Nerge Family Handbook

We are pleased to welcome you to another wonderful school year! This family handbook provides you with important information regarding the policies and procedures of School District 54 as well as Nerge Elementary School. We appreciate your willingness to review this resource with your child and/or children. These expectations have been developed to ensure equal opportunities for all and to enable our school personnel to devote their energies to teaching and learning. Please refer to the District 54 Parent Student Handbook for additional information. 

To assist in ensuring student success for all, we have developed common language for all our students, parents, and staff. We are expecting students to be safe, be respectful, and to be responsible in all settings of our school, including getting to and from the building. These expectations are commonly referred to as PBIS Expectations and the specifics about this program are defined within this handbook.

We look forward to your partnership in what promises to be an exciting, challenging, and memorable year at Nerge. We are ready to dive deep into an amazing year of learning ahead!

Nerge School Policies and Procedures

Absences for any reason are disruptive to the educational process. Regular school attendance is vital for continuous academic growth. Absences from school, except for health reasons, should be kept to a minimum. We appreciate your efforts in scheduling vacations and appointments before or after school or on days when school is not in session. Should a vacation last longer than 15 days, the child will be unenrolled. When the child returns from the extended vacation, the parent must show two current bills to re-enroll their child.

Communication from families is essential in maintaining accurate records of required school attendance. If absences become chronic (5% or more of the school year) or if your child misses several days of school for an illness, a note from a doctor may be required for the absences to be excused. If notes from a doctor are not received, your child could be considered truant thus resulting in administration working with the school resource officer to remedy the situation.

Parents are to call the absence line (847-357-5776) between 4:00 PM and 8:00 AM to report their child’s absence or late arrival. The child’s name, your name, teacher, reason for absence, and date(s) of the absence(s) are needed.  When no call is received, the school will follow up on children who are absent using contact information and preferences provided by the family.

Students missing more than 150 minutes of instructional time will be recorded as absent for a full day.

Please note, students who are absent will not be allowed to attend or participate in after-school/evening activities on the day of their absence. Additionally, students must be in attendance for at least half of the day to attend or participate in after-school/evening activities on that day.


A student arriving after school has begun must report to the office before going to class. If the student is more than five minutes late, a parent or guardian must come into the office to sign their student in. Tardiness is a form of truancy. Students who are tardy twenty or more days may be referred to the Cook County Truancy Officer resulting in administration working with the school resource officer to remedy the situation. District 54 Truancy Policy

All visitors gain entrance by ringing the main entrance front doorbell and stating his/her purpose for coming to the building.  At that time, the visitor is expected to immediately report to the front office, sign in, and receive a visitor’s badge before going elsewhere in the building. Students who leave prior to the final bell must be signed out by a parent, guardian, or designees on the log in the office.  Thank you for refraining from holding the doors open for others as we ask each visitor to wait for their admittance into our school. 

If you must pick up your child before the end of the school day, please communicate the arrangement with your child’s teacher and the main office in advance.  Students will not be released to persons not listed on their emergency contact list unless prior arrangements have been made by their parents or guardians. Anyone signing a student out must come into the school, show identification, and sign the student out.

With written verification from you, your child may be excused from physical education or outdoor activities for one to three days following an illness or accident.  Any restriction for more than three days requires written verification from your doctor detailing the length and type of restriction.

Students are instructed not to bring valuable equipment, collections, games, or personal items to school. Sums of money larger than required for school purchases should not be brought to school.

We love to celebrate birthdays at Nerge School! We recognize student birthdays daily during morning announcements to honor the special day.  If you choose to celebrate your child’s birthday with a birthday treat for the class, please remember that it must be non-edible to ensure the safety and health of all of our students.

Nerge follows the District 54 policy on dress code. The Board expects a student’s dress and grooming to be neat and clean meeting health and safety standards.  Clothing/appearance that is disruptive to the educational environment is prohibited. This includes but is not limited to: offensive logos/wording on clothing, exposed midriffs, inappropriate length, etc…  Students not abiding by the dress code will be required to comply before they can return to class. School administration will make the final interpretation of dress guidelines.

