Just the Facts

Just the Facts-Parent Info

Prairie Crossing Elementary

Carrie Rotherham, Principal  
Kimberly Bennett, Assistant Principal                                  
11605 S. Bradbury Ranch                                     Parker, CO 80134

School Website:  https://pce.dcsdk12.org/                             303.387.8200 

District Website:  www.dcsdk12.org                                          


Parent Handbook: “just the facts...”



Inspired by our belief that each child is a unique treasure, we challenge students to develop socially, creatively and intellectually, empowering them to realize their fullest potential.



Parents are to leave a message on the 24-hour attendance line (303.387.8202) to report the absence of their child.  Parents should leave the following information:  Parent’s name, child’s name, teacher, date(s) of absence and reason for absence.   Children absent from school for five days or more or for reasons other than illness or a family emergency need to receive prior approval from the principal in order for it to be considered an excused absence  (see Homework Policy for requesting homework when absent).  Parents are encouraged to schedule vacation and/or doctor’s appointments during school breaks.  There is a significant, negative impact on a child’s education when he/she misses school or is chronically tardy.



District policy does not allow anyone visiting a school site to bring animals onto school property with the exception of guide or assistance dogs, or except as specifically authorized by the building principal or a school official.



For more detailed information on policies regarding student conduct and discipline, see Douglas County School District Codes of Conduct and Discipline (a copy of this booklet is available on the district website and must be reviewed by parents).



It is the responsibility of the parent to determine whether or not their child can safely ride a bicycle to and from school.  Bicycles must be walked on school property at all times.  They are not to be ridden on school grounds.  Locking the bicycle in the bike racks provided is the responsibility of the student.  Students must obey all safety/traffic rules when riding to and from school.  Students should always wear a helmet when riding a bicycle.


Due to safety and storage issues, skateboards or rollerblades are NOT to be ridden to school.  Furthermore, the school does not allow skateboarding on the property at any time.



PCE Birthday Celebration Policy

We would like to honor birthdays this year by changing things up just a little! Instead of children bringing in their own treats to celebrate; we want to put traditions in place for US to celebrate THEM. We would like to honor and celebrate each child’s birthday this year in the following ways:


·      Each morning children’s names will be read over the intercom during announcements

·      When their names are read they will come to the office and receive a special sticker to wear for the day!  All day long we will celebrate with them for their special day!

·      During each lunch period a special Birthday Table will be set up for birthday children to invite a friend or family member to eat lunch with them.

·      Each classroom will be able to adopt its own special tradition without food, due to the allergens of children in the class.

This change in policy is to help honor our children in a way that promotes being happy and healthy! PCE is working in conjunction with nutrition services and the district to promote healthy choices and to have children reach their fullest potential in academic, social, emotional and personal health!


Invitations to private birthday parties are NOT to be distributed at school, unless all members of the student’s class are being invited.  By law and District policy, we are unable to provide parents with names, addresses, or phone numbers of our students.  Parents may, however, use the published student directory.


There are four parties scheduled for the year that last approximately 50 minutes each.  Halloween and Valentine’s parties are “breakfast parties” scheduled for the first hour of the school day (specific guidelines for Halloween costuming will be sent prior to the actual day of the party); winter and end-of-year parties will be scheduled for the last hour of the day whenever possible.  It is recommended that party treats be balanced and nutritious with limited “sweets.”



The District requires a $20.00 book and materials fee per child to be collected by all elementary schools.  This money assists in purchasing textbooks and instructional materials for each classroom.  Students are expected to provide basic supplies.  Supply lists for each grade level are available on our school website.



Routes and bus stops can be obtained from the school office or on the district transportation website HERE.  Students riding the bus are given a copy of the bus rules at the beginning of the school year.   It is recommended that students be at the bus stop 5 minutes before the scheduled pickup time.  Occasionally, a school bus may run late.  Students are asked to wait at the stop for at least 15 minutes after the scheduled departure time.  Parents should have an alternate plan in place when the bus is more than 15 minutes behind schedule.  Whenever possible, it is always best if an adult can accompany their elementary child to the bus stop and wait with them until after the school bus arrives.  It is also best if an adult can meet the school bus when an elementary student returns home.  Transportation information can be found HERE.


