Student Handbook

Highlands High School


Student Handbook

Table of Contents:


Enrollment Process 

Student Eligibility  

Enrollment Process

Placement Procedures


Attendance Policy 

The Importance of Attendance

State Regulations


Excessive Absences


Program Expectations





Dropped Students/ Re-enrollment

Student Conduct  

Class Atmosphere

Dress and Appearance


Drugs, Alcohol and Tobacco



Student Directory Information

Student Records and Parental Rights

Student Discipline

Sexual Harrassment  and Noniscrimination





Enrollment Process


Student Eligibility

Highlands High School is a school of choice with limited enrollment.  Due to facility limitations we are not able to accept more than 60 full-time students into the program.  Students must have completed ninth grade.  Exceptions can be granted on an individual basis after the building principal, counselor and Highlands High School teacher have conferred.  Students who have been suspended or expelled are not eligible to enroll until the suspension or expulsion has been lifted.  Students and guardians must meet with the administrator and counselor at Highlands High School in order to determine if it is the best educational placement for the student along with developing a graduation plan.  9th graders will only be accepted after the 1st semester for Outreach or off the calendar.


Enrollment Process

1.       Contact the school for information regarding Highlands High School (826-8504).

2.     Obtain and complete an application packet from the secretary at Highlands High School. If the student is denied enrollment, the administrator will make contact with the student/ guardian.

3.     Be sure all forms are completed and that the student has an official copy of their transcript.  If the student does not live in the Omak School District, he/she must include a completed and signed Intra-district Transfer Form which can be obtained from the original school district and granted permission to attend by the Highlands High School administrator.  This releases the student to attend Highlands High School.

4.    Acceptance into HHS depends on a variety of factors:

a.      Space Available

b.      In District/ Out of District

c.      Credit Status

d.      Commitment to education


Placement Procedures

Upon acceptance and placement the student and/or the guardian will meet with the administrator to go over the expectations and legal requirements of the program including signing the expectation form.  The student will meet with the counselor for a credit evaluation. The counselor will inform teachers of the plan of courses. The student will be assigned a teacher who will go over the course syllabus and establish learning goals per course.   This plan will be evaluated monthly by the teacher to determine if adjustments need to be made.


Graduation from Highlands

Graduation from Highlands:

            To earn a diploma from Highlands High School:

1.       A student must declare their intent by February 1st of the graduation year.

2.      Must have successfully completed at least .5 credit at Highlands in

         the spring of their senior year.


Attendance Policy

The Importance of Attendance

Highlands High School attendance is mandatory by state law and district policy.  It is the students’ responsibility to be on time for their class session and avoid being absent unless absolutely necessary.  Once a student has acquired 20 absences total, the student will be dropped from the program.  Each absence is weighted with the Outreach program each absence is equal to 5 days absence, for full time alternative each absence is equal to 2 absences.


State Regulations

State law, RCW 28A.255.010 requires students from age 8-18 years of age to attend school.  Regular daily attendance is required by the BECCA law.  Therefore, it is important that you emphasize the importance of regular attendance to the student.



If a student is absent from school, the parent or guardian should call the Highlands High School on the day of the absence or within 48 hours.   It is the student’s responsibility to communicate with the Highlands High School secretary. Please let the office know if the absence is due to illness, family emergency, or appointment.  Students may be asked to justify absences by providing a written note signed by a parent, guardian, or a doctor.  Please attempt to schedule appointments around the class schedule.  Students should inform the staff at Highlands High School if they have a prearranged absence from school.


Excessive Absences

Students experiencing attendance problems will receive a 10-day attendance warning.  If attendance continues to fall below this minimum standard the student will be referred to Attendance Courts, and/or dropped from Highlands High School.



Students are expected to be on time, using the clock that is in the classroom.  When students are late it is disruptive and disrespectful of the class, the staff and the other students and will result in afterschool detentions.


Program Expectations

 The foundation of the educational program at Highlands High School is “Independent Study”.  The program is recommended for mature students who take learning seriously and are both self-motivated and self-disciplined.  By entering this program they have chosen to be responsible for their own learning.



