FAQ - Start Here!

Welcome to Grade 7!

There are a lot of things that may be different from your old school, as well as some tips for making your time here super successful!

Check out these common questions and answers to get some help!


Topics

Scheduling

Transportation

Communication

Attendance

Class Instruction and Homework

Assessment

Electronics and Technology

School Supplies and Class Materials

Food & Nutrition

Miscellaneous





Scheduling


Where can we find a school calendar to see which days are school days and when are no-school days?

 

You can use the district calendar, the school calendar or our class calendars

 

 

How do we know what school day it is?

 

Merc operates on a Day 1, 2, 3 & 4 rotation. Students are instructed during a health block at the end of each month to spend time organizing and recording the days for the month in their agenda.

 

 

Where can we find out what subjects are scheduled on the days?

 

Check for your class schedule here.

 

Or log into Parent Portal here and check the timetables tab:

https://hosting.maplewood.com/AB/FMCBE/FRM/Students/viewer/Login/login.aspx

 

 

What are bell times and class change times?

 

The day times look like this:

           

Warning Bell             -           8:45 am

Block 1                       -         8:50 am

Block 2                       -         9:55 am

Block 3                       -         10:57 am

Block 4                       -         11:59 am

Lunch Bell                 -          12:56 pm

Block 5                       -         1:46 pm

Block 6                       -         2:43 pm

Dismissal Bell         -            3:40 pm

 

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Transportation

 

What are the transportation options?

 

Students in designated areas have the option of taking the yellow Sparksman bus and should see the office to arrange this.

 

Students may also choose to take the municipal transit service.  Monthly bus passes can be arranged through the office.

 

Student who wish to ride bikes are advised to lock them up securely.  Skateboards and roller blades are not permitted to be used inside the building.

 

 

What if a student needs to stay after school for sports or extra help or other extra curricular activities?

 

For students who normally take the yellow bus to the south side of the bridge, there is a seasonal late bus run, which will take students to their closest neighborhood Catholic school, either Father Beauregard, Father Turcotte or Good Shepard school.  Check with your teacher to see if it is running and when.

 

 

What if there are problems with the bus service?

 

If there are issues with scheduling or routes, you can contact the bus service directly.

 

If there are problems with behavior on the bus, please contact the school office.

 

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Communication

 

What is the best way to contact a student’s teachers?

 

The easiest way to contact a student’s teacher is via email.  You can find all of the staff email addresses on the school website here:

http://fathermercredi.fmcschools.ca/about-us/staff-email

 

Our email addresses are:

Katherine.giroux@fmcsd.ab.ca 

Cherie.phinney@fmcsd.ab.ca 

 

We also encourage students to email their teachers from their school provided Google email accounts.  They can sign in on the Google page.

 

            If you aren’t able to email, you can also call us at 780-799-5725

 

 

How do we keep up with events and important notices?

 

We try to email our class student and parent email list once a week with all the important information about upcoming events and what we are currently working on.  If you do not receive these emails, please contact the homeroom teacher so we can check to make sure we have the correct email address on file.  The school office also sends periodic emails for information pertaining to the entire school.

 

We also post all documents and information on our class website.  The school website also has lots of information to check out too. 

 

Lastly, you can also follow @FMCSD on Twitter or like them on Facebook for updates about the district or check our their webpage.

 

 

Who do we talk to if we have an issue for the school office?

 

            Mrs. Kitching is our Gr. 7 Vice-Principal.  You can call (7807995725) or email:

           deborah.kitching@fmcsd.ab.ca 

 

 

What if we need to talk to the school guidance counselor?

 

Call the school and ask for student services. We also have Classroom Support teacher who handles programming for our Special Needs students and an FMNI liaison.


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Attendance

 

What do we do if a student is going to be absent?

 

We prefer you email the homeroom teacher.  We will forward the info to the school admin to mark them excused absent for the day. There is an option on the school phone to leave a message on the attendance line if you aren’t able to email at 780-799-5725.

