Family Handbook

Arrival and Dismissal

The school day begins at 9:20 AM and ends at 4:05 PM. The school doors open and students can enter the building at 9:05 AM. Students should be in their classroom and ready to start the day by 9:20 AM.  If a student arrives at school after 9:20 AM, they will need to be escorted into the main office and signed in by an adult.  

Change in Dismissal and Early Dismissal

Please inform the front office of any dismissal change prior to 3:30 PM on the day the change will be taking place. If you need to pick up a student early, you must do so prior to 3:30 PM. The end of the school day is a very busy time for our students and staff, and this helps the school team ensure that the teacher and student know of the change and prevents confusion at dismissal time.  The only people who are allowed to pick up a child from school are the adults listed on the child’s Emergency Care Card. Please remember to bring your identification into the office when you are visiting the school or checking out a student.  We are a 100% ID check school and will ask for ID from anyone who is checking out a student or visiting the school. If a child is going home with a friend, the parent/guardian of each child must write or email a note stating how the child is going home. When both notes have been received the information will be shared with teachers.

Bus Riders

Fairfax County Public School provides bus transportation for students who live more than one mile from the school or when an unsafe situation exists as determined by the Transportation Services.  School bus riders in Fairfax County are required to observe rules of safety and good citizenship while riding the bus and while waiting at a designated bus stop.  Standards for safe, courteous conduct will be in effect beginning with the first day of school.  It is essential that bus riders follow the bus regulations. 

Kiss and Ride

Students driven to and from school by parents/guardians must be dropped off and picked up between the “Kiss and Ride” sign and the flagpole.  Traffic will circulate through the faculty parking lot in a single lane with a counterclockwise flow.  Children should disembark only on the passenger side of the vehicle.  Parents/Guardians should remain in the car.

Afternoon Kiss & Ride students are dismissed using a number system.  Students are assigned a number after a K&R contract is submitted to the school.  If you use afternoon Kiss and Ride, please display your number to allow staff to keep the dismissal process running smoothly. If you are new to Kiss and Ride, you can sign a Kiss and Ride contract and get a Kiss and Ride number at the Stallion Stampede. Staff will also be available at Kiss and Ride during the first week of school to help families get a number.  After the first week of school, please stop by the office if you need a Kiss and Ride number.

When using the Kiss and Ride line, allow yourself plenty of time; remain patient and do not pass stopped vehicles that are loading/unloading children.  Children should be ready to get out of the car before getting to the parking lot (i.e. coats on, books prepared, etc.).  Some families who drive to school park in the community close by and walk with their student(s) the rest of the way to school. If you choose to do this you will drop your student off at the front doors at arrival and pick them up as a walker outside Door 3 during dismissal. 


Students who are walkers will be dismissed outside of Door 3. If you decide to drive and park to pick up your walker, you must park in the community and not in the school bus loop.


Assessments are part of the teaching and learning process. Teachers give assessments to students on an ongoing basis to check for understanding and to gather information about students' knowledge and skills.  This information is used to make instructional decisions to meet each student where they are in their learning. 

There are a number of division-wide and state-mandated assessments. Notification letters will be sent home before these assessments are given, which provides when the assessment will be administered and the purpose of the assessment. You can read more about the Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) required assessments in grades PreK-12 here


Attendance Matters

Some absences are unavoidable. Children will get sick and need to stay home occasionally. It is important for children to attend school as often as possible. Regular school attendance in elementary school improves the chances a child will read on grade level.

Chronic absenteeism (missing 16 or more school days per year or 10% of the school year) is a primary cause of lower academic achievement even when the absences are "excused" or understandable.

Students who attend 90% or more of the school year are more likely to graduate from high school on time.

Submitting an Absence

If your child must miss school, submit the absence using our online attendance form or calling 703-440-2626.

Prearranged Absences

We ask that families do their best to use the FCPS 2022-2023 Calendar to schedule family trips during student breaks so students do not miss school. A Request for Prearranged Absence form is required for families who have a planned absence from school for more than 2 days. Please submit the form at least a week in advance of the absence. You may turn in a hard copy to the school office or email a digital copy to [email protected].

Cell Phone Use at School

In June 2022, the FCPS 2022-23 Student Rights and Responsibilities (SR&R were updated to include new expectations for cell phone use that are specific to each school level: elementary, middle, high, and secondary. The new cell phone expectations were established to help foster a learning environment that is conducive to learning.

Students in grades K-6 must have their phones silenced and in backpacks for the duration of the school day. Smart watches that serve a dual purpose may be worn, but the phone features (texting, Internet viewing, and calls) are to be off when phone use is prohibited. Students are prohibited from using phones, tablets, and other mobile devices in restrooms and locker rooms, unless there is a medical necessity or emergency. Teachers may allow usage of cell phones for instructional activities when appropriate. Cell phones may be used on campus before and after school only.



Visit the Parent Communication Overview website for Information about the many ways FCPS communicates with families. Stay up to date with FCPS and Saratoga Elementary School information through News You Choose, Schoology, Remind, Facebook, and Twitter.

News You Choose

Be sure to sign up for News You Choose for FCPS and Saratoga specific communications.


Your SIS ParentVUE login credentials can also be used to access Schoology. Parents/Guardians can use Schoology to see information about what students are learning. 


You can join Remind through the website, text, or app.  Here’s how to join remind:


  1. Go to
  2. Enter @sesfcps as the class code and select Join.
  3. Enter your first and last name along with your mobile phone number or email address.
  4. Click Sign up.


