The following information was asked by members of the Parents' Committee and answered by the divisional administrators to help new parents to Germantown Academy "find their way." If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to contact the appropriate Division Office.
Lower School - Susan Fornicola (267-405-7247) | Middle School - Julie Marley (267-405-7275) | Upper School - Deb Kennedy (267-405-7302)
How does Lower School Drop-off and Pick-up work?
Arrival: Students may enter the classrooms at 7:50am and are expected to be in class by 8:15am. Lower School students arriving by car are dropped off in Connor Quad. Early morning care (Early Birds) is available at no additional cost in the lower level of McLean Hall from 7:30 to 7:50am, and is required for students arriving prior to 7:50am. Drop off for Early Birds is in the main entrance of Lower School in Connor Quad. We ask parents to remain in their car during drop off. Lower School staff and security will be in the Quad to assist students with arrival.
Dismissal: Lower School students are dismissed from their classrooms at 3:00pm and should be picked up by 3:10pm. Car Line pickup areas are designated by last name. Children with last names beginning with the letters A-F are dismissed behind the Field House Annex, along Patriot Way. Children with last names beginning with the letters G-Z are dismissed from the Quad: G-K in from of the Dining Room, L-P in front of the breezeway, Q-S in front of the Lower School Lobby and T-Z in front of Leas Hall. Parents or caregivers should arrive between 3:00-3:10pm for car dismissal. After 3:15, students will be escorted to SPARK.
What if my child will be absent or late?
When a student will be absent from school due to illness or will arrive after 8:15am, a parent/guardian must call the Absence/Lateness Hotline at 267-405-7900 (follow prompts for Lower School) no later than 8:30am to report that absence or lateness. For more information on Lower School Attendance Policy and Procedures, please see the Lower School Family Handbook.
What is a Blue Note?
If a parent wishes to change their child's daily transportation on a specific day, they need to fill in a blue note and have their child give it to their teacher in the morning. A packet of blue notes is distributed on the first day, and additional packets may be obtained from the Lower School Office.
What is the Lower School Dress Code, and where can I purchase uniforms?
The Lower School's dress code policies and uniform ordering information can be found here. Additionally, the Parents' Committee holds the Second GeAr Shop several times throughout the year where gently-used uniforms can be purchased. Students who do not come to school with apparel that is aligned with the dress code may borrow an item from the LS Office to wear for the day.
What is Field Day, and how is my child assigned a team color?
Field Day is a half-day of school held on GA's fields on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend. Starting with a parade from the Quad to the fields, Lower School students spend the morning in Red vs Blue Team competition using skills that have been taught and practiced in P.E. classes throughout the year. Upon admission to GA, children are assigned a color team; new students are assigned the same color as preceding members of the same family. Students wear white shirts and team-colored shorts. We invite parents to watch the events. Please do not bring pets to Field Day. After the conclusion of competition, families may arrange in advance to send their students to SPARK or take students home.
What is GA/PC Day?
GA and Penn Charter football teams have competed annually in what has become the oldest continuous prep school football rivalry in the country. The Friday before GA/PC Day each November is the Pep Rally, which all Lower School students attend with their classes. Families are welcome to attend GA/PC Day athletic events with their students on Saturday.
May my child bring a personal digital device or cell phone to school?
Students are provided iPads for in-class use throughout the day. Personal devices from home, including cell phones, tablets, or internet-enabled watches, may not be used during school or during afterschool programs. If these devices are brought to school, they must remain off and in the student's locker during the school day.
What is the Parents' Committee and how can I become involved?
The Parents' Committee has a large presence on the website, as activities, committees, and upcoming events are posted there and updated as needed. Most of the communication from the Parents' Committee comes via email (firstname.lastname@example.org). The GAzette provides information on upcoming Parents' Committee and school events and includes notes from each Division Head and the Head of School. There is a Lower School Division Chair and Co-Chair of the Parents' Committee who welcome volunteers for the many events and activities throughout the school year.
How can I volunteer in my child's class or at the school?
To indicate interest for all-school volunteer opportunities, parents should use the links provided on the Parents Committee Volunteer page. To indicate interest for Lower School volunteer opportunities, parents should respond to the Veracross Sign Up invitations sent via email by the Lower School Office prior to the activity or event.