Students are to be productive in class each and every day.  Students are expected to participate in group activities, be on task, and stay focused throughout their learning session.  In order to be successful in the program it is imperative that students make efficient use of class time.  Students who are disruptive or choose to interfere with the right of others to learn will be asked to leave for the day and be marked as an unexcused absence. Should this behavior continue the students would lose his/her privilege to attend Highlands High School.  Students’ monthly progress will be determined based on goals and the amount of work each student accomplishes.  3 consecutive Unsatisfactory will require the student to be withdrawn from the program.



Each student will receive a progress report on a monthly basis.  The monthly progress report will rate the student as satisfactory or unsatisfactory.  To maintain satisfactory status, students must follow the student learning plan and the due dates established by the instructor. Deficiencies in academic progress will lead to probationary status and/or removal from our program.  Graduation from Highland High School requires 20 credits and successfully passing all state assessments.



Full time students at Highland High School students are required to spend a minimum of 25 hours per week in instructional activities.  This includes 3 periods a day  in class and 10 or more hours of personal study at home as per each student’s individual learning plan.  Outreach students are required to do a minimum of one hour with the instructor, and demonstrating 24 hours of outside work as determined by the instructor with the amount of work completed.  APEX students need to document 25 hours with computer time and assignments completed.


Dropped Students/ Re-enrollment

If a student has been dropped from the program for either lack of attendance or lack of academic progress, they are not eligible to re-enroll in the program until the enrollment period as establish by the calendar, provided there is space available.  Students wishing to re-enroll will be required to meet before re-enrollment to explain the steps that the student will take to improve either attendance and/or academic performance; a performance contact may be created in which the student must sign to re-enroll.  A student may only re-enroll once during a semester.


Student Conduct 

Appropriate student conduct is expected at all times at Highlands High School.  We strive for a safe environment that supports the primary focus which is teaching and learning for all students.


Class Atmosphere

Quiet, productive and free from disruptions describes the learning environment at HHS.  Students are expected to maintain a “library-like” atmosphere allowing the focus and concentration to be on learning.  Students who conduct themselves in a way that interferes with the learning of others will be asked to leave for the day, either to go home or to ISS, with an unsatisfactory given for the day.  Should such behavior continue, the students may lose the right to attend Highlands High School.


Profanity, Name Calling and Harassment

The District is committed to a safe and civil educational environment for all students, employees, volunteers, and patrons, free from harassment, intimidation or bullying.  “Harassment, intimidation or bullying” means any intentional written, verbal, physical, or cyber act, including but not limited to one shown to be motivated by any characteristic in RCW 9A.36.080(3), (race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexual orientation or mental or physical disability), or other distinguishing characteristics, when the intentional written, verbal, or physical act:

·        Physically harms a student or damages the student’s property; or

·        Has the effect of substantially interfering with a student’s education; or

·        Is so severe, persistent, or pervasive that it creates an intimidating or threatening educational environment; or

·        Has the effect of substantially disrupting the orderly operation of the school.

Harassment, intimidation or bullying can take many forms including: slurs, rumors, jokes, innuendos, demeaning comments, drawings, cartoons, pranks, gestures, physical attacks, threats, or other written, oral, electronic, or physical actions.  “Intentional acts” refers to the individual’s choice to engage in the act rather than the ultimate impact of the action(s).  Informal procedures to report and resolve the issue may be made to a staff member.  Formal reporting needs to follow specific procedural guidelines set by the district.  Mutual respect for all is an integral part of Highlands High School’s philosophy. Highlands will follow Omak High School Discipline Matrix.

Dress and Appearance

All students are expected to come to school well groomed and appropriately dressed.  In order to provide safe and focused learning environment, students are prohibited from wearing:

·        Revealing Clothing - including halter tops, midriff skirts, exposed underwear- undergarments and shorts that are shorter then the length of the arm, at the finger tips, when at rest at ones side.  Pants need to be at the waist or hips (not falling off).  Students will be asked to change or cover up.  Students failing to dress appropriately will be asked to leave for the day.

·        Inappropriate Messages – including any obscene language slogans, gang, sexual or drug related messages, or any slogans/signs that may be offensive to others.

