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School Handbook

Table of Contents


Accreditation

The Adventist Christian School (ACS) is operated by the Augusta First Seventh-day Adventist Church under the auspices of the Georgia-Cumberland Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, the Southern Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, and the North American Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

The Accrediting Association of Seventh-day Adventist Schools, Colleges, and Universities, which is a member of the National Council for Private School Accreditation, an organization approved by the U.S. Department of Education, and by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for the purpose of enrolling non-immigrant students, accredit Seventh-day Adventist schools.

In Georgia, Seventh-day Adventist school accreditation is additionally approved by the Georgia Private School Accreditation Council, which was accepted by the State Board of Education on August 13, 1998 as an accreditation agency.


 Philosophy of Education

The Seventh-day Adventist Church recognizes God as the ultimate source of existence, truth, and power. In the beginning, God created in His image a perfect humanity, a perfection later marred by sin. Education in its broadest sense is a means of returning human beings to their original relationship with God. The distinctive characteristics of this Adventist worldview, built around creation, the fall, redemption, and re-creation, are derived from the Bible and the inspired writings of Ellen G. White.

True education aims to restore human beings into the image of God as revealed by the life of Jesus Christ. Only through the guidance of the Holy Spirit can this be accomplished. An education of this kind imparts far more than academic knowledge. It fosters a balanced development of the whole person - spiritual, physical, intellectual, and social-emotional - a process that spans a lifetime. Working together, homes, schools, and churches cooperate with divine agencies to prepare learners to be good citizens in this world and for eternity.


Goals

  1. The goals of the Adventist Christian School are to promote the following in each student:
  2. Acceptance of God and His Word: Each student will be encouraged to surrender his or her whole life to God and use the Bible as a basis for a relationship with Jesus Christ and an authoritative guide in all areas of life.
  3. Family and Interpersonal Relationships: Each student will develop a sense of self-worth, along with skills in interpersonal relationships needed for meeting the responsibilities of family membership and responding with sensitivity to the needs of others.
  4. Responsible Citizenship: Each student will develop an understanding of multicultural diversity and historical heritage, a working knowledge of governmental processes while affirming a belief in the dignity and worth of others and a responsibility for one’s local, national, and global environments.
  5. Healthy/Balanced Living: Each student will accept personal responsibility for achieving and maintaining optimum physical, mental, and spiritual health.
  6. Intellectual Development: Each student will adopt a systematic, logical approach to decision making and problem solving based on a body of scientific, mathematical, and historical knowledge, within the context of a biblical perspective.
  7. Communication Skills: Each student will acquire optimum competency in verbal and nonverbal communication, in the use of information technology, and in effective communication of one’s faith.
  8. Life Skills: Each student will function responsibly in the everyday world, using Christian principles of stewardship, economy, and personal management.  

Objectives

The objectives of the Adventist Christian School are to develop in each student the following character traits:

  1. Love and appreciation for the privileges, rights, and responsibilities guaranteed each individual.
  2. Wholesome respect and attitude for each unit of society: home, church, school, and government.
  3. Total spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional health.


School Constituency and School Board

The constituency of the Adventist Christian School is comprised of the members of the Augusta First Seventh-day Adventist Church. The Church Nominating committee nominates School Board members for terms of one to three years from a constituent member who supports Seventh-day Adventist Education and represents a cross-section of the constituency. Board members are approved and voted on by the constituency in a Church business meeting.

The School board functions to oversee the operation of the School within the principles of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the guidelines and policies adopted by the Georgia-Cumberland Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, and the School's constitution.

The School Board consists of a Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, School Principal/Head Teacher, Parent Teacher Association Leader, Church Pastor, and regular members. The Pastor, Parent Teacher Assocation Leader, and the School Principal/Head Teacher are members of the Board by virtue of their position. Specific officials of the Georgia-Cumberland Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and the Southern Union of Seventh-day Adventists are ex-officio members of the School Board.

