GMA General Policies
Gwynedd-Mercy Academy is accredited by the Middle States Association and holds membership in the National Catholic Education Association and in the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Gwynedd-Mercy Academy does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national or ethnic origin or in its admission or employment practices. Sexual harassment is unacceptable conduct and will not be tolerated. All employees and students are responsible for ensuring that this school is free from all forms of sexual harassment. Gwynedd-Mercy Academy has developed an AIDS policy in relation to the admission and continued attendance of students, and to the employment of administration, faculty and staff. The policy is available in the school office.
Below are highlights from the GMA Parent Student Handbook available on ParentsWeb (Renweb) portal at the onset of the school year to all families. Complete and more detailed policy information is included in the Handbook.
GMA Parent Student Handbook (22-23)
- GMA Parent Student Handbook Distribution
- Academic Responsibilities and Policies
- Behavior and Discipline Code
- Cell Phone Policy for Students
- Communication with Parents
- Dress Code and Personal Appearance
- Dress Down Day Guidelines
- Early Closings
- Emergency Contact System K12 Alerts
- Fire and Security Drills
- Health Policies
- Honor Code and Witness to Mercy Anti-Bullying Policy
- Inclement Weather Cancellations, Delays, and Emergency Conditions
- School Pictures and Photography
- Personal Property Inspection
- Security Camera Policy
- Student Supervision
- Technology Guidelines
- Uniform Code
- Visitors and Volunteers - Parent Clearances
GMA Parent Student Handbook Distribution
The Parent/Student Handbook provide parents/guardians and students with important information about school policies and procedures. It also delineates school regulations which are contracted between the school and its parents/guardians and students. It is available on the ParentsWeb (RenWeb) portal upon login and it is the responsibility of parents and students to be aware of the information within.
Academic Responsibilities and Policies
Academic Honors are acknowledged at the end of each trimester and at the end of the school year for students in grades 4-8. Distinguished Honors are awarded to those students who have received a final grade of 95 or above in all major subject areas, with no grade lower than a “VG” in all enrichment areas. Academic Honors are awarded to those students in each homeroom who have received a final grade of 90 or above in all major subject areas, with no grade lower than a “G” in all enrichment areas.
All children need to develop confidence in their abilities and a positive attitude toward learning. Children are graded according to their achievement levels. Report cards are issued three times a year and posted in RenWeb, our school information system. Students in K-3 receive Progress Reports midway through each trimester. Grades for students in 4-8 are accessible in real-time throughout the school year through Schoology, Gwynedd-Mercy Academy’s learning management system. Parent-teacher-student conferences are scheduled midway through the first and second trimesters to discuss academic progress. At all levels, when a faculty member or parent feels it advisable, a conference can be arranged to discuss the progress of a student.
ASSESSMENT AND TESTING
Assessment and testing are means to determine the progress of each student as well as the effectiveness of the academic program. Varying forms of student assessment, such as observation, subject matter tests, homework assignments and research projects, in conjunction with the results of the TerraNova standardized testing for grades 2-7, provide a valid assessment of each child’s ability and progress. TerraNova tests are given during one week in the spring on dates specified by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Assessment and testing results are utilized extensively by our faculty and Dean of Academic Affairs to enhance the student learning process.
BOOKS AND MATERIALS
Gwynedd-Mercy Academy issues books and supplemental materials are distributed on Book Day and the first days of school. Some supplied books and materials are the property of the school. Books must be covered and carried to and from school in a book bag. Books lost or destroyed must be paid for by the student. Book bags on wheels are discouraged.
CONCERNED STATUS AND ACADEMIC PROBATION (GRADES 4-8)
Students who experience academic difficulties will be closely monitored. When the level of difficulty appears to place a student in jeopardy of falling below acceptable standards, they will be placed either on Concerned Status, or if the situation is more serious, Academic Probation. Any exceptions must be approved by the Dean of Academic Affairs, and these exceptions will be documented. However, neither Concerned Status nor Academic Probation will appear on a student’s official transcript.
Guidelines for Concerned Status:
A student may be placed on Concerned Status when their cumulative average for any class falls below a 70 at any time during an individual grading period.
