Saturday, October 1, 2016

Reflecting on September

Reflecting on September

As summer turns to fall and the newness of the year fades away, I find myself reflecting on our first month of school. The promise that the new year holds and the excitement we felt as we welcomed our students back is still palpable and continues into October.

Our students are now immersed in a variety of learning opportunities; these are essential to a middle school experience that is whole child centered. In addition to our core instruction, we have a vibrant unified arts program, daily enrichment opportunities for all, multiple support blocks, explore classes and teacher advisory. These offerings are built into the schedule each day. We have after school tutoring programs, social skills groups, club offerings, and multiple sports offerings for our students. Personal learning plans are part of the core curriculum and our student voice group, Students on the Move, have already planned and facilitated our first whole school assembly of the year. They are now busy planning activities for Unity Day.

Every morning after I welcome our students, I walk the three floors of BCEMS and try to get into as many teacher advisories as I can. During these first few weeks I have spent time in each advisory and I am pleased to say that all students and teachers are holding morning meetings that include a greeting, a message and a warm up activity for the day. In addition to the morning meetings, there are weekly extended advisories which allow for more in depth team building. I continue to be impressed with the work our staff is doing to address not just the academic needs of our students, but their social and emotional needs as well. As a Middle School, we have committed to utilizing Developmental Designs as the ├╝mbrella" for our work in building a strong learning community. This work has helped us be clearer with students about expectations and routines, which leads to increased engagement and trust. It also encourages a balance for all students during both social and academic learning times.

In addition to faithfully practicing Developmental Designs, teachers continue to promote a growth mindset and civic mindedness. These opportunities are helping our students see that hard work and mistakes lead to greater learning. Our school counselors continue to provide ongoing opportunities for students to learn about positive school citizenship through lessons and discussions about navigating friendships and being upstanding school and community members. We are looking forward to welcoming parents in on October 6th for our first parent, student, teacher conferences of the year.

Our Parent Teacher Organization sponsored our yearly fundraiser, Walk, Run, Fun, and yesterday all students enjoyed their time out on our athletic fields dancing and walking or running. As I looked out over the field and then participated with the different teams of students, I found myself feeling very proud of our Barre City students and grateful for my colleagues, our BCEMS families and community members. Thank you all!

Morning Meeting 
Students harvest vegetables from the garden
to be served for lunch 

Our first student vs. teacher challenge of the year 
Great team building during advisory 
School Spirit is strong at BCEMS!
Thank you P.T.O for a great day! 
8th graders measure rise and run and compare
to building codes