7443 Highway 90 West
Lake City, Florida 32055
Telephone: (386) 752-8874
FAX: (386) 752-9453


Welcome

Dear Parents and Students,

The Faculty and Staff of The Blake School join me in welcoming you and your student to our school.  “Excellence in Education” is our goal. It is our belief that a happy and productive school environment is dependent upon each individual’s contribution.

It is our aim to provide a loving, safe, intellectually stimulating, and emotionally nurturing environment in which students will achieve to their highest academic potential while developing a sense of personal growth and social responsibility.

As you read this handbook, it is our hope that you will gain a clear picture of the efforts we are making to provide a quality educational experience for each individual student.  We welcome a close relationship with our parent body and hope you will take an active interest in The Blake School.  Feel free to call for clarification of any item in the handbook or regarding any other question you might have.  We want to be of assistance to you.

Sincerely,
Linnie F. Jordan
Linnie F. Jordan
Directress 


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Introduction


Dr. Maria Montessori
Educator and Philosopher


Maria Montessori was an Italian physician and educator, the first women to receive a medical degree at the University of Rome, Italy, in 1894.  Born in 1870, she developed her method of education over a forty year period of observing children and working with them.  She devoted her life to the education of children and was honored and respected throughout the world at the time of her death in 1952.


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The Montessori Concept


The Montessori method of teaching allows children to experience the job of learning at an early age and provides an environment in which intellectual, moral, physical and social growth flourish.

It is the approach to education which recognizes the potential of the young student and which attempts to develop this potential by means of a prepared environment, utilizing specially trained Montessori teachers and special teaching apparatus.  While the practical side of Montessori teaching is emphasized in the early years with specific materials, the basic philosophy of Montessori education is carried through the preschool, primary, intermediate, junior and senior clusters at The Blake School.  Students are carefully “weaned” from the basic materials while maintaining the same insight into the joy of learning as they progress through the grades, preparing them for adapting to future educational programs.

Montessori education provides the vehicle whereby students may attain inner discipline and control. He becomes the intelligent, responsible master of himself while developing a feeling of genuine caring for himself and others.  Independence and interdependence are natural forces – vital to the life of the student as well as mankind.

The world of the student is full of sights and sounds, which at first appear chaotic, and from this chaos, he must gradually create order and learn to distinguish the impressions that assail his senses.  Slowly, but surely, he gains mastery of himself and his environment.  Dr. Montessori developed what she called “The Prepared Environment”, and classrooms at The Blake School are designed along this concept.  The student is able to develop at his own speed in a progressive order, according to his own capacities in a non-competitive atmosphere.

The method by which the students are taught at The Blake School might well be called “Structured learning”. Since the student has learned to work by himself in the prepared environment, he is ready to enjoy the presence of other students without necessarily working directly with them. The teachers, therefore, are able to work with each student individually on a one-on-one basis.

The structure of learning and training at The Blake School involves the use of many materials with which the student may work independently.  Many of these materials were painstakingly and scientifically developed by Dr. Montessori during her lifetime period of work and observation.

Where traditional education deals primarily with visual and auditory inputs, Montessori methods include tactile experience.  For instance, the number ten can be seen, heard and felt, giving a broader realization in mastering the concept.

Dr Montessori found that the only valid impulse to learning is the self-motivation of the child.  Children move themselves toward learning by nature.   Adults often intervene, with the best intentions, and place obstacles to learning in the student’s path.  Students will learn because of or in spite of the adults in their world.  To this effect, Dr. Montessori stated that any unnecessary help given to the student hinders him in growth.  Teachers at The Blake School prepare the environment, direct activity, function as the authority and protector of the student and environment, and offer work according to the readiness and need of each student.

If the Montessori student is free to learn, it is because he has acquired from experience with both physical and mental order, the “inner discipline” which frees him.  He becomes aware not only of his freedom, but also of his corresponding responsibility to himself and to others. The aim of Montessori is to develop the whole student. Intellectual, physical and emotional development are of equal value within the prepared environment.  The teacher strives to encourage and guide the student to help realize the balanced, happy, aware personality that will perpetuate into his life as an adult.


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IN THIS SCHOOL



We believe that learning is a lifelong adventure.



We believe in facing each day with minds open to knowledge and hearts open to love.



We believe in the freedom to wonder, to ask, to explore, to imagine and to create.



We believe that success means doing our best, being our best and feeling proud of our efforts.



We believe that every one of us has special talents and that the talents of each of us help ALL of us.



We believe in ourselves and we believe in each other.


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Preschool, Elementary, Junior and Senior
Program and Procedures


Section I: Academics

An important aspect of the total instructional function is the process of student evaluation.  Testing and other evaluative activities serve as indicators of a student’s strengths and weaknesses.


