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St. Gerard Majella School
A Family School

10 Carrelton Drive, Paterson NJ 07522


School Handbook


St. Gerard School is committed to the Christian education of youth. The CATHOLIC PHILOSOPHY OF EDUCATION, which stresses the harmonious development of the whole person, in all basic areas, guides the school: physical, emotional, intellectual, social, aesthetic, and spiritual. This is accomplished in a nurturing environment of the Gospel Spirit of Love, so that the children can become "Good Christians and Honest Citizens." Inspired by the teaching and example of St. Lucy Filippini and St. John Bosco, the patrons of educators and the friends of the youth, we apply these Gospel values, which are based entirely on reason, religious, and above all loving-kindness. Thus a wholesome family atmosphere is created and a feeling of mutual respect and trust reigns between school and students. The school staff also acknowledges the trust given by the students' parents and the parish and believes that only through the constant cooperation of all three forces will the student become a person of true character. Hence the school seeks to promote communication and unity of efforts between itself, the home, and the parish. The message of St. Gerard School is one of vision and preparation of life, it is a message, which has birth and grows within the family, school, and parish communities. The message reaches fulfillment in the gift of one's self through service to God and to others in the imitation of Christ. St. Gerard School admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded to make available to students in the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admission policies, scholarships and loan programs under the applicable regulations of the Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972.


St. Gerard School through its administration and staff are privileged to assist parents who are the primary educators of their children by providing an education rooted in Gospel values and academic excellence. The administration and staff are committed to serve our God, our Students, our parents, the community and one another.
    The Purpose of Our Existence is:
  • To assist our students in the development of their spiritual, moral, intellectual, physical, social and aesthetic potential.
  • To foster in students habits of effective service to the parish, school, community, nation and world.
  • To develop in the students creative and critical thinking skills.
  • To prepare students for high school.

    • St. Gerard School aims:
  • To foster in each student an awareness of their role in the Catholic faith community.
  • To aid each student in developing a sense of responsibility.
  • To instill in the students an appreciation of the true and beautiful.
  • To help our young people acquire life-long habits of Christian living.


    St. Gerard School is fully accredited by the Middle States Association and holds membership in the National Catholic Education Association.


    Punctuality and regular attendance play an important part in the moral education and academic success of a student. Regular school hours are from 8:00 AM to 2:45 PM. School doors open at 7:30 AM. Students MUST be in the school Center by 8:00 AM. All students are to remain on the school premises at all times. Only the principal can dismiss a child at any time. Such permission must be requested in written form by the parent.

    All Pre-K parents must enter the main office to have child released from class.

    Attendance Procedures: Reporting Absence: Parents or guardians of students who are absent must call the school office before 10AM. In addition, we must have an absence note upon the child's return. No child should be taken from school during the course of the day without the principal's permission. In case of contagious disease, the school should be notified immediately. Doctor and dentist appointments must be made for after school hours. If for some reason the child must be taken out early, a note to that effect must be brought in the day before.

    Excuses: A dated written excuse signed by the parent or guardian must be brought to the teacher for the first day the student returns to class.

    Tardiness: From the time he/she is young, a child should be helped to form the good habit of being on time for school. A student who enters the school building after 8:00AM is late. He/She is to report to the school office for an Admit Slip. Three incidents of tardiness will result in the loss of honors for the marking period. Tardiness will not be tolerated since it disrupts our morning prayer and the opening of the school day. School doors will be locked at 8:00 AM daily to begin our day. Parents must wait with child outside until morning assembly is completed.

    Extracurricular Activities: If a student is absent or unable to participate in Physical Education during the school day, the student may NOT participate in extracurricular activities including any team tryouts on that day.


    It is especially in the area of discipline that home influence is most felt - whether it is helpful or antagonistic to the school's effort. Parents are requested to be well aware of the school's expectations and to cooperate with the effort to instill good behaviors and correct misbehavior: the following are examples of student behavior that violates school policy when they occur at school or during school activities.

      Students may be disciplined or suspended for any of the following reasons:
  • Insolence, disrespect or insubordination.
  • Using improper language.
  • Fighting
  • Inappropriate displays of affection.
  • Rowdy behavior: running, pushing, shoving, yelling, and whistling.
  • Leaving a classroom or the school grounds without permission.
  • Tardiness to class or truancy.
  • Threatening or intimidating someone.
  • Vandalizing, damaging or stealing school or private property.


