Escalante Middle School

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Outdoor Ed

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Teachers bike to work

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Solar Eclipse!

Mary Dossey wins award

Our woosshop class ROCKS!

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The amazing Jazz Band!

Front entrance to Escalante Middle School.

BE KIND AND WORK HARD

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Skyler the Fort Lewis College Mascot with the Escalante Eagle mascot.
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6th Grade Balloon Launch 

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6th Grade Balloon Launch

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Principal's Message

Education has purpose and value to my life

Dear Escalante Middle School Community, How do we authentically engage middle school students in their education? This is the most researched topic in middle school literature, and can often feel like a search for the proverbial Holy Grail for teachers and parents. While research does offer some clear suggestions, on a national scale, the statistics are pretty grim when you look at the educational systems success. Take a look at the following graphic: Most students start elementary school and are engaged from the get-go, and that number slips significantly over time as students progress through school. So what can we do do ensure that our students don’t follow this national trend? Students who maintain strong engagement levels share common attitudes toward school that we can learn from. For starters, students who are engaged in middle school agree with the following statement: Education has purpose and value to my life. These students are able to take a long-term view and connect education to future aspirations. They link success in middle school to attaining a high school degree, and even more importantly, understand that they will need to continue their education after graduation. It is extremely important for all students to know that most jobs require advanced learning beyond a high school diploma. Attending a traditional college, technical school, trade school, mechanics classes, or joining the military are all examples of post-high school options. Middle school is the perfect time to discuss these choices with students, and the adults in their lives need to emphasize the point that effort in middle school and high school sets them up well to pursue these options. Teachers at Escalante employ several strategies to build the belief that school has value with our students. In Crew, our students begin their Individual Career Academic Plan (ICAP) that they will continue to develop through high school. Additionally, we very rarely teach directly out of textbooks and aspire to craft lessons that have clear connections to real world issues. My hope is that every student at our school embraces the notion that school will have a meaningful impact on their futures - and there is no better time than middle school to make these discussions routine. Sincerely, Jeremy Voss Escalante Middle School
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Principal's Message

How Do You And Your Student Process His/Her Report Card?

Dear Escalante Middle School Community, On Wednesday this week, we sent semester report cards home with students. Sometimes these have a funny way of not making it all the way home. If you have not seen your child’s report card, you can view the final semester grades through the parent portal on Infinite Campus. Our office staff can also assist you if you need a hand. The research behind giving grades has some pretty fascinating lessons, and if report cards aren’t processed correctly with students, it can be very damaging. When a child receives a great report card, it is extremely important that they link their effort to the success, not their intelligence. This is somewhat counter to how our society gives praise. When we tell a child, “You got an A -you’re so smart!” we are missing an opportunity to build work ethic. The risk is that when things get challenging, students who were always told they are “smart” tend to avoid the challenge because they feel like people will think they are dumb. Essentially, it can feel better to not try and have people think they are smart. The thought of working hard and not getting it becomes a paralyzing fear, which puts them at risk of looking “dumb.” Students who have poor grades often get the unintended message that we think they aren’t smart, which is extremely the opposite of what we want. Focusing on goal setting, improved work habits, and different academic strategies is extremely important coupled with encouragement and high expectations. The link between high achievement and strong work habits is undeniable. Consider the following data from a survey I’ve conducted over the years. Honor Roll students: Are 41% more likely to consistently turn in homework or spend time studying for a quiz or a test Arrive at class organized and prepared at much higher rates. Are 32% more likely to get started right away on work. They initiate tasks without socializing first or procrastinating. Have developed a habit of reading. Are 47% more likely to regularly check the portal and look for opportunities to improve their grade through revising or reassessing. Ask more questions in class. There are no items on the list above that have anything to do with intelligence. Work habits are a far bigger predictor of success in school and in the job market than IQ. It is essential that all students make this connection between their work ethic and their success. I encourage you to show your child the statistics above and discuss their areas for growth as well as their strengths. When we deliver praise, those are the items we should be seeking out to give our approval. On a final note, when I talk about academic achievement with students, I always try to add a plug about kindness and being a good person. Research shows that adults these days spend more time talking to students about getting good grades than becoming a good person. It is essential that our community emphasizes both. Work Hard, Be Kind. Sincerely, Jeremy Voss EMS, Principal
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Principal's Message

