Sacopee Valley Middle School Newsletter January 16, 2009 Volume 1, Issue 1 Principal’s News January 16, 2009 Dear Parents, Sacopee Valley Middle School 137 South Hiram Rd Hiram, ME 04041 Phone: (207) 625-2450 Fax: (207) 625-2465 Upcoming Events 1/23 1/29 1/30 2/12 2/12 2/13 Washington D.C. Fundraiser Dance Musical Cast Rehearsal Boy Scout Fundraiser Dance Late Start Day PTC Meeting Student Council Dance 2/16-2/20 Winter Break 2/27 Washington D.C. Fundraiser Dance Happy New Year! It is hard to believe that we are nearly at the midpoint of the school year. From my vantage point as Principal, we are having a great year here at Sacopee Valley Middle School. We have instituted an advisory program and weekly enrichment class, which are both popular with students. In addition, we have improved our school schedule to reduce missed academic time and have implemented a new positive behavior support program for our students. Along with this newsletter, you will find your student’s trimester progress report. If you have any questions or concerns about that report, please contact your student’s teacher. It is important to remember that a progress report is simply a snapshot of one moment in the course of a trimester. There is still time in the trimester for student’s to seek help, and improve their grades. Included in this newsletter you will find an informational section on truancy. This year, we are working hard to improve student attendance and tardy issues. As Assistant to the Principal, one of Mr. Lane’s responsibilities is to function as our School Attendance Coordinator. The information provided in this newsletter further explains parent and school responsibilities when it comes to truancy. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Mr. Lane or myself. Finally, remember that your involvement in your student’s education is a crucial piece of their success in school. Do not hesitate to contact your child’s teacher with questions or concerns, keep us informed of new contact information so we can get in touch with you when needed, and become involved in our parent teacher committee (PTC). Students thrive when we all work together. As always, please feel free to call or email me with ideas, questions, or concerns that you may have. Sincerely, Bob Griffin Principal Please visit http://www.sad55.org for a complete SVMS schedule of events. Page 2 of 4 Grade Level News School Newsletter Enrichment Mrs. Gaetjens’ enrichment groups for the past two quarters have been creating “Sunshine cards” for members of Eli’s Angels. This is a non-profit organization that provides support for children who have metabolic or mitochondrial diseases by sending them monthly care packages. The students that have chosen this enrichment have brought joy to children who are often sick and in the hospital. Thank you! Technology In the last month Jim Moulton, a Computer Integration Specialist, has been helping staff at SVMS become more proficient using technology. Formerly a third grade teacher from Bowdoin, Maine, Mr. Moulton is internationally known for his work in integrating computers into the classroom. We were fortunate to be able to have this accomplished educator in our school working with us. Mr. Moulton maintains his own website for teachers, jimmoulton.org, and has coauthored the book Computers Can; Computers Can't with his wife. During his time here, Mr. Moulton was able to work with teachers as well as portions of the 7th and 8th grade classes on the software ComicLife and Noteshare. These softwares are available on all MLTI laptops and help students use their computers to improve their educational experience. Besides learning the two applications mentioned above with Mr. Moulton, students have also been introduced to email through a FirstClass account. Students have limited email and can use it to access their teacher or other students. Summer Volunteer Opportunity Maine Medical Center in Portland is making plans for the 2009 Summer Junior Volunteer Program. Volunteers must be 14-17 years of age to participate. Fourteen-year olds must be 14 by July 1 to participate in the program. Volunteers are required to work one day each week, MondayFriday, from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm. Day and areas of duties will be assigned by Volunteer Services. Interested students can pick up an information sheet from Mrs. Delmonico in the office. Applications and interviews will take place in February, so act now if interested! Student Council The SVMS Student Council is a community service oriented group, representing the entire student body. Any student is able to join, as long as both academics and behavior are acceptable. The Student Council has been busy! During the fall, we had a food drive to benefit families in the area. We were able to provide Thanksgiving baskets for two SVMS families. We also adopted a family for the Christmas holiday. Presents were bought and wrapped and delivered to the family. Yearbooks The deadline for passing in yearbook order forms has been extended to 1/30/09. Payment is not needed at that time but you must complete the actual order form. If you pre-order now, you get the digital yearbook for FREE. Order forms are available with Mr. Mason. School Newsletter Page 3 of 4 Miscellaneous Tidbits Parking in bus loop: Due to safety reasons, cars should never be parked in the bus loop, closest to the school. During a