Preschool Parent Handbook

Santee School District




State Preschool

Parent Handbook 23-24


School house

Prospect Avenue State Preschool

8655 Ellsworth Lane

Santee, CA  92071


Program Operation

The State Preschool program operates five days per week, Monday through Friday, following the regular school calendar. The program is closed during school vacations and holidays.

Students who participate in the program are served a full breakfast or lunch. The breakfast or lunch program is subsidized and there is no charge to parents. A current free meal application must be on file.

It is requested that children do not bring snacks to school. Birthdays may be celebrated and parents may notify staff in advance if they wish to bring treats.

Philosophy & Goals

Each class has a program committed to the following goals:

  • Meet the individual developmental needs of each child
  • Help nurture each child’s self-esteem and relationship with other children
  • Provide a safe, healthy environment where children can feel free to discover and learn
  • Encourage the child to develop problem solving skills and decision making abilities
  • Introduce the child to music, art, literature, friendship and creative play
  • Meet the needs of parents in further developing parenting skills

Kindergarten readiness skills will be offered to age-appropriate children. Santee School District preschool classrooms refrain from religious instruction or worship

Program Activities/Curriculum

Each day the teachers plan for and provide many varied activities to promote growth. The curriculum is guided by the Core Knowledge Language Arts, DRDP and the Preschool Learning Foundations. The following activities play a part of your child’s daily learning.

Arts/Crafts                                                      Block building

Computers                                                     Cooking/Nutrition

Creative Thinking                                           Dramatic play

Field Trips                                                      Health/Safety

Language/Pre-Reading                                  Large/Small Motor Skills

Literature/Books                                            Math/Numbers

Monthly Fire/Earthquake drills                       Multi-Cultural Awareness

Music/Rhythm Perceptual                              Motor Skills

Problem Solving                                            Science/Nature

                                    kids at table

During the course of each day, we offer:

  • small group, large group activities
  • structured, non-structured play and activities
  • listening and following direction
  • creativity in art, music, and dramatic play
  • nutritious meals
  • working alone and working with others

Preschool Staff

The program is administered centrally by a program director and on-site by the principal of Pride Academy at Prospect Avenue School. Each class has a fully certified teacher and an appropriate number of instructional assistants to meet the adult/child ratio of 1:8 required by state guidelines. A school nurse and a speech therapist are assigned as needed in program implementation.


The preschool program includes a nutrition component that ensures that children have nutritious meals/snacks each day. The meals and snacks are culturally and developmentally appropriate and shall meet the nutritional requirements specified by the National School Nutrition program.

The preschool partners with the Santee School District Child Nutrition Department which provides nutritionally balanced snacks and meals. Parents complete applications for the free meals. Children are served free meals/snacks each day. Nutrition education is a component of the preschool program.


Enrollment Eligibility

Eligibility guidelines are established by the California Department of Education.  The program is designed for children between the ages of 3 years and 4 years.  Four-year-old children have greater priority for participation than three-year-olds. Children must be 3 or 4 years old on or before December 1st of the enrollment year. Equal treatment and access to service is given to every person without regard to perceived race, color, ancestry, national origin, nationality, ethnicity, ethnic group identification, religion, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or gender expression or association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics.

Santee School District welcomes children with disabilities into the State Preschool Program at Pride Academy. This information is in accordance with the American Disabilities Act.

Admission into the State Preschool Program relies on specific enrollment priorities: children protected by Child Protective Services who meet Title V requirements, children with exceptional needs, 4-year-old children (Dual Language Learners, families with the lowest to highest family income), 3-year-olds (Dual Language Learners, families with the lowest to highest family income), and if space allows, families whose income is 15% above the income threshold (limited to 10% of funded enrollment), Enrollment in the State Preschool Program is based on eligibility criteria established by the California Department of Education (CDE) and Santee School District Board of Education. Eligibility is based on family income, age of child, San Diego County residency and space availability. A waiting list is maintained to fill vacancies in the program.


Parents must meet all requirements by the State and complete the registration process before a child can be considered eligible for enrollment. Parents enrolling their children for a second year must submit recertification documents.

To register, parents must:

·   Complete the initial eligibility survey

.  Complete the online registration and supply child's birth certificate, immunization record and two proofs of residency.

