Academics » Student Handbook

Student Handbook



HIGHLAND RANCH EXPECTATIONS:  School wide behavioral expectations are in place:  Be Safe.  Be Kind.  Be Responsible. This is the conduct that is expected by everyone who is a part of our school community. The foundation of these expectations are the six Pillars of Character which are: Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship. Our expectations are designed to create a positive, purposeful and nurturing environment.    
WHEN YOUR CHILD IS ABSENT: You must call or email the attendance hotline if your child is absent for any reason: 858-485-4876 or [email protected]
Leave your child’s name, spell the last name; the teacher’s name; the reason for the absence; and who is leaving the message. All illnesses will be documented and we will follow the COVID Decision Tree protocol. This may prevent your child from returning to school if he/she has any COVID symptoms, depending on the current guidelines.
WHEN YOUR CHILD NEEDS TO LEAVE EARLY:  Please come to the office to check your child out and bring photo identification.  We will then call your child’s class to have him/her released.   As a courtesy, you can inform your child’s teacher, but we will not bring him/her to the office until you arrive and check your identification.
WHEN YOUR CHILD IS TARDY:  Should your child arrive after 7:45 a.m., he/she must first report to the office for a tardy slip before going to class. If your child is having breakfast at school, he/she must arrive between 7:15 and 7:30 to be served and finish eating by the start of the school day.
WHEN YOUR CHILD IS ILL AT SCHOOL:  If your child has a fever or is displaying any other symptoms of illness or injury, the parent will be notified first; if the parent is unavailable, we will call the people you have listed as “emergency contacts.” Please be sure the office has the phone number of your child care provider, if appropriate. All illnesses will be documented and we will follow the COVID Decision Tree protocol.
MEDICATION: Any student who is required to take medicine during the day (prescribed by a physician) must file an Authorization for Medication Administration form (available here and in the office). For the protection and safety of all students, we are not able to dispense any over-the-counter medications (i.e. Tylenol, cough medicine, etc.) without a physician's note. Please do not send these to school with your child. 
CELL PHONES: Cell phones are ONLY permissible for students in the classroom when used for an assignment given by the teacher.  Cell phones are NOT to be out on campus during the school day.  A student’s cell phone will be kept in the office until the end of the day and parents/caregivers will be notified if a student is accessing a phone or other electronic device (iPad, Apple Watch, tablet) on campus during school hours, without teacher approval. The front office is a cell phone free zone for all staff and parents/caregivers. If you are waiting for your child, we ask that you receive or make any phone calls outside the office. 
EXTENDED STUDENT SERVICES (ESS): Our ESS program (before and after school care) is available from 10:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. For additional information, please call 858-485-7310.
SCHOOL ARRIVAL/DISMISSAL TIMES: The gates open at 7:35 for drop off of students who are not having breakfast.  Students in TK should enter the gate by the TK Playground.  Students should enter school through the double gates next to the Administration Office for grades Kindergarten and First.  Students in grades Second through Fifth should enter the gates by the playground.  Students should be dropped off from their cars at the loop by ESS.  Students in grades TK, K, and first should have parents/guardians walk into campus and park on the street and walk their children in and pick them up at the end of the day. Students dismiss from the same gates they’ve entered through. Parents/guardians are encouraged to use both loops for student pick up at the end of the day. Parents/guardians should not park their vehicles in the loops to walk and look for their child - parents must remain in their cars.   You may not walk your children to class, regardless of grade.
CAR TRANSPORTATION BEFORE AND AFTER SCHOOL: When dropping off or picking up your child, please do so as quickly and safely as possible to avoid congestion in the parking lot(s).  Please do not double park or stop your car.  Always watch for children and other cars. DO NOT PARK IN THE RED CURB AREA. Student car drop off is in front of the ESS building; student pick-up is in front of the school.  
RAINY DAY SCHEDULE: Rainy days will have the same schedule as other days.  Students should remember to bring an umbrella and appropriate jacket for the weather.  
SCHOOL OFFICE: The office is open from 7:30 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.  Monday through Friday, excluding holidays. Phones are answered during office hours only. Our office staff strives to provide the best possible service. In order to help do this, student use of the office telephone is limited to urgent calls. If you need to pick your child up for any reason during school hours, please come to the school office; we will call your child’s classroom and have him/her sent to the office so you can sign your student out. 
VISITORS AND VOLUNTEERS: This year, we plan to have volunteers on campus as COVID guidelines allow and Board Policy.  Please click here for more information.  We also ask that no pets (unless they are service animals) be allowed on campus per Board Policy.
PROGRESS REPORTS AND PARENT CONFERENCES: Progress Reports are issued three times a year – typically in November, March, and June. Parent conferences are provided for all parents/caregivers at the end of the first reporting period. Parents/caregivers requesting additional conferences are encouraged to contact their child’s teacher for a convenient time to meet. 
CAFETERIA SERVICE: School lunches and breakfast will be provided at no cost this year. To help offset the cost of these lunches, please go online to the Food and Nutrition Department for more information by completing the Free/Reduced lunch form.
LOST AND FOUND: Students who find items on the school grounds should turn them in to the Lost & Found Cart near the MPR room. Parents/guardians are urged to clearly mark students’ names on clothing, lunches, and other belongings. In the event an item of clothing is lost, you should check the Lost & Found to see if it has been turned in. Smaller or personal items are kept in the Office. Items not claimed are donated to charity on a bi-monthly basis. 
TOYS AT SCHOOL:  Students may not bring any toys to school (including trading cards).   If students have ESS after school or their classroom has a special day when toys are allowed, the toys must remain in the student's backpacks until they are instructed to take them out.   The school is not responsible for lost or broken toys which have been brought to school.
SCHOOL PICTURES: These are taken early in the school year. They are delivered to students usually before Winter break. Pictures are also taken in the Spring. Prices vary. 
BICYCLES & SCOOTERS: Students are permitted to ride their bikes/scooters to school when accompanied by their parent/guardian in grades 1st - 2nd; students may ride their bikes/scooters to school independently in grades 3rd - 5th. All students should be aware of and follow safety rules in order to ride their bikes/scooters. Bicycles/scooters should always be walked on school grounds and locked in the bike area when parked. The school is not responsible for damage or loss of bicycles/scooters. Helmets are required for all children under the age of 18, per California law. 
EARTHQUAKE PREPAREDNESS AND OTHER EMERGENCIES: In case of an earthquake, the staff will stay at school until the emergency is over and all children are safe. The staff has been given specific procedures to follow. We feel the safest place for children in an emergency during the school day is on the school campus itself, under the supervision of trained personnel. We will NOT send students home in an emergency. They must be checked out by a parent/guardian or other individual listed as an emergency contact. It is important that this form be kept up to date. The students will be practicing duck, cover and hold drills throughout the year. Parents/caregivers who are on campus at the time of any safety drill are expected to follow all safety procedures, modeling appropriate behavior for the students. 
EMERGENCY CONTACTS: A list of Emergency Contacts is maintained in the office. These are people to be called in the event of an emergency and if the parents/caregivers can’t be located. Emergency Contacts are designated on the enrollment form and should be kept up to date.  All emergency contacts must bring photo identification to school when picking up a student. 



