Technology is Extraordinary, But Our Students Still Need Guidance

Howdy hello parents and greetings from the amazing confines of the UAS Middle School!!

It is shocking to review the calendar and note the end of the 1st semester on Thursday, February 1 is approaching faster than the speed of light.  Where did the first half of our school year go? Time apparently does fly when you’re having fun! WOOHOO!!!

You are kindly encouraged to check with your Middle School student and ask about any end of the semester assessments, semester ending projects and the online grade book (are all of your child’s assessments completed?) The next two weeks are likely going to be very busy, and your child will likely need your assistance to stay organized.  Healthy food choices and lots of sleep will help your child cope with the academic challenges they will encounter at this time of the school year.  May your child be receptive to your care and encouragement, and may your busy schedule permit you to provide the support they need to feel successful.  Good luck!!!

Thoughts About Technology

As February 1 passes, the UAS MS will have officially enjoyed 5 semesters of existence.  As you know, from the beginning, our students have been expected to have a MacBook as part of their daily educational routine. Access to technology and the ability for students to research, learn and grow has been, and continues to be absolutely extraordinary.  The variety of ways in which technology potentially enriches our lives, and in theory makes our daily routines easier, is truly unbelievable. But, let’s be honest: just because the technology of today “can” make our lives easier, doesn’t always mean that having access to the technology makes our lives better.

As I ponder the impact technology has on our young people and our school, I felt the need to pass along some tips to parents. I encourage you to:

  • Regularly check your student’s devices for applications (Apps), pictures and/or other information that are potentially unhealthy for their consumption. You are the parent, and you most certainly have the right to keep an eye on the Apps your child is using, and the interactions they are having with other people.  Your/our job is to protect our children, even when they are either unwilling or unable to protect themselves.
  • When it comes to life and/or the use of technology, I strongly suggest you remind your child to always observe the golden rule. Encourage them to only communicate with other people (students and adults) in the manner in which they would like to be communicated. Respectfully.    Positively.  Productively.  Purposefully.
  • I would encourage you to have an ongoing conversation with your child about the role technology has in their life, and about their online personality. We want our children to establish a well-balanced life, that is not exclusive of human connection.  We should remind them to never underestimate the power of face to face interactions.  Social media, email, WhatsApp, etc., are all effective means of communicating, but it doesn’t mean they are always the best, or the most respectful. The power of the tool remains where it should be – with the user.
  • Finally, please encourage your child to report any issues of inappropriate technology use to an adult. Your child should feel safe reporting concerns about cyber bullying etc., to you or any other adult that is ready, willing and able to keep them safe from harm.  Please speak with your child about what their plan will be if they become aware of other students using technology inappropriately, or if they are the target of an unsuitable technology practice.  Technology is not going away, and I strongly encourage you to keep checking, keep asking, and keep watching your child and their technology use throughout their teen years that lie ahead.

We want our children to lead normal, productive lives that include these amazing advances in technology, but their lives must also include people.  May we continue to work together to find the balance for your child that is not only healthy, but appropriate and inclusive of the school community, your family and the world in which we live.

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If you follow this BLOG, you know that I shared a note last week about the MS Fringe Festival, which will land on our doorstep on February 28.  For your viewing pleasure, I have attached a link with a video with more details about this year’s celebration of Middle School arts, and the talented students who are wonder our hallways every day.

Thank you for listening.  I do hope this message finds you and your family happy and healthy.  Until our paths cross in person, please take good care and peace be upon you.

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Upcoming dates and activities:

  • February 1: Last day of semester 1
  • February 4-8: Week Without Walls
  • February 11: Professional Development for MS staff – NO SCHOOL for MS students
  • February 1: first MS day of semester 2
  • February 12-20: MS MAP testing
  • February 21: semester 1 report cards available to parents/students
  • February 28: MS Fringe Festival

Join us On the Fringe!

Welcome to the extraordinary world of the UAS Middle School, where the New Year has begun with positive energy and enthusiasm galore!!!

As I look ahead on the school calendar, the end of the first semester looms large on Thursday, February 1, and our annual Week Without Walls experiential learning opportunities are close behind from February 4-10.  MAP testing follows from February 12-19, and the first semester report cards will be available for parent/student viewing on February 21.  Rounding out the month of February is the 2nd annual Middle School Fringe Festival.  WOOHOO!!

