FAQ for Parents of Cunha Students

Q: How will Cunha Intermediate help my student grow?

A: Cunha provides the safe environment, tools, and inspiration for every student to be uniquely brilliant. Students learn to think critically, collaborate, communicate and self-advocate; they practice being kind, creative, courageous, resilient, and community-oriented. Our focus on the 'whole child' helps students build a foundation for success in high school and the paths they choose beyond. We have high quality, passionate and committed teachers who help to create the Cunha experience for generations of Coastside middle schoolers.

Q: How can I help my child be successful at Cunha?

A: If your child follows three basic principles they will stand an excellent chance of being successful at Cunha, and beyond. These principles are:

  1. Do and hand in your homework. Too many students fail because they don't complete and hand in their assignments. Check your child's Cunha planner for any homework assignments. Homework is listed on SchoolLoop.

  2. Ask for help before it is too late. Students should ask, not parents. Practice ways that your student can ask for help.

  3. Behave. People tend to go out of their way to help others whom they like. Model the behavior which should be seen at school.

Q: What are some of the extracurricular student activities available at Cunha?

A: Cunha students participate in a wide variety of school-sponsored student activities, including 35+ sports teams (e.g., basketball, volleyball, tennis), 10+clubs (e.g., diversity club, sign language club, running club, scrapbooking club), school dances, and student leadership. Through this wide range of opportunities, students can become involved in the Cunha community, find a group of friends, foster a sincere sense of self, and enhance their academic experience. If a child would like to start a new club, please see the Assistant Principal.

Q: What is the school's philosophy regarding student discipline?

A: The rules at Cunha can be summarized into three distinct activities. If a student can answer the following questions affirmatively then their action is most likely welcome at Cunha. Students should ask themselves, “is what I am about to do":

  1. SAFE. Safety is our top priority and students are asked to act in a safe manner. This means not placing themselves, others, or property in a dangerous situation or risky condition.

  2. LEGAL. Students may not break the law.

  3. WOULD I DO THIS ACTIVITY IN FRONT OF MY FAMILY? Students are asked to stop and think about their behavior and self-correct themselves when necessary.

Our priority at Cunha is to find students who are acting in a positive, safe, respectful and responsible manner. When that happens students will be rewarded with a Cub Compliment that may be used throughout the year on various items from ice-cream drawing to Cub gear. We are committed to the PBIS or Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports.

Occasionally students behave in a manner 1. that warrants them to be held accountable for their actions. Cunha uses a citation, detention, separation model. For minor issues, students may be warned about their behavior and issued a citation. If the behavior is more severe or continues students may be assigned to an Extended Learning Opportunity commonly referred to as detention. In the most severe circumstances, students may be asked to stay home from school and think about how they can change their behavior so that Cunha remains a safe school for everyone.

Q: My child is having some social and emotional difficulties. Can Cunha staff help?

A: Students experiencing difficulties, e.g., bullying, family situations, etc. should seek the help of their counselor. They may make an appointment with their counselor by using the computer in the main office that is designated for counselor appointments. Additionally, students may email their counselor.



All information shared in the Counseling Office is confidential which means that we do not share information with any outside parties including parents, teachers, or other students without permission. The only exception is if a student shares that he/she is thinking of harming themselves or others, or that someone is harming them in which case we are legally mandated to seek help for the student. Follow this link to learn more about the counseling department.

Q: My child is struggling with their schoolwork. How can I get help from Cunha staff?

A: If your student is struggling with their school work we have several options to helping them. First, you should contact the teacher to see exactly where your child is struggling and what tips or advice they may have for your student. Next, students have the opportunity to receive tutoring during lunch and after school at Homework Club. They should seek out the help of the Homework Club teacher. This is a drop-in program and students do not need to register in advance to get help---they simply show up at the library for tutoring during our posted hours. We will finalize the hours during the first week of school.

If your child is having a social or emotional problem at school they should see their counselor to get help. We try as hard as we can to meet the personal needs of our student learners and by speaking with their counselor your child may benefit from the many suggestions and/or strategies for improvement that our counselors will provide.

Q: What are your tips for communicating with my child's teacher?

A: The Cunha staff is quite dedicated to their work. We are very fortunate to have many longtime teachers here At school and they are experts in helping children. Therefore, you should feel free to contact teachers directly to ask them for help. Some specific tips in working with teachers are:

  1. TONE. Approach the teacher from the standpoint of asking for help. Sometimes the tone that we use dramatically affects the response that we receive. Use kind words and open-ended questions in your first response.

