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HIHS Parent / Student Handbook



We are excited to serve the students of Rowan County, grades 6-12 in the alternative education setting. We are committed to restoring social awareness, re-engaging our students’ passion for learning, improving academic performance that is aligned with students’ learning needs and creating a culture where we build positive, caring and supportive relationships with students and their families. Our continuum of alternative services strives to proactively target the needs of at-risk students with early intervention strategies, social emotional learning, quality instruction and highly trained, talented teachers and staff members. At Henderson, we try our best to help students every day in a smaller, structured, nurturing environment that builds their ability to be successful in the traditional school setting and beyond. To accomplish this, we may focus on attendance, academic credit, or behavioral challenges specific to each student as an individual. New this year, we will have a uniform requirement that will help students focus and lessen distractions.

Alexis Cowan, Principal


Henderson (HIHS) serves students in an alternative education setting based on a referral or placement system in Rowan Salisbury Schools. Currently, HIHS consists of three separate programs housed in one facility. These programs include:


- Henderson Middle School

- Henderson High School

- Opportunity Day/Twilight School

Henderson Handbook


Middle School 7:30am – 2:30pm

High School 9:30am – 4:30pm

Opportunity 9:30am – 4:30pm

Twilight Hours 5:00pm – 7:00pm


1. Daily Attendance

To be counted present for the school day, a student must be in attendance for at least one-half of the school day. This shall include attendance at official school activities other than at school, with the approval of the principal or his/her designee.


2. Class Attendance (Applies to high school)

For a high school student to be counted present in class he/she must be present for at least one-half of the class period A student shall be in his/her assigned area at the beginning of the school day and the beginning of each class, or he/she will be recorded as tardy. A student will be given one absence for each class when he/she has accumulated a combined total of four tardies check-ins and/or checkouts.

3. Absences

When a student must miss school, a written excuse from a parent or guardian must be presented to the teacher within two school days of the students return after an absence. Written excuses submitted beyond two school days will be subject to principal approval. An absence may be excused for the following reasons:

- Personal illness or injury which makes the student physically unable to attend school

- Isolation ordered by the State Board of Health

- Death in the immediate family

- Medical or dental appointment

- Participation under subpoena as a witness in a court proceeding

- Observance of an event required or suggested by the religion of the student or the student's parent/guardian

- Participation in a valid educational opportunity, including but not limited to college visitation or service as a legislative or Governor’s page, with prior approval (based on the student’s current and previous attendance history) from the principal or designee and with demonstration of learning by the student.


Cell phones, MP3 players and ALL other electronic devices are prohibited on school grounds. If confiscated, a parent must come to the school to retrieve the item. It will not be returned to the student for any reason. Students should not bring any expensive items to school (tennis shoes, jewelry etc.). If a student chooses to do so and the item is stolen, it is not the responsibility of the school to replace the item.


1. Students must conform to the dress code from the time that they arrive on campus until the time they depart (leave campus).

2. The principal or check-in staff will make final decisions regarding a student’s attire. NO EXCEPTIONS will be made to the Henderson dress code policy. Students will NOT be allowed to attend class if he/she is not in HIHS dress code. Students wearing inappropriate clothing will be required to call a parent/guardian to bring appropriate attire. Repeat offenses are subject to disciplinary action. Attire or appearance that interferes with the educational process will be evaluated by administration.

3. Any open food/drink items will be confiscated and thrown away at check-in. No candy, gum, or carbonated beverages may be brought on campus.  All other food/drinks must be left with the check-in staff to be brought to the student during lunch.

4. Students will be asked to turn out their pockets daily.

5. Students will be asked to remove their shoes daily. They may also be asked to remove their socks.


For a variety of reasons ranging from inclement weather to legislative requirements, the school calendar is subject to change. In light of this fact, we encourage you to periodically review the school calendar online at www.rssed.org. This is the best way to obtain the most current school calendar information. Important school events will be announced daily. The Salisbury Post, Spectrum News 14, Twitter, Facebook, Connect Ed, and the school system website are an excellent source of school information in the case of inclement weather, an emergency situation or announcements.


