Family Handbook 2017-2018

Family Handbook 2017-2018

All School Family Handbook

Early Childhood Division

Lower School

Middle School







1. CAIS Mission Statement

Embrace Chinese

Become your best self

Create your place in the world

2.  NAIS Principles of Good Practice for Parents Working with Schools and Schools Working with Parents


It is the expectation at CAIS that parents and the School will observe the NAIS Principles of Good Practice outlined below.

Overview: Parents and independent schools work together to create and sustain effective partnerships. The following principles of good practice describe the respective roles and responsibilities of both partners.


  • Parents recognize that effective partnerships are characterized by clearly defined responsibilities, a shared commitment to collaboration, open lines of communication, mutual respect and a common vision of the goals to be reached.
  • In selecting an independent school, parents seek an optimal match for the needs of the student, their own expectations and the philosophy and programs of the school.
  • Parents are familiar with and support the school’s policies and procedures.
  • Parents provide a home environment that supports the development of positive learning attitudes and habits.
  • Parents involve themselves in the life of the school.
  • Parents seek and value the school’s perspective on the student.
  • When concerns arise, parents seek information directly from the school, consulting with those best able to address the concerns.
  • Parents share with the school any religious, cultural, medical or personal information that the school may need to serve the student best.


  • The school recognizes that effective partnerships are characterized by clearly defined responsibilities, a shared commitment to collaboration, open lines of communication, mutual respect and a common vision of the goals to be reached.
  • The school clearly and fully presents its philosophy, program and practices to parents during the admission process and encourages dialogue that clarifies parental expectations and aspirations for the student.
  • The school seeks and values the parents’ perspective on the student.
  • Teachers and administrators are accessible to parents and model candid and open dialogue.
  • The school keeps parents well informed through systematic reports, conferences, publications and informal conversations.
  • The school defines clearly how it involves parents when considering major decisions that affect the school community.
  • The school offers and supports a variety of parent education opportunities.
  • The school suggests effective ways for parents to support the educational process.
  • The school actively seeks the knowledge it needs to work effectively with a diverse parent body.

3. Student Services

At CAIS, we are committed to educating our students by providing ongoing support to address their academic, social and emotional well being. Our teachers understand and respect that each individual child is different, and they ensure that our educational program and services support all types of learners. The Student Services Team (SST) members regularly meet and collaborate with classroom teachers to address the needs of our students.

The SST consists of a director who oversees the department and works with students, learning specialists, school counselors and Chinese language support specialists. Resources in this department are not only for our students and teachers, but also for our family community.

Learning Specialists

The goal of learning support is to help students build skills and develop effective learning strategies for students in the lower school and middle school. The SST provides reading support for those students who need help keeping up with the academic standards and expectations of the school. Individual and small group support is given to those students who need more attention to developing skills. The learning specialists act as liaisons between the school, outside specialists, tutors, educational specialists, and parents.

Areas of support:

  • Supplemental reading instruction in either pull-out or push-in small groups
  • Implementation of strategies and accommodations to best support students’ learning needs
  • Curricular enhancement opportunities for advanced students
  • Educational screening of learning differences and needs
  • Referrals for outside services

Chinese Language Support (CLS)

Chinese language support specialists work with individuals and small groups to provide extra support in Chinese acquisition. Students referred to CLS are assessed to identify the most effective approach to assist each student. CLS teachers collaborate with classroom teachers to ensure that additional instruction addresses students’ needs. Possible solutions may include in-class support, small group pull-out and/or after school support. .

Counseling Services

The K through fifth grade and middle school counselors form part of the Student Services team. They offer short term support and problem solving in an educational, rather than a therapeutic, setting to students who are:

  • Experiencing personal or school-related distress.
  • In need of help with social problem solving.
  • Referred for conflict resolution.
  • Referred for crisis intervention.

Students may self-refer (in the lower school, by asking a teacher’s permission), or be referred by a teacher, administrator or by their parent/guardian.

Counselors do not provide ongoing, long-term therapy. When there is a need for such support, counselors can provide recommendations for outside practitioners. CAIS counseling services are not intended as a substitute for psychological testing, diagnosis or treatment. It is the responsibility of parents to seek additional services outside the school should they become necessary.

In cases where professional outside support is recommended by the Student Services team and division directors, families with demonstrated financial need may qualify for a limited amount of financial support from the school. All inquiries of this sort should be made through the Student Services team or the student’s division director. Financial support will be awarded according to availability of budgeted funds.

While counselors may offer students and parents a chance to speak confidentially, in the following situations confidentiality cannot be granted:

  • The student presents a danger to self or others.
  • The counselor believes that a student’s health or safety is at risk due to self-injury, eating disorder, drug or alcohol abuse, runaway plan or other dangerous behavior.
  • The counselor has reason to believe that a student may be the victim of abuse or neglect.
  • A student presents a threat to school security, including property damage.
  • Information is requested by the court.

As deemed appropriate, counselors will inform students when confidentiality cannot be kept. Please see Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting for mandated reporting information.

4. Auxiliary Program

We offer a wide range of auxiliary services that support students outside regular school hours. The Auxiliary Program is comprised of complimentary morning care before school, and fee-based activities after the school day ends including extended day, after school enrichment classes, study hall, vacation care, international study programs and Mandarin immersion summer camps.

Morning Care begins daily from 7:30 a.m. until school starts and again from dismissal until 6:00 p.m. for children of all grade levels. The program includes a study hall portion for homework for first through eighth grade students.

Vacation care is offered during many school vacations, including February and spring breaks and during parent teacher conferences.

After school enrichment classes vary and always include age appropriate activities offered in both English and Chinese that appeal to a broad group of children. Classes typically meet 12 times; September through December and January through May. 

For detailed information about the extended day program please see the Extended Day Handbook.

5. General Policies and Procedures

Arrival and Dismissal

Division Start of School End of School
Early Childhood Division 8:45 a.m. 3:15 p.m.
Lower School 8:30 a.m. 3:00 p.m.
Middle School 8:45 a.m. 3:30 p.m.


CAIS has a comprehensive attendance policy that reflects the school’s commitment to student safety and academic success. It ensures that all students are accounted for when they are scheduled to be in our care. In addition to addressing safety concerns, regular attendance and punctuality are important not only to each student’s progress but to the school as a whole. Late arrivals and early dismissals have a negative impact on a​ student’s​ academic progress and are disruptive to the classroom. Arriving to class ​on time ensures that students will begin their​ day as part of the community, receive​ important class instructions, and are recorded as safely arriving​ on campus. Furthermore, learning to be punctual is an important life skill that the school and parents are responsible for helping students develop.  

It is essential that parents cooperate with the school to avoid unnecessary absences. CAIS strongly discourages taking a student out of school or extending vacations beyond the school’s vacation period. Please schedule doctors’ appointments, family trips, etc., for times when school is not in session.  Asking teachers to provide special work in advance of non essential absences puts an undue burden on them and takes their time away from serving students who are in class. In the case of an illness or family emergency, the faculty and staff will do their best to help students with missed assignments. Keep in mind that absences preclude receiving a teacher’s classroom presentations and instruction ​​as well as the benefits of in-class discussion and participation. We highly discourage absences and early dismissal for extracurricular sports, lessons and other pursuits. Generally these are not permitted, however, approval for exceptional absences may be granted on a case-by-case basis, based on academic standing and/or the discretion of the administration.

Both tardies and absences (attendance occurrences) are recorded daily and appear on progress reports for K-8 students. Students’ transcripts also include the number of tardies and absences.


A tardy is defined as a student arriving to the classroom after 8:45 a.m. for the Early Childhood Division, 8:30 a.m. for lower school, and 8:45 a.m. for middle school.

If your child is tardy, please notify the school at by 8:30 a.m. for lower school or 8:45 a.m. for Early Childhood Division and middle school. Lower school and ECD families, please also notify your children’s teachers.


An absence is defined as a student not attending school on a day when school is in session.

When a student is absent for school for any reason other than shadowing high schools, he or she is not allowed to participate in any CAIS extracurricular activities that day.

If your child is absent for illness or any other reason, please notify the school at by 8:30 a.m. for lower school or 8:45 a.m. for Early Childhood Division and middle school. Lower school and ECD families, please also notify your children’s teachers.

If the absence can be foreseen, or is one that will be for an extended period of time, teachers should be notified as far in advance as possible.

The following steps will take place in the event of excessive attendance occurrences:

  • Step 1- An email will be sent to parents/guardians informing them of the school’s concern.
  • Step 2- A meeting with the division director will be scheduled if more occurrences take place.
  • Step 3- A second meeting will be called. Enrollment, credit and/or grade level promotion may be contingent upon attendance at the discretion of the head of school and division directors.

For the ECD attendance policy, please see the appropriate section in the ECD Handbook below.

Withdrawal from School

Parents withdrawing students from school must provide written notification to the head of school. Written requests for transfer of student records should be sent to the appropriate division director.

If a student withdraws or is dismissed, all financial obligations must still be met. Full payment of fees is due before any transcript or records will be sent to another school. According to CAIS policy, reduction, allowance or refund to tuition is not made for early withdrawal, dismissal, suspension or absence unless the family has purchased CAIS’s tuition insurance at the time of enrollment, in which case the policy offers partial support for the continuing financial obligations to the school.

The most common reasons to invoke tuition insurance coverage are:

  • Medical or health, including prolonged illness, debilitating physical injury or loss of life, mental/nervous disorder.
  • Financial difficulties resulting most commonly from change in employment, job transfer or loss of a parent.
  • Dismissal, which may result from repeated suspension or definitive dismissal.
  • Personal reasons, including circumstances that prevent a student from continuing.

If an insured family has complied with all obligations stipulated in the enrollment agreement, the family may claim insurance benefits. For more details please refer to the CAIS enrollment agreement or contact the Business Office.

Tuition Assistance

Tuition Assistance is available to all students from Pre-K through G8. Awards are based on demonstrated financial need and the school’s ability to fund the program. Applications are reviewed by the school’s Tuition Assistance Committee comprising Head of School, Admission Director and Director of Finance and Operations.

Tuition Assistance is awarded on an annual basis, thus, an application must be filed prior to each academic year; there are no multi-year awards. To receive an award, applicant families that have children enrolled at CAIS must be current with their school account(s).

Although returning students are given priority, a certain portion of the Tuition Assistance budget is always designated for new families.

Applications are submitted via FAST (Financial Aid for School Tuition) along with a FAST processing fee. Additional required documentation includes signed copies of previous year’s tax returns with all schedules, copies of W-2 forms, signed IRS 4506-T and reports of foreign bank and financial accounts, if applicable. First time applicants must submit current and previous year’s tax documents.

The school requires tax returns from all guardians financially responsible for the applicant student(s).

An extension to file tax returns may disqualify applicants from offers made. No award is final until the official tax returns are received.

Any changes realized to a recipient family’s financial status during the course of the school year (salary, inheritance, job loss or promotion, etc.) must be reported to the Tuition Assistance Committee in writing. At the time of change, all financial information must be current and accurate so that the Tuition Assistance Committee can re-evaluate the award based on the changes. Should a family that has not requested TA suffer an abrupt financial change during the academic year, applications are accepted even outside of the normal Tuition Assistance application period.

Detailed information about the Tuition Assistance application process is published in November.



Re-enrollment contracts for the following school year are delivered to current CAIS families in Ferbruary. To reserve a space, a signed enrollment agreement along with a non-refundable deposit are due by the date specified in the agreement. The various payment plan options along with information regarding tuition insurance is included in the re-enrollment information packet.

Grade Retention Policy

CAIS believes that students must demonstrate adequate academic progress and developmental readiness in order to be advanced to the next grade in school. When either of these are in question, retention (repeating a grade) may be an appropriate option. Grade retention falls under the larger umbrella of CAIS’ robust student intervention system that includes ongoing, individualized student support.  Retention is considered only after numerous other measures have been implemented and will always accompany continued targeted support measures.  

Parent input and participation is an important part of CAIS’ support model, but the final decision to retain is made by the school.  When concerns about academic performance or developmental readiness prompt consideration of retention, the school will also consider age, physical development, and social and emotional development as factors in the decision.    

Class Placement

Early Childhood Division

In ECD, the following factors are taken into consideration in attempting to achieve a balance across all four classes:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Previous exposure to Chinese
  • Level of English
  • Personality dynamics
  • Observed developmental strengths and weaknesses

Generally we strive to keep children together with the same class from the first to the second year of ECD, though in some cases it may be best to move some children to other classes, based on the factors listed above. These decisions are made by the ECD faculty in class placement meetings. We ask that parents trust the judgment and experience of the faculty and not make special requests for placements with or away from other children or for placements with particular teachers. Class placements are posted on Veracross in August.

Lower School

Unlike in ECD, In the lower school there is no deliberate attempt to keep classes together. Similar to the ECD, every attempt is made to achieve balance across the classes considering the following factors:

  • Gender
  • Personality dynamics
  • Behavior profile
  • Academic profile
  • Social emotional skills
  • Individual student needs
  • Relative strength in Chinese and English

Placement decisions are made by the faculty, working together, in a series of placement meetings.

We ask that parents trust the judgment and experience of the faculty and not make special requests for placements with or away from other children or for placements with particular teachers. Class placements are posted on Veracross in August. 

Middle School

In the middle school, sixth grade placements are aimed at achieving balance across classes considering the following factors:

  • Social dynamics
  • Gender
  • Academic profile

Middle school classes are generally changed from year to year based on the changing dynamics of the class.Teachers make these changes based on gender ratio and social and academic dynamics. We ask parents to trust the judgment and experience of the faculty and refrain from making class placement requests involving other students. Class placements are posted on Veracross in early August.

Gifts to Faculty or Staff

Recognizing that families often wish to express appreciation directly to a faculty or staff member, the following CAIS gift policy provides guidance regarding the types and values of gifts to guard against the potential appearance of impropriety and prevent the creation of inequities among employees. Please note that there is NO expectation for families to present faculty and staff with gifts.

Simple gifts such as homemade cards or perishables such as food or flowers are the most appropriate way for families to express their gratitude to a teacher or staff member. The financial value of an individual gift should not exceed $50. Those families following the Chinese tradition of the hóngbāo 红包 should likewise limit the cash amount to $50 or less.