Each grade level has several parent Co-Chairs who support community building with families at their grade level and encourage volunteers. Parent Co-Chairs meet and coordinate several times a year with the Lower School GLCs. If you have any questions about volunteering, you can ask one of the Co-Chairs at your child's grade level or ask your child's teacher. We ask that all parents respect the GA Civility Pledge on campus, maintain confidentiality when volunteering at school, and not discuss their observations of students with other parents.
What are my options for after school child care?
Learn about our After School Programs here.
How can I communicate with my child's teacher?
Emailing a teacher is preferable to using voicemail for initial teacher contact; teachers' email addresses are available via the faculty directory. Please allow at least 24 hours for a teacher to respond, as they are working with students all day. All students have an account on Veracross. On Veracross, you can find general Lower School information, school calendars, important links, and general notices that apply to the whole community. Each grade level has a Google classroom site, which gives more detailed information about that grade and has links to each class' page. PreK – 2nd grade pages are used primarily as a communication tool between teachers and parents. Third – 5th grade pages are used primarily by students and have homework and other important daily announcements posted by 4pm daily.
What do I do if my child loses something?
All articles worn or brought to school should be clearly marked with the child's name. Clothing purchased at the Consignment Shop should have previous owners' names removed and be labeled with the present wearer's name. If an item is lost, please check with your child's teacher first, then in the LS Office. The Lower School has a Lost and Found where items are placed.
Where can I find more detailed info about LS policies?
Parents and students are expected to carefully review the Lower School Family Handbook, which is distributed at the beginning of each year.
How often do LS students receive report cards and teacher comments?
Prekindergarten and Kindergarten-Transitional 1st student reports are written twice a year, in January and June, including reports from the homeroom and specialist teachers. In addition to two written reports, there are five scheduled parent-teacher conferences throughout the year. First-5th Grade core curriculum reports are written three times per year, in Fall, Winter, and Spring. Specialist reports are written twice a year. In addition to these reports, there are three scheduled parent-teacher conferences throughout the year. Parents are encouraged to reach out to teachers at any time to discuss their child or the program.
How much homework can students expect in LS?
PreK and Kindergarten-Transitional 1st Grade students are not generally assigned homework, with the exception of being read to or reading books sent home at their 'just-right' level. First-5th Grade students may be assigned homework Mondays-Thursdays that may include core subject area's assignments such as reading, writing, word study, and math. Homework is typically an extension of, or practice with, a previously learned concept or skill, and should not be an introduction to something new. The average time a student will need to spend on their homework can be determined by multiplying the student's grade level by 10 minutes (1st Grade = 10; 5th Grade = 50). This is in addition to required, self-selected, independent reading for 15-30 minutes per night.
Do students receive homework over weekends and holiday breaks?
Students should not expect to receive homework over the weekend, unless they choose to work on a long-term assignment or are making up work due to absence.
Middle school students are dropped-off and picked-up at the Korman Family Pavilion. Parents should enter from the Arts Center Entrance on Morris Road. Families with students in both the Middle and Lower Schools, may pick-up and drop-off their children in Lower School carline.
Can MS students stay after school even if they are not participating in a MS sport or activity? If so, are they required to stay in The Korman Family Pavilion, The Roberts Family Library or a designated area?
Yes, Middle School students may stay after school in The Korman Family Pavilion (until 6pm) or the Roberts Family Library.
What are the after school library hours?
The Roberts Family Library is open until 5pm on Monday through Thursday and until 3:30pm on Friday.
Where can GA MS students go during morning break?
Middle School students may use the Common Room, the Middle School Commons, the Korman Family Pavilion, and the Middle School Green during break time. Students may also attend club meetings or meet with teachers.
What is the Middle School Dress Code?
READ MORE about the Middle School's dress code policies.
Where can I find more detailed info about MS policies?
Parents and students are expected to carefully review the Middle School Handbook that can be found at the top of the Family Portal in Veracross.
How often do MS students receive grades and teacher comments?
The academic year is divided into two semesters. Progress reports are issued at four times: the middle and the end of each semester. Reports contain letter grades. The November and March interim reports also contain narrative comments. In January and June, comments are written as necessary or at teacher discretion.
