Arbutus Middle School Frequently Asked Questions

1. When does the school day start? How long is the school day? The school doors open each day at 8:00 a.m. Students are expected to enter the building and go immediately to their lockers and period one. By 8:10, all students are expected to be in homeroom. School closes each day at 2:48 p.m.

2. How long are classes? How many classes will I attend each day? Arbutus Middle operates on a seven period day, with each class period lasting fifty to ninety minutes. The number of classes you will go to each day depends on your schedule, and ranges from five to seven classes. You will also have a thirty minute lunch period each day.

3. Is each school day the same, or will I have a different schedule every day? AMS operates on "A" and "B" day schedules. Your classes may meet at different times depending on whether it is an "A" or "B" day. Mondays and Wednesdays are "A" days. Tuesdays and Thursdays are "B" days. Fridays alternate between "A" and "B" schedules. While it may sound confusing at first, it is very easy to get used to, and it is nice to have a varied schedule during the week.

4. How much homework should I expect? Homework is assigned on a daily basis. You will be expected to record your homework assignments in your Student Agenda. It is also a good idea to have a "buddy" in each class who can explain the assignment to you. You should expect to do 90 minutes of homework each night. Homework may include completing written assignments, working on a project, practicing your musical instrument, or studying for a test. Even if you do not have a specific assignment, you should spend time organizing your notebook, reviewing your class notes, studying vocabulary, or reading.

5. Does AMS have a dress code, or can I wear whatever I want to school?

DRESS EXPECTATION The BCPS Student Handbook states, "All students have the responsibility to dress correctly to help set the proper standard of school and social behavior." There is considerable evidence to indicate a close relationship between students dress and student behavior. Appropriate clothing for school is essential to support an atmosphere conducive to learning. Arbutus Middle students are expected to show good judgment as well as respect for self and school in their choice of clothing.

The following guidelines are presented for health and safety reasons:

o Some classes, such as science and physical education, may have specific clothing restrictions. All students will be required to follow specific classroom expectations related to safety.

o Students should not wear skin-tight clothing, see-through shirts, bare back shirts, spaghetti straps shirts, tank tops (unless the strip is at least three fingers width wide), strapless shirts, or shirts that expose skin between the bottom of the shirt and the top of the pants/shorts/skirt. Undergarments should not be visible at any time.

o Shorts and skirts must be of appropriate length. The "appropriate length" of shorts or skirts is beyond finger tips when the student’s arms are extended straight down the side.

o Physical education uniforms should be worn only in physical education classes.

o For both health and safety reasons, students may not wear coats, jackets, or heavy, bulky sweatshirts during the school day. Coats worn on the way to school should be put in lockers and not worn during the school day.


o Non-religious head coverings, including hats, scarves, and bandanas, may not be worn during the school day and should remain in your locker during the school day. Sweatbands and bandanas as headbands may not be worn during the school day.

o Heavy chains and studded or spiked jewelry are not allowed.

o Clothing, jewelry, and accessories which depict alcohol, drug, tobacco, cult-related images, profanity, or symbols related to sex or violence are prohibited. APPROPRIATE DRESS IS APPLICABLE FOR ALL FIELD TRIPS AND RECOGNITION ASSEMBLIES !

6. What about the Cafeteria? The School Library? The School Store? The cafeteria is open each day for breakfast and lunch. Breakfast is served from 7:55 to 8:15 a.m. Lunch lasts for thirty minutes and is at different times depending on your grade level. Sixth graders eat lunch between 11:00 and 11:30. Seventh graders eat lunch between 11:50 and 12:20. Eighth graders eat lunch between 12:40 and 1:10. The School library is open each school day. Books may be checked out for a period of fifteen days. Reference books may be borrowed for an overnight loan. The library also maintains subscriptions for several magazines. The school store is open each day from 8:05 to 8:20 a.m. It is located in the conference room in the main lobby. The School Store sells a variety of school supplies, including paper, notebooks, pens, and pencils.

7. Does Arbutus Middle have Computer Labs? AMS has two computer labs. There is a Dell Lab on the second floor, next to the library, and there is a Dell Lab on the first floor in room 115. Both labs are connected to the Internet and are used by teachers and students to complete class assignments, conduct research, and locate useful information on the web.

8. Does AMS have after-school activities? Arbutus Middle sponsors several after-school activities. The eight-week activity sessions are held in the fall and spring on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. Although the activities vary from year to year, they generally include homework help, organizations like S.A.D.D. and NJHS, programs, and sports/fitness activities. Activity buses are available for those students who need transportation.

9. How will I know what I am expected to do? When you come to Arbutus you will be given a Student Agenda that contains the Arbutus Middle School Student Handbook. It tells you EVERYTHING you need to know about the school and what you are expected to do. Take time to read the handbook and familiarize yourself with its contents. The Agenda also has a lot of useful factual information in it so you'll be able to use it as a resource for several of your classes. Most importantly, you'll use the Agenda each day to record your homework and as a pass to get from one place to another during the school day.

Replacement Agendas can be purchased at the school store at a cost of $10.00 per Agenda.