BHS Back to School Letter 2019-2020

(Last Updated On: August 16, 2019)

School begins September 3.  School hours are 7:40AM – 2:40PM (2:15 on Wednesdays) 


Welcome to the 2019-2020 school year!  I am looking forward to seeing our wonderful students and staff fill the halls with laughter and smiles.  Our excellent teaching staff will be ready to challenge our students with academic, artistic, and athletic rigor to build a resilient and hard-working Bucks community. Together we are making Buchanan High School a place where students, parents, and staff are proud to come to each day.


Buchanan High School’s mission is to prepare students for life by ensuring that no matter what our students face beyond the school walls, our students can effectively cope with success, failures, challenges, humility, integrity and dignity.  We strive to prepare our students with resilience, the courage to make tough decisions, the knowledge to know what is right, and the integrity needed to make those right choices. By partnering with parents and the community, we can succeed in that mission.


We have many opportunities at BHS for students to get involved in their school and community.  Opportunities that inspire pride, leadership, and absolute enjoyment in just about any interest area our students have.  Encourage your teen to participate in one of our activities, clubs, or to start a new one that interests him or her.


We are continuing our endeavor to support career training as we strive to provide students with CTE courses that will prepare students for their career by building on the skills needed in their chosen field. We have also partnered with other schools in our county to make opportunities available to our students who are ready to walk the path to a career right from high school.   Please stop by our new CTE Director’s Office to chat with Mr. Frey to find out more.


The biggest change to our day is the inclusion of ICE (Intervention, Collaboration and Enrichment) time. ICE is a common practice statewide to provide built-in opportunities during the school day to grow academically, socially and emotionally.  Administration and staff at Buchanan High School recognize that not all students learn at the same pace on the same level.  In an effort to meet each student’s needs, we want our students to have the individualized instruction necessary to serve those individualized needs.  ICE time is a dedicated 30 minutes on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays to help our students get the assistance they need to master essential skills.  Each teacher has essential skills outlined in their classes that we feel are non-negotiable learning standards.  If a student has difficulty learning those standards, needs a little extra help, or needs to be pushed beyond those standards; ICE time is available to every student on campus.  The use of this time is mandatory, and attendance will be taken.  Groups will be assigned and reassigned periodically throughout the year.  Each week students will have the opportunity to complete team building activities, meet with teachers, as well as improve learning outcomes with the use of ExactPath and Khan Academy. Since this is a new initiative at the high school, we anticipate changes and improvements to be made to make this time as beneficial for our students as possible and we appreciate everyone’s understanding and patience.  (There will be no ICE time on Wednesdays, half days, pep assembly days or delayed start days.)

Also new this year, we have finally moved away from iPads and every student in the building is given the opportunity to receive a Chromebook.  We take responsible technology use seriously at Buchanan and think of these devices as necessary class materials; much like the textbooks of the past.  We will be requiring that students bring their Chromebooks to class, charged and ready to use. Information regarding the Device Protection Plan is included in the Back to School packet.  It is not mandatory to participate, but a very good idea to consider.


Please join me in welcoming three new teachers to BHS, Mrs. Russell who will be instructing Band this year and Mrs. Lentz who will be teaching Science and Ms. Donnelly who will be working with our students in ELA and special education.  All are eager to be a part of our Buchanan team and are excited for the chance to meet you and your family.


It truly is a great time to be a Buck!   Mrs. DeMaio


PARENT MEET & GREETS: All meetings will begin in the high school auditorium. Students and parents will have the ability to tour the building at their own pace, meet teachers and administrators and become comfortable with the building and its staff.

  • Wednesday    August 28                        6:00-7:00PM                        Grade 8 and new students
  • Thursday        September 12                  6:00-7:00PM                        Grade 12

Parents of students in grades 9-11 are welcome to attend the Open House on August 28.


