9/8 - Grade 8 Parent Information Night (6:30 p.m.)
8th Grade Trip Info Mtg (6:00 p.m.)
9/12 - One-day Blake Food Drive (see details below)
9/13 - Picture Day at Blake
9/14 - Christie Coombs Assembly (Wear Red, White, and Blue)
Grade 7 Parent Information Night (6:30 p.m.)
Nature's Classroom Trip Info Mtg (6:00 p.m.)
9/15-9/16 - Stars Canoe/Russian Icon Field Trip
9/19 - Blake Site Council Mtg (3:30 p.m.)
The End of Average Discussion (4:30 p.m.) - see details below
9/20-9/21 - Stripes Canoe/Russian Icon Field Trip
9/21 - Grade 6 Parent Information Night (6:30 p.m.)
6th Grade Band/Chorus/Orchestra Info Mtgs (6:00 p.m.)
9/22-9/23 - Eagles Canoe/Russian Icon Field Trip
9/26-9/29 - Nature's Classroom Trip for Grade 7
9/30 - Half Day for Students
Professional Afternoon for Staff
10/3 - Rosh Hashanah (No School)
10/10 - Columbus Day (No School)
10/12 - Yom Kippur (No School)
10/17 - Picture Retake Day
10/21 - 7th/8th Grade Dance (7-9 p.m.)
10/26 - Medfield Talks - Michael Thompson (see details below)
Topic/Question for the Dinner Table
To help encourage conversations and dialogue about fresh starts with a positive lens in mind, our topic/question for the dinner table is: Why will this be a good year in school? Please see link to Google Form to share your responses: Why will this be a good year in school? (This is an anonymous Google Form)
Theme of Empathy for 2016-2017
Blake’s collective themes for the last five school years have been Community, Perseverance, Creativity, Acceptance, and Collaboration. The shared theme for this coming year is one of Empathy and, as has been the practice with our prior themes, 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, skills, and competencies we want for our students and community are influenced, fostered, and impacted by empathy.
Parent Information Nights
Our Parent Information Nights (PINs) will take place on Thursday, September 8 for grade 8, Wednesday September 14 for grade 7, and Wednesday, September 21 for grade 6 - all of these evenings will begin at 6:30 p.m. 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. There will be an optional meeting on Thursday, September 8 at 6:00 p.m. for eighth grade parents interested in learning about the trip to New York City and Washington, D.C. There will be an optional meeting on Wednesday, September 14 at 6:00 p.m. for seventh grade parents interested in hearing final details about the trip to Nature's Classroom. Sixth grade chorus, band, and orchestra parents are invited to informational meetings at 6:00 p.m. on September 21, prior to PIN. We will send out reminders and more details on all of these meetings as we get closer to the actual dates.
Book Discussion Group for Parents
The Blake Site Council summer book was The End of Average: How We Succeed in a World that Values Sameness by Todd Rose, and we will be discussing the book on Monday, September 19 at 4:30 p.m. in the Blake LMC, following our first Site Council meeting. For more information about this book, you might find these of interest...
Review: In ‘The End of Average,’ Cheers for Individual Complexity
Standards, Grades And Tests Are Wildly Outdated, Argues 'End Of Average'
Recognition of September 11
September 11, 2016 will mark the fifteenth anniversary of the tragic events that transpired on September 11, 2001. In advisory and as a community we will be taking time, in an age-appropriate manner, to explain the historical timeline that led up to the events, reflect upon the impact that has been felt since that time, and to emphasize and highlight the resilience, empathy, and care that took place. Our ultimate goal is to have the students gain an appreciation for the value of a community, as we will continue to come back to this theme throughout our students’ middle school experience. Please contact your student’s guidance counselor, Kelly Campbell, or me if you feel your child will be particularly affected by these discussions or need additional support. One of the lessons we were all reminded of fifteen years ago was the importance of community and looking out for one another. In that spirit, and to continue a tradition started five years ago, Blake will be helping its own Medfield community by holding a one day collection for the Medfield Food Cupboard. More details regarding specific needs will be shared as we get closer to the date. Donations will be collected in the guidance office on Monday, September 12. To help commemorate all those who were affected by the events that took place, we are encouraging everyone, in an appropriate and respectful manner, to wear the colors of red, white, and blue on Wednesday, September 14 for our assembly with Christie Coombs.
