The Middle School Rule for Community Living
Every person in the Middle School community is expected to treat other community members and our spaces with kindness and respect. Because we are committed to growth and learning, all behavior must support teachers’ teaching and students’ learning.
Each student is assigned to a House advisory group, headed by a faculty member who acts as an advisor. In most cases, the House is made up of 9-11 students from all three grades. Students usually remain a member of their particular House for the duration of Middle School. The advisor serves as the student’s advocate and is the primary liaison between school and home for parents. Students meet daily in House for announcements, discussions about student-generated topics or issues, and celebrations of achievements. In individual conferences, advisors will review all progress reports, help students set goals, and give advice about academic and social issues. The advisor’s overall responsibility is to advocate for and support the best interests of the student.
At 3:15 p.m., Middle School students have time to gather their books and materials. Bus riders move to the bus circle and those planning on getting picked up proceed to the carpool area next to the pond. Students staying at school either proceed to an activity (sports team, robotics, tutoring, music lesson, club, etc.), or sign into After Day in the Middle School Commons.
All students staying for After Day must sign in with the After Day director. Only after checking in with the director may students go to the library for study hall, play in a gym or on a field, or simply hang out in the Commons or other approved locations. Monitors will regularly check each space, locating students when parents arrive or call the front desk for pick up; however, it is the students’ responsibility to update the sign in sheet with their current location. Please note that students will be monitored during their time in After Day, but not directly supervised at all times.
There is no charge for these services. After Day ends at 6 p.m., and the school does not provide supervision afterwards.
Student progress is measured through individual and group projects, oral and written work, tests and quizzes, and daily participation in class. Teachers use rubrics, written comments on work, and occasionally a written comment to the advisor to commend the student or to warn the student about work not completed or needing revision. Three times per year, reports in the form of checklists and comments—not grades—sum up a student’s performance in the areas of work habits, class participation, and subject content mastery.
No one likes to miss school, but it happens, and the key to managing missed days is communication—between parents and the school, and between the student and the teachers. The more we communicate with each other—the better able we’ll be to minimize the effects of missed lessons, projects, and participation in school experiences.
The school day begins promptly at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 3:15 p.m. Attendance is taken at the beginning of every class period. Regular attendance at all classes, assemblies, meetings, and activities is essential for students to do their best learning. Late arrivals are a distraction to those already in class. Given this information, families should keep their child’s academic progress in mind before planning vacations, special events, travel for sports, and doctor’s appointments. Early departures and late returns from vacation times are discouraged.
Students arriving after 8:30 a.m. must sign in at the Middle School Office before entering class. A note from home or a doctor is required for late arrivals. The student must obtain a late slip from the Middle School office to enter class. Please note: Parents of students who are late to school on a regular basis will be asked to meet with the principal and advisor to resolve this concern. If a parent knows in advance that a child is going to be absent, late, or dismissed early, the parent is asked to call the Middle School office at 410-339-4185.
The academic day ends at 3:15 p.m. Students leaving classes prior to this time must sign out at the Middle School Office. Parents should call earlier in the day or send a note to confirm that the student will be leaving. If the student returns to school then they must sign in again at the Middle School Office. If a student becomes ill or hurt during the day then they should go directly to the school nurse who will assess the situation, call the parents, and notify the Middle School Office. Students should not call their parents to come pick them up.
When absences are planned, a student must complete a Permission to Be Away Form. This form can be found in the Veracross Portal (log in, click on Middle School Resources and scroll down to the Forms: Complete and Return section). It is the student’s responsibility to complete this form (listing every class that they will be missing) and have each teacher sign the form. The student must then return the completed form to the Middle School Office for the Principal’s review before the day(s) of the planned absence. The student must be sure to complete all missed assignments.
In the event that a student will not be attending classes due to illness, medical appointment, or special circumstances, the parent should notify the Middle School Office (410-339-4185) by 9 a.m. When a student is absent for one or more days then the student should check Google Classroom for the missing assignments and arrange with the teachers an appropriate amount of time to make up the work.
