PARENT – TO – PARENT FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
This Parent-to-Parent FAQ is written by CPMA parents for CPMA parents, and may not reflect the opinions of the school, the district, or anyone else other than the authors. This is intended to be a living document, so please contribute! If you have a question not answered here, or you have an alternative answer for a question listed here, or just have information helpful to other parents, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Schedules/First day of school:
Q. What are the bell times for CPMA?
A. School starts at 9am, and ends at 4pm on regular days, and at 2pm on minimum days. Every day the first week of school are all full days. Beginning the second week, most Tuesdays will be minimum days. Homeroom will meet once a week on Wednesdays. Check the daily bulletin on the school’s website for the most up to date schedule.
Q. When will my child receive their schedule?
A. All schedules are provided on the first day of school.
Q. What will happen the first day of school?
A. All 6th grade students will report to our large Performing Arts theatre (the PAC). They will look up their home room teacher, then pick up their schedule. They will spend most of their first day at Orientation in the PAC. They will learn everything they need to know to be successful at CPMA. New and returning 7th and 8th graders will find their schedule in the quad. New 7th and 8th graders will be notified of their orientation.
Q. What do we need to bring the first day of school?
A. Your student, a pencil and paper are the essentials, plus a lunch if you like (school lunch is free for all students). 6th grade students spend the first days in orientation, so don’t need much in the way of supplies the first day.
Q. Is there an Orientation for parents and family members?
A. Yes. The first day of school, while your child is at orientation, there will be a Parent Orientation. This is usually in the Black Box theatre. At this orientation, you will learn all about CPMA and you will have a chance to ask any questions you may have. Translators and headsets are usually available for the orientations.
Q. What if there’s a problem with my child’s schedule?
A. If your child’s schedule isn’t working out for some reason, talk to one of the counselors. Schedule changes at middle school can be complicated, and so are discouraged, but if there’s a problem the school staff will do their best to work it out.
Q. The bell schedule looks really confusing.
A. The rotating block schedule seems to be more confusing for parents than for students. I was surprised at how quickly my child and the other new students adapted. The extra time in class works well for projects and rehearsals, and the extra elective is important to a lot of students involved in multiple art forms. Most other middle schools in the district allow for only one elective in 7th and 8th grades.
Q. What school supplies will we need?
A. To start, it’s best to have a binder (1 to 2”) with dividers, some loose-leaf paper, several single-subject spiral notebooks and pencils. And a LARGE backpack - middle schoolers carry a lot of stuff. The school will provide each student with a planner, and a lanyard for their student ID. Optional, but helpful: colored pencils, ruler, highlighters. Sharpies are not allowed on campus. Each teacher will provide their students with a syllabus for class. This syllabus will list the items your child needs.
Q. What if my child loses the planner/lanyard/Student ID?
A. Check with the financial office for replacement planners and Student ID’s. The school provides each student with a planner, lanyard and Student ID for free, and students need to have those with them each school day. The school orders a limited number of extra planners; replacement planners cost $5, cash or check, while supplies last. Replacement IDs also cost $5. Students may bring their own lanyard or use the school lanyard.
Q. Do I need to buy Dance clothes before school starts?
A. No – it’s best to wait and buy dance clothes directly from the school. The school gets a much better price on dance clothes than is typically available in stores, and the dance teachers are great at helping your student figure out what sizes they need. Your student won’t need to change clothes for dance during the first week of school, so there’s no rush.
Q. Do I need to buy PE clothes before school starts?
A. No – your student won’t need to change clothes for PE during the first week of school. You can either buy PE clothes from the financial office at school, or bring clothes that meet the school’s criteria – gray shirt and navy blue shorts. The financial office will be open August 22-24 between 9am and 2pm the week before school begins if you would like to buy PE clothes or order a yearbook before school starts. Check the Bulletin for more information.
Q. What if I can’t afford Dance clothes, PE clothes, or other supplies or production fees?
A. Support is available, so talk to the school – the teacher, a counselor or someone in the office. CPMA works hard to make sure every student can participate in school activities, regardless of financial status.
