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Parent Handbook

Welcome to Nelson Elementary School. This handbook is provided for your information. Please familiarize yourself with Nelson policies and procedures. We thank you in advance for your cooperation and assistance in keeping children safe and our school running smoothly. This handbook is not all inclusive. Please ask an Administrator if you have a question regarding a policy or procedure that is not included here. District policies and procedures can be found in the Hillsborough District Handbook. We welcome you and your child(ren) to Nelson and are excited to share the year with you!


The Nelson Elementary PTA is actively involved in improving the school. We encourage all parents to join the Nelson PTA. Meetings are scheduled throughout the year and are announced several weeks in advance. Each year the PTA sponsors fund raisers to finance projects that directly enhance the educational programs at Nelson. The PTA website is:

Parent Conferences:

Effective parent-teacher communication is essential for student progress. Nelson is committed to facilitating parent involvement in school. In addition to the pre-scheduled fall and spring conference evenings, conferences may be scheduled during the teacher's conference time, before or after school. In order to give every parent the proper consideration and time that a conference deserves, conferences with teachers will be scheduled in advance.

Arrival and Dismissal Procedures:

Maintaining a safe environment for all students is a task we take seriously. Students are NOT allowed on campus before 7:10 a.m. Supervision begins at 7:10 a.m.

For everyone’s safety, Teachers and Staff are strategically located throughout campus to greet students. Only Nelson students and employees are allowed on campus. ALL visitors must schedule an appointment and check-in with the Front Office, show ID, and wear a Visitor’s Badge. Nelson will begin issuing Visitor Badges at 8:00 a.m.


7:10 a.m.               First Bell

7:10 – 7:40 a.m.   Students only may enter Nelson and go directly to class. Students who want a free breakfast will report to their assigned Grab and Go Breakfast stations.

7:40 a.m.               Tardy Bell. School begins at 7:40 a.m. Students who arrive after the bell must be accompanied by a parent/guardian to sign-in at the Front Office. Students who report to the classroom after 7:40 a.m. are tardy.

8:00 a.m.               Front Office will issue Visitor Badges starting at 8:00 a.m. (By appointment only)

1:30 p.m.               No more early sign-outs (12:30 p.m. on Mondays)

1:55 p.m.               Dismissal (Monday early dismissal at 12:55 p.m.)

Car Riders: All vehicles dropping off children must use the car loop located in front of the Main Office on the north side of our campus. Drop off car riders at the designated drop off points in front of the building. No drop off is permitted in the back parking lot. For security purposes, all other gates will be closed.

Drivers, please remain in your cars and do not park your vehicle during drop-off. Here’s why: parking and walking your child amid car traffic is more dangerous than pulling up to the curb and saying your goodbyes. Staff and Safety Patrols will assist students as they exit vehicles and keep the car line moving safely and efficiently. Help keep everyone safe and please stay in your car.

Dismissal Car Line Start Time 1:30 PM:

  • The Car Line for dismissal begins at 1:30 p.m. You may not line up for dismissal before 1:30 p.m.
  • Cars that attempt to line up before 1:30 p.m. will be asked to leave campus and return at 1:30 p.m.
  • Both lanes will open at 1:45 p.m.
  • Student dismissal begins at 1:55 p.m.
  • Please drive safely around the loop and abide by the 5 mph speed limit.

This procedure allows other vehicles to access Nelson Elementary, including emergency vehicles.

Walkers: If you designate your child as a “Walker”, this means that he/she knows how to walk home from school. It is unsafe to have your child walk to a location along or off of Durant Road to be picked up. Our school does not support this unsafe procedure. If your child cannot walk home, then you must use the Car Line for arrival and dismissal. 

Bike Riders: Students may ride bicycles to school but must walk their bike once on school grounds. We also strongly encourage students to walk bikes on Durant Road due to the high volume of traffic. To ensure the safety of personal property, students must chain and lock their bikes to the bike rack on the north side of campus facing Durant Road. Please do not leave bicycles overnight. The school is not responsible for lost, stolen or damaged bicycles. Helmets are required.

Bus Riders: Students will be dropped off outside the cafeteria on the west side of campus. If they are eating breakfast, they will go directly to the cafeteria and then to the classroom. Staff and Patrols are on duty to assist students.

