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Parent & Student Handbook

Introduction & Important Information

The purpose of this handbook is to compile, in one source, the policies and procedures that will inform families of expectations for your child during the school year. We will continue to follow PGCPS guidelines related to health and safety. The handbook has been prepared with the sincere hope that it will provide all of the necessary information to aid you in supporting your child. It is important to always maintain an open line of communication between our staff, students and administration. Our sincere goal is always to offer our students with the best quality of service. Should you have any questions regarding any policies and or procedures, please feel free to contact me at your convenience, I will be happy to discuss them with you. It is only through the cooperative efforts of everyone that we will create a wholesome atmosphere/environment for all.

Principal Adelaide Blake

Important Information

Vision, Mission, & Core Values


Barack Obama Elementary will be an outstanding school system and school recognized for providing education services aligned to the needs of our scholars ensuring that every student in our diverse school district graduates ready for college and careers in a global society.


Barack Obama Elementary will provide a great education that empowers all students and contributes to a thriving community.

Attendance & Tardiness

For students to have maximum success, we encourage their attendance in school daily. Parents or guardians must complete the Student Absences Notification Form as verification for student absence. The school will utilize an automated system (SchoolMAX) to notify parents or guardians of students’ absences and tardiness. Please register for SchoolMAX to self-monitor and also receive automated messages from the school.

SchoolMAX Support for Parents and Guardians


Student absences from school, including absence for any portion of the day, shall be deemed a lawful absence (excused with a note) if: a death occurs in the immediate family, court summons, hazardous weather conditions, observance of a religious holiday, state emergency, and illness of a student. For absences due to illness, a doctor’s note must be presented after 5 or more days. Please work with your child's teacher to ensure that the school receives required information in order for the absence to become an excused or lawful absence. Any student who is absent from school for a day for any reason other than those defined as a lawful excuse will be considered unexcused.  Absences that past 10 consecutive days will be subject to withdrawal. On day 11 a meeting notice will be sent to discuss attendance and withdrawal proceedings. Anyone who is unlawfully absent from school for a number of days or portions of days in excess of 10% of the school days within any marking period, semester, or year, or late arrivals will be referred to the Principal and the Pupil Personnel Worker (PPW).


Students who arrive after 8:20 AM are considered tardy. All students arriving after 8:20 AM must be signed in in the “Student Late Arrival Log” located in the lobby. Any student who arrives after 11:45 AM will be counted as a half-day present in accordance with Administrative Procedure 5113. At which time a classroom staff member will be called to the Main Office to safely escort them to class. Students will receive a tardy slip with the time so that the teacher can update School Max indicating the Tardy (not absent) and the time. Students who are tardy more than 10 times during a marking period, semester, or year will be referred to the Principal and the Pupil Personnel Worker (PPW).  Phone calls will be made daily by an automated system to homes when students are absent and tardy as part of our attendance focus.

Arrival & Dismissal Procedures

Arrival Procedures

Bus Transportation

Students are to arrive at school between 7:45 AM - 8:00 AM. Our school team will begin unloading students off of the school buses in ascending order at 7:35 AM (to allow for extra time for breakfast). This process may take up to 15 minutes depending on the arrival of all buses. Staff will remove students from the buses (directly from bus driver and/or aide; and direct the flow of traffic (parent drop-off and unloading of buses between 7:35-8:00 AM). 

Car Rider Drop Off

During bus drop off, parents/guardians who choose to transport their student(s) to school can drop off between 7:35 AM - 8:00 AM by pulling up to the right side of the building (looking at the building), complete a 3-point turn, assist their student in exiting the vehicle, and safely hand their student to one of our staff; then exit when the driving path is clear whereby there are no parked school buses.

At No Time during unloading and loading should cars/trucks enter the bus lanes for dropping off or picking up students, nor release students on their own.

AM Bus/Drop-Off Duty

All Staff members begin receiving students at 7:35 AM. Staff members are not available to receive students prior to 7:35 AM.


Students who arrive after 8:20 AM are considered tardy. All students arriving after 8:20 AM must be brought to the Main Office and signed in in the “Student Late Arrival Log”.

Dismissal Procedures

Early Departure

Please note that dismissal begins at 1:55 PM, parents who provide transportation going home will be allowed to pick up their child beginning at 1:30 PM. Students who are picked up prior to 1:30 PM should have a daily written note indicating the time and lawful reason for the early departure. In the event that a letter is not provided in the student's book bag, the parent or guardian should call the school's main number at (301) 390-0200 to indicate the time that the student will be picked up from school.  Upon arriving at school, the parent(s) or guardian(s) must provide a photo ID. Main Office staff will contact the student's classroom to have a member of the classroom team safely escort the student to the Main Office in order to be signed out using the Early Dismissal/Dismissal Log located in the main office.  Please note that if the parent(s) or guardians are not the person(s) picking up a student, the designated individual(s) MUST be listed on the emergency contact forms and also provide photo identification, or the individual(s) (for safety reasons and district protocol) WILL NOT be permitted to pick-up your student.


