Mentor-Mentee & Family Handbook
- Vision, Mission and Pillars
- Bell Schedule
- Staff Directory
- Visitors & Volunteers
- Health Services
- Address or Telephone Changes
- Point Defiance Park Rules
- Fines & Fees
- ID Cards
Vision, Mission and Pillars
For current Bus Schedules
Visit the Tacoma Public Schools transportation page to learn more about school bus eligibility, special needs buses, and answers to frequently asked questions.
SAMI Shuttles throughout the park are available for students to get from Camp Six to the Pagoda in a timely manner and from SAMI to Downtown and back again at lunchtime. Students earn a Park Walk credit by walking from Camp Six/Ft. Nisqually to the Environmental Learning Center and back. If a student has a medical need, please see administration with a doctor’s note to get a pass for the shuttle system. Contact the main office to set up an appointment to go over a transportation plan.
Students who drive should park at Camp Six and walk or use the shuttles. Our relationship with Pt. Defiance depends on this as parking is a critical issue with MetroParks.
Each student receives a Pierce Transit Orca card at the all-school retreat in August. Visit the Pierce Transit website to determine the best routes for your student.
Safely transporting students to and from school is our top priority. Please help your student become familiar with our Bus Safety Guidelines for safe and appropriate behavior while riding the bus. Students are expected to follow all bus safety rules. Failure to adhere to the safety standards may result in disciplinary action or suspension from riding the bus.
Visitors & Volunteers
All visitors/guests are required to sign in at the main office in Portable H or the ELC front desk. Parents are welcome at SAMI during the day and in the evening for student events. Classroom visitations must be pre-arranged through the Main Office at the ELC Front Desk. Upon entering the building, visitors must sign in at the Main Office ELC Front Desk. Students attending other schools from within or outside the district will not be allowed to visit the building during school.
The Tacoma Public Schools' volunteer registration process requires all parents and community volunteers to complete a Volunteer Form and a Washington State Patrol Criminal History background check before being able to volunteer.
Our nurse, Ms. Ells is available at school on Mondays and Thursdays. If a student has a medical issue, they should notify their teacher and main office or front desk of the ELC.
Learn more about required vaccinations for school attendance on the TPS website.
District Policy allows only oral medication, specifically prescribed by a physician, to be given at school if there is no other way to schedule the administration of the medication. Medications which are traditionally viewed as over-the-counter products, such as Advil, Tylenol, Claritin, etc. may not be in possession of students at school and must be dispensed through the Health Room in the Main Office.
The following procedures must be followed if your student needs to take medication at school:
- The medication must be in a container labeled by the pharmacist at the time the prescription was filled.
- Please include only the amount the student will need to take at school.
- Many pharmacists will label two containers, one for home and one for school.
- Each medication must be accompanied by a form.
- It must be signed by the physician indicating the medication, dosage, and the length of time the medications is to be given at school. This form must also be signed by a parent/guardian. Forms are available in the Health Room.
- If the student needs to carry an inhaler on his/her person, the physician must indicate this in writing.
Our Campus Security Officer/Park Liaison is on campus and throughout Pt. Defiance Park full-time. In addition to supporting the safety and security of the SAMi community. Our Security Officer handles the following issues:
- Student Parking- apply for a parking permit through the main office
- Assisting with school emergency drills
- Safety and security
It is extremely important for us to make certain that we communicate with our students’ parents and guardians.
At the Science and Math Institute, we use a variety of methods to accomplish this:
- This Week @ SAMI weekly announcements posted on our website. Please commit to scanning this website for about a minute each week. We will send the information out on Sundays to families using details from this site.
- Sunday School Messenger automated calls and emails will be sent each Sunday night and draw from the information on the This Week@SAMi site.
