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Handbook Essentials

Abbreviated Day

When schools have to be delayed because of bad weather, it will be announced on the media about 6:00 am. In such cases, school will start 2 hours later than normal ( 9:43am). Lunch will be served, but no breakfast. Buses transport students on a delayed basis in the morning and on a regular schedule in the afternoon. There is no before school program on abbreviated or canceled days.

School Cancellation

APS sometimes decides later to cancel school for the whole day, so keep listening to the radio. When APS cancels school, the day must be made up at a later time in the year.

Emergency conditions that necessitate closing individual schools early will be handled on a school-by-school basis. The principal will keep you informed of the situation.


School starts at 8:05 AM. A warning bell will ring at 8:00 am Students who arrive in class after 8:05 a.m. are considered tardy. Students who are excessively tardy may be referred to the Children’s Court Liaison.

Daily attendance is mandatory if students are to have the full benefit of the instructional program. The district recognizes, however, that there are situations that make absences necessary. Therefore, in accordance with district guidelines, absences may be excused for the following reasons:

  • Doctor’s appointments
  • Illness
  • Death in the family
  • Family emergency
  • Religious commitments
  • Diagnostic testing

Please note that family vacations do not constitute excused absences.

When a student is absent for any reason, it is the responsibility of the parents to  log in to ParentVue and submit an absence in ParentVue as by 7:45 AM on the day of absence. If we do not receive the absence  prior to 7:45 AM you will be contacted by ParentLINK by phone. We offer this service as part of our Safe School Plan. After 3 days of unexcused absences, you will receive a phone call from the school. After 5 days of unexcused absences, you will receive a phone call from the classroom teacher, as well as being contacted by the school counselor to begin an attendance contract. After 10 days of unexcused absences, you will receive a letter from the district along with a possible home visit.

In accordance with district policy, students with excessive absences will be referred to the Health/Mental Health Team and an attendance contract will be developed with possible intervention strategies. (See APS Student Behavior Handbook for details)

If your child is out for illness 3 or more days, please provide us with a copy of a doctor’s note for our records.

Students are also required to be at school on time. Any student who is not in their classroom by the 7:50 a.m. bell, will need to have a parent sign them in at the front office. Students will not be allowed to enter their classroom if late until they are signed in by their parent.

Attendance and Tardies are tracked by each classroom teacher. When every student is in class, and on time, their classroom earns a letter to spell the word A-T-T-E-N-D-A-N-C-E. Once this word is spelled out, the class will be announced in the Vision, and students will receive prizes.

Background Checks

At Sierra Vista we welcome volunteers as partners in education. In order to keep children safe, APS requires that all volunteers have an APS approved background check. We will not make exceptions to this policy and will enforce it for all volunteers.

Background checks are done through APS for a fee of $12.00. Forms can be obtained from your schools front desk. It will take approximately 4-6 weeks to get it back. Please contact APS central office for more information at 855-9040. For more details as to who is required to have a background check please see the Volunteer/Visitor policy under letter “V”.


Bikes may be ridden to school provided the student has a lock. The bike must be walked on campus and must remain locked throughout the school day. The school cannot be responsible for damage or theft to student bicycles. It is a state law that children wear helmets and practice safe riding habits when riding bikes to school.


Bus service is provided for students who live within the Sierra Vista boundaries but live one mile or more away from school grounds. We highly encourage students to ride the bus to school, as it helps tremendously with keeping students from being tardy to school. Bus stop and routing information are available at registration or by calling the transportation office at 880-3989.

Complaints about bus service should be addressed with the bus company or the transportation office at 880-3989.

Children should follow the school rules while waiting for the bus, boarding the bus and while being transported by the bus. Please remember that bus riding is a privilege that may be revoked if rules are violated. APS Transportation forbids children from riding buses other than those for which they are registered.


Menus are given to students at the beginning of each month. Prices are as follows:

  • Breakfast is free, second meal $2.50
  • Student Lunch – is free, second meal $4.00
  • Milk $0.40

Lunches may be purchased daily, weekly, monthly or on a semester basis. You may also pay your student's lunch money online at My School Bucks website. Applications for free/reduced lunch are available from the cafeteria manager at registration or at any point during the school year. If students prefer, they may also bring sack lunches from home. Please note that sack lunches cannot be warmed by microwave or any other means.

We strongly encourage families to provide healthy lunches free of sodas or other sweet snacks as children learn best after eating healthy lunches.

Any questions regarding cafeteria issues should be directed to Jennifer Borkowski at 898-2057 or Food and Nutrition Services at 345-5561.

Cell Phones

Students may have cell phones at school provided that they are kept in their backpacks in an off position during the school day. Cell phones that are used during the school day will be confiscated and parents/guardians will have to pick them up in the office.

  • 1st Offense: Confiscated 1 day
  • 2nd Offense: Confiscated 2-5 days
  • 3rd Offense: Confiscated until May 22, 2014 – End of School Year

Lost or stolen phones are not the school's responsibility and instructional time will not be used to look for a lost or stolen phone.

