Frequently Asked Questions for Parents/Guardians of Incoming 9th Graders

(What we wish we had known when our child started high school!)
Compiled by MHS/MVTHS PTO, September 2016

Before the School Year

What is the school’s website? https://www.medfordpublicschools.org/schools/medford-high-school

When are schedules sent? What if there’s a problem with my student’s schedule? The school sends schedules over the summer along with dates you can come in to meet with a counselor to address any scheduling problems.

Is there an orientation for new students? Yes, in late August. Students tour the school, locate lockers, and more. Check the website in July for more information.

Are there pre-season athletic or marching band practices or tryouts? Check the school website for athletics tryout dates, or email coaches (contact info is on the website under Athletics>Fall Sports). Marching band and fall sports usually start practice two weeks before school. Coaches should notify athletes about practice schedules. The band welcomes new members. The band website has the practice schedule and other information (www.medfordband.wordpress.com) or email Ms. Rello (hhorgan@medford.k12.ma.us). Students need updated physicals for Athletics and Marching Band.

What school supplies does my student need? Send your student with a notebook, pens/pencils and binder on the first day. Don’t buy anything else before school begins. Teachers will give students supply lists, and expect students to buy items by weekend.

Is there required summer reading? There is summer reading (and sometimes writing) for English and Social Studies. Assignments are posted on the school website and at the Medford Public Library. Books can be borrowed from the library.

Transportation and Communication

Is there bus service to the high school? Yes, but it runs differently than in middle school. Eastern Bus Company (yellow buses) runs free service for North Medford. Otherwise, most students use MBTA bus service. The MHS/MTHS Communication Center sells discounted student passes by money order. Call them at 781-393-2268 for more information or check the website under Student Services>Transportation.

How does the school communicate with parents? Flyers are rarely used. Most information is posted to the website, including daily announcements and a regularly updated calendar. Sign up for notifications from the school blog at mpsadvantage.education, a great resource for information. The school might also leave phone messages for parents/guardians (robo-calls) with reminders or official announcements like snow days. Medford’s Facebook page (Medford, MA, USA) and Twitter feed (MedfordMass) also have good information.

Where can I find staff contact information? A phone directory and a “Who To Contact” list are on the website under About>Contact.

How do I find out my student’s Guidance Counselor, or track their progress? Guidance counselors are assigned alphabetically by last name. Call the Guidance Office at 781-393-2319 or check the website under Guidance for assignments and contact information.

Where can I find out about support services or get help for a student with special needs? Contact the Special Education office (781-393-2316) for IEPs, evaluations, and related issues. Contact Assistant Principal David Blauch (781-393-2303) about 504s. The Guidance office can also help (781-393-2319). The Medford Special Ed Parent Advisory Council also offers information and parent support. Look on the website under For Parents>Medford SEPAC for contact information.

How do I meet my student’s teachers? Parent Information Night and Parent/Teacher Conference nights are held each year. Parent Information Night is in mid-September. You’ll follow your student’s schedule to meet their teachers and learn about their classes, though there isn’t time to discuss individual students. You can meet one-on-one with teachers at Parent/Teacher Conference nights in November. Academic subject areas are divided into two nights. You can have a short (five minute) conversation with your student’s teachers. No appointments are taken, you just wait in line to meet with a teacher, and when finished, move to the next teacher. If you’d like a longer appointment, you can always ask for a meeting.

Where can I find out about MHS/MTHS rules, requirements and policies? The Student Handbook and Educational Opportunities Handbook have this information. Students get a copy of the Student Handbook each year. Links to both handbooks are on the school website under At A Glance.

The School Day

Can students carry backpacks, water bottles or cell phones during school? No bags or backpacks are allowed, but female students can carry small purses. Most students carry several loose binders because there is limited time to reach lockers between classes. Clear plastic water containers are allowed. No cell phones or electronics are allowed, except by special permission. The Student Handbook has a complete list of policies.

When are bathrooms open? Different bathrooms are open during different periods, which can confuse new students. Students can ask teachers for help to find the nearest open bathroom.

When does the school day start and end? Students must be in Homeroom Advisories by 7:45 am. There is a 7:40 warning bell. Dismissal is 2:18 pm except on Early Dismissal days (usually monthly), which end at noon.

When is lunch? Students are assigned to one of the two lunch periods based on their Period 4 class. There are three cafeterias, and students quickly learn which ones are open each period and what they serve. Students can pay for lunch with cash or a pre- electronic lunch account. Check the website for more information under Student Services>School Lunches.

Student and Parent Involvement

How can my student meet peers or get involved in the school? Extra-curricular activities are a great way to meet peers. An Activity Fair is held in September. Meetings and events are advertised in morning announcements. There are also dances, including a freshman-only one, in June. Look on the website under Activities for more information.

How can I get involved in the school? The MHS/MTHS PTO supports students and teachers in many ways. We welcome your participation, even if you only have a little time. Our first meeting is in September in the MHS Library. To stay updated, contact Celia Lee, Celialee327@gmail.com to join the email list or follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/mhsmvthspto/. MHS/MTHS also has a Site Council of students, parents, educators, and community members who plan for and implement school improvement. If you’re interested in Site Council, contact Dr. Perella. Information about PTO, Site Council and more can be found on the website under Parent Involvement.