Progress Reports

Preschool and Kindergarten Evaluations are issued at the end each semester. Elementary, Junior and Senior Evaluations inform parents of the student’s academic and social progress. The evaluation calendar is a part of the orientation packet. Report Cards are issued to elementary, junior and senior students on a nine-week basis.


Conferences

The Blake School believes that open communication with its parents is essential for the success of the program.  Parents are informed of a student’s performance through evaluations, report cards, and scheduled conferences.


Grades

The Blake School calculates grades on a percentage basis.  A 96 denotes that 96% of the student’s work has been completed correctly.

Grade Scale:
A94-100     Excellent Achievement
B85-93Above Average Achievement
C77-84Average Achievement
D70-76Below Average Achievement
FBelow 70  Failing
S          Satisfactory
NI         Needs Improvement

                         95-100    Dean’s List
  90-94Honor Roll
  85-89Merit List

It is the goal of The Blake School to help each student achieve at a level commensurate with his potential.  This can best be assured when there is a continuing dialogue among student, teacher, parent, and administration.  At the first indication of either an academic or adjustment problem, the teacher will communicate with the administration and the parent.  Should this occur, the school requires a thorough diagnostic evaluation.  Psychological testing, diagnostic evaluations and private tutoring are not included with tuition.


Homework

Individual growth is the key to The Blake School educational philosophy.  Therefore, homework will be assigned whenever the professional staff feels it is necessary and valid as an integral part of the program. All assignments are the responsibility of the student and must be presented on time to the faculty member in charge. Penalties will be assessed for late assignments.


Work Ethic

Work is to be finished within the given time period.  Any work inside the classroom is to be performed effectively and swiftly with some permissible conversation.  Should the assignment not be completed, it is automatically considered homework.


Achievement Testing

National achievement tests will be given to each student commencing with kindergarten through grade twelve in the spring of each academic year. During test week the preschool children do not report for class.  The students being tested are required to wear the Dress Blue Uniform each day of testing and are dismissed each day at the end of the test session.


Textbooks

All books purchased by the school will be the property of the school and merely loaned to the student while pursuing the courses of study.  A parent, guardian, or other persons having charge of the student will be held liable for any loss, destruction, unnecessary damage or failure to return said books when directed and will be required to pay for same.


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Section II:  Student Behavior


The degree to which a school is able to accomplish its primary aim of education is often determined by the style of student behavior exhibited in the school.  The character of student behavior is most often determined by the parent’s and the school’s expectations.

At The Blake School, the fundamental expectation for student behavior is that of RESPECT:

1.  Respect for the environment.
2.  Respect for authority.
3.  Respect for one’s peers.
4.  Respect for one’s work.

Unacceptable behavior consists of:

1.  The use of conduct which is disruptive to learning, teaching or the
     effective functioning of the school.

2.  The use of disrespectful language or behavior.
a. Vulgar actions and words are not permitted.  Doing so
    will send the student to Administration. Should the activity
   continue, the parents will be notified immediately to find
    a recommended ramification, possibly even expulsion.
b. The Blake School has zero tolerance for substance abuse.
                           No drugs, alcohol, or tobacco are allowed on school grounds
    or at school functions.

3.  The exhibition of limited self-control, which could possibly lead to
     self-injury or the injury of others.
a. Physical contact in this school is unadvised as it can be difficult to
                             distinguish between amorous, humorous, or violent in
   demeanor, while “joking around” is permitted fighting or
   explicit displays of a private relationship are not.
b. Kissing and holding hands are public displays of a private
    relationship and are not permissible in this school.
c. Fighting is not permitted on school grounds or school trips.
   Any hostile actions between students, or student’s violent
   actions against a faculty member shall be reviewed by
   Administration and the parents of the individual.

     
Disciplinary Procedures are as follows:

1.  Conference with the student.
2.  Notification to the parent.
3.  Conference with Administration.
4.  Student Court.
5.  Conference with the parent, faculty member and administration.
6.  Suspension.
7.  Expulsion. *

* If a student is involved in repeated offenses, The Blake School maintains the right to remove said student from the school.


Knights Of The Round Table

The Blake School has an order of The Knights of The Round Table. It was created to allow the students to have a forum where by they are allowed to discuss and express their suggestions for school policy and to give them a voice in student activities. The Round Table is comprised of Jr. Cluster and Sr. Cluster students. The presiding head of the Round Table is elected annually by the Knights. Dress Blues are required of all Knights in attendence. The faculty advisor for the Round Table  is Mrs. Valerie Howard. This meeting is scheduled once each semester or at any time something arises that requires student resolution.


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Section III: General Information

Schedule

A regular full day of school begins at 8:00 AM and ends at 3:00 PM Monday through Friday.  Occasionally there may be an early-out day, which most often is located on the school calendar.


