Helena Elementary Student Handbook


A Message from the Principal

Welcome to a new school year at Helena Elementary! We hope that you have had an enjoyable and relaxing summer and are ready for an exciting and successful school year.

This school information handbook is designed to acquaint you with the daily operation of our school and our school system. We urge you to read the information contained within the document and use it as a reference throughout the school year. There are some important changes included in this document.

We hope that you find it helpful.

Everyone plays an important role in the success of our school!

Helena has a longstanding and proud tradition of excellence!

As always we will work together as a TEAM to make great things happen!

We look forward to an awesome 2019-2020 school year.


Chrystal Welch Clayton, Ed.S.

Principal Helena Elementary School

About Us

Helena Elementary School Vision

On the Road to Excellence

Helena Elementary School Mission

Our mission is to collaboratively partner with families and our community to prepare our children to become life-long learners and leaders that positively impact the world.


General Information and Policies

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Enrollment at Helena Elementary

To attend Helena Elementary School, a student must maintain a legal residence in the Helena district. Legal residence is defined as the full-time residence of the child’s parent(s) or legal guardian. Children may not live with family members who live in our district to attend Helena unless that family member has legal custody of the child. Exceptions to this requirement may only be made by the Person County Board of Education.

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School Hours-NOTE IMPORTANT CHANGE---8:15-3:00

Students at Helena should be in their assigned classroom by 8:15 when the tardy bell rings. Students who arrive after this time must be checked in through the office.

Since teachers are not on duty until 7:55 a.m. students are not allowed to enter the school building prior to this time. There is no supervision for students who arrive prior to 7:55. Students who arrive prior to this time should be enrolled in school daycare. Recommended arrival time for students is 7:55 – 8:10 a.m.

Due to the new way the 2019-2020 traditional school calendar has been constructed, the instructional hours for elementary schools fall below the threshold of 1025 instructional hours required by state calendar law. In order to reconcile this issue, all Person County Schools elementary schools will increase their start times by 10 minutes, meaning that the tardy bell will ring at 8:15 am. By implementing this adjustment, elementary schools will have enough hours to meet school calendar legislation with extra time in case of inclement weather.

Students are dismissed at 3:00 p.m. Parents who transport their children should be prompt in picking them up or enroll them in the after school program. Parents are not permitted to wait for students on the sidewalks or breeze-way of the school due to safety issues.
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Person County Schools Calendar

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Enrollment/Registration Directions-MUST BE COMPLETED FOR ALL STUDENTS

ALL returning students must have completed registration.

Returning student registration must be completed in order for the school to have updated information.

Parents, if you received an email from PowerSchool including your student’s unique SnapCode, please click on the link that includes the SnapCode to begin the returning student registration.

If you already have an account, log in and follow the direction found within the link below:

Enrollment/Registration Directions using Parent Portal

If you do not have an account, please create one and follow the steps above.

Parents, if you did not receive an email from PowerSchool including your student’s unique SnapCode during the week of August 12th, please notify your child's teacher.

Those with a working email address in the system should have received an email. Be sure to check your SPAM Folder.

NOTE: PowerSchool will not be available during the weekend of August 16th due to scheduled maintenance.

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Important Notices from PCS

Please take time to review this important information from the Person County School System

Board Policy Manual

Parent Gazette

All parents will receive a copy of the Parent Gazette on Monday, August 26th. This along with the School-Wide PBIS plan should be reviewed carefully.

A signature of receipt is required as a part of updating online Student Information.


The purpose of this notice is to inform you of the school system’s response to these regulations and of the system’s attempts to provide for the safety of students and employees.

AHERA Parent Letter

A signature of receipt is required as a part of updating online Student Information.


This notice is being distributed to comply with the North Carolina School Children’s Health Act. Person County Schools has an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Policy to comply with this law. IPM is a holistic, preventive approach to managing pests that minimize pesticide use in our schools and on school grounds. IPM is explained further in the school’s Pest Management Policy, which can be viewed in the school office.

IPM Parent Letter

A signature of receipt is required as a part of updating online Student Information.

