12/7 - 1/2 Day for Students
Professional Afternoon for Staff
Spaghetti with Santa
12/8 - Grades 6-8 Chorus Concert
12/9 - Hour of Code at Blake
Term 1 Report Cards go Home
12/12 - Blake Site Council Mtg (3:30 p.m.)
12/13 - 7th Grade to A Christmas Carol
Blake PTO Meeting - 9 a.m.
12/14 - Grades 6-8 Band Concert
12/15 - Grades 6-8 Orchestra Concert
12/16 - 8th Grade to XITC
12/23 - 1/2 Day for Students
12/24-1/2 - No School
1/3 - School Resumes
Topic/Question for the Dinner Table
To help encourage conversations and dialogue about caring, compassion, and relationships, our topic/question for the dinner table is: What traits do you value in your relationships? A Caring Culture (Week of 12/4/16) (This is an anonymous Google Form)
Term 1 Report Cards
This Friday students will bring home their report cards for the first term. Time will be spent in advisory with students reflecting upon the work they accomplished, as well as setting healthy goals for the second term. If you have any questions about your child's work or the reports, please start by having a conversation with your own child. If questions still exist, you should contact the teacher directly to gain more insight.
Honor Roll Notification/Continued Change in Practice
As you may remember last year we informed you of a change in our practice of recognizing sixth grade students via an honor roll at Blake, and I am writing to update the community with our plans for seventh and eighth grade students. After discontinuing the honor roll for sixth grade last year, a key area of focus as a staff, Site Council, and community over the last year was discussing the implications for future potential changes in our formal systems of recognition for the entire student body. Recognizing our students for their academic accomplishments is important and we need to make sure our systems for doing so are relevant, meaningful, and appropriate.
Keeping the social-emotional developmental needs of our students at the forefront, we have spent time over the last five years as a Blake community (students, staff, Site Council, and parents) discussing feedback, motivation, and appropriate methods to both recognize and honor student achievement at Blake. As our mission statement reads, it is our goal to both challenge and support all of our students, encouraging them to explore new opportunities for learning and growth: Blake Middle School believes in a living mission statement, based on the concept that our community seeks and respects knowledge, integrity, character, wisdom, and the willingness to adapt to a continually evolving world. As such, we have been examining and discussing the practices that we currently have in place, as well as taking time to explore other options to recognize our students in a healthy, appropriate, and productive manner. One key focus area of this discussion for our staff in conjunction with the Blake Site Council has been the role of an honor roll for our students. Several years ago we made the decision to stop publishing the Academic Recognition and Academic Distinction lists in the town newspaper. Our discussions continued to examine whether the existence of an honor roll aligns with our mission. Taking the social-emotional and developmental needs of our students into account and reflecting on the alignment of our beliefs and practices, we have come to the conclusion that it is a practice that is not developmentally appropriate and is a practice/tradition that will be discontinued for all of our students over the next year, ending at the conclusion of this academic year for the 8th grade students.
Recognizing our students for their academic accomplishments is indeed important, but we believe that the honor roll is not the appropriate system for academic recognition at this juncture in their development as learners. Reflection is one of our core values here at Blake, and we will continue to both examine and implement methods for recognizing our students throughout the year for all of their accomplishments. As always, I am happy to discuss any questions or concerns you may have.
School Connectedness at Blake
School connectedness, or how connected a child feels to his or her school community, is a topic that is important to us at Blake. Some families may recall that last winter we surveyed students in order to determine whether each child had an adult in our school that s/he felt comfortable seeking out if s/he has a big or small problem and what quality about that person made them approachable. This information helps us to identify students who may be in need of more connections at school and gives us a sense of how connected our student body is feeling in general. It also gives us important information about the qualities that are important to middle school students. We administered this survey again this year on Monday, December 5th during advisory. This year, students completed it as a google form on their devices. Students who are not currently using an iPad were able to use a classroom desktop computer. Please take a few minutes to ask your child how it went, how they felt about it, and talk in general about their feelings of connectedness at school. Once we have had a chance to look at results, a guidance counselor will be in contact with families of children who indicate that they do not have a connected adult at school. As always, please be sure to reach out to a guidance counselor, Kelly Campbell or any of your child's teachers if you have a question or concern.
