We are excited to have you as part of the Juniper Ridge School Community! This information is a supplement to the Family Handbook which can be viewed and downloaded here.
School Schedule and Attendance Policy
Juniper Ridge Community School is in session Monday through Thursday each week and some scheduled Fridays.
Grades 8-10: 7:45 am – 3:00 pm
Pickup/Drop off Times and Instructions
When dropping your child off in the morning or picking up in the afternoon, they should enter the building only through the NORTH DOOR . In the morning, access to the building is not allowed before 7:30 am, so please do not knock at the doors before that time. In the afternoon, pick up is at the gathering area outside of the north door. Thank you for your attention to this!
- Children are to be dropped off only after 7:30 am. There will be no supervision for them before that. Please follow the drop-off traffic pattern for your child.
- No children are allowed in the buildings before 7:30 am
- Children will be available for pick-up at 3:00 pm.
Attendance & Absences
We ask that every family respect our requirement that students attend school daily and are
absent only when absolutely necessary. A high absentee level creates serious difficulties for students and for the school. Parents are asked to schedule routine medical and dental
appointments after school hours and to schedule vacations during school breaks.
If your child is going to be absent, due to illness, physician’s appointment or other reasons,
please notify the school by 8:00 am in one of two easy ways:
1. Call the front desk at (970) 628-4957, or
2. Email the front desk at firstname.lastname@example.org
Parents should include their name, their child’s name and the reason for the tardy/absence. Parents are asked to call the office each day their child is absent even if the absence is on consecutive days. Parents are also asked to inform their child’s classroom teacher of any circumstances at home that might affect the child’s attendance or performance in school.
For more information regarding our Tardy, Absence and Missed Work Policy, please refer to our Family Handbook.
Visiting the School
We realize that there are occasions when parents would like to visit their child’s
classroom. Visitors are welcome to our classrooms. In order to arrange a visit, please follow these guidelines:
Please, no unannounced drop-ins. Our daily classroom rhythm is a finely structured,
orchestrated routine. Lessons are an interplay between teacher and students, and student to student. Obviously, a visitor is not engaged in the work and flow of the classroom. As a result, an unexpected visitor can unnecessarily distract both the teacher and students. We ask parents to be sensitive to the fact that in any setting, most of us are uncomfortable being observed. For this reason, we ask parents to respect the teachers’ request to be able to prepare the students for a visitor who is known by some and a stranger to others.
- Please do the following when setting up a classroom visit:
Speak with the teacher prior to the day you wish to visit. You may contact the teacher with your request by phone, email or directly (after school only, please).
- Consider making an appointment to speak with Donald Samson, our director of curriculum following your visit. We realize that you may come away with questions about what you have observed. Our teaching methods are different than what you may be used to from public school education. Mr. Samson is available to speak with, reflect on what you have seen, and answer your questions.
Student Behavior Code
- We expect students to honor all safety guidelines, respecting the need for a safe
- We expect students to treat others with respect and consideration, using polite
language with no profanity, unwanted teasing or put-downs.
- We expect students to treat school property and the environment with respect and use it responsibly. This includes desks, bathrooms, equipment, books and materials.
- We expect students to choose positive alternatives to physical or verbally abusive
confrontations. Such alternatives may include seeking teacher assistance for help in conflict management.
- We expect students to be in class on time and to make proper use of instructional time, assuming the responsibility of being on task and completing assignments.
- We expect students to stay within school boundaries and within sight of adult
- We expect students to follow JRCS’s dress code.
- Students must not break the law by bringing drugs or weapons of any kind to school, including facsimiles of weapons.
- Improper use of the internet or texting will have consequences in accord with D51
policy, including involvement by law enforcement if the student is 10 years old or older.
- Bullying behaviors will and must be addressed. Habitual bullying will have
- We expect students to honor all safety guidelines, respecting the need for a safe
The Juniper Ridge Community School Discipline Policy is guided by our understanding that all children are unique and will be treated with love and respect. JRCS is dedicated to a positive discipline approach. We support the philosophy that as children grow, they may make inappropriate choices. Such choices require they experience natural consequences for their actions. If a child hurts another child, the child will be given the opportunity to make things right. We endeavor to develop a sense of responsibility for one’s actions and an intrinsic desire to make things right. We also believe that parents have a right to know when their child has been hurt or when they have needed consequences for inappropriate actions at school. In every situation where our students require guidance in their behavior, every effort should be made to ascertain all of the contributing factors in order to find the correct solution specific to the situation and the student.
