Dear GFMS Families,
Welcome to the 2023 – 2024 school year! We are thrilled to welcome our students and staff back to school. We hope that you were able to relax and make special memories with your friends and families. Now it is time to look forward to a wonderful new school year as we are dedicated to excellence in academics at Glens Falls Middle School.
As you know our middle school has started a major redesign construction project this summer that will continue throughout the upcoming school year. While we will face minor challenges this year due to the construction, this should not impact the positive culture and climate we have created here at the middle school and will allow us to build an even stronger school community.
The start of a new school year is always a special time, with new faculty and students and developing new relationships. This year, we are delighted to welcome a few new additions to our staff.
Welcome to new faculty:
Zackery Flanders (from Jackson Heights) – Special Education
Ashley Hanlon (from Jackson Heights) – 5th Grade
Alyssa Crean – 7th Grade Special Education
Jordan Daley – 7th Grade Science
Alexis Houser – 5th-6th Special Education
Welcome back to returning faculty:
Melissa Rajeski – 8th Grade Special Education
Fran Dougherty – 5-8 Technology
Students schedules will be mailed out the week of August 21, 2023. The schedule will include your students’ advocacy (homeroom), locker number and combination, team name, and school counselor. The enclosed packet includes a variety of information for the upcoming school year. I hope that you will take the time to read through the information to prepare for the new academic year. We look forward to seeing everyone on September 7, 2023, the first day of school. Please reach out to myself or the main office if you have any questions.
Important Upcoming Dates:
September 5, 2023 – 5th grade “Meet and Treat” at 3:00 pm
September 5, 2023 – New Student Orientation at 3:00 pm
September 26, 2023 – Open House at 6:00 pm
MS lWelcome Back Families
(This is the same letter posted above)
MS Welcome Back Packet
(This is the same information posted below)
Important Information for the 2023-2024 School Year & Code of Conduct Summary
Middle School Phone Numbers
|School Counseling Office||518-793-3410||
Arrival and Dismissal
Doors open at 8:30 AM. All 5th graders should report and assemble outside of doors I, J, and K (in the back of the building at the cafeteria). This will keep our 5th grade students separated from grades 6th-8th. 5th graders will also be dismissed from Door L at 3:00 PM. Students arriving late to school must enter through the main entrance. 5th graders are encouraged to use the sidewalk from the back of the building to Grant Ave.
Doors open at 8:25 AM. While staff supervision of entrances and arrival will begin at 8:10 AM, students are encouraged to arrive as close to doors opening as possible to avoid large, unstructured groups of students.
Arrival and dismissal door assignments will be organized by grade level:
5th Grade – Back of the building – Doors I (Red Wings), J (Dragons), K (Thunder)
6th Grade – Back of the school – Door L
7th – 8th Grade – Main Entrance – Door O
Students arriving late to school must enter through the main entrance, door O.
5-8 Students will be dismissed at 3:00 PM and will be asked to leave school grounds immediately unless they are reporting to after school help or a scheduled club or activity.
Our master schedule is a hybrid of traditional 40 minute periods and 80 minute blocks, with 5th and 6th graders having more periods and 7th and 8th graders more blocks.
Unified Arts Mini-Course Rotation
The goal of Unified Arts programming at Glens Falls Middle School is to provide all students with diverse offerings. Exposure to multiple areas of exploration will best prepare students to make informed choices about elective pathways in high school.
5th and 6th Grade Unified Arts (aka “Specials”) – Students will have each of these mini-courses for approximately 5 weeks, meeting every day for 40 minutes:
Art, Music, Social Skills, Health, Wellness, Media Literacy, Computer Science, Robotics, and Intro to Trades
7th and 8th Grade Unified Arts – Students are scheduled for the following courses, which will meet every other day for 80 minutes: Art, Intro to Trades, Family & Consumer Sciences, Computer Science, Wellness, and Technology. In addition students in grades 7 and 8 will be scheduled for a Health class that will meet opposite their PE class for half of the school year.
Progress in each of these unified arts mini-courses will be communicated on each report card with an S (satisfactory) or U (unsatisfactory), along with teacher comments.
