Parent and Student Handbook

About Breton Downs

Breton Downs Elementary is committed to providing an environment in which every student can succeed. With the outstanding support of our PTO and staff, our children come to a school in which positive self-image and a life-long love of learning are established. Breton Downs teachers are masterful in teaching students in an environment in which they can grow and learn. With an aligned curriculum, teachers provide lessons rich in content and allow for differentiation. The entire school community works to make our school one where we practice being kind, caring, and respectful of all people.
Teachers and students all standing in the shape of an East "E".

Telephone Numbers

Breton Downs Office  616.235.7552
Breton Downs Fax 616-235-6733
Voice Mail (Use prompts to leave messages for staff) 616.235.7599
District Office
Lakeside Elementary  616.235.7553
Wealthy Elementary  616.235.7550
EGR Middle School  616.235.7551
EGR High School  616.235.7555
Woodcliff Preschool & Child Care  616.235.7595
Transportation  616.682.9075
Food Service  616.942.0719

School Hours

  • Children Enter 8:15 a.m.
  • School Starts 8:20 a.m.
  • A.M. Recess 10:15-10:30 a.m.
  • Lunch 11:27 a.m.-12:18 p.m.
  • P.M. Recess 2:00-2:15 p.m.
  • Dismissal 3:25 p.m. 

Arrival Time

Due to the fact that there is no supervision on the playgrounds before school, children should not arrive before 8:10 a.m. The Police Department school crossing guards are on duty at the following intersections: Breton & Boston and York & Boston from 7:45-8:15 a.m. and 3:20-3:50 p.m. When weather permits, children will remain outside until the entry bell rings at 8:15 a.m. During rainy weather or the temperature or wind chill is below zero, children may enter the building as they arrive after 8:10 a.m., although we would prefer that children wait at home so as not to necessitate early entry. Students are to go directly home after school.  


Attendance (Policy #8020)
When a student is absent for any part or all of the day, building procedure requires that an explanation of the absence be furnished to the office. A parent can provide an explanation by submitting the absence using the Skyward Family Access Online Attendance System. If a doctor’s appointment or other such necessity calls for dismissing a child early, we require that parents meet their children in the school office and sign them out. Children are not allowed to go home nor leave the school grounds during school hours by themselves.

Bicycle and Scooters

Children in the elementary grades in East Grand Rapids are asked to ride bicycles on the sidewalks at all times. All cyclists must wear safety helmets as required by Title X, Chapter 105, of the Code of the City of East Grand Rapids. We require all bicycles ridden to school to be licensed through the East Grand Rapids Department of Public Safety.
Bikes/scooters and skateboards must be walked/carried when entering school property. While at school, all bikes must be locked in the rack provided outside of school. Roller blades, roller skates, skate boards and rip sticks must also be carried when on school property and locked up at the bike rack or placed in the student’s locker.

Birthday Celebrations

We request that any birthday invitations be delivered away from school. Decorating lockers on birthdays or special occasions is not allowed and birthday party invitations should be sent through the mail and not handed out at school. Please send birthday balloons/flowers to the student’s home and refrain from having them delivered to school.

Checking In and Out

All parents and/or visitors need to sign-in/out on the daily sheet in the school office and wear their name badge while they are in the building. It is important that we know who is in the building at all times. Forgotten lunches may be dropped off in the office and notice will be given to have the student pick it up on the way to lunch.

Clothing for Students (Policy #8310)

Students dress and grooming must not disrupt the educational process; interfere with the maintenance of a positive teaching/learning climate, or compromise reasonable school and/or community standards of health, safety, and decency. It is incumbent upon school personnel as well as parent(s)/guardian(s) to instruct students in this respect.  Those who violate Board policy and/or school rules will be subject to disciplinary action under the Procedures for Discipline as outlined in Board Policy #8383.
1. There should be no spaghetti strap tank tops.
2. Hats are not permitted in school.
3. Skirts should reach a child’s fingertips.
4. No negative or derogatory comment t-shirts.