Problems arise occasionally when students bring articles or objects to school which are hazardous to the safety of others or interfere with instructional time.  Items brought to school that are offensive or hazardous to other students or interfere with instructional time will be collected and returned to parents upon the parent’s request.

Students assume responsibility for any item brought to school.  Per school district policy, students are NOT permitted to use non-school issued electronic devices on school property or on buses unless permission is given from the building administration.  This policy includes the use of cell phones.  When the electronic device policy is not followed, the electronic device may be kept in the office to be picked up by a parent/guardian during office hours.  If an electronic device is permitted by an administrator, the school assumes no responsibility if such item is lost, broken or stolen.

Please note, all District 54 schools prohibit weapons as noted by the sticker on the front door.

Nerge School Expectations and Responsibilities

Nerge School follows the District 54 Student Behavior policy.  The goals and objectives of this policy are to provide effective discipline practices that: (1) prioritize the safety and dignity of students and staff; (2) maintain a positive, weapons-free, and drug-free learning environment; (3) keep school property and the property of others secure; (4) address the cause of a student’s misbehavior and provide opportunities for all individuals involved in an incident to participate in its resolution; and (5) teach students positive behavioral skills to become independent, self-disciplined citizens in the school community and society.  

Nerge utilizes a positive approach to discipline based on learning rather than punishment.  Students are expected to be responsible for behaving in a safe manner and promoting a safe environment in their school.  Students will respect the rights, needs and property of others.  All federal and state laws regarding student conduct will be applied.  Other district policies referring to and/or relating to student behavior will also be applied. Students are expected to be safe, respectful, and responsible within the school environment and on school buses/bus stops.  The PBIS matrix specifies behavioral guidelines which encompass the following district-wide expectations:

  • Students will act in a way that is safe and healthy for themselves and others.
  • Students will treat school property and the property of others with respect.
  • Students will respect the rights and needs of others.
  • Students will take responsibility for their own learning.
  • Students will be respectful of the learning environment and not behave in a disruptive manner.
  • Students will follow all guidelines and usage rules regarding the use of the Internet.

Children who are having difficulty following expectations will work with our staff to correct the behavior.  In these cases, the child will be given time with a staff member to reflect on the behavior and come up with a plan to change the behavior by exploring alternatives. Parents/guardians will be notified of the behavior and be asked to contribute to the plan by sharing how they will support their child. All consequences for behaviors will be educational, logical and follow School Board policy.

Nerge follows the District 54 policy on homework. This policy states that homework should be purposeful and meaningful.  The purpose of homework is to enrich or extend school instruction, give students the opportunity to maintain new learning through independent practice, and encourage the possibilities of self-directed learning by the student.  It can be used to emphasize the importance of learning in settings other than the classroom.  Homework may be graded and counted in the grading system.  Students may face logical consequences for late or missing assignments.

School District 54 strongly encourages all parents/guardians to sign up for the District 54 Infinite Campus Portal. This is a website where parents/guardians can log in and view information about their children’s grades, assignments, immunizations, test scores and much more.  It is also how parents access the whole child profile (report card) each trimester as well as registration for the upcoming year. The portal can be accessed by visiting the District 54 website. District 54 Parent Portal

In order to ensure the safety and welfare of all students using the school buses, the following rules will be strictly enforced:

  • Arrive at designated bus stop prior to pick up time.
  • Demonstrate appropriate and courteous behavior at the bus stop.
  • Load and unload the bus in an orderly fashion.
  • Stay seated during the entire bus ride.
  • Keep hands and feet to self.
  • Face forward in the seat with feet /objects out of the aisle.
  • Follow the bus driver’s directions.
  • Eating and/or chewing gum are not allowed on the bus.
  • No cell phones or electronic devices on the bus.
  • Safety considerations do not allow for students to change buses or get off at a different stop.

