The Multigrade Classroom

Administration 101

The multigrade teacher/principal has many administrative duties to perform in order to provide quality education.



Many schools have pre-registration in the spring of the year. Some schools give an entrance fee discount for pre-registrants.

Schools may choose to publish registration information in church bulletins, the school website, and the local newspaper. Registration announcements are also sometimes posted on the school property.

Registration Packets should be provided for each returning student and each potential new family.  These packets should include helpful information such as:

  • Registration Forms* that will often include, but are not limited to:
    1. Application
    2. Consent to Treatment
    3. Financial Agreement
    4. Photo Release
    5. Release of Student Records for transferring students

* Check with your Local Conference Office of Education for a list of the required registration forms.


Student Acceptance

The school handbook should explain the policy regarding the acceptance of students. The board should consider several factors when developing an acceptance policy:

  • Student’s age. Local Union Conference policies and state/provincial statutes will delineate the entrance age policy for your area.
  • Character reference. It is important that two or three references (former teacher, pastor, etc.) be checked to ensure that the student will fit into the school program.
  • Interview. An interview with parents and the potential student allows the school to share the school’s philosophy and objectives with the family to ascertain the desire to enroll and to be a positive part of the school family.

A transfer student coming from another school system is assigned to a grade level on the basis of the most recent student progress report. A student transferring from a home school or non-traditional school program should be assigned a grade level based on student placement testing.

When a student has been accepted, immediately request the student’s records from the previous school using the Release of Student Records form.

Parents who desire a Christian environment for their special needs child, and who recognize that the Adventist school may not be able to meet all of their child’s learning needs, will need to sign a Parent Release Form.


School Calendar

The Local Conference Office of Education will provide an official school calendar each year. This will include the beginning and ending dates, as well as vacation and testing dates. If a local board wishes to change any date from the official Conference calendar, the procedures outlined by the Local Conference Office of Education should be followed.

When developing a school calendar, it is helpful to consult the church, Pathfinder, Adventurer, and local public school calendars to avoid conflicts in scheduling. At the beginning of the school year, send home a calendar that includes the dates from the Local Conference Office of Education calendar and dates of special activities such as:

  • First Day of School
  • Home and School Meetings
  • Week(s) of Prayer
  • Parent-teacher conferences
  • Student Picture Day
  • Vacations
  • Planned field trips
  • Open house
  • Graduation
  • Last Day of School

Note:  Remember to send out calendar updates.


School Handbook

The school board and teacher should review the school handbook each spring. The handbook communicates the school’s mission, standards, and policies. Its appearance should be professional and attractive. Many times there are professionals in your church or school family with expertise in the areas of graphic design that can be a valuable resource to your school.

The handbook includes information such as:

  • School mission statement
  • NAD Non-discrimination statement
  • Policies
    1. Entrance
    2. Discipline
    3. Bullying
    4. Sexual harassment
    5. Finance
    6. Dress code
    7. Attendance
  • Emergency communication procedures
  • School board, faculty, and staff members
  • School history

The Local Conference Office of Education may be able to provide samples of handbooks.


Acceleration and Retention

The decision to accelerate or retain a student has intense short and long-term effects on the student and his/her family. It is important that sensible, well-researched, and defensible acceleration or retention decisions are made.

Consult the Local Conference Office of Education to determine the specific procedure to be used. It is important that this process begins early. Documentation and parent communication early in the year is imperative!

See sample Acceleration Request Form.

See sample Retention Request Form.


School Accreditation

The North American Division’s school accreditation process is designed to accomplish the following: 1) To provide a process for involving the faculty, school board, and constituency in an effective and meaningful self-study of the entire school program; 2)To give the school board an opportunity to identify areas that need to be strengthened and to then develop action plans to improve those areas; 3) To provide an independent review of the self-study/action plans by a visiting committee; and 4) For the accreditation of the school.

There are three stages to the accreditation process: the self-study, the visiting committee’s review, and the follow-up activities.

The self-study is the local self-assessment of its school. The self-study document IS NOT to be completed solely by the principal/teacher(s). Success demands the cooperative effort of everyone involved with the school. Directions for completing the self-study are included with the document. The Small Schools Evaluation Instrument is found on the NAD Education website.  Please talk to your superintendent about the possibility of using the new online Accreditrac evaluation instrument.

The superintendent will initiate the accreditation process and set the date for an independent review by the visiting committee. A school may request that the Local Conference Office of Education provide an accreditation orientation to the school board.  At this orientation it would be helpful to provide board members with a copy of the previous visiting committee’s report.

A coordinating committee sets up self-study committees and ensures that each committee completes the assigned work in a timely manner to allow for adequate review, editing, and completion of the self-study instrument. In a small school the school board often serves as the coordinating committee. Self-study committee members should include board members, principal/teacher(s), staff, parents, and interested constituents. The completed self-study should be sent to the Local Conference Office of Education by the requested date (often four weeks prior to the visiting committee’s arrival).

When the visiting committee comes to the school, you should plan to conduct as normal a day as possible. Keep in mind that the visiting committee will want to interview students, visit classes, and talk to you at times throughout the day. It is helpful for the principal/teacher(s) to be available to eat lunch with the visiting committee. You may wish to arrange for an aide or volunteer to supervise lunch.

The visiting committee will need a place where they can work privately while discussing and writing the report. Provide a comfortable meeting place with adequate plugs/extension cords.  Plan to provide water, snacks (optional), and lunch for the visiting committee.

The visiting committee will be responsible to recommend accreditation, a re-visit, or probation to the Conference Board of Education.  If the Conference Board of Education votes for your school to be accredited, your school will receive an accreditation certificate that should be prominently displayed.  The Board of Education may also vote a scheduled Interim visit(s) for your school.

