CT Student Handbook

Welcome Bulldog Families to the 2019-2020 school year!

Middle school is the time when students transition from being children to young adults. The increasing freedoms associated with the teen years carry with them increasing responsibilities. I encourage all students to choose to be “Leaders of the P.A.C.K.” this year! Take PRIDE in yourself by doing your best at school, home and in the community. Success in all areas of life whether at school, work or in any other activities comes through ACHIEVEMENT. The building blocks for achievement are consistent effort, concentration and good decision making. CHARACTER defines who we are as a person and is reflected most in the choices we make when we think no one is looking. Qualities like integrity, honesty and kindness contribute to good character. Work to highlight these in your life every day. The ultimate goal of your time in school is to develop increasing levels of KNOWLEDGE and apply it in a positive way. I encourage all students to accept the challenge of expanding their knowledge by completing assignments, asking questions and seeking help when it is needed. I hope you have a wonderful year, Bulldogs!

Mrs. Maggie Burdette, Principal
Columbus Tustin Middle School

Mission Statement

CT is a positive, supportive and inclusive learning community where all students will maximize their academic and social potential in order to adapt successfully to an ever-changing world.


Parent Responsibilities

We, as parents, will support our children’s learning in the following ways:

●Assure that our children are prepared and on time to school each day.

●Monitor our children’s attendance.

●Make sure that homework is completed.

●Monitor and limit the amount of time our children are on the computer, watching television, and playing video games.

●Participate, as appropriate, in decisions relating to our children’s education.

●Stay informed about our children’s education, monitor grades via Aeries Parent Portal and communicate with the school by promptly reading all notices from the school or the school district received either by our children or by mail and respond as appropriate.

●Serve, to the extent possible, on policy advisory groups such as ELAC, School Site Council, and/or PTO.

Student Responsibilities

I, as a student, will share the responsibility to improve my academic achievement and achieve the State’s high standards. I will:

●Complete my homework every day and ask for help when I need to.

●Read grade appropriate books at least 30 minutes every day outside of school.

●Follow the dress code.

●Give to my parents or guardian notices and information given to me by the school.

●Bring my backpack, iPad charged and agenda to school each day.

●Be responsible for all library books, iPad and textbooks.

●Keep current with my grades.

●Arrive at school and to each class on time and prepared to learn.

●Bring my agenda to school and record my assignments daily.

●Be prepared for each class daily.

●Follow all school rules.

Regular attendance is an important component of your child’s success in school. Parents hold a legal responsibility to compel their child to attend school regularly. Failure to do so may result in severe consequences with the law. Students are expected to make-up any work or tests missed during their absence within the number of days the student missed school.

To report an absence, please call the following phone number: (714) 730-7352 press 3


Absences are legally defined as “excused” or “unexcused.” Excused absences are due to illness, medical or dental appointments, religious holiday, or bereavement. Students who miss three or more days of school due to illness require a doctor’s note for verification. Unexcused absences are defined as oversleeping, missed ride to school, care for others in the family, shopping, paying bills, car/transportation problems, vacation, visiting friends or relatives, lack of clean clothes, etc. These types of absences are declared “unexcused” by the State of California.

Students who accumulate three or more “unexcused” absences in the school year are deemed truant and will be reported to the Attendance Supervisor of the District. Students who do not attend school regularly, are absent from class without permission, leave campus illegally or are tardy without an acceptable excuse are subject to disciplinary action. Such action may include, but is not limited to:


Community Service;

Student/Parent/Administration Conference;

The parent and the student may be placed on an attendance contract;

Mandatory attendance at a meeting with the District Attorney;

Referral to the Student Attendance Review Board;

If the student is on an Intra or Inter District Transfer, the transfer may be revoked;

Referral to the District Attorney if attendance problems persist.