Families wishing to present larger gifts are requested to do so by making a donation to the school’s Annual Fund in honor of a teacher, teaching associate, or staff member. Honorees will be notified by the Advancement Office, and their names will also appear in a special section of the annual Report of Giving.

Gift giving should be limited to special occasions or holidays.

CAIS families may wish to contribute toward a group or class gift instead of individual gifts. Such gifts should be identified as class or group gifts rather than listing individual contributors, and the amounts given should not be identified to the teacher. The amount contributed by each family should not exceed $50. Families should never feel pressured to contribute any amount to a class gift.

In the past, parents have organized a gift pool for NCIS employees, and many families have chosen to make contributions. While the school recognizes that this is a healthy tradition, parents should not feel pressured to contribute any amount.

Lost and Found

All children’s clothing and possessions should be clearly labeled with their names and even “CAIS”, since we share a campus with the French American International School and the International High School.  Every effort will be made to return a labeled item to its owner, but the school is not responsible for lost items.

At the Oak campus, there is a Lost and Found shed in the Oak Street playground that is managed jointly by CAIS and FAIS parents. On Monday mornings, volunteers bag up whatever unclaimed items remain in the shed and bring them to a local charity.

At the Alice A. Carnes Center (Waller Street campus), the lost and found is located in the breezeway, just inside the front gate. Unclaimed articles are donated to local charities.

Lunch and Snacks

Students may bring their lunch, or buy lunch from approved outside vendors through a program organized by the Family School Alliance (FSA). Several lunch plans are available; information is provided by the FSA at the beginning of the school year. Children bringing their own lunches should be provided with a well-balanced lunch that is packed in a container clearly labeled with the child’s name. Due to allergies and illness, children may not share food.

Snacks are provided for the children in ECD, however, children in upper grades may bring their own healthy snacks to enjoy during recess and break. Please see ECD section on below for specific information about ECD snacks. Parents are asked not to include gum, candy, soda or other unhealthy items in lunches or snack packs.

For information on food allergies, please see Food Allergy—Risk Minimization Policy in the following section.

CAIS Off-Campus Programs Conditions of Participation

CAIS off-campus programming for students in grades five and above reflect the school’s commitment to experiential learning and engagement with the outside world to further and assist student learning, supplement the classroom curriculum, and lead toward the CAIS mission of embracing Chinese, becoming your best self, and finding your place in the world.

To this end, CAIS offers a range of outdoor and international programming for fifth grade and middle school students, as well as faculty/staff. These programs include the Fifth Grade Balclutha overnight trip, Fifth Grade Taiwan Exchange, the Seventh Grade Beijing Academy, the Eighth Grade China Adventure, the China Faculty Institute, programs in San Francisco for inbound Chinese and Taiwanese students, middle school outdoor education programming in California, and more. While some of these programs are optional, many are integral portions of the curriculum, with participation strongly encouraged.

On occasion, CAIS may determine that a student’s participation in a CAIS off-campus program is not in the best interest of the school, the student in question, or other student participants. This may be due to any of the following:

  • Student’s physical, emotional, or mental health
  • Academic standing
  • Record of behavior and disciplinary status
  • Attendance record
  • Financial accounts

Any other reason deemed deleterious to the school’s mission or to the safety and welfare of CAIS and partner organization faculty, staff, or students, including the student in question.

As CAIS off-campus programs can be physically, academically, culturally, and personally demanding and rigorous, it is the main aim of the school to ensure the safety and welfare of all program participants prior to departure.

To participate in CAIS off-campus programs, CAIS parents/students must accept and acknowledge that their child must maintain good academic standing, disciplinary and behavioral standing, and attendance records for program participation. Additionally, CAIS parents further acknowledge and accept that their account with CAIS must be current and not in arrears during the trimesters preceding their child’s participation in off-campus programs and that the child may not be able to participate if the account is not current before, or at the time of scheduled departure. CAIS parents must also acknowledge and accept that CAIS may, at its sole discretion, with or without advance notice, determine that the interests of the child in question or of CAIS and partner faculty, staff, or students are not well served by the child’s participation in off-campus programming, and therefore may deny the child’s admission  to the off-campus program.

Additionally, after admission has been granted, including after departure, CAIS may, at its sole discretion, with or without advance notice, revoke admission and terminate a child’s participation in any off-campus program for any of the reasons listed above that the school, in its best judgment, decides merit exclusion or removal from the program. The decision of the school is final and cannot be appealed. The school’s decision will be communicated to the student, the student’s parents, and any CAIS employees involved.

Tax Guidelines for Student and Third Party Activities

To protect our nonprofit status with state and local tax authorities, CAIS is required to vigorously ensure that our facilities are not used to support for-profit activities. Accordingly, CAIS is implementing the following guidelines and policies regarding student and third-party activities:

  • Entities (including individuals) which are not Chinese American International School (CAIS) or Family School Alliance (FSA) are prohibited from conducting lucrative activities, i.e. selling merchandise, private tutoring, on CAIS premises, whether physical or virtual.
  • Advertising or other information on CAIS premises, whether physical or virtual, by an entity which is not CAIS or FSA must be cleared by the Head of School’s Office before being posted.
  • Student-run fundraising may be permitted on site, but authorization must first be obtained from the Head of School’s Office.
  • Special rules apply to FSA activities 


6. Health, Safety and Security 

Food Allergy - Risk Minimization

CAIS remains committed to the safety and well being of all students. As our community continues to build awareness around food allergies and for the safety of all children in our community, we request that all families refrain from sending any foods containing nuts to school. The following guidelines will help minimize risk factors:

  • No nuts or peanuts
  • No foods containing nuts or peanuts, in particular peanut butter, hazelnut spread, certain granola bars, chocolate bars and biscuits containing nuts. This applies to items with nuts included as a listed ingredient. It does not apply to those foods labeled, “May contain traces of nuts.”
  • No nut oil, such as peanut oil.
  • Please encourage washing of hands if nut products have been eaten at home.

CAIS policy calls for protective measures to be taken in life-threatening situations, and will act immediately if a student shows signs of severe reactions to foods. Therefore, if at any time during the school day or during after-care hours a student (either with or without known food allergies) presents signs of anaphylaxis in response to an ingested food, the school will administer an epinephrine auto-injector (EpiPenTM or TwinjectTM).

Parents of Children with Food Allergies: Please fill out the accompanying Emergency Plan as detailed as possible, and return it to your child’s respective division assistant. This form is a first step in setting clear directives from you to CAIS faculty, and will be the guidepost by which teachers, administration and other staff members will determine the best course of action for your child in an allergy-related emergency. Please bring your child’s primary epinephrine auto-injector to the health office.  We strongly recommend storing additional injectors in your child’s Chinese and English classrooms. Please also update your child’s health information in Veracross.

If your child does not have known allergies, you do not need to fill out the Emergency Plan form.


School policy, state and federal law prohibits unlawful harassment by any employee, parent or student of the school as well as by any person doing business with or for the school.

Every member of the community needs to recognize certain guidelines for appropriate behavior so that we can provide an environment of mutual respect, tolerance and sensitivity. Behavior, either verbal or physical, that disregards the rights of others, is unacceptable. This includes unwelcome physical advances, derogatory statements or discriminatory comments occurring between two individuals or between groups of individuals.

CAIS’s harassment policy is posted in various places throughout the building.

Gender Inclusion Guidelines

Our mission encourages students to become their best selves and create their place in the world.  An important part of fulfilling our mission is to create an inclusive community in which all students, families, and staff feel supported in their individual identities.  For the benefit of all, CAIS is committed to providing a safe, supportive, and inclusive learning environment for all students, including transgender and other gender expansive students, and to ensuring that every student feels supported in their individual identity and has equal educational opportunities and equal access to the school’s programs, facilities, and activities.  As such, CAIS has outlined its approach to addressing the needs of gender expansive students through the following guidelines.  This set of guidelines does not anticipate every situation that might occur, and the individual needs of each student must be assessed and met on a case-by-case basis.  When the need arises for greater attention to issues related to a student’s gender, the school will work closely with the student and the family to design a support plan.  In all cases, the goal is to ensure the safety and healthy development of all students, maximizing inclusion and social integration while minimizing exclusion and stigmatization.


The responsibility for determining a student’s gender identity rests with the student.  Upon request by a student and/or parent, CAIS will use the preferred name and pronoun that reflects the student’s gender identity and expect that other community members do the same.

While inadvertent slips or honest mistakes in the use of preferred names or pronouns may occur, it is the expectation of the school to respect the student’s gender identity by using the student’s chosen name and pronoun.  The refusal to honor an individual’s preferred name or pronoun is considered a form of discrimination and will be handled in accordance with CAIS’s harassment policies.

School Records

CAIS maintains official student records as required by applicable law.  If a student and/or parent requests that a preferred name and/or gender be used on school documents, CAIS will make every effort to comply with this request.  


CAIS maintains both single stall, gender neutral restrooms as well as separate restrooms marked male and female.  Transgender students may request access to the restrooms on campus that correspond to their gender identity.

Where available, single stall, gender neutral restrooms may be used by any student, regardless of the underlying reason; however, no student shall be required to use this option.

Locker Rooms

CAIS maintains separate locker room facilities for male and female students. Upon request, transgender students shall have access to the locker room facility that corresponds to their gender identity.

Any student who has a need or desire for increased privacy may request access to a reasonable alternative changing area or locker room.  


Transgender students are permitted to compete in interscholastic athletics in a manner consistent with their gender identity, to the extent that their participation complies with the athletic competition rules and bylaws of the athletic associations and leagues in which CAIS competes.

Non-school organized teams that choose to use the CAIS name are expected to comply with the above stated guidelines.

Dress Code

Students are allowed to dress in accordance with their gender identity and gender expression, within the constraints of the dress code adopted by CAIS.

Partnership with Outside Organizations

CAIS strives to partner with organizations that share its values.  We will actively share our guidelines with those organizations and maintain open communication if conflicts in their implementation arise.  There are limitations to our control of policies enforced by outside organizations.  However, we may decide based on discriminatory policies to decline or discontinue partnerships with certain organizations.  

School-Sponsored Trips (Field Trips, Outdoor Education, etc.)

On overnight trips CAIS maintains separate sleeping quarters for male and female students. Transgender students may request to be placed in a cabin, tent, or room that corresponds with their gender identity.

In order to protect the privacy of transgender students, parents of the students who share sleeping quarters with transgender students will not be asked for consent or notified of the sleeping arrangement.  

To the extent possible, all CAIS gender inclusion guidelines, including use of restrooms and other facilities, would extend to our school-sponsored trips.  

International Programs

As a dual-language, dual-cultural school, CAIS strives to model cultural sensitivity.  We anticipate that other cultures may hold different values, and we cannot expect individuals from other cultures to embrace our values and practices wholesale.  However, we are committed to  the safety and well-being of all students, including gender expansive students, and will make every effort to create a positive international experience for our students.   

CAIS will have proactive and ongoing conversations with partner school liaisons regarding our gender inclusion practices.  In both inbound and outbound programs, CAIS will ensure that the host families of transgender and other gender expansive students have an appropriate level of understanding regarding the student’s profile.  

*Adapted from Gender Spectrum’s CA Model Policy for Transgender Students and George School’s Policy on Transgender Students


  • Biological Sex: Includes physical attributes such as external genitalia, sex chromosomes, gonads, sex hormones, and internal reproductive structures. Assigned at birth, it is used to identify individuals as male or female.  Sex is not synonymous with gender.   
  • Gender: Attitudes, feelings, characteristics, and behaviors that a given culture associates with being male or female and that are often labeled as “masculine” or “feminine.” Under California law, “gender” is defined to include a person’s biological sex, gender expression, and gender identity. (Cal. Ed. Code § 210.7)
  • Gender Identity: A person’s genuine, internal, deeply-rooted identification as male, female, both, or neither, that may or may not correspond to the person’s external body or assigned sex at birth.
  •  Gender Expression: A person’s gender-related appearance and behavior whether or not stereotypically associated with the person’s assigned sex at birth. Gender expression refers to the external characteristics that are socially defined as masculine or feminine, including clothing, hairstyles, activities, mannerisms, speech patterns, and social interactions.
  • Gender Expansive: An umbrella term used for individuals that broaden their own culture’s commonly held definitions of gender, including expectations for its expression, identities, roles, and/or other perceived gender norms. Gender expansive individuals include those who identify as transgender, as well as anyone else whose gender in some way is seen to be stretching the surrounding society’s notions of gender.
  • Sexual Orientation: A person’s physical, romantic, emotional and/or spiritual attraction to another person. Common terms used to describe sexual orientation include, but are not limited to, heterosexual, homosexual, lesbian, gay, and bisexual. Sexual orientation is distinct from sex, gender identity, and gender expression.
  • Transgender: A person whose sex assigned at birth is different from the person’s gender identity and/or gender expression.
  • Transition: The process by which a transgender individual strives to have physical presentation more closely align with identity. Transition can occur in three ways: social transition, medical transition, and/or surgical transition.


Medical Information

Updated medical and information on how to reach families or other designated adults in case of illness or emergency must updated in Veracross throughout the school year—it is the family’s responsibility to do so. In an extreme emergency, should it be impossible to reach a parent, the family doctor, or designated emergency contact, a staff member will accompany your child to the emergency room of the nearest hospital as authorized on the emergency form.

Accidents and Injuries

All accidents that require notable medical attention will be documented and parents will be notified immediately.

Health and Illness

For the health and well being of our students and staff, we require that students do not come to school if they are ill. Students who are not feeling well can potentially spread illness to other students and staff.


Students and staff members who run fevers may not return to school until 24 hours after temperature returns to normal without the aid of acetaminophen or ibuprofen.


The State of California requires that the school have an immunization record, medical exemption, or personal belief exemption on file for each child. Please check with your physician to see if your child’s immunizations are current. If the school’s records show an immunization history that is not current with their age, parents will be notified. Families are given 10 days to rectify the situation and provide documentation. If this is not done within this time frame, the student will not be allowed to attend school until immunizations and/or exemption documentation are current.


