Parent and Student Handbook


Parent and Student



Dear Families,

This book has been prepared to help answer questions you may have regarding school policies, procedures, and programs.  We ask your cooperation in reviewing  the policies in this handbook.  These policies and procedures are in place to ensure that all students and staff are safe, supported and able to learn in a healthy environment.

Here at Somerville we know that a strong working relationship between home and school is an essential part of a healthy school.  We hope that you will become an active part of Somerville School and as a result, your child’s learning experience.  Communication is a key part of this success.  We urge you to attend scheduled parent-teacher conferences, participate in school functions, and to call or email the teachers or myself whenever you have a question or concern.

I am very proud of the staff and students of Somerville School.  One of the best parts of Somerville is the incredibly strong and supportive role that the families play in our school community.  We truly are TEAM SOMERVILLE!  Thank you!


Lorna Oates-Santos, Ed.D.

Principal, Somerville School


School begins at 8:45 a.m. and ends at 3:00 p.m.  Please call the school at 201-670-2750 and press 1 to report a student absent or late before 9:00 a.m. If it is after 9:00 a.m., please call the main office.


In order for learning to exist, each student must arrive at school on time.  A student who is tardy to school, not only starts the day off on the wrong foot, but also interrupts the learning of other students.  Students are considered tardy if they are not in their classroom by the 8:45 a.m. bell. 
If a student is late to school, he/she should report to the office to get a tardy slip.


If your child exhibits any of the following symptoms he/she should be kept home:

  • A fever over 100 degrees

  • Having difficulty breathing

  • Is feeling fatigued or complains of general discomfort

  • Vomiting or diarrhea

  • A severe cough

  • An unusual rash

Please keep your child home for at least 24 hours after they experience a fever of 100 degrees, vomiting or diarrhea.  This will minimize the spread of such illnessTemperature should be taken when NOT under the influence of medication.


Parents are discouraged from taking their children out of school during the school day except for a medical appointment that cannot be made after school hours or a family emergency.  If it is necessary for students to leave during school hours, they should bring a note from the parent or guardian stating the time and reason for dismissal.  When a student is dismissed from class, he/she must meet their parent or guardian in the Main Office.  Parents picking up students during school hours must sign their child out in the Main Office.


Please do not arrive before 8:30 a.m..  There is no adult supervision before school hours!  If morning supervision is needed, please contact the before school program run by AlphaBEST

at 973-739-4511.

School Day 8:45 a.m.-3:00 p.m.

Lunch Hours vary by grade

Minimum Day Grades K-5  8:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m


 Delayed openings are a rare occurrence and as a result, can cause some confusion.  Please note:  

  • The AlphaBEST before-school program is canceled.

  • The AlphaBEST after-school program is open.

  • The school day begins 2 hours later (10:45).  Buses will pick up 2 hours later

  • Lunch time is compressed.  If your child has ordered school lunch that day, they will still receive their lunch.  

  • The dismissal time remains the same, 3:00 p.m.



Students will have outside recess every day, weather permitting.  Students should dress accordingly.  Decisions to have outside recess during cold weather are made by the principal.  These decisions depend upon the temperature and the wind chill factor.  Only students with medical excuses will be allowed to remain in the building during scheduled outside breaks.  Students will have supervised indoor recess on days when bad weather prevents outside recess.


Lunch Ordering Instructions:

To order lunch for your elementary school child, go to ridgewood.pomptonian menus.

 If Your Child Goes Home For Lunch 

He/She must go to the Main Office to sign out upon departure and sign-in upon return.  

If Your Child Forgets To Bring Lunch from Home

Please drop off lunch in the cooler in front of the main door (clearly marked with your child’s name) and the lunch aides will have your child come to check the cooler for their lunch.  

Lunch/Recess Times: TBD


  •  Snacks for all grades:  Nuts or any snack containing nut products are not permitted in classrooms.  Please send in healthy snacks that will provide useful fuel for your child.

  • Lunch for K & 1 students: Students in K & 1 are not permitted to bring nut products to lunch. 

  • Lunch for 2 - 5 students: Students in Grades 2 - 5 are allowed to bring nut products to lunch and a nut-free table is available for those who are allergic.

