school handbook - Aquinas American School

school handbook - Aquinas American School

SCHOOL HANDBOOK 2016 - 2017 School Year Updated September 2016 Aquinas American School is a Catholic, college-preparatory school, which promotes supe...

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SCHOOL HANDBOOK 2016 - 2017 School Year Updated September 2016

Aquinas American School is a Catholic, college-preparatory school, which promotes superior academic achievement, mastery of skills and content, and fosters moral citizenship. Aquinas American School offers a U.S. school curriculum as well as the official Spanish program, preparing students to further their education either in Spain or abroad.


1. MISSION STATEMENT........................................................................ 3 2. FACULTY AND STAFF ......................................................................... 5 3. CLASSROOMS / HOMEROOM TEACHERS / ADVISORS ................................ 7 4. PROCEDURES AND POLICIES ............................................................... 8 5. ACADEMICS .................................................................................. 11 6. CODE OF CONDUCT ......................................................................... 18 7. LIFE AT AAS ................................................................................ 22 8. SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT POLICIES ...................................................... 25


1. MISSION STATEMENT Aquinas American School (AAS) is a Catholic, college-preparatory school, which promotes superior academic achievement, mastery of skills and content, and fosters moral citizenship. Aquinas American School offers the U.S. school curriculum as well as the official Spanish program, preparing students to further their education either in Spain or abroad. School`s Motto: All men by nature desire to know AAS’ mission, as a community of teachers, is to educate its students: 

Academically: helping them to acquire knowledge in diverse areas of study through a challenging curriculum; ensuring that they develop skills which will enable them to continue learning throughout their lives; and preparing them for further education either in Spain or abroad. Religiously: encouraging them to question their destiny and the meaning of life itself, and offering them the Catholic Faith as an answer to the pursuit of truth and transcendence which is in the heart of every man; and referring to the overarching community of the Catholic Church. Humanly: educating them to be conscious of their place within the tradition of Western civilization; in the virtues which will help them to appreciate the Good, the Beautiful, and the True, and to mold their character, intellect, will and sensibility accordingly; so that they might live by an ideal and find happiness.

Belief Statements 1. The family is the natural core for the growth and education of children, while school is an indispensable aid for children´s intellectual and moral growth. 2. The school guides a child’s natural desire to learn, helping them understand the reality of things, and to continuously seek answers. The school educates by encouraging children`s understanding of solid moral values in life. 3. Education is a personal encounter between the student and the teacher. While every child grows and develops at his or her own unique pace, the teacher is their intellectual and moral reference, explaining and showing the reality, and providing means for new understanding as well as being the first reference for assessment. 4. This meeting between student and teacher properly occurs within a larger community, the school. The teacher, together with the family and community, explains the initial experiences of life´s situations, and guides the child towards honesty and truth. Within the enclosure of the educational community, the child learns to discern and experience daily the importance of solid moral values in life. 5. It is the school´s responsibility to have the necessary means to best educate in terms of the latest technology and advances, which must always be age-appropriate for the students and used under the instruction of the teacher. But excellent media alone will not educate. Primary attention must be paid to words and written text, to help the children learn by a natural rhythm, and to shape an understanding of the logical structures of thought and language.


6. At AAS, we strive to create a climate of appreciation to aid both learning and personal growth. Dedication to rigorous and consistent studying is necessary in order to acquire knowledge, to develop personal skills, and at the same time serve as a serene acceptance of one´s own limitations. 7. Aquinas American School, convinced of the supreme dignity of every person as a child of God, educates in the respect due to God and His work. Respect for others and the duty to love our fellow neighbor is joined with an appreciation for truth and goodness as the foundation of our community. 8. Taking care of the things around us is a way of expressing consideration and respect towards fellow classmates. The students are educated in this respect, and therefore will learn to be responsible by having to answer for their actions. 9. The school promotes in its students love and a sense of obedience and gratitude towards their parents and family, as well as companionship and friendship with their peers. Developing a sense of duty and gratitude to those who are looking out for our best interest is the ideal school of citizenship and moves us to seek the common good. 10. Regarding Catholic education, daily prayer is a part of school life as the beginning of each school day starts with a morning prayer. The school offers the opportunity of preparing for and receiving First Communion and the regular participation of the Eucharist. Religious formation encourages a dedication to the mystery of faith, and teaches us to live responsibly and in communion with the Universal Church, parents, teachers and peers, while helping us be committed to constant improvement for ourselves and others.


2. FACULTY AND STAFF Staff Antonio Arcones

[email protected]

Head of School

P. David Amado

[email protected]


Luis Placencia

[email protected]

Head of Business Office

Alejandra Gentico

[email protected]

Business Office

Jesus Carreño

[email protected]

Main Office/Technology

Iris Aguirre

[email protected]

Reception Desk

Maria Luisa Izaguirre

[email protected]

Reception Desk

Carolina Carpio

[email protected]


Icíar Muñoz de Verger

[email protected]


Alejandra López-Bachiller

[email protected]


Maite Álvarez

[email protected]

Copy center

Abdulah El Farissi


Farid El Farissi


Aurelio Moisil


Piedades Jiménez


Lower School Patricia Carbó

[email protected]

Lower School Principal

Elaine Sherry

[email protected]

K1S Homeroom Teacher

Martha E. López

[email protected] [email protected]

K2L Homeroom teacher

Allison Dahill Bush Elizabeth Hamilton

[email protected]

K3H Homeroom teacher

Jean Kilkeary

[email protected]

K3K Homeroom teacher

Alyssa Hawkins

[email protected]

G1H Homeroom Teacher

Kathleen Wyant

[email protected]

G1W Homeroom Teacher

Angela Willoughby

[email protected]

G2W Homeroom Teacher

Rosemarie Coradin

[email protected]

G2C Homeroom Teacher

Erin Streyle

[email protected]

G3S Homeroom Teacher

Beckie Raymond

[email protected]

G3R Homeroom Teacher

Victoria Shover

[email protected]

G4S Homeroom Teacher

Jennifer Gavin

[email protected]

G4G Homeroom Teacher

Martha Corona

[email protected]

G5C Homeroom Teacher

Vinh Do

[email protected]

G5D Homeroom Teacher

Yolanda de las Heras

[email protected]

Lengua Española

Icíar Rubio

[email protected]

