• Student Handbook



    The Woodward Day School mission is based on the premise that all students can learn. The staff defines and measures learning through the academic, social, and emotional growth of our regular and special education student population. The Woodward Day School staff is committed to providing a comprehensive education in a safe, nurturing, respectful, and healthy environment. The environment that our staff creates will facilitate our students’ return to their homeschools or to a less restrictive setting.  Our support will also help to instill in our students the skills needed to become community-oriented individuals and productive citizens.

    Guiding Principles

    • Model and Expect Mutual Respect
    • Maintain High Academic Expectations for All Students
    • Treat Every Student Equally, and As Unique Individuals
    • Identify Students’ Needs, Modify Curriculum, Adapt Instruction to Enhance and Support the Learning Process
    • Emphasize Pro-Social Skills and Character Education 

    School Calendar

     The Woodward Day School follows the Worcester Public School Calendar, a copy can be found on the website www.cmasscollaborative.org

    School Hours: From 7:30 a.m. -1:50 p.m.

    Hybrid Model                                             Full Remote

    Monday-Thursday (In Person)                 Monday-Friday (Remote)

    Friday (Remote-all students)


    Students arriving in school after 7:30 AM will be considered tardy and noted in the student attendance record. Parents/Guardians will be notified and the student’s grades will be negatively impacted.

    Weather Related School Delay/Early Dismissal/Cancellation Policy

     The Woodward Day School follows the same policy procedures as the Worcester Public Schools

    Student Early Dismissal

    • No student under 18, will be dismissed without parent/guardian consent
    • The nurse and/or administrator will determine need for student dismissal due to sickness
    • Students who leave the school without parent/guardian and/or school administration permission will not be able to return to school unless accompanied by a parent. 
    • Walking out of school will result in an out of school suspension for the next day and meeting with parent/guardian to discuss safety measures (if needed).

    Dress Code

    Students attending Woodward Day School are required to adhere to the school’s dress code.  Students must wear a plain white or light gray crew neck t-shirt without logos, writing or graphic designs.  Student’s clothing shall not distract from the school’s educational process.  While in school, students will wear clothing that meets the following standards:

    • Head apparel allowed for religious, medical, or orientation purposes only
    • No Adidas Clothing is to be worn while in school
    • Multiple-finger rings and oversized jewelry are not allowed
    • Drooping pants or clothing that reveals undergarments are not allowed
    • Shorts/skirts must measure to at least mid-thigh in length
    • No pajama pants or hospital scrubs 
    • No rosary beads
    • No beaded accessories of any kind
    • No colored wristbands of any kind 
    • No pants rolled up 
    • No brightly colored or dark undergarments visible through a white shirt 
    • All shirts must be able to be tucked in
    • No clothing that uses see-through or ripped material (ripped jeans may be worn with leggings/joggers or other pants underneath)
    • No clothing and/or accessories that displays words/graphics (in whatever language) that are obscene, vulgar, violent, sexist, racist and/or promote the use of illegal drugs/alcohol/tobacco
    • No gang-, violence- or cult-related apparel and/or accessories (refer to Rule 15, policy on gang and obscene clothing – WPS Policies and Procedures Handbook)
    • No outerwear – Clothing that contains pockets, open-front buttons or zipper – Example: jackets, scarves, hats, windbreakers, parkas, sweatshirts w/ pockets, vests, etc.
    • No clothing that contains a hood

    Please note:

    The administration, having discretion to render judgments regarding what is and what is not appropriate, may, if necessary, waive these policy restrictions in religious and/or medical situations. The administration will determine what consequences should follow when a student does not comply with this policy. (Failure to comply with the above rules may result in school dismissal).

    Student Lockers

    All lockers available to students are the property of the Central Massachusetts Special Education Collaborative (Woodward Day School). 

    The school administration regulates students’ use of lockers and all lockers are subject to inspection by the school administration at any time. Students are responsible for any item they have placed in their assigned locker. Students are prohibited from placing any item in their lockers that violates school rules, especially Rules 7 and 8 of the Central Massachusetts Special Education Collaborative Code of Discipline.

    Upon arrival at school, students should store their personal items inside their assigned lockers. Students are not allowed to access their lockers during the school day. However, with a reasonable need, permission to access the locker during the school day may be granted and a staff member will supervise the event. 