recent sporting event, over 20 vehicles were parked in this loop. If there was an emergency, the emergency vehicles would need to use the bus loop. Perfume and cologne: Students have increasingly been bringing perfume and cologne to school. There have been several recent incidents where perfume or cologne has been sprayed in the hall and in classes. We have several students and staff members who are allergic to the chemicals in perfume and cologne, so we are asking that you not allow your child to bring these items to school. Electronics: Since returning from Christmas break, we have noticed an increase in students who bring expensive electronic items to school, such as MP3 players, iPods, hand-held video game players, etc. Please understand that the school is not responsible for lost, damaged, or stolen personal electronic devices. Red Card Policy: Students who are in school and are late to class will not be able to get into the class they should be in. Students must go to the office to get a red card. Once the student has received 3 red cards, he/she will be given an after-school detention. Please note that if a student is late to school, there is no red card given. This is a policy only enforced if the student is already at school. Clothing: We’ve noticed many students coming to school without proper winter attire. Students should wear a jacket to school and bring boots, hats, and gloves with them. Also, sandals should not be worn to school throughout this time of year. Truancy Policy What are the basic rules in Maine? If your child is at least 7 years old and has not finished 6th grade, he/she is habitually truant if he/she misses 5 school days in a row or 7 school days in one school year. If your child has finished 6th grade and is not 17 years old, he/she is habitually truant after missing 7 school days in a row or 10 school days in one school year. Excused absences don’t count but if your child misses ½ a day or more and it is unexcused, it counts. Excused absences include: illness, a medical appointment with prior approval from the school, observing a recognized religious holiday with prior approval from the school, a family emergency, or a planned absence for a personal or educational purpose that has been approved by the school. If a child is habitually truant, as parents, you will be expected to go before the SAD 55 school board to attempt to solve this problem. The next step would be for the school to involve the Department of Human Services and/or our local law enforcement agency. SAD 55 takes the education of each and every child within our district very seriously and will take appropriate steps to make sure this happens. For more information, you may visit www.kidslegal.org School Newsletter Page 4 of 4 SVMS Café Countdown to Washington D.C. 101 Days and counting until the 8th grade trip to Washington D.C. departs. The SVMS cafeteria now has a daily soup offering. Soup warms one up on a cold winter's day! It is $1.75 for a 12 oz bowl of soup served with oyster crackers. The soup is not part of our reimbursable meals, but is available for purchase by a student if they so choose. Also, hot chocolate is available in the mornings. Each cup is $.50 On another note, you may have heard of the recent concerns dealing with peanut butter from Star Nut manufacturer that was recalled. MSAD #55 has never used peanut butter from this manufacturer. There are 48 students embarking on this educational trip. Fundraising has been going well and we still have a few events planned. For the dances: if you would like to donate baked goods to sell as refreshments it would be a tremendous help. If you would like to find out how to help with fundraising, please contact Johnna Shortsleeves at 625-6013. An informational letter will soon be sent home with all students going on the trip. Upcoming Fundraising Events 1/23 2/2-2/12 2/27 TBD Dance Selling Candy Grams Dance Selling Little Caesar Pizza Kits Music Room Notes Thank you to everyone for attending the Winter Concert on January 15th! All the groups did a wonderful job and Mrs. Waggoner extremely proud of them! Our next formal concert will be held in May or June. The beginner band concert will be held in the end of February or early March. Please be looking forward to memos going home about it. Beginner band members also need to remember to pass in their weekly practice sheets on Fridays. Students who still need to purchase uniforms will need money and forms into me by February vacation. Have your student see Mrs. Waggoner for another form. The musical is starting up for the year as well. Auditions were held the past two weeks for students in 7th and 8th grade. The cast list will be posted next week and we will start rehearsals right away. If your student is involved with the show please be looking for rehearsal schedules at least one week in advance. We will also post information on the department website at www.sad55.org/musicweb. Be looking for a great show during April vacation! General music classes are all busy with the new curriculum and text books. Students in 7th grade have weekly theory worksheets and journal entries due. We will be starting a composing and recording unit in 7th grade in the next few weeks. Fifth graders are working on harmony and ostinatos. Students in grade six are just starting a new unit this week, this unit will cover more dynamics, form, and augmentation in rhythms.