Lengua Española

Natalie Castillo

[email protected]


Silvia Ramírez

[email protected]


Lara Gidron

[email protected]


Gabriella Ubilla

[email protected]


Christina Gardner

[email protected]


K2B Homeroom teacher


Karsten Krahn

[email protected]


Richelle Zuñiga

[email protected]


Middle and High School / Bachillerato Ana Curbera Costello

[email protected]

Upper School Principal

Aleix Forcada

[email protected]

Historia de España

Alexander Palmquist

[email protected]


Annalisa Arnold

[email protected]


Anne de la Paz

[email protected]


Blanca Aparicio

[email protected]

Lengua Española

Cassandra Algar

[email protected]


Christopher Kacmar

[email protected]


Javier Aparicio

[email protected]

Historia de España

Javier Arróspide

[email protected]


José María Berrendero

[email protected]


Judy Omapas

[email protected]


Leonor Pérez Juri

[email protected]


Lidia Lamas

[email protected]


Mª Carmen Sánchez

[email protected]

Lengua Española

Robert Asch

[email protected]

History / Literature

Sebastian Scofield

[email protected]

Science and Politics

Sebastián Iglesias

[email protected]


Shavana González

[email protected]


Therese Trinko

[email protected]


Trevor Sargent

[email protected]


Charles Lockhart

[email protected]

PE Teacher

James Richardson

[email protected]

PE Teacher

David Aznar

[email protected]

Escuela de Fútbol

Diego García

[email protected]

Escuela de Fútbol

Enrique Jiménez

[email protected]

Escuela de Fútbol

Miguel Ángel Quejigo

[email protected]

Escuela de Fútbol

Athletics Department

Student Services Clara Bieger

[email protected]

Library / SSL

Laura Ledesma

[email protected]


Carolina López

[email protected]

Learning Resources Center

Lucía Largo

[email protected]

Learning Resources Center

Jennifer Duval

[email protected]

Learning Resources Center

Marina Duque

[email protected]

College Counselor



K1S K2B K2L K3H K3K Grade Grade Grade Grade Grade Grade Grade Grade Grade Grade

1H 1W 2W 2C 3S 3R 4S 4G 5C 5D

Homeroom Teachers Ms. Sherry Ms. Bush Mrs. López Mrs. Hamilton Ms. Kilkeary MS. Hawkins Ms. Wyant Ms. Willoughby Ms. Coradin Ms. Streyle Mrs. Raymond Ms. Shover Mrs. Gavin Mrs. Corona Mr. Do

Music Room Gross Motor Skills / Multipurpose Room Learning Resources Center

Room 001 004 006 005 007 106 002 104 102 101 103 B02 B01 B04 B03

Building Building Building Building


013 003 B05

Upper School Classrooms Advisors


Grade 6A

Mr. Trevor Sargent


Grade 6B

Mr. Aleix Forcada


Grade 7A

Ms. Shavana Gonzalez


Grade 7B

Mrs. Blanca Aparicio


Grade 8A

Mrs. Judy Omapas


Grade 8B

Mrs. Mª Carmen Sánchez


Grade 9A

Dr. Sebastian Iglesias


Grade 9B

Dr. Sebastian Iglesias


Grade 10A

Mr. Javier Aparicio


Grade 10B

Mrs. Anne de la Paz


Grade 11 High School

Mr. Christopher Kacmar

Grade 11 IB

Mr. José Manuel Berrendero

Grade 12

Mr. Robert Asch

2º Bachillerato

Mrs. Lidia Lamas

Library / SSL



218 7



a) Arrival All students are expected to be at school in the morning on time, at 8.50. 

For students arriving at school on time (between 8.50 and 8.55) o Kindergarten students: Parents have to take their children to their classroom. o Lower School: G1 to G5 students have to be at 8:50 at the Gym, where they will wait to be collected by their teacher to go to class. o Middle, High School and Bachillerato: students have to be at 8:50 in the covered outdoor basketball court, where they will be collected by each teacher to go to class. Parents should not engage in unscheduled meetings with the teachers in the morning as the teachers have supervision duties and other obligations which demand their time and attention in the mornings.

Tardiness: A student is tardy if he or she comes to school after 9.00 am. Any student who comes after 9:00 am must report to reception. If a student is tardy as a result of the bus being late, the tardy is excused, and he or she is permitted into class without a note. If a student is tardy for any other reason, the tardy is unexcused and a notice will be issued. The notice must be submitted to the appropriate teacher before being admitted to class. To avoid disrupting classes, G1 to G12 students will wait in room 111 until their next period.

Early arrival Students may begin to come into the school at 8.00 am. For students arriving between 8.00 and 8.30 am:  Kindergarten students will remain in the Multipurpose Room (Room 003), under the supervision of school staff.  The rest of the students (G1-G12) will remain in the reception hall until 8.30.  At 8.30: o Students in G1-G5 must go to the Gym. There they will line up and wait for their teachers. o Students in G6-G12 must proceed to the covered basketball court, or the Gym on cold Winter days and be prepared to line up, in any event, at 8:50 in the covered basketball court to go to class with their teachers. b) Dismissal Dismissal at 4.50 pm – Kindergarten & Lower School 

Kindergarten students: Families can pick up students from 4.50 to 5 pm in their classes. At 5 pm. each teacher will bring the remaining children in his/her group to the Multipurpose Room (Room 003). There they will be under the supervision of school staff until the authorized person arrives to pick the student up. There will be teachers assigned to pick up and escort students to their corresponding bus routes. In the event that a different person will be picking up your child, a timely email must be sent to: [email protected] , identifying the authorized person. With the children´s safety in mind, parents are kindly requested to limit early pick-ups to exceptional cases only. (See early pick-ups).


G1-G5 students: Each teacher will bring his/her group to the Gym at 4.45 pm. There they will remain under the supervision of the teachers until their parents pick them up between 4.50 and 5.05 pm. In the event that a different person will be picking up your child, a timely email must be sent to: [email protected], identifying the authorized person. There will be teachers assigned to pick up and escort students to their corresponding bus routes.

