Richards School Handbook

Richards School

5812 North Santa Monica Boulevard

Whitefish Bay, WI 53217

     Main Office 963-3951     FAX 963-3946    Clinic 962-6810 www.wfbschools.com


Welcome to Richards School!  The Whitefish Bay School Board has established the following Focus Plan to guide our efforts and ensure exceptional experiences for our studnets.

The Whitefish Bay School District Focus Plan

Our Vision: The School District of Whitefish Bay, in partnership with families and community, is student-centered with a tradition of educational excellence. We will build upon this tradition by:

  • Empowering students with the knowledge, skills, and character necessary to thrive in a changing, global society.
  •  Respecting the diversity of our students and engaging them as individual learners in an innovative learning community.
  • Addressing the needs of the whole child in a caring, inclusive environment.

Our Goals & Key Strategies

 Academic Achievement and Engaging 21st Century Learning

Every student will meet or exceed comprehensive learning standards to promote future success within our global society.

1. Develop exemplary, standards-based curriculum and assessment.

2. Develop and implement data-driven, differentiated instruction across all grade levels and subject areas.

3. Develop and implement timely, comprehensive support systems to ensure success for every student.

4. Ensure access to reliable, secure and sufficiently robust technology infrastructure that facilitates transformational educational practice.

Supportive Environment & Whole Child Development

Every student will experience a caring, inclusive learning environment that supports the development of the whole child with balanced attention to physical, social, emotional, and intellectual well-being.

1. Conduct strengths and needs analysis, including the development of a student feedback process to inform the continuous improvement of a caring, inclusive and culturally responsive environment.

2. Provide professional development for all staff members about nurturing the whole child.

This Focus Plan provides the lens through which we plan and evaluate programs and developments at Richards School.  We are committed to building strong partnerships with families as we do this work - it truly takes a village to provide our children with the best!

This handbook provides much information but if what you need is not here, please call the main office (963-3951) so that we can help.  Our goal is for our school website to also be a helpful resource for you, so if you have feedback on the site as we move through the year, please do not hesitate to share it.

Here's to a successful 2016-17 school year for our students, staff, and families!

Dr. Alix Kasmarick, Principal







School Hours

Entry Door


Lunch Recess



Door 1





Door 1





Door 2 & 3

Door 1 (SKV)



Grade 1


Door 11



Grade 2


Door 8



Grade 3


Door 7



Grade 4


Door 8



Grade 5


Door 6




All students need to line up and enter with their classes.  Students are met outside by their classroom teachers and escorted into the building. Students are dismissed at the same doors. Please wait outside the building for your child to be dismissed at the end of the day. Students will be dismissed at the door that they enter in the morning.

Administrative determination of inclement weather conditions is based on temperature and wind chill (zero degrees or below) as well as precipitation.  Signs will be posted at the entry ways to inform students that they may enter the building and report to their assigned areas to wait prior to the start of the school day.  Inclement recess will be announced as needed.

For your child's health and safety, please help him/her dress appropriately for being outdoors during the winter months.  Except for inclement weather, students are expected to be outside during recess periods.


Clinic: Room 119       Telephone: 962-6810   Email: Richards.clinic@wfbschools.com


Regular school attendance is crucial for your child’s success in school. Attendance is also required by state statute and WFB School Board Policy. Students are expected to arrive at school daily in time to line up and enter with their classes.   When a child arrives to school late, s/he is tardy and must report directly to the clinic to get a tardy pass. Students displaying repeated tardiness will be referred to the principal. Whitefish Bay School Board Policy 431 including Rules governs all attendance procedures in the District.

There is an absence call system in place as a safety measure for our families. Whenever your child is absent, please call the clinic to report the absence at 962-6810 or email the clinic at Ricards.clinic@wfbschools.com . Include your child’s name and the reason for the absence. An answering machine allows calls to be made during non-school hours. In the case of unreported absences, the school will attempt to contact parents as early as possible. When a parent/guardian does not contact the clinic, the absence is marked as unexcused.

