School Handbook

Revised 2013 Parent/Student Handbook

“Maxima Puero Reverentia Debetur.”
“To the Child is Due the Greatest Reverence”

St. Joseph’s School

Parental Role

It is the philosophy of St. Joseph’s School that the work of the Christian Education of Youth is primarily the privilege, responsibility and duty of parents. The right of parents to educate their children flows from the natural law. As God has given children to parents, it is the privilege of parents to lead their children to God.

The role of the School in the education of youth is, then, secondary and supplementary to that of the parents. The educational and religious philosophies governing the School are set forth in this handbook. It is understood that parents of students will be supportive of the School and foster the Christian educational process in their homes.

The great work of Christian Education demands this unanimity of purpose between parents and teachers. Each has a role to play in this process and both must do their part intelligently and faithfully. Parents and School must supplement and perfect one another’s efforts and both must be firmly grounded upon the academic and religious principles enumerated in this handbook.

The Catholic Position on Education

The Code of Canon Law

The official position of the Catholic Church on education is summarized in the Code of Canon Law:”

Parents are bound by a most grave obligation to provide to the best of their ability for the religious and moral, as well as for the physical and civil education of their children, and for their temporal well-being” (Canon 1113).”

From childhood all the faithful must be so educated that not only are they taught nothing contrary to faith and morals, but that religious and moral training takes the chief place” (Canon 1373).”

In every elementary school, religious instruction adapted to the age of the children must be given” (Canon 1373).”

Catholic children must not attend non-Catholic neutral or mixed schools… It is for the bishop of the place alone to decide, according to the instructions of the Apostolic See, in what circumstances and with what precautions attendance at such schools may be tolerated without danger of perversion to the pupils” (Canon 1374).”

The Church has the right to establish schools of every grade, not only elementary schools, but also high schools and colleges” (Canon 1375).

Decrees of the Council of Baltimore

The Third Plenary Council of Baltimore promulgated the following law in 1884:”

Near every church where there is no parochial school, one shall be established within two years after the promulgation of this Council, and shall be perpetually maintained, unless the bishop for serious reasons sees fit to allow delay.”

All parents shall be bound to send their children to a parochial school, unless it is evident that such children obtain a sufficient Christian education at home, or unless they attend some other Catholic school, or unless, for sufficient cause approved by the bishop, with proper cautions and remedies duly applied, they attend another school. It is left to the Ordinary to decide what constitutes a Catholic school.”

Pastoral Letter of 1919

The pastoral letter issued by the American hierarchy in 1919 stated five principles as the basis of Catholic education:

“First: The right of the child to receive education and the correlative duty of providing it are established on the fact that man has a soul created by God and endowed with capacities which need to be developed, for the good of the individual and the good of the society… Second: Since the child is endowed with physical, intellectual and moral capacities, all these must be developed harmoniously… Third: Since the duties we owe our Creator take precedence over all other duties, moral training must accord the first place to religion, that is, to the knowledge of God and His Law, and must cultivate a spirit of obedience to His commands… Fourth: Moral and religious training is most efficacious when it is joined with instruction in other kinds of knowledge… Fifth: An education that unites intellectual, moral and religious elements is the best training for citizenship…”

Mission Statement

St. Joseph’s School educates its students to become industrious, moral and intellectual leaders who enhance society by the example of their Catholic lives. Founded on Christian ethical principles, instruction emphasizes fundamental academic skills and perpetuates the legacy of western tradition. Recognizing the uniqueness of each individual, the School challenges its students to perfect their characters, cultivate their talents and pursue their full potential. St. Joseph’s School’s emphasis is pre-eminently spiritual, assisting students to cooperate with Divine Grace, become true and perfect Christians, effecting transformation into Christ.

Goal Statement

St. Joseph’s School is a place where parents and students must be committed to Catholic education and must become involved in the process of forming Christians. The School is a dynamic school that is about the ever-challenging and eternal business of knowing, loving, and serving God.

The specific goals of St. Joseph’s School are first and foremost, to gain a deep understanding of and commitment to the Roman Catholic Faith; second, to learn and appreciate the traditions and values of a Catholic culture and the means whereby these may be preserved in the modern world; third, to develop solid academic skills in the areas of reading, writing, arithmetic, speaking and critical thinking; fourth, to gain an appreciation of the fine arts; finally, to develop motor coordination skills.



