Southwood Elementary School Handbook
School Year 2021-2022

Southwood Elementary School

Southwood is committed to providing the best possible educational program for children so that they can have the opportunity to grow together to become problem solvers, decision makers, and responsible citizens.

Please click here to view the 2018.2019 Southwood School Handbook.

General Information

Southwood Logo - Young Architects for tomorrow - Building for the Future

School Address

12600 Bisted Drive


Teal, Burgandy, and Tan


Students 8:45 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Wednesday 8:45 a.m. - 2:10 p.m.

Staff 7:50 a.m. - 3:20 p.m.

Office 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Phone Numbers

Office: 407-858-2230

Fax: 407-858-4698

School Website Address



Stacey Tanenbaum [email protected]

School Secretary

Joey Warga [email protected]

School Mascot

Bear Cub on Book, Young Architects


Young Architects For Tomorrow...Building For The Future

Young Architects For Tomorrow...Building For The Future

Welcome back, Southwood Cubs!


All students are expected to attend classes regularly and on time. When a child is absent due to illness or any other reason, it is the responsibility of the parent to provide a written excuse explaining the cause of absence.

According to State Statutes 230.22 and 232.16 Attendance Policies and Procedures, schools must implement interventions to enforce regular school attendance. Excused absences established by the Orange County School Board are found in the OCPS Attendance Handbook.

What is considered tardy?

Your child is considered tardy after 8:45 a.m. Students who are late to school must report to the front office for a tardy slip. Excessive absences/tardiness will be referred to the social worker for follow up services.

What is excessive?

The Southwood Elementary School Policy on unexcused absences and tardiness is as follows:

  • 5 unexcused absences within a month
  • 10 unexcused absences within 90 days
  • 10 excessive excused absences within 90 days
  • All tardiness is unexcused.

How should I let the school know if my child is absent?

Written verification is required within 5 days of the absence. A parent phone call will not be accepted as verification. After 5 days, we will consider all absences unexcused.

What will happen if absences and tardiness become excessive?

Step 1: The teacher will communicate to you that there is a pattern of absences or tardiness. This may be in the form of a written note, phone call or conference.

Step 2: If the issue is not resolved, you will receive a letter from the office stating the next steps. At this time, we will monitor to see if any progress has been made.

Step 3: If there is no improvement after two weeks we will contact you for an Attendance Child Study Team Meeting with administration, guidance, the classroom teacher and the social worker. At this meeting, we will review your child's records, discuss additional resources, continue to monitor and set a review date.

Step 4: If there is still no improvement, we will notify you that the case has been officially referred to the social worker and possible additional agencies to support your child.

It is important that we work together to ensure that your child is ready to learn when they arrive at Southwood. We expect that you will adjust your schedule to accommodate traffic problems. Your attention to this problem is critical.

Thank you to all of the families who are so conscientious! We appreciate your help and support! Together, we can make a difference!

Additions (School Volunteers)

The ADDitions program at Southwood Elementary School needs you! An ADDition is a volunteer who helps at the school at least one hour each week. As a school volunteer, you may assist in the classroom, tutor individual students, perform clerical duties, or work in the media center. Volunteer work can also be done by parents in their homes and at night. All ADDitions add to the quality of education offered at Southwood. Contact the school coordinator at 407-858-2230 or the classroom teacher if you would like to participate as an ADDitions volunteer. You can register as an Additions volunteer by completing the online application.

We ask that all parents become ADDitions certified to visit campus.

Arrival: We request the cooperation of parents in helping students arrive at school no later than 8:40 a.m. and no earlier than 8:15 a.m. unless your child is in the YMCA Program.

Dismissal: Students are dismissed Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday at 3:00 p.m. Students should go straight home after school unless they are enrolled in the YMCA Program. Parents will be notified in advance if students are to be kept after dismissal time for additional help or disciplinary reasons. Early dismissal: Wednesday, students are dismissed at 2:00 p.m.

Early Pick-Up: We discourage any early release of students since valuable learning time is lost. In case of a serious emergency, please notify the school ahead of time if you need to pick up your child before the end of the school day. The student must be signed out in the office by the parent, legal guardian or person listed on the emergency clinic card. Identification will be required at the time of pick up. If you request a person not listed on the card to pick up your child, the school will not release your child. No child will be permitted to leave the campus alone during school hours.