·  Supply all necessary income verification documentation, and all documents required by the State.  


Following registration, children will be enrolled in the program based on enrollment priorities established by the California Department of Education (CDE). Requests for a particular teacher or time may be given during registration; however, class assignments will be determine on eligibility of all students.

Due Process Procedures

Notice of Action, Application for Services

A written decision to approve services is communicated within thirty (30) calendar days of the date the application is signed by the parent(s).

Notice of Action, Recipient of Services

Parents will receive written notice (at least 14 calendar days before the effective date of the intended action) if existing services to the family will be altered.

Parent Request for a Hearing

Parents have 14 calendar days from the receipt of the Notice of Action to file a request for hearing if the parent disagrees with an action. This hearing request shall cause the action to be suspended until the review process is completed.


Our philosophy of discipline is designed to help each child develop self-control and responsibility for his/her own actions. The staff interacts with children in a consistent, respectable, positive manner, guiding them in achieving appropriate behavior. 

In our program disciplinary problems are prevented or lessened by:

  • Timely intervention before a conflict develops
  • Age appropriate expectations
  • Reinforcement on positive/appropriate behavior
  • Encouraging self-control
  • Encouraging child to resolve conflict independently
  • Removing a child from situations where continuous conflicts occur
  • Encouraging child to verbalize needs


Play clothes are appropriate for everyday dress. Preschool includes activities that require clothing to be washable, comfortable, and able to withstand occasional paint stains, and appropriate for physical activity. Preschool activities are often “messy” and it is an important part of the child’s development. Mark all coats, sweaters, and jackets with your child’s name. For safety reasons, strapless back or open toe shoes may not be worn. Students will assume full responsibility for loss or damage to their clothing, equipment, books or toys. The school endeavors to protect all personal property but it is not the school’s responsibility. Large sums of money and articles of real or sentimental value should not be brought to school. Leave money, candy and gum at home. We do not allow them at preschool. 

Health Information

Healthy children learn better and your cooperation is essential. In order to assist in maintaining children’s health, here are some requirements to be followed.

 - Immunizations – Your child’s immunizations must be up-to-date before enrollment can be completed.

Immunization requirements are as follows:

  • DTaP – your child needs four doses – Last dose must be administered after second birthday.
  • Polio – your child needs three doses –Last dose must be administered after second birthday.
  • Hep B – your child needs three doses
  • MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) – your child needs one dose after his/her first birthday
  • Varicella (chicken pox) – one dose or health care provider Medical Exemption registered with CAIR for varicella disease or immunity

  - Medical Examination your child must have a medical examination within one month of enrollment.

 - Tuberculin Skin Test –It is recommended that all parents as well as children have proof of negative tuberculin skin test or chest x-ray on file in the PRIDE Academy School health office. 

All of the above requirements may be obtained free from a physician who is a CHDP (Child Health and Disability Prevention) if he/she is a provider. Ask your family physician if he/she is a provider or you may receive these free at the El Cajon Health Department. Please call 619.441.6500 for further information.

 - Medication - If your child has medication that needs to be administered while he/she is at school, please obtain a medication form from the Pride Academy School health office. The amount and time of each dosage must be written on the form along with the date and  period of time the medication is to be given and then signed by the physician. Only medication prescribed by a physician, in the original container with physician’s instruction printed on the label, will be administered.

Note: All medication taken at school must be under the supervision of a designated school employee.

Under no circumstances will a child be permitted to bring his/her own medication to school and/or administer it to themselves. This policy applies to cough drops, Tylenol, and vitamins as well as to prescribed drugs. State Regulations do not allow us to administer any medication without a signed medication form.

 - Head Lice – From time to time a child may contract head lice. The symptoms include itching, scratching and fidgeting more than usual. Please check your child’s head for any tiny mites or dandruff like eggs which cause the itching. A special shampoo for head lice can be obtained from your pharmacist and must be used before your child can return to school. Please notify the preschool staff immediately upon discovery of head lice. This will help to prevent further outbreaks. Before returning to school your child needs a release statement from the school Health Clerk.