Only those children will be admitted to kindergarten who have reached their fifth birthday by August 31st, and to the first grade who have reached their sixth birthday by the same date.

Any students admitted will be expected to observe the following conditions:

  • That they participate in all religion classes, fulfilling all required work.
  • That they follow the school schedule, including Holy Mass and other religious functions.

St. Joseph’s School is not a school for all students. The principal will interview parents seeking enrollment for their children. Any student seeking admission to St. Joseph’s School may be required to take a placement test.

Children qualified for special education needs in any category, including learning disabilities, speech and/or language impairments, mental illness/retardation, behavior disorder, visual/hearing/ physical and/or other health impairments, will be admitted only at the discretion of the administration. At any time the administration may revoke admittance for students considered inappropriate for the setting.

Furthermore, children who are experiencing difficulty in learning will be admitted on probation; parents will be expected to cooperate in remedying the difficulty at the direction of the teacher. If the requirements are not fulfilled, the child will be dismissed.

Children already admitted who are experiencing difficulty in learning will also be subject to the above probation and/or dismissal.


It is expected that students will attend class on every school day. The teacher or the Registrar will keep a record of tardiness and absences.

In accordance with State Law, an excuse from parent or guardian is required for all absences. The excuse must contain date(s) of absence, and reason for absence and must be from a parent/guardian. This could be in the form of a note or a phone message to the registrar.

Students will be expected to make up assignments missed due to absence as designated by their teachers.

Academic credit for make-up work will be allowed for absences if the student returns to school with an acceptable written excuse from parent/guardian.

If a student has to leave school prior to the end of the day, he/she shall notify the Principal and check out with Registrar, bring a written request from home stating the reason and signed by the parent or guardian.

Students who arrive late must report to the Registrar and bring a note signed by parent/guardian explaining the reason of the tardiness.

Any student missing thirty (30) days or more during one school year will be retained at his present grade level unless he has a doctor’s certificate explaining the cause of absence.


Students are required to be present at roll call when the school day begins and on time for each class period during the day. Students will be assigned after-school detention for unexcused tardiness.

Late arrivals or early dismissals will be counted towards attendance/absence as follows:

  • Before Noon = Tardy
  • Afternoon = 1/2 day absent

Planned Absence

Planned absences must be approved in advance by the principal. Arrangements for all assignments must be worked out with the teachers prior to the date of departure.


A student absent without the knowledge and consent of his parent or absent from school without the knowledge and consent of the school is truant. Truancy shall be cause for disciplinary action, suspension or expulsion. A student is truant if he:

  • Leaves the school without signing out with the principal
  • Is absent from school without prior permission of parents
  • Is absent from class without permission
  • Comes to school but does not attend class
  • Falsifies parental notification

Students will receive “No Credit” for all work missed during the period of truancy.



The school year is divided into four quarters. Report cards are issued quarterly. Parental conferences with homeroom teachers are scheduled at the end of first semester. Additional conferences may be requested with the teachers as needed.


Homework is assigned every night and should take no more than one hour to complete (not including studying for tests and long-range projects).

Students are expected to observe the following guidelines when completing homework assignments:

  • All assignments will be completed.
  • Students are responsible to make up homework missed due to absence.
  • Homework will be turned in on time.
  • Students will turn in work that is neatly done.

If students choose not to do their homework, the following consequences may occur:

  • Students will complete assigned work.
  • ‘No credit’ may be given for work that is not submitted on time.
  • Students may be assigned one detention period.
  • Parents may be asked to sign completed homework each night.

In exceptional cases, if there is a legitimate reason why a student is not able to finish homework, the parent must send a note on the day the homework is due stating the reason it was not completed. The note must be signed by the parent.

Academic Honesty

Honesty is part of the character code of a student of St. Joseph’s School. Academic honesty includes doing one’s own work and attributing the proper credit when researching the work and ideas of another. Plagiarism is the presenting of another’s ideas or words as if they were the writer’s own, without acknowledging the source. To prepare students for what lies ahead in college and to help them develop promptness, honesty and original thinking in their papers, the following policy will be helpful:

Students in St. Joseph’s School will achieve an understanding of plagiarism in papers and research. Teachers and students can develop schedules previous to the due dates of research papers and projects so as to get the papers in incrementally. All research, including Internet research, must be credited with a “Works Cited” or bibliography. Any research that is not properly credited will merit an “F” for that assignment. All research work assigned is due on the date assigned even if a student is absent. A student absent on the due date of a research assignment will receive an “F” for that part of the assignment unless he/she makes arrangements to hand in the assignment on that date.

