Frequently Asked Questions: Elementary School

Elementary School FAQs​

General Questions

How many elementary schools are there in Quincy?

There are 11 elementary schools in Quincy.

Where do I find my student’s assigned elementary school?

Please use the street directory link available on the QPS student registration page to find the assigned school for your student.

What are the school hours?

All elementary students, including kindergartners, attend school 5 days a week with Wednesdays being an early release day (this means the students end school earlier every Wednesday).  Find your student’s school in the list below for start and end times.

7:45 am - 2:00 pm
Early Release 7:45 am - 11:25 am

Atherton Hough

Bernazzani

Lincoln Hancock

Merrymount

Wollaston

8:15 am - 2:30 pm
Early Release 8:15 am - 11:55 am

Beechwood Knoll
Clifford Marshall
Montclair
Parker
Snug Harbor
Squantum

Can I choose the elementary school for my student if I don’t want them to go to their neighborhood elementary school?

If you would like to attend an elementary school outside of your neighborhood district, you can submit an Open Enrollment request through the QPS website. Open enrollment requests are accepted starting in September for the next academic year (for example, submit a request in September of 2nd grade if you want the student to attend a school outside of your neighborhood in 3rd grade). 

Will I get an email from school before the first day of school?

You will hear from your student’s teacher and/or principal before the first day of school. 

Where can I find a school calendar? 

The current school calendar is located on the QPS website. 
Please note that the date of the last day of school may change depending on emergency closures throughout the school year.

What are the attendance rules?

The attendance policy is the same for all grades and schools. Consistent attendance in school is important and encouraged. Schools ask that you notify the office in the morning if your student will not attend school that day. If you call before the office is open, you can leave a detailed message on the school’s voicemail. For students who exhibit a pattern of excessive absenteeism (defined as four days of unexcused absence per trimester or seven absences per term), the parent/guardian may be required to meet with the principal. 

Can I pick up my student early or drop them off late to school?

Yes, you can pick up your student early or drop them off late, but please communicate with the school when this happens. If you are picking them up early, send in an email/ note for the teacher with your student or call the school office ahead of time. If you are dropping them off late, please call the school to let them know.

What communication do we get from school/teachers/principals? Or how do I know what is happening in school?

  • Most schools send a weekly newsletter. 

  • Teacher conferences with parents/guardians are twice a year.

  • In case of inclement weather or another emergency necessitating a delayed opening or cancellation of school, information and notices will be delivered via a text message and/or phone call using School Messenger.

  • Most schools have monthly PTO (Parent Teacher Organization) meetings where you will also learn about upcoming events, school fundraisers, and more. 

What is School Messenger? How do I know if I’m signed up for it?

In the event of an emergency, school officials will use the School Messenger System to deliver a single, clear message to parents or guardians by telephone, cell phone, email or text message in any combination. School Messenger can also be used to notify you of a school closing due to inclement weather and to communicate daily information, such as sport schedules, newsletters, attendance notifications and other announcements.

 

The system is set up to automatically pull your contact information from Aspen and carry it over into School Messenger. You shouldn’t have to do anything to sign up. If you think you are not receiving the School Messenger messages, please check your information listed in Aspen and/or contact your school’s secretary to make sure the school has the correct information.
 

What is Aspen? What information will it give me?

Aspen is an online student information system that parents/guardians and students can use to find out information regarding your student’s classes, grades, and teachers. 


Aspen is very important for parents/guardians to understand if they want to stay informed about how their student is performing in school. QPS put together this Aspen How-to Presentation to help you navigate using Aspen. If you are not comfortable with Aspen, please contact your student’s principal and ask for assistance.

When do I find out my student’s teacher for the upcoming year?

Before the school year starts, you will receive notification about your student’s teacher. Once assigned, teacher assignments will also be listed in your student’s Aspen account. During some school years, teacher assignments are given on the last day of school.

What is the average class size?

The average elementary school class size is about 20 students per class.

What is the electronic device policy of elementary school?

Students are not supposed to bring their cell phones to school. QPS is not responsible for electronic devices that students bring to school, and students are not allowed to use their phones during school hours. Students are also not expected to bring computers/Chromebooks to school, as any computer use will be done in the computer labs. 
The QPS technology acceptable use policy can be found on the website.

What is the role of school counselor in the life of an elementary student?

