March 11 - Harmony Day (see details below)
Royal Pizza Night for Blake
March 13 - Incoming 7th Grade Parent Night and Nature's Classroom Info Session (7 p.m.)
March 17 - 6th Grade ELA MCAS
March 18 - 7th Grade ELA Long Composition MCAS
Subway Night for Blake
March 19 - 6th Grade ELA MCAS
Power of Music Event (see details below)
March 21 - 7th Grade ELA MCAS
March 22 - Destination Imagination Tournament
March 24 - 7th Grade ELA MCAS
March 25 - 8th Grade ELA MCAS
MCPE Spelling Bee (see details below)
March 26 - 8th Grade ELA MCAS
March 27 - 7th Grade ELA Long Composition Make-Up MCAS
March 31 - Band-O-Rama
April 1 - Application Deadline for Robert C. Maguire Global Perspectives in Education Award (see below)
April 7 - Blake Site Council Meeting (3:15 p.m. in Blake LMC)
April 8 - Royal Pizza Night for Blake
May 2 - MCPE Spring Fling
Topic/Question(s) for the Dinner Table
To encourage conversations about reflection, our Topic/Question for the Dinner Table this week is: Trusting yourself means that if you are at a point of being satisfied with the job you are doing, then you know it is time to look for ways - and learn how - to do your job better.
As we prepare for MCAS season, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education requires that we review our expectations with students prior to testing. I have posted the Student Responsibilities during Testing sheet that will be reviewed with students during the week in their classes. I would like to call your attention to the updated guidelines with regard to electronics (iPods, iPhones, iPads, phones, all types of Kindles, Nooks, and e-readers). The DESE states: "Results will be invalidated for students who use cell phones or other electronic devices at any time during a session, including after a student turns in his or her test materials, during a break, or during the transition to a test completion area." Please review this aspect of digital responsibility with your child.
While we do not want to foster undue anxiety or pressure for students, a good night's sleep and a hearty breakfast will ensure that they come to school prepared to do their best. Please be sure that students arrive at school on time. If your student is sick on the day of a scheduled test date, it is best for your child to get some rest and take it on a make-up day. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact Kelly Campbell (firstname.lastname@example.org) or your child's guidance counselor.
Parent Information Nights
The planning for the 2014-2015 school year has already begun, and our Incoming 7th Grade night is scheduled for this Thursday...
3/13 - Incoming 7th Grade Parent Night at 7 p.m.
This night is for all parents/guardians of incoming seventh grade (current sixth grade) students. We will be sharing information about the 7th grade program of studies and curriculum, previewing the students' experience that they will have next year. We will also be presenting information about the 7th grade's field trip to Nature's Classroom. A more detailed presentation about the logistics of the 2014-2015 academic year's iPad Initiative will take place during this evening as well.
For your reference and information, here are the links to the presentations for the other grades...
Incoming 6th PIN 2014
Incoming 8th PIN 2014
Parental Input for 2014-2015
As noted during the parent presentations, parental input is an important part of our planning purposes for the 2014-2015 academic year. Please refer to the Parent/Guardian Input Letter Spring 2014 regarding our process and the guidelines for input. If you are interested in sharing information, please submit your thoughtsin writing no later than Monday, March 17. As stated in the letter, written requests for specific teachers will not be accepted. Your letter should be addressed to your child's guidance counselor and Assistant Principal, Kelly Campbell. Guidance counselors for next year will be Jen Dondero (Grade 6), Matt Marenghi (Grade 7), and Tracy Allen (Grade 8).
Career Day Planning
Planning for the 8th grade Career Day is underway. Career Day will be held on Tuesday, April 8, 2014, which is also a half day for students. On this day we will have a morning of presentations given by a variety of professionals from many different occupations. Year after year people return to share their careers with our students but we need additional volunteers to help make this event successful. We invite you to volunteer to participate in this exciting program to enlighten our students about your occupation and career opportunities. Please consider sharing your experiences regarding your present occupation, stories of interest and personal insights with eighth graders in three informal sessions of approximately 35 minutes each. The sessions run between 8:45 am and 10:45 am. If you are interested in participating please contact Debbie Avery in the Blake Middle School Guidance Office at 508-359-2445 or email email@example.com. Thank you in advance for helping make our Career Day a continued success. We count on the community to make our program a rewarding and enriching experience for our students.