Dismissal: at 5 pm – Middle School Middle school students will go to their buses or leave school at 5 pm unless instructed otherwise by their parents. Students cannot be picked up from Las Encinas after their sports activities. All students will proceed to the school buses to be transferred to the school for dismissal. Dismissal: at 2.10 pm - High School and Bachillerato High school and Bachillerato students may leave school at 14:10 unless instructed otherwise by their parents. Unless otherwise specifically authorized, High School students remaining in school between 15:00 and 17:00 must be in the Library, Study Halls or taking part in an extracurricular activity or Club. Students cannot be picked up from Las Encinas after their sports activities. All students will proceed to the school buses to be transferred to the school for dismissal. c) Entrance/Exit control Any visitors to the School, outside of Dismissal and Entrance times, must register at the front desk and receive a pass that they will turn it before leaving the School premises. d) Early Pick ups A written note or phone call is required if parents wish their children to leave school before Dismissal Time. When a child needs to leave during school hours, he/she will wait in the front desk for his/her parents or authorized person to arrive. Please do not go directly to the classroom to pick up the student. e) Late Pick ups Students not allowed to leave the school alone (k1 to G5) must be picked up by 17.00. After 17.15, parents will incur in late pick up, and charged a daily after care fee (10 euros). f)

Bus Service Families not regularly using the school bus service can arrange bus rides for their children in case of need. Please contact Mrs. Alejandra Gentico: [email protected] The following charges will be made: Daily ride: 15 euros Daily one way ride: 10 euros



In order for a student to be excused from P.E. / sports participation, a doctor´s note or a note from the parents explaining the circumstances is required. This note should be handed both to the School Nurse, who will issue a copy for the PE teacher.



There is a full-time School Nurse on campus. Each year, parents are requested to fill in a form describing their child’s general health, immunization records and allergies, as well as suggested measures in emergency cases. If this form has not been handed in or has inaccurate information, the School cannot be responsible for offering the child the appropriate treatment in case of an emergency. Should sudden illness or an emergency occur during school hours, the Nurse will take immediate action and will contact the parents. If the student is on a field trip or at Las Encinas, the student will be taken to the nearest treatment center. Each student has insurance subscribed by the school which covers injuries incurred while taking part in any school-sponsored activity on or off campus. Students are not allowed to keep, or independently take any medication at school. If a student needs to take a prescription medicine during school hours, that medication and the authorization therefore should be given to the School Nurse with a doctor’s prescription and clear instructions for administration regarding: time, dosage, duration of the treatment and the protocol to be followed for certain medications (such as insulin, ventolin, epipen, etc.) If a child has an elevated temperature (37.8º C / 100º F and above taken orally), he or she should stay at home, until the temperature is back to normal, without the use of medication, for at least 24 hours. Also, if a child has been vomiting or has diarrhea, lice or any infectious disease, he or she should stay at home, until symptom free for at least 24 hours. Parents should tell the School Nurse if their child becomes ill with any infectious disease, such as: chicken pox, mumps, whooping cough, diphtheria, pink-eye, scarlet fever, measles, meningitis or hepatitis or any other infectious disease.



Students are not allowed to bring food from home into the School Cafeteria. Neither the School, nor the company in charge of the Cafeteria service could assume the responsibilities that could potentially arise from improper handling of this food or adequately establish the protocols needed to deal with this issue. Due to health and hygiene concerns and the school´s organization, it is also not possible for the students to eat their homemade meals in the classes, playgrounds or other School facilities. The Monte Alina neighborhood does not have any public picnic or eating areas. Students cannot have lunch on the street, sidewalks or any other public parts of the community. We urge you to cooperate and thus avoid complaints from the neighbors and rest of the Monte Alina community. Students that do not use the Cafeteria Service may leave School at lunchtime. Lower and Middle School students may not stay in school unsupervised during this time. For students to leave the school at lunch time without school supervision, an authorization form must be signed by a parent / guardian.



Siblings of AAS Students: Siblings of current AAS Students will have priority enrollment. Families requesting admission of siblings must do so by filling out the appropriate form before 31/1/2017. Beyond this date, they will no longer have priority enrollment. Re-enrollment of current students: Unless you instruct us otherwise, the 2017-2018 Registration Fee for current AAS students will be billed in February. Payment of this fee does not automatically insure re-enrollment. Final registration is


dependent on the student´s academic results and behavior and on being up to date with tuition and other fees due to the School by June 30th, 2017. If families are not up to date with their payments to School in February, when the Registration Fess is due, or if the Registration is not paid on time, the school will make those student´s places available for new enrollments. If a student is on Academic Probation, the Registration Fee will not be billed and re-enrollment will be suspended until final grades are in at the end of the school year. Tuition and Fees Policies 2017-18 Tuition and Fees will be published on our website in January. There are two options available: A) Payments made in full, before July 15th, 2017, will receive a 4% discount. B) Ten monthly payments from September to June. Mid-Year outgoing families must contact the Admissions department as soon as they have notice of their departure: Mrs. Muñoz de Verger: [email protected]



Homework is organized in a way that is consistent with the school philosophy that all children can and want to learn. We believe that homework can be a powerful and positive learning tool. The School faculty considers the following criteria when assigning homework: • • •

Reinforcing concepts and skills that have been presented in class Foundation building that prepares students for upcoming work in a class developing initiative, responsibility, self‐direction and organizational skills Fostering the student’s creativity and discipline through enrichment projects or research.

Student responsibilities towards homework include: • Being aware of assignments and seeking further explanation if needed • Recording assignments in the agenda provided by the school • Organizing his/her time to work on assignments • Turning in assignments on time • Presenting work that reflects high standards regarding quality and completeness Parents’ responsibilities towards homework include: • Providing an appropriate environment/space for the student to work at home. • Help set aside the adequate study time keeping in mind that extracurricular activities must be age appropriate and occupy a reasonable amount of the student´s free time. • Educating their children with a sense of responsibility towards their duties, an interest in learning and the pursuit of the rewards of a job well done. Lower School Daily homework time range from 10 minutes in K3 to 1 hour in G5. This is an approximate estimation of time that our students will spend doing homework daily. Individual student’s pace may need to be taken into consideration. We ask that problems or concerns be communicated directly to the classroom teacher. Home reading: All lower school students are required to read for at least 20 minutes every night, in addition to completing any other homework that is assigned by the homeroom teachers. Reading


regularly at home fosters a love for reading, vocabulary building, a sharing of ideas, while broadening exposure to good literature. This can be done in many different ways within your family:  

Your child can read to him/herself, a parent, a sibling, another adult A parent, sibling, or another adult can read to your child (Pre-schoolers)

Upper School US follows the “Zero Rule” for homework time allotments. A zero added to the grade level of the child indicates the amount of time the child should expect to spend on homework on a regular basis. For example, a 6th-grade student would have sixty (60) minutes of homework a day, while an 8th-grade student would have eighty (80) minutes of homework. Some students may require a longer period of time to perform a task. Zeros may be given for cheating and homework not turned in. Assignments submitted after their due date will be penalized with a grade reduction of 50%. After the second day, assignments will not be accepted.



