topperMiddle

Upcoming Important Dates

Monday, August 25 – Teacher’s first day back
Tuesday, August 26 – Teacher Workshop Day
Tuesday, August 26 – GMS Open House 6:00 – 7:00 pm
Wednesday, August 27 – 1st Day of school for 6th grade
Wednesday, August 27 – Team Leaders Meeting 2:30 – 4:00 in Melanie’s Room
Thursday, August 28 – 1st Day of school for grades 7 & 8
Friday, August 29 – No School
Monday, September 1 – Labor Day, No School
Wednesday, September 3 – Faculty Meeting in GMS Library 2:30 – 4:00
Wednesday, Thursday & Friday, September 10, 11 & 12 – Tooth Fairies
Monday, September 15 – MLTI Parent Meeting 6:00 pm GMS Auditorium
Tuesday, September 16 – MLTI Parent Meeting 6:00 pm GMS Auditorium
Tuesday, September 16 – Picture Day, Vision & Hearing Screening

Welcome Back

It has been really great to see all of you back from the wonderful summer vacations!

Wednesday, August 27 – 6th Graders Arrive

Finally, the day I have been waiting for since last June has arrived! The building will begin to fill up with students’ voices and the sounds of their feet traipsing through the hallways. The wonderful greetings and the hfs that will be shared actually bring this building to life… and I can’t wait.

The 6th graders will have the building to themselves all day! We will have all of our 7th and 8th grade teachers ready to assist our newcomers with things like combination locks, and PIN numbers in the cafeteria, and providing a warm welcome to all of our 6th graders in their first experience at middle school.

Thursday, August 28 – All students arrive for the first full day of school. We will begin with an extended advisory period to take care of the “housekeeping duties” of the first day of school. We will be sending the students home with lots of papers in their backpacks that will require parent signatures and return to school early next week.

Both days will be packed with lots of new stuff like new teachers and new text books and laptops (although not on the first day!) and lots of new students!

GMS Calendar

I have shared, through Google, with each of you our first draft of the calendar for the school year. On iy you will find the dates of all faculty meetings, leadership meetings, early release days, teacher conference days and vacations and holidays. We will continue to update through that calendar. If you have not been able to access the calendar, please let me know.

Jumprope Training

I really want to extend a huge thank you to all of the staff. The questions that were asked and the engagement in the program that each of you demonstrated was beyond exemplary! You clearly demonstrated through your actions today how far along the continuum toward Performance Based Learning we truly are. I realize we still have a lot of work yet to do and lots angst and anxiety about meeting the needs of our students, but today is a great indication that we are all ready to roll up the sleeves and “get it done”. Thank You!

PaperCut

We will continue to progress toward reducing our paper consumption this year with this program. Yes, it will create some headaches for some of us over time, but I believe we will really see the benefits in a very short time. As we do with all things that are new, we need to continue to demonstrate that level of patience and resilience that will see us through these small travails.

Faculty Meeting

Our first real faculty meeting of the year will be Wednesday, September 3 beginning at 2:30 in the Library. Our agenda will focus on the opening of school, but we will discuss other items as well.

  • Celebrations & Social Time
  • First days of School
  • Impressions & questions on Jumprope
  • How’s Infinite Campus?
  • Other

Laptop Deployments

We will be deploying the laptops to all grades during the week of September 9th. The MLTI Parent night meetings will happen on Monday and Tuesday evening, September 15 & 16, so students will not be able to bring the devices out of the school until after those nights. We will need additional time to collect all of the paperwork fro each student, so they may not be able to go home until the week of September 22. We’ll move as fast as we can, but it is a lot of paper and organizing, so it does take some time.

College Ready vs. Out-of-Basement Ready: Shifting the Education Paradigm

I know I teased you a bit by reading just the first two paragraphs of Yong Zhao’s blog post, so I thought I would share the link to it so you could enjoy the rest of it. He does ask some very important questions about all of the work we are doing. I hope it helps us remain grounded in our work!

Yong Zhao’s blog

 Book Groups

Over the past year I have read some pretty powerful books, by some very good authors about the subject of education, assessment, bullying and social networking. Diane Ravitch’s book Reign of Error, was an interesting look at how American public educate is becoming more privatized by testing companies and for profit education enterprises.

Emily Bazelon wrote a book titled, Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy. This book looks at individual kids and their struggles with the behaviors of others toward them and how they, either successfully or unsuccessfully met the challenges.

Amanda Ripley’s book The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way, looks at America’s apparent love affair with testing, most notably the Programme of International Student Assessment (PISA) and our obsession with how we compare with students from other countries across the globe. I found this book to be very enlightening about how and why students in some countries excel on these assessments and some don’t.

I had the opportunity to hear dana boyd (not a misspelling!) speak at the Tech Boston Conference last year. Prior to that day, I had never heard of her and, in fact, when she was listed as the Keynote speaker at this conference, I thought she was from Microsoft and was there to sell us something. I was quite surprised and I learned quite a bit about the networked lives of teens in that 45 minute keynote. She has since published It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens, an interesting look at the many aspects of the digital lives of our students.

Finally, I will be reading The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everythingthis summer. This is a book that I have referenced during several faculty meetings written by Sir Kenneth Robinson.

So, I am mentioning these titles wondering if anyone else has read, or would like to read these books with the idea of having a book group, or groups, this year. We could meet after school, and I would be willing to spring for some refreshments. We could also find other books of interest that some of you may have found interesting. If you are interested, please drop me an email.

 

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