  • Birthdays will be celebrated with fun, food-free classroom activities.    


  • Class parties occur throughout the school year. Prior to any party, teachers should meet with party coordinators to discuss activities and refreshments.  

  • Refreshments can include 1 serving of a sweet/high fat content food per student.

  • All drinks should be 100% fruit juice or water and no candy is permitted.

  • Any foods to be distributed must be accompanied by a list of ingredients.


Somerville School is located along heavily traveled streets. For the safety of our children, students should not arrive at school before 8:30 a.m.   Please remind children to be careful walking to and from school.  They must cross where there are crosswalks, crossing guards, or safety patrols.  

Please note that the children will be utilizing specific entrances for morning drop-off and afternoon pickup.

  • Kindergarten will be at the Kindergarten doors by the playground

  • Grade 1 will line up at the entrance to the right of the flagpole

  • Grades 2 and 3 will line up at the flagpole entrance

  • Grades 4 and 5 will line up at the doors near the gym (to the left of the flagpole)



Extreme caution will be exercised in the release of children to anyone other than a parent or guardian.  Therefore, it is imperative that parents send a note if there is a change in plans for pickup.  Unless we have written permission from the parent/guardian, we will not release a student to another individual other than those listed on the regular dismissal form. If you decide to drive to school, please remember that student safety is our first priority.  It is extremely important that all parents and guardians follow these safety guidelines to ensure the safety of all Somerville students.

1.  General safety rules:

  • Please drive slowly, with caution, obeying traffic signs.

  • Do not park in the drop-off zone (in front of the school) between 8:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

  • No U-Turns in front of the school; it is illegal and very dangerous.

  • No double-parking anywhere, anytime!

  • Park in designated areas only.  Do not park where “no parking” signs are posted.  

  • Use the sidewalks and crosswalks when you are walking from your parking spot.

  • Allow extra time for traffic, particularly in bad weather.

  • There is no parking in the faculty lot in the back of the school.  Parents should refrain from entering this driveway at all from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  

2.  Drop-off rules (8:30-8:35 am)

  • Drop-off is in the area in front of the school, heading north on Pleasant, from the kindergarten wing to the flagpole.  

  • When driving into the drop-off zone, you must pull over completely next to the curb.  

  • Remain in this area and pull up as far as possible to the end of the drop-off zone.

  • Children must use right side car doors only!

  • Do not reverse.  Wait for the car in front to move.  Cars are big, kids are small!

  •  If your child is unable to get out without assistance, park your car in an appropriate spot (the cut-out or another street) and walk your child to their entrance!

3. Pick-up rules (3:00 pm)

  • If your child is allowed to be dismissed without a hand-off, arrange a designated spot where your child will meet you.

  • Remind your child to come to this designated spot immediately after dismissal.

  • If using the pick-up zone (same as above) wait until you are in the appropriate area to let your child into the car.  




At Somerville School there are a variety of ways in which important information is communicated to families.  The most common are the following:

Report Cards:  Report cards for students in grades 1-5 are posted to Skyward Family Access three times a year:  December, March and June.  Kindergarten report cards are posted to Family Access in January and June.  

Parent Conferences:  Parent-Teacher conferences for students in Grades 1-5 are held in October.  Teachers will arrange with parents meeting times for individual conferences.  In addition, K-2 teachers meet with parents in June for a portfolio conference.

Somerville Website: This website contains information about school procedures, events, announcements, HSA minutes, web links for you and your child and more!   

Tuesday e-News: The e-news is sent to your email address each Tuesday. This is our primary means of communication with parents and includes information about school events and news.

Class Parents: Volunteer parents will call or email you regarding class celebrations where volunteers or supplies are needed and can be a great source of information regarding your child’s class activities.

Emergency School Closing:  A message will be sent to parents/guardians' emergency contact numbers and email (if provided) via the district's Swift911 telephone notification system. 

School Directory: This directory provides addresses/phone numbers/email addresses (optional) of Somerville families, class lists, HSA committees and chairpersons, HSA Executive Board members, Somerville and Board of Education administrative phone numbers, school calendar, etc.  

Summary of HSA Meetings Minutes: These are posted monthly on the HSA website.  