- Schoology is the best way to access student assessments of standards and summative grades
- The TPS Family App can also access grades, online payments, enrichment opportunities and more
- Email and Telephone – email is the most effective way to reach our teachers who are often spread out among community spaces and moving throughout the park with our students for hands-on and minds-on experiential learning. Each teacher’s email address and desk phone number can be access through their SWIFT site or on our contact page. Please expect a response within 2 school days. Your communication and support is critical to student success and we appreciate your patience as teachers manage the complexities of curriculum planning and assessment.
- Report Cards will be mailed home at the end of each semester. Grades are computed at the end of each semester and report cards are mailed home about ten days later. Semester grades will remain on student’s transcripts.
- Conferences at mid-term in October & March for students with their parents/guardians will be scheduled through mentor group. Additional CARE meetings may be scheduled to provide extra support for students.
Address or Telephone Changes
Point Defiance Park Rules
To continue our positive relationships with the Pt. Defiance community and for the safety and security of our students, staff and the community, we need to observe park rules.
Speed limits are posted and 20 miles per hour in most parts of the park. Students are not allowed to loiter in groups on sidewalks around the businesses or residences near SAMI before, during or after school. Students are not allowed to possess tobacco and/or smoke on school grounds or within sight of school grounds, near businesses, houses or apartment buildings. Pt. Defiance Park prohibits smoking for all park goers (even adults over 18).
Please be mindful of our relationship with Pt. Defiance so we can continue to work and learn in this incredible space.
Fines & Fees
Students will be using items such as tools, books, and other equipment. If school equipment or property is damaged, lost or stolen it is the student’s responsibility. There will be a fine issued to cover repair or replacement. Fines must be paid prior to report cards being issued. All fees and fines are to be paid in the Main Office.
TPS fines, even those from elementary or middle school will prevent students from collecting their diploma after graduation.
We furnish an initial Science and Math Institute Identification (ID) Card to each student at no cost. It is the responsibility of the student to keep this ID card with him/her at all times during school.
Although the first ID card is provided at no cost, there will be a $5.00 charge for each replacement card. Students participating in sports at their neighborhood high school may need to pay an ASB sports fee.
SAMI Expectations & Discipline Policies
SAMI’s discipline philosophy is that all students practice behaviors, which contribute to a positive school climate and do not interfere with teaching and learning. Students are expected to take ownership of their own behavior, follow directions, treat each other with kindness and respect, and learn the value of productive work and good citizenship. Doing so will help students become persons of good character. The goal is to help students acknowledge inappropriate behavior, to self-evaluate, to take ownership of choices and decisions, and to develop a plan for improving behavior.
- Security Officer
- Search & Investigation Policy
- Discipline Referral Process
- Possible Consequences for Inappropriate Behavior
- Internet/Computer Use by Students
- Dress Code
- Student Parking
The security officer and other staff regularly monitor all areas of the buildings, grounds, and adjacent areas of the school to maintain standards of conduct and behavior of students during class hours and at off-hour educationally oriented functions. They also interact with students in the social context of school and make contact with non-students who may come to campus. The security officer provides a liaison between the school and the community, assist in the investigation of alleged criminal activity, and make referrals to appropriate authorities for further investigation. Security also assists the students in better understanding the rules and regulations of the school, as well as city, state and federal laws
Search & Investigation Policy
The co-director, dean of students, and/or an authorized representative possess the authority to investigate and correct student misconduct. To maintain order and discipline in the school and to protect the safety and welfare of students and school personnel, school authorities may search a student and his/or her effects and may seize any illegal or unauthorized materials discovered in the search.
As used in this policy, the term “unauthorized” means any item dangerous to the health or safety of students or school personnel, any item considered disruptive to the functions and mission of the school, or any item described as unauthorized in the school rules cited in this handbook.
A student’s failure to permit searches and seizures as provided in this policy will be considered grounds for disciplinary action.
All searches by school employees shall be reasonably related to the objectives of the search and not excessively intrusive. In other words, a student’s person and personal effects are searched only when a school official has reasonable suspicion to believe that the student is in possession of illegal or unauthorized materials that may endanger the student or other members of the community.
