imageThe Webb Bridge Middle School Orchestra

·       James Barket, Director

·       Rebecca Williams, Principal

The WBMS Orchestra Handbook


  1. Purpose
  2. Participation
  3. Attendance
  4. Conduct
  5. Grades
  6. Absences
  7. Instruments
  8. Books
  9. After-School Ensembles
  10. Other Opportunites
  11. Dress for Concerts
  12. Special Information for beginning Sixth Graders
  13. Field Trips
  14. Practice
  15. Go back to Webb Bridge Middle School Orchestra


Purpose: The orchestra program at Webb Bridge provides students with an invaluable experience in music as an art form. Students master performing skills on their instrument, serve the school and community through quality concert performances, and enhance school spirit! Through disciplined work, we gain skills in musicianship, teamwork and leadership. Go to top of page

Participation: All students are eligible to participate. Membership in orchestra is from semester to semester. The Advanced Violin Ensemble and the Guitar/Low Strings Ensemble are open to those students who are deemed qualified by the director. Students must participate in a regularly-scheduled music class to be eligible for after-school ensembles. School policy dictates that a student may not withdraw without written parental consent. Prior to withdrawal, parents are encouraged to speak with the director so that possible adjustments to their child’s learning program may be attempted. No student will be dropped without prior parental notification. If withdrawal is necessary, it must be done at the conclusion of a semester. Goals and objectives for students with Individual Education Plans will be addressed in this course. Go to top of page

Attendance: When a child is excused from school, an absence from orchestra will also be granted. To be excused from an after-school orchestra rehearsal or a concert when the student is in school, the student must bring a written note from a parent explaining the absence no later than the day before the rehearsal or concert. Concerts count as test grades. All concert dates are in student agendas, posted on the board, and posted on the WBMS Orchestra Web Site. Students are expected to keep their parents informed of all concert and rehearsal dates to avoid family conflicts. If students have private lessons that conflict with a rehearsal or concert, the students will be expected to reschedule the private lessons and attend the concert or rehearsal. If a student misses a concert with an excused absence, he/she will still be required to make up the work. During part of December and January, students should plan on rehearsing after school on Monday or Wednesday from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. This will enable us to get ready for Large Group Performance Evaluation. We may also rehearse after school just before in-school performances. Students will be given a schedule of after-school rehearsals. Students arriving tardy to class must have a pass to be excused. Unexcused tardiness will affect to the student’s participation grade. Go to top of page

Conduct Rules:

One of the goals of the middle school is to develop a sense of responsibility and self-discipline in students. In an effort to promote student growth in these areas, all Webb Bridge Middle School students are expected to behave in a positive manner conducive to learning and follow the Webb Way! Fulton County policies and procedures will be followed in all disciplinary cases.  A school wide discipline plan will be followed in each student’s classroom according to the steps below.


1 – 1st slip/warning Student/Teacher conference


2 – 2nd slip/warning Parent contact


3 – 3rd slip Detention 1 Using Webb Bridge detention slip and notification to parent


4 – 4th slip Detention 2 Use Webb Bridge detention slip and notification to parent OR Parent/Teacher/Student conference

5 – 5th slip Administrative Office Referral

Students are expected to know and abide by the conduct rules. Students should remain seated unless given permission otherwise and speak only after raising their hands and being acknowledged by the director. As a class, we will speak one at a time and remain silent when anyone else is speaking. Good respectful conduct benefits everyone! Go to top of page


All middle school course gradebooks at WBMS are set up the same:  

·       50% (55% for 8th Grade) - Major: An assignment or assessment that is cumulative in nature, measuring multiple standards/skills, and/or when there is a significant amount of dedicated instructional time devoted to the content being assessed. Major assessments evaluate learning and standards mastery at the end of an instructional unit; most likely a piece of music that we will perform but may include an assessment of a group major skills—knowing fingerings for a particular scale, being able to count rhythms accurately for various meters while maintaining a strong sound, etc. 

·       40% (35% for 8th Grade) - Minor: An assignment or assessment that measures an individual standard or subset of standards/skills within a unit and/or when there is a small amount of dedicated instructional time devoted to the content being assessed. Minor assessments monitorsprovides feedback, and checks in on student learning throughout the instructional unit; may include a selection from a piece of music to be performed but will likely be an assessment of a particular skill—left hand position, sight-reading, counting rhythms, etc.  

·       10% - Practice: Daily assignments, observations, and/or engagement activities given in class or for homework given to students to build and/or remediate skills.  Practice assessments monitors, provides feedback, and checks in on student learning throughout the instructional and will now count as a grade-these assessments will most often be taken from our method book. 