Grupo Fantasia Performance
On Thursday, March 06, 2014, Angel Wagner of Grupo Fantasia, wowed the eighth grade with an amazing multi-cultural introduction to the percussion sounds of the Caribbean and Latin America. At each stop along the journey, students from the audience were invited to play indigenous and more modern versions of those instruments. Nearly 100 students were on the stage at various times but the highlight was the last time up when students treated the audience to an energetic exhibition of the merengue. As the concert ended everyone was clapping and dancing in the aisles. “Personally, my favorite part was when everybody got up and had the chance to do some super fun dancing! The energy in the room was just terrific! ... I had such a lovely time and all those around me clearly did too! Thanks so much”-Jane Clifford, grade 8
÷ and Conquer! - Save the Date
Susan Bycoff, math content specialist, and Nat Vaughn will be continuing the parent workshop series this spring in an effort to share information and specific strategies to help your student succeed in math. The two sessions will be Wednesday, April 23 at 9:30 a.m. and Thursday, April 24 at 7:00 p.m. More information and details are still to come.
We have noticed an increase in the amount of tardy students this week with the time change. This is a reminder that all students should arrive at Blake by 7:30 a.m. so that they have enough time to settle in, get their materials ready for the day, and arrive to their first period class by 7:40 a.m.
7th Grade - Nature's Classroom
Sixth Grade Parents- Information regarding the seventh grade trip to Nature's Classroom can be found at Nature's Classroom for Blake. There will be a presentation on the trip Thursday night, March 13th, at 7:00 p.m.
8th Grade - Medical Forms for D.C.
DC Medical Forms went home for 8th graders and need to be returned by April 1st. Including a doctor's signature for any medications going on the trip.
Blake Site Council Survey
The Blake Site Council this year has been working on the development of a survey to be distributed to the Blake community. The survey was administered the last two years and we are committed to having parents and students take it annually as part of our continual efforts to examine our programming. Focus areas include the topics of school culture, academic workloads, stress, and habits. The results will help us to gather information and examine our current practices to better meet the needs of our students. Please complete the survey for each child you have at Blake, and base your responses on your student's experiences this year. The questionnaire is anonymous, and your identity can not and will not be discovered through the completion of this survey. We sincerely appreciate your honest responses and are hoping for 100% participation from the Blake community. If you have any questions or have difficulty accessing the survey, please do not hesitate to contact me directly (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Link to the survey: 2013-2014 Blake Middle School Survey
Acceptance Month at Blake
In keeping with our acceptance theme, The High School Harmony Club is holding their annual "Harmony Day" on Tuesday 3/11, for which staff and students are invited to wear green in support of LGBT individuals in their lives. This week at Blake will thus be "Harmony Week." Students will engage in discussions and activities in advisories regarding how we can all exist in harmony and accept one another, regardless of our differences. In addition, students are invited to voluntarily submit expressions of acceptance, whether they be pictures, videos, or other media to Ms. Dengos and Ms. Hurley. These will be compiled and displayed to show the impact of this month and this topic from a student perspective!
Today, March 11, the Harmony Club at Medfield High School is sponsoring its annual Harmony Day, where the club encourages any MHS community member who has a friend, family member, etc. in their life who is LGBT to wear a green shirt. The idea was started by Clinton Oxford, a 2008 graduate of Medfield High School, who thought if everyone could see just how many have a LGBT person in their lives, it might reduce the name-calling/anti-gay remarks heard in the hallways. Some of our students and staff may be wearing green in support of this day, and I wanted parents/guardians to be aware of this initiative as well, as the 'invite/gesture' is intended for both students and adults, on a voluntary basis.
iPad and Mobile Learning Updates
As you know we held an iPad Initiative and Mobile Learning Information session on Monday, February 10 for all parents/guardians to hear and see highlights from our initiative, answer questions, and learn about the progress that has taken place. For those who were not able to attend, here is the link to our Google presentation: Mobile Learning Info Night 2-10-14. I encourage you to take a look and to also peruse our mobile learning blog: Mobile Learning in Medfield. Our intention is to hold another presentation in March in during the school day, to highlight some of our work and share our progress.
The feedback we have gained from our initiatives and pilots has been a critical factor for both the school and district's future implementation and direction we will take with technology. Through classroom observations, professional development, informal and formal feedback from parents and students, and staff input, we have been pleased with the efficacy of the iPad initiative and have determined that it is worth continuing and expanding our collective work with iPads for the 2014-2015 academic year for our incoming 7th and 8th grade students, with students purchasing their own iPads or taking part in a 'Lease to Own' program through the school. While our work with the Nexus tablets has been positive, at this point in the educational landscape for schools, it is our belief is that the iPad is the preferred device to maximize the benefits of learning, creativity, and curricular integration for our students and staff. As part of our program, we will have a system in place for families with demonstrated financial need.