HIGH SCHOOL CONFERENCES:   High school fall conferences are scheduled for October 9 (3:00PM – 7:30PM) and October 10 (11:30AM – 7:00PM).  Conferences will be held in the auxiliary gym and no appointment is needed.  If you are unable to attend either day, please feel free to email the teachers you wish to speak with at any time with questions, concerns, comments or to schedule a meeting.  We look forward to connecting with our parents!


STUDENT SCHEDULES:  Schedules will be handed out to grades 9-12 on the first day of school. Students should report to the auxiliary gym first thing in the morning to pick up their Back to School packets. 8th grade students will receive their Back to School packets, which include schedules, during their orientation on August 28. Students who are unable to attend can pick up their packet in the gym on the first day.

Please remember the first week of school is exceptionally busy in the guidance office, consequently there will be no student appointments the first two days of school. If you must request a schedule change, a Schedule Request form should be completed in as much detail as possible so the change can be made quickly to get students on the right track for the year. If a schedule change is needed before school begins, please email Mrs. Barlow at or call 695-8403 (option #4) to leave a message. Don’t forget to be as detailed as possible! For grades 8-11, locker assignments are listed at the bottom of the class schedule. (Please note seniors will only receive a locker upon request to Mr. Pruett’s office. We anticipate the ability to meet all requests.)


ON SCHOOL DAYS, ALL ENTRY DOORS, EXCEPT THE CAFETERIA DOORS, REMAIN LOCKED UNTIL 7:20AM. The cafeteria entrance opens at 7:00AM for breakfast.  A full breakfast and lunch will be served on the first day of school. Please use the Phelps Street entrance (the street directly east of the science wing) for morning drop-offs after 7:10AM.  This will alleviate congestion in our student parking lot (the lot by the cafeteria) and in front of the school building.  After school, buses will park on Phelps Street.  Pick-ups, before buses depart, may be on Chicago or Detroit Streets. If you are picking up your student during the school day, please use the front entrance.


POWER SCHOOL:  Buchanan Community Schools will continue to use PowerSchool to enable students and parents to view current data: grades, attendance, contact information, the Daily Bulletin for student announcements, etc.  You are encouraged to check PowerSchool often! If you need assistance logging in to PowerSchool please contact the High School office and someone will be able to assist you.


ENCLOSED IN OUR BACK TO SCHOOL PACKET IS OUR REGISTRATION FORM which is one form that includes the Emergency Card information, Field Trip permission, Concussion Awareness, Student Handbook, and the Internet Access forms.  Every section of this form is vitally important. Please complete all sections; the Device Protection Plan registration form; Device Agreement Form (only for grades 8, 9, and new students); the student and CTE calendars; the Picture Day flyer; the BHS Clubs poster.

Students, grades 9-12, will be given their Back-to-School packet on the first day of school, 8th grade students will receive theirs during the Open House on August 28.


Please complete this form and have your student turn it in to their first hour teacher

September 4. Thank you!


If FREE/REDUCED lunch is needed, applications can be picked up in principal’s office or the food service office.  Call Mrs. Hendershott at 695-8415 for more details.

Class Information 

8th Grade: 8th grade advisor is Mrs. Adkerson.  She will organize Homecoming and other events for all 8th graders.  Please contact her at if you are able to help in anyway.

Freshman: 9th grade advisor is Mr. Wegener.  He will be organizing Homecoming events also.  Please contact him at if you are able to offer any assistance.

Sophomore: 10th grade advisor is Mr. DeOrnellas.  Please contact him at if you are able to help him with Homecoming events.

Junior: 11th grade advisor is Mrs. Cuthbert.  She will be planning and organizing Homecoming events as well as fundraising and coordinating activities for the Prom.  If you are able to assist her in anyway, please contact her at


Senior Corner

Senior advisors are Mrs. Hess ( and Mrs. Neal ( Please attend the September 12 meeting at 6:00PM for insights into the senior year, including costs! More Senior information will be coming as the year continues.  Please make sure to regularly check out the senior website for all announcements, dates, and important information at


Check your senior schedule to be certain all graduation requirements have been met.  If in doubt, see Mrs. Barlow  ASAP!  The minimum number of credits to be considered a senior is 16.  Class of 2020 graduates must complete four years of high school and obtain 22 credits; 18 of which are specific requirements.  See Mrs. Barlow if you have questions or concerns. This year’s Commencement Ceremony will be at Memorial Field Friday, June 5th at 7:00PM as weather permits.


