Arrival and Dismissal Procedures
Students who do not ride a bus are expected between 7:50 and 8:00 a.m.
Car riders should unload between the two orange construction cones that will be near the curb.
Please be ready to unload when you are between the cones. Have your best wishes and good-bye moments before reaching the cones to keep the traffic flowing.
Safety is a priority. Always drop off students on the school side of the street.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I drop off my child for school in the morning?
On the first day, you may walk your child to his/her classroom door, if he/she needs you to do so. After that, children should be dropped off at the front doors of the school and they will walk to their classroom by themselves. During the year, should you need to assist your child in carrying a project, etc. to the classroom, you will need to first sign in at the office. Staff members are positioned throughout the school to help the children get to class. Parents may begin dropping off at 7:45 a.m., although doors will not open until 7:50 a.m. They are locked promptly at 8:00 a.m.
Is there a morning car drop-off?
Yes, cars should line up on Cameron Mills Road on the school side of the road only. When your car pulls up to the front, a staff member will help your child get out of the car, and he/she can walk directly into the building. For safety reasons, we ask that students exit the car from the sidewalk side, not the street side.
What are my options for pick-up?
Students are classified as car riders, bus riders, and walkers. At the end of the day, we dismiss bus riders first. Following that, a dismissal announcement is made for walkers and car riders. Car riders gather at the front of the school near the pick-up line and are supervised by a staff member. Walkers are released to walk home or to meet their adult at a designated pick up location. If you are picking up your child from school by car, you have two options:
- Park your car on a side street and meet your child in front of the school. If you choose this option, please wait on the grass, as the sidewalk is needed for student departures.
- Drive in the pick-up line located in front of the school on Cameron Mills Road (Northbound, heading toward Westminster Church). Form a queue on Cameron Mills and avoid lining up on Virginia. Please wait patiently until buses exit and then cars will be allowed into the pickup zone. The staff on duty will put your child in your car when you get close to the front entrance. Children will wait with staff until your car is in front of the school. The line is generally longer on rainy days and cold days. Please let your child know that he/she will be a car rider so he/she can gather with the other car riders and be easily found during dismissal. As a courtesy to others in the carpool line, please do not get out of your vehicle or double park.
What if our pick-up plans change? How do I notify the school?
It is best to send a note addressed to the teacher the day of the change. The teacher will share the note with the school office. If you have a change and were unable to send a note, we ask that you call the office no later than 12:00 pm to ensure that your child gets the message. Please call the school for same-day dismissal changes. Do not use email.
What happens if I am late to pick up my child?
Your child will be taken into the office and the office staff will attempt to reach you. If we cannot reach you, we will call your emergency contacts. At the last resort we will notify Child Services.
If I am picking up a child who is not my own, do I need to have written permission to take that child?
Yes, if you are taking a child home with you whom you normally do not pick up, a note from the child’s parent needs to be sent into school.
What do I do if I want to arrange a playdate for my child with another student?
It is best to arrange the play date in advance. A note should be sent with each child, letting the school know of the play date. If you choose to arrange a playdate at dismissal time with a family who is in the car pick-up line, please ask them to move out of the line and park on a side street, so as not to hold up the pick-up line.
If I want to set up a playdate with another child, where can I find that child’s parent contact information?
A School Directory is created at the beginning of each year, and available in October. One copy will be sent home with the youngest child in each family, courtesy of the George Mason PTA.
How do I know which bus my child will ride?
Bus routes are sent home at the beginning of the school year. You also may call the ACPS Transportation office (703-706-4221) or the George Mason office. Kindergarten students will be given a green sticker with a large “K’ printed on it and they are seated in the front of the bus. Please keep this K sticker on your child’s backpack throughout the school year. For Kindergarten students, if an adult is not at the bus stop, the bus will bring the student back to school and the school will call you.
If my child has a problem on the bus, whom do I contact?
Please contact the school as soon as you know of a problem. The sooner the school is alerted, the more likely the situation can get resolved. For safety reasons, there is a video camera on every school bus.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are school hours?
Students should be seated in the classroom by 8:00 a.m. Students should enter the building at 7:50 a.m. to get to their classrooms and be ready to start the day by 8:00. Students are considered tardy if they arrive after 8:00 a.m. Students are released beginning at 2:25 p.m. and ending at 2:35 p.m. depending on grade and method of transportation.
What do I do if we are going to miss school for vacation?
If your child will miss school please notify the school registrar. Please make every effort to schedule your family vacation around the school calendar. If this is not possible, please have your child read and write each day that he/she is out of school. Please do not expect your child’s teacher to provide you with a packet of work to take along; teachers will provide the work that is missed upon your child’s return to school. Sufficient time will be provided to complete this work. School days missed due to vacation are considered unexcused absences. Please keep in mind that students in Grades 3-5 take state exams at the end of the school year. It is very important for all students to be present during this testing window. Ms. Oliver is the testing coordinator and will make sure these dates are posted once they have been determined.
How do I sign out my child for an appointment?
Please send a note to school with your child, notifying the teacher of the child’s need to leave early. When you arrive at school, please come to the office to sign out your son/daughter on the sign out computer. The office staff will call the classroom to ask the teacher to send your child to the office for dismissal.
What do I do if the school social worker, Maureen Allen, sends me a reminder about the number of absences/tardies?
