April 3, 2019
It is hard to believe that April has arrived and (hopefully) we will be seeing warmer weather in the coming weeks and days. With nicer weather and the end of the year quickly approaching, some students begin to lose momentum. It is our intention to keep our students actively engaged in learning until the end of the year. As the end of the year approaches, you can expect more frequent communication in an effort to keep you informed of all the end of the year happenings.
New Schedule Update
This year, our faculty identified a need to review the current schedule at the middle school to make sure that it meets the complex needs of our learners. We established the following goal:
To create a master schedule for Marshall Simonds Middle School that effectively meets the diverse needs of all learners, allows us to efficiently use available resources, and offers our students a well balanced curricular program, including allied arts classes.
We have been meeting regularly throughout the year and engaged in a process to identify strengths and challenges of our current schedule, reviewed other area middle school schedules, and identified principles to guide the development of a new master schedule. We are getting closer to finalizing a draft of a new schedule and we are looking forward to sharing it with families during our next Principal Coffee Hour on Thursday, April 25, 2019. We have scheduled two times on that day, 8:00 am and 6:00 pm, to accommodate families. We are excited to share this new schedule with families, answer questions, and get your feedback.
The third quarter will come to an end this week and we will be sending report cards home with students on Thursday, April 11th. When report cards are distributed, we encourage you to review it with your child, celebrate their successes and set goals for the fourth and final quarter. If you have any questions or concerns, you are encouraged to contact your child’s teacher or guidance counselor.
Students will begin their quarter 4 classes on Monday, April 8, 2019.
This quarter we are going to pilot publishing a digital report card to the Aspen Family Portal. We will publish the reports shortly after school on Thursday, April 11th. You will receive an email with instructions for accessing the digital report card, when the reports are published. If you are not regularly accessing Aspen, please take a moment between now and the 11th to attempt to login. If you know your username, but are not sure of your password, you should be able to reset your password using the “I forgot my password” link on the login page. If you are unsure of your username or have trouble logging in, please reach out to the Student Information Office by sending an email to email@example.com.
Aspen Login Page: http://ma-burlington.myfollett.com
Each year, all students in grades 6 through 8 participate in the state mandated MCAS testing. All students are assessed in English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics. Students in grade 8 also participate in the Science, Technology, and Engineering assessment. Again, this year, all students in grades 6 through 8 will be taking the computer-based MCAS. This past Friday, we conducted an infrastructure trial. In addition to testing the technology infrastructure, this trial provided students an opportunity to become familiar with the testing application.
The assessment window is determined by the state and individual schools have the ability to schedule within each window of time. There are a number of factors that go into determining the testing dates and we do our best to provide a testing schedule that best meets the needs of students. Below, please find the 2019 MCAS testing schedule for Marshall Simonds Middle School. Please keep these dates in mind as student absences during this time are particularly disruptive.
English Language Arts, grades 6-8
Tuesday, April 9th and Wednesday, April 10th
Mathematics, grades 6-8
Tuesday, May 14th and Wednesday, May 15th
Science, Technology, and Engineering, grade 8
Monday, May 20th and Tuesday, May 21st
Preparing for MCAS
On Monday, April 8, 2019, we will be holding short meetings with students at each grade level. In addition to communicating some of the expectations during testing, we will be encouraging students to do their best work and apply the skills that they have learned this and previous years. Our hope is that our meetings with students reduce some of the worry that assessments can sometimes cause and confirm their readiness. While the MCAS is not a test that you can study for, there are a few things that you can do to help your child be prepared next week.
Come to school well rested and on time
Eat a well balanced breakfast
Bring a book to read if you finish before the session is done
Demonstrate MSMS PRIDE, especially perseverance and integrity
Student Council Dances
This past Friday, Grade 6 After School Dance Party was a huge success and feedback from students has been positive!
This Friday, April 5th, the Student Council will host the first dance for students in 7th and 8th grade! We are continuing to sell tickets and collect permission slips through Wednesday, April 3, 2019. No tickets will be sold at the door on Friday. The dance will begin at 6:30 pm and run through 9:30 pm. Please see below for important information about the dance
Students should be dropped off at the front of the school and enter through the glass hallway doors (to the left when facing the main entrance).
Only students who have purchased a ticket in advance will be allowed to attend the dance.
Students will need to be picked up at the Peach Orchard loop at 9:30 pm. We ask that families follow the established pick-up procedures, turning around in the lot behind the gym and getting into line.
If a student needs to leave before 9:30 pm, they should let a teacher know and they will walk the student out to the car.
No student will be allowed to walk home for any reason.
Health Class Update
Next week grade 7 health classes will be learning about the dangers of Vaping (electronic cigarettes). Mrs. Eovine and Mrs. Fay, our health educators, have been working closely with Officer Sheppard and Officer Costa, our School Resource Officers, on lessons about the dangers of vaping and support with making good decisions. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to Mrs. Eovine or Mrs. Fay.
Resources for Families on Vaping
Talking to Your Kids about e-cigarettes - tip sheet from the Surgeon General
Grade level assemblies have been a long standing tradition at MSMS. Next week, students at each grade level will participate in an assembly meant to build community, showcase their hard work, and celebrate their success.
While we always look forward to our grade level assemblies, we are super excited for the first annual Grade 8 March (ok- April) Madness Basketball Tournament organized by Teen Light. Students who wish to participate in the tournament are currently assembling teams. On the morning of April 12th, the students will play against each other in a fast paced bracket round. The winner of the student tournament will then play in a final game against a faculty team! This student led event was suggested by and completely organized by our Teen Light student leaders.
Absences and Requesting Work
Just a reminder to families to call the MSMS Absent Line (781-270-1781 ext.1) any time your student will be absent or late for school. Please call this line even if you have informed your child’s teacher of their absence, as sometimes the message does not get to the main office.
There are times when a family will make the decision to take a family vacation during regularly scheduled school days. Just a friendly reminder that teachers are not required to furnish assignments in advance for students planning to go on vacation, overstaying a vacation, or leaving prior to dismissal for holidays. Upon their return to school, students are responsible for making up the work that they miss and it should be made up in the same number of days the student is absent. If your teacher does provide work before the absence, it is expected that work be returned upon your child’s return to school.
Cell phones 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 his or her 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 supports. Thank you for your support and assistance in this matter.
News from the MSMS PTO
Next Meeting- April 4, 2018
The next PTO meeting is scheduled to take place on Thursday, April 4, 2019. The meetings begin at 7:00 pm and take place in the Learning Commons at MSMS.
Discount Card Fundraiser- Update
A HUGE thank you to all those who participated in the PTO’s discount card fundraiser. The PTO should have discount cards ready for distribution on Monday, April 8th. If your child has not returned their sample card or there was a discrepancy with the order, you will be receiving a separate email.
Textile Bin- NEW MSMS Location
The white textile boxes that can be found at each school in Burlington are part of the Bay State Textiles program that focuses on spreading awareness and seeks to educate the public about the problem of unwanted textiles. There is no cost to the program and Bay State Textiles handles all of the logistics. When you drop your unwanted textiles in the box (located in the administration lot to the right of the main driveway), we receive a financial donation from the company. A list of textiles that will be accepted can be found here baystatetextiles.com. Please make MSMS your destination for donating unwanted textiles!