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Principal's Message

Parent Informational Social Media Event January 13th @ 5:00 PM

Dear Escalante Middle School Community, On Monday, January 13 we are hosting a Social Media Safety evening with Detective Josh Newman of the Durango Police Department from 5:00 to 6:00 PM in our cafeteria. I’m excited that many parents have indicated to us that they are coming. Students are welcome to attend with parents, and the opportunity to process the content with your child presents a great educational benefit. When I asked Detective Newman what he would most like me to share with parents, he asked me to pass along the following information: 1. Students Associate Snapchat Streaks with Social Status: Kids can get obsessive about maintaining their streaks—especially when they've gone on for so long. To adolescents, streaks can indicate the strength of a friendship; it can be thrilling to see that you've been interacting with someone via Snapchat every day for more than, say, 200 days...or 1400 days. 2. Don’t Share Passcodes: Students share their passcodes to social media sites with friends to maintain their “streaks” so that if they can’t log-in, their friends can for them. The rampant sharing of passcodes has led to some severe bullying and unwanted sharing of content. 3. Know what your kids are doing and regularly check the phones. The excuse of “I don’t get technology” is not an okay excuse for parents to use regarding a lack of oversite. Our kids in our community need our involvement, and we need to read up on how social media is impacting students. 4. No phones in the bedroom at night - ever. I hope to see you there on Monday. Sincerely, Jeremy Voss EMS, Principal
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Principal's Message

Encourage Healthy Choices

Dear Escalante Middle School Community, Over the past week, I have held community meetings with each grade level to talk to students about a topic that poses a significant health risk for kids: illegal substances. At EMS we take several steps to prevent students from bringing illegal substances onto campus. I’ve found that clear communication with students about both the health and disciplinary consequences of illegal substances is the most proactive and best possible deterrent, and it is a place that parents really can support us. I encourage you to do some reading online about the health risks of alcohol, vaping and marijuana use on the adolescent brain, and to have follow-up conversations with your kids about those negative impacts. In addition, I also share with our students that distribution of any illegal substance on campus may result in expulsion from school. Because an adolescent’s brain is undergoing significant development, kids are more likely to take risks and not consider the consequences of their actions. Therefore, it is extremely important that students are reminded of these consequences in an effort to protect them from making a costly mistake. In addition to communication and education, our school district also utilizes a drug-detecting dog to conduct random searches of the school. Just recently, the La Plata County Sheriff’s department has added a non-bite drug dog onto their force so that we no longer need to contract with a handler outside of our community. This will both save our school district money and provide a local resource that can be a more frequent deterrent as we strive to keep our schools drug free. In the past, the dog searched lockers and backpacks in the hallway and did not enter classrooms. I’ve learned recently it is a common procedure in area schools to also randomly empty one to two classrooms and search those rooms. Because we have not historically done this practice at Escalante, it did surprise me, a few students, parents and staff when students were asked to leave the classroom to allow for a search of the room. The dog does not conduct body searches of students. I apologize that we did not communicate this change in practice beforehand, and please feel free to contact me if you have concerns as I am currently catching up on how our district’s procedures are shifting with the new dog and handler. If there are additional changes, I will communicate that information throughout our school community. On a much lighter and brighter note, I have been honored to collect compliments about our student body frequently over the past few weeks from community partners who seek me out to praise our students for their use of manners, genuine interest in learning, kindness, and enthusiasm. This is a wonderful school to lead, and I am extremely thankful for each of the 516 students who walk through our doors each day. Sincerely, Jeremy Voss EMS, Principal
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Principal's Message

Thank you for your support and involvement in our Student-Led Conferences

Dear EMS Community, Thank you for your support and involvement in our Student-Led Conferences. Our goal is to have 100% participation, and many of our Crews have already reached this benchmark. At the conferences, each student set goals drawing on the following information: * Report Cards * Classwork * I-Ready Data * CMAS Data Our staff has also gone through a similar analysis of teaching practices, and at our professional development session Monday, we spent time analyzing data, studying lesson design, and implementing some core practices that we will monitor over the next quarter for impact on student learning. Parents also have an important role to play, and there is a great body of research that can inform the most important actions we can take to support our kids’ education. According to John Hattie’s research, two parenting practices have the greatest effect size on student learning: 1. Parents listening to student reading and creating expectations for reading at home. 54% of students in the US read less than 15 minutes per day on average. Parents can give their kids a great educational advantage by setting up expectations in the home to read a minimum of 15 minutes per day. 2. Regularly communicate high expectations to your child for student achievement Public health experts and psychologists have the following suggestions for parents raising young adolescents: 1. Help your child build healthy eating habits and a healthy body image. Serve balanced meals, and keep lots of fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods in the house. Be a model of good eating and exercise habits for your child. It is also important for families to share meals together. Research shows that just 40% of families in the United States eat more than 6 meals together a week. Healthy dietary habits increase and unhealthy habits such as substance abuse decrease when families regularly eat together. 2. Urge your child to get some exercise every day. 3. Help your adolescent get enough rest (teenagers need nine hours per night). Also, set limits on phone, computer, and TV use after a set evening hour. In a recent national survey, 34% of 8th graders reported that their parents put limits on screen time. Another survey indicated that middle school students spend about four and a half hours of free time on a screen - over twice the recommended amount. As a parent of a current middle schooler, I’ve decided to set some goals for myself based on this information. I am going to eat at least seven meals per week with my kids this quarter, ensure that they are reading books more than looking at screens, and find some time to exercise with them each week. Given that almost 100% of EMS parents showed up for SLCs, it is clear that we have an extremely supportive community, and I hope that this information is helpful in guiding our kids to succeed in school. Sincerely, Jeremy Voss EMS, Principal
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Principal's Message

