From the Principals

 

Dear Parents,

 

It's hard to believe there is less than a month of school left! Each year seems to fly by more quickly than the one before! According to scholastic.com, research shows that reading just six books during break is a great way to prevent "summer slide" for struggling readers. If you would like to read the full article, you can find it here... http://www.scholastic.com/parents/resources/article/developing-reading-skills/three-ways-to-prevent-summer-slide

 

In looking for great reads this summer, check out this webpage from New York Libraries

http://www.summerreadingnys.org/teens/teens-booklists/

 

For students entering 6th and 7th grades... http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/libdev/summer/readlist_tw.pdf

 

For students entering 8th and 9th grades... http://www.nysl.nysed.gov/libdev/summer/readlist_t.pdf

 

Depending on the age and development of your child, books from the tween list might be appropriate for your teen and vice versa. Consider having a family book club or taking along a book on audio for a road trip this summer.

 

Happy Summer Reading! 

 

Sincerely,

 

Mr. Mark Richter, Principal, Attea Middle School

Ms. Allyson Thorne, Acting Principal, Springman Middle School

From the Principals

Dear Parents,

 

The District’s Mission of Self-directed Learning and Intelligence

 

Over the next six weeks our students will experience of number of classroom and standardized tests.  One of the goals of all these assessments is to provide information to students about the progress of their learning so that they can own key aspects of it – hence, the District’s mission of self-directed learning.  Sadly, students sometimes see the results of these assessments either as confirmation or contradiction of a fixed notion of their ability and potential.  This is a shame, for we know that resilience and perseverance are highly valuable orientations at any stage in life.  As importantly, we also know that students have great capacity for growth and change.  But, do they really?  Do parents know what modern research tells us?  Enjoy this excerpt on “Theories About Achievement and Development” from The Skillful Teacher:

 

“Most Americans believe that intelligence is a fixed, innate entity that is endowed at birth, unevenly distributed, and determines how well a student can do.  This belief in the bell curve of intelligence has huge implications for teaching and learning: that only a few students are smart enough to learn sophisticated academic material at high standards.”

 

“Our contention is that these assumptions are flat out wrong....  We...make the case that intelligence can indeed be developed and that effective effort and good strategies are the principal determinants of academic success.  Our point is that a teacher’s beliefs about the nature of intelligence and its limits (or limitlessness) forms a powerful frame around the motivation to expand his or her teaching repertoires.” 

 

By extension, we believe that parents’ and, more importantly, students’ own beliefs about their intelligence are as critical as those of teachers.  If students believe their intelligence and capacity is fixed, they are more likely to interpret assessment results as merely confirmations or contradictions of permament notions of themselves.  Instead, they should think of the results as important data that are part of their fluid and developing intellectual capacity.

 

Source: The Skillful Teacher – Saphier, J., Haley-Speca, M.A., & Gower, R. (2008).

 

Sincerely,

 

Mr. Mark Richter, Principal, Attea Middle School

Ms. Allyson Thorne, Acting Principal, Springman Middle School

From the Principals

Dear Parents,

 

Greetings! 

 

It's hard to believe we are beginning Trimester 3 already. It seems like the year is flying right by. Spring Break will be here before we know it, and when we return, PARCC Testing will start up for students in grades 3 - 8. The D34 intermediate school window is April 11th- April 22nd and the D34 middle school testing window is April 18th-29th.

 

Please remember to make sure your child gets ample rest, wakes up on time, and eats breakfast. Students should come to school with their iPads fully charged every day, especially so on PARCC Testing days. It is also very important for students to be on time for school during PARCC Testing. The number one piece of advice to give your child is to have a positive attitude. Encourage their best effort and remind them to relax. 

 

Here is a useful link regarding several topics related to PARCC, Illinois Learning Standards, and what you can do to help your child learn even more at home - http://reallearningil.org/resources-for-families/

 

Sincerely,

 

Mr. Mark Richter, Principal, Attea Middle School

Ms. Allyson Thorne, Acting Principal, Springman Middle School

From the Principals

Dear Parents,

 

Transition season...

 

Although we are still in the thick of winter, the middle schools are well underway in our processes for transitioning students.  The most significant steps involve our students transitioning into middle school from 5th grade as well as our 8th graders transitioning out.  However, we’re always looking for opportunities to enhance or streamline our process for all of our students.  Here are some highlights of the process:

 

For incoming 6th graders:

 

·      We’ve streamlined the 5th grade teacher input form to reduce the number of fields of information to focus on the most salient details for middle school.

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From the Principals

Dear Parents,

 

We recently came across this article and wanted to share it with you. All too often good intentions for the New Year don't last as long as we'd like them to. As research tells us, people who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don't explicitly make resolutions. With that in mind, it's never too late to assist your middle schooler develop a goal or two for 2016!

 

 

Help your child get excited about the New Year, with opportunities to improve, excel and expand her horizons. You can reflect on the past year together, praising her for all of her successes and good deeds, and then talk about the changes she'd like to make and the improvements she wants to be able

to reflect on next year. 

 

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From the Principals

Learning and the holidays

 

The holiday season provides us with many opportunities to celebrate and reflect on our good fortunes.  Of course, it also provides us with opportunities to empathize with and care for others less fortunate.  Indeed, the Toys for Tots campaigns at both middle schools, the coat drive at Springman, and Attea’s Builders Club visit with Veterans, are just a few examples of the way that our students show compassion toward others.

 

This effort to cultivate empathy in children is consistent with specific standards related to social and emotional learning that schools are required to target.  However, raising awareness of others’ needs also serves the purpose of helping our students keep their own lives and their own struggles in perspective - critical components in developing perseverance.

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From the Principals

Dear Parents,

 

It’s true that students often experience a significant physical growth spurt during the ages 10 to 14 years old.  What is not true is that we can expect a proportional change in emotional maturity.  Pre-adolescence is a time of risk-taking as our middle schoolers test out their ideas about who they are and who they want to be.  Our students may look a little older than they did in August, but emotionally and socially, they are still young adolescents who desire and need structure both at school and at home.  

 

Pre-adolescence is one of the most challenging stages in life.  Can you guess the second most challenging stage of life?  Parenting a pre-adolescent, of course!  We’re happy to share some excellent advice on how we can continue to respond to the needs of our middle schoolers in a safe, healthy, and supportive manner.  The information below is an excerpt from “Helping Your Child Through Early Adolescence” a U.S. Government publication found at http://www2.ed.gov/parents/academic/help/adolescence/index.html

We hope you find the information useful and know that we appreciate your partnership in helping raise capable, responsible, and happy children of character.

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From the Principals

Some Why’s and How’s of Student Involvement

 

The last PTA meeting featured the “Turning Points” Presentation by Attea, Springman, and Glenbrook South principals.  If you couldn’t attend that presentation there’s another one on October 15 at 7pm at Attea.  One of the dominant themes of the presentation focuses on the dynamic growth and needs of our young adults and the things schools and parents can do to support them.  One very positive influence is a student’s involvement in school.

 

Why and how should a middle schooler get involved with school activities?  After all, there’s homework to complete, outside-of-school activities, and family time all competing for a slot in a student’s day.  All true, and all worthy options that present potential obstacles to a student’s involvement in school.  Nevertheless, what also remains true is that getting involved in school activities provides numerous benefits.  From kids who are already involved but could learn something new, to students who aren’t involved at all, there are many reasons and options for school involvement. We’d like to share some thoughts and suggestions.

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