If your child requires medication during the school day, you must send a signed note giving the school permission to administer medication. Prescription and over the counter medication must be in the prescription bottle, with instructions from the doctor as to the dosage required. Under no circumstances may a student self-administer medication at school.

Please see specific division instructions for where to store and administer prescription and over the counter medications.

  • Early Childhood Division: please store medications with your child’s teacher or the administrative assistant
  • Lower School: please store medications at the health center
  • Middle School: please store medications with the administrative assistant

Infectious Diseases

If your child has one of the following infectious diseases, please adhere to the these guidelines in determining when they should return to school:

  • Streptococcal Infections: 24 hours after treatment begins and symptoms have subsided.
  • Chicken Pox: When all scabs on face and arms have dried.
  • Measles, German Measles, Rubella: When the rash is gone.
  • Scarlet Fever, Infectious Hepatitis A, Bacterial Meningitis: On recommendation of physician.
  • Conjunctivitis (Pink Eye): 24 hours after treatment begins.
  • Impetigo, Ringworm, Scabies: 24-48 hours after treatment begins.

To minimize the spread of infectious disease among our students, parents are required to inform the division director’s office if their child has any of the above-listed infectious diseases. Notices informing parents of possible exposure to an infectious disease will be sent home with students as necessary. The note will indicate the grade and class of those exposed and will include a brief description of symptoms common to the disease. The school is required to inform the San Francisco Department of Epidemiology and Center for Disease Control of any instance of measles, German measles, rubella, tuberculosis or whooping cough.

Head Lice

If your child has head lice, you are required to notify the division director’s office as soon as possible. The school will notify other parents in your child’s grade so they will know there was a potential exposure and will be diligent in checking their child for signs of head lice.

To limit the spread of head lice among our students, those who have been infected must be treated at home and then examined by the school to determine that the student is free of all lice before the student may re-enter the classroom. We will not remove any student from class who has nits, however we will remove students with live lice. If, after the treatment, your child still shows signs of head lice you will be asked to take him/her home for additional treatment. Once again, when returning to school, the school has to determine that your child is free of lice. The most effective way to lower the number of cases of head lice among our students is for all of our parents to be proactive and inspect their children for signs of head lice at least once a week.

Emergency Plans and Procedures

In cooperation with the French American International School (FAIS), International High School (IHS) and the National Center for International Schools (NCIS)—the campus facilities and security manager—CAIS has developed detailed emergency plans specific to each of our three campuses for events such as fire, earthquake, shelter in place and lockdown. Faculty and staff are trained annually in emergency planning, procedures and preparedness, and the school conducts regularly scheduled training and drills for students.

Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting

CAIS is dedicated to the goal of protecting our students from child abuse and neglect and to responding effectively to incidents of child abuse and neglect. CAIS recognizes local, state and national efforts to address problems associated with child abuse and neglect and will work cooperatively with all agencies with responsibility for addressing such concerns.

California state law requires that certain persons in their professional capacity are mandated to report child abuse and neglect when they have reasonable cause or suspicion to believe that a child under the age of 18 years is suffering physical or emotional injury resulting from abuse that causes harm or substantial risk of harm to the child’s health or welfare. According to California law, all CAIS faculty and administrators members are mandated reporters.

CAIS faculty and administrators are in a unique position to identify potential cases of abuse and neglect because of their sustained contact with children. By participating in annual school-organized child abuse and neglect information and training programs and knowing and following established reporting procedures, CAIS employees may recognize and understand potential incidents of abuse and neglect.                                                    

In consideration of the safety of the child, CAIS will not, as a rule, notify parents when a CPS report is made. Parent notification will occur only when the school is confident that such knowledge will not jeopardize the safety of the child. The head of school will determine if and when CAIS will notify a child’s parents that a report was made. It is our belief that supporting the whole family during times of stress can best support the child.

Additional information may be obtained by requesting a copy of Child Abuse: Educators’ Responsibilities from:

Crime Prevention Center, Office of the Attorney General, PO Box 944255, Sacramento, CA 94244-2550

8. Technology

At CAIS, technology is used as a tool to enhance student learning, and technology skills are integrated and developed within the framework of the curriculum. Teachers work with Educational Technology Coordinators (one focused on the English program and one on the Chinese program) to design projects that leverage key technological tools and methodologies.

Technology Acceptable Use Policy

In order for students to be permitted to use technology on campus, students and parents must sign a Technology Acceptable Use Policy document. Contracts will be distributed both directly to you and also in class at the beginning of each school year. We encourage you to discuss each topic in the contract and sign the contract before it is returned to school. Students are taught that the use of technology comes with responsibilities.

CAIS Google Apps Accounts

Students in third grade and up are provided with CAIS Google Apps accounts by the school. Our primary reasons for supplying these tools to students are:

  • to give our students practice in using current technology applications and tools;
  • to give students the ability to work on common, no-cost tools on their own documents both at school and outside of school;
  • to provide adequate long-term storage space for student work; and
  • to help students work collaboratively, engage in peer-editing of documents, and publish for a wider audience.

Students can access their CAIS Google Apps accounts from home or school by logging in at the URL

Beginning in fouth grade, students receive email as part of their CAIS Google Apps accounts. To teach our students how to use email responsibly, CAIS email accounts are “closed” for fourth and fifth graders. This means that students can only email with their teachers and other students within the school. They cannot send or receive emails from anyone outside of the CAIS domain. Beginning in sixth grade, CAIS student email accounts are opened so students may send and receive email outside of the CAIS domain.

Digital Citizenship Curriculum

At CAIS we take seriously our obligation to educate our students as responsible digital citizens. To that end, we implemented a formal digital literacy and citizenship curriculum that spans grades K through 8. The digital citizenship curriculum empowers students to think critically, behave safely, and participate responsibly in our digital world. Topics in the curriculum include internet safety; privacy & security; relationships & communication; cyberbullying; digital footprint & reputation; self-image & identity; information literacy; and creative credit & copyright. At CAIS we set high standards for ethical and responsible use of technology and seek to teach students to meet those standards.

9. Tutoring

(For purposes of this policy, tutoring is defined as one-on-one or small group teaching between a teacher or teaching associate and students[s] for pay)

CAIS provides a comprehensive, well-staffed program to identify and support students in need of academic assistance in both Chinese and English during school hours and after school until 4:00 p.m. This support includes focused assistance from learning specialists as well as extra help from classroom teachers and teaching associates. The school does not, as a general rule, encourage classroom teachers and teaching associates to engage in additional tutoring of CAIS students outside of school. On occasions when the student services team determines that learning support provided by CAIS teachers and student services team cannot adequately meet a student’s identified need for remediation, they may recommend outside tutorial support.

Nonetheless, CAIS recognizes that some families may wish to engage tutors for their children outside of school for a variety of reasons, even when the teachers and student services team have not identified a need for tutoring. In such cases, it is solely the responsibility of parents to identify, arrange, and compensate tutors; CAIS does not offer these services.

Below are specific tutoring policies for both 150 Oak Street and 888 Turk Street campuses:

  • For safety and liability reasons, no students may be on either campus after 3:45 p.m. unless they are enrolled in a course sponsored by the Auxiliary Program (study hall, Chinese music ensemble, etc.)

  • No one from outside the CAIS community is allowed on campus unsupervised

  • Outside tutors and instructors are not allowed on campus due to liability issues

Please note that regulations exist for faculty who engage in tutoring outside of their contracted teaching responsibilities. Parents are asked to respect these regulations:

  • CAIS teachers and teaching associates may not engage in paid tutoring for a student during the academic year in which the student is assigned to that teacher or teaching associate’s class. This restriction applies to the summer holiday months (June - August) immediately before and after the academic year.

  • CAIS teachers and teaching associates may not engage in paid, outside tutoring before 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, nor may they arrange tutoring during other times that conflict with contracted school obligations such as faculty meetings, extended care responsibilities, and other contractual responsibilities. Exceptions can be made on a case by case basis.

If you have any questions regarding learning support at CAIS, please contact Director of Student Services Grace Huang (, 415-865-6070).    

10. Communication

Open, frequent and clear communication between school and home is the cornerstone of success in providing the best possible educational experiences for your child. It is as important that the family knows and understands what is happening at school, as it is that the school knows and understands what is happening in the home. Young children are especially sensitive to changes at home such as the arrival of a new sibling or a change in the working schedule of the parents. Please keep the teacher and school informed of such changes. Please update any changes in your family contact information in Veracross (see below) as soon as possible.

We provide many channels and opportunities for open communication between the school and home, including the following:


The school information management system, Veracross, is an excellent source for up-to-date information. Every parent has been set up with a user account for Veracross. If you have not received your user account and temporary password via email, please email

School Calendar

The school calendar is available online and may be filtered to display information by school division and department.

If you have any questions about syncing your calendar with the school calendar, please contact

Emergency Notification

We use an emergency notification service that will inform all parents and staff via email and SMS of emergency situations, including instructions for how parents should respond. It is imperative that you keep emergency notification information current in Veracross.

Back to School Information

Back to school information is sent to each student’s parent to help prepare for the new school year. The information is sent via email with links to Veracross where the information resides and can be accessed, downloaded and printed throughout the school year.

Back to School Night

Back to school night is held in September and provides an opportunity for lower school and middle school families to learn about the school curriculum and meet their child’s teachers. It is also a wonderful opportunity to meet other parents. This event is an opportunity to gain general informational and is not intended for discussing issues related to individual children. Individual issues may be addressed in separate meetings with the faculty members.

Communication with Teachers and Administrators

Your child’s teacher should be your first contact if a problem arises concerning classroom situations. It is important that you communicate your feelings of both commendation and concern honestly and in a timely fashion. To contact a teacher, email is the preferred method. Teachers strive to answer emails in a timely manner. If a satisfactory solution is not achieved and further action is needed, the division director is the next person who should be contacted.


Faculty and staff check email daily and will respond at their earliest possible convenience. Parents can use email to express concerns to their child’s teacher about specific issues, questions, compliments or any other relevant issues. Periodically the school will send out group emails about issues relevant to the entire community.


Teachers at Oak campus have limited access to phones during the school day. For an emergency message, please contact CAIS’s main line at 865-6000. Teachers at the Alice A. Carnes Center (Waller Street campus) do not have access to phones in their classrooms; please contact the early childhood division assistant at 655-9362 in case of emergency.  Teachers at the 888 middle school campus do not have access to phones in their classrooms; please contact the middle school division assistant at 415-349-7201 in case of emergency.  

Scheduled Parent-Teacher Conferences

In the lower school and middle school, individual conferences are scheduled twice a year to discuss your child’s progress. In the early childhood division, conferences are scheduled three times a year. To assure your child’s success at school, it is important that parents and teachers meet in person at these conferences. In situations of shared custody, it is important that both parents attend conferences together. Parents sign up for conference times online via Veracross. Information about sign up times is sent to parents via email prior to conferences.

Unscheduled Parent-Teacher Conferences

Throughout the year, parents and teachers are encouraged to discuss any matters of concern as soon as they arise. Parents may email teachers to schedule an appointment. Spontaneous meetings in the hallway are usually unsatisfactory for discussing a child’s progress.

Progress Reports

ECD students receive written progress reports at the January conferences.

Lower school students receive progress reports Veracross twice during the school year. The first report is available at the end of the first semester. The final report at the end of the school year.

Middle school progress reports are available on Veracross at the midpoint and end of each semester.

11. Family School Alliance (FSA)

The CAIS Family-School Alliance (FSA) is focused on supporting the school’s mission, values and programs through volunteer service and community building events and activities. All parents and guardians of students presently attending CAIS as well as all faculty and staff are automatically members of the CAIS FSA and are welcome to attend general meetings.

For more information about any of the FSA sponsored events or how to become involved please contact the FSA Board members at

12. Contact Info and Quick Reference

Reception Desk - Oak Street Campus

Sally Hong

415-865-6000 Fax: 415-865-6006 

Reception Desk - Alice A. Carnes Center (Waller Street Campus)

Nicola Liu, 415-655 9362 Fax: 415-655 9506        

Reception Desk - 888 Turk Street Campus

Hilda Alegria



Head of School Jeff Bissell 

Assistant to the Head of School Portia Chu 

Early Childhood Division Director (Pre-K) Britta Pells 

Lower School Director (K-Fifth Grade) Anne Valentino

Assistant Lower School Director Anna Donnelly

Middle School Director (Sixth-Eighth Grade) Joe Williamson 

Chinese Program Director Kevin Chang 

Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Professional Development (English) Cristina Calcagno 

Student Services Director Grace Huang 

Counseling Services (Pre-K) Nicole Lako 

Counseling Services (K-4th Grade) Linda Mackay 

Counseling Service (5th-8th Grade) Rachel Packer         

Business office, tuition/billing questions:

Interim Director of Finance and Operations Stephen Bajc  
44 Page Street (one block over from Oak Street)

Auxiliary Program Director Kevin Lee          

Division Specific Questions (such as health forms, immunizations, appointment with division director)

Technical/IT Assistance: IT Manager Annie Yu 






1. Drop off and Pick up Procedures

Alice A. Carnes Center (Waller Street campus) is in a mixed-use neighborhood with a high number of vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists.  In order to ensure the safety of our students, families, staff, and neighbors, it is imperative that visitors to the campus follow the procedures outlined below as well as directions from security personnel during drop off and pick up.  

Parking and Driving Guidelines

There are two white zones—one in front of the First Baptist Church and the other in front of 42/52 Waller. These are designated for five minute parking. Each white zone provides parking space for three cars. The five minute limit is enforced from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.  Between 8:15-8:45 a.m. the white zone directly in front of the school is reserved for curbside drop off.  

Additionally, we have access to parking spaces in the First Baptist Church parking lots between the hours of 8:00 - 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. The upper lot is located on Haight Street between Laguna and Octavia, directly behind the school.  The lower lot is located on Octavia Street between Haight and Waller.  These spots are designed for pick-up and drop-off use, 15 minutes max.  

If there is no parking available in the loading zones or parking lots or you wish to stay longer than the designated time limit, please find legal street parking.

The following behaviors are not allowed:

  • U-turns anywhere on Waller St., including the corner at Octavia Blvd.  As such, vehicles seeking access to the loading zones must approach via Octavia St.

