Student/Parent Handbook

Vista Academy Student/ Parent Handbook 2016-17

Vista Academy Vision

Our vision is to ensure that all students demonstrate mastery of 21st century skills and have a competitive edge grounded in a philosophy of academic excellence, leadership, global thinking and exploration, service learning, advanced technological skills, as well as culture and language acquisition.

Vista Academy Core Values

  1. Build unparalleled mentoring relationships focused on meeting the needs of all students.
  2. Ensure that we nurture, cultivate, and assist students with maintaining their SWAGGER.
  3. To create an academic learning environment where we teach from our hearts.

Belief Statement

Vista Academy believes that all students can learn and move on to post-secondary options and careers of their choice.  It is our position that we are relentless and passionate about teaching and helping students excel academically, socially, emotionally, and physically.  Our teaching and staff core are a part of a team that has mastered competency and standards based instruction, think out the box, and build unparalleled mentoring relationships with students.  Our teaching and staff core are lifelong learners and exemplify high levels of professional growth.

Our Vista community believes in the vision that we must “teach from the heart to be heard.”  This means that we have high expectations and give students the tools to meet those expectations as well as give them the time to learn and practice what we expect from them.  The Vista Academy teaching and staff core are a critical part of our student’s academic puzzle.  Many of our students are trying to put together their lives, and to get back on track after they have given up.

Our teachers and staff will meet them with an unwavering positive attitude; with passion that we bring to our craft on a daily basis and stop the viscous cycles that many of our students are experiencing because for some this may be their final opportunity.  We have the arduous task of re-engaging students within the educational process for the purpose of producing scholars, world class citizens, global thinkers, who are relentless in their pursuit of an education.

Attendance Policy

Vista Academy students are to be in school every day and must attend every single class.  High attendance is key to student achievement.

  • Students are expected to maintain an attendance of 97% and higher and arrive to school and to each class on time on a daily basis.
  • Absences will only be excused when a student has a fever of 101 or higher with an excuse from a guardian, or have a note from the student’s doctor.
  • Student attendance will be closely monitored; any student who falls below the attendance expectation will have a meeting to discuss the barriers the student is facing that is causing the attendance issue.  A plan will be put in place to ensure that the student reaches the attendance expectation as well and the necessary support systems will be put into place.

Closed Campus

Middle School Students, High School Underclassman

These students must remain on campus during lunch and the entire day, unless they are on an approved outing with staff.  Underclassmen violating this rule may jeopardize off campus privileges for the entire school or face discipline action.

Juniors and Seniors with off campus rights:

Only high school juniors and seniors who are in good academic standing are allowed to go off campus during the designated lunch break.  In order junior/senior level students to maintain this privilege, students must demonstrate that they deserve it by returning to school and being in class on time, and conducting themselves in a safe and appropriate manner both off and on campus.  The privilege to go off campus for lunch may be taken away from the entire class if students are not conducting themselves as responsible young adults.  * Remember, you are always a Vista Academy student and must represent our school in a positive manner. *

Dress Code for Students:

Vista Academy is serious about students representing themselves, and the school, well at all times.  If students come to school in violation of the dress code, the administration will contact the student’s parents/guardians, and students will be sent home if guardian cannot bring the appropriate clothing to school.   Dress code checks will be made several times a day.  Please maintain your SWAGGER!

  • Students have a choice of wearing polos, collared shirts, sweaters, vests, blazer jackets, ties, appropriate v-necks, crew neck shirts (no tank tops) in the following colors:   White, Black, Gold, or combinations thereof.
  • Students have a choice of wearing black dress pants, black denim, capris, shorts or skirts (in appropriate length, which is tips of fingers with relaxed shoulders).  Shorts/skirts too short are a violation of dress code.  All colors must again be in school colors of black, white, or gold.
  • Shoes should be school-appropriate and neutral in color -the following colors are preferred: White, Black, or/and Gold.  Sandals should have a strap around the back side.  Heels should be school-appropriate and safe.  Please do not wear shoes with wheels, flip flops, house shoes, etc.