Code of Student Conduct (Policy #8300)

Students have a responsibility not only to make a maximum effort toward academic achievement, but also must make an effort to behave properly in any school situation. A primary objective of the East Grand Rapids School District is to assist all students in developing into responsible, self-disciplined individuals who exercise full freedom of decision making within their rights of citizenship. The school’s responsibility is to support the students through this process recognizing that some students will learn more rapidly than others will.
In addition to observing and understanding all of the rules of conduct of the school district, students are expected to recognize that there are established channels through which rules and conditions can be reviewed and appealed.
Students who operate outside of their legal rights and responsibilities, or who violate Board policy and/or school rules will be subject to disciplinary action under the Procedures for Discipline as outlined in Board Policy #8383. In addition, students who violate local, state, or federal laws will be referred to the East Grand Rapids Public Safety Department.
Problem Solving
The following process is suggested for problem solving and communication within the District:
1. Talk to the Teacher/Coach first.
2. If the problem is not resolved, talk to the Principal.
3. If the Principal cannot help, talk to the Superintendent.
4. If the Superintendent cannot help, the Board of Education may be contacted.
Parent/Guardian Responsibilities
Parents/Guardians are expected to ensure regular and punctual attendance of their child(ren), establish and maintain appropriate communications with the school, and assume responsibility for working cooperatively with the school personnel in resolving behavioral problems.
Teacher Responsibilities
In addition to providing a good example to students, teachers are expected to:
1. Know and enforce the rules and policies of the school and administer discipline consistently and fairly.
2. Seek conferences with parents and other school personnel in an effort to understand students who present behavioral problems.
Student Responsibilities
All students are expected to abide by the Code of Student Conduct policies 8305 through 8397 during the school year and on school property and at school activities. The school year commences with the first extra-curricular and/or co-curricular activity, whichever comes first, and continues through the end of the school year or the last scheduled extra-curricular and/or co-curricular activity of the school year, whichever comes last.
Application and Scope
The Code of Conduct covers all students enrolled in the East Grand Rapids Public School system. The code applies to a student who is on school premises, in a school-related vehicle, or at a school sponsored activity or trip, or who is using school telecommunication, networks, accounts or other district services. While the school system is not responsible for supervising or regulating off-campus activities, the school system may impose disciplinary or remedial measures in the event that off-campus activities or students, including travel to and from school, directly interfere with the operations, discipline, or general education environment of the East Grand Rapids Public school system.

Computer Network (Policy #4510)

The Board authorizes the Superintendent to develop services linking computers within and between buildings in the District, a nd to provide access to the internet for students, staff and members of the Board of Education. All computer network implementation shall be in line with the Board policy on technology and the District's educational goals.
Use of the computer network(s) as a part of any class or school assignment shall be consistent with the curriculum adopted by the District. The District's general rules for behavior and communications shall apply when using any computer equipment. (Note: Full policy may be found at

Dogs at School

We all love our pets, but they do not belong at school. Too many young children are either allergic or frightened by them. When picking up your child at school, please do not bring your dog on school property including into the school or on the playground.

Healthy Snacks

Please be cautious when preparing treats for a classroom. Many students have food allergies. It is important to make arrangements with teachers before you bring food to the classroom.

Homework Guidelines (Policy #7580)

Homework is one means of teaching the necessary skills of independent study and learning outside the classroom. Homework assigned will depend on the judgment of each teacher based on the knowledge of the student’s ability and the practice of good learning theory. The following are some reasons for homework:
 To complete work started in class
 To expand and/or enrich regular class work
 To build interest in reading and learning
 To make up work missed due to absence
 To encourage parent’s awareness of student learning
 To provide an opportunity to pursue special interest or ability
 To increase learning time
 To establish independent study skills.
Elementary students will be assigned homework when it is developmentally appropriate. Homework will have a correlation to classroom learning and can include a wide variety of activities in all areas of the curriculum. Typical examples of homework expectations could include math study, independent reading, science observations or collections, or content-related projects. Parent(s)/Guardian(s) should be encouraged to contact the teacher if a student is having difficulty completing homework in the assigned time and is experiencing inappropriate frustration and/or exhaustion.