Guidance counselors are available at school for students to access when necessary. The counselors are a valuable source of support for students regarding social and emotional issues related to school. Parents/guardians are encouraged to contact the counselors when necessary, but especially if there are events occurring in their student’s life which may affect the student at school.  In some elementary schools, the counselor will visit classrooms periodically to talk with students about social and emotional health.

What is PBIS?

Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports or PBIS is a proactive approach that Quincy elementary schools use to improve school safety and promote positive behavior. The focus of PBIS is to encourage good behavior. Students get tickets from educators for acts of kindness, being helpful, etc. The metrics for PBIS may vary per school. You will learn more about your student’s PBIS program from your school.

How can I volunteer at my student’s school? What are ways I can get involved as a parent/guardian?

The best way to get involved in your student’s school is to attend PTO meetings. At these meetings, you will learn of opportunities to be involved in school events. Periodically throughout the year you may also receive information from your student’s teacher about volunteer opportunities, such as chaperoning trips or coming into the classroom to read. In order to do any volunteering within the school or with students, you will need to submit a CORI application (even if you’ve been CORI checked by another institution).

What is a CORI form? Why is it necessary?

According to Massachusetts law, volunteers who have direct unmonitored contact with children are asked to submit a CORI (criminal offence records investigation) form. The form permits QPS to run a criminal background check to ensure the safety of all individuals in our schools.  To get CORI checked you would fill out the form and bring it to your student’s school office. They will run the check and then keep it on file so that you can volunteer. You can print the CORI form from the QPS website or ask for one at the school office. Please see the CORI Check and Fingerprinting page for more detailed information (credit Squantum PTO)

What are the fire protocols and drills? What is the active shooter protocol and drills?

The school complies with all fire safety laws and will conduct fire drills in accordance with State law. Specific instructions on how to proceed will be provided to students by their teachers who will be responsible for safe, prompt, and orderly evacuation of the building. The alarm signal for fire drills consists of a loud buzzer.

Health Questions

[Please note: With the ongoing COVID pandemic, health rules and guidelines may change.]

When should I keep my student home from school?

A student who feels ill will be too uncomfortable to learn. You should keep your student home when they are experiencing the following:
● A fever, 100 degrees or higher, within 24 hours of school. Do not give your student medication in the morning for an elevated temperature and then send them to school.
● Vomiting or loose stools within 24 hours of school.
● A cough that keeps your student awake, is painful or uncontrolled.
● A sore throat for 24 hours, especially with swollen glands or fever. If your student has been diagnosed with strep throat, they must remain home for at least 24 hours after they start antibiotic treatment.
● A suspicious rash or eye drainage should be evaluated by your student’s doctor before coming to school.
● Lice needs to be successfully treated before returning to school.
If you have questions, it is best to call the school nurse to discuss whether your student is well enough to attend school. Also, please alert the nurse if your student has been diagnosed with any contagious viruses, such as conjunctivitis (pink eye) or strep throat. 

What happens if my student becomes sick during the school day?

Each elementary school has a registered school nurse. If a student feels sick/has a fall/minor abrasion, they are sent to the nurse’s office. The nurse will evaluate the student, and if the student needs to be sent home, the nurse will call the parents/guardians to pick up their student.

What is the school policy in the case of health emergencies?

In case of a health emergency, the nurse will determine the severity of the situation and accordingly call 911. Parents/caregivers and in case of their unavailability the emergency contact will be informed.

What do I need to do if my student requires medication during school hours?

When a student is required to take medication prescribed by a physician during school hours, two prerequisites are needed: 

  • A QPS Medication Order Form must be completed by the prescribing physician. The parent/guardian must also sign this form giving the nurse permission to dispense the medication.

  • The medication must be delivered to the nurse by an adult in the original container with the prescription label intact.

The medicine will be kept in a locked cabinet and dispensed by the nurse. If necessary, the form must be updated at the request of the school nurse.

What do I do if my student requires an EpiPen?

Please contact your student’s school nurse concerning EpiPens.

How do I notify the school that my student is sick or injured?

Please call the school/school secretary and leave a message. If the school has not started then please leave a message on voicemail. The secretary/ someone from school will update the attendance. If you fail to inform the school you will get a call from the school.

Academic Questions

[Please note: Answers will be different for ELL (English Language Learners) students and may be different for students with IEPs]

What subjects are studied in elementary school? How often are subjects taught?

