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Principal's Message

Looking forward to next school year!

The EMS Office will be closed for the summer June 10 - August 2, 2021. If you need assistance within those dates, please call the District Office at 247-5411. Dear Escalante Middle School Community, Thank you for all of your support over the past school year. While public health guidance for schools during the 2021-2022 school year has yet to be released, we are firmly expecting to return to a five-day week and a full schedule where kids can rotate classes and mix much more freely. We also are expecting a return to our regular athletics schedule both at the middle and the high school levels. Please keep an eye out for emails over the coming months as we prep for the next school year. At EMS, we will be hosting our check-in and orientation celebrations the week before school starts to give tours and team assignments, complete paperwork, and welcome families back from summer. We will welcome in-coming 6th graders on the afternoon of August 10, 7th graders on the 11th, and 8th graders on the 12th. Have a wonderful summer - I look forward to seeing you in August! Jeremy Voss EMS, Principal
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Principal's Message

EMS Community Newsletter 3/12/2021

Dear Escalante Middle School Community, March 12, 2021 With Spring Break right around the corner, we have a few announcements to share with our community. When looking at the national picture, we are in a pretty good place at EMS when looking through the COVID lens. Since we opened, we have had to place 4 cohorts into quarantine, two activities, and two bus routes. While these quarantines certainly are disruptive, it is encouraging that even in our largest spike to date at EMS, we still have twenty-one of twenty-four cohorts remaining in in-person instruction. After spring break, we will start our football and volleyball programs for our student-athletes. In order to begin practicing, students need to submit a current physical form from either their doctor’s office or an Urgent Care. Please be aware that if your child does participate in an after-school activity, there is a greater potential for exposure to COVID and possible quarantine situations. However, after discussing the decision to continue with extracurricular activities with our parent accountability group, it is clear that these programs are valued by our families and students, and that we should continue our efforts to return to normalcy under the guidance of our public health advisors. As the weather warms and vaccination efforts in our community become more widespread, the prevailing thought is that we will return to the Blue category on the COVID dial. If we do not have a large surge of cases after Spring Break, I anticipate that we will return to school five days a week in a matter of weeks after the break. I will certainly share out more concrete information when it’s available. As we move into April, we will also begin our CMAS testing cycle. Coupled with i-Ready results, these assessments will give us valuable insight into the impact of the COVID pandemic and inform adjustments we can make to meet the needs of students. Students currently enrolled in the Remote program will have their assessments proctored at school. If your child is in Remote, please keep an eye out for information about those logistics. Another rite of Spring to look forward to is preparing our 8th-grade students for their high school transition. As we approach the end of the year, it is essential that we build their skills and academic mindsets. The high school will also have access to our students’ assessment information, so it is important that we stress the importance of giving their best effort over the 4th quarter. On a final note, we are attempting to support students who are struggling with grades due to missing work by keeping them after school for tutoring in our modified ZAP program. It is a trickier proposition to organize as we need to retain our cohort system, but we will email and text notices to families requesting that your child stays after school. If you get a notice, please reach out to Administrative Assistant Tami Jantz if you do not want your child involved in the program. Her email is tjantz@durangoschools.org. Here’s to a safe and cheerful spring break. Jeremy Voss EMS, Principal
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Principal's Message

EMS Community Newsletter 2/26/2021

Dear Escalante Middle School Community, Over the course of this year, we have worked very hard to be flexible with families regarding school model choices. However, we will only have one more opportunity for students to switch school models. Please email our counselors, Kim Osby or Ian Lennox, by March 12th if you would like to switch from remote to in-person learning. kosby@durangoschools.org ilennox@durangoschools.org CLICK READ MORE FOR THE WHOLE LETTER
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Principal's Message