  • Double parking

  • Blocking driveways

  • Parking in the white zone for more than 5 minutes

  • Crossing the street outside of a crosswalk

Drop off

Parents, caregivers, or other authorized adults must sign children in when they drop off.  iPads will be available for sign in in the MPR beginning at 7:30 a.m.  As children transition out to the playground between 8:15-8:30 a.m., the iPads will follow them outside.  At 8:45 a.m. when the school day starts, your child’s teacher will walk students to class, taking the iPad with her. We are aware that separation might be difficult; we encourage you to use the playground as a natural and consistent transition point. Following your child into class may prolong the transition. If your child is having difficulty with the separation, you are welcome to stay in the parent resource area next to the reception desk, should your child need more support. Later in the school year, when children are more comfortable with the transition, you are welcome to walk your child to class with the teachers.    

7:30 to 8:15 a.m. - Park and walk

Parents must park and walk their children into school.  Upon arrival, sign in your child on an iPad in the MPR.  Parents are welcome to stay with their child until 8:45 a.m.    

8:15 to 8:45 a.m. - Park and walk or curbside drop off

Parents have the option to park and walk their child into school or use curbside drop off.  Either way, parents must sign in their children upon arrival.  If using curbside drop off, pull up to a vacant spot in the white zone directly in front of the school entrance.  If no spots are available, please circle the block or follow the instructions of the security personnel.  Once you pull into a spot, a CAIS staff member will bring you an iPad to sign in, assist your child out of the car, and walk them into school.  Please stay in your car and have all the child’s belongings easily accessible to the staff member.  Once your child has safely exited your vehicle, please vacate your spot so that it can be occupied by another parent.      

Pick up

Pick up for the regular school day is between 3:15-3:30.  All parents must park and walk into school to pick up their children.  Be sure to sign your child out.  Upon sign out, you become responsible for your child.  Please monitor your child carefully upon pick up until they are safe in your vehicle.  Once the extended day program begins at 3:30, only children in the extended day program should remain on campus, including the playground.

Please be aware of the 5 minute time limit for the white loading zones.  If you would like to talk to your child’s teachers or remain after school to visit with other families, please find alternative parking.  Security personnel carefully monitor the length of time cars are parked in the white zones and will ask you to move your car if you exceed 5 minutes.  

Pick up Authorization

If your child will be picked up by anyone other than a parent, please provide verbal or written permission and be sure they are designated as an authorized person to pick up your child in both Veracross and brightwheel. The authorized adult must present a government issued photo ID when entering the school to pick up your child.

There have been occasions in which a certain parent may not pick up a child. Legally, the school may not prohibit parents from picking up their child unless the school is provided with legal documentation stating otherwise. Please contact the early childhood division director in these special circumstances.

2. Daily Schedule

The regular school day is from 8:45 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. with pick up between 3:15 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Morning extended day is available free of charge beginning at 7:30 a.m. Afternoon extended day hours are from 3:30 to 6:00 p.m. Extended day and enrichment classes are available to ECD students for an additional fee. Parents are advised to carefully monitor the length of their child’s day. If possible, please try to avoid using the full morning and afternoon extended day hours.

The Pre-K follows an A/B week rotating schedule to equalize the amount of time children spend in each language.  Please see a visual example of the A Week/B Week schedule below:




A week

Red and Green



Gold and Orange



B week

Red and Green



Gold and Orange



3. Attendance

At CAIS safety is of the utmost importance, and a comprehensive attendance policy ensures that all students are accounted for when they are scheduled to be in our care. In addition to addressing safety concerns, regular attendance and punctuality are important not only to each student’s progress but to the school as a whole.


In ECD routine and predictability are important factors for children’s successful transition into school, and a deviation from the normal schedule can negatively affect their social, emotional, and academic development.  When children arrive to class on time, they have time to greet their peers and teachers, settle into their environment, receive important class instructions, and begin building good life habits.  

Children who enter the classroom after 8:45 a.m. are considered tardy. Teachers submit student attendance daily at 9:00 a.m. If your child has not yet arrived, he or she will be marked absent. If your child arrives after 9:00 a.m., first sign him or her in in the classroom and then go to the front desk to notify the administrative assistant that your child has arrived. If you fail to notify the office, your child will remain absent in Veracross, and you will receive a phone call at 9:30 a.m. to inquire about the absence.


We ask that parents cooperate with the school to avoid unnecessary absences, especially during the first two months of school when children are still getting acclimated to the program. When possible, please schedule appointments and trips for times when school is not in session. If your child will be absent for any reason, please email  and copy your child’s teachers to excuse the absence. Please be aware that teachers cannot be asked to provide special work for the child while he or she is absent. Approval for exceptional absences are made at the discretion of the administration.

In cases of excessive attendance occurrences, families will be notified by the Early Childhood Division Director. Enrollment and/or grade level promotion may be contingent upon attendance at the discretion of the head of school and division director.

4. Auxiliary Program

You will receive information about extended day and enrichment programs from the Auxiliary Program office. If your child regularly stays for extended day, please notify your child’s teachers. This allows them to dismiss your child to the extended day room at 3:30 p.m. If you use extended day on an occasional basis, please notify the teacher in the morning that your child will stay for extended day. Late pick up can be unsettling for young children.

For detailed information about the extended day program, please see the Extended Day Handbook.

5. Illness and Medication

An ill child may not attend school under any circumstances. Please see the health and illness section of the all school family handbook (above) for detailed information about infections diseases and illness. If your child becomes ill at school, you will be contacted to arrange for your child’s care. Your child will be kept in the office area until you or an authorized person arrives. Your child must be picked up by you or an authorized person within 30 minutes of notification. Please see the infectious diseases section (above) for specific policy and information about illnesses.

If your child requires medication during the school day, please adhere to the following guidelines:

  • All medication must be handed directly to the teacher, Administrative Assistant or Director.

  • Medication must be in the original container, labeled with the child’s name.

  • Provide written instructions, including the dosage information, to the teacher, Administrative Assistant or Director.

6. Emergency Care

In the case of accident or injury to a child, you will be notified with an incident report via email or text from brightwheel. Should the injury be more serious, instructions for the course of action will be obtained from the parents, health aide or designated physician or hospital. All teachers, teaching associates, division director and office staff have received training in pediatric first aid and CPR.

7. Disaster Preparedness

We hold monthly fire and earthquake drills, alternating between the two. In case of a natural disaster, parents will receive a phone and text message from our emergency system. For detailed information about our emergency plans and procedures, please see the emergency plans and procedures section above.

ECD children will be supervised at the school until you or an authorized adult arrives. The following is additional earthquake preparedness information for the Alice A. Carnes Center (Waller Street campus).

Alice A. Carnes Center (Waller Street Campus) Earthquake Preparedness

When the ECD transitioned to its current site at 42/52 Waller, the two buildings were reviewed by a structural engineer and upgraded with seismic retrofits to bring them up to code. These retrofits were made to conform to codes governing “E” (educational) facilities, which are significantly stricter than codes for business or residential buildings.

Emergency Communication

At the Alice A. Carnes Center (Waller Street campus) there are several modes of communication available to faculty and staff. Landline telephones are provided in both buildings. Two-way radios also permit CAIS and security personnel to have reliable communication with the main Oak Street campus, regardless of phone line functionality.

CAIS Earthquake Plan

The ECD has implemented the “Duck, Cover and Hold” method of response in the event of an earthquake. In case of a large earthquake, a message will be sent via voicemail and SMS through the school’s emergency messaging system which will include instructions for picking up your child and any other necessary information you will need in order to make contact with your child. For detailed information, please see the emergency plans and procedures section above.

The Alice A. Carnes Center (Waller Street campus) is stocked with enough supplies for every person and is prepared to be a central point at which children, faculty and staff can stay for 72 hours.

Security Personnel (NCIS)

A security guard is on site from 7:30 a.m. until the close of the extended day program at 6:00 p.m. This person helps to facilitate parking during arrival and dismissal and monitor those coming and going into the building.

8. Immunizations

Please see the immunization section of the Family Handbook (above) for immunization information and policy.

9. Toilet Learning

We understand that some children may still be in transition with the motor control required to use the toilet. We do not have the facilities for diapering, so we ask that you provide Pull-Ups, and not diapers, if your child is still in transition with this skill. Please provide your child’s teacher with Pull-Ups and wipes in addition to an extra change of clothes (see below).

Successful toilet training requires collaboration between home and school.  If your child needs assistance with using the toilet, please communicate early and often with your child’s teachers to ensure aligned approaches are being used at home and at school.  

10. Change of Clothes

Please provide two changes of clothing (pants, shirt, underwear and socks) to be left at school for your child; one for the Chinese classroom and one for the English classroom. Please label each article of clothing, place in a plastic sealable bag, and write your child’s name on the outside of the bag. If your child is sent home with a bag of soiled clothing, please replace all the items the next day.

11. Social and Emotional Learning

In the ECD we use Positive Discipline as our social and emotional learning (SEL) program as well as our approach to behavior guidance. Positive Discipline is a unique approach in that it focuses on long-term solutions by helping children become responsible, respectful, and contributing members of their communities. Positive Discipline is based on the following criteria, created by Jane Nelson:

  • Helps children feel a sense of connection.

  • Is mutually respectful and encouraging.

  • Is effective long-term.

  • Teaches important social and life skills.

  • Invites children to discover how capable they are.

When a behavior incident arises, teachers have a wide repertoire of strategies they can use to help the child make a better choice—ignoring, redirection, use of logical consequences, reconnecting with the child, providing choices, asking the child to take a break, reminding the child of their earlier agreement, etc. Instead of punishment, teachers seek to understand the need or belief behind the behavior and then choose the most appropriate intervention.

Occasionally a child may need to be separated from the situation either because the situation itself is encouraging the undesirable behavior or the child is being unsafe to themselves or others. In these situations, the teacher will ask the child to take a break with an open invitation to return when ready. When the child has calmed down and is ready to talk, the teacher will have a conversation with the child that helps them understand and learn from the situation.  If there is a persistent individual problem and it becomes necessary to involve the parents, it is done so in the spirit of cooperation. It is ideal for parents and teachers to employ similar guidance strategies to have maximum success in encouraging prosocial behavior. There will be opportunities throughout the year to learn more about Positive Discipline, including ideas for following this approach at home.

12. Field Trips

Field trips are generally reserved for the second half of the school year.  There will be opportunities for children to go on walking field trips to nearby parks as well as field trips to locations further away, such as museums.  

Parents will be notified about field trips as early as possible and may be asked to sign a permission slip for their child to participate.  Parent chaperones are often needed for field trips, and the school makes every attempt to provide equal opportunities for parents to participate.  

In addition to field trips, there will also be opportunities during the school year to bring enriching experiences to the school.  Parents with special skills or knowledge of organizations that would be interested in doing presentations for the students are encouraged to contact the Director.   

13. Parent-Teacher Conferences

Three parent-teacher conferences are held during the school year though not all families will participate in all three.  The first round of conferences is held in September and is reserved for new ECD families only.  During this intake conference, the teachers will seek to learn more about the child and the family and will share their initial observations of the child.  An important goal for this conference is for parents and teachers to begin to establish a relationship.    

The mid-year conference is held in January and is open to all ECD families.  Parents will meet with the child’s English and Chinese teaching team, who will share their observations of the child from the point of view of developmental benchmarks.  Prior to this conference, parents will receive a written report of the child’s progress.  

The third conference is held in May and is reserved for families of children moving on to Kindergarten.  The child’s teaching team will share information about the child’s development and readiness for Kindergarten.  An important goal of this conference is to create a supportive plan for the child’s transition to Kindergarten.  

If a parent would like to have a discussion with a teacher outside of the scheduled conference times, it is ideal to make an appointment before or after school.

14. Playground

Parents are welcome to stay with their child on the playground before school or after dismissal. At 3:30 when the extended day program begins, the playground needs to be vacated. Before or after school hours, parents have full responsibility for the safety of their child on the playground. Children must be closely supervised at all times. When teachers are on duty, please stay on the sidelines as teachers need to be able to see the entire playground at all times.  

15. Lunch and Snack

Please note, the Alice A. Carnes Center (Waller Street campus) has a no nut and no candy policy.

Parents are responsible for providing lunch for their children.  Lunch containers should be clearly marked with the child’s name on the outside. In order to help children develop independence during mealtime, we encourage parents to send containers that are easy to open and close. Thermos style bottles are recommended for keeping food warm, if desired. A small cloth or paper placemat, a napkin and eating utensils should be included with packed lunches.

Families who are interested in ordering hot lunch may do so through our Alice A. Carnes Center (Waller Street campus) vendor, School Foodies.

Children are asked to eat a reasonable amount of their meal before eating dessert. Fruit or small low-sugar desserts are recommended. Children are asked to put any uneaten food back in their lunch container so that families can monitor what food has been eaten and to plan future lunches. Because some students have food allergies or restricted diets, children are instructed not to share their lunch.

Children are provided with a morning and afternoon snack.  All snacks are healthy and low in sugar.  Options for snack include fresh fruits and vegetables, yogurt, hummus, pretzels, cereal, or rice cakes.  

16. Allergy Procedures and Dietary Restrictions

CAIS remains committed to the safety and well being of all students. As our community continues to build awareness around food allergies, the school is taking measures to protect all students, regardless of their dietary needs.

Because peanuts and other nuts are a common allergy, the Alice A. Carnes Center (Waller Street campus) has instituted a no nut policy. We ask ECD families to help minimize the risk of an allergic reaction to nuts by following these guidelines:

  • No nuts of any kind, including peanuts or cashews are to be sent to school.

  • No foods containing nuts of any kind are to be sent to school, in particular peanut butter, hazelnut spread, certain granola bars, chocolate bars and biscuits containing nuts. This applies to items with nuts included as a listed ingredient. It does not apply to those foods labeled, “May contain traces of nuts.”

  • No nut oil, such as peanut oil.

  • Please encourage hand washing prior to the commencement of school if nut products have been eaten at home.

To further minimize the risk of an allergic reaction to nuts, ECD faculty and staff have taken the following steps:

  • No nuts or foods containing nuts will be served to children by the school for snack, lunch or special celebrations (Chinese New Year luncheon, Thanksgiving pie project, etc).