  1. Text @sesfcps to 81010.


  1. Download the mobile app for iOS and Android devices.
  2. Create a new account (or log in if you already have one).
  3. Tap +Join a class (located under the Joined section).
  4. Enter @sesfcps class code, and then click Join.


We post information to our school's Facebook page.  If you are on Facebook, we encourage you to follow us.  Search “Saratoga Elementary School” or “@SaratogaES” to find us. 



We post information to our school's Facebook page.  If you are on Twitter, we encourage you to follow us.  Our handle is “@SaratogaESFCPS”.


Emergency Care Card

Parents/Guardians can update their child’s emergency care card in ParentVUE.  You can update this information at any time.  If you prefer a paper copy of the form to update your information, please let your child’s teacher know or print it using the Emergency Care Information card and send it in with your child. 

Health Information

You can update your child’s health information in ParentVUE


The school is not permitted to administer any medications unless a parent has filled out a "Medical Authorization" form, which may be obtained in the office, clinic, or the FCPS website.  Students who are required to take medication for more than ten days must have the "Medical Authorization" signed by their doctor.  Under no circumstances are students permitted to bring pills or other medication to administer themselves (including over-the-counter medications). Parents/Guardians, not students, MUST bring any medication to school.   Any questions about medication policy should be directed to the School Health Aide (703-440-2610).

Health Room

Fairfax County Public Schools and the Fairfax County Health Department work together to ensure a safe and healthy environment for learning here at Saratoga Elementary School. A Public Health Nurse covers a couple of schools and visits Saratoga Elementary each week. She is responsible for developing a plan of care for students with chronic health conditions, for staff training, and for supervising of the day-to-day operations of the Health Room. A School Health Aide staffs the health room at school. While not a medical practitioner, she is trained to complete basic assessments of illness and student injury. If a child becomes ill while in school, the parent must make arrangements to pick up their child quickly.  In some cases, a doctor's statement will be required before the child may return to school.  A student must be fever free for 24 hours before returning to school.


At Saratoga, we encourage daily at-home reading. Other than nightly reading, teachers will not be assigning any additional “homework” rather they will provide suggestions for authentic at-home learning opportunities that support the curriculum through the weekly learning calendar. 


Meals at School

Breakfast and lunch are available for purchase at school daily.  Teachers may also include an opportunity for snack into their daily schedule.  Snack information will be provided directly from the classroom teacher. 


Cafeteria Menu 

The daily breakfast and lunch menu can be found here:



MySchoolBucks makes school payments easy.  Be sure to set up your account and add money as needed.


Free and Reduced-Meal Forms 

Families who qualify for Free and Reduced-Meals need to apply for this resource.  Those who qualify and participate in the free and reduced-meals also receive eligibility to participate in several fee-based programs at either no cost or a reduced cost if they provide a consent to share information form.  These programs may include band equipment, school supplies, field trip assistance, etc.  The application can be found online here.


Food Allergies 

FCPS has recommended procedures that we follow to reduce the exposure of allergens (specifically nuts) to those students who are allergic. 

There is a nut free table in the cafeteria. The nut free table is an option for students, not a requirement. A letter is sent to the parents/guardians with children affected by a nut allergy to let them know that the nut free table is an option. If you want your child with a nut allergy to sit at this table, return the slip at the bottom of the letter to school. The student can invite 1-2 friends to sit at the table with them and the friends must have a lunch that does not include peanut butter or another option that contains nuts. 

A letter will be sent home to all families in classes where a nut allergy exists asking that they not send in snacks that contain nuts.

“Nut Free” signs will be posted outside classrooms where a nut allergy exists to let people know that the classroom is nut free.


Parent/Guardian Involvement

We appreciate everything Saratoga parents/guardians do to support their child and Saratoga Elementary School.


If you are interested in volunteering, please connect with your child’s teacher. 


Due to space constraints in the cafeteria, parents/guardians are not able to join their child in the cafeteria for lunch. 


Parents/Guardians are not able to join classes for birthday celebrations. If you would like to send in a healthy snack to celebrate, you may reach out to your child’s teacher. 


The Saratoga PTA is a great way to get involved and support the school. Visit their website for more information.

Student Rights and Responsibilities (SR&R)

The 2022-2023 Student Rights and Responsibilities document explains expectations for student behavior and adult responses to enhance school safety and to create a fair, equitable, and supportive school environment. We ask that you use this document as a framework for discussing these expectations with your child so that they are well prepared for success when the school year begins. You will also find that this publication includes information that you may need throughout the school year, including contact numbers and other resources. This document is available in the following languages: Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Urdu, and Vietnamese.

Parent/Guardian Signature Sheet Please log on to your SIS ParentVUE account and sign to acknowledge the review of this document OR sign and return this form to your child’s school by September 30, 2022.  

SIS Parent Account/ParentVUE

The Student Information System (SIS) Parent Account, known as ParentVUE, is used as the FCPS secure solution for information about your child's attendance, class performance, demographic data, and more.  If you do not already have a ParentVUE account, you can activate it on the SIS Parent Account Registration page .

Workout Wednesday

Every Wednesday at Saratoga is “Workout Wednesday”.  The purpose of “Workout Wednesday” is to promote a healthy and active lifestyle while building community across the school.  On “Workout Wednesday”, we invite students, staff, and volunteers to wear their workout clothes and participate in hourly brain breaks with a school-wide exercise.