Heritage Middle Student Handbook
Welcome to Heritage Middle School! We are dedicated to providing all our students with an exemplary educational experience. We ask that all students and parents read and familiarize themselves with school policies and helpful information about HMS.
District Wide Middle School Student Handbook
Although every effort will be made to update the handbook on a regular basis, Williamson County Schools reserves the right to change this handbook and any content within, without notice, except as may be required by state and federal law. As a result, the online version of the handbook shall be the official version.
Version Date: July 19, 2022
Individual Needs of Students
If the inability to speak and understand the English language excludes a student from effective participation in the educational programs offered by WCS, WCS shall take reasonable actions to provide the student equal access to its programs. Students who are English learners (EL) shall be identified, assessed, and provided appropriate services. No student shall be admitted to or excluded from any program or extracurricular activity based on the student’s surname or EL status.
The Superintendent shall evaluate the effectiveness of the district’s language assistance programs to ensure EL students will acquire English proficiency and the ability to participate in the standard instructional program within a reasonable period of time.
Parents/guardians of EL students shall be given notice of, and information regarding, the instructional program within the first thirty (30) days of the school year or within the first two (2) weeks of a student being placed in a language instruction educational program.
For more information, refer to WCSB Policy 4.207.
The homebound instruction program is for students who because of a medical condition are unable to attend the regular instructional program. The homebound instruction program shall consist of three (3) hours of instruction per week while school is in session for a period of time determined, on a case-by-case basis, by WCS.
To qualify for this program, a student shall have a medical condition that will require the student to be absent for a minimum of ten (10) consecutive instructional days, or for an aggregate of at least ten (10) instructional days for a student who has a chronic medical condition. The student shall be certified by his/her treating physician as having a medical condition that prevents him/her from attending regular classes. The services provided to the homebound student shall reflect the student’s capabilities and be determined by the homebound instructor, after consultation with appropriate professional staff of the student’s assigned school.
For more information, refer to WCSB Policy 4.206.
Homeless students shall be immediately enrolled, even if the student is unable to produce records normally required for enrollment (i.e., academic records, immunization records, health records, proof of residency) or missed the district’s application or enrollment deadlines. Parent(s)/guardian(s) are required to submit contact information to the district’s homeless coordinator. The Superintendent shall ensure that each homeless student is provided services comparable to those offered to other students within WCS, including transportation, special education services, programs in career and technical education, programs for gifted and talented students, and school nutrition.
For more information, refer to WCSB Policy 6.503 or visit the WCS website.
The District shall:
- Identify migratory students and assess the educational and related health and social needs of each student;
- Provide a full range of services to qualifying migrant students including applicable Title I programs, special education, gifted education, vocational education, language programs, counseling programs, elective classes, ﬁne arts classes, etc.;
- Provide migratory students with the opportunity to meet the same statewide assessment standards that all students are expected to meet;
- To the extent feasible, provide advocacy and outreach programs to migratory students and their families and professional development for district staff; and
- Provide parent(s)/guardian(s) an opportunity to participate in the program.
For more information, refer to WCSB Policy 6.503 for more information.
WCS is committed to maintaining equitable employment and educational practices, services, programs, and activities that are accessible and usable by individuals with disabilities. To discuss concerns or seek resolutions related to Section 504 or the ADA, contact Student Support Services. SSS shall respond to all complaints within twenty (20) days with a written response as well as information on further grievance procedures that may be followed if the complaining party is not satisfied with the coordinator's proposed resolution.
Students in foster care, including those awaiting foster care placement, shall be immediately enrolled, even if the student is unable to produce records normally required for enrollment (i.e., academic records, immunization records, health records, proof of residency) or missed the district’s application or enrollment deadlines.
WCS and the child welfare agency shall determine whether placement in a particular school is in a student’s best interest. Other parties, including the student, foster parents/guardians, and biological parents/guardians (if appropriate), shall be consulted. If the child has an IEP or a Section 504 plan, then the relevant school staff members shall participate in the best interest decision process. This determination shall be made as quickly as possible to prevent educational disruption.