Grades K-5 learn Reading, Math, and Science daily. Grades 3-5 also learn Social Studies daily. In some schools, students switch classes from grade 3 onward. All students have Art, Music, Physical Education, and Library Media classes about once per week, depending on the school. 

How long do students have for lunch and recess?

Students have 15 minutes for lunch and 15 minutes for recess.

What school supplies are needed?

School supplies lists will be sent over the summer or posted on school websites. These lists should be generally out 2-3 weeks before the start of school. It may vary per school.

How many different teachers do students have?

In grades K-2, most classes only have one teacher. Some classes may have a paraprofessional in the class as well. In grades 3-5, students may have different teachers for ELA and Math, depending on the school.


How many times are report cards issued to the students?

Report cards are issued 3 times in a year. November (followed by teacher conferences with parents/guardians) March (followed by teacher conferences with parents/guardians) and end of the year in June.

How are teacher conferences with parents/guardians conducted? 

Teacher conferences are scheduled twice a year - after the first trimester (end of November/beginning of December) and after the second trimester (March). Please also remember, that you do not need to wait for conferences to reach out to teachers if you have questions or concerns.

How much and what kind of homework will my student receive in elementary school?

The current QPS Homework Policy outlines what will be expected of your student, and the amount of homework, if any, teachers are allowed to give. 

What is the REACH program? How does my student qualify?

REACH is a new educational program for elementary school students who demonstrate advanced learning potential. In grade 4, students who are identified as being in the top 20% of their school/district will be invited to participate in this pilot program for the following year in grade 5. Travelling specialists will visit elementary schools to work with these grade 5 advanced students.
Currently, this program is only for grade 5, but QPS is hoping to eventually offer this program for advanced students in grade 3-4 as well. 

What is APC and how does a student qualify?

In the spring of 5th grade, students will take the CTP (Comprehensive Testing Program) in order to qualify for APC. Advanced Placement Center (APC) gives identified students an advanced program designed to broaden and deepen their academic experience. Students in APC attend Central Middle School instead of their neighborhood middle school. 

What are MCAS and MAP tests? When do elementary students take MAP and MCAS tests?

MCAS (Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System) is a state standardized test used to measure how well a school is performing and helps the state identify schools and districts that need additional support. 

In grades 3-5, students take the Math and English Language Arts MCAS tests. In grade 5, students also take the Science and Technology/Engineering test.

MAP (Measure of Academic Progress) tests are used by the teachers to measure student growth (learning) during the year. MAP test scores are shared with parents/guardians during the teacher conferences. 
Students take MAP tests in Reading and Math in grades 2-5. MAP tests in General Science are taken in grades 4-5. Students take the tests at the beginning of the year, halfway through the year, and at the end of the year in order to measure growth. 

 

Transportation Questions

How do students travel to school? Is there a bus?

QPS bus transportation is available to students in grades K-5 who live more than a mile from school. If you live over two miles from your school, the bus is free. If you live between one and two miles, there’s a bus but you have to pay a fee. Either way, you must fill out an application if your student plans to take the bus. You can find the application for bus transportation and a list of bus stops on the QPS website. Once you have registered for the bus please call your homeschool and check if your student is on their bus list too. Bus registration happens at the transportation department and bus list with your students name is sent to their homeschools.

If you live close enough to school, many parents/guardians walk their students to school in the morning. If you’re walking, please plan your walking route to cross at locations with an assigned Quincy Police Traffic Supervisor or Officer whenever possible. 

Some parents/guardians drive their students to school. Be sure to follow all traffic guidelines given by the school to ensure everyone’s safety. 
 

What are the rules for pick-up and drop-off for students who walk or are driven to school?Each school has their own procedures for pick-up and drop-off. The principal will let parents/guardians know about these rules before the first day of school. 
 

Who is allowed to pick up my student from school? 

Parents/guardians will be given a form to list the names of people who are authorized to pick up their student from school. If you need to have someone who is not on the list pick up your student, please contact the school ahead of time.

Who do I call if my student registered for bus won’t be riding the bus home from school on a particular day?

If your student won’t be riding the bus on a particular day, please call the school office and write an email/send a note to your student’s teacher.

What number do I call if the bus is late or if there is an emergency on the bus?

If the bus is late or there’s an emergency on the bus, please contact the QPS Transportation office. Alternatively, you may call the school office or Coddington Main Office at 617-984-8700.

