Anthony P. DeMarco
It’s Winter! Please have a conversation with your children regarding the importance of dressing appropriately for the weather. While it isn’t cool to dress warmly it is important that they do so. On really cold mornings (20 degrees or lower, including wind chill) or mornings when the weather is inclement, we have students come into the building before the 7:15 am arrival time, however for the majority of the winter time students are outside in the morning. We are seeing girls wearing flip-flops, boys with just shorts and tee-shirts, etc. walking around outside in the morning and in the afternoon. Please stress to your child the importance of dressing appropriately for the weather. We check the weather station located on top of the middle school which is accessible through our webpage or the WeatherUnderground phone app.
We are more than half way through the school year and it is the time of the year that we begin to think about student placements for the upcoming year. Next year we will be restructuring our middle school schedule to allow for smaller class sizes. The scheduling change will also put the school’s schedule more in line with the high school’s which will provide our students with greater opportunities to utilize programming at the high school. We will also be expanding our enrichment and intervention programming with the introduction of “Titan Time” for all grade levels. This will provide us to enrich and intervene during the day to assist students without removing them from direct instruction in the classroom and and elective activities as the programming grows. Additionally, we are expanding our Advisory program to follow the Responsive Classroom program used at Heron Pond with the introduction of Responsive Advisory. A program designed to encourage students to empathize more with their peers and addressing some of the social emotional issues that young adolescents face daily.
The schedule will also provide the school community with staff stability due to the reduction in enrollments that we are expecting over the next decade. We are not expecting any changes to the teams in grade 6, however we will be rearranging the 7th and 8th grade teams. These changes will allow us to bring back the 2-year World Language and Reading programming that we had great success with in prior years. Students will leave the middle school with a high school credit in Spanish or French. Students in need of interventions and strengthening of their reading skills will have the opportunity to do so as well.
In addition to receiving our annual request letter to gather information to assist us in placing your child to the best of our ability, we will be holding two informational meetings for current 6th and 7th grade parents regarding the exciting changes coming to MMS next year. Please reserve Monday, March 4th (for Grade 6) or Tuesday, March 5th (for Grade 7) at 6:30 pm for our presentation on how the reconfigurations and how it will affect students.
In the letters we ask parents to provide us with information about your child to assist in the development of your child’s class schedule for next year. Please be specific when describing your child’s unique situation or the type of learning environment that you feel may best suit your child.
This is the first step in a complicated process of placing students based upon their academic and social needs and requirements. In addition to asking for your input we also ask your child’s current year teacher or teaching team to provide us with information in placing your child based upon their daily observation. We will also review a student’s cumulative file for information like test scores and past performance indicators to assist us in placing students into appropriate classes. When we place students on team on in certain classes we must also take into account social issues that may have a determination on placement too. Please do not ask for your child to be grouped with friends as each child has unique learning styles and educational needs. There may be outside factors beyond our control that do not permit students to be grouped together.
We also ask every year that you please do not request a specific team of teachers or that you ask for specific teachers. This year, with the change of teams and schedule there will be one 7th grade, one 8th grade team and one team made up of both 7th & 8th grade students. Students will receive a letter prior to the start of the school year in August informing them of their team assignments. Once the summer letter is received and placement has been determined changes rarely occur due to the complexity of the process involved. If you know of any factors that our staff may not be aware of We have been asked in the past if the middle school has an “allergy” team for students with allergies. The middle school is an allergy aware building. Unlike the elementary schools where classrooms are mostly self-contained, all students travel throughout the day from classroom to classroom for their academic and unified arts classes. We have students that are allergic to a variety of foods and food groups, especially peanuts and tree nuts. In some cases exposure could cause a life threatening reaction severe enough to require medical attention, including a trip to the emergency room.
To help in keeping these students safe throughout the year and to allow them to participate in all classroom activities, we ask that students who bring in products with these ingredients make an effort to clean their area after eating these items. I
ask that you please have a conversation with your child reinforcing with them the seriousness of the situation to help them better understand and empathize. Students who bring lunches from home are always free to pack the foods of their choice. It is our hope that students will choose not to bring in foods that contain peanuts or tree nuts but choose alternatives to
them especially when informed of the seriousness of the situation.
Please feel free to send that information to my attention through email or by formal letter by April 19, 2019. If the information provided conflicts with information we have receive from the educational staff here and at the elementary schools we will decide the best course of action educationally for the student using all resources available to us.