Anthony P. deMarco
Welcome back! A month of school has already been completed and the students have adjusted well to the transition from summer to school once again. Our staff is making every effort to get to know your children, to help them to get comfortable and acclimate to themselves to the middle school. This year the largest group in the building is the seventh grade with just under 240 students. This gives the middle school a current population of about 650 students which still allows us to personalize your child’s education and make a large school feel smaller through teaming.
This will be the first year that we are not taking the NECAP (New England Common Assessment Program) test in the fall. The New Hampshire Department of Education has implemented a test that will be given to students in the spring. The Smarter Balanced test will be given to students throughout the state in the spring. The test is designed to test mathematics, language arts and reading skills and concept understanding. As we get closer to the testing dates, we will be providing you with more information on the tests. Throughout the school year, our staff will be working with the students to help prepare them for the new testing format.
Middle school can be a difficult time for students as they are not only growing physically, but emotionally and socially. As students enter adolescence and become young adults they begin to look for more peer acceptance then they may have at the elementary level. Their social interaction focus changes from being family based to being more peer based. Their friends and how they are perceived by their friends becomes the most important thing in their lives. The transition to middle school can be difficult for some 6th grade students. The move from a self-contained classroom with the same teacher all day long to multiple classrooms with multiple teachers can be overwhelming for some. Students are only with their subject area teachers between 45 to 55 minutes, which is very different from a self-contained classroom experience. Time management and organization become skills that the 6th grade staff assists students in developing over the course of the first month or so. It is important to give your child time to adjust to the middle school and the different schedule. Encourage your child to ask questions and to ask for assistance when needed.
It is often during the middle school years that parents comment most that their children don’t talk to them as much as they use to. You may not know as much about your child’s day as they used to tell you. It’s okay. It is part of your child growing up. Ask them questions about their day, talk to them at dinner or in the car, and let them know that you are interested. As adults one of our responsibilities is to reassure and provide our children with the support necessary to help them get through this difficult period of development while providing them the independence that they need to grow socially and emotionally. Keeping this in mind and it will help you get through adolescence too.
Miss Hackett and I held our beginning of school “Welcome Back & Handbook Assemblies” for each individual team. At each of the assemblies we discuss with the students the ideals of “Respect” and “Responsibility” and how each relates to the school atmosphere and environment. Students are reminded that their education is their responsibility and that teachers and parents are there to help them to succeed to the best of their abilities. They are reminded to ask questions if they don’t understand something, to try their hardest and give their best and most importantly to work to their full potential. Please take some time to read the handbook over with your child and encourage them to ask questions on topics they may not fully understand.
Parents and students are encouraged to utilize the parent & student portals to PowerSchool. PowerSchool is a great tool to assist your child in taking ownership and responsibility for their education. It provides students with the ability to check their progress throughout the marking term in between progress reports and report cards. However even with all of the positives that PowerSchool has to offer, it can also have a negative effect if students begin to check it too often and begin to put undue pressure on themselves. Like all good things, PowerSchool is best in moderation. Weekly check-ins are great, daily check-ins are not. Please speak with your child if you see them becoming obsessive with PowerSchool. We want students to take ownership of their education in a healthy way. Remember, too much of a good thing isn’t good. It is important for students to allow themselves time to acclimate to their new grade level and to their new team.
Middle school is a great time to help your child explore the opportunities available to them. I look forward to another year of school with your children to assist them in discovering these opportunities. As always, please remember to call or write me or my staff if you have any questions, comments or concerns. When we work together great things can happen.