How much homework can students expect in MS? How many hours should students be spending on homework each evening?
In general, students and parents can expect time spent on homework at home to vary based on the following factors:
- Effectively using in-class and study hall time allotted for homework
- Spending focused time on the work without frequent interruptions or distractions
- Effectively planning (chunking-out) long-term assignments
- Establishing a habit of daily review or preparation as opposed to “cramming“ for major tests, quizzes, projects, and presentations at the last minute
Students can expect to spend between one and one and a half hours daily on homework. Please see MS Handbook for complete homework policy. (Handbook is at the top of the Family Portal in Veracross)
Do students receive homework over weekends and holiday breaks?
Students should expect to receive homework over the weekend, though the following exceptions apply:
- Thanksgiving Break, Winter Break, Spring Break. Assignments both short and long-term are not due the day after Thanksgiving Break, Winter Break, and Spring Break. Tests and quizzes are not given the day following these breaks.
- Labor Day, Columbus Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Presidents’ Weekend, and Memorial Day Weekend Homework may be assigned over these weekends, but tests and quizzes are not given the day following.
Is there a limit to how many tests each student can have per day?
A test calendar is in place so that students will not have more than two tests on a given day. When more than two tests are scheduled, students should speak to their advisor and/or teacher(s) as soon as possible to ensure that one of the tests can be rescheduled.
Is there detention after school if my student fails to complete his/her homework or misbehaves in class?
Students are not assigned detention for not doing homework; however, if a student demonstrates a pattern of late or missed assignments, he/she may be assigned to After School Study Hall as part of an academic support plan.
If student behavior during class is sufficiently disruptive to prevent or hinder instruction, a student may be dismissed to the Middle School Office. Upon arriving to the Office, the student completes the Classroom Dismissal Form, has a discussion to reflect on the cause of the dismissal, and the student’s advisor and parents/guardians are notified about the dismissal and any consequences.
How many students are in my child’s advisory?
There are typically 10 to 12 students in an advisory.
What is the role of the advisor?
Advisors serve as the primary point of contact for each of their advisees. Advisors monitor and support the social and academic progress of students in their advisory. Parent conferences are held biannually with the advisor.
Will my student have a new advisor each year?
A student will receive a new advisor each year, with rare exceptions. Head Advisors stay with the class for all three years of Middle School to ensure a consistency of experience.
Will the advisor also be one of his/her teachers?
Students are an assigned to an advisor who will teach one of his or her courses or will work with him or her in an academic capacity.
What is the purpose of weekly meetings?
Weekly Meetings give students and faculty opportunities to make announcements, perform, present their work, or lead a discussion about items of community interest and concern.
What are the extracurricular requirements for MS students?
All Middle School students are required to participate in at least one on-campus sport or in the drama program each year. The time involved is normally Monday to Thursday, 3:15-4:45pm. Drama may require more time as the production date gets closer, and does meet on Friday. Arrangements are made for students seeking to do both athletics and drama.
Are there MS Clubs at GA? When do they meet?
Activities and clubs provide opportunities for students and teachers to engage in areas of common interest and meet during lunch or Flex. Some activities/clubs offered include:
Community Service Organization (CSO)
Digital Art Club
In Our Own Write – the literary magazine
Student Government Association
Other activities are offered depending on student and faculty interest.
Who chaperones the MS dances?
Middle School teachers and administrators serve as the chaperones for the MS Dances. Parent volunteers supervise the snack table. Opportunities to sign-up to volunteer are communicated by the MS Parents’ Committee.
Are students permitted to bring friends from outside of MS SGA events?
Students are not allowed to bring guests to Middle School events.
Do students need to bring money to the events for admission and snacks?
Event tickets can be purchased in advance or at the door. Drinks and snacks are sold, but students shouldn’t need more than a few dollars.
Is there an active Student Government Association (SGA) in the GA MS? Does my child need to be elected?
The SGA consists of elected officers who are responsible for providing leadership and a voice for the student body, as well as leading discussions on ways to improve life in the Middle School. The SGA is also responsible for promoting school spirit, organizing social activities, and serving as helpers for community events. All community members are invited to attend weekly meetings.
MIDDLE SCHOOL SPORTS
Do the majority of MS students participate in sports?