Dismissal Changes: For your child’s safety no child will be dismissed from school by a different method than the one established unless the school receives notification by 10:00 a.m. Parents must notify the school of any dismissal changes in writing before 10:00 a.m. Students will not be released to individuals unless their name appears on the child’s Emergency Card. This policy is strictly enforced.

Students will be given a colored dismissal tag that we will put on their book bags.  Please leave these on their book bags.  It helps us know where every student goes at the end of the day. If you need to change how your child goes home, please contact the school in writing before 10:00 a.m.

During dismissal we ensure that our students go home safely. Please be patient, especially in the early weeks as safety is always our number one priority.

Attendance/Tardy Policy (651-2120 & press 1):

To fully benefit from the instructional program, students are expected to attend school regularly and be on time for class. Excessive absences will be referred to the Child Study Team and/or the School Social Worker.

In accordance with the Hillsborough County School District’s Attendance Policy, the reason for each student absence must be reported to the school. For your convenience, a separate attendance phone line has been installed with a 24-hour access recorder. Please call 651-2120 and press 1, to report the reason for your child’s absence. If the line is busy when you call, please call back.

Tardies and absences may be excused for the following reasons:

  1. An illness of the student or a medical/dental appointment (a doctor’s statement may be required).
  2. An accident resulting in an injury to the student.
  3. A death in the immediate family.
  4. An observance of an established religious holiday.
  5. A subpoena by a law enforcement agency or a required court appearance.

Please help your child by having him/her on time and in attendance at school every day.

Safety & Visitor Information:

For your child's protection, Visitors must schedule an appointment and report to the office for a Visitor's Pass.  This procedure alerts the staff that the visitor has been cleared by the office. Nelson will begin issuing Visitor Badges at 8:00 a.m.

Family Emergency:

Routine family visitations are not permitted at school. If, due to an emergency, it is necessary for you to see your child during school hours, please contact an Administrator for approval.

Student Nutrition Services:

Breakfast is served from 7:10 – 7:40 a.m. and lunch is served between 10:15 a.m. – 1:15 p.m. HCPS posts menus online and are also available in the cafeteria. Grab and Go Breakfast is free for all students.  Students must finish all breakfast items from home before entering the campus. 
Please use to add funds to your child’s account.
Please do not drop off restaurant-bought lunches into school for your child. The Front Office does not accept food delivery services such as Uber Eats, Doordash, etc.

Protecting Our Instructional Day:

Students are with us for 6 hours and 15 minutes each day. We must make sure that our time with students is spent on quality instruction, always focused on academic excellence. Make sure your child comes to school on time each day, ready with everything that he/she needs. Save early sign outs for emergency purposes only. Each time we call for a student, we interrupt instruction and take precious time away from teacher/student contact. Also, make sure students remember their backpacks, lunches, instruments, etc. If your child leaves something at home, please do not bring it to school. We will work with the child to make sure they have what they need for that day. This policy helps limit classroom interruptions.

School Parties/Classroom Parties:

Each grade level is allowed two class parties per year.  One usually comes before the Winter Holidays and the second before the end of school. Birthdays will be recognized by the school in a manner that is equitable for all children. PARENTS MAY NOT SEND CUPCAKES OR OTHER TREATS FOR BIRTHDAYS OR OTHER SPECIAL OCCASIONS. This poses a problem for the teachers and teams when one teacher's class receives treats and another team member's class does not. In addition, we would be celebrating some special event on a regular basis at the expense of valuable instructional time. Finally, many children also have allergies, and this could endanger them. Thank you for understanding.

Invitations and/or Parents Requesting Classmates' Addresses:

To maintain confidentiality, we are not able to provide a birthday/address list. Additionally, party invitations will not be distributed at school.

Illness or Accident at School:

Sometimes children become too ill to remain at school. In all fairness to your child and to others, make sure ALL information on the Emergency Card is accurate. Please make every effort to keep the office informed of any changes to your contact information.

Pediculosis (Head Lice):

According to HCPS policy, a child must be excluded from school when this condition exists. Please notify the school nurse with questions or concerns.

