Escalante Middle School

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Students in woodshop.
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Principal's Message

Year End Celebration of Learning

My best metaphor for wrapping up a school year is running the last mile of a marathon. There is an intense push for a strong finish, a need for perseverance, and a growing sense of pride in knowing that you gave it your best over an extended period of time. I’m very proud of our school for not simply sliding into summer; instead we have added a challenge that will keep us pushing educationally all the way to the end. On May 31st, we are hosting a Celebration of Learning Event for the entire Durango community. To make it a success, we need parents and community members to attend as every student has a role to play and will need an audience to present their work.
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Principal's Message

Escalante Middle School - Simply Amazing

Dear Escalante Middle School Community, It’s amazing to think that roughly seven-eighths of the school year has passed. As we enter into this time of the year, much of my focus turns to reflecting on our progress this year, setting goals for next year, and making sure that we are poised for 2018-2019.. Over this year, we have a few items to really celebrate. We are launching our first all-community Celebration of Learning event on May 31st. All parents and community members are invited that afternoon/evening. Our students will be showcasing hundreds of artifacts and doing authentic demonstrations of learning in a variety of formats to showcase the amazing work products generated over the year. Please hold this date in your calendars as our students prepare for the event. We were able to launch a full-fledged agriculture program that is quickly growing. By the end of the year, our greenhouse class hopes to produce up to 90 heads of lettuce a week through hydroponics and lessons learned about chemistry. If we are successful, expect to see a produce stand out at parent pickup! Our woodshop just acquired a laser engraver/cutter so that we can better prepare students for careers that intersect technology with manufacturing. I am excited to see professional grade work generated in Woods! Looking into next year, there is great cause for excitement as well. If you haven’t registered your child yet, please follow this link to do so: https://www.durangoschools.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=581106&type=d&pREC_ID=1072957 Next year, we have quite a bit to look forward to. Because our enrollment is growing rapidly, we have been in hiring mode over the last few weeks for next school year. I am very enthusiastic about the quality of our teaching candidates. I am very confident that our teaching staff will be exceptional for 2018-2019 and build on our successes this year. With a growing staff, we will also be able to offer more exploratory classes, academic sections, and a richer educational experience. Thank you for your support. The great vibes our teachers, students and parents put out in the community has played a large factor in our growing student numbers, and I look forward to maximizing this opportunity for continued school improvement. Sincerely, Jeremy Voss Escalante Middle School, Principal
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Principal's Message

Safe school culture

Dear Escalante Middle School Community, Since the recent school shooting in Florida, it feels like our entire country is searching for answers to ensure that we never experience that gut wrenching feeling that it can happen again. Political commentary offering a wide range of solutions dominates news headlines and social media feeds. Many students across the country are actively protesting, demanding that their hallways are kept safe. Sadly, since the Parkland shooting there have also been dozens of threats made to schools across the country. These threats are spread quickly across snapchat, and it is not uncommon for a student to read a threat on their snapchat account that was made in a different time zone. As a result, the specter of school violence is at the front of parents, students and educators collective consciousness. At Escalante, we have a full-time security guard and a school resource officer dedicated to ensuring we have a secure campus. In addition, our new door entry system allows us to keep all doors locked at all times. Perhaps the most important security measure that we have is our students themselves. It is important that every student understands very clearly that if they notice something that is not safe, they need to report it to a teacher, a parent, or the office staff. As noise about threats made in distant schools reaches our students social media feeds, they have been very quick to relate those posts to me so that I can refer them to law enforcement. I have great appreciation for these reports. If your child has a Snapchat account, please be aware that a great deal of discourse about gun violence is being passed from feed to feed across schools. While it is often not credible information, they still need to report anything that could put students at risk. I urge parents to increase supervision or suspend your child’s social media accounts as well. It is a time when increased communication with parents is very important for our kids right now, and I cringe at the thought that social media may be the main source of information for any child right now. On a much more traditional and comfortable topic, we will be printing progress reports and sending them home with students Tuesday. Please review your students grades with them and help them set some action plans for when quarterly grades are printed before Spring Break. Thank you for helping us guide our school community to ensure our students have the safe and warm school culture that they each deserve. Sincerely, Jeremy Voss EMS, Principal
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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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News & Announcements

Help Us Pack the Pantry

In an attempt to help out kids in Durango, Durango 9-R, EXIT Home and Realty and American General Media are teaming up to hold a summer food drive Sunday, June 3rd. From 10am-2pm come find us outside the Durango Albertsons and the Town Plaza City Market collecting food for the newly established Durango School District Food Pantry.
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News & Announcements

9-R Students Headed to Nationals

Sitting around the conference room table in Escalante Middle School are the five students that qualified for the national competition in National History Day. They are so pumped on history and their research projects, that the air practically sizzles with excitement as they describe their topics and how they addressed this year’s theme of Conflict and Compromise.
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News & Announcements

Rob Javier Nominated for Harris History Teacher Award

Mr. Roberto Javier of Escalante Middle School was nominated for the Harris History Teacher Award by the University of Colorado Denver, administrator of the National History Day program in Colorado. The Harris History Teacher of the Year award is sponsored by James F. Harris and is awarded to one middle and high school teacher annually.
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