Ross Handbook

Absences and Attendance

Regular school attendance is critical for academic success. Our goal is to ensure that every student attends school regularly and on time. Daily presence in school has a huge impact on a student’s academic success, starting in kindergarten and continuing through high school. Even as children grow older and more independent, families can continue to play a key role in making sure students get to school safely every day and understand why attendance is so important for success in school and in life.

We realize some absences are unavoidable due to health problems or other circumstances. But, we also know that when students miss too much school—excused or unexcused—they can fall behind academically.  Your child is less likely to succeed if he or she is chronically absent—which means missing 18 or more days in a school year.  Research shows that:

  • Children that are chronically absent in kindergarten and 1st grade are much less likely to read at grade level by the end of 3rd grade. By 6th grade, chronic absence is a warning sign for students at risk of dropping out of school. By 9th grade, good attendance can predict graduation rates even better than 8th grade test scores.

What are excused and unexcused absences?

Excused absences are when school-aged students are absent from school with a valid excuse and parental approval.  Examples of excused absences include:

  • Student illness (a doctor’s note is required if a student is absent for more than five days);
  • Death in the student’s immediate family;
  • Necessity for a student to attend a judicial proceeding as a plaintiff, defendant, witness or juror;
  • Observance of a religious holiday;
  • Temporary school closings due to weather, unsafe conditions or other emergencies;
  • Medical reasons such as a doctor’s appointment (a doctor’s note is required);
  • Failure of DC to provide transportation where legally responsible;
  • Lawful suspension or exclusion from school by school authorities;
  • Absences to allow students to visit their parent or legal guardian, who is in the military; immediately before, during or after deployment;
  • Emergency or other circumstances approved by the Director of Attendance and Support Services  or designee.

Excuse notes must be submitted by the parent/guardian within 5 days of a student’s return to school after an absence.  The note must include a written explanation of the reason for the student’s absence.  Parents/guardians may write their own note, or may use the DCPS template excuse note form obtained from the school.

Unexcused absences are when school-aged students are absent from school without a valid excuse, with or without parental approval. Examples of unexcused absences include:

  • Babysitting
  • Doing errands
  • Extended travel (domestic or international)
  • Oversleeping
  • Cutting classes

As a DCPS school, Ross follows the district’s attendance policy without exception and will record each absence as excused or unexcused. For details regarding the DCPS Attendance Policy, please click here.  You will receive communications regularly as your child accumulates excused and/or unexcused absences throughout the school year.

Tardy Arrivals

Students who arrive after 8:45 a.m. should proceed to the Main Office or Security Desk to receive a Tardy Pass to be admitted to class. Do not go directly to the classroom. You and your child must come downstairs and get a tardy pass. Please help your child develop the good habit of being on time for school and for other important events now and in the future. Students who arrive late miss out on part of the morning transition and routine and it can be disruptive to teaching and learning.


Dress Code

Tops:  solid white, navy, or light blue. Long or short sleeves. Collar or no collar. Ross t-shirt and Ross hooded sweatshirt. No branding or logos. Clarifying examples: a solid navy blue t-shirt is acceptable. A blue and white striped t-shirt is not.  A white button down is acceptable. A blue and white plaid button down is not.

Bottoms: solid navy or khaki pants, shorts, skorts, skirts, leggings, jumpers, dresses, sweat pants. No branding or logos. Clarifying examples: solid navy blue sweat pants are acceptable. Navy blue sweatpants with a white stripe and the Nike logo are not. A khaki skirt is acceptable. A khaki skirt with white polka dots is not.

Extra layer for warmth in the classroom: Ross hooded sweatshirt, or solid navy, white or light blue sweater, sweatshirt, cardigan or vest. No branding or logos. Clarifying examples: patterned and/or branded hoodies worn as outwear to school are acceptable. Once inside, just like other outerwear, they are to be removed. The Ross hoodie may be worn as outerwear and as a uniform item of clothing.

Shoes: closed-toe shoes for safe play and movement on stairs and playground/PE.

Socks/Tights: May be any color/design. No branding or logos. Clarifying examples: red tights with hearts are acceptable. Red leggings worn under a skirt or dress in place of tights are not.

Other: no costumes, hats, gloves, non-prescription sunglasses, fashion scarves and outwear to be worn in the classroom. Jewelry and other accessories not included above may be deemed unsafe or distracting as determined by Ross faculty. The following DCMR policy outlines other clothing/accessories not permitted in schools.