COLLEGE APPLICATIONS – Mrs. Barlow will be assisting all seniors with college applications, financial aid, and scholarships. A college application is never complete until your transcript is forwarded to the college. Please request all transcripts through the student’s Parchment account.  Students will be instructed on how to set up a Parchment account at the start of the school year. The free application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) will be available at http://FAFSA.GOV in October 2019. Mrs. Barlow will be in attendance at the Senior/Parent Workshop on September 12 to briefly cover information on college applications and completing the FAFSA.


SCHOLARSHIPS – The BUCHANAN PROMISE is available to all Buchanan seniors who meet the eligibility requirements: lives within the school district and is a BHS graduate. 2020 graduates can apply for The Promise scholarship after October 1, 2019. (For more complete information regarding the Buchanan Promise go to Don’t forget, there are also many other scholarship opportunities offered to Buchanan seniors in addition to The Promise. As those scholarships become available for application, Student Services will email seniors and post on the Guidance website, and senior advisors will post the information on the Senior Website. It is the student’s obligation to follow through on these opportunities; please encourage your senior to use the resources offered to all BHS students to stay connected and informed.


Off Campus Students

Dual enrollment at LMC, Early Middle College, and The Bertrand Early College Academy begin September 3.  Transportation will be provided on September 3 for these students – the bus leaves at 7:10AM from Phelps Street.


CTE/ MSC programs begin September 4, with transportation.  If your student plans on driving or riding as a passenger to an off-campus class with his/her own transportation, there is a driver/passenger form that must be completed and signed by both parents/guardians as well as the student and turned into Mr. Pruett.


Material regarding transportation for off-campus classes along with a required student CONTACT CARD will be given to our off-campus students at a meeting held on September 3. Students with AM CTE or Dual Enrollment classes should meet at 11:00AM in the Culinary Cafe.  Students with PM CTE or Dual Enrollment classes should meet at 11:15AM in the Culinary Café.


Dual Enrollment and Bertrand Academy:  Students who have dual enrollment or Early College Academy should contact the college directly if you have specific questions about a class.  Your dual enrollment classes follow the campus calendar of LMC. Again, classes for LMC begin September 3. Students may pick up college text books from the LMC Bertrand Campus Bookstore on campus beginning Aug 26 from 2-6:30PM.



The student handbook and Code of Conduct is posted at the Buchanan High School Website ( under the INFORMATION then STUDENTS tabs.

A printed copy is available upon request to the Assistant Principal’s office.


To excuse absences please email or call 695-8403, option #3. The school’s phone will take messages 24-hours a day. Teachers will allow makeup work if an absence is excused within 24 hours.


Lunch Policy:  Buchanan High School has a closed lunch policy.  However it is possible for students, grades 11 and 12, to go home for lunch at the appropriate time with parental permission.  All students granted permission to go home for lunch are expected to live close enough to school to make going home practical during our relatively short lunch periods.  Students re-entering the building must do so through the front doors.  Lunch passes must be signed and verified by a parent/guardian to be accepted.


Parking Permits:  We are once again offering designated parking spots to each of our driving students. For $5.00, students are guaranteed their own parking spots during school hours.  All vehicles in the parking lot must display the proper parking permit and may only park in assigned areas.  Driving students must purchase permits from the main office downstairs. Parking permits will be sold on a first come first served basis by grade level. Seniors may begin purchasing permits on Tuesday, September 3, juniors on Wednesday, September 4, and all other student drivers on Thursday, September 5. Parking permits go into effect on Friday, September 6. Please refer to the parking policy found in the student handbook for more information.