When a student is placed on Concerned Status:
- Parents will be notified by the subject area teacher.
- The School Counselor and/or Learning Support Teacher will identify supports to assist the student if requested.
Guidelines for Academic Probation:
A student may be placed on Academic Probation when their cumulative average for any class that the student has been placed on Concerned Status has not been raised to a 70 or above by progress report conferencing or when marks close for the trimester (whichever comes first).
When a student is placed on Academic Probation:
- Parents will receive written notification from the school.
- The student will schedule regular meeting times with the School Counselor and/or Learning Support teacher to develop a plan, receive support, and monitor progress.
- Students on Academic Probation will be removed from all school activities and school sports for a period of 2 weeks. After this time, if the student’s grades have improved, they will be permitted to resume all school activities and school sports.
- Academic Probation lasts until the next reporting period.
Gwynedd-Mercy Academy provides a quality education through a comprehensive and integrated curriculum that is aligned with National Standards in all core-curricular areas. Individual student learning styles are recognized and addressed in a multi-sensory environment. Students are actively engaged in the learning process and are challenged to apply higher-order thinking skills as they compose, create, experiment, and discover. Gwynedd-Mercy Academy fosters a learning environment that supports all learners. Diversity in learning is supported by differentiated instruction, small group support, and a partnership with school and home.
Gwynedd-Mercy Academy believes in the value of independent study, good study skills, self-discipline, and the reinforcement of material introduced in class. Homework is considered an important part of Gwynedd-Mercy Academy’s academics. Students are expected to complete their assignments in a timely fashion. Parents may check homework assignments through Schoology. Concerns regarding homework should be directed to the teacher.
Scheduling time wisely and purposeful planning are very important skills. Students are encouraged to use their daily assignment books. If a student is involved in extracurricular activities, including but not limited to evening practices or games that runs late, they are still expected to keep up with assignments.
LEARNING DIFFERENCES POLICY
Some students have diagnosed learning differences that necessitate accommodations to the regular academic program. Our intent is to have an accurate assessment of strengths, to understand areas of weakness, and to discover each student’s individual student’s ability. With this critical information, a helpful accommodation plan can be established that will potentially enhance the student’s learning process.
It is the expectation of Gwynedd-Mercy Academy that parents/guardians are forthcoming with an identified learning difference diagnosis of their child.
Conferences are scheduled twice a year in the middle of the first and second trimester for parents/guardians and students to review progress and discuss concerns. Pre-K and kindergarten students do not accompany parents for the first scheduled conferences. Other than the first Pre-K and kindergarten conferences, all students are required to attend. Third trimester conferences are planned upon teacher or parent request.
Plagiarism is strictly prohibited. To avoid plagiarism, a student must credit the sources used when writing an essay, research paper, or other assignment in accordance with the appropriate style manual or format required by the teacher. Students are urged to seek out any faculty member for help with questions about plagiarism.
Examples of Plagiarism
- Word-for-Word Plagiarism
- While a writer may add some words of their own, the original words are copied directly without credit
- Plagiarism by Paraphrase
- The writer takes the original ideas, puts them in their own words, but does not credit the source of the ideas
- Mosaic Plagiarism
- The writer embeds words or phrases of someone else within their own wording
SPARKNOTES OR CLIFF NOTES
The use of SparkNotes, Cliff Notes, or other study guides of similar intent, instead of reading the assigned text, is prohibited unless authorized by the teacher assigning the work.
RenWeb (www.renweb.com) is our online school information database software system. In addition to containing important student and family database information, RenWeb hosts report cards, important school forms, and an archive of the year’s Mercy Memos. Registration for first time users is required. The school access code is: GMAE-PA.
Schoology (www.gmaelem.schoology.com) is our learning management system to facilitate instruction. Homework, lesson plans, assessments, projects, and grades are updated by each teachers. Each parent is expected to visit this site for student assignments and classroom announcements as needed. Students will access Schoology using their GMA Google credentials.
As Mercy educators we believe in providing a well-rounded and enriched educational experience for our students. We believe in educating life-long learners who are confident in their abilities and eager to work towards success in and out of the classroom. Therefore, we work to enroll children who we believe will thrive in our academic environment, developing skills and building a strong sense of self-confidence.