 1. Shirts

 Middle School - Solid GRAY polo style shirt

 High School - Solid BLACK polo style shirt

-No patterns, pictures, or words

-No logos larger than a quarter

-Must be long enough to remain tucked in at all times

-No visible cleavage


 Solid colored pull over sweatshirt/sweater may be worn over top of the uniform shirt

-Must be solid black, white, or gray

-No patterns, pictures, or words

-No buttons, zippers, buckles, or shawls


 Solid colored undershirt may be worn underneath collared uniform shirt

-Must be solid white, black, or gray

-No patterns, pictures, or words

-No buttons, zippers, or buckles


2. Pants

-Must be solid khaki or black in color

-Long pants, cargo pants or knee length shorts may be worn

-All pants and shorts must be properly worn at the waist (No Sagging)

-Must have belt loops

-No joggers, gym shorts, or any type pants with elastic at ankles

-No jeans or jean material are permitted. (Pants with denim ridges and rivets on

 pocket corners are deemed jeans and are prohibited)

-No tight-fitting pants such as spandex, tights, or leggings may be worn as pants

-No holey, slashed, or frayed pants

-No cut-off pants/shorts


3. Shoes/Socks/Belt/Shoes


-Must be athletic shoes or sneakers

-Can only be White, Black, Gray or combination of those colors

-No other colors are permitted

-No open toed shoes

-No boots of any kind

-No bedroom shoes/slippers



-Must be White, Black, Gray or a combination of those colors

-No other colors are permitted

-No patterns, pictures, or words


-Leather or burlap material

-Must be black, brown, white or gray

-No oversized buckles or spikes


4. Other

-No garments may be worn under students’ uniforms that could be considered outerwear. This includes but is not limited to: athletic shorts, jogging pants, pajama bottoms, etc.

-Hats, caps, head coverings/durags, bandanas, hair curlers, picks, combs, hairbrushes, or sunglasses may not be worn in the building.

-Jackets or hoods may not be worn in the building

-Book bags, containers, pouches, or purses may not be brought into the building

-PE clothes may be brought in a plastic grocery bag only

-Oversized jewelry is not allowed, including, but not limited to: earrings, tongue/nose piercing, bracelets, necklaces, watches, etc.

-All keys must be kept in the student's pocket

-Students may not carry more than $20 on their person at anytime


Note: Students can earn deviations from the uniform requirement with good behavior.


RSS School Nutrition is pleased to announce the implementation of the Community Eligibility Provision or CEP at ten Rowan County Schools and this includes Henderson Independent. In a CEP school, ALL enrolled students receive a healthy BREAKFAST and LUNCH at NO cost to the family regardless of income.


1. No candy, gum, or carbonated beverages may be brought on campus.

2. Students may choose to bring a lunch from home. Food items with advertisement are not allowed (i.e. Chick-Fil-A, McDonalds, Wendy’s wrappers, containers or bags)

3. No outside food deliveries are allowed (from parents or businesses).

4. All menu choices must be made while going through the lunch line; return trips are prohibited. Returning to the lunch line for extra food is not permitted.

5. Student seating will be determined by the school administration. All students must sit in the seating arrangement designated by administration. Once seated, students must remain seated.

6. Talking between tables is not permitted until earned.

7. Students must remain seated until dismissed by a staff member.


At Henderson, we believe that (1) good behavior is essential to good learning; (2) each student has a right to be free from distractions caused by inappropriate behavior of others; and (3) the school must teach responsible behavior. We expect students to conduct themselves in a manner that allows all students the opportunity to acquire a quality education. Students should avoid any behavior that is disruptive to the good order of the school.

1.Students will show respect to all school personnel.

2. Students will follow any direction given by a HIHS employee.

3. Students will not participate in, encourage, or instigate fights occurring on campus or any school function regardless of the location.

4. Participants in fights will be suspended from school and may be subject to arrest.

5. NC Law115-390.2 authorizes suspension not occurring on educational property, but only if the student’s conduct otherwise violates the Code of Student Conduct and the conduct has or is reasonably expected to have a direct and immediate impact on the orderly and efficient operation of the school or the safety of individuals in the school environment.

6. Students will not use/display profane/vulgar/gang related language or symbols.

7. Students will not abuse or misuse school property.

8. Students will not threaten, coerce or intimidate, either singly or in groups, any fellow students or school employees by any means i.e.: in person, writing or social media.

9. No student shall possess or transmit an object that reasonably can be considered a weapon on school grounds or on school transportation at any time (this includes personal vehicles).

10. No unnecessary noise or loud talking in halls, cafeteria or classrooms.

11. At all times, students will be at their assigned location, on time, and with all necessary materials.

12 Disruptive behavior will not be tolerated on campus.

13. No student will possess, use, sell or be under the influence of any drugs or alcohol at school, any school function or on any school transportation.

14. No one including: Students, parents/guardians, or employees-shall possess or use tobacco or products/paraphernalia on Rowan County School Board property or at any school-sponsored activity regardless of location.

