The EMS Thrive Guide
Everything you need to know about
Edmunds Middle School
Questions, Answers, and More.
Welcome to Edmunds Middle School
“Remember you are braver than you believe,
Stronger than you seem and
Smarter than you think.”
At Edmunds Middle School we strive to create a culture that helps our students to grow their intellectual, social and personal habits necessary to thrive in the 21st century. We are committed to ensuring that every student have the opportunity to explore
We offer a variety of learning opportunities for middle school students to explore before entering high school. The goal of this guide is to answer questions you may have and to ensure a smooth transition to middle school. We hope that you will stay involved in your child’s educational journey. We look forward to seeing you in our hallways.
Questions & Answers for Students
What is the best part of middle school?
EMS students describe what is new and what they like about middle school:
“ not walking in lines in the hallway”
“having your own locker”
“the teachers have more trust in you”
How will I know who my teachers are?
In July, you will receive a letter from Edmunds letting you know which team you will be on. Later in the summer you will receive a letter from your new classroom teachers. The letter will let you know what supplies you will need to start the year, as well as a few of your new team’s expectations.
Will any of my friends be on my team?
We make every effort to make sure that you are at least with one or two classmates from your former school. We can’t promise that they will be your best friends but there will be other kids on your team whom you know.
What are the teams at EMS?
There are four 6th grade teams and three 7th & 8th grade teams:
6th Grade teams: Endeavor, Journey, Nia and Quest
7th/8th Grade teams: Phoenix, Infinity and Evolution
We also have other teachers who teach our elective and exploratory classes (more about that later). Special Educators are a part of all 6th and 7/8th grade teams.
What is an exploratory class at EMS?
Exploratory classes provide students with an opportunity to develop new skills and explore new interests. Exploratory classes at EMS include Art, Design & Tech Ed, Music, and Physical Education. In sixth grade the exploratory classes meet every day for six week rotations. In seventh and eighth grade students rotate through the exploratory classes on a semester schedule. PE, Art, Design & Tech Ed, and Music, are classes you will be assigned by the guidance office.
What about homeroom?
Homeroom is a time for students and teachers to start their day, check-in and to ensure that every child is known well by one adult. Each student is assigned to a homeroom with 1 teacher and 8-10 students. Homeroom meets daily for 8-10 minutes. You will be in the same homeroom all 3 years you are at EMS.
What Elective classes will I get to choose?
6th Grade, you will have the choice of Band, Chorus or Strings.
7th & 8th Grade, You will be able to choose from foreign language, band, chorus, strings, and WritLit.
Is Physical Education different at middle school?
Yes, the expectation is that you change clothes, and you will lock up your stuff in a gym locker. You will need a change of clothes, sneakers, and a lock for PE class. If you read farther down in the guide you will see more details about middle school PE class.
How much homework should I expect to have each night?
Sixth grade students should expect to have an hour of homework a night, while the 7th & 8th grade students should plan on 1.5 hours of homework. There are always big projects throughout the year so you will need to add extra time for homework. Your teachers will help you organize and plan for longer assignments.
Should I expect to have homework on weekends and over vacations?
Rarely is there homework on weekends. If there is it should be long term projects, and/or studying for an upcoming test.
How can I track my grades and/or missing assignments?
EMS uses a web based program for students and parents to access information about assignments and grades from home or school. Teachers will share with parents how to sign on to stay informed.
What if the homework takes me a lot more than 1.5 hours each night?
If your homework is taking more time than expected, you should talk with your teacher to come up with a plan and support to help with homework completion. You can also ask for help from the guidance counselors. Before school and after school homework help is available in the EMS Library.
What if I have questions on my homework or I’ve forgotten to write it down?
There is time at the end of each school day called School-wide Student Support (SSS) where students check in with core teachers and make sure homework assignments are written in your planner. Your planner should always go home with you to have a record of homework assignments. If this doesn’t happen one day you could call or email a classmate, email a teacher, or check your team’s homework page.
Tell me more about School-wide Student Support (SSS)
SSS happens daily at the end of the school day on team, for 30 minutes. This time is designed to help students get and stay organized. During SS, students can check in with teachers, make-up tests or quizzes and/or get homework started.
What is a typical day at EMS?
Homeroom, core classes (math, science, social studies, and language arts) and exploratory classes (art, band,world languages, music, chorus band, strings, healthy living, design & tech ed).
