ESMS Family Handbook

ESMS Family Handbook 2021-2022

 The ESMS Tiger mascot 

After reading the Family Handbook, the Acceptable Use Policy & the Student Oath of Trust, STUDENTS & PARENTS MUST SIGN THE DIGITAL PARENT RELEASE FORM in Operoo to indicate that they are aware of and will follow school rules, policies & procedures.

Hello, East Side Middle School!

We are delighted to begin a new school year with your child, and we can’t wait to swing open the doors to welcome you and your family to ESMS. Our handbook covers safety, school structure and the procedures for being a good citizen at East Side Middle. Before September 13, please read through the 2021-22 DOE Health & Safety Guide that we recently sent home, and go through this Handbook with your child. You and they will both need to indicate on the Parent Release Form that you understand and agree to school policies.


East Side Middle School seeks to create a vibrant, rigorous, academic experience within a nurturing, compassionate environment. Our mission is to have all students fully immersed in what they are studying in order to develop the habits of mind of each discipline, i.e. to think and act as scientists, mathematicians, etc. Students will strive to exceed grade level standards in all academic areas and to become life-long learners.

Our approach at ESMS is strongly influenced by two thinkers. Ken Robinson believed that all students should have the opportunity to discover and develop their “element,” the talents or drives that make them feel most significant and alive. Carol Dweck developed the idea of growth mindset, which says each of us is always capable of improving our understanding and skills; we strive to foster the knowledge among ESMS students that we can all be better at something tomorrow than we were yesterday.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email us or reach out to Beth Servetar, our Parent Coordinator ( Corrections or additions to the Family Handbook may be made from time to time. The PTA will post updated versions on

Go Tigers, Roar!

David Getz, Principal

Amanda Hyman, Assistant Principal

ESMS Directory 2021-2022


Your child’s health is our primary concern. Please inform the school if your child has any health conditions that may affect short or long-term attendance or academic performance. For your family’s planning, safety and information, it is recommended that you have your child tested for Covid-19 just before the start of school. Please refer to the DOE Guide for information about in-school testing this year.

Please do not send your child to school if they are feeling unwell. Following a health-related absence or late arrival, please submit a doctor’s note or other material to Chris Agosto in the main office on paper or by email at

The DOE published a Health & Safety Guide for the start of the school year. It can be found on their website in 10 languages, with the English version. Throughout this handbook, we will direct you to that Guide and to look for updated information on the DOE’s 2021-2022 School Year web page: year-2021-22

 DOE Homecoming Health & Safety Guide 

Students must complete a daily health screening before entering the building each day. The form can be accessed at; ESMS students use the blue Guest button or may print and complete a paper form.

In-school Covid testing will continue, as set forth in the DOE Guide. A Digital Parental Consent for Testing form will go home for your signature at the start of school. You may also give consent through your NYCSA account at

Students are required to wear masks at all times in the hallway, classroom and bathroom, except for when they are eating lunch or drinking water. Masks must snugly cover the mouth and nose; they may not contain valves or be gaiters, bandanas, or scarves.

Students will maintain 3 feet social distance in classrooms and in the cafeteria; elsewhere whenever possible.

NY State Immunization Requirements
Please email immunization records to Lori when there are updates:

Medication Administration Forms (MAF)
If your child requires medication to be administered at school, please personally return a signed MAF to the school nurse with any medication (labeled) that is to be stored at school. You may call Nurse Sue and set up a time to meet for meds dropoff in the lobby. If your child requires medication while at school and does not have a MAF on file, you may come to the school and administer the medication in the Medical Room with the nurse present. This applies to all medication, whether doctor-prescribed or over the counter. An adult will need to collect medications on/by the last day of school.

Allergies Anaphylaxis
General Medication
Request for Provision of Medically Prescribed Treatment (non-medication)



Students enter through our gate on 92nd Street. The gate will open at 8:45am. On their way in, students may take a grab-and-go breakfast to eat in the classroom. Everyone must be in their homeroom seats by 9:00am to be marked present and on-time.

The gate closes promptly at 9:00; late arrivals enter through the main lobby on 91st Street and must sign in at the main office. Students attending morning extra help sessions will enter on 91st St at 8:30 am and will go straight to the teacher’s room.