  • No nuts or foods containing nuts will be served to adults at events hosted on site where children are present (parent education, ECD orientation, etc).

  • ECD teachers, TAs and staff members will refrain from eating nuts or foods containing nuts in spaces shared with children when children are present.

Implied Consent: CAIS feels strongly that protective measures must be taken in life-threatening situations and will act immediately if a student shows signs of severe reactions to foods. Therefore, if at any time during the school day or during after-care hours a student (either with or without known food allergies) presents signs of anaphylaxis in response to an ingested food, the school will administer an epinephrine auto-injector (EpiPenTM or TwinjectTM).

Parents of Children with Food Allergies: In the summer, an Allergy Action Plan form will be shared will all families.  Please fill out the Allergy Action Plan as detailed as possible, and return it to ECD Administrative Assistant, Nicola Liu, If your child does not have known allergies, you do not need to fill out this form. This form is a first step in setting clear directives from you to CAIS faculty, and will be the guidepost by which teachers, administration and other staff members will determine the best course of action for your child in an allergy-related emergency. If your child requires medication for their allergies, parents must provide it.  Please provide two sets of medication (Benadryl, epinephrine auto-injector or other) including instructions and dosage information, for each of the child’s classroom.  Please also update your child’s health information in Veracross.  Read the section on “Illness and Medication” for more information about our medication policy.  

In the case of dietary restrictions, such as a strict vegetarian diet, it is helpful to identify specifically which foods should be avoided.  Teachers will compile a list of the children with allergies and dietary restrictions and post it in their classrooms and will inform new teachers, staff, or substitutes.  Teachers and administration will consult with each family regarding their child’s allergies or dietary restrictions if there are questions.

17. Naps

A nap or rest period is scheduled after lunch. Each child is provided a mat and blanket. Children who are used to sleeping with a special blanket, doll or stuffed animal may do so during nap as long as it is not a distraction. Nap is scheduled for 90 minutes. The length of time varies depending on the child. Teachers will create alternative arrangements for non-napping children that may include quiet activities in the classroom.  

18. Toys

Toys, stuffed animals and money should be left at home. Please explain to your child that treasured items belong at home, not at school where they may get lost or broken. Please try to handle this situation before entering school grounds. If there is an ongoing challenge with your child please speak with your child’s teachers. We may be able to offer some helpful suggestions. We do allow transitional objects for children with separation anxiety. However, these objects are to remain in the child’s cubby when they are not needed. The eventual goal is that once children feel more secure, they will leave these objects at home.

19. Communications

Parents will receive frequent communication from the Early Childhood Division Director in the form of a weekly newsletter. The newsletters may contain information about special activities, curriculum, program initiatives, announcements and upcoming events. Every week families will receive the CAIS Notices email that contains all-school information. There are family folders in the parent resource center in which families may leave paper notifications, including birthday invitations, for one another.

Parents will receive a monthly newsletter from the teachers that further details what your child is learning in the classroom. There are also SmugMug photo galleries where teachers upload photos each week for parents to view or download.

20.  Parent Participation

Parent Education

It is our intent to provide parent education specific to early childhood development throughout the school year. These opportunities will be announced well in advance, and childcare will be provided so that all families can attend. Should you like to learn more about a particular issue, please let us know and we will attempt to provide resources.

Room Parents

There are room parent volunteers for each classroom who help plan and organize events throughout the year.  There is one head room parent for ECD who will ensure that each room parent receives information about their role at the beginning of the year.  

Family School Alliance (FSA)

Please see section in Family Handbook on Family School Alliance.

Parent Association for Early Childhood Education (PAECE)

PAECE shares the same goal as the FSA of supporting the school’s mission, values, and programs through volunteer service and community building events and activities.  PAECE group members meet monthly during the school year and all parents are welcome to attend.  


There will be many opportunities throughout the year for parents to volunteer in the school.  Parents may be asked to volunteer by donating time or materials for a specific project.  Through events such as Mystery Readers, Thanksgiving Pie Project, and field trips, parents will have opportunities to work directly with children.  

21. Guidelines for Parent Communication

  • When concerns arise, seek information directly from the school, consulting with those best able to address the concerns.  

  • Most communications of classroom concerns should be directed to your child’s teacher.  If you have spoken with your child’s teacher and the issue has not been addressed to your satisfaction, then contact the director.

  • It is not appropriate to address your concerns about another child to their respective families.  Please speak with your child’s teachers.

  • When conversing with teachers or administrators, be mindful that you are speaking for yourself and not on behalf of a larger group.      

  • Recognize that confidentiality may limit the information that can be shared from school to parents, including consequences for other students’ behaviors.

  • Enter dialogues with an open mind and assume a shared best interest for your child.

  • Always use a respectful and polite tone.  

22. Birthdays, Celebrations and Holidays


Birthdays are celebrated in the afternoon of or close to the child’s actual birthday, before dismissal time. Because the birthday celebrations differ in English and Chinese class, please talk with the classroom teacher regarding your child’s birthday. Teachers must know in advance if a birthday is planned in order to prepare and avoid scheduling conflicts. Parents may provide small, individual treats to share with the class if they wish. Pieces of fruit, small cookies or small muffins are all appropriate food items.

Please do not send gooey sweets, cupcakes with icing, candy, ice cream, party favors, hats, balloons, gifts, or toys. Because the Alice A. Carnes Center (Waller Street campus) has a no nut policy, please do not send products containing nuts. If you choose not to send a treat to school, that is fine, teachers will still acknowledge your child’s birthday. You are invited to attend your child’s birthday if you wish. It is best to deliver treats in the morning during drop off. This allows teachers to proceed with your child’s birthday in the event you are delayed at the end of the day.

Mid-Autumn Moon Festival

Autumn Moon Festival is one of two important Chinese cultural celebrations that occur during the year (Chinese New Year is the other). Students learn about the holiday in their Chinese classes and sample mooncake.


Halloween is celebrated at ECD with a costume parade. Children who wish to participate may wear costumes to school on Halloween.  


Thanksgiving is celebrated in the ECD with a cooking project organized by parent volunteers. Children prepare pumpkin pies and parent volunteers cook them. All families are invited to the classrooms to eat pie with their children at the end of the day.

Mass Greeting / Chinese New Year (Kindergarten through eighth grades)

Mass Greeting is an important school-wide event when the students and teachers exchange a New Year’s greeting. It is a long, loud and enthusiastic show and can be overwhelming for three and four-year-olds. As such, ECD does not officially participate in this celebration. ECD children are welcome to attend, but they must do so with a parent or guardian. There will be no transportation between the Oak Street gymnasium where Mass Greeting takes place and the Alice A. Carnes Center (Waller Street campus), so ECD parents must transport their child on their own. For the rest of the school, all grades participate in Mass Greeting.

Lantern Festival

The lantern festival is at the end of Chinese New Year and is celebrated in students’ Chinese classes.

Valentine’s Day

We do not have a formal card exchange during the school day. However children are welcome to leave cards for their friends in the family folders if they choose.

Kite Day

This parent-organized event is held over a weekend in late April at the Little Marina Green in San Francisco. All ECD families are invited and teachers prepare activities in the classroom to extend children’s learning about Kite Day.

ECD Graduation

ECD Graduation is a celebration of the students moving on to Kindergarten, though all ECD children will participate in the ceremony.  It is typically held at the First Baptist Church, and all ECD families and friends are encouraged to attend.  

23. School Photos/Yearbook

School photos are taken in the fall. Families will be notified when this occurs. Yearbooks are distributed at the end of the school year, and all students will receive one.




Please follow the procedures described below as well as directions from security and support personnel during drop off and pick up. Our school is in a mixed-use neighborhood; it is imperative that we be considerate of our neighbors.

Traffic around our Oak Street campus is heavy. We advise the following strategies:

  • Assume that the morning arrival will be made at a time when traffic is at its worst, and leave a little early.

  • Carpool will reduce the number of cars approaching the campus.

  • Park at a meter or at one of the lots in the neighborhood. Walk a block or two with your child to the campus.

  • Please do not cut into the line waiting on Gough to turn left onto Hickory. Do not block the Fell-Gough intersection by entering the traffic line without allowing time for your car to clear the intersection before the light changes.

Drop Off Procedures

The task of developing an effective school schedule has taken time, effort and ongoing input. Factors taken into consideration include the health and safety of our students, drop off and pick up access in coordination with the French American International School and staff and space availability.

The school building opens at 7:30 a.m. when security personnel begin their duties and are available to monitor access into the building. Please do not drop off your child prior to 7:30 a.m. since no one is available to assure the safety of your child. Morning care is provided free of charge from 7:30 a.m. until your child’s class begins.

When dropping off your child on Hickory Street, please follow the instructions given by the security personnel. Their job is to facilitate the flow of traffic in an orderly and efficient manner while safeguarding the loading and unloading of students and monitoring pedestrians on the sidewalks. Your patience and cooperation goes a long way in making these procedures safe and effective as possible.


Please note that kindergarten children cannot be dropped off on Fell Street or Oak Street.

7:30 to 7:55 a.m. - Escorted by an adult or a sibling in second grade or older

  • Kindergarten students must be walked to the Oak Playground 7:30-8:00am. After 8:00am all Kindergarten students must be walked directly to their morning classroom.
  • On rainy days, please proceed directly to the morning classroom.
  • All children will remain on Oak Street Playground until they walk to class with their teachers at 8:00 a.m.

7:30 to 8:30 a.m. - Hickory Street Drop Off

  • Pull up on Hickory to a parking spot or pause in front of the door, as directed by the security guard on duty. The driver should not exit the car. The child gets out on their own and walks toward the door. Please move on as soon as possible.
  • A faculty member will greet the students at the front door where they will be walked to Oak Playground (7:30-8:00) or their indoor morning care location (8:00-8:30).
  • If you arrive later than 8:30 a.m. with your Kindergarten student, you must park in the neighborhood and walk the child into the school, sign them in at the front desk and walk them into the classroom.

First Grade

7:30 to 8:30 a.m. - Hickory Street Drop Off

  • A faculty member will meet the students when they get out of the car and direct them to Oak Playground (7:30-8:00) or their morning classroom (8:00-8:30).
  • On rainy days, please proceed directly to the morning classroom.

7:30 to 8:30 a.m. - Escorted by an Adult

  • You may park at a 10-minute zone on the north side of Oak Street and walk your child to Oak Playground (7:30-8:00) or your child’s morning classroom (8:00-8:30).

7:30 to 8:25 a.m. - Oak Street Sibling Drop Off

  • First grade students can be dropped off with a second to eighth grade sibling on the south side of Oak Street (in front of the gym) between 7:30 and 8:25 a.m.

After 8:30 a.m. - Sign-in at the Front Desk

  • (Late for School) After 8:30 a.m., drop your child off on Hickory Street in front of the main door. Remind your child to sign in at the front desk.

Second to Fifth Grade

7:30 to 8:30 a.m. - Hickory Street Drop Off

  • A faculty member will meet the students when they get out of the car and direct them to the Hickory Playground (7:30-8:00) or morning care locations (8:00-8:30).

7:30 to 8:25 a.m. - Fell Street Drop Off

  • An alternative drop off point is located on the south side of Fell Street with an entrance to the Hickory Playground. This option is only permissible for students in second grade and up. Kindergarten and first grade students may not be dropped off on Fell Street. Students will walk independently to morning care as no teachers are supervising at this location.

7:30 to 8:25 a.m. - Oak Street Drop Off

  • An alternative drop-off point is located on the south side of Oak Street (in front of the gym). Students will walk independently into the school as teachers are not available at this location.

7:30 to 8:25 a.m. - Escorted by an Adult

  • You may park at a 10-minute zone on the north side of Oak Street and walk your child to Hickory Playground until 8:00am or their morning care location until 8:30.

In the case of rain, all second to fifth grade children will proceed directly to morning care.

Pick Up Procedures

Hickory Street pick up times are as follows.

  • 3:00-3:15 p.m.: Kindergarten to fifth grade.
  • 3:30-3:45 p.m.: Sibling pick up.
  • 4:00-4:15 p.m.: Study hall pick up.

Helpful hints to guide you through the pick up procedure.

  • You may pick up your child at the classroom door at 2:55.
  • If picking up on Hickory Street please display your car tag on the dashboard.
  • There will be no pick up on Hickory Street during the following times.
    • 3:15 - 3:30 p.m. (FAIS pick up)
    • 3:45 - 4:00 p.m. (FAIS pick up)
  • If you arrive during a FAIS pick up time, you will be waved through and will have to circle the block until the CAIS window.
  • We will not have any teachers or staff members along Hickory during the FAIS pick up times noted above, therefore please do not ask your child to wait for pick up during those times.
  • If you pick up your child on foot, please cross the street at designated crosswalks.
  • We understand that urban traffic can be heavy. While we make every effort to have students in the correct location on time, please understand that mistakes do happen. Your cooperation during these difficult moments ensures a smooth dismissal for all students and fosters a respectful school community.
  • Please give as much advanced notice as possible, preferably 24 hours, for changes in pick-up routines because teachers often do not check email during school hours. Your child will go directly to study hall if teachers know ahead of time that you will be late.
  • If your child goes to extended day on a regular basis please also notify Auxiliary Program Director Kevin Lee and appropriate extended staff if there is a change to the scheduled pick up arrangements.
  • If you arrive late, you will need to park and sign out your child from the extended care classroom.
  • If there is an emergency and you cannot pick up your child please call the main desk at 415-865-6000.

Kindergarten to Fifth Grade

3:00 to 3:15 p.m. - Dismissal; Pick Up on Hickory Street

Teachers will escort students to the sidewalk on Hickory Street at 3:00 p.m. Please place your car tag on the visor on the passenger side of the car. Remain in a single lane and follow the directions from the traffic monitors. Your child’s teacher will recognize your car according to the car tag and will walk your child to your car once you have made a complete stop. The driver does not exit the car. Please keep conversation to a minimum to keep the flow of traffic moving smoothly. Do not to stop to load backpacks and other belongings in the trunk. Pull away as soon as possible after your child is safely in the car.

3:30 to 3:45 p.m. - Hickory Street Sibling Pick Up

See above procedure.