Tobacco Free Policy-See Note Regarding Car Riders and the Use of E-Cigarettes

As a reminder, the Person County Board of Education passed a tobacco-free policy which bans the use of all tobacco products on school property at all times. Please abide by this policy when you visit our school.

This includes inside of vehicles that are parked on campus (Car Rider Line) and the use of e-cigarettes.

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School-Wide Expectations

Disciplinary issues will be handled by the principal, assistant principal, administrative intern if actions taken by the teacher and/or bus driver have not been effective in reducing the problem behaviors.

Please take the time to review the PBIS Plan for the school and the bus.



Prompt, regular attendance at school is very important. Parents should always make an effort to contact the school when their child is absent. When a student returns to school following an absence, he/she MUST bring a written note from the parent/guardian to explain the reason for the absence. Work missed because of an excused absence from school may be made up.

Absences due to family trips/vacations will be unexcused absences. There is a form on the PCS website if parents wish to request that a trip be considered an educational experience. Please note: If the primary purpose of the trip is a family vacation, the absence will not be approved.

Parents will receive attendance information with each report card. They will also receive letters if their child has excessive and/or unexcused absences from school. Please pay close attention to the Attendance Policy for the Person County School System.

Early Checkouts From School

Parents are encouraged to make medical or other appointments for their child outside the school day when possible. When it is necessary for the child to be dismissed early, the parent or legal guardian must check the student out through the main office so we will have a record of the child’s departure time. Parents are not permitted to go directly to the classroom to pick up a child. If parents wish to have someone else check out their child, we must have written permission from the parent for the child to leave with that individual. Anyone who picks up a child should be prepared to provide a photo ID to office personnel.

Students who check out prior to 12:25 p.m. will be counted absent for the day. Students must be in school four (4) hours to be counted present.

Tardies-Note Change in the Arrival Time

Students who arrive late must check in by 11:00 a.m. to be counted present for the day. Parents are required to come into the office to check the child in if they arrive after 8:15 a.m. Failure to do so will result in the parent having to return to school to sign the child in as late.
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School bus transportation is provided for all students who live in the Helena district.. Appropriate behavior is expected at all times to insure the safety of all students on the bus. Review the link below regarding Bus Conduct. Repeated failure to follow these rules may result in suspension from the bus.

A written note is required for transportation changes and must be approved by the principal or assistant principal. While we understand that circumstances may occasionally make it necessary to change transportation plans after your child has left for school, please keep this to a minimum. If we do not have a note from the parent, the child will go home in their usual manner.

If a child will ride the bus at any time during the year, please be sure the Bus Information Sheet has been completed. This would include the possibility of riding less than 5 times for the whole school year.

Examples of this would be, but are not limited to:

Last-minute change of plans, transportation is needed.

Emergency dismissal (snow, storm, etc.)

2019-2020 Bus Routes-Available during Open House and Published in the Newspaper on Wednesday, August 21st.

Before and After School Care

Daycare for Helena students is available before and after school in the cafeteria. The center operates from 6:00 – 7:55 a.m. and from 3:00 – 6:15 p.m. Cost and availability can be obtained from the daycare director.

Application for Before/After School Care

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Parking and Traffic

Please Read Carefully

Parents dropping off children may use the circle drive in front of the school. No one is to park along this drive at any time. Parking is available in the front parking lot. Parents are not permitted to pull into the bus lot for drop off or walk-ins. The parking lot beside the building is for bus parking only. Cars should not enter this parking lot during school hours unless directed by a faculty member.

Please do not arrive on campus in the afternoons prior to 2:30 p.m. Also, please do not pass the car line at any time especially once the line starts moving. This creates a very dangerous situation. The campus speed limit is 15 mph.

Parents are required to wait in the car line to pick up/drop off children. Failure to follow traffic procedures could result in restrictions during drop off/release times. Please be alert at all times while driving on campus to ensure the safety of our children.

Click the Link Below to View the Traffic Pattern

Helena Traffic

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A Message from the School Nurse

If you have a child that has a medical condition, will need ​to have medication at school, or has dietary restrictions, please stop by the health table that will be set up during Open House. There will be blank medication forms, nutrition forms, and emergency action plan forms available.