Every student is assigned to a homeroom with other 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students. You will be in the same homeroom through all three years at Edmunds. Homeroom is a great place to make connections with other students, listen to the announcements, and check in for attendance.
I’m hungry, when do we eat?
Breakfast - Every student can get breakfast for free in the morning from 7:30 - 7:50. All you have to do is go to the cafeteria and join for friends for a tasty meal.
Lunch - Lunch is served daily with the choice of hot lunch or sandwiches. Both meals come with salad, fresh fruit and milk.
Supper - At the end of the day stop in at the cafeteria and refuel with a hot meal. Every student is provided supper for free before they depart for the day.
What else is different at the middle school?
· Having a lot more students in your grade (and a chance to meet a lot of new people)
· More responsibility for your own work and your own actions
· A greater number of teachers for different subjects
· Having lockers for storing your stuff
· Moving independently through a larger building and between different floors.
· We have a blue and white day schedule. You will have classes on an alternate day rotation for some of your exploratory classes.
I’ve heard about Town Meeting, what’s the deal?
Well, here’s the scoop, town meetings happen about 4 times a year and they’re really fun! Town meetings are led by 2 students and they feature performances, awards, recognition and demonstrations by students for students. If you have a special talent like singing, dancing, magic or anything else, you too can be part of town meeting.
Is it easy to make new friends?
With so many new students in the school coming from four elementary schools, you will have the opportunity to see old friends and will make new friends. At the beginning of the year all teachers make an effort to help you meet new friends in your classes, on your teams, and in the different after school activities offered here at EMS. If you are struggling making new friends please come see us in the guidance office so that we can help you.
Is there a dress code at the middle school?
Yes, the dress code guidelines are as follows:
Please, do not wear the following items to school:
Short skirts or short-shorts.
Clothing that is explicit, suggestive or insulting, or refers to illegal activity
Hats and non-functional head-wear.
Low cut blouses, shirts or tops that expose stomachs and boat neck tops that expose excessive portions of the back or chest.
Pajama tops and bottoms or slippers.
Clothing that shows any underwear (bras, boxers, etc.)
What happens if I don’t follow the dress code?
When students don’t follow the dress code we require that they change into appropriate clothing. If a student doesn’t have other clothes they may call home or borrow clothes from the school nurse. We always have extra t-shirts and shorts for students to wear if they need them. Students who refuse to change or comply with the dress code will be sent home and a parent meeting will be held before the student returns to school.
Are there dances at EMS dances?
School dances are fundraisers sponsored by various teams at EMS. All of the profits support student activities. Dances are held on Fridays approximately six times during the school year from 6:30-8:30 p.m. They are a chance to hang out with other students at the middle school, talk, dance, and just have fun!
Is there recess time at the middle school?
There is no recess in middle school but there is physical education. PE class is different in middle school with our belief that the K-12 Physical Education Curriculum should prepare every student with the skills, knowledge, and desire to make healthy choices for a physically active life.
Can I bring my iPod, phone or other electronic device to school?
iPods, tablets, cell phones, cameras and other electronic devices can be disruptive to the learning environment. These devices are only to be used during the school day as part of a class activity, when approved by a teacher.
What are the after school sports at EMS?
In the fall we have soccer, cross country running, and field hockey. In the winter season there is basketball, and in the spring there is baseball and, track and field.
We’ve heard that you can take band, chorus or orchestra?
Yes, that’s true and we encourage you to try at least one of the performance music choices. They really are fun.
Band : Students learn to read music and play a traditional band instrument including: flute, clarinet, oboe, saxophone, bassoon, trumpet, French horn, trombone, baritone, tuba or percussion. Home practice as well as two evening concerts per year are required for band participants.
Chorus: We strive to foster an environment of teamwork and commitment to vocal improvement through the exploration and performance of a wide variety of musical styles including: folk, jazz, Broadway, multicultural, contemporary, pop, and classical.
Orchestra: Students learn to read music and play a string instrument including violin, viola, cello, or bass. Home practice as well as two evening concerts per year are required for orchestra participants.
So far middle school sounds pretty awesome. There must be some things that are not so great. What are some of the challenges?
Middle school is about learning time management and balancing the expectations of school and social activities. Students move from one class to another and are expected to do this in a timely way. Schedules are set up a little differently with blue and white days. You will have your core classes every day at the same time, and some of your exploratory classes may change depending on what color day it is. You will also need a pass from your classroom teacher to leave during class.