In order to determine a student’s candidacy, we utilize a myriad of criteria. The requirements for admission are included on the school’s website and updated with regularity. Admission criteria includes, but is not limited to:
- Formal application
- Teacher recommendation form(s) and potential conversation with previous school(s)
- Previous school transcripts, including report cards, standardized tests, and student attendance records
- School screening completed by a licensed psychologist
- School visit and family interview
Gwynedd-Mercy Academy Elementary reserves the right to deny admission or future enrollment based on academic or social-emotional needs for any non-discriminatory reason.
Prompt and regular attendance in all classes is an integral part of a student’s performance in school and essential for the development of personal responsibility and for continuous growth in the student’s learning process. Students are expected to be present and on time on all school days designated on the calendar. Students will not be released from school during the regular school day without prior written request from the parent, except in cases of injury, illness, or another emergency.
Attendance is important for all students. Personal development and academic success are related to regular school attendance. A parent must notify the school by 9:00 AM on the morning of the absence with a telephone call or an email to email@example.com, or beforehand with a note AND follow up with a formal written note to the homeroom teacher when the child returns. The note is kept on file with the homeroom teacher. In case of frequent absences, a doctor’s note may be requested before admitting the student to class. If a child is absent, please refer to Schoology. When students accumulate ten or more absences in a trimester, their records will receive administrative review.
APPOINTMENTS DURING THE SCHOOL DAY
Parents are urged to arrange doctor and dental appointments on school holidays or after school. If this is impossible, written notice must be sent to the office and the homeroom teacher by the date of the appointment, indicating the time the student must be dismissed from class. Children should arrive at the office at the time designated on the note, and will be dismissed to the parent or designated person. A written note including the date, time and name of the person authorized to pick up is also required from the parent if someone other than the parent or guardian is picking up the child before dismissal. The authorized person will need to present a valid ID, such as a driver’s license, at pickup.
EARLY PICK UP
Parents/guardians picking up their children prior to normal dismissal should send a note or email early in the morning to their child’s homeroom teacher and the main office (MainOffice@GMAelem.org) indicating time and reason for early dismissal. Should an emergency arise during the school day necessitating a change in transportation, communication must be in writing or via email to the homeroom teacher and main office as well. For security reasons, phone calls cannot be accepted. Parents may park in the front of the school, ring the bell to announce arrival, and wait at the door for your children to come out to you. NO EARLY PICKUPS WILL BE PERMITTED AFTER 2:30 PM.
Parents who drive their children to school are asked to drop the children off between 7:45 AM and 8:10 AM as students are expected to be in their classrooms by 8:15 AM. Parents who arrive with their child(ren) after 8:10 AM (faculty and staff are no longer outside) should park at the B door in carline circle and accompany their child into the building and down to the main office to sign in. If a bus arrives late, students should go directly to their homeroom and inform their teacher. Children who are late have a difficult time starting the day in a calm, prepared way.
Regular school days begin at 8:15 AM and end at 3:10 PM. Noon dismissal days end at 12:00 PM. Carline dismissal will begin at 3:10 PM.
Family trips for business or pleasure are strongly discouraged during the school term. Students should refer to Schoology to complete homework responsibilities during their absences. Upon return to school, the student must present the completed work, signed by the parent, to the teacher(s). Students are responsible for test make-up and assignments and projects missed.
Behavior and Discipline Code
Students are expected to maintain appropriate behavior, general civility, and decency at all times, both on and off campus. A school’s function is to educate and intellectually challenge its students while promoting courtesy, consideration, and an atmosphere of friendliness and concern. Students and teachers should always respect the rights, feelings, belongings, and safety of others. Showing care and decency towards others ensures atmosphere in which all individuals can benefit fully from being a member of the Gwynedd-Mercy Academy community.
The following are areas in which students shall take responsibility for their behavior:
- Abide by the Honor Code
- Abide by the Technology Guidelines as found in the Acceptable Use Policy
- Abide by all required health and safety protocols to support the safety of the Gwynedd-Mercy Academy campus.