State regulations indicate that the superintendent, principals and teachers of any school shall exclude from school any child suspected of having a communicable disease. The school function is not to diagnose illness, but to exclude children purely o n the basis of symptoms.

Inclement Weather

As all Michigan residents know, inclement weather can certainly alter plans and schedules by closing schools and businesses, and making travel a challenge.
If adverse weather conditions and other emergency situations make it necessary to cancel school, delay the beginning of school, or send students home early, the following information details the East Grand Rapids Public Schools procedures. Weather related data for closings or delays is collected by 5:00 a.m. from district staff members. Based on the data collected, the superintendent then makes a decision regarding school closures or delays. The decisions will be posted as soon as possible on the East Grand Rapids website, Announcements will be made on the following local stations: Wood-TV 8, WZZM TV 13, Fox 17, WWMT TV 3, Wood Radio (105.7 FM), 1300 AM, and most other Grand Rapids area radio stations.
In the Event of a Two Hour Delay
All classes will start two hours later than the building start time. The decision whether to hold A.M. ECSE (Early Childhood Special Education) at the later start time will be decided on the day in question and will be posted on the media outlets described above.
Special Education Transportation
East Grand Rapids Public Schools Transportation Director will call Dean Transportation to inform them of a closing or delay.
In the Event of School Closings
Day care and preschool schedules follow the same closure as the District. A decision will be made early in the afternoon regarding cancelling of sporting events, evening programs, and practices.
Severe Thunderstorm Watch
All students will be dismissed at the regular time unless severe weather conditions exist.
Severe Thunderstorm Warning
All students may be detained if severe weather conditions exist.
Tornado Watch
All students will be kept at school if the watch is issued during the school day. Students will be dismissed at the regular time unless severe weather conditions exist. If a tornado watch occurs outside of school hours, the school district will not begin any school activities (i.e., sports, PTO, etc.) If a tornado watch is issued while the activities are in progress, the students, participants, audience, and attendees will be dismissed and the activities will stop immediately. After school activities may be held if such activities are scheduled to begin one hour after a tornado watch has been lifted.
Tornado Warning
All students will be kept at school if the warning is issued during the school day and will be instructed to take shelter within the building until the ALL CLEAR is signaled. Students will not be sent home.
If a tornado warning occurs outside of school hours, the school district will not begin any school activities (i.e., sports, PTO, etc.) If a tornado warning is issued while the activities are in progress, the students, participants, audience, and attendees will seek shelter within the building immediately.
After school activities may be held if such activities are scheduled to begin one hour after a tornado warning has been lifted.
Talking Points
Parents are encouraged to make individual decisions regarding children’s school attendance on days with inclement weather, especially for preschool and primary students. These children are more apt to be affected by delays, or personal apprehensiveness

Medication (Policy #8100)

This policy is intended to cover all students. It includes students with disabilities who have an Individualized Educational Program (IEP) or Section 504 Plan. The following definition of "medication" is adopted for use in this District: "Medication," includes prescription, non-prescription and herbal medications, and includes those taken by mouth, by inhaler, those that are administered by injection, and those applied as drops to eyes, nose, or medications applied to the skin.
Whenever possible, medications for students should be administered by parent(s)/guardian(s) at home. As a service to the family, the Superintendent shall establish procedures for the administration of medication by school personnel in circumstances where such administration is deemed necessary for the student's well being by the student's parent(s)/guardian(s) or physicia n. The pupil's parent(s)/ guardian(s) must provide the school with written permission and a written request to administer medications to their child. Written instructions from a physician, which include the name of the pupil, name of the medication, dosage of the medication, route of administration, and time the medication is to be administered to the pupil shall accompany the request and be kept on record by the school. The parent(s)/guardian(s) request/permission and a physician's instructions for administration shall be renewed every school year.

