“At Hiawatha, the teachers care about you and want you to go to college.”
Hiawatha Academies scholar
To create a safe, welcoming environment that fosters learning, Hiawatha Academies provides parents with clear guidelines on school expectations and policies. Please review these in the HCHS Family Handbook. Below are a few highlights:
- Attendance policy + −
Hiawatha Academies believes that daily attendance is critical to academic achievement and learning. Good attendance and punctuality are important life skills and necessary to ensure a quality education.
School attendance hours: The school day begins at 8:15 a.m. The school day ends at 3:45 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and at 1:20 p.m. on Fridays.
Arrival: The cafeteria is open each morning at 7:30 a.m. Scholars arriving to school between 7:30 a.m. and 8:07a.m. must go to the cafeteria until class begins. The school opens to scholars at 8:07 a.m. each morning.
Tardy / late arrival policy: School begins at 8:15 am. Scholars who arrive at school after 8:15 a.m. are considered tardy. Three tardies will count as one whole day of absence. Any scholar who arrives after 9:45 a.m. will be marked as a half-day absence.
Excused absences: Absences from school that may be “Excused” are those due to:
- Scholar illness
- Medical/Dental Appointment (with note from provider)
- Family emergency/funeral of a close family member
- Religious Holiday/Observation (with advanced notice to Office or Principal)
- Pre-approved family activity (with advanced approval by Principal – up to 15 days)
- Families requesting leave beyond 15 days may submit a written request for approval by the building Principal and Executive Director.
Absences for medical or dental appointments are only excused with a note from the medical or dental provider. Hiawatha asks parents to schedule family vacations and travel during school breaks whenever possible.
In order to excuse your scholar from a school day, please call the HCHS office at 612-547-9056 before 8 a.m. on the day your scholar will be absent.
- Discipline + −
Discipline is an essential part of character building, creates a harmonious school community, and supports academic success. HCHS asks our scholars to demonstrate self-discipline and maturity in order to be promoted or to graduate. In addition to the academic, enrichment, and community service requirements, scholars must meet all of the discipline requirements at least one week before the following school year to graduate or move up to the next grade-level. More information on HCHS’ Discipline Policy can be found here.
- Family involvement + −
We believe educational success depends on a close partnership between our scholars, their families, and the school. To that end, we offer Family Academy sessions to share tips with parents on how to best help scholars excel academically and to navigate the broader education system on their children’s behalf. HCHS also hosts family events and offers volunteer opportunities throughout the year. Please subscribe to our Hiawatha CONNECT online magazine and check the HCHS calendar for other details.
- Lunch + −
All HCHS scholars are provided a complete lunch and optional breakfast daily at no cost.
Our cafeteria staff work hard to provide our scholars with meals that are both nutritious, and tasty, to give them the fuel to keep learning! Scholars are welcome to bring a lunch from home, however this excludes them from receiving cafeteria lunch items for that day.
Friday lunch: Scholars have flexibility during lunch on Fridays. All scholars must go to the cafeteria after dismissal. Scholars may either grab a bag lunch or eat pizza in the cafeteria. Scholars in detention will be given a bag lunch.
A sample of our lunch menu is provided below:
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Old Fashioned Hamburger ” New” General Tso’s Chicken Tuscan Chicken Sandwich “Student Voted” Fresh Hot Delivered Pizza Ketchup, Mustard & Pickles Steamed Rice Tender Premium Chicken Fillet Marinated Tejas Meatballs w/Sauce Corn Chips & Mixed Veggie Salsa Carrot Slims Fresh Cucumbers w/ Seasonings. Serve on Bun Steamed Rice Banana Cheese Balls Banana Fresh Crisp Salad Greens & Dressing Golden Corn Salad Crisp Varietal Apple Orange Summer Grapes
HCHS also makes every effort to accommodate dietary restrictions, and arrange special menus if needed. Please contact the school office as early as possible, to make these arrangements. See the “Wellness Policy” in our Family Handbook for additional information regarding our school nutrition program.
- Post-Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) + −
Postsecondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) is a program that allows 10th-, 11th- and 12th-grade scholars to earn both high school and college credit while still in high school by completing college-level courses at local colleges and universities.
Most PSEO courses are offered on the campus of the college/university, and some courses are offered online.
Eleventh and 12th-grade scholars may take PSEO courses on a full- or part-time basis; 10th-grade scholars may take one career/technical PSEO course. If they earn at least a grade C in that class, they may take additional PSEO courses.
Each participating college or university sets its own requirements for enrollment into the PSEO courses. Scholars must also meet the PSEO residency and eligibility requirements and abide by other rules set by state law.
