Rising 6th Grade Transition

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Link to Rising 6th Orientation Video for Students

6th Grade Frequently Asked Questions

The following are frequently asked questions about the transition to middle school and the 6th  grade.  Please do not hesitate to contact the Williamsburg Counseling Department at 703-228-5450.

  1. What does my child’s day look like in 6th grade?
    1. The middle school day begins at 7:50 am  and finishes at 2:35pm.
    2. Students are on a block schedule at WMS.  We have A, B and Anchor Days.  Anchor Days means all your classes in one day and no Wolf Time.In 6th grade all your core classes are at the beginning of your day. You will have PE and your elective choice at the end of the day.
    3. When you get your schedule, your 6th grade TA teachers will spend time helping you write a schedule that is easier to read and will spend time practicing how to open your locker.  Your 6th grade TA teachers will also be taking you on tours the first week of school.
  2. What are the core classes?
    1. Core classes consist of English, Math, American Studies, Science and Reading.
  3. Does Health and PE meet every day?
    1. PE is also a block in your student’s schedule, so PE will meet based on the period it is in the schedule. Students meet in health classes for a few weeks each quarter where they will receive health content and lessons from the Student Services Department.
  4. What are the choices for the elective period?
    1. The elective period can be filled with instrumental music, chorus or an exploratory rotation that may include visual arts, theater arts, technology education, family and consumer science, computer keyboarding applications, a world language and/or journalism. Please see the middle school Program of Studies for descriptions of these classes. Additional options are described in these pages but are not offered at Williamsburg.
  5. How are students placed in core classes?
    1. In looking at our students who have been identified as gifted, we cluster those students together in classes for contents where they have been identified. The Gifted Talented Coordinator, Kristie Board, at Williamsburg will work with teachers to differentiate in the classroom for those students who need an extra challenge.
    2. Math placements are based on the 5th grade end of the year data, to include 5th grade math SOL scores and Math Inventory scores.   6th graders will be placed in either Math 6 or Pre-Algebra for 6th Graders.
  6. I understand my student will be assigned to a team. How are those team assignments made?
    1. Teams are assigned somewhat randomly, although we do try to balance gender and academic ability.  We do not take team requests but there are multiple ways to see friends from other teams throughout the day. Only core classes are teamed, electives and Wolf Time are un-teamed.
  7. Is there Extended Day in middle school?
    1. There is a program administered by the Extended Day office at the Ed Center called Check-In. Students in the program can “check in” with staff and then go to after school activities, work with a teacher or go to the Library until 3:30 when they return to Check-In. Check-In closes at 6:00 pm.
  8. What sports activities are available?
    1. Students can participate in both interscholastic and intramural sports. For interscholastic sports, students must have a current physical form dated after May 1st of the current school year and must sign an Athletic Participation Statement.
    2. Tryouts occur afterschool from 2:40-4:10pm. Student athletes must be in good academic standing in order to participate in after-school sports. Interscholastic sports offered at WMS include Basketball, Wrestling, Soccer, Ultimate Frisbee, Cheerleading, Swimming/Diving, Tennis and Track. **Students will not be able to tryout if BOTH the current physical and VHSL forms are not completed and turned in.
    3. Intramural sports do not require a physical to participate. More information related to intramural offerings can be found here:
  9. What other after school activities are there?
    1. There are many clubs and organizations that meet after school, everything from Model UN to Art to Robotics. Not all clubs meet every week so students should listen to announcements in the morning. After school activities are also posted on the WMS website. If your student does not see a club they are interested in, we encourage students to start a club they would like to see. Information
  10. How do parents stay informed of after school activities and other school events?The Williamsburg website is the best source for up to date information. The morning announcements that students hear in Teacher Advisory (TA) are also posted on the Williamsburg website in the quick links.
  11.  In elementary school we had Friday folders. How do I know how my child is doing?
    1. There is also an electronic grade book StudentVue  that parents can access at any time.
    2. Teachers can be contacted via email or phone.
    3. Just as in elementary school, we do two conferences a year, one in October and another in March. Team conferences can be scheduled at any time through the team leader or the school counselor.

12. What are the homework expectations in 6th grade?

Students can expect to have approximately 20-30 minutes of homework per core class per night (which would be 2 core classes given our block schedule). Additionally, students are expected to read independently for 30 minutes per night. At times, homework is only assigned if a student needs additional time to finish classwork.

13. My child has an IEP. How are special education services delivered in middle school?

    1. We offer a continuum of services for students with an IEP.  Students whose goals and accommodations/modifications can be met in a general education classroom receive support in the identified areas by special education staff which includes both teachers and classroom assistants. Students whose goals and accommodations/modifications are best met in smaller settings receive the same grade level curriculum taught by a highly qualified special education teacher. Depending on the size of the class, a classroom assistant may also be assigned to the class.
    2. Williamsburg staff participates in transition IEP meetings at the elementary schools. Please direct questions about special education to Jennifer Doll, Special Education Department Lead.