More details for these initiatives will be shared at our Incoming 7th grade (Thursday, 3/13 at 7 p.m.) Parent Information Night. We are excited about the prospects that lie ahead as we work to provide your students with the opportunity to learn with the new technology and are hopeful that we can foster and promote a positive learning experience. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me directly (email@example.com) with any questions, concerns, or thoughts that you may have.
Curriculum Highlights - Art and Science
This week's curriculum updates come from the art (Jim Cousens, Content Specialist) and science (Orla Berry, Content Specialist) departments...
6th Grade students are busy working with watercolors to learn about layering, color washes, building up color for their color mixing, and color theory. Using three types of watercolor materials (liquid watercolors, pan/tray watercolors, and watercolor colored pencils), our 6th Graders have created a benchmark painting, and will be creating a finished painting after Unit instruction.
Our 7th Graders in Mrs. Delaney's Art classes have just wrapped up their Metal Tooling/Embossing assignment, and have begun working on their Tessellation images using Reflective and Rotation Tessellations.
In Mr. Cousens' 7th Grade Art class, students are using their cell phones to take an "Expressive Selfie" to be used as a basis for an "Expressive Self-Portrait" in oil pastels.
8th Graders in Mr. Cousens' class are getting started on their Clay Unit on Form. Starting off using their iPads and the "Let's Create Pottery" app to create virtual clay forms, students will be working with coil construction to recreate one of their virtual clay forms.
In Mrs. Delaney's 8th Grade classes students are working on an Action Pose Figure Image using Oil Sticks (much like working in oil paints). They have learned the proportions of the human skeleton, created gesture drawings using their iPads to take a picture of another student in an action pose as reference, and have drawn figure studies using our wooden mannequins to prepare themselves for this lesson.
Our 8th Grade Art Plus students have just completed presenting their "Art & Creativity App Presentations" in class. Students researched and used a variety of the creative apps of their choice to determine which app they would present to their classes. Once an app was chosen, each student created a work of art using the app, taking screen-shots throughout the process. These screen-shots became part of their presentation to explain the functions of the app. Using the Explain Everything app, students performed this entire project using only their iPads from start to finish. Final presentations were shared using Google Drive, and presented through the Apple TV and the Epson Projector.
6th grade Science has studied the atom, periodic table and molecules these past few weeks. Students were busy creating models of the atom using the Stop Motion App on mobile devices and painted molecules to demonstrate their understanding of pure substances.
Link to Atom Model video (with Stop Motion app)
7th Grade - During our last unit on photosynthesis and cellular respiration, the life science students were able to observe the effect that exercise has on the rate of cellular respiration (and energy production).
Scientific exploration classes returned from February break to a pleasant surprise---the trout were alive and thriving! This was a major improvement from last year. This success can be attributed to Mrs. Silva's diligence in coming in during break to check on them, the temperature adjustments, and the continued efforts of the science exploration students under the supervision of Mrs. Silva and Mr. Bowles to maintain a stable environment. The students will extend their new knowledge of nitrites, nitrates, and ammonia levels in the fish tank to our next unit on the cycles of matter when they learn about the nitrogen cycle.
8th Grade - Grade 8 science students are well underway in their participation in the annual Westpoint Bridge Designer competition. In this contest, which is held on the state, regional, and national levels, students use a CAD - like software application to design and test virtual bridges. Bridges that are both functional and cost-effective are then submitted to the Westpoint Bridge Contest website, where each bridge is ranked against competitors across Massachusetts and America. Blake students have placed very highly in recent years, so it is quite possible that yet another of our budding engineers could receive recognition in this contest.
From the Art Department
This week our Blake 8th Graders will be signing up for their 9th Grade courses online through Naviance. For those students and parents looking for information about our Medfield High School Visual Arts Elective offerings, please visit: http://www.medfieldk12finearts.net/9th-grade-electives-info.html . While on our site, please take a look at the multitude of pages displaying student artwork and curriculum covered in our high school program.
With only one full year of electives available to most students, it is important to be as informed as possible. All of our 9th Grade Visual Arts offerings are semester long (half-year). This means students may sign up for Art one or both semesters as freshman. If you have any questions or concerns about our MHS Visual Arts Program, please contact our K-12 Fine Arts Content Specialist, Jim Cousens at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, follow us on Twitter for the latest news and information about our students' art achievements (such as our Award Winning Students in this year's Scholastic Art Awards), events (such as this April's 19th Annual Zullo Gallery Student-Faculty Art Exhibit), and our program... @Medfieldk12Arts
Ski Club Update
As most of you know, Ski Club season is officially over. We decided not to reschedule the last makeup date as many students have commitments for the next season of sports/clubs starting now. Nashoba is sending vouchers for a free day of skiing/snowboarding any day this season or next season. We will also send a refund check for $20 for the cost of the bus this day. This process may take a few weeks, so please be patient as we finalize the refund details. Thanks so much for your understanding. Continue to check the Ski Club website for details and let Marjorie Heim know if you have any other questions.