 

If a student can still complete some of the classwork for the day, they can check the class schedule online and see what lessons are scheduled. Then if they have the material at home, complete it, or use their Google Drive to access the material electronically to complete the work. We also encourage students to use their school provided email account to ask the teacher any questions. While we will respond to parent inquiries too, we believe that it helps encourage a student to learn responsibility if they are the ones to make inquiries themselves.

 

 

What do we do if a student is late?

 

If a student is going to miss a full block or more, we encourage you to email so they can be excused instead of absent for the blocks they miss.

Students who are late and unexcused may be assigned lunch time detention to make up the time.

 

 

How can we check a student’s attendance record?

 

Parents and students are encouraged to check the attendance regularly for absences and lates. You can do so here:

https://hosting.maplewood.com/AB/FMCBE/FRM/Students/viewer/Login/login.aspx

 

If you notice errors or have questions, please email the homeroom teacher.

 

 

What if a student needs to be picked up for an appointment during the day?

 

Please email or send a note to the homeroom teacher.  When you arrive, please go to the school office to sign out the student.  Please do not call student’s cellphones or text students during the day. Continuous ringtones going off create large disruptions during class.

 

 

What if a student is going to miss a number of days due to medical reasons or travel?

 

First, check the class schedule online to see what lessons the student will miss.  Then, if a student needs some material in advance, they can check with the teacher.  However, please note, not all materials are available far in advance.  Also, due to some lessons building on information and skills from other lessons, it is not always possible or advisable to work ahead before completing other work in class.

 

Also, it is important to email the homeroom teacher to let them know.  We can discuss what lessons can be done early, what might be done while away, or what must be done once the student returns, as well as any missed tests.

 

 

What is the difference between absent and excused on a student’s attendance record?

Students not present when attendance is taken at the beginning of each class are marked unexcused absent.

When a parent calls in to the attendance line, the office is able to mark an absence excused.  When we get an email, we forward that to the office so it can be changed as well.  Absent and excused notations are intended to help a parents and teachers keep track of what classes a student may be missing so as to avoid skipped classes.

There is a perfect attendance award at the end of the year for any student who is present every day of school and has no absences excused or unexcused.

 

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Class Instruction and Homework

 

Who decides what is taught in each class?

 

The curriculum outcomes and content of each class is decided by Alberta Education.  You can view the documents on their website.

The amount of minutes in each cycle is determined by the school administration based on guidelines from Alberta Education.


Each teacher creates a course outline and plan based on the documents from Alberta and the school schedule. You can see our course outlines on our class website.

 

 

What can we do if a student is having a hard time with the classwork?

 

Teachers offer extra help after school.  On most days, at least one of the teacher’s rooms will be open and the teacher present for extra help.  We do not do extra help on Friday's after school.  Also on days such as parent teacher, dance days, etc. we may also not have extra help when other activities are going on. Students can ask their teacher if they are unsure who to see and what room extra help is in.  Students don’t need to sign up or sign in for extra help.  Students should come prepared with either work to complete or questions about work they are having trouble with. Students are welcome to work independently if they just need the space and time or resources (computer, texts, books), or they can work one on one with the teacher if they need specific help with a topic.

 

Our school also offers tutoring and working space on some no school Fridays.  Students must sign in when they arrive. They must also sign out when they are done.  Tutoring lab is open from 9 am to 3 pm on select Fridays.  Students may choose what times are best for them and their transportation unless they have been directed to a tutorial by an administrator for a specified time.  There is no yellow bus service on these Fridays.  Students should arrive with work to complete.  The lab is run by a certified teacher, but it is not one of the regular classroom teachers, so they will not have access to the students work to find it for them.

 

We also offer study skills blocks during Options times.  Students who often need extra time to complete classwork may chose or may be directed to take a study skills class instead of one of the career options.  We only recommend one study skills class per semester to avoid curriculum overload. Please discuss with the teacher if you would like to be in Study Skills.

