from Jenn Milam, Middle School director

Important Dates and Upcoming Events
February 21-24: SnoDaze Week
February 27-March 3:     iTERM 2023
March 6-17: MPA Spring Break
March 20: Classes Resume
March 31: End of Quarter 3
April 3: GRADING DAY – No Classes

A special thank you to all who joined us at Badlands for Middle School Snow Tubing this year! Fun was had by all, and I am especially grateful to Christine Larson and our Parents Association for their coordination of a fantastic group of parents to start our bonfire, order our food truck, and coordinate all the tiny details required to pull off a full-divisional outing!

Look for more opportunities soon to gather and build connections in the Middle School.

iTERM 2023—Travel, Play, Dream, and Learn!
In just a few days, iTERM 2023 will begin – a week of passion-driven, inquiry and exploration in a chosen area, alongside peers from all grades in the middle school, and led by a teacher (or two!) and maybe even a tour guide! Your students have been entered into Schoology courses where they will get updates, information, announcements, and other key information for their week.

New Articles from Freethinker
The latest edition of the MPA Upper School online newspaper, the Freethinker, is available. Please take a moment to see what’s new here.

iTerm Expectations
Students have lunch as usual, each day, just as they always do! Your student should plan to bring lunch or eat at school (if they have a purchased lunch plan) unless otherwise told by their instructor/course leader. Some of the courses involve cooking, field trips to markets in the city, or other excursions, but for the most part, lunch is at MPA right after recess, every day.

  • The day begins at 8 AM and ends at 3 PM, just like always! You should follow regular drop-off and pick-up procedures.
  • Their iTERM course leader will tell them what they need to bring if anything. They should wear comfortable clothes and shoes and plan not to change for PE.
  • They can bring snacks, water bottle, and any other creature comfort they normally use. Please follow the dress code, per usual.
  • The days are full, active, engaged, and so much fun – expect a tired middle schooler at the end of the day.
  • Behavior and conduct expectations remain high and students are expected to show up, participate, engage, and be a good and contributing member of our community.
  • If your student is traveling to Ely for Dogsledding or to Quebec or Costa Rica, your course leaders have been in touch with details about travel, packing lists, and more. Please read thoroughly all communication in preparation for these trips!
  • The best part about this week is there is no homework assigned, no schedule, no grades—it’s a week of learning and exploring, for the fun of it!
  • We encourage students to be caught up, as much as possible, by the end of this week, as there is no time for school assignments during this week. Projects, outstanding assignments, and other schoolwork, should be completed at home and submitted prior to spring break to avoid missing the two-week grace period to submit late assignments.
  • There is NO study hall offered after school during iTERM week – because there no homework!
  • School dismisses promptly at 3 PM on Friday to head into Spring Break!

Finally, on Friday, March 3, from 2:15-3 PM, we host an iTERM SHARE FAIR! Each course prepares a display to showcase what they did together, what they learned, share some new skills, and show off their products! Please mark your calendars and plan to join us on campus for this awesome event!

Postponed! Middle School Matters: A Community Book Study!
Thank you for your flexibility in delaying the start of our book study together. Below, you’ll see our new dates with a TBD for our final meeting. I’m hoping we might plan an evening, in-person gathering to celebrate our learnings together and the end of the school year.

Until then—keep reading and we’ll see you after spring break in ZOOM world!

Middle School is a time of rapid changes, new experiences, and sometimes, perplexing encounters in a new world in which we (parents!) did not grow up! In partnership with Ms. Cooper, our school counselor, and Ms. Meras, our new Middle School Dean, I will be hosting a community book study this spring. We will do a shared reading of Middle School Matters: The 10 Key Skills Kids Need to Thrive in Middle School and Beyond—and How Parents Can Help by Phyllis L. Fagell.

We will meet four times, to align with the four major sections of the text, via ZOOM, to discuss, share, wonder, worry, ponder, and problem-solve alongside teachers, experts, and other community members the mystery and magnificence of the middle school years. We invite you to have dinner with your family, put your feet up, pour a drink of something you enjoy, and meet us online, the following dates at 7:30 PM, from the comfort of your living room!

  • Wednesday, April 19, 2023 (Social Skills)
  • Thursday, May 18, 2023 (Learning)
  • Final Session—TBD (Empowerment and Resilience)

We will have guest speakers and experts for each of the four sections of the text and will share our own personal journey in raising spirited, well-balanced, resilient, kind, and good humans.

You can purchase the book in any format of your choosing, and in whatever way you’d like. Here are a few options:

Or you can check it out at your local library!

You can also just drop in for a listen, join the conversation, and build community. I am hoping with a later evening gathering time, and the flexibility of ZOOM, that we’ll have the opportunity to connect and grow our community in a way that makes space for the various family and scheduling demands we all juggle.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 332 737 0417
Password: MSMatters!

Please let us know if you’ll be joining us here.

Planned Absence Policy
We understand that families may make vacation and time-away decisions that make sense for their family and not necessarily with the school calendar. While we support your travel and quality time, please also work with us to recognize that missing school can be challenging for your students, and we should work together to help them in keeping up with academic assignments, assessments, and projects.

Please review the MPA Planned Absence Policy and work diligently to communicate your family’s plans with the Middle School office, as well as helping your student to communicate directly with their teachers. It is an important lesson in self-advocacy and self-management for a Middle School student to attempt this task independently.

Students are not penalized for missing school; however, they are responsible for the work missed as determined by their teachers. If you have questions or concerns, please reach out.

Spring Break—No Homework Policy
In Middle School, we have a firm policy that we do not give new assignments or homework over Spring Break. As we have iTERM this coming week, know that there will also not be new assignments or homework given. This is an excellent opportunity for your student to get caught up on any missing assignments or outstanding tasks prior to the break.

As always, students have a two-week grace period to submit late work before it will no longer be accepted. Please take time this weekend to review Schoology with your student, plan for the week, and work towards having a work-free, super-fun Spring Break!

If you have concerns or questions about your student’s progress or assignments, you are welcome to reach out to teachers for clarification and support.

Be well. Take care of one another. Stay warm!

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