Frequently Asked Questions

What does Southside Middle School offer?  

Frequently asked questions by parents and students choosing schools or moving into our area.

Summary - Southside Middle School is on the same campus as the jr. high and high school.  We currently have 490 students enrolled in grades 4-6.  There are 30 certified faculty members and 6 support staff.

What does a regular academic day look like?

  • A regular day is made up of and advisory, three - 90 minute blocks (math, science, literacy), special class, lunch/recess, enrichment/intervention.

When does school start and end?

  • School starts at 7:55 and ends at 3:15.  Students can be dropped off as early as 7:15 am.

What is the homework expectation?

  • Homework can be a vital part of a student's education when used properly.  All homework that we assign will have a specific purpose and will not be new material that the student should struggle with.  The literacy team has an expectation of nightly reading.  With 90 minutes of instruction in each class daily, the amount of homework is usually minimal.  Most assignments are completed in class under the direction and supervision of your child’s teacher.

What are special classes and how do they work?

  • Special classes are PE, music, art, computer lab, and rotation (health/nutrition/library skills).  Students go to each class once per week all year.  For example, one would go to music every Monday, art every Tuesday, etc.

What is intervention?

  • Sometimes students struggle in one or more subjects.  If this is the case, they will be selected to go through an intervention period up to four days a week and up to a semester throughout the year.  Here, they will get intense instruction to correct deficiencies or misconceptions with their regular teacher in the subject area they are struggling.  This intervention period is referred to as RTI, Response to Intervention.

What is enrichment?

  • Enrichment consists of lots of activities that students can choose when/if they are not in intervention.  Students choose one activity from a selection we call “The Big 5” and then fill their week with other activities.  Big 5 classes are choir, band, football, basketball, and archery.  All students grades 4-6 can participate.  For a full list of enrichment classes that are offered, see the last page of this document.  

What sports are offered?

  • Basketball, football, archery, volleyball, and Striders (cross country) are offered to students in grades 4-6.  Trap is offered to only 6th graders.

Are there times after school that my child will be required to attend if they play sports?

  • Yes, each sport is competitive.  All sports compete outside of the school day.  Most basketball practices are during the day, while all others listed do practice outside of the school day.

Do you have clubs?

  • Yes, we have very active clubs.  Jr. Beta, student council, service club, and ambassadors are the base clubs in middle school.

Do you have GT?

  • Yes, our gifted and talented program meets weekly.  GT students participate in writing contests, quiz bowl, and complete separate projects throughout the year.

What do you offer if my child is struggling in one or more classes?

  • We have a range of assessments and checkpoints to intervene when your child first shows signs of struggling.  We offer intervention classes in the regular schedule, as well as after school tutoring three days a week from 3:30 - 4:30.  Transportation is not provided for after school tutoring at this time.

What STEAM activities do you offer?

  • With 180 minutes of math and science daily, our focus is to not only teach frameworks and concepts, but also to allow students to have real hands-on experiences in a lab setting.  Students create, build, and experiment in meaningful and creative ways.  We have a Science PLC team that is made up of administration and teachers from 4th to 6th grade. This team is committed to  implementing innovative ways to engage students in STEAM activities.

What exactly does STEAM stand for?

  • S- Science

  • T - Technology

  • E - Engineering

  • A - Art/Design

  • M - Mathematics  

What curriculum resources do the teachers use consistently?

  • iReady: a program that teachers use for whole group instruction, small group

            instruction and individualized instruction. This is a program that students can

            also access at home for extra practice/help.

  • Accelerated Reader: reward based reading program.

  • Gizmo: this program allows students to participate in virtual science labs in the science classroom.

  • Reflex Math: this program gives students the opportunity to practice and master their multiplication facts.

  • Mystery Science: kid friendly science related videos and lessons.

  • Readworks: rigorous nonfiction passages with comprehension questions and writing prompts that are used in both Science and Literacy classes.

How will I communicate with my child’s teacher on a regular basis?

  • All middle school teachers use the Remind App to send alerts and updates regularly. Every week, your child will bring home a blue communication folder with information on upcoming trips/events/programs at middle school, along with information regarding assignments, behavior, and grades. Also, you will be provided with the teachers’ email addresses. In the case that you need to meet one-on-one with the teacher, you may set that up by calling the middle school office.

I do not live in the Southside School District, what can I do about getting my child on a bus?

  • Over one-third of our students do not live in our district.  We have several buses that travel outside of our district.  You can call any school office and give your address to the secretary, a school official will check your address, and call you back with the possibility of a bus coming to that address or a nearby pick-up spot.  

What are your test scores like?

  • We pride ourselves in providing the best education possible to your child.  We are consistently above the state average in all subjects.  We have been highlighted in our region over the last couple of years for “Beating the Odds” in math and science.  We like to say that our teachers and students are more than a test score.  We want the highest scores possible, but we also want to equip students with characteristics that cannot be measured by a test.  We strive to educate the whole child academically and support them socially and emotionally.

How much time is spent online?

  • This varies, but there are many online programs that teachers consistently utilize.  We are not a one-to-one school at this time, but do have approximately 350 chromebooks and two computer labs.

What support services are offered?

  • Qualifying students receive special education services provided by a veteran, well trained staff.  

  • Qualifying students receive occupational, speech, and physical therapy services on campus.

  • Qualifying students are provided with mental health counselors that see them at school during the regular school day.

  • We have a nurse and school counselor that are stationed on campus and are exclusively used by middle school students.

What if I have a question that is not listed here?

Is your school safe?

  • We have a secure building and also a teacher that doubles as a school resource officer that is in the middle school at all times.  We also have other school resource officers that frequent the campus daily.

How do I get notified for school closings or if there is an emergency?

  • We use the School Messenger System that is a one call system that calls the phone numbers you provide to the school.

Can I visit my child while they are at school?

  • We limit visitors for the safety of all students.  On any day you may come and eat with your child in the cafeteria.  We ask that you obtain a visitors pass in the office.  If you would like to meet with a teacher or principal, you can arrange that by calling the office ahead of time.

Kid question #1:  How much recess do I get?

  • The lunch period is 45-50 minutes long.  Students usually stay in the cafeteria for approx. 20 minutes and then play the rest of the time.

Kid question #2:  Will I get a locker?

  • Yes, each student is assigned a locker and can access their locker between classes.

Kid question #3:  Is the lunchroom food good?

  • The cafeteria food is contracted through Opaa! Food Services.  There are usually three different meal choices, as well as a fruit and vegetable bar.  Most students will like at least one of the choices.  You may also bring your lunch.  The lunch menu can be found on the school web page:

Kid question #4:  Can I sit by my friends at lunch?

  • Yes, we have open seating in the cafeteria.  All we ask is that you follow the cafeteria rules while there.

Kid question #5:  What kind of rewards can I work toward?

  • There are a variety of ways to get rewarded for good behavior and academic excellence and growth in each subject.  At SMS, we are all about setting goals and celebrating once you/we achieve them.

Kid question #6:  What if I get lost or need something?

  • Each student has a “go to” person in the building.  This is the teacher that serves as your homeroom teacher.  You can also come to the office and ask the secretary, counselor, or either principal.

List of enrichment classes*:







CeeBee Money Club



Line Dancing

Brain Puzzles

STEAM building

Charlie May Simon Book Club



Computer lab

Fun & Games


Quiz Bowl

Jr. Beta

Service Club

French-Lyon College

Creative Writing

Coloring, puzzles, and more

Hunter’s Education

Sports, exercise, and play

*Some of these change each 9 weeks.