 

            And no matter what, let the teacher know! We can help!

 


How much homework should a student have each night?

 

Students should have roughly one hour of schoolwork per night.  However, we understand that students have different afterschool schedules.  We encourage families to set a schedule that accommodates their after school activities and regular school work.  We suggest about 15 minutes per subject Monday to Thursday, but depending on home schedule, you may prefer half hour blocks every second night, or some other schedule.

 

 

What are the homework assignments and how do we know what they are?

 

We do not normally have assignments that are homework only.  We have classwork that students are given an appropriate time to complete in class and if not done, will need to finish at home.  All students work at a different pace, so some may get everything done in class most of the time, and others may often need more time at home.

 

We use the agendas provided by the school at the beginning of the year to help students get in the habit of organizing their time and work.  Each teacher writes the work to be either finished or reviewed each day.  Students are given time at the end of each class to record this in their agenda.  Teachers stand in the doorway as the class leaves and stamps or signs each agenda.  We ask that parents help us keep students organized by asking to see the agenda each night, going over what is assigned and making sure the students uses the time in their home schedule to complete the tasks.

 

 

What if the student says they have no homework?

 

Students are almost always assigned something to do.  They may have finished the assignments for the day, however, they are always assigned to finish or REVIEW the days work.  So even if they are done, they still need to review the material.  Consistent review for a few minutes each night helps transfer what was covered from the short term memory to the long term memory and help with studying for tests.  Students who review in small chunks each night often outperform students who use the “crash” method of trying to study an entire unit for the first time the night before a test.

 


 

What if a student has too much homework or is spending more than the recommended 4 hours per week on homework?

 

If a student is spending too much time on completing work, please contact the teacher so we can see why this is happening.  The student may not be completing enough work in class, which we would want to discuss the reasons and solutions.  They may need extra help or study skills option.  They may have too many activities, or may be distracted and not using their time efficiently while completing work at home or at school.  The teacher can work with you to find out why and offer suggestions to help.  Too much time spent struggling with work can lead to negative feelings toward school or learning, interfere with activities like sports or hobbies and affect social time, all of which are important. We want to help students develop skills to cope with managing schoolwork and life which are valuable well past Grade 7.

 

 

What if the agenda is empty?

 

There may be some days where there is nothing assigned for a class.  Days when we are doing in class group work for example or there aren’t things the students can take home in one subject. On very rare days there may be no homework for every subject – like the days when report card marks are due – or days before holidays – or if there is a substitute that misses assigning agendas.  That’s okay. Students are always expected to check the online markbook to see they are caught up and make sure they are studying and prepared for the next test.

 

However, if the agenda is chronically empty, that is a sign the student is not bringing it to class or avoiding recording their work.  Please discuss this with the teacher as it is often a sign of other problems.

 

 

Can we email you with questions about assignments we are working on at home?

 

Yes! We are happy to get questions (preferably from the students Google accounts).  We try to answer as quickly as possible. But please remember, teachers are humans too and sometimes need a bit of time if is after school hours. Please email, but be patient as sometimes the answer may have to wait until the next class time.

 


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Assessment

 

How often do report cards come out?

 

            Report cards come out 4 times per year at the end of each term.

 

 

Where can we find out how a student is doing academically before report cards?

 

We use an online mark site that you will need a parent username and password for.  You can request login information here:

http://fmcschools.ca/connected-for-parents

 

Each parent and each student are entitled to a unique login.  We find it helps most when parents and students login together, discuss the progress and make a plan in conjunction with the teacher on how to improve.

The website portal link can be found here:

https://hosting.maplewood.com/AB/FMCBE/FRM/Students/viewer/Login/login.aspx

 

 

Why do some report cards have comments and some don’t?