Please see the following information provided by Ms. Cris Mejia our drama/dance teacher, about this year’s fabulous Fringe Festival.

MIDDLE SCHOOL FRINGE FESTIVAL: Feb., 28, 2018 – by Cris Mejia

UAS is a great community to be a part of, for this reason I am inviting you to participate in the second annual UAS Middle School Fringe Festival on Wednesday, February 28th.  On this festive evening, we will come together as a community through art, creativity and quality time!

So, what is Fringe? Fringe means alternative, unconventional. It is a festival of art, music, dance, drama, miming, storytelling, puppetry…..whatever you can think of, this is what the fringe will become. The performers will be all of us, ideally a combination of us: families, students, teachers, and support staff, all coming together to perform or to watch at various points across the campus – from the Middle School office to the pitch.

Many performances will be happening simultaneously. On one corner, we may have a parent and a student playing the guitar. A little further we may have our Philippine staff performing with our dance students. In another place, we might have a Mime show, or a short play with teachers and students. In another space, we hope to set cushions and have a little stage for a puppet show, or stand-up comedy.  All the shows, just like street art, will have hats placed in front of the performers in order to raise money for our Million Solar Stars Program. Anything you want to do, you are encouraged to make it happen!

If you want to participate but don’t know how, contact me and I will help you brainstorm ideas; or you can have a bake sale as well to continue raising money for this cause. If you want to participate and have an idea, you can sign up with me or my team. If you don’t want to perform, don’t worry, you can just come that evening and join us to watch the shows, to celebrate art and to celebrate our awesome school.

I will be sending out more information about signing in once I have my team in place, which will include some students, teachers and parents. If you want to be part of my team please contact me as soon as possible, the sooner we get started the better it will be. Thank you!  Hoping to see many of you at the 2018 UAS MS Fringe Festival on February 28!!  Cristina Mejia – Middle School Drama and Dance Teacher:  cmejia@uasdubai.ae

Thanks for reading my weekly blurb. Please take good care and until our paths cross, may peace be upon you.

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Upcoming dates and activities:

  • January 15: MS/HS choir concert @ 6:30 in the MPH
  • January 17: MS/HS band concert @ 6:30 in the MPH
  • January 15–18: MS MAP testing
  • February 1: Last day of semester 1
  • February 4-8: Week Without Walls
  • February 11: Professional Development for MS staff – NO SCHOOL for MS students
  • February 12: first MS day of semester 2
  • February 21: semester 1 report cards available to parents/students
  • February 28: MS Fringe Festival

Happy New Year and Welcome to 2018!!! WOOHOO!!

Welcome back to the exciting world of the UAS Middle School!  Here’s hoping you and your MS student enjoyed some quality family time during the winter break.  When the winter holiday was first announced, I must admit I was wondering how I would keep myself busy or entertained for three weeks.  Rest assured, it passed in the blink of an eye, and now here we are in this New Year, confirming in my mind that time surely does fly when you’re having fun!

In addition to visiting my family in Montana, USA, I had the good fortune of traveling to Seattle, Washington where I met my beloved granddaughter for the very first time.  WOW, what an amazing experience.  Holding a baby of my lineage in my arms is joy like no feeling I have experienced since my son (now 33) and my daughter (now 31) were newly born.  May I never grow weary of that joyful bliss!  I had the good fortune of allowing my granddaughter to nap in my arms on several occasions, and of course I had many chances to practice my “baby talk” in hopes of camera capturing a cute smile, a laugh, or a spit bubble!  If you see me in the MS hallway, please don’t hesitate to ask, and I’ll gladly share pictures of my newest “pride and joy”.

As you and your Middle School student look forward to the adventures that lie ahead in 2018, I would encourage you to remember the following points.