Regular School Board meetings are open to all constituent members, parents, or guardians who wish to attend, but the School Board Chair must be notified one day prior to the scheduled board meetings. Executive meetings are open only to School Board members and parties invited by the Chair.


Personnel

All faculty and staff are active members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in regular standing, and are committed to the success of the program of the school.


Parent Teacher Association

The Adventist Christian School has an active Parent Teacher Association, which exists to support the Church’s mission to advance Christian education in the home and school. The Parent Teacher Association Leader is nominated by the Church Nominating Committee and is approved and voted by the School constituency. Any church member, parent, or guardian of a student enrolled in the school may become a member of the association.

The objectives of the association are:

  1. To promote an earnest study of the principles, purposes, and application of Christian education in the home, the school, and the church.
  2. To encourage all constituent families of school-age children to regard Seventh-day Adventist education as the most favorable means for the balanced development and spiritual well-being of their children.
  3. To provide social and educational opportunities that involve church members, parents, teachers, and students.
  4. To promote and assist the school in acquiring and maintaining the resources needed for the welfare and benefit of the students, teachers, and school personnel.


Non-Discrimination Policy

The Adventist Christian School admits students of any race to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at its school, and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic background, country of origin, or gender in the administration of education policies, application for admission, scholarship, or loan programs, and extracurricular programs.

Right of Privacy: Student records contain only the factual information necessary for the process of education. Cumulative folders are available for review by the student and his/her parents or guardians (if the student is under 18 years of age), and are not accessible to unauthorized individuals.


Admission

The Adventist Christian School accepts children in accordance with the compulsory requirements of the State of Georgia. The School Board has the authority to approve or deny the admission of students. Placement within the system is based upon criteria stated in the policies of the Georgia-Cumberland Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and the State of Georgia.

The Adventist Christian School accepts any families subject to the following considerations:

  1. Parents and guardians of prospective students must be oriented to the goals and objectives of the Adventist Christian School.
  2. The Bible-based curriculum and educational standards of Adventist Christian School must be maintained.
  3. Character and scholastic ability must be considered before the student is accepted into the school program.

Readiness is a basic factor in accepting a student into the Adventist Christian School program. Readiness varies with children and must be given individual attention by parents/guardians, and by the teachers and School Principal/Head Teacher. Character and scholastic ability are also carefully considered before the student is accepted in the School program.

Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten, and First Grade Policy:

To be eligible for admission, children must be physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially mature to do work at the prescribed level. Prior to accepting an applicant, the following age criteria must be met:

  1. Pre-Kindergarten children must be four (4) years old on or before September 1st to enter pre-kindergarten.
  2. Kindergarten children must be five (5) years old on or before September 1st to enter kindergarten.
  3. First Grade children must be six (6) years old on or before September 1st to enter first grade.

There are no exceptions to these requirements. A copy of the birth certificate must be on file in the school office.

Application forms may be obtained from the school office. These should be completed and signed by the parents or guardians and by the student and forwarded to the school. New students should submit records from the previous school, including the most recent report cards.

 


 


Grade Placement

The Adventist Christian School reserves the right to place a student in the grade determined by placement tests and the recommendations of the teachers or school principal/head teacher. The child's teacher bases grade promotion on the scholastic achievement, the age/maturity of the student, and evaluation. Final approval/denial of the request rests with the Georgia-Cumberland Conference Education Department.


Registration, Technology, and Tuition Fees

Each year the Adventist Christian School Board determines the fees for registration and tuition. Registration and tuition fees cover costs for textbooks, insurance, achievement tests, library books, school records, technology equipment, online subscriptions, teacher and personnel salaries, and other required expenses. The School Board is committed to supporting all parents or guardians of a child who desires to attain the high-quality Christian education offered in the School. At the same time, the School Board must assert its responsibility to keep the school financially solvent.

Therefore, the school board adheres to a financial policy that clearly specifies the financial obligations for parents and guardians, and outlines specific procedures for obtaining scholarship assistance if needed.


