School-Wide Behavior Plan, Policies and Procedures

Dear Parents,

Each student at La Costa Meadows Elementary School has the right to live and learn in a positive, safe and orderly environment, where students, staff, and parents consciously demonstrate respect and support for each other at all times. This school fosters a setting in which students take pride in their academic and personal achievements, as well as responsibility for their own actions, and where staff and parents recognize the individual strengths and special contributions of each child.

We believe that all students at La Costa Meadows School can and will achieve proficiency or advanced proficiency in the Common Core State Standards, as well as the development of the qualities vital to becoming a great citizen. Students have the responsibility to actively pursue learning, while teachers, parents, staff and community share the duty of creatively structuring and balancing the school experience to make learning a source of joy and personal significance for each child. 

In order to make our students’ elementary experience meaningful and positive, it is necessary to build a relationship between the student, teacher, staff and administration. In this document you will see an overview of La Costa Meadows’ classroom and school-wide behavior program, school policies and procedures. Please take the time to review the plans and procedures with your child(ren).

Thank you for your help and support.


Every day a student misses school, even for an excused absence, the San Marcos Unified School District loses about $55 a day in income. We ask that you support our efforts to increase student attendance by:

  • Planning family trips during the school holidays
  • Try to schedule doctor’s or dentist’s appointments after school hours. If the appointment is in the middle of the day, please bring them to school in the morning
  • Allow your child to stay home when he/she has a contagious illness or is too sick to be comfortable at school (i.e. fever, vomiting)

If your child is going to be absent, please telephone the school in the morning the child is absent at 760-290-2121 ext 4. Our attendance clerk is responsible for contacting the parents of each absent student and your call greatly assists this process. Please be aware that the State of California requires the school to begin notifying parents by letter when three (3) unexcused absences occur.

Should a special situation arise which requires your child to be absent from school for five consecutive days or more, please notify the teacher at least one week ahead, and he/she will prepare an independent study contract. This allows the student to stay current with schoolwork and receive credit during their time of their absence.

If a child is absent, it is his/her responsibility to make-up all missed work and return it to school. Ask your child’s teacher for their policy on make-up work and how to arrange to pick up homework for your child. If your child misses school or any part of the school day for a doctor's appointment, please bring a printed note from the doctor to our front office. 

Education Code 490678 and the SMUSD Board Policy 5113 “Absences and Excuses” authorizes teachers to assign a failing grade to any student with more than 10 days of unexcused absences in a semester/trimester. The school must notify the parent, either by written report or by conference, whenever a student is in danger of failing based on unexcused absences.

On-Time Behavior

Our staff cares deeply about every student and wants to ensure that every child has access to learning opportunities every day. This year we are continuing our work together to “Make Every Minute Count.” Teachers plan for every minute in the day for furthering your child’s education experience. One way families can help is to make sure children arrive on-time to school.

Several studies support the notion that on-time behavior in school leads to on-time behavior in the workplace. Additionally, on-time behavior is correlated with proficient to advanced performance in school while pervasive tardiness is correlated with poor performance in school. Arriving late affects a child’s outlook on school and confidence as classmates are already working and learning. We want to work together to continue to improve this at our school, helping children to develop healthy, happy habits. Please plan with your family to arrive on-time to school every day, helping in Making Every Minute Count.

Early Pick-ups

We encourage all families to pick up students when the bell rings at the front of the school, but we understand that there are times when appointments require early pick-ups. Missing 10 minutes a day either tardy in the morning or being picked up early in the afternoon adds up quickly.

Please help us in a Win-Win…more time in school=more learning for children! Thank you for Making Every Minute Count!

In the event that you do need to pick up your child early, please follow the procedures below:

  • Pick up your child in the office. The front office staff will call the student from the room.
  • Any adult picking up children early must show proper identification before any child will be released. Please arrive with proper identification.
  • If a neighbor or relative is to pick up the child, we must have written permission and it is imperative that the adult picking up is on the child’s Emergency Card.
  • Please discuss with your child the importance of remaining on the school grounds at all times. No student is allowed to leave without parental permission and office approval.
  • While we know appointments may sometimes warrant early pick-up, please help to keep time out of school to a minimum, Making Every Minute Count.
  • There will be no student check out during the last 20 minutes of the school day. This will help to improve consistency at the end of the school day, and maintain safety and efficiency in our office. 

Bus Transportation

Busing will be used for all field trips. In order to provide bus services with the maximum safety for all students and to assure their riding privileges, standards for bus and bus stop conduct have been established and are

strictly enforced. Failure to do so will result in the students being issued a referral(s), which will require a parent signature.

