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"Back to School" Special!

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BACK TO SCHOOL EDITION

 

A new school year means new beginnings, and for me, that means a new beginning to these posts.  No more groan-inducing "punny" jokes.  Instead, my focus will be strictly on instructional, academic content.  This beginning will be filled with information that benefits our students, like a teacher who is a Cyclops working effectively with his one pupil in class and a surfer excelling at boarding school. I am focused - like a magician teacher giving her students trick questions - on more serious content.  No more puns...even though the king of school supplies is the ruler.

Okay, now no more puns.


CONTENT IN THIS POST 

Please feel free to click on a link (below) to be taken directly to your desired information.

Universal Information

6th Grade and New Families to Unit 5 Information


STUDENT SCHEDULE TIMELINE AND INFORMATION

As of today, student schedules have been printed, sealed, and delivered!  Please check your mailbox for this important document!  Some helpful tips when looking at your schedule:

  1. Important!  Please bring your schedule with you during your first week of school!
  2. When you look at your schedule, courses are combined into two blocks.  The top block contains your first semester classes, and the second block contains your second semester classes.
  3. Please check and make sure you have eight courses listed for each semester.  The numbers on the left-side of the courses represent the hour of the day you will attend the class.
  4. The right-side of your schedule lists "Credits."  These are not significant in middle school as we do not populate GPA scores or collect credits!
  5. At the top of your schedule, you will note both your Academic Team and Locker Number are listed for you.  Want to know where your locker is located?  Use this cheat sheet!
  6. Questions?  Please feel free to contact our office!

 

BEFORE SCHOOL PROGRAM AT EVANS

Unit 5 middle schools will once again be offering a before school supervision program for families that are interested.  The program runs from 7:20am-8:20am.  

If you desire to utilize this program, please register your student using this form

Please note the following items:

  1. Parents will be responsible for transporting their child to school each day. 
  2. The program fee is $85.00 per quarter (which equates to about $2.00 per day).  The fee needs to be paid prior to the quarter starting.  There will be no refund if a student does not attend on any given day.
  3. Friday, August 10th is the deadline for sign a student up for this program.
  4. The supervision program will begin Thursday, August 16th and continue throughout the year on all student attendance days. 

 

LOCKER DECORATING 101

Locker decorating and self-guided tours of our building is available on the following dates and times:

  • August 9th from 3:00pm-6:00pm
  • August 10th and August 13th from 8:30am-3:00pm
  • After school until 4:30pm beginning August 16th.
    • Please Note: The school is closed August 14th and 15th for teacher meetings.  No one will be allowed into the building for decorating on these days.  Thanks for understanding!

Decorating TipsVinyl wall adhesive stickers and magnets are encouraged for showing your personality.  Tape of any kind and glue are not allowed on the lockers!  Also, the front of the lockers are for showing your Eagle Nation pride only!  You may personalize the inside of your locker as you see fit!  Thank you for helping keep your "home" looking fantastic!

For more locker decorating information, please refer to this VERY helpful guide: 


 

EAGLE NATION ARRIVAL AND DISMISSAL BASICS

As you continue to prepare for the "big day," here are some helpful guides for "landing" and "taking off" in Eagle Nation!

  • School Hours.  Our school day starts at 8:45am and ends at 3:45pm.  Please note - due to our ability to provide supervision for your student - our doors open for students at 8:20amIf your student needs to be dropped off at Evans before 8:20am, please utilize our Before School Program!
  • Drop-off and Pick-up Procedures.  The front bus lane is for bus riders and buses only during drop-off and pick-up times!  Any student riding with an adult during drop-off and pick-up times will enter and exit through our south doors (facing the softball field) only!  Please understand, for safety reasons, students riding home with an adult are not allowed to exit any other door of our building!
  • Attendance.  Please note the attendance policies outlined in the middle school handbook concerning excused, unexcused, and prearranged absences.  It is crucial to have your student in Eagle Nation as much as possible, as we love having him or her with us!

 

100 CARING ADULTS

In July's Principal's Post, I noted Eagle Nation will once again be participating, in conjunction with The Promise Councilin the "100 Caring Adults" initiative at the beginning of our school year!

What is the "100 Caring Adults" event?  This is where any and all supporters of Eagle Nation, i.e. families, friends, and community members, help welcome students to the 2018 school year by lining both the bus lane and hallways of Evans as students arrive to school.  This gesture demonstrates a community of support for the students while encouraging them to pursue personal and academic excellence!  

This event will happen on Friday, August 17th, at Evans.  Participating adults should arrive to the school by 8:15a.m.  Let's pack the place with kindness!  Can't make it?  No worries! The event will also be live-streamed on our official Facebook page that day!

Here is video of last year's event:

The power of Eagle Nation lies within the attentiveness you have towards the good of others, and your willingness to "be the good" for those around you, too.  I highly encourage you to be a part of this powerful event to celebrate the significant and essential element of human connection that is Eagle Nation!


 

LAPTOP DISTRIBUTION AND INFORMATION

Laptop distribution for students renting a device from the district will occur on Friday, August 17th, here at Evans during the school day.  There is nowhere for you to go and nothing for you to do...well, almost nothing!

If you are renting a device from the district, please make your student aware of your family's "BYOD or RENT" decision prior to the 17th!  This will make distribution run that much more efficient for all!

Questions about ownership of district devices, the BYOD program, making your selection during registration, etc.?  Please visit the Unit 5 website here!


 

STANDARD BASED GRADING AND REPORTING

One of the more exciting (and for some of us - scary!) opportunities for student growth is Unit 5's continued shift in how the middle schools report student progress.  We, in the middle schools, have been working on this transition for the past four years, and our journey includes you, too! Many of you have been a part of this process through communication via prior “Principal Posts,” teachers transitioning to these instructional practices in their
classrooms, and teachers utilizing these reporting methods during the preceding school years.