4:00-4:15 p.m. - Study hall pick up

See above procedure.

Authorization for Pick Up

You must login to your Veracross account and enter the name of the adult(s) or siblings into the pick up authorization field. If a person is not authorized through your Veracross account, they may not pick up your child.

Once you have entered the name of the adult(s) into the pick up authorization field in Veracross, the authorized adult must present government issued photo ID when entering the school to pick up your child.

Second grade children and above may sign out a younger sibling from the auxiliary program and walk them to Hickory Street for pick up. The older sibling must be added to Veracross pick up authorization.

Lower school students are not allowed to leave school grounds unaccompanied at any time and will only be released to parents or authorized individuals. Middle school siblings may pick up lower school siblings at dismissal, however older siblings must be added to Veracross pick up authorization. At the end of the school day, students who leave campus may not return unless accompanied by an authorized adult.

Students must be collected from their classrooms if they are being picked up from school before 3:00 p.m. dismissal. Under no circumstance will students be permitted to wait for you or an authorized adult at the front desk or on the curbside. Please email and classroom teachers preferably 24 hours in advance if you are picking up your child early from school.

2. Lower School Behavior Response System

In order to uphold the safety and expectations of respect in the school community, the lower school has in place a behavior response protocol. This protocol ensures there is a consistent way to respond to and record student behavior.

CAIS works in every classroom to proactively teach social and emotional skills to students. We understand that prosocial teaching will not prevent all student misbehavior. When children misbehave, our response begins for minor situations with positive discipline: reminders and redirections, offering limited choices, making amends, resolving conflicts, and imparting logical consequences. When behavior escalates, so do interventions. There are times where the needs of an individual student are balanced with the needs of the community of students. Responses such as suspension may be implemented to take the child out of situations where their behavior may be disruptive or harmful to others. Our policy is that we will respect the privacy of our students and not discuss consequences or interventions with other children’s families, so please be aware that there may be responses to student behavior that are not discussed with the family of a child who has been disrespected by another child. Interventions can include behavioral plans for students, structures for regular home-school communication, referrals to outside practitioners, or other supportive processes created with the understanding that prosocial behavior is a skill that can be taught. It is our expectation that all families will bring empathy to children needing support in learning appropriate behavior.

Some behaviors require intensive intervention. These conduct issues are taken seriously because they can adversely affect the school culture and community and threaten the safety of others.

Examples of conduct requiring administrative response (including but not limited to):

  • physical aggression
  • repeated physical and/or verbal intimidation
  • defiance
  • discriminatory language, slurs or actions
  • malicious, repeated or serious teasing/taunting
  • destruction of property or theft
  • threat of harm to others
  • repeated deliberate exclusion/ostracizing
  • repeated or serious disruptions

1st time and/or less severe behavioral issue: 

  1. The supervising teacher will contact a lower school administrator to report the incident.
  2. The student will be sent to a lower school administrator, who determines whether the student is able to rejoin the class that day. This may involve being removed from class and sent home for the remainder of the school day or being placed in an alternate classroom or school location for an in school suspension for the day.
  3. A lower school administrator will call the parents of all students involved in the incident and report the observed behavior. Confidentiality will be maintained; families will be informed only of the consequences or steps taken to support their student(s), but not the details regarding how other children are addressed.
  4. A Behavior Report will be filled out by a lower school administrator and sent home.

2nd time and/or moderately severe behavioral issue: 

  1. The supervising teacher will contact a lower school administrator to report the incident.
  2. A lower school administrator will call the parents of all students involved in the incident and report the observed behavior. Confidentiality will be maintained; families will be informed only of the consequences or steps taken to support their student(s), but not the details regarding how other children are addressed.
  3. The student will be removed from class and sent home or to an alternate in school suspension location for the remainder of the school day.
  4. In the interest of upholding the safety and learning of the community, the student may be suspended from school the next day.
  5. A Behavior Report will be filled out by a lower school administrator and sent home.

3rd time and/or severe behavioral issue: 

  1. The supervising teacher will contact a lower school administrator to report the incident.
  2. A lower school administrator will call the parents of all students involved in the incident and report the observed behavior. Confidentiality will be maintained; families will be informed only of the consequences or steps taken to support their student(s), but not the details regarding how other children are addressed.
  3. The student will be removed from class and sent home for the remainder of the school day.
  4. In the interest of upholding the safety and learning of the community, the student will be suspended from school for up to three days; parent conference required for re-admission.
  5. A Behavior Report will be filled out by a lower school administrator and sent home.

If there are further major incidents, it is at the discretion of the CAIS administration to consider next steps, which could include expulsion from the school.

If a student is involved in an incident that did, or could have, resulted in serious harm to self, others or school property, the Lower School Director, Assistant Lower School Director and Head of School will decide whether immediate suspension or expulsion is warranted.

The behavior response protocol stays in place for a period of time from the date of the most recent conduct incident. The period of time varies by grade level as is developmentally appropriate.

  • Kindergarten - First Grade: One Month
  • Second Grade - Third Grade: Two Months
  • Fourth Grade - Fifth Grade: Three Months

If there are no conduct issues requiring administrative response during this period, the protocol reverts to 1st time.

Note: The behavior response system only reverts to “1st time” once during the school year.

Note for K-1: Early Childhood is a unique phase in child development, requiring a developmentally appropriate approach to behavior management. Responses to behavior are best when they are immediate, delivered by adults with a strong connection to the child, focused on the action rather than the individual, and used as teaching opportunities.​ For this reason, the consequences and structure laid out in the behavior response system may be adjusted for kindergarten and first grade. Responses to behavior may include:

  • Immediate logical consequences, such as “if you hit, you sit.”
  • Teacher led response for major acts that are not repeated in nature
  • Positive reinforcement systems for targeted behavior goals
  • Conferring with family about outside support

Professional Support

The school reserves the right to require a student receive an outside evaluation or professional support. A student’s continued enrollment at CAIS may be contingent upon a family’s compliance with the school’s directive. 

The Administration of the School reserves the right to modify the protocol outlined above, and alter consequences whenever necessary in order to protect students, faculty and staff, and maintain the integrity of the educational environment.

3. Social and Emotional Learning
The lower school has a formal social and emotional learning (SEL) program called The Toolbox Project. The Toolbox Project allows for skill building in the core SEL competency areas: self awareness and self management; social awareness and relationship skills; responsible decision making. This particular program was chosen as the basis for SEL because it addresses these competency areas, yet is simple enough to allow for a common approach throughout the lower school - in English and Chinese classes, in specialist classes, at lunch and recess - to guide our students in understanding themselves and in empathizing and getting along with others. These are skills that have been identified as being as important to success in life as academic skills and are in line with the CAIS mission to “become your best self” and “create your place in the world.”
The Toolbox Project consists of 12 tools. During the the initial implementation year (2013-2013) the tools were introduced in all grades in lower school. Now the tools are taught in Kindergarten and reinforced in first to fifth grades. The tools were translated into Chinese so that Chinese language teachers could engage students in the Chinese classroom.
We encourage families to find opportunities to model using these tools in adult life.

The 12 Tools—Tools for Learning, Tools for Life

  • Breathing Tool: I can take a breath; I calm myself.
  • Quiet/Safe Place Tool: I remember my quiet/safe place.
  • Listening Tool: I listen with my ears, eyes and heart.
  • Empathy Tool: I care for others; I care for myself.
  • Personal Space Tool: I have a right to my space and so do you.
  • Using Our Words Tool: I ask for what I want and need.
  • Garbage Can Tool: I let the little things go.
  • Taking Time Tool: I use time wisely.
  • Please and Thank You Tool: I treat others with kindness and appreciation.
  • Apology and Forgiveness Tool: I admit my mistakes and work to forgive yours.
  • Patience Tool: I am strong enough to wait.
  • Courage Tool: I have the courage to do the “right” thing.

4. Lower School E-reader and Cell Phone Policy
In second to fifth grade, students are allowed to usee-readers such as iPads, Nooks, iPod Touch and Kindles (or or other electronic readers) with parental permission (whether by note, verbal mention, or email to the student’s teacher). These devices may only be used as e-readers and the use of apps, the internet or games is prohibited. These devices may be brought to school only at the owner’s risk. They are not covered by CAIS’ insurance. Students may use e-readers in the classroom with a supervising adult’s permission. Students are not to take the devices to the playgrounds.
Students in lower school are not permitted to carry cell phones, smart watches, camera watches, smart locators, or other devices with cellular technology throughout the day. Cell phone use during school hours is not permitted except in the case of an emergency with lower school administrator approval. Cell phones, smart watches, and smart locators must be kept in backpacks. Office phones are available for students to make calls.
Electronic games are not permitted at school. Handheld gaming devices such as the Nintendo DS and PlayStation Vita are not permitted at school.
If students do not use the devices appropriately as outlined above, the following steps will be taken:
First time: Device will be confiscated and will be returned at the end of the school day.
Second time: Device will be confiscated and will be returned at the end of the school day.
Third time: Device will be confiscated, device must be retrieved by an authorized adult, and device is not allowed on campus or during school-sponsored activities for the remainder of the school year. Offenses are cumulative per student, not per individual device.

5. Toys
Students are not to bring toys of any kind with them to school. This includes cards, balls and fidget spinners and gadgets. We provide students with community games and equipment for recess and physical education periods.

6. Lockers
Lockers are made available for students in 3rd-5th grade in order to ease transitions between Chinese and English classrooms.

We expect students to be responsible in the use of their lockers and respectful of others’ lockers.
Nothing of value should be brought to school or stored in lockers.
School rules, such as no toys or candy allowed at school, also apply to lockers.

3rd graders may not use combination or key locks to secure their lockers
4th and 5th graders may use combination locks to secure their locker, although this is discouraged. The combination code must be provided to the teacher before the lock is used.
If access to a student’s locker is required, the teachers or school administrators will use the combination or cut the lock.

Outside of lockers
No decorations of any kind may be placed on the outside of lockers.
Personal items such as lunchboxes or backpacks must be stored in lockers or classrooms, not in hallways.

Inside of lockers
3rd graders may not post anything inside their lockers. This includes, but is not limited to, items such as: magnets, mirrors, mini whiteboards and locker shelves.
4th and 5th graders may place items that are useful to them inside their lockers. This may include items such as: mini whiteboards, schedules, and calendars.

Teachers and Lower School division directors may revoke locker privileges for any student who does not abide by the above agreements.

7. Field Trips
Field trips enhance classroom instruction and are an integral part of a well-rounded curriculum. Field trips are designed to link school learning with the real world and provide experiential learning opportunities for our students.
Individual permission slips detailing all pertinent information are sent home prior to each event to keep you informed of your child’s school activities. This additional form must be returned with your signature in order for your child to participate in the field trip.
Parent drivers volunteering for field trips are required to submit a driver Information form along with their drivers license and proof of insurance. All children traveling in a parent’s car must have a seat belt.

8. Auxiliary Program
You will receive information about extended day and enrichment programs from the Auxiliary Program office.
For detailed information about the extended day program, please see the Extended Day Handbook.

9. Lower School Libraries
Lower School students have access to two libraries that between CAIS and FAIS, hold over 45,000 volumes of books, magazines and multimedia publications. Additionally, students have access to the largest elementary school collection of Chinese books and films in the United States; a total of 3,000 Chinese volumes.
The Herbst Foundation Lower School Library—Basement (Kindergarten to Second Grade)
The Herbst Foundation Lower School Library is located on the basement level of our Oak campus and serves Kindergarten through second grade students. This library is designed to serve our younger students who are restricted from using the third floor library due to San Francisco Building Code restrictions.
The Li Sumin and Yih Aichu Chinese Library—Third Floor (Third to Fifth Grade)
This library, located on the third floor, is open to students in third grade to fifth grade. The library is shared with students, parents, faculty and staff and French American International School. Computers are available to access the card catalog and research on the Internet. Students, parents, faculty and staff are invited to use the library for research and to check out books, or to just read during library hours. Librarians from both schools are always ready to answer your questions and help locate information.

Library Hours
The Herbst Foundation Lower School Library—Basement : Monday through Friday, 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 to 4:00 p.m.
The Li Sumin and Yih Aichu Chinese Library—Third Floor: Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Library Rules
No games, gum, candy, food or drinks are permitted in the library.
When finished with a book, or leaving the library, students should place books on a library cart.
Damaging or removing materials or disturbing others in the library will result in removal from the library or revocation of privileges.

Circulation Policy
Students and parents may borrow up to six items. Books and periodicals are loaned for two-week periods. They may be renewed twice if no other requests exist for the items.
The borrower named on the loan record is responsible for the return of the material by the date due. Students with overdue items will be required to bring their library accounts up to date before renewing or checking out additional items.
The borrower is responsible for paying to replace any items lost or returned to the library damaged.
DVDs may be checked out on Thursday or Fridays and are due the following Monday. All library materials must be returned by the end of the year or families may be billed.

Use of Computers in the Library
Laptop computers are available for use during regular library hours. The Internet may only be used for educational and/or school projects. Games, game sites and online chatting are forbidden.




1. Middle School Statement of Purpose

CAIS middle school strives to prepare confident, creative and curious learners who are ready to meet the demands of high school. Taking a whole-child approach, CAIS fosters academic, social and emotional skills, allowing students to thrive in the academic arena as well as the social environment. Our aim is to create a community in which all students feel safe and supported, can be their best selves and are willing to take risks in order to learn.

Upon their graduation, CAIS graduates are able to:

  • Demonstrate written and spoken fluency in Chinese and English.
  • Exhibit a curiosity that inspires lifelong intellectual and emotional growth.
  • Develop independent, critical and creative thinking skills.
  • Strive to become a person with a strong sense of personal and social responsibility.
  • Act with integrity and compassion.
  • Value self, others and the environment.
  • Respect diverse views, beliefs and cultures.
  • Contribute to local and global communities.
  • Honor values of universal respect, equity and justice.

2. Academics

Based on a foundation of best practices in education, the newest brain research, and standards by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) and National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) standards, the middle school curriculum is a dynamic, growing and changing force. Mastery of essential concepts and skills combined with support of individual strengths helps students become dedicated and reflective learners. A hands-on, minds-on, interdisciplinary curriculum guides students to apply concepts to the issues in their community and world as well as in their own lives. Students think globally and explore multiple perspectives while celebrating differences and harnessing the power of collaboration.