Parents may request their child’s homework when he/she is ill.  Homework will only be available if it has been requested at the time that the student’s absence has been reported.  The clinic staff will notify the classroom teacher of the child’s absence as well as the reason for the absence, the expected date of return and the homework request.  Homework can be picked up in the office by a parent or sibling between 3:20 and 4:00pm.  Please note that access to the office and classroom areas is not available after 4:00pm. 

As a courtesy to the teachers, please do not request homework if you are unsure if you will be able to pick it up at the end of the day. 

Family Trips

We strongly encourage family vacations be taken during scheduled school vacation periods as there are enormous amounts of daily discussions/activities at each grade level that cannot be replicated once the student returns following a vacation.  When a family trip does occur during school days, please send a written notice to the child’s classroom teacher and notify the school clinic regarding anticipated absences due to family vacations.

No makeup work will be given prior to student absences with the exception of religious holiday observances.  Necessary makeup work will be assigned upon the child’s return to class with a time allotment reflective of the amount of school days that were missed.


If a student becomes ill or is injured during the school day, s/he will report to the clinic. If the child is unable to remain at school, parents will be notified.  If they cannot be reached, the health aide will contact the people listed on the child’s emergency contact form. The clinic cannot treat serious injuries or illnesses.  They will apply ice as needed and keep your child as comfortable as possible until parents arrive.  The health aides will also contact parents if a child is visiting the clinic on an unusually frequent basis.

Children are excluded from school with a fever of 99.6 degrees or higher and must remain out of school for 24 hours after being fever free without medication. This rule also pertains to students who vomit due to illness.  Please comply with this Whitefish Bay Health Department protocol.

When a child is home due to an illness, we expect that an adult will be supervising the child (Wis.State Statute 948.21).  By state statute (Wis. State Statute 948.21) an adult is required to supervise a child who is home due to illness. The principal will contact the parent or guardian of a child who is being left unsupervised at home when, in our judgment, the State Statute has been violated.

Unless there is a doctor’s excuse, we expect that when students return from an absence, they will be able to participate in all class activities including physical education, recess, and other class events.

Please notify the clinic of the following:  any specific health conditions or allergies, any communicable disease such as chicken pox, or any immunizations received by your child throughout the year.


Medications may be delivered to school by an adult or a parent may call the school clinic on the day that the student will bring the medication to the clinic.  No medication is given to a student without completion of the medication permission form by a parent/guardian.  The medication must be in a container with the current pharmacy label on it.  Medication forms can be obtained from the clinic or through a link on  wfbschools.com.  The information needed on these forms includes the prescription number, name of medication, strength of medication, amount of pills left at the clinic and the dosage/frequency of the medication.


We suggest that medical/dental appointments be scheduled, whenever possible, outside of the school day. If a child does need to leave school for an appointment during school hours, the parent needs to notify the classroom teacher and clinic with the type of appointment and the time that s/he will be picking up the child.

For safety reasons, parents are required to come to the school office at the appointed time and sign the child out from school.  If the child returns the same day, s/he checks back in with the clinic for a re-entry pass.  



It is the goal of the Richards School staff to ensure that our learning environment is one in which students feel safe, connected, and engaged. We know that our students greatly benefit from clear expectations and a common language throughout the building.  We value the partnership of families in reinforcing the following expectations.


Students in the School District of Whitefish Bay are expected to:

  • Demonstrate respect for people, property and the learning environment
  • Show kindness and courtesy to others by treating them with dignity
  • Be in class on time ready to begin learning
  • Demonstrate effort by listening carefully and following instructions
  • Make positive contributions to the school learning environment
  • Follow all school rules

The Richards Way in the classroom

At the beginning of the school year, each class and their teacher will develop a list of class rules or a social contract. These rules may vary from class to class but will reflect the school's philosophy of being respectful and kind, safe, and responsible through age-appropriate expectations. 