If Hiawatha Academies determines a scholar is not on track to graduate, s/he may still continue to participate in PSEO.
There is no charge to PSEO scholars for tuition, books or fees for items that are required to participate in a course. Funds are available to help pay transportation expenses for qualifying scholars to participate in PSEO courses on college campuses.
How to enroll
Scholars must notify their school by May 30 if they want to participate in PSEO for the following school year. For more information about the PSEO program, visit the Minnesota Department of Education’s PSEO webpage.
- Special education + −
Child Study Team (CST)
Each school has an on-site Child Study Team (CST) composed of teachers, student support personnel, and school administrators. This team meets regularly to help create academic and behavioral interventions for scholars who need extra support. If you feel your scholar may benefit from the CST process, please contact their advisory teacher.
Scholar with documented medical or mental health disabilities may be eligible for a Section 504 plan. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act requires schools to provide students with certain program changes that will allow them access to educational opportunities that are similar to their peers. A 504 Plan may provide additional accommodations, modifications, or services for your student. If you would like to meet or have a phone conference to discuss a Section 504 evaluation and whether a Section 504 would be a good fit for your student, please contact your school’s office. Read your 504 rights in English and Spanish.
Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC)
In order to increase the involvement of parents of children with disabilities in district policy making and decision making, Hiawatha Academies has a Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC). The SEAC annual meeting occurs each spring.
Special Education Evaluation
Hiawatha Academies conducts full and individual evaluations before special education and related services begin. This helps us determine whether a child has a disability that adversely affects their educational performance. We ask parents/guardians for their permission before we evaluate scholars. This permission is for the evaluation only, and is not the same as giving us permission to provide special education services. Parents have the right to refuse this evaluation and any possible re-evaluations.
If you feel your scholar may need a special education evaluation, then please contact our Network Student Support Services Director Alex Gallagher, email@example.com.
The U.S. Office of Special Education Programs has created an English-Spanish Glossary of special education terminology.
Here are some agencies that may help you in understanding your rights and your scholar’s rights under state and federal special education law:
- Parent rights (procedural safeguards) in English and Spanish
- ARC MN (Advocacy for Persons with Developmental Disabilities): 651-523-0823 or 1-800-582-5256
- MN Department of Education: 651-582-8689, TTY: 651-582-8201
- MN Disability Law Center: 612-332-1441, 1-800-292-4150, TTY: 612-332-4668
- PACER (Parent Advocacy Coalition for Education Rights): 952-838-9000, 1-800-53-PACER, TTY: 952-838-0190
- School supplies + −
Each year, HCHS provides parents with a list of school supplies their children will need for classroom learning. Please ensure that your scholar has everything they need to make this school year a success!
- Student health + −
HCHS makes every effort to provide a healthy, and safe environment for all our scholars, staff and teachers by providing health rules and procedures. Highlights are below:
When to keep your scholar home
Not sure if you should keep your child home or bring them to school when they’re feeling sick? HCHS will only ask parents to keep their children at home if they are showing any of the following symptoms:
- chills and fever
- swollen glands
- skin rash
- discharging ear
To excuse your child from school because of an illness, please notify the school office by 8:00 a.m. You can reach us at 612-547-9056.
Hiawatha Academies requests that all parents enrolling their children at HCHS present a copy of their child’s immunization record. Per state legislation on immunization, we require all scholars enrolled at HCHS to have the following immunizations:
- pertussis (whooping cough)
- and rubella (German measles).
These requirements can be waived only if a properly signed medical or conscientious exemption is filed with the school.
If your scholar needs to bring medications to school, whether prescription or over the counter, our friendly office staff are able to assist with administering the medication. To ensure your scholar’s safety, we ask that parents provide such medications in a prescription bottle or container properly labeled by a physician. In addition, parents should provide written instructions signed by a parent and physician that includes the following information:
- scholar’s name
- name of medication
- possible side effects
- end date for administering medicine
Over the counter medications can be self-administered without written permission from a doctor if the scholar, a parent and the school nurse agree on and sign the school’s Over the Counter Medication Contract.
If your child falls ill, or becomes injured while at school, HCHS will notify parents right away if the illness or injury is serious and your scholar needs to be picked up. Please make sure that your emergency contact information is always up to date, and notify us immediately of any changes.
- Transportation / busing + −
Scholars use the entire city as their classroom. Scholars travel to and from school with Metro Transit passes (called “Go-To Scholar Pass”). These passes work evenings and weekends so scholars can get to work, their internship, a museum or anywhere else buses and light rail can go. Click here for Metro Transit Trip Planner.
Scholars can pick up their free Metro Transit Go-To cards at the school office. There is a $10 replacement fee for a lost pass. Payments can be made at the HCHS Office.
