August 23, 2017

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

In our years of running the Atholton High School PTSA there are, inevitably, many questions that are asked over and over again. Here you will find many of them along with answers for them. If you have a question and answer you would like added to this list, please contact a member of the PTSA Board of Directors.

The PTSA

What does Atholton PTSA do?
Can I join the PTSA online?
Can I join the PTSA via US Mail?
Can I pay for membership dues online?
Why are Atholton HS PTSA membership dues higher than other high schools?
Can I make a donation to the PTSA online?
Can I make a donation to the PTSA via US Mail?
Is my donation to the PTSA tax-deductible?
Does anyone in my family have to be a member of the PTSA in order for my senior to apply for the PTSA Scholarship?
The "My Donations" page does not show all of the donations I made to the PTSA. Why is that?

New Students

What information do you have for new students? Both incoming freshman and transfer students.

Volunteer Opportunities

What are the volunteer opportunities with the PTSA?
I would love to help out with the PTSA, but I really don't have a lot of spare time. What can I do?

Driver's Education

I have a learner's permit and have completed all of the requirements. When can I get my provisional license?
Do I need an appointment to get my learner's permit?
Do I need an appointment for my driving skills test?
Do I need to take a Driver's Ed class?
What is the minimum age to take Driver's Ed?
Where can I take the Driver's Ed class?
When do Driver's Ed classes take place?
What is the minimum age to apply for a Learner's Permit?
What are the requirements to apply for a Provisional Driver's License?
What does the test for the Provisional Driver's License include?

Lunch

What is the cost of a school lunch?
Are microwaves available for underclassmen at lunch?
Is the snack counter open during lunch periods?
Does a student need their PIN even when purchasing a lunch with cash?

Student Life

How do I know if it's an A or B day? (And what does it mean?!)
How do new students find out about after school clubs and activities and when do they meet?
What is midterm madness?
What time can I drop my student at school and where should s/he go in the building?
What if my student has to carry/take medication during school?
Do parents attend homecoming activities?

Student Directory

What is the Student Directory?
Is it available online?
About when can I expect to see the paper copy of the directory?
What does Atholton PTSA do?

AHS PTSA supports activities like Cultural Arts Programs, HC Drug Free Programs, Career Night, and the After Prom. PTSA offers financial support to numerous student activities and clubs, coordinates the Snack Shop and POPS Volunteers, publishes an annual directory for the Atholton community, and provides treats of appreciation to our outstanding teachers and staff throughout the year. PTSA sponsors college prep and driver's education courses, a college admissions process night for parents, a student arts competition, college scholarships and more. In addition, PTSA is involved in advocacy, school improvement, and community matters that affect our students. Check out the PTSA Programs page for details on the programs we sponsor.

Can I join the PTSA online?

Yes, you can. Simply click here to join online.

Can I join the PTSA via US Mail?

Yes, you can. Simply click here to download the membership form. Follow the instructions on the form and mail it in.

Can I pay for membership dues online?

Yes. We have teamed with the online payment processing service, PayPal™, to accept online membership dues. Simply click here to join online and pay for your membership dues.

Why are Atholton HS PTSA membership dues higher than other high schools?

Unlike other schools, the Atholton HS PTSA uses memberships as one of our major fundraisers for the year. We do not hold any other fundraising activities during the year that require the general members to actively fundraise for us (e.g. bake sales, car washes, wrapping paper sales, etc.). We provide over $70,000 worth of assistance to the Atholton HS community every year. Membership dues are a key component of paying for this assistance.

Can I make a donation to the PTSA online?

Yes. We have teamed with the online payment processing service, PayPal™, to accept online donations. Simply click here to donate to the PTSA.

Can I make a donation to the PTSA via US Mail?

Yes. Simply send a check made payable to "Atholton High School PTSA" to Atholton High School PTSA, Attn: Treasurer, 6520 Freetown Road, Columbia, MD 21044. Be sure to include a note in the memo portion of the check if you would like you donation earmarked for a specific program.