 - OUCH Reports/First AidIf your child has a minor scrape or bump, we will send home a copy of our “ouch report”, a short description of what occurred, for your information. Treatment is limited to ice packs, washing with soap and water or providing bandages. If you notice an injury and there is no accident form, please inform the teachers.

For all injuries to the head the child will be observed closely and the parent notified. A special head injury form will be filled out by the staff and put in your child’s cubbie.

Staff are certified in CPR and First Aid

 - Allergies – Please list all your child’s allergies on their registration papers. Be sure to include all food allergies, sensitivities to insect stings and allergies to medication.

 - Illness Information – For the health and well-being of all our children enrolled PLEASE DO NOT send your child to school if he or she shows any signs of illness. A child must be free of a fever for 24 hours before returning to school. A child must also remain at home until free of diarrhea for 24 hours. Children who vomit during the night or in the early morning should stay at home until free of symptoms for 24 hours.

If your child has a fever or displays other symptoms of illness while at school, you will be notified to pick him/her up. The child should then be picked up at the Preschool Office. Please do not bring your child back to school until he/she is free of the symptoms for 24 hours. Our criteria for sending a child home: Green or yellow discharge from nose and eyes or any discharge from the ears, also;                                   

  • An episode of diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Temperature greater than 100°
  • Rashes which appear to be chicken pox, impetigo, or measles
  • Excessive crying or complaints that your child’s ears, tummy or other areas hurt
  • Head lice, scabies or other suspicious symptoms

The teaching staff is responsible for ensuring that children with obvious symptoms of illness are not accepted into the classroom. Special attention will be paid to children who have been absent because of illness or who have been exposed to contagious or communicable diseases.

Uniform Complaint Procedure

Complaints that are based on allegations that the district is failing to adhere to state or federal regulations governing categorical programs or complaints based on allegations that the district has discriminated on the basis of ethnic group identification, religion, age, sex, color, physical or mental disability must be filed in accordance with the district’s uniform complaint procedure. The Santee School District promotes prompt, fair, and constructive communication in an attempt to resolve complaints against school district program. Visit,AR 1312.3 for the process.

Attendance & Sign-In /Sign-Out Sheets

For the safety and well-being of the children, all children must be escorted by an adult into the classroom. We require that the adult bringing and picking up a child sign the daily attendance sheet in his or her class. This must be your full legal signature. In order to ensure your child’s safety, we will not release your child to anyone not authorized by the parent in writing. If the adult picking up your child is not known by our staff, they will ask for a picture ID. Please inform those who are picking up your child to be prepared to show our teachers or staff their identification. Failure to comply with this state requirement may result in termination of services. Sign-in and sign-out sheets are used to account for attendance and absence of students. When forwarded to the district office, the information is used in preparing state reports for program funding. Accuracy is imperative.


Every absence, even if for part of the day, interferes with your child’s progress in school. Regular attendance helps students develop good habits, positive attitudes, and success in school.

Every absence must be documented with the specific reason for the absence. Parents are responsible for notifying the preschool for each day a child is unable to attend.

There is an answering machine on the preschool phone that will record your message. If a return phone call is requested, it will be made as soon as possible. In an emergency, you may also phone the PRIDE Academy at Prospect Elementary school office at 619-956-5200 and they will contact the preschool.

Please be sure to report any communicable diseases to our office so that other parents may be notified. All parents will be notified if two or more children in our center come down with the same symptoms. Please keep us posted on the nature of your child’s illness and the length of time you expect your child to be out of school. Most importantly, do not send your child to school until he/she is able to participate in all activities in the normal school day.

Types of Absences from School

There two types of absences: (1) excused absences; and, (2) unexcused absences.

Excused absences consist of illness or quarantine of the child, illness or quarantine of their parent, family emergency, court-ordered visitations, or best interest days. If an excused absence is based on time spent with a parent or other relative as required by a court of law, the basic data file shall contain a copy of the Court Order.

An excused absence for family emergency shall be considered to exist when unforeseen circumstances cause the need for immediate action, for example, but not limited to an illness of sibling, a natural disaster, when a member of the child’s immediate family dies, has an accident, is required to appear in court, military arrivals from deployments, or other parental activities that the child has to be with a parent for child care purposes.