In order to promote some of the exciting programs and events in the Medfield Public Schools, we plan to continue the use of student photos on our district/school websites, teacher websites, blogs, and district approved Twitter accounts. In addition, there are times when we will have coverage in the local newspaper or on local TV. Please let Nat Vaughn know by Friday, September 9 if you DO NOT want your child’s photo or name to appear in the media. Please note, your child’s image or name may still appear within the school for classroom projects, hallway postings, in-school presentations, newsletters, yearbooks, and other in-school media. Please contact Nat Vaughn if you have any additional questions.
Summer Reading Update
English teachers will soon begin gathering the names of students who have completed the summer reading incentive. Students who’ve read the all-school book plus four additional books from their grade list and have also made a short video, podcast, comic strip, or written review etc. on one of the optional books will enjoy our special pizza lunch with all of the trimmings in the Blake LMC. Students have until October 1 to finish their projects and the pizza lunch will take place in late October. As you probably remember, our all-school summer reading book is Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus. Our summer reading grade-level assemblies will take place on Monday, September 12. We are fortunate to have two great speakers: Mike Dyer, Senior Maritime Historian at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, will discuss whaling life at sea in the 1840's and Gerry Rooney, Chair of the Whitfield-Manjiro Friendship Society, will discuss the relationship between whaling ship Captain Whitfield and the book’s protagonist, Manjiro, which continues to this day through their descendants.
Please contact Jon Haycock (email@example.com) with questions.
Mobile Learning Update
In our continued effort to support families with the integration of technology, I am sharing a link to a 'customizable device contract' from Common Sense Media...
Tablet Family Contract
As noted at the top of the front page of this link, it is important to talk with your children about how the device will be used at home. The suggested guidelines will help assure open and consistent communication so that you are 'on the same page'. The form is customizable to allow for variances in approaches from family to family. We are strongly encouraging all Blake families to take the time to fill out this contract, post it in a 'public' location in your house (i.e. refrigerator), and keep a copy in a secure location. Starting off the year with clear guidelines and 'house rules' will be the first step to a productive and successful experience. Should issues arise throughout the year, it will serve as a solid reference point for resolutions.
On the school's end, we are having a digital citizenship talk/forum this week with each grade about managing and learning how to set up good study habits using the device. We will also be holding technology workshops for parents throughout the year. In addition we will be taking time in school to formally review the Responsible Use Agreement that must be reviewed/signed by all students and parents...
Responsible Use Agreement
This is a reminder that all students and parents/guardians must ‘sign off’ on the respective forms via these links - (2016-2017 Student Responsible Use Guidelines - Student Sign-Off and 2016-2017 Student Responsible Use Guidelines - Parent/Guardian Sign-Off ). A separate e-mail has been sent to all students via their school accounts. Students must be logged into their school Google accounts to access the form. Please have your students login to their e-mail accounts for the forms to be completed. If you have any difficulty accessing the forms, contact our Technology Integration Specialist, Diane Horvath (firstname.lastname@example.org).As a reminder, it is the student's responsibility to make sure that iPads are fully charged each night. We recommend the bedside table of parents/guardians as a charging station at night.
Eighth grade students should be sure to turn in their Swim Test Forms for our Charles River Community Awareness field trip this September. Completed forms should be dropped off at the main office at Blake.
Seventh Grade Trip to Nature's Classroom
The seventh grade will be leaving at 6:30 am on Monday, September 26 for the annual trip to Nature's Classroom on Lake George. Students should arrive between 6:10 and 6:20 am and report directly to their bus. You will be contacted if you have any outstanding paper work or money due. On Friday, 9/2 we went over the roommate process with the students during science class and emailed them a sheet outlining final details for the trip. The sheet was also emailed to all seventh grade parents. The same information will also be presented at the seventh grade PIN on Wednesday, 9/14 at 6:00pm. If you have any questions, please contact Judy Silva, email@example.com. In addition, please be sure to contact Trisha Williams regarding any medical needs, allergies, or health concerns (firstname.lastname@example.org or 508-242-8554). We are looking forward to the trip!