All Middle School students are required to participate in at least one on-campus sport or in the drama program each year. The majority of MS students participate in many after-school activities throughout the year.
Does my child have to try out for the team?
There are no “cuts” in the GA athletics program. Depending on the number of participants, teams may be divided into Varsity, Junior Varsity, and/or 3rd teams. Whenever possible, teams will consist mostly of students from one grade level; however, a student’s level of participation may be affected by his or her skills and experience in the chosen sport, the limitations of facilities, or the number of student-athletes participating. The goal is to place students at the level where they can best develop their skills and do so safely.
Do players need to have experience with a sport to go out for the team?
Students do not need to have prior experience with a sport to go out for a team. There are two trial days each season for student-athletes to get a feel for a sport. Since for some this is the first experience of participation in a sport, students may change teams during that period of time.
What are the practice times for MS sports?
Middle School teams practice Monday through Thursday from 3:15-4:45pm (fall and spring) and 3:15–4:15pm (winter). Games typically run later than scheduled practice times.
Do students leave school early for away games?
Students are dismissed at the end of the school day for home games and at 2:15pm for away games.
Where and when are students picked up after sports?
Middle School students should speak with their parents/guardians daily and can be picked up in front of the Korman Family Pavilion or at Carey Stadium after practice. Pick-up after away games is in front of the Pavilion.
Do students purchase their uniforms for MS teams?
No. Uniforms will be distributed during a scheduled lunch period during the first weeks of each season and are returned to the school after the season. There will be no uniform charge unless uniforms are not returned at the conclusion of the playing season.
TECHNOLOGY AND ELECTRONIC DEVICES
Does the Middle School have a 1:1 computing program?
Yes. All students are issued a Microsoft Surface Pro tablet PC at the start of the year for use at home and at school for the school year.
Is there training on how to use the tablet PC?
Yes. An introduction at the beginning of the school year includes training on Microsoft’s OneNote digital notebook software. Additionally all students are enrolled in a Tech class in each year of Middle School.
What is the Smartphone/Cellphone policy in the Middle School?
Smartphones and cell phones may not be used during the school day from 8am-3pm. Any phones that are seen or heard between 8am-3pm (with the one exception that follows) will be confiscated and kept in the MS Office until 3pm. Additional consequences may be given. If family-student communication is absolutely necessary, students will be permitted to text with their parents/guardians at the conclusion of lunch, from 12:45pm-12:55pm. Outside of that time window, students needing to make calls to parents/guardians must ask permission of a faculty member or go to the Middle School Office.
What is the GA Upper School Dress Code?
Full Dress Code
Relaxed Dress: If students are given a dress down day, they should still be dressed appropriately for school. Clothing that is too short, too tight, too revealing, too ripped or shabby, or vulgar in the opinion of the House Head or the Dean of Students will not be permitted. Lunch duty will be assigned for inappropriate dress even on relaxed dress days.
Where can I find more detailed information about Upper School policies?
The Upper School Handbook is available on the Veracross Family Portal.
How often do US students receive grades and teacher comments?
US students receive grades four times a year---at the end of each quarter. The November and March reports will include written comments for all courses. The January and June reports will include comments for all courses where the term and/or cumulative grade is below C-.
How many students are in my child’s advisory?
Each student belongs to an advisory, which is a group of about 10 students from his/her grade.
What is the role of the advisor?
Advisors closely monitor the academic, extracurricular, and social lives of their advisees. They also communicate with the advisee’s parents, conduct the official parent conferences in the fall and spring, play a key role in the course selection process, and generally troubleshoot for their advisees. Senior advisors assist in setting up and monitoring the Senior Project. The advisor is a good first-contact person for parents with questions about their child. Students have one advisor for 9th and 10th grades and another advisor for 11th and 12th grades.
Will my child’s advisor be one of his/her teachers?
Your child’s advisor may or may not be one of his/her teachers. The advisor will be in your child’s house, so for example if your child is in Kershaw House, his/her advisor will be a Kershaw House advisor.
What is the role of my child’s House Head?
The House Head provides leadership and support to all members of the House. In addition to supporting the advisor in his or her role, the House Head manages a range of issues from course schedule changes to attending college visits.
What is the purpose of House Meeting?
