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Principal's Message

Celebration of Learning 2019

Dear Escalante Middle School Community, The last week of school can be a pretty hectic time. One of our strategies to maintain a strong academic purpose this time of year is to host our Celebration of Learning (COL) event on May 30, the eve of the last day of school. Our learning community has been hard at work to prepare, and our expectation is for every child to participate through either a performance or highlighting an artifact of their high-quality work. As a community member, we need you to make this event a success for our students, and we thank you for your active participation. We encourage you to experience as many presentations as possible during your visit. When we set up for the COL, we aspire to turn our school into a museum of high-quality work. Between 4:00 and 7:00 PM, our doors will be open to the community in celebration of our students. A free spaghetti dinner runs between 4:30 to 6:00. Drinks and desserts will be available for purchase from one of several student “businesses,” and there will be a donation jar for community members to support student-driven events such as the COL in the future. When you visit the COL, we have three specific learning targets for our guests. They are: 1. I can support the learning of Escalante students by visiting at least four presentations during the celebration. 2. I can celebrate the learning of Escalante students by providing positive feedback during presentations. 3. I can provide feedback to Escalante staff in order to support the improvement of future COL events. On a final note, please have a QR Code Reader App downloaded to your phone for your visit. A few student presentations and our feedback form use QR code readers. Thank you for supporting our school as we wrap up the year in style. Sincerely, Jeremy Voss Escalante Middle School, Principal
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Principal's Message

There is a lot of work and learning yet to do this year

Dear Escalante Middle School Community, In a couple of weeks, we will be asking students to complete a form in Crew requesting exploratory classes for next school year. Students make six choices for their classes, and we try our best to fulfill as many of their requests as possible. A major strength of our school is the broad range of choice afforded to our 7th and 8th graders to explore new things or pursue a specific area of passion. Below are some scheduling options for parents to discuss with your child: 1. Our music programs continue to rack up regional and state awards. Whether it’s Choir, Orchestra, Band, Jazz Band or Guitar class, there is a great music option for your child. 2. If your son or daughter is interested in participating in a fall sport next year, we offer fitness classes that can support their athletic pursuits. General PE and Outdoor Education are two other courses that certainly appeal to our students as well. 3. Robotics, Woodworkings, and our technology classes are designed to appeal to our students with interest in building their STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) skills. 4. Drama, Pottery, and Drawing and Painting are our most requested courses each year. 5. 8th graders who would like to get a jumpstart acquiring high school foreign language credit can take a year-long Spanish 1 class. We also offer semester classes in Spanish, French, and German to build language skills. 6. We started an Agriculture program this year that is taking off. Students can learn about forestry, fire ecology, animal science, or plant science in our Greenhouse class. 7. Many students have a support class during exploratories to build math, reading, or executive function skills as well. We use classroom and testing data to populate these courses. While we are certainly doing a lot of forward thinking, there is also a lot of work and learning yet to do this year. We have two events on the horizon that we are banking on community support. 1. Our Escalante 5K and One Mile Fun Run event is on April 26th. We will have music and food vendors on site. Entries are $10 and EMS students run free. We sent registration forms home with students, and they are also available in the office. 2. The capstone event of the year, our Celebration of Learning, takes place from 4:00 to 7:00 PM on May 30th. This year will be even bigger than last year. We will have a tent out front with information on resources in the community, a $5.00 Spaghetti Dinner will be offered, and every student is expected to participate by highlighting some high quality work that they produced over the year. On a final note, I’d like to share a success story we’ve had this year. We do run a pretty tight ship at EMS, and the cell phone policy we developed this year with parent input has led to very few cell phone discipline issues at school. As the weather warms up, we will need your support for our next area of focus - maintaining our dress code. Last year, our 8th-grade students rewrote our dress code. We are going to be reviewing it in depth with our students on Monday and Tuesday next week, and our enforcement is going to really ramp up on Wednesday. You can really help us out by ensuring that your child’s shorts are at least mid-thigh length, midriffs and underwear are covered, and bandanas are left at home. Many thanks for your support, Jeremy Voss EMS, Principal
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Principal's Message