After an Absence Procedure

A written note, email, or phone call from a parent or guardian must be presented to the Attendance Window no later than three (3) days after absence. Date(s) and reasons for absence must be reported. Students whose parents do not phone the school or write a note will be marked unexcused. Students should arrive at 7:35 a.m. to get a readmit at the attendance window. A written note must include the following information:

1.Student’s Full Name

2.Date of Absence

3.Reason for the Absence

4.Signature of the Parent


A student is considered tardy if not in his or her seat when the bell rings at the beginning of the school day and for each period thereafter. Students who are tardy without a valid excuse are subject to disciplinary action. Tardies are counted weekly for disciplinary action. Consequences may include, but is not limited to, detention, community service, a parent-teacher conference, placement on an attendance contract, social probation, referral to the Student Attendance Review Board, and/or referral to the District Attorney if the problem persists.

Consequences for tardies:

Columbus Tustin - Three tardies in a week to a class will result in an after school detention

Ten tardies in any month will result in the student being placed on an attendance contract and social probation for five weeks.

●Continued tardy problems will result in detention, community service, attendance contract, and/or a Parent Shadow where the student’s parent will be required to attend school with his/her child.

●Students that are late on surprise tardy sweeps will serve a detention on the same day. Parents will be notified via phone.


Students who cut school or who arrive at school 30 minutes late without a valid excuse are deemed “truant” by the State of California. Students who are truant three or more times will be subject to consequences which include parent conference, placement on an attendance contract and social probation for five weeks, and referral to SARB (Student Attendance Review Board) at the Tustin Police Department, along with a mandatory meeting with the District Attorney.


Early Withdrawal

Students are able to leave school early with an adult that is listed on the student’s emergency card. It is important that the school be notified of any changes on the emergency card. Your child will not be released to an adult that is not on the emergency card. The parent will need to come to the school office to sign the student out. If the parent cannot pick-up the student, they will need to notify the office of who will be picking up their child and at what time. The student will be called out of class when the parent or authorized adult comes to the office. A valid ID will be required in order to withdraw a student early.


Late Start Wednesdays

Columbus Tustin has implemented “Late Start Wednesdays.” Classes will begin at 8:55 AM each Wednesday. There is no supervision at school prior to 8:30 AM on Late Start Wednesdays. School rules are in effect once your child leaves your home. Please ensure that your student is supervised at all times.


Closed Campus Policy

Columbus Tustin has a closed campus policy. No one is allowed to enter the campus without first signing in at the front office. Students should leave the campus within 10 minutes after normal school hours or 10 minutes after any other school-sponsored events. Only those students participating in after-school events with the permission of an authority on campus are allowed to stay after school hours. Those students must remain with their after school group or stay in the classroom at all times.



Communication between school and home is vital for student success. The school will communicate information to you by:

●Periodically a Principal’s Update will be posted on the school’s website.

●Group e-mail: If you have e-mail and are part of our List Serve, information may be sent to you electronically. If you do not have email, paper copies are available in the front office.

●E-mail to individual parents regarding student success.

●Comments written in student’s Binder Reminder.

●Group phone messages: Important information will be sent out on a recorded phone message.

Parents can communicate with the school by:

●Calling the school or teacher at 714-730-7352.

●E-mailing the school by using the first initial, last name and then For example, Tiffani Jue would be

●Checking the website:



After signing in, the guest will be given a Visitor's Pass. Parents are always welcome!



It is the responsibility for each student to remember all books, lunches, assignments, and not to be dependent on parents to correct the omission. However, in an emergency, parents may leave items on the table outside the attendance window. Money should be given to one of the secretaries. Remember, each special delivery interrupts classes, stops instruction, and takes office personnel off their tasks. Therefore, it is requested that parents or family members not send flowers, balloons, bouquets, etc. to students while at school.



It is expected that all students at Columbus Tustin Middle School maintain a neat, clean and orderly appearance. A student’s attire and general appearance should not draw undue attention, nor detract from or interfere with learning in the classroom or the discipline in the school.

To eliminate misunderstandings in the dress code regulations, the following dress standard will be enforced:

Dress Code

●All clothing must fit appropriately.

