Frequently Asked Questions: Middle School

Middle School FAQs

General

How many middle schools are there in Quincy?

There are five middle schools in Quincy: Atlantic, Broad Meadows, Central, Point Webster, and South-West.

 

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

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

 

Do I have to enroll my student in middle school or are they automatically admitted to middle school? Can I choose the middle school for my student?

You are automatically enrolled in your neighborhood middle school if your student attended elementary school in Quincy. There is nothing special you need to do to ensure your student’s place in middle school. If you would like to attend a middle 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 5th grade if you want the student to attend a school outside of your neighborhood in 6th grade.

 

If your student is completely new to Quincy Public Schools, you will need to register them through the QPS website.

 

Before the first day of school, will I get an email or letter from the school or teacher?

Each middle school schedules a “fly up” day in late spring that gives 5th grade students the chance to visit their neighborhood middle school, meet the principal, and learn a little about their new school. The 5th grade students take a bus to visit the middle school. Principals will be in contact with parents/guardians at the end of the year in 5th grade and over the summer to answer any questions you may have. You will hear from the student’s school before the first day of school.

 

What are the middle school hours?

All middle school hours are 8:15 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Are their school buses for middle school students who live too far to walk to school?

QPS bus transportation is only available to middle school students who require special transportation. The MBTA bus routes, bus stops and pick-up times are posted on the MBTA website. Student Charlie Cards (passes used to travel on public buses and trains) can be obtained in the school office and money can be added to the Charlie Card on the bus or at an MBTA station.

 

Which students are eligible for special transportation? How do we sign up for special transportation?

Students are eligible for special transportation if it is needed as an accommodation as part of their Individual Educational Plan (IEP). If you feel that your student needs special transportation due to a specific disability, please contact your current principal and/or guidance counselor.

 

What are the rules for pick-up and drop-off?

Unlike elementary school, parents/guardians are not expected to walk their students to the school door or pick them up right outside of school.  Plan to pick up and/or drop off your student near the school and be sure to follow all traffic guidelines given by the school to ensure everyone’s safety. Check with your specific middle school to see how early (before 8:15) or late (after 2:30) your student can be in the school building. Many teachers in middle school are available both before and after school for extra academic help. 


 

What are the attendance rules? How many sick days are allowed? How many total absences are allowed?

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 your student is marked absent by the teacher, the school will call the parent/guardian to report your student’s absence. Following an absence, it is the student’s responsibility to see their teachers concerning make-up work when they return to school. If your student misses a significant amount of school, it is good to discuss this in advance with the principal/guidance counselor. 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 and/or with an administrator in the Superintendent’s office. 

What information does my student’s elementary school share with their new middle school?  

In late spring, elementary and middle school teaching teams will meet to discuss the academic performance of the students. At this time, they will recommend whether students should be in Advanced level classes in English, Math and/or Science.

 

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

Most schools send a weekly newsletter and have monthly PTO meetings. Parents/guardians meet with teachers at teacher conferences once a year in December. The best source of information about your student’s performance in school is Aspen, which is an online school portal.  Families can log on to Aspen to view their student’s academic progress, daily attendance records, homework, schedules, interim reports, and end of term grades. It also gives you the ability to contact teachers.

 

Do students use lockers? How are lockers assigned?

Yes, students use lockers, and they are assigned by the school. Depending on the school, students may need to purchase their own combination lock. If students need their own lock, it will be included in the school supply list sent out over the summer. Lockers are used for students to store their lunches, jackets, and other personal items. They also store their books/notebooks for their classes and are able to visit their lockers between periods to retrieve the school supplies they need. 

 

How often do students from different grades interact?

It depends. In most schools, the grades have their own areas of the school where all of their classes are located. However, students will interact before school, in the hallways, and during/after school activities. 

 

When do I find out my student’s homeroom assignment?

Generally, homeroom information is posted on the front door of the school a week or so before the first day of school in late summer. 

What is the average class size?

22-24 students

 

What is SSB (student support block)?

SSB is the Student Support Block. This is an in-school “study hall” where students can work on their homework and get extra help (if needed) from their teachers. Not all middle schools or all grades within a middle school offer SSB. In these cases, the middle school principals have determined that there are alternate ways for students who may need help to get the help they need, for example before and after school. 