- Make guests feel welcome
- Give undivided attention when attending assemblies, liturgies, and prayer services
- Behaving appropriately in the hallways, during lunchtime, and while using all school campus facilities, both inside and outside
- Behavior off school grounds should reflect the ideals of Gwynedd-Mercy Academy and the Sisters of Mercy
Students who attend Gwynedd-Mercy Academy must exhibit a truly Christian attitude rooted in respect for others and self. Through self-discipline, a student refrains from behavior that would disrupt or hinder the learning atmosphere of the school. Gwynedd-Mercy Academy incorporates a discipline code in order to respond with consistency to discipline issues that occur within the school setting. Discipline is enforced in order to help the student change an unacceptable behavior to an acceptable one. Parental cooperation and support for the teachers are essential.
The Dean of Student Affairs provides direction and oversight of the Student Code of Conduct. For serious disciplinary offenses, the Dean of Student Affairs will consult with the Head of School and may consult with the Grade Level Teams. Parents will be notified of any significant action taken. A Discipline System is used for policy infractions.
Cell Phone Policy for Students
In respect for the need to safeguard what has become an important line of communication between students and parents in the event of an emergency, we allow students to bring cell phones to school. However, in respect for the need to safeguard the rights of others as well as the need to maintain an effective learning environment, cell phones may not be on or visible during the school day.
The Gwynedd-Mercy Academy student cell phone policy, which applies to any personal electronic communication devices including cell phones, Pocket PCs, smart watches, etc., is as follows:
- Cell phones must be turned OFF and shall not be visible from the time the student arrives on school property until they leave at the end of the day, which includes all after school programming.
- Smart watches and/similar devices should be set to airplane mode.
- If a student is involved in an after-school activity such as CARES, sports, clubs, etc. special permission must be granted by the supervising adult to place a call from a student device.
- Cell phones must be kept in a student’s backpack or locker for the school day.
- A violation of this policy will result in consequences appropriate to the violation which include demerits, detention, or suspension.
Communication with Parents
The faculty of Gwynedd-Mercy Academy are experienced professionals and consider themselves partners with parents in their child’s education. Mutual respect is essential and good communication is indispensable. If at any time parents would like to discuss any aspect of the child’s development, please contact the teacher through email or call the office directly to leave a message. Teachers will respond within one business day as they are in the classroom during school hours
Written notes, signed by the parents or an email are required for the following (for security reasons, phone calls are prohibited):
- Absence from school
- Early dismissal
- Field trips
- Changing the usual transportation home
Communications from school are conveyed via Mercy Memos, which are emailed to parents on each Wednesday. It is expected that parents will carefully review all school emails, including the Mercy Memo, and respond if required. In order to ensure that all parents receive complete school communication, it is very important that parents keep Gwynedd-Mercy Academy informed concerning family contact changes throughout the year. Please notify the Gwynedd-Mercy Academy Help Desk, of any email, address or phone number changes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The GMA School Directory, known as the “Yellow Book,” lists school and family addresses, email addresses and phone numbers. Homeroom information is listed in the back of the book for quick reference. The directory is sponsored by the Parents’ Organization and is sent to families in early fall. The directory information is compiled solely for the convenience of parents, students, and faculty and is not to be used for any other commercial, philanthropic or organizational purposes.
Dress Code and Personal Appearance
Students are to be well groomed and in proper school dress everywhere on campus throughout the school day. The school day begins when a student enters the building. The school day ends at 3:10 PM.
Regular school dress requirements/prohibitions are as follows:
- Clothing should be in good repair with no rips, holes, or unfinished hemlines
- The ensemble should be reasonably free of wrinkles
- Students are expected to wear the approved Gwynedd-Mercy Academy uniform with a visible belt, visible socks, tights, and proper shoes
- All students should tuck shirts in so that belts are visible for boys and skirt waistbands for girls (grades 3-8)
- During summer uniform timeframes, students may wear approved winter uniform attire, i.e. Gwynedd-Mercy Academy embroidered sweaters and/or blazers
- Caps, hats, or hoods may not be worn inside buildings
- Clothing depicting alcohol, tobacco, drugs, or other objectionable material is prohibited
- Facial hair, body piercing, and tattoos are not allowed (religious exemptions must be approved by the Head of School)
- Students in violation of the Dress Code will receive demerits
Dress Down Day Guidelines
On occasion the GMA students will have a “Dress Down Day” for purposes of school-wide fundraising or celebrations. On “Dress Down Days” students may wear clothing other than their uniform. Clothing must be school-appropriate and students must adhere to the following dress code rules:
- Follow the theme of the dress down day
- Jeans, sweat pants, long pants, and Capri-length pants are permitted
- Leggings and form-fitting pants must be worn with a longer top of at least fingertip length
- If shorts are worn, they must be the GMA uniform khaki shorts or the GMA uniform gym shorts.