Work Hard Be Kind

Dear Escalante Community, Every few months, I make a point of presenting to students, reinforcing our core beliefs, and talking to them about key areas of school improvement. The theme of my talks almost always boils down to building two concepts within our school community: Work Hard and Be Kind. Kindness can be harder than it sounds in middle school. During adolescence, it is extremely normal for peer groups to shift, and conflict is often inevitable as the ebb and flow of middle school friendships occurs. Social media and text messaging often compound the difficulty of changing friendships because early adolescents are quite prone to compulsive behavior, and cyberbullying is often the result. In order to set a strong tone of kindness this year, I am talking to students about these realities and I am asking them to take the following kindness actions: 1. Think about a person who you may have wronged or who is feeling left out of your group this year. Reflect on your responsibility in causing that conflict. 2. Ask yourself, “What can I do to make it right?” 3. Follow through on your plan. These are the same things that I think about every day on my drive home, and many mornings for me are spent attempting to repair a conflict and owning one of my actions where I could have done better. Please take a moment with your child and see if you can help them through these kindness steps. Middle school is also a time when students learn the meaning of hard work. They have to set aside time for homework completion, organize themselves for a seven period day, and write multiple drafts to meet grade level expectations. Students need to develop the skills of perseverance, responsibility, time management, and organization. There are quite a few ways to support your child in these areas, including: 1. Every student has a binder this year to organize their class materials and has been taught how to use it. Ask your child to show you their binder, explain their organizational system, and help them to organize their school materials if needed. 2. As we close in on the end of the first semester, it is a great time to get on the parent portal and review missing assignments with your child. Create a plan for them to manage their time around completing these tasks, and then help them stick to their plan. 3. Work with them to set a goal for the upcoming second semester, and then help them create an action plan to reach that goal. In addition to these topics, I also reinforced maintaining a drug free culture at our school. I spoke very matter-of-factly about the hazards associated with marijuana and vaping, and the consequences of those actions when a student decides to bring those substances to school. Next week, I will finish making my rounds with this talk, so only about half of the school has heard my soap-box speech so far. Please take a moment to share your ideas on these topics with your child as we strive to build the best possible school culture here at Escalante. Sincerely, Jeremy Voss Escalante Middle School, Principal
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Principal's Message

Escalante Is Not Stuck

Dear Escalante Middle School Community, One of my favorite things about working at Escalante Middle School is the culture of continuous improvement throughout our school. This school is not stuck - our teachers and students are very dynamic and willing to view barriers or mistakes as opportunities to improve. An example of this mindset occured this week when we issued progress reports. Frankly, many students received a report that included some bad news of poor grades. When people encounter failure or barriers to success, they typically react in one of two ways. The first is to become discouraged, try to find a way around the failure, perhaps blame the failure on others, and try to skirt responsibility. In education and psychology circles, this is called the fixed mindset. The second reaction is take that same discouraged feeling, but then channel it into productive action. This includes believing that effort and hard work can overcome the failure. It is supported by setting goals, creating action plans, and transforming the “failure” into a challenge to be overcome. We call this the growth mindset. In Crew this week, our teachers worked with students to reflect on their progress report, set goals, make action plans, and take on the challenge of having all passing grades by semester. I appreciate parents’ support in helping their children develop a growth mindset by taking a moment to talk about academic goals with students and support their action plans. Middle school is a time when mistakes are inevitable - there is no better time to learn how to respond to hardship than young adolescence. I am very proud of our community’s work in Crew to develop great academic mindsets. In the spirit of being a dynamic organization, we have some great mid-year changes to look forward to with the coming of the new year. Here are a few highlights for 2018: Security Measures: Improving security is clearly on the minds of our school community. The school district is currently in the process of acquiring bids for a buzzer system for our front door and video cameras. As this work progresses, we’ll keep you updated on the timeline. For more details about school security, please check out the linked letter from Mr. Snowberger below: Increased Agriculture Course Offerings and Materials: We are offering an Animal Science class to our 7th grade students during 6th period exploratory. If your student has an interest in animals or would like to explore that career track, this would be a great course to take. We will be building the course immediately after break. We are also acquiring a variety of different resources for our Greenhouse, or Plant Sciences to learn about hydroponic technology and straw-bale gardening techniques. Piano/Keyboarding Class: Mr. Charpentier will be teaching a keyboarding class during period 7 second semester. Instruction will be individualized to meet students at a variety of levels. Technology Club: We are going to gauge interest after break to see if there is student interest in taking part in a technology club to learn more about coding, programming, and potentially website development. More details to follow. Have a wonderful holiday season, and I look forward to continuing to grow and improve as a school community in 2018. Sincerely, Jeremy Voss Escalante Middle School
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Principal's Message

Are you too "plugged in"?

