The Middle School Faculty would like to avoid being rule-ridden and believes that students can find ways to express their individuality that do not infringe on the rights of others or harm our environment. Behavior that prevents teachers from teaching and students from learning undermines the school’s most basic purposes and cannot be tolerated.
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 to suspension.
Middle School teachers believe that part of being prepared for class is arriving with homework completed and in hand. While students are not required to use computers to do homework, they frequently do so. 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. All Middle School students learn how to do this in the sixth grade. The Middle School computer lab is open before school, as is the library. Both spaces are equipped with printers and multiple desktop computers.
Students and their parents can find information about homework assignments by logging into the Veracross system.
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 Veracross. 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 email account.
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, Challenge, 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 monitors. Only after checking in with the monitors 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 and 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 no supervision within the school is provided 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. Quarterly or thrice yearly 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.
The school day begins promptly at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 3:15 p.m. Regular attendance at all classes, assemblies, meetings, and activities is a primary responsibility of the student and is vital for students to do their best work. Late arrivals are a distraction to others and disrespectful to those already in class. Attendance is taken daily during every class period.
Students arriving after 8:30 a.m. must sign in with 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.
The academic day ends at 3:15 p.m. Students leaving classes prior to those times must sign out at the Middle School office before leaving the building. If the students return to school, they must sign in at the Middle School office when they return. Parents should call earlier in the day or send a note to confirm that the student will be leaving. If a student becomes ill or is hurt during the school day, he or she should go directly to the school nurse who will assess the situation, notify 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 obtain a Permission to Be Away form from the Middle School office or from http://www.parkschool.net/files/mspermission.pdf. It is the student’s responsibility to complete this form, listing all classes he or she will be missing during the absence. Each teacher needs to sign the form. The student must turn in the completed form to the Middle School office for the principal’s review before the day(s) of the planned absence. It is the student’s responsibility to obtain all assignments for the time of the planned absence and to make up all work.
In the event that a student will not be attending classes due to illness, medical appointment, or another special circumstance, his or her parent should notify the Middle School office (410-339-4185) prior to 9 a.m. When a student is absent for just one or two days, it is the responsibility of the student to obtain homework assignments by contacting a classmate or checking the online course page where assignments are listed. Should the student be out of school for three or more consecutive days, requests for homework materials may be made through the Middle School Administrative Assistant.
In the event of an extended illness (a week or more), one of the student’s parents should notify the Middle School office and the student’s advisor so that arrangements can be made to communicate class assignments in a way that will allow the student to keep current with his or her work.
Absences and Athletic Events
If a student does not attend school on the day of an athletic event for any reason, he or she may not participate in that event.
The Middle School has multiple sets of laptops for use in classes and a fully equipped computer lab. In addition, the library houses a full set of PCs and makes some laptops available for use in the library. The faculty strongly encourages the use of school laptops, except for those students for whom the use of a personal computer is noted in a learning plan. 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. Misuse of individual laptops will result in revocation of the privilege.
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.
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. The Middle School office staff will always make every effort to deliver that information to the students.
As noted in the section above, the Middle School is well-equipped with a computer lab and carts of laptops, Chromebooks, and iPads for students to use in classes under teacher supervision; students are not currently required or expected to bring in their own devices. 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 homework assignments, 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).
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.
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 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.