- Writing and images on clothing must be school-appropriate
- No flip-flops or sandals.
- Backless slip-on shoes or sandals, slippers, and Crocs are not acceptable footwear during school hours at any time including Dress Down Days.
IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT EACH CHILD KNOWS HIS OR HER PLAN FOR GOING HOME IN THE EVENT OF AN UNEXPECTED EARLY DISMISSAL (for example, inclement weather).
Any change in the normal transportation home should be sent to the homeroom teacher in writing that morning. Each child should know whether to:
1. GO HOME ON THE BUS. Child should know the family plan—e.g. parent is at home or key is hidden or go to neighbor, etc.
2. WAIT AT SCHOOL FOR PARENT TO PICK UP.
If a situation necessitates early dismissal, K12 Alerts, a telephone messaging system, will be activated for each family. A voice message is sent to all families simultaneously. Students who would normally go home in car line may be picked up at any time. We will announce any early school closings on the GMA website (www.gmaelem.org).
Emergency Contact System K12 Alerts
Parents will receive information via K12 Alerts, our automated notification system implemented to inform families of delayed openings, school closings due to inclement weather, or other emergency information. Parents much register their preferred contact information at to receive messages.
- K12 Alerts is GMA’s automated emergency notification system. This system sends text and voice messages to all emergency contacts registered within K12 Alerts. This system is tested at least once at the beginning of each year. Outside of testing, it will only be utilized in emergency and/or inclement weather situations. Following the annual test, it is the parent’s responsibility to notify the school office if any of the methods of communication do not reach them.
Steps to Follow:
- Announcements will be sent to each family's phone number that you provide to K12 Alerts.
- All GMA families must complete the K12 Alerts sign up process in order to be notified of emergencies or school closings. Parents and guardians may choose to receive text messages, phone calls and/or email notifications.
- Click on the K12 Alerts logo to set up, add or change any of your notification telephone numbers or would like to add an e-mail address.
- If you have any questions about the K12 Alerts notification system, please contact email@example.com.
Fire and Security Drills
Emergency drills for fire and security are conducted at regular intervals throughout the year. Directions are reviewed with the faculty and students and procedures for the drill are posted in the school. Students are to follow the instructions of the teachers in a quick, quiet, and orderly manner. All visitors on campus at the time of a drill are expected to participate fully, following all procedures as instructed by staff and faculty.
Honor Code and Witness to Mercy Anti-Bullying Policy
The Gwynedd-Mercy Academy ideal is that each student lives as a responsible person – one whose word is their bond, whose work is always their own, and around whom the property of others is safe. Lying, cheating, and stealing have no place at Gwynedd-Mercy Academy. Gwynedd-Mercy Academy uses an honor system to impart its Honor Code. Students are expected to lead by personally reinforcing the core values of the Sisters of Mercy. The Honor Code was conceived to promote an environment of mutual trust and respect. Truth, honor, and integrity in all intellectual, athletic, and social endeavors are expected.