Financial Policies

  1. Registration and technology fees are not included in tuition. Registration fee: $350 (per student) is due upon registration. Technology fee: $300 technology fee (per student) is due by August 15, along with the first month's tuition.
  2. Families with an outstanding balance will make arrangements in writing with the School Treasurer or a person designated by the School Board for payment of any outstanding balance. Students will not be allowed to attend class until registration is completed.
  3. Tuition is paid on a ten-month schedule and is expected on or before the 15th calendar day of the month. Tuition is nonrefundable if the child has attended school for any portion of the month. There is a multiple child discount: The first child will not receive a discount (oldest child is considered the first child). The second child will receive a 10% discount on tuition only. The third child will receive a 15% discount on tuition only. The fourth child will receive a 20% discount on tuition only. 
  4. Payments may be mailed or forwarded to the School Treasurer, who is the person designated by the School Board to collect funds for the school. In the event that the Treasurer is not accessible, the school board has authorized the School Principal/Head Teacher and the Administrative Assistant for this purpose. These are the only persons who may receive funds on behalf of the school.
  5. Parents or guardians of a student with unpaid tuition or late fees by the 20th calendar day of the month will receive a reminder that their balance is past due. If arrangements have not been made by the 25th of the month, a $20 late fee will be billed to the account and the School Board will be notified. At that time, the board may decide to suspend the child until payment is made. For student accounts in the arrears for 6 months or more, the School Board reserves the right to send that account to a collection agency.
  6. Parents or guardians of a student in our school, who are unable to meet their financial obligations to the school must follow one of the following procedures:
    1. Request Scholarship Assistance Funds from the Church and School Scholarship Assistance Committee. This committee distributes these funds based on financial need, availability of funds, church membership, and other criteria. The School Board and the School do not determine how these funds are disbursed. Contact the School Treasurer for details. 
    2. Arrange a payment plan with the School Treasurer to be submitted for approval to the School Board. The plan must be in writing and signed by the Treasurer and by the parents or guardians of the student. Contact the school treasurer for details.
    3. The School will not issue a report card for any student who has outstanding debt to the School. The School Treasurer will hold report cards until the student's account has been paid in full and settled with the School. Also, the School will not forward transcripts, release records, or issue diplomas for students who have an outstanding balance to the School.
  7. Payments must be made by cash, check, money order, or credit card for tuition, field trips, hot lunches, etc. Postdated checks will not be accepted. For payments made by credit and debit card, a 3% service fee will be billed to all accounts for each transaction. Meals and field trips will be billed monthly.


Hours of Operation

Early Care: 7:30 a.m.-8:15 a.m.

School Academic: 8:15 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. 

Teachers are on duty until 4:00 p.m. Aftercare and after school programs are available with prior arrangement. Please make every effort to adhere to this schedule. Families whose children remain after 3:45 PM will be sent to the aftercare program.


After-Care Policy

Aftercare is only available on a prearranged basis. A $10.00 per day will be charged to the student's account. For more information please contact the office.



Field Trips

The following information applies to all off-campus trips. All school trips should be connected to academic or spiritual activities. All-day trips must be approved by the local school board, and in addition all overnight trips must be approved by the Conference Office of Education (Use Overnight Trip Request form). Overseas and out-of-country school trips are not permitted for elementary students.

Supervision:

One or more teachers must accompany all school trips, and adequate gender-appropriate chaperones must be provided:

  • Levels PreK-Kindergarten, 1 adult for every 3 students
  • Grades 1-2, 1 adult for every 3 students
  • Grades 3-4, 1 adult for every 5 students
  • Grades 5-8, 1 adults for every 8 students

Overnight trips require additional gender-appropriate chaperones.


 

School Closings

In general, Adventist Christian School will close if Columbia County Public Schools are closed due to severe weather or other emergencies.


