Amigos FAQs

If we don't speak Spanish (or English) at home, will that delay my child's progress?
Speaking Spanish (or English) at home is not a requisite in your child’s successful acquisition of Spanish. There are many ways parents can support their child’s development of another language. Ask your child to ‘teach’ you new words. Listen to him/her read in Spanish (or English). Ask questions about his/her day.

Amigos holds a Second Language Acquisition night (fall) and a Literacy night (spring) every year. These sessions are designed around parents’ questions.

Do we have to fill out ALL of the forms that are sent home?
Yes! All of the forms are important. While it is not mandatory to complete the Free and Reduced meals application, your child can not receive school meal assistance without submitting a completed application. Additionally, the data is used for school statistics and  incomplete information can mean a loss of $2,000-3,000 for the school this year!

IMPORTANT: Please contact the Amigos Family Liaison, Lillian Rater (617.349.6315) if you need help or assistance with this form. All the entries in the Free & Reduced Fee Lunch Form are tabulated by the District.

How do I pay for breakfast or lunch? Can my child get meals at school without advance notice?
girls_on_Swings.jpgFor your convenience every enrolled student is automatically assigned a school meal account immediately allowing the student to participate in breakfast and lunch. This system operates like a checking account in which the family deposits money into the child’s account, and funds are depleted as the child purchases breakfast and lunch. In the event that the student has consumed more meals than can be afforded by account funds the Food & Nutrition Office will send out a ‘Notice of Overdrawn Account’; however, most families always keep a positive balance to avoid such a circumstance.

In order to keep a positive balance there are three easy ways you can pay for your child’s meal:

  1. You or your child may bring cash or a check directly to the kitchen cashier to make a deposit on the student account
  2. You can mail a check directly to the Food & Nutrition Office at: 158 Spring Street, Cambridge, MA 02141. With the student ID number of your child(ren) in the memo line.
  3. You can deposit money into your child’s school meal account with any major credit/debit card online through The website will prompt you to set up a payment account and offer options on how frequently you would like money transferred for school meals.

If you have any questions regarding the monthly menu, student dietary restrictions, or other food service operations please feel free to contact the Food and Nutrition office at 617.349.6858.

Where do I bring my questions/concerns regarding my child's education and performance? My concerns regarding the social/emotional environment?
Bring these concerns first to your child's teacher. Teachers can be reached through e-mail, phone, or a letter. Nothing ensures success more than good communication between the home and school. The Principal and Assistant Principal are always open to parents' concerns. You can bring the issues up to them at any time, but it is always a good rule of thumb to speak to your child’s teacher first since she/he is the person who has the most information about your child’s life in school and the person who will ultimately be monitoring your child’s academic, social and emotional progress. Suggestions regarding policies or issues that affect the whole school are best dealt with the Principal and/or Assistant Principal. The School Council takes an active role in discussing issues of school-wide impact.

How can I get involved as a parent?

  • Parents and guardians of Amigos students are encouraged to join the Amigos School Yahoo! Group, a parent-run listserv. It is a place where members of our parent community can go to ask questions, share information, and initiate discussions with other Amigos parents. To join, please click here and request membership. Be sure to state your affiliation with the school when requesting membership. If you have any questions, contact the moderator.
  • Volunteer to become a homeroom parent helping out your classroom teacher.
  • Join the Amigos School Council (ASC) or Friends of Amigos (FOA) and come to the monthly meetings to find out what is going on in the school.

What is the best way to get in touch with the Principal or Vice-Principal?
Their doors are always open but if possible call to schedule an appointment via the School Secretary, Sheila Colón at 617.349.6567. For issues pertaining to your child's specific situation or grade level, it is suggested that you speak with your child’s teacher before contacting Principal Sercombe.

How much time does my child have for recess every day? What is the cold weather policy for recess?
Recess/lunch is 30 minutes a day. More time is allocated to kindergarten and grade 1 students. If the temperature is below 15 degrees or if there is precipitation, we will have indoor recess. There are times during the week when one or both gyms are available during lunch/recess times and children will be supervised there.

What specialties will my child have?

  • Gym: 2x week K-8
  • Art: 1X week grades 1-8
  • Music: 1x week K-8
  • Your child could have also other special activities in case of special needs (speech/language therapy, ESL, SSL, etc.).

How early can I drop my children off at school? Is there before school care?
Supervised Before School activities begin at 7:30AM. You can drop your child off at that time. For more information, call the office: 617.349.6567.

reading-buds2.pngWhat is ESL? SSL?
ESL: Englishas a Second Language is offered to students who arrive with little or no English.
SSL: Spanish as a Second Language is offered as an after school or special tutoring time to students who arrive after grade 1 and have little or no Spanish
ESL students are monitored through testing when they enroll in school. SSL students are usually flagged by teachers. If you feel your child needs SSL services, contact your teacher.

How do I know if school is closed due to weather?
You can call 617.349.6513 for information on school closings, or visit the homepage of the Cambridge Public School website. The website often has the first announcement. You can also listen to local radio and TV stations. Furthermore, a system is in place where parents can get an automatic call whenever school is closed. Join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to also receive school closing information.

What happens on "early release days"?
Early release days happen about once a month and are scheduled in the CPS Academic Calendar. Students are released at 12:55PM. Parents are reminded about early release days usually in the monthly Amigos calendar and through notices distributed one week before. Early release days are for teacher meetings. The Amigos Community School often schedules field trips (open to Amigos students) on early release days, which typically cost from $5-20 per child. Check with your child’s after school program to see if they provide care during early release days.