WCS shall collaborate with the local child welfare agency to develop and implement clear and written procedures governing how transportation to a student’s school of origin shall be provided, arranged, and funded. This transportation will be provided for the duration of the student’s time in foster care.
For more information, refer to WCSB Policy 6.505.
A student who does not currently reside within Williamson County shall be allowed to enroll if he/she is a dependent child of a service member who is being relocated to Tennessee on military orders. To be eligible for enrollment, the student will need to provide documentation that he/she will be a resident of the district on relocation. Within thirty (30) of enrollment, the parent(s)/guardian(s) of the student shall provide proof of residency within the district.
Students with parent(s)/guardian(s) in the military may also be eligible for excused absences related to his/her deployment.
For more information, refer to WCSB Policy 6.506.
Williamson County Schools, in compliance with federal and state law, performs a countywide Child Find. Child Find uses screening to find students in both public school or private school located in the geographic region who may need special education services and supports.
There are two types of screening. The first is a general screening of preschool age children throughout the school year. These screenings are on-going and serve preschool-aged children. The other kind of screening is only for school-aged children. A child can be referred for screening by school personnel, the family and/or individuals in the county (physicians, child care providers, etc.) This should be done any time it is suspected that a child has a disability.
Visit the Student Support Services tab on the WCS website (here) for more information.
Administration of Schools
All students participating in interscholastic athletics must have a current athletic physical form, concussion release form, and cardiac arrest form on file with the athletic department prior to participation in any tryout or practice. Forms may be submitted on Final Forms. Information regarding individual teams and expectations for student athletes may be found on the school’s website. See Williamson County Board of Education Policy 4.301 for additional information.
Custodial Issues/Parenting Plan
Custodial parents/guardians must inform the school immediately upon any changes in custody, especially court restraining orders. Non-custodial parents may contact the school regarding access to their student’s academic progress. All families with a parenting plan must have that plan on file with their child/children’s front office(s), along with any subsequent orders or changes to the parenting plan or court order establishing the primary residential parent. See Williamson County Board of Education policy 6.209.
Students shall not unlawfully possess, handle, transmit, use, be under the influence of, share, or sell drugs or any controlled substances in any way in school buildings, on school grounds, or on other grounds used for school purposes, (including parking lots or athletic facilities), on school buses, or at any school sponsored activity (See WCSB Policy 6.307).
Parents/guardians of Williamson County Schools students will receive school closure notifications by phone, text, email, mobile app, and social media. Visit the App Store or Google Play to download our app for free. Search for Williamson County Schools.
The district aims to notify parents/guardians and staff members of delays and cancellations by 9:00 PM the night before. If not possible, the district will begin notifying families as early as 5:00 AM the morning of the day school is closed.
Parents/guardians will be notified only at the main number on file in the phone notification system. If school is dismissed during the day, parents/guardians will receive notification to all of the phone numbers on file.
Extracurricular Activities, Clubs, and Organizations
See school website for information about activities, club, and organizations.
Students may have the opportunity to participate in several field trips as extensions of classroom activities throughout the year. Teachers will notify parents/guardians concerning field trips and send home permission forms for parent/guardian's signature. The school must have on file written permission from the parent/guardian before a student may go on a field trip. If the written permission slip is not returned by the due date, the child will not be able to attend the field trip. Students will travel by bus to and from all off-campus trips. Any exceptions to this procedure must be approved by the principal. See the WCSB Policy 4.302 for more information.
Fire, Tornado, and Emergency Drills
See Williamson County Board of Education policy 3.202 for more information on emergency procedures.