  2. WORD CHOICE. Use words that would allow the teacher to understand your concerns and that allow for an open, clear, constructive conversation on what is best for your learner. Try to avoid statements or words that may not get you the results that you're looking for for your learner.A quick tip, or something to think about... If someone who didn't know you read your email would they think it is kind, constructive, and helpful to the dialogue or would it cause some other reaction?

  3. SET AN APPOINTMENT. Offer to meet at a mutually convenient time with the teacher. When you meet with the teacher please bring your learner with you so that they may be responsible for developing strategies to become successful in their own educational path.

Q: My child is currently required to take ELD (English Language Development). What are the advantages of their completing this requirement, and how can they get there?

A: The advantages of your student completing their English language development courses are too numerous to mention in one paragraph! However, we strongly urge all students to designate out of English Language Learner status so that they have more opportunities for electives, college preparatory classes, and the full array of classes at Half Moon Bay High School. Additionally, those who are no longer in the Cunha ELD program have the opportunity to take electives and not be part of the zero period. If you have specific questions about your child's redesignation please contact your students counselor.

Q: What are some of the elective classes Cunha has to offer?

A: Cunha has a vast variety of electives so students can dive deeper into areas of interest as well as explore new areas of interest. Many electives are offered as part of the rotational 'Wheel' course -- e.g., Drama, Coding, Art, AVID (6th Grade), Woodshop. Additionally, we have several elective opportunities such as AVID 7th and 8th Grade, Spanish 1 (a and b), Makers Space, Leadership, and Study Hall that are semester or yearly classes. Our electives change to meet new demands.

Q: The Cunha Parent & Student Handbook is so long. Are there certain rules that are more important than others?

A: There are more than 20 million words in the California Education Code and there are more than 7,500 words in Cunha Handbook! This handbook and can be confusing to students and parents. If students follow these three principles they will have a great time at Cunha, learn a lot and develop as individuals. Your behavior should be guided by the following three ideals--as you wander through Cunha ask yourself is what I'm about to do:

  1. SAFE. Are you about to harm yourself or another person on campus or in the community?
  2. LEGAL. Is what I'm about to do something that is against the law or school rules?

There are some consistent rules that each student is asked to follow. Every Cunha staff member enforces the following TOP 10 rules:

  1. Electronic devices are not to be out during the school day, this includes ipods, phones, and headphones/earbuds.
  2. Gum is never allowed on campus.
  3. Food is to be eaten during break and lunch at the designated areas.
  4. Profanity is not allowed, be kind!
  5. Bullying is not tolerated., be kind!
  6. Do not litter, throw your trash away.
  7. No running except when appropriate (during PE, and while on athletic fields)
  8. No fighting, be kind!
  9. Hats and hoods are not to be worn inside of buildings.
  10. Once you have arrived on campus, you must stay on campus.

Q: Is it true that students also need to follow school rules on their way to and from school?

A: Yes. This includes riding on buses (both private and public buses).

Q: Why can't my child leave school after drop-off to get breakfast at a cafe on Main Street?

A: Safety is our number one priority at Cunha Intermediate. In order to ensure that your child is safe they need to be on campus. If they leave campus we are unable to provide the nurturing, safe, and structured environment that you are expecting for your child and once your child arrives at Cunha it is our responsibility to care for their well-being. There is healthy food available on campus for breakfast and it is free!!!

Q: What is the school's attendance policy, in brief?

A: Regular attendance is vital to student success in school. The student who is frequently absent misses social interaction and direct instruction from his/her teachers even though written work can be made up in accordance with CA Education Code. Any day or hour absent is a missed learning opportunity. Students are responsible for attending class regularly and on time. Students with excessive absences or tardies may be excluded from activities and privileges at school such as assemblies, sports, dances, the promotion ceremony, etc.

Note: The absence count for PBIS sessions and dance participation will reset after each dance each quarter.

  1. On the day that a student is absent from school, parents need to call the attendance office at 712-­7190 before 9:00 am to report the absence. After two unexcused absences or cuts, each will earn a PBIS session and may result in progressive discipline, as well as the student and parent is referred to the Student Attendance Review Board process.