It is the belief of JRCS that every student is a wonderfully unique human being. Some come to us with less than ideal sets of circumstances, which could involve physical as well as psychological issues. Every effort will be made to understand and meet all students where they are at their particular stage of life. If their behavior while at school becomes an issue, we will endeavor to ascertain any contributing conditions and address the underlying causes of the behavior. JRCS will always strive to be a school where all children are loved and respected as well as feeling safe and welcome.
To review our full discipline policy and the steps we take when an intervention is required, please refer to our Family Handbook.
JRCS does not allow harassment, bullying or intimidation of students or staff on school property or during school sponsored events. Such breaks in policy will be recorded and kept in the student’s discipline file. JRCS follows the District 51 bullying policy for reporting purposes.
If a student refuses to follow these guidelines, staff will use such actions as called for by law and the JRCS Discipline Policy. In cases where natural consequences will assist the student in changing the behavior, such consequences as Think Time, informal talk, restriction of privileges or assignment of duties to help the school will be used. If a student’s behavior is so out of control that it threatens his/her safety or the safety of others, a parent or guardian will be called immediately to pick up the child. A meeting may be set up with the parents present to create a Student Behavior Plan, as needed.
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The staff at JRCS is dedicated to good communication between the school and parents. Some ways this will be accomplished is by the emailed JRCS Recorder, Parent Evenings, and direct communication with your child’s teacher.
Weekly JRCS Recorder
The JRCS Recorder is a weekly email sent out to JRCS families and staff that includes reminders, news, and information on upcoming events. If you are a member of the Juniper Ridge community and do not receive the Recorder, please email email@example.com.
The school will setup and maintain a contact list of all parents and guardians to be contacted in case of emergency or school closure. The mode of contact will be through mass text, unless otherwise requested. Please see administration staff to make other arrangements if needed.
School Closure – Inclement Weather Policy
UNLESS you are otherwise notified, JRCS will follow the same inclement weather policy as
District 51. Log onto D51 website at http://www.mesa.k12.co.us/. Look in the upper right
hand corner where it says: Emergency Information. If the district has called a snow day, or late opening, you will see it posted there. If no alert is posted there, the district considers it a normal school-day schedule. However, Juniper Ridge reserves the right to differ with the
district. It is not a decision we would take lightly. In cases when JRCS differs from D51, parents will receive a text or a call from the school by 6:15 a.m. In the event that a late start is ever called either by the district or by our school, please note that teachers will still be on hand to receive the children by 8:20 am from those families who have to get to work regardless of the late start.
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Media Exposure and Our Children
Media Use Policy
Juniper Ridge recommends, along with doctors and other educational professionals, that
parents strive to limit exposure to electronic media as much and as long as possible. Violent images, whether through video games or movies, we consider never appropriate for the Kindergarten and elementary school child. Juniper Ridge asks parents to strive to limit and strictly monitor screen time of all students, and for the younger children, even eliminate it. We support that children are provided at home an environment for creative play and family participation through chores for as long as possible.
Electronic media is an undeniable presence in our lives. We use it for communication, work, diversion and entertainment. It comes in an ever-widening variety of forms and sizes, from large screen monitors that can span a wall, to the cell phone in our pockets that is in reality a palm-held computer that makes phone calls.
Electronic media is a wonderful, fascinating boon to our lives. It also has its shadow side. As a society, we are becoming ever more aware that we face a growing media addiction. It is becoming increasingly easy (and acceptable) for us to turn to some form of electronic media (video games, texting, music, sports, movies and shows) to distract ourselves from work and use as a replacement for social interactions. It is difficult for us to even speak about this because we have accepted it as part of our way of life.
Our children are the most vulnerable. From the not-yet-speaking toddler right up to the high
school student, they see adults daily using these machines for work, for communication and for diversion. Children are savvy. They learn by imitating. What they see us using, they want to use as well. Alcohol, tobacco and driving have legal age limits that prevent too early use. Electronics do not. And therein lies our challenge.
What parent has not given the cell phone to a fussy baby to gain a few extra minutes to finish a conversation or to pay at the store? And then, for the older children, it is so tempting to give in to the demands to have screen time. It begins so modestly, just half an hour a day, and then it grows. After all, it serves the same purpose: we get a bit more time to finish whatever we were doing. Or we tell ourselves it is family bonding to watch something together. And we were all kids, too, remember? Imagine what happens when we aren’t monitoring their play.