A student's absence shall be excused for the following reasons:

1. Personal illness

2. Quarantine under the direction of a county or city health officer

3. Medical, dental, optometrical, or chiropractic appointment

4. Attendance at funeral services for a member of the immediate family, which shall be

    limited to one day if the service is conducted in California or three days if the service

    is conducted out of state. Immediate family shall be defined as mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, brother, sister, or any relative living in the student's immediate household.

5. Upon advance written request by the parent/guardian and the approval of the principal

     or designee, justifiable personal reasons including, but not limited to:

a.  Appearance in court

b.  Attendance at a funeral service

c.  Observation of a holiday or ceremony of his/her religion

d.  Attendance at religious retreats not to exceed four hours per semester

e.  Attendance at an educational conference on the legislative or judicial process offered by a nonprofit organization

6.  Participation in religious exercises or to receive moral and religious instruction accordance with district policy:

a.  In such instances, the student shall attend at least the minimum school day.

b. The student shall be excused for this purpose on no more than four days per school month.

Best interest days shall be considered to exist when time is spent with the child’s parent or other relative that are clearly in the best interest of the child. Exceptions are for children who are recipients of protective services or at risk of abuse or neglect. Excused absences in the best interest of the child shall be limited to ten (10) days during the contract period.

Unexcused absences consist of no transportation, getting up too late, unspecified appointments, or any absence beyond the 10-day “best interest” limit, which could include but not limited to:

  • Vacation, out of town
  • Special time with a friend or relative
  • Special event, such as religious holiday, birthday, etc.
  • Best interest days that exceed the allowed 10 days per year
  • Other reasons which are clearly in the best interest of the child.

Parents will be notified when their child has reached the limit of ten (10) “best interest” days.

Children with three (3) unexcused absences may be removed from the program in order to accommodate other families. The parent will be given fair warning of the problem with ample time to prevent termination.


A parent may terminate a child’s participation in the State Preschool program at any time by notifying the preschool staff.

Service may be terminated by the school district for cause, with fourteen (14) days notice. In such a case, a notice of action will be given or mailed to the parent stating the reason that services will be terminated. Causes for termination include, but are not limited to:

  • A child may be terminated from the program if they have more than 3 unexcused absences during the school year.
  • Falsifying information on enrollment application.
  • Failure to report changes and keep information current.
  • Inappropriate behavior which places other children at risk.
  • Failure to sign child in and out on a daily basis.

Parents have the right to appeal.

Parents may request reconsideration of any adverse action taken regarding their child and participation in the State Preschool program by contacting the State Preschool Director in Educational Services, 9619 Cuyamaca Street, Santee, CA  92071-2674



Statement of Nondiscrimination (Rehabilitation Act of 1973 §504: Title VI, Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX, Educational Amendment Act of 1972): The district has a policy of non-discrimination on the basis of sex. This policy applies to all students, insofar as participation in programs and activities is concerned, with few exceptions such as contact sports. The lack of English speaking skills is not a barrier to admission to or participation in district programs. Reasonable accommodation is made for all handicapped students. In accordance with federal law, complaints alleging noncompliance with this policy should be directed to the school appeals may be made to the Assistant Superintendent of Educational Service.

Sexual Harassment

State and federal laws require school districts to notify parents and guardians of minor pupils of parental rights. The following information require that parent notification be made annually.

Sexual harassment means unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature by someone in an educational or work setting. If the behavior 1) has an effect on academic status or progress, 2) has a negative impact upon work or academic performance, 3) creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or educational environment or, 4) is used as a basis for determining the availability of benefits, services, honors, programs, or activities. It is a violation of state law.

Court Restraining Orders

Should restraining orders be necessary between parents of a child at the preschool, it is necessary for the preschool to have a copy of the court document. Where no official document exists, our staff are obligated to release the child to either parent. Please contact our principal at PRIDE Academy at Prospect Avenue School if you have any questions regarding this procedure.

Child Abuse/Unusual Incident Reporting

Each staff member is obligated by law to report to the Department of Social Services any injury to any child which requires medical treatment of any unusual incident or student absence which threatens the physical or emotional health or safety of any child. They are also required by law to report any suspected physical or psychological abuse of any child. All such suspected abuse will be reported to Child Protective Services without notification of the parents.