The Richards Way in the Hallways

Students are expected to:

  • Walk in the hallways
  • Keep hands, feet and objects to self
  • Be quiet in the hallways when classes are in session
  • Use handrails on stairways
  • Exit hallway areas promptly

The Richards Way on the Playground

Students are expected to:

  • Cooperate with supervisors
  • Use playground equipment as intended
  • Demonstrate respect for others
  • Not bring food onto the playground during recess times
  • Use appropriate language
  • Wear boots and snow pants to play on the snow
  • Dress appropriately for the weather
  • Stay in the designated playground areas
  • Manage disagreements using appropriate problem-solving skills (no fighting)

The Richards Way to and from School

Students are expected to:

  • Obey all school rules on the way to/from school and on school grounds before and after school
  • Cooperate with crossing guards
  • Show respect for others and their property
  • Make safe choices


“The School District of Whitefish Bay strives to provide a safe, secure and respectful learning environment for all students in the school buildings, on the grounds, on the school buses and at school-sponsored activities.  Bullying has a harmful social, physical, psychological and academic impact on bullies, victims and bystanders.  The school district consistently and vigorously addresses bullying so that there is no disruption to the learning environment and learning process.” (Excerpted from the WFB Board Prohibition of Bullying Policy 411.3.)

Bullying will not be tolerated at our school. The administration, guidance team and teachers all work to provide a safe and secure learning environment for all.  Bullying is conscious, aggressive behaviors by a person that are directed repeatedly towards a specific individual.  These behaviors are habitual, intentional, premeditated and involve an imbalance of power or strength. Through our guidance program, PE classes and classroom contracts, we strive to teach our students the importance of respect and fair play to foster positive peer relationships.  Students are encouraged to report to an adult if they are having concerns or problems with classmates.

Bullying Report Form

Weapons and Drugs

Bringing weapons and/or drugs to school is deemed as grounds for immediate suspension and potential expulsion.  Refer to the School District Policy Handbook for specific definitions and consequences regarding weapons/drugs on school property.  Look-alike weapons are not allowed for Halloween or school reports.


Disciplinary action for vandalism will be taken, and costs will be assessed to students who willfully break, damage, or deface school property, facilities or equipment.


All electronic devices such as cell phones, iPods/MP3 players, electronic games, e-readers or iPads that a student brings to school are to be put into the backpack when the student arrives at school. These devices are not allowed to be used by students during the school day without teacher permission. Students bring these items to school at their own risk. The school assumes no responsibility.

Dress Guidelines

As your child(ren) reach for school clothes, please help them dress within these guidelines.

  • Students are to wear shoes at all times
  • Spaghetti straps and halter or strapless tops are not permitted. 
  • Shorts in the upper grades need to be mid-thigh. (Determine the minimum length by extending the arm down to the side.  Use the tip of the longest finger as the minimum length.) No short shorts are allowed.
  • No caps or hats are allowed to be worn inside the building/classroom except on specific event days.
  • Clothing with obscene, suggestive messages or drug/alcohol references are not allowed.
  • Shoes should be safe for playground running and play. Athletic shoes and non-restrictive clothing are required for physical education classes
  • Winter Gear: All students go outside to recess when the wind chill is above zero.  Students need to wear boots and snow pants to leave the blacktop. Students should be dressed to remain outside comfortably for 25 minutes.

Consequences & Communication

As a school, we have defined which behaviors are minor and which are major.  In general, minor behaviors are addressed at the classroom level and major behaviors are addressed at the office level.  In the event of a minor behavior, the staff member(s) involved will work with the student(s) to reteach and rehearse the specific behavior.  Parents will be notified using a Richards Reminder form.  It is our hope that this form will prompt a conversation at home.  Again, school-home partnerhsip is crucial for student success!  

In the event of a major behavior, the Principal will work with the student(s) to reflect on what happened and develop a plan for moving forward.  Any consequences that are employed will be age-appropriate and aimed at helping students learn from the experience.  Parents will be notified using a Richards Reminder form, as well as through a direct contact from the Principal  

Exceptional cases of misbehavior such as fighting, weapon possession, profanity, etc. may immediately result in the following: in-school suspension, conference with parents, or out-of-school suspension.  Biting is considered very dangerous due to health risks and may result in a suspension.  