Copies of the current bus rules may be obtained by calling the Transportation Department at (760) 290-2670.

Before School 

  • Students may not be on campus before 8:15am unless they are eating breakfast in the cafeteria. There is no supervision in front of school prior to 8:15am. We ask for your cooperation in ensuring the safety of your child(ren). Failure to cooperate puts children at risk and may warrant one or both of the following actions: Law enforcement may be called and /or Child Protective Services (CPS) report may be filed.
  • Breakfast is served in the cafeteria 8:15-8:45 am.
  • Students in grades 3-5 are permitted to ride bikes to school (please no scooters, skateboards, roller skates). Bike riders must obey all safety rules, wear a helmet and bring a lock. Students who violate rules of safety may lose the privilege of riding their bikes to school.
  • Walk bikes when on campus and park at bike racks located in front of school.
  • Use designated crosswalks at all times.
  • Remain on the playground before school starts (avoid playing in hallways, bathrooms, and/or classrooms).


  • Students in grades 1-5 are dismissed promptly at 3:10 p.m. and will need to be picked up no later than 3:25 p.m. On Wednesdays, students in grade 1-5 need to be picked up by 2:25.  Failure to cooperate puts children at risk and may warrant one or both of the following actions: Law enforcement may be called and /or Child Protective Services (CPS) report may be filed.
  • Students are not allowed to use cell phones during dismissal.
  • Students may use their cell phones to contact parents after 3:30pm (2:30 on Wednesdays)
  • After-school supervision ends at the times listed above. Children who are not picked up on time will need to have a parent sign them out in the office. If a habitual pattern is noted, law enforcement/CPS may be contacted. We would appreciate the cooperation of all the parents in adhering to the pick up times.
  • Pick up arrangements should be made with your child before school.
  • Walk on the sidewalks in a quiet and orderly fashion.
  • Use designated crosswalks and follow directions of supervisors and crossing guards at all times.

Parking Lot

Parking at La Costa Meadows is limited. You are welcome to park in any unmarked stall or against an unmarked curb. PLEASE DO NOT PARK IN THE SPOTS MARKED FOR STAFF. If no parking is available in the lot, please park on El Fuerte Street and use the crosswalks as necessary. Remember, our parking lot is a “one way” and you must enter and exit at different locations. If you should come to school to pick up a sick child or to drop off a tardy student, you may stop briefly in the bus area IF there are no buses. Never stop or leave your vehicle in the bus zone 30 minutes before school begins or just after school ends. Please do not leave your car running in the parking lot if you are coming into the school. Thank you in advance for your support of the parking lot routine.

School-wide Behavior

At La Costa Meadows we believe in a proactive approach to behavior. We have established Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS), which is a proactive approach to establishing the behavioral supports and social culture needed for all students in a school to achieve social, emotional and academic success. Attention is focused on creating and sustaining primary (school-wide), secondary (classroom), and tertiary (individual) systems of support that improve lifestyle results (personal, health, social, family, work, recreation) for all students by making targeted misbehavior less effective, efficient, and relevant, and desired behavior more functional. We have a school-wide reward systems to encourage positive behaviors on our campus called the Dynamic Dolphin Ticket Program.

Dynamic Dolphin Tickets are used to enforce our “Be Rules” (Be Safe, Be Respectful, Be Responsible) and our Dolphin Tickets are given to students who demonstrate the 7 Habits of Happy Kids to a high degree. Students who receive 3 Dynamic Dolphin tickets will be entered into drawing to be recognized at a flag salute.

Our School-wide Rules Matrix outlines our expectations for positive behavior on our campus. 

Classroom Behavior Program

Each teacher has a specific classroom behavior plan. It incorporates teacher/student expectations, a hierarchy of consequences for students who break the rules, and a positive reward plan for well-behaved students. The plan also contains a “severe clause” for serious behavior issues. The Principal or Assistant Principal will deal with these issues. It is La Costa Meadows' philosophy that the classroom teacher is the best person to deal with behavior issues. If you have a question regarding a discipline procedure, please contact your child’s teacher first. You should expect a Classroom Behavior Plan to be sent home within the first two weeks of school. Our teachers utilize our “Responsibility Room” as part of their behavior plans for students to reflect on choices, and to determine which of the 7 Habits of Happy Kids can be implemented to avoid revisits to the Responsibility Room. Again, please see your child’s teacher’s behavior plan to see how the Responsibility Room may be implemented in class.