·        Disruptive or Dangerous Items – such as chains, sharp, protruding objects attached to necklaces, collars, bracelets, rings, or clothing.  Sunglasses may not be worn on school grounds.  Personal music devices are allowed at the teacher’s discretion.  If the teacher can hear the device, the student will be asked one time to turn it down.  If they need to be asked again, the teacher will take the device for the day, turning it in to the administration.

Note:  Highlands High School reserves the right to determine acceptable dress and appearance.



Students are responsible for the care and return of all textbooks and other educational materials issued by HHS.  Failure to return materials following completion of courses or withdrawal from the program will result in a fine and a non issuance of books for future courses until the matter is taken care of by return the book or paying the fine .


Drugs, Alcohol and Tobacco

Highlands High School is a “Drug Free” facility: in accordance with state law (RCW 28.210.301), students attending HHS will comply with the following School District policies:

1.       Never bring alcohol or illegal drugs to HHS

2.     Never come to HHS under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs

3.     Respect the “no smoking/no chewing” policy while you are at school.  If a student is suspected of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol they will be sent immediately to the building administrator.

4.    HHS retains the right to search students of any suspicious behavior.



Students are expected to respect and car for all property at HHS: tables, chairs, textbooks, restrooms, computers, etc.  Students will be held liable for damaging or defacing property associated with HHS.  Willful destruction, defacement of property, belongings, or theft is cause for suspension or expulsion from the program and may result in criminal charges.  This includes graffiti of any form.



All forms of weapons (including knives) and explosive devices are prohibited on HHS property.  Any violation of this will result in immediate expulsion and possible criminal charges.  Possession of firearms on school property will result in a one-year mandatory expulsion subject to appeal, with notification to parents and law enforcement.


Student Directory Information

School districts must annually notify parents or eligible students of 1) the release of school district-designated “directory information” and 2) that the parents or eligible students have the right to refuse the disclosure of any or all information on the students that is included in the directory.  Directory information is defined as information not generally considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed.  Such information shall not be released for commercial reasons.  This information may included: name, address, telephone listing, electronic mail address; date and place of birth, photographs; participation in officially recognized activities and sports; field of study; weight and height of athletes; enrollment status (full-time, part-time, undergraduate, graduate); degrees and awards received; dates of attendance; most recent previous school attendance; and grade level.  Directory information cannot include student identification numbers or social security numbers


Student Records and Parental Rights

The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) afford parents and students (“eligible students”) certain rights in regard to the student’s education records.  Parents/eligible students must be informed annually of the following rights:

1.       The right to inspect and review the student’s education records.

2.     The right to request the amendment of the student’s education records that the parents or eligible student believes are inaccurate or misleading.

3.     The right to consent to disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in the student’s educations records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent.

4.    The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the district to comply with the requirements of FERPA.


Student Discipline 

 Highlands High School will follow the Omak High School discipline Matrix as attached see Omak School District Policy 3240/3240P


The Omak School District believes that the purpose of any disciplinary action is the improvement of the individual; and that academic success and discipline are closely intertwined. We further believe that to be effective, discipline must be administered in such a way that:

1. It maintains personal dignity.

2. It creates learning in the individual.

3. It leads towards an increase of self-discipline and personal responsibility.

4. It allows the individual to make choices.

5. Finally, it guarantees a student’s “due process” rights.

Inappropriate behavior can be separated generally into two categories as follows: Level 1 Violations and Level 2 Violations.

The Omak High School Discipline Matrix is provided at the end of this handbook.

SEARCHES: Please note that school officials may search lockers, property, or possessions when there is sufficient reason to believe that there are materials or objects in their possession or on school grounds that pose a threat to the safety of that student or other staff and students (OSD Board Policy 3230). On occasion, the use of drug/bomb sniffing dogs will be used to search school premises, lockers, and vehicles parked on school property as a preventative measure to ensure the safety of all students and faculty.