What is currently happening with Standards Based Grading and Reporting in the middle schools?

In 2017, Math, English Language Arts, Visual Art, and Technology grades were reported on a standards based platform.  Starting this Fall, all content areas - with the exception of 7th and 8th grade Social Studies - will be reported on a standards based platform.  For these content areas, they will no longer report student progress in a traditional manner, i.e. letter grades for these departments. 

Remind me, again, why this change happened?

The emphasis in a standards based classroom, which is present in Unit 5 elementary classrooms, too, is a focus on learning as it relates to standards based skills and concepts. Progress will be reported based on what a student knows and can do. Evidence will be collected through numerous ways including assignments, projects, tests and quizzes. This reporting system will result in more detailed information about your child’s progress with specific topics or skills - not just "activities" - that your child is learning.

How does this impact the classroom?

The focus in a standards based platform is on learning, not point accumulation. Scores and grade marks for each subject strand will still be reported by the electronic gradebook...which will only be Skyward (yay!)!  Teachers will be looking for evidence that students can consistently meet the learning targets. As part of standards based grading, students may resubmit work and re-take assessments if additional learning has occurred. Ultimately, the grade mark that is reported should be an accurate representation of your child’s understanding and mastery of concepts and skills.  Teachers will continue to work with the students, and communicate with you, to ensure the process and expectations for re-submitting work and completing retakes are understood. Please note, teachers have the discretion to utilize a system that works for their content area and classroom.

What about "learner traits/process criteria?"

In addition to reporting academic information about your student, we will also continue to be reporting learner characteristics, i.e. respect, responsibility, collaboration, and investment in learning. It is important in a standards based classroom to not mix behavior reporting with academic reporting so that the academic grade truly represents academic success. The learner characteristics will be reported at the end of each semester.

When are report cards/progress reports created?

Student grades are always available throughout the school year via Skyward.  Frequently checking them, and more importantly, talking with your student about his or her progress is great practice to help your student become invested in his or her academic learning!  "Report cards" or "Progress reports" will be generated at the end of each semester. 

Would you like more information containing standards based grading research, frequently asked questions, and resources for Unit 5 families?  Please visit here!


 

STUDENT IDs

IDs

This school year, Unit 5 School District, along with Unit 5 Technology, Transportation, and Food Service will have middle school students utilize new student IDs for services during the school day.  This includes riding the bus, checking out items from the IMC, and purchasing food items. Please know more information about this new process will be provided to both your student(s) and you by Eagle Nation staff, at the beginning of the year, and as it becomes available to us, too.


MIDDLE SCHOOL MATH CONTENT AND SEQUENCE

6th grade parents and those new to Unit 5: Please refer to this document as a resource for both the math course content descriptions as well as their sequences used in Unit 5's middle school math courses.


 

IMPORTANT DATES AND ACTION ITEMS

  • Walk-In Registration for families who have not registered online is August 9th from 3:00pm-6:00pm at Evans.  Please note that individuals attending walk-in registration will be using computers to register online.
  • If you ordered a School Supply Kit, you may pick it up at Evans during the following times: 
    • August 9th from 3:00pm-6:00pm
    • August 10th and August 13th from 8:30am-3:00pm
  • Did you order locks for your student’s locker?  Do you still need to purchase locks?  No worries!  Please stop by the Evans office this summer to pick up – or purchase – locks for your student!  Locks are $6.00 each!  
  • The First Day of School is Thursday, August 16th!  Oh, boy (sad trombone)!
  • Eagle Nation's Back to School Family Celebration will be on Thursday, August 23rd!  More informaiton about this new event will be coming in August!
  • Finally, as noted above, registration is open to all Eagle Nation families at this time.  Please take some time to get your student(s) registered for the 2018-2019 school year at Evans (they don’t want to miss it – it’s going to be awesome!).  More information about registration can be found on the main page of our website (www.unit5.org/Evans).  You can also reach out to Mrs. Mattocks, Eagle Nation’s Counseling Department Administrative Assistant here.

IN CLOSING 

Middle school, like "back to school," can fool people.  Individuals convince themselves it can be an excruciating, unavoidably rough time for a student.  Sometimes this is spurred by anxiety, personal past experiences, or projecting fears of a kid turning into a teen.  None the less, I truly believe the beauty of this time together is the profound opportunity to intentionally navigate your student in proactive and positive ways!

No joke!  However, these opportunities for your student's positive growth is only possible by engaging with your student, investing in us, and supporting us as we all work together to aide in your student's building of the framework needed for his or her future success.  This means we will both have to allow your student to make and assume responsibilities for his or her decisions.  This is especially true as decision-making is typically grounded in emotion - and not logic - during this stage of development!  The good news?  In Eagle Nation, we pride ourselves in creating an environment to help educate and guide students in how to make good decisions for themselves, as well as for the good of others, too.

Honestly, the hardest part during middle school is the transition we - as adults - must make from "teaching the right answer" and "sweeping in for the save" to "coaching and guiding" in your student's transition into independent development.  The most important homework for all of us during this time... is to simply affirm our students - together - in their journey!

THIS is what makes us Eagle Nation.  

 

As always, please take time for yourself, your family, and your friends.  Learn something new and challenge yourself to "Be the Good" outside of school.  As an expectation, let us continue to desire to improve as individuals, raise the performance of others, and increase the quality of Evans.

Please stay safe, and I look forward to seeing you soon!

 

Don't forget!  Please make sure to "fly with us" on our social media platforms!

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McGraw

Mr. McGraw
mcgrawc@unit5.org