1. Know the new start times – Montgomery County Public Schools will start and end at slightly different times this year after the Board of Education pushed back start times for middle schools and high schools earlier this year.
- High schools – 7:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
- Middle schools – 8:15 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Elementary schools (tier 1) – 9 a.m. to 3:25 p.m.
- Elementary schools (tier 2) – 9:25 a.m. to 3:50 p.m.
2. Stop by a student orientation day – Students looking to familiarize themselves with a new school may want to attend Thursday’s orientation sessions at each county middle and high school to meet teachers and tour their school. The orientation days vary for elementary schools, so parents should contact their schools for more information.
3. Attend the back-to-school fair – MCPS is hosting its annual informational fair from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Carver Educational Service Center at 850 Hungerford Drive, Rockville. The event will include curriculum information, health screenings, immunizations for incoming seventh graders as well as entertainment and children’s activities.
4. Check the bus routes – The school system has updated its bus routes to coordinate with the new school start times and each school’s bus schedule is posted on the MCPS website. If you have questions about a bus route, the school system also has a contact list for area transportation managers and dispatchers who may be able to help.
5. Fill out a student emergency information yellow card – Schools ask that students fill out emergency information cards that will be filed at their schools. The card includes parent or guardian contact info as well as details about a student’s medical needs such as prescribed medications or allergies. The school system makes the blank cards available online in multiple languages. The information also provides the school system with a way to contact parents about school closings, illnesses or other updates. The cards and other forms parents need to fill out are typically sent home with students on the first day of school.
6. Check out the 2015-2016 school calendar – Just one week after classes begin, county schools close Sept. 7 for Labor Day. Students get two additional days off in September as well—Sept. 14 and Sept. 23. Those days coincide with the Jewish holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, although the holidays aren’t noted on the calendar due to the Board of Education’s decision last year to remove references to religious holidays from the calendar. The full calendar is available here.
7. Don’t forget school supplies – Each school sends out a list of required school supplies in summer mailings or teachers provide a list of supplies once school begins, according to MCPS spokeswoman Gboyinde Onijala. Parents are encouraged to look for this information and make sure their children have the proper supplies.
8. Sign up for Edline – Edline is a web-based system that allows parents to monitor their children’s grades and assignments. The school system has an instructional guide on its website to help parents navigate the registration process so they can follow their children’s progress.
9. Make sure your child’s summer assignments are completed – Middle and high school students received reading and math packets to complete over the summer. The packets vary based on what classes the student is taking in the upcoming school year. Now may be a good time to check with your child to make sure the work is being completed or already done.
10. Consider using MySchoolBucks to pay for lunch – MCPS works with the company MySchoolBucks, which enables parents to remotely add money to a child’s lunch money account so the student doesn’t have to bring money to school every day. Cafeterias also accept cash or check prepayment for school lunches. The school system has also posted the 2015-2016 school lunch menus on its website.