    General Rules

    Students are expected to follow the following rules:

    • Use of cellular telephones and bluetooth/wireless devices are not allowed on school property.
    • Cell phones must be turned into staff upon arrival to school. 
    • Food and beverages are only allowed in the cafeteria.  Eating, drinking and candy are not allowed in the classrooms or hallways.
    • Gum chewing is not allowed in school.
    • Non-emergency restroom usage is limited to homeroom, breakfast, and lunch periods. 

    Grading System

    The Woodward Day School follows the State and Worcester Public Schools Curriculum Frameworks to ensure academic continuity to all students referred to our programs.

    Students are expected to fulfill all of their academic requirements as prescribed by each classroom teacher.

    In addition to the regularly scheduled tests, quizzes and special projects, student’s homework, daily attendance, and daily points will be averaged in student’s final grades. 

    Completion of daily homework is mandatory and counts for at least 10% of the student's final grade.  

    Progress Report 

    A progress report will be mailed to parents/guardians mid-way through each marking period. The report will indicate the student's level of achievement within the first five weeks of the term.

    Report Card

    A report card will be mailed to parents/guardians at the end of each marking period. 



    The Woodward Day School (WDS) mission is to provide regular and special education services to all referred and accepted students. With our mission comes the understanding that our student population, for the most part, has not been successful in a traditional school environment. 

    The staff at the Woodward Day School, cognizant of the large mixture of social behaviors, cognitive abilities, and learning levels/styles, strives to establish a structured and engaging learning environment. Our goal is to create a safe, mutually respectful, and nurturing school community. 

    The WDS staff creates a school environment that personalizes education to promote, in each individual student, a sense of belonging. We emphasize that inappropriate student behavior is never accepted without consequence. The WDS staff perceives and insists upon respectful, responsible student behavior. The staff is also committed to remain a center of learning while encouraging and supporting positive, pro-social student academic/behavioral growth and development. 

     The Woodward Day School embraces an approach that facilitates respect for the dignity of each individual student. 

    All members of the WDS community are expected to contribute to the philosophy of the school which includes:

    1. Safe & mutually respectful learning environment
    2. Peaceful and non-aggressive conflict resolution 
    3. Prevention of any manifestation of violent behavior
    4. Protection for one another’s person, feelings, and property

    The basic rules of this approach include:

    1. Exclusion of weapons of any kind in school
    2. Exclusion of illegal, unhealthy, and /or potentially dangerous substances in school
    3. Exclusion of all physical contact-Hands off policy. 
    4. Reporting of any indication of a possible physical altercation and acts of malice


    Point System

    The WDS utilizes a point system to define the basic structure of the program. Students complete a daily slip in homeroom with their teacher/ advocate. Students and teachers negotiate a daily behavioral goal and discuss how such an agreed upon goal may be achieved. Students then list their assigned classes on their daily slips.


    WDS students receive both an academic and behavioral performance rating on a scale of 0 to 5 at the end of each class period. The rating scale is defined as follows:




    5 (Exceptional)

    Outstanding effort and quality of work. Academic role model. Peer tutor. 

    An outstanding contribution to the safety of WDS community. 

    4 (Above Average)

    Above average effort, perseverance, improvement upon usual quality of work, demonstrates integration/application of concepts

    Positive support of teacher and/or peers, acts of kindness, caring, forgiveness

    3 (Average)

    Prepared for class, consistent effort, quality of work that reflects student capability

    On time, respectful, cooperative, appropriate language and/or remarks

    2 (Needs Improvement)

    Unprepared for class, inconsistent effort, incomplete or careless work

    Late, disrespectful, uncooperative, inappropriate language and/or remarks

    1 (Needs Significant Improvement)

    Minimal effort, poor quality of work, refuses assistance or to incorporate corrections

    Disruptive, non-compliant, refuses redirection

    0 Unacceptable

    No effort, refuses to engage in school work

    Defiant, oppositional, disrespectful, verbally abusive, threatening, risk to the safety of the WDS community

    Point System Rational

    This behavior management system allows WDS staff to direct, relate and promptly apply realistic positive or negative consequences to specific student behavioral choices. The comment section fosters teacher communication throughout the school day. The daily slips provide documentation of student progress and may be referenced during meetings with parents and/or representatives of other agencies involved with WDS students. 