The school day ends at 3:20pm. Students are dismissed out the 92nd Street gate unless they are staying for afterschool. At dismissal, we consider all students as leaving on their own; if you are meeting them after school, we ask that you pick a meeting spot at either end of the 92nd St block, rather than right at the gate.


If a student needs to leave before the end of the day, an adult listed on their emergency card must come to school with a photo ID and sign them out. Adults not listed on your child’s emergency form are NOT AUTHORIZED to sign your child out of school early. Phone calls or emails granting permission to another adult to sign out your child are not acceptable. This is a Department of Education regulation, and there are no exceptions, so be sure to keep your Blue Emergency Form up to date. Students may arrive without an adult any time of day.


Student attendance is taken at 9:00am in homeroom and again after lunch.

Regular attendance is critical to academic success. Unexcused absences, such as extended holidays and vacations, are highly discouraged. Please take your family vacations during regular school breaks. Teachers will not create individual assignments for students who take vacation during regular school days.

Please call the school (212) 360-0114 or email when your child is absent or if you know in advance your child will be late. Our automated phone system calls the homes of late and/or absent students daily. If your child arrives late, you will still automatically receive a call from our system that your child is not in attendance; once your child arrives at school and signs in, the ‘absence’ will be changed to ‘late.’ You do not need to contact us to make the change after you get that call.

Please be aware that excessive absences and lateness may impact students’ class grades and their high school admissions applications. Unexplained absences and chronic lateness will be reported to the administration for further action. Extended or unexplained absences will be followed up and may be reported to the Department of Education. DOE attendance policy:


Students will agree to follow the “acceptable use” standards for computer use in school. They will use devices in school only for ESMS-related work that is appropriate for the class and subject they are currently attending. (See the full policy at the end of the handbook.)

Each day, students will bring, in addition to their assigned school materials, a book for independent reading and personal headphones with a cord. Bluetooth headphones are not allowed in the classroom. Students will not share headphones.


Students with permission may leave the building during lunch period. They will be issued passes to show as they leave and return. If they forget their pass, they must stay in for lunch; if they lose it, they can go through a process of getting teacher signatures in order to receive a replacement pass. 6th graders are given an Out Lunch start date

2-3 weeks after school begins, while 7th and 8th graders with permission may generally begin going out the first day of school.

Students not permitted to go out, or who choose to stay in on any given day, may bring lunch from home or have free school lunch.

For Out Lunch, students may bring a lunch or get takeout and eat it in a public space, or they may choose to sit down at the faster restaurants in the neighborhood. We ask that they not bring their own food into restaurants and that they not eat at their own or other students’ homes. While there are no rules about how far away they may go at lunch, they must be back by the end of the period to be marked present. Once a child is out for lunch, he/she will not be permitted to re-enter the building until the full lunch period is over and it is time to return to class. Either the parent or the school may revoke outside lunch privileges at any time.

Please do not send metal utensils, glass bottles or food containing nuts to school.


East Side Middle School has no dress code beyond compliance with the Department of Education Discipline Guidelines which prohibit the following from being worn in the building:

  • weapons, gang related accessories
  • hats, hoods
  • visible tattoos or body piercings
  • pajamas
  • flip-flops
  • T-shirts with inappropriate words or images of weapons

Out of respect for the whole community, we ask that students not wear personalized party merchandise (like personal event sweatshirts) in school.


Students will be expected to silence and put away phones and smart devices upon entering the building. They are not permitted to use cell phones or smart watches on school grounds during the school day unless given permission by a staff member. Please respect this Department of Education regulation and help reinforce it by not calling or texting your child’s cell phone during the school day. If you need to get an urgent message to your child, please call the office (212) 360-0114, and we will do everything possible to get the message to the child in a timely fashion.

If a student is seen with a smart watch or a visible cell phone, including one clipped outside their clothing, the item will be confiscated. The first time the device is confiscated, it will be returned to the student at the end of the school day. Repeat violations of this rule will require a parent to come to school to get the item. Please be sure your child understands this school policy.

Students may bring e-readers to school at your discretion, but please be aware you are assuming the risk of loss or damage.

Students will use school Chromebooks during the day and should not bring their own computers to the building.