If you receive a reminder notice from Ms. Allen regarding your child’s number of absences or tardies, please contact her in writing or by calling the office at 703-706-4470. According to the School Attendance Law of 1999, each parent/guardian shall be responsible for the child’s regular and punctual attendance at school as required under provisions of the law. The only excused tardies are appointments with a doctor’s note and the late arrival of a school bus. When a student accumulates ten unexcused tardies, the family will be referred to Ms. Allen. She will contact you initially when your child has five absences. You may be required to go to the Attendance Panel. After the 7th unexcused absence, the student and parent(s) may have to appear before the Juvenile Court Judge and be subject to various kinds of penalties.
Discipline and Assistance
Frequently Asked Questions
If my child is having trouble with another student, what do I do?
Always talk with your child’s teacher first. If the teacher is unable to resolve the problem, please contact Mr. Orrenmaa or Ms. Oliver.
If my child is having trouble with a staff member, what do I do?
Please talk with that staff member directly. If you and the staff member are not able to reach a satisfactory resolution, please contact Mr. Orrenmaa or Ms. Oliver.
Does the school offer help to families?
If your family is in need of clothing or other necessities, please contact Ms. Cynthia Diaz, the social worker, at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is fluent in Spanish and is knowledgeable of the abundance of community resources available.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where do I find information about school and city-wide events?
- The George Mason PTA distributes a calendar of George Mason events for the year.
- Our online school calendar.
- Our school newsletter, The Mason Messenger, is sent out on an as-needed basis via email. As long as a parent has an active email address on file at the school they do not need to sign up for the principal email distribution.
- Finally, the PTA has an email distribution list that is sent out weekly to those parents who subscribe, detailing the upcoming weekly events, as well as its own website. If you are not already receiving the PTA email, please email email@example.com and ask to be added to the PTA email list.
What is the Thursday Folder?
The Thursday Folder is our weekly “school-to-home-to-school” communication tool. Please take time to look through your child’s Thursday Folder, as it will contain all important school communications, as well as information from the PTA and from your child’s teacher, some of which may need to be returned. Keep in mind there may still be school or teacher communications that come home on any given day.
If I have something to send in (such as PTA money or a note to the teacher) and it’s not Thursday night (so I can’t use the Thursday folder), what should I do?
Please ask your child to give any item to his/her teacher first thing in the morning. The teacher will ensure that the item gets to the correct destination. There is also a PTA Box in the front office if you would like to deliver the item directly.
May I call the school during the school day to talk with my child’s teacher?
Classrooms will not be interrupted during the instructional day except in an emergency situation. If you must contact your child or teacher during school hours, please call the office at 703-706-4470 and leave a message. Another option is to email your child’s teacher letting them know that you would like to arrange a meeting with them. Many teachers check email during lunch breaks, etc.
Is it possible to send items into school for distribution to other children (such as party invitations)?
Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) prohibits schools from sending home items in student backpacks that are not school-related or Alexandria City-approved documents. Please do not send such items to school with your child. You may use the School Directory to find the necessary family information you might need.
What is the School Directory?
The School Directory lists student and family contact information and parent email addresses. There is a listing of PTA Committees and members. The directory also includes the George Mason Staff Information roster. It is generally distributed in October. Is there a way to receive PTA and other George Mason information via email? Please email Sherry Reilly, PTA President, to ensure you receive her weekly email communication, “Coming Up at GM” (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please make sure you provide your email address on the white emergency card you fill out in the beginning of the year.
Frequently Asked Questions
May I visit the school during school hours?
We welcome all parents into our school and encourage you to visit your child’s classroom. However, to avoid any possible disruption to the learning process, we do ask you to make arrangements ahead of time by contacting your child’s teacher.
The safety and security of every George Mason student is of primary importance to us. For this reason, all entry doors are locked. Please ring the doorbell at the front entry and the office staff will buzz the door open for you once they have identified who you are and your purpose for visiting. We require all parents and visitors to enter through the main office and register on the computer. A visitor sticker will be printed and all adult visitors must wear these stickers while in the building. Please return to the office upon leaving to sign out. A visitor is an individual visiting George Mason for a limited and short term purpose. Examples would be attending a meeting, dropping off medication, or joining a child for lunch. At no time would a visitor be unsupervised with an individual child or group of children.
How can I volunteer in the school?
See the volunteer section for details on how you can get involved.
May I join my child for lunch? May I bring younger siblings? What about recess?
George Mason parents are welcome to come to school and have lunch with their child(ren). In addition to the typical lunch day, the cafeteria staff host special luncheon days such as a Thanksgiving lunch and spring Strawberries & Greens celebration. You can always access lunch menus and information about Food & Nutrition services via the ACPS website. We ask that you meet your child in the cafeteria, not at the classroom door. Younger siblings are welcome, too. If your child’s classroom lunch table is full with students we ask that you and your child sit at an open table. A friend of your child is welcome to join you both. The cafeteria hostess can help direct you to an open table. We ask that parents not attend recess with their child(ren) because teachers need to give their full attention to the supervision of their students while on the playground.
Is parking available in front of the school during the school day?
There is limited parking in front of the school. Please note the hours posted on the signs along Cameron Mills Road. Parking is never permitted in the area designated for buses.