The first installment of the UAS Middle School Counselor Coffee was held on Thursday, September 22, with a nice crowd of more than 20 parents in attendance. This informational event included a question and answer session and was hosted by our awesome MS Counselors: Kara Haines and Mark Gaffney. Please enjoy the following summary of this months Counselors Coffee.
The middle school years are a crucial time in social and emotional development. We believe that middle school students have very unique needs and we strive to provide students with a nurturing and caring environment including a strong connection to the adults that interact with them every day and the peers they are surrounded by. Research (we will be sharing with you during the course of the year) shows that students who feel safe and connected perform better in school.
Advisory classes are one important piece of a system that supports the emotional growth of middle school students. Our advisory classes are small, 12-14 students, and are led by one teacher. The role of the Advisor is to get to know each student as an individual, to know their interests, strengths and weaknesses. Advisors will liaise with other teachers in middle school to support academic success and positive behavior as well as social and emotional growth. The advisory groups meet every day for Homeroom and REGAL, and they also meet once a week for a specific advisory lesson. Advisory lessons are developed with the counselors according to the ISCA curriculum standards and are adjusted to meet current student needs and interests. Advisory lessons will cover four domains, one each quarter. Academic skills, Personal and Emotional skills, Global Perspectives and Life skills. Advisory lessons include a focus on personal identity, responsibility and communication and digital citizenship. Life skills will provide lessons geared towards transitions, looking ahead to the future and some career exploration.
We will also have a focus on student voice and aspirations through the work that staff members are doing with Dr. Russell Quaglia. The advisory groups are formed for the express purpose of providing a safe space for students to express themselves and assuring that adults are listening to students in regards to their own education and their aspirations for the future.
Communication between parents and the school staff members is essential to a successful school year. Please contact your child’s advisor if you have a general concern, and please contact the subject area teacher if you have questions or concerns about classroom materials or performance. The counseling team is here for any celebration, question or concern that you have. Please feel free to drop in during the school day or to email and make an appointment to see either of us.
Keeping up with the flow of information is very important, please continue to check the middle school Blog and individual teacher Blogs for important dates. The Counselors also maintain a Blog, if you would like to be subscribed and be notified about updates on any of these blogs please come in and visit the technology hub, they can help.
During the course of our coffee morning parents shared that they are very happy with the approachability and open door policies of all of our staff here at UAS. Parents also reported that their children are happy to come to school and have enjoyed the beginning of the school year. They praised the multicultural environment that we maintain and the special attention that we have paid to communicating curriculum at the Back to School Night. Parents shared a concern about peer pressure and social media and the effect that both are having on the current generation of children. We will continue to provide workshops, current research and tips on setting guidelines with your children. Parents asked for more information about age related personal and emotional development, sports and fitness awareness, understanding the importance of hard work, limiting short cuts and appreciating the learning journey as well as the biological, psychological that children experience during middle school. We will do our best to present these topics to you over the course of the school year, please also tune into our Counseling Blog page.
We are looking forward to your continued support. Mark Gaffney and Kara Haines
Important Upcoming Dates
Technology Tuesday – previously planned for September 27 has been postponed and will be rescheduled
Week Without Walls Parent Presentations in the Secondary/Middle School Library:
- Sunday, September 25
- 6:00 – Grade 6 Parent meeting
- 7:00 – Grade 7 Parent meeting
- Wednesday, September 28
- 6:00 – Grade 8 Parent meeting
Thursday, September 29: NO school for students: Professional Development day for the teachers
MAP Testing for grades 6, 7 & 8: October 4 – October 6
Thank you for listening and remember that Middle School Matters!