Is my donation to the PTSA tax-deductible?

Yes. The Atholton High School PTSA is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as a 501(c)(3) charitable organization. Therefore, your donation may be tax-deductible. Please consult your tax advisor for details on taking advantage of the tax-deductibility of your donation.

Does anyone in my family have to be a member of the PTSA in order for my senior to apply for the PTSA Scholarship?

Although we encourage all of our parents, teachers, and students to become members of the PTSA, you do not have to be a member of the PTSA for your senior to apply and receive a PTSA Scholarship. Any senior meeting the eligibility criteria described in the application may apply.

The My Donations page does not show all of the donations I made to the PTSA. Why is that?

When you make a donation to the PTSA, we enter information about that donation in our database. If you do not have a user account AND user profile, we can not associate the donation with your account. Although the donation was recorded, it was not matched with your user account. The only way for us to associate your donation with your account is to already have your account open AND your user profile updated when you make the donation.

What information do you have for new students? Both incoming freshman and transfer students.

We have detailed important information for new students on the New Student Orientation Program page. On this page you'll find a useful guide detailing important things to be aware of by year.

What are the volunteer opportunities with the PTSA?

The AHS PTSA relies solely on volunteers (volunteer sign up) to accomplish all of its goals and run its programs. Some volunteer opportunities include chaperoning at the Homecoming Dance, working the Snack Shop, working POPS, helping out with staff appreciation events, working at the New Student Orientation, and volunteering to take a position on the PTSA board. The complete list of programs you can volunteer for is located here.

I would love to help out with the PTSA, but I really don't have a lot of spare time. What can I do?

All you need is one hour a week to volunteer for our Snack Shop. You can sign up here: http://bit.ly/128M5ty. If you can't commit to one hour per week, just let Ilene Fishkind know how often you would like to help out. You can email at AHSsnackshop@gmail.com. All we need is one hour of your time (from about 1:45pm - 2:45pm) any day of the week.

I have a learner's permit and have completed all of the requirements. When can I get my provisional license?

You can get your provisional license 9 months after getting your learner's permit. For example, if you got your learner's permit on Jan 2, 2014, you can get your provisional license no earlier than Sep 2, 2014. So the earliest you can get your provisional license is 16 years and 6 months old because you have to be at least 15 years and 9 months old to get your learner's permit.

Do I need an appointment to get my learner's permit?

No. For more information please visit the MVA website at http://www.mva.maryland.gov/Driver-Services/Apply/learners-permit.htm.

Do I need an appointment for my driving skills test?

Yes. For more information please visit the MVA website at https://mvascheduling.mdot.state.md.us/Registration/Default.aspx?activity=1&type=schedule.

Do I need to take a Driver's Ed class?

In Maryland, the law requires everyone to take a Driver's Ed class in order to obtain a new driver's license.

What is the minimum age to take Drivers Ed?

You can take the Driver's Ed class once you are 15.

Where can I take the Driver's Ed class?

The PTSA at Atholton HS sponsors Driver's Ed classes through Greg's Driving School. The classes take place at Atholton HS. You can register for a class online at www.GregsDrivingSchool.net or call 301-829-7387. A portion of every class tuition goes to the Atholton HS PTSA as one of our fundraisers.

When do Drivers Ed classes take place?

All throughout the year. Go to the Driver's Ed Program Page for the current schedule.

What is the minimum age to apply for a Learner's Permit?

The minimum age is 15 years and 9 months. In order to get your Learner's Permit, you will need to take a test at the Maryland MVA.

What are the requirements to apply for a Provisional Driver's License?
What does the test for the Provisional Driver's License include?

You will be driving in your own car. The MVA Examiner will be sitting next to you. On a test course at the MVA, you will need to parallel park and do a 2-point turnabout. (Attention: While you are on the test course, STOP at the Stop sign. When you turn, LOOK left and right, don't just "shake" your head!). Once you pass this part, you will be driving in regular traffic.