School Attendance

The Adventist Christian School must meet the standards set by the State of Georgia for school attendance. Students who miss 10% or more of the required school hours may fail promotion.

The School Principal/Head Teacher may excuse absences due to the illness of the student, death in the immediate family, medical or dental appointments, prolonged family travel, or other emergencies.

Following an unexpected or unauthorized absence, the student must bring a written excuse from his parents or guardians upon return to the school. The student must be responsible for making up any required school work.

Parents/Guardians arriving after 8:15 a.m. are required to park and walk their student into the school building. All tardy students must be signed in by the parent/guardian at the office.


Student Conduct

The Adventist Christian School is concerned about the balanced development of the whole person- body, mind, and spirit – and seeks to ensure that youth receive an excellent physical, mental, moral, social, and practical education. Parents and teachers must be united in these educational goals.

For this purpose, students shall conduct themselves in accordance with the standards of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the policies, rules, and regulations of the Augusta Seventh-day Adventist School.

Students are expected to:

  1. Demonstrate respect and courtesy towards teachers, school personnel, visitors, other students, and property at all times.
  1. Obtain permission from parents or guardians and from the teacher or school principal/head teacher prior to leaving the school property for any reason.
  1. Participate in all required curricular activities as determined by the teachers and school principal/head teacher.
  1. Abide by the policies, rules, and regulations in this handbook and those enacted by the school administration.

The following are strictly forbidden:

  1. Possession or use of weapons of any kinds, alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, hazardous substances, non-prescription medication, or drugs (illegal or otherwise).
  1. Indecent, disruptive, or disorderly behavior; profane or indecorous language; and possession or use of material that is offensive or has questionable moral value as determined by the principal/head teacher.
  1. Unauthorized possession or use of laptops, tablets, audio and video recording devices or players, cell phones, or other electronic devices.
  1. Fights, scuffles, or aggressive behavior in any form (physical or verbal) even if provoked.
  1. Eating or snacking outside of appropriate times.
  1. Pets or other animals brought to the school property, except as authorized by the school principal/head teacher.
  1. Bullying or hazing of any kind (to include online activity).


Student Discipline

Discipline in the Adventist Christian School follows a conflict resolution approach which is designed to be redemptive, remedial, and corrective rather than punitive. The school seeks to help students model their behavior after the example of Jesus Christ.

The following principles govern the administration of discipline in the school:

  1. The School Principal/Head Teacher is responsible for establishing disciplinary procedures for student actions that violate the policies, rules, and regulations of the school, in compliance with the policies of the Georgia-Cumberland Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and the standards of the Seventh-day Adventist church.
  1. The School Board provides guidance in disciplinary policy or procedures, approves major disciplinary decisions, and makes recommendations to the school administration whenever a breach of conduct has occurred that is serious and is brought to the attention of the school board by the school principal/head teacher. Actions recommended by the board will be carried out under the authority of the school principal/head teacher.
  2. Acceptable discipline includes detention, suspensions, dismissal, and/or other penalties. Corporal punishment in any form is not acceptable for students in the school.
  1. The teachers or other personnel of the school handle minor misbehavior or irregularities. Teachers will establish a set of rules and penalties for student misconduct, which is approved by the school principal/head teacher and must be observed by the students. Repeated offenses will be referred to the school board.
  1. For behavior resulting in detention, suspension, or dismissal, parents/guardians will be immediately notified. Detention or suspension of a student for up to three days does not require approval of the school board. Suspension that exceeds three days or dismissal of a student will be approved by the School Board.
  1. Any serious or major violation of school rules and regulations will lead to immediate suspension. Any violation that involves physical violence or threats constitutes grounds for immediate expulsion.


Parent Teacher Conference

The teachers and School Principal/Head Teacher will regularly hold scheduled Parent-Teacher conferences during the school year to discuss each student’s scholastic progress and needs. In addition, parents or guardians may request a meeting at other times during the school year with the teachers or principal/head teacher. These meetings must be arranged beforehand and should occur outside of regular school hours.