Ridgewood Public Schools WebsiteThe district website is your source for information on the entire school district.  The address is


For numerous reasons, including allergies and liability, dogs and other pets are prohibited from school property during school hours.


Cell phone/smart watch use is not permitted while elementary students are in school. A cell phone and/or smart watch must be left in the student’s backpack during school hours.  If a student is found using a phone/ smartwatch, it will be removed and returned to the student at the end of the day.  If a second incident occurs, the parent will be required to pick up the phone/ smartwatch from the school.



Classes will not be interrupted for forgotten items, rather these items should be placed on the table in front of the Main Office for pick-up.  Please write your child’s name and grade on any items you leave. We ask that you only request for your child to come to the office in the event of an emergency.  


All outside doors are kept locked during the school day.  Visitors must present themselves and a driver’s license at the Main Entrance on South Pleasant Avenue to be admitted.  Parent/guardians and other visitors are required to report to the Main Office upon entering the building.

Please remember to follow these procedures when visiting Somerville School:

  • Ring the buzzer and tell the Main Office the purpose of your visit.

  • When requested please scan your license in the scanner.  Once admitted, proceed to the Main Office.

  • Receive a Visitor Badge and wear the Visitor Badge at all times in the school.

  • Make sure to return the Visitor’s Badge before you exit the building.  Leaving the building from any door other than the Main Entrance is not permitted.

Somerville Elementary School Student Rights and Responsibilities

Somerville students have rights and responsibilities.  

As a Somerville student: I have the right to be respected; therefore, I have the responsibility to be respectful of others

  • I will accept and include others who are different from me.

  • I will listen while others are speaking.

  • I will use kind words so that I don’t hurt the feelings of others

  • I will respect the ideas and opinions of others.

I have the right to feel safe; therefore, I have the responsibility to be safe and keep others safe.

  • I will follow playground and lunchroom rules.  

  • I will keep my hands and feet to myself.

  • I will walk in the hallways and stairways at all times.

  • I will help make Somerville a bully-free school.

I have the right to learn; therefore, I have the responsibility to work peacefully.

  • I will follow classroom rules.

  • I will work quietly when working independently.

  • I will work cooperatively in groups.

I have the right to be successful in school; therefore, I have the responsibility to be prepared and do my personal best.

  • I will complete my assignments on time.

  • I will obey all Somerville teachers and adult helpers.

I have the right to be a citizen of the Somerville community; therefore, I have the responsibility to treat the building and grounds with respect.



The Home and School Association at Somerville School is an integral part of our school community.  Through their efforts, class parents are assigned, volunteers are coordinated, and funds are raised to help provide a rich social and academic program to our students.  The success of the HSA depends entirely upon the participation of family members.  The HSA, in partnership with the administrative, teaching and support staff can make positive things happen for the children of Somerville.  We hope you will join us!

When:  Meetings are held at the school once per month.  Check your eNews for dates and times. 

Who’s Welcome:  Everyone!  The more people, the better!  You can share your ideas, 

comments, suggestions, or just sit and listen.  It’s a great way to stay informed and to meet other parents.


Often parents/guardians want to get involved in their child’s school but don’t know how.  Here are some ideas for getting started:

  • Come to HSA meetings to learn about volunteer opportunities.

  • Ask your class parents about ways to participate based on your interest and availability.  They can be a great resource and can answer your questions or direct you to someone who can.

  • Become a TIC TOC/Art Docent.  Visit your child’s class and teach the children about great works of art; no experience needed!

  • Check your online directory for a list of HSA committees and their chairs – you can join as many committees as you want!

  • Read announcements in Weekly Notices regarding school events – there is always a need for volunteers.

  • Speak to a HSA Executive Board member: see the Somerville Directory for names, numbers and positions.

  • Join Dad’s Night.  This group of dad’s has social gatherings throughout the year that include dad’s only events as well as full-family events.  Every March, the dads put together a revue show that showcases our dads at their best… or worst!  Dad’s Night is a great opportunity to meet other folks and fundraise for the school!  Don’t miss out on this unique Somerville-Hawes experience.

  • Earn your apron… become a lunchtime volunteer.  Parents sign up for weekly or bi-weekly shifts to assist students in the lunchroom.  There are opportunities to supervise groups, open juice boxes and distribute lunch.