Welcome to the Middle School Back to School Night! WOOHOO!

It is time once again for the annual Back to School Night, which will be held on Monday, September 25 beginning at 6 PM in the MPH. As the 2017-2018 school year begins, this informational evening is an important fixture on the MS calendar of activities and events.  The program will provide parents with a golden opportunity to meet the teaching staff – both core and specialist teachers – learn more about the expectations within each of the MS classes, and visit with other parents.  Please click on this link to checkout the program for the MS Back to School Night (BTSN): Monday, September 25, 2017

I sincerely hope you can join us, for what promises to be an informative evening.  Your attendance sends a strong and positive message to your Middle School student that their education is important.  The staff and I look forward to your positive participation.

Please feel free to watch the daily Patcast on Youtube! Students and staff watch the Patcast daily in order to learn about the latest MS events, practices, and activities. Upon entering Youtube, you can begin by searching for Universal American School.  Once there, type in Middle School Morning Patcast for the date you want to watch.  Click on this link to watch the Patcast for September 24.  I hope you enjoy our daily show!

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

Important Calendar Items:

  • Monday, September 25: MS Back to School Night (BTSN)
  • MS MAP testing: October 2-5
  • Middle School Principal Coffee: Monday, October 9 (location TBD)
    • Topics to include, but not be limited to:
      • MS Phone Policy
      • Assessment, Rubrics & Engrade

Welcome to The Exciting World of Our UAS MS!

What an exciting first week of school we had at the UAS Middle School – WOOHOO!!  Our students are certainly an energetic and enthusiastic bunch, and that’s a fact! During the course of week #1, our awesome students engaged in a “boot camp” – as they became acclimated to their new grade levels for the New Year, they participated in a fabulous community building event at Hub Zero, and they were introduced to our new phone policy.

Having a stricter phone policy this year was born from conversations held with both teachers and parents dating back to last school year. The fact is that phones, in and of themselves, are not “bad”.  Most of our students, and all of the adults in the MS have mobile phones.  Phones are simply part of our daily existence, and they have made our ability to communicate faster and easier.  That said, phones also have the capacity to be very distracting as students anticipate incoming messages, play games, or wait to message their friends, etc.

In making our decision about the new phone policy, we read lots of articles and looked at research about the topic.  For you to gain some insight into our thought process, please feel free to read the following excerpt from an article entitled: 13 Critical Pros and Cons of Having Cell Phones in Schools by Philip Yiga (January 24, 2017)

Cons of Cell Phones in Schools:

  1. Cause Distractions at school:with the usage of cell-phones at school, students can easily get distracted from their studies because cell-phones enable someone to gain access to a lot of unnecessary content and this in turn makes it much easier for kids to lose focus when in the classroom. For example, if a student gets bored when a teacher is carrying-out lessons, then he/she (student) can easily pull-out their phone and begin playing games, chatting on Facebook or WhatsApp, or do other things that distract. This means some students won’t be able to pay attention to what is being taught.
  2. Cell-phones can be used for cheating on exams in schools:students can easily use cell-phones to cheat on exams when at school and this is possible especially if a student sneaks his/her cell-phone into the classroom during an assessment. In fact, this is a great challenge for schools today because they won’t be able to know whether students used their brains or technology-devices to earn their grades.
  3. Access to inappropriate content: although schools may limit the availability of websites to be accessed by students when using a school-network, some students can still find loops in the school-network and gain access to inappropriate content like violent online-games, thus causing a great distraction when at school. On top of that, some students can even decide to access the internet without using the school-network and this gives them access to all types of inappropriate content.
  4. Cyberbullying:cyberbullying is actually an increasing online-issue today and allowing students to have access to their cell-phones at school can accelerate this habit.
  5. Mobile devices disconnect students while at school: Allowing students to have phones at school encourages students to be disconnected from face-to-face communication and activities. Students use social-media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp to communicate and this greatly disconnects them from their surrounding environment and from adults within their school-environment.

You can find the complete UAS Middle School phone policy by clinking on this link.