15. Inappropriate display of affection is prohibited.

16. Students will eat in the cafeteria only and must remain in the cafeteria during the lunch period.

17. Food is prohibited in the hallways and classroom.

18. Food in commercially marked bags, wrappers, or containers, is prohibited by state law.


#See Something Say Something

Bullying and/or harassing are strictly prohibited. The repeated pattern of intimidation may be real or threatened. There are 3 types of bullying: physical, emotional, and relational. Bullying may include but is not limited to verbal taunts, name-calling, implied or stated threats, and exclusion from peer groups. Bullying can occur in person, or through social networking sites, texting, blogging, and the internet. Students who violate this policy shall be subject to disciplinary action including expulsion. Students who feel bullied, harassed or intimidated at school by an adult or another student should report the concern to a teacher, administrator, or other staff member at school. Students are also able to electronically report Bullying and Harassment by going to the https://app.sprigeo.com/district/rowan-salisbury-school-system.



Policy Code: 3225/4312/7320


Policy Code: 1720/4015/7225


A student shall not possess, handle, or transmit a gun, knife, razor, ice pick, stun gun, taser, explosives, loaded cane, paintball gun, pyrotechnic devices, machete, pistol, rifle, shotgun, air-rifle, airsoft gun, or any other object that can reasonably be considered a weapon. These items may not be possessed on Rowan County School Board Property or at any school function regardless of its location. IT IS A CRIME TO POSSESS A WEAPON ON SCHOOL GROUNDS. Law enforcement will be contacted.


1. Students must enter the check-in area immediately upon arriving to campus. After check-in, students must report directly to the cafeteria for breakfast. They will then report directly to their homeroom. Students are not allowed to loiter in the parking areas, hallways, restrooms, or at the check-in area inside the school.

2. No students should be dropped off prior to middle and high school start times.

3. At dismissal, students must report directly to the bus ramp as directed by school staff. All cars retrieving students at the end of the day must enter and exit at the bus side of the school.

4. No student is allowed to enter into another student's vehicle for any reason without approval from the school administration. Proper documentation must be on file in the main office before any permission will be granted.


1. Whenever possible, doctor and dental appointments should be made for before or after school hours.

2. Please notify the office regarding prearranged absences. All dismissal requests must be verified by a call from a parent/guardian.


The school has several options in regard to OSS: short term (1-10 days), long term (11-365 days), or expulsion (permanently banned from school). The decision to assign a particular type and duration of OSS is determined by, but is not limited to, the following factors: school or district policy, severity of the offense, a student’s discipline record, level of danger to fellow students, etc. Law enforcement officials may also be contacted. Any student suspended may be required to arrange for a parent conference with the Principal or Assistant Principal before returning to school. Students may neither be on school property during the suspension period nor participate in or be a spectator at any school related activity during the suspension. Examples of school related events include, but are not limited to: athletic contests, band or choral concerts, dramatic productions, dances, drivers’ education, etc. If a student is suspended (either ISS or OSS) during their 11th grade year, he/she is not eligible to be a graduation marshal. Students who are suspended MAY make up their academic work. The decision to suspend a student from school is at the sole discretion of Henderson Independent administration. Reasons a student might be assigned OSS will include but not limited to:

1. Being a persistent discipline problem.

2. Failure to follow the reasonable directions of a school employee.

3. Disrespect to a school employee.

4. Refusal of a student to identify his/herself.

5. Lying to a school employee.

6. Removal from class by administrator.

7. Sexual harassment of a student or school employee.

8. Possession or use of tobacco products/ paraphernalia (More than one offense).

9. Profanity directed at a school employee.

10. Threats made to a student or school employee.

11. Stealing. Student must also make restitution.

12. Vandalism. Student must also pay damages.

13. Misuse of technology devices.

14. Trespassing on other school campuses.

15. Cheating on test or assignment. Grade will be a “0". Repeated offenses will be dealt with at the discretion of the administrator.

16. Refusal to hand over a cell phone or other electronic device to a staff member when requested to do so.

17. Bringing a weapon to school.

18. Fighting or disorderly conduct.

19. Drugs or alcohol:  Students who sell, distribute, possess, use, or are under the influence of alcohol, controlled substances, or counterfeit controlled substances on school property or at any school function shall be suspended for ten days with Principal recommendation for a long-term suspension for at least the remainder of the semester. Students may also be referred for a substance use assessment, to be completed before returning to school. The Principal may recommend that the student be suspended for the remainder of the year. Students that are repeat offenders will be long-term suspended. Severity of offense may be grounds for expulsion. Written reports of alleged violation of this policy shall be presented to the Board of Education on a monthly basis.

20. Any assault on a school employee could result in expulsion. Law enforcement will investigate and charges will be filed.


