January 9, 2020
Happy New Year!
We hope that you enjoyed the break with family and friends! It is often said that students and teachers are lucky because they have two first days of the year- one in September and a second in January. Each new year provides an opportunity to reflect and to look ahead. As we approach the second half of the school year, it is a perfect time to reflect on what is going well, think about what goals we would like to achieve, and identify opportunities for growth. We are excited for the opportunity to celebrate our students’ successes, assist students with reflecting on their progress, and support their continued growth and learning.
There is a lot going on at MSMS this winter! We wanted to give you a quick overview of upcoming events and focus areas.
Friday, PRIDE Days
Each Friday, our faculty and staff show their school spirit by wearing Marshall Simonds Middle School or Burlington gear. We will be encouraging our students to wear their MSMS, Burlington, or wear our school colors (red, white, and blue) on Fridays. Just a reminder that our online Spirit Store is always open!
Student Team Meetings
The middle school administration will be meeting with teams of students in the coming weeks. The purpose of these meetings is to reinforce our core values, clarify our expectations, and review our emergency protocols.
Guidance counselors, Ms. Wyllie (grade 6), Mr. Conceison (grade 7), and Mrs. Gibbons (grade 8), will be going into classrooms the week of January 13th to conduct a lesson intended to explore identity, with a focus on respecting self and others and celebrating differences.
Each year, public schools in Massachusetts are expected to conduct routine screenings. These screenings will take place the week of January 20th. A letter was sent home prior to the winter break with information about the SBIRT screening (grade 7) and our nurses will be sending a more detailed message about all mandated screenings in the next week.
Grade 6 Mix-it-Up Lunch
Before the February break, our WEB Leaders will be reuniting with our 6th grade students during lunch. This mid-year check in will be a good opportunity to see how the transition to middle school is going and to make plans for the second half of the year. On that day, we will be asking students to sit with randomly assigned groups of students and WEB Leaders. This will provide students the opportunity to get to know peers that they may not otherwise get the chance to.
Choral Concert, January 22, 2020
Instrumental Concert, January 23, 2020
This year, Marshall Simonds Middle School will host two Winter Concerts, one for instrumental groups and one for choral groups. The concerts will begin at 7:00pm.
Grade 6 After School Party, January 24, 2020 (2:00-3:30pm)
Student Council in partnership with our WEB Leaders will be hosting an after school party for grade 6 students. There will be music, games, and activities for students. Permission slips went home with students on 1/8/20.
Grade 7 & 8 Valentine’s Day Dance, February 7, 2020 (evening)
Student Council is hosting a Valentine’s themed dance for students in grades 7 & 8. Permission slips, with more information, will be going home soon.
21st Century Learning Conference, February 5, 2020
Planning is underway for the second 21st Century Learning Conference of the year, which will take place on Wednesday, February 5, 2020 (February 6 in case of inclement weather). We have taken the feedback that we received from students and teachers and have made some adjustments to the day and we are looking forward to another great day of learning. We are finalizing the list of sessions that will be offered and will share that with students and families soon.
This 21st Century Learning Conference provided an opportunity for us to collaborate with Burlington High School. In the morning, grade 8 students will begin the high school transition process with a preview of Burlington High School, an introduction to Naviance, and the opportunity to learn about the courses offered. Grade 8 students will still have the opportunity to participate in afternoon sessions.
Thank you- Food Drive and Toy Drive
The Student Council and the Connections classroom would like to thank the many families who made donations to the food drive and toy drive. Thanks to the generosity of the MSMS community, we were able to share a truckload of food donations with the Burlington Food Pantry and over 140 toys with Boston Children’s Hospital.
Project 351 Ambassador
We are pleased to report that Madison Hammond, grade 8, will represent Marshall Simonds Middle School for Project 351. Project 351 is an event which began nine years ago where 351 students, one chosen from each Massachusetts city or town, met for a day of service. During this event, students will gather to share ideas and conduct service activities. Upon returning from this experience, participants share the message of service within their community and initiate a service learning project in their school and community. We are proud of Madison and we know she will demonstrate MSMS PRIDE in the upcoming event.
Cell Phones and Smart Watches
Cell phones and “smart” watches can be an extremely helpful communication tool and many families are comforted to know that they can contact their child after school through the use of a cell phone. While useful, cell phones can also create a distraction to student learning and can cause a disruption to the learning environment. Recently, we have begun to see an increase in cell phone use during the school day which is causing disruptions to the learning. Students at Marshall Simonds Middle School are expected to keep their cell phones turned off and put away throughout the school day. Students are encouraged to lock their cell phone in their locker, to minimize distractions. We ask that you remind students that they should not be using their cell phone during the school day. We also ask that you refrain from texting students during the day. If a child needs to contact their family during the day, they may use the phone in the office. This allows us to make sure that we know when a student may not be feeling well and provide necessary support. Thank you for your support and assistance in this matter.
This past fall, we updated our website with updated content. We will continue to add information and we hope that this becomes a “one stop shop” for important information for MSMS.
We want to thank the many families who have donated supplies for the comfort stations, a student led initiative to alleviate a challenge that some students were experiencing. The comfort stations had been a big success and our students had been respectful of the supplies. Unfortunately, before the break, we had several incidents of students using the supplies in ways that they were not intended, resulting in waste. As a result, we have decided to suspend the comfort stations for a period of time. The supplies that have been donated are still available in the nurse’s office for students. It is our hope that we can re-establish the comfort stations in a few weeks. Thank you for your continued support.