Report Cards and Transcripts

Report cards are distributed at 9-week intervals. Parents or guardians may also receive interim progress reports. Official records will be forwarded to another school system or prospective employer at the written request of the former student or the former student’s financially responsible parent or guardian (if the student is under 18 years of age).

The School Treasurer will withhold report cards at the close of the school year if the student’s account is not paid in full. Also, the school will not forward transcripts, release records, or issue diplomas for students who owe the school. Please refer to the school financial policies or contact the school treasurer with any questions.


Dress Code

General: All uniforms must be clean and in good condition, not frayed or tattered. Pants or shorts must be fitted at the waist and shirts or blouses must be worn tucked in at the waist. 

Color Choices

  • Pants/Shorts/Skirts/Jumpers: Navy Blue or Khaki
  • Shirts: Any Solid Color Polo

Jewelry

  • Adventist Christian School emphasizes natural beauty and simplicity as a reflection of God's creation. Earrings, rings, necklaces, and bracelets are not allowed in our school or at any school-sponsored activities.

Shirts

  • Short-sleeve or long sleeve – Knit polo shirt with three-button placket and flat knit ribbed cuffs.

Pants

  • Flat front pleated or double-knee pants.

Shorts

  • Knee-length shorts either flat front or pleated.

Socks

  • Solid color to match outfit.

Shoes

  • Required at all times, must be clean, in good condition and appropriate for gender. Tennis shoes must be worn for P.E.

Headdress

  • Headbands, ribbons, and bows for girls are allowed. Hats, scarves, and bandanas are prohibited inside the school building.

Belt and straps

  • If worn, must be secured at the waist and it must buckle.

Sweaters

  • When required due to weather, a solid-color pullover v -neck, crew neck sweater, ribbed sweater vest or flat v -neck cardigan is acceptable.

Coats and Jackets

  • Solid colored coats and jackets are permitted outdoors during cold weather months, but prohibited inside the school.

Performance Attire

  • White dress shirts, black dress pants (or skirts for girls), and black dress shoes.
  • Every school performance follows our dress code. 

Exceptions to the dress-code must be approved in advance by Principal/Head Teacher.

P.E. Uniform

  • Knee-length shorts and tennis shoes.


Internet Acceptable Use Policy

The school administration recognizes the importance of providing opportunities for students to access the internet and use it as a learning tool. However, the risks from exposure to unsuitable material and/or correspondence with indecent individuals mandates strict rules be enforced for students who use the internet. The Georgia-Cumberland Conference of Seventh-day Adventists has adopted an Internet Acceptable Use Policy to be enforced in the school.

All students who access the internet from our school computers must read, sign, and abide by rules outlined in the Internet Acceptable Use Policy agreement. Parents/ guardians must also read and sign the document, by which they consent to the use of the internet by the student.

Internet Acceptable Use Policy agreements are organized by grades Pre-Kindergarten to 2nd, 3rd to 6th, and 7th to 8th.


Medical and Safety Information

All new students require a recent medical examination (within 3 months of enrollment), as do students entering 4th and 7th grades (Georgia Form 3300). All students must also have current immunization records (Georgia Form 3231). Exemptions for immunizations are allowed for medical reasons or based on religious beliefs. However, for a child to be exempt from immunizations on religious grounds, the parent or guardian must furnish the school with a notarized affidavit stating that immunization conflicts with his or her religious beliefs.

The school principal/head teacher must be informed of any medical conditions that may affect the performance of the student, including the use of prescription medication.

School personnel should not assist in administering medication to students unless the parent requests such assistance in writing and a doctor provides written instruction. The parents or guardians of the student must sign a form authorizing teachers to dispense both prescription and non-prescription medication.

School personnel is equipped to handle only minor emergencies. In the event of an emergency or major injury, 911 will be called. The principal/head teacher may send a student home who is ill, in need of medical attention, or is considered a health risk to others. Children who have had a fever must be free of their fever for at least 24 hours before returning to school.