  • Students must sign in and out of class to use the restroom.
  • ESMS has single, ‘All-Gender’ bathrooms for student use on floors 3 and 5.
  • Students are not to socialize or use phones in the bathroom.
  • If all the stalls are in use, students should wait outside in the hallway, maintaining social distance from other students who are waiting.
  • Students must wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water or use hand sanitizer before leaving the bathroom.
  • The student bathrooms on the first floor are for sole use of PS138
  • All adults visitors must use only the lobby bathroom marked Staff


Outerwear, ESMS spiritwear, backpacks, water bottles, eyeglass cases and anything of value should be labelled with the student’s name for easy return. Students who lose personal items should first check their classrooms and then visit the Lost and Found cabinet in our cafeteria. Items of value will be held in the main office. Each trimester, we dispose of accumulated lunchboxes and water bottles, and donate the remaining clothing items.


Please do not bring a student’s forgotten homework to school; it should be considered part of the assignment for them to turn in work on their own and on time. Forgotten lunch should be kept at home as well - students will always be provided with a free meal from the school cafeteria. If you need to drop off a team uniform or other afterschool item; it will be held in the main office for a student to retrieve at dismissal.


We do not have bicycle racks outside of the school building and have no space on school grounds to store bikes, scooters or skateboards indoors.

We ask that personal transactions, such as distributing invitations to events outside of school, not be conducted in school.

Students may not chew gum in school.



  • In the case of a family emergency, please call the Main Office at (212) 360-0114. You may also want to email staff or administration.
  • For any classroom concerns or individual concerns about your child, please first email the teachers directly. Please allow for a 24 hour response time during the school week, as teachers may not check their email during the school day.
  • Call or email Chris Agosto with attendance questions, or to report an absence or late arrival: 212-360-0114 or
  • For changes to your address or requests for school records, contact Lori
  • ESMS afterschool is run by Manhattan Youth. Please reach out to Nick Lacativa, ESMS Site Director, for all afterschool / (917) 565-7472.
  • To have other questions routed to the right staff member, feel free to reach out to Beth Servetar, Parent Coordinator: 212-360.0114 /


Most school communication goes out to parents & guardians by email. Please read all messages carefully - they may be from the Administration or Main Office, the PTA, or a teacher.

By the first week of September, if you are not regularly seeing emails from school, you may either be blocking incoming mail from ESMS (some work emails do this and you may wish to pick an alternate address) or experiencing a routing issue (a few providers - most notably Gmail - can filter our emails to Promotions or Spam. If that is happening, drag a message to your primary inbox; in Gmail you may be able to open it and click ‘not promotions’ at the top.) If you have other issues, or need to make additions or changes to our Constant Contact database, please email Beth.


The school will request your child’s cell phone number for our emergency text notification database.


The nurse or main office may occasionally need to reach you by phone and would use the numbers on your emergency form, so please be sure to keep the form current. Such calls will appear on caller ID as coming from 212.360.0114.


East Side Middle School has an informational website (, designed and maintained by the PTA Executive Board. Every effort is made to keep it current and informative. The PTA enjoys including photos of ESMS field trips, teams, activities, trips and performances, to give a feel for ESMS. They also maintain a small social media presence to share school news and shoutouts on Instagram and Facebook. If you do not wish your child’s mage to appear in these settings, please opt out on the Operoo Parental Consent Form.

NOTE: If you take good pictures at an ESMS team event or performance, please send them to - we’d love to consider them for website, Instagram or yearbook use.


A child may have only one legal address. To change that address in Department of Education records, please submit documentation of the family’s new address to Lori in our main office. Acceptable documentation includes current Con Edison bills, pay stubs or rent/mortgage statements.


The Department of Education Office of Pupil Transportation (OPT) - not ESMS - determines whether individual students receive transportation and whether a Metrocard is full or half fare. Cards are distributed to students at the start of the school year. Please be aware that full or half fare status may change when a child goes from grade to grade or after a birthday. Lost Metrocards will be replaced in the ESMS office on the 1st and 15th of each month as long as our supplies last. Defective cards should be brought to the office, and will be replaced immediately.


Please make sure your children observe the following safety guidelines:

  • Do not begin crossing until the light is green; cross with the light and obey crossing guards.
  • Remember, the bike lane is busy and is considered part of the street.
  • Do not look at cell phones while crossing the street.



