Toddler and Preschool: Drop off takes place from 8:15-8:30 a.m. Half-day hours begin at 8:30 a.m. and pick-up is at 12:00 p.m. Full day pick-up is at 3:00 p.m. To accommodate families who have older children attending the Lower School, a before-care program is available beginning at 8:00 a.m.
Pre-Kindergarten: Half-day hours are from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Pre-kindergarten hours are also from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. It is imperative that Pre-K parents pick up students promptly at 12:00 p.m. in the classroom. If your student attends only in the morning, please park in the Visitor Parking Lot for pick up. For those students whose parents have opted for the extended day, the hours are 8:30 a.m. to 3:05 p.m.
Homeroom begins at 8:20 a.m. Students are expected to be present in their homerooms and ready to begin the school day no later than 8:20 a.m. After 8:20, students are “tardy;” after five tardies, a student will get an after-school detention.
First period starts at 8:30 a.m. Instructional periods vary in length according to grade level and subject area.
Students in Pre-K through grade 4 are escorted out of the building at 3:05 p.m. by their grade-level teachers. Middle School students (grades 5-8) are dismissed at 3:12 p.m. Students who have not been picked up by 3:30 p.m. will be sent to after-school care for which their parents must pay an extra fee. Parents should make every effort to pick up their children at the designated time.
For the protection of our students, the Lower School building is locked from 8:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. During school hours, visitors are asked to activate the buzzer and identify themselves at the main entrance on Wyoming Avenue.
Early Childhood (Toddler, Preschool, Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten)
The early childhood programs are tailored to meet the developmental needs of children aged 18-months to six years old. The class sizes are small, and the learning environments are modified appropriately for these ages. The curricula are coordinated with the entire Wyoming Seminary program and are integral to the early childhood program. Specials (i.e. chorus, library skills, creative movement and physical education) are introduced in Pre-K. Art, music and foreign language classes are added in kindergarten and are offered once a week.
Primary (grades 1 – 4)
To accommodate the children’s tremendous growth in grades 1 – 4, each grade has a team of teachers who work together to nurture individual needs. In grades 1 – 4, children are assigned to a homeroom teacher who is responsible for most of their learning, especially in language literacy and mathematics. For given units of study, the grade-level team of teachers may meet with all the children, depending on their needs. Introductory foreign language classes (French and Spanish) are offered once per week in kindergarten and first grade, and twice a week in second grade. Third and fourth grades meet for foreign language every other day. Specials (i.e., art, chorus, library skills, music and physical education) continue through the elementary grades.
Middle School Division (grades 5-8)
Upon entering the Middle School, students are grouped in two or more sections depending upon overall class size. They may be placed in these sections according to their instructional needs. Sectioning in some classes is determined by performance in school during the previous year, by standardized test scores and by teacher recommendations. Aside from sectioning for developmental reasons, we also try to create different groupings in other subjects so that a child may spend some time with other students at his or her grade level. These different groupings help to promote social as well as academic growth.
Each middle school student takes the four major academic subjects (English, mathematics, science and social studies). In our middle school transitional grade 5, instruction occurs in a combination of self-contained and departmentalized classes; the students move from classroom to classroom. Most fifth graders and sixth graders take French or Spanish five days a week or study skills. Seventh and eighth graders take French or Spanish and/ or Latin. Critical reading, enrichment reading and study skill classes are offered in the seventh and eighth grades. Depending on students’ particular needs, these special courses may be taken in lieu of a foreign language with guidance gained from a psychoeducational report.
Middle school students also take concomitant courses in art, computer (grades 5-6 only), health, music and physical education. Physical education schedules are different for each grade. There is also a daily activities period that is used for assemblies, band/chorus rehearsals, occasional study halls and various other activities.
The grade-level team of teachers discusses and reviews students’ academic and social progress in the middle school. If a given student’s academic performance has deteriorated significantly, the grade-level team will meet with her/him to determine what remedies should be adopted or what extra support should be implemented. The student’s parents will also be advised of the situation. In some cases parents may be asked to attend a team meeting to discuss the student’s progress. Sometimes the student may be moved into another section of a given course. In all cases our chief concern is meeting the student’s needs by providing the best possible educational experience and creating the partnership between home and school that will support those needs.
The following formalized procedures should be seen as checkpoints and updates rather than the primary means of communication between home and school.
Two formal parent-teacher conferences are scheduled in October (with the other Primary grades) and at the end of February. The February conferences will be held while the students are in school. The teachers will also complete comments in June.
Elementary teachers schedule conferences with parents to review their children’s academic and social progress in October and April. The teachers of grades 1 - 4 also complete comment reports twice a year in January and June. In June, the fourth graders will receive letter grades included in the comment reports.