If a student needs to take any medication during the school day (including over the counter medications), we must have a medication form signed by the parent and physician. This form will indicate the medication and dosage information. Prescription medications must be in a current prescription bottle. Non-prescription medications must be in the original container. Aspirin will not be dispensed at the school. The school nurse can answer questions you may have about medications. Medication forms must be updated annually.

Please fill out the appropriate forms and return them on the first day of school.

Student Health Information Sheet

Complete and Return if Needed

Emergency Information

It is vital that we have accurate contact information on how to reach each child’s parents/legal guardians. Please update your information in PowerSchool when a change in contact and/or contact number is needed. This includes home/cell/work numbers. You are also required to list the names and phone numbers for at least two people we can contact in an emergency if parents/legal guardians cannot be reached.

If a child feels ill, his/her temperature will be taken. Parents will be called to pick up the child if the temperature exceeds normal (98.6º), if the child is vomiting or has diarrhea, or if a head or other serious injury has occurred. If parents/legal guardians cannot be reached, the individuals named within the system as the Emergency Contact will be contacted.
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Homework is important because it provides additional practice on skills and concepts learned in class. Each grade level will set reasonable guidelines for the amount of homework assigned. Generally, homework for K-3 should take 30 – 45 minutes to complete; in grades 4 & 5, homework should be completed in 45 minutes to one hour. Students in grades 3 – 5 are required to purchase and use the homework planner available at the school. In addition, parents are asked to read with their child 30 minutes each night.
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Cafeteria Operation

The health and well-being of our students is very important to us. Well-nourished students take better advantage of the learning process. Breakfast and lunch are provided daily in the school cafeteria for all HES students. Due to provisions in school meal program regulations, there will be no charge for meals served during the school year. Free healthy breakfast and lunch will be made available to all students wishing to participate! Families do not need to complete a meal benefit application to receive this benefit. Students wishing to purchase extra items will still need to bring money for those items.

Parents wishing to pay online may do so at www.k12paymentcenter.com.

Parents will need their child’s student identification number to use this service. Breakfast and lunch menus can be found online at https://www.pcsnc.org/domain/30 and on the Helena Elementary School webpage.

Lunches brought from home should include a balanced meal and should not require refrigeration to stay fresh. Also, please do not send food that needs to be heated in a microwave.

We encourage parents to join us for lunch when their schedule allows. Several reminders are in order.

Food purchased from “fast food” or other restaurants is not permitted in the cafeteria

Soft drinks are not allowed in the cafeteria.

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Visiting and Conferences

Parents and other family members are welcome to visit our school. All visitors are required to report to the school office when they arrive on campus to register and receive a visitor’s pass. Visitors also need to sign out when they leave.

If you would like to meet with your child's teacher, we do ask that you request a meeting after school hours and that class is not interrupted. When classes are interrupted, your child and all other class members lose valuable instructional time.

Parent/ teacher conferences are scheduled for every child at the end of the first grading period. Additional conferences will be scheduled at the end of other grading periods for students who are struggling academically. Teachers will contact parents to schedule those conferences. Conferences may be scheduled at any time at the request of the parent or teacher.

If you need to speak with an administrator, we ask that you contact the school to set up a time for a meeting. Meetings may be set up in advance before or after the school day.

Please remember that we too have very busy schedules and many required meetings are scheduled well in advance. Calling to set up a meeting time, will provide us with more time to effectively answer questions or address any concerns.

The administrators will make every effort to return phone messages within 24 hours.

If you need immediate assistance, the best line of contact is email.

Chrystal Welch Clayton, Principal claytonch@person.k12.nc.us

Whitney Sharlow, Assistant Principal sharloww@person.k12.nc.us

Dwayne Johnson, Administrative Intern johnsond@person.k12.nc.us

Parental Support and Involvement

We encourage you to show interest in your child’s education by supporting the efforts of the school and asking him/her to talk with you about the day and what was learned. Educators and parents must realize that high standards are necessary, that virtually all students can attain those standards, and that hard work is the key to learning. There are no “shortcuts” in the learning process. Hard work and sustained effort are necessary. Parent support and student effort are very important in the level of success our children attain. Let’s give every child the chance to succeed by working together!