As teachers at Juniper Ridge, our concern in this matter arises when we hear a Kindergarten child asking to go home because he would rather play video games than play with his classmates. Or the fourth grader who openly rejoices that school is over so he can go home to his video games and zone out. When we first opened school, we were astonished how many children, primarily boys, who could not figure out what to do at recess unless it involved shooting at one another and zipping around pretending they were in an armored or flying vehicle. Clearly, their play was dependent upon the images from the video games they were playing at home.
With our children, the issue of media use becomes urgent. Current research has discovered that, in children, excessive exposure to media watching has a direct adverse effect on brain development. In school as well as in the home, we are puzzled by the increase in attention deficit disorders and other learning disabilities. Teachers who have spent longer than two decades in the classroom (and we have such teachers in our school) can clearly point to the drastic rise of these disorders since the flood of readily accessible electronic media. We also sadly see a dramatic fading of the powers of memory, imagination and wonder.
Young children are by nature “doers.” Media exposes children to an artificial world that allows no engagement of their own will and imagination. They become “receivers.” This evokes unnatural responses in a child’s being and stunts the seeds of human development.
Not only is the nature of the media foreign and directly harmful to the child’s developing brain and inner being, the content of most television programs, video games and movies is glaring in its disregard for what childhood is really meant to experience. Most media, after all, is selling us something either directly or as a hidden agenda. Media exposure works at cross purposes with what Waldorf education strives to bring and awaken.
For these reasons, the Juniper Ridge faculty and administration ask parents to protect their
children from exposure to electronic media. Without your efforts to keep your home a safe
place for the vulnerable developing minds of your children, it will in turn be difficult for us to
educate and nurture them.
Suggested reading on this topic:
The Children of Cyclops: The Influence of Television Viewing on the Developing
Human Brain – Keith Buzzell
Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television – Jerry Mander
Endangered Minds and Failure to Connect – Jane Healy
Suggested Media Use Guidelines
We offer parents the following guidelines regarding media use:
1. For children in preschool and kindergarten: No exposure, or as little as possible.
2. For children in grades 1 – 3: No television, video games, computers or movies during the school week; minimal parent-directed media use on weekends and during vacations.
Ideally, we would recommend no exposure. However, we do not live in an ideal world,
so we recommend that you strive to limit exposure.
3. For students in grades 4 – 8: No television or video games or computers in the morning
before school; a minimum of parent-directed media use during the school week;
parental involvement in determining appropriate media and computer-use choices at all
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Lunch and Snack Guidelines
During the school day, the children at Juniper Ridge will take a mid-morning break for snack. At noon, they take another break for lunch. Juniper Ridge does not have a snack or lunch program as we do not have a cafeteria. Students eat in their classrooms with their teachers. Each student is required to bring a snack and lunch to school each day. We do not have the facilities to prepare or refrigerate school lunches. Parents are asked to pack lunches with thought given to the health and growing needs of children. Healthy, well balanced meals provide essential nutrition for their brains and bodies to perform optimally. We encourage that every morning you give your children a nourishing protein-rich breakfast as a foundation for the work of the day. A hungry child makes a poor learner. Please send with your children a healthy snack and a nourishing lunch. Leave candy and sugar-filled snacks at home as an after-school treat. Hot water will be available in the classrooms for children bringing instant soups.
Make sure that your teacher is aware of any food allergies, intolerances and restrictions. Students are fascinated by what comes in the lunch baskets of their classmates and there is often an active and lively trading (even when it is discouraged by the teacher). Children with adverse reactions to some foods have been known to experiment, not always to their advantage. Inform your teachers.
As a rule, please send snacks and lunches that do not require heating up. Every classroom does have a microwave. However, imagine a class of 24 children, 15 of them requiring use of the microwave for one minute each. Lunch is already a scant 20 minutes long. Teachers have recess duty and cannot remain behind with children who have not finished (or begun) their lunch. We may not leave children unattended in the classroom. Help us to avoid this no-win scenario by sending lunches that do not require heating.
Be mindful that as your child grows older, appetites can suddenly increase. It is not uncommon for children who could barely finish their lunch, suddenly to eat both snack and lunch at snack time. A rule of thumb is to pack enough food so that something will come home. If you are seeing an empty lunch bag after school, ask your child if you should be packing more food.
Some families have their children pack their own lunches. If this is your practice, it is essential to monitor what you child is packing. Too often, children who pack their own food come with too little or inappropriate choices of foods.