●All shirts must have straps that are at least 1” wide.

●Shirts must always cover the midriff area and undergarments must never show. Remember to consider your body movements.

●Shirts may not be longer than your fingertips with arms extended downward. Longer shirts must be tucked in.

●No professional football, soccer, baseball, basketball, or other sports jerseys.

●No clothing with professional or college sports logos identified by law enforcement as gang related.

●No clothing or accessories associated with ‘tagging’ or with gang symbols.

●Pants and shorts must be fitted at and worn at the waist with no exposed undergarments. Remember to consider your body movements.

●No holes, slits or splits in pants above the knee.

●Shorts, skirts and dresses must be at least mid-thigh length with an inseam of at least 6” for shorts and a length of at least 15” for skirts.

●No sleepwear including pajamas, pajama-style pants, or slippers.

●No trench coats, chains (including wallet chains), or bandanas.

●No clothing or jewelry may be worn with suggestive or questionable language and/or drawings oriented toward violence, degrading cultures, ethnicity, gender, religion, ethnic values or glorifying sex, drugs, alcohol, or tobacco.

●Appropriate school shoes must be worn at all times. Shoes must have closed toes and closed heels. Heels may not be greater than 1”.

●No hats or head coverings (unless medically or religiously required), including hoods. CT hats may be worn outdoors. Hoods may be worn outdoors in inclement weather.

●No body piercings except for standard earrings no plugs or ear gauges.

●No temporary body art, face paint, or drawings on body.

●Belts may not dangle and may not have initial buckles or buckles with sharp edges.

●No clothing, accessories or jewelry deemed inappropriate or gang related, as concluded by school administration or law enforcement agencies


What is considered appropriate attire may change as fashion trends change. When this occurs, students and parents will be notified. Students will be notified through the daily bulletin, discussions with teachers, and principal announcements.

Parents may call the school at any time.


Students who violate the dress standards will be subject to disciplinary consequences. Students will change to school-issued garments and/or parents will be asked to bring an appropriate change of clothes. Continued violations will result in further disciplinary action, including administrative detention and/or suspension. Parental support in encouraging students to dress appropriately is greatly appreciated.



Each student is responsible for his/her own success or failure. A person develops positive self-esteem by making appropriate choices. Accepting responsibility for inappropriate choices is an integral part of the learning process. The home and school shall work together to impress upon students the principles of morality, truth, justice, patriotism and a true comprehension of the rights, duties, and dignity of American citizenship (Calif. Ed. Code 233.5). Guidelines at Columbus Tustin are simple and specific with clearly defined rewards and consequences.



The Tustin Unified School District is dedicated to providing an educational program for all students that is safe, secure, and free from violence. Every student needs to attend school punctually and regularly, conform to the regulations of the school, and obey all the directions of teachers and others in authority. Students who do not exercise the required self-control shall be subject to disciplinary action. The district encourages and solicits the cooperation of parents in regulating the conduct of their student. Students are subject to disciplinary action for misbehavior. Disciplinary action may include, but is not limited to: counseling, conference with teachers and administrators, detention, class suspension, suspension from school, on-campus suspension, and/or the administration may require that the student’s parent attend a portion of a school day in their child’s class as per the California Education Code 48900.1. Students, who do not conform to the desired school conduct, may be referred to the Student Placement Review Board (SPRC), which may result in an involuntary transfer to another school.


Definition of Disciplinary Terms

Expulsion: The removal of a student from the Tustin Unified School District and any public school in California for a period of time determined by the Board of Education.

Suspension: The removal of a student from school for a period of time determined by the administration. During the time the student is suspended from school, he/she is not allowed to be on any school campus or participate in any school activity.

Classroom Suspension: According to the Tustin Unified School District Policy #5114.1, a teacher may suspend a student from his/her classroom for not more than a day and the following day. Whenever a student is removed from a classroom because he/she committed an obscene act, engaged in habitual profanity or vulgarity, disrupted school activities or otherwise defied valid staff authority, the teacher of the classroom from which the student was removed from will contact parent and may require that the student’s parent attend a portion of a school day in that classroom.