State Licensing

According to licensing regulations in Title 22-Chapter 1, the Department of Social Services, upon presentation of proper identification, has the right to enter and inspect our facility at any time, with or without advance notice, to secure compliance or prevent violation of licensing regulations.

Drug/Alcohol/Tobacco Free Campus

Possession, use or sale of alcohol and other drugs and/or related paraphernalia on school grounds, at school events, or in any situation in which the school is responsible for the conduct and well-being of students, is prohibited and strictly enforced. The use of tobacco products is prohibited anywhere, anytime on district property, in district vehicles, and in district-owned or leased buildings. Information regarding cessation programs is available from School Services.

Arrival and departure from school policy

It is very important to bring children to preschool and pick them up on time. The following is the Santee School District State Preschool Program Policy.

It is the responsibility of the parents to provide transportation to and from school each day. Teachers will designate a location for parents and children to wait prior to class beginning. Each child must be signed in and out with the staff. The time of arrival/departure is to be noted on sign in/out sheets. Children will be released only to parents, legal guardians, or other persons authorized in writing to pick up their child. When you sign in and out, please use your full signature. 

It is very important that parents bring and pick up their children on time.  Please be aware of when class starts and ends and have your child arrive on time as well as your child picked up on time each day.  Arriving at school on time allows your child to understand the importance of school, be welcomed by staff, and adjust to the school day.

Teachers are not available to care for children after class ends.  No one under 18 years of age can be designated to drop off or pick up a child.  Children repeatedly brought to school or picked up late will be dropped from the program.

Children not picked up on time are caused undue distress and concern.  Staff needs the brief time following the morning session to prepare for the afternoon class.  Teachers often have other responsibilities following the afternoon class and cannot watch children remaining in the classroom.

If a child is not picked up at the ending time of his/her class or is late to school, the following action will be taken.

The parent will be requested to sign a “Late Arrival/Pick Up Form”.  Receipt of three (3) “Late Pick Up” and /or receipt of five (5) “Late Arrival” forms in a year will result in a mandatory parent meeting with the Preschool Coordinator to determine possible termination of preschool services for your child.

Your cooperation is necessary in assuring the well-being of your child.  Please assist us by being punctual to and from school and please note: NO ONE UNDER 18 YEARS OF AGE IS ALLOWED TO DROP OFF OR PICK UP A PRESCHOOLER.

Emergency and Safety Procedures

Certain guidelines are necessary for the protection of all children. Emergencies, including illness do occur. You should be prepared to either pick up your child immediately or accept responsibility for arranging for someone else to do so. Each parent is required to sign an emergency information record which is kept on file. Be sure the adults you have chosen are aware they may be called.

Parents are responsible to provide the following information to the preschool and keep it current at all times.

  • Names and phone numbers of at least two adults who can pick up student from school and will care for the child in event of injury, illness or emergency.
  • Name and phone number of physician (or exemption card on file).
  • Name of adults (over 18 years of age) who are authorized to sign child in and out of school. Children will not be allowed to leave with any person other than those given written authorization by the parent or guardian.

If circumstances make it impossible to pick up your child at the agreed upon time, please follow these steps.

  • Telephone the preschool and report the nature of the emergency.
  • Arrange for another adult to pick up your child and inform the preschool of who it will be if they are not on the “authorized” emergency list.               

We must have an emergency number or numbers for your child so that we can reach someone in case of an illness or accident. Please make certain we have your current home phone number, work number and an emergency number (in the event that you are not at home or cannot be reached at work) in the school office. State regulations make it necessary for us to have valid emergency numbers on file for every student. Should any change occur, please notify the school office immediately.

When a child has not been picked up and no parent contact has been received, the following steps will be taken:

  • Staff will try to contact the parent.
  • Persons on the emergency card completed by the parent will be contacted in order to locate someone to pick up the child.
  • At the end of the class session, students will be left at the school office at PRIDE Academy at Prospect Avenue School.
  • Santee Sheriff’s Department will be contacted if continued efforts to arrange pick up are                  unsuccessful. When the police assume responsibility for a child, the child is taken to:

Polinsky Children’s Center

9400 Ruffin Court

San Diego, California

Phone: (858) 514-4600

Safety of children must be foremost when bringing them to and from school. Please observe the following procedure when dropping off or picking up your child:

  • Park cars on Ellsworth Lane and do not park in the driveway entrance to the preschool or in parking spaces inside fence. Please do not leave small children unattended inside your car. Do not use the circle driveway. Buses use the driveway and it also must be kept clear for emergency vehicles at all times. 
  • Help children to walk on the sidewalk and use the gate when entering or leaving school.