Grading Scales:

Letter grades will be assigned according to Fulton County’s approved grading scale, which is as follows:  A—100-90, B—89-80, C—79-70, F—69-0.


INFINITE CAMPUS-Campus Parent and Campus Student Portal 
The Infinite Campus portals - Campus Parent and Campus Student - provide access to information for all enrolled students in their household. Information includes grades, attendance, assignments, and school announcements. 

Have questions regarding your Parent/Student Portal account? Help is available by calling 470-254-2700 Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. or by emailing 

Please click here for more information-


Lost/Damaged Book Policy:

Students are financially responsible for all books issued by Webb Bridge Middle School. Textbooks may not be left in classrooms, and teachers are not responsible for students’ books once books have been issued to the student. The copy issued to the student must be turned in at the end of the course.  Students will not receive credit for turning in another student’s book, and students may not turn in replacement books.  The cost of replacement will be assigned to any student that fails to turn in the exact book she/he was issued and/or to any student that turns in a damaged book.  Go to top of page


Make-Up Work Policy:

Following an absence, it is the student’s responsibility to contact his/her teachers to arrange for make-up work.  The contact must be made within one school day of returning.  If the teacher is absent, contact should be made upon the first day of the teacher’s return.

Students are given the same number of days to complete make-up work as the absence, not including the day of return.  For instance, if a student is absent two consecutive days, he/she has two days (not including the day of return) to complete the assignments. The teacher will establish a reasonable schedule for completing tests, labs, etc. that cannot be done independently by the student. The policy above applies to excused absences. Students with an excused absence are eligible to make-up work for full credit. While students are allowed to make up work due to unexcused absences, the make-up work for students with unexcused absences may be penalized up to 10% of the maximum value of the graded assignment.

Assignments made prior to the absence, including tests/quizzes scheduled for the day of return, are generally due upon the student’s return.  Students who are present for any portion of the school day are expected to turn in all assignments due on that day in order to receive full credit.

Failure to complete make-up work within the designated time frame may result in a grade reduction for the assignment.

Assignments missed due to pre-approved absences are due upon the student’s return unless the teacher has approved other arrangements in advance. Go to top of page


In an effort to promote accountability, responsibility, and executive functioning growth, students are expected to submit academic work on the due date assignment by teachers. Work that is not turned in should be marked as a “NHI”, until a student turns it in, which counts as a zero in the gradebook. 




Student grades represent what a student knows, understands, and can do. To that end, if students are failing, they are not learning.   

·       All students will have one (1) opportunity each nine weeks to redo/retake one (1) major assignment/assessment, per course.  

·       Eligibility for a redo/retake is for students who receive a 79 or below on a specific major assignment/assessment.  

·       Students are eligible to earn a replacement grade on a redo/retake no higher than 79. For clarity, grades should be input into the gradebook as “highest grade.lowest grade” EX: 79.65 

·       Student redo/retakes must be completed before the next major assignment/assessment is given or five school days before the end of a marking period if there is not another major assignment/assessment given (exceptions can be made for students who have excused absences during this five-day window). 


Final Exams:

Only 8th Graders will take a final exam, but students are expected to be at all concerts and rehearsals. Go to top of page 


To embrace our value word integrity and to encourage good study habits, fair competition, and positive development in the area of academics, the Webb Bridge faculty supports a strong policy for academic honesty.  Student assignments turned in for grading should be the sole work of that individual student.  To prevent cheating, including plagiarism, students may not collaborate with other students or adults on their assignments unless the teacher has given explicit permission to do so. This includes the giving or receiving of information in any manner, including electronically. In situations where collaboration is allowed, the teacher will clearly define what level of collaboration is appropriate.  Under no circumstances is it acceptable for two students to submit identical work, unless the assignment included a group component that makes it permissible or copy and paste from a resource. Students are encouraged to consult with their teacher regarding what level of collaboration is acceptable prior to completing an assignment.   

An environment of academic integrity is the work of all members of the WBMS community; thus, the duty to report any part of academic dishonesty falls on all including students. If any community member suspects or witnesses academic dishonesty, he or she is required to report the incident immediately (within 24 hours) to his or her teacher or administrator. Students who knowingly make false accusations are subject to disciplinary consequences.   

Students who are found in violation of the WBMS Honor Code Policy will receive academic and disciplinary consequences. Students will be responsible for re-assessment up to 70 percent and disciplinary consequences will be based on the student's responsibility cycle. Classroom teachers will handle infractions that fall in the formative assessment category; grade level administrators will handle infractions that fall in the summative assessment category.  

Students will learn about the school honor code and will sign an integrity commitment in Compass. 