  • There is no such thing as “privacy.” Your child should understand that anything they communicate through social media, photos or comments, will eventually be public, and that “eventually” may come sooner than expected. Any social posting is only one person’s click away from being made public.
  • A student who causes any harm through social media to students at East Side Middle, whether it is intended or not, may be held responsible for that harm. This is the case, even if the posting took place outside of the school or outside of school hours. If it affected our students, it is our responsibility to investigate.
  • While the posting of nude or suggestive “selfies” or pictures of friends may be common among
  • adolescents, these postings have often led to police involvement.
  • The school will be forced to act on any postings that suggest a student’s participation in illegal activities,
  • harassment, substance abuse, or that may affect the health or safety of the child.

Colleges and private companies use software that enables them to search the social media history (even that which has been “deleted”) of candidates. The impulsive postings of today might show up in the job application or college application of tomorrow.


East Side Middle school will have three marking periods.

For all subjects except science, the final grade will be an average of the 3 previous marking periods. For Science:

  • Students will be graded on a mastery basis. Mastery grading focuses on a student’s progress towards mastering certain skills and understandings.
  • Students will also have three marking periods with a final grade on their last report card in June. The final grade will reflect the progress a child has made towards their learning goals, with the most recent assessments weighing the most in determining that grade.

For the 8th grade Common Core Algebra class, the NY State Regents exam will not count for more than 10 percent of a student’s final grade.

The following policies apply to all subjects:

  1. At least 90 percent of a student’s grade will consist of mastery based measures, such as qualitative and quantitative assessments, projects, graded homework, reports, performances, and presentations.
  2. Attendance will not count towards a student’s grades. Classroom participation and homework can count up to 10 percent of a child’s grade.
  3. Student assessments are aligned to Next Generation Math Standards, Common Core, NCSS standards in Humanities, and Next Generation Standards in Science.
  4. A passing grade at ESMS is 65.
  5. Teachers will send a progress report to parents once a trimester.
  6. Make-up work time frame: Teachers will establish before any large projects their protocol for making up and submitting incomplete work.
  7. Cheating: Students who are found to have cheated on an assessment will be given a 55 on that assessment and asked to take a new assessment. The two grades will then be averaged.
  8. Plagiarism: Students who have been found to have intentionally plagiarized will be asked to redo the project with the potential of the grade being reduced.
  9. Scale of marks: Passing grades are in units of 1, going from 65 to 100.
  10. Grades are awarded three times a year.
  11. For parents contesting grades, please know that we will only change grades if it is determined that there is a data entry error. Parents have 2 weeks following a report card to appeal a grade.
  12. Through the year there will be two official Parent/Teacher Conferences, when parents can meet with their
  13. child’s teachers to discuss grades. Conference dates are as follows:
  14. In May, parents will be invited to attend a student-led conference on Zoom. At this event, students will use samples of their own work to explain how that work reflects the growth they’ve made and the growth they are still striving for. They will also explain how their grades reflect upon their work.
  15. Parents are always welcome to communicate with their child’s teachers via email.
  16. At various times throughout the year, the school administration or a child’s teachers may request a meeting with a student’s family to discuss a student’s performance and grades.


Students: The adults at your home were emailed a Parental Release Form to sign - on it, is a space for you to indicate that YOU understand the school school Use Policy below and will comply with the Oath of Trust and all other policies contained in this Handbook.

ESMS is pleased to offer our students internet access through our computer network. To gain access to the internet, all students must have a signed Digital Parental Release Form in their files, indicating parent/guardian permission for and their own agreement to follow these student rules and use policies. This form is due within a week of the first day of school.

Access to computers (including peripherals), the ESMS network and the internet is a privilege available to students at East Side Middle School. Our goal in providing this service is to promote educational excellence by facilitating resource-sharing, innovation and communication. The guidelines below are provided so that students are aware of their responsibilities in using this technology.

Computer use and network access at school may be revoked if a student does not adhere to the guidelines below and the Oath of Trust agreement that follows. Students should please read this document carefully and sign the Parental Release Form, indicating their understanding of its contents.

Some notes on internet use:

What is possible? Access to the internet will enable students to explore thousands of libraries, databases, museums, and other repositories of information and to exchange personal communication with other internet users around the world. While the use of in-school internet use is directed toward constructive educational goals, students may find ways to access other materials. We believe that the benefits of internet access in the form of information, resources and opportunities for collaboration far exceed the disadvantages. Ultimately, parents and guardians of minors are responsible for setting and conveying the standards their children should follow when using all media and information sources. Therefore, we support and respect each family’s right to decide whether or not to apply for access. Should a parent prefer that a student not have access to the internet, use of the computers is still possible for more traditional purposes such as word processing.