Detention is assigned to students for violations of the school-wide Discipline Plan. Detention is held Monday through Friday from 2:30 – 3:30 p.m. Parents are given a minimum of 24 hour notice when students are assigned detention. Failure to serve detention will result in further consequences such as additional detentions or suspension from school. Students who have unserved detentions may not be permitted to participate in after school activities and/or extracurricular activities.

Cell Phones

Students who choose to bring a cell phone to school must keep the phone off and put away, not visible to staff from while inside the gates. This includes phones stored in a back pocket. If a student needs to contact a parent during the school day, he or she may ask school staff for permission to use the phone. Students should not utilize their cell phones during the school day without permission. Students who turn their phone on for any reason may have their phone confiscated and held for parent pick-up. If a student needs to make a phone call they can: move completely off of school grounds before or after school, ask an adult on campus and remain by that adult while making the call, or go to the office and ask to use an office phone. The school and the district will not be responsible for the loss or theft of a cell phone.

Consequences for violating the cell phone policy:

First Offense: Cell phone confiscated and returned to student

Second Offense: Detention, cell phone confiscated and returned to parent

Third Offense: Referral, detention, cell phone confiscated and returned to parent

Fourth Offense: Parent conference, Saturday school, placement on the school behavior contract, cell phone confiscated and returned to parent

Fifth Offense: Suspension and possible recommendation to the SPRC for a possible transfer to another school


All students should clear the campus by 2:40 p.m. each afternoon. Students doing make-up work, staying after school for disciplinary reasons, tutorial lab or participating in extracurricular activities should report to the appropriate classroom before 2:35 p.m. and leave the campus immediately upon finishing the activity.



Be a leader of the PACK by doing the following:

  • Have PRIDE by believing in yourself and always doing your best.

  • Show ACHIEVEMENT by being organized and putting forth effort.

  • Prove your CHARACTER by doing the right thing when no one is looking.

  • Demonstrate KNOWLEDGE by applying what you learn in all areas of your life.

The primary goal at Columbus Tustin is to provide an appropriate learning experience for every student to achieve academic success. Students will be expected to attend all classes regularly, promptly, and be prepared.

At least one hour each day at home should be planned for study and review. Some assignments will require longer hours for research and class participation.

1.All written work must have an appropriate heading (including full name, date, and class period); must be legible and have correct grammar usage with correct punctuation and spelling.

2.Parents may check student progress frequently by using the Aeries Parent Portal online. Usernames and passwords will be issued at the beginning of the year.

3.Progress reports will be mailed home at mid-quarter when a student is having problems in a class or is in danger of failing a course. Parents are encouraged to call the appropriate teacher regarding these reports.

4.Grade reports will be mailed home in October, January, March,, and June.

5.The counselor is available to discuss particular concerns. Appointments may be scheduled in the office.

6.Achievement tests are administered to students at times and grade levels designated by the district and the state. Results will be mailed to parents.

Academic Honesty

Ethical conduct and moral behavior are qualities that are promoted, modeled, and celebrated at Columbus Tustin Middle School. These are the fundamental values of our democratic society. Honesty and integrity are valued. Cheating in any form is unacceptable and punishable. When cheating occurs, learning no longer has the same value, and damage is done to a student’s education and character. It is our hope that this policy will encourage students to seek honest and appropriate ways to achieve their educational goals.


Students who violate the school-wide discipline policies, TUSD policies, or California Education Code Sections may be subject to a BEHAVIOR CONTRACT. Students who do not maintain a GPA of a 2.0 or greater and/or receive an Unsatisfactory (U) mark for citizenship or work habits will automatically be placed on ACADEMIC PROBATION until the next grading period.