  1. The first semester ends on February 1, and there is a lot of learning that will occur between now and then. As you well know, with the acquisition of knowledge also comes reflection about that learning in the form of formative and/or summative assessments.  Please remember that you can help support your child in their personal organization habits by being aware of upcoming assessment dates.  Your MS student has access to the Google Classroom and therein can be found the assessment calendar to help guide their end of semester studying for the assessments which will ultimately shape their final grades.
  2. The parent portal provides you the golden opportunity to track the academic progress of your child, in each of their subjects. I would encourage you to open this online grade book and have a chat with your son/daughter this week. The conversation could focus on what strategies need to be used in the coming 4 weeks to either maintain or raise their current academic standing.  In addition, now is a good time to address any incomplete grades that may still be lingering within the grade book.  (Please click this link for access to the Middle School summative assessment policy.)
  3. Last, but not least, if you want to stay current with details of MS activities, programs and/or policies, please feel free to watch the daily news program – the MS Patcast – on Youtube. This program is the same version that our students watch on a daily basis, and is also aired on the TV within the MS hallway.  Birthday wishes are shared, reminders are given, and humor is often injected into the broadcast in hopes of making our school day a bit brighter.  I hope you can tune in!

Thanks for listening.  I hope you and your student are looking forward to the adventures that lie ahead in 2018, and many there will be!  WOOHOO!!!  Please take good care and until our paths cross, may peace be upon you.

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Upcoming dates and activities:

  • January 7: First school day in 2018!  WOOHOO!!!!
  • January 15: MS/HS choir concert @ 6:30 in the MPH
  • January 17: MS/HS band concert @ 6:30 in the MPH
  • January 15–18: MS MAP testing
  • February 1: Last day of semester 1
  • February 4-8: Week Without Walls
  • February 11: Professional Development for MS staff – NO SCHOOL for MS students
  • February 12: first day of semester 2
  • February 21: semester 1 report cards available to parents/students

“Alice” Was Awesome and so are Granddaughters!

Greetings parents and welcome to the exciting world of the UAS Middle School!

I want to give a HUGE shout out to the cast, crew and directors for the recent Middle School production of Alice in Wonderland Jr.  I had the good fortune to see the entire show three times over two days last week, and I am still in awe with how well our young people performed.  As the Principal of the UAS MS, I couldn’t be prouder.  Produced and Directed by Cris Mejia and Emma Gordon, and ably supported by Hannah Donald, the show was simply magical from start to finish.  The acting was sensational, the energy second to none, and the smiles non-stop for one hour!  All in all, 30 actors performed in the show, and 22 other students helped with prop design, make-up, or as a crew member.  Fifty-two student participants represent nearly 20% of our entire student body – which I find simply incredible!!  If your child was in the show, you too should be extremely proud! So today I extend my heartfelt congratulations to anyone/everyone who helped with the show – each person deserves a HUGE “pat” on the back for their positive contribution to this awesome musical production!  BRAVO!!!  MABROOK!!!  WOOHOO!!!

I must admit – and please forgive me – but I am really looking forward to the upcoming winter holiday.  Truly I tell you, I love my job, and I love working with MS kids – and for the record, I love working with your children – and of course I love living in Dubai.  That said, this winter break is different for me on a very personal level.  I am flying back to the US this weekend, and I will have the pleasure of meeting my granddaughter for the very first time.  I recall fondly the joys and unique challenges (albeit positive) of being a parent of a newborn baby – and I have had that honor twice in my lifetime.  But the delight of holding a granddaughter is a joy that I have not yet experienced, which will all change on December 16. I suspect that the exhilaration of cradling this beautiful little girl in my arms will be unequaled by anything I have ever felt or known. So please forgive me if I am counting the days until my departure.  Rest assured I will return to my post in January with pictures on my phone and a BIG smile on my face!  Wish me luck!

Please note that due to circumstances beyond my control, I have had to cancel my Principals coffee which was previously scheduled for Monday, December 11. So sorry for the short/late notice. I look forward to meeting and greeting parents again in 2018!!!  Please stay tuned.

On behalf of the entire staff of the UAS Middle School, I want to extend to you and your family my heartiest wishes for a wonderful, relaxing and rejuvenating holiday season.  May you and your children enjoy each other’s company, whether you are staying in Dubai or traveling.  In addition, I wish for you and your family peace, prosperity and good health in the New Year.

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Upcoming dates and activities:

  • December 6 & 7: MS Musical – Alice in Wonderland Jr. – MPH @ 6:30
  • December 14 – ½ day schedule – students are dismissed @ 12:00
  • December 15 – January 6: Winter Break
  • January 7: First day of school in 2018!  WOOHOO!!!!