Moment of Silence or Prayer
Tennessee State Law – (TCA 49-6-1004):
In order for all students and teachers to prepare themselves for the activities of the day, a period of silence of approximately one minute in duration shall be maintained in each grade in public schools at the beginning of each school day. The teacher shall not indicate or suggest to the students any action to be taken by them during this time but shall maintain silence for the full time. It is lawful for any teacher in any of the schools of the state to permit the voluntary participation by students or others in prayer. Nothing contained in this section shall authorize any teacher or other school authority to prescribe the form or content of any prayer.
Parent and Family Communication
Ongoing communication from school to home and from home to school is essential. Your ideas, questions, and concerns are important. Teachers, administrators, and some support staff have a WCS e-mail address. Although you may wish to communicate with your child’s teacher by e-mail, please be aware that e-mail is not always confidential. Please do not send time sensitive information by e-mail. It is our goal to return parent/guardian communication in all forms within 48 hours on Monday-Friday when school is in session.
Photography and Videography Guidelines
The WCS Communications Department has provided the following guidelines for parents regarding photography and videography in schools. The purpose of the guidelines is to address problems that have occurred at some schools when parents have taken pictures at school and posted them on online social media sites.
- Parents are advised not to post on social media any pictures taken at school that include any children other than their own.
- Picture-taking at non-public school events: These events occur before, during, and after school and include class parties, field trips, assemblies to which the public is not invited (ex. talent show during the day, etc.) Parents are encouraged to take photos/video of their own children but should not take photos/video of other children.
- Picture-taking at public school events: This includes events that are open to the public such as Back to School Bash, Family Fun Night, etc. Parents may take photos at public school events that include other people's children but should avoid posting these photos to social media.
School Nutrition Program
See the WCS website (here) for more information about the school nutrition program.
All new students will register online using their Family Access account login. If you choose not to use the online registration, paper packets can be picked up in the front office. Returning students should submit the intent to return documentation on Skyward each year. If you would prefer these forms on paper, you may contact your front office. See WCS website (here) for more information about open enrollment and other enrollment options.
Visit the Students Fees page on the WCS website for more information about student fees.
If a move or other circumstance requires a withdrawal from school, a withdrawal form must be completed, all WCS issued materials and devices must be turned in, and a student must be in good standing with the library and cafeteria. Once all requirements are met, a parent/guardian may withdraw a student from school. Contact your school for more information regarding withdrawal.
Parents and guardians shall accept full responsibility for the proper care, preservation, return, or replacement of textbooks and instructional materials, including Chromebooks. See Williamson County Board of Education Policy 4.401 for more information about textbooks and instructional materials.
Visit the Bus Routes & School Zones page on WCS website for information, policies, and practices regarding bus transportation.
Your school will communicate with you at the beginning of the school year regarding procedures for car riders.
Your school will communicate with you at the beginning of the school year regarding procedures for walkers and/or bikers.
Visitors to Schools
- All visitors must enter and exit through the main office doors.
- Parents/guardians, visitors, and volunteers must present photo identification to enter the building.
- All visitors must sign in and out in the office and wear a visitor or volunteer sticker/badge at all times.
- School personnel escort visitors touring the school.
See WCSB Policy 1.501 for additional information.
Student Academic Achievement
Three components play a critical role into every Williamson County Schools student’s educational program: a solid curriculum, effective instruction, and quality assessment. Curriculum, derived from state standards, defines what students need to know. Instruction is the practice of teaching each student that curriculum. Assessment is used to measure the student’s progress and mastery of what is being taught.
Please make every effort to have your student at school on time during assessment windows. No absences will be excused for family trips during these windows. You may view the district assessment resources here.
Consistent attendance and punctuality is a cornerstone of student progress and success. If students repeatedly miss school or are often tardy, it puts them at risk for misunderstanding concepts that are taught and reinforced while they are not present. Additionally, student attendance is one of the categories the federal and state governments use to evaluate schools and assess whether or not they are making adequate yearly progress. Consistent attendance is a priority for Williamson County Schools.