Free Dress Days expanded to include the monthly Floor-Wide Morning Meeting days, each child’s birthday, and the entire last week of the school year. Weekend and summer birthdays will be included. Selected field trips (such as the Kennedy Center) will be “dress for an event” days as determined by the classroom teacher.

 Next Steps

  • Community education about the uniform policy including classroom instruction, parent education, photos on the Ross website and links to a variety of vendors
  • Expand uniform/clothing swap to 3x a year (beginning, middle and end of year)
  • Stock a Ross uniform closet to provide support for families in need and for students out of uniform
  • Request the PTA to expand Ross merchandise selection
  • Revisit the uniform policy with the community in Spring of 2019

Students may bring a home lunch or purchase a school meal. Menus are issued by DCPS shortly before the first of the month. Sodexho is the DCPS assigned vendor for Ross.  Kindly note that Ross is a NUT-FREE campus. Do not send any products with nuts for lunch or snack. We do not allow gum, candy or soda on campus.

 Lunch menus can be found here:

Please see Ms. Campbell in the Main Office for the application for Free/Reduced Price Meals.

Students can pay for meals in two ways:

  1. By paying with a credit or debit card at an online prepayment service
    • Setup SMART PAY to automatically add money to account whenever it reaches a low balance
    • Receive low balance notifications to remind you when funds are low
  2. By sending a check or money order made payable to the DC Treasurer to the following address*:

DCPS Food and Nutrition Services
1200 First Street, NE, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20002

*The student ID# MUST be included.

Insufficient Funds Notification

If a student’s balance goes below zero, the student’s parent/guardian will receive communication with the amount due on the meal account balance and instructions to put money into their student’s account. Once a week (Monday) parents/guardians of students with negative meal account balances will receive:

  • A robo-call,
  • A text message, and
  • An email (if email address is provided)

Parents/guardians of students with negative balances will also receive a negative balance letter/invoice mailed home quarterly.

There is no limit to the amount of negative balance a student can accrue. There are no alternative meals served to a student with a negative balance. Students will continue to accrue negative balances until additional funds are put into their account. When funds are put into a students account, it will first pay off the negative balance. If a student’s balance is not paid at the end of the year, it will roll over into the next school year. 

School breakfast is offered at every school and free for ALL DCPS students.


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Morning Procedure and Line-Up

School Hours for K-5 students: 8:45-3:30

School Hours for PK students: 8:45-3:15

Doors to the school open at 8:15 a.m. for breakfast which is offered FREE for all students in the Cafe. The Library and E-Magination Lab will be open to selected grade levels on Monday-Wednesday-Friday. 

Morning supervision on the Ross playground and field begins at 8:15 am. We do not offer before-care. Students should not be dropped off at Ross prior to 8:15 a.m.  At 8:40 a.m. the whistle will blow to signal line-up time. All K-5 students will move to their class lines on the field and wait for their teacher to collect them. 

PK3 and PK4 students may be checked into their classrooms beginning at 8:30 a.m.

Children who arrive after 8:45am are considered tardy and must receive a tardy pass at the main office or security desk.

When there is inclement weather or it is below 32 degrees, the students will have indoor line-up. 

PK3/PK4: check into classrooms at 8:30

K-1: wait in the lower lobby (outside the main office)

Grades 2-5: wait in the top floor lobby (outside of classrooms)

Afternoon Pick-Up

Students in PK3/PK4 are dismissed at 3:15 p.m. Parents/Caregivers pick up the children directly from the classroom.

Students in K-5 are dismissed at 3:30 p.m. and are brought out to the field to be picked up. Your child will need to shake hands/check out with the teacher before leaving the field. Please do not take your child without the teacher’s knowledge. We will only release your child to individuals who are named on the enrollment packet. If you have a change in pick-up, we will need a written note in advance and School Security will check the I.D. of the individual.

After care providers who are picking up children from Ross are expected to be on site by 3:20 p.m. and to depart with the children by 3:30 p.m

If you are picking your child up early, you must sign your child out at the Security Desk and ask the office to call the classroom.


 Dogs are not allowed on Ross school grounds at any time, including the playground, garden, field and concrete area.  

School Closings

If school must delay opening, dismiss early, or close for the day due to inclement weather, power outages, or other unforeseen circumstances, Ross and DCPS will make every effort to communicate the situation with families using one or more of the following means:

For information on how DCPS decides to close schools, see the DCPS’s inclement weather guidance page.

Please do not call the Ross office to inquire about school closings. Ross faculty and staff learn about closures in the same manner and at the same time as families.