It’s Time to Pause and Give Thanks!

Greetings parents and welcome to the exciting world of our UAS Middle School – WOOHOO!!

As an American Citizen living overseas, I find it challenging at times to be away from my family – especially during holidays such as American Thanksgiving, which as you may know was celebrated on November 23. As a child growing up in Montana, USA, Thanksgiving was a festive occasion celebrated with turkey and all the trimmings, pumpkin and apple pie, lots of family gathering, and of course American Football!  Whether it was raining, snowing or the sun was shining brightly, my family would always gather.  It was a heartwarming tradition that I would not fully appreciate until many years after my youth.

Even though, I now find myself thousands of miles away from my family, and holiday gatherings are fewer and farther between with my siblings and my own children, I still have many reasons to take pause and be appreciative. I truly have very much for which to be thankful, and not a day goes by that I do not feel richly blessed.

What exactly am I thankful for?

  • I am thankful to have the privilege of working with a talented and dedicated staff of teachers at the UAS Middle School. I am proud to share that I have been an educator for 36 years, and I would count this group of teachers as one of the most exceptional I have ever worked.
  • I am grateful for Beverly Kempley, my loyal Assistant Principal, in who’s company I have had the good fortune to be since August 2012. We began our journey together at AIS in Egypt, and I have thoroughly enjoyed this adventure together with her these ½ dozen years.
  • I give thanks for Hana Malek, who’s dedication to UAS and to the MS is exemplary. Given the number of years Hana has been at UAS, she is without a doubt also a gift to the entire community.
  • I am thankful for the students with whom I have been so very fortunate to work during this current year and the three previous. With MS students, every day is a new adventure, and the students have always been a source of joy for me, continually causing me to laugh and grin shamelessly from ear to ear.
  • I am grateful to the parent community for their unwavering support. As we were building the MS “plane” three years ago, we endured some challenging times together. My oh my we have come so far in such a short time!  Parents have been encouraging along this path, and for that I give thanks.
  • Finally, I am grateful to have had the golden opportunity to work at the Universal American School for the past four years, and with Esol for the past 9 years. When the 2017-2018 school year comes to an end in June, my tenure here will conclude and I will be moving on to my next Esol school adventure – Dunecrest American School, Dubai.  The countless blessings for which I am truly grateful will continue, of this I am certain.

I am truly fortunate, and I sincerely thank you for your contributions to the personal joy I am feeling.  Until June 28, rest assured I will be counting my blessings daily and working diligently to ensure that you and our students receive the very best care possible.

May this article be a reminder to us all.  Let us pause, reflect, and count our gifts and blessings one by one.

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Upcoming dates and activities:

  • December 6 & 7: MS Musical – Alice in Wonderland Jr. – MPH @ 6:30
  • December 14 – ½ day schedule – students are dismissed @ 12:00
  • December 15 – January 6: Winter Break
  • January 7: First day of school in 2018! WOOHOO!!!

It’s the Week After Parent/Teacher Conferences: Now What Do I Do?

Hello MS parents and greetings to you from our awesome UAS Middle School!!!

It was truly a pleasure to welcome so many wonderful parents to our annual teacher conferences on Wednesday and Thursday last week. The feedback we received was extremely positive and to be completely honest, I am a very proud Principal.  Here’s hoping that the conversations you had were rich, and that the information you received was meaningful. I thank you for your continued support of the UAS Middle School, our programs, and most importantly of your magnificent child (children).

Now that these annual conferences have concluded, what can you do to continue supporting your student? Here are a couple of tips to help guide you as you move forward from this point.