Occasionally, the office gets a request for one child to ride the bus with another child.  If this occurs, a note from both parents is required.




Policies on cell phones and personally owned devices have changed to accommodate student’s learning needs.  If a student is bringing in an electronic device for classroom learning purposes the survey below must be filled out.  Classroom teachers will have their own guidelines on the use and storage of these devices. 


Cell phones brought in for safety reasons or parent communication must be turned OFF throughout the day and stored in their backpacks.  Please know that we will not be responsible for lost items.  It is the child’s responsibility to keep track of his/her own property.




Prairie Crossing Elementary School offers BASE as our child care program. Please see their information HERE.


We welcome you to visit our classrooms at any time during the school year and request that you allow the teacher the courtesy of advance notice.  For safety reasons, Please remember to sign in at the office before you go to the classroom.  In order to maintain an uninterrupted learning environment for students, other guests (i.e. preschoolers, cousins, out-of-town friends, etc.) may join a student for lunch, only with adult supervision.



E-mail is encouraged as an effective and efficient means for communication.  E-mail addresses for teachers and other Douglas County School District staff members are in the following format[email protected]


Parents can usually contact their child’s teacher by phone before or after school.  In order to ensure a quality conversation, parents should always schedule an appointment if requesting a conference at school.  Unless it is an emergency, teachers will not be interrupted during class time to take a phone call.


In order to ensure that concerns are resolved respectfully and equitably, parents are expected to maintain communication with their child’s teacher.  Only after all attempts have been made to resolve a concern with the teacher, will an administrator assist in the resolution.


Foundation for Douglas County Schools:


The Foundation for Douglas County Schools (FDCS) develops private resources to enrich education within Douglas County School District for the fulfillment of lifelong learning experiences of our students, citizens and community. Parents can work with the Foundation to organize chapters within their school that can assist with fundraising efforts, promote cultural and educational activities, develop school/community partnerships, and receive information about family events. A link to the FDCS can be found on HERE.



Parents can receive District information through the website at www.dcsdk12.org and by signing up to receive the weekly District newsletter, Newsline, by emailing the Communications Office at [email protected]. Parents can also provide the District feedback about issues, concerns and good news through a section of the website called Feedback Central.



Personal Appearance - The Board recognizes that students have a right to express themselves through dress and personal appearance; however, students shall not wear apparel that is deemed disruptive or potentially disruptive to the classroom environment or to the maintenance of a safe and orderly school. General standards applicable to student dress and appearance are deemed necessary to avoid disruption and to maintain a safe and orderly school environment and are in effect and applicable to student dress and appearance in school buildings, on school grounds, or at school activities. These Board File: JI/JIA Douglas County School District RE-1, Castle Rock, Colorado Page 2 of 3 general standards are set out in Board File JICA, Student Dress. Participation in voluntary activities may make it necessary to impose specific requirements for grooming and dress, due to the nature of the activity. Gang-related dress is specifically addressed by District Policy JICF, Gang-Related Behaviors and Dress.



It is required that a fee be collected from each student before each field trip to cover transportation expenses.  An additional fee may be necessary to cover extra costs, such as admission to events for specific field trips.


Homework is assigned primarily to develop each child’s responsibility and to reinforce the home-school connection.

Typically, every student may have some type of homework on a daily basis, Monday through Thursday.   Homework tasks generally fall into one of the following descriptors:

         1. Completing unfinished work assigned in class;

         2. Working on assignments missed due to an excused absence based on teacher discretion;

         3. Reinforcing skills learned in class;

         4. Completing research projects or long-range assignments;

         5. Doing activities that encourage family involvement;

`       6. Practicing basic skills such as reading, word study, writing and memorizing basic math facts.


