What Every Parent Wants to Know about the Issaquah School District- Middle School Information

1. Course Selection: 

  • In March, choose classes for the following year 
  • Packets are sent home with students 
  • Parents select courses through Student Access 
  • Electives (choice classes) 
    • Trimester or full year: Choir, Orchestra, Band, Spanish in 8th grade. 
    • Can choose advanced classes: 
      • 5th going to 6th: Science - if advanced, must choose here and can choose Advanced Math 
      • 6th going to 7th - Math - must choose Advanced Math by 7th grade year. 
      • 6th, 7th and 8th - Language Arts: Can choose Advanced Language Arts each year

      Middle School Science Options Screenshot

      Middle School Math Options Screenshot

2. Middle School Daily Schedule

  • Students move classrooms for each subject
  • 50-55 minutes in each/class subject
  • Each class is called a “period.”  There are 6 or 7 periods daily.
  • 30 minute lunch.
  • No Parent-teacher conference date. Parents contact teacher(s) or counselor to have meeting

3. Grading 

  • Colleges and employers only look at High School Grades/Transcripts.
  • Letter grading: A,B,C,D,F (D is passing; F is failing)
  • Read and keep the Syllabus from each teacher to understand grading expectations.
  • No ranking of students in the school
  • Grade Point Average used. See student handout from school for GPA information

4. Testing 

  • Class tests
    • Teacher writes the test based on curriculum
    • Given several times during the trimester
  • District tests
    • pre-assessments (before trimester)
    • post assessments (after a unit or trimester)
  • State tests in the spring:
    • 6-8th SBA - Smarter Balanced Assessment - math and language arts
    • 8th grade – Washington Comprehensive Assessment of Science
    • **No public/district ranking of student scores

5. ELL (English Language Learner) Program 

  • ELPA21 Test in February/March each year 
  • ELL students take one ELD (English Language Development) class
  • This class focuses on academic language needed for content class.
  • It takes the place of an elective class.
  • The designation “ELL” will not put be on high school transcripts. *Unless the student takes a high school ELD class in high school.

6. PBSES (Positive Behavior Social and Emotional Support) 

  • Creates positive school culture
  • Students know they are cared for by adults
  • Reduces negative student behavior
  • PBSES Coach at each middle school

7. Homework Expectations

  • Depends on teacher – find out at Curriculum Night or on the teacher’s website.
  • Posted on website and students write in their planners
  • Check Gradebook to see if student did homework
  • In some classes, students can turn in late work and make up assignments
  • If they have a question, they can email teacher or stop by before/after school
  • Schools offer after school help for many classes.
  • Check website for additional resources.

8. Classroom Expectations

  • Learning conversations 
  • Critical-thinking questions 
  • Students participate actively, with teacher and peers
  • Students are encouraged to ask questions about lessons in class. 

9. Communications with the teacher

  • No official Parent Teacher conference at middle school
  • You can request a meeting with the teacher to discuss your child’s progress at anytime during the school year.
  • If concerned about grades in a specific class, call or email the teacher 
  • Phone interpreters are available (Language Line) 
  • Social, behavior or emotional concern – contact the school counselor.

10. Online Resources for Families – Teacher websites and Family Access

  • Students use teacher websites to:
    • check homework
    • do assignments, such as blog, upload files
    • Has syllabus information (expectations for class, tests and homework), calendar and contact information
  • Family Access
    • Main method of accessing information about student for parents
    • Provides parents with attendance, test scores and grades (report cards)
    • Teachers update grades on Family Access every week to three weeks
    • Family access has a Language Translating Function. Family Access webpages can be translated in nearly 100 languages.
    • You can set notifications on Family Access to inform you if a grade is a certain percentage.
    • Schools communicate about absences, send emails and notifications to parents
    • Directions on the Family Access available on website. Family Access

11. Student Absences and Attendance Law

  • Absences impact student grade and learning
  • Communicate with the school about absences!
  • When student is absent, call Attendance Phone number or email the Attendance Email Address (include name of child, teacher, and reason for absence)
  • The district has contact the Juvenile Court, if your child has:
    • 7 unexcused absences in one month
    • 10 unexcused absences in a year

12. Supporting Students with Disabilities 

  • IEP
    • Special education services include individualized, specially-designed instruction in academic, self-help, communication, motor, vocational and social skill areas. 
    • Individual Education Programs (IEPs) are developed at least annually. IEP goals are written for each student based on the results of formal and informal testing and observations. 
    • In order to qualify for special education services (IEP) a child must meet three criteria:
      • Have a disability
      • The disability affects the child’s access to education
      • The child needs Specially Designed Instruction
    • Most supports for students with learning needs are addressed at the school building.
  • 504 Plan
    • The 504 Plan is a plan developed to ensure that a child who has a disability identified under the law and is attending an elementary or secondary educational institution receives accommodations that will ensure their academic success and access to the learning environment.  In order to qualify for special education services (504) a child must meet two criteria:
      • Have a disability
      • The disability affects the child’s access to education

13. School Events/Extracurricular activities

  • Clubs – schools offer a variety of after school clubs at no cost. Check website to see what clubs are at the school and the dates the clubs meet.
  • Sports – schools offer a variety of sports for boys and girls each year. ASB card is required for participation in the sports.  Health physical exams are also required. 

14. ASB Card (Associated Student Body)

  • Students need an ASB card to participate in sports and events.
  • ASB fundraisers – to help support school clubs and sports at the school.  
  • ASB funds pay for many extracurricular activities and sport costs such as transportation, equipment, 
    and uniforms
  • Financial assistance is available.  Students may qualify for a free card.

15. Costs at school

  • Some materials will cost you
    • Clubs or sports (ASB card)
    • Field trips
    • P.E. uniforms 
    • Yearbook 
  • Financial assistance is available. Please ask a school counselor, the school office professional, or the Family Partnership Team. All requests are kept completely confidential.

16. PTSA – Parent Teacher Student Association and Issaquah Schools Foundation 

  • Fundraisers for materials and programs
  • Holds events such as Culture nights
  • Communication and partnership with school
  • Family and Community Engagement (FACE) liaison

17. Parent Participation and Volunteers

  • Parents & Teachers work together.  We welcome parents to be involved as partners.
  • Advocate for your child.  Ask questions. Give feedback on curriculum adoption.
  • Attend events such as career fair, athletic events & curriculum night
  • Be a Cultural Ambassador or Cultural Liaison or Interpreter
  • Please complete the volunteer form to volunteer in the building.