Please use the parent pick-up area at all times. In the interest of safety, it is necessary to divide into specific lanes. Do not attempt to pass another car while in line or leave your car unattended while in the student drop off/loading lane. Arrangements should be made with your child in advance about what to do if it's raining. If inclement weather persists, school dismissal will be held until weather conditions are safe. If this occurs, we ask for your patience and understanding. Signs are required to be displayed in every car window. If you do not have your provided car sign, you will be directed to the main office to show your identification. Please do not forget your sign.

Car Riders

Please review these procedures carefully & be respectful when in school traffic.

  • Cars will be divided into 2 lanes:
    • K-2
    • 3-5/Family
  • Display window signs from your rearview mirror as you approach the designated dismissal area.
  • Stay in your lane until you are signaled to exit.
  • REMAIN IN YOUR VEHICLE AT ALL TIMES! Do not approach the car area and expect to pick up your child from the line. We are unable to release your child from the car line.
  • Pull your vehicle all the way down in the loading lane to accommodate additional vehicles.
  • Children are instructed to look for parents and proceed to the designated pick-up location.


Bicycle riders must know and follow proper bike safety rules. ALL BICYCLES MUST HAVE A LOCK. Bicycles must be parked in the racks provided. School personnel cannot be responsible for theft or damage to bikes.

Change of Address or Phone Number

The school office, clinic, and your child's teacher should be notified immediately of any change of address, telephone number or any change in the previously provided emergency phone numbers. This information will be held confidential at your request. Please let us know if your e-mail address changes as well.

Change In Routine

Be certain your child understands transportation arrangements before leaving home in the morning if there is any variation in the normal routine. A note to your child's teacher indicating the change must be sent each time there is a change or your child will be sent home in the usual way.

Class Parties (SEE BIRTHDAYS)

All classes are permitted to have two parties each year, one before the winter holidays and the other at the end of the school year. Birthday parties for your child or teacher birthday parties are not permitted. Consider donating a book to the Media Center or classroom library in your child's name. Recognition will be given to your child.

Clinic and Emergency Care

The clinic is maintained for EMERGENCY USE ONLY. Students should remain home when they are ill. Students who become ill at school will be sent to the clinic. If the nature of the illness is such that a student should go home, parents will be notified at home or work.

If your child becomes ill at school, please pick him/her up as soon as you are notified. In the event of serious injury, school officials will notify the parents or the paramedics via 911. Please furnish documentation from your medical provider to the school registrar for any allergy, disability, illness, or special dietary needs that require a healthcare plan. If a student is to be confined to the home or to the hospital by the order of a licensed physician for a minimum of fifteen (15) days due to illness or injury, the student may be eligible for the Hospital/Homebound school program. The Hospital/Homebound teachers provide instruction in the home, hospital or through a teleconference class via the telephone system. Homebound application forms may be obtained from the counselor or the Homebound office. Applications must be signed by the parent and the doctor and returned to the Hospital/Homebound office for processing.

MEDICATION: The clinician has received training for the administration of any medication. Deliver the medicine, in its original container, along with the Authorization for Medication form already completed and signed by you. The child is never allowed to bring medication of any kind to school, including over the counter medicine such as aspirin or cough syrup.

Code of Conduct

Good behavior is an important and expected ingredient for learning. Every child will have the chance to learn, be treated fairly and respect each other. Students need to understand that appropriate behavior is expected at all times! Discipline consequences will be administered when a student's actions interfere with the right of a student to learn or a teacher to teach. Students are reminded that any staff member in the school has the right to correct misbehavior.

"Bears Growling to Success"

  • Good Manners
  • Respect & Responsibility
  • On Time & On Task
  • Work Hard - Do your best!
  • Listen to Learn

Possible Consequences:

  • Parent phone call/conference with a behavior contract
  • Detention
  • Saturday detention
  • In school suspension
  • Suspension from school or bus

The Orange County Code of Conduct is followed at Southwood Elementary School. This Code of Conduct describes the rights and responsibilities of students and outlines rules that OCPS students must follow. The Code of Conduct also describes the consequences for not following the school rules. It emphasizes parental involvement and student responsibility for behavior.