What is the cost of a school lunch?

Classic Lunch cost is $3.25, Signature Lunch cost is $4.00. The website http://www.hcpss.org/food-services/ has lunch details including the daily menu.

Are microwaves available for underclassmen at lunch?

Yes, there are 3 microwaves in the cafeteria. There may be a line; it is best to bring items that don't require more than 60 seconds to heat so the line moves faster.

Is the snack counter open during lunch periods?

Yes. (There is also a snack shop out in the hallway which is only open after school.)

Does a student need their PIN even when purchasing a lunch with cash?

Yes. The POS (Point of Sale) system used by HCPSS is also an accounting system for auditing purposes as well as a convenience for parents to open accounts they can monitor. HCPSS can only sell a lunch with the PIN because HCPSS has to account for the number of lunches. Federal regulations only allow HCPSS to serve one lunch to each student per day. This is why HCPSS needs to log the PINs so in audits there is no duplication of PINs or second lunches. The POS seems to be well-accepted in the high schools and it is speeding up the lines for student convenience.

How do I know if it's an A or B day? (And what does it mean?!)

Every other day, students attend a 4th period class that alternates between 2 academic courses. (Students generally take a full load of 7 courses... during 6 class periods.) The classroom instruction time works out evenly; the 4th period class is scheduled for a longer period of time than normal and includes a lunch period. It can be confusing for parents, but by the third day of school, your student will be able to explain it to you!

How do new students find out about after school clubs and activities and when do they meet?

Look for a description of school clubs/ activities and points of contact at on our website at https://www.atholtonptsa.org/clubs/. Generally, clubs/activities will host a meeting within the first three weeks of school. The clubs/ activities are student run, with a faculty or staff member serving as an advisor. Students should listen to the school public address announcements and look for posters and flyers in the hallways that advertise meeting times and locations. Students may also email the club/ activity point of contacts for details.

What is midterm madness?

Midterm madness is an AHS program for 9th graders-since they have not experienced high school exams. During a 5-day period, students are welcome to attend subject area sessions to review material after school-hours (a schedule designates when to attend a specific subject area) in preparation for the midterm exams. The students will hear about midterm mania from teachers and via announcements during school. For parents, the program is announced through the HCPSSNews email, so look for it in January.

What time can I drop my student at school and where should s/he go in the building?

School starts at 7:25. Teachers report to school by 7:10, so students may go to their classes at 7:10. The building is technically open to students starting at 6:55. There is not a specific place for students to go, other than the front lobby. The media center opens at 7:00 and students are allowed in there for quiet study, as is the case after school until 3:30 p.m. It is preferred that students do not arrive early, because dedicated supervision is not possible.

What if my student has to carry/take medication during school?

Important: You, the parent, must report all medications, including epi-pens, inhalers, etc. to the school nurse before school starts. The school nurse will assist you with the necessary documentation. NEVER SEND YOUR CHILD TO SCHOOL WITH MEDICATIONS THE SCHOOL NURSE DOES NOT KNOW ABOUT.

Do parents attend homecoming activities?

Absolutely - don't let your freshman tell you otherwise!! Families are invited to all day time activities, beginning with the Raiders Homecoming Breakfast, and followed by the school parade, powder puff football game, and the football game.

What is the Student Directory?

The Student Directory is a major resource created by the PTSA to be used internally by AHS students, parents, staff and PTSA members. It contains is contact information for students and families at AHS. It also contains a PTSA calendar, contact information for the PTSA and AHS staff members; driver's education information; bell schedules; important community phone numbers; SAT/ACT information; Booster club information; sports information; student expectations; AHS Academic Integrity Policy; library, school system, community and external online resources; HCPSS calendar and HCPSS schools list.

Is it available online?

Not at this time.

About when can I expect to see the paper copy of the directory?

This year the PTSA has decided not to publish a paper copy of the directory because of its increasingly expensive cost. If you have any questions or comments, please contact the PTSA President at president@atholtonptsa.org.