 

What is the electronic device policy of middle school?

QPS has an acceptable use policy for technology. Students are not supposed to bring their cell phones to school—yet many do. 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 in grade 6-12 are going to get chrome books to do their school assignments.


 

What is the role of school guidance counselor in the life of a middle schooler? Does every middle schooler have a school guidance counselor assigned to them?

Guidance counselors are available at school for students to access when necessary. The counselors are a valuable source of information, support, and direction for students regarding academic, 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 that may affect the student at school. Guidance counselors are not assigned in advance to specific students or groups of students. Students (and parents/guardians) can reach out to any of the guidance counselors at the school. 

Academic

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

What is the daily schedule? How many and how long are the classes?

The exact schedules are different for each middle school. Generally, students have 6-8 periods a day, including lunch. Academic subjects are between 50-70 minutes and “specials” are between 50-55 minutes. 

 

What subjects are studied in middle school?

Academic subjects are taught each day and include English Language Arts (ELA), Math, Science, Social Studies/Civics, Reading (grades 6 and 7), and Foreign Language (Grade 8). 

“Specials” are taught about once per week, depending on the school, and include Music, Art, Engineering/Tech Education, Gym, and Health Education. 

 

Are there different levels of subjects?

Yes. All middle schools have an option for students to be enrolled in Advanced classes for Math, ELA, and Science. Students can be enrolled in Advanced for one, two, or all three of those subjects. Eligibility will be determined by grades in those subjects in elementary school, MCAS and MAP scores, and 5th grade teacher recommendations. Parents/guardians are encouraged to discuss this possibility with their student’s 5th grade teacher during teacher conferences.

 

What school supplies are needed?

The school supplies are similar to what is needed in elementary school. The difference is a Texas Instruments calculator is frequently used in 8th grade math. School supplies lists will be sent over the summer or posted on school websites. 

 

How many different teachers will my student have per grade?

Often, there will be a different teacher for each academic subject and special, but this isn’t always the case and will vary depending on the school.

How are students graded? 

For students in grades 6-8, academic subjects are graded on a 0-100 scale, which is then converted into a letter grade. Grades below a D are considered failing. 

 

97-100 = A+ 

93-96 = A  

90-92 = A- 

87-89 = B+ 

83-86 = B 

80-82 = B- 

77-79 = C+ 

73-76 = C 

70-72 = C-

67-69 = D+

63-66 = D

60-62 = D-

59 and under = F

 

Specials are graded using E=Excellent, S=Satisfactory, U=Unsatisfactory.

 

The school year is divided into three terms (trimesters), and students receive a letter grade in each subject at the end of each trimester. Report cards can be viewed through Aspen.

 

What is the credit system? How does it work?

Students receive credit for an academic subject if they have a final passing grade (D or higher) and have not been absent for more than thirty days. If your student fails the course or is absent more than thirty days, they will not receive credit for the course. If a student does not receive credit in more than two academic subjects, they will not have enough credits to advance to the next grade level. In this case, the student will need to successfully complete an agreed upon summer program (as approved by the principal) in order to make up the credits. If your student has an extenuating circumstance that needs to be taken into account regarding credits, please contact your student's principal. 


 

What is Aspen? How do you use Aspen?

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. 

 

How can I keep track of how my student is doing in school?

All homework assignments and test grades are posted in Aspen. You should also feel comfortable reaching out to your students’ teachers or school guidance counselor if you have any concerns about how your student is doing in school. 

 

What are the homework rules?

For grades 6-8, students are given up to 20 minutes per subject per night, Monday through Friday. Please see the QPS Homework Policy for more information.

 

How do you get in touch with the teachers? When should you get in touch with the teachers?

Teacher contact information is listed on Aspen and also listed on the Middle School’s website. During Open House in September, teachers will share additional ways to get in contact with them. Get in contact with teachers as often as you feel you need to. Teachers want to hear from parents/guardians especially if they have concerns about their student. You are not bothering the teachers (or the principals) if you contact them. 

 

What specialist classes are offered?

Music, Art, Engineering/Tech Education, Gym, and Health Education. 