    Birthday celebrations are limited to cupcakes, cookies or munchkins for the child's classmates. Please provide napkins. No party invitations will be passed out in school.


    Students are personally responsible for their own property and articles of clothing. To prevent loss, all sweaters, jackets and gym clothing must be identified with the name of the student.


    All students share the responsibility of taking care of school property. Destruction or defacement of school property, whether willful or accidental is to be compensated for by the student who is responsible for the damage.

    Students are responsible for their class books and library books. Damaged or lost books are to be paid for, and a fine will be charged for overdue library books. All textbooks must be covered and protected from damage.

    Students are not allowed to mark, in any way copybooks, books, desks, etc. No spiral binders, or Trapper Keepers are permitted.


    New Jersey State Annotated 18A: 6-1 states that following:
      "No person employed or engaged in a school or educational institution, whether public or private, shall inflict or cause to be inflicted corporal punishment upon a pupil. But any person within the space of his/her employment may use or apply such amounts of force, as it is responsible or necessary:
  • a. for the purpose of self-defense.
  • b. to quell a disturbance threatening physical injury to others:
  • c. to obtain possession of weapons or other dangerous objects upon the person or within the control of the pupil, and:
  • d. for the protection of persons and property.
  • Such acts, or any of them, shall not be construed to constitute corporal punishment, within the meaning of intendment of this section. Every resolution by law, rule, ordinance or other act of authority permitting or authorizing corporal punishment to be inflicted upon a pupil attending a school or institution of education shall be void."

    Rules for acceptance and participation in the school and its program are the same for everyone without regard to color, race, sex, or national origin.


    Detention is possible. Students assigned to detention will be given 24 hours notice. Failure to attend detention session as scheduled will result in the assignment of additional time or may result in suspension. Parents or guardians must sign the detention/suspension slip and return it to the school office.


    To guarantee a Catholic/Christian Education climate, it is important that students understand that acceptable standards of behavior will be expected of them at all times. Discipline will be administered when any individual's action interfere with the right of teachers to teach and students to learn.

      These actions include:
  • Defiance in word or attitude.
  • Disrespect toward any of the school personnel.
  • Consistent neglect of schoolwork.
  • Carrying weapons.
  • Stealing.
  • Inflicting injury to self or others.
  • Defacing school property or property of others.
  • Wearing makeup, nail polish, or any jewelry.
  • No bizarre hairstyles for both boys and girls. No bleached hair on any child from Pre-K to 8th Grade.

  • Transgressions will be subject to fine.


    Dismissal is at 2:45 PM Monday through Thursday, 2:00 PM on Fridays.

    For the safety of all the children, parents must exit their cars and be present to meet their children. Students will be dismissed directly into the parent's care. All children in a family will be dismissed together from the exit designated for the oldest student. Please be prompt in picking up your children.


    The complete school uniform must be worn from the first day of school.

      Girls Pre-K to Grade 5
  • Plaid jumper
  • Pink blouse
  • Maroon knee socks only (no tights or other color socks)
  • Black oxford tie shoes. (Buckle or Velcro for Grades Pre-K to 3) No slip ons, platform shoes, or chunky heels.
  • Uniform slacks may be worn from November though March.
    • Girls Grade 6 to 8
  • Plaid skirt
  • Pink blouse
  • Maroon long vest
  • Maroon knee socks only (no tights or other color socks)
  • Black oxford tie shoes. (Buckle or Velcro for Grades Pre-K to 3) No slip ons, platform shoes, or chunky heels.
  • Uniform slacks may be worn from November though March.
    • Boys Pre-K to Grade 8
  • Gray trousers
  • Maroon knit shirt with school logo (long or short sleeved)
  • White or gray socks
  • Black oxford tie shoes
  • Belt

  • All students may wear a Maroon cardigan sweater. No substitutions allowed

      Hair must be well groomed and neatly combed at all times.
  • Girls with long hair must have it tied back away from their face.
  • No jewelry or dangling earrings.
  • No fake nails or nail polish is permitted.
  • Boys may not wear earrings during school hours or in any extra curricular activities - (sports, etc.).
  • Boys' hair length is above the collar. (No fad hair cuts or styles).
  • There is no substitution for the school uniform. It is the parents' responsibility to see that the students are dressed and groomed properly for school.

    All students are to wear the complete gym uniform and sneakers. Black or White Low tops only!

    Participation in gym is mandatory except in cases where the gym teacher receives a written note of excuse from parent or physician. Gym shorts must be worn under school gym pants.