In order to reinforce homework as an experience that develops the child’s responsibility, the following guidelines are provided:


1) Students in grades 4 - 6 will use their Google Calendar to keep track of homework assignments.  They will be able to access this feature through their DCSD student Gmail account.


2) Unless the assignment is specifically stated as one that requires parent involvement, it will be assumed that the child can complete the task without parent’s assistance.


3) Make-up work due to an illness will be made up at teacher’s discretion.


Homework will not be assigned during family vacations.  If a child is absent from school, homework will be provided ONLY if the child’s absence is due to illness.  In order for the homework to be ready by the end of the school day, parents need to request this homework before the start of the school day.


4) Teachers do not assume responsibility for sending home missed work due to planned vacations.


5) Assignments such as vocabulary practice, math fact practice and daily reading may be included as homework assignments.


6) In some classes, all homework for the week may be sent home with the child on one day.  In these cases, parents are encouraged to work with the child in coming up with a plan for pacing the assignments on a daily basis.


7) The amount of homework and the time a child should spend on daily homework will vary and may be differentiated according to the needs of the child.   There may be an occasion when a child exceeds the times listed below to complete classroom work at home that was not completed during class time.


Recommended Homework Times (these times include reading)

Kindergarten Homework (approximately 5 - 10 minutes daily)        

1st grade Homework (approximately 10 minutes daily)

2nd grade (approximately 20 minutes daily)

3rd grade (approximately 30 minutes daily)

4th grade (approximately 40 minutes daily)

5th grade (approximately 50 minutes daily)

6th grade (approximately 60 minutes daily)


Please contact your child’s teacher if:

Ø  your child is consistently completing schoolwork at home that was to be completed during the school day

Ø  homework assignments are not coming home

Ø  the above times are consistently exceeded



Children who arrive after the starting time (8:40 am) must check in with the school office before going to class. Please be aware that accumulated tardies add up to absences.  Frequent tardies will receive an attendance letter and the truancy policy will be applied.



Anyone picking up a child before the end of the school day must check the child out from the school office.  The child will then be called to the office upon the parent’s arrival.   If anyone other than the parent or guardian is to pick up a child from school, prior arrangements must be made through the school office; otherwise, only those individuals listed as an emergency contact are allowed to sign out a child from school.  Anyone checking a child out of school early is expected to come into the school and show identification at the office (do NOT request that the child be waiting).




We encourage all students to obtain library cards as part of their traditional school supply lists. Students can visit any of the Douglas County Libraries, or go to their website at www.douglascountylibraries.com and go to Quick Links to register for a library card.



Please be sure that all of your child’s personal items (coats, gloves, backpacks, etc.) are clearly marked for identification.  A lost and found section is located near the front entrance that can be checked  anytime,  once parents have checked in at the office.  Items that are unclaimed for over a four-week period are donated to charity.  Small items such as glasses, jewelry, keys, etc. are kept in the school office.




Any amount of money can be deposited in a child’s lunch account.  Every time the child goes through the lunch line, this account is automatically debited.  When a child’s account is $1.00 or less, a note is immediately given to the child to take home.  If a child’s account drops below zero, the child is not allowed to select a hot lunch until money has been deposited into the account.   Any questions regarding your child’s account should be directed to the kitchen staff prior to 11:00 a.m.

You can access your child's account through Parent Portal (see below).  You can register for this service at www.schoolpaymentsolutions.com. For questions about accounts, contact the Kitchen at 303.387.8260.


If your child would like a second entrée, the kitchen manager must be notified in writing that parents approve of their child requesting a second entrée before a child will be served a second time.


Your child may qualify for free or reduced lunch price meals.  A Free and Reduced Price School Meal Application is given to all parents with the beginning of the year paperwork.  Fore more information, please call 303.387.0305.



Only medication prescribed by a doctor can be administered to children.  It must be taken to the office in its original container and a liability form completed and signed by the child’s physician. 

Cough Drops can be taken to the health room and students must report to the health room to take them.