  2. Students leaving school must always be signed out in the office by parent/legal guardian, or an adult listed on their emergency card. Students will only be released to parents/legal guardians or adults listed on the emergency card. Students with a note and permission to see a nearby doctor, dentist, orthodontist or a counselor for a scheduled appointment need to sign out in the front office.

  3. If your student is absent for an extended period of time due to sickness or an approved excused absence, please coordinate all homework/classwork directly with teachers. Your student's counselor may also be able to assist with this if the need arises. Additionally, homework may also be accessed through teacher sites in Cunha SchoolLoop. Please check individual teachers syllabus regarding extended absences and their class procedures.

Q: Are there special requirements for playing on school sports teams?

A: Athletic Eligibility: Cunha recognizes the physical and social benefits that come with participating on an athletic team. Cunha also recognizes that the priority for attending school is for the intellectual growth and academic success of the student. All sports are open to all students, irrespective of their sex/gender. For those students who did not earn a 2.0 GPA for the previous quarter, there is a process that students will need to undergo in order to remediate their situation. The Athletic Director will work with directly with students whose behavior and/or grades are affecting their abilities to participate.

If your child is absent on the day of an athletic contest, or other school function/activity, they will be excluded from participation. In the case of a partial absence, students must attend a minimum of four (4) full periods to be considered “in attendance."

Q: What is the Honor Roll Field Trip?

A: The Cunha Staff is very proud of our school and students. To encourage students to display positive behavior and to do their best each day, we have established recognition of students in a number of ways, including Honor Roll Field Trips for students with a GPA of 3.25 -3.89, or Principal's Honor Roll with a 3.9 GPA or better. Students will be informed during morning announcements with info regarding payments, permission slips, etc.

Q: Are there grade-level field trips for my child?

A: For 6th grade students, there is the Outdoor Ed field trip. Please contact Mr. Rippberger for more information. For 8th grade students, there is the Washington DC field trip. Please contact Mr. Cox for more information. Please note, each of these trips has cost associated with them. Financial aid is provided by a special fund provided by the PTO, please see the Principal if you need some assistance.

Q: Does Cunha have a dress code?

A: Yes. The responsibility for the dress and grooming of a student rests primarily with the student and his or her parents or guardians. The purpose is to provide a safe and inclusive learning environment. This code was created under the guidance of the Cunha Health and Wellness Committee and was adopted for the 2018-2019 School Year.

Cunha's dress code is not meant, in any way, to detract from any sort of cultural displays or connections. For example, students wearing articles depicting national origin or religion will be allowed to continue wearing these items. Follow this link to learn more about the new code.

Q: What is the Boys and Girls Club and how do I learn more?

A: Boys and Girl Club of the Coastside is independent of Cuhna Intermediate. They serve Cunha students in a variety of ways. Follow this link to their web site to learn more about their Cunha based programs.

Q: When should I be reaching out directly to the school principal or assistant principal?

A: The school administration is a great resource for Cunha parents. you should reach out to the administration if you have concerns, compliments or ideas that would be helpful to the Cunha student body. If you have specific concerns about a teacher or incident you should contact the teacher first then your childs counselor and if the problem lingers feel free to reach the Assistant Principal. if there is an incident on campus where your child is in immediate harm or danger you should contact a member of the administration immediately. one of the changes between Elementary School and Secondary school is the use and availability of school counselors at the secondary school level. School counselors are able to help students in Social and emotional learning, conflict management, and in developing strategies for self advocacy. Students and parents are strongly advised to develop a positive relationship with their child's counselor. Parents should seek the help of their child counselor in situations where they don't know the best route to proceed. Oftentimes the school counselor is a great source of information and problem-solving in non-teacher situations. In cases of teacher-student conflict or questions is the teacher.

Q: Where can I find additional information and stay up-to-date about the goings-on at Cunha?

A: The absolute best way to keep up-to-date with all things Cunha is to regularly check School Loop, as well as the school website, which includes weekly videos and daily school news and announcements.

Q: What Is the school's policy regarding electronic devices at Cunha?
A: Electronic devices are not to be used on the Cunha campus from 8:30 until 3:05. If you need to contact your child please contact the main office at 650-712-7190. Additionally, we strongly encourage parents to have conversations with their children about the appropriate use of electronic devices when they are not on school grounds and what good digital citizenship looks like so that everyone can be safe on the internet.

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