Dear Escalante Middle School Community,
We had a great first week of school at EMS. We have a few new programs and goals this year as we strive to improve every child’s education. When we set goals and action plans, we work to ensure that we get better in three main areas. They are:
Mastery of Knowledge and Skills:. This year we are honed in on crafting assessments that will demand that all students complete complex work that is aligned to standards. In addition, we are striving to ensure that all students apply reading and writing skills across content areas. Finally, we will work very hard to connect their learning to big concepts that are meaningful beyond the walls of the classroom. What can parents do to help? Because we have named improving student reading and writing among our highest priorities, my sincere hope is that all students develop a home routine that includes reading for pleasure at least twenty minutes daily. Regular visits to the library and taking time to discuss books at the dinner table can do wonders to boost your child’s literacy skills. In addition, emphasizing the importance of education routinely and connecting how education pays off in the workplace can improve student engagement at school.
High Quality Work: When we create units of study, at times during the year we will take an interdisciplinary approach where teachers craft a series of lessons that become an Expedition. This means that students will take a deep dive into a specific topic and look at it through the lens of a scientist, a historian, a mathematician, and do a whole lot of reading and writing about that topic in the process. When we design these learning experiences, we stress the importance of craftsmanship, which often requires multiple revisions of work products so that they become high quality. In addition, we want to provide authenticity to their learning experience. It is our philosophy that students should connect academics with real world issues, controversies, and local people and places. Parents can help by being an active audience during events such as Student-Led Conferences, Community Celebrations of Learning, as well as providing your perspective on topics your child is studying.
Character: While a strong academic education is essential, the most important thing we will pass on to our students is the power of kindness and the ability to collaborate with others. To reinforce these ideas, students will complete many tasks in small groups, work on collaborative skills in Crew, and participate in restorative practices when discipline issues arise. Parents can support our work in this area by incorporating some language of restorative practices into disciplinary situations. When students makes mistakes at EMS, we will work through the following questions:
Who has been affected? How?
What needs to be done to put things right?
What do we need to do to move forward?
If your child is experiencing conflict or bullying at school, it is vital that you reach out to us
so that we can intervene immediately. Middle school is a time of rapid development and it takes a community of caring adults to guide young adolescents through the middle years.
We very much look forward to working with you this year to create the best possible educational experience for your child. Our Back-to-School event is on Tuesday, September 4th from 5:00 to 7:00 PM. Please mark your calendars and join us for hot dogs, an introduction to each of your child’s teachers, and a warm welcome from me! Looking forward to a great year,