Frequently Asked ?'s

This page will answer questions commonly asked by students and parents.
  1. • Academic Teams?
  2. • Guidance Counselor/Student Relationship – how does it work?
  3. • eChalk/Communicating with Teachers?
  4. • Parent-Teacher Conferences?
  5. • Library Time/Availability?
  6. • Report Cards?
  7. • Bus/Parent Notes?
  8. • After-School Activities?
  9. • Late/Activity Bus?
  10. • Emergency Dismissal?
  11. • HomeBase?
  12. • How Does Lunch/Recess Work?
  13. • Food Service Questions?
  14. • Lost and Found?
  15. • Tardiness!
  16. • Can Students bring their cell phones to school?

• Academic Teams?

Children in grades 6 and 7 are arranged in academic teams at JJMS. Each team has a Leader whom parents should contact if they have any concerns about any academic subject. The team faculty works closely together and coordinates their efforts, including homework, so that the amount the children receive is reasonable.
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• Guidance Counselor/Student Relationship – how does it work?

At the beginning of the school year, the counselors meet with students in small groups and engage in a series of activities that allow them to get to know each other. At this point, the Guidance Counselors are somewhat familiar to the children as they met with them last spring at their respective elementary schools. Since the Guidance Counselors have the same students for all three years of Middle School, they get to know each other very well by the end. The children always seem to readily respond to the Guidance Counselors’ suggestions that the kids pay them a visit if/whenever they have anything on their mind, because Guidance receives a steady stream of visitors starting shortly after the commencement of the school year. The staff has tried to make Guidance a friendly, welcoming place. They do not function as disciplinarians, but work closely with the Assistant Principals to solve disciplinary problems. The Guidance Counselors also meet with team teachers on a regular, frequent basis, so issues, etc. are brought up and shared among them which should allow for any early intervention necessary.
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• eChalk/Communicating with Teachers?

Not all JJMS teachers use eChalk at this point. Contractually, they’re not required to, and, apparently, some teachers are still not comfortable with this mode of communication with students and parents. However, teachers are generally very responsive to parent emails. Obviously, sometimes cyber-communication doesn’t work, for whatever reason, so parents are encouraged to follow up with a voice mail message if they don’t get a timely response from a teacher.
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• Parent-Teacher Conferences?

There are no regularly-scheduled Parent-Teacher Conferences like there are in elementary school, but parents can call (or better yet, email) their child’s team leader and request a Team Conference any time they feel it is necessary. They should keep in mind, however, that these Conferences may require a certain amount of lead time, given all the personnel involved.
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• Library Time/Availability?

There is no actual formal “Library Period” at JJMS. However, the children are encouraged to drop by the library any time they have any time available during the day or after school, as the library is open until 3:30 most days (depending on whether there are staff meetings). Students are welcome and encouraged to stay after to go to the library if they want; without having a note, though, of course, they do need to have worked out their transportation home in advance (while not mandatory, notes from home are encouraged to avoid any confusion).
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• Report Cards?

Reports cards are available and accessible via the Parent Portal (Infinite Campus). The children will now be receiving regular letter grades.
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• Bus/Parent Notes?

As mentioned above, students don’t necessarily need a note to stay after school for library time, or some other sanctioned activity. However, they DO
need a note if:

• they’re taking a different bus home (to go home with a friend).
• In addition, if a child is going home with a friend and is being picked up by the friend’s parent, BOTH children need a note.
• If they’re staying after school for an activity and are getting picked up, it’s helpful if they have a note to keep in their possession, in case anyone asks.

Children do not need to bring in a note if they’re staying after school for Extra-Help or some other sanctioned activity and are taking the Late Bus home. For early dismissals, the children are instructed to deliver the notes to the main office, where they are provided passes. Bus notes are put in a basket in the Reception area and passes are distributed at lunchtime (at the stop of the stairs). These policies and procedures are explained to the children who seem totally comfortable with them. Parents and children are strongly encouraged to work out their daily plan in advance. However, in the hopefully-rare event that the plan changes during the school day, children can use one of the pay phones at the school to call home and let their parents know. Parents are encouraged to make sure the children have a few quarters in their backpack for just this purpose.
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• After-School Activities?

