Q & A
Following are frequently asked questions about the transition to middle school and the sixth grade. We hope they will be helpful to you. Please don't hesitate to contact your child's counselor, Susan Flynn at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-228-5446
1. What does my child's day look like in 6th grade?
The middle school day begins with TA (Teacher Advisory period) at 7:50 am. Following TA, students take three of five core classes, have lunch and finish their core classes.
After core, there are two more periods, one period of Health/PE and one elective period.
2. What are the core classes?
Core consists of English, Math, American Studies, Science and Reading or a semester of Reading and a semester of Transitional Spanish. (see # 7)
3. Does PE meet everyday?
PE meets daily for three quarters and one quarter daily for Health instruction.
4. What are the choices for the elective period?
The elective period can be filled with instrumental music or an exploratory rotation that includes visual arts, theatre arts, technology education, family and consumer science, computer keyboarding applications and chorus. Please see the middle school Program of Studies pages 13-17 for descriptions of these classes. Additional options are described in these pages but are not offered at Williamsburg.
5. How are students placed in core classes?
In sixth grade, we group for instruction in English, Reading and Math. Information from 5th grade teachers and 5th grade SOL scores are used for placement in English and Reading. All students are working in the same curriculum.
Math placements are based on the scores earned on the 5th grade end of the year assessment and 5th grade SOL. Based on those assessments and information from 5th grade teachers, 6th graders can be placed in Math 6 (6th grade curriculum) or Math 6 Intensified (7th grade curriculum). Additional testing will be done at the beginning of the year for placement in Math 7 Intensified (8th grade curriculum).
6. I understand my student will be assigned to a team. How are those team assignments made?
We have three teams at Williamsburg. The teams are heterogeneous and randomly assigned. All levels of English, Reading and Math are available on each of the three teams. Each team has a special population attached to it; two have special education and one second language learners.
7. My child is in the FLES (Foreign Language in the Elementary School) program. How will my child continue the study of Spanish is 6th grade?
Students who have been in the FLES program may continue their study of Spanish by choosing one semester of Reading and one semester of Transitional Spanish. The two classes will meet during core time and students will still have an elective period.
Students in Spanish Immersion may also select the Reading/Transitional Spanish option. Other students may be considered for the program based on performance on a proficiency test.
8. Is there Extended Day in middle school?
There is a program administered by the Extended Day office at the Ed Center called Check-In. Students in the program can “check in” with staff and then go to after school activities, work with a teacher or go to the Media Center until 3:30 when they return to Check-In. Check-In closes at 6:00 pm.
9. What sports activities are available?
Students can participate in both interscholastic and intramural sports. A physical completed within a year is required to try out for an interscholastic sport. To participate, a student must have a physical completed after May 1 of the current year. The form is available on the WMS website.
Intramural sports do not require a physical to participate.
10. What other after school activities are there?
There are many clubs and organizations that meet after school, everything from Model UN to art to an International Foods Club. Not all clubs meet every week so students should listen to announcements in the morning. After school activities are also posted on the WMS website.
11. How do parents stayed informed of after school activities and other school events?
The Williamsburg website, www.apsva.us/williamsburg is the best source for up to date information. On it you will see Upcoming Events and a link to calendars for the rest of the year. The morning announcements are also posted. There are shortcuts to teachers through email, the Williamsburg Gazette and other sources of information and links to Emergency Announcements, APS Talk and Blackboard. Blackboard is another rich source of information, including team news and homework.
12. In elementary school we had Friday folders. How do I know how my child is doing?
Each team has its own procedures for keeping you informed on a weekly basis. All three teams require signatures indicating parents have seen the weekly communication.
In the plans at this time is an electronic gradebook that parents will be able to check online at any time. More to come!
Teachers can be contacted via email or phone.
Just as in elementary school, we do two conferences a year, one in October and another in March. Team conferences can be scheduled at any time through the team leader or the counselor.
13. What are the homework expectations in 6th grade?
We follow the county's guidelines on homework, about 20 minutes per core class plus a half an hour of reading. Not every subject has homework every night. Students record their assignments in their agendas and assignments are posted on Blackboard as backup.
14. My child has an IEP. How are special education services delivered in middle school?
We offer a continuum of services for students with IEP's. Students whose goals and accommodations/modifications can be met in a general education classroom receive support in the identified areas by special education staff which includes both teachers and classroom assistants. Students whose goals and accommodations/modifications are best met in smaller settings receive the same grade level curriculum taught by a highly qualified special education teacher. Depending on the size of the class, a classroom assistant may also be assigned to the class.