Parent/Teacher Problem-Solving & Communication

3 Steps:
Be sure when you finish you are both clear on what and when things will happen.
1. Talk to the teacher first. If the problem is not resolved, talk to the principal.
2. If the principal cannot help, talk to the superintendent.
3. If the superintendent cannot help, contact the Board of Education.
Talking To The Teacher:
1. Call the school and leave a message or email the teacher.
2. In your message let the teacher know why you are calling so he/she will be prepared when they talk to you. This can save time and the need for a second communication.
3. Have patience. It may take a day for the teacher to respond back, as they have limited free time during the day to make calls.
4. Try not to “drop in” for a talk. Plan ahead so the teacher can give you the attention you deserve.
5. Keep matters confidential. They tend to stay in perspective.
Appointments With Teachers:
Interruptions in the classroom during class hours do disrupt the instructional program. We suggest that parents plan to confer with teachers when they do not have students. A call or an email to arrange a meeting is always appreciated. Each staff member at Breton Downs Elementary has a voice mail “box” and you may feel free to leave messages at 235-7599 or send the teacher an email.
There is no bad communication! The more communication, the better. The basis of a good parent/teacher relationship is trust.

Parent(s)/Guardian(s) Visitation of Classrooms (Policy #9410)

The Board recognizes the central role parent(s)/guardian(s) play in the education of their children, and supports active parent(s)/guardian(s) involvement in the educational process. Parent(s)/Guardian(s) are encouraged to maintain regular contact with their child’s instructors. To familiarize themselves with their child’s learning environment, parent(s)/guardian(s) are also encouraged to come to planned conferences, school open houses, and visitation days.
Parent(s)/Guardian(s) may also visit their child’s classes on other days, subject to the approval of school administration and the following guidelines. Parent(s)/ Guardian(s) are asked to understand the Board’s responsibility to safeguard the learning environment for all students, and be sensitive to the disruption that can be caused by frequent visitors. The Board also has an obligation to protect the privacy rights of all students and their families.
The Board adopts the following regulations for parent(s)/guardian(s) visitations:
1. All parent(s)/guardian(s) visitations are subject to the approval of the school Principal.
2. Parent(s)/Guardian(s) desiring to visit a classroom shall make a request to the Principal before the date. The
Principal should consult with the teacher and respond to the parent(s)/guardian(s) in a timely manner.
3. Visitors are required to check in at the school office before the start of the class that they wish to observe, and to follow individual school procedures for visitor sign-in, passes, escorts, etc.
4. Parent(s)/Guardian(s) in classrooms are there as guests and are asked to behave as quiet observers of classroom activities, unless specifically requested otherwise by the classroom teacher.
5. Visitation shall not be allowed during tests or other student examination/evaluation.
6. An appointment should be made with the teacher if the parent(s)/guardian(s) wish(es) to discuss their child’s educational progress. Visiting parent(s)/ guardian(s) are to refrain from using classroom observations for impromptu parent(s)/guardian(s)-teacher conferences either during or outside of class time.
Parent(s)/Guardian(s) who fail to abide by these regulations or who intentionally disrupt the educational process of the school may be asked to leave and/or be denied permission for future visits.

Promotion and Retention (Policy #7600)

Promotion and retention of students shall be the responsibility of the Principal with recommendations from the professional staff and shall be made in the best interest of the individual student with parent(s)/guardian(s) involvement.


Recess is an important time for children to engage in play and physical activity. Students may stay in the office for recess with a doctor’s note only. Our students have three recesses a day: morning recess, lunch recess for 20 minutes during lunchtime, and an afternoon recess. During recess and lunch, five-six teachers and para-educators are assigned to different sections of the playground for supervision. If the temperature is at or below 0 degrees, students will have indoor recess. We believe if students are well enough to come to school they are well enough to go outside for recess.

Release of Students from School

In the event a student is released from school for a medical or dental appointment we ask that the following procedures be used:
 A call is made to the office indicating reason and time for leaving.
 Parent reports to the office to sign out the student - the student will then be called from the classroom to the office.

Report of Student Progress to Parents

For all grades, there are two scheduled parent-teacher conferences during the school year. Conferences at other than the regularly scheduled times are encouraged as needs become apparent and may be initiated by either the parents or the teacher. Report cards are issued for all students in January and June. Duplicates of these reports are on file in the main office.