Annual Big Blue vs Faculty SMA Charity Basketball Game - Tuesday, March 11 (6:30 p.m.)
After bringing back a long standing tradition last year, this year’s Big Blue captains, Bobby O’Reilly and Matt Cahill, are at it again getting ready for the 2nd Annual Big Blue vs Medfield Faculty SMA Charity Basketball Game. Bobby and Matt wanted to continue to honor their team statistician, 8th grader William Johnson, with this exciting family evening at the gym by raising money toward William’s disease, Spinal Muscular Atrophy.
Come cheer as Mr. Grace and other favorite Medfield teachers suit up against Big Blue’s Boys’ Varsity Basketball team for a fast paced and always entertaining game. All the action will take place Tuesday, March 11th at 6:30 p.m. in the high school gym. Doors will open at 6 p.m. and seating is on a first come first serve basis. Last year almost every seat filled and nearly $3,000 was raised for the cause, so let’s do it again.
All proceeds from the night’s fun will be donated to Families of SMA, the organization funding research for a cure for William (for more information on FSMA go to www.curesma.org). All ticket purchases and other donations can be made at the door. $3 Student/$5 Adult. Please save the date and plan to bring your entire family out for this evening of basketball fun and tradition. For more details, please contact email@example.com.
'Power of Music' Event
Seats can now be reserved for the MMA's “Power of Music” event from 7 to 9 p.m., Wednesday, March 19 in the MHS auditorium featuring jazz pianist Matt Savage, who overcame challenges associated with autism and launched a musical career at the age of 8. He will share his story and perform. Savage will be joined by music education/autism expert Rhoda Bernard, Ed.D, from The Boston Conservatory who will talk about the power of music on children and adults with autism and other special needs. The event will also feature performances by musicians from The Conservatory's Program for Students on the Autism Spectrum, and our own Medfield Marimba and MHS Jazz Combo. Superintendent Jeff Marsden will also speak. The event is sponsored by MEMO, and partners are SEPAC, Medfield HS PTO, Medfield CSA, and the Medfield Coalition for Public Education. The event is free, but a suggested $5 donation at the door is welcome to help fund a new MMA music scholarship for children with special needs. Seats for the event should be reserved in advance to ensure adequate space. To reserve seats, go to www.medfieldmusicassociatink you.
We are a little over a month away from the shows and we couldn't be more excited. Please continue to look in your closets (or those of family members) for pieces that might be used in either show. Examples are on the website. Next week's rehearsal schedule and crew schedule is online and will be on the announcements. This year tickets for both shows will be sold online. They will go on sale on March 31st. More information to come.
Spring Track Sign-Up
If your son or daughter is interested in participating on the Blake Track Team, please have him or her stop by the Blake Cafeteria right after school this coming Wednesday, March 12 for a quick informational meeting (students will not miss their busses). Our program serves as an introduction to track and field. We practice one hour per day, which enables students to continue with other spring sports teams and activities as well. With so many running, jumping, throwing, and hurdling events to choose from, however, we think they'll find something they'll enjoy and consider continuing with track when they get to the high school.
THE SEASON: Starts Tuesday, April 1 and runs to early June.
PRACTICE: Generally Tuesday through Friday, 2:20 – 3:20 P.M. on the high school track.
MEETS: Usually 7 per season (schedule to follow), can last until 5:00 P.M. Students take busses to away meets and must also return home with the team on the bus unless coaches have a parent/guardian note.
COACHES: Mr. Haycock, Mrs. Graham, Mr. Keohan, Miss Dimitriou.
ON-LINE SIGN-UP: Go to: www.medfield.net
Under "Our Schools", click on either Medfield High School or Blake Middle School.
Under the "Activities" tab, choose "Athletics".
Click on the "Register Now" (Family ID) button.
Follow prompts to create username/password and register online.
After completing registration, please write a check to the “Town of Medfield” for $225.00 (aid is available), with student’s “name” and
“Middle School Track” written on the subject line. Have your son or daughter bring the completed check and a copy of a current physical
(within 13 months) to Mr. Haycock in the Blake Library/Media Center. If current physical is already on file with the Athletic Department
from an earlier team sign-up from this academic year, you don't have to submit another copy.