Parent(s) or guardian(s) who pick-up their students from school at dismissal must park on the right side of the building (same as the morning location).  Parent(s) and guardian(s) will have to sign their students out using the 'regular’ Early Dismissal/Dismissal Log.  This information will be communicated to our transportation department. *Parents/Guardians should arrive no later than 2:00 PM to pick up their children as school staff are to be available to participate in required staff meetings.


Dismissal begins promptly at 1:45 with the PM Announcements and then calling of buses at 1:55. The order of buses (by #) will be logged in a Google Document shared with all staff.  PM Bus Duty: School staff will safely escort all students to their designated buses. According to Prince George's County Public Schools' Administrative Procedure (3541.1) safe transportation and dismissal of students from buses are essential to support the educational objectives of PGCPS. When the driver arrives at a bus stop, an adult is to be present. If an adult is not there to receive the student on a repeated basis, there shall be a risk for suspension and/or termination of transportation services and/or referral to child protective services.  When a situation appears to be unsafe, the bus driver will follow the instructions from an authorized representative of the Department of Transportation. Bus drivers can not change their routes or the time they are scheduled to drop a child off at their scheduled afternoon location. It is crucial that someone is present  10 minutes prior to receiving your student at the requested destination. If the parent(s) or guardian(s), neighbor, adult sibling or other adult caretaker is not available and the school bus has to return your student to school, then a referral is made to the Principal or School Transportation Coordinator (Ms. Michelle Shavers-Burnside). If a student is returned to school 3 times or more during a marking period, semester, or year, an IEP meeting is needed. The Bus Coordinator will also schedule meetings for students who may need a harness to safely ride the bus to and from school. Children that are picked up by an after-care service will be dismissed once the provider has arrived. Late pick-ups will be supervised in the main office by a staff member familiar with the student. The teacher will contact the parent to inform them that their child is waiting in the main office and must come into the building to sign them out once they arrive.

Students in After-Care Programs

Children that are picked up by an after-care service will be dismissed once the provider has arrived.

Late Pick-Ups

Late pick-ups will be supervised in the main office by a staff member familiar with the student. The teacher/secretary will contact the parent to inform them that their child is waiting in the main office and must come into the building to sign them out once they arrive.


School Closings, Late Openings & Early Dismissals

School Closings

In the event that all Prince George's County Public Schools are closed, information will be posted on the school district's website as well as broadcast on local news and radio stations.

Early Dismissals

In the event that PGCPS dismisses early, the information will be broadcast on the district's website and broadcast on local news and radio stations. In addition, an automated system will call each parent according to the number(s) documented in the SchoolMAX system.

Late Openings

In the event that PGCPS has a late opening, the information will also be broadcast on local news and radio stations. For instance, if PGCPS opens 2-hours late, our students' arrival time will be 9:45 AM. Breakfast will be served on a 2-hour delay day between 9:55 AM - 10:15 AM. Parent(s) or guardian(s) can enter in the communication log whether or not your student had breakfast.

Meal Services (Breakfast & Lunch)


Breakfast is served daily from 7:55 AM - 8:15 AM. To support maximum time on learning, our students report to breakfast immediately upon entering the school. We ask that parents have their child(ren) arrive at school on time to ensure that classroom instruction can start on time.


Elementary students eat lunch at 10:30 AM

Middle and High School students eat lunch at 11:15 AM.

Please note that lunchtimes are the same when schools open 2-hour late.

Meal Prices and Method of Payment


Apply for Free and Reduced Lunch

What if my student ate breakfast at home?

A note can be provided in a student's communication log if they have eaten breakfast at home.


Daily menus can be found on mealviewer.

School & Home Communications

Communication Logs

Each student will be provided a communication book. The communication book is to be used daily by both the classroom teacher and parent(s) or guardian(s).  This will foster the home/school partnership.  Most importantly, daily written communication will assist with giving voice to our students!

Take-Home Folders

Students will bring home a folder with various information as provided. This concept is designed to provide parent(s) or guardian(s) with on-going updates regarding school activities and programs; community events and resources; and, Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) information. Please review the materials and resources placed in your student's folder and return all requested content (where applicable) along with the folder to school the next day in your student's book bag.

