Policies & Procedures


Admissions and Enrollment

Hearst Elementary School observes the enrollment guidelines of the District of Columbia Public Schools. Children entering the school in Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten, or First Grade must be four, five, or six years old by September 30th respectively. Before enrollment in school, the child’s family or legal guardian must present a birth certificate, current record of immunization, health certificate, and proof of residency in the District of Columbia.

Our Pre-Kindergarten has limited space and placement is not guaranteed. Registration for the Pre-K Lottery typically opens in December each year. Neighborhood students are given preference in the Pre-K Lottery, as are students with siblings already enrolled at Hearst.  Enrollment in Kindergarten through Fifth Grades is guaranteed for each child residing within Hearst’s boundaries. Please see www.myschooldc.org for additional information about the lottery process andhttps://dcps.dc.gov/enroll for information about enrolling at Hearst.

Attendance Policy

Regular school attendance is vital to academic success. Our goal is to ensure that every student attends school regularly and on time. When your child is absent, please inform the school by sending an email to our [email protected]. If your child arrives after 8:45am, he or she should report to the main office to receive a tardy slip prior to reporting to class.  

Excused Absences and Tardies

The following reasons for an absence or a tardy arrival are considered excused:

- Student illness (a doctor’s note is required if a student is absent for more than five days);

- Medical reasons such as a doctor’s appointment (a doctor’s note is required for both a tardy arrival and an absence);

- Death in the student’s immediate family (please provide a note);

- Necessity for a student to attend a judicial proceeding as a plaintiff, defendant, witness or juror (please provide a note);

- Observance of a religious holiday (please provide a note);

- Temporary school closings due to weather, unsafe conditions or other emergencies;

- Failure of DC to provide transportation where legally responsible; and

- Emergency circumstances approved by the Chancellor’s Office.

Unexcused Absences or Tardies

Examples include extended travel (domestic or international), oversleeping, traffic, the illness of a sibling, visiting another school as a prospective student, and doing errands. 

DCPS Out of Boundary Attendance and Tardy Policy

DCPS has instituted an attendance/tardy policy that requires students to return to their home schools if they acquire more than 10 unexcused absences or more than 20 unexcused tardies. This policy is strictly enforced at Hearst as we believe on time, regular attendance is essential to student success.  Please note that excuse notes must be submitted within 5 school days in order to be processed.

Before and After School Programming

Please note that in the event that your child is absent from school and/or earns an in or out of school suspension, your child is not allowed to participate in before and after school programming or any extracurricular activities that same day. 

Hearst Recreation Center

Hearst Recreation Center runs a variety of programs throughout the school year.  Please contact Kim Campbell at [email protected] or 202-282-2207 for more information. Detailed information regarding specific programs can also be found at the Department of Recreation Website at http://dpr.dc.gov.  

Innis Before and After Care

Innis Before Care runs from 7:00-8:15 and After Care runs from 3:15-6:00.  Please call Michelle Marbury at 240-882-5550 for additional information or visit http://www.hearstes.org/innis_after_care.


The Hearst PTA runs enrichment programming in the afternoons. Please visit the Hearst website (http://www.hearstes.org/enrichment_programs) for additional information.


Birthday and Special Events

One day per month teachers may celebrate all birthdays for that month. On this day, parents are welcome to bring treats for students and come to class to celebrate.  See your child’s teacher to learn more about when this celebration will be specifically for your child’s class and ensure that there will be no conflicts with planned classroom or school-wide activities.

Invitations for special celebrations outside of the school day may not be distributed in the classroom or in the hallway to avoid concerns about the exclusion of students.  The main office at Hearst will not distribute invitations.


Dress Code

Hearst does not have a specific uniform for students however the following guidelines around appropriate dress may be helpful:

  • Excessively dirty and/or torn clothing may not be worn in school
  • Bare or stocking feet are not permitted in schools
  • Non-prescriptive sunglasses and hats are not permitted inside the school buildings
  • Extremes in style and fit and articles of clothing emblazoned with vulgar or obscene words or pictures, or badges or slogans disruptive of school, as determined by the principal, will not be permitted

Drop-off and Pick-up

The school day begins promptly at 8:45 a.m. and ends at 3:15 p.m. Students may report as early as 8:15 the cafeteria for breakfast. STUDENTS MAY NOT REPORT TO SCHOOL EARLIER THAN 8:15 UNLESS BEING DIRECTLY SUPERVISED BY A PARENT/GUARDIAN.  Please see signs on the front and back entrances to determine if arrival and dismissal will be indoors (Red sign) or outdoors (Green sign).

Arrival – Fair Weather

Students are welcome to play on the playground or eat breakfast in the cafeteria beginning at 8:15, when Hearst staff report to those locations for duty. At 8:35 staff on duty will begin to usher students to the new morning line up location on the soccer field.   Teachers will escort students from the soccer field to classes at 8:40.  