Students on Academic Probation and/or a Behavior Contract will be placed on SOCIAL PROBATION and are prohibited from participating in after school sports, noontime activities, Pep Squad, extracurricular activities (including dances and field trips), non-instructional assemblies, and End of the Year and/or Promotion activities.





Each student should carry a backpack for binders, lunches, PE clothes, etc. The only markings or writings that are allowed on backpacks are the student’s name.


The following items not issued by the school are not allowed on campus: cameras, MP3 players, video games, and other electronic devices. Any item that disrupts school activities or is found during a routine search may be confiscated and returned only to a parent. Columbus Tustin Middle School is not responsible for lost, broken, or stolen electronic devices, including cell phones. Furthermore, the school is not responsible for any confiscated item that is not picked up in a timely manner. Such items will be donated to charity at the end of the school year.


Columbus Tustin conducts quarterly fire/disaster drills. For fire or classroom evacuation the signal is a continuous series of short bells with flashing lights. When students hear the fire alarm, they are to follow planned evacuation routes and assemble along the edge of the blacktop according to the classroom number. Once assembled, students are to line up in alphabetical order for roll call. When the drill is over, an announcement will be made to return to class.


Students may ride bicycles to school as long as they do so in a responsible manner. To prevent theft, bicycles/skateboards must be locked to the racks in the designated enclosures. Every precaution is made to ensure the safety of bicycles/skateboards parked at Columbus Tustin during the school day. However, Columbus Tustin School cannot be held financially liable should a bicycle/skateboard be stolen. Bicycles/skateboards are never to be ridden inside the gates of Columbus Tustin or in the parking lot. Students are reminded to be extra careful when crossing the driveways of the parking lots. In addition, bikes should always be walked and skateboards carried across the crosswalks leading to the school.

The bicycle and skateboard safety law requires that all persons under 18 years of age wear a helmet. Students who do not wear a helmet run the risk of having their bicycles/skateboards impounded until a parent can pick up them up or provide the student with a helmet. ALWAYS WEAR A HELMET!!


At snack and lunch breaks students may purchase snacks, and/or hot lunches. Prices and menus are available. Conduct in food lines and while eating in designated areas is expected to reflect our school wide rules. FOOD AND BEVERAGES MUST BE CONSUMED IN THE QUAD AREA ONLY. Students who have food or drink in the “No Food Zone” will be made to throw it away. Campus cleanup will be assigned to any student who is eating in an inappropriate area.

Students caught leaving trash in a place other than the cans provided in the Quad will be placed on campus cleanup. It is each student's responsibility to keep the eating area clean. Asking or forcing others to give food or money is not acceptable.


Students will be provided with a Student I.D. card at the beginning of the school year. Students will need to keep the card at all times for use in the CT Library, Computer Lab, to check out blacktop equipment, and to use in the food lines. Student may be required to wear their I.D. card during the school day.


If an illness or injury occurs after a student arrives at school, he/she is to report to his/her instructor and then to the office. A nurse is on call, and the school secretaries have first aid training and experience. A parent will be notified as needed, which is an important reason to keep the office informed of address and phone number changes.

Under California law, when prescribed medication must be given during school hours, proper forms are to be filled out by the parents and the doctor.  The forms may be obtained from the office.


A private insurance company offers an accident policy that gives coverage for regular school sessions and after school sports. They will also furnish each student with a form listing the benefits covered. Parents have the opportunity to buy insurance if they wish.


The library is open from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Students are responsible for materials checked out and are expected to demonstrate appropriate behavior in the library. Student I.D. cards will serve as identification to check out books.


Bins for found clothing are located in the library. Unclaimed items are donated to charities at the end of each quarter. Small items can be found in the office. Lost books are placed in the library.