Weapons are forbidden on school grounds. The possession, use or control of any dangerous instrument that could cause harm, injury or death to another person will be reported to the appropriate law enforcement authorities and will result in suspension from school.

A copy of the Code of Conduct is given to every student and may also be found in the main office. The Parent/Student Acknowledgement form must be signed through ParentAccess.ocps.net.

Dining Room

An OCPS centralized menu system is provided to students with an emphasis on offering more nutritious choices.

Elementary students will be on a 3-week cycle which includes a daily choice from 2 hot entrees and chef salad.


A new charge policy has been approved by the School Board for both elementary and secondary schools. Elementary student meal charges shall be limited to one meal, after which an alternative meal (i.e. sandwich and milk for lunch; toast and juice for breakfast) shall be served to the student.

Nutritious lunches are prepared each day. These lunches expose students to a variety of foods from the four food groups. Milk is included with each lunch. A menu will be sent home and can be viewed on our website (http://www.southwoodes.ocps.net on the Links page; Cafeteria). The cost of a daily breakfast is $1.25 and $0.30 for reduced prices and for daily lunch, pricing is $1.80 and $0.40 for reduced prices (subject to change). Students who pay by the week should report to the dining room on Monday morning (or the first school day of the week). All other monies will be collected by the classroom teacher at 8:45. In the case of lost or forgotten lunch money, students may charge their lunches. However, no more than one charge will be permitted. Children who exceed the limit will be given an alternative sandwich and milk for lunch. No charges will be permitted during the last two weeks of the school year.

The lunch period is a time to relax and talk quietly to friends. By following the expectations, the dining room will be a pleasant experience for everyone. Please do not bring in "fast food" for your child.


  • Respect others by keeping your hands and feet to yourself.
  • Use indoor voices and talk with others at your table.
  • Use table manners and do not throw or drop items on the floor.
  • Raise your hand if you need anything. Don't leave the table without permission.
  • Walk at all times.
  • Sharing or trading food is not allowed.
  • When leaving your table, clean the area around you.
  • Let your child help by writing down menus and names of foods to be eaten, reading the labels on ingredients, and reading the recipes to you. An older child learns "real world" use of fractions by doubling or reducing any recipe.

We welcome parents to join your child for lunch at the tables in the courtyard. This is a time for you and your child only. For security reasons, all other children must remain in the dining room.

Dress Code

Cleanliness, good grooming, and appropriate clothing help to create a positive and healthy learning environment for children. A student should not dress in a way that would distract, disrupt, or interfere with the normal operation of the classroom. Children should wear jackets and/or sweaters on days when the temperature is cool since PE classes are usually held outdoors (except in extreme cold or rain). Shoes must be worn at all times to prevent injury to the feet. The following items should not be worn to school; thongs or open-backed shoes, long dresses, halter tops, cut-off tops (half shirts), inappropriate shorts, hats/hoods, cleats or suggestive T-shirts. Tennis shoes are suggested for a physical education class. (See Spirit Day)

Early Release

If it is necessary for a student to have a doctor's appointment during the school day, please come to the school office to complete our sign-out roster. Students may not leave campus during school hours unless they are picked up by their parents or guardian. Students must be signed out in the front office when they are dismissed during the school day. All parents will be asked for proper I.D. and must appear on the pick- up list. Students will not be released early from school after 2:00 pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday and 1:00 pm on Wednesday.

Field Trips

Educational field trips are an integral part of your child's learning experience. A permission slip will be provided for all field trips with the exception of county-sponsored field trips. The permission slip must be signed by the parent or guardian before a student may participate. Trips that are not a part of the county-sponsored program often require a fee. Notify the teacher if such a fee is not financially possible for you. Parents will often be asked to help supervise field trips; however, we are limited by the number of chaperones we can transport. Chaperones must complete ADDitions forms and be cleared by OCPS before chaperoning a field trip. School buses will be used to provide transportation for field trips. All students and chaperones must ride the school bus.


A comprehensive guidance program is available to students in all grades. Developmental guidance and character education lessons are offered throughout the year in each classroom addressing academic, career and personal/social skills. Small group counseling is also available to students in need of support (parental divorce/separation; anger management; bereavement; self-esteem etc.). Parents' workshops and support groups are also included in the Southwood comprehensive guidance program. Check out our website at

Find out more about the Guidance program here.