Students from K3 to 12th Grade should have available a computer with Internet access to complete homework and research assignments. However, we highly advise parents to monitor their children´s computer use as the Internet can often bring unpleasant and unwanted surprises. At the School, netbooks and internet access are available to students for academic purposes. Students should be aware that Internet and related activities are part of the school´s program and students should apply the school code of conduct at all times. When using the School computers, students must exercise extra caution and care. If a student loses or breaks a School owned computer, he/she will be responsible for paying the price of replacing it with a new one. Google Apps for Education All students, in grades G6 to G12, will have an email account, with a School domain and access to all the Google Apps for Education included in the Suite, including unlimited space on Google Drive for free. They can store all their documents, which will be available from any computer, once they log into their email account. Within the contacts app, students can search for any member of the school community (students, teachers or staff) and will automatically find every single email account. We expect students will check their Aquinas email account daily as email is the school’s primary method of communication and an integral component of our learning environment. Learn more at: Ren Web Our School Management Software, RenWeb, is a secure parents’ and students portal that will allow you to view specific academic information as well as other school related information. You can access ParentsWeb by clicking the LOG-IN link from our website (upper right corner). The first time, you are requested to create a user account. Please note that if you created your account last year, you do not need to do it again. Click the “Create New Parentsweb Account” link. Enter your email – it must be the email we have on Record or you will get an error message. The school district code assigned to Aquinas is AQ-ESP. 12

A link will be sent to your email from RebWeb Support. Please check your spam/bulk mail folder if the mail is not in your inbox. The link is only active for 15 minutes, after that you will have to repeat the process. Enter a username and password in the relevant areas. Click Save Password. In case you lose or forget your password, you can repeat this process to create a new username and password. You can also download the RenWeb App

for iOS (iPhone or iPad) and

Android devices

All students may create their own Ren Web account to access homework, schedules, lunch menus and more. For grades 3-12, daily homework will be posted on RenWeb and will be available both for parents and students.



In the spring (May 2017), the students will be informed on how and when to pick their classes for the 2017-2018 School Year. Report Cards Lower School All students in Grades 1- 5 will receive a report card on a ten-week basis. At the end of the first five weeks of a grading period, the teacher will provide a progress report card to the parents of a student whose grade average in any subject is lower than 70, or whose progress is deemed unsatisfactory. Prekindergarten and Kindergarten students will receive a report card at the end of each quarter. Lower School is implementing LIP – Learning Intervention Plan- for struggling students. Upper School The Upper School (Grades 6-12) operates on an academic semester system. The final grade will be the result of the two semesters (40% each) and the final exam (20%). At the end of the first five weeks of a grading period, the teacher will provide a progress report card to the parents of a student whose grade average in any subject is lower than 70, or whose progress is deemed unsatisfactory Upper School Advisors At AAS, Advisors are considered an important figure. Each Upper School Class will have an Advisor whose main responsibilities will be:  Understanding the needs of the group and of each individual student he has been trusted with. Helping his pupils integrate into the School community. Guide them, in order to allow them to benefit from all that AAS has to offer and to contribute to the community in accordance with their own capabilities.  Closely monitor each pupil’s academic performance, behavior and personal needs.  Be a privileged liaison between the School and their pupil’s parents. In order to properly do this, Advisors must be in continuous communication with all of his pupil’s teachers. This special relationship with the Advisor does not preclude the right that parents have to speak directly to any of their child’s teachers if they so wish to.  Transmit a sense of closeness and accessibility to his pupils. They should trust him with their problems or go to him for advice with regards to their academic work. Likewise, and always with the upmost respect towards the student’s freedom, and in accordance with the schools ideals, they should also offer guidance focused on achieving the student’s personal growth. 13


Advisors must be immediately informed whenever their pupils take part, in anyway, in incidents of inappropriate behavior. When such incidents do occur, the Advisor must be at their side, making them see the nature and consequences of their actions and helping them understand that they have to make amendments and accept consequences. Schedule periodic reporting meetings with the Head of School and the Principal regarding the state of the group and its members or request urgent meetings when the need arises.


K1-K3 In the Kindergarten, student learning, work habits and behavior will be measured according to the following table: E: Excellent S: Satisfactory P: Progressing N: Not there yet

G1-G2 In Grades 1- 2, student learning, work habits and behavior will be measured according to the following tables: For Learning skills and work habits: E: Excellent S: Satisfactory I: Insufficient N: Not improving For Classes: 4: Exceeds quarterly learning goals 3: Meets quarterly learning goals 2: Partially meets quarterly learning goals 1: Did not meet the quarterly learning goals


G3 a G11

High School Only Grade Point GPV Honors Numeric Value Value Courses 4,00 4,50 A+ 98-100 A 93-97 4,00 4,50 Excellent A90-92 3,67 4,17 B+ 87-89 3,33 3,83 B 83-86 3,00 3,50 Good B80-82 2,67 3,17 C+ 77-79 2,33 2,83 C 73-76 2,00 2,50 Minimum Satisfactory Work C70-72 1,67 2,17 D+ 67-69 1,33 1,83 Failure D 63-66 1,00 1,50 0,67 1,17 D60-62 0,00 0,00 F Below 60 I* Incomplete 0,00 0,00 *Incompletes are used only in cases involving extended absence or unusual circumstances A student’s academic standing in High School is measured by his/her Grade Point Average (GPA). To calculate one’s GPA, multiply the number of credit hours attempted for each class by the numerical value of the grade earned (grade points) (A=4.0, B=3.0, etc.). The total of these is the student’s total quality points. Divide the total quality points by the total number of credit hours attempted to obtain the grade point average. It is weighted heavily by American colleges and universities for students seeking admission and should be taken seriously by students and parents. Only semester grades appear on the final transcript and are used to award credit and determine final GPA. Interim grades on the report cards are progress tracking grades only. Cumulative GPA is also calculated on all high school courses attempted at the school and all transfer credits accepted by the school. The Upper School publicly recognizes excellence in academic achievement, each Semester, based on the following:  Straight A’s in all subjects = Principal’s List  A’s and B’s in all subjects = Honor Roll