Safety (Policy #8360)

All students are expected to comply with the state and federal laws and local ordinances pertaining to the possession of weapons or explosives, the approved safety and fire codes, and laws pertaining to civil disobedience. All criminal activities are prohibited, including but not limited to the following:
a. the possession or use of firecrackers, slingshots, fireworks, squirt guns, smoke guns, knives, razors and other
items which, in the principal’s discretion, could do injury to persons or property;
b. violation of approved safety and fire codes;
c. engaging acts of civil disobedience;
d. setting false alarms;
e. physical attacks, fighting, extortion and/or threats or activities which endanger the safety or well-being of others.
Those who violate the Board policy and/or school rules will be subject to disciplinary action under the Procedures for Discipline as outlined in Board Policy #8383.
The Board of Education is continually concerned about the safety and welfare of district students and staff and, therefore, will not tolerate behavior that creates an unsafe environment or a threat to safety.

Safety Patrol

We are fortunate that several of our 4th and 5th grade students volunteer to serve as safeties on a few of our street crossings. We urge you to talk to your children about the responsibility and importance of this job, and we ask that your child cooperate, respect the safeties and follow their directions when crossing. Please feel free to call the school about any safety problems that you feel needs attention.
Street Posts: 8:00-8:15 a.m. and 3:19 – 3:34 p.m.
1st/2nd/3rd Grade Door Posts: 8:00 - 8:15 a.m. (No after school posts.)
Kindergarten Safeties: 8:00 - 8:15 a.m. and 3:14 - 3:19 p.m.
*All students arriving after 8:15 a.m. are asked to use the main entrance.
Safeties will not be on duty during severe weather conditions.

Safety Suggestions for Parents Driving Children to School

There are several good reasons why children should be encouraged to walk to and from school, as opposed to parents transporting them. If rainy weather or other factors create the necessity for parents to transport youngsters, we would appreciate the observance of safe driving practices and use of caution when children are exiting their vehicles.

School Safety

Safety of students and staff is our first priority. To that end, we have established extensive safety plans and procedures. These procedures include:
 Doors: All doors in the building except the front doors next to the office are locked.
 Check In/Out: Please report to the main office to sign in/out every time you enter/exit the building.
 Badge: Visitors must wear their badge while in the building.

Seat Belts (Policy #4350R)

Per Board of Education Policy 4350-R Student Transportation in Private Vehicles - Field Trips
When private vehicles are used for elementary and middle school field trips, the following requirements shall be met:
1. Only an adult (non-high school student) licensed driver shall be allowed to drive the vehicle;
2. The vehicle shall be equipped with seatbelts and the number of passengers limited to the number of seatbelts available. Seatbelts shall be used at all times by all passengers when the vehicle is in operation;
3. The vehicle shall be generally in good condition, particularly as it pertains to safety equipment such as brakes, horn, tires, lights, etc.;
4. Vehicle and driver shall be insured;
5. No open-type vehicle, such as a pickup or truck, shall be used for transporting students other than in the cab of the vehicle where proper seat belts can be used, except for parades;
6. Non-ownership insurance as a secondary coverage shall be carried by the District either on a permanent or temporary basis as determined by the Superintendent; and
7. A form verifying certain desired information to be signed by the driver of the vehicle shall be kept on file.
8. For students that require a booster seat (under 4’9” or the age of 8), it is the responsibility of the parent to send in the booster seat for that field trip. If they do not send it in, the child will not go on the field trip and other arrangements will be made for their education at school.

Student Use of Electronic Communications Devices (Policy #832R)

East Grand Rapids Public Schools encourages students to bring an electronic device to school for use as an educational tool. While in attendance at school students are required to solely use the districts network during the instructional day. Doing so ensures a safe learning environment for all of our students. Failure to comply will result in disciplinary measures.
Students may be in possession of electronic communication devices subject to the terms of this policy and the administrative rules of the District. Such devices shall be used for instructional purposes and such use is at the expressed permission of a teacher and/or administrator. Electronic devices shall not be used at school sponsored events where there is a reasonable expectati on of quiet attentiveness, where use of the device would cause disruption, unless there is a bona fide health or safety emergency or unless specifically approved by a school official for a special circumstance. (Note: Full policy may be found at

Student Visitors (Policy #9400)

We are often asked to accommodate out-of-town, school age visitors to our school. The district's position regarding this request to have cousins or friends attend school with our students includes the following conditions. With teacher approval, a child may visit for approximately one hour. This minimizes any additional responsibilities for classroom teachers. This policy also reduces liability concerns. All student visitors must be registered through the principal’s office with the teacher’s approval.