Juniper Ridge does not have a free lunch program. When children do not have food for snack or lunch, the teacher will ask in the classroom if there is anything their classmates can share. We do not keep a stockpile of lunches in the office for them. At Juniper Ridge, it is the parents’ responsibility to feed their children.
Juniper Ridge Community School recognizes that all students have an intrinsic worth based upon who they are and not what they wear. Whether we intend to or not, clothing is used both as an external expression of our own individuality, as well as an expression of the groups we align ourselves with. The school expects students to maintain a neat and well-groomed appearance and to dress in the spirit of the code outlined below. Styles must not interfere with the educational process nor present a safety hazard as determined by the faculty.
The dress code at Juniper Ridge is guided by three criteria:
2. To minimize peer pressure
3. To minimize distraction
The standards of dress are as follows. This applies to all clothing and personal items such as hats, purses, bags, back packs, and lunch boxes.
1. No logos, emblems. Clothing with writing and/or pictures portraying characters or logos
which have as a primary purpose advertising a product, movie, television show, etc. are
prohibited. If an article of clothing not listed becomes a classroom/school distraction,
the teacher may request that the clothing not be worn to school. The exceptions to this
are JRCS t-shirts and JRCS event related clothing.
2. Designs or styles judged by their teachers to be vulgar, offensive, or suggestive are not
allowed, nor is anything that promotes tobacco, alcohol, drugs, firearms, media, or gang
3. No clothing displaying a message that the class teacher determines to be distracting
(e.g., “I’d rather be playing video games”).
4. Midriffs must be covered. No spaghetti straps. Tank tops must have a two finger width.
5. All clothing must have a hemmed or finished edge (no cutoffs, or frayed
edges.) Children may not wear intentionally torn clothing to school. Underwear may
not be visible.
6. Shorts, dresses, and skirts may not be shorter than 3 inches above the knee.
7. All clothing must be of the appropriate size, fitting and covering appropriately, no see through shirts, nothing baggy or sagging (e.g. the crotch at the knee look) or excessively
8. Appropriate shoes for walking, running, jumping and playing must be worn for all games
classes, gardening and recesses. Children who come in open-toed sandals will need to
keep a second pair of shoes at school for outdoor activities. Shoes for outdoor wear
must have a closed toe and heal support, be the correct size and fit appropriately.
9. Acceptable styles are tennis shoes with tied laces or zippers/Velcro or closed toed
sandals (e.g. keens or similar styles).
10. Laces/Velcro must be tied/secured and stay fastened.
11. No flip-flops, thongs, platforms, crocs, rubber clogs, or high-heeled shoes. No shoes with
lights or rollers/wheels, even if wheels are removed.
12. Clothing should be suitable for both classroom and outdoor play, including games,
woodworking and gardening. Clothing should be suitable to the weather. In the winter,
dress children in layers to allow for the cold mornings and warmer afternoons.
13. Items intended to be worn outdoors, such as sunglasses, hats, caps, heavy sweatshirts, gloves, etc., are not to be worn indoors.
14. Hats are intended to protect the child from the elements, not as an expression of style.
No head coverings (i.e. bandanas, scarves, etc.) may be worn in classes. (Religious
15. Hair will be clean, neat, and out of the face. No extreme haircuts, head-shaving, partial head-shaving, hair carving, mohawks, faux-hawks, or the like.
16. Students may wear light makeup in natural colors tastefully applied as determined by their teacher. Something for the sixth graders to look forward to!
17. Tattoos are prohibited. If a temporary tattoo has been applied, it must be washed off
prior to coming to school.
For more information regarding our dress code, dressing for the weather, classroom shoes and consequences for being out of dress code, please refer to our Family Handbook.
Immunizations and Immunization Exemptions
Because of legislation and changes in regulations in 2014 and 2015, there are new procedures for getting an exemption from required vaccines for children who are attending school or child care during the upcoming school year:
Beginning July 1, 2016, new exemption forms will be available on this web page.
Students in grades K-12 will submit non-medical exemptions (personal belief and religious) annually.
Medical exemptions are submitted only once.
Non-medical exemptions can be claimed by submitting an online form to CDPHE for inclusion in the immunization registry or by downloading and completing a blank form to take to the child’s school or child care. Parents unable to access the forms online will be able to call CDPHE and receive a paper form by mail. Health care providers, school personnel and child care providers also will have the ability to print out a blank form for the parent to complete.
Medical exemption forms will be available for download to take to a child’s health care provider for signature. Parents can submit the form to CDPHE for inclusion in the immunization registry or take it to their child’s school/child care.
Forms will be available in multiple languages.