September 23, 2021
from Dr. Jenn Milam, Middle School Director
Growing More Comfortable
As we find ourselves in Week 5 together, we are learning more about each other and our needs, limits, and boundaries. As I have shared with all of you, it is important that middle schoolers feel safe to push boundaries and test limits (it often feels like it’s their job most days!) and it’s also important for them to realize that their actions, words, and habits impact those around them. We are working, diligently and often, to reinforce what it means to be back in school together, as an entire middle school, grades 5 through 8, and conduct ourselves as the caring, compassionate, and academically motivated students we all aspire to be.
As I make my way to each grade level and aim to set expectations, I would appreciate your partnership in reinforcing some fundamental commitments that we hold at MPA in the Middle School:
- Every student’s learning is important. And it is not acceptable that one’s student’s behavior hinders their own learning and/or the learning of others.
- Students should arrive to class on-time, prepared, with all materials required to be a fully present and active participant.
- Students will respect all other human beings and expect respect in return.
- Language that is insulting, demeaning, hurtful, and disrespectful is not acceptable at MPA.
- Physical contact that harms another student, intentional or otherwise, will not be tolerated.
- Teachers are leaders in the learning environment, and they deserve respect.
- Poor choices, inappropriate behavior, and not following directions can, and will, result in consequences, including detention, a conversation with parents, and removal from privileges.
- We are a community, and we all rise by being the best version of ourselves we can be.
I want to acknowledge that, for many of our students, the last 18 months have completely up ended our routines, our work, our learning, and our comfort in being together. It will take some time for us to settle in and come to honor the community expectations we have set forth. I hope you will join me in sharing these expectations with your student and welcome the invitation to partner with me, and your student’s teachers, to help them realize their full potential.
A Reminder: Middle School Dismissal
I am, so far, grateful for the ease and efficiency with which we are dismissing at 3:00pm in the West Lot. A few reminders to keep us moving and allow all of us to get to our next destination safely, and in a timely way:
- Please do not stop along the curb near the busses to allow your student to enter the car. I ask that you pull around to the curb close to the building to keep cars from backing-up on Larpenteur and/or in the driveway.
- I am always, very lovingly, encouraging your students to “hustle” to get into the car and keep things moving. I don’t do this to be hurtful, but rather because I realize that many times folks are on their way to the next thing, and we need to keep the line moving.
- I also appreciate everyone staying in the car line (unless parking and waiting outside the door, which you are welcome to do!) and not “leap-frogging” or “budging” ahead in the line.
Finally, while I know there can occasionally be issues that hold us up as parents and we get to school a bit late, we are beginning the practice this week of taking all students not picked up by 3:15pm upstairs to either Study Hall or Panther Den. Our dismissal staff and faculty have meetings after school and cannot be downstairs waiting indefinitely. We also cannot leave your Middle School student outside to “wait” for you without an adult. Please make every effort to be on time unless you have previously determined that your student is going to Study Hall, Athletics, or Panther Den.
If you run into an issue and cannot make pick-up time, please call the office before 2:30pm and let us know and we will send your student to Study Hall or Panther Den.
Mrs. Lassonde and the Middle School Office
Mrs. Lassonde is available by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and by phone at (651) 748-5565. We need to hear from you if you need an early dismissal or late arrival for an appointment, an absence from classes, or have any other question or concern, please reach out.
Middle School Show–Congratulations To Our Cast And Crew!
We are delighted to begin rehearsals for our Middle School show and congratulate all who were selected as cast and crew members. Please work with your student to know the rehearsal schedule, note it in their planners, prepare and have a plan for pick-up, and communication. Just like sports, students are responsible for arranging transportation, pick-up, and snacks with parents.
If you have questions or need information, please email Ms. Mastel (email@example.com) or have your student stop by to see her in her classroom.
Parent-Teacher Conferences—Save The Dates
Our PickATime system has been open since last week. If you have not already scheduled conferences and wish to do so, you have until the end of this week. Conference dates are:
- Thursday, September 30, 3:30-7PM
- Thursday, October 7, 3:30-8PM
- Friday, October 8, 8AM-4PM (NO CLASSES)
All conferences are being held via ZOOM and each family is offered the opportunity to sign-up for up to five, 10-minute conferences with their student’s teachers.
If you are not scheduled by the end of this week, you will not be able to schedule conferences for this session. If you need assistance, please reach out to Mrs. Lassonde (firstname.lastname@example.org) or call the Middle School Office.
MPA COVID-19 Symptom Response Protocol–Important Reminders
As we continue to navigate the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, we ask for your diligence in working with our COVID-19 symptom response and contact tracing team. At the first sign of symptoms, parents should complete the daily AUXS app symptom screening and/or email email@example.com. When a negative COVID-19 test is required for student clearance, results must be provided prior to the student’s return. All symptomatic community members, regardless of vaccination status must remain at home pending those results. Thank you for your partnership. For any questions, please contact Jennifer Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Planners: Use Them–Check Them–Be Accountable
Student planners were distributed last week, and we have been working diligently on learning to use them consistently, productively, and in a way that supports self-regulation and success. Please ask your student about their planner, ask them to show you their progress, and remember that their planner is their first line of organizational super-power!
Please Send Snacks
Middle Schoolers are always hungry. ALWAYS! And each day, most teachers take time, either during advisory or Block 3, to offer a snack time. For obvious reasons, we cannot provide snacks for all students (allergies, preference, preparation, etc.) but we welcome you to coordinate with your student a snack they can bring to school to give them just enough to make it to lunch.
On this note, eating breakfast is often hard for Middle Schoolers – they are tired, not awake enough to eat, are using every minute to sleep/snooze before coming to school. Especially if your student is not eating breakfast, their snack is ESSENTIAL!
Excellent ideas for snacks include, but are not limited to:
- Carrots and hummus
- String Cheese and crackers
- Yogurt tube and fruit (already cut and prepared)
- Sliced apple and sunflower butter (no peanuts/tree nut butters)
- Celery and ranch dip
- Small half of sandwich
On a related note, if your student is staying after school for a sports practice, they also NEED an after-school snack that they may eat in preparation for an hour and a half of activity. NO ONE likes a “hangry” (pre)teen…it would be wonderful if students came prepared for their day not just academically, but nutritionally, as well.
Water Bottles–A Necessity
A full day of learning is a full day that requires water – PE, academic classes, arts classes, lots of movement and activity! Students need water bottles, and they need to drink water consistently. Please send a water bottle, that can be kept at school, labeled with your student’s name, with them each day. We do not have cups, disposable water bottles, or any other way for student to remain hydrated!
Parent Coffees Coming Soon
I recognize that not being able to be in the building and on campus can lead to feelings of disconnection – it’s difficult for me, too, to not have you with us. Please look for emails invitations in the coming week for Grade Level Coffee gatherings with me – I look forward to conversation, fellowship, and community building with you!
- Sept 30 All School Parent-Teacher Conferences, 3:30-7 PM
- Oct 7 All School Parent-Teacher Conferences, 3:30-8 PM
- Oct 8 All School Parent-Teacher Conferences, 8 AM-4 PM, NO CLASSES
- Oct 20-22 Fall Break – NO CLASSES
- Oct 29 End of Quarter 1 – All Assignments and Assessments Due
- Nov 1 GRADING DAY – NO CLASSES
- Nov 2 Quarter 2 Begins