Community Newsletter Jan. 22, 2021

Dear Escalante Middle School Community, We are still on track to reopen for in-person learning on February 1st. We have one important calendar change that will impact students next week. The professional development day for teachers that was scheduled for the 25th has been moved to the 27th. There will not be live remote instruction on that day, but some students may have homework to get caught up with so it will be important for them to stay on top of their email communication with their teachers. In addition, we are currently planning to bring back athletic programs for our 7th and 8th graders when we return (middle school athletics does not include 6th graders). We will start with basketball on February 8th for both boys and girls teams. The rationale to start athletics at the middle school level is twofold. Many students are involved in after school activities where they already break our cohort model. Running our programs ensures students have an athletic opportunity that adheres to approved guidelines from local and state public health agencies. The second reason is more obvious - students benefit from structured team activities. The pandemic will significantly change our programs. The bullets below outline the key safety measures. Students will be required to wear masks. Students will be grouped in fifteen athletes to one coach ratio. While in level orange, athletics will be structured more as skills camps to allow for social distancing. Scrimmaging and competition will resume once community spread decreases significantly. It is likely that we will first introduce games with only Miller Middle School to avoid travel when community spread decreases. Barring any unforeseen events, which have been fairly common recently, we intend to bring back the following sports on these dates. Basketball: February 8th - March 12th. Boys and girls will alternate practice times before and after school. If we have over 90 athletes sign up, we will have two practices a week to allow all students to participate and not exceed capacity. If fewer than 90 athletes sign up, we will practice three to four days a week. Volleyball and Football: March 22nd - April 23rd. Track: April 26th - May 28th. In order to participate, there is a $50 fee - families on the free and reduced lunch program have the cost waived, so please reach out to Mr. Voss or Ms. Duce if this is a barrier to participation. Students also need a current physical (within one calendar year) on file to participate. You can schedule a physical for your child with your primary care physician or at an Urgent Care. Depending on your insurance, there may be a cost for physicals. Unfortunately, we could not secure a health agency to offer free physicals this year. Pediatric Partners @ DHS accepts Medicaid and can do sports physicals. Their contact info is Pediatric Partners of the Southwest at (970) 375-0100 extension 2. Pediatric Partners advises that if your student has gotten a well check in the last year that counts as well. As we organize our practice plans, it will be extremely helpful to know as soon as possible if you’d like your 7th or 8th grader to participate in basketball. Please email Ms. Eva Duce at educe@durangoschools.org with questions or to hold a roster spot for your child. In addition, you can formally sign up your child and get the necessary forms by following this link: https://durangoschools-ar.rschooltoday.com. We will be resuming our Tuesday night community meetings this coming week to provide information and answer questions about our return to learn plan. The link is directly below this letter. Thank you for your continued support. These are certainly tough times where I’m finding that well-intentioned plans often change, so I’ll pass along updates as soon as I get them. Throughout this entire pandemic, I’ve always been thankful that I live in Durango and am in a blessed role to serve such a stellar community. Escalante's parents have demonstrated so much grace to me personally and to our staff that I cannot thank you enough. Sincerely, Jeremy Voss EMS, Principal For the FULL Newsletter, please see the link below
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Principal's Message

Pivot to Remote Learning 11/11/2020

Dear Escalante Community, Thank you for your understanding as we pivot to Remote Learning due to the COVID-19 surge we are currently seeing in our community. Our intention is to serve students in-person, but the impact on our ability to staff our schools became so diminished with the need to quarantine that we were forced to go remote through December 18th. On December 11th, our school district will make a decision about how we will reopen schools in January; remote, blended, and in-person are all possible options. The rate of spread of the virus will inform the decision. If your family is experiencing technology issues, here are some ways we can help. Contact Mr. Tidwell through email at stidwell@durangoschools.org. He is committed to shepherd EMS through our remote experience, and he can help get you the support you need. If you need help with internet access or receiving an additional laptop, contact Ian Lennox, ilennox@durangoschools.org, or Kim Osby. kosby@durangoschools.org. I understand that technology struggles can be extremely frustrating, but please be kind when you contact them as Steve, Kim, and Ian are working extremely hard to solve problems as they arise. For the duration of the remote closure, we will be conducting weekly Zoom meetings on Tuesdays from 5:00 to 6:00 pm. We will utilize the Zoom translation technology for our Spanish speaking families. The purpose of these meetings is to: Provide updates to the community about remote education at EMS Collect feedback from the community to improve our systems Communicate strategies for parents about supporting your child’s remote instruction. Counselors will lead these portions and rely on Neurosequential Model in Education (NME) research. Watch for IC Messages that will include the Zoom Meeting information. Not getting IC messages? Contact Dona in office 247-9490. Work is also currently underway to get started on projects using funds from our recently passed bond. If you would like to be involved in the planning process, you can apply to join the Bond Oversight Committee by following the link below. On a final note, keep in mind that we have no school from November 21 - November 30. Classes will resume after break on Tuesday, December 1st. I hope to see you next Tuesday night over Zoom, and thank you again for your understanding as we pivot to remote instruction. Sincerely, Jeremy Voss and David Tanaka EMS, Administration
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News & Announcements

