News from the Middle School- March 1, 2019

News from the Middle School- March 1, 2019

March 1, 2019

We hope that our students and families enjoyed time with family and friends over February Break!  By the looks of the weather forecast, March is coming in like a lion. We are looking forward to the milder weather on the horizon!  Our students and faculty brought positive energy back to school with them and we are looking forward to the learning that will take place between now and April Break!


No School, March 11, 2019

Just a reminder that there is no school on Monday March 11, 2019.  This is a regularly scheduled professional development day.


Fads and Challenges

From time to time, a new fad or “challenge” makes its way into the lives of adolescents.   Social media has definitely resulted in fads or challenges spreading more rapidly among children, especially impressionable middle school students.  Recently, there is a disturbing social media hoax called Momo appearing on a variety of sites and apps that encourages the user (kids) to hurt themselves or something bad will happen to them. This has caused a lot of worry, confusion and angst for our students.  Some of our students are able to compartmentalize the disturbing messages as hype while others are left truly scared and frightened. As we process through an already complicated digital world, it is critical that home and school partner to ensure safety for all our children.  I encourage you to have a conversation with your child about to better understand what their experience has been and to reinforce making good choices when with their peers, in person and online.


MSMS PTO Fundraiser and Next Meeting

The MSMS PTO Discount Card Fundraiser has begun!  In a brief kick-off meeting Monday, students learned how the fundraiser will work.  They were given order forms and a sample card. This fundraiser will run through Friday, March 15, 2019.  Students who are not participating in the fundraiser can return the sample card and order form at any time. Once students have completed their order form, they can return their envelope, cash or check (made payable to MSMS PTO), and sample card to their homeroom teacher at any time.  


The next meeting of the MSMS PTO will be Thursday, March 7, 2019 at 7:00 pm in the Learning Commons.


MCAS, Spring 2019

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.  We will be working with teachers to make sure that students are familiar with the technology used to navigate the computer-based assessment and are confident that the use of technology will not get in the way of students being able to demonstrate the skills the MCAS is meant to assess.  

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


BHS Course Selection Forms

Eighth grade students are asked to return their pink course selection sheets to homeroom teachers no later than March 8, 2019.   


A Message from BHS Art Course Options


We've made many exciting changes to the Program of Studies in Art & Design for next year, and we've been getting questions from incoming students, or their high school siblings, and their parents.


With the changes to the high school art course offerings for freshmen, the courses we that we will now offer at the high school that are closest to what is currently called "Design" will be 2D Design Foundation and 3D Design Foundation (Both are semester courses.). Pairing the semester courses Drawing Foundation and Painting Foundation would be a good starting point as well. A more intensive, full-year, honors-level option is Art Fellows 1, which would eventually lead to what are now the Portfolio and the AP Studio Art courses. It includes a variety of materials and techniques in both 2D and 3D.


Courses open to incoming freshmen (simple list) - for MSMS


Courses open to incoming freshmen (bulleted descriptions) - for MSMS


Possible 4-year sequences of studies (table)


BHS Art & Design Program Presentation (slideshow)


Finally, students and parents can refer to our Art & Design Program website at, which has links to the teacher blogs/websites for all current courses and to many examples of student work. We will eventually be updating it to include the new courses.

Date Range

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