We are concerned about the safety and security of all our children. Therefore, all gates must remain closed at all times. If you are talking with another parent or teacher, please do not allow your child to run towards the parking area. Children are to remain inside the gate until you can leave together.

Parent Involvement 

First Days

It is sometimes just as difficult for a parent to face the separation from the child on the first day of school as it may be for the child to separate from the parent. It is normal for a child to go through a period of adjustment during a big change in his/her life. We try to prevent trauma by anticipating the many difficulties that may arise.

It is a normal part of a child’s growth in learning to accept change and being away from home. If he/she cries when you are leaving, give your child a hug and kiss then say you will be back to get him/her and leave. Many times a child cries only for a few minutes after the parent leaves and then is ready to participate. We welcome your phone calls to check on your child during the day and we will be glad to tell you how he/she is doing.

Parent Access

Parents have the right to visit unannounced and observe any time during the preschool day. The staff welcomes input from parents about the care of their children, the curriculum, facility, etc. We believe that parental involvement is important in developing and maintaining a quality program. In order to encourage parental involvement Santee School District State Preschool has regular parent education/Parent Advisory Committee meetings, which all parents are encouraged to attend.

Parents are encouraged to become actively involved in the education of their children by volunteering at their local school.  Opportunities are available to assist the classroom teacher and students in many ways.  Volunteer guidelines, procedures, and applications can be found on our website at under Human Resources, Forms, and Volunteer handbook .Call your local school for further information. All visitors must check in at the school office upon arriving at school.

To assure that every child is safe and learning, “No electronic listening or recording device may be used by students or visitors in a classroom without the teacher and principal’s permission. (Education Code 51512). The Santee School District’s Governing Board has policies in place to support this. (Board Policy 1250)

Occasionally a child is not ready to make the adjustment from home to school. When this happens we will notify you of our concerns and give your child a few weeks to try and adjust. If the child continues to display great separation anxiety, we will recommend that you withdraw your child until a later date.

Two parent/teacher conferences are scheduled for all parents in the Fall and Spring of each year. Parent-Teacher conferences are an opportunity to discuss your child’s strengths, likes and dislikes, styles of learning and developmental progress. Your child’s teacher and you will work together to set goals for your child’s continued growth and development. The conferences are very important as they help ensure that we are working together to best meet the needs of your child.  Additional conferences may be arranged as needed.

Parent Education

You will be invited to attend informative Parent Education classes addressing a variety of topics. These parent meetings are intended to assist parents in understanding the program as well as a child’s growth and development.

Classroom Volunteers

Parent volunteers are an important part of the preschool program. Children benefit from working in small groups and your participation helps make small group activities more successful. Parent participation also provides parents an opportunity to share their children’s school experiences and see how they are learning and developing new skills. Plan to sign-up as often as you are able.

To assure that every child is safe and learning, the Santee School District’s Governing Board has policies in place to support this: Board Policy 1250 states: “No electronic listening or recording device may be used by students or visitors in a classroom without the teacher and principal’s permission. (Education Code 51512).

Home – School Communications

Parents should make every effort to know all the facts affecting the child’s preschool experience. Ask questions, make appointments to meet with staff, read all the information sent home, and be aware of all the policies and procedures involved and how they affect you and your child. Parents are always encouraged and welcome to come observe or share their talents. We strive to provide opportunities where both our staff and our parents work together for the total enrichment of each child. 

How You Can Help at Home

Praise for accomplishments

Treat each other with respect

Do not hurry or rush the child

Understand that each child is unique

Make going to school a pleasurable experience

Be interested in what your child brings home from school

Read all notices sent home

Come to school when your child invites you for some special event

Express confidence in the teacher to your child

Never discuss the teacher, his/her playmates, or the school negatively in the presence of your child.