Frequently Asked Questions

What time does school start? When am I considered late? What happens when I am late?

School begins at Jabish Brook Middle School with homeroom at 7:35 am and runs from 7:35-7:42 am. Students who are not in their homerooms when the bell rings are considered tardy. First period begins at 7:45 am. Students who arrive to the building at 7:35 am or after are considered tardy and must stop at the office to sign in to obtain a tardy pass.

If you are late, be sure to sign in to the building, and you will receive a pass to class. Effective August, 2016, district policy requires that if you are absent or tardy to school, medical documentation is required to excuse the absence. Lunch detention will be issued on every fifth tardy.

Ok, I know I have to travel to different classrooms throughout the day. How will I know where to go? Will the schedule ever change?

You will receive a printed grid schedule that lists each class during the day, for each day of the week. This will explain where you need to go for each class during the day. The classes rotate each day, so the order for the classes will change Monday through Friday. When you see the printed schedule, it is a lot easier to understand. Depending on where your locker is located, and what classroom you are going to, will help you to decide what direction to go throughout the day.

Some parents keep a copy of the schedule at home, so that they will know what class you are in during the day to plan appointments, to make arrangements for early dismissal, etc.

When do I have lunch? What are the choices for lunch? How much does it cost? Can I pay in advance? I need to know about FOOD!

Lunches are scheduled by rooms. Each room is designated a specific lunch time in the schedule, so students will learn from their classroom teachers when they have lunch. Students will have 30 minutes to eat, and will have the option, after the first twenty minutes, to either go out for recess (weather permitting) or remain in the cafeteria to finish lunch. there are three lunches scheduled during the fifth period of the day, and are 11:02-11:32, 11:32-12;02, 0r 12:02-12:32.

Grades 7 & 8 are sometimes mixed during the three lunches, so both seventh and eighth grade students, from either of the two teams - could have lunch together on any given day. Why do we do this? With a rotating schedule, we schedule lunches based on classes, not just teams or grades to balance numbers in the cafeteria - and for kids to get a chance to socialize with kids on different teams. The best example- we always schedule last lunch for gym class. If you ate lunch right before gym class on the day of the running competition, you'll likely have a pretty bad stomach ache....and if you had it in the middle - you'd have to go eat in your gym clothes.

School lunch program now uses www.myschoolbucks.com. There is a $2 fee for every deposit made online, so parents are encouraged to pre-pay for as many meals and a la carte items as they can comfortably afford to avoid paying multiple deposit fees. The district does NOT receive any financial benefit from parents paying online. The fee is charged to the myschoolbucks.comprogram from banks for providing secure online fund collection. Each school will continue to accept cash in an envelope with student name, or check made out to “Town of Belchertown” without any fee. Regardless of your preferred method of payment, please visit www.myschoolbucks.com and sign up for a free account to view itemized cafeteria transactions and deposit information in real time.

Our new District Meal Charging Policy, which has been approved by the school committee is posted on the district website and in the policy section of the handbook. New this year, students will not be permitted to charge a la carte items in any school, and a la carte purchases will be limited to one item per student per day at Swift River and Chestnut Hill Community schools. If you would like to customize your student’s spending limitations, please contact me directly.

I need to stay after school. I can just stay, right, and tell my parents later?

Faculty and parents need to make arrangements IN ADVANCE if you plan to stay after school. Most phone calls made in the main office after school are to parents telling them that a student is still at the school, and most times the phone calls do not go well. Students may make arrangements for pick up with their parents.

I am going to be picked up early from school. Do I report to the office when my parents are supposed to be there, or do I just wait in class?

If you are planning to be dismissed, a note from home is to be brought to the main office first thing in the morning. Students will then be called out of their classrooms at their designated dismissal time when a parent has arrived to pick them up. This process avoids missing class time in the event that a parent may arrive late, and only takes a couple of minutes.