Tardies and Early Dismissals
Students arriving after the start of school are tardy. See WCS website here for start times and dates for Late Start Days.
Early dismissals are strongly discouraged within 30 minutes of the end of the school day due to the interruption of instructional time in classes and are a disruption to the regular dismissal process. Instructional time continues until dismissal. Office personnel must verify the identification of individuals when releasing a student. The parent/guardian must sign the student out in the office when the parent/guardian arrives to pick up the student, stating time and reason, and office personnel will call the student to the office when the parent/guardian arrives to pick up the student.
Parents/guardians must communicate in writing the permission for someone to pick up a student other than the parent/guardian. Office personnel will ask for a state-issued photo ID when someone comes to school to check out a student. Students may not be picked up from car services such as Uber and Lyft. These companies prohibit minors from being transported alone.
Late arrival and early dismissal may be excused for the following reasons: (1) illness, (2) death in the family, (3) recognized religious holiday, (4) doctor or dentist appointment, or (5) principal approved emergency or exceptional circumstances.
As detailed in Williamson County Board of Education Policy 6.200, excused absences include: (1) illness, (2) death in the family, (3) recognized religious holiday, (4) doctor or dentist appointment, or (5) Principal approved emergency or exceptional circumstances.
The Williamson County School Board Policy 6.200 requires written parental or medical documentation for all absences, tardies, and early dismissals. This documentation ensures that school personnel are fully and accurately informed about your child. All absences are considered “unexcused” until a note is sent, preferably within 48 hours of the student’s return to school. When a student’s absences exceed 8 days, a doctor’s note will be required to excuse all future absences. Notes are kept on file for the school year. Parents/guardians may also send an email with all appropriate information to the school’s front office.
Notes should state:
- Child’s name
- Teacher’s name
- Date(s) of absence
- Reason for absence
- Doctor’s note attached (if applicable)
- Parent or guardian signature
When a student accumulates a total of 8 excused absences, all other absences will be considered unexcused unless a doctor’s note is presented within 48 hours of returning to school.
In accordance with state guidelines for schools related to truancy, Williamson County Schools has implemented a three-tiered system to monitor attendance. Parents/guardians will be notified as unexcused absences accumulate (recorded) to proactively help with truancy concerns.
- 3 unexcused absences - parents/guardians will be notified via email or phone.
- 5 unexcused absences – Tier II truancy intervention begins, and a meeting will be held with family and school personnel. The team will create a contract to support the family and ensure subsequent school attendance. Follow-up meetings will be planned to monitor progress.
- If the student continues to accumulate absences, Tier III of truancy intervention may be triggered and additional interventions, including potential juvenile court referral, will be established.
The Tennessee Department of Education Accountability Regulations (ESSA) defines students as "chronically absent" after 18 absences per year, regardless of excused or unexcused. Students who accumulate 18 or more absences will be considered “Chronically Absent” and reported to the state.
See Williamson County Board of Education Policy 4.600 for information regarding the grading system.
Homework is defined as purposeful academic assignments given to students by teachers, which are to be completed outside of class time. See Williamson County Board of Education Policy 4.609 for more information on homework.
Response to Intervention (RTI)
A general education initiative, Response to Instruction and Intervention, or RTI, is a comprehensive framework for supporting students academically that focuses on high-quality instruction and evidence-based interventions. Instruction and intervention is tailored to meet the needs of the student through the use of initial screening data. Screening data come from assessments designed to identify student strengths and areas of need in reading, mathematics, and written expression.
Student performance may be accessed through Skyward Family Access for all students. Parents/guardians may request that a printed copy of their student’s report card be sent home each nine weeks. More information regarding student progress polices can be found in WCS Board of Education Policy 4.603.
No student shall be denied an education solely because of a communicable disease, and his/her educational program shall be restricted only to the extent necessary to minimize the risk of transmitting the disease.
When determining whether your child is well enough to attend school, please refer to the Williamson County Schools Illness Guidelines. Please note that your child should not be sent to school until he/she has been fever free for at least 24 hours without taking a fever reducing medication.