Primary Classroom Placement
We strive to arrange well-balanced class sections that represent the school community. Considerable time and effort are focused on trying to achieve the best individual and group placement for each child. We value parental information and take parental input into account when making these important decisions. We also believe that we know how your children function in the school setting. Therefore, we ask that parents do not request a particular teacher. Decisions in placement are based on the professional judgment of our experienced faculty and administration. The final decision rests with the Dean of the Lower School.
In Middle School, teachers write mid-term comments and issue grades at the end of each trimester. One formal parent conference is held in the fall. We recommend that parents meet with their child’s team face-to-face at least once a year. This process helps to ensure that problems can be identified and steps taken toward remediation before the end of the term. A cumulative report card, accompanied by comments whenever necessary, will be sent home at the end of the trimester. The following guidelines are set forth:
|A||100-90||Excellent work of outstanding quality|
|B||89-80||Good and highly proficient work|
|C||79-70||Satisfactory, sound, acceptable work|
|D||69-60||Poor work which satisfies minimal requirements but is deficient in an area|
|F||Below 60||Unsatisfactory work which fails to satisfy minimal requirements|
Plus and minus designations are added to grades in order to communicate more precisely the quality of the student’s achievements.
An academic honors list is compiled for grades 6-8 after each trimester report card has been issued. An explanation of the criteria for each honor roll is stated below. When we compute averages for the seventh- and eighth-grade honor rolls, we weight the grades in the second foreign language and advanced mathematics courses (Algebra B in grade 7, Geometry in grade 8) by an extra 0.5 point.
High Honor Roll: Overall academic average of 10.5* or above
Honor Roll: Overall academic average of 9.0* or above
*No student with a grade of F or in the D range is named to the high honor or honor roll.
Each letter grade is worth the points designated below:
In an effort to facilitate a smoother transition into Middle School, we have instituted the following policy for fifth graders:
• First and second trimesters: report card, no honor roll designation
• Third trimester: report card, honor roll
In cases where an incomplete grade is given, work must be completed before the end of the first week of the new term.
HOMEWORK (GRADES 1-8)
Students in grades 1-8 are assigned homework in their academic subjects. Homework assignments must be done in a timely fashion to benefit the student by preparing her/him for the next day’s instruction. In the middle school, penalties are assessed for failure to complete assigned work on time. In the case of absence due to illness or inclement weather, students are responsible for homework; deadline extensions must be arranged with the teachers. Points are deducted from a student’s trimester grades if he/she has violated homework policy.
The grade-level teams have determined the following parameters for the amount of time their students are expected to spend in doing homework each day.
• Grade 1: 15 minutes
• Grade 2: 15-30 minutes
• Grade 3: 30-45 minutes
• Grade 4: 1 hour plus 20 minutes of reading
• Grade 5: 1-1.5 hours
• Grade 6: 1-1.5 hours
• Grade 7: 1.5-2 hours
• Grade 8: 2-2.5 hours
Please note that eighth graders taking two foreign languages and algebra or geometry may have to spend up to three hours a day in preparation for their classes.
We administer standardized tests (CTP 4 of the Educational Records Bureau) to all students in grades 3 - 8 during the spring term. We then share the results of these tests with parents during the summer. Eighth graders also take the SSAT as part of the admission/transition process to the Upper School. If you have any questions about these tests and the interpretation of their scores, please contact one of the deans or the testing coordinator.
An evaluation may be recommended to provide parents and teachers with information as to how best to help a student who seems to be struggling or not fulfilling his/her potential in the school setting.
After a physical examination has been done to rule out any biological causes for a student’s difficulties, a psychoeducational assessment may be warranted.
A good evaluation will identify areas of strength and weakness and should provide strategies and recommendations to help the child. A valid report is an important tool for teachers. Reports are confidential, kept in a secure location in the appropriate dean’s office, and will be returned to parents when the student leaves Wyoming Seminary.
Once parents are ready to consult a professional for assessment, how do they sort through the maze of psychiatrists, psychologists, neurologists and so on? How do they know who is best qualified to deal with their child’s needs?
An in-depth handout is available through the learning support teacher, the testing coordinator, school counselor or the dean, which explains the differences between the various kinds of professionals in this field, how to make the best choice, and questions to ask the professional.
When an assessment is undertaken because of difficulties arising in the school setting, it is vital that the child’s teachers be part of the evaluation process. They will have observations and insights which are necessary for a valid and accurate report.
Standard protocol for an adequate evaluation should include: a history of concerns, rating scales and other data from parents and key teachers; an interview and problem-rating scale (depending on age) from the student; psychological and educational testing. Copies of any available school reports and any previous psychological or neurological evaluations should be provided to the evaluator.
The school has also started a resource library with books and videos which address issues commonly faced by children.
Parents who have questions or need information concerning this or other issues, they should contact the learning support teacher, testing coordinator, their child’s teacher, the counselor or the dean.