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August 2016 - Pardon our "digital dust" as we are in the process of updating our website

 

Principal's Blog

 

September 2016 Update

Mustang Parents,

We have successfully completed 4 weeks of school.  Our students and teachers have found their groove and we are off to a grand start.  By now, your student should be feeling more comfortable with his/her schedule and knowing teacher(s) and school expectations. 

Classroom Walk-through Observations

Over the past weeks, I am pleased with the amount of student engagement I have observed.  Students are actively involved in their learning through student discourse, inquiry learning as well as collaborative work.  The process in which students go through to determine outcomes is as important, if not more important, when wrestling with new or challenging material.  A goal of ours is to build stamina or endurance within our students.

Many teachers utilize a class webpage as a communication tool and place for important documents and information.  Your students should know this information.  Please ask them to share, if they have not already, so you, too, can visit the pages.   Google Classroom, is yet another tool many of our teachers and students are tapping into, so inquire with your student about this as well.  My goal this year is to highlight happenings within our grade levels, content and related arts classes.  Hopefully, these soundbites will be great ways to begin conversations with your middle schooler. 

Compass:  What is this class anyway?

Each schoolhouse needs a vision, and that vision guides all facets of the school in one common direction. For North Oldham Middle School, that vision is our Compass, guiding us forward in all we do. The beauty of North lies in the reality that each goal, each decision, and the actions of each individual can be traced back to the overarching belief that all students and adults are on a quest to promote cognitive growth, vocational competency, and emotional security.

With this in mind, we find our vision and direction: We believe in inspiring. We believe in empowering. We believe in uniting.

We inspire: We value igniting a passion to positively impact our community.

We empower: We value embracing opportunities to build confidence and ownership through perseverance.

We unite: We value working together toward a shared purpose through trust and acceptance.

This is our vision. This is our guiding Compass, navigating us through these middle school years to teach to the whole child.

The vision itself is based on what we know adolescents need when they enter, navigate through, and leave our building. The values of Compass are encouraged and instilled in our students each day, woven in through Compass class, as well as content classes. As educators, we are incredibly dedicated to academic pursuits, but we also must answer the call of the whole child.

This vision and promise we have made to our students serves as a daily reminder that the bigger picture at North Oldham Middle School is one of a commitment to addressing the components connected to being a complete person. We believe in who our students are, in what they do, and in how we can help them to navigate the trials and adventures of middle school. We believe that we can do this through the guiding vision of Compass—through inspiring, empowering, and uniting. We believe in our educators and the commitment they have made to ignite passions, build confidence, and foster a climate of trust and acceptance. We believe in our students and the power they have to positively impact their community, to persevere through challenges, and to work together toward a shared purpose. We believe in the power of our vision. Quite simply, WE BELIEVE.

6th Grade Update

The first few weeks of school has been a time for our newest Mustangs to get aquatinted with our school building, schedule, routines, and expectations. As you enter our 6th grade classrooms, you can already sense a feeling of community and engagement. In Compass, students are spending the first part of our year getting to know each other and building relationships with peers and teachers. We are all working together to inspire, empower, and unite.

7th Grade Update

Mrs. Giesting had her baby, a little girl!! All are healthy and home now.  We are thrilled to have Mrs. Danielle Hardy as Mrs. Giesting’s long-term sub.

We are excited about our Compass plans. We will continue the superhero theme from last year but spreading it out for more than just a few weeks.  We look to have this be a yearlong theme.  Our ideas include looking at every day superhero's in our community and having competitions with classes multiple times throughout the year with a "final four" competition towards the end.  The plans are still being finalized, but looking forward to building on many character traits that can be tapped into through our Compass classes and the work we do collaboratively.   

8th Grade Update

8th grade is excited to inspire, empower, and unite in Compass this year. The first quarter of the year we are focusing on the word inspire; students are building their class culture and identity. Each Compass class is completing its own specific vision statement that will carry them throughout the year, and they will engage in activities that inspire them to develop a group identity.

