Back to School: All You Need to Know to Be Dunbar Ready

The 2018-19 school year begins in less than a month. Are you ready?


Going back to school elicits a range of emotions in students and parents alike: excitement, dread, anxiety, eagerness…it’s a mixed bag. And at Dunbar, there’s an added factor because, as one of the largest schools in the state, it can be intimidating. Not to fear, though. PLD Lamplighter is here to ease your mind with everything you need to know to be ready.

Freshman Orientation

Dunbar’s freshman orientation, also known as Camp Dunbar, will be held on Aug. 8 from 6-8 p.m. Incoming ninth grade students and parents will have an opportunity to walk through their class schedule, meet their teachers and tour the building. Club and sports representatives, vendors and food trucks will be available. A student-produced video will be shown to rising freshmen to help them learn what to expect. Here’s a link to last year’s video.

Class Schedules

Tentative class schedules will be available via Infinite Campus (IC) starting on Aug. 6, and are available for pick-up starting Aug. 8. Students can contact their counselors with any schedule change requests. Information about counselor assignments can be found at this link.

Registration requirements and information can be found at this link. Information about immunizations and health requirements can be found at this link.

First Day of School

Each morning, the school opens at 7 a.m., zero hour classes begin at 7:25 a.m. for MSTC students, and regular classes begin at 8:25 a.m. School dismiss at 3:15 p.m.

On Wednesday, Aug. 15, all students (including technical school students) must report to their homerooms. MSTC students will report to their zero hour class, and will then be dismissed to attend their homeroom to receive official schedules. Homerooms are listed on IC. After homeroom, students will attend their A day classes. On Aug. 16, students will again report to homeroom and will then attend their B day classes.

All students were assigned summer reading which will be due on their first day of English class. Assignments can be found here.

Instructional Fees

All FCPS high school students are required to pay $64 instructional fees each year. Some courses require an additional fee. The itemized fees will be listed on IC. These fees can only be paid by cash or check, and the deadline for payment is Aug. 15. Families that qualify for assistance submit the form and documentation found at this link.

Attendance Policies

Information from the Attendance Office at Dunbar can be found at this link. District guidelines for excused and unexcused absences, tardies and truancy can be found at this link. Students will be given handbooks detailing all attendance and tardy policies and guidelines.

Breakfast and Lunch

Breakfast is served from 7:55-8:20 a.m. both in the cafeteria and as “grab and go” in the gym foyer. The cost is $1.35. Lunch is served during third block. There are five lunch sessions divided by class subjects. The cost is $2.75. Families that qualify for assistance submit the form and documentation found at this link. The MyPaymentsPlus online software program will change over to MySchoolBucks for 2018-19. Once school starts, menus can be found at this link.

School Policies and Grading

All Site Based Decision Making policies are located at this link which includes Dunbar’s grading, dress code, and cell phone policies. This handbook includes everything you need to know about Dunbar’s school policies and procedures.

PLD uses Standards Based Grading (SBG) for all of our classes except Dual Credit. SBG emphasizes accurate reporting of student learning focused on the key content for each course. A thorough explanation of Standards Based Grading can be found at this link.

College and Career Readiness

On CCR days there will be a 40-minute CCR Block that will include grade appropriate information about careers, the college application process, financial literacy, global competency, test-taking skills, mentoring, and various other topics. Dunbar also has a College and Career Center.

School Safety

At Dunbar, safety procedures include the following measures:

Students and staff are required to wear a lanyard with a photo ID. The IDs and lanyards will be provided by Dunbar at the beginning of the school year. Although students must use the ID they are provided, they can personalize their own lanyards. Beginning Sept. 3, students will be required to wear their ID to enter the building. The back of the ID will have a barcode that will be scanned when the student uses a hall pass, and checks out a library book or other equipment. Lost IDs should be immediately reported to the main office.

New visitor protocols require that anyone entering the building must buzz in and then explain the reason for their visit. Upon entering the building, all students/visitors will be subject to electronic search.

All exterior building doors will be locked at 8:25 a.m. Additionally, all classroom doors will be closed and locked during class time. Students will need to leave campus no later than 3:45 p.m. unless a coach or teacher is supervising them.

School Resource Officers/Law Enforcement are located on campus, and they supervise hallways, walk the perimeter of the building and the parking lot regularly.

Safety drills will be conducted throughout the year. In the event of a threat and/or emergency, students and staff will be placed in lockdown until School Resource Officers/Law Enforcement release them. Parents will be contacted as soon as possible via email, the web site, and through PLD Lamplighter. The free PLD Lamplighter app can be downloaded for both iOS and Android. Parents and students can also follow @pldlamplighter on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Transportation and Parking

Information about bus schedules can be found at this link. Upperclassmen with a driver’s licenses may submit an application for parking to Law Enforcement. The applications will be available during lunch for the first two weeks of school. There is a $25 fee to park on campus.

The front section of the parking lot is reserved for staff and visitors. Student vehicles parked in the staff lot and any vehicles in the lot without an approved parking sticker are subject to towing. Law Enforcement enforce the 10 mph speed limit on campus in both the mornings and afternoons.

Open House

Dunbar’s Open House will be held on Aug. 23 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. There will be representatives from clubs and teams as well as food trucks and vendors. There is no set schedule for this event; teachers will be available for meet and greets, and for drop in’s to visit classrooms. The open house is not meant as a time for parent-teacher conferences, but appointments for future conferences can be made at this time.