Q. When does my child need to dress for PE?
A. Usually students will not be required to dress for PE until the 3rd week of school. They will have plenty of time to purchase PE clothes, learn their locker location, and learn their locker combination before dressing for PE is required.
Q. Does my child need to purchase a lock for their PE locker?
A. No. Lockers require a specific type of lock, so all locks are provided by your PE teacher. Students will have time to practice using their lock before they are required to dress for PE. Note that the locker rooms will be under construction in 2017-2018, so students may not have lockers for all or part of the school year.
Q. What about band/orchestra instruments?
A. The school has instruments available to loan to students, or you can bring your own. Instrument donations are welcome!
Q. Is there a dress code?
A. Yes! The dress code is included in the student planner, and is enforced. You can view a copy of the planner at https://www.sandiegounified.org/schools/creative-performing-media-arts/student-planner.
Q. Are students allowed to have cell phones on campus?
A. Yes, but phones and other electronic devices may only be used by students before school begins and after school ends, and some teachers allow students to listen to music or do research using their phones during class. Use during lunch is not allowed.
Q. Will the school/PTSA help arrange carpools?
A. The school will not arrange carpools. If you sign up for Konstella, the PTSA’s communication platform, you can connect with other families in your neighborhood who might be interested in carpooling or just get to know other families in their area. The PTSA will help you make these contacts, but will not be responsible for arranging carpools, running background checks, etc. If you are interested in participating, look for our school at www.konstella.com.
Q. Any tips for drop-off/pick-up?
A. The configuration of streets around CPMA makes traffic before and after school very congested. Arriving early for drop-off and late for pick-up helps - the closer to the bell, the heavier the traffic. For pick-up, arrange a place to meet your student. If it’s directly in front of the school expect a long line of cars! Please observe all posted rules, and do not let your child enter or leave your car in the middle of the road.
Q. How early can I drop off my student?
A. Campus usually opens at 8am on school days. There is a Prime Time program at CPMA, which starts at 7am. See SanDiegoUnified.org for details on the Prime Time program.
PowerSchool/Keeping up with student progress:
Q. Can I see my student’s grades online?
A. Yes, CPMA uses PowerSchool, which parents/guardians can use to view assignments and grades for each of your child’s classes. Your child will be given their login at school. You can login using your child’s login id, or see a counselor to set up a parent account. Most teachers are good about keeping PowerSchool up to date; parents should feel free to email teachers with questions about missing assignments.
Q. How much homework should I expect?
A. Although teachers are free to set their own homework policies, the administration discourages excessive homework, so you should expect less than an hour of homework each day. Many teachers provide adequate time for assignments in class, so that your student will only have homework if they did not complete all of their classwork. Check the syllabus for each class for homework expectations.
Q. Will there be parent/teacher conferences with all of my child’s teachers?
A. You’ll have an opportunity to meet your student’s teachers briefly at Back to School Night in September. There will be several days scheduled for parent/teacher conferences in the fall and winter, but conferences are typically offered only for students with low grades. However, you can ask for a parent/teacher conference any time, even if your child is not earning low grades. Email your child’s teachers to arrange to meet with them.
Q. How will I hear about school events?
A. The school communicates with parents mostly through weekly “dialers” sent by phone and email; make sure the office has your contact information so that you don’t miss important announcements. The school website has a daily bulletin with a lot of information on what is happening on campus. And don’t forget to sign up for PTSA newsletters at www.cpmaptsa.com or through Konstella. by joining the PTSA or emailing us at email@example.com.
Q. Does the school have a security plan?
A. Yes, and the security plan is reviewed and updated yearly. Vice Principal Morris hosts a meeting each year to discuss the plan with parents, and is always happy to answer questions.
Q. What about bullying?
A. CPMA takes bullying very seriously, and any reported incidents will be addressed by the administration. Overall, the incidence of bullying at CPMA seems low compared to other middle schools - you’re more likely to see a flash mob than a fight at lunch. As an arts school, our kids tend to be pretty tolerant of differences. If you do hear of a problem, please bring it to the administration immediately.