Hour of Code at Blake
Blake students and staff will be participating in the 'Hour of Code' on Friday, December 9. This endeavor is part of Computer Science Education Week and is part of one of the largest learning events in history. We live in a world surrounded by technology, and we know that whatever field our students choose to go into as adults, their ability to succeed will increasingly hinge on understanding how technology works. However, only a tiny fraction of us are learning computer science, and less students are studying it than a decade ago. This skill is increasingly important for our students as we work to increase their problem-solving and analytical skills in the fields of science, engineering, mathematics, and technology. That’s why our entire school is joining in on the largest learning events in history: The Hour of Code, during Computer Science Education Week (Dec. 5-11). Last year, 15 million students tried computer science in one week. This year, we're joining students worldwide to reach 100 million students! This Friday, December 11 all Blake students will participate in the Hour of Code and we will be sure to highlight some of the work on our Mobile Learning Blog. I encourage everyone to check out the following links...
Hour of Code
Calling All Learners and Teachers for Hour of Code
What Most Schools Don't Teach
Coding in the Classroom: What is it and Why is it So Important?
Private School Information
For those families looking to apply to private school for next year, please make sure all materials (all teacher recommendation forms, transcript request, an 8x11 envelope and 4 stamps per envelope) are to the guidance office at least 3 weeks prior to the application due date. We want to make sure the teachers have sufficient time to provide thoughtful letters for all students applying. If the forms will be sent electronically to the teachers, please email Mrs. Avery and your student's guidance counselor to inform them. Mrs. Avery tracks all applications and makes sure they get out in time. Any questions, please contact Mr. Marenghi (6th), Ms. Allen (7th) or Mrs. Dondero (8th).
Blake Winter Intramurals
The Winter Session Intramural offerings will be available the week of December 12th.
Reminder for all Blake Students and Families
This is a reminder that as a school we will not be orchestrating 'Secret Santa' type activities for students in which gifts are being purchased and/or given. For a number of reasons, school is not the proper forum for the exchange of gifts, and we appreciate your understanding and support.
Christmas in the City
Permission slips went home for the 8th grade's field trip to Christmas in the City. In the next few weeks 8th grade advisories will be busy shopping for gifts for children attending the Christmas in the City Event. Each 8th grade advisory is responsible for purchasing a gift for a child off of his or her wish list, worth up to $50, in order to help keep the magic and spirit of the holidays alive for these children. The 8th grade will be purchasing gifts for 14 children and will deliver these gifts when they attend the Christmas in the City community service field trip on December 16. A huge thank you to our Blake PTO for funding our transportation! Contributions towards the cost of the buses are greatly appreciated - checks should be made out to Blake Middle School with Xmas in the City Transportation in the memo line.
Community Service Club Information
The Community Service Club of Blake is holding its annual coat drive at Blake beginning Monday, December 12. The drive will conclude on Friday January 6. Please donate new or gently used WINTER coats. The donation box can be found at the front of the school starting on the 12th. All coats that are donated will be delivered to Medfield's Anton Cleaners who sponsors the drive.
The sixth grade is hosting a movie matinee for all sixth grade students on Thursday, December 22 after school from 2:15-4:30. The cost of admission is $2. All proceeds are donated to World Connect, a world-wide organization focused on community driven projects. As part of the sixth grade curriculum on Poverty, sixth grade students will learn more about the organization and its mission come early spring when students will grow tomato plants as a way of experiencing the demands that international poverty has on communities across the globe. More information is to come during the new year.
26 Days of Kindness
The four year anniversary of the tragic events in Newtown will be upon us shortly. At Blake, are continuing a tradition started two years ago by honoring those who died that day by asking everyone in the Blake community to participate in 26 Days of Kindness. On the document, you will see the acts of kindness are not 'big', nor are they complicated, yet each can make an impact on someone, including each of us. On Friday of each week you will see that the acts are a little 'bigger' in nature. We encourage you to print out the document and post it in a public spot (i.e. refrigerator) for your entire family to reference during the next month. We are going to document these days and put them together in a way that we can refer back to easily and remind ourselves that kindness is something we all can practice every day. I encourage you to check out the links for 26 Days of Kindness on Mrs. Gumas's website - mrsgumas.com. During the weekend or over the Thanksgiving holiday, if you see your student partaking in an act of kindness and could take a picture or video, please post it to the Kindness padlet.