Extra-Curricular Activities

Students and parents must remember that academics are the student’s first and foremost priority. Parents must exercise great caution in allowing extra-curricular activities to infringe upon the time students require for study.

Students involved in extra-curricular activities must maintain a passing grade in all subjects and an over-all grade average of 2.0. Failure to meet these requirements will result in probationary status. Probationary eligibility is governed by the criteria outlined in the athletic policy.

Students holding part-time jobs must maintain a passing grade in all subjects (on the quarterly report) and an over-all grade average of 2.0.


Grade ranges and grade points awarded:

  • 100-96 A 4.00 pts.
  • 95-94 A- 3.75 pts.
  • 93-92 B+ 3.50 pts.
  • 91-88 B 3.00 pts.
  • 87-86 B- 2.75 pts.
  • 85-84 C+ 2.50 pts.
  • 83-79 C 2.00 pts.
  • 78-77 C- 1.75 pts.
  • 76-75 D+ 1.50 pts.
  • 74-72 D 1.00 pts.
  • 71-70 D- 0.75 pts.
  • 69-0 F 0.00 pts.


  • Students in gr. 1-6 who receive 4 quarter F’s or 3 F’s in math and/or reading will be retained at the current grade level.
  • Students in grades 7-8 who receive 3 semester F’s in any subject will be retained at the current grade level.
  • Students in grades 9-12 who receive any semester F must make up the required credits in order to graduate.

Academic grade level for 9-12 students is determined by credits earned. Students who are more than 2 credits behind will be considered members of the lower class. (2 credits must be made up within the summer and/or academic year to maintain grade level

Honors and Awards

Graduates’ Awards

The School Honor Award will be presented to the graduating student who maintains a high grade point average and exhibits exemplary conduct.

Laude Awards will be given to those graduating seniors who maintained the designated cumulative grade point average during high school:

  • 1st Honors (Summa cum Laude): 3.80—4.00
  • 2nd Honors (Magna cum Laude): 3.50—3.79
  • 3rd Honors (Cum Laude): 3.20—3.49

The commencement address shall be given by a member of the graduating class chosen by the faculty. This representative shall be a student who has maintained a high grade point average and exhibited exemplary conduct befitting the ideals of the academy.

End-of-the-Year Awards

Individual Subject Awards will be given to the student who maintained the highest grade point average in the first honors range.

Honor Roll/Honor Society Awards will be presented to those students who maintained the designated grade point average all year.

Perfect Attendance Awards will be given to students with no more than three days excused tardiness.

Other awards may be given at the discretion of the faculty.


Students must be modestly attired at all times both at school and at school activities.

Every student must come to school in his/her proper uniform, which shall be neat, clean, and presentable. This uniform must be worn during the entire time that the students are at school and at all designated functions. Students not in conformity with the dress code are subject to detention and may not be permitted in class.

A note is required each day the student is out of uniform. If for any reason a student cannot be in complete uniform, he/she shall wear:

Boys: white shirt with tie/black slacks

Girls: white blouse/black skirt

Coats worn over the school uniform (in the classroom or chapel) should button or zip up the front. They may not be pullovers or have hoods and may only be navy blue, gray or black in color. No striping or large logos are allowed.


Hair shall be conservatively cut and neatly trimmed. It shall not be dyed or bleached. Hair shall not be over the ears or collar and no side burns beyond mid-ear are permitted. Earrings and pierced ears are not permitted. No visible jewelry will be allowed.

Complete School Uniform:

  •  Uniform green sweater or vest
  •  Uniform black slacks
  •  Belt (except elastic-waist pants)
  •  White dress shirt· Uniform tie
  •  Black or white socks
  •  Black dress shoes

Formal Non-Uniform Code:

  •  suit or dress shirt with tie
  •  sweater/sports jacket
  •  dress slacks· Socks
  •  dress shoes (no tennis shoes or boots)

Informal Non-Uniform Code:

  •  Pants (neat and reach the knee; no holes or frayed edges)
  •  No blue-jeans or T-shirts allowed· Socks
  •  Shoes (clean and neat)
  •  Shirts (tucked in and free of inappropriate insignia)


Hair should be neatly and conservatively styled, brushed and arranged away from the face. Students shall not dye their hair.