  1. Stay connected to the online gradebook of your child via the parent portal. If you are already connected, please stay informed about your son/daughter’s current academic progress. Ask your child questions about incompletes, and ongoing assessment feedback.  Be aware of trends in their learning and work completion.  Allow this information to be a conversation starter with your son/daughter about their current work habits and growth.  If you have not yet opened your child’s online gradebook, and you need assistance to do so, please seek support from our IT office or the UAS Help desk. This information, if reviewed regularly, is a meaningful tool, and your awareness of the data sends a powerful message to your child that their learning growth is important to you.
  2. Continue to be aware of upcoming assessments. Help your son/daugther to be better organized, and to plan ahead in order to minimize their stress and help them be better prepared for formative and summative assessments in all subjects.  If you are like me, you are likely aware of the concept of “cramming” for a test the night before the assessment.  If you are aware of upcoming assessments, you can encourage your student to study in small chunks of time over several days leading up to the assessment, in order to be better prepared and to reduce their overall stress level.
  3. Insist that your child completes all of their formative assessments. Formative assessments help inform student learning, but this data also allows the teacher to better understand what the student knows and is able to do.  Completing formative assessments will help your child feel more confident, and be better prepared to successfully demonstrate their learning via their summative assessment that is sure to follow.
  4. As the year progresses, the expectations for work quality and quantity will only increase. The more sleep your child can get regularly the better prepared they will be to cope with the pressure they will place on themselves, and the stress they will experience because of deadlines and teacher expectations.  Set clear expectations at home about when technology is to be unplugged for the night, when lights need to be turned off, and when bed time should commence.  Studies on this subject are clear:  students who get sufficient sleep (9+ hours a night) are generally happier, and perform better in school.

 

UAS Spring Ski Trip (from Nicole Ashwin)

Ski, snowboarding and Switzerland….oh my!   Stay and ski or snowboard at Anzère, Switzerland, during Spring Break.  (Can you say that 3 times fast?)

But I live in Dubai… I don’t have winter clothes..   No problem.    They provide them!

But I don’t know how to ski or snowboard…           No worries.     You can learn them!

When?            March 24-March 31

How much?   11,000 AED

Who?              Grades 4, 5, 6, and those students in grade 7 who went last year only

What’s included?

  • Full-board accommodation at Chalet Chamossaire
  • All meals and snacks
  • Ski/ snowboard equipment and clothing rental
  • Lift passes
  • Instruction
  • Evening activities
  • Visa
  • Transportation (flights + buses)

How?  Register here.   Non-refundable deposit of 3,000dhs by Dec 12.

Have an adventure!  Have fun!  Have new friends!  Have real snow!

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Upcoming dates and activities:

  • November 29: UAE National Day celebrated at UAS – please stay tuned for more details
  • November 30: NO school – UAE National Holiday
  • December 3:  NO school – UAE National Holiday
  • December 6 & 7: MS Musical – Alice in Wonderland Jr. – MPH @ 6:30
  • December 14 – ½ day schedule – students are dismissed @ lunch time
  • December 15 – January 6: Winter Break
  • January 7: First day of school in 2018! WOOHOO!!!

Principals Coffee and Parent/Teacher Conferences This Week!

Howdy hello MS parents and greetings to you from our awesome UAS Middle School!!!

I look forward to welcoming parents to the next MS Principals Coffee on Monday, November 13 beginning @ 8 AM in the MS/HS Library. Topics for this information sharing event will include, but not be limited to:

  • Synergetic online grade book: I will define some of the vocabulary found within the grade book and help parents make sense of the information found there. IT support will be available to help you access the online grade book if you have not yet been able to enter. Please bring with you to this meeting the electronic device you will use to access your child’s online grade book.
  • Wellness Census: A video will be shown that highlights the KHDA sponsored Wellness Census our students will be taking during the week of November 19.
  • Moral Education: Time permitting, the MS counselors will share highlights of the Moral Education curriculum that will be taught to all UAS MS students during the course of the school year.

Parent/Teacher Conferences

The annual parent/teacher conferences will be held on Wednesday, November 15 and Thursday, November 16. As you are likely aware, parent conferences in the MS are held in 10-minute intervals beginning at 8 AM and concluding at 4 PM. You are kindly asked to register on the Parent Portal to select the teacher or teachers you would like to visit on the days and times that work best in your hectic schedule. As you register for the conference times, you will notice that our dedicated teachers have blocked a lunch recess, and three 10-minute break times during both days. In order to prepare our students for the student-led conferences we will be hosting in the spring, we are asking students to join with you for these November meetings as we want them to be “student involved” conferences. After all, the conferences are about the students learning journey, so why wouldn’t we want them to participate? On behalf of the entire teaching staff and leadership team, we welcome you to our awesome school and we look forward to your positive participation in this batch of parent/teacher conferences on November 15 & 16. See you then!

