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Middle School FAQ

Over fifty years of leading lives of passion and purpose.

List of 43 frequently asked questions.

  • What are Class Parents?

    Class parents act as liaisons to help foster parent - faculty communication. They coordinate with the faculty class advisor and keep parents informed of events while supporting efforts of the PFA. 
  • What is a Dress-Up Day?

    Dress for Special Occasions: Students are rarely asked to change their normally accepted standards of dress, and the School believes that it is reasonable and valuable to ask them to do so on a few special days which honor various members of the school community, including family, founders, and the students themselves. Dress for Special Occasions (including, but not limited to, Grandparents’ Day, Founders’ Day, and Awards Day): acceptable attire includes dresses, collared dress shirts (tucked in), ties, and dress pants or skirts and dress shoes. No beachwear of any type is permitted, including flip-flops.
  • What is Winter Carnival?

    Winter Carnival is a week-long event held each winter in January or February. The Student Council arranges activities and contests in which the maroon vs. white (DS school colors) teams compete for points. The highlight of the week is the Moose Review talent show! Academic classes meet on a modified schedule during Winter Carnival Week. 
  • What is a Middle School Happening?

    A middle school Happening is an optional social event for middle schoolers. Happenings take place on a Friday afternoon from 3:30-7:30 p.m. Examples of activities include a visit to a farm and corn maze in the fall and outdoor ice skating in the winter. Students have dinner and a themed dance to follow the afternoon activity. The Happening dates are scheduled at the beginning of the academic year.
  • When is the Middle School Musical and Who Participates?

    The MS musical takes place in early November. Seventh and eighth graders audition in early September, and all who audition are cast in the show. Rehearsals take place after sports practice and do not conflict with fall game schedules. This allows for seventh and eighth graders to both play a fall sport and participate in the MS musical!
  • What is the Policy for Permission Slips?

    Field trip permission slips are posted on the website on the parent and student pages several weeks before a trip. The permission slip will always include important trip details and a contact person for additional questions.
  • What are Community Meetings?

    Community meetings take place on the first day of every week. During these assemblies, students and faculty may make important announcements, showcase musical talent, read poems, or speak about an issue that is important to the entire school community.

    The Middle School Communications Meeting is open to all Middle School parents and meets once a month. A parent from each grade is informally selected by the Division Head to help organize these meetings.
  • What is the Parent/Faculty Association (PFA)?

    The PFA is a group of parents who organize and support activities at DS. Meetings are open to any parent in the Derryfield community. 
  • What is the Advancement Office?

    Advancement refers to the office at Derryfield that solicits funds for school programs. The Director of Advancement is in charge of any event that involves fundraising in the Derryfield community. Without fundraising, beyond annual tuition, the special extras of a Derryfield education would cease to happen. There are many ways for parents to become involved in advancement. Contact Anna Moskov at amoskov@derryfield.org for more information.
  • How are Advisors Chosen?

    The incoming sixth-grade students will be matched with their sixth-grade faculty advisors after the class retreat day in August. The seventh and eighth-grade advisees will be matched to their advisors prior to the beginning of school. 
  • How Much Does Lunch Cost?

    Food service is provided by Celebrations Catering. The cost averages $5.00 daily. Students may purchase food with cash or with their lunch card once their lunch card is funded on the PayForIt system.
  • Can Families Request a Specific Teacher or Advisor?

    The only time a specific teacher request can be honored is if the student has a documented learning style difference and there is a teacher who is trained to better support that student. Other than that, requests cannot be honored.
  • How Much Homework Can We Expect?

    Sixth-grade students have approximately 20 minutes of homework in each subject each night. Seventh and 8th graders should expect approximately 30 minutes in each subject each night. Weekend homework should be the equivalent of one night’s homework. Students should take care to work on long-term projects throughout the week in order to avoid a late night prior to the due date. If homework routinely takes longer than outlined in these guidelines, parents should speak to the specific teacher or Division Head.
  • What is the Lunch Period Like? Is there Recess?

    Lunch tables are arranged by assigned seating. Students are required to attend lunch unless they are meeting with a faculty sponsored group during that time. Students may bring a bag lunch (microwaves are available) or they may purchase lunch. After daily announcements, students who have been assigned clean-up and recycling duty are required to stay until the dining hall is clean. Students not on clean-up are free to enjoy recess which is held outside when weather permits. Lunch duty and seating assignments are rotated twice a month. Food is permitted in the McIninch Room only, unless students are under the supervision of a faculty member. Absolutely no food, including candy and snacks, is allowed in the halls of the Middle School. Soda is not permitted in the building at any time.
  • Do Middle School Students Take Final Exams?