    Point System Expectations and Rewards

    The WDS staff expects students to earn ratings of three and above in each class on a daily basis. These points entitle them to a number of extra privileges throughout the school day. Daily point slips are also considered in awarding “Student of the Week” recognition, and Green-Yellow-Red Status. Homeroom teachers record accumulated student points. The top monthly point earners negotiate a field trip destination with the supervising WDS staff member/s. WDS students also “spend” their points during a twice-yearly auction.


    WDS overarching belief: 

    All Students Can Learn!

    WDS Motto: 

    “You can’t change your past, but you can change your future”. 


    Disruptive Behavior

    Disruptive student behavior may result in the separation of the student into a physically safe and unlocked time-out room apart from group or program activities. WDS staff will employ this strategy only when all other interventions have been exhausted. The recovery room may also be utilized upon student request and negotiation with a designated staff member when the student realizes he/she is in need of refocusing or regaining self-control. The designated WDS staff member is responsible for implementing and monitoring the time-out procedure with the administration’s approval. 

     Recovery Room

    The administration may place students in the recovery room for a time out period from class. An office disciplinary referral form will be issued indicating reason for recovery. Students are expected to complete all classroom assignments/compliance tasks. Failure to complete assignments may result in an out-of-school suspension. 

    Out-of-School Suspension

    Violation of any of the following rules is grounds for out-of-school suspension. Disciplinary measures pertain to actions both on and off school grounds during school or school related situations. The administration will determine the length of suspension, which is based upon the severity of the incident.

    Discipline Codes

    1. Damage, Destruction or Theft of School Property
    2. Damage, Destruction of Private Property, Cheating, Forgery, Plagiarism
    3. Physical Assault on a School Employee
    1. Physical Assault on a Student or Other Person Not Employed by the School
    1. Verbal Assault on a School Employee

          5A. Threatening a School Employee

    1.  Verbal Assault or Threat on a Student or Non-employee of School

         6A.  Written Assault or Threat on a Student or Non-employee of School

    1. Possession or Use of Weapons
    2. Possession or Use of Drugs or Alcohol
    3. Excessive Absenteeism or Tardiness
    4. Repeated School Violations
    5. Hazing 
    6. Sounding False Alarms
    7. Possession, Use, or Distribution of Tobacco Products
    8. Possession or Use of Cellular Phones, Electronic Devices and Laser Pointing Devices
    9.     Gang Related and/or Obscene Clothing
    10.     Students Charged with or Convicted of a Felony
    11.     Disruption of School 
    12.     Bomb Threats
    13.     Extracurricular Activities
    14.     Fighting
    15.     Inciting a Disturbance on/off school grounds, or at school-related activity
    16.     Leaving school without permission
    17.     Lab and Shop Safety
    18.     Bullying and Harassment

    The History of Woodward Day

    The Woodward Day School was founded in 1970. It began as a collaboration between the Worcester Public Schools and the Worcester Youth Guidance Center. Located on the grounds of the Worcester State Hospital, the program opened with approximately 12 students. 

     The small, structured program was created to service students who were unable to function in a traditional school setting. The supportive environment encourages strong relationships between student and teacher and positive academic experiences.

    The first administration was composed of a director, Mr. Andrew E. Murray, a licensed social worker, and a head teacher, Mrs. Claire Schmidt. Mrs. Schmidt was one of the first people to receive a master’s degree in Special Education in the city of Worcester. Mrs. Schmidt retired from WDS in 1984 and Mr. Murray remained director until his retirement in 2001. In honor of Mrs. Schmidt and Mr. Murray, “Student of the Year” awards are presented to selected students, each year, in their names. 

    In 1989, the Woodward Day School began accepting special education students expelled from the Worcester Public Schools for violation of the assault, weapon, and drug policy. In order to accommodate the growing number of regular education students expelled from the Worcester Public Schools, in October of 1995, the Woodward Day School Satellite was created. Initially designed to service regular education expelled students, the operations of the Satellite program quickly shifted to servicing a mixture of regular and special education students. As the enrollment number continued to rise, in April of 1997, a third site, known as Woodward Day School III, was created. 

    Although the Woodward Day School has grown significantly in the past decades, our philosophy and mission continue to be student centered, by providing a safe, mutually respectful, and nurturing environment to its student population.