Technology Code of Ethics (Policy #7355)

Students and staff are responsible for:
 Utilizing information technology only for educational purposes, including, but not limited to, the attainment of outcomes, goals, and objectives specified in curriculum documents of the district or otherwise delineated by teachers, administrators and the Board of Education;
 Using hardware and software in a manner that enables its ongoing usage;
 Adhering to the rules, including, but not limited to, those posted in classrooms or computer labs or otherwise specified by school employees, for the use of hardware, software, labs and networks in the school;
 Obtaining permission from a school official before bringing in their own software and using it on school equipment;
 Avoiding installing computer viruses or enabling the spread of such viruses on school equipment;
 Keeping hardware and software from being relocated, removed from school premises, or modified without permission of an administrator;
 Maintaining the privacy of passwords and are prohibited from publishing or discussing passwords;
 All material received from sources outside the school district, including the Internet, under their user accounts and for accepting responsibility for keeping all pornographic material, inappropriate text files, or files dangerous to the integrity of the school's network, equipment, or software from entering the school;
 Adhering to the law and district policy pertaining to copyright and privacy rights in the use of hardware and software and in the transmission or copying of text or files;
 Avoiding using the technology for personal or private business, for product advertisement, or political lobbying;
 Avoiding the malicious use of information technology to disrupt the use of technology by others, to harass or discriminate against others, or to infiltrate unauthorized computer systems
Rights - 
Students and Staff:
 may use hardware and software which they have received permission to use;
 may access information from resources outside the school district; and
 may access the Internet to receive and send information.


General Guidelines
Each school, in collaboration with the Superintendent’s office, will initiate and direct its volunteer program.
The Role of the Principal
It is the Principal’s responsibility in collaboration with the Superintendent’s office:
1. To determine the scope and nature of the volunteer program in the building
2. To provide an annual orientation that includes the importance of confidentiality when working with students and staff
The Board of Education recognizes that certain programs and activities can be enhanced through the use of volunteers who have particular knowledge or skills that will be helpful to members of the professional staff responsible for the conduct of those programs and activities.
The Superintendent (or designee) shall be responsible for recruiting community volunteers, reviewing their capabilities, and making appropriate placements. S/He shall not be obligated to make use of volunteers whose abilities are not in accord with District needs.
Any person who volunteers to work with the District shall be screened through one or more of the following: the Internet Criminal History Access Tool (ICHAT), Internet sites for the Sex Offenders Registry (SOR) list, and/or the Offender Tracking Information System (OTIS) prior to being allowed to participate in any activity or program.
The purposes of a school volunteer program are:
1. To increase the educational achievement of students;
2. To provide enrichment experiences beyond those that the school can provide;
3. To provide more effective utilization of teacher time and skills;
4. To give more individual attention to students who need it; and
5. To promote greater community involvement in the academic and co-curricular programs of the District.
General Principles
The volunteer program of the District is at all times guided by the principles and policies of the District.
 Volunteers serve in a supportive capacity with the direction and supervision of the building Principal, Athletic Director or other certified school personnel.
 A volunteer is not a substitute for a member of the school staff, but does supply supportive services.
 A volunteer does not have access to confidential files and records.
 Wherever possible, volunteers are assigned to the particular school where they wish to serve.
 The relationship between volunteers and the school staff should be one of mutual respect and confidence.
School Volunteers
All school volunteers work under the direction of the school staff and provide supportive services to them. Volunteers assist teachers and will only be assigned to those staff members who request them.
All students are expected to obey directives and instructions given to them by authorized volunteers of the District. Failure to abide by directives and instruction given by an authorized District Volunteer may result in disciplinary action under the Cod e of Student Conduct. School volunteers serving in the District without financial compensation are bound by the policies, rules/ regulations, and procedures of the District. They are to be supervised by each building Principal or other authorized school employee.