Arrival – Inclement Weather

On inclement weather days, PK students will report to the hallway outside of their classrooms where staff members will supervise them.  K-5 students will report to the gym where they will be supervised by staff.

Dismissal-Fair Weather

Students will be dismissed at 3:15. Students riding the bus will be dismissed to the front steps of the school, where staff will supervise them.  Students participating in any of the after school programs (Innis, Rec, and/or Enrichment) will be escorted to the gym and dismissed to representatives of those after school programs. All other students will wait with their teacher to be picked up on the front plaza.  Should families elect to remain on the playground with their child after the child is dismissed to an adult, the adult, and not Hearst Elementary School, is solely responsible for the child.

Dismissal-Inclement Weather

At 3:15, families can begin to pick up students from designated dismissal locations on the first floor of the building.  Please see signs posted in the main entrance to find the location where each grade will be.  

Students Not Picked Up by 3:30

Please note that all students not in after school programming who are not picked up by 3:30 p.m. will be taken to the main office. School personnel will attempt to contact the parent or caregiver by utilizing emergency contacts and other efforts to reach them.  The CFSA Hotline will be contacted after all initial efforts have failed.  The Hotline staff will request information as they take the report and then the CFSA Child Protective Services will determine the next action steps. 

Early Dismissal

In the event that students must leave early or follow a different routine, please notify the main office, who will in turn notify the child’s teacher. Parents wishing to pick up their children early must do so before 3:00 as no students will be dismissed between 3:00 and 3:15. Parents should sign the “Early Dismissal Log” located at the security desk and report to the main office.  Office staff will then call the teacher to release the student to the main office. For safety and security reasons, parents are not permitted to go directly to the classroom to pick up students. 


In the event that Hearst closes early and/or is evacuated because of an emergency, school personnel will notify parents.  Throughout the year, we conduct several fire drills and emergency evacuation drills in order to prepare our students and staff in the event of a real emergency situation. When a fire drill occurs, the signal will sound and all people within the building must leave according to posted directions.  These directions will be reviewed during the first week of school and subsequent times throughout the school year and your child may discuss the occurrence of these drills with you. In the event of an emergency necessitating evacuation of the school campus, our school will relocate to Sidwell Friends School, 3960 37th Street, NW.  

Field Trips

Field trips are scheduled throughout the year to provide Hearst students with learning opportunities outside the traditional classroom. Participating students are required to submit a completed field trip permission slip at least one day in advance of the field trip . These forms will be sent home by your child’s teacher at least five days prior to the trip and provide specific information about the purpose of the trip, destination, date and time, mode of transportation (bus, car, Metro, walking), and the cost per student. Students will not be permitted to attend any field trip without a signed permission slip on file. Field trip chaperones are integral to the success of these extended learning experiences for our students. When parents volunteer to serve as chaperones, it is crucial they cooperate by following the guidance of the teacher(s) sponsoring the trip and provide support for the students in the class. Parents may not bring additional children on field trips when they are serving as chaperones. 


Please notify the school immediately if your child has any symptoms of illness, especially highly contagious diseases such as chickenpox, measles, conjunctivitis (pink eye), or the H1N1 virus (swine flu).  Students diagnosed with contagious diseases or who appear to have ringworm will be excluded from school until the nurse receives a statement from their doctor certifying that they may return to school. 

At this time, only the school nurse and three other staff members are authorized to administer medication with the proper authorization from a physician. Please note that students are not permitted to possess prescription medication as this medication is required to be stored in the nurse’s office.  In order to store and/or administer medication, authorization forms found here must be completed and signed by a physician: http://dcps.dc.gov/page/health-and-wellness.  

Lost and Found

Our Lost and Found is located inside the gym entrance.  All lost items will be placed in the Lost and Found in the hopes that families can be reunited with their misplaced items.  In order to help reunite items with children, please write their names on anything they bring to school, clothing, water bottles, lunch boxes, rain boot, etc. At the end of each quarter, all unclaimed items will be donated to a local charity.

Money, Toys, Electronic Devices, and Cell Phones

Students should not bring money to school unless parents receive notification from the classroom teacher to do so. Because the school will provide equipment for recess and PE, we ask that students do not bring equipment from home. Additionally, students should not bring toys, electronic games, or cell phones to school. In the event that a child brings electronics to school, Hearst is not responsible if said items are lost or stolen and staff will confiscate items that we find.  All items that are confiscated will be held in the main office and must be picked up by a parent. 

Non-Discrimination Policy

The District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) is committed to ensuring that all of its employees act in conformity with federal and District of Columbia non-discrimination laws, including Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the District of Columbia Human Rights Act of 1977, and the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act of 2008.