Richards School is commited to providing a safe, caring and secure environment for our students, staff and guests.  These guidelines will help ensure safety for everyone.

We expect the following from both parents and students:

  • Park safely & legally (no double-parking)
  • Cross the street only at the cross walks
  • Drive within the posted speed limits
  • Never cross the street between buses/cars
  • Always obey the crossing guards
  • Park only in the assigned areas for designated time limits
  • Set up a "safe route" to walk to school
  • Plan a family meeting place away from busy corners and congestion

As listed above, it is expected that children will cross only at corners and that parents will model this behavior. This is especially important at dismissal time when there is a considerable amount of congestion. Please do not drop off students on the north side of the Berkeley/Belle intersection; there is not a crossing guard at that corner and it is not a safe place to cross.

Crossing guards are posted at corners close to school to help your child safely across the streets. Crossing guards are not on duty during the lunch periods in January and February. Crossing guards are assigned to the following intersections:

  • Santa Monica and Belle                 
  • Santa Monica and Silver Spring
  • Santa Monica and Day
  • Lake Drive and Silver Spring
  • Santa Monica and Lake View
  • Lake Drive and Day

There is no student supervision on the playground before or after school.  We ask that students arrive at school not more than 5-10 minutes before the first bell at 8:10 a.m.

No dogs are allowed on school grounds due to allergies and children's fears.  Walking your dog to school in the morning or waiting for your child with your dog on the sidewalk at dismissal time is discouraged as this increases congestion/disruption at a very busy time.


We take seriously our responsibility to maintain a safe environment for students, volunteers and staff at Richards School.  From 8:10am-3:20pm, all external doors are locked except the front door.  All visitors are required to enter through the main door, sign in at the office, and get a visitor's sticker to wear during their stay.  

Parents/guardians are asked to communicate with their child’s teacher ahead of time regarding their interest in classroom volunteering/visiting during the school day.  While in your child’s classroom, please be sure that cell phones are turned off.  Drop-in visits to meet with the teacher or observe the classroom can be disruptive to the learning process and are discouraged.

Forgotten student materials or lunches are delivered to the office.  Announcements asking students to come to the office for an item or message are made at 11:00am and 3:10pm daily.

Volunteer Background Checks

The tremendous responsibility the School District of Whitefish Bay has to its school children and community necessitates gathering of information from regularly scheduled and/or frequent school volunteers.  Background checks for regularly scheduled and/or frequent volunteers are a matter of school practice and does not reflect school suspicion about the individual. 

The parking lot located at the south end of Richards School is for staff use only.   No student pedestrian traffic is permitted in the parking lot.  Please do not block driveway to parking area and do not drop off students in the driveway as this creates a safety hazard.

Parents are encouraged to identify a meeting spot with their child that is located one or two blocks from school or to organize car pools to alleviate congestion in the school area.

Buses have priority for drop-offs and pick-ups on Santa Monica Blvd.  Please obey posted signs, as this area is monitored closely by the Whitefish Bay Police.  Buses for students with exceptional needs also use a designated parking area on Belle Ave.

Bicycles/ Ripsticks/Scooters/Skateboards

Students are expected to walk their bikes on playgrounds and sidewalk areas near school. Bikes should be secured with locks at the bike racks at the south end of the building. Use of bike helmets is encouraged.  Scooters must be locked at the bike racks and cannot be brought into school if they cannot be folded and stored in a locker. Skateboards and in-line skates are not allowed on school grounds.

Emergency School Closing                              

Occasionally, it is necessary to close schools due to a snowstorm or other emergency. The policy of the Whitefish Bay School District is to close schools when the weather conditions present a serious threat to the health and safety of the children and staff.

In the event of an emergency during the school day requiring evacuation of the school, students will be relocated to St. Monica School or to the Jewish Community Center.  Parents/Guardians will be notified via an automatic phone call system and/or school email.