If the school nurse determines that your child needs to leave, we ask that you or an emergency contact pick up your child within the hour that you are called.
If you have any other questions regarding health services, policies or procedures, please visit the Williamson County Schools Health Services Site.
No students entering school, including those entering kindergarten or first grade, those from out-of-state, and those from nonpublic schools, will be permitted to enroll (or attend) without proof of immunization, as determined by the Tennessee Commissioner of Health. It is the responsibility of the parent(s)/guardian(s) to have their children immunized and to provide such proof to the school for which the student is to attend.
Exceptions, in the absence of an epidemic or immediate threat thereof, will be granted to any student whose parent/guardian files with school authorities the following:
- A signed, written statement that such immunization and other preventative measures conflict with the parent’s or guardian’s religious tenets and practices, affirmed under the penalties of perjury;
- A written statement from the student’s doctor excusing the student from immunization due to medical reasons;
- Any student determined to be homeless, pursuant to federal law, may not be denied admission because of the student’s lack of immunization records due to being homeless.
Proof of exceptions will be in writing and filed in the same manner as other immunization records.
The school nurse may only administer medications that are provided and authorized by the parent/guardian. Students should not have prescription or over-the-counter medicines on their person or stored in their locker. You can find the medication authorization form here.
Each student shall have a complete physical examination prior to:
- Entering public school for the first time
- Participation as a member of any interscholastic athletic team on an annual basis.
Cost of the examination shall be borne by the parent/guardian of the student. These records shall be on file in the student’s record.
Screening tests as required by the Tennessee Departments of Education and Health will be conducted. Parent(s)/guardian(s) will receive written notice of any screening result that indicates a condition that might interfere or tend to interfere with their student's progress.
In general, the school will not conduct physical examinations of a student without parental consent or by court order, unless the health or safety of the student or others is in question.
Student Discipline & Behavior
Corporal punishment may be defined as physical contact and is distinguished from a reprimand, a suspension, or an expulsion. Corporal punishment shall not be administered as a method of correcting inappropriate behavior in Williamson County Schools per WCSB Policy 6.314.
Discipline in Williamson County Schools is student centered, responsive, and timely. Students will be responsible for abiding by the district’s Student Code of Conduct, WCS Board of Education Policy 6.300. Consequences for inappropriate student conduct are stepped and may include, but are not limited to, detention such as Friday or Saturday School, In-School Suspension, Out-of-School Suspension, and Alternative Learning Center placement.
Disciplinary Hearing Authority
A Disciplinary Hearing Authority (DHA) shall conduct appeals for students who have been suspended for more than ten (10) school days. Upon receiving notification of the request to appeal the suspension decision, the DHA shall provide written notification to the parent(s)/guardian(s)of the student, the student, and any other appropriate person of the time, place, and date of the hearing. The hearing shall be held no later than ten (10) days after the beginning of the suspension.
For more information, refer to Williamson County Board of Education Policy 6.309.
Students should dress appropriately for comfort, weather and learning. Students will follow the guidelines set forth by Williamson County School Board policy 6.310.
- Tops of shoulders must have a minimum of a 1-inch strap unless otherwise covered by an opaque top garment;
- Skin and undergarments must be covered with opaque clothing from the underarm to mid-thigh.
- Mid-thigh is defined as the mid-point between the waist and mid-knee;
- All pants, trousers, shorts and skirts must be held at the waist;
- Leggings and other compression-style garments may be worn so long as an opaque top garment covers the private body parts;
- Hats may be worn in buildings on special occasion as permitted by administration;
- Appropriate shoes are required;
- Tennis shoes with non-marking soles are required for physical education.
- It is recommended that students wear tennis shoes for recess. Please do not send students in flip flops or shoes without a back as this can result in injury.