 

How does a student enroll for the specialist classes?

All students are enrolled in specialist classes, and all students take specialist classes. They do not need to sign up for them.

 

Is a foreign language offered in Middle School? In what grade?

Spanish is offered in 8th grade for all students, except for Central MS where students can choose Spanish or French in 8th grade. 

 

Are foreign language classes open to all students?

Yes, all students take a foreign language in 8th grade.

 

What is APC and how does a student qualify?

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. In the spring of 5th grade, students will take the CTP (Comprehensive Testing Program) in order to qualify for APC. 

 

 How does APC compare to the Advanced courses provided at the other QPS middle schools?

In APC, students are in advanced classes for every subject, and those classes have a deeper and more rigorous curriculum than the Advanced courses at the other middle schools. 

 

Can a student drop out of APC? Will the student have to move back to neighborhood school?

If in 5th grade, the student qualifies for APC but opts out they would attend their neighborhood middle school for 6th grade. If the student chooses to leave APC in 6th grade or later, they will stay (if they choose to) at Central Middle School.


 

Can a student join APC after 5th grade? If yes, what is the process?

Yes, students can join the APC program after 5th grade. 

Students from other schools may request an evaluation if they have documented evidence of scores at or above the 95th percentile on standardized assessments such as the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP), Stanford Achievement Test (SAT 10), or the Terra Nova. 

Students requesting a re-evaluation must meet the following criteria: Two Exceeding Expectations scores on their most recent English Language Arts and Mathematics MCAS.

Contact Madeline Roy at madelineroy@quincypublicschools.com to request an evaluation or a re-evaluation.

 

How are teacher conferences conducted? Do we just meet the homeroom teacher or all subject teachers?

Teacher conferences are scheduled once a year—after the first trimester (November/December). Parents/guardians are able to schedule individual meetings with each academic teacher during the conferences. Please remember that you do not need to wait for conferences to reach out to teachers if you have questions or concerns. 

 

Do students take MAP and MCAS tests in middle school?

Like all students in Massachusetts, Quincy students take the Math and English Language Arts MCAS in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades and the Science MCAS in 8th grade. Students take MAP tests in Reading, Math, and Science in 6th and 7th grade. They take the test 3 times: At the beginning of the year, halfway through the year, and at the end of the year. The MAP test is used by the teachers to measure student growth (learning) during the year. MAP test scores are shared with parents/guardians during the teacher conferences. 

After-School Programs

What after-school programs are available in middle school?

After-school program offerings vary by middle school. There are athletic programs, music programs, community service programs, etc. After-school programs offer students the opportunity to pursue their interests, socialize with other students, and interact with their teachers outside of the classroom. 

 

How do you enroll for after-school programs?

Programs are usually announced in the fall and in the spring (through the school newsletter and Aspen) so that students may sign up for the activities on a first come, first serve basis. Some activities may have participation fees. If the fee is prohibitive for your family, please reach out to the principal.

Is there transportation available for after-school programs?

There is no special transportation for after-school programs; although, for some schools, there may be modifications to the MBTA bus routes or pickup locations. The school principal or school office can provide information if this is the case. 



 

Breakfast /Lunch

Is there a recess in middle school? How long is the recess?

Lunch is 30 minutes in middle school. Students have the option to go outside for recess after they have finished their lunch. All students eat lunch in the cafeteria.  

 

Do students have snack breaks?

No, students do not have a snack break. 

 

What are the cafeteria rules?

The principal will share the cafeteria rules with the students. Some schools assign seating during lunch, others require students to sit with students from their homeroom class, and others allow students to choose where they sit. 

 

Is breakfast offered in school?

Yes, breakfast is offered in school, generally between 7:45 and 8:15 am. and is fee for the year of 2022-2023

 

Where can I see the menu for the day?

The menu is posted on the QPS school nutrition website.

 

How can I pay for breakfast and lunch?

The meal services system is automated; every student has their own numerical password and account to use each time they make a purchase in the cafeteria. An account can be pre-paid, or a student can pay each day for the food they buy. If a student has received free or reduced lunch in the past, they must submit a new form at the beginning of each year. Please see the QPS website for more information.

The lunch and breakfast are free for the year 2022-2023.