Sunscreen can be kept in a student’s backpack and students may apply it themselves.  Sunscreen may not be shared.


Whenever a child is running a fever, of 100 degrees or more, parents are contacted and expected to pick up their child as soon as possible.  Students must be fever and symptom free for 24 hours before returning to school.


The school office will be open from 7:45 am - 4:00 pm on regular days.  These times may be adjusted on days that are not on a regular schedule, such as weather-impacted days or staff professional development days.


 School Advisory Council

The School Advisory Committee (SAC) is comprised of parent representatives who assist in defining Prairie Crossing’s goals and developing school improvement plans.  This council is a branch of the overall school governance which reviews the school program and assists in making decisions which benefit children.  The SAC meets monthly.  If you are interested in serving in this capacity, please write a letter of interest to the principal.  Although we will hold elections in the fall for formal representation, any community member may and are encouraged to attend any meeting.


Prairie Crossing Educational Alliance (our PTO)

The Prairie Crossing Educational Alliance (PCEA) is a local self-governing unit whose main purpose is to promote the welfare of children and youth in the home, school and community.  The PCEA Board meets monthly.  For more information you can access the PCEA website.


Parent Volunteers

Parent volunteers are always needed in our school.  Volunteers may work in the classroom with small groups of students or perform clerical tasks at school or home.  Volunteers also help in the library, workroom or with special events such as field trips.  Please contact our Parent Volunteer Coordinator, Kasey Helgoth ([email protected]) to discuss which opportunity you would be interested in.



To ensure the safety of our students, staff and visitors, please adhere to the following guidelines:


If leaving your car to walk with your child, ALWAYS park in a legal zone.  Parking is located in front of the school in the east parking lot.  Parking in the north area of the east lot will allow you to safely walk to the school without crossing in the student drop off lane.


Student Drop Off Lane:  Parents using this area must drop their child off along the curb.  This area is two lanes wide so that parents can stop along the curb and then pull out into the left lane when exiting.  Students should only exit the car on the passenger side.  Parents using this area should always drive as far forward in the lane as possible before stopping.  When picking students up in this area, parents SHOULD NOT double park NOR leave the car unattended.  Students should, again, only enter the car on the passenger side from the curb.  There is to be NO PARKING in the drop off lane as it is an emergency vehicle access lane.


A separate bus loop on the north side of the school is provided for buses and daycare vans only.  Under no circumstances may parents park in this area.



Personal objects of value are to be brought to school only during special occasions when a teacher has given permission.  Playground equipment is provided by the school.  Toys and items such as skateboards, scooters, rollerblades and radios are not permitted at school.  We cannot be responsible for any loss or damage to students’ personal property.



Elementary Progress Reports (EPRs) are posted two times a year at the end of each 16-week semester.  Two formal Parent-Teacher Conferences are scheduled during the school year.  A parent may request a conference at any time with their child’s teacher or other teachers who work with their child.  Teachers and parents are encouraged to make children a part of the conference whenever both feel it is appropriate.



The first bell rings at 8:30 a.m. and school is in session from 8:40 am - 3:30 pm

Buses arrive at approximately 8:35 am. Parents must not drop off children before 8:30 am as there is no supervision available.   Due to safety considerations, students are to enter the building in the morning through the front door or through the bus doors only.


In the event of inclement weather or other circumstances, school may be dismissed early. Although a volunteer phone tree will be initiated to contact parents about an early dismissal, unfortunately it cannot be guaranteed that every parent will be contacted.  For this reason, parents must check the district website for current information if weather conditions suggest an early dismissal is possible.



To prevent any unauthorized persons from entering the building during school hours, all entrances are locked.  Please do not knock on other entrance doors requesting entrance from teachers or students.  Anyone entering the building is asked to use the main entrance and report to the school office before proceeding anywhere else.  All visitors must wear a “visitor badge.”  Although we welcome parents and community members to visit our school, we also want to ensure our students are safe at all times.  Parents waiting to meet their children at school dismissal time should wait outside near the designated doors in which students exit.  Standing near classroom doors presents a distraction to our students’ learning environments.