- Uniforms + −
At Hiawatha Academies, we believe that wearing uniforms is important to our scholars’ learning. Not only do uniforms reduce unwanted distractions, they also promote a sense of community, team, and ownership. HCHS scholars have a strict uniform policy for Mondays-Thursdays, with a more relaxed (optional) dress code on Fridays.
HCHS logo items for scholars’ uniforms can be purchased from our school office at any time. Parents are responsible for purchasing pants, shorts, skirts, and shoes outside of school. Scholars should wear uniforms as described below:
Shirts and sweatshirts
- Scholars should wear an unaltered green or grey HCHS polo shirt, tucked in, or an unaltered white, collared HCHS button-down.
- Under polos, scholars may wear a plain white short-sleeve t-shirt or tank top. Over polos or button-downs, scholars may wear an unaltered purple HCHS sweatshirt.
- Scholars can follow Monday-Thursday uniform guidelines.
- Scholars may wear a t-shirt, long-sleeve shirt, sweater, or sweatshirt that promotes school spirit. This includes shirts sold by HCHS clubs, sports, or groups, as well as solid-colored purple, green, or grey tops.
- Scholars may wear a college t-shirt, long-sleeve shirt, sweater, or sweatshirt.
- Scholars may wear a t-shirt or sweatshirt from an HCHS service-learning event.
Pants, skirts, and belts
- Scholars should wear pants or skirts that are light-khaki or black in color. Spandex and leggings are not permitted.
- Pants must not be torn or frayed, and they must be worn at waist level.
- Solid black belts without studs or designs must be worn with khaki pants.
- Skirts must extend below a scholar’s finger tips.
- Black dress shoes are required. Shoelaces and all parts of the shoe must be black.
- Boots, flip-flops, stilettos, gym shoes, and thin sandals are not permitted.
- Girls’ shoes must not have more than a 2″ heel.
Accessories and make-up: Earrings, necklaces, bracelets, watches, and rings are permitted so long as they are safe and not a distraction to learning. Earrings and gages must be no larger than 2″ in length or diameter. HCHS asks that scholars do not wear heavy make-up. Application of make-up, perfume, lotion, or any other cosmetics can only be done in the bathrooms.
Hair and headwear: HCHS does not allow any designs of any kind on scholars’ hair or face. Unless for religious or medical reasons, we also do not allow hats or other head coverings.
Physical education uniforms: During Physical Education classes, scholars are asked to wear school PE shirts, with their own PE shorts or sweatshirts. We do not allow short-shorts, jeans, jean shorts, cut-offs, pajamas, or spandex for PE, and any shorts worn should extend below a scholar’s finger tips. We ask that scholars wear gym shoes during PE.
- Weather policies + −
School closures are rare, but sometimes necessary in the case of severe winter weather. In such cases, HCHS will make every effort to communicate school closures to parents through:
- Local TV channels. (Stations will begin broadcasting these announcements as soon as possible after 6:00 a.m. If no announcement has been made by bus time, parents should assume that classes will be held. Please check WCCO Channel 4 for current school closing info.)
- Our school websites
- Hiawatha Academies’ social media accounts on Facebook & Twitter
In the event that HCHS has to close early for winter storm warnings or other emergency situations, we will make early closing announcements on radio and television stations. HCHS scholars will be responsible for getting home safely or can be picked up by their parents or guardians.
Hiawatha Academies will consider canceling classes in buildings without air conditioning if the heat index (a combination of temperature and humidity) reaches at least 105°F for more than three hours per day for two consecutive days, or reaches more than 115°F for any period of time. This is the threshold used by the National Weather Service https://www.weather.gov/safety/heat-index to issue heat alerts. However, each Hiawatha Academies building is unique in how heat is retained in the building. The Executive Director may consider canceling classes, in the interest of student and staff safety, if the indoor heat index exceeds the above thresholds even if the outdoor heat index does not.
Hiawatha Academies will likely cancel classes if the wind chill forecast for 6:30 a.m. the following day is -35° or colder, with winds of at least 5 to 10 miles per hour.
Hiawatha Academies will cancel classes if road conditions are such that travel becomes too hazardous for buses and cars. Hiawatha Academies will consider canceling classes if travel delays become so great that staff cannot reach the buildings in order to teach students or students will be out at bus stops for an excessive amount of time.
These conditions are likely if it snows 6 inches or more in 12 hours, or 8 inches or more in 24 hours. However, every winter storm is different, so it is possible that classes will still be held even if snowfall reaches these limits.
Facility damage or other event
In the event of large-scale facility damage or similar event that creates a hazardous or unsafe environment, the Executive director may cancel classes in the interest of student or staff safety.