 

The school admin decides which terms have comments and which don’t . Usually, there are comments for Term 1 and Term 3.  Comments for core subjects are outcome based and should give you detailed information on how the students did on the material covered in that term.  Comments for non-core subject and Options are often participation based and give a brief summary of their progress in the course, usually an E (excellent), P (proficient), S (satisfactory), D (developing) or U (unsatisfactory) mark.

You can find more information on the marking process on the Assessment tab of our website.

 

 

What does LOE mean?

 

LOE means lack of evidence and is used when the students has not completed or handed in enough work for the teacher to give an accurate assessment of how the student is doing.  This is a major concern and a meeting should be scheduled as soon as possible to discuss.

 


If an assessment was not passed in or received a low mark, can it be re-done or handed in after the due date?

 

Yes. We always encourage students to go back, find out what they were doing wrong or didn’t understand, get help and improve.  When students don’t do this, and accept a 0 or 1, then they will still not have that knowledge or be able to demonstrate that skill later on and will affect the student all year long. This however, must be balanced with also encouraging strong work habits of managing deadlines, putting a strong effort forward the first time and not using the ability to re-do work as an excuse to under perform.

A more in-depth of the resubmission of work policy can be found here:

https://sites.google.com/site/fmsuperteachers/rewrites

 

 

Can a student rewrite a test?

 

Yes.  For the same reasons as the previous question about re-doing work, with the same considerations, re-writes are available when:

1)    Students must bring back their test or test card signed by the parent.  This is so that we know the parents are aware of how students are performing the first time, and not only seeing a rewrite mark.  Parents may also email the teacher to say they have seen the original mark and are okay with a student re-writing a test.

2)    Students must attend one extra help review session so that they have an opportunity to go over their test, find out where and why they made mistakes, and get some help studying.

3)    Rewrite may not be done in class when a student would miss new work.  Re-writes should be done before or afterschool or during a study skills block. Students must arrange with the teacher when they are coming.


 

How is the final mark calculated?

 

Marks are cumulative all year long.  This means we continue to add to the same course mark all year, and not an average of term marks.  In the markbook, which you can see through the Portal, there are several bins of marks.  There is a bin (category) for Formative Assessment, Ongoing Assessment, Skills Assessment, Unit Assessment and Final Exam.  Bins are weighted differently based on the types of assessment within them, ie. difficulty, length, outcomes covered, etc.

A more in-depth explanation of the types of assessment can be found here:

https://sites.google.com/site/fmsuperteachers/assessment

 

 

When are tests scheduled?

 

Tests are usually scheduled at the end of each unit.  We try not to do tests after long breaks when students may forget material.  We also try to stagger tests for subjects when possible, however, the end of terms are often an intense testing period since we need to accumulate marks for the report cards.

 

 

Why don’t the students bring home copies of the test?

 

Many of our tests are done electronically to save printing costs, to access assistive technology (computer reader, color graphic, etc.), to develop technology skills and to save time. Also, the scanable answer cards used also allow us to compile data on how students performing on each question which is helpful for improving future tests.  Lastly, it prevents copies of the test being shared around the building, as many teachers work collaboratively on tests, but may not all give the test on the same day.  Students do bring their answer card home and we always go over the correct questions and answers in the class following the tests.  Students wishing to review also have a practice test for each unit in their portfolio’s that they can use to study.

 

 

Are there exams? When are they? Who makes up the exams?

 

Yes, there are final exams in each of the four core subjects in June.  Exams cover material from the entire year.  They are worth 15% of the course mark. Exams are created by a team of subject teachers within the school for all students who take that course.



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Electronics and Technology

 

What are the rules for cellphones/tablets and all personal electronic devices?