La Costa Meadows Outdoor and Playground Rules

Our Motto at La Costa Meadows is to live “The Dolphin Way” which means “Do the Right Thing Even When No One is Looking.”

 We have three school-wide rules:

  • Be Safe
  • Be Respectful
  • Be Responsible

We believe these three rules cover all manners of behavior and set the standard for what is expected… leading children to live The Dolphin Way. Children who violate one or more of our school rules while on the playground will receive a warning and/or time-out from playing depending on the frequency of the behavior. Severe behavior that is rough, aggressive, involves bullying or profanity will not be tolerated. 

Our character education program (The 7 Habits of Happy Kids) works to reinforce The Dolphin Way and following our three schoolwide rules. Through the 7 Habits children learn:

  • Be Proactive (take initiative, be responsible for actions)
  • Begin With The End In Mind (set a goal, have a plan, problem solve)
  • Put First Things First (organize and take care of important things first)
  • Think Win-Win (balance what you want with what others want)
  • Seek First To Understand, Then To Be Understood (listen first, then speak)
  • Synergize (work together)
  • Sharpen The Saw (lead a balanced life)

It is our expectation that by learning and internalizing the 7 Habits of Happy Kids and following our three schoolwide rules, students will live The Dolphin Way and Do The Right Thing Even When No One Is Looking.

Dress and Grooming at School

Students are required to show proper attention to cleanliness, health, neatness, safety, and appropriateness of clothing and appearance for school activities. A well-groomed appearance is important in developing a positive self-image and compliments the school’s instructional program.

  • Dress should be appropriate for the season and the occasion. Extreme styles that may disrupt the educational process or any other school activity are prohibited.
  • Revealing clothing is not permitted.
  • Clothing and hats that are offensive or may promote gangs, drugs, or alcohol are not permitted on campus.
  • Hats are permitted outside of the classroom. Hats/caps may not be worn inside buildings.
  • Sandals may be worn only if they have a front and back strap, according to the CA State code. However, tennis shoes are far safer and enable greater participation in P.E.
  • Shoes with wheels may not be worn on school campus.

The administration is the final authority when a difference of opinion arises. When a violation of the dress guidelines occurs, the students will be required to correct this by calling home for the proper attire. Continued violations of dress guidelines will be considered defiance and will be referred for disciplinary action.

Food at School

The San Marcos Unified School District recognizes the link between student health and learning, and has developed a Wellness Policy for the District that promotes student health through nutrition education, nutrition guidelines and physical education and activity. This will continue to be an area of focus this year at LCM.

Students may eat a snack at the beginning of their morning recess and we encourage some type of healthy food, rather than what we refer to as “extra” foods, such as chips and cookies. Please do not send glass containers with your child. Please do not send any type of cutting utensil with your child. Our cafeteria can help if they need assistance.

In accordance with this policy, we do not celebrate birthdays in classrooms with candy, cakes, cupcakes sodas, etc. Please do not bring any food to school without prior permission from the classroom teacher. Food and drinks are allowed at other celebration events, however they must follow the SMUSD Wellness Policy. Always check with the classroom teacher prior to bringing any type of food item into the classroom. More information regarding the Wellness policy can be found at or by calling 760-752-1269 

Lunch and Lunch Area

  • Remember to Live the Dolphin Way!
  • Keep all food and drinks in the eating area.
  • Please use proper table manners and remain seated.
  • Sit and eat quietly for at least 15 minutes before dismissal to the playground then raise your hand to be dismissed.
  • After being dismissed gather your trash and throw away.
  • No candy, gum or soda will be allowed at school.
  • Walk quietly down the halls.

Pets on Campus

Pets are not allowed on campus unless approved by administration. If approved to be in a classroom, the pet must be brought to school by a parent and taken home immediately. Some students may have an anxiety or allergies, therefore we DO NOT allow dogs, cats or other family pets on campus during arrival or dismissal even if the animal is small or leashed.

Safe and Drug Free

Our goal is to provide a safe and drug free environment for all our students. We actively enforce our school district’s “Zero Tolerance” policy. Students who attempt to bring drugs, alcohol, or weapons to school may be arrested by Police, suspended from school, and even be expelled for up to one full year.

Sexual Harassment Statement

It is the policy of the San Marcos Unified School District, in keeping with efforts to establish and maintain and environment in which the dignity and worth of all members of our district are respected, that sexual harassment of students and employees is unacceptable conduct and will not be tolerated.

