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.

Will students be able to go to school during August?

Marina Middle is committed to following the safety guidelines put out by the district and San Francisco City and County Government. Please refer to the SFUSD Website for updates on the 2020-21 school year. 

What happens on the first day of school?

Fall semester 2020 will begin with distance leanring. We will have an online orientation for students from 9am-10am. 

What happens on Wednesday?

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

How early can students be dropped off or arrive on campus? 

*note- students are not allowed on campus during distance learning.

When in-person school is in session, students can arrive on campus as early as 7:30am every day (including Wednesdays). Security guards and cafeteria staff will be on site. Students may play on the yard, or get breakfast in the cafeteria. Students are not allowed in the hallways or other areas of the school before the first bell.

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.

Can students decorate their lockers? 

Students are welcome to decorate the inside of their locker, just make sure any decorations can be easily removed. The POP store (where students can redeem the POPTickets they get for good behavior) has magnets, locker shelves, and other supplies for decorating your locker.

Can I get a tour of the school?

You can get a virtual tour from Head Counselor Ms. Lamb HERE! Translations are available on the video in Spanish and Chinese. For more information on tours, see here, or check out the school overview page. 

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 and Electives HERE.

If my student signs up for Band or Orchestra, do they have to stay in it all three years?

We want to encourage students to stay in Band or Orchestra if they sign up, but if it’s really not for them, they can talk to their counselor.

Lunch? How does it work?

*During distance learning, grab-and-go meals are available at select sites. See here for more information. 

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.

What do the students do at lunch? Can they leave campus? 

No. Marina, like all the SFUSD middle schools, is a closed campus. Students are not allowed off campus for lunch. Marina has a wide variety of lunch clubs for students to participate in, including Lion Dance, yoga, Japanese Culture, American Sign Language, Soccer, and many more. Clubs are open to all students and we have a Club Fair in early September so students can check out the offerings. Students can join as many lunch clubs as they want, and most clubs let students join at any point throughout the year. If students have a club they want to form that isn’t offered, they can talk to a teacher or Beacon staff to see about starting a new club. Additionally a few times each semester we have a school-wide lunchtime event hosted by the Marina Beacon Center. And lets not forget the school library, open every day at lunch time. 

Can students bring snacks, like chips, candy, soda, or Starbucks?

Students are not allowed to eat or drink (aside from water) in class, but may bring snacks to school that they leave in their locker to eat during lunch. Once students arrive on campus, they cannot leave

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 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 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. Visit our Get Connected page to learn more. 

Is there an afterschool program? Who runs it?

Yes! The Marina Beacon Center, operated by the Presidio YMCA,  runs our afterschool program. For more information visit the Afterschool website page (under the Marina Beacon Center tab) or call 415-447-9617, email, 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 email the teacher through Parent Vue. If you are having difficulty reaching your teacher, you can contact your counselors. 

How do students receive tutoring or homework help?

Students can either attend Homework Clinic during lunch on Tuesdays and Thursdays, or sign-up for Afterschool, where they provide tutors and study time each day from 3:50-4:50. See here for more information.

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

Your grade level counselor. For 2020-2021, counselor assignments are: 6th grade- Ms. Lamb (, 7th grade- Ms. Araujo (, 8th grade- Mr. Yee ( 

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 also available directly after school for 10-15 minutes. Have your student establish with their teacher how to get support outside of class time. If your student needs more regular homework support, we encourage you to join the afterschool program, which offers daily tutoring. See here for more information. 

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 "Power Scholars Academy” program, which they are eligible to join their summer before 6th grade. 

Does Marina have a summer program? What is Power Scholars Academy? 

Power Scholars Academy (PSA) is the Marina Beacon summer program, run by the Presidio Y. PSA includes daily practice in reading and math to prevent summer learning loss, as well as art, fitness, exciting clubs, and fun field trips! See here for more information. 

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?

*Note: School dances will not be held during distance learning. 

Marina typically has one dance each semester. Some dances are held after school (3:30-5:30) and some are held during the school day. 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 Bluegrass festival. Parent chaperons are needed for this event!

What sports are offered at Marina? How are sports teams formed?

Note: Sports will not be offered during distance learning. 

Marina offers many sports throughout the school year. The P.E. coaches will announce team tryouts during P.E. class. Your student will need to communicate this information with you. Team 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. See here for a full list of Marina sports and more information! 

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, Penguinos Latinos 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.