The administration has the right to search a student, his/her belongings, cell phone/electronic device, or vehicle if it is deemed there is reasonable suspicion that a school rule has been violated. Trained law enforcement K-9 units periodically conduct random searches for controlled substances. Illegal substances and/or stolen property will be confiscated and law enforcement will be contacted. Students in unauthorized areas of campus will automatically be subject to search.


Henderson students earn daily points for respectful behavior, completing assignments and good decision-making. These points are tracked daily to determine the student’s ability to transition back to their home schools. Parents can always call or email for progress reports. Student points can be used to earn privileges including but not limited to: variations in dress code.


Henderson student’s who have earned the right to return to their home school at the conclusion of 45 days, end of the semester, or at the end of the school year. Henderson staff will conduct success conferences in which a representative from the home school and staff from central office may be present during this meeting. Students will share their personal goals and plans for improvement with the team. Only those students who have achieved success with the level system, good attendance and solid academic performance will earn the privilege to return to the base school.

- If the student is unable to make a successful transition, either academically and/or behaviorally, the student will may remain at Henderson.

- A student returning to Henderson will have another opportunity to work through the level system and return to their home school at a different time.


Riding the school bus is a privilege and not a right. The bus driver is performing a service by providing transportation to and from school. Students depend on the driver for safety, therefore students should follow his/her directions and refrain from any distracting behavior. Students’ lives may depend on it.

1. Stand off the roadway while waiting for the bus.

2. Stay in your seat at all times.

3. Keep all body parts and objects inside the window.

4. Food and drinks are prohibited.

5. Tobacco/drug/alcohol use, using profane language, gambling, threatening other students or staff, and horseplay of any kind are not permitted.

6. Buses will load immediately after school and depart campus exactly five minutes following the end of school.

7. Students who miss the bus due to their own negligence are responsible for finding their own transportation.

8. Failure to follow bus rules can result in suspension from the bus and/or school.


1. Twenty-two (22) credits are required for graduation.

2. Students must meet the Future Ready Requirements for graduation. These include: 4 English, 4 Math, 4 Social Studies, 3 Science, and 1 Health and PE credits.

3. Students must also complete 6 credits in electives.  It is strongly recommended a 4 course concentration in one of the following areas: Career Technical, Arts, World Language, or JROTC.

4. Students must have completed CPR.


Students attempting to earn credits outside of Rowan County Schools must have prior approval from the principal and the high school director.


1.  All 9th, 10th, and 11th grade students will take exams for both EOC and non EOC courses.

2. Seniors will be able to exempt exams if they meet the following criteria in courses:

a. Seniors must have an 80% based on the 10 point scale.

b. Seniors who have accrued no more than 3 (three) absences prior to the exam. (NOTE: Absences can be either unexcused or excused.)

c. AP exams are optional but students cannot earn college credit unless they are taken and passed with the appropriate score. If students choose not to take the AP exam, they will take the teacher made exam instead.


Students are promoted from middle school to high school upon completion of all middle school requirements. Grade level classification is based on the student’s ability to earn the required number of credits per year as follows:


Classification Index

·      9th graders must earn 6 credits for 10th grade promotion

·      10th graders must earn10 credits for 11th grade promotion

·      11th graders must earn 16 for 12th grade promotion


Transfer Student Grade-Level Classification

The transfer student's grade classifications at his/her former school and an evaluation of the student’s transcript will be used for grade placement and GPA. The GPA of a transfer student will be based on the weighting system used by Henderson.


A: 90-100 = 4.0

B: 80-89 = 3.0

C: 70-79 = 2.0

D: 60-69 = 1.0

F:  0-59 = 0.0


The faculty and staff of Henderson are not responsible for lost or stolen items. Suggestions:

1. Identify all personal articles in a manner that cannot be erased.

2. Do not bring large sums of money ($20 limit) or other valuables to school.

3. Do not leave clothing/personal items lying around on desks, cafeteria tables, the floor, etc.

4. Electronic devices are not permitted at school.

It is the student’s responsibility to adequately secure his/her personal property at all times.


ALL VISITORS MUST REPORT TO THE OFFICE to be welcomed and sign in through Raptor. The school policy is to accept only those visitors who have legitimate business at the school. Any unauthorized visitor found on campus will be considered trespassing. Students from other schools should not be campus.


The Student Services Department is available for every student in the school. The services this department provides include: assistance with educational planning, interpretation of test scores, occupational/career information, study help, support with home, school and/or social concerns, or any issues students would like to discuss.  Parents are encouraged to contact staff throughout the year. Information regarding careers, college admissions, financial aid, curriculum offerings, testing, records and personal assistance is available.