Parent Handbook

AY 2016-17

1. Preamble

Parent Handbook of the Plymouth Meeting Tamil School of Tamil Association of Greater Delaware Valley contains general school information, regulations, and procedures. Parents are advised that some of the content may change during the school year. Parents will be informed of such changes via email by the Chief Coordinator of the Tamil school and the changes will also be posted at the school website.

2. Mission

Our Mission is to provide quality Tamil Language education for children of grade and high school geographical area. We strive to develop school-aged children with an active and creative interest in language and literature to meet the challenges of learning Tamil in the North American context.

3. Vision

Our vision is to create and maintain Tamil School that is conducive to learning of Tamil Language and engage parents and students in a structured environment. We are committed to providing exemplary learning environment embedded in a commitment to continuous quality improvement.

4. Communication with the Tamil School

The Tamil School invites parents to be an active participant in your child’s learning of Tamil. We believe that a partnership between the parents and the school enables effective education of your child

Communication and Interaction methods in our Tamil school include but are not limited to:

  • Volunteering for cultural activities
  • Volunteering for a month during an academic year (Parents volunteering as teachers and their spouses are exempt from this) to participate in activities within classroom and snack distribution
  • Participating and volunteering with other Tamil school activities

Call for participation in these activities will be communicated via email and announcements during school assembly.

Teacher Information: The email IDs and contact information of the teachers will be shared with the parents by the Chief Coordinator of the Tamil school at the beginning of the academic year.

5. Your role in your child’s education and development:

We offer the following checklist for parent’s participation that is likely to achieve superior learning outcomes for your child.

  • Regular school attendance.
  • Support efforts to maintain proper discipline at Tamil school.
  • Keep track of child’s progress on learning. Engaging conversation about the school day and the lesson taught is one way to follow progress on a regular basis.
  • Inform your Tamil school teacher of any problems outside of school that may affect the child’s learning at school.
  • Stay in communication with the classroom teacher. Attend Parent-Teacher conferences that maybe scheduled by the teacher of your child in a school year following the assessments.

6. School hours

Plymouth meeting school is conducted on selected Sundays between 2:30 PM and 5:00 PM. The dates and times and any changes to the schedule will be posted on the Tamil school website (http://www.tagdvtamilschool.org/). It is expected that the students are in their respective class rooms at the start of classes. Parents are required to send a note or an email or notify the teacher or the Chief Coordinator, if their child is to be picked up before the classes end.

  • Mazhalai to Level-2 parents are required to sign in and stay at the school while their children are in class and sign out their children. We are not responsible for children dropped off near the school entrance without signing in during drop off.
  • Schedule changes due to inclement weather or unforeseen circumstances will be posted in the school website by 11:30 AM on the day of the school.

7. Security

The Tamil School takes the required precautions to prepare for any crisis situation that may arise. Periodic drills will be conducted according to the MCCC procedures.

According to the Montgomery Community College Campus procedures guidance, the following are the recommended indoor and outdoor Emergency Assembly Areas for each building:

  • The outdoor location will be the primary EAA for the building listed below, however, in the event on inclement weather, the indoor locations should be utilized.
  • Parkhouse Hall: Primary: Quad or Fine Arts Parking Lot (3) Secondary: ATC

8. Attendance

Regular attendance is necessary for a student to maintain satisfactory progress in the Nilai (standard) they are enrolled in. Limit your child’s absences to scheduled vacations. Parents should plan vacations and trips which do not conflict with the school's instructional calendar.

When students arrive late or must leave early, valuable instruction is missed. Late arrivals and early dismissals is disruptive to other students and to the teacher.

Severe illnesses, carrying a contagious infection, religious holidays or inclement weather are considered valid excuses for absences. Parents are urged to inform the schoolteacher of their child’s absence in advance.

When a child is absent from class, it is the responsibility of the student to complete the missed class work and do the assigned homework, aided by the parents.

9. Sick Child Policy

Please do not send a child to school with a fever, or a combination of symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, pink eye, untreated head lice, persistent coughing, and difficulty in breathing from Asthma, disorientation, dizziness or any other illness as directed by a physician.

If children are sent to school with the above or similar conditions, the Chief Coordinator will contact the parent of the child, and the unwell child will be requested to taken home.

10. Transfers

Parents of students wishing to withdraw from school should contact the Chief Coordinator of the school at least two weeks prior to the last day of attendance. This allows time for completion of records and completion of the transfer form. Parents may pick up the transfer form from the Chief Coordinator on the student's last day or it may be mailed home upon request. The student’s account balance with the school should be settled prior to the transfer.

11. Conference with Teacher

Parent Conferences maybe scheduled during the school year following the assessments by the teachers. Additional conferences can be scheduled if a student is evaluated as having difficulty. The parent can also request a conference with the teacher, if the parent has any concern with regard to the child’s academic progress or any other difficulty associated with the school.

Open communication between parents and school enhances the student’s education. It is important that parents track their children’s progress on a regular basis and support all school activities. It is strongly recommended that parents attend the Parent-Teacher Conferences when requested by the teacher.

12. Snack Time

The Tamil School will have one snack break during a class day. Parents are requested to sign-up to provide one snack per school year. Everyone will be emailed at the start of the academic year providing a link to sign-up for the snack and information about the quantities will also be shared at that time by the Chief Coordinator of the Tamil school.

13. School Calendar

School calendar will be posted on the school’s website at the beginning of the school year indicating class schedule, lesson plan, special events and assessment dates.

