“If I were president, I would make more schools like Hiawatha because the teachers care about you and want you to go to college.”
Hiawatha Academies scholar
To create a safe, welcoming environment that fosters learning, Hiawatha Academies provides parents with clear guidelines on school expectations and policies. Please review these in the HLA-Morris Park Family Handbook. Below are a few highlights:
- Attendance policy + −
Hiawatha Academies believes that daily attendance is critical to academic achievement and learning. Good attendance and punctuality are important life skills and necessary to ensure a quality education.
Accordingly, a scholar may not be absent from school more than 10 times per year. Scholars who are absent more than 10 times in one school year may be retained in the same grade the following year.
School attendance hours:
Monday – Thursday: 7:25 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Friday: 7:25 a.m. – 1:15 p.m.
- Scholars may be dropped off between 7:10 and 7:25 a.m. at Entrance #1 on 38th Avenue.
- Please do not drop your child off before 7:10 a.m. as there is no adult supervision at that time.
- Please ensure your child is safely escorted across the street if necessary.
- Bus riders typically arrive at school between 7:10 and 7:25 a.m.
Tardy / late arrival / early dismissal policy:
Starting the day on time is essential in making a smooth transition from home life to school life. Parents will be expected to make sure their child arrives at school on time and prepared each day.
- Scholars who arrive at school after 7:25 a.m. are considered tardy.
- A late arriving scholar must be accompanied into the school office by a parent/guardian in order to get a pass for class.
- Arriving between 7:25-8:55 is considered tardy. Three “tardies” count as a one day absence.
- Any scholar who misses more than 90 minutes in a school day will incur a half-day absence.
Excused absences: Absences may be excused for the following reasons:
- religious observance
- family emergency
- a valid excuse from a medical or dental office
- Pre-approved family activity (with advanced approval by principal – up to 15 days). Families requesting leave beyond 15 days may submit a written request for approval by the building principal and executive director.
Absences for medical or dental appointments are only excused with a note from the medical or dental provider. Hiawatha asks parents to schedule family vacations and travel during school breaks whenever possible. If your child needs to leave school during the day, please call your child’s school office before 8 a.m. that day.
- Family involvement + −
We believe educational success depends on a close partnership between our scholars, their families and the school. To that end, we offer Family Academy sessions to share tips with parents on how to best help scholars excel academically and to navigate the broader education system on their children’s behalf. HLA-Morris Park also hosts family events and offers volunteer opportunities throughout the year. Please subscribe to our Hiawatha CONNECT online magazine and check the HLA-MP calendar for other details.
- Lunch + −
All HLA-Morris Park scholars are provided a complete lunch and breakfast daily at no cost.
Our cafeteria staff work hard to provide our scholars with meals that are both nutritious and tasty to give them the fuel for learning! Scholars are welcome to bring a lunch from home, however this excludes them from receiving cafeteria lunch items for that day.
A sample lunch menu is provided below.
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Old Fashioned Hamburger ” New” General Tso’s Chicken Tuscan Chicken Sandwich “Student Voted” Fresh Hot Delivered Pizza Ketchup, Mustard & Pickles Steamed Rice Tender Premium Chicken Fillet Marinated Tejas Meatballs w/Sauce Corn Chips & Mixed Veggie Salsa Carrot Slims Fresh Cucumbers w/ Seasonings. Serve on Bun Steamed Rice Banana Cheese Balls Banana Fresh Crisp Salad Greens & Dressing Golden Corn Salad Crisp Varietal Apple Orange Summer Grapes
We make very effort to accommodate dietary restrictions and arrange special menus when needed. Please contact the school office as early as possible, to make these arrangements. See the “Wellness Policy” in our Family Handbook for additional information regarding our school nutrition program.
- Special education + −
Child Study Team (CST)
Each school has an on-site Child Study Team (CST) composed of teachers, student support personnel, and school administrators. This team meets regularly to help create academic and behavioral interventions for scholars who need extra support. If you feel your scholar may benefit from the CST process, please contact their advisory teacher.