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Helena is fortunate to have many parents and community members who are willing to volunteer to help our students. All volunteers who work with children are required to submit a volunteer application which will allow the district to conduct a criminal background check. This includes parents who chaperone field trips.

Anyone wishing to volunteer does need to reapply this school year even if they were approved last year.

Volunteer Link

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Helena Elementary APT (Association of Parents and Teachers) is our own version of PTA. All funds raised directly support our Students and Teachers.

A fee for joining is NOT required.

Board Meetings are scheduled monthly. Any parent wishing to attend is invited.

If you are interested in working with our APT, please contact an active Board Member listed in the Welcome Letter.

Meeting Dates are also included.

APT Welcome Letter

APT Volunteer

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Important School Level Reminders

Dress Code

Expensive clothing is not necessary for school. We do expect students to come to school clean and dressed appropriately. Many types of clothing that are fashionable are not appropriate for elementary students. Please see the dress code information in the PCS Code of Conduct.

Dress Code Reminders

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Educational Field Trips

Field trips are taken by all grade levels during the year. These trips are planned as an extension of classroom instruction. You will receive information and are required to sign a permission form for your child to participate.

We usually have more parents who want to chaperone than we can accommodate. Parents going on Field Trips must be approved volunteers. You cannot be considered to be a chaperone unless you are approved in advance.

STUDENTS ARE REQUIRED TO RIDE THE BUS ON FIELD TRIPS. Permission to return from a field trip with a parent will only be granted to those that are approved volunteers for the trips, only the child of the parent who is an approved volunteer, and with at least 3 days approval from Administration.

Chaperone Guidelines

Personal Items

Students have a cubby and a desk in which to put their personal items. Please label all items especially coats, sweaters, and lunch boxes. Please remember that students should not bring valuable items or large amounts of money at any time.

Electronic Devices

Students are encouraged not to bring electronic devices to school. If a student brings a cell phone to school and it is not on silence, we will follow the protocol in the PCS Code of Conduct and the phone will be confiscated and returned based on the details listed in the policy.

Students in Grades 3-5 are permitted to Bring Their Own Devices on Special Occasions

The form must be completed and submitted to Administration BEFORE Use.

Use of this device must follow the AUP for the county.

BYOD Permission Form

The school is not responsible for any devices brought to school by students.

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PE and Recess Information

Beginning this school year, we will only have one PE Teacher on campus each day. As a result of this change, students will participate in Physical Education class with the PE teacher 2 days per week. On the alternate days, classroom teachers will provide a recess period for students.

Students must wear tennis shoes to PE.

Students are not permitted to wear boots, flip flops, or Crocs....dress shoes with no grips on the bottom are not allowed. Please note that the grass can be damp during morning classes. Students are encouraged to keep a pair of tennis shoes at school for PE and a jacket for cooler days when they are scheduled for recess.

Students must have a doctor's note if have to sit out more than 1 day due to illness or injury.

Coach White

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Classroom Celebrations

Classroom celebrations are controlled by the school and are limited to three per year. Each classroom is encouraged to have one Grade Parent per class. Birthday parties for students may not be held at school. Cupcakes at lunch are acceptable as a birthday celebration but other “party” items are not permitted. The school is not permitted to provide addresses and/or to distribute invitations to private parties.

School Pictures

Twice a year, students will have the opportunity to have individual pictures taken by a professional photographer from Strawbridge Studios.

Class pictures are taken in the spring.

Participation in the school picture program is voluntary.

Even if you are not planning to purchase pictures, all students will have a picture taken in the Fall to be used in the yearbook.

Fifth-grade students will have the opportunity to have a cap and gown picture taken in the spring.

Deliveries of Flowers, Balloons, and Similar Items

All deliveries of these items must be made after 2:00 p.m. Items may be picked up by the student at the end of the school day. Please remember that glass containers and balloons are not allowed on buses. We will not be responsible for items delivered to the school at the request of individuals or groups not affiliated with the school or school system.
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Thank you for taking the time to review this essential information.

Please do not hesitate to contact the school if you have questions.

Chrystal Welch Clayton, Principal

Whitney Sharlow, Assistant Principal

Dwayne Johnson, Administrative Intern