Lake Superior, Photograph provided by local Thomas Spence
Frequently Asked Questions

Enrolling your child in a new school is a big deal, and we know you’re likely to have questions about how we run things around here. Below we’ve compiled answers to some of the questions we’re asked most frequently about our school policies and procedures. If you have additional questions, you can review our handbooks, which you’ll find in the quick links on the Home page. And, as always, you are more than welcome to give us a call with questions or concerns you may have.



Does Birch Grove provide transportation services?

We provide bus transportation for students who live in Cook and Lake Counties. We send bus routes to these students’ homes each August, and if you have any questions about the bus schedules, please contact the school office. Our bus drivers make every effort to follow the schedule, but occasionally they may have to deviate from the schedule due to events beyond their control.

Please remind your child that riding the bus is a privilege. In order to maintain an excellent safety record, students must follow the behavior guidelines outlined in the student handbook.


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What is the school dress code?

We expect our students to dress in a clean and appropriate manner that will not create a distraction within the learning environment. Students should not wear hats, caps, coats, sunglasses, or clothing advertising alcohol or tobacco products in the school. Likewise, students should avoid wearing earrings or other jewelry that may pose a hazard to themselves or others.

We encourage you to help your child dress according to the weather conditions. As part of our daily routine, we spend time outdoors—unless it is dangerously stormy or the temperature is well below zero—so it is important that students dress accordingly. Please label students’ outdoor wear on the inside of the item. Students must have both indoor and outdoor shoes at school.


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How will I be notified of school cancellations?

We will post snow days or other emergency school closings on Boreal, and we will also notify you by our automatic voice dialing system (on home phone, work phone, and cell phones as specified on your student’s information form). In case of an early closing, we will use all of the above to inform parents. If we cannot reach you, we will bus your child to a designated “storm home.”


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What if my child will be absent from school?

We believe that regular and punctual attendance is important to the community life of the classroom and the individual student’s learning and growth. However, if your child must be absent—or tardy—please contact the school office as soon as you are able. We categorize the following as excused absences:

  • Student illness (if longer than three days, the student must bring a doctor note when returning to school)
  • Sickness/death in the immediate family of the student (family medical emergency)
  • Medical or dental treatment
  • Temporary absence from the city (parents must make the request in advance, and students must complete any assignments provided by the teacher)
  • Other reasons verified by the parent/guardian and mutually acceptable to both the parent/guardian and Birch Grove Community School director

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What if my child needs to take medication at school?

Students who take medication in school must:

  • Bring the medication in an original, properly labeled container
  • Bring a signed and dated permission slip explaining the purpose of the medication, times to administer, duration of administration, and any other pertinent information
  • Bring a doctor’s written order for administration (obtained from local clinic)

We will keep your child's medication in a locked cabinet and will designate a staff member to be responsible for administering the medication. Children who require the use of inhalers may carry them if they have a signed doctor and parent/guardian form. You can obtain these forms from the school office.


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Does Birch Grove offer special education services?

We provide special education services on site at Birch Grove Community School for those students who qualify for the program. If you think your child may qualify, or if you would like to learn more, please contact us.


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Do you serve school lunch?

We serve hot lunch on Tuesdays and Fridays and require that the students bring home lunches on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Please visit our School Lunch page for further information about meals at school.


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What can my child expect with regard to homework?

Homework is part of our educational program. It reinforces what the student learns in class, keeps parents apprised of what is happening at school, and teaches the student responsibility. We require our teachers to give homework to all students. As a general rule, you can expect the following:

  • Kindergarten/First Grade: 15 – 30 minutes/week
  • Second/Third Grades: 45 – 90 minutes/week
  • Fourth/Fifth Grades: 120 – 180 minutes/week

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How can I get involved?

We’re so glad you asked! Parental involvement is a crucial part of educational success. For information about how you can help both at home and at school, please visit our Be Involved page.


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Students