Sixth Grade

At this time in their lives, students undergo cognitive, social and emotional and physical transitions. They learn and practice the habits of mind essential to succeeding in middle school and outside of the classroom. Students are invited to learn responsibility and organization, master specific study skills and make healthy choices. The daily schedule, classroom environment and behavioral expectations are geared to the needs of early adolescents.

Highlights of the sixth grade include

  • Community building-focused outdoor education experience that includes ropes course and ocean ecology.
  • Advisory sessions focusing on transition to middle school, building respect, community and self-esteem.
  • Integrated, project-based approach across the curriculum..
  • Writing and Reading Workshop approach with an emphasis on writing and reading strategies, building a writing and reading life, volume of writing and reading, and student choice.
  • After school sports and athletic teams.
  • Integrated science and math curriculum surveys the scientific method, measurement, data use and analysis, geometry, density, and astronomy and simple machines.
  • Study of ancient civilizations around the world.
  • Integrated science and math curriculum surveys the scientific method, measurement, data use and analysis, geometry, density, and astronomy and simple machines.
  • 1:1 Chromebook program.
  • Design Technology program introduces students to a variety of digital and analog technologies, along with the Design Thinking framework.
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion skills integrated across the curriculum.

Seventh Grade

Students journey from concrete thinking to more abstract, conceptual understanding. An interdisciplinary approach guides students through problem solving and critical thinking processes to find meaningful relationships between what they learn and their everyday lives.

Highlights of the seventh grade include

  • Interdisciplinary, dual language approach to learning.
  • Community oriented weeklong outdoor education experience involving rock climbing, hiking and exploring caves, with an additional focus on astronomy.
  • Weekly advisory sessions on identity development and building community.
  • Reading and Writing Workshop approach with an emphasis on reading and writing strategies, deep study of a variety of genres, book clubs, and voracious independent reading.
  • Study of Middle Ages cultures around the world. .
  • Scientific study of bacteria and viruses.
  • Three-week learning experience in China.
  • Community oriented weeklong outdoor education experience involving activities such as rock climbing, hiking, exploring caves and astronomy.
  • 1:1 Chromebook program.
  • Design Technology program that focuses on application of tools and skills to develop student inventions.
  • A focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion skills across the curriculum.

Eighth Grade

Students engage in an increasingly collaborative and democratic learning environment emphasizing choice, independence and intellectual self-reflection. They enjoy opportunities for self-directed inquiry based on their emerging status as bilingual, multicultural individuals.

Highlights of the eighth grade include

  • Interdisciplinary, dual language approach to learning.
  • Weekly advisory sessions based on developing leadership and skills for balancing a healthy lifestyle and the demands of an interconnected world.
  • Community oriented weeklong outdoor education experience involving activities such as rock climbing, hiking, exploring caves and astronomy.
  • Integrated units across subjects, including Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion skills.
  • Service learning within San Francisco’s Chinese community.
  • Reading and Writing Workshop approach with an emphasis on student agency, reading and writing strategies, deep study of a variety of genres, book clubs, and voracious independent reading.
  • Study of US Government and History.
  • Opportunity to participate in a two-week service learning trip to China.
  • 1:1 ipad program
  • Design Technology program that offers opportunities for longer student projects and community showcases.


3. Auxiliary Program

You will receive information about extended day and enrichment programs from the Auxiliary Program office.

For detailed information about the extended day program, please see the Extended Day Handbook.


The athletic program at CAIS provides any student who desires to be part of team sports with opportunities to participate as a team member in athletic competition with other schools. In addition to the development of physical skills, participants also develop sportsmanship, citizenship, teamwork, self-discipline, loyalty, tolerance and perseverance.

CAIS is a member of the San Francisco Athletics League (SFAL) and competes with 15 other San Francisco schools throughout the school year in the following sports.

  • Fall: cross-country and co-ed volleyball

  • Winter: boys and girls basketball

  • Spring: co-ed futsal

4. Parent-Teacher Conferences

Conferences are ten minutes with subject area teachers for seventh and eighth grades, and twenty minutes for grade six conferences, which will be student led during the 2017-2018 school year.

5. Field Trips

Teachers in the middle school use field trips to augment learning. We have established a relationship with the Asian Art Museum and visit the site to learn from the exhibits and special performances, to perform ourselves and share our own learning. Other field trips have included Angel Island, Chinatown, and local performance venues.

6. Health Education

Each year students participate in a week of health education led by a trained specialist to learn about their bodies, physical, emotional and social development and decision-making. The learning that takes place over three years in middle school helps prepare students for life as a high school student who will need to make difficult social choices. Additional instruction takes place in science class and advisory.

7. High School Placement

CAIS graduates attend many different types of high schools including private, public, parochial, and boarding. Just as every student is different, so is every high school, so finding the right fit is a highly individualized process. All eighth graders at CAIS work with the high school placement counselor to find schools that are both academically challenging and best suited to each student’s personal interests. All CAIS students and their parents receive guidance in eighth grade about the specifics of the application process through individual meetings and advisory.

8. Homework

Homework is an important part of the middle school academic program and students are expected to complete homework as assigned. Teachers work together to make sure that large assignments and tests are staggered so that students are not overloaded at the same time by many assignments.

At home, students synthesize and apply mastered skills and knowledge as well as practice what they have learned at school. Students should be able to work independently on homework, although parents may provide oversight to be sure students are on task and maintain reasonable work schedules.

Although homework is posted on the Veracross student information system, we encourage students to assignments in a daily planner. The planner is also useful in helping ensure students bring home the necessary materials for that evening’s work. In addition to reviewing the planner with together, you can help students create calendars that allow everyone to know when assignments are due. You can provide additional support for students by providing a quiet work space, study materials such as dictionary, pencils, pens, computer, paper and art pencils and good lighting. Most studies indicate that for many reasons computers should be in a public space within the home so parents can supervise student computer activity.

Brain research tells us that adequate sleep is essential for student health and learning; parents may want to restrict after school activities to allow students to be able to complete homework and still get a full night’s sleep (8-9 hours for adolescents). If homework is taking significantly more than two hours (an average of one to three, depending on the student) nightly, parents should contact teachers to enlist their help in management of the homework load. No child should ever be up past 10:00 p.m. doing homework and we strongly encourage students to take advantage of the new 8:45 start time for classes so they can sleep in a little later as well.

9. Special Periods

Extra Help Period

The Extra Help period is a twenty-minute period each day when grade level teachers are available to meet with students who need help with assignments or short-term tutoring. This period allows students to develop their self-advocacy skills and we encourage them to come prepared with questions or a plan for how to use this time. It is also a time when students can work on homework assignments or sit quietly and read for pleasure.


Zhang Heng and Clubs Periods

The new middle school schedule contains two opportunities for learning based on student preference; a Zhang Heng 张衡 Period (named for Zhang Heng, an astronomer, mathematician, engineer, and painter who lived during the Eastern Han Dynasty), and a meeting time for student clubs. The Zhang Heng 张衡 Period occurs once every eight-day schedule cycle and is an opportunity for students and teachers to delve more deeply into academic areas they are passionate about. The club period, a lunch extended by 80 minutes, will, at last, provide a viable meeting time for students clubs, something there is a demonstrated need for in the middle school.


10. International Programs

We offer middle school students two wonderful opportunities to participate in international programs in China, where they can apply their language skills and understanding of Chinese history and cultures within authentic cultural contexts. The CAIS China Academy is an intensive, three-week language immersion program for seventh graders. Currently located in Beijing, China, and operated in partnership with School Year Abroad and Sanfan Middle School, the program includes daily small-group Chinese classes, cultural enrichment activities, and field trips and excursions. Students live in homestays for the duration. This program is an integral part of the seventh grade curriculum, and all students are expected to participate (unless health issues prevent participation).

On the two-week Eighth Grade China Trip, students learn about community, culture, and life in less-developed rural and minority areas of China. While typically more demanding than CAIS’ other international programs, this trip offers students an unparalleled opportunity to immerse themselves in remote communities, using their high-level Chinese to interact with locals and learn about a wide range of Chinese experiences. Trip locations vary from year to year, but may include Yunnan, Qinghai, and Gansu provinces.

11. Outdoor Education

Early in the school year, each grade level participates in a multiple-day retreat designed to enhance community-building, expand leadership skills and augment and support our curriculum. Activities such as ropes course work, rock climbing, hiking, cooking and other cooperative projects serve to challenge the individual while building a sense of team and group identity. Past trips have included Westminster Woods, Big Basin and the Pinnacles. Additionally, we value outdoor education as a way to help our students develop an appreciation for the environment.

12. Technology

Middle School 1:1 Chromebook and iPad Program

In the Middle School, CAIS has a one-to-one Chromebook program in grades six and seven, and a one-to-one iPad program in grade eight. Incoming sixth grade students will be provided with a Chromebook by the school.

13. Testing

In addition to class observations, projects, reports and homework, teachers use tests to measure how a student learns. Tests are announced ahead of time and are posted on Veracross to prevent students from having too many tests at the same time.

In addition to classroom exams, students participate in a number of formal tests. Following Thanksgiving break, six and seventh grade students take ERB CTP 4 tests provided by the Educational Reference Bureau (ERB). In sixth and eighth grades, students take the Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI).

The tests serve two purposes, the first is student needs. The results are used by teachers to gain additional insight to the needs of individual students. The information will be used along with the results of teacher developed assessment tools to identify the needs of individual students. The second purpose is program evaluation. The results are used to help us evaluate the overall quality of our program. Information gained is used in determining where adjustments in the program would be beneficial for our students.

The middle school program also offers the opportunity for eighth grade students to take the SSAT high school entrance test at CAIS. We offer test preparation for students on campus through the auxiliary program.

14. Student Life


Student advisory groups are smaller than normal class groups. Advisory teachers become caring advocates for students and may be either the child’s classroom teacher or another staff member. The advisory curriculum covers interpersonal skills, study skills, drug and alcohol education, technology use education and other topics of interest for growing pre-adolescents and teens. For sixth graders, there is an additional focus on adjusting to middle school, including academic and social skill building. Students meet in advisory groups daily.


Middle school assemblies are times for community building and learning. The entire Middle School comes together periodically for a variety of activities including service learning projects, outside speakers and our annual all middle school spelling bee.

Community Meetings

The entire middle school meets each week on Monday morning for a community meeting to share information about the upcoming week, hear faculty and student announcements, watch student arts performances, and celebrate individual and group artistic, academic, and athletic achievements.


Middle school provides ample opportunity for our students to develop their leadership skills in formal and informal ways. Cooperative learning groups and formal presentations are classroom leadership opportunities in which students hone public speaking skills, stating opinions and thoughts in the presence of peers. In the 2017-2018 school year, students will be encouraged to design and even lead courses and clubs during the Zhang Heng and Clubs periods which each meet once during each eight day schedule cycle.

Student Council

Another way for students to get involved and develop their leadership skills is through Student Council. This organization is responsible for helping to build community and school spirit, as well as much of the school’s social programming, including dances, movie nights and spirit days. Student Council is also responsible for weekly bun sales. In addition, Student Council helps organize fundraisers and donation drives for a variety of causes. An election for the four officers occurs late in the spring, and class representatives are elected in the beginning of each school year.

15. Student Behavior, Expectations and Support

We care deeply and are committed to the success of all students; we strive to make ourselves available to support students in many ways. We are also committed to creating an environment in which every student feels safe and comfortable to be her or himself. We believe it is the responsibility of us all — faculty, administration and parents — to work together to ensure that students understand and adapt to school guidelines and are successful in the CAIS middle school program.

School is a place for learning and growing—academically, socially and emotionally—and middle school students are expected to come to school each day ready to engage. Although middle school can be a difficult time for students as they are dealing with changing bodies, relationships, priorities and pressures, behavior must conform to common standards that allow all members of the community to feel safe and facilitate learning. Our goal is to help students become the best they can be. Students who exhibit concerning behaviors or academic patterns will receive consequences for the behaviors, as well as the opportunity to reflect on their actions and mend any broken relationships. If a pattern of misbehavior emerges, parents will be called in to collaborate with the school and the student in creating a more detailed plan to help the student get back on the right track.

Our philosophy of conduct and consequences is based on our strong belief that character counts. Each member of our community has the right to feel safe and respected in a caring environment where shared core ethical values are the foundations of learning. Expectations for student conduct are defined by the four elements of the CAIS middle school community, our CAIS community code.

16. Social and Emotional Development of Middle School Students

While every adolescent is an individual with a unique personality, special interests, likes and dislikes, there are numerous developmental issues that everyone faces during the preadolescent and adolescent years. While they may vary slightly, the normal feelings and behaviors of middle school students may include

Independence vs. Conformity

  • Struggle with sense of identity;
  • Feeling awkward or strange about one’s self and one’s body;
  • Focus on self, alternating between high expectations and poor self-esteem;
  • Interests and clothing style influenced by peer group;
  • Peer group approval has increased importance;
  • Moodiness;
  • Improved ability to use speech to express oneself;
  • Realization that parents are not perfect; identification of their faults.
  • Less overt affection shown to parents, with occasional rudeness;
  • Complaints that parents interfere with independence;
  • Tendency to return to childish behavior, particularly when stressed.


  • Display shyness, blushing and modesty;
  • Girls typically develop physically sooner than boys;
  • Increased interest in sex;
  • Concerns regarding physical and sexual attractiveness to others;
  • Frequently changing relationships;
  • Worries about being normal;
  • Experimentation with sexuality.

Cognitive Growth

  • Rule and limit testing;
  • Capacity for abstract thought;
  • Development of ideals and selection of role models;
  • More consistent evidence of conscience;
  • Mostly interested in present, but limited thoughts of the future;
  • Intellectual interests expand and gain in importance;
  • Greater ability to do work (physical, mental, emotional).

As adults responsible for supporting students through this exciting and often trying time, it’s good to keep some guidelines in mind.