There are many after school activities, including clubs and intramurals, available to the students. There is a white board outside the Principal’s office listing these activities. Many of them start a few weeks into the school year. Children can join and/or quit most of these activities at will. In the event of a last-minute cancellation, depending on the arrangements worked out with their parents, the kids can a) just go home, as usual on a regular or late bus, depending on the timing. Or b) can do their work or read in the library – with supervision – until it’s time to get picked up. There is a supervised study hall after school every day, where the children should go after their particular activity has concluded to wait for the 4:15 Late Bus.
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• Late/Activity Bus?

The children can take a Late Bus home if they stay after school for an activity. The buses depart at 4:15 and follow a slightly different route than the regular buses, with few stops. For further information about Late Bus routes and stops, parents are encouraged to call the K-L Schools Transportation Department (763-7231).
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• Emergency Dismissal?

Public school districts are required, by Project Save Law, to plan for contingencies that may result in Delayed Openings, Early Closings, Lockdowns, Lockouts, Off-site sheltering and Emergency Dismissals. Parents need to pay particularly close attention to the K-L Schools policies and procedures associated with Emergency Dismissals, as outlined in the District Calendar Handbook. Parents need to make sure that they have a PLAN in place in the event of an emergency dismissal and that they have discussed what their children should do/where they should go in this event. In an Early Emergency Dismissal, children are sent home via their normal mode (bus or walking) as quickly as possible. Bus notes are not honored and children have to return to their own homes; after school activities are cancelled as well. Middle School and High School bus riders get dropped off FIRST and then the buses go and collect the Elementary School students. Parents/guardians should NOT attempt to pick up children during crisis situations. By doing so, they could be exposing themselves and all children to further risk. For details, please consult your District Calendar Handbook.
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• HomeBase?

HomeBase takes place prior to Period 1 on Wednesday and Thursday. Periodically the kids engage in special activities during this period as well. The students shouldn’t be doing their homework during these group activities.

Homebase Schedule

1st Wednesday is always Sustained Silent Reading for everyone.
2nd Wednesday is almost always a home base activity for everyone. The exception would be as we near the time for musical concerts in January or May.
3rd, 4th, 5th Wednesdays are designated times for TASC, extra help, rehearsals, AIS

Thursdays are for AIS, rehearsals, extra help, SSR or independent study. At the discretion of the teacher, a period of SSR or an independent study activity could take place on a Thursday. During independent study, students in the same home base may work together. Students may not go to another home base for the purpose of meeting with another student. Students may get permission from their home base teacher to drop off or pick up a book from the library. Students do not stay in the library; they return to the home base.
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• How Does Lunch/Recess Work?

The Sixth grade is divided in half between those eating lunch and those outside for recess – they are split up in order to maximize the effectiveness of adult supervision. Lunch and recess are 20 minutes each. Up to this point, they have been randomly divided by elementary schools; they will be “reshuffled” shortly by other means (teams) and will be continually reshuffled during the course of the year to maximize social networking opportunities. The children will continue to go outside throughout the year, unless the nurses decree that it’s too cold, in which case, they will all stay in the cafeteria, unless individuals have special permission to go to the library,art room, etc. When they are outside they go up to the Contest Field where they can walk the track or engage in other athletic activities.
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• Food Service Questions?

In response to questions about the food service, parents should contact the head of Food Services, Fran Cortina, directly. Depending on the time of year, Fran usually provides a timely response to emails.
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• Lost and Found?

The Main Lost and Found area is in the back of the Dining Room. Children and parents are urged to check it regularly (parents are NOT welcome during LUNCH) for missing items and the material is GIVEN AWAY at the end of each month. The volume of items in Lost and Found is so great that the Administration has to clear it out regularly or it will take over. Thus, parents are urged to LABEL all of their children’s possessions and the children should check for missing stuff immediately.
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• Tardiness!

Tardiness is a continuing problem at JJMS, which disrupts the learning environment and results in deleterious consequences for the children. The morning warning bell sounds at 7:25; the children are expected to BE IN THEIR CLASSES at 7:30 when the late bell sounds. Otherwise, they are marked tardy. Three Tardies result in Detention, so parents should make it a point to ensure that their children arrive at school on time.
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• Can Students bring their cell phones to school?

Students can bring cell phones to school but they are not permitted to use them during regular school hours from 7:30 AM to 2:07 PM.
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