Safety and Emergency Procedures

In case of a threat in or around school, Ross has shelter-in-place/ lock-down procedures. This includes students and teachers sheltering in place in the classroom in a place that is out of the line of site. Should evacuation be required, students will travel to Marie Reed Elementary on 18th Street to reunify with caregivers. We also have practice drills for severe weather, earthquakes, and fires.

A few reminders in the event of an evacuation:

  • Emergency information will be made available to families as quickly as possible.
  • Our evacuation site is Marie Reed Elementary, 2201 18th Street NW, Washington DC 20009
  • Students will ONLY be released to parents or caregivers. Students will not be released to friends, neighbors, or others not listed on enrollment paperwork or the emergency form.  
  • Reunification is not a fast process. Please plan to be as patient and calm as possible and bring I.D. in order to collect your child.

It is important for every parent to have a conversation with their child about what to do in case something unexpected happens. Discuss how they can contact their parent or other caretaker. Talk about neighbors’ or friends’ houses where they could go if they need to. Determine how the family as a whole will deal with school closings and other emergencies. These conversations can help your child feel calm and confident when facing an unexpected situation. Please make sure the school office, your child’s teacher, and your class room parents have your most up-to-date home, cell, and office phone numbers so you can be contacted quickly in an emergency. 


A nurse or health tech is usually available during the school day to help with medical needs and to promote the general health and safety of the school community. Confidentiality on all health matters is respected. To reach Nurse Gordon directly call 202- 671-0405 or call the front office at 202-673-7200.

Nurse Gordon’s email:

Occasional illness

Children with fever, sore throat or nausea or vomiting should not come to school. Parents are requested to immediately report any child’s communicable illness (e.g. strep throat, chicken pox, flu, lice, etc.) to the school nurse. 

Children should be fever-free for 24 hours before returning to school. Children being treated for communicable illnesses should not return unless their healthcare provider has given medical clearance to return. Parents are asked to send a note with their child upon their return that explains their absence.

If your child is sick and staying home from school, please email the teacher and copy Ms. Campbell (  Please include the child’s first and last name, date of absence(s) and reason.

Chronic Illness 

Parents of children with a history of chronic illness (food allergies, asthma, etc.) that may affect school life should meet with the school nurse to develop an individual health plan (IHP).


If your child has allergies, especially to food, medicine, or bee stings, let the school nurse know immediately in writing so it can be noted on the student’s health record and the teacher can be notified. If the allergy is life threatening, please see the nurse regarding the physician’s orders for medication at school.

Head Lice

Children with lice must be under treatment to be present at school. Please notify your child’s teacher and the nurse if your child has lice.


DCPS policy requires that parents and physicians complete appropriate health forms before any prescription or over-the-counter medication can be administered. These forms are available from the school nurse. Please do not send any medications to school with your child. All medications should be taken to the health suite by a parent where they are checked in.

Accident or Illness at School

The school nurse will contact parents to advise them in case of illness or accident. Please keep all contact information current. The school must have the number of a relative, friend, or neighbor in case parents cannot be reached. If emergency transportation is required, a staff member will accompany the student if the parent is not present.

After Care

All students have a daily 30 minute recess block before lunch.  Mr. Shegda is the recess manager monitoring equipment and play and managing other Ross staff on duty. Students may not bring their own toys or equipment to recess. 

Ross holds recess indoors when the temperature drops below 32 degrees, is dangerously icy or when it rains or snows. Additionally, Ross will hold recess indoors when DCPS issues heat advisory warnings based on a temperature or heat index could impact student health. 

Class Assignment

Classroom assignments are made in a collaborative way between a student’s current teachers, the school’s instructional coaches, counselors and administration. We strive to create classes balanced by gender, learning style, academic strengths and personality. Families are notified of classroom assignments in August.

Lost & Found

If your child has lost an item, check the lost & found rack in the lower lobby near the Security Desk.

Student Support
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Fillmore Arts

Ross partners with Fillmore Arts for Art and Music education. PK students receive instruction at Ross on Monday mornings. K-5 students travel to Fillmore, located in Hardy Middle School, on Wednesday afternoons for two 60 minute instructional blocks. We travel on DCPS provided school buses departing at noon and returning at 3:00pm.   Fillmore is directed by Ms. Meenehan (

 Hardy Middle School is located at 1819 35th Street NW, Washington DC 20007

Fillmore Phone: 202-729-3794

Field Trips
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Visitor Policy
Electronics and Toys
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