Grades K to G2 Academic Progress Students in grades K1 through G2, may be retained a year based on considerations involving ability, maturity or special learning needs. The School will take into consideration each student´s maturity and development before promoting him to the following grade. Grades 3 to 12: In grades 3 to 11, the school will issue a final annual grade for each subject, as an average of both semesters (Upper School) or four quarters (grades 3 to 5). 15

The following rules apply to a student´s continuity at AAS:  A Student with more than three classes with a final annual grade lower than “C” (D o F): must repeat the grade level.  A student with more than three classes with a final annual grade of “F” cannot be accepted for the following school year. Only under exceptional circumstances, if a student has had serious health problems during the course, he/she will then be required to repeat a grade level. At any time, however, students not progressing satisfactorily may: 1) be put on academic probation and be required to meet certain criteria in order to continue their enrollment, 2) be required to withdraw. Students in grades 6-12 earning a D or F as a year average must complete a recovery plan, which may include additional papers, presentation or projects to be turned in in September. After this additional work, a maximum of a “C” will appear on his/her transcript. Students in grades 9-12 earning an F will obtain no credit. They should immediately meet with the Upper School Principal in order to determine their options. If the necessary make-up course is not available through the school, the student must seek approval from the administration to repeat the course via a pre-approved program. In this case, the cost will be charged to the student´s parents. A failing grade that is received for any class remains on the student’s transcript. The second attempt will also appear on the transcript. For retaken courses, a maximum of a “C” and a 2.00 will be computed in the student’s grade point average. Aquinas American Upper School has a specifically defined core curriculum as reflected in our curriculum matrix. Students are required to follow this scope and sequence, with the exception of pre-approved electives that students can choose from.

High School Graduation Requirements Completion of these courses will satisfy the minimum graduation requirements:

High School Diploma Program 

Spanish History and Geography – 1 credit

High School plus IB Diploma Program 

(does not apply for non-Spanish students) 

Spanish and Spanish Literature – 4 credits

Spanish History and Geography – 1 credit (does not apply for non-Spanish students)

(non-native Spanish speakers take Spanish as SSL)

Spanish and Spanish Literature – 2 credits (non-native Spanish speakers take Spanish as SSL)

World History – 4 credits

World History – 2 credits

English / Literature – 4 credits

English / Literature – 2 credits

Religion / Philosophy – 3 credits

Religion / Philosophy – 1 credits

Mathematics – 3 credits

Mathematics – 2 credits

Science – 2 credits

Science – 2 credits

Electives – 7 credits

Electives – 2 credits

Total Required Credits - 28

Total Required Credits – 14 PLUS IB Diploma Program


In addition to these academic requirements, all students are compelled to perform a minimum of: 25 hours of Community Service per year in grades 9th and 10th 25 hours of Community Service per year (or CAS program for IB students) in grades 11th and 12th. Detailed directions and procedures will be given to students at the beginning of the year



The school has different ways of offering support to students with certain difficulties. However, for the wellbeing of the student it is fundamental that the parents inform the school, from day one, of the potential difficulties their children could be facing which could affect their performance at school. This is key to helping our students. The School cannot be responsible for giving support to students with uncommunicated difficulties of any kind. For students with mild learning difficulties that allow them to function reasonably well in a regular classroom, AAS has a Learning Resources Center with a Learning Specialist and Guidance Counselor on campus that could offer support up to three times a week. Students are withdrawn from their classroom once or twice a week for individual or small group instruction. This instruction is coordinated by the Learning Specialist, the Principal and the student’s regular homeroom teacher. The Learning Specialist provides appropriate intervention for students with identified learning issues, reinforces content covered in the classroom and teaches compensatory learning strategies. SSL– Spanish as a Second Language 

SSL: o ASS offers SSL support for International Students: Students in Grades 1 – 5 will remain with their groups during regular Spanish instruction and will not receive a Grade for the class if so decided by the parents and the Principal. Beginning in Grade 6, students that are not native Spanish speakers will receive special SSL classes. For SSL intervention additional fees may apply. o Native Spanish speakers, if attending AAS after a long stay abroad, will attend regular classes taught in Spanish and will receive a grade. Their special circumstances will be taken into consideration.



Sports Once a week, students are given the opportunity to go to Las Encinas and partake in a sport of their choice. During the 2016-17 school year, sports offered will be: swimming, tennis, ice skating, hockey, padel, and horseback riding (only G4-G12). Choosing a sport at Las Encinas is mandatory for students in grades 1-8, and their performance will be a percentage of their sports/PE grades. No student is allowed to stay back from Encinas by their own choosing, and bringing in the appropriate material is expected. Attending Encinas is optional for High School students. The day scheduled for Las Encinas, Lower school students can wear their sports uniforms all day long. Upper School students are to come to school in regular uniform. They are to bring their sports clothes and shoes in a gym bag while larger sports equipment is to be stored in the locker room.

2015-16 Extracurricular Activities and Clubs AAS students in Grades 4 through 11 have the opportunity to join different clubs and cultural activities. These Extracurricular Activities run from October through May. 17

Lower School Clubs (G4-G5) Chess French Drama Choir Scrabble & Comics STEM Geography

Middle School Clubs (G6-G8) Drama Rugby Choir

High School Clubs (G9-G12) Cinema Drama Madlab Debate Yearbook Art Dance Confirmation Group

6. CODE OF CONDUCT Rationale A code of conduct, is a discipline plan for helping children learn to function in the school community and by extension in the wider world. A discipline plan applies to the school as a whole as well as to the classroom. The greatest obligation for teaching a child good moral conduct and self-discipline rests with the parents; the school accepts the responsibility of assisting the parents with that task. It is imperative that the student be convinced that his/her parents fully support the school and expect the student to adhere to the school’s rules. Without this understanding, the student may think that home and school bear no relation to one another. This can cause the student to behave or communicate differently at home and school. Even in situations of disagreement, it is in the best interest of the student that parents and teachers come to an understanding which will safeguard the student’s respect for parental and school authority. We can best serve the children by working together.