Cell Phone Policy

  • Students may use personal communication devices (PCDs) before and after school, during their scheduled lunch times, and in between classes as long as they do not create a distraction, disruption or otherwise interfere with the educational environment. Use of PCDs, except those approved by a teacher or administrator, at any other time is prohibited and must be powered completely off (i.e., not just set to vibrate or silent mode) and stored out of sight.
  • If a student’s device is turned into the office for inappropriate use, it will remain there until it can be picked up by a parent/guardian of that student.


Directory Information:  The policy of Buchanan Community Schools is to disclose directory information in reference to students.  There are occasions that certain information, which is not considered harmful and is not an invasion of privacy, will be released.  Information such as name, activities involved in, awards received, etc. may be in the best interest of the student when released.  The No Child Left Behind Act, Section 9528, requires high schools to release the names and addresses of junior and senior high school students to the military when requested.  If you do not wish information of any kind to be released, please notify the school in writing within ten days.


Owes List:  Any student who failed to turn in a book or other school property at the end of the previous school year, WILL NOT RECEIVE any course material, including a Chromebook, for the current school year until their account is balanced.  Contact the assistant principal’s office, 695-8403, option #3, with questions regarding owed materials.


Please keep our dress code in mind when purchasing school clothes. If your student’s clothing is considered distracting to the classroom environment, the student will be removed from that classroom and given an option: change, call home to have someone bring appropriate clothing, or call home to receive permission to leave. Your student will not return to class until this is resolved.


Attendance – School Attendance Policy

Attendance at Buchanan High School is taken seriously. There is a direct relationship between school attendance and academic success. Every class period is important and regular and punctual attendance is expected, encouraged and enforced. Part of the Code-of-Conduct incorporates parent meetings when a student gets to a specific number of truant absences. Parents also will be notified of their student’s overall attendance throughout the year using various methods such as: student report cards, the automatic calling system, PowerSchool emails, as well as other methods. Students who do not attend classes on a regular basis disrupt the continuity of instruction, seriously limit their educational opportunities, and may jeopardize their graduation status.


For students under 18, non-attendance in school is a violation of the law and parents/guardians will be held responsible. Parents/guardians of students are responsible and must notify a school official if the student is to be absent. For students eighteen and over, the high school will expect a parent, legal guardian or anyone legally having control of the student to verify the absence by calling the school office. Students should become familiar with the attendance policy and procedures.



Any student who accumulates 10 days of absences within a single semester will be considered a habitual truant student (this is a combination of excused and unexcused absences; school related absences will not be included in this total). Once this threshold is reached, the student will lose credit for any class(es) where the total absences are equal to or greater than 10 (excused /unexcused /5 tardies = one unexcused) unless they fulfill the following requirements:

  1. Submit an appeal to the attendance committee prior to the week of exams;

(The attendance committee will consist of no less than two teachers, a guidance counselor along with building administrator.)


  1. Pass a final semester cumulative exam for the class with a grade of 77%

(77% is the percentage needed to test out of a class, and verifies the students gained the necessary understanding of the curriculum.)


If the appeal is denied by the attendance committee then the student will receive a failing grade as their final semester grade and thus will receive NO CREDIT towards their graduation. Parents and Students will be notified at absences 4, 6, 8, and 10.




Truant Absence – A truant absence is an unexcused / non-verified absence. Students who are truant will receive no credit for school work that is missed and will not have the opportunity to make up any assignment given on that day including tests/quizzes. After 10 days of total truant absences, a student will be considered a “habitual truant” which may result in:

  • Assignment to an alternative placement with loss of participation in school activities and events;


  • Loss of participation in school activities and events;


  • If 16 years of age or older, student may be dropped from Buchanan High School;


  • If under the age of 16, a report to local authorities concerning lack of parental responsibility in providing proper care and supervision of a child will be sent to the County Truancy Department;


  • No credit shall be given for any school work not completed as a result of truancy.


Every day a student has a Truant Absence, the student will receive an after school detention. The detention must be served in order to participate in after school activities.


Truant Absences count towards the 10 day cap per class per semester.


