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Mission

Empowering students to apply the habits of work, learning, and scholarship to become productive and caring citizens.

Principal's Message

Middle School Can Be Difficult

Dear Escalante Middle School Community, There is no doubt about it that middle school can be a difficult time. Look at these two hallmarks of young adolescence. Middle schoolers tend to have increased concern for what others may think increased social anxiety in general Essentially, middle schoolers are more concerned about what their classmates think about them and tend to be more self-conscious around peers. In middle school, peer influence begins to rival or exceed parental influence, which can be a very difficult adjustment for many households. Because of the growing importance of friends, parents typically share one desire: we want our children to be good friends to others and have positive, kind friends surrounding them. When I did a little research on middle school friendships, I was surprised by the instability researchers found in how long those friendships lasted. According to a Florida Atlantic University study, "A Survival Analysis of Adolescent Friendships: The Downside of Dissimilarity," the vast majority of middle school friendships are doomed to fail. Researchers found: About half of all friendships formed in middle school (any grade) do not last an academic year. Friendships that are formed in the sixth grade are considered “highly unstable, because primary school friendship groups are transformed across the first year of middle school.” Likewise, friendships that start in eighth grade are also “highly unstable, because most new friendships do not survive the transition into high school” Fewer than 10 percent of the friendships formed in seventh grade were still intact by the twelfth grade. Herein lies the propensity for drama in middle school. Tweens are much more worried about what friends and others think, and friendships are constantly shifting and evolving. So what do the friendships that endure have in common? Researchers found that the glue to lasting friendships is similarity. Adolescents, and adults for that matter, typically form friendships with people who they are similar to. Hobbies, interests, and personality traits form the bonds of friendship. Brett Laursen, co-author of the study and FAU psychology professor, said, “Similarity (good or bad) is the glue that keeps the friendship intact. You may be sneaking cigarettes together or both getting A's." Middle school is a time when kids explore more of the world, try new hobbies and sports, and experiment with different looks and styles. As kids try on these different hats, peer groups tend to come and go with them. Because of the heightened emotions and social anxiety that accompanies this age, middle school can be “a time of many tears” as I heard one parent put it. So what can we do to help our children manage inevitable friend shifting? The link to the article below offers some sound advice to parents to help your child navigate the emotional roller coaster of adolescence. https://yourteenmag.com/social-life/teenagers-friends/support-middle-school-friendships On a separate note, we are gearing up for our student-led conferences. We are hoping to get the vast majority completed on October 26th, and Crew teachers have reached out to schedule them. If there is a gap in our communication, I encourage you to reach out to your child’s Crew teacher to set an appointment. As always, thanks for your support. Jeremy Voss EMS, Principal
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Principal's Message

New Visitor Management System Rolls Out

After working with a self-organized community group, hosting several community meetings and receiving expert review and recommendation, the school district is implementing a new visitor check-in system at all schools. Visitors will be requested to provide a government issued ID; this will be used to create an account for you in our system.
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Principal's Message

Student Lead Field Study

Dear Escalante Middle School Community, A guiding principle of our educational philosophy at Escalante Middle School is to make learning authentic. One of our primary strategies to increase authenticity is to place an emphasis on field work, expert speakers, service, and studying content that has a local connection. In traditional educational models, students go on field trips, in which students are spectators. We aspire to conduct field work, in which students are active investigators and applying their research and classwork. A great example of field work occured in our Forestry and Fire Ecology exploratory class last week. Students partnered with professionals in the community to create a virtual map of tree species on Molas Pass, using software and tree identification techniques used in the professional world. Throughout the year, all of our teachers will be finding creative ways to conduct field work, and it is truly part of what makes our school unique. As we improve our instructional design to make lessons more authentic, student learning isn’t the only thing that will increase. Our budget will be impacted as well. The Escalante Parent Organization (EPO) has decided to use our fall fundraiser to offset anticipated costs of transportation and innovative resources to allow our students to complete meaningful field work. We are going to select our fundraiser strategies at our next EPO meeting on October 10th at 8:00 AM. If you are interested in joining the group to help us meet our fundraising goals, we hope to see you at the meeting. Otherwise, please keep an eye out for our fall fundraising push as we strive to improve the authenticity of our lesson design at EMS. As always, thank you for your support. Jeremy Voss EMS, Principal
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Principal's Message

Welcome Back

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: What happened? 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, Jeremy Voss EMS, Principal
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Principal's Message

Year End Celebration of Learning

My best metaphor for wrapping up a school year is running the last mile of a marathon. There is an intense push for a strong finish, a need for perseverance, and a growing sense of pride in knowing that you gave it your best over an extended period of time. I’m very proud of our school for not simply sliding into summer; instead we have added a challenge that will keep us pushing educationally all the way to the end. On May 31st, we are hosting a Celebration of Learning Event for the entire Durango community. To make it a success, we need parents and community members to attend as every student has a role to play and will need an audience to present their work.
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News & Announcements

Box Tops... We want you!

HOW BOX TOPS WORKS: BUY - CLIP - SEND - EARN Find Box Tops on hundreds of products! Clip Box Tops from each package. Send the Box Tops to school in a baggie and deposit in the jar on the counter by the office. Box Tops are each worth 10¢ for your school. HOW DOES CASH GET TO YOUR SCHOOL? Your school’s Box Tops Coordinator will collect all the Box Tops and send them in so your school can get cash. Checks are mailed to schools twice a year in December and April.
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News & Announcements

Reminder - Student IDs

Dear 9-R Families, Initial student photos have been completed at all schools, allowing schools to fully implement the use of student IDs for other purposes such as: School Bus Transportation Services School Library Use City Transit Use Safety and Security
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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

New Visitor Management System Rolls Out

After working with a self-organized community group, hosting several community meetings and receiving expert review and recommendation, the school district is implementing a new visitor check-in system at all schools. Visitors will be requested to provide a government issued ID; this will be used to create an account for you in our system.
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