EQUIPMENT: running shoes, shorts and shirt, white socks, sweat shirt and pants (extremely important for cool days), and water (Medfield tank top is provided for meets).
Music at Blake - Guess the Blake Pandora Jockey!
We have a new Blake DJ this week. The direct link to the form is: Blake Pandora Jockey Form. Encourage your students to participate!
Two delicious fundraising opportunities for you! Dine at Royal Pizza on Tuesday March 11 and at Subway on March 18th to support Blake Middle School. Both of these generous and supportive local restaurants give back 20% of all proceeds on these days during selected hours. Please reference the Thursday Packet flyers for details.
Announcing Blake Middle School CSA Now on Facebook And Twitter!
The CSA is looking forward to a busy Spring! Lots of great fundraising, parties and activities for our students to enjoy. In order for these traditions to continue, the CSA is looking for some volunteers to help coordinate a few of these activities. Please keep in mind that there are helpers who are signed up to assist, but leaders are needed for the following:
- 7th Grade ice cream party. This a fun end of year celebration for our 7th grade class. Very easy to run. Time commitment is 3-4 hours total.
- Summer Reading book sale. This is a convenient way to get your student's Summer reading books. Running this sale involves collecting orders and working with Park St Books to deliver and sort the books.
- 8th gr Closing Ceremony Reception. We are looking for a 6th or 7th gr parent to run this activity. It involves procuring cookies and beverages with CSA funds then with the help of volunteers, setting the cafeteria up for our 8th grade class to celebrate their graduation from Blake Middle School.
The Medfield Coalition for Public Education (MCPE) has received a Challenge Grant from Needham Bank.
Needham Bank, a long-time supporter and sponsor of the MCPE, will donate $100 for every new checking account opened when the patron mentions MCPE. This is in addition to their initial $2,500 donation to MCPE earlier this year. With the Challenge Grant offer, Needham Bank is engaging the community while also supporting MCPE's efforts to fund academic enrichment in the Medfield public schools. The MCPE is thrilled by this partnership and so grateful to Needham Bank and its commitment to the Medfield public schools and to our community. The funds raised will truly and directly benefit the Medfield students at every level. For more information about participating in the Challenge Grant, please contact Needham Bank’s Medfield Branch Manager, Marjorie Cappucci, at 781-474-5521.
Nominations Wanted: The Robert C. Maguire Global Perspectives in Education Award
Bob Maguire dedicated 22 years of his educational career to the Medfield public schools. He served as principal of Medfield High School for eight years and then as Superintendent for 14 years. In recognition of Bob's commitment to our students, the MCPE has created this award to honor an educator in the Medfield school community who embodies Bob's legacy of exposing our students to the world beyond Medfield.
This award will be given to a staff member whose effort embodies Bob's vision for further developing students' global understanding and readiness to engage in the expanding global economy. Similar to Bob, the award recipient will be someone who inspires students to look beyond the town of Medfield and learn more about the global community through innovative programs and technologies. Parents, administrators, school staff and community members are encouraged to nominate a recipient for this award.
Award application, award criteria and deadline information can be found on the MCPE website: http://www.medfieldcoalition.org/news-photos/bob-maguire-award/.
MCPE Spelling Bee Registration is Closing This Friday, March 14th.
The MCPE Annual Spelling Bee will be held on Tuesday, March 25th at the High School Auditorium. Grades 6-8 will participate from 2:45-4:00 PM, and grades 3-5 will participate from 4:00-6:00 PM. Form your team, choose a name and costume, and register TODAY at www.MedfieldCoalition.org. The cost is $30 per team of three. All Spelling Bee participants will receive one free raffle ticket to win an iPad Mini, generously donated by Prudential Page Realty. Raffle tickets may be purchased for $5 at the Spelling Bee.) Registration closes this Friday, March 14th.
Order Your Spring Fling Tickets Today - More than 50% Have Sold!!
Tickets are going fast!! NOW is the time to order your Spring Fling and Raffle tickets! The MCPE Spring Fling fundraising gala will be held on Friday, May 2nd from 7:00-11:30 PM at the Spring Valley Country Club, Sharon. All Medfield residents are invited to participate in an exciting auction and enjoy an evening of friendship, dancing and refreshments while supporting our schools. Event and raffle tickets are on sale now - event tickets are limited. Don't miss out - be sure to buy your tickets today: www.MedfieldCoalition.org.