Principal's Blog

December 1, 2015
Mustang Parents,
Hopefully over the past few days you were able to spend some quality time with family and friends as we counted our blessings this Thanksgiving Break. We have three very busy weeks before we head off to winter break. As a reminder, winter break is from December 21-January 1, with school resuming on January 4th.
As you might recall, we recently went through a full self-reflection and accreditation process through the Southern Association of Colleagues and Schools (SACS)/AdvancED Assurance Review. This process is extensive and allows affirmation for what we are doing well and the opportunity to identify areas of growth. Our external review occurred mid-November over two days and was very thorough. The committee spoke with over 100 Mustangs, the majority being your children—81 of them. I am proud to share that the committee recommended NOMS for re-accreditation.
The External Review Committee shares results in the following areas:
          ~Powerful Practices (those that score at least one standard deviation above)
                 3.9—Teaching and Learning Impact Domain
                 1.1—Leadership Capacity Domain
                 4.1—Resource Utilization Domain
        ~Opportunities for Improvement (those areas where great things are happening, but may gave components to       consider improving)
                2.5—Leadership Capacity (solicit feedback from all stakeholders)
                2.6—Leadership Capacity (ongoing feedback and walk-through process)
        ~Improvement Priorities (those areas that fall at least one standard deviation below)
               We had none!
       ~Index of Education Quality (see below)
~Accreditation Recommendation
The Index of Education Quality™ (IEQ™) provides a holistic measure of an institution’s overall performance based on a comprehensive set of indicators and evaluative criteria. As a formative tool for improvement, it pinpoints areas of strength as well as those in need of support or focus.
Domains                                            NOMS External IEQ                       Score AE Network Average
Overall Score                                           309.62                                                278.34
Teaching and Learning Impact                   297.62                                                268.34
Leadership Capacity                                 325.00                                                 292.64
Resource Utilization                                  321.43                                                 283.86
Our IEQ results indicate that our school is performing well within acceptable ranges as compared to expected criteria as well as other institutions in the AdvancED network. The External Review Team recommends that NOMS earn the distinction of accreditation by AdvancED for a five-year term that expires June 30, 2020.
Our work is never done as we continue to reflect, grow and refine our practices. It is rewarding and affirming when educators from outside of our county support the great work happening in our schoolhouse. Thank you for your continued support as we continue our partnership in providing our Mustangs with a rigorous, engaging and meaningful educational experience.
Mustangs on the Mend
Ms. Andrea Rose (7th grade science) returned to school today and we are thrilled to have her back in our schoolhouse.
Mrs. Kelli Blevins (special class teacher) continues to recover at home from her recent back surgery. Reports from her husband are she is making great progress and we hope to see her back with us after winter break.
Mrs. Lucinda Ford (cafeteria manager) will be out for an undetermined amount of time. We are keeping her in our thoughts and prayers.
Mr. Kyle Ray is home from the hospital recuperating. He still has not had his second surgery due to swelling. Once the swelling has subsided, the second surgery for his fractured ankle will be scheduled. He is receiving PT at home to help with the ankle issue as well as the chest and rib fractures. He shared how the outpour of concern from the school and community is his constant support to keep him going. He thanks all. We are not sure when Mr. Ray will return to school, however, we know he will be out through winter break. Band parents, a letter will be coming home to share more about happenings in band and the rescheduling of the December concert.
We continue to keep our Mustangs on the Mend in our thoughts and prayers.
Grade Level Updates
6th Grade
Guidance just finished talking about executive functioning skills and strategies to strengthen these areas. Next up is Social Expectations. What to expect and not expect in social circles.
In Compass class, students have been excited about their club days. We have a wide range of clubs such as Rubik's Cube Club, Art Club, Harry Potter, and Community Service to name a few. Our community service club is leading our holiday philanthropic and are encouraging 6th graders to donate items to families in need.
Science students are exploring factors that impact organisms, and how they impact them. They will be studying competition, predation, symbiosis and human impact.
Social Studies is currently learning about the U.S./Canada region. Students are studying consumption and its effect on the United States as well as globally. Next the students will go into immigration and again its effect on this region as well as around the earth.
Language Workshop is all about our class novel, Freak The Mighty by Rodman Philbrick.
We are in the middle of reading Freak the Mighty and revising 2nd drafts of student’s short story. Before break, students will finish the novel, finish their short story, and begin working on a creative assessment to synthesize narrative elements from the novel and unit.
7th Grade
Compass classes are working on embracing the power of the morning circle and building a true community within classrooms. The month of December will be focused on excerpts from This I Believe and students will work on creating their own belief statements.
Science students just finished their first transfer task -designing rollercoasters by applying their understanding of energy - how it changes and is transferred. Students did a wonderful job! The building was filled with roller coasters! Their focus now is on the second part of the energy unit which focuses on thermal energy.
Social studies is learning about Ancient Egypt. As part of the unit, students are working on an extension project to deepen their understanding of this important civilization.
Language Workshop has been analyzing monologues and poems and performance skills preparing for student drafting and performing of their own narrative monologues and poems before the holiday break.
8th Grade
8th grade preparing for a service project field trip to the Uspiritus Campus in mid-December. Each Compass class has been working to create a carnival station. Students will then unite to bring a Winter Carnival to the middle school student residents. In addition, the 8th grade students have set up a pen pal program with the school and will meet their pal and engage in team building activities during their visit.
SS is working on students’ argumentative writing skills- especially choosing/using relevant evidence to support a claim (thesis).
Language Workshop students are beginning to explore the challenges of society by engaging in literature circles to read various dystopian novels. They are also starting to investigate how to make a change in their own society through argument writing. They will begin to build background knowledge by investigating crime scene puzzles to gather evidence, create warrants, and make claims.
Science students will begin Human Body System group projects this week. Their focus is on how cells are grouped to form tissues, organs, and subsystems that make up our body ...allowing us to survive! When students finish this project, they will complete their first transfer task that focuses on different disorders and diseases, and their specific impact on the human body all the way down to the cellular level.
Related Arts
The Related Arts team continues to offer opportunities for students to learn and practice essential skills for success: creativity, self-discipline, critical thinking, teamwork, public performance, career exploration, and wellness. As you visit our schoolhouse, you will be greeted with views of student-created artwork, the sounds of music coming from our band and chorus classes as they prepare for winter concerts, the feeling of excitement as students perform during our drama and movement classes, the energy coming from our PE and health classes, the sense of exploration as students use technology for career exploration, and the individualized instruction that comes from all of our Pathways classes.
Math across the Grade Levels
Math is continuing to focus on the math practices by teaching our students the importance of persevering when problem solving. We are also utilizing the thinking strategies and workshop model to differentiate instruction based on pre-assessments. Our area for growth is the reflection piece. We all feel it is crucial and yet many of us
are faced with so much to teach with so little time and that is what gets left out. We are trying to be more intentional with our time so we can have our students reflecting each day.
May the above information allow for you to begin engaging conversations with your child(ren) about happenings at school. As always, thank you for your continued support of the work conducted in our schoolhouse. 
Carrie Pitsenberger










Inspire * Empower * Unite


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