Health Screening:

School Health Services Program conducts health-screening activities at various times during a child's school experience. Screening activities occur based upon guidelines established by the Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services and local school health personnel. School health screenings include the following activities: vision screening, hearing screening, measurement of height, weight, and dental screening. Parents will be notified prior to any screening that takes place in school.

Sun Protection:

Our Nelson students spend a considerable amount of time outside, including PE and recess each day. Please take the necessary precautions to protect your child’s skin with sunscreen. We encourage you to make applying sunscreen part of your child’s morning routine prior to school.

Textbooks and Library Books:

Books checked out to a child become the responsibility of that child. Every effort should be made to handle the book with care to avoid damage or loss. A charge will be made for lost or damaged books. The price for a single textbook can be as high as $60.00.

Cell Phones and Smart Devices:

Nelson students must put their wireless devices on silent mode and out of view for the entire school day. Nelson students may not use cell phones, smartwatches, or any other connected devices while on campus or riding a HCPS school bus UNLESS the teacher gives the student permission in advance. The school does not accept responsibility for cell phones, smartwatches, etc. If a student has a phone/smartwatch on or out, the teacher will take it. Parents must come to school to pick up the device. 


Toys, rubber arm bracelets, laser key chains, silly bands, electronic games, headsets, collectable cards, etc. are considered a distraction to the instructional process. Students will refrain from bringing these items to school. If a “toy” is found on campus, the item will be held by the classroom teacher for parents to pick up. Show and Tell: Classroom teachers will inform parents in advance when normally prohibited items may be brought to school for curriculum enrichment.

Lost and Found:

Please label your child's clothing (coats, sweaters, etc.) so that it will be easily identified and returned if it is misplaced. Personal belongings and articles of clothing that are left at the school are kept in a central location at Nelson. After a reasonable time, Nelson sends unclaimed clothing or articles to a local charity.

Dress and Grooming:

Students have the responsibility: to dress and groom in such a manner so as to reflect cleanliness, modesty, safety and good taste.

The dress and grooming of students will contribute to the health and safety of the individual and which is non-disruptive to the educational activities at Nelson.

All Nelson students are required to conform to the following:

  • Shoes shall be worn and be securely fastened to the feet and have a low heel height. Footwear must be suitable for outdoor physical education classes and unsafe shoes such as flip flops, Crocs, clogs, or “skate tennis shoes" are not allowed.
  • Clothing that exposes the entire shoulder, tube tops, spaghetti straps, or similar type clothing, may be worn only with a blouse or shirt. Clothing exposing the torso or the midriff, either front, back, or sides, shall not be worn. Underwear shall not be visible. Clothing shall not expose the mid-chest area. Mini-skirts, mini-dresses and short shorts are not permitted. Hemlines shall be no shorter than fingertip length. All pants and shorts shall be secured at the waist.
  • Head coverings shall not be worn in the building unless required for religious observance or health-related reasons.
  • Garments and/or jewelry that display or suggest sexual, vulgar, drug, gang, weapons, or alcohol-related wording or graphics, or that provoke violence or disruption in the school, shall not be worn. Wallet chains shall not be worn.

Eagle Expectations:

  1. Listen attentively.
  2. Be prepared for class.
  3. Keep hands, feet, and objects to yourself.
  4. Respect others.
  5. Follow directions immediately.

School Discipline Policies:

The Nelson staff believes all students can behave appropriately. We enjoy praising our Nelson Eagles successes and we know that praise leads to great choices. Nelson faculty developed Eagle Expectations and consequences to aid students in making appropriate decisions governing their behavior. Consequences may vary slightly from grade level to grade level, but in general, they are consistent throughout school.

Some behaviors cannot be tolerated in school.  Students who commit offenses such as fighting, destroying property, using profanity, or continuing repeated offenses will be sent to the office immediately and the appropriate consequences will be administered. For continuous negative behavior, teachers and parents will work together to come up with a more individual plan to help the child be successful.

The following principles guide Nelson's faculty and staff when responding to student misbehaviors:
  • Teachers will utilize effective preventative management strategies to avoid most classroom disorder issues.
  • Teachers will keep the instructional program going with minimal disruption.
  • Teachers will implement disciplinary strategies that preserve students' dignity.