Accordingly, DCPS does not discriminate or tolerate discrimination against employees, applicants for employment, or students on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including pregnancy), age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, family status, family responsibilities, matriculation, political affiliation, genetic information, disability, source of income, status as a victim of an interfamily offense, or place of residence or business.

DCPS also prohibits harassment based on any of the aforementioned protected traits and retaliation against a person because he or she has complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in a discrimination investigation or lawsuit.

Employees found to have engaged in prohibited discrimination, harassment, or retaliation will be subject to disciplinary action.

Nut-Free Policy

Hearst is a nut-free school. Students can bring in foods that have been processed in a facility that processes tree nuts, so long as those foods are for personal consumption.  In order to minimize the risk of cross-contact issues that can result with nut oils/residue left on surfaces, our staff is being extra vigilant about cleaning surfaces after eating and ensuring that students wash their hands after eating. For ideas for nut-free lunches and snacks, visit:http://school.familyeducation.com/slideshow/lunch/71131.html or http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2013/10/07/nut-free-school-lunch-ideas/   

Promotion and Retention

With regular attendance and close partnership between home and school, most students will receive the academic support they need to be successful from year to year. Decisions about promotion are based on a number of factors.

 If a student in pre-kindergarten or kindergarten has met the proficiency requirements in the core subject areas but is not functioning at a skill level deemed ready for promotion to kindergarten or first grade by a teacher or a parent in the areas of physical, social or emotional development, an option of repeating a pre-kindergarten or kindergarten may be considered without being regarded as a retention.  For Grades 1 - 5, promotion depends on whether your child has done the following:

•Received passing grades in the core subject tests (Reading, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies);

•Achieved the goals of the intervention learning plan (where applicable); and

•Met the DCPS attendance policy.

Students may be retained once in grades 3, 5 or 8 only when all other interventions have been unsuccessful and the student has not made sufficient academic progress during the course of the school year. Parents will be notified mid-year if there is a possibility that the teacher may recommend retention.  Principal Thomas has the final authority for all first-time promotion/retention decisions.

Safety and Security

All D.C. Public Schools operate under the closed campus policy.  Under this policy, for safety reasons, students are not permitted to leave the school grounds between the hours of 8:45 a.m. and 3:15 p.m., unless an authorized adult signs them out at the security desk.  This includes lunch and recess times.

Student Behavioral Supports

Hearst is a proponent of the Responsive Classroom approach and in the Responsive Classroom approach to discipline, the overarching goal is to keep the focus on learning, while maintaining a classroom that's physically and emotionally safe for all. To achieve this, adult responses to misbehavior:

  • Stop the misbehavior and reestablish positive behavior as quickly as possible
  • Maintain children's dignity
  • Develop children’s self-control and self-regulation skills
  • Help children recognize and fix any harm caused by their mistakes
  • Demonstrate that rules help make the classroom a safe place where all can learn

When this approach is used, adults respond quickly, firmly, and respectfully when children misbehave. Minor problems are addressed before behavior gets out of control. Children are held accountable for their behavior, with adults guiding their learning so they can make better choices next time.  If students require additional support in order to meet behavior expectations, the Wellness Team members are available to provide this support in consultation with the student, teacher, and family.  

If a behavior requires administrative intervention, Ms. Thomas will refer to the DCPS Student Code of Conduct, known as Chapter 25 of the DC Municipal Regulations. Chapter 25 can be found directly at the following link: http://dcps.dc.gov/publication/dcmr-chapter-25-title-5-student-discipline.   

School Delays and Closings

DCPS strives to keep schools open whenever possible and is reluctant to close school as it is the priority to ensure that students have access to all they need, including academic instruction, nutritious meals and healthy extracurricular programming.  When there is inclement weather, DCPS works closely with the DC government and other agencies to obtain the best and most current information. The decision to delay and close schools is made with careful consideration of road safety, sidewalk safety, and meal availability. There are several ways to get informed about school delays and closings:

  • Check the DCPS homepage.
  • Follow DCPS on Twitter or Facebook.
  • Call (202) 442-5885 or dial 311 for DC's Citywide Call Center.
  • Listen to the radio and/or watch TV stations below:

AM Radio

FM Radio


  • WMAL (630)
  • WOL (1450)
  • Radio America, Spanish (1540)
  • WTOP (1500)
  • WAMU (88.5)
  • WTOP (103.5)
  • WHUR (96.3)
  • Channels 4, 5, 7, and 9
  • Cable Channels 8, 16 and 28

Textbooks and Library Books

Textbooks and library books are available for students to borrow over the course of the school year.  Any books that are not returned will result in a replacement fee being assessed. Final report cards will not be distributed until all fees are paid.



Do you like this page?