14. Inclement Weather and School Closing

In the interest of student safety, the School Administration will close the school or dismiss early due to inclement weather. Parents will be notified via e-mail about such matters. An official notice will also be posted on the homepage of the school’s website by 11:30 AM on the day of the school.

15. Privacy

Plymouth meeting Tamil School uses student data and information in the context of educational programs. Access to such information by third parties is limited and controlled in accordance with legal rights of Personal Data Privacy. School publications or announcements may include student photo and accomplishments. If concerned parents require such information be not publically available, the parent is requested to inform the Chief Coordinator of the school.

16. Text Books and Work Books

The Tamil school provides textbooks for students for use during the school year. Students are expected to take care of the books they receive. A Homework book that is connected to the lesson plan is also provided.

17. American Tamil Academy and the Learning Management System (ATA-LMS)

Parents monitor their child’s progress through ATA-LMS portal. This is a software tool available via internet. Parents are provided with login and password at the beginning of the academic year for accessing their child’s account.

LMS is an open source Course Management System (CMS). Classroom teacher will assign homework and assignments in class and that information will be entered into ATA-LMS. Each student will have his own username and password for accessing their level specific learning materials via ATA-LMS.

Parents will be able to view information such as:

  • Homework grade
  • Attendance records
  • Students assignments
  • Missing assignments
  • Notes from your child’s teacher about assignments
  • Term scores
  • Moodle – Interactive Online Learning Source for ATA books

18. Assessment and Grading

The final grade for the academic year will be calculated based on classroom attendance, homework and the three assessments that happen over the year. The distribution of the various components towards the final grade is as follows for Mazhalai, Nilai 1, Nilai 2, Nilai 3, Nilai 4 and Nilai 6:

  • Weekly Classroom Attendance : 12 %
  • Home Work completion grade : 20 %
  • First Term Assessment Score : 22%
  • Second Term Assessment Score : 22%
  • Third Term Assessment Score : 24%

Any changes to the rubrics will be communicated to the parent via class specific lesson plan by the teacher.

19. Volunteers

Plymouth meeting Tamil School encourages volunteers in assisting in instruction as well as classroom support. Those wanting to provide instructional support, get in touch with the Chief Coordinator of the school. You may be required to attend an orientation course or a training course to qualify as an instructional aid. Classroom support does not require such a training course, but an orientation is essential. All parents are required to sign up to volunteer for one month to participate in activities within classroom and snack distribution (Parents volunteering as teachers and their spouses are exempt from this).

The signup sheet will be provided to parents during the first day of the Tamil school and also made available at the school website.

20. Religion and festivals

Plymouth meeting Tamil School recognizes all religions and faiths.

21. Money and Valuables

The school is not responsible for any moneys or valuables that student brings into Tamil School. It is strongly advised that they do not carry more than pocket change, and also devoid of golden jewelry.

22. Progress Report

Student’s Term and Annual Progress Report will be emailed or shared with parents in person. The progress report can also be accessed through LMS any time by the parent.

23. Student Nilai Placement

Students will be placed in the appropriate Nilai level or instructional program based on data that includes: Teacher evaluation, Educational and Transcript records provided by another institution and, student/teacher ratio.

24. Promotion Criteria

A student will be promoted to higher Nilai (standard) based on class room performance, academic performance as determined by test data and educational record, as well as respective teacher’s recommendation.

25. Assessments

Classroom teachers will conduct tests, class quizzes and educational games periodically. Teachers use these results to plan appropriate individual programs and group assignments. There will be three formal term exams during a school year. Exams will test the children’s ability to read, write, speak, listen and understand Tamil Language. If you have any questions or concerns regarding the above evaluation methods and the appropriateness for your child, please contact your child’s teacher. These will be shared to the parents in the syllabus for that Nilai shared by the teachers.

26. Special Needs Children

Children with learning or other disabilities will be provided with equal opportunities. A consultant specialized in special education is available for consult if a student is eligible for special accommodations. It is the responsibility of the parent to bring forth this need to the Chief coordinator. Following this, on consultation with the special needs educator (serving as a consultant), teachers and parents will collaboratively develop a customized learning plan, also known as the individualized education program (IEP), to ensure student success. The IEP articulates learning outcomes, and the parent-teacher team prepares the lesson plan appropriately. The Plymouth meeting Tamil School will make every effort within its resources to ensure the IEP implementation is successful. It is strongly suggested that the parents also seek outside professional help in supporting learning challenges the child may face.

27. Communicate the following to your child

    1. Keep noise to a minimum.

    2. When moving through the building, students should walk, not run.

    3. No fighting is permitted.

    4. Use proper and respectful language at all times.

    5. Do not cause damage to the building, equipment and materials given to you.

    6. Chewing gum is not allowed in school or on school grounds.

    7. Toy weapons, knives and other dangerous items are not permitted at school.

    8. No student is allowed to leave the school grounds without the permission of the teachers and the knowledge of a parent.

    9. Mobile phones are allowed to be used only during snack time. These will need to put away during class times.

28. Grievances and policy to express concerns regarding Plymouth Meeting Tamil School

Parents are requested to bring their concerns to the parent representative on the school board. The name and contact information for the parent representative on the school board will be posted and updated on the school’s website.

29. Concluding Remarks

If there are any other issues or concerns that should be addressed by the Plymouth meeting Tamil School, please contact the Chief Coordinator of the Tamil school. The information of the current Chief Coordinator and the administrators of Tamil school are posted on http://www.tagdvtamilschool.org/.