    Seventh and eighth grade students take final exams at the end of the third trimester. Students are not allowed to have more than two exams in one day, and each exam period is two hours long. Exams will be returned to students on the last day of school, when the teacher will review exams with the students.
  • When do Students Have to be Ready for Physical Education (PE)?

    PE begins on the very first day of school. While sixth graders participate in PE every day, seventh and eighth grade students will have PE daily for only one trimester. Students should bring a change of clothes, sneakers and a water bottle. Clothes should be kept in a PE bag. Students have use of a gym locker only when they are in PE. Students should try to bring PE clothes home periodically so that they can be washed.
  • When do Students Take Health class?

    Sixth graders alternate health class and physical education class each afternoon 2:20-3:30 p.m. Health class is again offered for one trimester during the students' eighth grade year.
  • Does the Middle School Track Math Students?

    Any incoming seventh or eighth grade student who has come from an accelerated math program, may choose to take the Derryfield math assessment test for Algebra. The score on this test, along with teacher recommendations and transcript, are used in determining math placement. A student’s emotional and social maturity are also factors used in determining advanced math placement.
  • How are Grades Determined?

    Each teacher hands out a course overview at the beginning of the year. The overview includes that teacher’s grading policy. Same courses taught by different faculty always include some common assessments.
  • What Foreign Languages do Students Take?

    All sixth graders take Latin I. Returning seventh graders choose between Latin II or Spanish I. Incoming seventh graders take Spanish I. While Derryfield tries to place students in the language of their choice for seventh grade, students who do not receive their preferred language may select a different language in ninth grade.
  • When do Students Take Visual and Performing Arts Classes?

    All sixth graders take a trimester each of art, drama, and music. Seventh-grader students take a trimester of drama and music, and eighth-grade students take a trimester of art. Auditions for the middle school fall musical are open to all seventh and eighth-grade students.
  • What is Performance Block?

    All middle school students also have a regular class block in which they may choose to participate in the middle school chorus, instrumental ensemble, and/or keyboard ensemble. When not involved in their performance block activity, all students are assigned a supervised study hall.
  • Are Private Music Lessons Available?

    Private lessons in the visual and performing arts are not available at DS. Instruments may be rented prior to the trimester the student is beginning. 
  • What are Activities?

    Activities block is a 30 minute period on Tuesdays and Fridays where the students participate in an activity of their choice. Examples of activities recently offered include Community Service Club, Model UN, Rain or Shine, Rest and Relaxation, Ukulele Club, Zumba Club. Halfway through the year, the students switch to new activities.
  • When is Study Hall Held?

    Study hall is a fifty minute period which occurs daily during E block (except on the day that E block is dropped). This time period is also known as Performance Block which is practice time for students who choose to join Band/Chorus/Strings.
    Supervised afternoon study halls take place in the MS between 2:20-4:00 p.m. After 4:00 p.m. the MS students proceed to the Milne Library for a supervised study hall. Supervised study hall ends daily at 6:00 p.m. at which time the School is closed. Parents are required to come into the library to sign their children out of this after-hours study hall.
  • What is an Independent Sport Credit?

    The Derryfield School offers upper and middle school students the opportunity to receive athletic credit for an independently designed physical activity program. Only sports or activities not offered at The Derryfield School are eligible for the Independent Physical Activity/Sports Credit. The independent activity must entail at least four hours of physical activity per week. A significant portion of that time needs to be spent with an instructor. Weekly documentation must be submitted to the Director of Athletics. This documentation will include the number of hours spent on the activity, the number of hours spent with an instructor, and the instructor's signature. Only one trimester of independent physical activity for athletic credit is permitted per school year.
  • What is Academic Review?

    Academic review is time set aside at the end of a trimester in which all the teachers from each grade level review the academic and social progress of each child in the grade. If a student faces particular challenges, a plan of action will be proposed at this time. Only teachers participate in these meetings. Parents may be contacted following the meetings to work on a plan for success for their child.
  • When do Students Meet with Their Advisors?

    Students meet with their advisors for Tuesday and Thursday homeroom. Students are free to meet one-on-one with their advisors before school, after school, or during performance block or lunch. Parents and students are encouraged to work with the advisor whenever an issue in the student’s life is affecting his/her overall academic or social performance.
  • When can Parents Meet with Teachers?

    The best time to meet with teachers is before school or after sports. Teachers are also available during their free periods.
  • When are Students Required to be in School?

