Welcome to the Amherst Middle School!
AMHERST MIDDLE SCHOOL INFORMATION
(603) 673-8944 / fax (603) 673-6774
Welcome to the Amherst Middle School! Coming to a new school can be both exciting and a little scary. It’s hard to leave behind friends and familiar places, and you (and your parents) probably have lots of questions. What will the new school be like? Will I find my way around? Is the work hard? What are the kids like? This information sheet should answer some of your questions about your new school. Please also read the Student Handbook on our school web site for additional important information.
AMS contains grades 5 to 8. There are currently approximately 630 students. As a new student, you may be interested in knowing that we have between 30-40 new students enroll each fall and additional new students who join us throughout the year.
Typical School Day:
Buses begin arriving after 7:00 and drop off students at the oval between the middle school and high school. 5th and 6th graders remain on the playground until it is time to enter the building. 7th and 8th graders can remain outside but are also allowed into specific, supervised hallways. In the event of rain or very cold weather, 5th and 6th graders report to the cafeteria. At 7:25, students go to their lockers to drop off backpacks and coats and to gather their materials. All students should be in their classrooms by 7:30.
In 5th and 6th grade, core academic classes take place in two blocks lasting an hour and 30 minutes each. One is a STEM block for Math and Science, and the other is a Humanities block for Reading/Language Arts and Social Studies. Both grades also have a 20 minute Morning Meeting, two iCAN (individualized Competency Achievements Needs) Labs—one for STEM and one for Humanities, two periods of integrated arts or “specials,” and a 15 minute recess followed by lunch.
In 7th and 8th grade, there are four periods of core academic classes (Language Arts, Math, Science, and Social Studies), a 10 minute homeroom, a period of EAGLE Block (extension, enrichment or intervention activities), two periods of specials, and lunch. Core periods in 7th and 8th grade last an hour.
Specials classes are 40 minutes long in 5th and 6th grade and 45 minutes in 7th and 8th grade. Specials are scheduled on a 6 day rotation. Each day we are in school is numbered 1 through 6, and specials classes meet two or three days out of the six. Some specials are for part of the year, and others last all year.
The school day ends at 2:19. Students who are staying after school for extra help, to use the library, or for any school activity are eligible to ride the late bus, with a bus pass from their teacher or other supervising staff member. The late bus leaves at 4:00 from the front of the middle school and has central drop-off points in Amherst and Mont Vernon. Bus routes are available on our school web site.
Once a month, usually on the second Tuesday of the month, we have a late start day. Students arrive to school two hours later than usual, and the staff uses that time for professional development activities. Please check the school calendar for specific dates.
Lunch and Recess:
There are currently three lunch periods. Lunch for grades 5 & 6 is from 10:55 to 11:25. Grade 7 eats from 12:10 to 12:35. Grade 8 lunch is from 11:45 to 12:10. There are at least two choices of hot lunch, and individual items such as milk, yogurt, juice, salad and sandwiches are available for purchase. Approximate cost for lunch is $3.00. Students may put money into their lunch accounts and withdraw money from that account or pay with cash. Some students prefer to bring their own lunch. After cleaning up their places, students in grades 7 and 8 may go outside for the last 10 minutes of lunch. Fifth and 6th graders remain in the cafeteria for the entire lunch period but have a 15 minute recess right before lunch.
After School Activities:
There are many things to do after school! Some students arrange with their teachers to stay for extra help or to make up work. Others go to the Library to study and do homework on their own. Some students can qualify to participate in the Homework Help program. Other after school activities that have been offered in the past include: Art Club, Theater Club, Chess Club, Computer Club, STEAM, Word Games, Wizards and Warriors, Math Counts, Technology Club, Crafts, Crochet Club, Gardening Club, Newspaper, Student Leadership and Service, Yearbook, and intramural programs in floor hockey, field hockey, volleyball, ultimate Frisbee, whiffle ball, and basketball. These activities are open to everyone and provide new kids with an excellent opportunity to meet other kids while having fun.
We also have interscholastic teams for Girls Field Hockey, Boys and Girls Soccer, Girls Volleyball, Boys and Girls Basketball, Cheerleading, Wrestling, Boys Baseball and Girls Softball. Some teams are open only to 7th and 8th graders, others to students in grades 6 through 8. These teams all require try-outs. There is an interscholastic Cross Country Team in the fall and a Track Team in the spring for grades 5 through 8. There are also dances throughout the year that are held in the school Cafeteria for 6th, 7th and 8th graders, as well as two socials each year for 5th and 6th graders.