The school makes provisions for adequate student accident coverage. Our school is required to conduct regular fire, tornado, and other emergency drills in accordance with local and state laws. Regular safety inspections of all school facilities and properties are conducted.


Asbestos Management Plan

The inspection and management plan for Asbestos-Containing-Building-Materials required by the Federal Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act has been performed for this facility. The management plan has been submitted to the state for review and approval, and a copy is on file at the school office, and is available for public inspection upon reasonable notice. No asbestos was used in the construction or is used in the maintenance of the school building.


Student Off-Campus Activities

Advance notices will be sent home informing parents or guardians of any trip that would take the student away from school property. Consent forms must be signed and returned by a parent/guardian prior to the scheduled off-campus activities. Parents of pre-kindergarten students must transport and chaperon their child if they wish to attend the off-campus activities.


Lunch

Students should bring their own lunches, which should provide a balanced, nutritious meal for proper growth and development. Hot lunches may be available for purchase. Lunches will be billed on your monthly statement.


Personal Property

Students, parents, guardians, or visitors who bring personal property or effects to the school are solely responsible for these items. The school is not liable for loss or damage to personal property.


Visitors

The school welcomes visitors who wish to observe students and teachers during regular school hours. Visits must be brief, unobtrusive, and visitors must register with the school office before entering a classroom.

Visitors must obtain permission from a teacher at least one day prior to visiting to the school. An adult must accompany any children who visit the school.

The school expects visitors to abide by the rules and regulations of the Adventist Christian School during their visit. The Church and School facilities are private property and the Church Pastor and or School Principal/Head Teacher have the right to ask that a visitor leave the school grounds for any reason.


Implementation and Enforcement of Policies, Rules, and Regulations

The Adventist Christian School reserves the right to formulate, implement, and enforce the policies, rules and regulations that govern the school, through the actions of the school administration, the school principal/head teacher, and the school board. The school is guided by the principles of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the policies of the Georgia-Cumberland Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

To assure safe and proper operation of the school, the administration and the board may enact policies, rules, and regulations throughout the course of the school year, which shall have the full force and effect of those previously enacted.


Conflict Resolution Procedure

Parents or guardians must follow these procedures in sequence to resolve grievances and complaints that pertain to school teachers or personnel:

  1. The complainant should individually meet with the teacher or personnel member to attempt to resolve the complaint or grievance. These should not be discussed with any other party under any circumstances.
  1. If the complaint or grievance remains unresolved after meeting with the teacher or personnel member, the complainant should discuss these concerns with the School Principal/Head Teacher. A meeting with the three parties should be arranged. The Principal/Head Teacher will chair the meeting and must keep minutes of the meeting for review by all parties at the completion of the meeting and for documentation at the school office.
  1. If the complaint or grievance involves the School Principal/Head Teacher, the School Board Chair facilitates the meeting and notifies the Office of Education of the Georgia-Cumberland Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
  2. If the complainant or grievance remains unresolved after the meeting between the three parties, the complainant should appeal to the school board in writing. At this juncture, the Office of Education will be directly involved, and a representative invited to attend the school board meeting.
  3. All parties, including the complainant and the teacher or personnel member will be invited to the school board meeting in Executive session. Both parties will have the opportunity to state their position, discuss the issues pertaining to the complaint or grievance, and express how they propose to resolve the conflict.
  4. When the Board Chair determines that both parties and Board members have fully addressed their concerns, the parties will be dismissed. The school board will then proceed to fully discuss the issues presented and render a decision. The board chair will inform both parties, verbally and in writing, of the decisions and actions taken by the school board.
  5. If any of the parties involved are not satisfied with the decisions or actions taken by the school board, they must notify the school board chair in writing, clearly stating reasons for dissatisfaction. The chair will consult the Conference Office of Education for direction.