendance if they meet the age requirement.

Admission to a public kindergarten is not contingent upon what a child knows; if the child meets the age requirement, he or she is eligible for admission. The Florida Partnership for School Readiness has published “Performance Standards” for three-, four- and five-year-olds. Those standards reflect what children should know and be able to do. You may access that information and other resources from the Partnership’s website. In addition, the Florida Standards provide expectations for student achievement in Florida. More information on course standards and course descriptions is available at www.cpalms.org.

 

100.5 — Educational Choices   
Most children are assigned to the school at their grade level that is closest to their home; however, student interests and needs may be accommodated through a variety of options and programs offered through School Choice. One choice might be attending a Charter or Magnet School program in the county. Some of these programs have specific entrance criteria. There is no cost to the student (or parent or guardian) for attending any charter, specialty or magnet program. For information about these programs, call the district office at 941-927-9000, ext. 32255, or log into the district’s website under School Choice.

100.5a — Controlled Open Enrollment (School Choice)   
Students in Sarasota County Schools may request a school other than their assigned district school through the Controlled Open Enrollment (School Choice) program. The student must apply by completing a School Choice application, which is available each winter during a specific time period. Limited available spaces at each school open to Choice are awarded to students through a random lottery. Some schools are closed to choice if their enrollment is already at capacity. Parents must provide transportation for their children attending a school selected through the controlled open enrollment (School Choice) process. More information regarding the district’s Controlled Open Enrollment (School Choice) program including School Choice enrollment deadlines, is available on the district’s website or by calling 941-927-9000, ext. 32255.

100.5b — Charter Schools 
Charter schools are district sponsored public schools designed to provide a choice in education. These are public schools, so they charge no tuition or special fees. While these schools are dedicated to a specific purpose and focus, they meet the same standards as any other public school. Each district sponsored charter school has its own governing board to support with operating independently. Currently, the Sarasota County School District supports a number of charter schools offering a variety of programs, from military training to a focus on the arts and sciences. A directory of charter schools is provided in this guide. Contact the individual schools for information and application materials. See the directory in Section 7 of this handbook for specific schools and contact information.

100.5c — Home Education
Parents also have the choice of enrolling their child in a home school program. Parents are held responsible for educating their child. Parents must maintain a portfolio of work and submit a student academic evaluation annually. For information on home schooling, call 941-927-9000, ext. 32258. The Florida Parent-Educators Association publishes a guide for home-schoolers in Florida. A copy is available by calling toll-free 877-275-3732 or at www.fpea.com.

100.5d — Magnet Programs 
Magnet programs are specialty programs housed within a district school. The programmatic specialties include visual and performing arts, the International Baccalaureate program and the Cambridge Advanced International Certificate of Education Program. Magnet programs are open to students who meet various eligibility requirements. Students apply directly to the school, not through the School Choice Program. For a complete listing of the available magnet programs, call the Office of School Choice, Virtual School and Charter Schools at 941-927-9000, ext. 32255. 

100.5e — McKay Scholarship 
The district participates in the McKay Scholarship program that is offered through the Florida Department of Education. This program allows eligible students with an Individualized Education Plan IEP or a 504 Accommodation Plan the opportunity to select a placement in a private school or selected public schools, including charter schools. Parents may learn more about the options for their child by visiting the Florida Department of Education website at www.fldoe.org, the school district website at www.SarasotaCountySchools.net or the district’s Office of School Choice, Virtual School and Charter Schools at 941-927-9000, ext. 32258.  Information about the McKay Scholarship Choice option is also given to parents when an IEP or a 504 Plan for their child is discussed. A district school selected by a parent under the McKay Scholarship Program must not only have available space but must also have the resources to fully implement the student’s IEP or 504 Plan. McKay Scholarship applications MUST be received by the school district prior to July 1 for a child to be placed in a school in the upcoming academic year under the scholarship. Parents typically must provide transportation for their children attending a school selected through the McKay Scholarship program.

100.5f — Sarasota Virtual School (SVS) 
SVS is an interactive learning environment created through technology, in which the student and teacher are separated by time, space or both. Students access lessons and assignments and receive assessments via the Internet. The District contracts with four state and School Board approved outside virtual instruction providers (VIP): K12 Florida, Inc. (serves students in grades K-12), Edgenuity (serves students in grades 6-12), Florida Virtual School (serves students in grades K-12) and Connections Learning (serves students in grades K-12). SVS students have access to state- approved curriculum through each of the VIPs.

SVS offers one enrollment period annually for a minimum of 90 days prior to the beginning of the academic year the student is seeking to enroll. The enrollment period is announced a variety of ways including through district schools, news media, parent notification letters and on the district web site. All students residing in Sarasota County have equitable access to SVS. Parents of ELL students must request an ELL Committee Meeting at their districted school prior to enrollment in SVS. Students with an IEP or 504 Accommodation Plan must request a meeting at their district school to review their existing plans prior to enrollment in SVS.  Computers and internet service may be provided at no charge to eligible students who meet family income requirements. In order to enroll in SVS, student must meet the eligibility requirements set by state statute (F.S. 1002.455). 

