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.
Escalante Middle School, Principal