Student and Parent/Guardian: Question you have about middle school?Answer
Any chance of an in person tour?At this time, students are not allowed in any HCPSS school building. With county guidance, we will plan our new student orientations in August.
Will the new students have an opportunity to tour the school, run through their schedule and open their locker, regardless of when school opens (whether that be in the fall or in the new year)?Students typically come in the Thursday before school starts. Students get to practice their locker combo, go through their schedules, meet teachers, etc...
What will be done to make the new students feel welcome?We will hold orientations for students in August where there is a buddy system of sorts – we have a program called WEB which is made up of 8th grade student leaders who help welcome new students to BBMS.
In the event that it isn't possible to host a 6th grade orientation for incoming students, what alternative plans could be offered to help students acclimate to a new building, schedule, lockers, etc., that can really only be done in person.If we cannot hold a live orientation, then we would determine guidance documents to supply all information a student would need. This would include a school map, specific directions on how to open a locker and where the locker is, as well as other key information. We will also have staff and WEB leaders available to help students when they come in.
What are the teachers like?We have a passionate staff that cares about the academic success and socio-emotional well-being of all students. Staff will support your child in any way possible.
What change will it bring ? Will the change have slow transition or would it be drastic sudden?Students typically have an easy time finding their way around the building.
How is the staff going to support my child if they are struggling with transitioning to a new school as a result of redistricting?Communicating the struggles with teachers and couselors will be a great start. We are here to help with the transition. Counselors plan new student meetings during lunches in the beginning of the year and periodically throughout the year.
Will the new coming students due to redistricting will be provided with any types of help to adjust themselves to the new environment from school?WEB Leaders, which consist of 8th grade students, will help the new students become acclimated to the environment. Additionally, Ms. Koslwski, Ms. Butler, and Ms. Sneller are the staff sponsors of the WEB leaders and are on the 7th grade team.
When will 7th graders get locker and schedule information?Our plan is still to have an in person orientation in August. Students will receive locker assignments and schedules at that time. If the need arises, we will create alternative plans based on HCPSS decisions.
Is it hard ?School is not hard if you keep up the work and stay focused. If you ever have questions, ask!!
When will we get the supplies list?A supply list will be one the BBMS website. The following is a link to the 2019-2020 list,
How do we sign our children up for classes?The courses were discussed at the elementary level and shared with parents for approval in the winter of 2019-2020.
Do I get to choose my classes?Everyone takes ELA, MATH, Science, and SS. Course levels were determined by your elementary school.
What elective courses are offered? Performing arts is the only choice students have in the 6th grade.
Can I learn a new language there?In 7th and 8th grade, students will have the opportunity to take Spanish or French.
What is different in middle schoolLunch/recess is 30 min total, 50 min classes, 7 classes each day, students transition on their own to each class and to lunch/recess, no need to walk in a line, etc...
Expectation from students and commitments from parents; would it increase gradually ?Our teachers work with students and their families to acclimate the child to the new middle school environment. The expectations will increase gradually and begin with a focus on social-emotional well-being.
How long it will take to adjust?This will vary based on your child. However, it is quicker than you will think . There are so many people in the building that will help you and your child adjust if you are having difficulty. It is important to advocate /ask questions!
How to effectively make sure our child is transitioned particularly with the lack of in person academic interactions since MarchOur teachers communicate through vertical articulation with all of the elementary school feeders. Additionally, our staff will formatively assess students to see where learinng gaps may have occured. We understand that the last few months have been challenging for everyone and will work with our students to meet them where they are and help them succeed.
How much care you are taking for girls when they are moving from Elementary to MiddleWe take special care of all of our students. Teachers and support staff know the transition is different. They are available for questions and concerns throughout the day.
How are you going to help the new students transition to a new middle school at this difficult time of social distancing?We will be working together over the summer to determine how we will work with studetns if we continue social distancing
How much time does it usually take for kids to adjust to the middle school environment? How does the school helps kids who are struggling to cope up with the fast pace:opening lockers, running from one class to another, missing on classes due to absence and the process to make up?Students usually are feeling comfortable by the second week. Teachers and support staff are constantly monitoring hallways all year during class change to help with lockers and to guide students to correct classes. Teachers will introduce their absence and make up work policy to students within the first week.