Discipline Referral Process
Minor discipline infractions are handled by the classroom teacher or our security officer. If a student fails to correct his or her behavior, a student may be referred to the office for an in-depth conversation and understanding of the problem and behavior. Higher-level discipline and exceptional misconduct offenses are addressed by the building administrators. Administrators make the final decision concerning consequences depending on the nature, severity, duration and mitigating circumstances in each situation. SAMi uses Restorative Justice discipline wherever possible.
Possible Consequences for Inappropriate Behavior
Discipline at SAMI is evaluated on a case-by case basis. SAMI works with the parent or guardian to determine the problem and support understanding for the student on behavior impact to the community.
- Acts of Apology (Restorative Practice)
- Classroom Extended School Day Detention
- Office assigned lunch detention, restitution and/or community service
- Office Assigned Extended School Day Detention
- Single class suspension – The student is removed from a particular class for a pre-determined amount of time. This may require either late arrival or early dismissal each day for the remainder of the semester.
- Short-term suspension – Administered by the co-director, dean of students or designee. The student is removed from school up to 10 consecutive school days.
- Long term suspension – Administered by the co-director, dean of students, or designee. The student is removed from school for 11 or more consecutive school days.
- Emergency expulsion – Imposed when a student is considered an immediate and continuing disruption of the educational process. The student is removed from school and the co-director/ dean of students arranges a parent conference, usually within three days.
- Expulsion – The student loses the right to attend District schools, classes and programs and the right to be admitted onto District property.
Note: A student suspended from school is denied the right to be on any Tacoma School District property or to attend any district or school sponsored events, such as dances, sporting events, evening activities, etc.
Internet/Computer Use by Students
Tacoma Public Schools (TPS) offers access through its digital resources to library materials, databases, and the Internet. We believe that the digital resources offer significant opportunities to enhance your student’s education. TPS utilizes Internet filtering for all computers networked in district facilities. However, it is not possible for us to completely limit access to materials with inappropriate content. Therefore, it is important that each student’s parent/guardian consider carefully and make an informed decision about whether to permit his/her student access to the district’s digital resources, including the Internet.
It is important that you and your student read and discuss the district’s Acceptable Use Policy for Digital Resources.
SAMi requires that student dress support an academic environment, safety and not be distracting. Clothing must not offend or cause a safety hazard/concern to other students, staff, parents or the community.
Distracting clothing examples:
- Exposed undergarments, rips above the knee, short skirts (shorter than the fingertips), see-through clothing, pajamas and/or house slippers, sagging jeans with underwear showing
- Garments that have alcohol, drug, sexual or negative ethnic/racial comments or connotations are not allowed to be worn at school or at school related activities (home or away).
- Gang related attire
- Shoes – especially hiking shoes or boots for Outdoor Ed and moving through the trails are necessary.
- Laboratory, and Studio classes may require closed toe shoes.
In all cases, the administrators will make the final determination regarding specific dress code violations, e.g. administrators will determine when clothes are distracting to the educational environment and not appropriate are expected to be cooperative whenever their attire is determined inappropriate. If a student is found in violation of the dress code policy, an effort will be made to notify a parent/guardian/contact to bring a change of attire.
Students must register their car with SAMI’s Security Officer and get a parking pass and park at Camp Six only. SAMI students park at Camp Six and walk or take the shuttle throughout the park.
Our community partnerships depend on following the parking policies established by Metro Parks organization. MPT has requested that we not park at the zoo or Ft. Nisqually. Did you know SAMI students earn a park walk PE credit for using the trail system all four years of SAMI? All student drivers are not to drive their car in the Pt. Defiance Park or during school hours.
Parking is a privilege for students, not a right. Students with permission will be able to drive to SOTA for classes during school hours.
Student drivers must possess the following in order to drive to SAMI:
- Valid Washington State Driver’s License
- Proof of insurance
- Permanent Washington license plate number
- Limited/No discipline history
- Credits on track for graduation
- Good attendance