Development of Student Attitudes and Conduct AAS's code of conduct shall include, but not be limited to, the following concepts: • A student is considered a student 24 hours a day, and is expected to act in a manner consistent with his/her enrollment at all times. • The surroundings of the school, the adjacent streets, are consider a part of the school in terms of behavior. • Students shall treat each other, school employees, and guests with courtesy and respect at all times, including in electronic and social media postings. • Any disruption of the learning environment is considered an infringement on the rights of others.

Student Misconduct Students are capable of many serious actions worthy of disciplinary action, all of which cannot possibly be listed. AAS reserves the right to judge the seriousness of the actions and the disciplinary consequences which will arise from them, including issuing behavior slips, warning letters, suspensions or expulsions. Examples of behaviors worthy of stringent disciplinary action (including the possibility of expulsion) include, but are not limited to, the following: • • • •

disruption or obstruction of any lawful process or function of the school damage or attempted damage of school property or the property of another flagrantly, publicly, or repeatedly violating the integrity of the school or otherwise damaging the reputation of the school, on or off campus, including on electronic and social media physical, verbal or written assaults or threats 18

• • • • •

dishonesty, telling only partial truths or lying truancy, excessive absenteeism, excessive tardiness, self-dismissal cheating, forgery, plagiarism disrespectful language or actions toward any staff member, faculty or student failure to comply with uniforms regulations

Electronic Devices IPods, music recording or playback devices, video games and other electronic entertainment devices are not allowed to be used at any time on campus either before, during or after school, at practices or on school field trips. They are to be turned off and out of site at all times. Our goal is to provide a social environment of shared conversation and interaction. Cell phones are highly discouraged at school. If for security reasons your child must have a cell phone, it must be completely off, and not visible by any member of the school community. Students may also stow phones in the main office if they like. The school assumes no responsibility for missing or stolen property of any kind, if not stowed in the main office. Cell phones in the school bus or during field trips may be used under the authorization of teachers/supervisors. High School students may use their cell phones after 2.10 pm. If a student is in violation of the above-mentioned electronic device policy, the following progression of consequences will ensue: 1st offense = device held for one week 2nd offense = device held for one month 3rd offense = device held until the end of the school year

Behavior on the School Bus Students should remember that when they are on the school bus, they are essentially in school. Their expected behavior should be the same on the bus as in the classroom. • • • •

Students Students driver Students Students

must be seated at all times and seat-belts must be worn are not to throw objects on the buses or make any loud noises which may distract the must refrain from eating or drinking on the bus must obey the bus monitor as the final authority

Inappropriate behavior on the bus will be reported by the bus monitor to the Principal. Students will be issued a Behavior Slip and parents will be notified of the inappropriate behavior.

Behavior in the School Cafeteria Students should remember that when they are in the School Cafeteria, they are essentially in school. Their behavior should be the same there as in the classroom. The Cafeteria is supervised by our teachers. They have the authority to make decisions on events occurring during their duties. Inappropriate behavior in the School Cafeteria will be reported by the teacher on duty to the Principal, students will be issued a Behavior Slip and parents will be notified. • • • • • •

Students should wait in line for their food (“no cutting” in line) Upon receiving their food, students are to fill in each table starting at the back of the cafeteria Good manners should be used at all times. Students should speak in a quiet conversational voice while in the cafeteria. All trays are to be put on the racks before leaving the Cafeteria. Taking food, in any amount, from the dining room is not allowed 19

Behavior in the Playground Our teachers monitor the school playgrounds. • • • • • • • •

Balls must be kept on the playground and should not be kicked or thrown over fences Roller skates, blades, or skateboards are not allowed at any time Playground 1 is available for Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd Grade students. No one above 2nd Grade is allowed in the enclosed early childhood play area. Also, no food should be eaten in the Playground Playground 2 is available for 1st, 2nd and 3rd Grade students. The same food policy applies (this playground will be available for students in January 2017) Personal items left on the playground will be stored in the Lost and Found Students are not allowed to play or be on the bicycle parking area During recess, students cannot access their classes. In case they need a toilet, they should use the bathrooms on the first floor. Students MUST be in sight of a playground monitor at all times.

Inappropriate behavior in the playgrounds will be reported by the teacher on duty to the Principal. Students will be issued a Behavior Slip and parents will be notified.

Artificial Turf Soccer Field • Playing with inappropriate shoes or barefoot is not allowed • No food or drink allowed • The field must be used sideline to sideline (using the width of the field rather than the length), creating three play spaces, to enable greater use of the facility. Inappropriate behavior on the soccer field will be reported by the teacher on duty to the Principal. Students will be issued a Behavior Slip and parents will be notified.

Dress Code Aquinas' dress code attempts to ensure a look that is conservative, modest, clean-cut and uniform. Students are to be modest, neat, clean, and well-groomed. The uniform is to be properly worn and respected. It is up to the school administration to interpret and determine the dress code and any exceptions or amendments necessary to address unforeseen issues. It is the responsibility of each student’s parents to ensure that the dress code is followed. The uniform must be worn from the time the student enters the building in the morning until he or she leaves the property after school. Students must bring the required gym uniform on days of scheduled classes. Clothing may be stored at the school until P.E. class and then taken home the same afternoon. • • • • • • • •

It is obligatory to wear the complete school uniform. Unapproved sweatshirts, shirts or polos are not allowed. Skirt minimum length must be 3 fingers above the knee. No visible or simulated body piercing or tattoos. Visible make-up of any kind is not permitted Hair must be neat, clean and conservative and remain out of the eyes. No extreme haircuts or styles. No artificial coloring, tinting or highlighting. Boys’ hair must be above the eyebrows, ears, and collar. Boys may not have facial hair. Jewelry: bracelets or any other type of jewelry must be modest. Raincoats and jackets must be dark blue or black in color. No wheeled backpacks are allowed

Infractions of the school dress code will be reported by any members of the faculty or staff to the Principal. Students will be issued a Behavior Slip and parents will be notified.