UAS Spring Ski Trip (from Nicole Ashwin)

Ski, snowboarding and Switzerland….oh my!   Stay and ski or snowboard at Anzère, Switzerland, during Spring Break.  (Can you say that 3 times fast?)

But I live in Dubai… I don’t have winter clothes..   No problem.    They provide them!

But I don’t know how to ski or snowboard…           No worries.     You can learn them!

When?            March 24-March 31

How much?   11,000 AED

Who?   Gades 4, 5, 6, & those grade 7 students who went last year only

What’s included?

  • Full-board accommodation at Chalet Chamossaire
  • All meals and snacks
  • Ski/ snowboard equipment and clothing rental
  • Lift passes
  • Instruction
  • Evening activities
  • Visa
  • Transportation (flights + buses)

How?  Register here.   Non-refundable deposit of 3,000dhs by Dec 12.

More details at the parent information session this Wednesday, November 15, and Thursday, November 16 from 11:30-11:50 in the ES library.  Have an adventure!  Have fun!  Have new friends!  Have real snow!

Upcoming dates and activities:

  • November 13: MS Principals coffee – MS/HS library
  • November 15 & 16: Parent/Teacher conferences – 8 am to 4 PM both days
  • November 29: UAE National Day celebrated at UAS – please stay tuned for more details
  • November 30: No school – UAE National Holiday

MS Principals Coffee is Back! WOOHOO!

Greetings MS parents and welcome to the exciting world of the UAS Middle School!!!

I am happy to announce the next installment of the MS Principals Coffee which will be held on Monday, November 13 beginning @ 8 AM in the MS/HS Library. Topics for this information sharing event will include, but not be limited to the following:

  • Synergetic online grade book: I will explain how parents can make the best use of the information, and I will help define some of the vocabulary found within the grade book. Our IT support will also be available to help you access the online grade book if you have been unsuccessful in reviewing the current academic progress of your student. Please bring the electronic device with you to this meeting that you will use to access your child’s online grade book.
  • Wellness Census: A video will be shown that highlights the KHDA sponsored Wellness Census our students will be taking during the week of November 19.
  • Moral Education: Time permitting, the MS counselors will share highlights of the Moral Education curriculum that will be taught to all UAS MS students during the course of the school year.

Parent/Teacher Conferences

The annual parent/teacher conferences will be held on Wednesday, November 15 and Thursday, November 16.  Parent conferences in the Middle School will be held in 10-minute windows beginning at 8 AM and concluding at 4 PM. You are kindly asked to register on the Parent Portal to select the teacher or teachers you would like to visit on the days and times that work best in your schedule. As you register for the conference times, you will likely notice that our dedicated teachers have blocked a lunch recess, and three 10-minute break times during both days.  In addition, please note that in April 2018 the UAS MS will host student led conferences for the first time! In this format, students will meet face to face with their parents to describe their own learning progress and growth. In order to prepare our students for this method of conferencing, we are asking students to join with you for these November meetings as we want them to be “student involved” conferences. After all, the conferences are about the students learning journey, so why wouldn’t we want them to participate? On behalf of the entire teaching staff and leadership team, we welcome you to our awesome school and we look forward to your positive participation in this batch of parent/teacher conferences on November 15 & 16. See you then!

Upcoming dates and activities:

  • November 13: MS Principals coffee – MS/HS library
  • November 15 & 16: Parent/Teacher conferences – 8 am to 4 PM both days
  • November 29: UAE National Day celebrated at UAS – please stay tuned for more details
  • November 30: No school – UAE National Holiday

The MS Online Grade Book is Set to Launch on October 30!

Welcome once again to the AMAZING World of the UAS Middle School!!!!!!

The Middle School will have an open grade book for both parents and students to view beginning next week! WOOHOO!!!!  This has been a 3-year journey for us, and I am thrilled to announce that this grade book will finally be available.  For your information, the MS will be using an online version of Synergetic, which is our current student management system software.  The launch of this online/open grade book will be on Monday, October 30.