The following should be taken into account when considering enrollment in SVS:
  • Students enrolled in SVS must meet all standards and graduation requirements of the state and district.
  • Students enrolled in SVS are entitled to participate in extracurricular activities at their districted school.
  • SVS is a public school, and all enrolled students must take the appropriate grade level state required assessments (FSA reading, math, science, and civics, EOC, SAT 10, Fair, etc.).
  • After completion of all graduation requirements, a student will be awarded a diploma from Sarasota Virtual School.  SVS is a nontraditional learning environment, and an enrolled student is not entitled to participate in the traditional promotion or graduation ceremony at his or her districted school.
  • Parents of student(s) in grades K-8 must commit to spending at least 2-4 hours per day as a learning coach for their child.
  • Parents must attend an orientation session and/or personal interview with the Supervisor of Sarasota Virtual School prior to enrollment.
  • Regular attendance and satisfactory completion of coursework is required for continuation in the school.
  • Parents of ELL students must request an ELL Committee Meeting at their districted school prior to enrollment in SVS.
  • Parents of Students may remain in SVS for any or all of their education in the district as long as they meet appropriate attendance and course requirements.

To learn more about this educational option, interested parents should contact the Office of School Choice, Virtual School and Charter Schools at 941-927-9000, ext. 32289 or by visiting the district’s web page at www.SarasotaCountySchool.net/departments/schoolchoice.

 

100.6 — Sarasota County Schools Virtual Options   
Sarasota Virtual School (full time program), Sarasota Virtual Academy (part time course offerings) are district-operated programs that offer students a variety of opportunities to access virtual instruction.  These district operated programs have highly qualified certified teachers that use state approved curriculums and follow Sarasota County School Board policies, procedures and guidelines. Additional details about these programs are available at www.SarasotaCountySchool.net/departments/schoolchoice.

The district’s K-12 students also have access to the part time or full time virtual programs offered by Florida Virtual School (FLVS). To learn more about FLVS’s virtual options, you may speak with your school counselor or visit the FLVS web page at www.flvs.net.


100.7— Specialized School Programs  
The school district provides a variety of opportunities for students with special needs.

The Teen Parent Programs at Riverview High School and North Port High School were designed with the goal of encouraging pregnant students and school-age parents ro remain in school in order to earn a high school diploma or its equivalent. Other goals include improving students’ academic performance in basic skills area, increasing their knowledge of health and child development related to pregnancy and parenting, and reducing the incidence of complications of pregnancy, and low-birth-weight babies. Students will continue to develop a strong connection between their academic achievement and their postsecondary education and career goals. This program will not only meet the immediate needs of the young parents and their children, but will also enable them to become self-sustaining members of society.

Oak Park is a school designed to educate students with significant physical, emotional or cognitive disabilities. The decision for placement at Oak Park School is made by the Individual Education Plan team. The school provides educational services through their 21st birthday.  For more information on the educational programs at Oak Park, contact the ESE Liaison at your child’s school or the Exceptional Student Education department at 941-927-9000.

Intellectually gifted students may receive services in several different school settings, including Pine View School for students in grades 2-12. Your child’s districted school can provide information about how to determine whether a child meets entry criteria for Pine View or other gifted magnet programs offered throughout the school district for intellectually gifted students. Call 941-927-4177 for more information regarding the district's gifted programs.

The Academy for Community Transition is located on the campus of Suncoast Technical College (STC). This program is designed to provide individualized transition planning. The goal is to assist motivated students ages 18-21 in developing skills to be successful participants and active consumers in their community.

100.8 — Alternative Schools
Alternative schools are designed for students who have had difficulty in the traditional school environment or have been in trouble with the law. These schools offer specialized programs designed to help students with behavior management while they earn school credit. More information is available in Section 701.6 of this publication or by calling the school district’s Pupil Support Services – Alternative Programs at 941-927-9000.

 

100.9 — Title I Education/Services  
Title I of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended by the “Every Student Succeeds Act” of 2015, provides supplemental educational services for eligible public and private school students to assist those children in acquiring the knowledge and skills necessary to meet challenging student performance standards. The law also requires the states to adopt a specific approach to testing and accountability, with the goal of higher achievement for all children. Federal legislation provides guidelines for the selection of schools, for the selection of students for those schools, and for parental involvement.

100.9a — Title I School Selection
Schools are ranked annually by using the percentage of students receiving free and reduced-cost meals as a measure of the percentage of students from low-income families. Schools with 75 percent or more students receiving free and reduced-cost meals are eligible for school-wide Title I status. This means that all students attending a school-wide status Title I school are eligible for services.  Title I funds may then be used to upgrade the entire school’s instructional program. A school’s eligibility from one school year to the next may change as the income of the families of the student population change. Students attending a Title I school will receive services based on an assessment of the school’s needs, which are summarized in the School Improvement Plan (SIP) created annually. The SIP is available at the school and can be found on the district website. Parents are invited to contact the school principal to provide input on the SIP.

