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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

The most important skill students learn in school is literacy

This week we launched two efforts to improve literacy at Escalante Middle School. We began our All School Read event in Crew on Wednesday. Every student in our school will read Ghost, by Jason Reynolds. Elizabeth Bird, an adolescent book reviewer, wrote: “This is the book you hand to the kids who want something real and good and honest. There are a lot of Ghosts out there in the world. Hopefully some of them will discover themselves here. Run, don’t walk, to pick this book up.” Ghost has many great themes and life lessons, couched in a very engaging story. If you would like to join us in our community read, I urge you to get a copy of the book and have some conversations with your child about its contents. Additionally, our Book Fair is opening next week in the library. Much of our funding for new books is dependent on a successful book fair. By purchasing books from our fair, you are helping get valuable resources on our library’s shelves as well as engaging books in the hands of your middle schooler. It’s a win-win scenario and thank you for your support. Undoubtedly, the most important skill students learn in school is literacy. The ability to critically read and understand text is the foundation of both professional careers and responsible citizenship. Students who are developing the habits of a reader now are creating a distinct advantage for themselves, so many thanks for your efforts to get good books in the hands of your kids. Sincerely, Jeremy Voss EMS, Principal
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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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News & Announcements

Specialty Gourmet Beef Boxes from Durango 9-R

Ever wondered how different school lunches are today? Here in Durango 9-R, our schools pride themselves on serving up the freshest, locally sourced, most nutritious options for students. Specialty Gourmet Beef Boxes Families can now also participate in the farm-to-school program and support the ongoing efforts of the school district to maintain this program in its schools. Special and just in time for the holidays, the district is offering Specialty Gourmet Beef Boxes. These are the fine cuts of our own, locally sourced beef, including favorites like NY Steak and Ribeye. Check out the many gift box options, and spoil yourself and your loved ones with some fine meats for upcoming holiday meals and celebrations. There are options for any budget, starting at $50! But quantities are limited so be sure to order yours today before they all sell out! Available while limited supplies last, just in time for the perfect holiday meal or gift.
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News & Announcements

EMS Greenhouse Class Grows Food for School Cafeteria

At Escalante Middle School, students aren’t just learning how to grow, preserve, and prepare their own food, they’re getting a taste of a very important sector of the Colorado economy. According to the Colorado Department of Agriculture, our state agriculture industry generates a whopping $40 billion in economic activity each year. It also provides more than 170,000 jobs in the state, enough to employ the entire population of Fort Collins. In Lu Boren’s Greenhouse class students are actually growing lettuce right in the classroom. Using a hydroponic system, students are able grow luscious heads of lettuce from tiny seedlings throughout the school year. The lettuce is then harvested and served up in the salad bar of the school cafeteria. The lettuce sales to the cafeteria then help fund the greenhouse program.
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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

Parent Drop Off - VS - Bus Lane at EMS

Parents/guardians who drop students off or pick them up at Escalante Middle School are asked to NOT use the driveway to the parking lot, but instead, enter the PURPLE CURB PARENT CIRCLE. In an effort to keep children safe at all times, please do not use the parking lot or bus lanes for pick-up or drop-off purposes. We have seen many near misses when our bus drivers are attempting to navigate around additional vehicles obstructing the bus lanes as they continue through and exit our parking lot. It is extremely dangerous for students to cross the parking lot. More so, other cars dropping students off along the curb in the parking lot are obstructing bus lanes. For the safety of all and efficient transportation protocols, please use the purple parent circle to drop students off or pick them up at Escalante. Thank you for your help in this matter.
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