Honed in on Academics and Improving Skills This Time of Year

Dear Escalante Middle School Community, February can be a tricky month in middle school for students. At risk of sounding a bit like Scrooge, I often wish I had the authority to ban Valentine’s Day entirely because of the drama it can bring to our students. As a staff, we are very honed in on academics and improving skills this time of year. We hope to inspire students to craft high quality History Day projects, essays, and math skills. I imagine our students are feeling that academic pressure a bit, and when we throw Valentine’s angst and the ebb and flow of typical middle social anxiety on top of it, it is no wonder that February tends to be our most intense discipline month. Because we do have some big academic deadlines on the horizon, parents can really support their kids by checking in on their History Day progress and creating time and space for them to catch up if they have fallen behind. The day before the History Day projects are due tends to be riddled with hysteria, and students become overwhelmed with the consequence of procrastination. Our social studies teachers are great about sharing timelines and resources out on Google Docs, so if you’d like to see where your child is at, I’d highly recommend that you ask your child to walk you through their progress. If you find that first crushes or Valentine’s angst is impacting your child, we don’t necessarily have a Google Classroom for that! However, here is a link to an article that gives some pretty good guidelines for how to have those conversations with a tween. https://www.familycircle.com/teen/tween-dating/ As always, thanks for all you do for our community. Jeremy Voss EMS, Principal
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Principal's Message

My Education is Important and Has Purpose to My Future Life.

Dear Escalante Middle School Community, One of the most important mindsets that we can help our students develop is the belief that, “My education is important and has a purpose to my future life.” Students who have this belief are much more likely to try hard in school. In order to support the development of this mindset in our student body, we are conducting a career fair on March 22nd. Mr. Lennox, our 6th grade counselor, is organizing the event. We need some volunteers from our community to meet with small groups of students to talk about their careers and explain how their education gave them the opportunity to work in their current setting. Please email Mr. Lennox at ilennox@durangoschools.org if you would like to be a volunteer speaker at our career fair. Also, throughout this week, Durango High School will be leading our 8th grade Crew meetings and sharing information about high school registration. Students learn about core choices, elective choices, and then register for their high school classes on Friday. Ms. Osby is coordinating with the high school, so if you have questions feel free to reach out to our counseling department. As always, thank you for your support. Jeremy Voss EMS, Principal
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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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News & Announcements

2019 Fall Sports Information

All students must complete and turn in the Athletic & Activity Form (see below), have a sports physical, and pay the $30 activity fee prior to participating in any sports or activity at Escalante Middle School. Parent permission is included in the form. DHS will host a free Sports Physical Fair for all 9R students on Tuesday, August 6th from 1:30 - 5:30 PM There will be a Free Volleyball Skills Camp at Escalante August 5, 6, and 7 from 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM. Volleyball registration is August 13th at 3:30 PM with practice to follow until 5:30 PM and the 2019 season schedule will be handed out on that date. Team placements will take place after the first week of practice. Update: Eagle Football Practice Schedule beginning August 20th Mondays 2:30 - 5:00 PM (No practice Labor Day) Tuesdays 3:45 - 5:45 PM Wednesdays Pregame: 3:45 - 5:15 PM Thursdays: Game Day Friday: Currently, only October 4th for Playoffs Contact Coach Bastin (dbastin@durangoschools.org) for more information.
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News & Announcements

Two School Board Seats Available

The County Clerk has been notified that Durango School District 9-R will be participating in the coordinated election in November.  The Board of Education will have two four-year seats up for election --- District B (currently filled by Stephanie Moran), and District D (currently filled by Marianna Valdez).
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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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News & Announcements

2019/20 Sponsorship Opportunities

School districts produce several required and beneficial communications documents throughout the year, some mandated by law and some to stay connected with families and the community. In order to help streamline these costs in the budget, which in turn funnels money back to the classrooms, we are reaching out to community partners to support our work through sponsorships!
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News & Announcements

Meet and Learn About the School Board

The Durango School District 9-R Board of Education is hosting a couple of meet and greet opportunities at the end of the month. Please join us and meet some of our current board members, who will be sharing information about the work they do to support the school district and our community of learners. Also, additional details will be shared about the two upcoming vacancies on the Board of Education for the November 5, 2019 election. Click Read More for additional details, and mark your calendars for July 27th and July 30th!
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Mission

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

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