Tobacco-Free School

La Costa Meadows Elementary recognizes the health hazards related to the use of tobacco, including the breathing of second-hand smoke. We are a “tobacco-free” school, which means we do not allow smoking in the classrooms or on the campus at any time. In addition, we provide educational information to our students through classroom instruction and activities. Our school has information available in the school office about programs that support adults who desire to stop smoking.

California Education Code

La Costa Meadows Elementary School has the obligation to enforce the California Education Code and the policies of our District. When a student violates a provision of the Education Code or the San Marcos Unified School District’s Board Policies, (s)he must be held responsible. This could result in detention, suspension, or expulsion. Expulsion is the most severe punishment the District can exercise and prohibits a student from attending school within the District for up to one year. 

In some cases, a student’s behavior may violate the California Penal Code in addition to the Education Code. If the school has knowledge of such an occurrence, we are obligated to report it to the Police. The following behaviors are examples of violations of the Penal Code that must be reported to the Police:

  • Sale, possession, or use of drugs and alcohol
  • Possession of a weapon
  • Possession of explosives (fire crackers and poppers are classified as explosives)
  • Theft or vandalism of district property
  • Assault against district employees

An effective school-wide behavior program is a cooperative effort involving students, parents, teachers, and administrators. Working together we will provide a safe and happy atmosphere for your child. Please feel free to contact us at 290-2121 if you have any questions.

The San Marcos Unified School District Governing Board believes that all students have the right to be educated in a positive, safe learning environment free from disruption.



Education Code 48900


A student can be suspended from school by the principal or designee if is has been determined that the student, while on school grounds or during an activity off school grounds related to school attendance has:

  1. Caused, attempted to cause or threatened to cause physical injury to another person or willfully used force or violence to another person
  2. Possessed, sold or otherwise furnished any firearm, knife explosive, or other dangerous object
  3. Unlawfully possessed, used, sold or otherwise furnished, or was under the influence of any controlled substance, alcoholic beverage or intoxicant of any kind
  4. Unlawfully offered or arranged or negotiated to sell any controlled substance, alcoholic beverage, or intoxicant of any kind, and then sold, delivered, or otherwise furnished to any person another liquid substance, or material and represented the liquid substance or material as a controlled substance, alcoholic beverage or intoxicant
  5. Committed robbery or attempted to commit robbery or extortion
  6. Caused or attempted to cause damage to school property or private property
  7. Stole or attempted to steal school property or private property
  8. Possessed or used tobacco or any products containing tobacco or nicotine products
  9. Committed an obscene act or engaged in habitual profanity or vulgarity
  10. Unlawfully possessed or unlawfully offered arranged or negotiated to sell any drug paraphernalia
  11. Disrupted school activities, or willfully defied the authority of school personnel
  12. Knowingly received stolen school property or private property
  13. Possessed an imitation firearm (reasonable person concludes replica is a firearm)
  14. Committed or attempted to commit a sexual assault
  15. Harassed, threatened, or intimidated a pupil who is a complaining witness in a school disciplinary proceeding
  16. Unlawfully offered, arranged to sell, negotiated to sell, or sold a prescription drug
  17. Engaged in, or attempted to engage in, hazing, as defined in Section 32050

The following offenses only apply to students in Grades 4-12.


.2 Committed sexual harassment—when a person uses sexual words and actions that make another person feel uncomfortable or unsafe

.3 Caused, attempted to cause, threatened to cause or participate in an act of hate violence

.4 Intentionally engaged in harassment, threats, or intimidation directed against a pupil or group of pupils

.7 Terroristic threats against school officials, or school property or both

Any disciplinary referral may result in a warning/conference with school personnel, phone call or note home, detention, appropriate work assignment, restriction from school activities, in home or home suspension, or other appropriate consequences.

In some cases, a student’s behavior may violate the California Penal Code in addition to the Education Code. If the school has knowledge of such an occurrence, we are obligated to report it to the Police. The following behaviors are examples of violations of the Penal Code that must be reported to the Police:

  • Sale, possession, or use of drugs and alcohol
  • Possession of a weapon
  • Possession of explosives (fire crackers and poppers are classified as explosives)
  • Theft or vandalism of district property
  • Assault against district employees

An effective school-wide behavior program is a cooperative effort involving students, parents, teachers, and administrators. Working together we will provide a safe and happy atmosphere for your child. Please feel free to contact us at 290-2121 if you have any questions.

Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2024 SchoolMessenger Corporation. All rights reserved.