Medical Leave or Extended Absences
If a student is unable to participate fully in the school program due to medical reasons, the school may require the student to take a Medical Leave of Absence. A doctor’s note is required in all cases. If a student is granted a Medical Leave of Absence, he/she/they will be required to complete all course requirements by the end of the trimester or summer vacation in order to receive credit and continue enrollment at Park.
If a student misses 50 or more school days prior to spring break or 20 or more days after spring break (for any reason), then the parent/s and the Middle School Child Life Team (Principal, Dean of Students, Counselor, Learning Resource Teacher) will meet to determine a plan of action and support. In such cases, the status of that student may be jeopardized and he/she/they may not be eligible to move on to the next grade level.
Absences and Athletic Events
If a student does not attend school on the day of an athletic event (for any reason), the student may not participate in that event.
We encourage self-discipline and a cooperative sense of community based on a sympathetic understanding of others. Consequences for unacceptable behavior depend on the nature of the infraction, and range from conversations with advisors and parents, Restorative Circles, or a separation from school.
Bus Riders’ Guidelines
Once students are on the bus and checked off on the roll sheet, they must remain in their seats, with their feet out of the aisles, for the duration of the trip. Students may not change seats during the bus ride and must keep their head, arms, and other appendages inside the bus at all times. Students must be seated while the bus is in operation at all times. Students whose behavior causes the driver to be distracted in any way may lose their bus riding privileges without further warnings. Student and driver safety cannot be compromised. Refer any questions to the Transportation Coordinator at 410-339-4110.
Middle School teachers believe that part of being prepared for class is arriving with homework completed and in hand. Students are expected to arrive in class with hard copies of their assignments already printed or, in the case of paperless assignments, to complete and submit the electronic work on time.
If students are not able to print their homework at home, they can do so at school. Students should save the work they have done at home on a flash drive, email it as an attachment to themselves, or use their Google account to manage work between school and home. They can then open these files at school to print their work as needed. Middle School students learn how to do this in the sixth grade. The Middle School computer lab is open before school and is equipped with a printer and multiple desktop computers.
Students and their parents can find information about homework assignments by logging into Google Classroom.
Homework assignments are critical to fully participating in each day’s class work and must be completed on time. Teachers post the homework daily on the board and online using Google Classroom. Students are expected to write their assignments in their planning books. Students whose assignments are chronically late will be asked to complete their work under supervision during lunch or after school at the supervised study hall in the library. Teachers will require some assignments to be done in “best effort draft” form, which includes formatting the document and careful proofreading for spelling, grammar, and revisions. Homework and collaborative work may be done using the school Google account.
Materials and Supplies
To make the most of their courses, students need to develop good organizational and time management skills. Supply lists are sent out each year and are always online. Teachers spend considerable time working out grade level agreements on the keeping of notebooks, folders, and portfolios. Students are encouraged to keep their work in accordance to these guidelines.
Texts and other school books are ordered from an online book supply service, MBS Direct. In an attempt to keep the cost of books down, the Middle School rents some of their texts rather than asking families to buy them. Teachers hand the books out at the beginning of the year and families are charged a modest annual rental fee. If these books are lost or destroyed, families are expected to pay for replacements.
The use of either school or individually owned computers is limited to academic purposes only. Playing games, sending messages, or “surfing” between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. is contrary to the purposes of the school.
Similarly, iPods, cell phones, tablets, or other electronic entertainment devices are not allowed at any time during the school day and should be stored in the student’s locker. If a teacher sees any of these devices during the day, they will be confiscated and given to the principal or dean.
Cell phones are not permitted in classes during the day. If students need to call home because of a school-initiated change, or for personal reasons, they may use the phone in the Middle School office. If parents need to leave non-urgent messages for students, they may call the Middle School office at 410-339-4185 and ask the assistant to pass the message along.
Students are assigned a Park School Google education account, which they will use in a variety of ways for their classes (email, collaboration, submitting assignments). Students are also assigned a Veracross account in order to check their schedules, directory, and report cards. They learn to use Veracross in sixth grade tech classes at the beginning of the school year (or during orientation for new seventh and eighth graders).