Parents are asked to report to the main office in order to pick up their student at all times. Students are not allowed to leave the building to be picked up in a waiting vehicle. If an unscheduled dismissal occurs, parents will simply be asked to sign out their student in the main office upon arrival.

I am going to get picked up after school. Where should I tell my parents to get me?

Access to the building at the end of the school day is easiest for parents from Old Springfield Road. This access road was created to avoid cross traffic with school buses accessing the main driveway.

Students who are being picked up can be dismissed to waiting vehicles in the side parking lot, and can be dropped off along the side canopy of the front walkway. Parents are asked to enter and exit via this side driveway only. Right of way must be given to buses at all times, and car traffic is not to drive along the front driveway when buses are present.

I need to call my parents. How can I call them during the day?

Whether it is to stay after school, take a bus ride home with a friend, or to get help for forgotten gym clothes, a telephone is reserved for student use in the main office at no charge. A pass is required from a classroom teacher, however, to use the telephone during class time. Simply ask to use the telephone in the main office, and a secretary will assist you.

Do not get caught trying to call home from a cell phone in the bathroom. When a parent comes in, and tells us that you called – and the call wasn't made from the office – we’ll know.

What happens if my parents need to get a message to me? Can they call me?

Cell phones are most frequently confiscated for two reasons: when students take them out during class to show something on the phone to another student, or when a phone is left on and it rings in class – often with a message from a parent or friend. Please keep cell phones put away and turned off during the school day. They are for use after school only. If your friend thinks text-messaging you in class would be funny, please know that both phones will be confiscated. And tell your parents it is safer to call the front office and leave a message.

I want to take a different bus home with a friend. What do I do?

A note is required from home for the student that is requesting to ride a different bus. Please bring the note to the main office first thing in the morning. If a note is forgotten students may call the parent and have the parent speak with the secretary to issue the pass. A bus pass will be waiting for you on the front counter during lunch. Simply stop back in the office on your way to the cafeteria to pick up your bus pass. You will need to give this pass to the driver during the afternoon pickup. There are times that the request is not granted due to bus capacity. We will inform students when this occurs and let them contact parents to make other arrangements.

I lost my note to ride the bus. Now what do I do?

Don’t try and write a fake one – you will probably get caught. All drivers are instructed to refuse bus passes that do not have a signature from the main office. If you forgot your note at home, or have lost it, just go to the main office. We will either write a new pass, or will call your parents to confirm the note they wrote for you.

The penalty for a fake note is an automatic detention, a phone call home, and denial of the requested change. It is much easier to come to the office, let us know you lost or forgot your note, and have us call your parent to confirm it is ok. Once we make the phone call, we will issue the bus pass, and you avoid getting into any trouble.

 

I feel sick. I am just going to go puke in the bathroom.

If it is an emergency, tell your teacher it’s an emergency and go. If you don’t feel well, however, don’t hide out in the bathroom, or sneak a cell phone call to try and get dismissed. Go to the nurse!  Our school nurse will help you out. She will also call a parent for you if you need to be sent home. If you try and call home by hiding out in the bathroom, or sit and wait in a bathroom because you feel sick, you are skipping class, and there will be consequences.

There are school dances? Ok, when are they? What time? Do I need a date?

There are approximately four school dances that are held throughout the year for both seventh and eighth grade. They occur in October, December, February, and April. They are held in the middle school gymnasium from 7:00 – 9:30 pm, and the cost for the dance is $5.00. Pizza is available in the cafeteria for the first hour of the dance for $.50 a slice, and drinks are free. The dances are intended to be times to socialize and have fun with your friends and classmates, but remember, all school rules are in effect. Most students dress casually, as you would during the school day. And no, you do not need a date. Just be sure to make arrangements to get picked up on time after the dance.

Can I bring a friend who does not go to our school to a dance or a field trip?

Unfortunately, no. Our school can not accommodate outside students as guests to dances or field trips. Students that are not currently enrolled in the seventh or eighth grade at Jabish Brook Middle School can not attend school functions.

