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FAQ

Middle School FAQ

Fifty years of leading lives of passion and purpose.
 

List of 43 frequently asked questions.

  • What are Class Parents?

    Class parent duties vary for each grade in the Middle School. All class parents are responsible for constructing a call cascade, organizing refreshments for Communications meetings, and working with the Social Committee in carrying out the details of their planned events. The eighth grade class parents chair and organize the Send-Off Committee.
  • What is a dress-up day?

    A dress-up day requires girls to wear a skirt, dress, or dress slacks, while boys should dress in a jacket and tie. Sneakers or athletic attire are not permitted.
  • What is Winter Carnival?

    Winter Carnival is a series of week-long events held each February. Student Council arranges activities and students compete to earn points for either the maroon or white teams. Academic classes meet on a modified schedule during Winter Carnival Week.
  • What is a Middle School Happening?

    A happening is an optional after-school social event open to Middle School students. In some cases, students in grades 6-8 are invited and in other cases only students from a specific grade are invited.
  • When is the Middle School Musical and who participates?

    The musical takes place in the spring trimester and is open to seventh and eighth graders who audition for parts. Rehearsals for the musical take place after sports each day.
  • What is the policy for permission slips?

    Permission slips are sent home or are included in Nuts and Bolts for each individual fieldtrip. Slips include only the approximate cost of the trip; parents will be billed once the final cost is calculated. Once a signed slip is returned to the teacher, a refund will not be issued for any reason. Permission slips also detail the time, date, supplies needed. Parents are welcome to volunteer their chaperoning services to teachers.
  • What are All School Assemblies?

    All School Assemblies 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.
  • What is the Parent/Faculty Association (PFA)?

    The PFA is a group of parents elected to position, and selected faculty members, who organize and support activities at DS. Meetings are open to any parent in the Derryfield 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 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 Alice Handwerk at ahandwerk@derryfield.org for more information.
  • How are advisors chosen?

    In the Middle School, sixth graders are matched with an advisor after orientation. Seventh and eighth graders are assigned to an advisor prior to the beginning of the school year. The number of advisees each teacher has is determined by the teacher’s workload.
  • How much does lunch cost?

    Food service is provided by C.R. Sparks Catering and costs approximately $5.50 per day.
  • 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 attend health/study skills class every day. Seventh grade health classes are rotated throughout the regular academic classes, whil eighth grade health class is a regular trimester course.

  • 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?

    Art, music and drama are rotated on a trimester basis. Each student in grades 7 and 8 takes two out of three each year.
  • What is performance block?

    Performance block takes place each day and is the time for choral and instrumental clubs to meet. Students must sign up in advance in order to participate in these groups. Students not enrolled in a visual or performing art at this time are required to attend 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. Contact rfogg@derryfield.com for more information.
  • What are activities?

    Club activities meet every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the year, and students are required to participate in the same club for the entire year. These include DCC, Leadership Council, Social Committee, MS Publications,  Assembly Club, and Builder’s Club.
  • When is Study Hall held?

    Study Hall takes place during Performance Block. Students not enrolled in a visual or performing arts group during this time are required to be in study hall. Study halls are also available in the Middle School after regular classes, from 2:15 to 4:00 p.m.
  • What is an independent sport credit?

    An independent sport credit can be earned by participating in an after school sport that is not offered at Derryfield. It takes the place of a required sport credit, typically earned by playing a sport at Derryfield. In order to receive a sports credit, the student must submit an independent sport approval form to the Athletic Director at the beginning of the term prior to the term during which the independent sport’s credit is sought. All approval is based on the discretion of the Athletic Director. No more than one independent sports credit may be earned each academic 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. 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 or bookstore 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. Students may pack a snack for study hall, but they may not bring food into the library area. Please note that the Middle School is locked after 4:00 p.m. After that time, arrangements must be made to pick up students at the entrance to the Upper School.
  • My child needs to call home. What does he/she do?

    Students are asked to use the pay phone in the lobby, and parents may want to consider purchasing a pre-paid phone card for students to keep in their back packs. 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 is 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 pick up 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 Wednesday morning detention, held in the Division Head’s Office from 7:00 a.m. - 7:45 a.m. each Wednesday. 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 store or library) without permission all result in a Wednesday AM detention. More serious offenses such as lying, stealing, plagiarism, cheating are brought before the Disciplinary Committee which is made up of students and faculty. This committee makes a disciplinary recommendation to the Division Head and Head of School ranging from detention to dismissal. Each case is determined on an individual basis.
  • 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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