 

Part of educating students to be capable life learners is the instruction in responsible and effective use of technology.  To this end, Merc offers free Wi-Fi access to all students and guests in the building.  We also encourage students who have access to technology such as laptops and tablets to bring them.  They can be used for typing, research, electronic textbooks and ebooks, as well as a variety of apps and study tools.  Merc has an acceptable use policy for accessing the Wi-Fi network as well as each teacher having class rules about how to use technology appropriately.  Some of most important rules are that technology may not be used when the teacher is speaking or a class discussion is happening.  Technology may not be used during video presentations, O Canada, prayer or during liturgies.  Personal technology is not permitted in the classroom during tests unless specifically allowed by the teacher.  Phones are not allowed to be used as calculators during tests.

 

Ringers must be turned off while students are in class.  Many ringtones are not school appropriate and constant distraction from numerous ring tones sounding is very detrimental to class.  We ask that parents refrain from calling or texting students during class time.

 

You can find a suggested list of apps and uses for tablets and phones in our guide to personal technology here:

https://goo.gl/0eys8g

 

You can also find information on the school’s code of conduct including the use of technology here:

            http://fathermercredi.fmcschools.ca/studentcodeofconduct

 

 

What are the rules for calculators?

 

Students are required to have a calculator with a positive/negative button and a fraction button.  They do not need a full scientific calculator.  They are not permitted to use cellphones as calculators during tests.

 

 

What is my student email address?

 

            _firstname.lastname@fmcsd.ab.ca

Sign in from google.ca or gmail.ca on any device with internet capabilities and access your email and drive anywhere.


 

How do we get or make changes to the school provided Google account?

 

Students should have an account created for the school Google email and cloud storage in Grade 1.  This same account follows them the entire time they are with FMCSD, regardless of school.  This account is created by an admin, not the teacher.  Students new to our district should have a request for an account put in when they register.  They should check with their teacher for the login information within a few days of registering.  Students choose their own password the first time they login and have the permission to change it.  Teachers do not know what the passwords are, or have the permission to change them.  If you get locked out or need a name change, etc., see your teacher who can put in a request for a change with the admin.

 

 

Can I submit assignments electronically?

 

Yes. We prefer that students use Google drive to create any electronic work (not MS Word) and then share them to the teacher (not email them). This helps us keep submitted work organized and open them properly.  Also, if you have edited, fixed or changed anything in an assignment submitted through Google drive, you must re-share it to the teacher so they get a notification that it has been edited and ready for remarking.

 

 

Can students use their Google account for personal communication?

 

The purpose of the accounts is for schoolwork.  This can be communicating to the teacher, or to other students on shared work.  It can be research and storing documents for school. It can be used as the sign up email for school related websites (like sumdog or quizlet).  Students shouldn’t get used to using it for other communication as it will disappear once they are no longer students within our school district and anything stored will be lost and no longer accessible.

 

 

Can students access their course material electronically?

 

Yes.  All important course documents are shared via Google drive.  Links to them can also be found on our websites, but students must be signed in to access.


 

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School Supplies and Class Materials

 

What are the required school supplies? Do we need anything not on the list?

 

You can find the list of required supplies that is common to all grade level students in our district here:

            http://fmcschools.ca/school-supplies-list

 

Please note, that since this a simplified list common to all Grade 7 students in all classes, there are some supplies that are specific to each class and teacher that may be needed in addition to those on the list.  Each teacher will communicate what may be needed for each specific course. 

 

Sometimes we are very specific in what is requested, ie, specific colored duo tangs.  While this may seem trivial, when we are trying to organize 30 teenagers, things like color coding and numbering etc. are life savers!

 

 

Where should we buy school supplies?

 

Many stores offer discounts at back to school time.  We suggest looking for the best deals.  Its not necessary to buy expensive supplies since many are lost or damaged over the year.

We also offer a purchasing plan through a company that has a pre-packaged box of supplies that meets the requirements on our district list and are delivered to the student’s homeroom at the beginning of the year.  This may be a convenient and affordable option for your family.  You can get more info on this offer in June from the school to be ready for next September!

 

 

What about textbooks?