Variations within Student Schedules
Our goal is to provide a balanced schedule for each student. While there is value in a study hall, we hope to limit multiple study halls by providing students course work based on their interests, needs and strengths. Enrollment in the following courses will be unique to each student:
Band, Chorus, Orchestra
Learning Lab (AIS/RTI)
Accelerated Math Lab (Grade 7)
BOCES Enrichment (Grades 5 & 6)
Elective Offerings (vary by year and grade level)
Extra Help Grades 5 – 8
Teachers are available every Tuesday and Thursday after school to provide extra help as needed for any student and may, if necessary, require students to stay in order to participate in and/or complete a particular lesson. If a student is assigned on Tuesday or Thursday from 3:00-3:30 PM and fails to stay, this will result in a disciplinary consequence.
Reporting System for Grades 6-8
Report Cards will be mailed every 10 weeks and Progress Reports will be posted in e-School mid way through each marking period. Families are encouraged to review Google Classroom and the e-School portal to discuss work completion and progress and communicate with teachers if there are questions.
|End Date||Date report mailed|
|Interim 1 Progress Report||10/10/23||10/11/23 Portal Only|
|Report Card 1||11/09/23||11/14/23|
|Interim 2 Progress Report||12/15/23||12/18/23 Portal Only|
|Report Card 2||01/26/24||01/30/24|
|Interim 3 Progress Report||03/04/24||03/05/24 Portal Only|
|Report Card 3||04/12/24||04/16/24|
|Interim 4 Progress Report||05/13/24||05/14/24 Portal Only|
|Final Report Card||06/26/24||07/01/24|
Honor and Merit Roll for Grades 6-8
Honor Roll = 90.0 and above
Merit Roll = 85.0 – 89.
Honor roll and merit roll will be computed every 10-week marking period.
5th Grade Parents Conferences will be scheduled during the district’s ½ days. In addition, parents can contact 5th grade teachers directly to schedule a conference if one is requested after the initial conference days.
6th – 8th Grade Conferences with Teachers and Counselors
Teachers are available for conferences with parents during team time daily and after school. Counselors are available for conferences during the school day. 6th-8th grade conferences can be scheduled by calling the Counseling Office secretary (518-793-3410).
The administration or school counselors may call conferences at any time regarding academic or disciplinary reasons. These conferences may include some or all of the following: parent(s), student, teacher, school counselor, administrator, and other staff members.
Personal Electronic Devices
Students will not be allowed to have possession of their cell phones during the school day and they should be kept in their lockers at all times.
- Smart watches can remain on a student’s wrist as long as they are not used in place of their phone.
- Emergency phone calls can be made with permission on the main office phone.
- At no point should students be taking or sending photos or videos of anyone at school for any reason.
**Parents needing to get a message to their students during the day should call the attendance office or main office. **
Students who refuse to follow these expectations may be considered insubordinate and subject to additional discipline as outlined:
First Offense – Student is given a verbal warning and the cell phone remains in the main office until the end of the school day.
Second Offense – Student is assigned a lunch detention and the cell phone remains in the main office until the end of the school day.
Third Offense – Student is assigned an after school detention and the cell phone remains in the main office until the end of the school day.
Fourth Offense – The students cell phone remains in the main office until a parent is notified and arrangements for pick up can be made.
Glens Falls Code of Conduct Summary
The full length Code of Conduct is listed on our district web-site and in our student agendas.
The intent of this Code of Conduct is to promote responsible behavior that creates an orderly and safe school environment. It is the belief of Glens Falls Middle School that everyone in our community must strive toward contributing to this goal. The objective is to develop a moral school community based on:
Rules for student conduct and discipline have been adopted by the Board of Education. Such rules are stated, explained, and distributed to all students at the beginning of the school year or at the time of initial enrollment in the school district. These standards of conduct do not infringe upon the constitutional rights of students. The standards include prohibited
student conduct and the range of penalties that may be imposed for such misconduct.
- Students have the right to pursue an education in an atmosphere that is safe and conducive to learning, and to achieve all that they are capable of achieving.
- Students have the right to enroll in courses of study for which they are qualified.
- Students have the right to be respected as individuals.
- Students have the right to procedural due process guaranteed by the United States Constitution and New York Education law.
- Students have the right to freedom of speech and freedom of expression to the degree that the exercise of their freedom does not interfere with the educational process or infringe upon the rights of others.
- Students shall have equal opportunity in their pursuit of curriculum offerings, athletics and extracurricular activities.
- Students have the right to make recommendations through the student government regarding school rules, school regulations or issues pertaining to student organizations.
STUDENT RESPONSIBILITIES: It is the responsibility of the students to:
- Conduct themselves with respect toward self, fellow students, teachers and others.
- Strive to achieve their fullest potential in all areas.