Tardiness

Students are required to be at The Blake School by 8:00 AM. Students who arrive at school after 8:00 AM will be marked tardy on the attendance record. Ten unexcused tardies constitute one unexcused absence. Excused tardies are those documented by a professional note.  If a student is late, we request that the driver come in and sign the student in at the front desk.  Help the student learn the importance of promptness by having them in school by 8:00 AM.  Students usually want to be present when school commences, but they need adult support.


Absences

The Blake School requires 900 hours of participation by each student within a school year to properly fulfill the requirements of its accredited academic programs. When a student is unable to attend school, please notify the office before 10:00 AM.  Students are responsible for all missed assignments.  Excused abscences are those approved in writing prior to the date of absence, or followed by a professional note.


Early Dismissal

If you find it necessary to pick up your child early, please park and come in to sign your child out of school for the remainder of that day. The school most emphatically urges you to never block the school driveway. Dental and medical appointments should, if possible, be scheduled after the end of the school day or during vacation periods.


Drop-Off and Pick-Up

Parents must remain in their vehicle while in the drop-off and pick-up process, forming only one line of traffic.  If you are coming into school, please park your vehicle in a provided space.  Unattended vehicles are never to be left in the driveway.  Please exercise extreme caution and patience when dropping off and picking up students. Dismissal begins AFTER 3PM.

                                                                  Cell Telephones

Students are not allowed to have cell phones on the Blake School Campus. Upon violation of this policy, the cell phone will be confiscated and held by administration until the end of the school year, when the phone will be released to the proper owner.


Vehicles

Students of legal driving age are to park along the western fence bordering the school.  Students are not permitted to go to their vehicles during the school hours; therefore, all  personal belongings are to be brought in at the beginning of school. 


Lunch Break

Lunch is from 11:50 to 12:15.  All students are responsible for the cleaning and care of the room before passing to the next period.  Cleanup should take place a few minutes before 12:15 to prevent being tardy to the next class.


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Section IV:  Policies and Procedures

Health

It is essential that all Immunization Forms (HRS-680) and Emergency Cards be on file at the time of a student’s entrance into the school.

It is imperative that parents keep the emergency contacts and phone numbers listed on the emergency cards current throughout the year.

Do not send your student to school with an active cold.  Students with contagious symptoms, such as fever, sore throat, sniffles, coughs and sneezes should not be in school.

If it is necessary for a student to take medication at school, send a note explaining the situation.  No medication will be dispensed without clear and written instructions.

If a student should develop symptoms of illness during the school day, parents will be notified and are expected to pick up the ill student as quickly as possible.

Dress

“Look your best, act your best!”  There is a correlation between a student’s appearance, the way he feels about himself and the way he behaves.

The Blake School has a dress and appearance code.  The purpose of this code is to eliminate the distractions and problems that freedom of appearance can bring.  The Blake School feels that students should distinguish themselves through their work and achievements and not through their dress.

The code cannot explicitly cover every conceivable dress or appearance fad.  Students have an unlimited ability to create new dress and appearance habits.  The clear intent of the code is for students to be dressed and groomed in a “prep” school manner.  Any student who does not meet this standard will be asked to take corrective action.  Failure to do so may result in suspension from the program.

Uniforms are required for all students.  A student not dressed appropriately will be sent home to change.  In order to alleviate this inconvenience, send your student to school dressed appropriately.

Appearance

Students of The Blake School are to be groomed in a clean and fashionable manner.  Hygiene should be a big part of a student’s life, and it is at The Blake School.  Students are to be clean and orderly; this includes pressed pants, ironed shirts (if applicable), belts attached and shirts tucked in when wearing a polo styled or oxford shirt. Many of the fads today include multiple body piercing, long nails, and hair colorings.  These shall be addressed in the following way:

1.  Nails are to be no longer than approximately 2 centimeters from the
    base of the nail to the tip of the nail.

2.  Many people today have highlights in their hair. Students of The Blake
    School may also, provided that the shades are natural and are not too
    many shades lighter or darker than your own natural hair color.

3.  Earrings are only permissible on girls, not boys. Earrings may be worn
     provided that the pair of earrings are not large hoop style (studs or
     small hoops only), one earring in each ear.

4.  Jewelry of modest fashion may be worn on either gender, though a rule of one ring per                     hand is strictly enforced.

5.  No other body piercing or tattooing may be visible.


   Attitude

Students are to stay within good graces with their teachers and peers.  Although students may be angered, they are not allowed to express those feelings with destruction, vandalism, or rudeness.  Students should try to “vent” by themselves, with the Head Guidance Counselor, or with their friends. No violent acts are allowed.  This rule is strictly enforced.


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The Student Handbook
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