Bus drivers will report violations in the form of a written referral to the school office. These referrals will be addressed on an individual basis.  The seriousness of the infraction will determine the response from the school. Consequences will be assigned in the following manner:

  • 1st referral = discussion with student to reteach expectations
  • 2nd referral = reteaching/reflection session during lunch resulting in an assigned seat on the bus
  • 3rd referral = reteaching/reflection session during lunch to come up with a plan to change behaviors and/or conference with the parent. This could result in a three day bus suspension which will not excuse a student from attending school.
  • 4th referral = may result in permanent suspension from the bus

Bicycles must be parked in the bicycle rack. If the racks are full, bikes are to be parked in an orderly manner.  Bicycles are to be walked on the driveway and/or walkway from the entrance at the street to the rack.  When going home, bicycles are to be walked from the rack to the street and across the street at the crosswalk.  A chain or cable lock is strongly recommended to protect bicycles at school.  Please make sure your child can lock and unlock his/her own device.  Skateboards and roller blades are not allowed to be used coming or leaving school grounds.

Building Positive Behaviors at Nerge School

Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) is a proactive systems approach to establishing the academic and/or behavioral supports and social culture needed for all students in a school to achieve social, emotional, and academic success.

As a Response to Intervention (RTI) model, PBIS applies a three-tiered system of support and a problem-solving process to enhance the capacity of schools to effectively educate all students.

The Universal PBIS Team at Nerge School seeks to promote a learning environment where safe, respectful, and responsible behaviors are taught, expected, and celebrated.

PBIS Teams and Roles

The Universal Team is the first level team in the PBIS system. Nerge staff members volunteer their time to serve as members of this team. The Universal Team’s job is to meet monthly to ensure our systems of support are working to promote safe, respectful, and responsible behavior.  The team convenes to examine the school’s data and discover trends for ALL students.  This is done by using data gathered from our school’s behavior management tracking forms. The Universal Team is also charged to create reteaching opportunities and/or targeted interventions based on school data to positively impact ALL students.

The Secondary Team (Tier 2)  is responsible for establishing the second layer available to students who need additional support to be successful with the school expectations.  The Tier 2 team members examine data to identify students needing an additional level of positive behavioral support.  Once a student has been identified, the team will create an appropriate intervention together.  The Check in Check Out (CICO) program is an intervention designed to provide students with specific and timely feedback with regard to following the Noble Expectations or targeted expectations that best meet their specific needs. Another possible layer of support is temporary, targeted small group lessons during which students will learn, practice, and apply specific skills to better equip them to display the Noble Expectations independently.  Nerge staff members serving on this team volunteer their time to meet monthly to review data and monitor the progress of the implemented interventions.

Noble Knight Tickets (“blue tickets”) are used to reinforce positive behavior for all students. The tickets are small slips of paper. When a student is seen displaying Noble Expectations they may be given a ticket by a staff member paired with verbal praise. Students can use tickets to earn incentives throughout the school year.

We love to celebrate successes at Nerge! All students have the opportunity to participate in classroom and school-wide celebrations throughout the year. Classrooms follow their own reward and goal setting system to recognize and celebrate positive student behavior. As a building, celebrations are held monthly to honor the completion and application of a portion of our Social Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum, the 8 Keys of Excellence, and/or our students’ ability to meet an established goal of earning a specific number of blue tickets. These celebrations are planned out by Nerge staff members serving on the Best Buddy Classrooms Committee. We are looking forward to the many celebrations that will occur this year!

Cool Tools are behavioral lesson plans that structure how staff will teach and reteach expected behaviors. Cool Tool lessons target a specific area of need that has been identified by our behavior data and feedback from staff members.

