Monday, May 29, 2017

Some important information

As we approach the last weeks of the school year, here are some important links I'd like to share with you.  

Our May - June Newsletter  

Karen Fredericks (Team RISE) has been facilitating an Explore block about Blogging. Here is the link to the students latest work! 

Barre City Bloggers

Mr LaFlamme mans the
front desk
Volunteering on May Day 


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Amazing personalized, project based learning happens at BC!

Have you seen this fantastic article? We were so proud to share our work with the School Board, the Times Argus and other community members. Mr. Aldrich facilitated the fantastic learning that took place during this quarter three explore block. Students truly embraced this personalized, project based learning with amazing curricular connections!

7th and 8th grade students host Kindergarten students for a scavenger hunt

 We have been offering explore blocks for two years, and as you can see, this project aligns perfectly with our vision!

From the course description page.
Purpose - Exploratory curricular programs (considered essential in good middle schools), will give our students learning experiences in which they can explore their interests, discover their talents, unique abilities and values. There is a natural connection here to Personalized Learning Plans.  Enthusiastic teachers, who have interest and expertise in a variety of areas, plan and lead these exploratory blocks with their students. They develop learning experiences while considering individual learners and 21st century skill development. They also model lifelong learning for students.  Students will have an opportunity to choose offerings that match their interests which gives them a voice in how they spend some of their time and allow them to explore their interests and how they connect with a variety of learning targets.

Over time

Three years ago, through a collaborative effort with some great musicians from Connecticut, our own in house songwriter Mr. Mislak and the amazing work of our entire staff, we launched a movement at BC. STAND UP was introduced as our Middle School motto, and we have been so fortunate to continue to integrate this work into our daily lives here at BCEMS. STAND UP is embedded into our Habits of Learning Rubrics, our recognition system, our assemblies, and in our weekly acknowledgements. For awhile now, students have been nominating each other, along with teachers for STAND UP recognition.

Students are paying attention to the STAND UP
recognition board on display as you enter our school
Now, new for the end of this school year, teachers are also recognizing each other for all that they do each and every day to support and facilitate learning for our students. Stay tuned for the STAND UP teacher nominations as we move through these last few weeks of the year. In the meantime, please take a look at this video made by a member of the Video explore block. If you've seen it before, it is definitely worth another look.
Student STAND UP video

Friday, May 5, 2017

In Appreciation

This morning as I was walking through the building trying to greet each TA I was surprised to be greeted by a member of our fantastic PTO. She smiled as she handed me a lanyard  and said "our school is amazing, thank you so much for all that you do." Each staff person was greeted in that way today, and I reflected on how much I appreciate working in this truly amazing learning environment. As I stopped on my travels to talk to a few staff who were in the hallway, a teacher poked her head out of her classroom and said "Mrs. Tolman, you have to come in and see all of the fantastic learning that is happening!" As Principal, I am always honored when I am invited in to see the hard work of students and their amazing learning facilitators at work. This happens often, and these authentic moments are part of the many things that inspire me to continue to do whatever I possibly can to ensure that teachers have whatever they may need to meet the needs of our students. 

This week was a busy one at Barre City Middle School! On Tuesday, we spent a large portion of our day participating in our May Day activities. Each student volunteered their time to focus on a school improvement project or help a non-profit with their work. Our day ended with a whole school assembly and STAND UP awards were given. Madison Plante was the recipient of the Principal's award. Madison was recognized for going above and beyond to volunteer her time to help a younger student. Thank you to Students on the Move for all of their hard work in organizing the day!  May Day Activities   

On Wednesday we were honored to again host our Developmental Designs consultant, Roxanne Hable. Roxanne spent her day observing and offering feedback to teachers about their Developmental Designs implementation and our work in establishing the comprehensive practices that integrate social and academic learning. We were proud to share with Roxanne our student led, blended grade advisory time. After school, the entire teaching team spent time reflecting on what went well this year with DD, why it did and they identified common areas to focus our growth. We look forward to welcoming the DD team back in the Fall to kick off the 2017 - 2018 school year!