Calls During School Hours

We encourage your participation and on-going communication with your student's classroom teacher. However, a message will be taken for all calls made during the instructional day. A phone message will be taken and forwarded to the appropriate party.  All phone messages will be returned within 48 hours, given that the individual called was present. Calls made for the guidance counselor, school nurse, or Principal, will be transferred provided their availability. Any messages received will be returned within 48 hours.

Email Communications

We encourage ongoing communication with your student's classroom teacher, specialist, and administrative team. E-mail communication is our main source of communication.  Please note that parent(s) and guardian(s) must provide written permission for our team to provide meeting notices, individual education plans etc. via email.

Rieg Family News

Be sure to look out for our “Rieg Family News”! Rieg Family News is a monthly on-line newsletter (generated directly within) where you can also find on-going updates regarding school activities, programs, community events, resources, Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) information and more. 

SchoolMAX Family Portal

It is important to register for an account for the SchoolMAX Family Portal in order to receive updated information for school closings, delays, transportation and more. You can visit the SchoolMAX Support for Parents and Guardians page for more information about how to register.

Community-Based Instruction (CBI)

During Community-Based Instruction (CBI) activities classroom teams accompany students on bimonthly trips designed to enhance classroom instruction with real-world experiences.Students will be provided opportunities to practice functional skills used to access their community environ ment.

Each classroom's CBI plans will be submitted to the Principal for approval a month in advance.  In turn, a plan will be sent home for your review. If there are costs associated with CBI trips at the expense of the parent(s) or guardian(s), this will only happen (1) CBI trip per month.

Visitors & Volunteers

School Visitors

School visits are by appointment only with little to no visits when students are present.

A visitor must sign in and secure consent in the school's Main Office upon arrival and prior to initiating any school related business, and to sign out at the conclusion of any designated school-related business. A photo ID is required.  Classroom visits, conferences and participation in school-wide activities are encouraged.  It is important to note that all visits are at the discretion of the Principal.

Upon sign-in, classroom visits are allowed to escort students to class, drop off materials and/or provide face-to-face communication prior to or after the instructional day not to exceed 5 minutes.  All classroom observations will be arranged with the Principal at least 24 hours prior to the observation.  All classroom observations will be scheduled for 30 minutes maximum time and a school staff member will accompany the parent(s) or guardian(s) during the observation.  In the event that an educational advocate, outside professional specialist, or other designee(s) have been granted written permission by the parent(s) or guardian(s) to observe a student in his or her classroom - a member of PGCPS Special Education Department Compliance team will accompany the individual(s) during the 30 minute maximum observation time.  There will be no classroom visits during testing; personal care-giving; crisis situations; an emergency, or during emergency drills.


(Temporarily Suspended Until Further Notice) Any individual such as parent(s) or guardian(s); mentor; interns; student teachers; community partners who work at a PGCPS site or with our students in classrooms and/or in the community on a continuous basis MUST obtain a commercial background check annually through PGCPS.  Individuals working on a one-time basis only do not need to be fingerprinted, but will not be permitted to be alone with students (including their own) during a school activity/event.

Updating Residential/Transportation Information

Administrative Procedure 5111 mandates that it is the responsibility of the parent/guardian to contact the school to update all residential information WHENEVER your physical address changes. It is recommended to contact the School Registrar 10 days prior to moving in order to ensure transportation is available. Transportation updates take 7 - 10 business days and therefore parents/guardians will be liable to transport their student to and from school until transportation becomes available. Students will be subject to withdrawal if all required documentation is not received within 30 days of relocation.

Before and After Care

Before/After care is not provided through C. Elizabeth Rieg Regional School. In order for your student to be provided transportation to and/or from a before/after care facility, IT MUST be within C. Elizabeth Rieg School boundary. You may determine the location through School Finder.

Services & Programs

Services and Programs Offered at C. Elizabeth Rieg Regional School


Special programming has been developed for our students with autism. Their classroom and curriculum are designed to meet their specific needs in the areas of sensory experiences, behavior intervention communication, and pre-academics. Some classrooms contain sensory equipment including suspended apparatuses, climbing structures, movement equipment, and tactile stimulation materials. The ReThink program will help to infuse strategies and data collection processes.


Students eligible for physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, vision orientation & mobility or hearing services receive intervention to augment their education program. Integration of therapeutic strategies into students’ classroom routines increases their success rate.


