Kindergarten FAQs

Kindergarten Questions

 

At what age can my child start kindergarten?

Children need to turn five before September 1st to enter kindergarten. Kindergarten registration for the 2022-23 school year is open to those children who will turn five by September 1, 2022.

 

How do half-day and full-day differ?

The right choice is what works best for your family. The teaching of new academic material and Specials are held in the morning. Afternoon activities for full-day students include an extension or extra practice of the academics taught in the morning, free play, outdoor time, and extra work on social-emotional development.

 

Full-day students spend the afternoons working on extension or extra practice opportunities for the morning academics, play, outdoor time, and social emotional development.


Is financial support provided to help with the cost of Full Day Kindergarten?

Financial support may be available. Families can contact Candace Doncaster (cdoncaster@abschools.org) for more information.

 

Do kinders eat lunch? And if so, where do they eat?

Half day: No. Half day kindergarten students are dismissed at 11:50.

Full day: Yes. Full day kindergarten students typically eat lunch in our cafeteria. They have the option to purchase lunch at school or eat a lunch brought from home. Kindergarten students have the first lunch period and usually are the only group of students in the cafeteria during their lunch period. 

 

Is there snack time?

Yes. Half day students have one snack break. Full day students have two snack breaks (in addition to lunch). 

 

Do kinders have homework?

No.  But we always encourage reading- independent, reading to, and reading with your child.  Please see the District homework policy for more information. 


Is there a nap/rest time built into the day?

Yes. There is a 30-minute period of quiet time in the middle of the day. 


Are there assistants in the classroom?

Yes. 


How will my child know how to get to the classroom in the morning?

A teacher greets the buses as they arrive in the morning. The children wait with the teacher and walk to the classroom together.


How will my child get on the correct bus at the end of the day?

Kindergarten teachers take their responsibility very seriously to ensure kids get home safely, whether by bus or by car pick-up. Each student is given a name tag with a bus number or other pick-up plan clearly identified. 



General Questions


When do kids start reading?

Reading instruction begins on the first day, with students exposed to a variety of print and text experiences.  Some students will come into the year already reading, others will still be developing their readiness skills.  Kindergarten is a big growth year, with students given many new strategies for reading and opportunities to grow at their own pace.  Teachers constantly assess student growth, both formally and informally, to help guide their instruction.


What curriculum does McCarthy-Towne follow?

Every elementary school in Acton and Boxborough follows the same curriculum as outlined by the district and in accordance with the Massachusetts Department of Education guidelines. Curriculum standards for the Acton-Boxborough Regional School District can be found here: https://www.abschools.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=216111&pageId=477516



What math program does McCarthy-Towne use?

We use Illustrative Math in all grades.  This is true across the District as all elementary schools K-6 adopted the Illustrative Math program in Fall 2021.


How much homework do students receive?

McCarthy-Towne follows the district guidelines which can be found here: https://z2policy.ctspublish.com/masc/browse/actonset/acton/IKB/z2Code_IKBhttps:



What support does McCarthy-Towne provide for gifted students?

The District does not have a gifted program at any of the schools.  At McT, we believe in meeting the student where they are and growing them by a year, whether they are at, above, or below grade level expectations.



What sort of technology is used at McCarthy-Towne?

Students have devices on a “1-1” basis.  K and Grade 1 students have iPads and students in grades 2-6 are assigned Chromebooks.  Additionally, every classroom is equipped with a Smartboard to facilitate teaching. 

View the district 2021 Education Technology Plan



How often do students have Music class, Art class, Physical Education and Library?

At McCarthy-Towne, we refer to these classes as “Specials” and students in all grades visit each Special, once a week, for 45 minutes. Kindergarten Specials are 30 minutes long. This is common to all AB elementary schools.


In grades four through six students have the option to participate in chorus, string ensemble, and band.


How long is recess?

Students in kindergarten through sixth grade have a scheduled 25 minute recess and a 25 minute lunch.  Additional break time may be scheduled at the teacher’s discretion and varies by grade level.

 

Are there conferences? 

McCarthy-Towne teachers schedule two conferences every year, one in the fall and one in the spring. There is also an optional winter conference.  Without a typical trimester reporting instrument, parent-teacher conferences are crucial for communicating student performance and growth.

Does McCarthy-Towne have report cards?

No. McCarthy-Towne uses formative assessments to guide instruction. Parent conferences are held 2-3 times each year to review and discuss student progress. Additionally, every student's family will receive an End-of-the-Year Summative Report that informs parents of student progress on the MA State Standards.


What is the best way to reach out to the classroom teacher?

Teachers send a welcome letter to families, typically a week or two before the start of each school year. In this letter, they will discuss the common and preferred means of communication. 


How does McCarthy-Towne support diversity?

McCarthy-Towne values its diversity and celebrates it with events such as World Heritage Day and school-wide projects such as this self-portrait example: Grades 3, 4, 5, and 6 created self-portraits. These self-portraits were cut into quarters and reassembled so that each new square is composed of four different students, celebrating differences and sending a message of support and friendship. Through cooperation and respect for each other and our unique characteristics, we build and foster a strong, diverse and accepting community.
Diversity Diversity



What is the typical class size at McCarthy-Towne?

It’s important to note that class sizes are balanced throughout the district so that numbers are similar across the six elementary schools.



General Registration Questions


How can I register a student entering grades 1 - 6?

Contact the district Registrar, Candace Doncaster (cdoncaster@abschools.org), or by phone 978-264-4700 x3310. The Registrar’s office is located at 15 Charter Road in Acton.


Who do I contact if I need childcare beyond school hours?

The district offers several options through its Extended Day program. You can find additional information here: https://abce.abschools.org/home


Want more information?

Elementary School Handbook



Want to know more about McCarthy-Towne? Check out our “What makes McT special” section on our school website.


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