Any type of clothing, apparel or accessory, including that which denotes such students' membership in or affiliation with any gang associated with criminal activities is not permitted (TCA 49-6-4215).
Student uniforms related to student extra-curricular activities (band, cheerleading, dance, sports team, etc.) must be in compliance with this policy during the academic day.
Any apparel or dress that advertises or promotes products or activity prohibited by law or by the Williamson County Board of Education is prohibited (e.g., profanity, illustrations, or suggestive language, etc).
Administrators and teachers shall enforce the dress code policy. The principal or his/her designee shall be the final judge as to compliance with the dress code. Parents/guardians will be notified and asked to bring appropriate clothing if a student is in violation of the dress code.
Interrogation and Searches
See Williamson County Board of Education policy 6.303 for more information regarding interrogation and searches of personal belongings and lockers.
Williamson County Schools has determined that a safe, civil, and supportive environment in school is necessary for students to learn and achieve high academic standards. In order to maintain that environment, acts of bullying, cyber-bullying, discrimination, harassment, hazing, or any other victimization of students, based on any actual or perceived traits or characteristics, are prohibited.
Bullying is not tolerated. We ask all parents/guardians and students to report any bullying to a teacher or staff member in the building. The report will be investigated by administration within 48 hours. The investigation and required intervention will be implemented within 20 calendar days. Administration will notify the parent(s)/guardian(s) of all students involved. Administration will also provide information regarding any support services available. Administration will follow investigation procedures and definitions set forth in WCS Board Policy 6.304. Behavior that is found to be in violation of this policy shall be subject to discipline, up to and including suspension as deemed by administration.
Definition: Bullying is defined by Tennessee law as any act that substantially interferes with a student’s educational benefits, opportunities, or performance. Bullying is: 1) repeated, 2) intentional harm, 3) against someone perceived with less power.
Bullying has the effect of:
- Physically harming a student or damaging a student’s property.
- Knowingly placing the student or students in reasonable fear of physical harm to the student or damage to the student’s property.
- Causing emotional distress to a student or students; or
- Creating a hostile educational environment.
If a student needs help with resolving a conflict or if a student feels that he/she is being bullied, he/she should communicate with a staff member such as a teacher, counselor, or administration.
If a student or parent/guardian does not feel comfortable reporting a bullying incident directly to a WCS teacher or administrator, he/she can submit a Bullying Report. The student can leave his/her name or submit the report anonymously. An incident can also be reported through the WCS App. Falsifying reports will not be tolerated, and consequences will be given if it is determined that a bullying report has been falsified.
See Williamson County Board of Education policy 6.316 for more information regarding suspensions.
Title IX & Sexual Harassment
In order to maintain a safe, civil, and supportive learning environment, all forms of sexual harassment and discrimination on the basis of sex are prohibited. This shall cover employees, employees' behaviors, students, and students' behaviors while on school property, at any school-sponsored activity, on school-provided equipment or transportation, or at any official school bus stop in accordance with federal law.
The Title IX Coordinator shall respond promptly to all general reports as well as formal complaints of sexual harassment and may be reached at any time by phone or email.
The following are zero-tolerance offenses that will result in a calendar year expulsion:
- Bringing to school or being in unauthorized possession of a firearm or any dangerous weapon on school property;
- Possession of drugs or alcohol, including any controlled substance, controlled substance analogue, or legend drug on school grounds or at a school-sponsored event;
- Aggravated assault; and
- Assault that results in bodily injury upon any teacher, principal, administrator, any other employee of the school, or school resource ofﬁcer.
For more information, refer to Williamson County School Board policy 6.309.
Heritage Middle School Information
Updated information coming soon.
Updated information coming soon.
Student Behavior Expectations
Updated information coming soon.
Updated information coming soon.
Outside Food Policy
Updated information coming soon.
Updated information coming soon.
Cell Phone Policy
Updated information coming soon.
Updated information coming soon.
Lost & Found
Updated information coming soon.
Updated information coming soon.