FIREARM/EXPLOSIVES OR DANGEROUS WEAPONS: Any elementary or secondary student who is determined to have carried a firearm onto, or have possessed a firearm on, public elementary or secondary school premises, public school-provided transportation, or areas of facilities while being used exclusively by public schools, shall be expelled from school for not less than one year under RCW 28A.600.010 (subject to appeal, with notification to parents and law enforcement). The superintendent of the school district may modify the expulsion of a student on a case-by-case basis. Firearm or other dangerous weapons may not be kept in a student vehicle at any time while it is on school property. “Look alike” weapons will not be tolerated and will consequences for use of such items while on school grounds will be at principal’s discretion but can lead to one year expulsion. Fireworks/ firecrackers may fall into this category based on size, intent and disturbance to the learning environment. This determination will be made by the school officials.

BOMB THREATS: Bomb threats are prohibited RCW 9.61.160, and will be treated as an explosive or dangerous weapon. See previous section for clarification.

Omak Police and/or other agencies could also be called for the above criminal acts.

Please note that school officials may search lockers, property, or possessions when there is sufficient reason to believe that there are materials or objects that pose a threat to the safety of that student or others in their possession. Any weapon or other hazardous material will be confiscated. Firearms or other dangerous weapons may not be kept in a student vehicle at any time while it is on school property.

SUBSTANCE ABUSE: All substance abuse infractions are cumulative and are carried over each year, example: Freshman 1st offense, then junior year another offence would be the 2nd offense with 2nd offence consequences. Illegal substances (tobacco, drugs and or alcohol) are prohibited from any school property, including being transported in a vehicle on school grounds or at a school function. Any weapon or other hazardous material will be confiscated. Any student who refuses to submit to a reasonable search by school authorities will be subject to disciplinary action and/or suspension or expulsion. School authorities may detain the students pending the notification and arrival of the student’s parent(s) and /or guardian(s) and/or law officials as appropriate when refusing a search.

Administration may ask a student to submit to taking an alcohol saliva test. Refusal to submit to the saliva test will result in full discipline imposed



DISCIPLINE shall mean all forms of corrective action or punishment other than suspension or expulsion, including but not limited to the following:

1. Detention: The student is assigned to report to lunch detention or after school for a period of time not to exceed one hour on any given day. Community service may be assigned by the Principal, Assistant Principal or designee. A student will be given one day's notice of assigned detention so that he/she can arrange transportation.

2. Exclusion: the teacher may exclude a student from the classroom if the student is unable or unwilling to maintain appropriate behavior such that the learning environment is compromised. Prior to excluding a student, the teacher shall have attempted one or more corrective actions, contacted the In School Suspension (ISS) supervisor, or administration. Due process must be followed.


3. Due Process: Any parent or a student who is aggrieved by the imposition of disciple shall have the right to an informal conference with the principal or his designee for the purpose of resolving the grievance. At such conference the student and parent shall be subject after exhausting this remedy, shall have the right, upon two (2) school business days’ prior notice, to present in written and/or oral grievance to the superintendent. If the grievance is not resolved, the parent and student, upon two (2) school business days’ prior notice, shall have the right to present a written

grievance to the school board during its next regular meeting, or at a meeting held within (30) days, whichever is earlier. As per Board Policy 3241.

Short Term Suspension: Teachers have the right to remove a student from the classroom and recommend that students be removed from school. Each administrator shall have the right to remove students from the school premises for a period of time not to exceed ten days, and/or to assign students to In-House Suspension. Students in In-House Suspension are NOT allowed to participate in school related activities during that suspension. They will be expected to be in the In-House room on time and for all day, using their time to study or read. If staffing is available, they will also be required to eat their lunch in the In-House room during the lunch hour.

To appeal a Short Term suspension:

1. The student is not allowed in school during the appeal, if the appeal is denied, the suspension continues. Suspended students are NOT allowed to be at school or at school related activities.

2. The Parent or Guardian has two school business days to appeal in writing to the Highlands High School Principal by calling 509 826 7697.


Long Term Suspension: Means denial of school attendance for any single class or any full schedule of classes for a stated period of time in excess of ten days. Any long-term suspension that extends to or past the end of the current term will cause loss of all current credit. An “F” will be posted to the transcript for any and all affected classes.

To appeal a Long Term suspension:

1. The student is not allowed in school during the appeal. If the appeal is denied, the suspension continues. Suspended students are NOT allowed to be at school or at school related activities.

