New to SMS: FAQs from the PTA
If you qualify for the District school bus, you will shortly be getting an email from the District telling you where your child's bus stop is and the pick up time in the morning. Depending on how far you are from the school, pick up times can be from around 7:20AM to 7:50AM. Bus stops are usually at an intersection, where a group of kids will join the bus. There is a convention among the kids that 6th graders sit in the front of the bus, 7th in the middle, and 8th graders at the back. The buses pull into the bus ramp at the SMS, on the lower level, and the kids walk up through the school building to their houses.
Homeroom starts at 8:10AM, for attendance and notices, and to give children a couple of minutes to get what they need for the periods before lunch. On the first few days, there will be teachers and secretaries in the hallways of the houses, making sure the children get to the right homeroom. After the 2.30PM dismissal, your child will make his/her way down to the bus ramp. 6th graders are given extra time and help on the first day to make sure they find the right bus for their journey home. New 7th and 8th graders should ask for help to find their bus, and know the name of the elementary school area they live in. Buses leave around 5-10 minutes after dismissal. The bus will drop your child off at the same stop where they started in the morning. The additional District late bus starts on September 11: this leaves the school at 3.30PM. There is one late bus for each of the elementary school areas in Scarsdale so late bus journey times can be a little longer and the stops may be a little different so your child should check with the driver to find the closest stop to where they need to get off. If you drive your child to the SMS, PLEASE follow the traffic and safety rules. In particular, there is a one-way flow from Kelwynne Road through the lower circle and out to Mamaroneck Road. It is quicker for you and every other driver if you drop your child at the lower circle, between the gym and the auditorium: he/she can then walk through the school to their homeroom. During drop off and pick up it is only possible to make a right onto Mamaroneck. DO NOT drop your children off on Mamaroneck Road. For more details, see the SMS 2011-2012 Handbook.
The PTA is selling pizza on the first day back, Tuesday, September 4, for $2 a slice. Extend the vacation a little and don't pack a lunch or stress about the cafeteria! Don't forget to send your child in with cash to buy the pizza.
Each Middle School House has its own cafeteria where children eat lunch with the rest of their grade in their house. They either bring a packed lunch or purchase from the cafeteria. If they buy a lunch, you need to ensure that their NutriKids accounts are funded. Your child needs to remember their ID number to make his/her purchase. If they forget their ID or their lunch or their account is out of funds, the cafeteria staff can make a formal loan, which is billed back to you. If it's fine, children will go outside for a few minutes once they are done eating. In bad weather, they will go to the Great Hall. There are water fountains around the school but no drinks machines and water bottles are for sale in the cafeteria. Many children bring reusable water bottles they can fill up during the day.
Lunch times alternate through the year for two out of the three grades, but at some point, your child may be eating lunch at 10.44AM. Most manage to last until they get home ravenous at 3PM! There is no other time to eat during the school day outside the lunch period, and snacking is not allowed in the classrooms or hallways.
Supplies and Lockers:
Please have your child bring in all his/her supplies on the first day. He/she will be assigned a locker in his/her house: it should be a combination lock, not a padlock and key. Keep a note of the combination! Have your child practice opening it, as during the day he/she will have to get in and out of the lockers pretty quickly. Backpacks and cell phones (switched off) must be left in the locker during the school day.
Children are also assigned a PE locker where they can leave their gym clothes. The locks for these are provided by the school. Children have to change for PE so need to keep a Tshirt, shorts and pair of sneakers in their PE locker. Remind them to bring them home to be washed! They do not need to bring their PE kit on the first day - the PE teachers will tell them when this is required.
All children are expected to have a student agenda. These will be on sale on Tuesday and Wednesday, September 4th & 5th in the Great Hall for $6. After this, they will be available for purchase at the school store.
Children can bring their phones to school. They cannot use them during the school day, from 8.10AM - 2:30PM, including during their lunch period. During this time, as noted above, phones must be left in their lockers, and switched off. Any phones found in use will be confiscated and left at the House Office of the student for collection at the end of the day. If a child needs to call home, he/she can use a phone in the House Office.
After School Activities:
Children can choose to stay on at school until 3.30PM. Teachers are available for extra help on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and some Fridays (at the teacher's discretion). The library is open until 3:30PM Tuesday-Friday. There are a number of clubs run by faculty (e.g. the Science Olympiad, sewing, art, Young Men in Leadership, Young Women in Leadership). You and your child can go to the Club Fair at 2:30PM on September 20 to find out more about these clubs. The Rec Department also offers some after school clubs in the SMS such as typing skills.
In 7th and 8th grade children can participate in the modified sports program. Fall sports are field hockey (girls), volleyball (girls) and cross country (boys and girls). There is more information under the "Activities>Athletics" tab on the SMS website.
Communication With Your Child's House and Teachers:
The House Office is your first point of contact for most questions. If your child is out sick, please let the House Secretary know by 8:00AM if possible - leave a voicemail or send an email. Any deliveries, e.g. of forgotten lunches, should be taken to the House Office and the Secretary will get it to your child. Please do not abuse this help: it is not acceptable to have lunch delivered from an outside vendor. Open Houses are scheduled by House/Grade and begin on Wednesday, September 19. This is a great opportunity for parents to experience a little of their child's day, as they rotate through several of their child's classrooms to hear the teachers explain the curriculum and other activities planned for the year. Most teachers are happy to be contacted by email and their contacts can be found on the SMS website, as well as the teacher eboards, which many teachers use to post information about their curriculum, homework, extra questions, useful websites and links etc. Check them out: they are a great resource.
The School's dress code can be found in the SMS Handbook. In particular:Girls: No tops with spaghetti straps or halter-tops with bare backs. No bare midriffs.
Boys: Pants must be worn so they cover underwear. No cut-off or muscle shirts.
Both: Shoes must be worn at all times (Health Department requirement)
It all sounds like a lot to absorb, but the children pick it up pretty fast and the school provides a lot of support. So sit back, take a deep breath - you and your child will have a great year!
Last Modified on July 20, 2012