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Principal's Message

Set Yourself Up For Success

Dear Escalante Middle School Community, January 17th marks the official halfway point of the school year. Please keep your eye out for semester report cards the following week. I also encourage parents to have a discussion with your students this weekend about putting in their maximum efforts next week to set themselves up for success when grades are released. At the midpoint of the year, we conduct a mid-year review at Escalante to check and adjust our progress toward school goals. On the discipline side this year, we have a few successes that parents should celebrate. Our instances of cyberbullying and social media abuse has decreased dramatically this year. Although it hasn’t been eradicated, I very much appreciate the efforts made by our parents to provide limits and oversight on phones and social media sites. When we train students at EMS how to handle instances of abusive digital behavior, we encourage them to follow the following four steps. * Stop the interaction - do not respond. * Copy or screenshot the abusive behavior. * Report to a parent or school official * Block the offender from contacting you. Thank you for reviewing these guidelines with your children - our kids have done a nice job improving in this area and it’s extremely important that we stay vigilant in having ongoing conversations about appropriate behavior. Essentially, I encourage students to never post anything they wouldn’t want the parents or their principal to see because there is no such thing as privacy in the digital world. One of the other major disciplinary issues that is plaguing schools across Colorado is the prevalence and availability of marijuana and vape pens. Our discipline statistics in this area have improved slightly, but we clearly have work to do. The district recently contracted with a dog that has been trained specifically for school environments to sniff out tobacco, alcohol, and a wide variety of drugs. The dog will never work directly with students, but it does work to detect substances in lockers and backpacks in our hallways. My hope is that knowledge across our community that our furry friend will be doing random visits to our campus will serve as a deterrent to ensure that our students are making wise decisions about what they bring to school. I appreciate your help as you have preventative and proactive discussions with your children regarding illegal substances. As always, thank you for your support. Sincerely, Jeremy Voss EMS, Principal
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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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News & Announcements

Schools Canceled Due to Severe Weather

The following is an emergency message from Durango School District 9-R to all parents, students, and staff in the district. Due to severe weather conditions and based on recommendations from County Emergency Management personnel, all schools are canceled today, Wednesday, January 16, 2019.
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News & Announcements

Happy Snowy Monday Families!

While there are no school delays or cancellations due to snow, we do know that the Durango area is a geographically diverse area and some roads may be more impacted than others. Please allow extra time for travel today and if you decide to delay or keep your students home, please contact your school directly to excuse your child.
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News & Announcements

Eagle Girls Basketball 2018/19 Season Information

We are excited for another season of Eagle Girls Basketball! To participate in practice your daughter must have proof of a valid (within the calendar year) physical, clean athletic shoes, shorts and a t-shirt, and a water bottle. Prior to participating in the first game the following needs to be turned in to Coach Duce: Purple Travel Card with Insurance/Medial Info (obtain from Coach Duce or Main Office), Escalante Athletic For (attached), and Athletic Fee. Contact Coach Duce for more information.
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News & Announcements

8th Graders - SAVE THE DATE!

Durango High School welcomes you to an 8th grade parent night for students and their families to learn more about our school on Monday, January 28th from 5-7pm at DHS. Parents and prospective students will have the opportunity to explore the variety of elective options and core classes offered at DHS. Families will learn more about concurrent enrollment opportunities, AP courses, work experience, internships, clubs, activities, athletics, and student support programs.
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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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Empowering students to apply the habits of work, learning, and scholarship to become productive and caring citizens.

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