    Emergency drills are required by law and are an important safety precaution. It is essential that when the first signal is given, everyone obeys promptly and clears the building by the prescribed route as quickly and quietly as possible. Students are not permitted to return to the building until a signal is given to do so. There is no talking, running or pushing during the emergency drill.

    A change of clothing is required for all students the first week of school in a bag labeled with the child's name and grade. Any medical issues should be addressed directly to the school nurse.


    After school care is provided for students in grades Pre-K through 5.
    Exceptions for upper grade students can be made by the Principal.

    Any student remaining on the school premises after 2:45 PM dismissal (2:00 PM on Fridays) will be included in the after school program at the parents' expense.

    The school reserves the right not to allow a child to continue in the program due to disruptive or unacceptable behavior.

    All payments for "extended school care" are due on the Monday of the week that the extended care is given, or payments may be made monthly.

    Children must be picked up from After School Care by 5:30 PM. A late fee will be charged each time a child is picked up after 5:30 PM.


    Field trips are co-curricular education experiences. Before each trip the teacher will send home a notice stating the nature, the time, and the cost of the field trip. No one will be permitted to participate without a signed parental permission slip. Those students not attending the trip must remain at home and will be marked absent for the day.


    The numerical and letter grade equivalency can be found on the report card. The grading system of each report card includes class work, homework, class participation and tests. Report cards are given in November, February, April and June. Parent-teacher conferences are held twice a year. It is mandatory that a parent be present at the meeting. We ask the parent or guardian to sign the envelope and return it to the classroom by the specified date. If any parent requests a conference with a teacher, please contact him/her by sending a note to the particular teacher.

    The administration reserved the right to suspend or remove a student from any extra curricular activity upon failure of academic subject(s). The student will be ineligible to take part until the grade(s) improve. At the end of a reasonable time, the principal will confer with the teacher(s) to determine if the student is eligible to take part in extra curricular activities.

    Tardiness and behavior prevents the student from any Honors since Morning Prayer assemblies are an integral part of our curriculum.


    Homework is given as a strengthening device and as an extension of the learning experience that has taken place in school. It allows the teacher to determine if reinforcement is needed.

    Parents can do much to aid the child's progress through proper direction of homework. Parents should provide time, place and an atmosphere conducive to learning. Parents are requested to encourage the child to do the assigned work.

    The amount of homework will differ depending on the grade level of the child. Homework must be handed in on time for full credit to be received.

    No student will be permitted to return to the classroom after school hours for forgotten items.


    The Home & School Association serves to facilitate the co-operative efforts of parents and teachers on behalf of the student. Each family is expected to hold membership, give its full support to this organization and to attend every scheduled meeting. At least one parent must attend the meetings. Children are not permitted to attend Home & School meetings.

    The principal who will work together with them on all functions sponsored by the organization shall appoint the officers.


    A child who becomes ill during the day will be sent to the nurse. The nurse or secretary will contact the parents. For this reason, it is imperative that each family's file be completed with current information. In the event of any changes of phone number, address, or emergency contact, please notify the office immediately.


    Every student is covered by a mandatory insurance policy supplied through the diocese. The cost of this policy is covered through the registration fee. Additional coverage may be required when participating in sports activities.


    The library plays an important part in the education of the student. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the services it can provide. All library books must be checked through the librarian and returned by the specified date. Should some damage occur to the book while it is in the student's possession, he/she should report this to the librarian. The student must pay for books, which are lost or ruined. If a student fails to return a book on time, a fine issued by the librarian must be paid.


    All articles found in the school should be returned to the school office. The school will not be held responsible for any personal items lost by any student. Every student is held responsible for his/her books.


    All students K - 8 will eat lunch in the school cafeteria. Those who wish to participate in the hot lunch program can pay on a weekly or monthly basis.

      Some simple rules of courteous behavior that make the lunchroom atmosphere pleasant and relaxed are:
  • Observing good dining room standards at the table.
  • Leaving the table and surrounding area clean.
  • Replacing chairs and putting trash in the proper container.
  • Not leaving the lunch hall while eating or carrying food.

  • Sodas are not permitted.

    Beverages in glass bottles are not permitted.

    Microwave ovens are not available for students.


    Students are not permitted to keep medications with them in school. Doctor's prescriptions must be left in the office to be administered by the nurse or school secretary at the proper time.


    During the school year, the children are asked to sacrifice their own money for the missions in the spirit of love and generosity toward Christ.