In order to promote healthy eating habits, snacks are limited to nutritious foods only.  Granola bars, fruit, veggies, nuts, Fruit Roll-ups, cereal, etc. are fine.  “Sweets” such as cookies, chips, and cake should be saved for lunch-time. Water bottles( with water only) are allowed in classrooms, please remember to keep water bottles away from electronics.



Students are asked to use the office telephone only in cases of an emergency.  Arrangements for visits to friends after school are not considered emergencies.


Every Thursday a folder is sent home with your child which contains school work, classroom news, and news of school meetings and events.  Please feel free to write comments, ask questions, or voice concerns on the form provided on this folder.



On most Thursdays (or other weekdays when more immediate communication is necessary) an email about current district and school events will go to our parent email list.  This list is generated from the information provided when registering or updating your contact information.  Please ensure that we have a current email address.  Email is a critical line of communication from the school to parents.  Additionally, if you do not have an email account, please let the office know so we can provide a paper copy of school communications.



The school and district websites provide valuable information about our school and district.  Parents are encouraged to visit both sites to learn more or find the answers to questions.  Please visit the Prairie Crossing Elementary website at https://pce.dcsdk12.org/home and the district site at www.dcsdk12.org.




Prairie Crossing is in the CHAPARRAL FEEDER AREA for weather related information.


The District will report severe weather delays and school closures via:


   website www.dcsdk12.org

   weather hotline 303.387.SNOW (7669)

   local television and radio broadcasts


The website and hotline will provide the most updated information. Information is posted to all sources by 5:00am.


Schedule changes due to weather will be reported by geographic areas. Watch for area weather related schedule changes under the following headlines: Douglas County Chaparral Area Schools or Douglas County School District (when all District schools are closed or delayed).


Only exceptions to normal will be announced. A delayed schedule means elementary, middle and high schools start 90 Minutes later than the normal school start time. In these cases, morning buses will run 90 minutes later than normal. Afternoon buses will run at the regular time.


When activity buses are canceled, all activities in the identified geographic region and/or District are canceled, including athletic practices, games, rehearsals, performances, meetings, conferences, etc. The District will make a decision about cancellation of after school activities by 1:30 pm the day of the severe weather event. When activity cancellation occurs, students should ride their regular bus or use their regular mode of after school transportation.


We respect your right as a parent to make individual decisions for your child. If you choose to keep your child out of school due to severe weather, his or her absence will be excused.


Lightning Procedures During Dismissal:

Sometimes afternoon thunderstorms in Colorado develop with lightning.  In the event of lightning near Prairie Crossing during dismissal, the following steps will be taken:  The school administrator, after consulting with the storm spotters, will decide if the students should be kept in the building until the lightning subsides.


The procedures for notifying parents and releasing students are as follows:

Ø  When lightning is spotted in the immediate area prior to dismissal, an announcement will be made over the intercom (inside and out) that dismissal will be held due to lightning in the area.

Ø  We will update the front electronics sign.

Ø  A staff member will send out a notification via the PCE Social Media accounts and a text message will be sent if enough time is available.

Ø  Teachers will hold students in their classrooms.  If a specials teacher has a class, he or she will  keep the class in their room, where the classroom teacher will rejoin them.

Ø  Parents will go directly to the classrooms to sign students out.  If the adult picking a child up is not the parent, teachers will direct them to the office to sign the child out and verify that he/she is on the child’s emergency contact list and check for identification.

Ø  Parents may only sign out their own child.  If they are on another child’s emergency contact list, they may sign that child out also.  Again, they are to be sent to the office to verify.

Ø  When it is deemed safe, all students remaining in classrooms will be dismissed from school.

Bus Riders:

Pending permission from the Transportation Department and/or Central Office and if it is deemed safe by the school administrator, bus students may be allowed to load the bus at the normal dismissal time.  If safety becomes an issue at the bus stop, students will be held on the bus according to the judgment and policies of the Transportation Department.