2. The Parent or Guardian has three school business days to appeal in writing to the Highlands High School principal by calling 509 826 7697 to set a time for the appeal to be heard. The Principal’s decision may be appealed further to the District Superintendent.


Expulsion: Means a denial of attendance in any single subject or class or in any full schedule for an indefinite period of time. Any expulsion will cause loss of all credit during the expulsion. An “F” will be posted to the transcript for all effected classes.

To appeal an Expulsion:

1. The student is not allowed in school during the appeal. If the appeal is denied, the expulsion continues.

2. The Parent or Guardian has three school business days to appeal in writing to the Highlands High School principal by calling 509 826 7697  to set a time for the appeal to be heard. The Principal’s decision may be appealed further to the District Superintendent.


Emergency Denial of Attendance: A student may be removed from a class, activity or school for a period not to exceed 10 days while an investigation of severe misconduct is conducted/completed.

Emergency Expulsion: A student may be removed immediately from a class, subject, or activity by a teacher or administrator provided he/she has good and sufficient reason to believe that the student's presence poses an immediate and continuing danger to the student, other students or school personnel or an immediate and continuing threat of substantial disruption of the class, subject, activity, or educational process of the student's school.

To appeal an Emergency Expulsion:

1. The student is not allowed in school during the appeal. If the appeal is lost, the emergency expulsion continues.

2. The Parent or Guardian has ten school business days to appeal in writing to the Highlands High School principal by calling 509 826 7697  to set a time for the appeal to be heard. The Principal’s decision may be appealed further to the District Superintendent.

STUDENT DISCIPLINE RECORDS: Confidential records of all disciplinary actions will be kept in the students’ disciplinary files. If a student transfers to another school, the records will be forwarded to the new school at that school’s request, per state law. Any student enrolling in a new school in Washington can be asked to disclose in writing any past, current or pending disciplinary action, or any history of violent behavior. (The parent can also be asked for such disclosure.)

DISCIPLINE ROOM: The purpose of the OHS Discipline/In-House Suspension Room is to provide a behavioral environment that will enable students to develop the means to achieve their individual potential and learn the behavioral skills needed to become productive, positive people in our society.

1. It provides a place to hold students accountable for their behavioral choices.

2. It allows a student the ability to continue to do his/her studies, and to receive credit for attending school while being disciplined, in lieu of being suspended out of school.

3. When a student is sent to the discipline room by a teacher, a “Disciplinary Referral Form” and phone call or E-mail must accompany the student so that there is no confusion as to why the student was sent there. Once the student arrives, the offense will be recorded in his/her student discipline file.

4. The room will not be available as a study hall.

5. The student must work and be actively engaged during in-house suspension.

Sexual Harassment and Nondiscrimination

Under state law, information about every school district’s sexual harassment policy and complaint procedure must be included in staff and student handbooks, or other publications that set forth the rules, regulations, and standards of conduct for the school or district (WAC 392-190-058). Every school district must also annually inform all students, parents, and employees about its discrimination complaint procedure (WAC 392-190-060).


The Equity and Civil Rights Office at the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) has developed the following sample language that districts can include in student and staff handbooks to meet these requirements. 


State law also requires each school district to post its sexual harassment policy in each building. Order or print posters for your buildings here: Posters and Outreach Materials.



Omak School District does not discriminate in any programs or activities on the basis of sex, race, creed, religion, color, national origin, age, veteran or military status, sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity, disability, or the use of a trained dog guide or service animal and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The following employee(s) has been designated to handle questions and complaints of alleged discrimination:

Civil Rights Coordinator’s LeAnne Olson,, P.O. Box 833, Omak WA 98841, 509-826-7687

Title IX Officer’s LeAnne Olson,, P.O. Box 833, Omak, WA 98841, 509-826-7687

Section 504 Coordinator’s Sheila Crowder,, P.O. Box 833, Omak, WA 98841, and 509-826-8342


You can report discrimination and discriminatory harassment to any school staff member or to the district's Civil Rights Coordinator, listed above. You also have the right to file a complaint (see below). For a copy of your district’s nondiscrimination policy and procedure, contact your school or district office.