What is expected? Students are responsible for appropriate behavior on the school’s computer network just as they are in a classroom or on a school playground. It is expected that users will comply with district standards and the specific rules set forth below. Network use is a privilege, not a right, and may be revoked if abused. The user is personally responsible for his/her actions in accessing and utilizing the school’s computer resources.

  • Privacy – Network storage areas may be treated like school lockers. Students should have no expectation of computer privacy, as the school may monitor computer, email and internet use. Network administrators may review communications to maintain system integrity and will ensure that students are using the system responsibly.
  • Storage capacity – Users are expected to remain within allocated disk space and delete material which may take up excessive storage space.
  • Illegal copying – Students should never download or install any commercial software, shareware, or freeware onto network drives or disks, unless they have written permission from the Network Administrator. Nor should students copy other people’s work or intrude into other people’s files.
  • Inappropriate materials or language – No profane, abusive, or impolite language should be used to communicate, nor should materials be accessed which are not in line with the rules of school behavior. A good rule to follow is never view, send, keep, or access materials which you would not want your teachers or parents to see.

Questions about any aspect of internet or computer use or policies at ESMS should be directed to Mr. Getz or Ms. Hyman


  1. You are trusted to respect all hardware and software on campus.
  2. You are trusted not to interfere with the operation of the network by downloading any music or programs from the internet or installing software, shareware or freeware.
  3. You are trusted not to violate copyright laws.
  4. You are trusted not to view, send, keep or display offensive messages or pictures.
  5. You are trusted not to violate the personal space of others by distributing inappropriate web addresses.
  6. You are trusted not to print from the internet, unless instructed to do so.
  7. You are trusted not to trespass in the folders, work or files of others.
  8. You are trusted to notify an adult immediately if, by accident, you encounter materials which violate the rules of appropriate use.

Acceptable/Appropriate Use: My use of computers, the internet and the school network must be in support of education and research within the educational goals and objectives of ESMS. Transmission of any material in violation of any federal, state or school regulations is prohibited; this includes material that is copyrighted, threatening, obscene, or restricted by school policy or staff. The school network includes the use of school computers and computer peripherals, as well as the use of school network services such as the internet, school email/web services accounts, and network file folders.

Personal Responsibility: As a member of my school community, I will accept personal responsibility for proper use of school technology and for reporting any misuse of school technology. My use will meet the following guidelines:

  • I will respect the privacy and dignity of students and teachers at all times. I will not use, copy or delete another user’s files, folders or passwords.
  • I will keep my own passwords private and will not share passwords with anyone.
  • I will use appropriate language by refraining from the use of profanity or insulting language. Offensive messages that originate outside of school, but that disrupt the school’s educational process may be subject to school consequences.
  • I will respect school equipment, including an absence of vandalism and computer viruses.
  • I will only use software that is pre-approved by the teachers or staff at East Side Middle School.

Internet Safety: The internet provides opportunities to access new resources, but it also provides unique risks to students. East Side Middle School provides filtered access to the internet on nearly all school computers; to further ensure my safety, on the internet, I will abide by the following:

  • I will not give out on the internet personal information such as my full name, phone number or address.
  • I will not give out on the internet such personal information about someone else,
  • I will not correspond or meet with someone through the internet without the pre-approval of a teacher.
  • I will only access or download sites that are appropriate for school classes or activities.
  • I will immediately report any technology use that makes me uncomfortable or violates school policies.

Email/Communication Safety: Email and other online communication services provide opportunities for students, but they require careful use. I understand that instant messaging and chat rooms are prohibited, and I will follow these guidelines when using school accounts or computers for email:

  • I will only use an email account at school with the prior permission of a teacher and will get permission from a teacher each time I use email at school.
  • I will adhere to all the above-mentioned guidelines in this Acceptable Use Policy when using a school- provided email account or other school-provided computer service at school or at another location.
  • East Side Middle School may filter or monitor school-provided email accounts or other school-provided computer services, regardless of whether the account is accessed in school or in another location.

Students agree to use the network in a constructive manner and are prepared to be held accountable for your actions and for the loss of privileges on all campus computers if the Rules of Appropriate & Acceptable Use are violated. You agree to immediately report any misuse of the equipment and/or network to your teacher, to Mr. Getz, or to Ms. Hyman.