Mobility Opportunities Via Education (M.O.V.E.), is an activity –based classroom curriculum designed to teach students basic, functional motor skills needed for adult life within the home and community environments. The program focuses on four general areas:

  • Sitting
  • Standing
  • Walking
  • Transitions

It combines natural body mechanics with an instructional process designed to help students acquire an increasing amount of motor independence. 

The M.O.V.E. program uses a team approach to offer therapy and education to address the functional needs of the students. Equipment is used to assist the children in attaining their goals. It uses prompts that may be decreased or removed as the students increase their skills and independence. Specific individuals will assist with the data collection to ensure that student’s goals are addressed.


The Physical Therapy staff works with identified students and classroom teams to promote functional mobility throughout the school setting. Services include direct intervention and consultative services to assist students in accessing their educational environment. Their focus is on developing functional gross motor skills to promote independence throughout all aspects of the student’s day. In addition, the physical therapists collaborate with families, school staff and equipment vendors to obtain necessary equipment for use at home and school to meet each child’s needs. The school’s M.O.V.E. program is coordinated and monitored by the physical therapy staff. On-going training is a vital aspect of the program.


Occupational Therapy (OT) specializes in improving the development of the small muscles of the body, such as in the hands, fingers, and face. Occupational therapists (OT's) use specific activities to improve fine motor skills and to work toward the prevention of musculoskeletal complications, such as preventing the weakening or deterioration of muscles that can result from lack of use or abnormal tone or positioning. OT’s teach students better or easier ways to write, draw, cut with scissors, brush their teeth, dress and feed themselves. OT’s also teach daily living skills such as dressing, eating, and manipulating objects (i.e., school supplies), as well as making sure children are properly positioned in wheelchairs. A sensory room is available for implementation.


Total Communication methods including switch toys, sign language, pictures, prints, words, computers, facilitated communication, PCS (picture communication, symbols) and voice output devices are used to help students improve communication skills. Communication methods are utilized throughout the school day, and are adapted to every location in the school.


The Speech/Language Pathologist (SLP) assesses and provides therapy for students in the use of augmentative communication systems receptive and expressive language skills (both verbal and non-verbal) and to determine the presence and management of dysphasia (swallowing disorder). Additionally, the SLP is responsible for recommending and ordering augmentative communication devices and in training students, staff and parents in their use. Consults are provided to the teachers, parents, and school staff regarding all communication and swallowing needs in addition to providing individual and group therapy. 

Picture Communication Symbols (PCS), signing (American Sign Language), and augmentative communication devices are utilized with the vast majority of our students due to their severe speech and language deficits.


Vocational training is emphasized after the age of sixteen through daily classroom practice of vocational skills and participation in weekly-supervised community work experiences. A School wide Vocational Plan has been developed to enhance practice that includes a Life Skills Curriculum. In addition, the Vocational Training Site (VTS) will be combined with a Transition room (in development) for students to further gain daily living skills through a real life feel using resources/materials to enhance their experiences. The use of pictures/portfolios and data collection will serve as evidence.


The Aquatics program provides various adapted activities emphasizing therapeutic needs, swimming skills, and safety skills. While in our heated pool, students are taught components of water safety to enhance their coordination and movement efficiency, and develop a level of swimming skills commensurate with their capabilities. (Following Strict Guidelines)


The purpose of the Adapted Physical Education (APE) Program is to give all students the opportunity to develop gross motor skills that will allow their successful participation in the school, home and community. By participating in varied movement experiences (including dance), and modified sports, students develop movement patterns, enhance basic gross motor skills, and increase level of physical fitness/endurance. The students will practice individual activities as well as participate in cooperative group games. In the process, they develop appropriate interactive behaviors with adults and classmates along with developing a positive self-image.  Through play the students’ social skills are developed as they learn to share equipment, wait for a turn, take turns, and follow a simple direction. Students are taught lifetime recreational/leisure activities that help them realize personal enjoyment and the value of physical activity.  


Basic music skills and music appreciation using a multi-sensory approach will be infused at scheduled times throughout the year.


The school counselor provides 1:1 and classroom lessons, which deal with appropriate behaviors and social skills, and provides teachers and parents with counseling intervention strategies, which are often reflected in Functional Behavior Plans. The counselor’s position encompasses a certified Nonviolent Crisis Professional responsible for the care, welfare, safety and security of our students. The counselor acts as an advocate for students and promotes partnerships between home, school and the community. The counselor provides guidance and information to parents/guardians relative to referral for resource services outside of school while monitoring daily attendance along with the records secretary on a monthly basis.


The Transdisciplinary team is composed of teachers and therapists who share strategies and appropriate approaches for best practices. Information derived from these discussions is shared with classroom teams, parents and/or advocates for instructional purposes.