Sierra Vista Curriculum

Sierra Vista uses the Albuquerque Public Schools and State of New Mexico Standards to guide instruction. The following is a list of specific curricula used at Sierra Vista to attain these standards. A list of these standards will be distributed to each student in the first week of school. References to the standards being taught will be made monthly through teacher newsletters.


Sierra Vista has established a 90-minute literacy block for our entire school. The instructional strategies and expectations are as follows:

  • Every K-3 and beginning step 4-5 student will be assessed using the DRA2 once per trimester.
  • Every student will receive direct literacy instruction through CCSS in a small group, large group and individually (as needed) using the Core Reading Program, TREASURES, or SPIRE for Special Education, and other supplemental materials.
  • Every student will read in leveled text on a daily basis
  • Shared, Guided and Independent Reading will take place during this 90-minute block daily.
  • Every student will write on a daily basis.

Literacy block is considered “sacred”, uninterrupted, time. It is free from pullouts, assemblies, etc.


Sierra Vista will be using Everyday Math curriculum in grades K-5. EDM must be the primary math curriculum in every class, in addition, supplemental materials will be integrated to meet CCSS.

In addition, every child will participate in a timed skills program for no more than 5 minutes DAILY focusing on grade-level appropriate skills.

A math Problem of the Day is done in every classroom on a daily basis. Each problem should have a written explanation of the process used by each child. Grade-levels must have a common rubric for the written explanation.


Science and Social Study Units will be integrated with the Reading curriculum. Sierra Vista is using the science kits adopted by the district. Each grade-level has specific kits to help them teach the subject area pertinent to their grade level standards. Discovery Ed will also be used and integrated into the Science/SS lessons.


Students will be required to follow a writing process every day. Kindergarten will have a 30-minute writing block, all other grade levels will instruct writing for 45 minutes of time.


An important part of a child’s education is the development of socially acceptable behavior. We would appreciate your cooperation in helping us to enforce our school rules. The rules are as follows:

Show and follow all aspects of “Character Counts”!

  • Citizenship
  • Caring
  • Respect
  • Responsibility
  • Trustworthiness
  • Fairness

...Sting with Self-Esteem

Students will receive discipline slips for violating rules. “Character Counts!” I did not exhibit good character in the following area(s):

  • Respect (fighting/physical aggression; disrespecting students, staff or property; abusive/foul language; sexual Battery/Assault…)
  • Citizenship (not obeying rules; on-going negative behaviors in the classroom; disrespecting authority…)
  • Caring/Fairness (hurtful behavior; name-calling; verbal abuse)
  • Trustworthiness/Responsibility (cheating; stealing; weapons; vandalism)
  • Bullying To qualify as bullying, the incident must involve an imbalance of power between the aggressor & target. Bullying usually involves multiple incidences, the aggressor & the target have drastically different reactions to the incident, and target feels powerless to self-advocate.
    • New Incident
    • Repeated Incident (# of documented incidents____)
    • Imbalance of Power

Playground Discipline Plan

1st Warning

The first time a student breaks a playground rule they are reminded of the rule and asked to repeat the rule.

2nd Warning

On a second infraction, the student is asked to sit in timeout, on the red curb, until a given amount of time is given by the duty teacher. The rule is talked about and repeated by the student for reinforcement

If there is a more serious problem, such as fighting or repeated infractions, the student will be removed from the playground and sent to the office. A discipline referral slip is to be written up by the duty teacher and taken to the office for further action.

A copy of the discipline slip is available upon request. The minimum mandatory consequences listed on the matrix in the APS Handbook will be used in the event of severe behavioral infractions. This may include suspension. Only administration can suspend a student.

Sierra Vista has “NO TOLERANCE” for violence. Acts of violence will result in severe consequences.

Sierra Vista students will also receive “Stinging Scorpion” certificates for showing good citizenship and doing extra acts of kindness. These certificates are turned in and students are put into a drawing to be the “stinging scorpion of the month”. One day each month is set aside for Stinging Scorpions of the month to have lunch with the Principals.

Dress Code

Sierra Vista complies with the APS Dress Code which specifies:

  • Students must wear appropriately fitting clothing. (No excessively tight or revealing clothing, no sagging or baggy clothes permitted)
  • Students may not wear clothing that advertises, displays or promotes drugs, alcohol, tobacco, sexual activity, violence, disrespect or bigotry
  • Hats/caps/hoods may not be worn in the building or classroom except when there are instructional, safety, religious or medical reasons.
  • Students may not wear spiked jewelry, chains or belts with more than 2 inches excess.
  • Gang-related apparel is prohibited

In addition, Sierra Vista Students:

  • May not bring any form of make-up to school including glitter and hair products.
  • May not wear make-up or fake nails to school.
  • Must wear shorts or skirts that are at least the length of their fingertips when hands are rested at their side.
  • Must wear shirts that cover the midriff.
  • May not wear tinted gel or hair spray, or distracting hairstyles; Mohawks must be shorter than 2”.
  • May not wear “Heeleys” or “Roller Blades” or any other shoes with wheels.
  • We highly encourage closed toed flat shoes in order to stay safe while on the playground.

If the dress code violation is correctable at school, the student will make the necessary changes. If the student needs a change of clothing, he/she will wait in the office until a parent or guardian provides appropriate clothing.