When a storm occurs during the night and the Whitefish Bay Schools are to be closed, a repeated announcement will be made over the local radio stations: WISN (1130 AM), WOKY (902 AM), WTMJ (620 AM), WMYX (99.1 FM), and WKLH (96.5 FM).  One can check the Whitefish Bay Schools website as well.

Weather Conditions at Dismissal

When the weather at dismissal time looks threatening (tornado warning, thunder storm), the dismissal time may be delayed until the stormy weather passes.  Students will be kept inside the school in their classrooms until the threat of danger passes.  When this decision is made, parents are permitted to pick up their child(ren) from their classrooms after 3:20pm.



Parent/guardian Orientation occurs during the evening in the first month of school for Senior Kindergarten through Fifth Grade.  Junior Kindergarten’s orientation is scheduled on the JK student’s first day of school. Times are included in the registration packet.  Orientation is an opportunity for you to visit your child’s classroom and meet the teacher.

During orientation your child’s teacher will provide you with detailed information concerning:

  • Core academic curriculum.
  • Daily instructional schedules.
  • Homework expectations.
  • Assessment information.
  • Specific classroom procedures.
  • Art, music, physical education, library, and computer lab schedules.
  • Other relevant information.

Children should not accompany their parents to school on this evening.

Thursday Folders

Each Thursday, an electronic Thursday Folder with the Weekly Richards Recorder link is sent to family email accounts.  The Weekly Richards Recorder includes valuable information for the parents, school news, principal messages and announcements of school events.  If your family does not have email, please inform the office so we can send a “hard copy” home in your child’s Thursday Folder. Teachers also will be sending home their Thursday letters via the internet.  Only Whitefish Bay Schools sponsored events can be included in the Thursday Folder.

Out of School Event Invitations

We recognize that families host parties or events for a variety of occasions. To avoid students being excluded or pressured to attend an out of school party/event, invitations may not be handed out to students at school for any non-school sponsored event.

Communication with Teachers

Parents are encouraged to contact their child's teacher or specialist teachers regarding any questions or concerns in a note, an email or a telephone call.  Email is generally the most efficient. Staff addresses are available on the Richards School website.   The pattern for the e-mail addresses of staff members is the staff persons first and last name separated by a period @wfbschools.com.  An example using Julie Harding''s name is:  Julie.harding@wfbschools.com .

Phone/voice mail messages can also be left during non-school hours by calling 414-963-3951.

Parents/guardians are encouraged to communicate directly with the teacher with any questions or concerns.

Parent/Teacher Conferences

Two scheduled conferences will be held with parents/guardians during the school year to discuss the progress of the child, one in November and one in March.  Either the parent or teacher may arrange additional conferences whenever circumstances warrant. Open and honest communication between the home and school is an integral part of any successful school experience.  We encourage parents to attend these conferences.

Divorced parents sometimes request separate conferences. This is often problematic as the dialogue, discussion, and conclusions in each conference may vary. Therefore, parents are asked to attend one conference together and to sign up accordingly.

Volunteer and Service Opportunities

There are many ways to volunteer to support Richards School. Volunteering is completely optional and we are grateful for the thousands of hours of volunteer service families provide during school.  We also recognize that many parents/guardians work during the day or have other responsibilities that prevent them from volunteering during the school day.  Service to and support of the school can happen outside the school day in multiple ways.  A few ideas: become a member of the PTO, volunteer at a PTO event, create materials for a classroom teacher, help your child with homework, stay current with Thursday folder information, attend Parent-Teacher Conferences and come to student concerts and other performances.

Parent Teacher Organization

The PTO is an integral part of our school life. We have a strong culture of volunteerism at Richards. The PTO provides many valuable services, programs, and supports, including fundraising.  All parents/guardians are encouraged to join the PTO and participate as often as possible.


Assessment Programs

A system-wide standardized assessment program for children is implemented during the school year. These assessments help the teachers design lesson plans and differentiate instruction.  These tests include:

  • STAR (Renaissance Learning) is administered three times yearly with 2nd-5th grade students.
  • CoGat: The Cognitive Abilities Test is given to third grade students.
  • PALS: The Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening is required as the universal screening tool for all kindergarten students. It is administered three times annually.