Make up is not allowed.

One pair of earrings, no larger than 1/2 inch in diameter, is permitted; dangling earrings are not permitted. All other jewelry is prohibited.

Complete School Uniform:

  •  Uniform plaid jumper (K-5); skirt (6-8)
  •  Uniform green sweater (K-8)
  •  Uniform green vest (6-8)
  •  Uniform white blouse
  •  Uniform green socks
  •  Black polishable feminine dress shoes (heels not to exceed 2 inches)
  •  Uniform green beret

Formal Non-Uniform Code:

  •  Apparel shall be neat, clean and presentable
  •  Skirts must be full with no slits
  •  Skirts or dresses, which fit tightly around the posterior, will not be allowed. One should be able to pinch inches of fabric on either side of hips.
  •  Skirts and sleeves shall be the same length as the uniform skirt and blouse.
  •  Slips must be worn.
  •  No sweatshirts or tight-fitting pullovers are allowed. Blouses may not be sheer.
  •  Necklines must be high enough (estimate 2-3 finger spaces beneath the pit of the throat) and garment should not be tightly fitting overly accentuating the form.
  •  Tops should be long enough to cover the abdomen when arms are raised.
  •  Socks or nylons must be worn. No tennis shoes or boots are permitted.
  •  Earrings are not to exceed 1/2 inch in diameter or in length. Only one pair of earrings is allowed.
  •  All hair rules apply.

Informal Non-Uniform Code:

  •  Pants must be loose-fitting and lady-like with no holes or frayed edges
  •  No blue-jeans or T-shirts
  •  No low-ride or hip-hugger styles
  •  Refer to formal dress code for blouses and tops.



Towards God

Students shall keep a proper reverence during Mass, by kneeling up and using a missal. While in chapel, students shall maintain a spirit of piety and reverential silence.

Towards Superiors

Students shall respect and obey parents and teachers whether at school, school-related functions or non-school events. Students shall stand whenever a teacher, priest, religious or guest enters the classroom. The students shall greet them with the appropriate salutation (“Good morning”, etc.) followed by the appropriate title (Father, Sister, Sir, Ma’am). The students shall use the same greeting upon meeting a priest, religious or any other adult.

When addressed by a teacher, students shall stand and respond respectfully, using the correct religious or lay title.

Students shall observe common courtesy toward teachers and adults: excusing themselves when having to pass in front of them, getting chairs for them at general assemblies, not listening to their private conversations, etc.

Towards Peers

Students shall treat one another with Christian charity at all times.

Students shall not intentionally cause or attempt to cause injury to persons or property at any time, on or off school property at any school function or activity.

In General

Students shall behave in an orderly manner inside the school building – no eating or drinking outside of designated areas or times; no running, playing, or bouncing balls.

Anyone who defaces, damages or steals school property or another’s personal property at school will be liable for damages as provided by law. They will also be subject to appropriate school disciplinary action including suspension and/or expulsion.

Obscene or vulgar language, writing, pictures, signs or acts will not be tolerated.

Students shall neither use and/or possess tobacco, alcohol, or any controlled substance (without doctor’s prescription) on school grounds or at any school-related function or event. Students present in these situations are subject to the same consequences.

A student shall not possess, handle or transmit any object that can be reasonably considered a weapon on the school grounds at any time whatever, off the school grounds at any school function or event, or while en route between home and school.

Since a great deal of modern music (“rock” or “rap”) is detrimental to spiritual, emotional and psychological development, students shall not subject themselves to such music.Students shall not subject themselves to movies, videos or television programs that offend decency or Christian morals.

Disrespectful, vulgar and inappropriate talk inside or outside of school or via any form of Social Media will not be tolerated. Materials including but not limited to mp3 players, CD’s, books, magazines and other items, which are immoral or suggestive, are forbidden. Drawings or pictures which portray celebrities, the names or symbols of any alcoholic beverage or drug or which are sexual, violent, or anti-Christian, are not allowed and will be confiscated and destroyed. This pertains to lockers, binders, book covers, personal belongings, etc.

School rules and regulations shall be applied at school-sponsored, off-campus events. Disciplinary action in this area will be severe since the good name of the school is involved.