    Students may only bring in a small amount of money to purchase snacks in the lunchroom but should not carry any large sum in school. No money will be collected for any purpose by any student without the knowledge and consent of the principal. The school is not responsible for lost money.

    No radios, toys, beepers, cell phones, electronic devices of any kind, headsets, inappropriate magazines, etc., are permitted in school. If any of these items are brought to school they will be confiscated and returned to the parent on request.


    Parking in front of the school creates a hazardous and dangerous atmosphere for our children. Please drop off your children, letting them enter the school alone. This will help us to avoid any serious problems. If you are going to enter the building for any reason please use the parking lot that is available at all times for our parents.

    Please adhere to the rules and regulations, which are enforced by the Paterson Police Department. Tickets will be issued to those who do not comply with these regulations. Our children's safety is first and foremost in importance to St. Gerard.


    All students must display utmost respect for one another, avoiding unnecessary touching, fighting and bickering. No one may leave the playground without the principal's knowledge and consent.


    Any student who exhibits repeated unacceptable behavior will be given a probationary period to rectify this behavior after which a conference will be held with the principal, teacher, parents and student. Should the behavior not be rectified, expulsion is a valid option.


    Progress reports are issued in accordance with the Diocesan calendar at least four weeks prior to each report card. These are evaluation reports, which are meant to help both the students and parents to better understand the reasons for either satisfactory or unsatisfactory achievement, or possible failure on the part of the student.


    In promotion and achievement, the ability of the child is what is attainable for him/her as an individual is recognized. No student will be promoted or passed in any subject if he/she does not make sufficient effort. All questions of promotion will be settled by joint consultation with the principal, teacher, and the parents. Failure in two major academic areas warrants retention. Failure in one major subject requires summer school.


    A child entering Pre-K must be 4 years old by October 1st.

    A child entering Kindergarten must be 5 years old by October 1st.

    A child entering 1st Grade must be 6 years old by October 1st.

      For registration the following documentation will be required:
  • Birth and baptismal certificates
  • Social Security Card
  • Health forms with complete physical information
  • Transfer information, transfer card, health data, test results, report card, and current national test scores.

  • No transfer will be issued unless all financial obligations are paid in full. When these obligations are met, all necessary transcripts will be forwarded to the school.

    Re-registration will take place in January. New registration for incoming students takes place in March.


    Student's academic progress is reported to the parents four times a year according to the school calendar. Pre-K and Kindergarten receive report cards in February and June.


    Parents are required to set good examples to their children by the practice of Christian life within the family and encouraging their children to the practice of religion through Sunday worship, sacramental life, and living of the gospel values in their everyday life. At least one parent must attend every Home & School meeting so as to be informed concerning the child's academic growth and development. In this way, the home and school will be working together for the child's benefit.


    The student body attends Mass as a school community on a regular basis. Each class alternates in preparing the liturgies, which are celebrations of faith and community. Students in the Second Grade are prepared for First Holy Communion and students in the Third Grade are prepared for the reception of First Penance. Grades 4 though 8 are given opportunities for receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation on a regular basis. We strongly encourage parents to see that their children attend Church every Saturday evening or Sunday.


    Academic records (including test scores) and health records are kept on file for every student. The contents of these records are confidential. Only the parents, the principal, and the teacher working with the child have access to his/her file.


    Initial supplies must be purchased from St. Gerard School through the supply fee. They are given on the 1st day of school. Additional supplies will be sold on specified days at the time and in the room designated for that purpose.


    Serious and/or chronic violations of school policy will result in suspension. When a student is suspended, the principal will notify the parent of the student. The number of days of the suspension will be a decision of the administration, depending upon the nature of the incident in question. Students who receive 3 or more suspensions during a given year are liable for expulsion.


    All messages are to be left with the secretary. The office phone may be used for emergencies only with the permission of the principal. No student may be called to the phone during class hours.

    NO CELL PHONES are permitted in school.


    The Diocesan Testing Program, "Terra Nova" is administered to all students in Grades 1 through 7 in March.

    The Co-op exam is administered to Grade 8 students in November.

    Writing Assessment tests are given to students in Grades 4 and 7.

    Skills mastery tests are also administered upon completion of academic areas. The level of each student is determined by the testing program and the recommendation of the teacher.

    Any student who cheats on any test or helps others to do so will receive 0% on the test. Parents or guardians will be notified. Repeated violations will be treated as a serious offense.
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