14. Are tours available for rising 6th Grade students and their families?

      1. There will be an opportunity for students to visit WMS during the summer and PALS Day.  Summer tour sign up sheets will be sent out in June.

15. During PALS Day, students will meet their TA teacher and have a brief lesson about the first week of school and tour classrooms.  Additionally, students and families will be able to purchase PE uniforms and a light snack will be available at the conclusion of the event. PALS Day occurs the Thursday before the beginning of the school year.

16. How does Williamsburg communicate with parents about what is going on in the classroom?

  • Teachers utilize ParentVue/StudentVue to communicate about class-related announcements and homework on a daily basis. Additionally, the PTA Newsletter is a good resource.  To subscribe:

17. What elective classes are in the wheel? Do you stay with the same group or does it shuffle?

  • The Exploratory Wheel consists of the following types of classes and classes may vary each year. . Students take 5-6 weeks of each course in a rotation and will stay with the same group of peers throughout the year.

18. Where do I go before school begins?

  • Doors open at 7:25am for students to start entering the building. 6th grade students who arrive at WMS before the 7:40am dismissal bell are to report to the Auditorium. If you arrive by bus, staff will be in the halls to help direct you to the Auditorium. If you are a walker, bike rider or parent drop off, you can enter through the doors to the Auditorium lobby (door 14).

19. How do students use Canvas?

  • Students will be using Canvas as part of their daily learning. Canvas is a tool used by teachers to deliver content to students and it is accessible by students through their iPads. Canvas is used by students to: check and submit assignments, access study materials, take assessments, and record media. Students are to use Canvas daily as teachers update their Canvas pages frequently.

20. What is Wolf Time?

  • Wolf Time is a short daily block of time students have in their schedule and to be used as an intervention, enrichment or flex time for students.

21. What are the activities students can participate in after school?

  • There are various after school activities offered at WMS. We have intramural sports, clubs and ACT II offered during After School Period (ASP) 1 & 2 on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:40pm-4:10pm. We do provide a late bus on the days we have after school activities.

22. What should I know about lockers?

  • Lockers are assigned by your TA teacher. Students are allowed to decorate their lockers and bring items to help organize their belongings. All lockers are 3 number combination locks.

23. When do 6th Graders get their schedules?

  • All students will receive their schedule during PALS day/First day of school. Students will know their team assignments and TA teachers prior to PALS day and the first day of school.

24. What do the first couple of weeks look like in 6th grade?

  • The expectations for the first few weeks of school will be for 6th graders to become comfortable within the WMS community. The TA teachers will be giving tours, helping with lockers, working with students to understand routines and the block schedule and to provide organizational tools to help manage their schoolwork.

25. When do students get to go to the library?

  • Before school, students have access to the library on all days starting at 7:30 am. Students are also able to go to the library during After School Period (ASP) 1 & 2 on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays from 2:40-4:10 pm. Of course, you will also go with your Reading/English teachers, as well as other teachers, to check out books.

26. What if I don’t have classes with some of my friends? How will I get to see them during the day?

  • We know that a lot of students get very concerned about whether or not their friends are on their team, but we ask you to consider a few things. First, being on the same team with someone does not guarantee having any classes with them, and second, it’s possible to have classes with students who are not on your team. Electives, and PE are not teamed.  All 6th graders eat lunch together and we do not have assigned seats, so students can see their friends in the cafeteria.

27. How do I know what school supplies to get?

School supply lists can be found on Williamsburg’s website.

28. Should I buy or bring my lunch? How much is it if I buy? Where do I sit during lunch and do I have to eat in the cafeteria?

    • 6th graders eat lunch pretty early at Williamsburg, they are the first lunch. Students can purchase whole lunches, items a la carte (like chips or water) or bring their lunches each day. Full lunches are $3.10 and if you would like breakfast before school starts it is $1.75. Parents can set up lunch accounts online where students simply enter their student number and the cost will come out of the account like a debit account. If you want to make your choice of bringing or buying based on what is for lunch that day, you can check out the menu online with this link.
    • To apply for free/reduced lunch, please visit
    • During lunch students are able to sit wherever they like. This is a great way to see friends you may not have classes with and get to know new friends you are meeting. Make sure to invite those new faces to get to know them better!  Some students may choose to see a teacher during lunch for a variety of reasons. Students may want to eat with a small group of friends with a teacher, have questions from class or make up work during lunch. All students need to do is have a pass to go to the teacher during lunch.

29. How do I go see my counselor?

    • Students can meet with or talk to their counselor in a variety of ways. As long as their teacher knows where they are, they can stop by the main office and ask to see the counselor. If the counselor happens to not be available, the student can leave a note for the counselor or send their counselor a Canvas message, who will then follow up with them. Counselors are also in the auditorium in the mornings, and in the cafeteria at lunch time. Students may also send their counselor an email or a message via Canvas requesting to meet with them in advance.