Scholar with documented medical or mental health disabilities may be eligible for a Section 504 plan. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act requires schools to provide students with certain program changes that will allow them access to educational opportunities that are similar to their peers. A 504 Plan may provide additional accommodations, modifications, or services for your student. If you would like to meet or have a phone conference to discuss a Section 504 evaluation and whether a Section 504 would be a good fit for your student, please contact your school’s office. Read your 504 rights in English and Spanish.
Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC)
In order to increase the involvement of parents of children with disabilities in district policy making and decision making, Hiawatha Academies has a Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC). The SEAC annual meeting occurs each spring.
Special Education Evaluation
Hiawatha Academies conducts full and individual evaluations before special education and related services begin. This helps us determine whether a child has a disability that adversely affects their educational performance. We ask parents/guardians for their permission before we evaluate scholars. This permission is for the evaluation only, and is not the same as giving us permission to provide special education services. Parents have the right to refuse this evaluation and any possible re-evaluations.
If you feel your scholar may need a special education evaluation, then please contact our Network Student Support Services Director, Alex Gallagher, email@example.com.
The U.S. Office of Special Education Programs has created an English-Spanish glossary of special education terminology.
Here are some agencies that may help you in understanding your rights and your scholar’s rights under state and federal special education law:
- Parent rights (procedural safeguards) in English and Spanish
- ARC MN (Advocacy for Persons with Developmental Disabilities): 651-523-0823 or 1-800-582-5256
- MN Department of Education: 651-582-8689, TTY: 651-582-8201
- MN Disability Law Center: 612-332-1441, 1-800-292-4150, TTY: 612-332-4668
- PACER (Parent Advocacy Coalition for Education Rights): 952-838-9000, 1-800-53-PACER, TTY: 952-838-0190
- Student health + −
HLA-Morris Park makes every effort to provide a healthy, and safe environment for all our scholars and staff by providing clear health rules and procedures. Highlights are below.
When to keep your scholar home
Not sure if you should keep your child home or bring them to school when they’re feeling sick? HLA-Morris Park will only ask parents to keep their children at home if they are showing any of the following symptoms:
- chills and fever
- swollen glands
- skin rash
- discharging ear
To excuse your child from school because of an illness, please notify the school office by 7:45 a.m. You can reach us at 612-987-5688.
Hiawatha Academies requests that all parents enrolling their children at HLA-Morris Park present a copy of their child’s immunization record. Per state legislation on immunization, we require all scholars to have the following immunizations:
- pertussis (whooping cough)
- and rubella (German measles).
These requirements can be waived only if a properly signed medical or conscientious exemption is filed with the school.
If your scholar needs to bring medications to school, whether prescription or over the counter, our friendly school staff are able to assist with administering their medications. To ensure your scholar’s safety, we ask that parents provide such medications in a prescription bottle or container properly labeled by a physician. In addition, parents should provide written instructions signed by a parent and physician that includes the following information:
- Scholar’s name
- name of medication
- possible side effects
- end date for administering medicine.
If your child falls ill, or becomes injured while at school, HLA-Morris Park will notify parents right away if the illness or injury is serious and your scholar needs to be picked up. Please make sure that your emergency contact information is always up to date, and notify us immediately of any changes.
- Transportation/Busing + −
HLA-Morris Park provides free transportation to all of our scholars. However, we can only guarantee busing within the stated enrollment zone: north to I-94 (including the Cedar River Side neighborhood between I-35W and I-94), east to the Mississippi River, south to I-494, and west to Lyndale Avenue South. Scholars can expect to receive bus assignments by the start of the school year.
- Uniforms + −
At Hiawatha Academies, we believe that wearing uniforms is important to our scholars’ learning. Not only do uniforms reduce unwanted distractions, but they also promote a sense of community, teamwork and ownership. Scholars must wear the uniforms as described below to school every day.