Upon enrollment, each student accepts personal responsibility for this Honor Code:
- Students will tell the truth and will not mislead others
- Students will ensure that the work submitted is original and that they will neither give nor receive unauthorized assistance in academic work
- Students will respect the property of others and ensure that it remains safe for their use
- Students will do all in their power to support the community of trust embodied in this Honor Code, and conduct themselves with respect to the values of the Sisters of Mercy
The Honor Code governs all Gwynedd-Mercy Academy students at all times and in all places. Student conduct in these areas governed by the Honor Code must conform to the following:
- Lying: In any instance in which a student is asked a question, they are on their honor to tell the truth (Deliberate verbal or written falsification is a form of lying and is, therefore, a violation of the code, as is deliberately allowing a false assumption to be drawn)
- Stealing: Students are on their honor not to steal, as no student has the right to take or use anything which is not theirs without the express consent of the owner (“Borrowing” without permission may be considered stealing, and this aspect of the Honor Code applies to stealing at any time, either on campus or off)
- Cheating: Students are on their honor neither to give nor to receive any unauthorized information in any form of school work where credit is earned or lost
- Plagiarism: Plagiarism is a form of cheating and is often a difficult concept for some students (Students must give credit on all writing assignments for work that is not exclusively their own -- whether that work is specifically quoted or paraphrased)
- Computer Misuse: Honor violations involving misuse of technology encompass some components of all of the above; in general, students should not do anything with their computer resources that would constitute lying, stealing, or cheating (Specifically, students may not electronically misrepresent who they are, send email that deliberately conceals their identity, or borrow passwords, files or documents from other students without their permission)
- Condoning: Students are expected to do all in their power to support the community of trust embodied in the Honor Code and will not condone violations of the Code by others
The Honor Pledge for all assignments is:
“This work is my own. I have neither given nor received any unauthorized help.”
If a student violates the Honor Code, their parents/guardians will be notified of the incident, and the student may receive other penalties depending upon the individual case and the severity of the infraction.
WITNESS TO MERCY ANTI-BULLYING POLICY
Gwynedd-Mercy Academy has established an anti-bullying policy. Gwynedd-Mercy Academy believes that every child should enjoy school and feel safe, secure, and accepted and that every child is a gift from God and made in God’s image. Christian behavior is expected from all students at all times.
Bullying is defined as repeatedly and purposely trying to harm someone physically, socially, emotionally, and/or spiritually. Bullying is unfair and one-sided. Bullying decreases self-esteem and increases stress and anxiety.
Examples of bullying could include, but are not limited to:
- Hurting someone physically by hitting, kicking, tripping, pushing, etc.
- Stealing or damaging another person’s things
- Ganging up on someone
- Teasing someone in a hurtful way through words, gestures, or actions
- Using put-downs, such as insulting someone’s race, culture, gender, creed, size, appearance, or intelligence
- Inappropriate touching
- Spreading rumors about someone
- Leaving someone out on purpose or trying to get other children to exclude someone
WITNESS TO MERCY
Gwynedd-Mercy Academy students will be taught to do the following things to be Witnesses to Mercy and to prevent bullying:
- Be respectful, safe, and responsible
- Refuse to bully others
- Refuse to let others be bullied
- Refuse to watch, laugh, or join in when someone is being bullied
- Report bullying to an adult
Gwynedd-Mercy Academy faculty and staff will do the following things to prevent bullying and help students feel safe at school:
- Teach the steps necessary to be a Witness to Mercy
- Closely supervise students in all areas of the school and playground
- Watch for signs of bullying and stop it when it happens
- Investigate all reported bullying incidents
- Implement immediate consequences for bullying
- If there is retaliation against students who report bullying, serious disciplinary actions will be taken
Inclement Weather Cancellations, Delays, and Emergency Conditions
The safety of our students is our prime concern when deciding to close school due to weather conditions. When unsafe weather conditions necessitate the closing of GMA for the day, a decision will be made as early as possible. If school is closed, there will be no CARES, sports, or after school activities that day.
- Parents will receive information via K12 Alerts, our automated notification system implemented to inform families of delayed openings, school closings due to inclement weather, or other emergency information. This information is also posted on the GMA WEBSITE homepage.
- For bus transportation in the event of a delayed opening, please follow your school district's schedule. Each school district has a website, available through a link at www.gmaelem.org/transport.
- If GMA is open and your district is closed, no transportation will be provided by the district. It is up to the parents’/guardians’ discretion as to whether or not to transport their child(ren). A child who misses school on such a day will be marked with an excused absence due to inclement weather.
- If GMA begins two hours late and your school district begins at its regular time, the district will not be able to transport your child two hours late. If, however, a bus were to arrive at school at the regular time, staff would be present to supervise the children.