Usually the school does not involve itself in students’ conduct apart from the school or school events. However, there may be an occasion when a student’s conduct, even though separate from the school, will be of such a nature as to reflect on the school and will call into question continuance as a student in St. Joseph’s School.

St. Joseph’s School reserves the right to dismiss any student who fails to exhibit the cooperation, courtesy and Catholic morality promoted by the administration.

Students, who, in the judgment of the school administration, evidence a belligerent attitude or obstinate refusal to abide by school rules, are subject to immediate suspension and/or expulsion.


It is impossible for learning to take place in a classroom unless good order is maintained. Students are reminded that they must adhere to a code of good behavior, not only for their own benefit, but for the benefit of others as well. Students are responsible for their own actions and are held accountable for all rules and responsibilities within this handbook. Students not adhering to any of the above will be subject to after-school detention, referral, suspension, or expulsion.



Bullying (AKA harassment, intimidation) is any intentional written, verbal or physical act that:

· Physically harms a student or damages a student’s property;

· Has the effect of substantially interfering with a student’s education;

· Is so severe, persistent, pervasive that it creates an intimidating or threatening educational environment;

· Has the effect of substantially disrupting the orderly operation of the school;

· Is motivated by physical appearance, clothing or property, mental disability, individual idiosyncrasies, etc.

Bullying will result in a disciplinary action. False reporting or unwarranted retaliation for bullying, harassment or intimidation can also merit a disciplinary action.

Weapon-Free School

St. Joseph’s School is a weapons-free zone. It is a violation of Michigan Law to possess a firearm or other dangerous weapon on school property or at school functions.

Firearms or Dangerous Weapons: Any student who brings a firearm or other dangerous weapon to school or to a school-related activity shall be expelled from the school for not less than one year.

Any student who brings a firearm or other dangerous weapon to school or school related functions shall be referred to the criminal justice or juvenile justice system.

The parent/guardian of any student who brings a firearm or other dangerous weapons to school or school related functions shall be immediately notified by the academy.

The administrator of the academy shall have the authority to modify this expulsion requirement on a case-by-case basis.

Look Alike Weapons:

Any student who brings a pocketknife, squirt gun, paintball gun or other look-alike weapons to school or to any school related function shall be referred to the principal for disciplinary action.

The parent/guardian of any student who brings a pocketknife, squirt gun, paintball gun or other look-alike weapons to school or to any school related function shall be immediately notified by the academy.


Fines will be levied for the following:

· Damage to books or lost books–price of the book

· Uncovered books belonging to the school–$1.00 (G.7-UP); $.25 (G.1-6)

· Damage to school property–equivalent to damage

· Lost and Found–$.25· Gum — $1.00 (G.7-UP); $.25 (G.1-6)

Medical Procedures

The school is permitted to administer limited types of medication only on condition that certain State requirements and specific written protocols are met. These must be met on an individual basis working directly through the school registered nurse before any type of medication or pain reliever can be administered. Students who feel that they are unable to continue in class will be asked to call parents.

Health information and emergency medical forms are required of each student. Should statistical information change (i.e., parent/guardian, doctor, phone number, contact person), it is the responsibility of the student and/or parent/guardian to provide the school office with the information necessary to make that change. The medical information will remain on file as long as the student is enrolled.

Any accident on school property shall be reported immediately to the principal and an accident form filled out (including date, nature of accident, witnesses, action taken and any pertinent information).

Recreation and Physical Education

Any student arguing, fighting or acting in a disrespectful, or un-Christian manner may lose recreation privileges.

In order to develop true Christian sportsmanship, disrespect of any nature (arguing, talking back, using vulgar language, swearing and cursing, un-Christlike behavior, or fighting) will not be tolerated.

Students shall participate in recreation. Students are required to bring proper outer-wear for the cold months.


Students, not the school, are responsible for valuables brought to school. Students are cautioned not to bring large amounts of money to school. Students are not allowed to bring radios, mp3 players or other media devices to school.

Permission from the teacher should be obtained before toys, games, etc., are brought to school.

Designs on any items, such as lunch pails, folders or stickers, which are incompatible with Catholic philosophy, are forbidden. Any material of this nature will be confiscated.


On a regular basis, only enrolled students are allowed on campus during school hours. Visitors are welcome as long as the principal has given permission well in advance.