Hiawatha Academies logo items for scholars’ uniform can be purchased from our school office at any time. Parents are responsible for purchasing pants, shorts, skirts and shoes outside of school. At all times, the Hiawatha Academies logo must be visible on shirts, sweatshirts and sweaters. We highly recommend families purchase a minimum of five shirts to begin the school year.
- Current yellow HLA-Morris Park logo t-shirt
- Khaki (tan) pants, shorts, skirts or jumpers
- Simple black or brown belt (if needed)
- Optional: solid-colored tights or shorts under skirts and/or jumpers
- Optional: solid-colored undershirts under uniform shirts
- Any sweatshirts or sweaters worn in the building must have the HLA-MP logo.
- All clothing should be clean and free of holes.
- Tennis shoes with rubber soles only
- Shoes with lights, heels or wheels will not be allowed.
- No dress shoes, slip-ons, boots or sandals.
- Scholars are encouraged to wear snow boots to/from school during the winter, but must change into tennis shoes in the building.
- Scholars are permitted to wear simple jewelry (stud earrings, bracelets, or necklaces) and hair accessories (barrettes, clips, headbands) as long as it does not interfere or distract from their learning or the learning of others.
- Scholars are not permitted to wear make-up to school with the exception of clear chapstick.
- Scholar may wear simple belts if needed, but flashy belt buckles will not be permitted.
- If a staff member determines that an accessory is becoming a distraction for a scholar or others, it will be removed and held until the end of the school day.
- Scholars are not permitted to have visible temporary tattoos or spray hair coloring.
Winter clothing expectations
Once there is snow on the ground, scholars will need the following to play outside for recess:
- Warm coat
- Mittens or gloves
- Hat or hood
- Optional: snow pants (required to play in the snow)
- Weather policies + −
School closures are rare, but sometimes necessary in the case of severe winter weather. In such cases, HLA-Morris Park will make every effort to communicate school closures to parents through:
- Local TV channels. (Stations will begin broadcasting these announcements as soon as possible after 6:00 a.m. If no announcement has been made by bus time, parents should assume that classes will be held. Please check WCCO Channel 4 for current school closing info.)
- Our school websites
- Hiawatha Academies’ social media accounts on Facebook & Twitter
In the event that HLA-Morris Park has to close early for winter storm warnings or other emergency situations, we will make early closing announcements on radio and television stations. In these cases, HLA-Morris Park provides transportation home for all scholars who normally ride our buses. However, parents are always permitted to pick up their children personally.
Hiawatha Academies will consider canceling classes in buildings without air conditioning if the heat index (a combination of temperature and humidity) reaches at least 105°F for more than three hours per day for two consecutive days, or reaches more than 115°F for any period of time. This is the threshold used by the National Weather Service https://www.weather.gov/safety/heat-index to issue heat alerts. However, each Hiawatha Academies building is unique in how heat is retained in the building. The Executive Director may consider canceling classes, in the interest of student and staff safety, if the indoor heat index exceeds the above thresholds even if the outdoor heat index does not.
Hiawatha Academies will likely cancel classes if the wind chill forecast for 6:30 a.m. the following day is -35° or colder, with winds of at least 5 to 10 miles per hour.
Hiawatha Academies will cancel classes if road conditions are such that travel becomes too hazardous for buses and cars. Hiawatha Academies will consider canceling classes if travel delays become so great that staff cannot reach the buildings in order to teach students or students will be out at bus stops for an excessive amount of time.
These conditions are likely if it snows 6 inches or more in 12 hours, or 8 inches or more in 24 hours. However, every winter storm is different, so it is possible that classes will still be held even if snowfall reaches these limits.
Facility damage or other event
In the event of large-scale facility damage or similar event that creates a hazardous or unsafe environment, the Executive director may cancel classes in the interest of student or staff safety.