I lost something. Did anyone turn it in? Will I get it back? What do I do?

If you have lost something valuable, please check in to the main office. Glasses, jewelry and other items are often brought to the main office. You can find a lost article of clothing in a storage bin, located in the hallway outside the cafeteria. We recommend, however, that students DO NOT bring valuables to school. If you bring valuable items to school, it is at your own risk. The school can not be responsible for personal items that are lost, damaged or stolen. While we will try to help you recover these items, they are your responsibility.

Ok, I know the risks. Can I still bring a cell phone, IPod, MP3, PSP, and other games and electronics to school?

All electronic devices fall under the school committee acceptable use policy. Jabish Brook Middle School recognizes that cell phones may be viewed as a necessity by parents for safety and that they are necessary for communication with the family regarding after school and school events. Therefore, cell phones may be brought to school as long as the following conditions are met:

  • Cell phones are permitted for use before homeroom and during lunch in the cafeteria.

  • Cell phones must be silenced and stowed away during the school day, (i.e. in a backpack, purse, locker, or inside the classroom in the provided holder).

  • Students may not take photograph or video on their cell phones at any time during the school day. Phone calls and text messaging should not be taking place in classrooms. Should these occur, the cell phone may be confiscated and may require parental pick up.

 

Do I have to change my clothes for gym class? What do I bring to wear? What do I do?

Your PE teachers will give you all of the directions on what to do during your first day of school. you will need a change of clothes, usually a t-shirt, shorts, and sneakers to wear. Boys change in one locker room – girls in the other - in order to participate in gym class. Middle school is the first time this is required, and will continue through high school. While this is sometimes a new and uncomfortable first experience - you’ll be glad we do this, when you want to return to classes after getting hot and sweaty. Your gym teacher will explain the best way to bring in clothes and how to use the gym lockers.

Ok, we also have hallway lockers. I need a lock? How will I learn the combination? What do I do if my locker won’t open?

Lockers are issued to all students from your homeroom. If you do not have a lock, you CAN NOT bring one from home. The locks used must be purchased from Jabish Brook for 5.00. The lock purchased in 7th grade may be used again in 8th grade. The school district reserves the right to inspect lockers at any time, and locks that are not issued by the school district will be forcibly removed (cut off) without prior notice.

It is suggested that you lock your locker. The most common report for lost or stolen items are books and personal items taken from open lockers. Each student is issued textbooks that cost, in total, between $150 and $200 dollars. The replacement cost for lost or stolen books and personal items is a lot more than a $5 lock that you can keep. While textbooks can be tracked by their school codes, we can only do this if the books are found. The same is true for your personal items, and being able to tell the difference between two different IPods that look alike isn’t always easy.

If you are having trouble with your lock or locker, let your homeroom teacher know. If the locker needs to be repaired, our custodians will put the locker on a work order and get it done as soon as possible. If you are having trouble understanding how to use a combination lock, your homeroom teachers will help you to understand how to use it. Here’s a hint: write your combination down in a purse or wallet. A common mistake is forgetting the combination, and having it written down in a notebook that is locked INSIDE the locker – or not written down at all.

I lost my classroom textbook. Can I get another one?

Textbooks that were lost, stolen or damaged totaled nearly $2,000.00 in repair and replacement costs last year. The average cost for a single textbook is $50.00. New textbooks cost between $60-$100 EACH! While most textbooks that we currently use are not brand new, it can be difficult to find replacement textbooks that are used. It doesn't matter what happened – when you are issued a book, you and your parents are responsible for the cost of the book that is issued – so be careful and take good care of your books!

A replacement textbook will be issued only after a student/parent pays for the missing textbook. If the original textbook is later found, a check will be issued to reimburse the parents for the cost. If books are returned but are damaged beyond normal use, such as a ripped cover or broken binding, a repair cost of $10.00 will be required.