What is the Planning Room?
Students may be asked to visit the Planning Room when their behavior gets in the way of learning or does not promote an effective learning environment. Once in the Planning Room, students will work with the Planning Room supervisor to understand their behaviors and make a plan to improve their behavior. Our goal is to get all students back to learning as quickly as possible.
What if I have a problem with one of my friends or classmates? What should I do?
There are many adults at EMS for support: teachers, guidance counselors, and other staff members. Everyone is welcome to come to the Guidance Office for support and help with anything during your time here at Edmunds. If you are too shy to come down you can always ask your parents to let someone in guidance know. You could also simply email us.
How should I get ready for my first day at EMS?
You will receive letters from your teachers over the summer with a supply list and directions for your first day. All the teachers wear their EMS shirts and ID badges the first day and are here to help you with any questions.
Questions and Answers for Parents/Guardians
“If we want students to be successful in middle school, we must be aware of and respond to the changes in their development, understand the challenges that lie ahead of them, and listen to what they say.”
What do the 5 words at the bottom of each page represent?
These five words represent the EMS collective commitments. The commitments are the foundation for the work that we do at Edmunds as teachers, learners and community.
Commitment to Learning
This student is curious and takes advantage of a variety of learning opportunities. The student seeks and shares information about topics of interest.
Commitment to Collaboration
This student demonstrates a willingness to work with others and knows when to step up and step back. S/he empowers others and consistently plays an important role in group success.
Commitment to Respect
This student demonstrates positive citizenship at EMS. S/he conducts him or herself in a welcoming and considerate manner that exemplifies his or her value of our learning community.
Commitment to Support
This student looks beyond self and has made a tremendous effort to be active and have a positive impact on the school community and beyond.
Commitment to Innovation
This student is self motivated to discover creative solutions to problems and recognize opportunities to improve our everyday lives.
How do I find out about activities for students and parents/guardians going on at the school?
We use technology for sharing information with families and the community through our school web page and our bi-weekly newsletters are emailed on Fridays. All of the teams have web pages to share information with families; they also send home information with their students throughout the year.
What should my child do if they feel sick during the school day?
The protocol for sick students at school is for the student to go to the Health Office in order for the nurse to assess your child. If the nurse feels the student needs to go home you will receive a phone call.
How do I find out about the policies at the middle school?
The EMS handbook, on the web page, is a good resource to start looking for answers to some of the questions you may have about policies. Another place you may look is on the EMS web page, which is under District Information on the District web page, www.bsdvt.org, or you are welcome to talk with any of our administrators.
Is there an Open House in the fall?
We have an Open House in the fall to introduce our teachers and staff to parents; as well as review our expectations for our students, teams, and the school. If you need to meet with your child’s team and/or teachers please call the Guidance Office to set up an appointment at 864-8466.
I understand that middle school is a time for my child to be more independent, but what if I have a concern about homework or about a social issue? Whom should I contact?
You can contact the classroom teachers by either calling the school or emailing the teachers directly. You can also contact the Guidance Office for help with any concerns or questions you may have.
There will be a lot of new families at EMS. How might I meet new parents and guardians?
P.T.O. (Parent Teacher Organization). Edmunds is fortunate to have a strong, active, involved group of parents who are eager to participate in the home-school partnership of educating our children. Activities range from fundraising to chaperoning, to volunteering in the school. We also have different evenings of activities, Dialogue Night, school plays, community dinners to name a few (please look on the school calendar to see upcoming evening activities).
How do students get their lunch?
Every time students get lunch at EMS, they need to provide the cashier with a PIN number. If your child went to an elementary school that did does NOT distribute PIN numbers to students, such as IAA and SA, be sure to check in with the EMS front office to get your child’s PIN number before school starts. Your child should have this number memorized.
Whom do I notify if my child will be absent or late?
If your child is absent or tardy, please call the attendance line at 540-0248, and leave a brief message to report their absence or tardiness. Students who are absent for two or more days may request assignments from their classroom teachers via phone or email. The classroom teacher will place the assignments in the “homework box” located in the main office at the end of the school day, provided that the call is received by 9:00 AM. This can be arranged through the guidance office. Families who take vacations during school time need to notify the school in writing.
What does Truancy mean for EMS families?