Attendance /Tardiness Regular attendance at school is required. It is important to ensure continuity of instruction and to develop positive habits and attitudes of responsibility in our children. Parents are asked to communicate to the school office any absence as soon as possible and no later than 9.00 am the day the student is absent, by calling or sending an email to: [email protected] Truancy occurs when a student is absent without parent permission. Students with continued and excessive absences without serious reason shall be contacted for a conference with the appropriate School Principals and their parents. In the event that a lengthy absence is necessary due to a serious health reason, a plan for completion of schoolwork must be developed.

Absences on Test or Project Due Dates Students should make every effort to be at school on time every day, but especially on days when testing is occurring or projects are due. A pattern of missing or showing up late on such days (even if working until late the night before) is antithetical to academic excellence and may subject the student to academic and/or disciplinary sanctions. Students may be required to send in projects or papers when due, even if they are absent that day.

Consequences for Misbehavior Detention A detention is a disciplinary measure given to deter behavior considered unacceptable and contrary to school policy. Detentions are served on recess time. Being late for detention, failure to show up to a detention or misbehaving during detention, will result in an automatic behavior slip.

Behavior Slip If a student participates in a way that creates: disorderly conduct, insubordination, fighting, property destruction, academic dishonesty, and harassment or intimidation, a Behavior Slip will be in order. This notice will be given to the student's family by the student´s advisor as an initial warning. However, this slip could lead to a suspension if deemed relevant to the situation.

Suspension Notice A Suspension Notice may vary from the severity of the misconduct. The suspension restrictions listed below increase from lesser to higher severity: • Temporary suspension from school field trips. • Temporary suspension from attending the Encinas Sports Club. • Temporary school suspension, where the student would not attend any classes at all. The family of the suspended student will receive a Suspension Notice stating the causes for taking such disciplinary action and the severity of the suspension.

Warning Letter In cases of extreme misconduct or repetitive cases of misconduct from a student (such as increasing disrespect, tardiness, lack of discipline, etc.), the student will receive a Warning Letter. This letter may include a temporary suspension. Warning letters will always be signed by the Head of School. Students with three (3) warning letters cannot be accepted for the following school year. If a student does receive a fourth Letter of Warning (4), such student will be expelled effective immediately.

Taking Care of School Property


Students are required to treat all school property with respect, and to pay for all damages done to school property for which they are at fault. Students may not take anything out of cubbies that have not been assigned to them. Cubbies must be free from trash, loose or crumpled papers, and non-school related items. Nothing should be left on top of the cubbies overnight nor should anything be placed on the floor at any time. Students shall help keep the classrooms, hallways and outside areas of the school clean at all times. Students should help with the room cleanup at the end of each class hour or as designated by the classroom teacher.

7. LIFE AT AAS Communications Parents are encouraged to keep teachers informed of important events or changes that may affect their child. Notes can be sent in the student agenda or by e-mail. Although, we highly recommend calling the front desk if something is urgent as teachers are generally unable to check emails during school hours. Concerns, recommendations or questions relating to a student should first be addressed to the homeroom teachers or advisors. Unresolved matters through a conference with the teacher or matters of a more specific nature may be addressed to Ms. Carbo, the Lower School Principal, Mrs. Curbera, Upper School Principal. Concerns, recommendations or questions regarding school policies unresolved through the homeroom teacher or Principals should then be referred to the Head of School. Conferences: Parents should feel free to schedule a conference with the Homeroom teacher or advisor any time during the school year. This can easily be arranged by sending an email or note to the teacher or by directly calling the front desk. Newsletters will be sent directly by the homeroom teachers and by the School Principals as these share information about current and future events. Newsletters include announcements about field trips and other pertinent school activities. Website: Valuable information, including news and events, is posted and updated on our site:, Ren Web: Our intranet system, provided by Renweb, includes information about various happenings of the school. Each individual parent/guardian will have personal access to the School intranet. You can enter Renweb from the school website homepage. You can download the Renweb App for IOS and Android Twitter/ Facebook: Parents can also follow our Twitter and Facebook accounts for last minute announcements / news: @aquinas (Twitter) / AAS Bears (Facebook) Open House: At the beginning of the school year an Open House will be held for parents. This is a great opportunity to meet the teachers and learn about grade level programs and expectations. All parents, new and returning, are invited to attend this informative session.

Family Day A school wide party “Family Day” will be held on a Saturday in May/June with participation and collaboration from volunteer parents. Students, teachers, parents, relatives and friends. We all gather together in this event featuring family-oriented, fun-filled activities. Specific information will be sent home well in advance of this special day.

Field Trips 22

Several field trips are planned to various places during the course of the school year to enhance the academic program. All School students take field trips throughout the year. The students are expected to maintain the same level of discipline away from school as is required at school. These trips are a privilege and may be denied to students who have not met behavior standards for the semester.

Family Field Trips During the year, at least two family day trips will be organized for families wishing to participate. These field trips are a great opportunity to get to know other families and become more familiar with the AAS community.

Chaplain Confession The chaplain is available for confession for those students who are in need of spiritual guidance and are willing to take part. Monday Prayer Group for mothers and Mass AAS invites all mothers to join the Monday prayer group. The chaplain celebrates Mass on Mondays at 9.10 am for those mothers who would like to attend. After mass, the group shares a cup of coffee in the school cafeteria. Parents can also attend mass service on Tuesdays (Upper School) and Thursdays (Lower School) at 9.10am.

Book Fair At least once a year AAS students will be able to participate in this opportunity. Parents and students are encouraged to buy books with a percentage of the proceeds benefiting the School Library.

Birthday Celebrations (Lower School) Birthday celebrations are important events, but the School policy is that parties should be celebrated outside the school. Every attempt should be made to be inclusive and respectful of children’s feelings. Invitations to parties may be distributed at school only when all students in a class are invited or when all members of the same sex are included.

Parent Participation There are many volunteering opportunities for parents to help in many areas of school life as follows: Aquinas´s Coffee Meetings During the academic year, there will be a several coffee meetings for those parents interested in learning more about school life and chatting with the Head of School. The purpose of these meetings is to receive direct feedback. Seats for each meeting are limited. Parents are required to send an email to Ms. López-Bachiller in order to attend these meetings: [email protected] Chaperones Parents may be asked to serve as chaperones for field trips. We truly appreciate your generosity in offering to help and we trust your sense of responsibility for the safety of our children. Chaperones are expected to help supervise the students. If a parent volunteers to be with the class he/she must be aware of the responsibility. The school requires parents to follow the same standard of dress and conduct as is required of the teachers. Parents not meeting the standards will not be permitted to act as chaperones.