Head Lice (Pediculosis)

Head lice problems arise among children due to close contact with each other. Every effort is made to control this problem in our school. If a child is found to have lice or nits, parents are notified and expected to take the child home for proper treatment of the condition. Upon returning to school, the child will be re-screened before being admitted to class. If nits or lice remain in the hair, the child will be sent home for further treatment.

Unfortunately, infestations do occur. It is advisable that you check your child's head frequently. In most instances, head lice problems can be traced to the sharing of combs, brushes, hats, etc.


Although the home and family carry the primary responsibility for providing the health of the child, the school contributes to the healthy development and total health education of each child in the following ways:

  1. Regular health, nutrition, and physical education instruction
  2. Inspection for symptoms of illness, communicable diseases, and lice
  3. A clean facility in which to work
  4. Nutritional lunches


Homework is an essential part of the educational process and serves as a reinforcement of learning that occurs during the school day. Students should expect homework assignments as individual and class needs exist. It shall be purposeful, providing the student with opportunities for the development of good work habits, educational skills, self-direction, and creative expression. Students should read or be read to for 20 minutes per night as part of their homework assignment. This should be recorded in their reading logs every night.

Lunch Day Visit

Having lunch with your child is a special time. We have set aside Wednesday as our parent lunch day. Please plan your lunchtime visit to coincide with your child's lunch schedule on Wednesdays only. We look forward to seeing you on Wednesday's in our parent courtyard.

Media Center

The Media Center is considered an extension of the classroom. We are constantly stressing the importance of reading. Your child can choose from attractive, well-written books on several subjects. Parents can help by encouraging children to read during part of their free time every day. It is also important that students assume the responsibility for the proper care of library books. Lost or damaged books are the responsibility of the student who checked them out. English/Spanish books are available for children and parent checkout. If you would like to volunteer in the Media Center, please call the front office and ask to be transferred to the Media Center.

Parent Teacher Association (PTA)

The PTA is an integral part of our school. We urge you to join this worthy organization and become an active member. There are scheduled meetings during the year, held in conjunction with our music programs, monthly board meetings, and fund-raising events. If you would like to be involved with the Southwood PTA, please call the main office at 407-858-2230 for additional details.


We only have a limited number of parking spaces available for parents. We encourage parents to park in the grassy area on the east side of the school throughout the day if the spots in the front lot are full. Do not expect to park during arrival and dismissal times as parking is extremely limited. Please remain in your vehicle. Crossing the flow of traffic is a safety concern. We have approximately 600 cars that drop off/pick up students in our car loop. Please be respectful of other Southwood families when on property.

Partners in Education (PIE)

The goal of the program is to enhance student learning and promote school improvement. Businesses and schools form a partnership to share human and material resources. School administrators, teachers, staff and parents are encouraged to recruit new partners to help meet school needs. A school-based PIE coordinator administers the program. The coordinator acts as the school's representative to the business community and is the only person who should communicate any needs to our partners.

Physical Education

Students are expected to participate in physical education class. If your child is unable to participate due to health problems, please send a note to the physical education teacher. If the child's illness prevents him/her from participating longer than two weeks, a doctor's note is required. Unless children have allergic conditions that are aggravated by exposure to the environment, they will attend and observe physical education lessons.

Promotion and Non-Promotion

Promotion from grades K-5 will be determined by the progress a student makes toward mastery of school objectives. The primary purpose of non-promotion is to give the student time to develop physically, emotionally, and academically. Parents will be notified in writing by the end of the second semester if there is a possibility of non-promotion.

Recognition and Awards

DREAMER AND DOER - This is an award given by Walt Disney World to one student per school. The Walt Disney Company recognizes outstanding students who are making a difference in our Central Florida community through their volunteer service. It is awarded to a fifth-grade student nominated by the classroom teacher.

PRESIDENTIAL ACADEMIC AWARDS - This award is given by the President of the United States to fifth graders. The criterion includes academic excellence and high performance on standardized tests. The certificates, signed by the President, are presented at the end of the year.