Clothing, jewelry, accessories, or notebooks will be free of writing, pictures, or other insignia which are obscene, crude, vulgar, profane, sexually suggestive, or which advocate racial, ethnic or religious prejudice, or the use of drugs, alcohol, or tobacco. 
  1. Clothing will be sufficient to conceal undergarments at all times.  No bare midriffs. Shirts or tops must not expose the stomach.
  2. No tight or revealing clothes. 
  3. Any clothing that is unsafe or disrupts the functioning of the classroom or school will not be permitted. 
  4. For safety reasons, shoes must be close-toed. 
  5. Hats or sunglasses, will not be worn in the classroom except as required for health or safety purposes, and approved by the administration. Sun hats or caps (bill forward) may be worn on the playground for protection from the sun.
  6. For P.E. classes, students should wear appropriate footwear. All students without appropriate footwear or attire will not be permitted to participate in PE.
  7. The following are examples of items considered unsafe or inappropriate for school: hoop earrings, make-up, temporary tattoos, “spaghetti” straps, midriff tops, short skirts, spiked jewelry, colored hair, distracting hair style, and bandanas. 
  8. No shoes with rollers underneath the sole of shoes. 
  9. The administrator or designee reserves the right to interpret the school dress code. 


  • WARNING: Students may get a warning or a time-out (at recess and lunch you must sit by the wall)  if they make poor choices. They must stay there until released by the yard supervisor.
  • PARENT NOTIFICATION: A teacher or principal may call parents/caregivers to help students improve their choices.
  • STUDENT REFERRAL: Students may get a Character Violation, Expected Results and/or Think Sheet  to take home for parents/caregivers to sign. They need to bring it back signed by parents/caregivers the next day.
  • DETENTION: Students may miss a non-academic activity if they make poor choices.


  • VIOLENCE:  Violence includes the actual, attempted, or threatened. Fighting or threatening to fight, spitting and biting are not tolerated. 
  • DANGEROUS OBJECTS: Knives, matches, lighters, ammunition, guns, fireworks, or any other potentially harmful object which might be used to hurt another person are forbidden. Throwing objects from the two-story building is considered a “dangerous object” and you will be suspended for this.  
  • VERBAL ABUSE/HATE LANGUAGE: We do not use language which might hurt other people's feelings. We do not tolerate name-calling, this is unkind. We do not make fun of, or show disrespect of another person's race, religion, gender, or ethnic background. We do not use profanity (swear words) at Highland Ranch. This is also true of things sent electronically (email, text, My Connect.)
  • DRUGS, ALCOHOL, TOBACCO: Drugs, tobacco and alcohol use by minors is against California law. In addition to school penalties, Highland Ranch is required to notify the San Diego Police Department.
  • STEALING, VANDALISM: We respect the property of others and of our school. If students choose to destroy or damage anything that does not belong to them, it is called vandalism. Students and their parents/caregivers are required by California law to pay for things that are vandalized. This includes not taking care of iPads and Chromebooks.