Please note:

  • Skirts and shorts must be at an appropriate length which is an inch below the finger tips.
  • Pants must be worn at the waist with a belt or they will be tied up.
  • Hats are not to be worn inside any building on the school campus, unless approved by an administrator under special circumstances, in which case the student will be granted permission to wear a Vista Academy hat.

 The following are not permitted at any time:

  • Any clothing, grooming, jewelry, accessories, shapes in haircuts or body adornments that contain advertisement, symbols, words, slogans, patches, or pictures that are sexually suggestive; that are drug, tobacco, or alcohol-related, or that are obscene, profane, vulgar, obscene, or offensive. 
  • Wave caps, bandanas, do-rags, picks, or any other grooming items.
  • Red, blue, or combination of red and blue shoes/laces/bandanas/accessories/etc.
  • Hoodies, sunglasses, underwear as outerwear,
  • Slashes through eye brows.
  • Inappropriately sheer, tight, or short clothing.
  • Clothing that reveals the stomach, chest, back, or buttocks.

Piercings and Tattoos

  • Students who have existing tattoos that are gang related, offensive, or obscene will be required to cover them up.  Students who are interested in having tattoos removed can be connected with services that can assist with this. 
  • No facial piercings (school-appropriate earrings and small stud nose piercings are ok).

Current Contact Information

Vista Academy is committed to working closely with students and families in order for students to achieve and maintain their SWAGGER.  Any time you move or change your phone number, please contact the school immediately to let us know.

Student Behavior Expectations

Respect Ourselves and Others:

Vista Academy is a safe place where all students are welcomed and belong.  We expect all students to treat themselves and other students, teachers, staff and administration with respect.  Students are expected to use kind words when interacting with others, keep their hands and objects to themselves, and to conduct themselves appropriately.

 Contribute toward a Positive School Culture:

Scholars, please remember that our words and actions affect others and ourselves.  Please think before you speak or act.  Always keeping in mind that we are here to learn and develop our SWAGGER.

Be inclusive by inviting others to sit with you and take time to get to know your classmates.

If you see something negative, say something.  If you or someone else is being bullied or disrespected please tell the nearest adult immediately.  Mediation can help solve the issue so we can focus on learning and feeling safe at school.

Use of Electronics

Vista Academy does not allow cell phones or any other use of electronics in the classroom, unless it is used for academic purposes with teacher permission.  Listening to music is not permitted in the classrooms or hallways.  During lunch-time you may use your electronic devices, but at all other times they should be secured and turned off.    Vista Academy is not responsible for lost or stolen items and recommends that students leave all cell phones and electronic devices at home.

Searches

A student’s person and/or personal effects, such as a purse, book bag, back pack, locker, etc., may be searched whenever a school authority has reasonable grounds for suspecting that the search will turn up evidence that the student has violated or is violating either the law or the rules of the school.  Parents/Guardians will be contacted.

Use or Possession of Weapons, Drugs, Alcohol, Tobacco

The use or possession of any type of weapon, drugs, alcohol, tobacco or any other unauthorized items are strictly prohibited.  Serious measures will be taken if any student is in possession of any unauthorized item.

Coming to school under the influence of any type of drug or alcohol is strictly prohibited.

Transportation

Students will use the Success Express DPS Shuttle to get to school on time every day. Students are expected to maintain their SWAGGER both on the Success Express Shuttle and on campus.  Students should follow the guidelines of the Shuttle in order to maintain eligibility to continue to benefit from the privilege of riding the Shuttle.

Parking/Parking Lots

Thank you for parking in the designated parking area for students and visitors.  Please remember that when you are in a school zone you should respect the speed limit and be cautious of pedestrians.  Students should not be in their cars or the parking lot at unauthorized times.  The same rules that are followed on campus are the same at the parking lot.  You must be a licensed and insured driver to operate vehicles on district  property.  Any violations of driving laws will result in the loss of driving privileges on school grounds, for example racing, speeding, spinning of wheels (burnouts).  Valid drivers will be granted a parking permit.

Passes

In order to exit your class, you must have a pass. You will be asked to return to your class in order to get a pass to your destination.