Frequently Asked Questions

image of teacher showing students a science experiment

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Welcome new families. We hope this list helps answer a few questions.

What happens on the first day of school?

Doors open at 9:03, and school starts promptly at 9:10, please be on time! On the first day of school, the class lists are posted on the wall in the yard. 6th Graders, find your name and classroom number, then head to the auditorium.

What happens on Wednesday?

Every Wednesday, school starts at 9:30. (Except some select parent-teacher conference weeks)

When do the students get lockers? Do they need locks the first day of school?

Your student will not receive their locker assignment until the second week of school. You will need to supply one combination style lock (write down the number for safe keeping). Students purchase a P.E. lock from the school for $5.00 ea

If they don't need locks, what supplies do they need the first day of school?

Your student will need a backpack, pencils and a spiral notebook. Teachers will give out additional supply lists.

Academics? Do students receive grades? What is a grading periods? How much homework will they have?

Sixth graders will be each placed in a core set of classes Math, Science, Language Arts and Social Studies as well as an elective and P.E.. Your student will also be assigned to an Advisory Class that meets once a week on Wednesday's. Middle school student receive grades and there are two grading periods in each semester. The district will mail home report cards. Homework will average a half hour to an hour per night, sometimes more, sometimes less.

What about electives? How does this work? 

Most students in the 6th and 7th Grades will take two semesters of electives unless they choose Band (wind instruments) or Orchestra (string instruments) in which case this will be your elective for the whole year. Electives are grade based, so 6th graders are only with other 6th graders, etc. Electives change every year but examples include Art, Computers, Spanish, Arabic Culture, AVID and Health. In the 8th grade elective options may include art, computers, AVID, drama and Journalism. Note: English Language Learners will have an English Intensive Class for their elective. Students have their elective class every day. Learn more about Academics HERE and Electives HERE.

Lunch? How does it work?

Three choices: (1) Hot Lunch from Revolution Foods (same as elementary school), (2) "The Beanery" which offers sandwiches, etc. or (3) students can bring a lunch from home. Visit the SFUD website for more information (click on the "Nutrition" tab on the left). Students eat inside or in the designated outside area. (And yes, we have lots of seagulls that circle the yard after lunch.) Learn more about the lunch program.

P.E.? How does it work?

Marina has one of the top Physical Education (P.E.) departments in the district. Students have P.E. every day. They will need to wear a P.E. uniform which they will purchase from their teacher the second week of school. Learn more about P.E. HERE.

Online Communication (Student Vue/Parent Vue/Family Portal)? What is it and how does it work?

SFUSD uses an online communication tool to help you track your students grades and classes. Students also have a separate log-in and their own account. This tool is called Student Vue or for parents Parent Vue. Learn more about Student Vue/Parent Vue.

How does the school communicate with families?

The Principal sends out a regular email bulletins that includes all the information for that week. There is also a twice a month Marina Family Newsletter. Important information also goes out through through the PTSA Parent Google Group (to join the Google Group email:, in the subject line put: Google Group). Dates are posted regularly on the website calendar which can be downloaded from the main page of the school website.

Is there an afterschool program? Who runs it?

Yes! The Marina Beacon Center in partnership with the Presidio Y runs our afterschool program. For more information visit the Afterschool website page (under the Marina Beacon Center tab) or call 415-351-3180 or visit room 124.

I have a question about my student's progress in school, who should I contact?

Contact your subject teacher. You can call the school (415) 749-3495 or email the teacher through Parent Vue. 

I have a general school concern, or my student has a school concern, who should I contact?

Your grade level counselor. You can call the school (415) 749-3495 and ask to speak with the counseling office.

My student has a question about a class assignment, who should I contact?

Encourage your student to establish a "homework buddy" at school, someone they can contact to confirm assignment details if they are confused. Some teachers are available directly after school for 10-15 minutes and some teachers are in the Tuesday/Thursday Lunch-Time Homework Clinic. Have your student establish with their teacher how to get support outside of class time.

I need to contact my student, should I call their cell phone?

The use of all electronics is prohibited during the school day. If you need to get a message to your student, contact your counselor or the school secretary. Students who need to call home should see their counselor.

Wow Marina is big. Are the kids safe? How do they make friends?

The 6th graders only take classes with other 6th graders and teachers use the first few weeks of school to help kids get to know each other and build a core-class bond. During lunch, when all students are together, staff are monitoring the yard at all times. If there is a concern, students are encouraged to contact their counselor.  Another option for incoming 6th Graders to make friends is the free "Step Up" class offered the first week of summer vacation.

How do Parent-Teacher Conferences work in Middle School?

Parent-Teacher conferences are held twice a year (October and February). Please look for a notice in the weekly bulletin and/or a flyer that will come home with your student.

How do school dances work?

Marina typically has one dance each semester. Dances are held after school (3:30-5:30) and students purchase a ticket in advance ($2.00) and need a signed permission slip. Generally there are snacks for purchase and other fun surprises for the students and of course a DJ. 

Are there field-trips in Middle School?

Yes. Individual teachers develop their own field-trip plans, so all classes do not have exactly the same field-trips. In the past, all 6th graders across San Francisco were treated to one 6th grade-wide field trip to the Hardly Strictly Blue Grass festival. Parent chaperons are needed for this event!

How are sports teams formed?

The P.E. coaches will announce team tryouts during P.E. class. Learn more HERE. Your student will need to communicate this information with you. Teams rosters are posted on the P.E. bulletin board. Practices are after school. Games are held all around the city and students will travel to games using MUNI. Students travel together as a group and are generally not escorted by a coach. Parents can arrange to pick up their student and transport them if they wish. All team communications should be directed to the team coach and/or the head of the P.E. department, Coach Canellos.

How can parents stay involved? My student does not want me hanging around the school.

Research  shows that middle school students perform better both academically and socially when parents stay engaged and involved. Consider joining the PTSA, attending the regular meetings, and assisting in fundraising to support our school activities. Or, consider joining the SSC, ELAC, or the AAPAC (see the families tab for more information). Our students need you to stay engaged with their school community and support their school activities. Learn more about any of the above groups.

Do you have one last piece of advice?

Your student is growing up and that means a new sense of independence, learning to take responsibility and starting to navigate the world on their own. That said...parents need to stay connected and engaged with their student and the school. This is a big transition. Ask questions and reach out when needed. Don't be shy.