    Students must be in their homerooms with their bags and ready for class at 7:55 a.m. Students are encouraged to arrive on campus 7:30-7:45 a.m.
  • When are Students Dismissed?

    Sixth grade classes, including PE, end at 3:15 p.m. daily. Seventh and eighth grade classes end at 2:15 p.m., and sports end at 3:15 p.m. Students must be either picked up immediately or attend study hall. Students are not allowed to roam the halls or Derryfield campus without supervision.
  • How Does the Middle School Parking Lot Work?

    Cars proceed down the hill in one line. At the bottom of the hill, cars may turn in to park or line up in either of the two lanes heading toward the Middle School front door. Cars may not pass each other at any time and must wait for the car in front of them to proceed. Students may be dropped off from either lane directly in front of the entrance. Students and adults must use the crosswalk. Cars should be parked in designated parking spots only, not along the hill or any other spot in the travel lanes. Mobile phones should not be used while sitting in a vehicle with a running engine.
  • Why do Families Receive a Monthly Bill Even if Tuition is Paid in Full?

    Students may incur miscellaneous charges, such as field trip expenses. All students will receive charges for textbooks purchased throughout the year.
  • What if I Have to Sign a Student Out Early?

    Parents and legal guardians are the only people who can sign a student out. In doing so, the parent is responsible for sending a note giving the exact time of departure. The student must deliver the note to the Middle or Upper School Office. The student will then be allowed to leave class at the designated time, and the parent or guardian may pick the student up from the lobby. The student is responsible for turning in all work due that day and for getting homework assignments from another student so as not to fall behind.
  • My Child Needs to Stay at School Until 5 p.m. What Should He/She Do?

    Students on campus after 3:30 p.m. are required to attend study hall until 4:00 p.m., at which point they are required to move to the library. Middle school students are to remain in the Library until a parent arrives to sign them out. Please note that the Middle School is locked after 4:00 p.m. Students may pack a snack for the after hours study hall, and eat in designated areas of the library.
  • My Child Needs to Call Home. What Does He/She Do?

    Students may ask Mrs. Stevenson to dial their number or use a cell phone to reach their parents. Students may only use cell phones with permission from a teacher, and calls must be placed from the Middle School lobby.
  • Can Middle Schoolers Attend Home Games While They are Waiting for Their Rides?

    Yes! But please be sure that parents know where to find students. In addition, students need to inform after-school study hall proctors of their whereabouts.
  • How Do I Know Where a Team is Practicing?

    Lenny McCaigue, Director of Athletics, lmccaigue@derryfield.com, keeps a list of practice times and locations. E-mail him or the coach for information.
  • How Do I Know When to Pick up a Student Who is at an Away Game?

    Each parent should be given a call cascade at the beginning of the sport’s season. The team coach will call the first parent on the list. It is the responsibility of each parent to contact the parent beneath him/her on the list and notify the parent of the pickup time. Failure to do so will result in confusion and parents’ late arrivals to pick up their students. Please be sure to give all of your available phone numbers to the parent above you on the list and to the team coach.
  • What Happens When a Student Gets into Trouble in the Middle School?

    Our community is built on trust and respect. There are some hard and fast rules that result in a morning detention, held in the Division Head’s Office from 7:00 a.m. - 7:45 a.m.each. Chewing gum, tardiness to school or class, wearing a hat indoors, eating anywhere other than the McIninch Room or leaving the building (including visiting the upper school or library) without permission all result in a Wednesday AM detention. More serious offenses such as lying, stealing, plagiarism, cheating are handled by the Dean of Students and Division Head. Each case is determined on an individual basis and can end in a range of disciplinary responses from detentions to dismissal.
  • Why Aren't There Any Locks on the Lockers?

    Students are not permitted to put locks on their lockers in the Middle School. As part of the Derrfield community's atmosphere of trust and respect, students understand that they are not permitted to enter other students' lockers.
  • Who is Allowed to Pick Students Up?

    Only parents/guardians or carpool drivers are allowed to pick-up students. If someone other than those listed is picking up a student, the student must provide a note. Phone calls will not work in this case.
  • If a Child Must Stay Home Sick, What Should He/She Do?

    Parents should notify the division receptionist either by phone or email. Students or parents may email each teacher requesting homework assignments. Students may find it more convenient to phone a classmate at home in the early evening to get assignments. Families should notify the Division Head of any extended absence that is known ahead of time. Students will be responsible for making arrangements to make up missed work in a timely manner as determined by the teacher.

The Derryfield School

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