  • Since kids are likely to test limits, boundaries must be clear.
  • At the same time, parents can help students feel competent by giving them opportunities to experience independence when appropriate.
  • As kids move through adolescence, it’s important for them to experience privileges and increased independence. Save some things for them to earn and grow into as they mature.
  • Know that there are times in middle school when kids may be tempted to ‘take the easy way out’ and in some cases even lie and cheat. It’s our job to guide them through the decision-making process to help them choose to do the right and honest thing.

17. Academic Honesty Policy

Philosophy Statement

CAIS aims to support students in becoming their best selves. Throughout our curriculum we explicitly educate and equip students with ethical academic skills. We believe upholding high expectations around academic honesty will support their learning and prepare them for future academic endeavors. For students, this academic honesty policy serves to promote personal integrity, protect the ideas and work of others, and ensure all students have an equal opportunity to demonstrate knowledge, skills and opinions.

Definitions of Academic Dishonesty

Cheating is defined as using unauthorized answers or sources to receive credit for schoolwork. Some examples are looking at someone else’s paper, copying from your notebook when you are supposed to use only your memory (e.g., on quizzes and tests), or copying someone else’s homework because you did not complete yours.

Plagiarism is defined as a form of cheating when you present another person’s words or ideas as your own without giving the originator credit for the information, even when paraphrasing the author’s original words. Some common examples of plagiarism are copying information from a book without using quotation marks and without including a bibliography at the end of the assignment listing the sources used. All information in academic assignments that is not common knowledge must be cited and documented.

Complicity is defined as allowing your work to be copied or submitted for assessment.

Unauthorized materials:  If a student has notebooks, calculators, cell phones, or any other material or electronic device that the teacher has not said that students may use during a test or assignment, then that student is cheating.  Students must only use what the teachers say is allowed.

The academically honest student in Grades 6, 7 & 8:


  • His/her own work
  • Follows all assignment rules
  • Acknowledges help from parents, tutors, other students
  • Acknowledges the source of direct quotations
  • Acknowledges information taken from books, the Internet, and all other sources
  • Acknowledges reference materials in a bibliography
  • Knows what constitutes cheating and abides by the rules
  • Brings the effort of others who cheat to the attention of school officials
  • Seeks help from a teacher or adult when he/she needs or feels overwhelmed


  • Use notes during a test unless allowed by a teacher
  • Copy from another student during a test
  • Copy from the homework of another student
  • Hand in work as his/her own that has been copied
  • Do homework for another student
  • Give another student his/her own work to copy
  • Communicate with other students during a test


The major consequence of academic dishonesty is that people who engage in it hurt themselves. Good research and writing involve a host of skills. Students who plagiarize may never learn these skills, and life in high school, college and beyond can be difficult without them.

Students who violate the academic honesty policy may receive a “zero” or “no credit” for an assignment attempted or completed dishonestly. The student will discuss her/his situation with administration and parents will be notified. A repeat offense will be reviewed by the administration with possible consequences of suspension or notation on transcript.

18. Attendance

Middle school students are expected to be at school by 8:30 a.m. and be in their seats and ready to learn by 8:45 a.m. Students may arrive at campus anytime after 7:30 a.m. but are strongly urged to take advantage of the late start time to get a good night’s sleep. Students are expected to attend all classes, arriving on time with all the necessary materials.

Students who are not in their first period class by 8:45 a.m. are considered tardy. If students arrive after 8:45 a.m. they must sign in with the assistant to the middle school director’s office (888 Turk reception desk) and get a late pass. Teachers will not admit students into class after 8:45 a.m. without a late pass. Please note that absences and tardies are included on transcripts sent to high schools as part of their application process.

Unexcused tardiness will be addressed in the following manner.

  • First and second offense: Verbal warning from teacher.

  • Third offense: communication with family to address the issue.

Please report any absences by emailing . It is the student’s responsibility to get and make-up any work missed while absent. In addition to checking Veracross, students should communicate with their teachers before leaving for a planned vacation or after returning from an unexpected absence.

Excused absences include illness, religious observance, or family emergencies. Unexcused absences are absences that have no explanation or are for things other than described above.

Eighth grade shadow visits at high schools are not recorded as an absence; however, all work missed during the school day must be completed and turned in.  Please schedule these visits as early as possible so teachers may receive advance notice and be better able to accommodate these absences.  Students are responsible for collecting and completing their assignments on these days.

If your child needs to leave school early or during the school day for an appointment or for any reason, please let the school know by sending an email to All people who need to know will be notified.

19. Immunizations

Please see immunizations information in the All School Family Handbook above.

20. Behavior Response System

As is written in CAIS’s mission statement, we ask each of our students to “become your best self.” We believe that by embodying the four elements of our CAIS community—respect, responsibility, honesty and citizenship—our students will be closer to achieving that. However, we recognize that students will make mistakes along the way, as this is a normal part of development, and it is our hope that reflection and learning will occur to help steer future decision-making.

Similar to the lower school, the middle school employs a behavior response system. The goals of this system are:

  • To help ensure all members of our community feel safe and respected.

  • To guide students in taking responsibility for their actions.

  • To facilitate students’ understanding that their behavior has intentional and unintentional consequences on the self, others, and the community at large.

  • To mitigate the number of behavioral transgressions.


Whenever possible, warnings are issued to students to correct or prevent behavior. A warning may be a simple reminder or a larger conversation. Examples of behaviors that would receive

initial warnings include talking during class, running in the hallways, swearing or not following

directions. However, receiving multiple warnings for the same behavior may lead to a student, parents, and the middle school director.

Serious Offenses for Students

Serious offenses include fighting, bullying, kicking, shoving, academic cheating, using inappropriate language, being disrespectful, persistently disrupting a class or school activity, and bringing to campus any item not allowed on campus.

Possible Consequences

Loss of privilege, timeout, student-teacher conference, parent-student-teacher conference, meeting with the Division Director and/or Head of School are all possible consequences for violation of school rules.  More serious violates may warrant suspension, or expulsion, at the discretion of the Division Director and Head of School.

Students may be disciplined for conduct on or off school grounds or at any school=sponsored activity that endangers persons or property, is disruptive of the education process of the School, or that violates a policy or regulation of the school.

Professional Support

The school reserves the right to require that a student receive outside evaluation or professional support. A student’s continued enrollment at CAIS may be contingent upon a family’s compliance.

21. Dress Code

The intent of a dress code is to keep students safe and focused on academics. Student clothing should be appropriate for a positive learning environment. We ask our students to follow these guidelines when choosing what to wear to school:

  • Clothing must be clean, in good repair, and size appropriate.

  • Shorts, dresses, skirts should not be shorter than halfway between the hip and knee.

  • Pants, skirts, shorts - of any kind - must be worn at the waist. Sagging pants are not acceptable.

  • No garment that exposes midriff, lower back, cleavage or buttocks, whether standing or sitting, is permitted.

  • Shoes or sandals (no flip flops) must be worn at all time.

  • No clothing or jewelry may be worn with suggestive or questionable language or drawings Examples include racial, ethnic, and/or sexual slogans or innuendos, tobacco products, pictures or language about alcohol, violence, weapons or drugs, language that is blatantly disrespectful of others’ beliefs or images deemed offensive or not in good taste.

22. Gum

Chewing gum is not permitted on campus.

23. Leaving Campus

Students may not leave campus during the school day. If you must pick up your child for an appointment, the student will be sent to the first floor by the reception area and you will need to meet your child there. Parental permission is required to release a student before the end of school. Students must remain on campus for lunch. At the end of the day, students who leave campus may not return unless accompanied by an authorized adult.

Students are dismissed at 3:30 p.m. and can leave the building on their own to walk, take Muni, BART or be picked up by a parent or authorized adult. Students need to be off campus or checked in to extended day, an enrichment class or club by 3:45 p.m. Students may not stay on campus after 3:45 p.m unless they are participating in a class or activity supervised by a member of the auxiliary program staff. Students traveling to team practices at the Oak Street gym must be escorted in a group by a CAIS faculty member.  Once students leave campus after 3:30m they are not permitted to return until the next school day.

24. Lockers

Each student has his or her own locker to store all personal belongings during the school day. Students should keep their lockers clean at all times. The only locker a student should go in is his or her own.

25. Moving Through the School

Middle school students are able to travel throughout the school without adult supervision, however, we expect them to move through the halls and stairways safely and quietly, going directly from class to class. Additionally, elevators are reserved for students with medical issues who have a pass or are accompanied by an adult.

26. Money, Mobile Phones and Other Electronic Devices

We discourage students from bringing large sums of money, mobile or smart phones and other entertainment electronic devices, including but not limited to iPods and game devices. If students do bring devices on campus, there are two important rules for students to understand:

Devices cannot be used in a way that interferes with learning or the atmosphere of the school. Phone use from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. is not permitted except in the case of an emergency with administrator approval. Electronic games are not permitted during school. Earphones are not permitted except when authorized by a teacher as they isolate students and reduce their ability to participate fully in the educational process. Devices used in any way determined as interfering with school activities can be confiscated and given to the middle school director. Usage may also result in consequences laid out in the behavior response system.

The school assumes no responsibility for devices or money brought to school. These items are valuable and students should not leave them unattended at any time.

We do have fundraisers that occasionally require students to bring money to school. We do not expect that children will need to bring more than $5 to school at any one time with the exception of money for Scholastic Book Fair purchases.

27. Middle School Counselor

Building on the foundation built in ECD and lower school, the middle school counseling program consists of several components. Weekly advisory groups for seventh and eighth graders give students a platform to discuss a variety of issues concerning students’ social and emotional learning and development, including bullying, peer conflict, body image, stress and anxiety and relationships with parents. Outside speakers are brought in for presentations on various topics throughout the academic year, including puberty education and drug and alcohol abuse. The middle school counselor uses advisory sessions to help students further process issues that come up during the presentations.

The middle school counselor may work with students individually, in small groups, and in the classroom to assist students in addressing personal and social issues that arise from growth changes as well as individual circumstances. After assessing the student’s needs, the middle school counselor may recommend to the parents additional outside referrals. The counselor meets with students based on self, teacher or parent referral. All referrals made to outside personnel are confidential except in cases of child abuse or unless revealed to the parent that the entire team will make use of information given by a support person outside of our community.

28. Carroll Family Learning Center Materials

Responsibility for Selection of Carroll Family Learning Center Materials

The Learning Center Coordinator has the responsibility for examining, evaluating, and selecting materials for the Learning Center.  Within the school, suggestions from students, staff, and parents are encouraged and seriously considered in the selection process. The responsibilities of the Learning Center Coordinator include providing materials to support, supplement, and enrich Chinese and English curriculum by providing a wide range of viewpoints which reflect not only our school’s philosophy, purpose, and vision statements, but also our school communities’ informational needs and interests.

Evaluation and Selection of Library Media Materials

In recognition of the need for varied and extensive materials, the Learning Center Coordinator will keep in mind the following criteria:

  1. Reading is a valued freedom and is a necessity in today’s world.

  2. Meeting the needs of the school is to be based on knowledge of the Chinese and English curriculum, of the existing collection, and the needs and interests of the faculty and students.

Materials for purchase are considered on the basis of:

  • Contribution the subject matter makes to the curriculum and to the interests of students

  • Literary quality

  • High degree of potential user appeal

  • Format and price

  • Favorable reviews found in standard selection sources

  • Currency and accuracy of materials

  • Reputation of publisher/producer author/composer etc.

  • Balance of materials that present different points of view

  1. Library materials should contribute to the students’ growing understanding and appreciation of their cultures and other cultures.

  2. Library books and other materials should not only enrich and support the curriculum but also meet the needs and interests of individual students.

  3. Not all of the materials in any library are for everyone. In every community there is a diversity of opinions as to what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. Principles must be placed above personal opinion and reason above prejudice in the selection of materials of the highest quality and appropriateness. It is ultimately the parents’ responsibility to monitor their child’s reading material and to guide them in their choices according to their own family values.

  4. Selection is an ongoing process which shall include the removal of materials no longer appropriate for the collection and the replacement of lost and worn materials still of educational value. Items in the Learning Center will be reviewed periodically by the Learning Center Coordinator to determine whether items should remain part of the library collection.

Evaluation and Selection of Classroom Texts

In accordance with our Workshop approach to Reading and Writing, students will regularly be offered some choice in texts for curricular units. Text sets for classroom units of study will be clearly aligned with the curricular goals and within the genre or theme of study for a given unit. When selecting texts, the ELA department will take into account the range of reading and interest levels of the students. We strive to present perspectives from characters with diverse identities, both similar to and different from our students (i.e. Windows and Mirrors, Emily Style). We also draw from lists of current, acclaimed texts, along with those widely considered classics.

Many of our students are reading at a high school level, and the ELA department is conscious of selecting texts that are challenging enough for our students, but reflect the interests of and provide appropriate content for our adolescent and young adult readers. In some cases, a text might be considered appropriate only with parental permission due to the content. In these cases, the teacher will email the parent in advance to ensure the parent agrees with the student’s selection.

Challenged Materials

The following process is established for consideration of issues of selection of library books and other materials placed in question by an individual, group or organization.

  1. Parents, staff and students with challenges or questions about selection of materials are encouraged to follow established channels of communication. The person responsible for ordering the material, usually the Learning Center Coordinator, should be contacted first. Parental input in regard to their own child’s reading selections will be honored by the school, but may not necessarily apply to the rest of the students.

  2. The Learning Center Coordinator will, if possible, resolve the issue. In view of the diverse nature of the CAIS community, the Learning Center Coordinator shall consider options of restricted use (such as age/division restriction, individual student restriction at parents’ request, etc.) for challenged books.

  3. If the Learning Center Coordinator is not able to resolve the issue then the challenge should be submitted in writing to the Middle School Director (including author, title, publisher and page number of each item to which objection is being made).

  4. A committee consisting of the Curriculum Coordinator, the Director, the Learning Center Coordinator, a teacher, and a FSA representative will be appointed to re-evaluate the materials challenged and make appropriate recommendations. During the process, the item in question will remain in circulation.

  5. If the complainant is still not satisfied with the actions recommended, he or she may ask the Head of School to present an appeal to the Board of Trustees, which shall make a final determination of the issue. The Board of Trustees may seek assistance from outside organizations such as the American Library Association, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, etc., in making its determination.