 *No electronic device may be displayed during any assessment without the explicit direction from the teacher. Violating this requirement may result in an Honor Code violation. 

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WBMS Content Help Sessions Schedule:

Mondays:                    Language Arts/Reading/World Language     

Tuesdays:                    NONE                        

Wednesdays:              Math

Thursday:                    Social Studies and Connections        

Friday:                        Science         



WBMS Communication Protocol 

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Absences: Upon returning to school, the student should contact the director to request make-up work. If the absence was excused, make-up work will be counted for full value. Go to top of page

Instruments: Students are encouraged to provide their own instruments. Some school instruments are available, but they are reserved for students with serious financial need. All other students (cellos and basses excepted) should secure their own instruments. A list of Fulton County-approved music stores that provide instruments ia available on the WBMS Orchestra website. I strongly suggest securing an instrument from a local store. These instruments are of very high quality for the price, and the local store can service them easily if problems arise. I discourage the purchase of instruments sight-unseen from the internet. In the past, students have not had good experiences with such instruments. Students using a school instrument must fill out a county usage form and are responsible for up-keep and repair (this includes replacement strings). A voluntary usage fee is requested. Go to top of page

Books: Students should obtain a copy of Essential Elements For Strings (beginning students: Book I; Sixth graders: Book I and Book II; Seventh graders: Intermediate Techniques; Eighth graders: Advanced Techniques). The instructor will provide additional materials. Go to top of page

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The After-School Ensembles (AVE & Guitar/LSE):
All orchestra students are eligible and encouraged to audition for the after-school ensembles. They rehearse Chamber style without conductor. The director organizes and runs the rehearsal, but the students perform as a large chamber group. Therefore, although all students are eligible to participate, membership is reserved for students who demonstrate the highest professional behavior. The director listens to the auditions and determines the membership. Both Advanced Violin Ensemble and Guitar/Low Strings Ensemble meet after school from 4:15 to 5:00 p.m. AVE meets on Monday, and Guitar/LSE meets on Wednesday. All students must be picked up from school by 5:15 p.m. Attendance is required for all rehearsals and concerts. Since these groups rehearse before or after school only once a week, please try to schedule doctors and similar appointments on non-rehearsal days. Go to top of page

Other Opportunities: GMEA and GAASTA provide additional opportunities for music students during the year. The main events are the Solo Competition (November), Solo and Ensemble Performance Evaluation (November), Large Group Performance Evaluation (February), and All-State Orchestra (March, but auditions are in October and January). We will all participate in the Large Group Performance Evaluation, but students are also encouraged to participate in the other events. There are also several area honor orchestras. Among these are the the Fulton Youth Orchestra and MYSO String Orchestra. A list of quality honor orchestras is on the WBMS Orchestra website. To be eligible for the Solo Competition, All-State Orchestra, or any of the honor orchestras, students must have an Excellent conduct grade. Go to top of page

Dress for Concerts: Boys: Black pants, white WBMS orchestra shirt; dark shoes and socks. Girls: Black skirt or pants; white WBMS orchestra shirt; dark shoes, flesh-colored hose (no mesh!). Students will participate in performances only when properly dressed. Go to top of page

Special Information for Sixth Graders: Welcome to the Webb Bridge Orchestra Program! Beginning students should choose an instrument as soon as possible. During the first week of school, students will be introduced to all of the instruments, and they will be expected to have their instruments by the second week of school. Parents should feel free to contact me (e-mail if there are any questions. Please consult the list of instrument suppliers on the WBMS Orchestra website. In addition, I have brochures from some of the suppliers in my office, and I would be happy to meet with parents after school if there are any questions. Unless the student has two or more younger siblings that are certain to play a string instrument, parents should not purchase a 3/4 or smaller instrument. Parents should seek a rent-to-own program and eventually purchase a full-size instrument. Go to top of page

Field Trips: Each year we have the opportunity for two or three field trips. In past years, orchestras traveled to GSU, Roswell High School, Chattahoochee High School, Woodruff Arts Center, and Creekview, Lake Windward, New Prospect, Ocee, and Shakerag Elementary Schools. To facilitate these trips, parent chaperones are needed and GREATLY APPRECIATED! Please contact Dr. Barket if you would be interested in serving as a chaperone on any of our field trips this year. Go to top of page

Practice: Students are expected to develop a practice routine. Dr. Barket will assist you and offer you guidance as you develop your routine. Here is a link to our practice verification sheet. This sheet contains much practical information about practice. Students who take private lessons are requested to give the name and phone number of their private teacher to the director. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated! Again, I welcome everyone to the Webb Bridge Middle School Orchestra Program, and I look forward to working with all of you. James Barket ( Go to top of page

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