Language Workshop Update

Sixth graders are gaining understanding about abstract nouns and themes. They will begin their first writing piece, a personal narrative, in the coming weeks. Seventh graders are focusing on the elements of narrative writing. Students will be reading various forms of narrative writing, practicing narrative writing skills, and working on effective revision techniques. Eighth graders are diving into abstract nouns and universal truths and how, as part of the human experience, we are always curious about how these truths impact our lives. Each student has chosen an abstract noun and has been working to "personify" that idea and write a short story about that character.

Social Studies

In Social Studies this year, we will be thinking like geographers and historians in our classes. Sixth grade is currently shifting from tools of a geographer to thinking strategies with an emphasis on geographic skills. Seventh grade is progressing from thinking like an historian to early civilizations and their development (Mesopotamia, India, and China). Eight grade is moving from the Age of Exploration to the merging of the two worlds (Old World and New World).

Math

In our Math schoolwide Professional Learning Community (PLC) we are currently working on identifying the needs of our students to determine our student growth goals. We continue our work to ensure every student will master the essential standards needed to be successful. Several of our teachers are currently attending professional development training on teaching math conceptually to make certain that every student understands the math they learn. 

Science

This is our second year implementing our new science content.  We are excited to continue the inquiry approach to science as students work to think, write, and work like scientists.  As a science professional learning community (PLC), we are focused on providing our Mustangs with learning opportunities that will cause students to wonder, have to create, put theory to test, reflect, and create again, and ultimately become critical thinkers. 

Related Arts

Our collective group is off to a great year.  We are excited to have made an addition to the related arts rotation—Investigate and Innovate.  Mrs. Cole has begun the year with lots of inquiry, wonder and hands-on learning.  She along with Mrs. Henley, are providing many opportunities for our students to explore the use of technology and critical thinking skills.  Choir and Band are off to a musical start and have begun filling our schoolhouse with sounds that will warm your heart.  The art department is in full force allowing our Mustangs to express themselves creatively through various mediums.  Drama has a new twist this year, as it has a hint of humanities thrown in.  Mrs. Eifler comes to us with a wealth of experience that has already filled her room and engaged her students.  Students who are experiencing PE and Health continue to work toward being active and learning about healthy habits. 

Common Areas

As a school, we have been working on our common area routines to allow these areas to flow more orderly to help ensure safety for all.  Our student Mustangs have been doing a wonderful job walking in the hallways (imagining there is a double yellow line down the middle of the hallway as with traffic-“hug the right”) permitting more efficient “traffic” flow, and entering the cafeteria in the morning and for lunch in an orderly manner—walking not running, as well as appropriate and positive behaviors during those times.  Thanks to all the Mustangs for working diligently to follow the defined routines!

Drop-off and Pick-up Carpool Routines

Thank you for your continued efforts to utilize the two merge lanes if you are dropping off or picking up at the curb.  We are doing a good job of keeping traffic off Highway 1793 for the most part.  Reminder, if you use the lane to your far left, when entering the parking lot, this will allow you to go and park in the side lot where you can park and drop off or pick up your student.  This allows students to use our sidewalk to come to school or to find you in the afternoon. 

Please do not ask your child to meet you at the bottom of the hill as you wait in line.  This will increase the chances of an accident to happen.  Our car pool line generally thins out by 4:00, which is when our buses tend to pull out.  I am pleased with this. 

Infinite Campus and Grading

IC is available for parent and student use if you wish to monitor and check on grades.   You will find there are two grades—process and term.  The reason we have these two separate grading systems is that they represent very different areas of the learning process.  Term grade will denote your student’s understanding of the content.  This will house assessment scores—quizzes, tests, content within a project for example.  The grade for “term” will show you what your student truly understands and won’t be clouded by the fact that their homework is completed, or that they come to class prepared which are very important, but not the same.  Thus the separation and need for a Term and Process grade.

The process grade is equally important and communicates how your student is doing with the process of learning—participation in class, completion of homework, cooperation with others, coming to class prepared to name a few examples.  What this grade communicates is the “process” or what students do before, during and after to ensure the understanding occurs. 

As mentioned, both are equally important and are communicators of how your student is learning.  Please feel free to hold both grades in high regard.  Should you have any questions about your student’s grade in either area, feel free to contact the teacher(s).

Believing,

Carrie Pitsenberger

 

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