On October 30, you will receive an email invitation with complete details as to how you can access the online grade book. Please note that once you enter Synergetic, you will find 3 sources of information:

  1. You will discover results from any formative assessments your child has completed. Remember that formative assessments help the teacher understand what your student knows and what they are able to do at this point in their learning journey.  Data collected from formative assessments help inform and shape teacher instruction, and help inform the student about what learning still needs to occur. Formative assessments are not “graded”, but instead are an opportunity to provide your student with meaningful feedback.  If you read this BLOG post last week, you know that students will receive feedback on their formative assessments in one of 5 categories:
    • Expert
    • Apprentice
    • Novice
    • Did Not Demonstrate
    • Incomplete
  2. You will discover your child’s summative assessment Remember that the summative assessments are “graded” assessments that occur typically at the end of units of study, and use the 1 to 7 scale.  If your child did not complete a summative assessment, they will earn the mark of “incomplete”, and this will be their grade until they have completed the assessment.
  3. Finally, you will discover teacher comments. October 30 will represent the mid-term point of our first semester, and we will provide a narrative reporting of your child’s current academic progress in each of their classes at this time.  This information is important, because the annual parent/teacher conferences will occur two weeks later on November 15 and 16.  More information about these conferences is soon to follow, so please stay tuned.

Thank you for listening.  I do hope you find this information helpful.  I also hope that this message finds you and your family happy and healthy.  Until our paths cross in person, please take good care and may peace be upon you.

Important Calendar Items:

  • October 29 & 30: No school for students
  • October 30: MS online grade book is open to parents/students
  • October 31: MS Halloween dress down day
  • Parent/Teacher Conferences: November 15 & 16

Welcome to our Extraordinary Middle School Learning Community!!!

I want to begin by thanking the parents who were able to attend the MS Principal Coffee on Monday, October 9.  Lisa Gibson, the UAS curriculum coordinator did a masterful job sharing details about the Middle School assessment rubrics that teachers will use for both formative and summative assessments.  For your viewing pleasure, please feel free to look at the rubric by clinking on this link.

We no longer use numbers or marks when providing formative feedback to students.  Instead we use a layered system that describes where students are on their learning journey. When a student receives feedback on a formative assessment, it will be one of five possible descriptors:

  • Expert
  • Apprentice
  • Novice
  • Did Not Demonstrate
  • Incomplete

If a student does not complete an assignment, or if the assignment is not submitted, the student will earn the mark of incomplete. Simply stated, we will not provide feedback to a student if we have no evidence that informs us what the student knows or what they are able to do.

If a student does not clearly show progress toward the learning target, it may be stated that the student did not demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the required content and concepts.  A student earning this descriptor did not communicate learning with clarity or accuracy, nor did they apply skills, and/or the work is partially complete or of poor quality.

A student could be described as a novice, if they demonstrate limited knowledge, or their demonstration of knowledge is inconsistent.  If a student receives feedback that indicates he/she is a novice, it is time for the student to speak with the teacher, and/or schedule an after school tutoring session to fill in the gaps of their learning.

A student would be defined as an apprentice if they have demonstrated some of the skills, but not all of the skills toward achieving the learning target.  An apprentice would be a student who is on the path toward complete understanding, but still needs someone to teach/coach them through it.

A student who is an expert is someone who has demonstrated a deep understanding of the content, and could thoroughly teach the material to someone else.

I hope this information helps clarify our formative assessment rubric.  If you have any questions regarding the current academic progress of your child, please feel free to reach out to one of the MS counselors, the individual classroom teacher or to a member of the MS Leadership Team at your convenience.  We will gladly help you in any way that we can.

Finally, I did want to draw your attention to the fact that the Middle School will soon have an open grade book for both parents and students to view.  The MS will be using an online version of Synergetic, which is our current student management system software.  We are preparing for the launch of this online/open grade book on Monday, October 30.  One of the important features of having access to your child’s grades online is the fact that both formative and summative assessments will be available for parental review.  More information is soon to follow, so please stay tuned.

Until our paths cross in person, please take good care and may peace be upon you.

Important Calendar Items:

  • Middle School Counselors Coffee: Thursday, October 19 @ 7:45
  • Walk for Breast Cancer Awareness: Thursday, October 19 @ 8:15 (MS)
  • MS Spirit Day: Thursday, October 19: Students can wear blue or white, OR they can wear pink in recognition of breast cancer awareness.
  • No school for students: October 29 & 30
  • Parent/Teacher Conferences: November 15 & 16