- Follow all reasonable directives of the faculty and administration.
- Strive to fulfill all classroom obligations to teachers.
- Demonstrate respect for school property and for the property of others.
- Demonstrate appropriate conduct and a positive attitude in school activities.
- Dress in a clean, safe and presentable manner.
- Be familiar with and abide by all district policies, rules, and regulations dealing with student conduct.
ROLE OF THE PARENT: It is the responsibility of the parent to:
- Recognize that the primary responsibility for a child’s welfare and development rests with the parent.
- Teach the child by word and example, respect for law and authority.
- Encourage the child to learn and respect the rights of others.
- Encourage the child to attend school.
- Know and understand the rules and regulations a child is required to observe at school.
- Become familiar with handbooks provided.
- Provide guidance for the child to develop socially appropriate standards of conduct and behavior.
- Strive to maintain the child in good physical, mental and emotional health.
- Require the child to dress in a clean, safe and presentable manner.
- Provide encouragement and support for the child in completing assignments.
- Seek involvement in the child’s school, its teachers, programs and activities as well as to attend parent conferences and school functions.
- Inform school officials of changes in the home environment that may affect student conduct or performance
SCHOOL ATTENDANCE PROCEDURES
➢ Please notify the school attendance office when your student is absent, stating the reason for the absence. Methods of notification include: phone call or email to attendance clerk, response to Parent Square notification or a handwritten note delivered to attendance clerk and signed by parent or guardian (student signatures are not accepted).
➢Students may be asked to provide additional documentation following an excused absence (ex. Note from doctor or provider).
➢ Parents/Guardians will be notified by telephone when a student is absent, or departs early without a proper excuse.
➢It is the responsibility of the parent/guardian to monitor their student’s attendance
➢ A student is responsible for making up all work due to an absence.
ARRIVAL TO SCHOOL
➢ Homeroom/Advocacy begins promptly at 8:30 am. There will be bells at 8:25 am and 8:27 am warning students to report to homeroom/Advocacy. All students must report to their assigned room by 8:30 am every day for attendance purposes. Students who arrive at school anytime during the school day after the start of school (8:30 am) must sign in immediately at the attendance office
➢ Students who are in school but fail to report to their first period class or fail to sign in when tardy are considered truant and subject to disciplinary consequences.
➢ A student must report to the attendance office to: submit an excuse in order to receive a pass for early dismissal (This should be accomplished prior to the first period). Students without a note requesting early dismissal must report to the attendance office in order that a parent may be contacted.
LATENESS TO SCHOOL
➢ Parents are responsible by law to see that their children are in school “regularly all day, every day” (Compulsory Education Law). Students who have a medical appointment and enter with a written note signed by a parent or guardian will not be assigned any consequences.
- All students must be in their homeroom/Advocacy by 8:30 am.
- Students arriving after 8:30 am must sign in at the attendance office upon arrival.
- Subsequent lates will result in the assignment of detention(s) and/or loss of privileges. These privileges include driving to school, RSP, and extracurricular activities.
SCHOOL TRUANCY (FULL OR PARTIAL DAY)
➢ Staff will monitor student attendance patterns for truancy (unexcused absences). In addition to offering support, students will be held accountable for truancy through disciplinary procedures, which may include school based consequences, PINS or referrals to outside agencies.
➢ It is the responsibility of the parent/guardian to monitor their student’s attendance. Educational neglect is when a child’s “physical, mental or emotional condition has been impaired or is in imminent danger of becoming impaired” due to the parent’s failure to exercise a minimum degree of care in providing the child with an adequate education (Family Ct Act §1012[f][i][A]).
➢As mandated reporters, school staff are obligated to report to the New York Statewide Central Register for Child Abuse and Maltreatment (SCR) instances of Educational Neglect.
**School truancies that are determined to be an “organized skip day” will result in the assigning of the appropriate consequence from above and loss of privileges such as RSP and school sponsored events.**
➢Clothing which is disruptive or interferes with the educational process will not be permitted to be worn by students in school or on school premises (profanity, offensive messages, promotion of drugs, alcohol, tobacco)
➢ Students must wear safe footwear and school appropriate clothing.
➢ Certain insignias designated or inferred as inappropriate or obscene or in bad taste will not be permitted. This includes prohibition on gang symbols, signs, colors, or other discriminatory apparel.