Any absence from school for any reason will be counted towards truancy. If a student misses 5 days, we will begin a process that includes a letter to the family and a report to the truancy officer for the school. Every time the student is out an additional 5 days, there will be additional steps taken and interventions offered. At 15 days a meeting will be scheduled with the family to determine the reason for the absences and possible interventions to avoid missing additional days. After 20 missed days, the student may be declared truant and the Chittenden County State's Attorney may be notified.
Are there academic support systems and opportunities for my child at EMS?
There is before-school and after school homework help for students. There are different educational plans to support students and their learning. We have an Educational Support Team in which the teachers and/or parents sit and discuss what accommodations a student might need to be successful in class. A plan is then written up to share with the student, parents and all the teachers who work with the student.
How are EMS students Recognized?
We strive to create a positive educational climate at EMS. We recognize students achievement in several ways throughout the year.
Students of the Month - Each month the teaching teams at EMS select and recognize students who exhibit character traits embodied in our 5 collective commitments: Learning, Collaboration, Respect, Support and Innovation.
Honor Roll - After each quarter, the names of students who have made honor roll are sent to the North End News and posted in the EMS lobby.
Awards Assembly - In May, we hold an awards ceremony to honor our 8th grade students. Parents and guardians are encouraged to join us.
What should I do if I have a concern about my child that he or she is unable to handle (e.g., that he or she is being bullied, not fitting in, etc.)?
There are a few different places to go for help: the classroom teacher, the guidance office, and the main office. The classroom teacher and guidance office are for social, emotional, and academic concerns. The main office is for discipline issues. When you or your child have concerns, questions or want to report bullying we have Designated employees: Mr.Tobrocke and Mrs. Hulbert.
How will I know what’s happening in my child’s classroom?
Some of the teams have web pages accessible through the EMS homepage. Another option would be to email or call one of your child’s teachers. There is also a web based system for families to access class assignments and student progress, you’ll here more about this from your students’ team.
Are there after-school opportunities for my child?
EMS After School Program is free. It provides a safe space for students to be after school, provides extensive academic support (before and after school and on-team homework helps), and gives students the opportunity to explore their interests. Some of the programs students can sign up for include Jazz Band, Chamber Orchestra or Chamber Choir, Sailing, Cooking, Art Classes, Dance, Rock Climbing, Ping Pong, Word Play and more. Students can also propose clubs or activities that they would like to see happen at EMS. More information can be found online through the "After School Opportunities" link on the EMS Home page,http://ems.bsdvt.org/. Please contact Jessica DeBiasio with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hear that every student gets a computer; is that true?
That’s true. Every student at EMS uses a wireless device during the school day to support their learning. If parents of 7th & 8th grade students sign a contract and pay a $25.00 non-refundable fee, their child may bring the Chromebook home at night. The sixth grade uses chromebooks and/or iPads during the school day and do not take them home.
Why is EMS a 1:1 technology school?
At EMS, we believe that access to technology is important for 21st century learners. Students need access to technology in order to research, create and present new learning. And, let’s face it, the world we live in is rich with technology; learning how to use these devices responsibly is important for the development of good digital citizens.
EMS Guidance Overview
Some of you are joining the Edmunds Middle School (EMS) community for the first time, while many of you are returning. We are thrilled to welcome all of you and look forward to meeting those of you new to EMS. We want to introduce ourselves and familiarize you with the variety of supports and services in the school counseling department. We are located just inside the Union Street front doors, at the top of the stairs on the right.
Pat Hulbert is a school counselor and is here at EMS Monday through Friday and oversees grades six through eight, with an emphasis on grades seven and eight. In addition to providing individual and small group counseling, she offers classroom lessons as needed. She has a wonderful rapport with students, faculty and administration and is always available to provide support. Pat can be reached at email@example.com or 864-2149.
Angela Halsted is the Student Assistance Professional (SAP) and works at EMS as the Prevention Coordinator. She is here on Wednesdays and Thursdays. She organizes activities such as Red Ribbon Week, Dialogue Night, Wellness Week and Tie One On Campaign. She is also the Vermont Kids Against Tobacco (VKAT) advisor. Contact Angela at firstname.lastname@example.org or 864-2487.
Jessica McCloud is also an SAP and serves as a consultant to the EMS community about substance use and mental health issues. She is available to run psycho-educational groups, work with students individually, provide training, and support anyone interested or concerned about the well-being of a student. Jessica works Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and shares an office with Angela. You can contact her at email@example.com or 846-2487.
We welcome all of you and encourage you to contact us anytime with questions, concerns or feedback. Take care and be well.