All issues concerning unexcused absences associated with extenuating circumstances must be resolved with the assistant principal’s office no later than 3:30PM that school day if the student wishes to participate in an afterschool activity that evening. Any student that has an unexcused absence after 3:30PM will not be allowed to partake in that evenings event(s).


Skipping/cutting of classes or any part of the school day is considered a truant absence. Disciplinary action will follow along with the truant absence action. Skipping/cutting school is defined as:

  • Leaving school or the building without checking out in the attendance office

(If a student leaves school without checking out in one of the offices this is a truant absence and cannot be excused by a parent or guardian.)


  • Students not being in their assigned locations


  • Student not proceeding directly to the office when asked to do so


  • Any other instance where a student is willfully not in their expected place within the school.


Excused Absence

An excused absence is one where the school attendance office is notified within 24 hours by a parent or legal guardian concerning their student missing school. Email, hand written notes, and phone messages are all methods of contacting the attendance office to relay an absence notification. Any absence that has gone un-verified beyond the 24 hour timeframe will be considered a truant absence and fall under the rules stated above.


Excused Absences count towards the 10 day cap per class per semester.


An excused absence allows the student to make up all possible work. It is the responsibility of the student to obtain missed assignments. It is possible that certain kinds of school work such as labs, skill-practice sessions, class participation as well as class discussions, cannot be made up and, as a result, may negatively impact a student’s grade.


School work from an absence must be made up within the amount of time the student was absent. For example, a two day absence will have an allowed two day make up window once the student returns to school. Exceptions to this timeline may be arranged with the teacher but arrangements may be made only within the original make-up window.


For Shared Time/CTE students please note the following phone numbers:

  • Berrien Springs High School 471-1748, Brandywine High School 683-4800, Niles High School 683-2894


Excused Absences / “Special Consideration”

There will always be extenuating circumstances that will require special consideration. Absences of this type would not count toward ten absences allowed, as long as necessary documentation is provided.


No Count Absences

Activities that are school sanctioned, such as field trips, athletic events, class meetings, college visitation and suspension, will not count towards the 10 absences allowed per class per semester.



Suspension from School A suspended student will be responsible for making up school work lost due to suspension. It is recommended that a student complete missed assignments during the suspension and turn them in to the teacher upon his/her return to school. Make-up of tests may be scheduled when the student returns to school and must be taken within the absences policy for makeup work listed above. Students suspended from school are not permitted on school property during their suspension, may not participate on athletic teams, extracurricular activities or attend school functions during their suspension.

The student will be given credit for properly-completed assignments and tests completed during their suspension or the time allotted when they return to school. A student will have approximately the time they were suspended to make up their work when they return.


Loss of Privileges – Students with loss of privileges may attend class but may not participate in after school activities including but not limited to: dances, drama, clubs, athletic event attendance and participation (practice or competitions), and non-academic school/class related trips.



Each student is expected to be in his/her assigned location throughout the school day. If a student is late to class (bell has rung), he/she is to report to the school office before proceeding to his/her assigned location. If a student is 10 minutes or more late to a class they will be considered to be cutting that class and the appropriate disciplinary action will follow.


Tardies accumulate per semester and reset at the beginning of each semester. Once a student has five (5) total tardies they will receive an after school detention; every tardy after that equals an after school detention. Five (5) tardies in one class equals a Truant Absence and goes towards the 10 day cap in that class; ten (10) tardies results in a one day suspension.



Vacations and College Visits during the School Year

Parents are encouraged not to take their child out of school for vacations. When a family vacation must be scheduled during the school year, the student must get a vacation request form from the office and have all teachers / parents / assistant principal sign the form BEFORE the vacation for the absences to be considered excused. It may be possible for the student to receive certain assignments that are to be completed during the trip.


  • Absences due to vacation count towards the 10 day cap per class per semester.
  • Juniors and seniors are allowed College Visits during the school year as long as the absences are approved in advance. Forms are available in the assistant principal’s office and must be completed and approved in advance of the absence.







Updated: August 16, 2019 — 8:11 AM