➢ No sunglasses will be permitted unless prescribed by a physician
➢ No jewelry with sharp edges, heavy ornamental chains or dog collars will be permitted in school
Prohibited Student Conduct
➢ The Board of Education expects students to conduct themselves in an appropriate and civil manner, with proper regard for the rights and welfare of other students, district personnel and other members of the school community, and for the care of school facilities and equipment.
➢ The best discipline is self-imposed, and students must learn to assume and accept responsibility for their own behavior, as well as the consequences of their misbehavior. District personnel who interact with students are expected to use disciplinary action only when necessary and to place emphasis on the students’ ability to grow in self-discipline.
➢ The Board recognizes the need to make its expectations for student conduct while on school property or engaged in a school function specific and clear. The rules of conduct listed below are intended to do that and focus on safety and respect for the rights and property of others. Students who will not accept responsibility for their own behavior and who violate these rules will be required to accept the penalties for their conduct.
DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURES AND PENALTIES
➢ Discipline is most effective when it deals directly with the problem at the time and place it occurs, and in a way that students view as fair and impartial. School personnel who interact with students are expected to use disciplinary action only when necessary and to place emphasis on the students’ ability to grow in self-discipline.
➢ In order to be effective in changing student behavior, necessary disciplinary action will be firm, fair and consistent. Restorative practices will be utilized as appropriate.
➢ In determining the appropriate disciplinary action, school personnel authorized to impose disciplinary penalties will consider the following:
- The student’s age.
- The nature of the offense and the circumstances that led to the offense.
- The student’s prior disciplinary record.
- The effectiveness of other forms of discipline.
- Information from parents, teachers and/or others, as appropriate
- Other extenuating circumstances.
➢ As a rule, discipline will be progressive. This means that a student’s first violation will usually merit a lighter penalty than subsequent violations.
**If the conduct of a student is related to a disability, the student shall be referred to the Committee on Special Education and discipline, if warranted, shall be administered consistent with the separate requirements of this code of conduct for disciplining students with a disability. A student identified as having a disability shall not be disciplined for behavior related to his/her disability.**
Intimidation, Harassment, Menacing, or Bullying
A single verified incident or a series of related verified incidents where a student is subjected to harassment, bullying, and/or discrimination by a student and/or employee on school property or at a school function. In addition, such term shall include a verified incident or series of related incidents of harassment or bullying that occur off school property, as defined in Commissioner’s regulation §100.2(kk)(1)(viii). Such conduct shall include, but is not limited to, threats, intimidation or abuse based on a person’s actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender, or sex. Commissioner’s regulation 100.2(kk)(1)(viii) provides that harassment or bullying means the creation of a hostile environment by conduct or by threats, intimidation or abuse that either: (a) has or would have the effect of unreasonably and substantially interfering with a student’s educational performance, opportunities or benefits, or mental, emotional and/or physical well-being, including conduct, threats, intimidation or abuse that reasonably causes or would reasonably be expected to cause emotional harm; or (b) reasonably causes or would reasonably be expected to cause physical injury to a student or to cause a student to fear for his or her physical safety. Such definition shall include acts of harassment or bullying that occur on school property, at a school function, or off school property where such act creates or would foreseeably create a risk of substantial disruption within the school environment, where it is foreseeable that the conduct, threats, intimidation or abuse might reach school property. For the purposes of this definition the term “threats, intimidation or abuse” shall include verbal and non-verbal actions.
Bullying is defined as a form of unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance and that is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Please note the following “elements of bullying” do not solely determine whether an incident is material.
Imbalance of power: An imbalance of power involves the use of physical strength, popularity, or access to embarrassing information to hurt or control another person.
Repetition: Bullying typically repeated, occurring more than once or having the potential to occur more than once.
Intent to Harm: The person bullying has the goal to cause harm. Bullying is not accidental.
Discrimination is not specifically defined in the Dignity Act. However, it would include any form of discrimination against students prohibited by state or federal law such as, for example, the denial of equal treatment, admission, and/or access to programs, facilities, and services based on the person’s actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender (including gender identity), or sex. It should be noted that Educational Law §3201 and 3201-a prohibit discrimination in the form of denial of admission into or exclusion from any public school on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, and sex.
Cyberbullying: is defined as harassment or bullying that occurs through any form of electronic communication, (Ed. Law §11) including, but not limited to, cell phones, computers, and tablets, or other communication tools, including social media sites, text messages, chat rooms, and websites.
➢ Students who are found to have violated the district’s code of conduct may be subject to the following penalties, either alone or in combination with one another. The school personnel identified after each penalty are authorized to impose that penalty, consistent with the student’s right to due process.