 

Textbooks are signed out through the library as soon as the librarian has enough for each student in a grade.  The goal is to do this as soon as possible in the school year, but with fluctuating enrollment and loss/damages that occur, there is sometimes a delay.  Some subjects textbooks are accessible electronically (please check with the subject teacher on which ones are).  Once students have been singed out a book they are responsible for it until it is returned.  Students will be billed for unreturned textbooks. Students must return their book with their assigned barcode.  They will not be credited for returning a classmates textbook.

You can see images of the covers of the textbooks as well as a price list on our class website.

 


How do I get a locker?

 

Lockers are assigned by homeroom teachers on Grade 7 Orientation day.  Late registering students must see the office for a locker assignment. Lockers are free to use for the year.  They must be kept clean.  The school also provides a combination lock.



Can I use my own lock?

 

Yes.  If you choose to do so, you must return the provided lock and you must give the combination of your lock to your homeroom teacher.  Locks that the school does not have the combination to may be cut off in case we need to access the locker.  Key locks are not permitted as teacher do not have keys and students usually lose keys quickly.





Food & Nutrition

 

What food is available for purchase?

 

The school cafeteria is operated buy outside caterers.  Prices and menus are set by that company.  Generally the hot meal choice and a drink will run around $10.  Line-ups can be long, and sometimes popular selections run out.  It is a good idea to have a back up plan when buying from the caf.

There are also vending machines around the school.  There are some microwaves in the caf and hallways, however line-ups can be long.  Students should be able to heat appropriately.  There are not microwaves in the classes for student use like in elementary school.  Teachers are also not usually in their classes, since many are out supervising the halls and caf.

 

 

Is Merc an Apple school?

 

No. We do follow the district healthy school initiative in trying to make healthy choices available, but we are not an Apple school.

 

 

Is Merc peanut free?

 

            No.

 

 

Do you have class parties?

 

Sometimes.  We do not have student birthday parties as some elementary schools do.  When we do have a party, it is usually based around a religious celebration, and has a learning or community service aspect to it as well.  For example, we have a birthday party for Jesus before the Christmas holiday and collect gifts for the Christmas babies born in town.  We will give ample notice when we are having a celebration, and usually ask for volunteers or donations to help with the party.

When there is food involved, we try to make sure we have options to accommodate dietary requirements.  Although Merc is not peanut free, we ask for only nut free donations to class parties.

 

 

Can we donate left over Halloween candy?

 

            Yes please! We use it as small rewards (sparingly) throughout the year.

 


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Miscellaneous

 

Where can we find info on the routines and rules?

 

Check out our class website for the specific rules to our class.  You can also check out the school website for the School Students Code of Conduct.

 

 

Do students have to use agendas?

 

Yes.  One of the biggest challenges of students transitioning to high school from elementary is organization.  We find that making agenda use mandatory in Grade 7 teaches the students good habits for organizing as well as being an important communication tool.  Please help us by requiring your child to bring their agenda home nightly, looking it over with them, checking for the teacher initials or stamp so you know they used it in class, and ensuring the student completes the tasks listed for the day.

 

 

Do you have seating plans?

 

Yes, in our core classes both teachers uses the same seating plan.  This helps reinforce consistency in both rooms.  We change the plan once or twice a term.  If a student has an issue, (eyesight, distraction, problems with a near neighbor) please let the teacher know and we will make changes accordingly.

 

 

Are there school dances?

 

Yes.  Junior High Dances are for Grade 7 to 9 students only from Father Merc and Holy Trinity schools.  We usually host two to three a year, as well as two to three being hosted at Trinity. They normally run 7 to 10 pm and cost 8 to 10 dollars at the door. Students may loose dance privileges for attendance, academic or behavior issues.

 

 

Do you need parent volunteers?

 

Yes.  There are a number of activities throughout the year we need help for.  Things like running a fundraising canteen at a dance, or chaperoning ski day, or cooking pancakes for Shrove Tuesday all wouldn’t be possible without parent help. Please watch the weekly emails for ways you can help out!




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Student Success - Whatever It Takes!!