Q. Does CPMA have a PTA and if so, how can I join?
A. Yes! Last year was the first year of our new Creative, Performing & Media Arts PTSA (CPMA PTSA for short) formed in May 2016 and the PTSA was has been able to help in many ways on campus. You can join online at http://www.cpmaptsa.com/membership/. Membership is $10. PTSA members will be at the orientations and many other school events to get you signed up. Membership envelopes are also in the office.
Q. How can I volunteer to help in my child’s classroom?
A. There are a lot of ways to help out on campus. Much of the volunteer coordination goes through the PTSA. Last year, we We had volunteers help organize schedules, help with orders for dance clothes, work in the garden, help in the counseling office and more. Volunteer forms will be handed out at orientation and will also be in your child’s paperwork registration packet. If you fill this out or sign up for Konstella, you will be added to our sign-up list.
Q. I want to help, but work during the day. Are there volunteer opportunities outside of school hours?
A. Yes! There are many ways to volunteer. Some teachers and staff have take home projects, and there are many opportunities to help on evenings and weekends. PTSA board meetings are typically held in the evenings, so that working parents can take on board positions, and committees meet at times convenient for its members. Volunteer forms will be handed out at orientation and will also be in your child’s paperwork registration packet. If you fill this out or sign up for Konstella, you will be added to our sign-up list.
Q. I’d like to make a donation. Where’s the best place to donate to benefit the school?
A. If there’s a specific program at school that you want to support, you can make a donation directly to the school for that program. See the school office for a donation form. The PTSA supports a variety of programs at school, and welcomes donations - you can donate online at www.cpmaptsa.com, or drop off a check in the school office. Many teachers have wish lists on their websites, and are happy to accept donations of needed items or gift cards.
Q. How does the PTSA raise funds?
A. We made make most of our money last year with one huge Cookie Dough sale push in the fall; this, together with donations and other small fundraisers allowed us to provide much needed grant money to teachers and staff in all areas on campus. We participate in Benefit Mobile, AmazonSmile, Ralphs/Food4Less Community Rewards, Box Tops for Education, and last year we held a few restaurant fundraisers. We’re always open to new fundraising ideas!
Q. What can the PTSA do about the staff/teacher layoffs (including librarians in school), and arts and music courses that have been removed due to funding cuts?
A. We don’t expect the layoffs to significantly affect the arts at CPMA. Class sizes are not being increased, so we expect the school to receive its full allocation of teachers, including those who teach electives, and our Title I funding will not be affected. We really won’t know the effects of budget cuts school-wide until school starts, but we don’t think it will affect the arts and music courses at our school. The PTSA raised enough funds last year to support about $8,500 in mini-grants to our school, and we hope to raise more next year. We will be working closely with our principal, teachers and staff to determine how best we can use PTSA funds to support the school.
Q. What are the PTSA’s plans for other fundraising events to offset the loss of the box tops contribution?
A. The Box Tops for Education program is still ongoing. A bill has been introduced to the California legislature that would prohibit schools from participating in that program and other programs that advertise “unhealthy” foods and beverages. If this bill passes, not only would Box Tops be discontinued; serious limitations would be placed on our ability to run the Cookie Dough fundraiser that was SO successful last year. You can look up AB 841 at leginfo.legislature.ca.gov; then let your state assembly person know how you feel.
Q. Are there after school programs at CPMA?
A. Because such a large percentage of students take the bus home, there aren’t a lot of after school activities on campus. Tutoring is offered in core subjects on Tuesdays and Thursdays; a late bus is available on those days. Students participating in performing arts will have some after school rehearsals and performances. The district offers the Prime Time program for after school care; you can apply online at www.sandiegounified.org/primetime.
Q. I work - how am I going to get my kid to after school rehearsals?
A. After school rehearsals usually start at 5pm or right after school. For 5pm rehearsals, check with your student’s teacher to see if students can just stay after school. For longer rehearsals or performance days, there is usually pizza available for purchase, or you can send a meal to school with your child.
This is just the start! Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org