Each House meets as a group once a week. The meetings are led by the House Head and Prefects. In addition to taking care of House business, the meeting time can be used for House members to make announcements or discuss school life.
Who are the House Prefects and what is their purpose?
Each House has two Prefects who are charged with helping to run the House. Selected by the House Head, these two senior students are chosen for their capacity to work with, to support, and to lead, the other members of the House in a variety of situations.
What is the purpose of morning meeting?
Every Monday and Friday the entire Upper School starts the day together at 8am in the Arts Center Theater. Student announcements, talks, skits, etc. are all permitted and encouraged. The meetings also afford a time for faculty to address the entire Upper School. Routine announcements may be made as time permits, but longer announcements or presentations must be scheduled in advance with the Head of Upper School. All announcements should be appropriate, clear, articulate and practiced.
What is the activity requirement in Upper School?
Freshmen: 2 major activities; Sophomores: 2 major activities; Juniors: 2 major activities; Seniors: 1 major activity *(must be an on-campus activity)
What clubs are available to my child in the Upper School?
CLICK HERE for the list of US clubs from 2022-23.
Tell me more about the Student Government at GA:
The Student Government Association (SGA) is the formal means by which students help make and influence school decisions. SGA is comprised of sixteen Senators, four from each grade, who have been elected by their respective classes the previous spring (with the exception of the freshmen Senators who are elected in the early fall of the present school year). SGA also includes twelve Form Representatives, three from each grade elected the previous spring (with the exception of freshmen members elected in early fall of the present school year). Finally, SGA includes seven House Representatives (one elected by each House). SGA is presided over by the elected President who is assisted by the elected Vice President and the Secretary (may be a Junior or Sophomore), all elected in the spring. The SGA Advisor, appointed by the Head of the Upper School, is a non-voting member who serves as the liaison between the SGA and the Head of the Upper School.
All members of the US (students, faculty and staff) are invited to attend announced SGA meetings during lunch and participate when topics are open for discussion. Because they do not have individual voting privileges, they are expected to see their senators or form reps to let their concerns be known and their voices heard so that their votes will accurately be represented.
Do the majority of US students participate in athletics?
Yes, many of the students choose to participate in some form of athletics; from highly competitive Varsity teams to club sports, there is a level at which all students can feel comfortable participating. Of course, there are ample opportunities for students who choose to complete their activity credits in a range of other arenas.
Does my child have to try out for a team?
The only sports team that has cuts at GA in the Upper School is the golf team (fall season). This is a direct result of course availability. The other sports teams have a no cut policy - each student will be placed by ability on Varsity, Junior Varsity or third team.
Does my child need to have experience?
Your child does not need to have experience to play a sport in the Upper School; however, those with the most experience and proficiency will be placed on a higher level team (ie: Varsity).
What are the practice times for US sports?
Practice times for each sport can vary but are generally are after school each weekday until 5:30pm.
Do US students leave early for away sports games?
Yes, US students do leave early for away games. Students leaving school early for games are responsible for the work they miss. Students missing an entire class for an early dismissal should let their teacher know beforehand. The Associate Athletic Director will post information regarding dismissal times.
How do I know if my child’s sports game is cancelled or postponed due to weather?
Weather-related changes in practice or game schedules will be decided by 1:30pm. The coach will send an announcement via STACKTeamApp. Announcements will also be recorded on the GA Sports Hotline (#267-405-7416) and posted on the GA website.
What is the cell phone/device policy in the Upper School?
Students may use their cell phones during free time. However, students should not text or talk on the phone while moving through the school. Teachers may ask students to put away their phones if they are a distraction or a disruption.
Can students use their phone/device to listen to music in Study Hall?
Electronics may be used for academic purposes with permission of the proctor. Students can listen to music in study hall with headphones.
Can students use their phone/device in class?
Students can use their phone/device in class only when directed to do so by the classroom teacher.
Do most students bring computers to class?
As of the 2022-23 school year, all students in 9th, 10th, and 11th Grades have a Surface Pro tablet provided to them by the school. They should bring their charged device, with the stylus, to class each day. Students in 12th Grades need access to a laptop each day. Students may bring their own device or sign out a laptop at the Library. If a student needs assistance meeting these technology requirements, they should see their House Head or Dean of Students.