Students are not permitted to take bus rides home with friends on other buses without prior approval through Central Offices. If you have any questions, please contact Phyllis Montillo (email@example.com or (508) 359-4978).
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.
- All parents/guardians need to be sure to follow the parking regulations in the parking lots and around the 'flagpole circle'. When dropping off or picking up students, vehicles should not be parked ('stationary' or 'live') in the fire zone. We need to make sure that we are providing a safe environment at all times for our students and community. Thank you for your cooperation.
- Forgotten items can be left in the office with the understanding that the students know to check in the office if they have forgotten an item. Please clearly label items with the student’s name and grade.
- 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.
- As students are getting ready for school, 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 that 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.
Medication and Health Information from Mrs. Williams
To do his/her best in school, it is important for your child to get an adequate amount of sleep every night, start each day with a healthy breakfast as well as drink plenty of water throughout the day. Please send your child to school with a refillable water bottle daily. 6th grade students should also bring in a healthy snack to eat in the morning such as yogurt, fruit or vegetables. During adolescence, eight to ten hours of sleep is recommended every night. A set time to turn off your child's phone, iPad and other electronics for the night and charge in an area away from your child's room is also recommended to remove distractions and encourage good sleeping habits.
All medication to be taken at school must be kept in the nurse's office and administered by the school nurse. Students are not allowed to carry and self-administer medications at school including non-prescription medications such as Tylenol, Advil, Motrin, allergy and cold relieving medication, etc. Parents/guardians are asked to complete the blue Emergency Health Information form that will be sent home the first day of school. On this form, parents/guardians may give written permission for the school nurse to administer specified non-prescription medication, if needed. Any other prescription and/or non-prescription medication to be administered at school requires a written order from the student's healthcare provider and written parental consent preferably on the Medication Authorization Plan 2016-17 available on the school's website.
Online Homework Posting System
This year we will be continuing our system for posting the homework on our website. The link to the homework pages is here - Blake Homework Pages. The primary mode for students' understanding and recording of the homework for the given night is from the teacher and the posted homework in the classroom. The information that will be on the website is intended to serve as a 'back-up' resource. Due to the inherent challenges of technology that arise from time to time (servers, e-mail, etc.), we can not always guarantee that the website will be 100% accurate and reliable. However, we hope that it will help students and parents as an additional source of information.
Twitter Accounts (@nat_vaughn and @BlakeOffice) and Blake/Medfield Hashtags (#bmsed, #bmstech, and #MedfieldPS)
We have established the hashtag (#bmsed) for education-related tweets of interest and Blake events and (#bmstech) for technology tweets of interest at Blake, so be sure to check them out! My account is @nat_vaughn, and I will continue to tweet up-to-date information, Blake happenings, links to sites, and articles of interest on a daily or more frequent basis. We have also established a Blake School account (@blakeoffice) and hashtag (#bmsed) for education-related tweets of interest and Blake events, so be sure to check it out!
Guidance Twitter Account
Follow Tracy Allen, Matt Marenghi and Jen Dondero at @BlakeMsGuidance for updates from their office!
Fall intramurals at Blake will begin in early October. Look for signup information on the intramural page of the website the week ofSeptember 20. Parents/guardians are welcome to run intramurals as well. If you have any questions, thoughts, or suggestions, please contact Matt Marenghi (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Arts in Education Week
Next week (9/11-9/17) is Arts in Education Week. I have shared this with our art and music departments. Please keep this in mind in your classes, advisory, and with students and families. Please keep this in mind when talking to your children about cultural events, music, and the arts this month.
This year we are continuing with recess as part of our Advisory structure. A great deal of research evidence shows that students are more productive and intellectually engaged when a physical and or mental 'break' is provided in the middle of the day. We are looking for donations from families to provide options for students during this time: frisbees, wiffle balls/bats, kickballs, tennis balls, single and double jump ropes, volleyballs, foam footballs, soccer balls, and hula hoops. If you have done some 'fall cleaning' and have extra items that could be donated, have students drop them off in the main office. Thank you in advance for your help.