 How do I authorize someone else to pick up my student from the bus stop?

You can give a letter to the bus driver authorizing someone to pick up your student. In the letter you can mention the name of the person along with their drivers license number. If possible, introduce the person to the driver.

What happens if no one is at the designated stop to pick up a student?

If the designated person is not there to pick up the student from the bus stop, the student will be driven back to school and the parent/caregiver can pick up the student from the school. 

After-School Questions

What after-school academic programs are available in elementary school?

After-school academic program offerings vary by elementary school. Your principal will let you know how to sign up for these programs. Generally, a variety of before and after school activities are offered at different times during the school year for students at various grade levels. Since space is usually limited for many of the activities and participation is voluntary, enrollment in activities is on a first-come, first serve basis.

Is there transportation available for after-school academic programs?

No, transportation is not available. You will need to coordinate your own transportation.

Is there after-school childcare available at the school? How do I register my student for after-school childcare?

Quincy after-school is not managed by QPS. Quincy After School Child Care (QCARE) provides enriching, licensed care each weekday from the time that the final bell rings until 5:30pm. Participants can enroll for the program for each afternoon or as little as two afternoons per week. The program is not operated by QPS. Therefore, you must call the QCARE main office at 617-773-3299 to speak with a Program Director to register or visit their website for more information including tuition fees and registration information at www.quincyafterschool.org.

There is also off-site childcare available through Stars and the YMCA. Please call the respective providers for details and to learn how to register.
 

Breakfast & Lunch Questions

Does my student’s school offer breakfast?

Breakfast is available every morning immediately after school starts in the classroom. Breakfast consists of a selection of cereals, muffins, bagels, peanut butter, cream cheese, fresh fruit, fruit juice and milk.

Can my student bring their lunch? What kinds of food can they bring?

Yes, your student can bring their lunch. Please do not send food that requires reheating or refrigeration. Plan accordingly.

Is there a snack time in elementary school?

Yes, in grades K-5 students have a designated time for a snack break. 

How does my student purchase breakfast and/or lunch? How much does it cost?

A student can purchase school breakfast and/or lunch by cash or school bucks. The details can be found on the QPS Website. Please note that Parker, Marshall, Lincoln Hancock, and Montclair elementary schools have free lunch and breakfast at school for everyone.
Elementary full-price student lunch is $2.25. The cost for a reduced price lunch is 40 cents. Milk is served with all lunches. The cost of purchasing milk only is 30 cents and milk choices include 2%, 1%, and 1% chocolate. Some lunches also include fruit juices in addition to the milk.
The cost for breakfast is $1.00 at most elementary schools. Students who are eligible for Free or Reduced price lunches are automatically eligible for free or reduced price breakfast. The cost for a reduced price breakfast is 25 cents.

Note: For the academic year 2022-2023 the breakfast and lunch are free for all students at all schools.

How do I send money to school for lunch?

You can send money in your student’s folder addressed to their teacher. Please check the protocol with the student’s school.

Note: You do not need to send money for academic year 2022-2023. Breakfast and lunch are free for all students at all schools for this year.

When during the school day will my student eat?

The lunch/snack timings can be confirmed with your individual school offices. Breakfast is available in the classroom right after school starts for the day. 

Will there be anyone to help my student at lunch and snack time

Lunch aides or para professionals can help your student with lunch/snack time. 

What will happen if my student forgets their lunch/snack?

Your student will be offered a hot lunch for that day and the lunch attendant will make a note that the student owes money.  A note will be sent home with the student. When students forget their milk money, they may have milk and bring in the money the following day. Parker, Marshall, Lincoln Hancock, and Montclair have free lunch at school for everyone. Students with food allergies/dietary restrictions will require parents/guardians to notify their student’s teacher in advance as to which options should be used if they forgets lunch.

Note: You do not need to send money for academic year 2022-2023. Breakfast and lunch are free for all students at all schools for this year.

What should I do if I cannot afford breakfast and/or lunch?

All Quincy Public Schools students are eligible for free and reduced price breakfast and lunch. You can fill out the form online, but families will also receive a copy of the form from the school.

Note: For the academic year 2022-2023 the breakfast and lunch are free for all students at all schools.

 

What is the policy if my student has food allergies?

Parents/guardians are requested to fill the health form (part of the admissions packet/ can request it from the school) and submit it with the school nurse.