Civility Statement:

In order to provide a safe, caring and orderly environment, Hillsborough County Public Schools expects Civility from All who engage in school activities. Mutual respect, professionalism and common courtesy are essential qualities that all need to demonstrate in promoting an educational environment free from disruptions, harassment, bullying and aggressive actions.

Unacceptable Behavior:

  • Behaviors which interfere with or threaten to interfere with school activities
  • Using loud offensive language or profanity
  • Intimidating, harassing, bullying and inappropriate display of temper
  • Threatening verbal or physical harm
  • Threatening, abusive, inappropriate or obscene telephone conversations, written communication, electronic mail or voice mail


The District has adopted the following bullying policy. Bullying is a form of aggression and occurs when a person who perceives a power imbalance, willfully subjects another person (victim) to intentional, unwanted and unprovoked hurtful verbal and/or physical action which result in the victim feeling oppressed (stress, injury, discomfort) at any school site or school board-sponsored activity or event. Students who engage in such conduct shall be subject to a range of punishments to include verbal or written reprimand, in-school or out-of-school suspension, change of placement and/or expulsion.

Examples or types of bullying include, but are not limited to:

  • Physical - punching, shoving, poking, strangling, hair-pulling, beating, biting or excessive tickling;
  • Verbal - hurtful name-calling, teasing or gossip;
  • Emotional (Psychological) - rejecting, terrorizing, extorting, defaming, humiliating, blackmailing, rating/ranking of personal characteristics such as race, disability, ethnicity, or perceived sexual orientation, manipulating friendships, isolating, ostracizing or peer pressure;
  • Sexual - many of the actions listed above as well as exhibitionism, voyeurism, sexual propositioning, sexual harassment and abuse involving actual physical contact and sexual assault. In many cases, gender and cross-gender sexual harassment may also qualify as bullying;
  • Cyber-bullying - the use of information and communication technologies such as email, cell phone, and pager text messages, instant messaging (IM), defamatory personal web sites, and defamatory online personal pooling web sites, to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group, that is intended to threaten or harm others, or which substantially disrupts or interferes with the operation of a school or an individual student’s ability to receive an education.

Bullying may be limited to a single incident. However, in most cases, bullying is characterized by repeated harmful actions on the part of the bully. Allegations of bullying will be promptly investigated. An individual has the legal right to report an incident(s) of bullying without fear of reprisal or retaliation at any time.

Retaliation is defined as “to pay back (an injury) in kind.” When a person is accused of having engaged in an inappropriate fashion, especially bullying, the common reaction of that person is to be angry and want to pay the victim back (retaliate). Retaliation must not occur.

Some examples of retaliations are:

  • attempting to discuss the matter in any way while it is under investigation;
  • spreading rumors
  • following the person
  • becoming physical in any way
  • destroying property
  • using the telephone or any other electronic or written form of communication to retaliate in any way

If You Are The Victim of Bullying:

  • Clearly tell the “bully” to stop.
  • Don’t ignore the incident. Immediately report the incident to an adult at school. Tell your parent(s) /guardian(s).
  • If bullying continues after you told the person to stop, report the incident immediately to an adult (Teacher, Guidance Counselor, Assistant Principal, or Principal).
  • Avoid being alone with the person who attempted to bully you in the past.

To Minimize the Risk of Being Accused of Bullying:


  • Keep your hands to yourself.
  • Remember that NO ONE has a right to harm another person in any way.
  • Think before you speak.
  • Immediately apologize if you accidentally say or do something that has made another person feel oppressed.
  • Report all incidents of bullying behavior you have witnessed to appropriate school personnel.


  • Touch anyone without his or her permission and especially in an inappropriate way.
  • Keep interacting with a person after he or she has perceived your behavior toward him or her as being “inappropriate” and has clearly told you to “stop.”
  • Make remarks that may cause another person to feel “oppressed” (stressful, scared, intimidated).
  • Cyber-bullying - the use of information and communication technologies such as email, cell phone, and pager text messages, instant messaging (IM), defamatory personal web sites, and defamatory online personal pooling web sites, to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group, that is intended to threaten or harm others, or which substantially disrupts or interferes with the operation of a school or an individual student’s ability to receive an education.