Counseling & Guidance

Counseling services are available for all students and are an integral part of the total school program. The counselors work with students, teachers, administrators, and parents in a variety of ways with the goal of helping students reach their full potential. Guidance Counselors can be reached by calling the main office.

Weather and Recess

  • Recess: Students go outside to recess daily. When it is raining or below zero wind chill, students remain inside for recess. Students who are at school are required to go outside to recess unless a doctor’s excuse is on file.
  • Before school: When it is raining or too cold to wait outside before the first bell, students may wait inside. Signs are posted on the doors notifying students that they can wait indoors when the conditions warrant.


One of our goals is to ensure that all students develop effective strategies for continuous learning. This includes attention to how homework contributes to learning.  Homework provides meaningful opportunities for students to reinforce skills, foster individual interests, enrich classroom learning, and strengthen independent application of student learning.  

Homework is introduced on a limited basis in grade one (i.e. short mathematics or reading assignments) and increased through grade five. Homework may take as little as 20 minutes in second grade and up to one hour in fifth grade. Homework is expected to be completed and returned to school on the specified due date. In addition to assigned work, students are expected to read at home on a daily basis, as appropriate to their age.  If parents feel that their child is spending an inordinate amount of time on homework, they should call the teacher to discuss this concern.

Homework Roles and Responsibilities for Students and Parents (WFB Policy 345.3)

Expectations for parents are as follows:

  • Promote a positive attitude toward homework as part of the learning process.
  • Understand and reinforce expectations for the quality of student work.
  • Provide a structure, a place, and resources needed to help students complete homework.
  • Provide supervision and support, but do not do the assignments or projects for the student.
  • Support the need for balance among the many learning activities in the life of a student, including homework.

Expectations for students are as follows:

  • Set a time each day to do homework.
  • Complete homework assignments.  Check for work quality and accuracy.
  • If possible, explain the work that has been done to an adult.
  • Ask questions of your teacher if procedures for assignments or the actual content of assignments are not clear.
  • Plan ahead to make efficient use of the time that has been allotted to complete long term assignments.


 We recognize that many students need a nutritional snack during the morning in order to optimize their learning capabilities.  A brief time (approximately 10 minutes) will be allotted in Senior Kindergarten through Fifth Grade classrooms during which the students can eat a snack if they choose to do so.  The students will continue to be involved in class activities or individual work as they are eating their snacks.  We ask that parents send a nutritious snack that can be eaten as finger food without being too messy.  No beverages are allowed and no gum is allowed at school.   Foods that we suggest for snacks include: crackers, fresh vegetables, pretzels, popcorn, raisins, fresh fruit, and/or cheese. We discourage sending a snack that contains peanuts due to student allergies. 


Latex balloons are not permitted on the school campus or in the building due to allergies.  It is recommended that Mylar balloons are used when balloons are needed.


Students are welcome to go home for lunch, however, it is expected that a parent/adult will be supervising the students during this time at home.  Students going home for lunch will be dismissed when their lunch period begins and go to the office to get a pass to leave campus. They should go to the playground upon return to school and re-enter school with the children from the playground at the end of the lunch period.  Students are expected to bring a note from their parent if they will be going home with another child for lunch.  Students are not allowed to go to a restaurant, Klode Park, etc. during the lunch hour except with a parent or other adult.  When students bring their lunches to school, it is expected that they will not leave the school grounds during the lunch hour.

Teachers/supervisors make every effort to monitor students' activity during the lunch period.  Students are supervised as they leave the classroom/locker area at the start of the lunch period as well as in the lunchroom and on the playground.  It is the responsibility of the parents to discuss noon hour plans with their children to be sure that students are aware of parents' expectations.  We caution that this is especially important with young students. If your child will be doing something out of the ordinary lunch routine during the lunch period, please send a note to the teacher.

