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

Welcome to The 1st MS Principals Coffee for 2017-2018!

Welcome to the amazing world of the UAS Middle School!

Please note that the first MS Principals coffee will be held on Monday, October 9 beginning @ 8 AM in the MS/HS library. I am pleased to announce that our very own UAS Curriculum Coordinator, Lisa Gibson will be the main presenter for this first installment. Lisa will be sharing an update about the ongoing work the MS staff has done in creating and implementing our formative and summative assessment rubrics. As a preview, please feel free to have a look at the MS assessment rubric by clicking on this link. In addition, I will provide an update about the online grade book that we intend to launch soon and very soon, and I will gladly answer any questions parents may have regarding the new MS phone policy. I look forward to your positive participation.

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

Important Calendar Items:
• MS MAP testing concludes on October 9
• Middle School Principal Coffee: Monday, October 9 – MS/HS Library
o Topics to include, but not be limited to:
♣ MS Assessment and Rubrics with Ms. Lisa Gibson
♣ Parent/student access to the online grade – a review with Mr. Pat Hould
• No school for students: October 29 & 30

Strengthening Parent-Child Relationships

Welcome back to the exciting world of the UAS Middle School – WOOHOO!

I want to begin by thanking the many parents who were able to attend the MS Back to School Night on Monday, September 25.  I truly hope the evening was informative and helpful.  I received a lot of positive feedback about the start of this new school year, and I look forward to future opportunities to have parents in the house.

If you were in the audience for the assembly in the MPH at Back to School Night, you are heard my opening message that included an encouragement to parents to give their child the gift of time.  Our children grow up far too fast and we need to take advantage of the time we have with them while they are in their youth.  Pre-teens often act like they do not want active parental involvement in their life, bur rest assured your presence is vital to their social, emotional and personal development.

Thinking about the point of rapport building between you and your pre-teen, I read an article recently that shared three points aimed at helping to build a better relationship with your child.  In the words of Henry David Thoreau, “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”

The context of the article centered around a conversation the author had with one of her closest friends who was complaining about her 13-year-old son, who consistently didn’t listen to her directions and advice, and who was unorganized and self-centered.  After listening for several minutes, the author asked her friend, “Now tell me something he does really, really well”.  After taking a deep breath, and reflecting about her sons many qualities, she quickly realized he always made her laugh, and this was such a welcome respite to her on a daily basis when life can be so hectic.

Maintaining good, balanced relationships with your children can be hard at times. When conflicts arise you might be tempted to concentrate solely on their shortcomings or weaknesses, which is not constructive or beneficial to the relationship. This article made important points that can possibly help you reframe your natural negativity bias, and give your relationship a positive boost.

In order to continue strengthening your parent-child relationship, I encourage you to consider the following character strengths appreciation process that includes the following steps:

Step 1: Spot Strengths: Look for your child’s best character strengths. What are the qualities that come most naturally to him/her? Every child has special qualities that make them unique.  During their early years and now into their middle school years, you have been witness to their growth and maturity.  Your window as a parent has afforded you the wonderful chance to pinpoint the gifts and talents of your child.  Now is the time to focus on those qualities and celebrate their gifts that bring joy to your life!

Step 2: Think of Examples: As you reflect about your child’s best character strengths, ponder recent incidents when the child displayed these strengths, perhaps in various settings. As you reflect about the examples, and the gifts your child brings to the world, be mindful that often times an array of strengths are on display.

Step 3: Show Appreciation: Finally, and most importantly, tell your child the strengths you notice and why you value/appreciate those qualities. Explain why the strengths, that are core to him/her, are important to you. Especially during their middle school years, ongoing and positive communication with your child is vitally important.  Celebrating the gifts and talents of your pre-teen can open the door to free flowing conversations for years to come, can continue to build a strong relationship, and create an indelible bond long into their adult years.

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Please note that the first MS Principals coffee will be held on Monday, October 9 beginning @ 8 AM in the MS/HS library.  I welcome UAS Curriculum Coordinator, Lisa Gibson to this years first installment. Lisa will be sharing an update about the ongoing work the MS staff has done in creating our formative and summative assessment rubrics.  I look forward to your positive participation.

Thanks for listening.  I do hope the information is helpful.  Until our paths cross in person, please take good care and may peace be upon you.

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Important Calendar Items:

  • MS MAP testing: October 1-9
  • Middle School Principal Coffee: Monday, October 9 – MS/HS Library
    • Topics to include, but not be limited to:
      • MS Assessment and Rubrics with Ms. Lisa Gibson
      • MS phone policy – a review with Mr. Pat Hould
      • MS/HS Library update – with Ms. Rhonda Lesperance