Parent iPad Survey Fall 2016
As you know we are continually working on assessing our programs and are looking to gain insight from our students and parents to provide feedback. We have developed a survey that is being distributed electronically to all 6th-8th grade students and parents as part of a data collection assessment for the iPad Initiative. The questions will hopefully serve as a pre-assessment (beginning of year) tool and we will be administering similar surveys at the end of the year as well. The questions have to do with organizational skills, executive functioning, and comfort with technology. Questions are being sent to all three grades. The survey is not an evaluative tool of the teachers or the students; rather, it is a tool that we believe will help us gain insight about the initiative, our programming, and technology. The questionnaire is anonymous, and your identity can not and will not be discovered through the completion of this survey. Please take the time to complete a unique survey for each student you have at Blake Middle School. You will see that the survey is for both students and parents, and students will be given time in school to complete it. It is important we only get one response per student. We sincerely appreciate your honest responses and are hoping for 100% participation from the student body and parents. The survey should take no more than 10 minutes of your time. Your sincere responses are essential to our information-gathering vision and mission. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Link to the survey: Student/Parent iPad Survey Fall 2016
Book Discussion Group for Parents
The next Blake Site Council/Blake community book will be The Gardener and the Carpenter: What the New Science of Child Development Tells Us About the Relationship Between Parents and Children by Alison Gopnik. Stay tuned for more information!
Blake Basketball Information
I am pleased to share that Lucas Mihalich (girls team) and Seth Hellerstein (boys team) will be coaching our 8th grade basketball teams this winter. Practices will begin the week of Monday, 12/5 and more information will be shared. If you have any questions, please contact Lucas (firstname.lastname@example.org), Seth (email@example.com), or Eric Scott (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Angel Run Wrapup
Many thanks to all for the great turn out for MFi Angel Run 2016. It was a beautiful day and the many runners and volunteers made for another highly successful Angel Run. Know that your participation goes a long way to helping those in our community in need. Special thanks to the Blake Middle School for hosting our finish line and after party.
Message from Blake PTO
TEACHER & STAFF HOLIDAY LUNCHEON - Please take a look at the Sign-Up Genius for the holiday luncheon on Wednesday, December 7th and see if you can help. Please send your donations and gift cards to Kim Price at 62 Philip St by the end of day on Tuesday, September 6th. Thanks so much! http://www.signupgenius.com/go/70a054bacab2faa8-blake3
BLAKE TEACHER & STAFF THANK YOU FUND - Has a teacher or staff member at Blake done something special for your child? Something above and beyond what is expected? Or do you simply want to just say thank you for all you do each and every day? NOW IS YOUR CHANCE! Anyone may contribute a financial gift to a teacher or staff member at any time. The teacher/staff member can use these funds to purchase books, apps, games, supplies and other items for their classroom as needed. This is a great way to say thank you and give your child’s teacher a little extra something that will benefit both the teacher and the children in their class. This is all you have to do:
1. Write a check made payable to BLAKE PTO with a note in the memo line (or separate note) indicating which teacher’s or staff member’s fund you are contributing to (one check can be distributed to multiple funds).
2. Send the check (and note for the recipient if you would like) to school in an envelope with your child and include Erika Clarke, Blake PTO Treasurer on the envelope.
A note and certificate will be sent on your behalf to the teacher/staff member letting them know that you have contributed to their fund. Please contact Kim Price mailto:email@example.com with any questions.
ONGOING BAY STATE TEXTILE FUNDRAISER - Donate unwanted textiles to one of the bins located at the schools, transfer station or Hinkley Pond. For more information, go to our website and visit Bay State Textiles.
PTO MEETING - Please join us for our next PTO meeting on December 13th @ 9:00 am in the Blake LMC.
DON’T MISS OUR POSTS SENT THROUGHOUT THE WEEK - Like us on Facebook Medfield K-8 PTO, follow us on Twitter https://twitter.com/MedfieldK8PTO
Message from MCPE
Give the gift of appreciation this holiday season by giving your child's teachers the tools they need to innovate! Make a tax deductible Blue Ribbon Donation in any amount to the MCPE, and your designated teacher or staff member receives a personalized note acknowledging your appreciation of their skill and dedication. Blue Ribbon donations may be made throughout the year, but the deadline for delivery by Winter Break is Wednesday, December 21. http://www.medfieldcoalition.org/events-programs/blue-ribbon-program/