Nerge Behavior Expectations Matrix

Nerge Elementary School has developed a Behavior Matrix which includes how students are to behave while at school. The Noble Expectations are: Be Safe, Be Respectful, and Be Responsible.  During the first week of school, students are specifically taught what behaviors are expected within each area of the building (e.g. classroom, bathroom, hallway, recess, etc…).  This way, the students learn that each staff member here at Nerge has the same expectations for behavior.  These expectations are reviewed, refreshed, and retaught throughout the duration of the school year. 

Thank you for taking the time to review each location and the expected behaviors with your student!

Be Safe

  • Keep hands and feet to seld
  • Walk

Be Respectful

  • Use quite voice
  • Listen to all staff and patrols
  • Stay on sidewalk when outside
  • Greet adults

Be Responsible

  • Arrive on time
  • Go straight to your destination
  • Use appropriate staircase and door
  • Devices are powered off and put away

Be Safe

  • Wash hands with soap and water
  • Keep hands and feet to self

Be Respectful

  • Respect privacy of others
  • Wait your turn
  • Be quiet

Be Responsible

  • Clean up after yourself
  • Use paper materials correctly
  • Lave when you are finished

Be Safe

  • Keep hands and feet to seld
  • Use equipment appropriately

Be Respectful

  • Rase your hand to speak
  • Listen and follow directions
  • Respect the property of others
  • Use appropriate body language

Be Responsible

  • Give your best effort
  • Complete all assignments
  • Participate
  • Keep materials organizes

Be Safe

  • Walk single file
  • Stay to the right
  • Face forward
  • One stair at a time

Be Respectful

  • Be quiet
  • Keep hands and feet to self
  • Maintain personal space

Be Responsible

  • Travel the quickest route to arrive on time
  • Stay with your class
  • Wait and enter appropriately

Be Safe

  • Stay seated
  • Eat your own food

Be Respectful

  • Listen and follow supervisor’s directions
  • Use a quiet voice
  • Practice good table manners

Be Responsible

  • Clean up your area
  • Rinse and recycle

Be Safe

  • Use equipment appropriately
  • Stay in designated area
  • Play safely

Be Respectful

  • Follow supervisor’s directions
  • Take turns, share and include others
  • Use appropriate language
  • Be quiet going in and out

Be Responsible

  • Dress for the weather
  • Line up quickly and safely
  • Take ownership of your words and actions

Be Safe

  • Walk slowly throughout the stacks

Be Respectful

  • Use quite voice
  • Listen and follow directions

Be Responsible

  • Choose and check out books in timely manner
  • Return your books on time

Be Safe

  • Keep hands and feet to self
  • Stay with group
  • Sit crisscross apple sauce

Be Respectful

  • Eyes forward
  • Sit quietly
  • Listen and follow directions

Be Responsible

  • Enter and exit quietly
  • Be ready to participate

The Eight Keys of Excellence

The Eight Keys of Excellence come from the Quantum Learning Network.  These keys are critical components woven into our Social Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum and have become common language used by the Nerge community to discuss and promote positive character traits. 

  1. Integrity: match behavior with values: We demonstrate our positive personal values in all we do and say.  We are sincere and true to who we are as individuals.
  2. Failure Leads to Success: learn from mistakes: We view failures as feedback that provides us with the information we need to learn, grow, and succeed.
  3. Speak with Good Purpose: speak honestly and kindly: This key involves being aware of the power of our words.  We think before we speak, our intentions are positive, and the words we use are sincere.
  4. This is it: make the most of every moment: We focus our attention on the present moment and understand we have the power to choose a positive attitude.
  5. Commitment: make our dreams happen: We set meaningful goals and believe in our abilities to achieve them.  This key involves perseverance, following our visions without wavering.
  6. Ownership: take responsibility for actions: We do not blame others or make excuses for our choices.  Rather, we are responsible for the results of our decisions.
  7. Flexibility: be willing to do things differently: We recognize that things may not work out as planned.  When this happens, we remain open and change in order to move forward.
  8. Balance: live your best life: We balance our activities to nurture our minds, bodies, and emotions by focusing on what’s meaningful and important to us.