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Mission

Empowering students to apply the habits of work, learning, and scholarship to become productive and caring citizens.

Principal's Message

Give Thanks

With Thanksgiving on the horizon, it feels appropriate to write about gratitude. It turns out that gratitude is very good for you. There is a wide body of research out of Harvard, Berkeley, and other institutions proving that the act of giving thanks or appreciation has numerous benefits. Gratitude strengthens relationships Gratitude improves physical health Gratitude improves psychological health Gratitude increases empathy Gratitude increases self-esteem Gratitude decreases stress and is a key to overcoming trauma Simply put, taking time to express gratitude promotes happiness and health. However, we live in a time when twenty percent of children nationally will suffer from depression before they hit adulthood, and the rate of depression is even higher in the mountain region. One way to help our children overcome or avoid these troubling trends is by teaching gratitude and emphasizing it beyond just the Thanksgiving season. Psychologists and brain scientists have found that when people express gratitude, positive neuropeptides flood the brain, giving a healthy boost. I encourage our students to participate in one of the following gratitude habits to promote both kindness in our world and happiness in their lives. Write and deliver notes or letters of gratitude Make it a daily routine to express what you are thankful for - this can be a great way to kick off family dinners Create a gratitude jar or gratitude journal Complement at least three people a day This coming week as you sit down for Thanksgiving, I hope you can take a few moments to share with your family about the importance of gratitude. On that note, I’d like to express my gratitude to the students, staff, and parents of Escalante. I absolutely love this school, and I am immensely thankful to be able to call Durango home. Sincerely, Jeremy Voss EMS, Principal
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Principal's Message

History Day is a Major Learning Event at Escalante Middle School

Dear Escalante Middle School Community, In middle school, pre-adolescents and early teens begin their path to individuation, a psychological term which essentially means breaking away from parents to form their own identity. As a result, students tend to share less information with adults. More conversations between parents and their kids about school sound something like this. Parent: “How’s your History Day project coming along at school?” Child: “Why are you checking up on me? Don’t you trust me? Why even ask me about it?” Parent: “I was only just asking. I just want to know if you were going okay with it….” Child: “Sure you were…(incoherent mumbling).” Because History Day is such a major learning event at every grade level at Escalante, I hope that conversations at home can get quite a bit deeper than the typical pre-adolescent conversation about school. I’ve observed that students who enjoy History Day select a topic they are passionate about and their topic matches the theme. This year’s theme is Triumph and Tragedy. For example, Jesse Owens’ performance in the the Nazi Olympics may make a great topic for an enthusiastic young runner because Owens’ story of winning gold in front of Hitler had both triumphant and tragic undertones. Lincoln's assassination story matches the theme because of its timing: the Civil War came to a triumphant conclusion at the same time of his tragic death. Parents can really support their kids by helping them link a topic they genuinely want to learn more about with the Triumph and Tragedy theme. History Day is a pretty big deal here at Escalante Middle School, and it’s a topic that I hope can lead to many meaningful discussions between parents and their children. Over the past several years, we have been strongly represented at regional, state, and national levels. Considering that over 500,000 students enter the competition nationally, it is pretty amazing that EMS has national finalists year in and year out. Thanks for taking some time over the next few weeks to help your child find an area of interest and brainstorming possible topics. My hope is that every student learns how to create a strong historical argument, write a solid thesis, and use evidence to support a claim while studying a topic they actually enjoy. Personally, I’ve had some great conversations with my middle schooler about both the theme this year and fascinating topics. Hopefully we can bring history to life at many dinner tables across Durango in a similar way and overcome the difficulty inherent in discussing school with 12 to 14 year olds. If you’d like to learn more about History Day, they have a great website at: https://www.nhd.org/students As always, thanks for your support. Jeremy Voss EMS, Principal
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Principal's Message

Middle School Can Be Difficult

Dear Escalante Middle School Community, There is no doubt about it that middle school can be a difficult time. Look at these two hallmarks of young adolescence. Middle schoolers tend to have increased concern for what others may think increased social anxiety in general Essentially, middle schoolers are more concerned about what their classmates think about them and tend to be more self-conscious around peers. In middle school, peer influence begins to rival or exceed parental influence, which can be a very difficult adjustment for many households. Because of the growing importance of friends, parents typically share one desire: we want our children to be good friends to others and have positive, kind friends surrounding them. When I did a little research on middle school friendships, I was surprised by the instability researchers found in how long those friendships lasted. According to a Florida Atlantic University study, "A Survival Analysis of Adolescent Friendships: The Downside of Dissimilarity," the vast majority of middle school friendships are doomed to fail. Researchers found: About half of all friendships formed in middle school (any grade) do not last an academic year. Friendships that are formed in the sixth grade are considered “highly unstable, because primary school friendship groups are transformed across the first year of middle school.” Likewise, friendships that start in eighth grade are also “highly unstable, because most new friendships do not survive the transition into high school” Fewer than 10 percent of the friendships formed in seventh grade were still intact by the twelfth grade. Herein lies the propensity for drama in middle school. Tweens are much more worried about what friends and others think, and friendships are constantly shifting and evolving. So what do the friendships that endure have in common? Researchers found that the glue to lasting friendships is similarity. Adolescents, and adults for that matter, typically form friendships with people who they are similar to. Hobbies, interests, and personality traits form the bonds of friendship. Brett Laursen, co-author of the study and FAU psychology professor, said, “Similarity (good or bad) is the glue that keeps the friendship intact. You may be sneaking cigarettes together or both getting A's." Middle school is a time when kids explore more of the world, try new hobbies and sports, and experiment with different looks and styles. As kids try on these different hats, peer groups tend to come and go with them. Because of the heightened emotions and social anxiety that accompanies this age, middle school can be “a time of many tears” as I heard one parent put it. So what can we do to help our children manage inevitable friend shifting? The link to the article below offers some sound advice to parents to help your child navigate the emotional roller coaster of adolescence. https://yourteenmag.com/social-life/teenagers-friends/support-middle-school-friendships On a separate note, we are gearing up for our student-led conferences. We are hoping to get the vast majority completed on October 26th, and Crew teachers have reached out to schedule them. If there is a gap in our communication, I encourage you to reach out to your child’s Crew teacher to set an appointment. As always, thanks for your support. Jeremy Voss EMS, Principal
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Principal's Message