Dear Escalante Middle School Community, Early in the week I had a parent share a link to an excellent article about smart phones and social media. Two days later, my mother-in-law shared the same article, and a principal colleague passed on the same link today. Clearly it is resonating with many community members. The basic premise is that the invention of the smartphone, which is heralded as making us more connected, has had the opposite effect. You can read the full text of the article here: https://www.yourmodernfamily.com/scary-truth-whats-hurting-kids/ The supersonic advancement of digital technology has changed the way the world communicates, and some of those changes result in sad or tragic consequences. In the education world, I do subscribe to the belief that schools are supposed to help students master the dominant information landscape of their time. Rejecting technology puts our students at a distinct disadvantage in the global marketplace. However, it is of utmost importance that we teach our students how to use technology responsibly. There is overwhelming statistical evidence that our society in general has given over too much of their lives to a computer and a phone. A quick search yielded these two stats: The average person has five social media accounts and spends around 1 hour and 40 minutes browsing these networks every day, accounting for 28 percent of the total time spent on the internet. The Huffington Post cited research that showed young adults use their smartphones roughly twice as much as they estimate that they do. In fact, the small preliminary study found that these young adults used their phones an average of five hours a day — that's roughly one-third of their total waking hours. Nov 2, 2015 Adults and children alike often spend way too much time on their phones - I count myself among the guilty. Ironically, there is an App for that too! I have recently downloaded an App called Moment so that I can set goals and actively monitor time that I’m spending on my phone in an effort to maximize my time with our students at school and my own kids at home. I encourage you to check out this App for your kids, especially considering that young people with phones spend twice as much time as they realize “plugged in”. On a side note, this has been a fantastic week of school at EMS. Our kids clearly came back from break ready to learn. Thanks for all you do to prepare your children. Sincerely, Jeremy Voss Escalante Middle School, Principal
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News & Announcements

DAAC Wants Your Feedback!

Please take a moment to fill out the 2017-2018 Durango Accountability Advisory Committee (DAAC) parent survey. The DAAC conducts this survey annually and the results are used to inform Durango 9-R and individual school administrators of strengths and areas for improvement.
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News & Announcements

Early Access for Kindergarten

Durango School District 9-R has the opportunity to accelerate highly advanced gifted children under age 5 for kindergarten and/or under age 6 for first grade. This Early Access is for those eligible students if their birthdays fall after October 1st. It is intended to support students who are evaluated to be exceptional in aptitude/cognitive reasoning, academics, school readiness and motivation. Early Access is not an acceleration pattern recommended for the majority of age 4 or age 5 gifted children who will benefit from preschool or kindergarten programming that responds to the strength area. The purpose is to identify and serve the few highly advanced gifted children who require comprehensive academic acceleration. The decision is based on a thorough set of research based procedures to determine if a child is eligible.
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News & Announcements

After-school Activities Cancelled

The following is a non-emergency message from Durango School District 9-R for all parents, staff and students. Due to inclement weather conditions, all after-school activities, with the exception of Kids' Camp and Juniper Club, will be cancelled today, Monday, February 12, 2018.
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News & Announcements

Box Tops... We want you!

HOW BOX TOPS WORKS: BUY - CLIP - SEND - EARN Find Box Tops on hundreds of products! Clip Box Tops from each package. Send the Box Tops to school in a baggie and deposit in the jar on the counter by the office. Box Tops are each worth 10¢ for your school. HOW DOES CASH GET TO YOUR SCHOOL? Your school’s Box Tops Coordinator will collect all the Box Tops and send them in so your school can get cash. Checks are mailed to schools twice a year in December and April.
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