- If GMA opens on time and your district is two hours late, your child’s bus will come two hours late. In this case, your child’s lateness will not be penalized. A list of school district websites is available at www.gmaelem.org/transport.
In the event that a situation creates an emergency condition at GMA, the following procedures are followed:
If possible, all families, faculty, and staff will be informed through K12 Alerts of the reason for the emergency condition, the current situation at the school, and the safe location of the students.
If the campus is determined to be the safest location, parents will be notified that students will remain at the school until they can be picked up by a parent/guardian or by someone you have previously designated on the students’ emergency forms.
If the campus is determined to not be a safe location, emergency contacts will be notified that students have been evacuated with the faculty and staff to a safe location and where that location is.
School Pictures and Photography
Students will have school pictures taken during the first trimester. All students must wear winter uniforms. This picture will be used for the yearbook. The basic school picture package is part of Gwynedd-Mercy Academy’s fee-inclusive tuition. Student images are utilized at the discretion of the school and that the primary intent of publishing photos or names is to publicize the service, work and accomplishments of the students as well as market the school to prospective families. It is not our practice to identify students’ photographs with their last names in web-based applications. Parents who decline to give permission for their children's images to be published in school communications, newsletters, newspapers, on the school website, the school’s social media channels and in other publications, should email photos@GMAelem.org to obtain a Photo Permission Declination Form.
Personal Property Inspection
Any personal property (e.g. backpacks, electronics) brought onto school property may be examined if there is a reasonable and individualized suspicion concerning safety or misuse of technology. All school property is subject to search at any time. This also includes students’ personal electronic devices that are brought onto campus that utilize the school’s resources. For more information, refer to the Internet and Social Media Usage section of this handbook.
Security Camera Policy
Gwynedd-Mercy Academy uses security cameras on campus for the purpose of enhancing campus safety and security. Video recordings are to be used for School-related, internal purposes only. Video will not be provided to any parent, student, or third party absent of a court obligation to do so. The school has the authority to provide law enforcement access to video feeds in an emergency situation. Signage concerning the use of cameras is posted on campus. Security cameras are only installed in public areas. These areas include but are not limited to fields, hallways, classrooms, courts, entrances and exits to the campus, and parking lots. Security camera usage is prohibited in any space where there is reasonable expectation of privacy, which includes restrooms and locker rooms. No sound is to be monitored or recorded. All video recordings are the sole property of Gwynedd-Mercy Academy.
Gwynedd-Mercy Academy offers Internet access for students, teachers, and staff. The Internet offers information and resources otherwise unavailable to our school. The Internet is a necessity in supporting our curriculum goals and is an integral part of our instructional program for all teachers and students. The goals of Internet access are:
1. To support curriculum standards
2. To enhance learning opportunities and instructional resources
3. To promote lifelong learning
Students will be monitored when the Internet is used during class. Under the direction of the IT Department, Gwynedd-Mercy Academy will continue to utilize filtering software to block students' access to inappropriate websites.
It is the expectation of Gwynedd-Mercy Academy that the Internet is used in a responsible, efficient, ethical, and legal manner by all members of the school community and is used in support of the school’s educational objectives and the student behavior guidelines. Transmission of any material in violation of any federal or state regulation is prohibited. Unacceptable uses include, but are not limited to, the following: violating copyright laws, reposting (forwarding) a person’s communications without the author's prior consent, and using threatening or inappropriate language.
Users must abide by network etiquette rules. These rules include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Be polite; rudeness is never acceptable
- Use appropriate language
- Do not reveal your personal address or telephone number or those of anyone else
With the rise of national issues related to text messaging, emails, cell phones, social networking sites, and parties at individual homes, it is necessary to clarify the responsibility of the school in regards to discipline and liability. Gwynedd-Mercy Academy is responsible for the safety of each child while at school and/or at a school-sponsored event. If there is an incident involving a threat, danger, or illegal activity involving your child outside of the school and/or school-sponsored event, it is the responsibility of the parent to bring the threat, danger, or illegal activity to the attention of the parents of the child(ren) involved, as well as reporting it to the proper legal authority. The school and/or employees are not responsible or liable for any issues or problems between students that occur outside of school.