New Visitor Management System Rolls Out

After working with a self-organized community group, hosting several community meetings and receiving expert review and recommendation, the school district is implementing a new visitor check-in system at all schools. Visitors will be requested to provide a government issued ID; this will be used to create an account for you in our system.
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Principal's Message

Student Lead Field Study

Dear Escalante Middle School Community, A guiding principle of our educational philosophy at Escalante Middle School is to make learning authentic. One of our primary strategies to increase authenticity is to place an emphasis on field work, expert speakers, service, and studying content that has a local connection. In traditional educational models, students go on field trips, in which students are spectators. We aspire to conduct field work, in which students are active investigators and applying their research and classwork. A great example of field work occured in our Forestry and Fire Ecology exploratory class last week. Students partnered with professionals in the community to create a virtual map of tree species on Molas Pass, using software and tree identification techniques used in the professional world. Throughout the year, all of our teachers will be finding creative ways to conduct field work, and it is truly part of what makes our school unique. As we improve our instructional design to make lessons more authentic, student learning isn’t the only thing that will increase. Our budget will be impacted as well. The Escalante Parent Organization (EPO) has decided to use our fall fundraiser to offset anticipated costs of transportation and innovative resources to allow our students to complete meaningful field work. We are going to select our fundraiser strategies at our next EPO meeting on October 10th at 8:00 AM. If you are interested in joining the group to help us meet our fundraising goals, we hope to see you at the meeting. Otherwise, please keep an eye out for our fall fundraising push as we strive to improve the authenticity of our lesson design at EMS. As always, thank you for your support. Jeremy Voss EMS, Principal
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News & Announcements

Help Us Plan for the Future by Answering Our Survey!

Durango School District 9-R is examining its current and future budgets for facilities upgrades, projects and maintenance; safety and security measures; and new facilities. Please take 10 minutes to complete the following survey on the district's long-range facility plans. Your feedback will help inform district staff, the district's Long Range Planning Committee, and the 9-R Board of Education on this topic. All responses are anonymous.
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News & Announcements

Escalante Band Students March in Veteran's Day Parade

7th and 8th Grade Band Members, under the direction of Mrs. Black, were honored to participate in the City of Durango's Veteran's Day Parade Sunday, November 11. The students marched and played several patriotic songs as well as the Star Wars Theme Song. The band did a great job. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity Mrs. Black!
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News & Announcements

Japan 2020!

Hope to see you at the Nov. 13th information meeting! Join an Escalante Trip to Japan during the summer of 2020! Enjoy rich cultural experiences, educational opportunities and pure fun! Informational Meeting Nov. 13th at 5:30 in Mr. Hise's Room 818. Check out this Powerpoint presentation or Contact Mr. Schiavone or Mr. Hise if you want more information.
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News & Announcements

Thanksgiving Lunch at Escalante Middle School Nov. 15th - ALL ARE WELCOME!

Escalante is happy to invite all families to come and eat with their EMS Student on Thursday, Nov. 15. Adults are $5.00, children (3 yrs. and up) including students cost $3.00. (Cash and checks only please). We will serve Thanksgiving Lunch at the following times: 6th Grade 11:20 - 11:50 AM 7th Grade 11:50 AM - 12:20 PM 8th Grade 12:20 - 12:50 PM *7th & 8th grade may run a little behind schedule depending on crowd sizes. Please check in at the office and obtain a visitor pass before heading to the cafeteria for lunch.
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News & Announcements

Eagle Boys Basketball 2018 Season Information

Eagles Basketball Update November 12, 2018 Attention All Parents & Guardians: Thursday, November 15th Games versus Miller have changed Location. Times remain the same! Players will be transported to games, but Parents and or Guardians are responsible for pick up. In town games are considered Home Games and require pickup in town. ALL C Teams: @ Miller Middle School, Color Game starts at 4:00 pm. B & Teams: @ Durango High School, B Game starts at 4:00 pm. Please also note that we travel to Cortez Middle School tomorrow and Games begins @ 4:30 pm, we should return between 7:30-8:00 pm, depending on length of games. Parents and Guardians should be contacted when we leave Cortez and 10 minutes before arrival to Escalante. Please make sure you have someone available to pick up when we arrive. Thanks, Coaching Staff dbastin@durangoschools.org Contact Coach Bastin for more information. GO EAGLES!
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