Students and staff are protected against sexual harassment by anyone in any school program or activity, including on the school campus, on the school bus, or off-campus during a school-sponsored activity.


Sexual harassment is unwelcome behavior or communication that is sexual in nature when:

  • A student or employee is led to believe that he or she must submit to unwelcome sexual conduct or communications in order  to gain something in return, such as a grade, a promotion, a place on a sports team, or any educational or employment decision, or
  • The conduct substantially interferes with a student's educational performance, or creates an intimidating or hostile educational or employment environment.


Examples of Sexual Harassment:

  • Pressuring a person for sexual favors
  • Unwelcome touching of a sexual nature
  • Writing graffiti of a sexual nature
  • Distributing sexually explicit texts, e-mails, or pictures
  • Making sexual jokes, rumors, or suggestive remarks
  • Physical violence, including rape and sexual assault


You can report sexual harassment to any school staff member or to the district's Title IX Officer, who is listed above. You also have the right to file a complaint (see below). For a copy of your district’s sexual harassment policy and procedure, contact your school or district office.



If you believe that you or your child have experienced unlawful discrimination, discriminatory harassment, or sexual harassment at school, you have the right to file a complaint.


Before filing a complaint, you can discuss your concerns with your child’s principal or with the school district’s Section 504 Coordinator, Title IX Officer, or Civil Rights Coordinator, who are listed above. This is often the fastest way to revolve your concerns.


Complaint to the School District

Step 1. Write Our Your Complaint

In most cases, complaints must be filed within one year from the date of the incident or conduct that is the subject of the complaint. A complaint must be in writing. Be sure to describe the conduct or incident, explain why you believe discrimination, discriminatory harassment, or sexual harassment has taken place, and describe what actions you believe the district should take to resolve the problem. Send your written complaint—by mail, fax, email, or hand delivery—to the district superintendent or civil rights compliance coordinator.


Step 2: School District Investigates Your Complaint

Once the district receives your written complaint, the coordinator will give you a copy of the complaint procedure and make sure a prompt and thorough investigation takes place. The superintendent or designee will respond to you in writing within 30 calendar days—unless you agree on a different time period. If your complaint involves exceptional circumstances that demand a lengthier investigation, the district will notify you in writing to explain why staff need a time extension and the new date for their written response.


Step 3: School District Responds to Your Complaint

In its written response, the district will include a summary of the results of the investigation, a determination of whether or not the district failed to comply with civil rights laws, notification that you can appeal this determination, and any measures necessary to bring the district into compliance with civil rights laws. Corrective measures will be put into effect within 30 calendar days after this written response—unless you agree to a different time period.


Appeal to the School District

If you disagree with the school district’s decision, you may appeal to the school district’s board of directors. You must file a notice of appeal in writing to the secretary of the school board within 10 calendar days after you received the school district’s response to your complaint. The school board will schedule a hearing within 20 calendar days after they received your appeal, unless you agree on a different timeline. The school board will send you a written decision within 30 calendar days after the district received your notice of appeal. The school board’s decision will include information about how to file a complaint with the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).


Complaint to OSPI

If you do not agree with the school district’s appeal decision, state law provides the option to file a formal complaint with the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI). This is a separate complaint process that can take place if one of these two conditions has occurred: (1) you have completed the district’s complaint and appeal process, or (2) the district has not followed the complaint and appeal process correctly.


You have 20 calendar days to file a complaint to OSPI from the day you received the decision on your appeal. You can send your written complaint to the Equity and Civil Rights Office at OSPI:

Email: ǀ Fax: 360-664-2967

Mail or hand deliver: PO Box 47200, 600 Washington St. S.E., Olympia, WA 98504-7200


For more information, visit, or contact OSPI’s Equity and Civil Rights Office at 360-725-6162/TTY: 360-664-3631 or by e-mail at


Other Discrimination Complaint Options

Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education

206-607-1600 ǀ TDD: 1-800-877-8339 ǀ ǀ 


Washington State Human Rights Commission
1-800-233-3247 ǀ TTY: 1-800-300-7525 ǀ