Report Cards and Progress Reports

Students receive report cards four times each year at nine-week intervals. In addition, students are given progress reports during the midpoint of each nine-week grading period. Report card conferences are held in October and April.

Safety Patrols

The privilege of being a safety patrol member is reserved for fifth graders who indicate a desire to serve the students at Southwood. Patrol members are selected on the basis of responsibility, dependability, leadership, and the use of good judgment.

School Advisory Committee (SAC)

SAC is an advisory, community body consisting of school administrators, parents, and teachers who are responsible for the design and implementation of the school improvement plan. The purpose of SAC is to identify ways to help improve student performance so that all students are achieving at high levels. Meetings are held on the 1st Tuesday of each month at 6:00 pm in the Media Center. Elections are held at the beginning of each school year. For more information about SAC, call the school office at 407-858-2230.

School Telephones

In case of an emergency, students may use the telephone to call home with their teacher's permission.

School Visits

Parents must be an ADDITIONS Volunteer to visit the campus or be in the classrooms. Please sign in at the visitor's computer station to receive a pass before entering the campus. Parents are welcomed and encouraged to visit the school, however, classroom visits must be scheduled in advance through the main office.

Specific Learning Disabilities Program

The Specific Learning Disabilities Program (SLD) is available for students in kindergarten through fifth grade who meet the criteria set by state guidelines. The class is designed to aid those students whose processing difficulties in reading, spelling, math or writing interfere with their academic achievement. Depending on the student's individual needs, students may go to the SLD resource room for part of the day to receive instruction.

Speech and Language Therapy

Speech and language therapy is provided by a speech clinician. Kindergarten students and new first grade students are screened in the fall for speech, language, fluency, and voice disorders. Parents or teachers may refer a student to the speech clinician for testing. Students who qualify for additional language help attend the language resource room for a specified time during the day and return to their regular class.

Spirit Day

"Spirit Day" is every Wednesday. Students, teachers, and staff members are encouraged to show their school spirit by wearing Southwood shirts to school. We strongly encourage everyone to wear their school shirt!


During test times, please make every effort to see that your child is in school. It is important that your child sleeps 8-10 hours and eats a healthy breakfast. You will be notified of the specific test dates as soon as they are available.

Web Site

Southwood Elementary's website provides basic school information and contacts, the school calendar, testing dates, lunchroom menu, bus schedules, special events, and school functions. It will also provide links to each grade level with e-mail addresses for parent/teacher communication. There is vast information regarding our curriculum. The website is continuously updated throughout the year with new and exciting information. Login to the Links page to see what's happening at Southwood!

YMCA Program

Students may participate in this program before and after school. Recreational, social and academically oriented and activities are provided at an affordable cost. Contact the YMCA Director 407-858-2230 ext.3922280 for additional information.




Natural and adoptive parents have access to student records regardless of the custody status of the child. In cases where a parent does not have custody, the school principal shall presume that the parent has the right to inspect and review the records of the student unless the school has been provided with evidence that there is a legally binding instrument or court order which provides to the contrary. All requests for copies of record information must be in writing, signed prior to the release of such information; the written request shall be maintained as category B information.


The Orange County Public Schools reserve the right to release the following "directory information" without prior permission of the parent: Student's name, address, telephone number, if it is a listed number, date and place of birth, participation in school activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, graduation date and awards received.

The parent(s) may refuse to permit the designation of any or all of the above categories as directory information with respect to their child by notifying the principal in writing within 10 calendar days of the beginning of school. Lists of students will not be released except by school board action.

In accordance with section 119.07(3) (k), Florida Statutes, the names and directory information pertaining to children of active or former law enforcement officers, investigative personnel of the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services, firefighters, justices, and judges are exempt from disclosure. If such a parent makes a written request to the school that information not be released by the school without parental consent, the school shall not release such information.


The School Board of Orange County, Florida, does not discriminate in admission or access to or treatment or employment in its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, marital status, disability or any other reason prohibited by law. The Equal Opportunity supervisor responsible for compliance is Catherine Van Kirk, Senior Manager, EEO/Legal Services, and she may be contacted at the Educational Leadership Center, 445 W. Amelia Street, Orlando, Florida 32801, (407) 317-3200.