Student-Led Conferences October 25

Dear Escalante Middle School Community, As we approach the end of the first quarter, we are working closely with students to make our Habits of Work, Learning, and Scholarship (HOWLS) ingrained in our student body. Students regularly reflect on HOWLS in Crew, and academic learning targets for daily lessons are often accompanied by a HOWLS learning target. We selected the following HOWLS - collaboration, craftsmanship, perseverance, responsibility, and kindness - because they are character skills that both support excellence in school and, more importantly, in the workforce. As we approach our Student-Led Conferences on the 25th of October, students are preparing a reflection on both their HOWLS and their academic progress. Please remember that you can see your child’s grades anytime by logging into the Infinite Campus Parent Portal (see link below). When you pull up the Grades section in the Portal, you will need to click on the 2nd Quarter tab to see the most updated grades as there is an apparent glitch in the system that has the 1st quarter tab just reporting up to the progress report we issued a few weeks back. We will be distributing Quarter 1 Report Cards at Student-Led Conferences as well as iReady data from this fall and CMAS data from last Spring. Students will be drawing on data from all of these sources as they craft goals for Student-Led Conferences. Please encourage your child to give their all over these next couple of weeks so that they have some stellar reports to share with you soon! If you haven’t already scheduled a conference, please contact your student’s Crew Teacher to do so. Crew Teachers can be reached via email from this Website (escalante.durangoschools.org click on Staff Directory) or you can call the office (247-9490) to leave the teacher a voice mail. If you would like more information about why we choose Student-Led Conferences over traditional conferences, EL Education has some great information by following the link below. Thank you for all of your support. Sincerely, Jeremy Voss EMS, Principal
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Principal's Message

Escalante Middle School Needs YOU!

Dear Escalante Middle School Community, We’ve had a few parent requests to clarify our district’s process for volunteer applications in our schools. There are three types of volunteers. 1. Classroom guests who will not directly lead students alone: If a parent or community member is going to volunteer in the classroom or on a day trip and will not directly supervise students, you are considered a guest in the classroom for the day and there is no need to fill out paperwork. In that case, volunteers only need to sign in with the main office. 2. Volunteers who will directly supervise students: Volunteers who will be in direct supervisory volunteer roles must complete a volunteer application in the office with Mrs. Jantz. 3. Volunteers who will assist with a regular club/activity or assist with an overnight trip: In order to volunteer in this capacity, you must complete the volunteer application in the front office with Mrs. Jantz. Once approved, the application will be sent to Human Resources and HR will schedule a fingerprint appointment with you. You will need to bring $40.00 on the day of the appointment, which is the district’s cost for processing fingerprints. If you have already submitted fingerprints to the district, then you will not have to repeat this step. However, the application needs to be updated when your child progresses to a new school. In addition, your Crew’s leader will be contacting you soon to set up a student-led conference. We are scheduling those on October 25th. We will be reviewing student work, CMAS performance data, iReady data, and 1st quarter report cards at SLCs this year, and setting goals based on that information. We very much value your attendance and input at these conferences and look forward to seeing you there. On a final note, thank you to all of our volunteer parents and attendees who supported our back to school night. We are extremely grateful for your participation in our community! Please consider coming to our Parent Organization Meetings on the second Wednesday of each month at 8:15 AM. We discuss important topics that affect our school and would appreciate your feedback. Sincerely, Jeremy Voss EMS, Principal
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News & Announcements

Eagle Wrestling 2020

Eagle Wrestling is open to all 6th, 7th, and 8th-grade students currently enrolled at Escalante Middle School. Practice begins Tuesday, January 21 after school 3:30 - 5:30 PM for the first two weeks, then will be communicated to athletes after that. Introductory, intermediate, and advanced skills welcome! Bring practice clothes and wrestling shoes. Wrestlers practice and compete at similar weight and we strive to build better athletes and character. If you are interested at any level, we want you to be a part of this team! Text Coach Lopez at 970-946-3362 for information. All athletes must complete and submit a sports packet, including a sports physical, prior to competing. See the packet below.
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News & Announcements

Letter from Superintendent Dan Snowberger

Dear Parents, We have been seeing some concerning patterns among our secondary students and I wanted to bring to your attention some of our findings. Over the past few weeks, there has been an increase in reports of students sharing inappropriate pictures of themselves with friends.
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News & Announcements

Eagle Girls Basketball 2019-20 Season Information

Eagle Girls Basketball is open to all 7th and 8th-grade girls interested in playing basketball. The first practice is Tuesday, December 10 at 3:30 PM (See below). Refer to this announcement for changes and updates as they become available. The game schedule is attached below. Athletes need to come with the completed physical form (see below), athletic clothing, and clean athletic shoes. Eagle Girls Basketball starts Tuesday, December 10 Week 1 Schedule: Tuesday, 12/10: 330 - 6:00 PM Wednesday, 12/11: 330 - 6:00 PM Thursday, 12/12: 330 - 6:00 PM Friday, 12/13: 330 - 5:00 PM Please contact Coach Duce with any questions or concerns. educe@durangoschools.org or call 247-9490 Ext. 2822 Coach Fitzpatrick at DHS has generously given us access to discounts for athletic wear in the high school team store. (See the link below).
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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

9-R Facilities Master Plan Survey

Durango School District 9-R is proud to provide our students with a comprehensive educational system that promotes student success, academic achievement and personal growth in appropriate and safe learning environments. Our hard-working students, dedicated teachers and supportive staff have helped to keep our graduation rates and other student success measures above state and national averages.
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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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