EMS Pre-Season Football & Volleyball Skills Camp Information and Fall Sports News

Fall sports are open to 7th or 8th grade EMS Eagles for the 2021/22 school year. Coach Hoffman is offering a Pre-Season Football Skills Camp starting July 13th for all EMS Eagles that are interested in playing football next year while Coach Peter is offering a Pre-Season Volleyball Skills Camp August 10, 11, & 12. Please click EMS Athletics for more information and draft schedules. Contact Athletic Director Eva Duce educe@durangoschools.org for more information. GO EAGLES!

9-R Board of Education Coffee Chat - June 16, 2021

Join 9-R Board of Education members Wednesday, June 16, 2021, from 12-1pm, to have an informal conversation about how everything is going for you and your student. The meeting will be on Zoom, and a live interpreter will be available.

Welcome Back for the 2021/22 School Year!

Families with a student enrolled at Escalante Middle School will be invited to an orientation night in August. The dates are organized by grade level and team. EMS families will receive an email in early August with their student’s team assignment and orientation date/time. If you don’t receive an email, please call the office in August at 970-247-9490. August 17 - 6th Grade: Falcons 4:30 - 5:30 PM and Ocelots 5:30 - 6:30 PM August 18 - 7th Grade: White Tigers 4:30 - 5:30 PM and Timberwolves 5:30 - 6:30 PM August 19 - 8th Grade: Taz Team 4:30 - 5:30 PM and Panthers 5:30 - 6:30 PM Athletic News: A pre-season Volleyball Skills Camp will be offered at EMS on August 10, 11, & 12 from 8:00 - 11:00 AM. Regular season practice begins Wednesday, August 16th, 3:30-5:30 PM, Monday thru Friday until school begins. Team placements will take place after the first week of practice. A pre-season Football Skills Camp will be offered at EMS on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, July 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, and 28 from 3:30 - 4:45 PM. Regular season practice begins August 9 from 7:00 - 9:30 AM where your student-athlete will receive the entire EMS practice schedule. See Athletic News on the EMS Website at escalante.durangoschools.org for athletic eligibility guidelines, updates, and more information.

Return of Chromebooks, Musical Instruments, and Library Books

Please return the Chromebook and charger that was issued to your child this year, along with any musical instruments your student rented, and any library books they may have checked out. Our IT department will be cutting off access to school Chromebooks over the summer. Students will not have home access to Chromebooks for the last week of school. Fines and fees will be assessed on devices and materials not returned. If you have any questions please call the office at 970-247-9490.

9-R End of Year Assessment Data and Reflection

We are committed to sharing our student achievement data with transparency. We recognize the incredible effort put forth by our staff this year and are grateful for their perseverance and flexibility. Yet, our end-of-year assessment data tells us that our students need intentional and unified support to ensure that the impacts of the pandemic are not long-lasting and far-reaching in our students' literacy and math skills. We are working with great urgency to turn around our historical trend of under-serving portions of our community and to minimize the impact of disrupted learning COVID-19 has had on all of our learners.


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