- Verbal warning: any member of the district staff.
- Written notification to parent / guardian: any member of the district staff.
- Accountability Projects: teachers, assistant principal, principal, and superintendent.
- Detention: teachers, assistant principal, principal, and superintendent.
- Structured Day / Modified Schedule: assistant principal, principal, and superintendent.
- Removal from transportation: assistant principal, principal, and superintendent.
- Elimination from athletic participation: assistant principal, principal, and superintendent
- Removal from social or extracurricular activities: principal, and superintendent
- Removal of other privileges: assistant principal, principal, and superintendent
- Alternative Learning Area: assistant principal, principal, and superintendent.
- Removal from classroom by teacher: teachers, assistant principal, principal, and superintendent.
- Short-term (five days or less) suspension from school: assistant principal, principal, superintendent, and board of education.
- Long-term (more than five days) suspension from school: superintendent and board of education.
- Permanent suspension from school: superintendent and board of education.
➢ The amount of due process a student is entitled to before a penalty is imposed will depend on the type of penalty being imposed. In all cases, regardless of the penalty, the school personnel authorized to impose the penalty must let the student know what misconduct the student is alleged to have committed, and must investigate the facts surrounding the alleged misconduct. All students will have an opportunity to present their version of the facts to the school personnel imposing the disciplinary penalty in connection with the imposition of the penalty.
DETENTION – AFTER SCHOOL
➢ Parents will receive notification when a student is assigned after-school detention.
➢ Students must report to detention on time – detention begins at 3:05PM and ends at 4:00PM. Any difficulties or changes must be cleared with the assistant principal or principal before the scheduled detention.
➢ Students must come to detention prepared to work the full time. An atmosphere of academic study will be maintained at all times. (NO PHONES / Electronic Devices)
➢ Students will report to the appropriate room for detention.
➢ If a student is absent on a day of an assigned detention, the detention will automatically be made up the next day detention is held.
➢ Unexcused absences from detention will result in ALA.
ALTERNATIVE LEARNING AREA (ALA) PROGRAM
➢ The ALA Program is a concept of school discipline that requires a student to be accountable for his/her behavior. This concept requires the student to examine the behavior that caused the offense and choose an acceptable alternative behavior to use in the same or similar situation. The alternative behaviors are expressed in a written plan of action that is completed when a student is referred to the ALA Room.
➢ If a student is absent on any of the day(s) assigned, the student still has to make up the time before being allowed to return to class.
➢ A student assigned to ALA must report to the ALA room during homeroom
➢ Students must report to ALA with all books and supplies
➢ There will be no talking or cell phone use.
➢ A student must complete work assignments provided
➢ Students will not be allowed to sleep
➢ Students will turn cell phones in to the room supervisor
➢ When a student is suspended from school the parent or guardian of the student will be notified by telephone and in writing. A parent conference may be required before a suspended student returns to regular classes. Parents are entitled to a conference anytime a student is suspended. Requests should be made to the building principal.
➢ The suspended student must be released after administration communicates the suspension with the parent/ guardian.
➢ A student suspended out-of-school is not permitted on school property or at an event unless attending tutoring sessions. Suspended students are not permitted to participate in or attend any school-sponsored activities until the suspension has been lifted or expired. If the suspended student comes on school property during the suspension period, the student will be declared trespassing and immediate, appropriate action will be taken.
**A Superintendent’s Hearing may be convened to consider further disciplinary action.**
➢ It is the policy of the Glens Falls City School District to maintain a learning and working environment that is free from sexual harassment. No employee or student of the District shall be subjected to sexual harassment.
➢ It shall be a violation of this policy for any member of the Glens Falls City School District staff to harass another staff member or student or visitor to the District through conduct or communication of a sexual nature as described in the Definition section. It shall also be a violation of this policy for students to harass other students, staff or visitors to the District through conduct or communication of a sexual nature as described in the Definition section.
➢ Each administrator shall be responsible for promoting understanding and acceptance of, and assuring compliance with, state and federal laws and Board policy and procedures governing sexual harassment within his or her school or office.
➢ Violations of this policy or procedure will be cause for disciplinary action.
Dignity for All Student Act (DASA)
Dignity Act Coordinator: Jennifer McDonald
Back Up Dignity Act Coordinators: Ryan Estey, Cameron Mazza
DASA Complaints can be made in writing or verbally to the coordinators, or through our district website’s online DASA Complaint Form.