August 23 - New Student Orientation
August 29 - Teacher Day
August 30 - Teacher Day
September 3 - Labor Day
September 4 - First Day of School
September 7 - CSA Mtg (9:30 a.m. in Blake LMC)
September 13 - Grades 7/8 PIN
September 17 - Rosh Hashanah; No School
September 20 - Grade 6 PIN
September 26 - Yom Kippur; No School
September 28 - Picture Day
October 5 - Teacher Day; No School for Students
October 8 - Columbus Day; No School
October 9-12 - 7th Grade to Nature's Classroom
Locks and Phones
Next year all students will be required to bring in a combination lock with which to lock their hallway lockers. They will give their combination to their advisory teacher for safekeeping in the event that they forget it. In order to give students time to practice using their lock and become comfortable with it, we recommend that families consider purchasing it in June so that students may practice using it throughout the summer.
In order to minimize distraction during the school day, all cell phones will need to be off and locked in lockers next year during school hours. Students will not be permitted to carry phones during the day. If a student needs to make a phone call, phones are available in the guidance office and the main office. In addition, if a parent needs to contact a student during the school day, please call the main office and we are happy to get messages to students throughout the day. As always, students are discouraged from bringing valuable and distracting items to school.
Summer Reading and Supply Lists
Summer reading is an expectation and a valued activity here at Blake. Every student is responsible for reading our all-school book, Hope Was Here, by Joan Bauer. In addition to the all-school book, each student must read the respective grade-level requirements for summer reading (all reading lists are on Blake's website at http://www.medfield.net/blake/summer-reading.html). During the first two weeks of school, students will participate in several activities related to this required reading, culminating with grade-level assemblies the week of September 17. Along similar lines, the supply lists for all students and the swim test form for incoming 8th graders is listed on the Blake home page (http://www.medfield.net/blake/).
Theme for 2012-2013 - Perseverance
As you know, our collective theme for the 2011-2012 school year at Blake was one of 'community'. The shared theme for this coming year is one of 'perseverance' and, as we did with community, our goal is to touch on the theme throughout the year - with advisory, assemblies, student recognition, and in our daily work with students. Many of the attributes we want for our students link directly to perseverance, along with our core values and mission statement. This year marked the 40th anniversary of the passing of Title IX, a component of the Education Amendments of 1972, that stated: "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination, under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance." I believe that this is an anniversary that is worthy for our students and staff to recognize, and the historical components and impact directly tie to the theme of perseverance. The ultimate goal of Title IX was to ensure gender equity in education. In that same vein, we are continuing our efforts in conjunction with the Medfield Veterans Committee's efforts towards the construction of the Vietnam War Memorial at Blake. Our goal is to hold a dedication assembly for the Blake community around Veterans Day this November. We look forward to helping our students gain an appreciation for perseverance throughout the coming year, and we will be looking to engage the community in this endeavor as well.
The Education Cooperative - New at Blake for 2012-2013
This year at Blake we will be having a cohort of students from The Education Cooperative (TEC), a collaborative educational collaborative program, join our community. These students will spend the majority of their day in a sub-separate program in our school building, but they may also be integrated into certain classes with appropriate TEC staffing throughout the year. We are excited that this program will be housed here at Blake this year.
A significant element of our Administrative Technology Team's recent work, in conjunction with the increased implementation of technology in our schools, has been the exploration of a uniform, school-wide platform for mobile devices in the classrooms. We are committed to taking the time to make thoughtful, informed decisions and the district survey that was administered this past winter was part of this process. In many school districts, the iPad has become a preferred educational tool for a wide variety of reasons: flexibility, portability, and engagement, to name a few. Along these lines, Blake Middle School has an opportunity this academic year to explore the potential benefit of these devices by having one cluster of students and teachers participate in a yearlong pilot program during the 2012-2013 academic year. We believe that a pilot study will allow our teachers and staff to thoughtfully implement and review the effectiveness of the iPads, while assessing their feasibility and impact on a small scale before any full-scale changes are in place. Feedback from this pilot program will be a critical factor in both the school and district's future implementation and direction we will take with technology. For the process of establishing the pilot cluster, teams of teachers put forth proposals to be considered for the program, and the Stars cluster in the 8th grade has been designated as our pilot cluster. It is important to keep in mind that teachers and students on this cluster will be following the same curriculum frameworks and will be following the same common core Blake curriculum as their peers in the other clusters. To assure and maintain classroom consistency and device management, and stay true to the guiding principles of our pilot program, we are currently not permitting other students to bring their mobile devices into Blake Middle School. We are excited about this opportunity and look forward to sharing our findings and developments throughout the year.
We have two openings for parent representatives (Grade 6 and Grade 8) on the Blake Middle School Site Council. The Site Council meets monthly to review issues and discuss initiatives for the Blake Middle School community. The Council is also responsibile for developing the annual School Improvement Plan and monitors progress with the plan throughout the year. Members include the administration, teacher representatives, and members of the community. The meetings are typically held once a month on Monday afternoons at 3:30 p.m. Serving on the Site Council is a wonderful way to get involved in your child's education and have an active and positive role in improving the Blake Middle School experience. Interested parents should send a letter of interest, indicating their desire and rationale for involvement, to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) by Friday, August 24. If multiple parents express interest, an election will take place at the respective parent nights. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.
Parent Information Nights
Our Parent Information Nights (PIN's) will take place on Thursday, September 13 at 7:00 p.m. for grades seven and eight and Thursday, September 20 for grade six. These nights will provide you with an opportunity to visit your student's classrooms and hear about the curriculum and exciting programs that will take place throughout the year. Sixth grade chorus, band, and orchestra parents are invited to informational meetings at 6:30 p.m. on September 20, prior to PIN. There will be an optional meeting on Thursday, September 13 at 6:30 p.m. for eighth grade parents interested in hearing about the trip to Washington, D.C. We will send out reminders and more details on all of these meetings as we get closer to the actual dates.
This is a reminder that students are not permitted to bring in baked goods (cookies, cakes, etc.) to celebrate birthdays or personal events. There are many students who have food allergies and other dietary needs, and it is important that we continue to provide all of our students with a safe and healthy environment. Your cooperation is greatly appreciated. On the topic of general reminders, when shopping for 'back to school clothing', please bear in mind the Blake Middle School guidelines for appropriate attire. We are confident that good judgment on the part of students and parents will result in the wearing of clothing which will contribute to a respectful academic environment and educational atmosphere. At Blake, we endeavor to remove as many distractions from the day as possible so that students are able to focus on the most important aspect of their day - learning.
You may have already met or been introduced to some of these individuals, but please join me in welcoming the following staff (some returning or in a new capacity) to Blake:
- Eric Scott - Athletic Director
- Diane Horvath - Technology Integration Specialist (Grades K-8)
- Neal Sonnenberg - Technology Integration Specialist (Grades 6-12)
- Susan Bycoff - Mathematics Content Specialist
- Gina Muscatell - Grade 6 Science (Koalas)
- Brenda Perachi - Grade 8 Mathematics (Stars)
- Sarah Pratt - Grade 6 English (Otters)
- Samantha Hagan - Inclusion Facilitator
- Joyce Wu - Mandarin (Grades 7 and 8)
- Elaine Liu - Mandarin (Grade 6)
- Maura Batts - Spanish (Grades 7 and 8)
- Sophilia LeBlanc - Spanish (Grade 6)
- Christina Delaney - Art
- Ellen Gelinas - Wellness