What should students and parents expect in the first few weeks as they transition to middle school? BBMS staff will work with students to get them acclimated to the middle school environment. We encourage parents to attend Back to School Night, in addition to checking each course's Canvas page. The Canvas page will provide information about the teacher, the course and any upcoming assignments.
What's the day to day schedule like?Each student will attend seven 50 minute classes with a 30 min. lunch/recess. Students also have 2-minutes to transition from class to class. All students will take ELA, Math, Science and Social Studies each day. Please see the BBMS website for times of classes.
Do we have the same related arts everyday or different ones?Beginning in the 20-21 school year, Related Arts classes will be on a quarterly rotation. You will have the same related arts class every day for an entire quarter. Every student will take PE for 2 quarters
Can you stay inside the whole recess/lunch or do you have to go outside.Students have the option to go outside or stay in the cafeteria for recess.
Can we bring our phones to class?Students are allowed to bring their own devices (phones, tablets, & E-readers). Students can ONLY use their devices for instructional purposes and at lunch. Students and parents assume full responsibility for their personal property.
Can students carry their backpacks all day? If not, do we have limited time to get our school supplies for the next class?Students do not carry their backpacks all day. Students can visit their locker before homeroom, before lunch, after lunch, and at the end of the school day.
Which way do you turn first to open your locker?You turn to the right (Clockwise)
How will I remember my locker combination and where will I get it if I forget it?You can write it in your agenda book or put number in your phone. If you lose it, go to Student Services or the Front Office.
What after-school activities are available?There are many after-school options available and they can vary from year to year. Several popular recurring activities include Student Council, Art Club, Step Team, the BBMS Musical, Homework Help, SAGA, Basketball and more! A list of this year's clubs can be found at Please reach out directly to the staff member for more information. Lastly, BBMS ran a pilot program called, Recreation Inspired Sports for Everyon (RISE), in partnership with Howard County Recreation and Parks. We will continue this program next year with hopes of running a fall program. Please contact Ms. Gannon for more information.
When will school clubs start?Intramurals typically begin in October.
Is there a Step team?Ms. Anna Gannon runs the BBMS Step-Team which is open to all grade levels. Please contact her with any questions.
How can I be on TV crew?Please contact Ms. Janine Sharbaugh, G/T Resource teacher for information. BBMS has a variety of instructional seminars available to all students including TV Crew for morning announcements, Book Club, Computer Programming, Debate Club, Film Institute, and so much more!
Is there a drama club?There is a Drama club. We will be having students perform the musical Shrek next year.
Will I be able to join Orchestra, chorus, Step and Drama club? Or will there be a limit?
You will have a choice on which performing art you will take in school, band, chorus, or orchestra. You are allowed to join more than one after school club.
Will students be directed to their own buses like Elementary school did?Students will be asked to find their buses on their own. However, multiple staff members and administrators are out with the buses to ensure everyone gets on safely.
Transportation.Students arrive to BBMS by walking, car drop off in the back of the school or by bus.
Bus time and location Bus times and locations will be realeased by the HCPSS Transportation office in August. Students are allowed in the building at 8:00 am.
Can you sit with your friends on the bus or are the seats assignedThere are no assigned seats on buses.
Canvas expectations and experience will change, whether middle school is virtual or in person. As a parent, I'd like concise guidance on how to best support with the transition.Canvas is a resource our teachers will use to post assignments, input grades, communicate with students and provide additional resources. Each teacher has their own Canvas course that you and your student will be able to access. Teachers from the very beginning of the school year work with students to help them understand how Canvas will be used in their course. If you have have difficulty, please contact Hannah Verlich, our media specialist for help.
How do students use Canvas in middle school?Students use canvas many different ways. They use it to check grades, calendar, email, take quizzes, etc...
Is the schoolwork generally hands-on, or instructional.Our teachers use a variety of instructional pedagogy to meet the learning needs of the diverse student population in their class.
How much homework is there?Students should expect daily homework assignments given by staff. The assignments will vary based on content and level. Our teachers follow the HCPSS guidelines of an average of, at most, one hour of homework per week in each class.
Do you give hw over the weekend?This will vary for each class. There are some cases where homework is given over the weekend.
How to help out with homeworkPromoting the use of the student agenda book and keeping up to date with the assignments on Canvas are the best ways to help your child. In addition, HCPSS has online resources to help parents, such as Lastly, please reach out to the specific teacher with questions. Helping a child succeed takes a team effort.