There’s a dress code? What does that mean?

The Belchertown school district imposes a dress code for all students. The specific details of the dress code are published in the school handbook, and are reviewed every year with students in September. Make sure you know and understand this policy. Students who are wearing offensive, revealing, or inappropriate clothing will be sent to the office. Students who are found in violation repeatedly will be required to change their clothes or will be sent home. The dress code policy in the student handbook is the same for students in grades 7-12, so the policy at the middle school is the same as the high school.

I’ve been absent a few days. How much time do I have to make-up all of the work from when I was out?

It is the responsibility of the student to make up all missed assignments, tests or quizzes. Unless arrangements are made, the student may have as many days as missed in order to make up the work. For example, if a student is absent for two days, the student will have two days to make up the required work. A minimum 24 hour notice is required to prepare materials should the parent/guardian wish to make a request for student assignments prior to an absence.

 

It is the student’s responsibility to obtain a list of missed assignments from his/her teachers and check google classroom. If a student knows in advance that they are going to be absent, ask your teachers to provide work in advance.

 

Can I find out what work I have missed while I am out?

Most teachers at Jabish Brook Middle School use google classroom or powerschool to list homework assignments and provide classroom information. A list of the teacher’s voicemail extensions and email addresses can be found in the directory listing on this website.

What happens if someone is caught cheating?

Students are expected to do their own work. Plagiarism is the copying of material from any source, for a paper or report, submitting someone else’s work as one’s own, copying “crib sheets” for tests or quizzes, the unauthorized removal of test/exam documents/materials from a classroom and photographing test/exam documents. All are considered forms of academic dishonesty. Any form of academic dishonesty for students in grades 4-8 may receive a zero or lowered grade for their work, as determined by the teacher. In addition, teachers will contact parent(s)/guardian(s) to inform them of the incident. A second offense will result in additional disciplinary action.

Can I ride my bike to school? What about skateboards?

Students are allowed to ride bicycles to school, as well as use or bring skateboards to school. Often students bring this equipment to school for use at the skate park in town after school hours. Be aware of the distance, however. It is nearly two miles from Jabish Brook Middle School to the skate park, even when going through the high school.

Bikes should be chained to the rack, located in the front of the building, and skateboards should be locked in student lockers. Students are not allowed, however, to be riding or using these items around the school building.

I’m having problems with other kids at school. I don’t want to tell anyone, because telling on people will just make it worse. What should I do?

Our school district has an established harassment policy, and our school has an established method to help deal with difficult of situations without making them worse.

Frequently, students try to just “deal” with upsetting issues for fear of any type of retribution, not wanting people to get involved to make things worse. More often than not, however, small problems that are easier to deal with early on are not dealt with, and get worse over time.

Our faculty and staff are here to help with difficult situations during early adolescence, but we can’t help if we don’t know what is going on. Contact one of your teachers, your guidance counselor, the school nurse, the administration – whomever you may be comfortable to speak with – including your parents, and tell them what is going on. We can help to deal with a difficult situation the right way before things get worse.

The process is actually pretty simple. Students who are acting inappropriately toward one another are given a warning. The bad behavior must stop, because if it doesn’t – further offenses are grounds for suspension. Go to the bullying prevention link on this website to report incidents of harassment anonymously.

I lost my agenda. Do I have to pay for another one?

Our school provides an agenda calendar notebook to all students free of charge. This book is provided to help students stay organized, to keep track of their homework, and to manage the daily responsibilities of school. While we do order a few extra books for transfer students, only a limited number of agendas are available each year. If any extra agendas are available, we will offer them to students on a first come, first served basis. Once they are gone, they are gone. Agenda notebooks can be purchased at local office supply stores.

 

Do you have any questions not on the list?  Please contact the school at any time with your questions or comments.  You can contact us via telephone, e-mail, or drop off a note to the main office. Additional questions submitted will be added to this page!