The school will receive a copy of the visiting committee’s report. The school board should review the visiting committee’s report and develop a plan for responding to the recommendations. An annual written report needs to be submitted to the superintendent confirming that progress is being made.



School personnel are classified into two groups: employees and unpaid volunteers.

Paid Employees.  Anyone employed for regular service in a school (i.e. teacher aide, janitor, secretary) is a Local Conference employee and must be paid through the Local Conference, even if they are fully funded by the school. Denominational policy, as well as state/provincial and federal laws, determines salary and benefits for employees.

Develop a simple, written job description for any prospective non-certificated employee. Seek counsel from the superintendent relative to procedures and criteria for developing the job description. Present the job description to the school board for review and approval.

Volunteers.  Parents, retirees, and church members are the most frequent volunteers. Simple guidelines should be developed outlining the responsibilities of the volunteer. Each volunteer must complete the Volunteer Ministry Information Form.  Contact your Local Conference Office of Education for policies regarding volunteers and required background checks.


Student Information Systems (SIS)

Record-keeping is done electronically using a student information system (SIS). The North American Division Office of Education, in cooperation with the nine union offices of education, has developed and implemented a data rollup protocol to help consolidate data and to assist schools and conferences to store data. The data collected is the official/legal data.

The Adventist Education Tool Kit is the portal for Data Rollup activity. It can be accessed from any computer with a web browser — anywhere in the world — to manage your school-affiliated information. An Internet connection is necessary. Keeping accurate and current records is essential for staying organized and for meeting denominational and state/provincial legal requirements. Currently, there are two student information systems available for use: Jupiter and RenWeb. Your Local Conference Office of Education will advise you of the SIS that your school should use.

Reports generated from Data Rollup include:



Cumulative Record Folders

Cumulative records* are to be kept up-to-date.  Cumulative record folders are obtained from your Local Conference Office of Education. Some conferences are moving to all digital record keeping.  Please check with your Local Conference Office of Education for direction.

Early in the school year the teacher needs to:

  • Begin a cumulative record folder for all students entering an Adventist school for the first time
  • Have a parent fill out a Release of Student Records form for student(s) transferring from another school
  • Update returning student’s information from the application form (Note: If your school is using online registration, your SIS will automatically update.)
  • Review all student records - both hard copy and in Data Rollup - for completeness and accuracy.

Items to be placed in the cumulative record folder include:

  • Application form for the current school year (Note: If your school is using online registration, the information will import directly into your SIS.)
  • Financial Agreement form for the current school year
  • Copy of student’s birth certificate (or other legal document)
  • Report cards. These may be printed directly from Data Rollup reports and placed in the folder.
  • Standardized and other test results (Note: Those utilizing the Data Rollup Cumulative Record Report will find the IOWA scores already entered on the report.)
  • Individual Educational Plans (IEP) for special education students
  • Copy of custody agreements

In Canada* each province stipulates the policies and procedures for keeping cumulative records. See your Local Conference Office of Education for information regarding your provincial policy.


Medical Record Folders

Health records are confidential.  All medical records are to be kept up-to-date in a folder separate from the cumulative record folder. Check with your Local Conference Office of Education for a complete list of what is to be kept in a student medical record folder.  This list may include:

  • Immunization Records—proof of immunization is to be provided when a student enrolls in the school for the first time
  • Physical Examination—this is usually required of all students entering an Adventist school for the first time or as required by state/provincial statutes
  • Visual screening
  • Hearing screening
  • Scoliosis screening
  • Dental examination
  • Medical waiver
  • Consent to Treatment form
  • Standing medication order from a doctor (i.e., allergy, asthma, diabetes, ADD or ADHD)
  • Permission to Administer Over-the-Counter Medication


Discipline Record Folders

Discipline reports/letters are each to be kept in a folder separate from the cumulative record folder.

It is important that you:

  • Keep cumulative folders, medical folders, and discipline folders in a locked file, preferably fireproof.
  • Use the procedure outlined by your Local Conference Office of Education when you receive a request for records to be transferred to another school.
  • Do not transfer discipline records to another school.

Privacy Act

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U. S. Department of Education. More information on FERPA can be found on the Protecting Student Privacy website.

In Canada, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (abbreviated PIPEDA or PIPED Act) is a federal law that addresses data privacy. It governs how private-sector companies can collect, use, and disclose personal information.

How these laws are applied to private schools may vary for each state and province. Your Local Conference Office of Education can provide you with the specific requirements of your state or province.



Documentation is required to protect you in case of a question or dispute surrounding various incidents. You will need to include the date, your actions, and the names of those involved. Record facts; omit opinions and feelings. Examples of events that require documentation include:

  • Suspected abuse and/or neglect
  • Bullying
  • Harassment
  • Parent conferences and correspondence (in person, phone calls, email, and/or letters)
  • Student accidents
  • Medical emergencies
  • Disciplinary actions
  • Teacher concerns

Some schools maintain Incident Reports.

Other methods of record keeping may include using a

  • Spiral notebook
  • Daily planner
  • 3-ring notebook
  • Note cards
  • Secure computer file

Some documentation is anecdotal and is used by a teacher to refresh his/her memory. These are your personal records that should be maintained separately from any other documentation. They often include decisions, conversations, and actions that are potentially controversial.

Your Local Conference Office of Education is a good resource when documentation questions arise.


Conference Communication

Remember that the Local Conference Office of Education is there to support you and your school. Keep them informed and seek their counsel on a regular basis.

Submit required monthly reports to your Local Conference Office of Education.

Join the Adventist Multigrade Facebook group.