How is the student climate and behavior on campus? As a gold-medal Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports Program (PBIS) School, we create a safe school environment where students are comfortable learning and recognizing the value and diversity of others. A growing number of student-led groups, including Student Council, Math Mentors, and WEB Leaders give students a voice in developing their leadership while creating a positive learning environment for all. Our mission focuses on three schoolwide principles: readiness, responsibility and respect. Students at Bonnie Branch Middle School are challenged by rigorous academics and supported by a variety of shared learning experiences that enrich the standard curriculum.
What are current school strategies to actively prevent kids exposure to drugs and bullies?PBIS a school-wide program that fosters positive behaviors in our students. The Positive Behavior Intervention and Support program is built around the Bonnie Branch Middle School 3Rs, which encourages students to be Ready, Respectful, and Responsible. PBIS provides the framework for educators to teach behaviors consistent with the 3Rs, reward students who follow its principles, and consistently apply corrective consequences for those who do not. Additionally, our health curriculum discusses the topic drugs and the negative effects they have.
How do you handle bully or verbal/physical harassment among students.We ask students to report any bullying/harrassement to any staff member at BBMS. Admininstration will then complete an investigation and follow the Student Code of Conduct in addition to HCPSS Policy 1060: Bullying, Cyberbullying, Harassment or Intimidation.
How will the school ensure student safety in the building, especially hallways etc?Staff and administration monitor hallways during transitions. We also have a Student Resource Officer, Officer Shiplett, to help promote safety among students.
Safety protocol regarding school violenceAll HCPSS schools have an extensive Emergency Preparedness plan that is reviewed with school staff at the beginning of each year. We run emergency drills based on direction from the HCPSS Office of Safety and Security. Additionally, we have a Student Resource Officer assigned to BBMS every other day.
How big are the classrooms?We have various size classrooms just like in elementary school. Science classrooms have lab stations and desks so they are slighly larger in size. Generally, they rooms are similar in size to your elementary classrooms.
How many students per class?The classes will vary in size. Typically there are between 22 - 28 students in a classroom.
What social opportunities are available for students to connect outside of class?Lunch/recess, after school activities, and PTA sponsored events.
Do you sell school merchandise?Yes. We do a fall spirit wear sale where we offer numerous items- hoodies, pj pants, a variety of styles if shirts- long and short sleeve. Families pick the size, color, and style - pay up front, and we order. When it comes in - we deliver to kids during shark tutorial to take home. The sale is usually held in October.
Can we reach out to teachers over email if we have any question?Parents can communicate with teacher through email or through the Canvas Inbox. All staff emails can be foung on the BBMS website. Additionally, please feel free to call BBMS to leave a message for a teacher. The teacher will return your call. Lastly, the only parent-teacher conferences in middle school are offered in November.
What does sex education look like in middle school? Our health teachers follow the guidance of HCPSS Health curriculum. Concepts are tiered based on age-appropriate topics. Specific information can be found at,
What are the plans for the fall? We know there are many questions about what the new school year will look like. At this time, there has been no official word on the mode of instruction that will take place. Please refer to the HCPSS website for the most up to date information from Dr. Martirano. Here at BBMS, we will always work hard to ensure every student will be engaged in rigorous instruction in a strengths-based classroom that uses real-life experiences to maximize student learning.
When do classes start?The first day of school for students is set for Tuesday, August 25.
Will we still go on the 6th grade field trip (Outdoor ED)?Currently, we do not have information regarding field trips or outdoor ed. This will be determined after the county releases the educational model that will be used.
In the event that distance learning is the mode of instruction at the start of the new year, what can be done to help incoming 6th graders transition to new classes, teachers and expectations when they have never physically been present in those classes, or met their teachers.In the event of virtual learning, our staff will prepare virtual lessons that involve getting to know the students. Our staff members value the relationships they have with students and desire to make connections. We will plan to take the process slow to ensure each student is comfortable. Additonally, we complete vertical articulation with all of our elementary school feeders.
What will school look like in Fall if return to school and if not, how does Connected Learning work in middle school?Currently, each class meets once a week for 45 minutes on Google Meet. Each class provides a weekly assignment that is posted on Monday at 9:00 am and due on Friday at 10:00 am. HCPSS will provide us with the model to use in the fall.