100.9b — Parental Involvement
All parents are encouraged to become involved in the education of their children. The role of a parent is vital to the success of his or her child’s education. Research reveals that high student achievement, self-esteem, positive attitudes, better behavior and motivation to do well in school are closely related to positive parental involvement in education. As a result, students whose parents are involved and supportive tend to have higher grades and test scores, better attendance and more consistently completed homework. These students also have a higher graduation rate and a higher percentage of enrollment in post-secondary education. All Title I schools work with the school district to develop a Parent Involvement Plan (PI Plan) each year to identify ways parents can get involved and to lay out plans for improving the capacity of parents to assist their children. These plans are available at Title I schools and on the district and school websites. Each Title I school has materials available to provide information and support for parents.

Parents’ Right to Know
Parents have the right to request information regarding the professional qualifications of classroom teachers and paraprofessionals who provide instruction and work with their child.

Requested information may include, but is not limited to:
  • Whether the teacher has met state qualification and licensing criteria for the grade levels and subject areas in which the teacher provides instruction.
  • Whether the teacher is teaching under emergency or other provisional status through which the state qualification or licensing criteria is waived.
  • The baccalaureate degree major of the teacher and any other graduate certification or degree held by the teacher, and the field of discipline of the certification or degree.
  • Whether the child is provided services by paraprofessionals and, if so, their qualifications.

Requests for information regarding teacher and paraprofessional qualifications should be presented in writing to the school. The school will provide the requested information to the parent in a timely manner.

100.9c — District Report Card
The state of Florida has rated Sarasota County an “A” district, one of only twenty-one “A” districts out of 67 districts statewide. Eighty-six percent of district schools received “A” or “B” grade for the school year 2014-2015. High school grades showed that all eight high schools in Sarasota County School District received an “A” or “B” grade.

School Year 2014 - 2015
District Grade: A
67% of Students met ELA Achievement
67% of Students met Mathematics Achievement 
69% of Students met Science Achievement
75% of Students met Social Studies Achievement 
99% of Students Tested

The district report card for the 2015-2016 school year will be available on the district website when the information has been reported by the State.


100.10 — Parent Portal Registration 
In the Parent Portal, get access to the class schedule, attendance, class assignments with grades, report card and teacher emails.  For instructions on how to register and use the Parent + Student Portal click here.                                    

 

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Pupil Support Services
Sonia Figaredo-Alberts, Executive Director
sonia.figaredo-alberts@sarasotacountyschools.net

Julie Zarling, Administrative Assistant
julie.zarling@sarasotacountyschools.net

Phone: 941-927-9000, ext. 31109
Fax: 941-927-4052
1960 Landings Boulevard
Sarasota, Florida 34231
Green 3rd Floor

Exceptional Student Education
Tammy Cassels, Supervisor
tammy.cassels@sarasotacountyschools.net

Ana Montero, Administrative Assistant
ana.montero@sarasotacountyschools.net

Phone: 941-927-9000, ext. 34226
Fax: 941-927-4014

Student Services
Debra Giacolone, Supervisor
debra.giacolone@sarasotacountyschools.net

Sally Dean, Administrative Assistant
sally.dean@sarasotacountyschools.net

Phone: 941-927-9000, ext. 34754
Fax: 941-361-6157 

School Health Services 
Suzanne Dubose, Supervisor
suzanne.dubose@sarasotacountyschools.net

Phone: 941-927-9000, ext. 34765
Fax: 941-927-4108

Florida Department of Health Sarasota County 
Linda Glover, Supervisor
linda.glover@sarasotacountyschools.net
Phone: 941-927-9000, ext. 32101 

Alternative Education, Discipline & Dropout Prevention
Bethany King, Supervisor
bethany.king@sarasotacountyschools.net

Patty Woods, Administrative Assistant
patty.woods@sarasotacountyschools.net
Phone: 941-927-9000, ext. 31113 

ESOL and Migrant Education
Jamie Rodriguez, Supervisor
jamie.rodriguez@sarasotacountyschools.net

State & Federal Projects
Jane Mahler, Supervisor
jane.mahler@sarasotacountyschools.net

Betsy Hooper, Administrative Assistant
betsy.hooper@sarasotacountyschools.net
Phone: 941-927-9000, ext. 34061 

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The language translations of the Student and Family Handbook that are available on this website were created using an electronic translation program. Please note that some words and phrases may not be translated perfectly from the original English, which is the official version of the document. If you have questions about the wording of the district rules or other information provided in the language translations of the Handbook, please contact the Sarasota County School District office of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), at 941-927-9000, ext. 34061.