Escalante Middle School

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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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Principal's Message

Work Hard Be Kind

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. Sincerely, Jeremy Voss Escalante Middle School, Principal
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News & Announcements

Yearbooks For Sale!

Students, don't miss out on buying your 2017/18 yearbook for the low price of $15.00! The price of the yearbooks will go up at the end of April, so come by the office and pick up your order form today! (You can also print the attached order form and drop it by the office).
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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

Eagle 2018 Track Season Begins

Escalante Athletics are excited to begin the 2018 track season with practice beginning March 13. All 7th and 8th grade athletes interested in competing need to have a CHSAA Sports Physical Form (attached) turned in to Coach Duce. The 2018 schedule of events is attached. Contact Coach for more information. GO EAGLES!
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News & Announcements

DEF Seeks Nominations for 9-R Stars

The Durango Education Foundation invites you to nominate exceptional Durango School District 9-R employees for recognition at the annual DEF Employee Appreciation Celebration in May. DEF will acknowledge all nominees and honor as “Outstanding” three teachers (usually one each from elementary, middle and high school levels) and three staff members.
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