Hillside Middle School Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome to Hillside Middle School. The HMS PTO has developed this brief pamphlet to answer a few of the common questions that parents and students have. We hope this will be helpful to you and make the transition to Hillside easier.

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What options does my child have for lunch?

Your child may choose to bring a bag lunch or purchase lunch in the cafeteria.  At least two meal options are offered each day, along with an assortment of drinks, chips, ice cream and other snacks.  

How do I pay for lunch?

In order to more efficiently serve the students, it is preferred that lunch be purchased using a My School Bucks account.  Families may sign up and use myschoolbucks.com, an on‐line service that allows parents to deposit money into their child’s account, as well as monitor their child’s lunch account/purchases.  School IDs will be distributed to each student at the beginning of the school year.  This ID contains a PIN number associated with their My School Bucks account in order to obtain a lunch. Until then cash can be used in the cafeteria.  

May my child have a snack and/or drink during class time?

No.  Food and beverages, including water, are generally not allowed during class.  

What is the drop off / pick up line process?

Students may access the building at 7:10 AM each day (they may enter at 7:00 if participating in our morning open gym program, which consists of basketball, soccer and use of the Fitness Center).  First class begins at 7:35.  Students are considered tardy if arriving to class later than 7:35 and will serve a detention the following day. Dismal begins at 2:20 PM each day.  Drop off and pick up both occur on Reservoir Avenue.  Parents are asked to pull over to the side of the road as they approach the school entrance, so children may safely exit.  We ask that children use the crosswalk when crossing the street and stay on the sidewalk.  

How long between classes?

There are 2 minutes in between each class.

Does Hillside have an afterschool program available?

21st Century is an afterschool program run by the Manchester School District within Hillside Middle School.  It is available until 5:00 PM Monday-Friday.  Sign up sheets will go home with your children within the first two weeks of school.  21st Century offers snack and homework help each day, along with a variety of activities that may be selected daily.  Activities include: basketball, dance, hiking, arts & crafts and on Fridays a movie.  Your child may attend 5 days a week or just one or two.  21st Century is funded by the United Way, so the cost is only $5 per child.  Some specific activities require an additional fee.

Is my 6th grader mixed in with 7th and 8th graders during the day?

The 6th grade core classes are clustered together in one area of the school, so for the majority of the day 6th graders are separate.  The Unified Arts classes are held throughout the building, so during those times 6th graders do integrate with other grades.  

How does my child know what bus to take?

During the summer you will receive notification from the Manchester School District as to which bus your child has been assigned, where the bus will pick them up/drop them off and the times of each.  If you do not receive your notification prior to school starting please contact the Manchester School District.

What do I do if my child is absent? Tardy? Has an appointment?

Parents are asked to call HMS in the morning if their child is going to be absent.  If your child is arriving late to school and/or needs to leave early they are asked to bring a note with them to school that day.

Failure to provide documentation for absences and appointments in a timely manner will result in an unexcused absence.

When can my student go to their locker?

Students are allowed to go to their locker at the beginning of the day, prior to Period A, before/after lunch, and then at the end of the day.  

Does my child need a special type of locker for his/her locker?

Students need to provide locks for their lockers. The combination will be kept with their Enrichment teacher in case the number is forgotten.

Where are backpacks stored?

Students are asked to keep their backpacks inside their lockers during the day.

Is there a cell phone policy?

Yes.  Students are allowed to have their phones at school.  They are to be turned off prior to entering the building, and not turned on again until they have exited the building after dismissal.  Cell phones are to be kept in lockers all day, and students are to provide the lock.  If the student is found to be in possession of the found and/or using the phone during the day, the phone will be taken until a parent can pick it up and disciplinary action is also possible.  There is no need for a cell phone during the day.  Students have access to telephones in every classroom and the office.

How do I volunteer?

Volunteer opportunities are available, but the Manchester School District requires all volunteers to be cleared by means of a background check. A form is available on‐line at the school district website: MSD Volunteer Information

Are tutoring services available?

The district has partnered with the FEV Tutoring program. The link is here: FEV TUTORING

How do I keep up on what is happening at school?

All parents should have a Parent Portal account in Aspen, the school’s student information system.  This gives you regular access to your child’s academic information, assignments, grades, etc.  Teachers must post all assignments within 24 hours, all formative (quizzes, smaller assignments) grades within 7 days, all summative (tests, bigger projects) grades within 14 days.  You can also follow the website, the school’s Facebook and the PTO’s Facebook as well.  You are encouraged to join our PTO at any time!

How do I track my child’s progress?

Again, ASPEN Family Portal is available at Hillside for parents who wish to monitor their child's progress. All grades/ homework are updated regularly by your child’s teacher. The same login and password you received in elementary school still applies. New students/parents may receive their login information from the Guidance Department.

What is credit recovery?

Credit recovery is an opportunity for a student to recover grades of D or F earned in a course. VLACS online school and Summer School are options.

What activities are available in which my student may be involved?

A variety of clubs and activities are available to HMS students. Clubs are listed under the Student tab on the HMS website. Clubs include honor societies, community service groups, special interest clubs and recreational clubs. Announcements will be made during the school year inviting students to join and a club fair will be held during lunch where students can get more information on clubs that interest them.

Hillside Middle School also offers a variety of sports options such as:

Fall: Cross Country (boys and girls), Field Hockey (girls), Volleyball (girls), Soccer club (boys and girls)

Winter: Basketball (boys and girls)

Spring: Track (boys and girls)

What does the PTO do?

Most people view PTO as only a fundraising organization.  Fundraising is an activity because PTO funding and support is important to the success of our school. PTO funds help bridge the gap between needs and what is funded by the state and local government. However, the PTO also offers additional educational programs for parents and students. PTO is a great way for parents to stay connected to what is going on at HMS.

If you are interested in attending a PTO meeting we’d love to see you.  If you have any questions the PTO can be reached at hillsidepto@gmail.com.

Do I need to buy specific clothes for PE class?

No, special clothes are not required. However, students are asked to change into athletic wear that they bring from home.

Does my student have a homeroom?

Each student attends Enrichment class, the equivalent of Homeroom, during the day.  In addition to distributing important school information, Enrichment is used as a chance for students to get extra help, visit the library and work on homework.  Enrichment time is also used as an extra lesson opportunity for curriculum such as creative writing and math problem solving.

What if my child is interested in participating in orchestra, band or chorus?

Orchestra, band and chorus are Unified Arts classes that will be taken as part of their regular day.  If your child is interested please notify your current elementary orchestra, band or chorus teacher.  Each elementary teacher will pass that information along to HMS.  Please also inform Hillside Assistant Principal Sara Loughlin.  Parents were also requested to fill out a form to request those performing groups.  Here is the link: request https://forms.gle/T5nYfLqCdSw3Cytg9

What other Unified Arts classes might my student take?

Each student is assigned two Unified Arts classes each semester.  Integrated Arts classes include: Art, Computer Science, Technology (Woodshop), Family & Consumer Science, Health, Language Arts Essentials, Math Essentials, Guided Support, General Music, Spanish, French and Physical Education. If your child has elected to take Orchestra, Band or Chorus it will count as one of their Unified Arts classes.

Can my child take books out of the library?

Your child may visit the library as part of a class, for a special project, or they may ask to visit during their Enrichment class.  Children are allowed to check out books using their school ID for two weeks at a time.