Milk (1% and skim) is sold on a daily basis for ten cents with chocolate milk sold on Monday and Thursdays.  Milk punch cards are available for $2.00 and can be purchased in the office or in the lunchroom during lunch periods.  Ice cream is available for grades 1-5 at fifty cents on the second Tuesday of the month.  Ice cream cards are available for $2.50. Fun lunches are organized by the PTO at scheduled times throughout the year for students in grades SK-5.

We ask that parents help children make good choices for lunch. Please do not send soda or lunch packs with soda; juice and fruit drinks are allowed. Please send lunches/items in containers that the child can open and include healthy food that the child will eat and not waste.

Lost and Found

Throughout the year, we accumulate many items in the lost and found. These items often include lunch boxes, coats, snow pants, shoes and other things that students may or may not notice are missing.  We encourage you to stop in to take a look at what is here if you think your student has misplaced something.  Unclaimed items will be donated to charity.

Field Trips

Field trips are planned to enrich educational experiences and are integrated with curricular areas of classroom study.  All school rules and district policies, including appropriate behavioral expectations, apply to field trip situations.  No gum, candy, toys, audio equipment or video games are allowed on these trips.  Students are not allowed to bring money on field trips unless specifically designated by the teacher.  Inappropriate behavior on a field trip may result in the loss of future field trip privileges. The fees for field trips are paid by students.  Refunds are handled on an individual basis; however, in most cases it is not possible to refund money if a student is absent.  Teachers will contact parents to serve as chaperones.  No siblings are permitted on trips.  Depending on the trip, chaperones may need to pay for admission fees. All students need written permission slips which have been signed by a parent/guardian in order to go on field trips. Students without written permission slips will be unable to go with the class and will be supervised at school.


Class Placement Protocol

The classes at each grade level represent heterogeneous groupings with consideration for the learning needs of each of the students.  We consider the needs of individual students and we strive to create classes balanced in terms of gender, behavior, student effort and achievement, learning styles, and language development. Among other factors in the mix are class size, number of sections, and levels of support needed. The process of creating these groupings is taken very seriously and begins early in the spring with the child's current classroom teacher.

Parents are welcome to share information regarding their student's learning styles and needs in order to assist this process.

The Optional Placement Information Form provides a way for parents to give information for consideration related to student classroom placement for next year.  It is now available in the office or on the Richards School website in spring. To understand how the process works, it is important to understand our guiding principles.

Guiding Principles related to student placements are:

  • All teachers in the building are skilled professionals who are able to differentiate to meet a wide range of student learning needs.
  • As in the past, grade level teams, the guidance department, special education teachers and the administration work closely together to ensure consistency of curriculum across all classrooms.
  • Children benefit from exposure to a range of teaching styles and structures.
  • The current classroom teacher has worked daily with the student throughout much of the school year and has a deep body of knowledge about the student, academically, emotionally, and socially.
  • Children change and grow continually.

Based on these principles, the placement process starts with the current classroom teacher who reviews everything s/he knows about the student including how he/she works with others, current learning levels in all subjects and other factors that impact the student such as family changes, recent moves, learning preferences and styles and peer relationships. Teachers also review and carefully consider information you provide on the optional Placement Information Forms.

Teachers put their students into unassigned classroom learning communities equal to the number of grade level sections for the next year. After this, grade levels meet several times to extend this process to the entire grade level.  Specials teachers give their input based on their extended experience with students. Teachers move students around to create classrooms that are balanced in size, gender, social/emotion considerations and learning needs.  Tentative groupings are reviewed by the principal and the guidance counselors.  Adjustments are made at this step if they are required.

These tentative groupings continue to be reviewed and revised as needed throughout the summer based on new residents enrolling or students transferring out of Whitefish Bay.  Lists are finalized right before the August registration days.  It is at that time that the incoming teacher gets his/her class list. Until this time, the teachers are not involved with placements except in special circumstances. 

Please know that we make substantial investment of time and thought into creating next year’s class groupings. The Placement Information Form is completely optional and whether we receive a form from you or not, your child’s needs are carefully considered.


Thank you for your review of this Handbook and for the support you provide to our Richards students!

Handbook Revised August 2016



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