Students in grades 7 and 8 may also be eligible to become members of our chapter of the National Junior Honor Society. Members of NJHS are selected by a Faculty Council based on evidence of high academic achievement, leadership, service, character and citizenship.
Grade level descriptions:
We know that students grow and change a great deal between 5th and 8th grade, and we do our best to address students’ physical, social, emotional, and academic needs as they grow. Both grades 5 and 6 are composed of three teams consisting of two teachers. One teaches math and science (STEM), and the other teaches reading/language arts and social studies (Humanities). Grades 7 and 8 have two teams consisting of four teachers, with each teaching one of the core subjects. Each student is assigned to a homeroom on the team, but core classes may be with any students on the team. In addition to having the team teachers for core academic subjects, students have additional teachers for specials. These include world language (French or Spanish), art, music (band, chorus or general music), family and consumer sciences, innovation and design, computers, physical education, and health. Students in all grades participate in all special subjects, except for world language, which begins in 6th grade. Specials classes may be with any student in the grade.
The fifth grade classrooms are located on the lower level in the same “pod” in rooms 1-6. Grade 5 teachers focus on basic learning skills in order to develop good work habits as well as academic skills.
Karen Hujsak (Math/Science)
All grade 6 classrooms are housed on the lower level. Grade 6 students attend Environmental School for one week, in the early fall (September 18-22) at Nature’s Classroom in Colebrook, Conn. All forms and information about environmental school are available on our website under the Academic Programs dropdown menu.
Grade 7 classrooms are located on the upper floor. Seventh grade events include the Oxfam Hunger Banquet, Project Safeguard (a health and wellness program for students and parents), and the Global Science Initiative (GSI).
Danielle Service (Lang. Arts)
Cheryl Allison (Lang. Arts)
Sue Sprinkle (Social Studies)
Debbie Hinrichs (Social Studies)
Corey Cranney (Math)
Geoff Bly (Math)
Amanda Rogers (Science)
Tracey Gagne (Science)
Grade 8 classrooms are also on the upper floor. Eighth graders attend a week of Environmental School at Ferry Beach, Maine. Team 8-1 will attend from September 25-29, and team 8-2 will attend from Oct. 2-6. Forms and information about 8th grade environmental school are available on our website under the Academic Programs dropdown menu. Eighth graders also participate in a mock trial unit as part of their social studies curriculum.
Lisanne Foster (Lang. Arts)
Anne Rocchio-Dodge (Lang. Arts)
Barbara McCormick (Social Studies)
Teri Stack (Social Studies)
Heather Hector (Math)
Vicky Leknes (Math)
Bruce Fessenden (Science)
Kelly Kalenik (Science)
Incoming students in grades 7 and 8 will take math assessments to assist in placement.
There is an extensive support system available at AMS. This comprises our principal, deans, learning specialists, speech and occupational therapists, academic and behavioral intervention programs, school psychologists, student support counselor, and school counselors. The school counselors are assigned to specific grade levels and follow the students as they progress through the middle school. They offer in-class guidance programs, counseling groups, and individual and crisis counseling. Please contact your counselor if you have any concerns. (See contact information below.)
AMS is committed to home-school communication. To that end, there are a number of tools for parents and students as well as information sessions for parents. Our school web site (www.sau39.org/ams) contains a wealth of information, including the school calendar, which lists important dates and events, and the student handbook outlining rules and policies. Parents receive weekly e-mails with updates on what’s happening at school, as well as information about upcoming events and activities. All students receive an agenda book, which is used as a homework notebook/communication tool. Another form of communication is i39, which teachers use to post homework assignments and other useful information and resources. Open house in October focuses on curriculum. Monthly Parent Partnership meetings are offered on a variety of topics. Our library also has an excellent parent resource center. If you need to get in touch with someone, all staff members have voice mail extensions and e-mail addresses consisting of their first initial and last name, followed by sprise.com.
There is a lot to learn about a new school! If you have questions, please ask your teacher, counselor or fellow students. We are all here to help you have the best learning experience possible and a happy, successful year.
Grade 6 and Grade 5 Bellipanni/McCarthy team: Deb Dionne x 7129
Grade 7 and Grade 5 Hujsak/Mahar team: Dan Farina x 7130
Grade 8 and Grade 5 Steenhoek/Wright team: Maggie Kim x 7106