#MedfieldPS Twitter Chats
I encourage everyone to check out the 'storify' archives of our district-wide #MedfieldPS chats below. The goal of these chats is to bring the five schools together (staff and administration) to discuss pertinent topics in education, initiatives, and ideas to collaborate around and share. Hopefully you will be able to follow along, lurk, or join in one of our future chats - stay tuned for our September chat!
(A Fresh Start)
(A Community of Learners)
(Reflections on Student Learning, 2015-2016)
(Social Emotional Learning)
(Spirit of #DLDMedfield)
(Resolutions and Reflection)
(Back to School)
Blake is always looking for substitute teacher applicants. Applicants need not have teaching licensure but should be energetic, flexible and enjoy working with children. For more information or to apply, please visit medfield.net and find applications under the tab "employment opportunities". Please contact Kelly Campbell at email@example.com with any questions.
As with our teaching positions, from time to time our nurse, Tricia Williams, will be out of the building and we need a substitute nurse for these days. We are fortunate that we have several substitute nurses in the district who are able to work on those days. If you are a registered nurse and have an interest in potentially serving as a substitute throughout the year, please let us know. You can contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Tricia Williams (email@example.com). By the same token, if you have friends in the area who would have an interest in serving as a substitute, please let them know that they can contact us as well. The safety and well-being of our students is always our top priority, and we would appreciate your interest in one of these roles.
Medfield Talks, a new committee comprised of Dr. Marsden, MCPE, K-8 and High School PTOs, SEPAC, MMA and Medfield Foundation will kick off a new speaker series on October 26th with Michael G. Thompson, Ph.D. According to his website, "Michael G. Thompson, Ph.D. is a consultant, author and psychologist specializing in children and families. He is the supervising psychologist for the Belmont Hill School and has worked at more than seven hundred schools across the United States, as well as international schools in Central America, Europe, Africa and Asia." In 2004, Dr. Thompson published The Pressured Child: Helping Your Child Achieve Success in School and Life which has helped parents navigate and mitigate the pressures faced by our children as they progress from their kindergarten through high school years. Through an MCPE sponsored grant, Medfield is privileged to host Dr. Thompson, who will speak to middle and high schoolers during the day and parents in the evening. Please join us on October 26th for this important event. Free tickets and additional information will be available in September.
SEPAC is having its first meeting of the academic year Tuesday, September 20 at 7pm in the Blake Library. All are welcome. On the agenda is "meet the Interim Director of Student Services Kathy Gaudreau."
The KidStuff coupon book fundraiser will be underway in the upcoming weeks. Look for ordering information on the SEPAC website (found here) and Thursday packets. Your support helps SEPAC fund workshops, events for kids and families, scholarships, and other Medfield community enrichment.
K-8 PTO News
There are three positions open for the 2016-2017 school year. We are looking for a coordinator for Career Day, an additional co-coordinator for the 8th grade Cook-Out and a coordinator for the 7th grade Ice Cream Social. Please take a look at the volunteer sign-up sheet and see where you can help. We appreciate it! https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScVH6fbiK1-cVI5r7yu42e6szW5bnuT2EUO9qk3CLc-l9A8UQ/viewform
The MCPE Fall Ball On Line Auction opens on Medfield Day, September 17 at www.medfieldcoalition.org. The auction has something for everybody and every budget, from vacation homes and block parties, to sports memorabilia, disc golf excursions, jewelry and wellness packages.
Trivia Night is back on Friday, October 21! Tickets go on sale September 26 at www.medfieldcoalition.org. This community tradition always sells out, so get your teams set and put it in your calendar now!
Want to know why the MCPE does what it does? Go to www.medfieldcoalition.org and see a rundown of the $117,000 in grants that were awarded across the district last year. Every ticket sale, Spelling Bee entrant, donation and bid directly contributes to our schools' excellence. Thank you.
Medfield Music Association News
Save the Date: Blake music parents are invited to kick off the new year once again, at the Zullo Gallery, at 7 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 22. This gathering is a chance to meet other music parents, learn about highlights for the school year, hear from students, and get to know teachers, including our new 6th grade choral teacher and MHS Choral Director Ann Marie Tremblay.