PE grades are based on California State Physical Fitness Standards. To view these Fitness Test Requirements, please visit the website at All students are required to dress in school approved PE attire every day (students may wear sweatpants in cold weather). P.E. shorts are to be worn at the waist. PE clothes are to be washed once a week (taken home on Fridays and returned on Mondays). There are no non-suits allowed at Columbus Tustin. Students should lock all items up in the locker room and never leave anything unattended, as the school cannot be responsible for lost or stolen items. It is imperative that students do not share their combination to the PE lock. Also, no deodorant spray is allowed – only stick or roll-on. Fragrant lotions and perfumes are not permitted. Confiscated items will be discarded.


Sexual harassment of any level will not be tolerated at CT. Incidents should be reported to a staff member immediately. The TUSD sexual harassment policy is available in our office.


Parents that transport students to and from school must obey the parking regulations and school regulations regarding drop off and pick up of students. Parents need to be aware of pedestrians and other vehicles when arriving or departing with students. Please try to drop students off on the school side of Beneta Way to prevent students from getting hit as they cross the street. You may also drop students off in the CT Gym lot. Please remember the speed limit is 25 mph.


Tustin Unified School District

Educational Services

Dear Parents and Guardians: The Constitution of the State of California requires that we provide a public education to students free of charge. A student’s right to a free education is for all school/educational activities, whether curricular or extracurricular, and whether a student gets a grade for the activity or class. Subject to certain exceptions, a student’s right to a free public education means that we cannot require you or your students to purchase materials, supplies, equipment or uniforms for any school activity, nor can we require you or your student to pay security deposits for access, participation, materials, or equipment. Your school may require students to attend a fundraising event; however, if they are unable to raise funds for the event, we cannot prevent students from participating in an educational activity.

These exceptions are:

• Charges for optional attendance as a spectator at a school or District sponsored activity.

• Charges for food served to students, subject to free and reduced price meal program eligibility and other restrictions specified in law.

• Paying the replacement cost for District books or supplies loaned to a student that the student fails to return or that is willfully cut, defaced or otherwise injured, up to an amount not to exceed $10,000.

• Fees for field trips and excursions in connection with courses of instruction or school related social, educational, cultural, athletic, or school band activities, as long as no student is prevented from making the field trip or excursion because of lack of sufficient funds.

• Medical or hospital insurance for field trips that is made available by the school district.

• Charges for required medical and accident insurance for athletic team members, so long as there is a waiver for financial hardship.

• Charges for standardized physical education attire of a particular color and design, but the school may not mandate that the attire be purchased from the school and no physical education grade of a student may be impacted based on the failure to wear standardized apparel “arising from circumstances beyond the control” of the student.

• Charging for the parking of vehicles on school grounds.

• Charges for the rental or lease of personal property needed for District purposes, such as caps and gowns for graduation ceremonies.

• Fees for school camp programs, so long as no student is denied the opportunity to participate because of nonpayment of the fee.

• Reimbursement for the direct cost of materials provided to a student for property the student has fabricated from such materials for his/her own possession and use, such as wood shop, art, or sewing projects kept by the student.

• Reimbursement for the actual cost of duplicating public records, student records, or a prospectus of the school curriculum.

• Fees for transportation to and from school, and transportation between school and regional occupational centers, programs or classes, as long as the fee does not exceed the statewide average non subsidized cost per student and provided there is a waiver provision based on financial need.

• Fees for transportation of pupils to places of summer employment.

• Tuition fees charged to pupils whose parents are actual and legal residents of an adjacent foreign country or an adjacent state.

• Tuition fees collected from foreign students attending a District school pursuant to an F-1 visa, equal to the full unsubsidized per capita cost of providing education during the period of attendance.

• Fees for an optional fingerprinting program for kindergarten or other newly enrolled students, if the fee does not exceed the actual costs associated with the program.

• Fees for community classes in civic, vocational, literacy, health, homemaking, and technical and general education, not to exceed the cost of maintaining the community classes.

• Deposits for band instruments, music, uniforms and other regalia which school band members take on excursions to foreign countries.

• Charges for eye safety devices, at a price not to exceed the district's actual costs, in specified courses or activities in which students are engaged in, or are observing, an activity or the use of hazardous substances likely to cause injury to the eyes.