Bret Harte Elementary School
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Frequently Asked Questions

Parents of Bret Harte students and those searching for a school for their child frequently come to us asking the same questions, so we have created this page to answer those commonly asked questions. If you do not see the answer to your question here, please don’t hesitate to contact us, and we will be happy to help.


When does school start and end each day?

School begins at 8:00 a.m. every day with a warning bell ringing at 7:58. Please make sure your child is here no later than 8:00 a.m., as every minute of the school day counts toward his or her learning. On Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, we will release kindergarteners at 2:05 p.m. and first graders at 2:20 p.m. On Wednesdays, kindergarten dismissal time is at 1:15 p.m. and first graders at 1:30 p.m.

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What should I do if my child is going to be absent?

If your child is going to be absent from school, please contact the office by phone, and send a signed, written note stating the reason for the absence. We ask that parents clear all absences with a written note no more than three days after the absence occurred. We give students one day after they return to produce a note regarding the absence. Failure to clear an absence will result in a truancy. Please be aware that we will consider students who are 30 or more minutes late or who leave early without an excuse as unexcused.

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Does Bret Harte offer meal services?

We are equipped with a cafeteria and devoted staff that prepares breakfast and lunch options for our students during school days. You can learn more about what we serve on our district website.

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How can I volunteer in the classroom?

We welcome parents' involvement in their child’s education. Please contact your child’s teacher directly to find opportunities to volunteer. A volunteer must check in at the office and receive a pass before proceeding to the classroom.

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Is there a dress code at Bret Harte Elementary?

Bret Harte does enforce a dress code to ensure that students' clothing does not become a distraction in the classroom. We encourage our students to wear:

  • Polo or button down shirt
  • Shirts need to have collars and should be white, light blue, or navy.
  • Pants, shorts, jumpers and/or skirts (no jeans) in navy or khaki
  • Closed toe shoes. No sandals.
  • Shirts need to be tucked in.
  • No hats
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My child needs to take medication during the day. How can I arrange that?

California law states that school employees cannot administer medicine without a signed permission form from the student's legal guardian. Forms, for this purpose, are available in the school office.  Please leave all prescription medicine in the office, as we do not allow students to keep medicine in their personal possession without a doctor’s note, including inhalers.

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