Here are some other important tidbits for you this week:

Microsoft Office Installation: The time has come to install Microsoft Office on computers if the program has not already been installed. Each student at UAS is allowed to install Microsoft Office on 5 different devices using their unique UAS email address. Please follow the directions on this Google Doc to install the Microsoft Office Suite for free. Students must install this at home and NOT at school.

CAT 4 Testing This Week: Students Need Headphones: On Monday and Tuesday of this week, our grade 8 and grade 6 students will take the CAT 4 test. All students must bring their own earbuds or headphones to take this assessment.

Thank you so much for your continued support of our school, our staff and your wonderful children.  Together we are building a vibrant learning community, and I couldn’t be more proud to be the Principal of this extraordinary school!  Until our paths cross in person, please take good care and peace be upon you.

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Important Calendar Items:

  • Sunday, September 17 – MS Week Without Walls parent information session: 5:00 – 6:30 PM in the MS/HS Library
  • Monday, September 18: Grade 8 CAT 4 testing
  • Monday, September 18: MS/HS Instrument Zoo: 6:00 PM in the MPH
  • Tuesday, September 19: Grade 6 Cat 4 testing
  • Tuesday, September 19: UAS early dismissal @ 2:00 PM
  • Wednesday, September 20: MS Counselors Coffee: 8:00 AM in room #1119
  • Monday, September 25 – MS Back to School Night (BTSN)

LET THE GAMES BEGIN!!! WOOHOO!

The first day of the 2017-2018 school year is finally here, and I wanted to take this opportunity to welcome you to the exciting world of the UAS Middle School.  The MS teachers have been working hard this past couple of weeks to make the school a welcoming place for learning.  Our MS team is very talented, and your children are very lucky to have these dedicated educators guiding them this year. There is truly a positive energy and optimistic enthusiasm in the air that is very contagious, and frankly speaking, I can’t wait for this school year to begin!

Here are some important points regarding the upcoming “New Year”:

  1. If you haven’t done so already, I encourage you to help your student by collecting the necessary school supplies ASAP. Please see my previous BLOG post that includes the links to the supplies lists for each of our 3 grade levels. You should note that the back to school supplies include a MacBook and the proper school uniform. You can click on this MS uniform policy link for complete details. Your student will certainly feel much more secure and comfortable if they have the items they need during this first week of school.
  2. The UAS Middle School will be introducing several new policies and practices this year. These policies and practices will include a new phone policy, parent/student online access to student grades, and a revamped and improved version of our Week Without Walls program. As the year unfolds, there will be multiple opportunities for you to learn more about these new policies and practices.  You can continue to read about the many happenings within the MS through this BLOG post, and you can also attend one of several meetings where topics will be shared and discussed with parents.  Please refer to the important calendar items listed below for complete details.
  3. We will host a Week Without Walls (WWW) parent meeting on Sunday, September 17 beginning at 5:00 in the MS/HS Library. This year’s program offers a wide range of exciting options for our students, and includes an exceptional variety of in, and out of country learning opportunities.  I hope you can join us to learn more!
  4. Finally, I do want to share that we will once again be taking our entire student body on a field trip on Thursday, September 14. The students will be provided with the details for this exciting, community building event during the opening assembly on Monday, September 11.  There will be a fee involved that will help cover the cost of the bus transportation as well as entry into the venue. Please stay tuned for more details.

Important Calendar Items

  • Sunday, September 10 @ 10 AM – New student orientation – Room 2200
  • Monday, September 11 – first day of school – WOOHOO!!!!
  • Thursday, September 14 – MS field trip – location to be announced on Day 1!
  • Sunday, September 17 – MS WWW parent information session: 5:00 PM in the MS/HS Library
  • Monday, September 18: MS/HS Instrument Zoo: 6:00 PM
  • Wednesday, September 20: MS Counselors Coffee: 8:00 AM
  • Monday, September 25 – MS Back to School Night (BTSN)

There will be more news, events, and activities to share in the coming days and weeks, so I encourage you to continue referring back to this BLOG for all things Middle School.  Until our paths cross in person, please take good care and may peace be upon you.