Frequently Asked Questions

What is "teaming" and how does it benefit middle school students?

Teaming allows your student to share the same 4 core teachers as the other students on his/her team.The core teachers are able to do cross-curricular planning and better monitor the progress and social/emotional wellbeing of their students through interdisciplinary meetings.

How is my child assigned a locker and how much time will he/she have between classes?

Students are assigned lockers by homeroom. There are up to three scheduled locker visits each day. Students visit lockers upon arrival each morning and carry books and supplies throughout the day until their mid-day visit and again during their last core class. Locker visits should only take a few minutes, but 6th-graders will have extra time the first couple weeks of school. Please note that coats and backpacks must be stored in lockers during the school day.Also, locker privileges can be revoked if they're not used responsibly.

What procedures do I, as a parent, follow if my child is tardy to, or absent from, school?

Students who are tardy must sign in at the front office and get a tardy slip before entering class. Students who miss school must bring a note to school. For extended absences, parents/guardians are asked to notify the school. Only tardies and absences that are accompanied by a signed note will be excused.Excessive unexcused absences and/or tardies will result in school intervention or disciplinary action.

What will happen if my child is ill and needs to go home during school?

Students who are sick will be examined by the school nurse and a parent/guardian will be contacted to pick the student up.

How are lunch periods assigned?

Students go to lunch with their assigned core teacher and sit with their class.

How can I stay involved in my child’s education?

Join the PTA! Visit the school's website frequently to check out upcoming events and link to teachers' websites. You can also access your student's grades online by acquiring a login and password for the new ParentVUE portal.

How will I be informed about my child’s progress, both academic and behavioral?

Teachers will send home progress reports periodically in addition to the regularly scheduled interims and report cards.Teachers will call or email when needed, and parents/guardians are also encouraged to call or email when concerns arise.Conferences can be scheduled upon request.

When will my child receive his/her schedule?

Students receive their schedules at orientation/open house ONLY after they have been enrolled with evidence of complete vaccination records.If a student misses orientation, then he/she will receive his/schedule in homeroom the first day of school (homeroom assignments will be posted on the walls).A parent/guardian can also arrange to pick the schedule up AFTER orientation and BEFORE the first day of school.

How different is middle school from elementary school?

The transition to middle school involves adjusting to an earlier start time, as well as learning how to rotate through multiple classes each day. This involves greater responsibility and maturity; however, we see students accomplish this successfully every year! A strong support network at home, consistently enforced expectations and close communication with the school are key!

How important is it for me to monitor my child’s online activities?

Online tools such as Khan Academy and SOL Teacher are wonderful for reinforcing academic material.Some teachers also use Edmodo, which allow students to interact online through a designated account. Social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Kick, often create a breeding ground for middle school “drama,” so if students have these accounts, we highly recommend that you monitor them closely. Please note that recommended age for a Facebook account is 13 for the simple fact that most younger students are not developmentally ready for the responsibility of online communciations.

Will my student dress out for PE?

Students do not wear uniforms for PE. They are expected to wear clothing that is suitable for physical activity on days when the have PE.Only tennis shoes will be permitted in order to participate and receive full credit.

Do students get to choose whether they want a top or bottom locker?

Lockers are assigned at random.Top/bottom requests will not be honored without documentation from a doctor.

How do I contact my child’s teachers?

You may contact teachers by calling the school at 888-3300 or emailing teachers directly. Email addresses can be found on the Ella Fitzgerald Middle School website.

What if I have called and have gotten no response from the teacher?

You can expect a teacher to return your call or email within 2 school days. If you do not receive an answer from the teacher within that time, call the appropriate assistant principal for help in contacting that teacher.

How do I get the homework that my child missed when he/she was absent?

If a student is absent, the student may find out what homework was missed by calling a friend, checking the team website, or emailing the teacher. If a parent would like to pick up assignments and homework from the school, they can call the school office at 888-3300 to request that the assignments be collected. The parent must give the school 24 hours to gather the materials for pickup.

What do I do if my child must be out of school for an extended period of time?

If at all possible, a parent or guardian should send a note ahead of time to gain approval for up to 5 days of absences to be excused. The note should state the dates the student will be absent and the reason for the absence. If the period of time of absence needs to be extended for any reason, parents should make every effort to contact the school, informing the office of the new date that the child will return.

What do I do if I feel that the parent/teacher conference was not satisfactory?

If you feel that a conference has been unsatisfactory for any reason, please do not hesitate to again contact the teacher, either through a note, email, or phone call, to clarify any points that may have been left unresolved. If the issue has not been settled by repeated contact, feel free to call the appropriate assistant principal for help in the matter.

My child forgot something (lunch money, agenda book, homework, project, etc.). May I bring it to her/him?

Of course! Parents should bring the item(s) to the office. The student will be called to the office to pick up the item(s).

My child is being bullied! What do I do?

Fitzgerald Middle School takes bullying issues very seriously. As soon as you suspect that your child is being bullied, contact the appropriate assistant principal or guidance counselor. If your child will not talk to you about the bullying or will not let you contact the school, please be aware that NNPS uses SafeSchools Alert so that children or adults can report bullying at any time. Callers can remain anonymous, but are encouraged to at least indicate where and when the incident(s) occurred.

Who is responsible for my child’s safety at the bus stop?

Parents are responsible for making sure that their student is behaving properly at the bus stop. If there is a problem at the bus stop that you are unable to control, call the school at 888-3300 or the Newport News Police Department at 247-2500.

What if my child is having trouble on the bus?

Any discipline issues on the bus should be reported immediately to the school. It is the bus driver’s responsibility to handle any immediate situations, which will then be turned over to the school’s bus coordinator who handles safety and other issues that arise on the bus. Students who are discipline problems may be suspended either from the bus or from school depending on the offense.

May my child ride another bus home with a friend?

Generally, no. A student may ride a bus other than his/her regular bus only if that change has been approved in advance by school administration for emergency situations.