Attendance and Schedule Information

Absences || Arrivals and Dismissals || Bell Schedule || Dropping Students Off At School
Early Departure || Early Dismissal || Field Trips || Lunch and Recess
Office Hours || Picking Students Up From School || School Hours


It is the responsibility of parents to call the school if their child is absent. Bells Mill has an answering machine that will accept these calls during non-school hours. Please call 240-740-0480 any day your child will not be in school for any reason. Be prepared to tell us your child's name, his/her teacher, and the reason for the absence when you call to report an absence.

When a child is absent or tardy, the parent must send a note explaining the reason. If a note is not received, the child will receive an unexcused absence or unexcused tardiness. A note is also required for any child who leaves school early. Students who arrive late or leave early must be signed in/out by a parent. The sign in sheets are found in the main office. Students arriving late must also order their lunch before reporting to class. Any student who arrives at school late but before the mid-point of the day is considered "Tardy". If they arrive after the mid-point, they are "A.M. Absent". Likewise, if a student leaves early before the mid-point of the day, they are considered "P.M. Absent". If they leave after the mid-point of the day, it is considered an "Early Dismissal". So, to be concise, if a student is in attendance for more than a half day, they are considered present for a full day. If a student is in attendance less than a half day, it will be a half-day absence. If a student is present for an hour or less of the school day, they are counted a full day absent from school.

Arrival and Dismissal

Establishing routines for your child are very important. If your child is expected to ride a bus, please allow him/her to do so. If your child is a walker and you choose to use the parent drop off and pick up procedures, please read the procedures in the Back to School packet. The drop off is a kiss and drop area, parents may not exit vehicles. There will be adults and patrols to assist with the arrival of students. The bus loop is for buses only.

For those families who participate in before school classes (FLES) you may drop your children off at the front door area (parent drop-off circle) because buses will not be arriving until 8:55 am.

Bell Schedule


  • 9:05 - arrival of first bus; duty begins
  • 9:10 - Students report to class
  • 9:20 - Morning Announcements
  • 9:25 - School day begins


  • 3:45 School Wide Organization Time.  An announcement will be made directing safety patrols to report to their posts 

  • 3:50 - Walkers and Georgetown Hill Students will be dismissed
  • 3:52 – Bus students will be called as they arrive.  

Half Day Schedule 


  • 9:05 - arrival of first bus
  • 9:10 - Students report to class
  • 9:20 - Morning Announcements
  • 9:25 - School day begins


  • 1:20 School Wide Organization Time.  An announcement will be made directing safety patrols to report to their posts 

  • 1:21 All walkers, students being picked up, Georgetown Hill, Minds in Motion students will be dismissed.  Kindergarten walkers will be handed off to parents at Gym Entrance.  Patrols will escort all bus students to the AP Room to begin boarding buses.
  • 1:23 Bus students will be called as they arrive.  

Dropping Students Off At School

Please refer to the attached arrival and dismissal procedures. It is critical that traffic laws are followed. No cars are allowed in the bus loop (directly in front of the school) during school hours. There is a $250 fine for parking in the emergency parking area, which will be strictly enforced during school hours (9:25 a.m.-3:50 p.m.). Students who arrive at school late (after 9:20 a.m.) should be brought into the school office and signed in by their parents. Tardy students who are not signed in may be marked absent. Please be advised that the instructional day will begin PROMPTLY at 9:25 am.

Early Departure

Parents must report to the office to sign out their child. Your child will be called to the office to be signed out by you when you arrive to pick them up. Safety and legal requirements preclude parents from picking up students directly from the classroom.

Early Dismissals

School is occasionally dismissed early due to professional meetings.These dates are already printed on the school calendar for the year. The hours for early release days will be 9:25 am to 1:20 p.m. All students must eat lunch prior to going home on an early release day. Students should know where they are to go without having to call home if school is dismissed early for any reason.

Field Trips

When a field trip is scheduled, each student who is to participate will bring home a permission form giving the date of the trip and the destination. The form must be signed by a parent or guardian and returned to the teacher before the student is allowed to go on the trip. No student will be excluded from field trips for financial reasons.

Lunch and Recess

Click here for MCPS lunch menus Students have 30-minute lunch periods and 30-minute recess periods each day except for early dismissal days. Students will have recess outdoors unless it is raining or the temperature is below 32 degrees F. They should dress appropriately on days when the weather is windy or cold; all students are expected to go outside on "outdoor recess" days.

  Lunch Recess
Grade 3      11:20 - 11:50          11:50-12:30
Grade 5 11:40 - 12:10 12:10 - 12:50
Kindergarten 12:00 - 12:30 12:30 - 1:10
Grade 4 and Autism 12:20 - 12:50 12:50 - 1:30
Grade 1  12:40 - 1:10 1:10 - 1:50
Grade 2 1:15 - 1:45 1:45 - 2:25


Lunch and breakfast are served daily in the cafeteria. The lunch menu is published monthly and given to each child to take home as a guide in deciding whether to purchase lunch. It is also available on the website. Breakfast is $1.30. The cost of lunch, including milk, is $2.55. Milk may be purchased separately in half-pint cartons for $0.50. School breakfast is offered for all students at a cost of $1.25.

Bells Mill offers a convenient and flexible computerized cash register system in the cafeteria. Each student is issued a PIN number for use in making purchases from the cafeteria. Parents are encouraged to deposit money in their child's account eliminating the need for students to carry cash.

Students who wish to order a school lunch must place their order with their teacher first thing in the morning. Prepared lunches are ordered from a central kitchen each day and delivered to our school based on this total. Please stress with your child that they must take the lunch that they ordered in the morning.

Bells Mill also participates in the free and reduced price meals (FARMS) program. The cost of reduced price meals for qualified students will be $0.40 for lunch and $0.00 for breakfast. Parents or guardians must re-apply for the program each year. Applications will be sent home the first week of school and given to new families as they enroll. All inquiries, applications, approvals and disapprovals for the program are confidential. Breakfast is not served on delayed opening mornings as lunches begin at 11:00 am.

There is no recess on early release days.

Half Day Lunch Schedule

All HS/K/1 students

11:30 – 12:00

All 2/5 students

12:05 – 12:35

All 3/4 students

12:35 – 1:05

Office Hours

The school office is open from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. each school day.

Picking Students Up From School

Once students have arrived at school, they will be released only to their parents or legal guardians or individuals listed on the yellow emergency cards. All students leaving school before the end of the school day must be signed out in the office. If parents want their child to be picked up at school at any time by anyone else, including siblings and grandparents, the parents must send a note to the school stating their wishes and the name of the person who will pick up the child. The person picking up the child should bring picture identification with them to the school office.

School Hours

The school day for students is 9:25 a.m. to 3:50 p.m. Students may not enter the building before 9:05 a.m., as adequate supervision is not available.