Students and/or parents do not have permission to place school images, logos, pictures, and/or photographs (i.e. students in uniform, etc.) on any social networking site or personal website, which are contrary to our Mercy Charism and values. Parents should be checking their children’s emails, text messages, social media, and personal websites on a regular basis to ensure child safety and security.
It is essential that all students know before coming to school how they will go home. For the safety and security of your child(ren), phone calls making changes during the day cannot be accepted. Emails or faxes with identifying parent information may be acceptable in the case of an emergency.
Parent Transportation - If you are dropping off or picking up your child, always use car line, dropping off and picking up at the sidewalk area beside the circular driveway behind the school. Car Line is the line of cars for morning drop off and pick up that passes through the circle to the rear of the building.
- Please pull around the car line circle as far as possible when dropping off children in order to make room for other vehicles and to keep the traffic flowing.
- Please pull up to the curb so the children can stay on the sidewalk when they go to and from the building. Please use the entire sidewalk by driving all the way around to the end of the circle.
- Never pass another car in car line, unless otherwise directed by a GMA staff member.
- For the safety of the students, please do not walk your child(ren) to or from the school building in the midst of the bus and car traffic.
- Parents are asked to use the family name signs provided on Book Day for the afternoon car line.
- If parents are visiting the school first thing in the morning or during dismissal, children should be dropped off and picked up in car line.
- To alleviate car line congestions at the back entrance of the campus, parents are encouraged make a right turn on to Bethlehem Pike whenever possible.
- Remember when waiting in carline, buses have the right-of-way as they enter and exit.
It is requested that Gwynedd-Mercy students arrive in the morning between 7:45 and 8:10 AM. This allows time for students to unpack and be in their seats by 8:15 AM when prayers and announcements begin. Any student who is not in homeroom by 8:15 AM will be marked late. Students are dismissed at 3:10 PM.
If you arrive before 7:45 AM, please wait with your child in your car until the supervising teachers arrive at 7:45 AM. Students can be dropped off no earlier than 7:45 AM unless attending morning CARES Parents who drop their children off after 8:10 AM are requested to park in car line, enter through the “B” door, accompany their children to sign in at the Main Office.
Bus Transportation - Bus transportation is provided for each student by the public school district in which the student resides. Names of students are sent to the districts so that routes can be established. Bus routes are printed in local newspapers and on your school district website at the end of August.
- Each school district honors private school transportation requests for early dismissals equal to the same number provided to the public schools in that district.
- School districts do not transport students who do not reside within their boundaries. Parents must provide transportation for students visiting a student in another district.
- Students are expected to follow bus safety rules at all times. Safety rules are handed out to each student on Book Day. In cases of frequent misbehavior, students may be denied bus privileges. Students may ride only the bus of the school district in which they reside.
CHILDREN MAY NEVER WALK BETWEEN PARKED BUSES, EVEN WITH A PARENT, AS THIS IS VERY DANGEROUS.
Parents should support the teachers on bus duty by reminding your child of the following:
- Do not try to pick up something dropped near the bus. The bus driver may not see you.
- Remember that other motorists do not always stop for a stopped school bus. Use extreme caution when getting on or off the bus.
- Follow the teachers’ directions for getting on and off the bus at school.
Safety hazards include long backpack straps and long, dangling jacket or sweatshirts drawstrings. These items can be caught in the bus handrail, door, or other equipment. They can also be caught in a car door. Please remove them or cut them to a safe length.
Visitors and Volunteers - Parent Clearances
Gwynedd-Mercy Academy is a closed campus. All visitors, including parents/guardians, must enter the school building by way of the front door or B door security monitored entrances. All school visitors should report to the Main Office to sign in and receive the appropriate badge. No one is to open a door for another parent or visitor as everyone must be admitted through the Main Office. Unfamiliar persons will be asked to state a reason for visiting the school before being admitted. School personnel have the authority to contact local law enforcement to remove any unwanted or unauthorized persons from the school grounds, if necessary. Parents/guardians are asked to assist the school’s security efforts by reporting anyone loitering in, on, or near the campus.
All school-sponsored activity volunteers, whether on-campus or off-campus, must have the required clearances in place.