School Improvement Committee Please See below: School Improvement Policies Fundación Aquinas Fundación Aquinas was created to channel resources and coordinate community services initiatives. This Foundation will try to meet requests from families in need of scholarships. Foundation’s revenues will also go towards subscribing the yearly tuition security insurance policy for all our students. This insurance policy provides for tuition coverage until completion of studies by graduation of all siblings in case of the eventual decease of a designated parent or guardian. Upper School AAS Student Life Committee The Student Life Committee is a service committee focused on enhancing student life at Aquinas American School by organizing events and activities that assist in forwarding the school’s mission and goals. Social activities, community outreach, volunteering at the school and community, spiritual exercises, teacher appreciation, student game days and other activities which might enhance student life are the group’s roles. Those elected are expected to take their office seriously and make the Student Life Committee experience a priority among their extra-curricular activities. Likewise, Student Life Committee members should always remember that they are students first and maintain the high grades and excellent conduct befitting of school leaders. Office Descriptions: The President shall be selected by the representatives from among themselves, at all meetings, prepare the agenda, effect communications on behalf of the Student Life Committee, appoint members to ad hoc committees and shall perform such other related duties as may be directed from time to time by the school administration. The Secretary of the Student Life Committee shall be selected by the representatives from among themselves, shall keep a record of all meetings, plans, and documents related to the activities of the Student Life Committee, including a close accounting of any monies spent or raised by the Student Life Committee. Any monetary activity (expenditures, fundraising or any financial commitments) must be approved by the school administration. Class Representatives: The Class Representatives (grades 6-12) will be chiefly responsible for representing their grades before the Student Life Committee and reporting the activities of the Student Life Committee back to their grade. In addition to the specific duties outlined above, all Student Life Committee members will be expected to attend all Student Life Committee meetings and functions. A faculty moderator will be present to assist the Committee at all meetings. Student Life Committee candidates must meet certain requirements. Candidates should:  Maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA (or equivalent to a “B” average)  Complete a Candidate Application form in which each teacher will recognize the student’s candidacy. The student and his or her parents will also acknowledge the requirements, duties and responsibilities of the Student Life Committee office he or she is running for. Upon election, Student Life Committee members must maintain certain academic and conduct standards. Certain actions will result in disciplinary action from the Student Life Committee. These include:  Members not maintaining academic or conduct eligibility 24

  

Members receiving any kind of school suspension can be removed from office entirely. Members not maintaining a positive a forthright working relationship with the school faculty and school administration. Members not fulfilling the requirements, duties, and responsibilities of their office.

8. SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT POLICIES At AAS we believe that continued improvement of the quality of our services and accomplishing our mission will only be possible with a certain culture as an organization. A positive attitude in the face of innovations, a permanent questioning of what we are doing and how we are doing it and open and effective communication channels, at all levels within the school, are the best guarantee of achieving and maintaining the appropriate culture. Aside from this mentality, by all members of the School community, it is important to set up processes for establishing, following up on and measuring medium term and long term objectives. These processes must admit and foster active participation from all members of the School community.

School Improvement Committee (SIC) To this avail, and in order to ease and stimulate the continuous improvement of all areas of AAS, the School Improvement Committee (SIC) has been created.  The SIC will be composed by: Head of School Lower and High School Principals IB Diploma Coordinator Up to three members of the faculty One member of the support staff Up to ten AAS parents

Permanent member Permanent member Permanent member Temporary members Temporary member Temporary members

Temporary members will be on the committee for a period of four years. Any parent, member of faculty or staff can volunteer to sit on the Committee. The SIC President Committee will choose its temporary members from this pool of volunteers. The Head of School chairs the committee, conveys the meetings and establish the agenda. Whenever a member of the Committee must be replaced, the Head of School will be responsible for publicly designating a new one.  

The Committee will meet at least three times a year, convened by the Head of School. The purpose of the Committee is: o To help develop and supervise compliance with any long term plan o Identify areas in need of improvement and include them in the school´s objectives. o Serve as one more channel of communication between the School and the parents. o Prepare an annual brief on the objectives accomplished and the new plans approved by the School. A separate report must be made regarding MSA Action Plans. All AAS families, members of the faculty or members of the support staff may address the SIC and request: more information, to take part in one of the SIC´s meetings or to make suggestions for improvement by sending an email to: [email protected]

Technology Plan AAS has a commitment to its students, teachers and families by which we pledge to use and take full advantage of the best technological tools available on the market and to put them at the service of educating, managing and communicating with our community. Due to its fast evolving nature, the Technology Plan (TP) will be valid for periods no longer than three years and will be annually revised. 25

The TP shall be designed in coordination with all other School policies, and very specifically with the Professional Development Plan. Initial development of the TP will be led by a work team composed by: the Head of School, the Principals, the IB Diploma Coordinator and the Business Officer. This group will meet at least once per quarter and will be presided by the Head of School. Once the design of the TP is final, as well as when it is revised annually, it will be sent to the entire staff, requesting suggestions for improvement. When these suggestions are analyzed, and either included or rejected, the work team will send a final version of the TP for approval to the School’s Board of Directors.

Facilities Plan The Business Officer, together with the Head of School will prepare a multiannual facilities plan (FP). The FP must be aligned with the school´s general financial forecast and include a budget of the estimated investment needed to fulfill each action. The FP will be presented to the school´s Board of Directors for their approval. Once approved it will be communicated to all stakeholders.

MSA strategic objectives / Action Plans As a part of its accreditation process with the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, AAS commits to reaching a number of strategic objectives. With this purpose, a series of Action Plans has been devised. In order to insure compliance and to allow adequate supervision of the undergoing work, AAS will appoint an MSA internal coordinator who will preside over a permanent committee on accreditation. This committee will oversee compliance with the Action Plans, in order to guarantee fulfilment of the strategic objectives agreed upon during the previous accreditation process. (Currently every 7 years.). This committee will produce an annual report on the state of the accomplishments and suggesting any actions that should be undertaken in order to correct possible deviations from the original plan.